People should do more yoga. It’s a fact that yoga (meditative or vinyasa) is supremely beneficial for the health of a person’s body, mind, and spirit. The phrase “body, mind, spirit” is often heard within yogic verbiage, but what does it really mean?
At its core, yoga is primarily a spiritual practice — the physical benefits being a happy collateral effect. In principle, yoga is the learned mental and spiritual awareness of a person’s micro and macro place in the world. An awareness of one’s surroundings and of the natural elements around us — sights, sounds, energy — is lost in day-to-day life. Our understanding and appreciation for our bodies drifts into ambivalence; breath is taken for granted. Yoga brings all of these things to the forefront of our consciousness.
By “tuning out” all outside conflicts, stressors, and disruptors that do not serve you, you are brought into a type of surreal contentment. Peace. The practice of breathing deeply and purposefully — life-giving breath that fills every space within your body — is proven to decrease stress and anxiety, therefore promoting overall, holistic physical and mental health. In this day and age, when news headlines and social media posts are so often filled with discontentment, hatred, and anger, it would be hard to argue that people shouldn’t practice this more often.
This doesn’t have to take place in a yoga studio, it can be anywhere. Just close your eyes, tune out all the bad, welcome in the good, and breathe. Let life and goodness fill you up, and find some peace within yourself.
For those wishing to connect this practice with physical movement (known as “vinyasa,” the yogic practice of combining breath and movement) or within a community of others, treat yourself to a yoga mat. Oklahoma City has quite a plethora of locally owned yoga studios (a list of those in the downtown area below). Every studio welcomes “yogis” of all levels and stages of their practice.
I may sound like some sort of patchouli-wearing hippie to some of you, and that’s okay. All I can say is I’ve been practicing yoga for quite some time, and I’ve never felt more aware, alive, healthy, or at peace with myself and those around me.
Try it and see what you discover. You may surprise yourself.
Shanti, shanti, shanti
Peace, peace, peace.