By Kimaya Singh
My Guru often talks to teachers about the how Hatha Yoga defies gravity by maintaining the skeleton. Think about it: Gravity mildly contracts the muscles and body every day, without much notice. Without Yoga training, we would shrink and stiffen, until movement was nearly impossible. As Paulji would say, “Hatha Yoga is your skeleton’s second lease on life.”
A regular Yogic practice offers many anti-aging effects to the practitioner. There is a huge variety of different styles with emphasis on many different aspects of health. Some types are more vigorous, and others are more restorative in nature. All Yogic practices will help to delay the effects of aging. A regular Yoga practice will keep your muscles and joints flexible and limber, as well as increasing blood circulation throughout your body and brain.
Asana and pranayama also help to tone and detoxify your digestive tract, helping you to more easily absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins. Participating in classes at an ashram, studio, gym, or community center will also keep you active and engaged in your community, warding off the isolation and depression that affects so many people in their later years.
The regular practice of postures (asanas) will help you to maintain a good sense of balance, and keep your spine flexible. Additionally, your muscles and ligaments will remain toned and strong. It is advisable to practice asanas that are only as vigorous as your body will safely allow. Therefore, finding a certified Yoga teacher is essential for a safe practice.
Of course, remember to respect the strengths and limitations of your own body. Work up to your edge and not beyond it. The more vigorous practices of Hatha, such as power, vinyasa, and hot Yoga, will have a profoundly beneficial effect on your levels of flexibility, strength, stamina and balance.
Asana practice is a great way to increase the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout your entire body, which also includes your brain. This is one of the keys to anti-aging effects. As we age, our cognitive functions may begin to decline, either subtly or noticeably.
The mildly inverted asanas will help to supply your brain with new blood and oxygen, increasing the health of your brain over time. Yoga training also help to keep your digestive tract running smoothly and regularly. This will aid in proper digestion and the release of toxins in your system.
Another wonderful anti-aging aspect of a regular Yoga practice is that it keeps you both physically active and socially-engaged. If you practice at a studio, health club or community center, you will also remain connected to other members of your community throughout your golden years.
Some of the most insidious ailments of our older years are loneliness, isolation, and depression. Practicing Yoga in a community context will not only make you feel physically lighter and fitter, it will also keep you connected to an active and vibrant community of like-minded practitioners.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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