Is yoga just a stretching routine? Doesn’t everyone practice yoga these days? Or, rather, does anyone even do yoga anymore? Depending on where you live, you may have very different questions about the centuries-old Indian mind-body exercise.
My experience with yoga has been profound, and I know that is not uncommon. Like many initiates, I began going to classes because I thought “stretching sounds relaxing.” The opening stretches had been the best part of my (hopelessly awkward) childhood ballet classes. When I attended my first few yoga classes, I immediately started to discover the immense power of the practice.
I have read tons of magazine articles and blog posts about yoga during my 15+ years of involvement with it, and I think esoterica‘s new post is one of the best I have read.
“10 Lessons from 10 Years of Yoga” makes more than 10 great points about how yoga can benefit your life.
“10. Take your practice off the mat
In yoga class, we hold our head high and breath deeply. We practice flexibility and venture out of our comfort zones in a supportive environment. We practice mindfulness, presence, and letting go of intrusive thoughts. Each of these skills has transferred into my day-to-day life, whether intentionally or inadvertently.”
There are many styles of yoga to choose from. I practice Iyengar Yoga, a form of Hatha yoga that places emphasis on precision and alignment. I like going to Iyengar classes because teachers are highly qualified and because they use a lot of “props” including chairs, bolsters (cushions), foam blocks, and blankets to make your practice more comfortable and less strenuous.
Iyengar yoga focuses on bringing your body into precise alignment. Going through a sequence of Iyengar poses from the beginning to the end of your class, you will work your body part-by-part, until everything is in its right place. As a result, you leave each time with better posture, fewer aches and pains (including headaches,) and a relaxed outlook. Really, there is a long list of benefits, but those are obvious right away.