PASCHIMOTTANASANA – Seated Forward Fold – Forward fold as you press into an acupressure point, “Great Rushing”, located on the webbing between the big toe and the index toe … believed to improve liver health and known to helps with insomnia. Give it a try:) note: there’s a block under your third eye for stability and support for your neck/shoulders.
Different people come to yoga for different reasons and reasons oftentimes vary according to the stages you’ve entered in your life. In your teens or early years, yoga serves well as a means to improve your athletic performance or to recover from or prevent athletic injuries. Or given today’s teens pressures and stress-level, it can be about healthy body awareness and techniques for relaxation and self-care. At any age, and especially in developing formative years, practice of yoga is enormously helpful by improving proprioception while toning and strengthening the muscles and generally improving the muscular-skeletal alignment. (To improve proprioception, we do better without a mirror during practice but for beginners, mirrors can aid in that path of self-discovery as long as you are not into body shaming and over-self-consciousness. Then it’s a distraction more than an aide)
So yoga can serve different purpose depending on – one’s age and condition – so for the teens, it may be to reign in the fidgety wiggly lack of steadiness and focus. Perhaps in your 20’s, it might be about being in better shape – yoga may seem too slow in the desire to break a sweat – maybe it’s not enough to quiet the agitations and the angst you feel… but there’s so many different styles of yoga to meet such needs if that’s the priority – there’s ashtanga style (physically very demanding) and there’s … faster paced vinyasa and of course, hot yoga – you will be sweating for sure. Or why not dance and then yoga to help you dance better with more freedom, less pain or tightness – a rehabilitative non performance based practice can serve us all. It’s about a fusion and a customized blend as you become more and more sophisticated in your yoga practice to fulfill your own unique needs. At any stage in life.
So, then, in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70′, and beyond ( you know, committed yogis remain sharp witted and live a long time, lol, seriously look up “Tao Porchon-Lynch”:) – again, there’s that sports medicine aspect (your PT, Chiropractor, doctors may recommend it) and your own desire to just feel better. Less in a slump, less stuck, less frustrated and agitated. The practice may represent an alternative medicine of sorts – And that is empowering because … you are the one to find that inner body wisdom and healer within – there’s no dependency on anyone else but to be with curious mind, find out why you feel the way you feel and calibrate it to that place of peace and tranquility. To self-soothe without any outside intervention … if that isn’t empowering, I don’t know what is ! THEN, sometimes, that inner wisdom may lead you to seek some professional medical advice after all. It’s all good.
Invariably though, the most powerful reason people take it up is to find more room and space within our body, to find more freedom within, and to better manage stress and energy level – To keep at bay those undesirable symptoms that accompany stress. In whatever stage you find yourself though, there’s a common thread in that yoga is to simply feel better, feel whole, feel fully integrated and engaged … to be freed of pain and suffering. To return to the source of your blissful being, inside those layers and layers of blockages that shroud the true radiant “resplendent” light that you truly are.
So whether your own reasons are multi-faceted or deceivingly simple …how about, to just feel light and joyful:) Here’s another reason as recommended by Dean Onish, MD: Here & Here:
To add, here are some readings that may be helpful in addressing your Cardio and overall health:
- The Heart Speaks – A Cardiologist Reveals the Secret Language of Healing by Mimi Guarneri, MD.
- 108 Pearls by Mimi Guarneri MD
- Yoga for Healthy Aging, Baxter Bell MD (one of my teachers at Niroga:)
- The Healing Power of the Breath -Richard P. Brown MD & Patricia L.Gerbarg, MD
& here’s a book I am reaching for right about now … Good Night:) Sleep, the elixir of rejuvenation we all need. Evening yoga practice should be about – how to invite an ever more luscious and relaxing evening, free of worries and anxiety of what a future may hold; regrets on what’s past. Like babes, sometimes we need to be swaddled and stroked and sang to a lullaby or two (an adult version may be that Chill tune that puts your mind to ease.) Get your sleep – everything else can wait.