Yoga: A Union of Body, Mind and Spirit
Perhaps the most obvious impact is made by acting on the connective tissue or fascia. When we get into these shapes we call yoga poses, we contract and expand our fascia – a complex system of organized and unorganized tissue that holds and runs through every system in the body. When we move the fascia, we’re acting on the continuum of tissue that holds the muscular, nervous and glandular systems, thereby inspiring and imbibing our bodies from the inside out. When we practice yoga, we’re bringing balance to our hormones, circadian rhythm and immune system.
Woven into the asana (practice of the postures) is pranayama (breath practice). Pranayama’s health impact may seem less obvious but is exponentially empowering compared to exercise alone. Vegal tone is the effect on the heart when the parasympathetic nerve fibers are controlling it. It’s our “rest and digest” state. Healthy vegal tone is indicated by a slight increase in heart rate when you inhale and decrease when you exhale. Strong vegal tone means our bodies can relax more quickly after stress. Deep diaphramatic breathing with a long slow exhale is key to stimulating the vegus nerve.
If you’ve taken a Vinyasa yoga class, you’ve likely been exposed to Ujjayi Pranayama. Ujjayi (pronounced oo-ja-yi) breath is performed by creating a subtle tone around the throat while inhaling and exhaling through the nose. We breath this way while we move through and hold yoga poses and it’s benefits are miraculous. Beyond creating vegal tone, linking our movements to the breath creates the yoga: union of body, mind and spirit. The breath is the basis and measure of life itself. It is the vehicle for the life force. Imagine the fun of conducting the life force energetically through you while you move your body. That’s a yoga class!
WE HAVE MOVED!
6170 Delmar, across from the Moonrise Hotel. Free parking in the u-city lot.
Go to www.stlouisyogasource.com for our full class schedule.