Why your Yoga practice is worth more than you know

As the season changes, schedules get busy and the temperature drops, it can become complicated to maintain a regular and healthy lifestyle. The first victim of such circumstances unfortunately often becomes your exercise routine and as much as you try to get to your once regular yoga class it can seem like more trouble then its worth.

But that’s not true.

This weeks blog features an article from Yogi Times and discusses embracing yoga as a lifestyle to help you cope with not only stress but help in the prevention of injury and the treatment of disease.

Living a yogic lifestyle is fundamental to a proactive, rather than a reactive, approach to your health. When you live your practice, you are maintaining a daily balance within your body. After you become accustomed to this balance, any problems that arise can be detected early. 

As a yogi, your practice is an investment into preventing future illness. Every day, when you are sweating on the mat, enjoying a fresh salad in lieu of that cheeseburger and taking time-out to de-stress, you are empowering your health.

Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, supports this idea. Dating back 5,000 years, this ancient system of healing approaches the body as a single functioning unit. It teaches that when maladies manifest into illness, they are a result of an imbalance within the body. Therefore, the body must be treated as a whole to bring it back to a state of balance. Merely treating individual symptoms is just a way of masking a greater problem rooted deep within body. Incorporating just a few Ayurvedic principals, such as eating for your dosha, or body constitution, will have a dramatic impact on your well-being.

Maintaining the Yogic Lifestyle

The first thing that must be understood is how to approach your practice as a lifestyle, rather than a class you attend a few times a week. Yoga truly is a life science, encompassing and influencing everything from your diet to the way you approach and react to the world around you.

To attain the optimum health benefits from your yogic lifestyle, incorporate these five principles into your daily life:

Asana—A daily hatha yoga practice should be coupled with an active lifestyle to build strength and increase stamina and flexibility within your body. Yoga works to maintain the health of the spinal column, which houses the nervous system, which is vital to overall well-being. With a regular practice, you will notice your energy, stamina and vitality increase. 

Diet—A fresh, vegetarian diet is encouraged. Study upon study has shown the long-term health benefits of a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. By following a vegetarian diet you will enjoy a reduced risk of obesity and a reduced risk of certain types of cancers. A vegetarian diet supports a green environment and is also in accordance with the principle of Ahimsa, or nonviolence. 

Meditation—Make space in your life for daily meditation. Set aside a time of day that works best for you and your schedule, preferably in the early morning or evening, where you will not be disturbed. There are many different approaches to and disciplines of meditation. Choose the one that works best for you.

Pranayama—This breathing technique involves powerful exercises that increase lung capacity, decrease stress levels, help to eliminate toxins from the body and steady the mind, and should be practiced under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Begin with mastery of abdominal breathing, followed by the full yogic breath, eventually working into more advanced exercises. Proper breath will be developed over time, and soon you will find yourself incorporating the breath into your everyday life to combat stress or increase energy levels during hatha yoga. 

Relaxation—Both physical and mental relaxation is required for optimum health. When the mind and body are overworked, the body’s ability to perform efficiently diminishes. Set aside time each day to detach from your worries. Also make sure to keep a regular sleep schedule.

Armed with this understanding, you can save yourself from the costs associated with health care and eradicate behaviors that bring on preventable disease and illness. You will enjoy a longer, happier life and you will take more pleasure in life’s greatest wealth—your health.

You can read more about the Yogi Lifestyle here: Yogi Times

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