Yoga: The Perfect Remedy
Rather than opening the medicine cabinet if you suffer from back pain, headaches, or even insomnia, try rolling out your yoga mat instead. Yoga’s healing powers go far beyond what we see on the outside (beautifully toned muscles and stunning posture); yoga heals us from within, too, by releasing stress, banishing fatigue and fighting disease. With poses (called asanas) and breathing exercises (known as pranayama), yoga acts as a therapeutic remedy for almost any ailment.
Breathing is one of the most natural things your body does everyday, so natural in fact that you probably never think twice about it—unless you are racing toward the finish line. “Finding your breath” is actually one of the first things you will do in any yoga practice to calm the body and relax the mind. In addition, breathing exercises will allow you to move deeper into specific poses, send more oxygen to your brain, and keep your body warm.
Did you know that standing on your head calms the brain and strengthens the body? How about that by twisting your body into pretzel-like positions you are actually energizing the spine and stimulating the liver? In yoga, each pose, or asana, represents a certain healing quality. For example, Downward Dog pose releases sinus pressure, while Bow pose clears congestion in your chest. Dancer pose aligns your body and teaches you to overcome distraction. And, Corpse pose normalizes blood pressure; thus Corpse pose, ironically, may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
With a regular yoga practice, improved balance is not only evident on the mat (standing tall on one leg in Tree pose); balance is also endured when it comes to your day-to-day responsibilities. In his book, “Yoga for Life,” yoga master Alan Finger writes, “In today’s society it is common, unfortunately, to get trapped in a cycle of stress. When the stressful situation disappears, nature intends for the body to return to a balanced state.” Yoga helps reduce stress by teaching your mind to resist distraction. Not only does this “staying in the moment” help alleviate stress, it teaches you to become more disciplined in all areas of your life. Fingers writes, “With a regular yoga practice, you will most likely begin to view life’s inevitable challenges with serenity. Your daily life will be infused with the peaceful energy and harmony that are the mark of a productive, balanced yoga session.”
From improving balance to increasing flexibility to relieving stress, yoga will provide your life and body with the ease and therapeutic comfort it seeks. So much more appealing than popping a pain killer, yoga may be the natural remedy you’ve been searching for!