Yoga offers a wide array of holistic health and healing benefits. On the physical level, yoga is the perfect way to build strength, balance and flexibility, even to the point of elimating specific join pain due to aging, diseases, disorders, injury, and surgery. Yoga teaches you how to listen to, understand, and accept your unique body. It also teaches you how to heal yourself.
The twists that are in certain yoga asanas (physical postures) offer a detoxing effect for the inner organs and improves circulation. These asanas are not simply stretches. They are strategically designed postures in order to bring the body into proper allignment. They also release the lactic acid that builds up with muscle usage that causes stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue. Asanas also increase the range of motion and lubrication in the joints. The outcome is a feeling of ease and fluidity throughout the body, lasting long after completing your practice. In addition, asanas go beyond stretching the muscles and are even able to reach the soft tissues of the body. This includes the ligaments, tendons, and fascia sheaths that surround the muscles.
When practicing yoga regularly, one's mindfullness begins to heighten, which opens doors for growth. This often leads to healthier eating habits, improved quality of sleep, and decreased stress and anxiety. Yoga uses simple techniques to teach one how to attain insight and tranquility. Some techniques include pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, and asanas.
Yoga has recently been popularized as the exercise for the physically elite. This is not at all an accurate representation for what yoga is. Yoga is a personal practice, a discipline. It is not at all competitive or judgemental in nature. It is fully acceptable for people of all beliefs and all stages of life, and there are no prerequisites. The Sanskrit word "yoga" literally translates to mean "unite" in English.
Yoga has been practiced for over 5,000 years and currently practiced by nearly 11 million Americans. It is the journey for a healthier and more balanced mind, body, and spirit. Practicing yoga develops self awareness for the inner and outer body and teaches one how to listen to it. Together or alone, practictioners learn how to let go of anxiousness and find a deep sensation of peace in the present moment. It is about liberation from suffering.