Yoga News

"Growing is the most important and essential endeavor that a human being can undertake"
        -Swami Chetananada

 

Yoga for the Western world is exactly 110 years old. It was brought from India by one of their celebrated sages, Swami Vivekananda, at the 1893 World Fair in Chicago. Since that time it has been growing in popularity and has expanded into our common language. Since that time we have had a stream of Swami's from India and have brought Western Culture together with Eastern philosophies.

Although Yoga originated in Hinduism, it cannot be equated exclusively with that religion. Yoga is many things to many people. It can be an emotional outlet, a stress reducer, a physical stretching program, or it can become a way of living. Through publications such as The Yoga Journal and continued updates on this website, you can explore many expressions of Yoga. Yoga for health and body...Yoga for breathing.. Yoga for muscle toning...Yoga for digestion...Yoga for body sculpting....Yoga for eating...Yoga of Service...and on and on the list truly could be endless.

Yoga by its very definition, which stems from the Sanskrit language, has many perceptions contained within it. Yoga means "Union", "Balance", "Discipline", and meanings that take us beyond the physical and at the same time cord us into our own bodies. This is why Yoga has captivated much of my heart, and will continue to grow in my life as I grow in Yoga.

As a fitness instructor in years past I instructed aerobics, weight training, and "Control" type physical exercises. And, while I still believe there is a place for this type of physical exercise, it has never offered the opportunities for growth at so many levels as the practice of Yoga. I am in constant awe of the deepening of each pose, the stretching of each layer of my being, and of the unlimited potential for growth, opening, and expansion available in a single pose.

To see this for yourself, begin today with the opening techniques of Yoga...Breathing...for that is the beginning of learning Yoga in a way that will take you into new and heretofore unseen places of yourself.

Breath Exercise:

Sit on the floor cross-legged (I don't recommend attempting the lotus position, until you are further along in your practice). If you're uncomfortable on the floor, use a chair or whatever it takes to allow your body to be comfortable. 

Quiet your surroundings and yourself. 

Place both hands palms down on your abdomen.

Fill your abdomen with breath, just as if it were a balloon your were expanding.

Using the power of your mind...and joining it with the rhythm of your body, inhale bringing your breath up into your back and chest.

Hold it here for a count of 5. 

Then, exhale releasing the breath out through the crown of your head. 

If you feel dizzy or agitated, hold the breath for a shorter count. Slow down and allow yourself to deepen into the process. Often, when beginning, one may feel agitated, dizzy, or even a little nauseous. Don't give up there. That is your body telling you that something is working and that you need this.

When beginning this method of breathing as in beginning a practice of Yoga, be patient with yourself. In our Western World we are very quick to "give up" if we do not notice anything extremely stimulating on the first few attempts or if there is discomfort of any kind. Learn now to distinguish between the discomfort of GROWING and the limits of your body. You have been breathing in your chest and allowing the shallow breathing to sustain your body for some time...now be kind to your body...give it some deep breathing and do the exercise about 4-5 times. Then, just sit quietly for awhile...let your mind, body, and spirit begin to communicate with one another. Do this exercise for about a week and begin to notice the subtle differences you feel. It might be a good time to begin a Yoga Journal of your own. Most of all remember that your body carries great wisdom. Never push beyond what it is telling you and never demand that it perform something outside it's limits. Make friends with your own body.

If you have any questions or would like to share an interesting experience from practicing this exercise, you are welcome to email me. I will address your questions as quickly as possible.

Until the next update on Yoga and Energy bodies...

Namaste'

Kathleen

 
 

Please refer questions or suggestions about this site to Webmaster @ Copyright 2008, Kathleen Bowman, all rights reserved.