September 26, 2020
Contrary to the tired old cliches, yoga is more than “just breathing and stretching.”
In fact, yoga can be an incredibly intense physical workout that humbles even the most accomplished athletes (just attend a heated, power vinyasa flow if you don’t believe me). But beyond the physical activity, there lies much more. In fact, research shows that yoga benefits our mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.
As I have joyfully discovered, the foundational tools of yoga are also life tools: breath, focus, grounding, true north alignment. Yoga provides an opportunity to practice these tools on our mats and distill them into the valuable resources of presence, mindfulness, grace, equanimity, calm and strength for our everyday celebrations and challenges. Although yoga is an individual practice, it has helped me connect to a whole new community I didn’t even know I needed.
This social connection through community stems in part from the fact that yoga is for everybody and every body. No matter how small or tall you are, there is no room for judgement on the mat. Simple pose modifications allow accessibility to every body type and experience level: from the novice to the most advanced practitioner and everyone in between so that we can all flow with each other at the same time.
During this pandemic, many studios are open and allow for social distancing as well as offering virtual classes. Begin by exploring the various styles of yoga and try different studios and instructors to find what fits best for you. Suspend any concern or judgement about getting it right or looking a certain way and simply show up as you are.
I did years ago and it literally changed my life. I live off my mat with far greater presence; yoga gives me grace; when I teach I feel energy & connection; when I practice, I get balance. Practice makes possible.
What’s possible for you if you initiate the next first step toward a yoga practice?
For more information on yoga for everyone: https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/beginner-yoga
This article was submitted by the Lee’s Summit Health Education Advisory Board, and written by guest author Roseanne Corley, a licensed Professional Counselor who provides training and coaching to employees, leaders and teams for Saint Luke’s Health System Employee Assistance Program. Ms. Corley is also a certified yoga instructor at Core Energy Yoga.
The Lee’s Summit Health Education Advisory Board is a Mayor-appointed, volunteer board that promotes and advocates community health by assessing health issues, educating the public and government agencies, developing plans to address health issues, encouraging partnerships and evaluating the outcomes.
“Health is a state of complete mental, physical, and social well being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.” World Health Organization.