What is Yoga and Why Do It?

What is Yoga and Why Do It?

Yoga sunset

We have all heard of Yoga, but the images that spring to mind are individuals bending themselves into unreachable positions and doing headstands, definitely not for the likes of us.  In fact what Yoga is, in very simple terms, is stretching with mindful attention. It is a form of exercise that is over 5,000 years old and so has earned the respect by standing the test of time.

Why not practice one of the most natural physical actions born to humankind, stretch your back, stretch your arms, legs, wrists, neck and shoulders.  Animals do it, watch your cat or your dog. Babies and children do it beautifully, and just when we need it the most, when we are getting older, we stop doing it.

More often than not we allow our bodies to become stiffer and stiffer and exclaim, oooh or arrrgh or ouch when we get out of a chair, or bed. We allow our bodies, once lithe and flexible, to age with alarming acceleration.  The challenges we face as we get older are numerous. Perhaps you have high blood pressure, or high cholestrol or a thyroid imbalance or osteoarthritis or knee, shoulder or back pain, or going through the menopause, or have prostate issues, or acid reflux or irritable bowel or are recovering from surgery.  There are an infinite number of possibilities that could crop up as we enter our middle age.  One thing we do know that irrespective of our age, health, gender and well being, Yoga can help and the health benefits are real.

Yoga and stretching relaxes your mind and tunes up your body. It increases your range of motion, improves stamina and vital energy. It improves co-ordination and helps prevent injuries such as muscle strain. Yoga makes you feel good!

Everyone can learn Yoga, regardless of age and flexibility. You do not need to be in top physical condition or be especially bendy or athletic. The methods are gentle and easy, it is not stressful, it is peaceful, relaxing and noncompetitive.

If you think Yoga is not for you, I urge you to give it a try, but beware, you might get hooked!