Guest Blog: The Yoga Benefit — What is Yoga and Why Do It?

Guest Blog: The Yoga Benefit — What is Yoga and Why Do It?

As a yoga guide, I am often asked “What are the benefits of yoga?” The answer is both simple and complex. Most situations call for a laundry list of sorts and others invite more in-depth explanations.My intent is to answer some questions and raise others, hopefully encouraging you to conduct deeper research as your journey towards healthy living begins or continues.
 

What is yoga?
 

Know that there are tons of resources, out there to help answer this question. My answer is condensed and quick. The word yoga translated from Sanskrit to English means ‘union’. Yoga is an Indian philosophy that has been in existence for over 5000 years. You do not need to abandon your existing spiritual or religious beliefs to be a yoga practitioner, and most modern yoga practitioners use the posture and breathing techniques of this mind-body practice. Yoga practice can be meditative breath work and/or a full-body work out. I practice four to six times a week—but even one yoga class per week can be beneficial.

Why do yoga?
 

My own “Why do it?” yoga story developed in two parts. As a former athlete and dancer, I craved movement, strengthening, and stretching. I took some yoga classes as part of my regular exercise routine. But it was the consecutive deaths of my brother and then my father that propelled me into a life of yoga practice. As I struggled with the grief and healing process, I went to yoga classes as a diversion and for stress relief. I found that the combination of the physical practice and breathing reduced my stress and provided my body and spirit with the strength it needed to make it through this difficult period of my life. The marriage between Tanynya and yoga has been solid for over eight years! My practice continues to provide balance and strength in my life, and the benefits for me are endless. Some of the benefits of yoga as they relate to me include total body workout, promoting proper breathing, calming my mind, maintaining flexibility, encouraging weight loss, reducing stress, boosting immunity, improving posture, protecting my body from injuries, reducing headaches and menstrual pain, stimulating better sleep, maintaining bone density, eliminating daily foot pain, and improving core strength.

As you think about incorporating yoga into your life, here are a few questions to consider. Are you able to or do you currently engage in enough regular intentional movement such as exercise? Is there time in your schedule dedicated to introspection and self-reflection? How often do you allow yourself to simply be still? If life balance and mind-body balance are your goals... then consider yoga. The union of work/play and mind/body may be assisted by such a practice. And if yoga doesn't work for you, try new things until you find the movement practice that works best for your lifestyle. Just DO something…

I leave you with,
Om Shanti
Meaning peace for all…
Tanynya

Resources

"Yoga 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Practice, Meditation, and Sutras" by Cindy Lee in Yoga Journal (http://www.yogajournal.com/article/beginners/yoga-questions-answered)

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About the Author

Tanynya Hekymara graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in English and American Literature. She is an accomplished yoga, mindfulness and meditation guide. In 2005, she searched for a way to walk through grief after the deaths of her youngest brother and father. With strenuous physical work and soothing mental reflection, yoga became her therapy. She took her first teacher training in 2007 and taught her first yoga class later that year. She has continued her training, earning certifications in senior yoga, meditation, and core training. She works with organizations, corporations, schools and individuals to meet diversity, inclusion, mindfulness, and health goals through individual counseling and professional and personal development. Tanynya leads yoga classes at 24-Hour Fitness and offers private instruction and mindfulness and meditation guidance for individuals and groups. She is a member of Great Black Speakers, presenting lectures and workshops on the benefits of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness in the L.A. area, and she is a member of the Board of Trustees for Westmark School.