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Yoga is a State of Being
5 Benefits of a Regular Yoga Practice
Yoga Class is...
N is for Namaste
M is for Mantra

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Yoga is a State of Being

When people discover I’m a yoga teacher, they often say something along the lines of the following:

“Oh, I do yoga.”
“Oh, I could never do yoga.”
“I should do yoga.” 
“I’m not (__fill in the blank__) enough to do yoga.”
“I don’t have time to do yoga.”

The interesting thing about these responses is the common idea that yoga is something you “do”.  We see people practicing yoga, or “doing” challenging postures on a mat, in fancy clothing, and thinkthatis yoga.  Suddenly, yoga seems out of reach because of time, work, family, life.

5 Benefits of a Regular Yoga Practice

5 Benefits of a Regular Yoga Practice
By Linda Nutter Snay, RYT

Yoga is a widely growing practice in the U.S.  In fact, the 2016 Yoga in America Study conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance found that over 36 million people have practiced yoga at some time in their life.  That’s an astounding number of people embracing the benefits of an ancient practice into their modern life.  Why?  What benefits does the modern yoga student gain that keeps them coming back? 

5 Benefits of a Regular Yoga Practice

Yoga Class is...

Yoga class is a sacred space, free of judgment, expectations, and criticism.  
 
Yoga is where we turn to quiet our minds from the chaos of the outside world.
Yoga is where we release the tension we have accumulated within the body and make space for healing.  
Yoga is where we feel safe, supported, and at peace.
Yoga is not an escape.  

Yoga is a technique for getting quiet, feeling the breath and heart beat, and turning the awareness inward.
We become calm, quiet, and centered.

N is for Namaste

N is for Namaste

Once you step into a yoga class, you will most likely hear new words and phrases you have never heard before.  These new words you hear are based in the ancient language of yoga, Sanskrit.  

In some classes, the teacher will use only Sanskrit terminology when referring to yoga asanas (Sanskrit for postures).  Others may teach completely in the English translations.  My preference is to teach mostly with English terminology, yet introduce basic Sanskrit terms to help anchor the teaching to modern life.

M is for Mantra

M is for Mantra

Mantras are a useful addition to a meditation practice.  You can silently, or aloud, repeat a word or groups of words to help your mind stay focused.  You can repeat the mantras through out your meditation, to re-connect when your mind wanders, or to begin or end a meditation practice. 

Here are some commonly used mantras, their definitions and ways to incorporate them into your practice.   

OM/ AUM:  Probably to most recognized mantra in yoga.  It has many translations, but most often refers to the divine universe, or the union with the universe.

L is for Listening

Listening is a powerful quality.  At its most basic, it’s a sense that we use to be in the world around us, to keep us safe and informed.  Past that, it’s an emotional quality we develop (and continue to develop) throughout life.  We expect it of others, so we are heard.  We teach it to our children, so they learn the value of being a good listener.  We do our best to listen to our loved ones, so they can express themselves and feel heard as well.  But there is an even deeper listening, one we are not often taught.

K is for Kids Yoga & Meditation

Much of the talk about yoga is directed at adults.  The benefits to health, concentration, fitness, stress relief, sleep, and managing emotions.  But it’s important we don’t overlook the wonderful benefits yoga can provide our kids.   

Kids today are often very busy.  There is a lot of work to do at school and much less play.  There are lots of organized activities and much less free time.  At the most basic level, yoga and meditation give kids a chance to use their bodies through movement and listen to or still their minds.

J is for Jnana Mudra

Amudrais a hand gesture, often used during meditation or even within some yoga postures to help direct the movement ofPrana, or life-force energy.  There is often symbolism in the fingers, the shape of the gestures, and many times the mudras are used to cultivate a specific quality, such as calm, uplifting energy, and stillness of the mind.  You will often see mudras on the figures in ancient artwork of Asia, as they are symbols in myths, stories, and figures and add meaning to the art.

I is for Interruptions

Once you begin a regular yoga practice, you will find you benefit so much from the routine, the stillness it provides, the consistency, the community.  And then life will show up in one of its many forms to interrupt what you have worked for.  While in the moment, you may perceive this to be annoying, it may upset you, you may not know just when you will get back to your practice, but this is a huge turning point.  A big opportunity for growth, even if it's hard to see at that moment.

H is for Home Practice

H is for Home Practice

After you have a taken a series of yoga classes, you may begin to find you want to practice more and perhaps even on your own.  This is called building a home practice.  Home practice is beneficial because it allows you to continue to work on asana and meditation to encourage progress in your practice, both physical and spiritual.  Another benefit to home practice is it costs almost nothing. 

To begin a home practice, you will need a yoga mat and space to unroll your mat.
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