By Robyn dos Santos, Yoga Instructor, Licensed Therapist and Counselor
As the winter months come to a close, many of us begin to plan a well-deserved vacation. Good vacations often include a chance to renew ourselves, to simply exist in a relaxing environment without the demands of everyday life and the expectations of others. We look forward to new experiences of our choice, and opportunities for play. We never want vacations to end.
In many ways, the practice of yoga can be like a vacation from the stressors of life, the demands put upon our bodies and minds which can become excessive and cumulative. When we choose to enter a yoga practice with the simple intention of being curious and open to new experiences, free from expectations (called “a beginner’s mind’), each class has the potential to put us in touch with ourselves at a deeper level, increasing self-awareness of the sources and sensations of our stress.
Practicing the yoga postures, (asanas) encourage us to attend to the multiple sensations; the slow, rhythmic movements of the body, as it moves in and out of the postures. This asks us to be attentive to the present moment, the “here and now”. It allows the opportunity to let go of repetitive thought patterns and worries.
The breathing component of yoga practice focuses on energizing and relaxing with the cycles of inhale/exhale. This simple, yet profound action assists in releasing tension and improving vitality.
Finally, complete relaxation of body and mind allows for integration of the yoga practice on a more holistic, complete level. For this reason, relaxation pose is often done as the final component of a yoga routine.
Yoga has often been described as a natural prescription for health and stress management. It has numerous benefits, one of which is renewal at the levels of mind, body, and spirit.
Robyn dos Santos is a professional, licensed therapist and counselor. She is a yoga instructor and therapist.