Yoga: Introduction

YOGA

Relax … Relax … Relax

The Gift of Yoga

Experience has shown me that a good place to begin to gain a sense of relaxation is through the use of the body in the practice of yoga. If we work with the mess we’ve created in our bodies by using our bodies, we can begin to untangle our mess. The use of the physical postures is very powerful. You stretch, you relax. You move in alignment, your body opens into a correct alignment. Correct alignment when practiced brings relief to tense muscles, easing to areas of pain. You stretch, yet you also strengthen. Yoga is a practice that is balanced. Working with muscles, with observation, with thought, with release, you open your body to breathe freely again.

Does this not describe to you what relaxation is? Relaxation is being comfortable in our bodies, at ease in our alignment, fluid in our emotions, at peace within our thoughts. Yoga touches all of who you are. Why? I guess by now you see I’m always asking that question. Being inquisitive has taken me into many fascinating adventures in life. Yogi B.K.S. Iyengar expresses the gifts of yoga so beautifully. He states, and I paraphrase him, yogic practices develop the body to the level of the vibrant mind, so that the body and the mind, having both become vibrant, are drawn to the light of the soul. This, my friends, is a beautiful truth. I have found it in my journey. I know it in my cells. Relaxation is found in coming to peace within yourself with whom and what you are in your body and in your heart and in your life.

So, let’s turn to the body, turn to yoga, and begin this journey. Thank you for your patience in waiting for me to work you. There is just so much, that is significant for you to know, to have what I am telling you be effective in your life. And, this is what we both want.

As you begin your yoga, you will see that you are not only learning physical postures, called asanas, you are learning a way of thinking, of moving, of breathing. You learn a complete methodology. Yoga, though it begins in the body, will help you in your emotions, in your mind, in your inner sense of self. Remember, using one layer helps us with all the rest. Body we are, so we work the body. Yet, the release we find is one of body and mind and the connection we sense is who we are in spirit. It’s a wonderful modality. Learning yoga was my beginning. Daily I go there, for I know the gifts that come.

A Program of Yoga Stretches

Several programs of yoga stretches, geared to the release of specific body areas, follow for you to use.  Take your pick of what you feel will help you most, for you certainly know where you hold your tension.  Not only will the program help you with a particular segment of your body, but also you will experience the overall calming effect which comes through yoga.

A most powerful yogic tool is the pose, Savasana, a method of sequential relaxation, which comes at the close of any yoga practice.  We will cover this in detail following our program of sequences.

Gentle Yoga:  Savasana is the heart of yoga,

a powerful mind body practice open to all.

If for any reason, a routine involving physical body movement is inappropriate for you, honor how life is at the moment in your body and move to the section on the very powerful healing energy practice of Savasana.  Savasana is good yoga.  If this is what you practice, it is enough.

All the other, the asanas, both difficult and simple, are used to lead you in to where you can receive the benefits that come through the mind body energy release in Savasana.  A strong viable body is helped to release and to prepare through these routines, these sequences of asanas.  I know this.  I’ve done it for years.  But, you know what?  If this is currently not an option, so be it.  There is always, always, another way.

With my compression fracture, lying on the floor was impossible.  No yoga mat for me.  Just getting up to stand was hard.  Achieving an upright position felt like a giant miracle. It hurt to walk, to stand, to breathe, to use my arms.  Now you’re talking about a body which has known strong physical work through yoga for 34 years.  So, yes, this experience has offered big learning lessons and I am still working with it.  Yet, when the body is taken away, we see so clearly the spirit we are.  This heart, this spirit, is what we touch when we practice Savasana.  I finally found my own way there.  Lying on a bed, I breathed and focused and let it all go.  This practice is a blessing.  So, take heart, all who have special needs, and join me for your practice of yoga, the mind/body release, Savasana.  Savasana brings a sense of healing, peace and comfort.  Yes, we all need this.  And, yes, we all can do this.  See you there.