Yoga has its origins in India. It is one of the five vast bodies of philosophical knowledge related to the Hindu civilization. One of the branches of this knowledge is called Hatha Yoga. It focuses, among other things, on physical postures, called asanas, in order to establish a balance of strength and flexibility of the body. It also helps to purify it and maintain optimal health. Up until the beginning of the new millennium yoga classes were considered somewhat on the “fringe” of our physical fitness mindset. But now classes are ubiquitous; they are offered in health clubs and wellness centers and, neighborhood studios can be found in nearly every city and small town in America. This phenomenon continues to grow and has lasted because people find that the benefits it claims to offer really do work.
Scientific researchers in the field of physical and psychological health have designated Yoga as a Mind Body Intervention (MBI) practice. Others include meditation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, etc. It affects, in a positive way, nearly every system in the body: Nervous, Circulatory, Respiratory, Endocrine, Lymphatic, Gastro-intestinal, and Muscular. This practice increases flexibility and muscle strength and tone, strengthens cardiovascular circulation of blood and of lymph fluids, improves respiration, increases energy and vitality, and helps to alleviate pain.
Continuous stress is the cause or major contributing factor of the majority of dis-ease and poor health in our modern society. This causes a “fight or flight” response in our nervous and endocrine systems, which then activates the adrenal glands to produce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Over time, this can be very corrosive to our overall health. Hatha Yoga, when practiced often and is traditionally taught, will relax tension throughout the body, calm the mind, and center one’s energy. This activates our nervous system to bring us into a state of calmness and peace, turns off the corrosive production of stress hormones, and helps to restore mind and body.