Why Yoga in difficult times?
Yoga is a form of exercise that has become popular, that most everyone does and many swear by, and yet, do we know what it is? Why are we offering online yoga classes? Why not stick with gym or pilates? Online sales of treadmills are thriving I hear!
Most people will tell you that they go to yoga because they feel more relaxed after a class; others find release from the stress of everyday life and are able to cope better with their daily tasks. The gentle movement of some of today’s schools of yoga lubricates joints and fascia; other schools build muscle strength, yet others concentrate on detoxification of the organs, or on achieving greater flexibility.
Activate the neurotransmitters that give you a feeling of joy!
At the moment though, in April 2020, we need more than just exercise; Yoga affects not only our body but also our mind. It has been shown that after the practice of meditation – and all yoga can be a form of meditation if we bring our full awareness to our practice – levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine increase, while those of norepinephrine decrease. What this means is that our anxiety and stress levels fall and so we feel more joyful and life seems easier. Just what we want right now!
Whatever you are looking for, Ananda Laié is here to provide it! We know that doing a brief meditation in the morning, a gentle or energetic practice during the day and perhaps Yin Yoga or Yoga Nidra in the evening will help you to see the day through if you are confined on your own – or will give you an activity to share with your loved ones, or a private time to yourself if you are finding confinement in company difficult!
What is Yoga?
We should perhaps differentiate between Yoga, with a capital Y, the age-old Indian philosophical system that struggles to understand life, and yoga with a small y which, although derived from Indian practices, is mostly a development of the twentieth century that has spread rapidly throughout the world. The history, the philosophy, the Sacred Texts of Yoga are fascinating and teach us much about how best to lead our lives; they are the foundations of Hindu religions, Buddhism, and Jainism and their echoes are found in Christianity. Basically, the message is the same: love your neighbor, do to others as you would have done to you; be a good person otherwise you will be reborn as a bug – or spend eternity in hell, depending on your beliefs.
In times like these, solidarity, compassion, and love of oneself and of others are crucial and Yoga can help you attain a balanced view of yourself and others.
“The aim of Hindu philosophy and of the training in yoga practice is to transcend the limits of individualized consciousness. The mythical tales are meant to convey the wisdom of the philosophers and to exhibit in a popular, pictorial form the experiences or results of yoga. Appealing directly to intuition and imagination, they are accessible to all as an interpretation of existence.”Heinrich Zimmer. Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 2017. 39-40.
Doing a regular yoga practice – and you probably have the time for it now – will help you transcend “the limits of individualized consciousness.” After all, we’re all in this together! And of course the physical aspect of a yoga practice will help you keep fit during this time of confinement.
Wash your hands! Keep safe!
More on why do Yoga later!