Below is a repeat of an article published in EP News on Friday, May 26.
Yoga is an ancient Indian body of knowledge that has been in practice for over 5,000 years. While it was solely practiced in the East for the majority of its existence, Yoga’s popularity has increased in the West dramatically over the last 30 years.
One of the main objectives in practicing yoga is to bring awareness to the connection between the body and the mind in order to develop a deeper relationship with our selves and others. While there are some general objectives in yoga, such as, learning breathing techniques, yoga postures, proper body alignment, and deep relaxation, the primary goal is to simply practice. Yoga is free from competition, judgment, and expectations. The intention is to establish the posture, establish the breath, quiet the mind, and simply be.
This combined practice of exercising the mind and body provides a variety of health benefits, some of which include increased flexibility, increased muscle tone, improved posture and alignment, and the prevention of cartilage and joint breakdown. Many postures place gentle pressure on various lymph nodes, helping to boost immunity, while others apply gentle twisting to improve digestion. Pranayama, which is the practice of breathing techniques, helps to improve lung capacity, respiratory health, and plays a fascinating and interactive role with the nervous system, helping to soothe anxiety, depression, restlessness, and lack of focus.
Everyone’s needs are different; therefore, a variety of yoga styles exist in order to accommodate these throughout one’s life. Hatha Yoga is generally a great style for those who are new to the practice. Here, the emphasis is placed on individual postures, proper body alignment, and developing a foundational level of strength and flexibility. Vinyasa Yoga is a slightly more advanced style that has a quicker pace, with different movements assigned to each inhalation and exhalation, providing a greater physical challenge. Yin Yoga is a wonderful, gentle, restorative practice with longer passive holds that are meant to heal the body, and release tension in a very relaxed environment. All of these yoga styles are offered at Estes Park Yoga to accommodate a variety of needs and interests.
Many people may feel unsure or intimidated to try their first yoga class, but Estes Park Yoga offers classes in a welcoming and community oriented environment. The class schedule is available online at www.estesparkyoga.com or by calling (970) 586-3254. We hope to see you in class this summer!