Saturday, March 4, 2017

Yoga Pt 1



“Merriam-Webster
1.     capitalized :  a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation
2.     :  a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being
Yoga.org
The word "yoga" comes from the Sanskrit root yuj,
which means "to join" or "to yoke".
Yoga is a practical aid, not a religion. Yoga is an ancient art based on a harmonizing system of development for the body, mind, and spirit. The continued practice of yoga will lead you to a sense of peace and well-being, and also a feeling of being at one with their environment. This is a simple definition.”
There you go, that’s what two of the experts say about it.  For me yoga is a way to meditate.  I believe you can mediate with out yoga, but I don’t believe you can do yoga without meditating.  I like to start my time with yoga working on just the basics.  I struggle standing balanced & flowing my breath, so that’s where I begin.
Let me interrupt right here & tell you straight, I AM A NOVICE.  I HAVE NO FORMAL TRAINING.  THIS IS JUST MY THOUGHTS & EXPERIENCES.
With that being said, let us continue in understanding.
Shortly after we moved into our home I was blessed with the opportunity to meet one of my neighbors.  She showed me this room in her house that she had prepared as her yoga studio.  She mentioned she would like to give classes there & I told her to sign me up.
A few years later she did just that.  I was only able to make her Sunday evening class, but I think that was the best one anyway.  Everything we did we did slowly & held.  I learned from her that while my muscles are strong, but they’re also very tight.  So moving slow & holding is what works best for me.
Another, more basic lesson I learned from her is the breath.  Before I started joining her if I lied down on my back & attempted to stretch, the one side would just cramp up & not let me relax.  Then I learned how to breathe.
Did you know you can inhale oxygen & direct it to parts of your body?  Yeah, me neither, but you can.  I’ve done it.  See, I learned that when I would get that cramp in my back to inhale & focus on the air filling the muscle.  That helps unlock it, loosen the knot.
The exhale expels the tension & I could continue.  Sometime it takes a couple of those breaths, sometimes one & still other times, none.
My point is that I like the slowness of yoga.  I like taking my time on the stretch.  I take it right to the perfect edge, right before it hurts.  I breathe into the tightness.  I check my body over for tenseness & relax it.  I check for the old way I held myself & exchange it by activating the correct muscles.  And when that perfect edge has moved, I move to it again, remembering to breathe.
When I started going to Beth I would pretty much only practice during our hour together.  This one time, though, she challenged us to do any stretch every night for ten days & see the difference.  I took her up on it & she was so totally right, it made an amazing difference.
Well, now life has changed for Beth & I no longer have a leader.  So I become my own leader & student. 
A good leader realizes she does not know everything, so she reaches out to you, her friends.  She, I, ask you for your experiences.  What are some of the ways you’ve learned yoga?  Are you under someone’s guidance or are you practicing on your own?
Thank you for joining me today.  May you be Blessed.

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