Why Do YOGA?
I have had this question posed to me various times as of lately. Not only have random people been asking me (like the guy at the auto parts store) but my mother sent me an article about why WOULD one do yoga? This article, from a company that sells equipment for stroke rehabilitation, highlights it’s benefits for people who are recovering from a stroke. My youngest sister, at age 35, had a massive stroke that left her disabled. She is almost eight years out now and has recovered much of her movement and speech back. Whether you know someone who has had a stroke or the idea of a stroke is far from your mind, yoga is a foundational practice and way of being for all peoples; big, small, young, old, able-bodied or less than able-bodied.
The article states, “Yoga is a collection of physical and mental exercises that date back to ancient India. It is believed that yoga not only enhances physical well-being but also contributes to mental and spiritual health. Generally, a combination of poses, breathing exercises, and meditations are used to achieve that result.” It goes on to say, “...those who participate in yoga may experience increased flexibility, improved balance, increased strength, a greater range of motion in the neck and hip, less pain, and enhanced energy levels. Also, because yoga requires intense focus, it enhances neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to reorganize itself and form new connections.”
We know so much more about the science behind our brain, its neuroplasticity, and the effects of breathing on our parasympathetic nervous system. The common response I get when I tell people I am a yoga teacher is, ‘Yeah, I need to do yoga but I’m so NOT flexible.’ Many people think that yoga is ONLY used to increase flexibility. Yes, a regular yoga practice CAN increase your flexibility but I would argue that that is not the most important benefit of yoga. Also, our body and bone structure may be such that we will never be able to touch our toes, and that is ok. We don’t have to look like the cover of a trendy yoga magazine, where people are shown wrapping their legs around their head, or balancing on their arms in strange ways.
Yoga does inner work that is deeper and has longer-lasting benefits than any physical act. Yoga enhances resilience and coping frequency which is helpful at any stage of life. Yoga brings people together, it is a shared experience and can be playful and fun as well. There are countless different types of yoga that all have different benefits.
Check out my offerings for the type of yoga that is right for you!