Yoga is a practice that has found its way to many different cultures around the world, each one finding its own value in the ancient practice. In India, where Yoga is believed to have originated approximately 5,000 years ago, it was created as a sacred spiritual act meant to accompany the practice of meditation. The word itself, for example, could originally be translated to the Sanskrit word “union” because of the driving purpose to clear the mind and connect oneself with divine powers from above.
Here in the United States, there is a strong emphasis on the physical benefits of yoga which provides the body with a great workout that builds both strength and flexibility. One doesn’t need to look too far find a local yoga studio near them, or an advertisement selling gear for mats, socks, pants, headbands, etc. However, as the practice of yoga continues to spread throughout the world, a deeper understanding and appreciation for its many health benefits continues to do the same. It’s obvious that yoga is a great physical workout, but it also possesses other various health benefits as well. Yoga draws awareness to the body and mind in a way that we often don’t think about in our busy lives. Because of this, we’re able to notice and address what’s going on inside of us and leaves room for more compassion and acceptance for ourselves.
The beautiful truth surrounding yoga is there is something in the practice for everyone who is striving to live a healthier life.
The beautiful truth surrounding yoga is there is something in the practice for everyone who is striving to live a healthier life. Whether it’s for the physical, emotional, or spiritual benefits that accompany the practice of yoga, it’s been tested and true that yoga promotes good health. Harvard Health Publishing wrote an article about the long and short term health benefits of yoga that take place on and off the mat which range from reducing anxiety and stress levels, lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and promoting a healthier body image.
So, as a new year finds us yet again, thinking about what habits we want to set into motion, or the ways we can become healthier is often on the forefront of our mind. We at Sageborn believe that incorporating a yoga practice into your new year is a great place to start. However, we know that starting new things can often be intimidating, let alone an ancient eastern practice that has been around for thousands of years. We can assure you, there’s nothing to fear-- here are a few tips we hope serve as encouragement in your yoga practice, whether it’s your first time or the hundredth.
Take a class, purchase a book, or find a video online to learn more about what form of yoga is right for you. There are multiple kinds of yoga practices that range from sweaty muscle building flows to relaxing stretching poses and everything in-between. Once you learn a set of poses or a flow you really enjoy, you’ll be able to practice anywhere from a studio to your bedroom. If you’re looking for a little more guidance in your practice, we offer private yoga sessions here at Sage.
Each time you step on your mat, set an intention for your practice. If you’re practicing for an hour, or ten short minutes, and you find that your mind is drifting, allow your mind to drift back to your intention and your breath.
Sometimes it will come easy to clear your mind, breathe and relax while other days it won’t feel as natural. Be patient with yourself, knowing you’re on a journey down a path that isn’t as straight as we’d like at times.
You may find you’ll approach your practice some days easier than others. Sometimes it will come easy to clear your mind, breathe and relax while other days it won’t feel as natural. Be patient with yourself, knowing you’re on a journey down a path that isn’t as straight as we’d like at times. If you’re feeling like you want some extra support, ask a friend to join. There may even be days all you want to do is giggle next to someone in downward facing dog and we encourage that.
In order to fully grasp the beauty of yoga, an understanding of the word “Namaste” is essential. It’s a common word floating around in popular culture today usually accompanied by a bow, but as you might have guessed, its origins go way back. While Namaste can be translated a few different ways, arguably the most common is the simple saying of “the light in me honors the light in you.” It is a concept filled with hope that recognizes first the good in oneself, then the good in others around them. As you begin your yoga practice, wherever you may be, allow the concept of Namaste to follow wherever you go.
Recommended Daily Ritual:
Set aside time each day to step on your mat for however long it may be, remembering why you’re there and appreciating your body for what it can do. Remember to come back to the breath if your mind starts to drift away.