Yoga: Breathe Deeply…and Pose

Yoga: Breathe Deeply…and Pose

There are so many ways to relax our bodies and minds. So many unique types of fitness, many can be likened to various forms of art. In this month’s issue we’ll examine the practice of yoga, and how it challenges mental, physical and emotional health – with a touch of art.

First, yoga is anything but one-dimensional. I dabble in yoga as a relaxation tool, to regulate the breathing, stretch out key muscle groups and so forth. I’ve even tried fit yoga, which actually invigorates the body and encourages physical exertion, generating a true workout. But there are so many other types of yoga. I have a friend who swears by Bikram yoga. In Bikram yoga, you normally practice the art of yoga in heated rooms and the workout involves a total of 26 postures. The reasoning for the heat is to “loosen” the muscles, making it easier to achieve certain stretches. It sounds pretty intense, but I’d love to try it.

Because the art of yoga is so expansive, it’s really quite difficult to narrow a piece down to one succinct dialogue, but what we aim to do is introduce a different way in self-stimulation. We liken yoga to art as many of the postures and positions have a certain grace to them. For instance, one of my favorite postures is the “tree pose”, or vrksasana. This position is designed to improve balance – which can never be a bad thing. I’m not super clumsy, but balance is definitely an area in which I can improve. Another posture I enjoy is “warrior pose”, or virabhadrasana. Both poses are extremely visually artistic, as are most yoga exercises.

More than that, yoga can be extremely therapeutic. Therapy is an essential part of life. I mean, let’s face it; no one said life would be easy. In fact, I’d argue that it’s quite the opposite. And with all of the challenges and obstacles we endure, whether big or small – we need some sort of release, a therapy. This is why I feel yoga and art share similarities in providing therapy.

Fifty percent of yoga is mastering the breathing. Your breath is crucial to your level of relaxation, and in some cases, your therapy. Through steady, rhythmic breathing you can achieve an alternative state of calmness. Sometimes, after a long day, I like to use PM yoga to relax. That’s my therapy. Some use yoga as a form of physical therapy. But others use it as an emotional therapy. I’ve actually used it in that aspect and I must say it is rather effective.

In the same way, art is used to provide a release, a comfort, an emotional and mental therapy. In some instances I could see art being used as a form of physical therapy. Whatever your choice, yoga is as expressive and expansive as art itself. It is an aspect of art, a way of life, as is art itself.

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