For thousands of years the practice of yoga has helped participants to achieve holistic health. Yoga palpably aligns the mind, body and spirit while strengthening and toning muscles, ligaments and joints. For many, the practice of yoga is an easier route to the meditative state. The directed poses and gentle physical exertion allow for focus and leave less space for the scattered thinking which often derails those new to meditation. The participant is left with “proof” that the connection was made – a comfortably invigorated physical body, a centered, peaceful mind and a spirit that feels subtly “tended”.
The Sanskrit word “yoga”, meaning “yoke” refers to the union of the physical body with the spirit and mind. There are many different forms of yoga. In the west, Hatha yoga is most widely practiced, with a focus on physical control or strength, along with breath control. The poses are customizable, to suit individual needs. The goal of yoga is to allow the participant to escape the limitations of the ego and reach enlightenment in the realization of the oneness of all things. 1
In our modern world, stress is ever present. Scientific evidence identifies stress as a contributing factor or cause of many chronic and acute illnesses. Once crucial to survival during the Paleolithic age, the stress response is now out of proportion to most challenges we modern humans face. It was helpful to the caveman as he slew the mastodon or eluded the saber-toothed tiger. Today, our “tigers” may show up as deadlines to be met, worries about the future or regrets from the past. These perceived threats are met with a deluge of adrenaline and cortisol not unlike the physiological response to a real physical threat. Because our modern “tigers” pop up so frequently, it is our response to them that must be addressed. Yoga is a proven technique in managing stress, whether real or perceived. Additionally, it nourishes a sense of oneness, so helpful in maintaining perspective in our frenetic lives.
We are now pleased to offer Yoga classes by Adriana Mettler, Certified Yoga Instructor, in Atlanta Functional Medicine’s own studio. Simply mention this blogpost when you sign up for Adriana’s six-week yoga class, and save 10% on your next supplement purchase.
1 Total Yoga, Tara Fraser, Thorsons, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2001by Dr. Elizabeth Board and Cheryl Salinas