For me yoga means joy when I roll out my mat and I start either my practice or teaching a class. And it never stops with the last asana. It stays within me as a state of peace and acceptance during the whole day.
What is yoga?
Yoga is the science of body and mind. If the mind is the conductor and the body, the orchestra, then we can understand the strong impact that one has over the other. Originally yoga was one of the fundamental systems of the Indian culture, with the purpose of living a balanced life from all points of view (socially, mentally, spiritually, emotionally).
Yoga brings the body and mind to function together through breath. That’s why yoga is considered the discipline of the mind, emotions and of one’s strong will, which helps us get control over the quality of our life.
Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory. It is an invitation to change both at physical and mental level. That’s why yoga is a personal experience that no one else can have in your place.
“It is the essential need of today’s world and of tomorrow’s culture” (Swami Satyananda Saraswati)
How does it work?
At physical level there are three important aspects which occur in the body when we practice yoga:
- we work the entire musculoskeletal system, thus gaining flexibility, strength and toning up; the yoga exercises are based on isometric exercises which contract or lengthen the muscles without any movement of the joints
- the internal organs benefit from a real massage, their functions and activities being revitalised
- through synchronising the breath with the body movements, the organs’ temperature rises, which naturally determines the body to detoxify
At mental level yoga cultivates concentration power and strong will. We all know that when we focus on something, we are 100% in the present moment and our mind functions to the maximum. When we cannot focus, we lack efficiency. Yoga helps you gain control over your mind and thoughts.
At emotional level our lives are a reflection of the nervous system. If this is relaxed, then it functions optimally. If it is not, then it activates the glands that are responsible of secreting stress hormones and so we become agitated in everyday life. The moment we are at peace with ourselves, we are at peace with everything around us. By being aware of every breath we rise above momentary tensions and emotions. Thus we gain wisdom for acting instead of reacting to different life situations.
“The more strength you gain, the more you start believing in your own potential.”
According to scientific studies made by various disease control and prevention centers, it was proven that yoga:
- increases muscle mass and bone density;
- eliminates the excess adipose tissue and lengthens the muscle fiber;
- improves the entire circulation system, thus helping reduce cellulite;
- increases spine flexibility and strengthens intervertebral discs;
- stimulates the pituitary gland which impacts the early aging effects;
- decreases the quantity of stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) and increases the quantity of serotonin (the hormone of happiness), being the most efficient tool for stress management;
- has a detoxifying role, eliminating toxins from the body;
- reduces anxiety and depressive moods.
“Yoga does not take but it gives time.”