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Yogic Alignment – Body, Mind & Spirit

23 November 2012

For thousands of years humans have been practicing a variety of yoga techniques and reaping not only the physical benefits but mental and spiritual benefits as well. Yoga practice brings “alignment” to all aspects of life.

Although life can be a beautiful journey, we are also reminded that life is occasionally accompanied by storms throughout our journey. But did you know that yoga practice can help you to prepare for and weather these storms. Yoga enables the body, mind and spirit to recognize these storms and watch them unfold, similar to watching a feature film. We are able to experience all sorts of feelings and emotions, yet we are also able to detach ourselves, knowing “this too shall pass,” even in the midst of all these sensations.

Yoga assists us in stimulating, detoxifying and strengthening all our anatomical systems:

  • Endocrine
  • Respiratory
  • Circulatory
  • Digestive
  • Immune
  • Lymphatic
  • Muscular
  • Reproductive
  • Digestive
  • Skeletal
  • Urinary
  • Nervous

When working with different poses (asanas) we learn to balance and strengthen the relationship we have with our own bodies. This is a most important relationship to promote when we consider that this body is the vessel that will take us through our entire life.

Enjoying a body that you can understand, listen to, and love is a proactive course in the promotion of your overall health and well being. Additionally, you’ll be increasing your balance, flexibility and improving an abundance of other physical attributes.

When we consider building a very complex structure, we would first establish a solid foundation to ensure it could withstand the whole structure. Yoga works in the same way. Example: by standing in Tadasana (the Mountain Pose) you can quickly learn to create this solid foundation. By learning to stand correctly in this pose (and others) we can increase our muscle’s “memory” to unconsciouslyand automatically program the body to assume its correct alignment. Proper alignment prompts the above mentioned systems to function optimally.

Yogic Alignment of the Mind

Take slow, deep, rhythmic breaths through the nose, followed by a slow, even exhalation which empties the lungs completely. This simple breath practice done slowly and fully, with intention, concentration and relaxation activates all of the brain’s primary and beneficial neurotransmitters. Next, take notice of how you feel? Breathing in this fashion and being aware of our breath brings us into the present moment, focusing on the “Now”.

Whenever we train our mind using yoga, pranayama and meditation techniques to focus on the present, we may fully experience that moment. During yoga, practice this by constantly reminding the body to breath, and observe the body in each pose. Breathing has been used and is still being used in treating many mental issues, especially depression and panic attacks. Proper breathing has also been proven to significantly decrease pain and is used in many pain management clinics.

To quote Remez Sasson: “The mind is your instrument. Learn to be its master not its slave.”

Yogic Alignment of the Spirit

Correct alignment with the Spirit enables you to feel a greater connectedness with the Divine or “Self” (Atman) in which you inherently exist. This relationship with the Self is strengthened by practicing internal awareness, or inquiry into the sensations arising within the body.

Literally translated yoga means “to join”, implying the unity of the body, mind and spirit. When these three aspects exist in complete harmony peace becomes your very nature. When practicing yoga on a regular basis, students may feel a sense of ”lightness” of their spirit, experiencing a true connectivity to the world in which they live. Hostility, anger and negativity seem to lift, and the deeper Self is actualized.

But please, keep in mind, that this means next to nothing if the practice of yoga, meditation, mindfulness is not integrated into your lifestyle.

Learn these Basic Principles of Yogic Alignment

The classic Yogic Alignment Principles were introduced to the world at large by Master BKS Iyengar in the book “Light On Yoga”. These Iyengar classes are taught by Rae Indigo in the tradition of this living yoga master. The Asanas are learned with a systematic approach to help students develop strength and flexibility, while fostering a greater sense of well-being and inner peace.

When studying with Rae you will learn to bring the body into complete unity with each pose by using correct alignment and implementing props when necessary, and subsequently these classes are excellent for both beginners and for those with physical limitations as well as advanced practitioners.

Also, check out: Yoga Teacher Training

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