National Yoga Month

September is National Yoga Month (a national observance designated by the Department of Health & Human Services) designed to educate about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle.  As a result you can find a lot of information about yoga this month online.

Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years.  Yoga is quite popular in the United States with nearly 11 million people nationally practicing yoga.  Most westernized yoga classes focus on physical poses, called asanas.  They usually include some form of breathing technique and some include mediation as well.  Some classes are designed purely for relaxation and other styles are very physically challenging.  Some are more traditional, while others implement more modern techniques.  Choosing a style that suits your needs offers the greatest health benefits by enabling you to develop your flexibility, strength, and balance.  Yoga is not a religion.

Yoga purportedly has many benefits; however, like anything else the benefits or lack of benefits that one can achieve through practicing yoga can be argued endlessly.  I have been practicing yoga for several years and I believe that yoga has many benefits.    I find it helps me with flexibility, balance, mental clarity/focus and mood stability.  I also believe that it helps to tone my body and relieves tension and the back, neck and shoulder pain that tend to plague me.

I started practicing yoga at the local gym.  The classes were large and had a decidedly fitness class feel to them, but they taught me the basic poses and sparked my interested in the practice of yoga.  From there I joined a lovely local studio were I primarily did classes that were advertised as “Hatha Flow”, “Ashtunga Inspired” or “Vinyasa” yoga.  Sadly, the studio closed and I went in search of a new place to practice.  I tried out several studios and styles of yoga which have led me to where I am today.

During the past couple of years I have primarily been practicing Ashtanga Yoga.  Ashtanga yoga is a very challenging form of yoga that has it’s foundations in the ancient texts of yoga.  It is made up of 6 series of poses;  1 primary, 1 intermediate and 4 advanced series.  In the nearly two years I have been practicing Ashtanga yoga, I have practiced only the primary series.  During an hour-long class it is generally not possible to even complete all of the poses in the primary series.

I am currently practicing with an amazing teacher named Juris Zinbergs at Training Camp in San Juan Capistrano.  Juris is an amazing yogi and I find him very relatable.  I like that he is near my age and he is very fit, but not waif like.  He makes me believe that I might some day be able to do “firefly” too.  Just maybe not today – or tomorrow – and that is okay.  I also enjoy the way he weaves his knowledge of yoga and the ancient texts into the classes while still providing a very challenging physical and mental workout.

I encourage you to give yoga a try.  It is not just for girls – just ask Bob Harper, Juris or my husband.  If you don’t find Ashtanga appealing you might want to try Bikram or Kundalini or some other style of yoga.  This is the month to do it since free yoga classes are being offered at gyms and studios around the country.  I think that if you try Yoga, you will be glad you did!

Find your om balance – Terri

 

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  1. […]  I enjoy it very much and find it to be quite beneficial.  I have written other posts about the benefits of yoga – my blog is called Om Seeking Balance after […]