It may sound dramatic to say so, but, Yoga is as important to your health as brushing your teeth. It is an ancient practice that originated in India thousands of years ago and has been enjoying increased popularity in the Western world only in the past couple of decades. Not only are average folks noticing the exponential benefits of Yoga, but scientists and health professionals are also discovering the value of it in the human body, on a cellular level.
The word Yoga comes from Sanskrit and means to “unite” or “yolk”. The union that is being referenced in Yoga is the union of the mind and body. The mind and body must be one, in order to achieve optimal balance and health in ones life. What we commonly call, “Yoga” here in the West is actually “Asana”, which is only one of eight limbs of Yoga. The literal translation of Asana from Sanskrit is, “the perfect seat between effort and ease.” Asana references the body postures and poses performed in Yoga. When performing these poses, one should remain mindful to sit perfectly between effort and ease.
Keep in mind that there are many different styles of Yoga. If you are new to Yoga and do not have any serious physical limitations, injuries or contraindications I would suggest starting with a beginner, Hatha Yoga class. Here is what you can expect to gain from a regular Yoga practice.
These all may sound like lofty claims that are too numerous to be true. Science, history and a wealth of anecdotal evidence are all in favor of a regular Yoga practice. Yoga is not about being ultra bendy. It is about finding your perfect seat between effort and ease while uniting your mind, body and spirit if you choose to do so. Why should you start a Yoga practice? The real question is, why wouldn’t you start a Yoga practice? And what color Yoga mat are you going to get?