Posted by: wellness training services | July 29, 2012

Taking a Step to a Healthy Future – Yoga

Taking a Step to a Healthy Future – Yoga
By Danielle Gault
As a practitioner of alternative healing arts or complementary holistic services, I have explored and been involved in three modalities that keep me engaged. These three modalities are Yoga, Jung, and Reflexology. Today I want to talk about Yoga and give you some basic information about the structure and function of this wonderful healing modality.

Eastern Method
Asansas (a word meaning ‘seat’ or ‘postures’) were originally developed in the East as a method of keeping the body fit for meditation. The postures facilitate a system of channels along which moves a vital energy called prana (‘life force’). The spinal column is called the sacred axis because it is the main channel for upward movement of the kundalini (‘sleeping potential energy’).

Western Uses
Accomplishing the goals of the East takes a lifetime of disciplined effort. Many people in the West, however, use Hatha Yoga as a means of relieving stress and relaxing the body and mind. Because our body systems are stimulated and subdued in our ‘civilized’ society and we are denied the letting off of steam in most cases, our energies are inhibited and locked in. Even though we suppress the self-defence mechanism of ‘flight or fight’, muscles and nerves get ready nevertheless. The result is neuromuscular tension, conscious or unconscious. But this energy is seldom used, and the body becomes habituated to being keyed up. Therefore, it is good to exercise and blow off steam, releasing the suppressed energy.
Physical and mental tensions go hand-in-hand. Mental tension cause organic disorders that can lead to disease (‘dis-ease’). “The East has never made the mistake of separating the physical from the psychological; psycho-somatic medicine is rediscovering this essential truth. The postures prepare the yoga student for mental concentration,” says one yoga expert.

Relaxing Step by Step
Relaxation and concentration form the heart of yoga. We relax each muscle stage by stage, step by step. Eventually, we achieve our aim of completely relaxing the whole body. Once the body is relaxed, we relax our breathing, using specific techniques. Then we go into a final ‘resting’ pose called savasana (‘dead man pose’). Many people go to sleep at this stage because they have very tired, very stressed bodies.
Yoga, in one sort statement is yogash citta vritti nirodha (‘yoga is the calming of mental agitation’). Once we’ve relaxed the body and calmed the breath, the mind usually finds this state charming and will generally follow. But not always. Sometimes we have to convince the mind that this is good for it. It doesn’t take too long though, because the mind will, as I said, find silence a charming place to take rest.
I’ll leave you with this tip: there are four basic postures that help to keep the spine flexible. They are

1. Forward bending
2. Backward bending
3. Inversion
4. Twist. Here I am doing the Twist – it stimulates the whole spinal column, massages the liver, spleen, stretches the lateral sides of the body – hip, thigh, knee while releasing tension in the neck.
But the most important posture is the resting pose at the end of the series of movements – the dead man’s pose or savasana. Om shantih as we say in Yoga class which means ‘peace’. Another term often used is Namaste which means, I bow to the divine in you. Namaste, Danielle
Danielle Gault in the Twist Pose
What kind of yoga class do you enjoy? Power Yoga, Hot Yoga, Hatha Yoga? Relaxation Yoga? We would love to hear about your yoga experiences and how it benefits you.

Stay awake, aware, and alert and strive to lead a well-tempered life – a life that possesses both hardiness and flexibility. The good news is that once you are awake, you can never go to sleep again, but if you do, do it on purpose and prepare yourself for the consequences.




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