The ABCs of Yoga
According to an Indian text known body from feet through pelvis to skull as “Yoga Sutra,” the author of in an upright line to optimize the effect which is reported to be Patanjali, of gravity and to enable us to effectively Yaga involves the establishment of “a stable mind and healthy body in order that personal goals can be achieved.” The word “yoga” comes from the word “yug,” which means to yoke or join – that is, to join the mind to the process of physical movement and breathing with the intention of strengthening, releasing and balancing the body. In this article, we will consider yoga as the physical action of movements walk on two feet. Additionally, to align in a seated position is undoubtedly valuable to provide proper vertical placement of head and ribcage relative to the pelvis.
Additionally, horizontal positioning of shoulders so that back and front are equal in width provides ample space for the heart and lungs and can affect proper digestion of food. In terms of attractiveness, rolled in shoulders and a slumped torso coordinated with the process of portrays dis-spiritedness as well as creating as directed by a clear, calm mind. misalignment.
The starting point, the first “A” is Paying attention to “Breathing” “Awareness,” paying close attention to what we are doing with the intention of sensing the position of the body in three-dimensional space with a focus of grounding in relation to the earth. Awareness also involves our ability to pay attention to our entire “behavioral life” of how our thoughts, including our intentions or motives, influence our emotions and actions. Another word that describes being “aware” is “noticing.”
The second “A,” “Alignment,” calls for placing the vertical aspect of the describes the first “B.” Attentiveness to breath connects the mind to the physical respiratory process, which provides our “gaseous fuel,” which is required for life. Not only do we need adequate intake of oxygen for healthy functioning, but we need to expel or exhale carbon dioxide and toxins. The breathing process is intimately related to balancing the stress response of everyday living; conscious, thorough exhalations provide an avenue for lowering blood pressure in addition to emptying the lungs in preparation for the next in-breath.
A specific breathing exercise known as alternate nostril breathing can serve as a means to calming anxiety. Additionally, yoga students who learn to breathe well may notice significantly improved moods overall because they experience greater balance physically, emotionally and mentally.
Physical “Balance,” the second “B,” can prevent falls due to the increased strength and awareness of where we are in space. Balance gained in the mental and emotional areas can prevent “fails” or mishaps personally or in relationships. It is not unusual for family members, including spouses, to encourage (or insist after experiencing the effects) attendance in regular yoga classes because they notice an improvement in mood and relate-ability.
Bringing attention to the first “C” of the ABCs of yoga, “Conscious Movement,” emphasizes paying close attention to moving and positioning (yoga poses or asanas) the body with respect for muscular support, lengthening, strengthening, balance and function. There is an emphasis on the alignment of joints so that undue strain is not on joints with the possibility of injury. Learning experientially by means of the felt-sense of skeletal structure, including bones and muscles and tendons and ligaments, yields a knowing that is beyond taking in information. (Felt-sense is a concept that describes internal bodily awareness that arises from increased awareness.) Learning information is also useful as one experiences muscular agonists and antagonists, which work opposite each other and are prime components of achieving muscular balance. The information that muscles are likely to heal if excessively stretched but that overstretched ligaments are not likely to “shrink back” to the original length avoids injury. A sometimes-used instruction is to take a muscular stretch “to the edge” and then to back off a bit. The motto, “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing,” is potentially reckless rather than wise. Measured enthusiasm with slowly increasing levels of complexity yields a safe and sustainable practice. “Coordination” is the second “C” and could be described as a kind of harmonious blending of mental direction and physical follow-through, resulting in appropriate pacing, sequencing and performing.
Judith J. Day, Ed.S, practices as a family therapist and as a certified yoga therapist in Shreveport’s Broadmoor area. She may be reached at 318-218-8776.