The Beginner

Yoga is an ancient art and science with a vast array of practical applications in modern life. The physical practice of yoga uses the asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing) as a tool for concentration. By linking our mind and body with intention and effort, we can tap into the vital energy available to us all. By working the body, controlling the breath and quieting the mind, we create a stable, calm center from which we can live our lives. Yoga is a powerful practice to help us deal with our daily challenges in a more graceful and empowering way. 

Yoga is a lifelong practice that changes and evolves with us and there’s no need to do it all on the first try. Remember it is not a competition with others or yourself. We not only remind ourselves this each time we arrive, but many times throught the class. Challenge yourself but don’t push too hard – yoga should never be painful. If you can’t breathe, it’s a warning to back off a little and reduce the intensity of the pose. If you push too hard, you not only risk injury, but lose the maximum benefit of the practice.
There are many modifications available for the physical poses to make them more or less challenging depending on your needs. No one is too stiff, old, overweight, or out of shape to begin.

Yoga practice helps you build strength, increase flexibility, and develop greater mental focus. Remember, the hardest part is walking through the studio’s front door! Try different classes and talk with your teachers (they like questions). Over time, you can tailor an individualized practice that emphasizes exactly what you need.
Gresham's EpíCenter of Wellbeing
Guidelines for Practice

  • Please arrive early enough to change and get settled so that class may start on time without disruption. 10-15 minutes is ideal.
  • Advise the teacher if you have any preexisting or current injuries or if you are pregnant. 
  • Yoga is best practiced with an empty stomach. Allow 1-2 hours after a light snack and 3-4 hours after a heavy meal. 
  • Drink plenty of water before hand, as it is usually not drank or at least limited during practice.
  • Bare feet. Please remove your shoes before entering the studio space.
  • Have a mat? We provide mats, blocks, straps, and blankets. However, we strongly suggest that students either bring their own mats.
  • Please do not wear perfumes, oils or other strongly scented body products as many people are sensitive to scents, even natural ones.
  • Keep your voice down. This is a shared space with meditation, massage and other healing arts. Enjoy your conversations with friends and teachers, but do so quietly so that others may enjoy their visit as well.
  • This is a cell-free zone! Please turn your cell phones off when you arrive.
  • EGO- This is something that will not serve us in yoga, along with competitiveness. Don’t worry about your expectations. Just come with an open mind and heart. 
  • Enjoy yourself! 

By following these guidelines you and your fellow students will have a much more enjoyable and beneficial experience.
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The Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is a science that has been practiced for thousands of years. It is consists of Ancient Theories, observations and principles about the mind and body connection which is now being proven by modern medicine. Substantial research has been conducted to look at the Health Benefits of Yoga – from the Yoga Postures (Asanas), Yoga Breathing (Pranayama), and Meditation. The information on Yoga Poses & Benefits are grouped into three categories-physiological, psychological, biochemical effects. Furthermore, scientists have laid these results against the benefits of regular exercise.


Physiological Benefits of Yoga

  • Stable autonomic nervous system equilibrium
  • Pulse rate decreases
  • Respiratory rate decreases
  • Blood Pressure decreases (of special significance for hyporeactors)
  • Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) increases
  • EEG – alpha waves increase (theta, delta, and beta waves also increase during various stages of meditation)
  • EMG activity decreases
  • Cardiovascular efficiency increases
  • Respiratory efficiency increases
  • Gastrointestinal function normalizes
  • Endocrine function normalizes
  • Excretory functions improve
  • Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase
  • Breath-holding time increases
  • Joint range of motion increase
  • Grip strength increases
  • Eye-hand coordination improves
  • Dexterity skills improve
  • Reaction time improves
  • Posture improves
  • Strength and resiliency increase
  • Endurance increases
  • Energy level increases
  • Weight normalizes
  • Sleep improves
  • Immunity increases
  • Pain decreases
  • Steadiness improves
  • Depth perception improves
  • Balance improves
  • Integrated functioning of body parts improves

Psychological Benefits of Yoga
  • Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase
  • Mood improves and subjective well-being increases
  • Self-acceptance and self-actualization increase
  • Social adjustment increases
  • Anxiety and Depression decrease
  • Hostility decreases
  • Concentration improves
  • Memory improves
  • Attention improves
  • Learning efficiency improves
  • Mood improves
  • Self-actualization increase
  • Social skills increases
  • Well-being increases
  • Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase
  • Self-acceptance increase
  • Attention improves
  • Concentration improves
  • Memory improves
  • Learning efficiency improves
  • Symbol coding improves
  • Depth perception improves
  • Flicker fusion frequency improves

Biochemical Benefits of Yoga
  • Glucose decreases
  • Sodium decreases
  • Total cholesterol decreases
  • Triglycerides decrease
  • HDL cholesterol increases
  • LDL cholesterol decreases
  • VLDL cholesterol decreases
  • Cholinesterase increases
  • Catecholamines decrease
  • ATPase increases
  • Hematocrit increases
  • Hemoglobin increases
  • Lymphocyte count increases
  • Total white blood cell count decreases
  • Thyroxin increases
  • Vitamin C increases
  • Total serum protein increases

Yoga Health Benefits versus Exercise Benefits
  • Yoga Benefits
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System dominates
  • Subcortical regions of brain dominate
  • Slow dynamic and static movements
  • Normalization of muscle tone
  • Low risk of injuring muscles and ligaments
  • Low caloric consumption
  • Effort is minimized, relaxed
  • Energizing (breathing is natural or controlled)
  • Balanced activity of opposing muscle groups
  • Noncompetitive, process-oriented
  • Awareness is internal (focus is on breath and the infinite)
  • Limitless possibilities for growth in self-awareness
  • Exercise Benefits
  • Sympathetic Nervous System dominates
  • Cortical regions of brain dominate
  • Rapid forceful movements
  • Increased muscle tension
  • Higher risk of injury
  • Moderate to high caloric consumption
  • Effort is maximized
  • Fatiguing (breathing is taxed)
  • Imbalance activity of opposing groups
  • Competitive, goal-oriented
  • Awareness is external (focus is on reaching the toes, reaching the finish line, etc.)
  • Boredom factor
 

This article was contributed by: 
www.cyberastro.com  and  www.movingintostillness.com .
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