Most people think yoga has to do with the amazing and strange looking body poses yoga practitioners are doing online or at a yoga studio. However, the true nature of yoga is not the physical aspect of it, but the freedom and transcendence of the mind and body achieved through true discipline and becoming absorbed in the True Reality itself.
Yoga is not a religion, it’s really a science of life that deals with the body, mind, soul and the universe itself. You can be a Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic, Jewish, any religion and still do Yoga and get to the point where you can transcend body, mind, soul and ultimately the universe itself. You become whole or unified with everything instead of living in a state of separateness or singleness. We are all capable of that no matter where we are at as human beings.
So, why is yoga important?
When we practice yoga, it balances our physical bodies, our mind, and our spiritual or subtle being. Yoga helps in recharging our body with the divine energy that is always present and provides us with perfect equilibrium and balance, body-mind healing, it gives us increased flexibility, helps to get rid of toxins and blocks in our bodies, helps us be more aware of what is around us, as well as with our focus and attention and it helps us reduce tension in our bodies by going directly to our nervous system and balancing it.
Yoga also teaches us a lot about conductivity with the various breathing and pranayama exercises. With pranayama exercises, we can control the breath to achieve beneficial results such as cleansing of our blood, purifying our respiratory system, giving more oxygen to our blood, cleaning a ton of nadis or channels in our body and overall Pranayama exercises allow us to achieve a peaceful and blissful state of being. It teaches us to maintain that equanimity throughout our day to day lives and not just on the mat.
Yoga is perfect for all ages! I see teenagers doing inversion and backbend poses. They love the handstands and headstands and do them with such ease – it’s truly inspiring. Practicing yoga at this age is also important because it’s a crucial point in a women’s life where so many changes are happening and Pranayama and meditation, for instance, will aid in calming a restless, fearful and confused body and mind for a teenager. Also, there are also various Asanas that will help balance the cycles women go through such as the menstrual periods.
Women in their 20s like are more flowing, moving yoga practices like Vinyasa or Hot Yoga and there are many Asanas that are supportive for the times when a woman is pregnant, helping these women go through this process more easefully.
As women get older they appreciate a more rigorous yoga practice. Women in their late 40s and 50s begin to acquire an appreciation for both a restorative yoga practice as well as a rigorous yoga practice. Yoga begins to move with you and evolves as you get older, wiser and have more intuition.
Yoga can really become your companion for life – that is the secret! With repetition, a regular practice and patience, yoga can transform us all in ways we never imagined.
If you would like to read more about the history of yoga and the different types of yoga, please visit the What is the History Behind Yoga page. If you have any questions or comments, please be sure to leave them below.