by Dee Escobedo, Registered Yoga Teacher
When you think of yoga, what comes to mind? A body twisted into a pretzel, as seen on magazine covers? The toned and flexible bodies of yoga practitioners? Contrary to popular belief, your yoga journey can begin at any part of your life – any age, shape, or size. You can start exactly where you are now!
The word yoga contains deep and vast concepts in its meaning. According to ancient Sanskrit texts, it can be literally translated as “to yoke,” similar to “joining.” Further translations have included “concentration,” “unification,” or “union.” While many variations of yoga exist today, their unifying experiences consist of deep breathing, postures, flow or aerobic exercise, gentle movements, as well as deep meditation practices.
What about realizing, reflecting, and putting into practice this ancient understanding? Perhaps the wise yogis really had some deep human insight from contemplation and meditation that even modern science has yet to rediscover!
Even though the ancient yogis and yoginis didn’t have science to back their beliefs, they knew the healing power of their practice. Only recently has modern medicine recognized that yoga may be beneficial for our bodies. Evidence shows that yoga can be effective in lowering high blood pressure, increasing circulation, and reducing stress, as well as increasing flexibility in a healthy and graceful manner. The entire field of yoga is finally becoming recognized for its benefits to our body and mind!
The Indian sage, Patanjali, is attributed to putting in writing the Eight Limbs of Yoga, over 2,000 years ago. The limbs of the sutras are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. While each instructor has their own style, yoga’s asana postures and poses are completely natural and compatible with our bodies. In a sense, our bodies crave these motions. Using our bodies and minds to express these “limbs” helps us to stay positive, create inner unity, and ultimately prepare us for Samadhi – bliss.
We may remind ourselves that in order to reach our goals, we must put in consistent effort. Just as with any discipline – from sports, to music, or even patience, we must remain diligent in our practice of yoga.Are you ready and willing to study and practice yoga? Have you waited until the summer to commence your New Year’s resolution? Is your goal to increase your health and wellness? I recall a saying, and I paraphrase: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear…”
May you enjoy your personal experience of yoga!
Youthful and Young – The perfect time to practice yoga is now. The rejuvenating motions yield youthful feelings, even in retirement or with physical challenges. Remember to think and say… “I can do it – Yes.”
Opportunity and Observation – New possibilities will appear that are greater than any you may have imagined. When you focus on your asana practice and the other “limbs,” the forces of the universe will bring forth opportunities beyond your imagination. Allow this to happen within your asana practice and beyond. Om.
Grow and Go with the Flow! – Allow your body to grow into more and more distinct poses, sometimes more gentle, sometimes more aerobic, and sometimes more contemplative. Your body and mind will enjoy the growth.
Action and Adventure – Take your body and mind on an adventure! Enjoy the motion of your muscles, joints, and bones. Feel the organs in your body, perhaps your stomach or colon, observe your breath and your heart beating in a quiet moment. Asana.
Dee Escobedo is a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance. She can often be found practicing and studying various schools of meditation. She currently teaches at 24 Hour Fitness in Federal Way, the Auburn Community & Event Center, and the Federal Way Independent Living & Assisted Living Community. She can be reached at goldenyogatoes@ gmail.com