The word yoga means union. It is a beautiful thought, that practice can bring together body, mind and spirit in some sort of harmony. But one thing I often hear from people unfamiliar with the practice of yoga, is they can't do yoga because they aren't flexible. They have an image of yoga as a impossible exercise in contortion. And it's easy enough to find pictures to support that view! I suppose it is also easy to assume, then, that there is some unity in mind and body NOT being able to go there - even if the spirit was willing!
But yoga is NOT about twisting the body around into extraordinary shapes. In my view, practice and class, yoga is about discovery. We tend to be pretty disconnected from our bodies. I see this in my naturopathic practice too, and often encourage people to use yoga as a way to start to listen to the body again. Using a careful approach to movement of our bodies, we learn how it responds, what its limitations are, how it changes from day to day and how to listen for and interpret its messages to us. Besides the obvious physical benefits of increased strength, flexibility, balance and endurance, learning to listen to our bodies' unique communications can help us improve our health in other ways as well.
As we develop a relationship with our physical body, we begin to notice how our mind and emotions interact with the body. For many of us, this interaction is not always helpful or kind. Using yoga to notice our thoughts on the mat carries over into noticing our thoughts at work, home and all parts of life. Again, in naturopathic practice, I regularly see the effect of our thoughts on our physical health. Practicing yoga can help bring our thoughts and emotions into better harmony with the physical life we aspire to.
This discovery, the practice of understanding and integrating the workings of our body, mind and emotions, has a profound impact on the quality of our lives. It spills over into our relationships with others, with our environment and with whatever we call Sacred. As we learn to approach our lives (which are really our yoga practice!) with curiosity and compassion, we see our interconnectedness with all things. That's some major union!
If you haven't tried yoga, I encourage you to give it a shot. Of course you're welcome to try a class at WellSpring. But there are several other places in Midland that have yoga classes as well. Try different styles and different teachers. There is certainly a class somewhere that is going to speak well to you! (If you're not in Midland, I'm sure there are classes near you too - Google is a wonderful thing!) Little to lose and so much to gain! Namaste.