Art, Spirituality and Yoga

Hi guys…art to me has a level of spirituality that takes us into a realm that links us to our internal self. We are able to link to our spirit self and as such we also need to stay physically and mentally balanced with our spirit and our God.

I wanted to share about my adventure into Yoga as Yoga is one of the powerful exercises that helps us link to our spirit via the breathing aspects of the exercise as well as the meditative exercise.

So it started where there was a time my mother and I were looking for a place for spiritual guidance, a religion that would help link us to God and be our spiritual home. We weren’t of any particular religious background at that time although my mom was baptized a Catholic but we weren’t practicing Catholics. Mommy had started doing Yoga exercises classes so we decided to go check out Yoga, since that seemed to have a very calming, meditative feel about it.

So what is Yoga all about: The original context of yoga was spiritual development practices to train the body and mind to self observe and become aware of ones own nature. The purpose of yoga is to cultivate discernment, awareness, self-regulation and higher consciousness in the individual.

There are different types of yoga:

· Hatha Yoga. It’s all about the basics in these slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths.

  1. · Vinyasa Yoga. Get your flow on in this method that links movement and breath together in a dance-like way.
  2. · Iyengar Yoga. …
  3. · Ashtanga Yoga. …
  4. · Bikram Yoga. …
  5. · Hot Yoga. …
  6. · Kundalini Yoga. …
  7. · Yin Yoga.

Now the healthy 7 fitness aspects of Yoga has some major benefits.

Benefits of Yoga. The art of practicing yoga helps in controlling an individual’s mind, body and soul. It brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve a peaceful body and mind; it helps manage stress and anxiety and keeps you relaxing. It also helps in increasing flexibility, muscle strength and body tone

Thanks to yoga and meditation, keeping your heart healthy is easy. Studies have shown that yoga is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease because of its cardiovascular benefits that eliminate arterial plaque. Meditation also helps lower heart rate and improve blood circulation.

We checked out a Raja Yoga Centre which I think was linked to the Hatha Yoga and on entering, we were able to join a session where they taught you how to breath and meditate on your third eye. We had to sit in the yoga asana position while following the instructions.

In yoga, an asana is a posture in which a practitioner sits. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali defines “asana” as “to be seated in a position that is firm, but relaxed”. … Some asanas are performed just for health purposes. It means folding your legs one on the other.

 

The next set of instructions asked us to chant the words UMMMMM while concentrating on our breathing and the third eye which is situated at the centre of our forehead. At first it was simple but my mom and I couldn’t stay serious about the chanting and we ended up not staying much longer as we just didn’t feel the spiritual connection to God.

A few years later I joined a Catholic Prayer Group and that changed my life and my mom’s. I introduced her to the group and she found a new family in all those who formed the prayer group. So back to Yoga…That didn’t work but years later my husband and I normally do some type of new exercise while we are on vacation. Two years ago we decided to do Yoga classes. We joined the class, this time I was introduced to Hot Yoga. The classes were great and I was amazing. You sweat so much it cleanses your system and the slow flexing exercises helps to stretch you.

It was a great experience but unfortunately although my husband continued with it for a year as he started off being very inflexible and the Yoga helped him with that, I on the other hand didn’t like some of the moves…I really disliked “downward dog” which was one of the main positions. But overall I enjoyed it for that period, became more flexible, felt very fit and it was also very relaxing on the mind.

I’ve attached a link to A Yoga Burn Exercise for you to try. Yoga is excellent for keeping stretched and fit. It also helps build up your metabolism which is what happened with me when I did the Yoga two years ago. My husband continues to do the Yoga stretches every night as they help him sleep. It calms him so that he can settle himself and prepare himself for sleep. It continues to allow him to be flexible.

Here are some simple steps to start then try getting your own tapes to start a more advanced level .

 

Yoga Mountain Pose

 

1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

What to Know: This two-footed stance is the foundation for many other positions that require awareness and balance.

How to Do It: Stand with feet together and arms at your side. Ground your feet, making sure to press all four corners down into the ground. Next, straighten your legs, then tuck your tailbone in as you engage your thigh muscles. As you inhale, elongate through your torso and extend your arms up, then out. Exhale and release your shoulder blades away from your head, toward the back of your waist as you release arms back to your sides.

 

Child’s Pose in Yoga

 

2. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

What to Know: This easy pose relaxes your nervous system and make sure to lower into this position with extra care.

How to Do It: Start in a kneeling position with toes tucked under. Lower your butt towards your feet as you stretch your upper body forward and down with arms extended. Your stomach should be comfortably resting on thighs, with your forehead touching the mat.

 

3. Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana to Bitilasana)

What to Know: Cat/cow is a great way to warm up your back and get your body ready for downward-facing dog. It also helps address mobility and work your core without the extra stress on your wrists and shoulders that you might feel in a down dog move.

How to Do It: Begin with hands and knees on the floor, spine neutral and abs engaged. Take a big inhale, then, as you exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling and tuck your chin towards your chest, releasing your neck. On the next inhale, arch your back and relax your abs. Lift your head and tailbone upwards, being careful not to place any pressure on your neck by moving too quickly or deeply.

 

4. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanansana)

What to Know: Down dog is a great way to stretch your back, shoulders, arms, hamstrings and well, just about everything. And it gets you calm and centered, too.

How to Do It: Come onto hands and knees with palms just past your shoulder, fingers pointing forwards. Knees should be under your hips and toes tucked. Lift your hips and press back into a V-shape position with your body. Feet should be hip-width apart. Keep in mind, it’s OK if you can’t get your feet to the floor (your hamstrings might be too tight). Spread through all 10 fingers and toes and move your chest towards your legs.

 

5. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

What to Know: The first in the Warrior series, this pose strengthens your legs and opens your hips and chest, while also stretching your arms and legs. While holding this exercise, you’ll see an increase in your concentration and balance.

How to Do It: Start in mountain pose. As you exhale, step your left foot back about four feet, so you’re in a lunge position with the right ankle over the right knee. Raise your arms straight overhead, biceps by ears, and turn your left foot about 90 degrees to face the left wall. Align your left heel perpendicular with your right heel. Expand your chest and pull your shoulders back, then lower down toward the floor as you lift your arms up. Make sure your hips stay square to the front, as you continue to breathe.

Start with these simple poses then move on to the more advanced which you will find in the link I left earlier. Enjoy and remember this is the best thing for your mental and physical health.

 

Gail CircularHi, I hope you found this post helpful and I really encourage you to try what I suggested. Yoga is a great and powerful way to exercise as well as meditate. You can learn more about me on my other blogs at gafra.org and gafraihairu.com.

 

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yoga mat

 

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