Yoga is Just Stretching, Right?
By Rene Quenell
Misconceptions about what yoga is – and isn’t.
Many people ask me “Yoga is about stretching, right?” or “Is all you do is lie around and stretch and contort your body into weird positions?” Well, one element of yoga is stretching. There is also strengthening and breath work and the list goes on. As a matter of fact a yoga practice can tone all 10 systems of the body. Starting with the muscular system (strength and stretching) and moving through the skeletal system (alignment and bone strength). It also improves the digestive, endocrine, nervous, energy and mental systems. Did you know yoga does all that? Still not convinced? The list is huge. Ask any yogi and they’ll tell you how it has helped them AND you don’t need to be flexible. Yoga helps you become flexible.
It’s not about putting the body in all kinds of weird positions. It’s about the art of healing, finding your inner strength and the art of getting to know yourself better. Oh, and getting stronger, more flexible, losing weight and looking better just happen to be by-products. See, when you address the 10 systems of the body, those systems start working together – a union, hence the word YOGA literally means “union.”
Ah yes, and then there is stress reduction. Learning to cope a little more effectively in the world today is essential. In case you did not know, yoga was mainly designed for men, so don’t think it’s just for the ladies. It benefits us both. Depending on the class you take you can get the toughest workout you’ve ever had or the most relaxing. You can help your back or your PMS. Do some research, find a good credentialed instructor that knows his or her stuff. Tell your instructor your ailments and find the right class for you. You’d be amazed at the transformations that can take place and the peace of mind. So next time someone tells you yoga is just stretching, you can say “Well, actually…”