If you’re curious about trying yoga but know little about this ancient practice, getting started can be daunting. Do you have to be as flexible as a Slinky? Must you be a gymnast or able to wrap a leg around your neck while standing on your head? Hardly. Sure, there are some yogis who achieve these postures. (I call them the “Cirque de Soleil poses,” after the amazing Canadian circus troupe that boasts acrobats who bend themselves into human pretzels.) But relax. This is not what yoga’s all about.
Yoga has been around for nearly 5000 years – and for good reason. Yoga postures (they’re called asanas) help regulate the metabolism, align the internal organs for better function, improve concentration and balance, strengthen legs, open the chest cavity, cleanse the lungs, create upper body strength and promote back heath – especially for those with lower back pain. And those are just a few of yoga’s benefits.
There are many different styles of yoga. My first training was at Integral Yoga Institute in NYC, and I recommend Integral Yoga as a good place to safely explore this ancient practice. A typical Integral Yoga session incorporates work with body, mind and breathing. In addition, there are meditation and relaxation techniques that help to purify the system. A focal point of the Integral Style is yoga nidra – deep relaxation – at the end of the session. It helps to lock in the benefits of the asanas, leaving the body in a deeply restored, peaceful state.
Not everyone has the time to go to a yoga studio or a gym. So it’s good to know that more and more businesses are introducing yoga in the workplace. It’s a smart way to help employees stay healthy and maintain optimal energy and productivity. Before work, at lunch or at day’s end, a teacher needs little more than an empty room to conduct a class. Yoga at work is an effective stress reducer and a marvel at strengthening the body, thus helping to prevent work-related injuries such as carpel-tunnel syndrome. It also works wonders at reversing the ill effects of being desk-bound day after day.
Ultimately, the most significant benefit of yoga is that it helps you to be fully present in the moment. In our jam-packed lives, in a most uncertain world, learning to make the most of the here and now is a priceless gift.
– Jaymie Meyer, CWP, ERYT-500
This article was originally published in the May 2003 issue of the Health & Wellness PEG Newsletter.
Jaymie Meyer, CWP, ERYT-500, is a wellness educator with certifications in stress management, bereavement counseling, yoga therapy and Ayurveda. She is also a Reiki Master. Her company, Resilience for Life®, has been delivering wellness programs for over 9 years at work sites and educational institutions including the National Institutes for Health (NIH), Coby Electronics Corporation, Columbia University, IBM, Jewish Guild for the Blind and Martha Stewart Living. She is an on-going faculty member at Yogaville’s Integral Yoga Academy, teaching the Stress Management TT each summer. In February, she will be participating in the YogaHub’s 2nd Virtual World Yoga Conference. To coincide with the conference, Jaymie will be releasing a full length CD on breathing practices that help individuals increase energize and reduce stress. She is a member of NWI, NSA, IYTA and IAYT. Website: www.resilienceforlife.com
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