Yoga soothes stress…
One of the biggest benefits of yoga is happiness. It arises naturally as we practice more and our sleep gets better, our aches and pains start to dissipate, our digestion improves and we start feeling less stressed. “The physical practices of yoga begin to undo all the things that stand in the way of our sense of freedom and ease” says Rod Stryker, the founder of ParaYoga and author of The Four Desires. “When we start to feel better, we begin to feel like ourselves again”.
Stryker pioints out that the creators of the physical methodology of yoga also created internal practices (such as pranayama and meditation) designed to support a deeper level of healing and well-being. In the traditional pursuit of yoga, asana (the physical side of yoga) was the way to purify and align the body so that the inner dimensions of the Self could be more easily explored. “It’s not so much the world that causes stress and disease as our reaction to it,” Stryker explains. “The more understanding we develop and the more perceptive we can be about ourseles and our imbalances, the more we can develop and sustain the benefits of a yoga practice in all aspects of our lives.”
As you become more comfortable in your body, you might find that your practice naturally helps you begin to shift from feeling better physically, to feeling a greater sense of joy and creating a level of stillness that allows you to see yourself more clearly. “If unhappiness is one end of the stress continuum, tranquility is the other end. Over a long-term practice, you start to live your life more aligned with your inner Self. When you live that way, that is the best formula for happiness there is.”
Whether you come to yoga to alleviate stress or to become stronger and more flexible, the yoga practice will support your deepest intention. You will benefit each time you step onto the mat. You may even find – as many other yogis have – the practice exceeds even your highest expectations and that your whole life becomes more healthful and joyful.