My Yoga Philosophy
I practice and teach Hatha Yoga, the foundational style of yoga from which all other styles have been born. More specifically, my expertise is with Integral Hatha Yoga, a gentle, strong and mindful style of Yoga that was designed and implemented by Swami Satchidananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda.
In Hatha & especially Integral Yoga, we allow the body time to integrate the changes we have made while practicing a pose. You may find yourself in Savasana immediately following Sun Salutations, and that's because with Intergral Yoga, the desire and goal is to turn inward, reconnect with your body and spirit, and make true progress in the areas that you desire.
Some styles of Yoga have evolved into more of an aerobic workout - you wont find that with Hatha. While this style will build great strength and flexibility, the goal is not to get your heart pounding and sweat pouring down your face - the goal is to reconnect you with who you truly are, and to make steady, gentle progress that your body can benefit from, longterm. When we force ourselves into a seated forward bend, forehead to knees, hands desperately grasping our feet to keep it there, all the while ignoring our screaming hamstrings and hunched lower back, we send the signal to our body that we have no respect for where it currently is. And the body very quickly gets the message that we are not to be trusted, and every joint and muscle begins to fight back. When a muscle is over stretched, it calls out to the brain that it's going to be torn apart, and the body immediately tries to protect that muscle by tightening up. And then you find yourself getting nowhere, month after month of forehead to knees, wondering why your hamstrings are still screaming at you every single class.
My philosophy with Yoga is this: take yourself right to your own personal edge, and then have the courage to take a step back, and practice from there for awhile. That's how you'll develop a trusting relationship with your body. By letting it know that you are willing to honor just where it is, your body will honor you and take you where it is you want to go.
The benefits of Yoga are vast, but here's a few to consider:
- It helps strengthen back muscles, thereby decreasing back pain, and making it more comfortable to sit for long periods of time at a desk.
- Yoga gets your blood flowing, supplying your cells with more oxygen, making them function better as a result.
- It increases the drainage of lymphatic fluid throughout the body, which in turn helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells and dispose of toxic waste produced by normal cellular functions.
- It lowers your resting heart rate & increases endurance.
- Yoga is known to lower blood pressure.
- It lowers cortisol levels in the body. Excessive cortisol in the body has been linked to depression, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, insulin resistance & weight gain.
- Yoga can improve depression, and lead to a significant increase in serotonin levels.
- Yoga lowers blood sugar, thereby decreasing the risk of diabetic complications such as heart attack, kidney failure and blindness in those who have diabetes.
- It lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and boosts HDL (good) cholesterol.
- A regular Yoga practice can improve coordination, reaction time, memory & even IQ!
- Yoga balances the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) and the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing the body to relax and focus.
- A Harvard study found that Yoga improves sleep!
- Yoga has been known to ease pain for patients suffering from arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome & other chronic conditions.
- It also has been known to help patients suffering asthma, high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes, and obsessive compulsive disorder lower their medication & sometimes come off them entirely.
- A recent study found yoga altered gene expression which boosted the immune system.
- Research shows that yoga can lower the number and severity of migraines.