From the moment you walk into a yoga studio, you notice the atmosphere of calmness. There are no yelling instructors who believe shouting and aggression equal motivation. There are no frenetic movements.
Yoga is about relaxation.
The movements are slow and measured. The yogi’s instruction is gentle, soothing.
And yet, that’s only the beginning of how yoga can introduce the principle of relaxation into your life.
Here are five easy ways of practicing yoga moves:
Most aerobic exercises can leave you heaving in and out in the need to get oxygen to muscles and lungs to sustain activity. The breathing of yoga, known as pranayama, isn’t like that.
Pranayama is one of the best yoga moves to help relax. It is slow, deep and rhythmic, done during stillness – not movement. The controlled rhythm is highly important during yoga, because it is believed to steady the body’s life force.
The long, deep breaths expand the life force, making one feel more vital and oxygenating brain cells so that the mind can relax and feel peaceful.
Don’t mistake the stretching of yoga for simple warm-up stretches one might do before a mainstream workout. Stretching is not a prelude; in yoga, it is the main activity.
Yoga involves contorting the body into poses that you hold typically for five seconds while breathing deeply. In holding this poses, the muscles are pulled and stretched, relieving tautness.
The joints are aligned and pulled, which eases stiffness. The removal of tightness and stiffness puts the body in a hyper-relaxed state;.
In addition to that, however, stretching warms the muscles and that gentle, natural heat causes the body to de-stress.
If you’re used to thinking about unfinished work assignments, children’s recitals or the status of your bank account while working out, yoga will dare you to jettison those preoccupations from your mind.
Before even beginning the main poses of yoga, one must sit and clear the mind of frustration and trivia. Often, this is done by focusing on one image so that worries can’t intrude.
Alternately, one can say one word or phrase over and over in a chant, focusing only on losing yourself in the lull of the rhythmic chant so that you are not aware of yourself or the outside world. This creates a clear and relaxed mental state that can reflect the relaxed physical state yoga aims to create.
After quieting the mind, visualization can be practiced during main poses to keep the mind clear – or you can just concentrate on the sound of your breathing.
At its heart, yoga is a mind-body-spirit exercise. Calming the mental state and physical state are essential, but not enough. True yogis and faithful practitioners of this Eastern regimen, strive to reach and sojourn in their higher spiritual mind. This is why many yoga poses are designed to be devotional to God.
During yoga, strive to think on some of the following spiritual yoga principles to put your mind at ease: truth, cleanliness, self-discipline, non-violence, faithfulness, devotion to a Higher Power, detachment and contentment.
Over time and with consistency, this meditation will give you a different perspective about how to handle problems and will help you stay relaxed in the face of chaos.
While doing yoga, practitioners are expected to extend the body and align the limbs and spine. This puts the body in its natural state. Since poor posture stresses the body and causes it to seek abnormal corrections, holding the body in proper alignment actually creates a natural sense of comfort and relief.
Author: Shawn Tremaine is a personal trainer and health and fitness writer, and has reviewed yoga in the New York City area on this page of MindBodyMojo’s site. When he’s not working on helping others increase their health, he likes to spend it coaching his little boys soccer team.
Want to write guest articles for MeditationMania.com? Please click the button to send us a few details and we shall responsibly revert to you within a comfortable timeframe.
Write for MeditationMania.com