The definition of Yoga is union of the mind, body and spirit. Yoga has existed in some form for thousands of years. It is the practice of mind-body physical exercise. Yoga for many is a lifestyle where they embrace the eight limbs of Yoga.
The purpose of those eight limbs is to go beyond the limitations of one’s ego and reach a greater knowledge of being or enlightenment. In a fitness setting, we focus on the limbs of Yoga which encompass the union of mind, body and the breath. Yoga focuses on the importance of flexibility and strength through stability and mobility. The body is placed in various positions that increase strength in parts of the body and flexibility in other parts. These positions or postures are often named things in nature such as tree and moon or after animals, such as cat or cow.
Yoga is traditionally done barefoot on a non-slippery surface to help you with balance and hold postures. I recommend investing in a Yoga mat which is not only slip-proof, but will also leave an imprint on where you last placed your body. Do not eat a heavy meal before practicing Yoga. It is best practiced after your body has had an opportunity to digest.
There are many benefits of doing Yoga first thing in the morning. According to Holisticonline.com, “One of the most important benefit of yoga is its application in relieving stress, fatigue, invigoration and vitality and its anti-aging properties and its application for relaxation therapy.”
According to YogaJournal.com, “Our primary source of light is, of course, the sun. When we look at our closest star, we may see nothing more than a big yellow ball. But for thousands of years, the Hindus have revered the sun, which they call Surya, as both the physical and spiritual heart of our world and the creator of all life itself.”
This is a warm-up called a Half-Salutation. You will move from one posture to the next in a rhythmic flow. Inhale each time you lift your body and exhale each time you fold forward. Repeat the entire sequence 10 times.
1. Stand feet together and hands at center of chest
2. Lift your arms overhead
3. Fold Forward bending at the waist letting hands go as far down as you can
4. Half-way Lift to an almost straight-back position with hands on legs
5. Fold Forward again
6. Lift Arms overhead again
7. Stand feet together and hands at center of chest
Reviewed August 1, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Shannon Koehle
Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training. Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com. She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband, where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.