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Connecting body, mind and soul through yoga

I think yoga can actually be best described as the owner’s manual to your body.

I always resisted the idea of yoga as I am a very active person. I love swimming, cycling and running and thought yoga would be far too boring, it is just too slow, isn’t it? Luckily, I am also very curious and after an operation on my hands decided that yoga might be helpful to regain my mobility. I have never looked back.

Yoga has become a journey, a way of life, a way to think and to live every day. It has become ingrained in my being and I am still completely and totally in love. The first time I managed an unassisted headstand, a whole new world opened up for me. I started seeing things from a different perspective (physically, emotionally and spiritually).

I often say that yoga is the best therapy you can prescribe to anybody and any ‘body’ as it helps you unlock buried emotions, hurt, anger, sadness and brings with it peace and joy. Our bodies remember. I believe memories are not only held in our brains but is stored everywhere in the body. We often carry our pain and sadness in our hips. Pent-up anger and frustrations are held between the shoulder blades or in the neck region. Creativity can be released by stretching the toes and opening the heart region unlocks pain and opens us to give and receive love, just to name a few.

My own experience with yoga (which is still ongoing) has been therapeutic. I might be doing a certain pose and feel anger suddenly rushing up through my body without there being reason for it or I could be doing a hip stretch and just feel enormous sadness flush over me. I have come to realize that these emotions are my body’s way of reminding me of unresolved issues. They may require forgiveness, acceptance or just need the healing of love. I would take note of these during my yoga session and then later revisit it in my quiet time and slowly work through these things. I am a work in progress.

Yoga is being used across the world in helping people recover from addictions, teaching children to appreciate themselves and heal from hurt or abandonment, helping army veterans connect with their bodies again and work through trauma and PTSD.

Reverend Father Joseph Pereira, the founder of the Kripa Foundation in India has been using yoga for the past 50 years to aid in the rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addiction with great success. In his words : “Meditation and yoga has the power to bring us in touch with our inner self.”

The uses of yoga in therapy are endless and still being explored all over the world. I also use yoga during some of my counseling sessions to help clients connect with themselves on a different level than just through talking, helping them to reconnect body and mind and bring it into balance. It is especially useful in dealing with sexual abuse.

Besides all this, the physical benefits of yoga are immense. As we get older the tendons and muscles in our bodies shorten and contract. The more we contract, the less oxygen reaches our extremities and we age faster and faster. So, if you value your looks and don’t want to grow old quickly then yoga certainly is a good bet. It revitalizes the whole body, boosts oxygen distribution and absorption, flushes out stagnant blood and toxins from internal organs to function more efficiently and detox the body (which is all the hype these days).

Yoga has no age restriction. You can start as a young child or as an older person.

A glowing example is Vanda Scaravelli who started yoga in her late forties and did yoga until her death at 91 years of age. You also don’t have to be a certain body shape or in shape at all…just give it a go. You can do any type or style of yoga, just do yoga! It has changed my life and I know it can also change yours!

Yoga takes you by the scruff of the neck and takes you on a journey whether you like it or not!

Vanda Scaravelli

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