Yoga – Relax Your Body and Mind

Most often, we link the philosophy of yoga to Hinduism and Buddhism.    Yoga is not a religion as opposed to other’s belief, and there is no need give up your religion or belief to practice yoga. According to Cheryl Hurst, PsyD, “Yoga is a well-known method for increasing one’s physical activity while calming the nervous system.” This is one of the recommended practice according to

Yoga is a discipline that is widely practiced for health and relaxation.  It’s from the Sanskrit root word yuj which means “to join together,” Others refer to it as the union of body and mind. According to Diane Byster, LMFT, “Yoga is a personal conversation between the body, mind, and breath that is designed to calm the fluctuations of the mind.”




Primer Things To Know About Yoga

Yoga is not our language, and just like any other things alien to us, there are some things we need to know to appreciate it more.

  1.  Patanjali – father of modern yoga who is believed to have organized the yoga practices into Yoga Sutra.
  2.  Sutra – the compilation of text which is the philosophical guidebook for yoga practice today.
  3.  Om – is a mantra (sound or word) chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions.
  4.  Ahimsa – a principle of yoga philosophy meaning non-harming to self and others.  
  5.  Being flexible is not a requirement to do yoga.   Yoga will help you to be more flexible.  
  6.  As much as possible, avoid eating 2 to 3 hours before class because it will make you uncomfortable if food is not digested well.  You can have light snacks like yogurt, juice, or nuts 30 minutes to an hour before the class to avoid feeling weak.


What Benefits Can You Get From Yoga?

Yoga makes you stronger as it promotes physical activity, boosts strength, enhances flexibility, and improves balance.  There are also other health benefits of practicing yoga.

  • Relieves stress
  • Helps cope with anxiety and depression
  • Alleviate symptoms of menopause
  • Improves arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Prevent heart problems and high blood pressure
  • Lessen asthma symptoms
  • Improves balance and prevent falls in older adults
  • Has positive effects on persons with bipolar disorder; “Yoga is an effective adjunct to counseling and psychopharmacologic treatments,” says Bo Forbes, PsyD.
  • Has revitalizing effects on the mental energy of cancer patients reducing feeling fatigued
  • Improves neck-related disabilities and low back pain  
  • Reduce migraine attacks
  • Improves quality of sleep


Yoga Makes You Healthier Inside And Out

Yoga is a practice. It is not considered as a task or goal.  It’s not just to burn your calories or tone your muscles.   Stretching and physical postures are only one aspect of it.  It’s joining together of every movement of your body and every shifting of your mind as it connects with the rhythm of your breath.  The connection between them helps you direct your attention inward, keeping you to be mindful.  Mindfulness lessens anxiety and eases your mental stress.


Together, strengthening, stretching, deep breathing, and meditation relaxes your body and mind making you a healthier version of yourself inside and out.


Yoga Positions Target Parts Of Your Body

Yoga poses focus on specific parts of your body to maximize its benefits. Here are yoga positions you can try that are just right for beginners with less flexibility.  They are also advisable for men and older adults as they are safe, gentle poses.  

  • Mountain pose is how to ground your feet and make you feel the earth.
  • Downward dog is the most common practices that strengthen and stretch your entire body.
  • Warrior builds your strength and stamina.   Stretching the hips and thighs strengthening the lower body and core.
  • Tree pose helps you gain focus and learn to breathe while keeping the body balanced on one foot.
  • Plank teaches you how to balance your hands with the entire body as support.
  • Triangle pose stretches the sides of your waist, strengthens the legs, opens the lungs, and tone your body.
  • Seated forward bend stretched the hamstring, lower and upper back and sides.
  • Bridge pose stretches the front body and strengthens the back frame.
  • Child’s pose is an excellent resting pose.  This posture eases fatigue, and beneficial whenever you need to relieve stress or tension.


Each position can be held for 5 to 10 breaths or as comfortable as you feel.   Enjoy and relax as you try each movement and experience deep relaxation of body and mind.