Unfortunately, I have recently experienced a recurrence of an old back injury, which meant sometime in a hospital. Whilst it was annoying to be stuck inside for over a week, I did get to meet some strange and wonderful characters. During a conversation with one such person, Yoga, in general, came up as a topic of our chat. I was telling him about this website I’d set up and a little bit about the origins of Yoga, his response to which was predictable.
“Yoga…is that not just stretching?”.
Yoga is So Much More Than Just Stretching
This got me thinking, I have mentioned in a previous post that there is an increase of men into yoga, (you can read about that here) yet the stigma of the nature of this practice still well and truly exists. Anyway, I smirked at the familiarity of the question and proceeded to explain to him that, no, there is a lot more to Yoga than just stretching or getting into supposedly awkward looking poses and positions like this one here…
As I have mentioned a few times on yujyourlife.com yoga is about a combination of stretching, breathing exercises and meditation, to name but a few, it is so much more than getting a floor mat out and doing some light exercise and stretches resembling a warm-up.
Yoga Has Links To One’s Spiritual Side
If you have visited my site before you may recall that the word Yuj is actually the Sanskrit word for yoga and it means to yoke or bind. It is often interpreted as a “union” or a method of discipline. Its ultimate goal is the union of man or woman with the universe (his or hers surroundings if you want) in one breath. Furthermore, from a spirituality sense, Yoga aims to liberate the spirit as the mind and body are equally involved in its practice.
Yoga is actually the oldest existing physical culture system in the world. Besides being systematic and scientifically proven path to attaining physical fitness, it delays aging, rejuvenates and improves one’s appearance, maintains suppleness and increases vitality and the creative part of life. Just in case you were wondering, whilst I did explain to the man in the hospital some of the advantages of yoga, I decided not to go into the full detail I’ve mentioned above, after his first remark it did seem a little pointless!
What Else Does Yoga Offer?
With its core warm-up exercises known as the Sun Salutations (which are somewhat similar to the calisthenics exercise known as ëburpees’), the inversion poses, forward and backward bending poses, balancing exercises for the arms and building focus, the average practitioner will attest to the fact that for attaining fitness, Yoga can stand its own. For example, this would appear to be an example of a simple pose, yet the focus to attention in terms of body positioning and alignment makes this pose a lot more complex than it looks…
Yoga can also build strength. I would challenge the most adept body-builder to hold the simple yet powerful peacock-pose for 90 seconds straight. They’d certainly crash half-way in its execution if they make it that far!
Yoga also offers unique breathing exercises which are wonderful for patients with respiratory disorders and even singers and public speakers, moreover with its unique relaxation pose, that’s practiced during and after its execution, Yoga offers a systematic means of deeply relaxing the entire body perhaps the way no other exercise can.
There are so many classes now offered to every type of person, for all ages, levels of fitness and experience (some of them are actually free for the first couple of lessons to try Yoga out), I firmly suggest that you give it a trial and see for yourself what it can do. Even if you never give Yoga a try, I hope you will now agree, after reading this post, that there is way more to Yoga than just stretching!