While yoga is most often associated with flexibility, it’s ultimately a practice that serves to nourish and balance both mind and body, boasting countless therapeutic benefits.
Aside from strengthening and stretching muscles, yoga promotes respiratory and cardiovascular functions, soothes the nervous system, improves circulation and energy flow around the thyroid and increases your metabolism. It’s no wonder, then, that yoga is recommended by doctors to patients coping with conditions such as hypertension, sciatica, insomnia, anxiety and depression.
Here at Waynesville Yoga Center, we see students come in for a variety of reasons, be it to recover from an injury, improve balance, increase range of motion, stimulate weight loss, boost immunity or just as a general preventative health measure. For some, like myself, yoga is vital to reducing stress and alleviating anxiety.
When I first get on my mat, my mind is mulling over all of the things I need to get done, worrying about this and that, stewing over spilt milk or the decline of orangutan populations - you know, the usual. Then I connect to my breath, focus on the present moment and slip into a deep concentration.
By the end of my practice, I step off the mat with an overwhelming sense of calmness that I’ve only been able to channel while scuba diving, where you’re forced to recognize the power of a single breath. That peace I cultivate within myself then starts to permeate into my thought processes and relationships, somehow reshaping my attitude and emotions to be gentler and more present. What’s beautiful about welcoming harmony is that you eliminate any space for anxiety or worry to dwell and can foster self-acceptance, compassion and equanimity.
Is yoga for you? Regardless of your age, gender, background or fitness level, yoga is a healing, empowering and strengthening practice that offers something for everyone.
Maybe it’ll be your next cup of tea.