By: Rachel Mitrovich
As you’re sitting at your desk right now beginning to read this blog you may be feeling a little agitated or encumbered. Wouldn’t a little movement be refreshing?
The body is made for movement. Think about a tiny baby in the womb and the constant fluid motions. They roll and twist and kick. As infants they stretch and wiggle about, and as toddlers it’s hard to keep them within eyesight. And then there are elementary school recess and high school sports. Have you had a recess lately?
Yoga is great anytime of the day. I specifically enjoy my noon hour yoga because it is about the time when I am getting tired. It is always rewarding to find refreshment in soothing movements that are accompanied by deep breathing stretching and strengthening.
There is a reason why many doctors recommend yoga and its popularity is growing. Yoga is not compartmentalized to your physical body; it impacts and involves your physical, emotional, social, intellectual, occupational, and environmental well-being.
You might be thinking that you’re going to have to give up some freedoms to practice yoga. This is true, but it is only through giving up some freedoms that we gain greater freedom.
Yoga is obviously a physical practice, but not physical exercise in the way that we know it. Most exercises begin with the movement and your breath follows. In yoga we start with deep breathing that is slow, concentrated and full. Then we focus on moving the body with the breath (vinyasa). This keeps the body in the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite of the fight or flight. Keeping our body in a state of “rest and digest” allows us to be completely alert of what is going on, but also completely relaxed in the activity at hand. This ebbs and flows throughout the class.
The noon class on the WSU Spokane campus is a flow style. We try not to sweat while doing full body movements that are natural and fluid to the body. The postures help strengthen and lengthen the muscles to be able to support our bone structure.When our posture improves, our confidence improves. (To see more on this, watch “fake it till you make it” with Amy Cuddy on Ted talks. This will further inform you about hormone levels and body posture.)
Yoga also brings about intellectual stimulation. The circulation, blood flow and the increased oxygen to the brain provides clarity, refreshment and a new readiness to take on whatever task is at hand and accomplish it well.
This ties into the emotional benefits. Yoga gives us the skill set to tap into our breath and find a focus meditation to be able to calm ourselves in a possible situation of fight or flight. Yoga is a practice. We are meant to “practice” these things on our mat to take them into our everyday lives.
When we begin to interact with people more graciously, calmly and confidently we are more likely to get the same response. And when our immediate world changes, and impacts others, their immediate world changes, and this is how the world changes.
At the end of your life you’re not going to wish you worked through your lunch break, or took a second job or worked longer hours. Your most prized possession will be your mental physical and spiritual health.
If this resonates with you I urge you to check into a yoga class.Try to attend twice a week for at least four to six weeks. I promise, you will find you have gained something greater than what you had before.
I hope this has inspired you to do something good for yourself today. If not to join a yoga class, maybe take a couple moments to sit quietly, focus on deep breaths and search your heart, to drink an extra glass of water, take time to hug your spouse, call your friend or play with your children. Life is precious and it is intended to be lived abundantly. Take some time for your health, for meditation, and to make space for spiritual blessedness. Start today!