Friday, December 30, 2011

60 Days of Yoga

I am proud to say that I just completed my 2nd 30 day challenge of yoga at The Bombay Room in Fort Lauderdale.  That means I completed sixty one and a half hour classes of yoga is sixty days!  What exactly is yoga?  Everyone seems to have their own idea of yoga.  The Bombay Room  defines yoga as follows

Yoga originated in India and is the oldest of physical disciplines. The word “yoga” refers to physical and mental disciplines that originated in India, and comes from the Sanskrit root “yuj” meaning “to control, to yoke, or to unite”.  Combining stretching, breathing, postures, and meditation, yoga has been practiced for thousands of years.  Yoga is a wonderful way to strengthen the core, improve balance, stamina and flexibility.  Unlike traditional workouts, yoga (which is based on deep breathing) truly quiets the mind and brings a sense of calm.
Yoga is practiced by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, for a multitude of reasons:
  • Stress Relief:  Practicing yoga has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and further help the practitioner to control these feelings.
  • Increased Strength and Flexibility: Yoga can improve flexibility, mobility, and increase range of motion.  With regular practice, the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and connective tissue lengthen, increasing elasticity and also helping to prevent injury.  Yoga asanas (postures) use every muscle in the body, increasing strength, literally from head to toe.  Yoga is a low-impact physical exercise recommended for people of all ages and physical abilities.
  • Pain Relief:  Studies have shown that practicing yoga reduces pain for people with many chronic conditions such as arthritis, hypertension, sciatica, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, and chronic neck and back pain.  The combination of postures, stretching, and meditation can ease pain.  Most people with severe neck and back pain report substantial relief after the first or second session, and a steady decline or absence of pain with regular yoga practice.
  • Weight Management: People do not have to practice the most intense or vigorous types of yoga to lose weight.  Yoga encourages the development of a positive, healthy self-image, and attention to be paid to the body as a whole, including nutrition, exercise, and general well-being. The physical routine of yoga certainly has a positive effect on body shape and muscle tone.
  • Improved Circulation and Cardiovascular Conditioning:  Yoga helps to improve circulation by efficiently moving oxygenated blood to the body’s cells. A warm body allows the blood to be easily delivered to the body.  This means that more oxygen goes to the muscles and helps remove waste and toxins. Even a gentle yoga practice can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering heart rate, increasing endurance, improving oxygen intake, and reducing blood pressure.
  • Inner Peace: Perhaps the most profound effect of yoga is the effect it has on ones inner-self.  Through breathing exercises (called pranayama), yoga encourages deep relaxation.  Moving through each posture with focus and mindfulness creates harmony between ones breath, circulatory system, physical body, and mind.  The effects of a consistent yoga practice help many to cultivate self-acceptance, self-awareness, inner peace, and calm.

I began my yoga journey because I was trying to find a way to stretch my sore, overworked muscle from all the running and weight training I do.  I was injuring myself regularly because I was so tight.  Although these are the reasons are started the first 30 day challenge it is not the reason I continued.  I ended up gaining much more than some flexibility.  My yoga practice has allowed me to quite my over-active mind and to open space in my life for peace.  I had found a community that I consider family and look forward to seeing my new found friends weekly.  I am stronger and this has helped me in the gym!  I never thought yoga would make me stronger.  I love myself more because I have accomplished things such as the crow, and tripod head stand that I never thought possible.  My core muscles are stronger and I have learned how to control them to hold certain poses and movements. I have learned to slow down, appreciate life, and with every intention I set I bring happiness and peace to the world and set it free.  I started a practice to open my hips and shoulders (which I did) but what I truly gained was an open mind and heart.  I am blessed to have stumbled upon this little gem tucked away on the side of Oakland Park Blvd.  I encourage you to try yoga and come check out this little slice of heaven.  You can find information about The Bombay Room on their website or Facebook
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