A yoga class is a time when we turn to ourselves, while being completely present on the yoga mat, having the opportunity to completely awaken and explore our unique body, encountering the strength within and bringing peace to our mind.
I found yoga at the end of 2010, and that encounter became love at first sight. There are no words to rightfully portray the feeling following a class - to know it one needs to experience it. When exercising our relaxation capabilities, we deepen our feelings of our own bodies, and corporeal and mental relaxation are a precondition for proper exercising.
Yoga doesn’t require passivity, although it seems static. At the contrary, it stimulates you to act serenely and thoughtfully and is recommended for everyone regardless of gender, age or religion, even to those with health issues. It is today a frequent practice for doctors to suggest yoga as a form of therapy since it is officially acknowledged by the Department of Health of the Republic of Serbia.
There are different styles and everybody, depending on the intensity of practicing, is able to find the one that suits them best. If I was to speak about the benefits I would not be able to single out just one. The Asanas, that is the poses, impact the muscles, joints, breathing, circulation, the nervous and lymphatic system, all organs and glands as well as the mind, psyche and the energy body - energy centers or chakras. We achieve composure, serenity of the mind, relaxation of the body and a sense of inner freedom and peace.
Yoga benefits all levels of existence. The more we practice the toxins from the deeper layers of the muscle tissue and inner organs are released making the body healthier, more toned and flexible.
The power of breath cannot be neglected. A breath is the key to energy, serenity and meditation. Breathing has a very important role because, when breathing and movement are connected, exercising becomes balanced, breathing is deepened, circulation and metabolism are improved and the class turns into meditation on the go. When concentrating on the tense parts of the body we conscientiously relax them by exhaling.
Complete three-layered yoga breathing, phases:
- Belly breath: The belly breath is the foundation of complete yoga breathing since it enables full usage of the lung capacity, while slowing down and deepening breathing and relaxation. While inhaling the diaphragm moves down, massages the belly organs, the stomach balloons up, and while exhaling the diaphragm moves back up, we flex our stomach muscles and we suck in the stomach closer to the spine.
- Chest breathing: When inhaling, our chest expands, the ribs separate and when exhaling it all goes back to its starting position
- Clavicular breathing: When inhaling the air gets only into the tip of the lungs in the upper part of the chest, where we feel the lifting of the clavicle bones. Breathing only with the tip of the lungs is very superficial and fast as a consequence of stress situations, panic, tenseness, etc.
A healthy and natural breathing, which we have neglected in modern living times, consists of all three phases. They all come together as an uninterrupted wave that comes up when inhaling and down when exhaling.
The key rule when practicing yoga is to perform an exercise within the limits of comfort, to listen one's body regardless of the instructions and demonstrations of the instructor, which is how we become protected from any type of injury, sudden muscle pulling or discomfort.
Yoga should not be “tied to improvement” because improvement happens on its own and it should be allowed to occur spontaneously. Yoga is not a competitive discipline and the practitioner should only look for inspiration from their instructor and the other practitioners, avoiding any comparison or negative judgement.
Yoga means unity of the mind, body and spirit which leads to self realization. Yoga is a way of living, a philosophy and practice that gets under your skin, since it is impossible not to feel its benefits, the strength we receive, flexibility and stability of the mind.