What is Yoga?
Yoga is one of the world’s most ancient and refined systems for improving and maintaining physical and mental health.
Yoga is the original mind-body medicine. It is both curative and preventative. It begins with the knowledge that the mind and body are not separate, but neither are they effectively integrated for most of us in our everyday lives. Above all, yoga cultivates integration.
Most yoga practitioners today begin with asana. In this practice, the body is taken through its full, natural range of motion in a series of simple movements. The result is improved strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, and concentration. Unlike some other forms of exercise, which tend to focus primarily on the muscular and cardiovascular systems, yoga asanas have been refined to stimulate and balance all systems of the body – skeletal, muscular, nervous, digestive, respiratory, circulatory, reproductive, and endocrine – through the increased circulation of blood, oxygen, and nerve energy. Asanas are designed to alleviate stress and tension, rather than introducing it into the body through aggression or strain. Teaching the body to relax is just as important as teaching it to exercise, as it allows the body to deeply rejuvenate and shed draining, chronic tension. With regular practice, asana can result in a vibrant, organic sense of well-being and harmony. We see the body begin to do remarkable things: comfortably sitting still, stopping eating when full, easily sleeping through the night. When the body is strong, stable and relaxed, it functions more efficiently and effectively, as does the mind.