Guest Author - Tracy Webb
There is much research showing how practicing yoga can assist in delaying the aging process and increase health, with most benefits coming from practicing a combination of asana, pranayam and meditation.
It is the combination of all three that bring about the deep changes. It can be surprising how many ailments are cured or become more manageable through yoga, for example; diabetes, digestive disorders, arthritis, chronic pain and blood pressure disorders.
Yoga assists in balancing the mind and the body, which directly affects both the nervous system and the endocrine system. When both of these are in balance, harmony is restored to the body. Yoga is instrumental in calming the mind, which has such a profound effect on everything.
When we have a calm mind, we are more able to deal with life; we gain clarity and new perspectives. We are also more able to manage pain, breathe easier and function more productively. Many times people report long term symptoms either being reduced or completely eradicated.
When our breathing is balanced and deep, we reduce the effects of stress, asthma and other respiratory conditions. We also increase our sense of inner peace, and are more able to cope with life. Shallow breathing increases anxiety levels in the body and induces stress, as well as causing premature aging.
Through asana practice, we lengthen, strengthen and stretch the whole body. This practice tones the body by releasing the systems, organs and muscles which can normally be held in tension. We become more flexible, stronger and all bodily functions become natural and harmonious.
When we practice meditation, we strengthen our mind. We free our-selves from the endless destructive thoughts we think. An untamed mind is weak and reactionary, and causes us many of our problems. Thoughts can be destructive and have lasting effects on the body. Every time we have a stressful thought the body relives the experience as if it is happening again.
Exercise To See Your Thoughts
• Sit quietly
• Breathe deeply and naturally
• Notice the room you are in. What is happening at this moment?
• Usually there is nothing actually happening physically, so we miss the present moment and the peace it brings
• Do you feel peaceful in the still present moment?
• Are your thoughts creating the experience you are having?
• Did anything happen, or did you get lost in stressful thoughts with no awareness of or focused attention on anything that you did?
The above exercise highlights how unconsciously we live our day. When we bring meditation and awareness in to our life, we feel relaxed, happy and more able to deal with whatever is happening. The mind becomes stronger, and can make us more productive with managing pain, dealing with stressful situation and immediate threats.
The combination of these three yoga practices can have untold benefits on your mind and body. Why not try it for 30 days and see what changes you experience?