Yoga for a Balanced Body
The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning to bind, join, attach and yoke, to direct and concentrate one’s attention on, to use and apply. It also means union or communion. (From B.K.S. Iyengar Light on Yoga book). Many people view Yoga as finding time and space to relax, meditate, connect closer to their spirit and source, or to simply have a better connection with their own bodies through movement. Many people also view yoga as “just stretching”.
Yoga can be all of these things and more, but from the physical side of things, Yoga is a great way to create balance within the body as a whole, by lengthening muscles that are too short, increasing range of motion, strength, and flexibility. Most humans have sedentary jobs or lifestyles, poor postural habits, compensation patterns created by injury or surgery, among many other things that can cause and create physical imbalances. Strength training is the form of exercise most people utilize for fitness. It is great for increasing strength, building muscle, helping to stabilize joints, as well as keep bones healthy and strong, as the constant tension of muscle to bone helps the bone to generate healthy density. Unfortunately, even having a healthy active lifestyle can create imbalances within the physical body if a person isn’t taking the time and care to also bring some form of stretching, or lengthening of muscle and connective tissue, into their exercise routine. Whether it be during exercise, or our day to day lives, most people very rarely move their entire body through its full range of motion.
If we exercise and train our muscles/bodies to only move in a limited range of motion, we are more likely to create more compensation patterns, muscle and connective tissue shortening, and joint compression. This can lead to a natural shearing of tendons and ligaments, which can lead to injury or even the need for surgery. These types of physical and exercise habits can also cause certain muscles, or muscle groups to become too strong, leaving little to no give in the tissue, or too weak, where they are then unable to support the body in the way that it needs.
Yoga not only lengthens muscle and connective tissue, it also helps to build strength in tendons and ligaments, as well as muscles we don’t normally use, or activate during traditional strength training or exercise. Yoga teaches you to engage your body/muscle through correct alignment through asana (yoga postures), which in turn creates strength and stabilization three dimensionally for the body.
A full and well balanced body works together as a whole, not in pieces. Yoga is a great way to incorporate that balance into your life so that you may keep your “machine” running as efficiently as possible, for as long as possible. Take care of your body. It is the ONLY place you have to live.
ASIA STOCKWELL: YOGA
Asia is a Wyoming native. She fell in love with yoga at a local studio and it changed her life in many ways for the better! Yoga encouraged her to begin rock climbing and get certified as a RYT200. Her favorite activities include anything in the sunshine! Hiking, sun sipping, camping, and her newest addiction, rock climbing! (Which yoga has helped IMMENSELY) She is co-owner of Maven Yoga in Sheridan and teaches Yoga and Hot Yoga at PURENERGY Fitness