For the past couple of months things have been busy, which is amazing, but it can be difficult to find that time for myself. I know I’m not alone in this. Whether married, single, gay, straight, bisexual, woman, man, or transgender we all have responsibilities that can cause stress and even manifest into pain or illness within the body. Personally, I’ve found yoga is a wonderful way to heal and to become centered in order to focus and feel well within my body.
There are many reasons why yoga heals. Yoga helps you focus on your breathing. When you are focused on your breathing, you become more in tune with your body allowing your mind to rest. When you set aside time for a yoga practice you’re saying, “Yes,” to you. You’re giving yourself care and love, which better allows you to care and love for those around you. When you practice balance poses the poses take you out of your head, similarly when you focus on the breath, and center you in your body. Yoga also strengthens your body increasing flexibility, muscle tone, and overall breath work.
Yoga is also meditative. When you go through a yoga practice you are in a state of mindfulness (completely in the present moment) because you are focused on the breath and the movement in the poses. Meditation has many health benefits including decreased anxiety, decreased depression, and lowering blood pressure to name a few. A yogic meditation is wonderful in healing the body because you’re working your physical body to stretch, tone, and strengthen, as well as your mental state to relax, enjoy, and let go of worry.
Some wonderful poses to help with healing the physical body as well as your mental state include chair pose to strengthen the quadriceps, the trapezius muscles in the back, and the shoulders. Chair pose also reminds you that even though there is discomfort it isn’t permanent and when it is over, you feel better. Forward fold is wonderful for alleviating anxiety and opening up an imbalanced third eye chakra. Forward fold decompresses the spine and calms the mind. Downward facing dog (or down dog) is a wonderful way to increase blood flow to the brain helping with cognitive function and anxiety. Warrior II is wonderful for strengthening the legs and shoulders, as well as increasing circulation. Pigeon pose is another wonderful pose that can be challenging because it is a hip opening pose, but it also is a way to melt away tension. When you sleep your pigeon (fold forward over your bent leg) you become one with your breath and allow tension to leave your body, specifically your hips. Corpse pose is known as one of the most difficult poses in yoga because you are in stillness and quiet. This is a pose where your mind can run away, but through practice you can learn to accept that stillness. This final pose after a yoga practice is meant to aid in relaxation and calmness. It can be hard to rest after a difficult class, but it trains you to be in a true state of awareness–awareness of your breath, awareness of your body, awareness of the present. These are just a few examples of healing yoga poses, but there are many other poses to aid in healing.
Thai massage, or Thai yoga massage, is a wonderful way to work on healing as well. Thai massage is meditative, relaxing, but it also works into the connective tissue of the muscles and clears out stuck energy that can cause pain physically and mentally. Many of the stretches done in a Thai massage mimic the stretches done in a traditional yoga practice because Thai massage has roots in Hatha yoga. These stretches aid in flexibility as well as relaxation. I not only offer Thai massage in my practice to help facilitate healing in my clients, but I also receive my own Thai massage because the benefits show in my body. Thai massage helps me stay strong, grounded, and better able to be a business owner, mom, and member of society.
Yoga is a wonderful way to connect with your body and spirit. It is healing for the mind and the physical body. When I first started practicing yoga at 17 years old, I couldn’t touch the floor in a forward fold, but now I can flatten my palms on the floor, and I can even get into crow pose. Some days my balance is off. Some days it’s difficult to go to the studio, but I keep going because when I do, I feel rejuvenated. It is the best workout for your body and soul. So many studios offer beginner classes and there are online options if you want to start at home. I would highly recommend yoga to start your healing journey. Love and light to you all.