Mindful Movement or Yoga is often thought of as engaging in some sort of acrobatics that involve turning oneself into a pretzel. The practice of postures, or “asana”, is actually only one of the eight practices of yoga. And pretzels are not involved. Asana practice is the one that we in the Western world have adopted most vociferously. Meditation is another of the 8 limbs. The whole of yoga is a system of practices that focus on physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Many people think that yoga is just stretching. While stretching is involved in an asana practice, yoga is really about creating balance and a sense of connectedness with one’s self. It’s this union that IS yoga — a centered connection with the core truths that guide one’s daily life.
Through the practice of asana, we connect with the body and breath and give the mind a focus that helps provide a counter balance to the busy-mind of daily work and life. Through this process of redirecting the mind’s focus to physical sensation and breath, we gently guide the mind away from chatter toward stillness. The stillness of the mind at the end of a practice becomes the sweet dessert of the practice. Meditation is made more accessbile with a preliminary practice of asana and breath, but even alone can provide the path to that quiet stillness of mind.
Each yoga posture, or asana, has specific physical benefits which one learns through instruction and direct experience
Benefits of a Mindful Movement Practice can include
– Improved Posture
– Improved Breathing
– Lowered blood pressure and slowing the heart rate
– Relief of symptoms of asthma, back pain, and arthritis.
– Improved sleep quality
– Helping the body and mind respond to stress.
– Creating a feeling of calm and well-being
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PLEASE NOTE: Yoga is not a substitute for medical care. Yoga offers many health benefits and may even be included as part of some treatment plans. But it’s still important to work closely with your regular health care providers and get proper treatment when you need it.