Each day is a new day when beginning or continuing a yoga practice. Yoga practitioners never stay the same in mind or body as growth occurs everyday when new ideas are pondered and initiated. Yoga practice is an applied science adapted to thinking and movement; it is not just a class one attends once or twice a week but a daily application, revised as the individual grows and expands. This is the premise of yoga!
By practicing yoga poses, each person discovers their inner strength to revitalize internal organs by deeply breathing fresh oxygenated blood. A yoga practice teaches and expands self-awareness of how the mind and body work in concert to improve health and wellness. The postures taught in a yoga class are purposeful, and emphasize mindful movements to achieve a healthy lifestyle with emphasis on incorporating yoga movement and thoughts into everyday routines.
A yoga class begins in silent meditation to calm the mind and body. Props used are a folded blanket to sit on with crossed legs or they can be extended if it is more comfortable in the beginning. When seated, the spine is held straight with palms resting on the thighs, thumb and index meeting in what is termed the mudra pose to seal in positive energy created by calming the mind and body with eyes closed. All thoughts of the world are released as the mind travels inward to bring forth calmness. Deep breathing is important as a cleansing element, inhaling deeply through the nose and slowly exhaling through the nose with eyes gently closed. It takes a deeper level of concentration to inhale/exhale through the nose, thus, a deeper cleansing process which continues as poses are initiated and held. Holding new postures creates new muscle memory, to breakthrough old established negative habit patterns.
When a yoga posture is initiated, it is held for several minutes to create body re-alignment and allow it to take shape in the mind and body. Yoga is a slow learning process as it focuses on breaking old negative habit patterns and creating new ones that better serve health and wellness.
Life is a pattern of thinking and moving behaviors that are established by repetition. If the mind is stuck in a non-beneficial habit pattern, there is no incentive to create a new one. The mind needs incentive to grow and change. Human beings can become set in patterns of behavior or brain wave frequencies in a rut; it takes the introduction of new ideas, stimulation to change old negative behaviors integrated from the mind into the body. The mind and body work in unison which allows for new seed ideas to germinate and manifest in different behaviors and life styles.
After calmly sitting and breathing, yoga practitioners slowly open the eyes and stand in tadasana or mountain pose with strength initiated from the core, to incorporate power and stamina from within to move slowly into other body postures.
After the first yoga posture is learned, movement is stabilized and balanced. With practice, arms are drawn together over the top to the head into a beautiful upward lengthening of the spine to gain a sense of balance. While reaching tall above the head, balance is achieved on one leg, hand against a wall, while the other is placed next to the opposite knee. It helps to place one hand on the bent leg with the sole of the foot into the top of the other inner thigh. Be sure to tighten the thighs to remain in a straight line. Place one finger on a wall, in the beginning, to give a feeling of security and balance in the pose. This pose helps to lengthen the core, tighten the abdominals and revitalize internal organs with fresh oxygenated blood.
Practice this pose at the beginning of each class and again near the end and observe your improvement. Eventually, you will be standing tall without support! This is the beginning of balance.
Join the Shield Wellness Yoga classes on Tuesday and/or Fridays at 1 to 2:30 p.m. and Thursdays, 5:30-7:00 p.m. Shield location: 4597 Casablanca Circle, (US 27 North near Sun and Lakes turn off on the left. Shied is on the right side of US 27).