Category Archives: Yoga

The Benefits of Yoga: Balance

 

The Benefits of Yoga: Mindfulness

Most of us could use a little help living in the present moment, couldn’t we? We spend much of our time planning, re-planning, and evaluating what we have done, moving back and forth between the past and the future.  We forget that life is now and this is the time to live it.  This is why I have chosen mindfulness as my first benefit of yoga.

Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way.  On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” So how does yoga help us do this?

By pairing our body movements with our breath, with our focus on our breath and body sensations arising as we practice, we train ourselves to stay present in the moment. This is not always as easy as it sounds when we are on the mat and our burning thighs, tight hamstrings and the blood rushing to our head as we are in downward facing dog are screaming for our attention.  And this is of course the day the teacher decides to do long holds. But these are the perfect times to practice mindfulness, continuing to bring our attention back to the breath whenever it starts to wander.

There are teachers who combine their training in Buddhist mindfulness meditation with yoga with a special focus on mindfulness. This is of course helpful, but you can begin on your own by focusing on the breath as you move through the yoga poses.

Mindfulness is something that is learned. Yoga is one way we can learn it. So next time you go to the yoga mat leave the busyness of your day and the to-do list for later behind.  Breathe. Move with breath. Focus on the breath and any body sensations that arise. It can take time for mindfulness to become a natural part of life, but start on the yoga mat and you are on your way.

Resources:

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/peace-of-mind

https://palousemindfulness.com/meditations/yoga1.html

https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/what-is-mindfulness

Introduction to The Benefits of Yoga

Today begins a series on the benefits of yoga.  I am kicking this series off here on Espirational as well as on Facebook Live. I will begin by giving a bit of background on the practice of yoga here.  Then please join me at  10:00 AM Central Time at https://www.facebook.com/espirational/ for my yoga story — up close and personal.  You can even ask questions if you like.

Let me start by saying that yoga is not just another form of physical exercise.  If you are in a fitness based yoga practice I invite you to explore a little into the deeper teachings of yoga.

Yoga comes from a sanskrit word meaning to yoke, to join, or union.  It is an ancient practice that actually predates Hinduism.  It is not a religion.  Yoga is passed on from teacher to student.  This is why your yoga teacher may mention teachers in their lineage and their teachers lineage.

The physical postures are only one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga.  This is a brief summary of the 8 Limbs of Yoga.

Yama :  Universal morality (outer observances)  There are 5 Yamas.

Ahimsa: Non-violence

Satya: Truthfulness 

Asteya: Non-stealing

Brahmacharya: Continence (concerns non-productive use of energy)

Aparigraha: Non-possessiveness, non-hoarding

Niyama :  Inner observances  There are 5 Niyamas

Saucha or shaucha: Purity or cleanliness. 

Santosha: Contentment. 

Tapas: Disclipline, intense committment

Svadhyaya: The study of one’s self

Ishvara Pranidhana: Surrendering to God

Asana:  Body postures

Pranayama :  Breathing exercises, and control of prana

Pratyahara :  Control of the senses

Dharana :  Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness

Dhyana :  Devotion, Meditation on the Divine

Samadhi :  Union with the Divine

These eight steps of yoga are a pathway that leads to physical, ethical, emotional, and psycho-spiritual health. Yoga does not change us, it simply allows the total health and integration that are our natural state to come forth.

There are a variety of types and styles of yoga being taught throughout the world.  There is no one size fits all yoga practice that will work for everyone.  Some of the styles you may encounter range from the more rigorous Astanga, Bikram, or Vinyasa to the basic postures or Hatha to the calmer, more relaxing Restorative or Yin to the blending of spiritual and physical practices in Kundalini as well as many other styles there is something that will meet your needs.  Keep looking if your first try just doesn’t work for you.

I strive daily to follow the yogic path.  Want to here my story?  Meet me on Facebook live at 10 AM.  It will be available to watch later if you don’t catch it live.

 

Resources:

http://www.americanyogaassociation.org/general.html

http://www.expressionsofspirit.com/yoga/eight-limbs.htm

http://www.yogasense.net/yamas.html

http://www.melissawest.com/225/

http://www.melissawest.com/bicycles-and-the-yamas-and-niyamas-ethical-considerations-of-yoga/

Thought for Today

Copyright 2015 by R,.A. Robbins

The meaning of our self is not to be found in its separateness from God and others, but in the ceaseless realisation of yoga, of union; not on the side of the canvas where it is blank, but on the side where the picture is being painted.

Rabindranath Tagore

New series on The Benefits of Yoga begins Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 — that’s tomorrow.  I will also be going live on Facebook at 10 A.M. to help kickoff this new series.  Please join me and tell your friends.

Thought for Today

Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins

For those wounded by civilization, yoga is the most healing salve.

T. Guillemets

New series on The Benefits of Yoga begins Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017.  I will also be going live on Facebook at 10 A.M. that day to help kickoff this new series.  Please join me and tell your friends.

Thought for Today

Copyright 2017 by R.A. Robbins

The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind.

Rodney Yee

New series on The Benefits of Yoga begins Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017.  I will also be going live on Facebook that day to help kickoff this new series.  Please join me and tell your friends.