By Marilyn Halpern ~
The primary aim of yoga is to restore the mind to simplicity, peace, and poise, to free it from distress. ―B.K.S. Iyenga
September is National Yoga Awareness Month with the goal of educating the public about yoga and the tremendous health benefits it offers. Yoga began more than 5,000 years ago as a way to promote individual health and well-being. The practice has grown significantly and provides a variety of opportunities for the lifespan from babies to seniors. Physical movements range from gentle stretches done in a chair to very complex poses and everything in between. Yoga can be adapted for all fitness levels and abilities. The important factor is movement and breath.
The word yoga means to yoke or unite the mind, body and spirit. Yoga builds strength, flexibility and balance. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), yoga can help a person maintain overall well-being, improve physical fitness, and relieve stress. Many United States and international universities have found lasting and beneficial effects of yoga including Improved concentration, memory, sleep, and pain management. Yoga has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. The University of Washington has created “12 Reasons Yoga Helps Improve Life Span” read the article at this link: https://thewholeu.uw.edu/2015/09/28/yoga-for-longevity/
Ready to get started? If you are inspired to learn more about yoga, there are many books, DVDs and online videos to help you begin. Some yoga YouTube channels offer complete yoga courses free of charge. Your local library has a plethora of materials. Yoga books, DVDs and Yoga Magazine are a few of the resources you’ll find available. Colorado is yoga-rich. You will find yoga classes offered at studios, recreational centers, and faith communities. In-person classes are fun and inspirational.
Here’s to our collective happiness and vitality as we explore the many benefits of yoga this month. Starting yoga now will boost your immune system for a healthier winter. Whether you are getting back to your yoga mat or just getting started, I hope yoga becomes a wellness habit for you. Be well.
Marilyn Halpern is the founder and executive director of Aspen Care Services. This locally owned business provides medical power of attorney, care management and professional guardianship services in the Denver Metro area. For more information visit – www.aspencareservices.com or www.aginglifecare.org. Photo credit: Roland Halpern