. Yoga .
What is Yoga?
Yoga, put simply, is moving and breathing on purpose.
Yoga is a system of mindful movement that benefits body and mind. In addition to physical postures, yoga also involves breath exercises and meditation. Different lineages stress different aspects of practice. Some focus on physical alignment, some on building physical strength, and some on deep relaxation. The lineage I have trained in, therapeutic yoga, emphasises finding the appropriate physical practice to work with an individual towards their goals. By balancing strength and ease in mindful movement, an intentional personal yoga practice cultivates somatic awareness.
After years of personal practice, yoga teacher training deepened my own practice and my understanding of mindful embodied movement as a therapeutic intervention. My approach to yoga focuses on engaging the breath with mindful movement to encourage embodied self-awareness. To me, yoga as an opportunity to learn about yourself, practice self-compassion, and develop strength, flexibility, and confidence.
Yoga coordinates breath and mindful movement to deepen the relationship between body and mind. Exploring asana (physical postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises) in a meditative practice enables you to notice and challenge your boundaries.
The intentional and embodied practice of yoga cultivates strength and flexibility - both physical and psychological. Embodied self-awareness - noticing (and not judging) how you are feeling in the present moment - can help you make informed choices about how to take care of yourself in a compassionate way.
Yoga practice can:
Decrease the experience and symptoms of stress.
Ease anxiety and depression.
Improve heart health and breathing.
Reduce chronic pain symptoms.
Develop flexibility, mobility, and balance.
Who can do yoga?
Can you do yoga? Well, the honest answer is that not all practices are for all bodies at all times. The practices included under the broad heading of yoga range from deeply relaxed trance-like meditations to vigorous highly athletic acrobatics. Some of these practices might be just what you need, and some are going to be a bad fit, or even harmful.
My advice is to try what attracts you. Be curious and critical. If you try a practice and it's not working for you, try something else. Core to the practice of yoga is cultivating the skill to discern what your body needs. Finding the balance of practice that challenges and supports you is an ongoing and evolving process. Be kind to yourself on the journey.
Yoga can meet you where you are. If you can breathe, you can do yoga! It is, however, important to be aware that if you have injuries, movement limitations, or health concerns some poses may not be beneficial for you. Although some poses can be challenging or intense, no posture should cause you pain. If you have any concerns or questions about how to practice yoga in a safe and suitable way for your body you can...