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Yoga is Healthy Mental Medicine!

By lisa.klein - Posted on 23 April 2014

In choosing our workouts, we often are pressed for time and choose the hardcore run, weight lifting, spinning, or some other heart pumping, muscle exerting activity that is good for our bodies. Sometimes, however, we need to choose something that is good for our bodies but also healthy for our mind. It is a myth that yoga is just ''breathing and stretching''. There are hundreds of forms of yoga, some more strenous, some more relaxing. Some are a more ''yang'' workout- challenging our muscles, breathing, stamina and flexibility, and some are more ''yin''- allowing our bodies to relax and stretch without pushing them, and allowing our minds to mentally relax.
There are countless studies and books written by experts in not only the field of health, fitness, and wellness, but pyschiatrists, psychologists and mental health professionals that prove that practing yoga and meditation has such a positive effect on the body and the mind. Do you ever wonder why people who practice yoga regularly seem so calm and at peace, even during tough emotional times? It's because they have practiced being aware of their bodies and mind and practiced using their breathing and positive mental energy to release stressors, control their reactions to outside negative stimuli and forces, and not allow the distractions and negativity around us to destroy our inner peace and happiness.
As a health and fitness professional who has taught thousands of classes in group settings for over 25 years, I continue to be amazed at the positive effect yoga has on me as a person and a yoga instructor. Practicing being present in the moment and engaged in what I am doing, who I am with or the environment around me leads to greater happiness and gratitude for all that is good. I continue to see participants achieve this ''Ahha" awakening. Too many times we go throughout our day thinking about something that occurred in the past or worrying about the future. Yoga teaches us to be present right here, and right in this momemt. If we are always rushing around, multi-tasking, and spreading our energy in ten different directions, we are rushing through the present moment and risk missing our lives as they are right now.
If you haven't yet given yoga a try, make that your next goal. Your body will become leaner, stronger, and more flexible, but more importantly, you will discover that sense of control of your attitude, reactions, stress, and connection with your inner being. Give it a try and open a new door to mental, emotional, and physical awareness. Namaste!

I've taken various yoga classes; mainly those that are "yang" based. I've left these classes with a greater sense of physical accomplishment. On the other hand, my favorite type of yoga class is definitely of the "yin" format. The mental refreshment I receive from these particular classes is great personally and professionally. As an "on the go" fitness professional, amateur soccer player, and outdoor enthusiast, achieving  a greater sense of self and mental calmness is hard to come by. Participating in "yin" based yoga certainly gives me the "ahha" feeling!


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