Yoga as Addiction

For those of us who practice and love yoga, who can for get those early, exhilarating yoga classes. The contradiction of the thrill of something new, so full of impact, and yet so calming. Yoga provides something so unexpected in our modern, high stress reality we wither love it or love it.

The first blush can be followed by the first rush, when yoga is hard to get out of our minds and bodies. When I first began practicing, I found myself thinking more and more about yoga, its intricacies, its meaning, and, of course, the poses. The drive to do more, do better.

Then there is the community. Yoga is community, which can draw one in even more.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with all this. In fact, it is a wonderful thing. To feel better, feel a path, feel one has much to learn, and to want to commit.

It seemed to me that there was a point when I, and others I have talked to, felt addicted to yoga, and that addiction felt like a good thing. It felt like it fit like a perfect pose.

This is, I think part of the path of yoge. Perhaps it is part of the path of many “activities” that engage the body and mind. Yet, with yoga, I think the “addiction” goes deep if we continue on with the practice. Because yoga brings body and mind together, with calm and intense concentration, unlike nothing else, yoga gets under our skins, into our minds, and into our hearts.

I also think, that at some point, yoga becomes less on an addiction and more of a knowing. We come to know yoga in a way that is unified through ourselves. Our bodies do go to a “different place”, and our minds and hearts follow. What we begin to see are possibilities, more and more possibilities.

In short, the learning, on all levels never stops.

It is then the possibilities that become the addiction. And there is no addiction like discovery.

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Health and Yoga

Yoga provides many health and emotional benefits but it is more. For many yoga, through the practice of meditation and the mind body connection, provides a guiding path for living.

Yoga is much more than a way of exercising, not that that is a bad thing. Yoga is a body and mind science practiced for thousands of years throughout the world. It is consists of ancient theories, observations, and teaching handed down through the centuries.

Health Benefits of Yoga

A growing body of research has been done to evaluate the Health benefits of yoga. Research includes Yoga Postures (Asanas), Yoga Breathing (Pranayama), and Meditation.

Current research suggests that yoga may:

  • Reduce low-back pain and improve function.
  • Other studies also suggest that practicing yoga might improve quality of life; reduce stress; lower heart rate and blood pressure
  • Help relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia
  • Improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility
  • Some research suggests yoga may not improve asthma, and studies looking at yoga and arthritis have had mixed results

Some Recent Studies on Yoga and Back Pain

  • A recent National Center for Complimentary Medicine(NCCAN) funded study of 90 people with chronic low-back pain found that participants who practiced Iyengar yoga had significantly less disability, pain, and depression after 6 months.
  • In a 2011 study, also funded by NCCAM, researchers compared yoga with conventional stretching exercises or a self-care book in 228 adults with chronic low-back pain. The results showed that both yoga and stretching were more effective than a self-care book for improving function and reducing symptoms due to chronic low-back pain.
  • Conclusions from another 2011 study of 313 adults with chronic or recurring low-back pain suggested that practicing yoga for 12 weeks resulted in better function than usual medical care.

There are also indications and the testimonials that Yoga helps with memory and immune function.

There is no doubt that Yoga helps many by improving one’s overall sense of well being.

So for whatever reason you may decide to try Yoga, it is good for you, and really great fun.


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Yoga Loves Laughter

One of the wonderful things about Yoga is its breadth. Yoga is exercise, it is philosophy, it is a lifestyle. For many, Yoga is a spiritual path.

Then the is Laughing Yoga. Yoga, that with all seriousness, pursuers the real health and spiritual benefits of simple laughter. While a small element of yoga, for me laughing yoga captures much of the the spirit of yoga.

Lest we get to serious, remember to laugh, at ourselves and the wonder of the universe. Sweet laughter, it is so good for the body and spirit.

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Rising Sun

Yoga is like the rising sun. Each day we breath in the breath of a new promise and a new journey. Let it be a journey of the heart and of love.

With meditation of the spirit in tune with the body we find that place and that peace to journey with openness, without fear, without anxiety.

“Through meditation one can experience a stable, silent inner peace that can be a permanently soothing background for all harmonious or trialsome activities demanded by life’s responsibilities. Lasting happiness lies in maintaining this evenly peaceful state of mind.”

– from Inner Peace: How to Be Calmly Active and Actively Calm by Paramahansa Yogananda

And so it begins

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