Yoga is an amazing practice that will give you benefits far beyond what regular exercise brings. Yoga does improve your muscle tone and overall fitness, but it also relieves stress and can give you a sense of well-being and health that regular exercise does not. A yoga practice consists of asanas (physical postures) and pranyama (breathing exercises). These two components, when practiced consistently and with heart, bring a vitality and peace to your mind and body that will change your life.
Concentrating on asanas will give you a whole new appreciation for your body. Yoga stresses body acceptance and a gentle love of what it can do. There is no pushing yourself in yoga and no perfect pose. Still, you will get better — your body will strengthen, your muscles and ligaments will stretch and you will become stronger and more limber very quickly. It will also activate your “prana”, the vital life energy that is present in every person. This prana is your reward: it gives you peace, sharpens your thinking and stimulates your organs to bring good health.
Yoga connects the breath with the body. As you practice your poses, you allow your breath to flow with your movements, breathing steadily and calmly. You will find this to be a very meaningful part of your yoga practice. As you continue, you may want to incorporate pranyama into your routine. These breathing exercises will calm you, sharpen your thinking, cool your body and affect your spirit positively. You may find that your ability to focus and concentrate will improve. Some people will begin to meditate, further bringing awareness to the mind. This technique, if practiced with discipline, can bring you to a state of supreme inner bliss known as “samadhi”.
Yoga will bring benefits to even the most casual practitioner benefits, but to realize its full potential, a certain level of dedication is needed. Performing asanas sincerely and with regularity will change your life and body for the better. A certain amount of self-discipline is needed to set aside the chaos of the day and make time to practice yoga. It is difficult with family, friend and work obligations, but as you continually make time for yourself, you will find that it becomes easier and easier. The yoga itself can be so pleasurable that you will not dread the time.
Although there is no rule about when yoga should be practiced, many people like to start their day with it, finding that yoga brings them peace and helps them feel good during the day. Some people prefer practicing yoga in the evening as it helps them relax and unwind after a difficult day. Either choice is perfectly all right, but be warned: yoga will become a very important part of your day and you will find yourself feeling like something is amiss if you skip a day.
Yoga is more than just an exercise. It can and will change your life for the better if you yield to its benefits. Although it isn’t a necessity, some people find that finding a good yoga teacher and taking a class brings their practice to a new level. Books and video can enhance what you learn from an instructor and is a valuable tool for your home practice.
Practice regularly and sincerely and you will begin to become aware of the peace and blessings in every moment. Yoga can be way of life and your life will become new and beautiful with your practice.
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