Henry David Thoreau, Writer, (1854) Concord, Massachusetts and Harvard graduate focused on the reflections of a simple life and natural surroundings, inspired by self-reliance as a choice of life-styles. This is one of the evolving characteristics of Yoga practioners: self-reliance.
In Yoga, the term used to initiate postures is “lengthening.” “Lengthening” parts of the internal/external muscles/tissues emphasizes the body’s own self-indicatives to re-redesign the body for the greatest flexibility and health. The term, “stretching,” used in the athletic sense, directs the mind towards using various gym props to improve the body, rather than focusing on the inner mind/body to re-align structure, initiate heathy eating habits and build strength from within. A Yoga practice does incorporate weight-bearing equipment in “body sculpting” to define and refine muscles in realigning the posture and building muscles/tissues, but it is only part of a Yoga practice. Yoga relies, first, on imagery to visualize the correct form of the posture then physically defining it. Yoga postures are created to improve physical structure and mental focus when initiating postures to improve health and wellness.
With the New Year, begin a new Yoga practice that lengthens the shoulder, neck, arms and legs. Grab a cloth or flexible rubber strap and stand tall with legs together and arms extended to each side, holding the strap in front of the thighs. Slowly raise the strap as you extend the legs wide and lengthen the arms the same width above the head. Hold this pose, then slowly twist the body to the left, hold the pose as you breathe deeply. Slowly, bring the body back to center and. follow-up by turning the body to the other side and repeating. Do this pose at least 5 times, return to center and do a deep forward bend from the waist.
Yoga postures do not need to be complicated to achieve results. Just visualize the pose, move slowly, breathe and begin the new year with this simplicity of life. Focus this year’s goals on developing your own Yoga practice for strength, flexibility, stamina and clear thinking. Enjoy a fresh beginning with each new day, let go of the past (it is dead) and create a beautiful new “you!”
At the end of a Yoga class, enjoy a “Yoga Dance.” Form a circle in the middle of the room with everyone grabbing hands in the center. Raise up the arms in the circle of “Light” and form “Tree Pose,” with the other leg resting against the inner thigh. As a group, lengthen the center arms upwards maintaining balance. To end the year with this joint posture, be sure to “laugh!"
Join the Sebring YMCA Yoga class, MWF, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and affirm your positive New Year’s goal to be happy no matter what!!!