How can Yoga improve our Lifestyle?
The Greeting to the Sun sequence (Surya Namaskara ) is a complete exercise that simultaneously integrates the whole physiology: body, mind and breath and is a wonderful way to start the day, as well as to approach yoga for those who have never practiced it.
From a technical point of view, this sequence strengthens and stretches all the major muscle groups, softens the joints, it's good for the spine and 'massages' the internal organs. Blood flows better and circulation is stimulated throughout the body.
With regular practice you get stability, agility, flexibility and grace.
I have been practicing yoga for several years several times a week and I fell in love with because I feel it has a beneficial impact not only on the physical but also on the mental health. It is a mean of balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions through the use of positions (asanas). I think the world needs this ancient discipline. Over the last ten years we have all become so connected and technological, available 24/24 hours and often under pressure and stress. Material reality keeps us constantly bonded. Yoga is, however, perfect for focusing, turning off the mind and taking back contact with oneself.
Through yoga, in fact, awareness of self and the world, self-love and compassion towards others are developed. It shuts off the ego and stops the thoughts constantly produced by the mind, letting focusing on the breath and flowing into the inner self. Yoga and the rhythmic breath control (pranayama) help create that awareness and bring the mind back to the present moment, where it can stay happy and focused. But how does it work?
Yoga stimulates different nerves in your body, especially the Vagus nerve that carries information from the brain to most of the body's major organs. It's the nerve that is associated with the parasympathetic system, calming and restorative, linked to emotions like love, joy and compassion. Moving from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic system everything slows down, breathing is lowered and heart rates and blood pressure decrease, inducting countless physical and spiritual benefits together with a great inner peace.
We all love to visit peaceful and serene spots, rich in natural beauty. Practicing yoga in a natural environment is at once a wonderful, relaxing and energetic feeling. The tree's position (Vrikshasana ), a beautiful symbol of life that gathers in itself the energy of heaven and earth, is one of the most well-known yoga positions. The tree elasticizes the joints of the hip and knee, corrects the wrong positions of the back and progressively improves not only the physical, but also the psycho-emotional balance, thus resulting in an effective position to have a hold on anxiety, stress and nervous tension.
I close my article with a position that I like very much and which I practice every day: the position of the wheel or the bridge (Chakrasana). This asana activates three different chakras, including the chakra of the heart. It causes the expansion and activation of energy throughout the body and a release of energies blocked at the chest level with a greater sense of love and openness to others.
It enlivens the spirit and the enthusiasm, opens the heart: it is fundamental to start the day with this extra energy!