Christians stand on mats at a church hall, stretching their arms to the heavens and bending to their toes. They lay their palms on the floor, the soles of their feet perfectly flat. Chants spill from a stereo.
It looks as though the group is doing a yoga pose called Downward Dog – but it isn’t. Group members, who meet weekly in Roanoke, bend into postures they call the Tallit, not the Big Toe, and the Dove, not the Pigeon.
They are participating in a program called PraiseMoves, not yoga.
The name changes are a subtle indicator of the sometimes tenuous relationship between the Eastern discipline of yoga and Western religions. While many Christians have practiced yoga for years, some Christian leaders have denounced it as pagan and demonic.
“Everybody has their own path that they have in terms of their spiritual journey, and my point of view is that I would want everybody’s path to eventually merge into the Christian path,” said Nancy Harvey, who leads the PraiseMoves group at Huntington Court United Methodist Church in Roanoke. “But it’s not my judgment to make one way or the other.”
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Many people are crazy about yoga. The reason most people practice yoga is that it makes them feel better and feel more in shape. The different poses and postures make their body flexible and healthy. Yoga for most is the best natural way to relax and unwind. If you are interested in keeping your body
in shape, this might be the best exercise for you.
Did you know that yoga could help fight certain illness that may come your way? There has been research that proved yoga helps you to control anxiety, reduces asthma, arthritis, blood pressure, back pain, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, epilepsy, diabetes, headaches, stress, and more.
Yoga has a lot of benefits and advantages. All in a day’s work, it can reduce tension and stress. Of course, after a heavy day, you will feel that your muscles have been stuck up and you will feel wasted.
If you do practice yoga, you may see an increase in your self-esteem. It is important to gain confidence so that you may face people without worry. Yoga is good for the body in increasing your muscle tone, strength, stamina, and flexibility. If you are too heavy, or conscious about your body shape, yoga can help you lower your body fat and help you stay in shape.
Yoga exercises can also burn excess fat and give you the desired figure that you want.
If you need time to relax and forget your responsibilities, then yoga will be good for improving your concentration and can enhance your creativity. Yoga helps you to think positively because it can help keep you free of your anxieties. If you have a fresh mind, you can easily think good thoughts.
Your body needs to relax often. Sometimes, at the end of the workday, you an feel exhausted. After some of the hardest days, we may not find time to unwind because troubles at work are still on our mind. Yoga helps you to clear your mind and create a sense of calmness and well-being.
Yoga exercises help you improve your blood circulation. Your organs and veins need to be exercised for them to function properly. Yoga can help stimulate your immune system, which can help keep you free from diseases.
Some people practice yoga to get enlightened. They believe that yoga will help them lift their spirit and keep them relieved. Yoga works differently for people, be it spiritual, emotional, psychological, mental, or physical.
Many people think that yoga is only for spiritual, or religious, people. But that myth is wrong. Even if you are not religious, you can do yoga. You will see and feel the difference, and at the same time find out how it works for you.
Due to the pressure and demands of life, we are stressed out and forget the essences of our lives. We tend to lose touch with the ones we used to spend time with, even ourselves.
We find ourselves rushing most of the time with deadlines and hassles at our jobs. This leaves us little time for our minds to wander and have that physical awareness.
These are a few things that yoga can provide. Occasionally, dedicate some time to relax and unwind, which only yoga can do.
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years in India but it has taken the attention of the west only in the late 19th century. Before it became popular, people in the United States thought that yoga was a mere peculiar activity invented to distort the body to come up with different positions for some strange reasons. Even until now, some people are still skeptical about yoga and refuse to undertake it. Sad to say, these people do not know the benefits they are missing.
If there is anytime that is best to begin a yoga practice, it is now. There are so many reasons why it is important for you to relive your life this very instant and yoga can be that ultimate solution.
First things first, not all myths about yoga are true. To set things straight, yoga is not a completely religious practice so you could set aside the religious issue right at the start. Yoga is also not about mind over body; it is about their “unity”, which is in fact the literal translation of the word “yoga” itself. The practice is not about repetitively reaching your toes as many times as possible; it is about proper breathing and mental focus while maintaining a certain position. There is nothing superstitious about it. In fact, modern science has already long confirmed the benefits of practicing yoga and the list becomes longer as more researches are being conducted year after year on the benefits of yoga.
Yoga is not only an art and a science. It is a lifestyle, an exercise, a therapy, a preventive cure and a medical treatment all rolled into one. Yoga is a complete way of living that can improve your life and you as a person. It is the perfect physical and mental therapy to have the most blissful life you once thought you could never experience. That is why beginning yoga now will bring you that much closer to reaping the benefits of the practice as early as possible.
Yoga has a many physical benefits to offer. It increases the flexibility of the joints, tendons and ligaments of the body. It also tones your body absent the dreadful lifting of weights. The most apparent effect of yoga on the body is loss of weight that is why yoga is also a popular exercise. Yoga is in fact the most holistic form of exercise. It exercises those body parts that are not consciously worked out upon even by gym addicts.
Another revolutionary advantage of practicing yoga is its health benefits to the body. It massages and stimulates all organs of the body. It in effect becomes the perfect preventive measure to avoid diseases, including the life-threatening ones. By becoming more attuned to the body and what the body is telling you, some yoga practitioners have also attained a heightened awareness to impeding illnesses. Yoga also detoxifies the body because all the stretching makes the blood circulate to every part of the body, so every part of the body gets the right amount of oxygen supply. In fact, it has been known to relieve or improve different kinds of medical conditions like high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, heart diseases, varicose veins, obesity, respiration problems, body pain and chronic fatigue. Of recent, researchers have found incredible effects of yoga on HIV-diagnosed persons and the benefits are truly promising.
Most of the prevalent diseases in urban areas originate from a common problem and that is stress. Yoga can help to alleviate stress that work or school may bring you. It also has other mental benefits such as reducing body tension and boosting self-esteem. It increases self-awareness, focuses attention and relaxes, calms and clears the mind. It is because it allows the mind to concentrate on the self and the body, which brings about positive effects including improvement of mood and attitude to a better you. As a whole, it brings your emotions into equilibrium, giving you a more positive disposition in life.
But the truth of the matter is that these are mere “side effects” of the real benefits of yoga. Yoga makes you learn more about yourself, your mind and your body. It will give you a sense of enlightenment, where every inch of you meet in a dimensional space where everything is ecstatically immaculate. Its goal is to fuse every part of you, the physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual levels. In fact, it is no secret that yogis are generally happy people with a zest and appreciation for life.
The world is a busy place. Busy people usually live a routinary life that sometimes, they forget to take care of themselves. In fact, modern day diseases are mostly caused by lifestyle and work. Most people who acquire these illnesses are too busy to exercise and give time to themselves. To become a better person, you must act on it and the best time to do that is right now.
Change your life by changing your lifestyle and the best beginning could be through the practice of yoga. So, before saying “no”, try giving yoga a shot and you may realize that it is the final answer you have been unknowingly searching for all along.
At the yoga class I attend, it’s probably about 80% female. And yes, while many of the students are, like me, of a “certain age,” there are also plenty of beautiful, lithesome young women who enjoy the atmosphere of the yoga studio over that of a typical fitness club. Nevertheless, meat market scamming does occur, apparently, as this hilarious video about a “Yoga Dude” shows. (I must say I’ve never seen anything like this at the yoga class I attend, but then again I’m older than Moses…)
You can lose weight quickly with 5,000-year-old secrets from yoga.
Have you ever wondered why the people you know who practice yoga are so thin? It’s not an accident. Yoga practice, combined with the “green,” organic diet followed by many yogis, seems to burn off weight faster than almost any other weight-loss approach. Unfortunately, busy modern people often find it difficult to follow this “green” diet — which is why many modern yogis use supplements. (You can get a FREE bottle of a wonderful organic “green” diet supplement by clicking on the link below.)
Both anecdotal reports and some research supports the belief that regular yoga practice, combined with some weight loss secrets from the ancient Indian health care system known as ayurveda can result in significant weight loss.
Of course, the amount of weight you can lose with yoga depends on the kind of exercises you do and the regularity of it. Using yoga is one of the most effective, natural and long term way for weight loss. The weight loss may differ from person to person.
Some people believe that merely the sustained attention given to your body from a regular, daily yoga practice — combined with the relatively few clothes you wear when practicing hatha yoga — simply provide additional motivation for people to lose weight. A new study at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that middle-aged people who practice yoga for as little as 30 minutes a week curbed the weight gain that is oh-so common between ages 45 and 55. Those who began at a normal weight weighed an average of 3 pounds less than their non-practicing counterparts 10 years later. And those who started out overweight lost approximately 5 pounds, instead of packing on the typical gain of 13 pounds among non-exercisers.
“Yoga makes you more mindful of your body and feelings, so you may also become more aware and sensitive to when you’ve eaten enough,” says study author Alan R. Kristal, PhD, who himself practices yoga. The secret to losing weight with yoga, he believes, lies not in burned calories but in increased body awareness. With yoga, he says, you become more focused and are better able to recognize emotional feelings for what they are and not mistake them for hunger.
Yoga, dating back to over 5,000 years ago, is a form of a spiritual and physical practice that its practitioners believe can help people in the west lose weight. Yoga practice provides an excellent means for maintaining balanced weight and overcoming obesity problems, provided a daily yoga program is followed with a regular routine. There are a number of contemporary yoga styles that can give us the traditional benefits of yoga and a cardiovascular workout at the same time. These include:
Vinyasa: This popular type of yoga is based on movement from one pose to another while practicing yoga breathing techniques. Sun Salutations are frequently used, but other poses are usually included as well. This is sometimes done in a hot room to increase sweating.
Ashtanga: Ashtanga is a complex style of yoga that includes six different series of poses. Each serious is more complex than the previous one, so it is important to start at the beginning and work your way up.
Power yoga: This Americanized version of yoga combines faster, more active movements with traditional yoga breathing techniques.
These types of yoga are more likely to increase your heart rate and work up a sweat than traditional yoga. While they may not give you as much of a workout as aerobics, they combine weight loss and cardiovascular benefits with the muscle building and flexibility training of yoga. And for those who do not have the time to participate in two separate workout programs but still want to lose weight quickly, they can be great options.
Hatha yoga experts believe that even gentle yoga asana (postures) followed by the Sun salutation exercise routines are very good for removing lymphatic blockages and liberating energy in your body that revitalizes the body and mind. To lose weight, yoga exercise does not have to be intense or vigorous, but it must be regular and should amount to at least 30 minutes a day. Along with Yoga exercise, a healthy diet based on yogic principles is obviously very helpful for overcoming obesity and maintaining balanced weight.
Ayurveda and a yogic diet can complement any hatha yoga exercises in a combined program for weight loss. Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient Hindu system of health care, related to yoga, that is native to the Indian subcontinent. It is used by millions of people in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and increasingly in the west to lose weight quickly and easily according to ancient principles of health.
The word “Ayurveda” is a compound of the Sanscrit words ayus meaning “life,” “life principle,” or “long life” and the word veda, which refers to a system of “knowledge.” Thus “Ayurveda” roughly translates as the “knowledge of life” or “knowledge of a long life.” Recent medical advances are increasingly demonstrating that one key to a long life is weight loss.
PHOTO: Sonia Monteiro of DeRose Antas School, Porto, Portugal
When I first started doing yoga, decades ago, many people thought it was a slightly feminine undertaking. And I have to admit, even today the majority of the students at my local yoga school are women — although that is changing. But the only people who think yoga is not a rigorous, difficult, often even aerobic activity are those who have never taken a class.
I’ll never forget one class I took in which there were three men among about a dozen women. It was a very ordinary, relatively basic class. At one point, the instructor guided us into chaturanga dandasana, the “plank” or staff pose. It’s basically like doing a pushup halfway down — and then holding it. The young woman instructor remained in the pose, calming issuing little tips and giving suggestions, her voice calm and not betraying even a hint of strain. Read more
I just finished reading Leo Damrosch’s magisterial 2005 biography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius) and I’ve been thinking a lot about how Rousseau’s vision ties in neatly with what Christian Yoga is all about. (Full disclosure: My wife hates Rousseau because he forced his lifelong mistress, Therese Levasseur, to give up their five children to foundling homes and then had the temerity to instruct women on why they should breastfeed their children and raise them according to his precepts.)
Rousseau, born in Switzerland in 1712, was basically a professional vagabond and loafer who ran away from his home in Geneva at the age of 16, was almost entirely self-taught, and who earned his living through menial jobs, copying musical manuscripts and writing books that both titillated and outraged most of Europe. Rousseau’s basic argument is that “civilization,” far from being an engine of progress and advancement, is actually a corrosive, even destructive force. Read more
The first thing I do every morning when I get out of bed is to do 30 pushups. It’s also the last thing I do every night before I climb into bed. That may not sound like a very “yoga” thing to do, but it’s a discipline I adhere to that I believe has been very good for me.
I’m 50 years old so, if you’re younger, you can do more. I will probably gradually work up to 40 or so just to show off but 30 is plenty for conditioning purposes.
To some, 30 may sound like a lot… so I want to share how I worked up to that number. I used a very simple method that I use for most difficult things: I did started with something very easy that I knew I could do: One pushup.