Power of Peace (Part III): The True Health Benefits of Relaxation- Yoga 101

Power of Peace (Part III): The True Health Benefits of Relaxation- Yoga 101

Part I: http://www.costaricayoga.org/?p=433

Part II: http://www.costaricayoga.org/?p=463

“Yoga releases the creative potential in life… and is the union of the individual self and the universal self.” ~ From B.K.S. Iyengar’s Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health

A while back, I wrote to you all about the power of relaxation in your life, and I mentioned that yoga was one of the very best relaxation techniques out there. The more I learn, the more it seems that yoga is a topic with infinite possibilities and infinite knowledge to obtain.

Historical Tidbits:

First, most of you know that yoga originates from India and roots itself in the religions of Hinduism, Jainism, and most popularly, Buddhism. But did you know what it literally means? Yoga means “to unite” or “to contemplate,” making its purpose that much more understandable to its followers. The entire intention of yoga is to unite the body with the soul and to contemplate existence and higher living.

In western culture, yoga is typically associated with Hatha (forceful) yoga, which includes the states of asanas and pranayamas. As you may already know, asanas are the physical poses or postures we strive to master during our yoga sessions, whereas the pranayamas deal with our breath or “subtle energy control” as it is described by many yogis during our poses. In the West, Hatha yoga is predominately practiced for its stress-relieving powers, but more and more, westerners are becoming interested in the spiritual facets of yoga as well, meaning yoga isn’t just to be practiced on the mat, but also in every step we take in our day-to-day lives. As Prashant Iyengar explains, “Yoga, once the domain of a select few, is now universally practiced. Its popularity can be attributed to its therapeutic effects on both the mind and the body, enabling practitioners to enjoy a profound sense of well-being.” And as a result, yoga courses and yogi literature is becoming exceedingly popular among people who are looking for a better way to live. The ultimate goal of Hatha yoga is to achieve a withdrawing the senses and an oneness of breath and body on the mat, and for this union between body and mind to be carried with us wherever we go and through whatever we might experience.

“Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter then flame.” ~ From B.K.S. Iyengar’s Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health

Health Benefits:

If practiced regularly and correctly, yoga promises harmony of body and mind to its practitioner. It lends the body good health. First, as you know, yoga relieves stress, and stress is a silent killer, as I discussed in Part I of this series. And believe it or not, yoga is a stimulative exercise. Mistakenly, many people who have never given it a try view yoga as a physical activity that is “light” or ineffective. In fact, many other exercises are irritants, leaving the body exhausted or in the need of mending. Yoga leaves the body energized and invigorated, which makes it one of the very best things you can do for your body.

In fact, if you have an ailment, chances are yoga can heal it, decrease it, or soothe it. Yoga can help with heart and circulation problems, such as high and low blood pressure, varicose veins, blocked arteries, and heart attack. It is also very effective with respiratory woes, such as colds, breathlessness, sinusitis, and asthma. It can relieve gas, constipation, menstrual aches and pains, irritable bowel syndrome, and diarrhea. And most unbelievably it can rework your entire immune system and even help with infertility, according to Iyengar and many other yogis. And truly, the list can go on and on, as I’ve just named a handful of things that yoga has been proven to address.

Where to Go for More:

If you are interested in learning the particular poses that heal this ailment, please read Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health; it’s all there in this comprehensive best-seller. Also, if you’ve found a wonderful source on yoga, please feel free to share it here or at our Facebook page.

If you’re feeling pain and soreness due to stress, please try these five stress-busting yoga moves for you from The Universal Soul: http://theuniversalsoul.blogspot.com/2009/11/5-minute-stress-busters-with-yoga.html

My Sources:

B.K.S. Iyengar’s Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health

Health Benefits of Yoga: http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/beginnersguide/yogabenefits.asp and http://www.webmd.com/balance/the-health-benefits-of-yoga

Yoga and Relaxation: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/yoga/CM00004

About the Author

Kimberly PhinneyKimberly Phinney Kimberly Phinney is a writer with a degree in English from The University of South Florida. She’s devoted her adult life to the pursuit of natural health and wellbeing for the body, mind, and soul. She has her own blog on health and wellness at http://TheUniversalSoul.blogspot.com and freelances for other websites as well. Currently, she teaches English and journalism at a high school in Tampa and is in the middle of working on her first novel.