The name “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit term Ashtanga and refers to the eight limbs, or aspects, of yoga: Yama (ethical disciplines), Niyama (rules of conduct), Asana (postures), Pranayama (restraint or expansion of the breath), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (ultimate bliss). At 8 Limbs Yoga Centers we focus on asana and pranayama, and offer classes on other aspects to guide practitioners on their path.
BENEFITS OF YOGA
On the inside, yoga enables relaxation. Many practitioners find that yoga helps them to focus and feel relaxed in both work and play. In 2003, scientists studied both long-time yogis and beginners; they found that the stress hormone cortisol had decreased, even after just one session of yoga. Yoga has also been found to increase alpha and theta waves in the brain, meaning that yoga can relax the brain and increase access to the subconscious and emotions. And by simply increasing the feel-good brain chemicals like endorphins, enkephalins, and serotonin, yoga practitioners just feel better.
On the outside, yogis look terrific. This is probably from improvements on the inside! Since yoga balances the metabolism and provides exercise, many find yoga brings their body into balance. Physical yoga strengthens and tones the muscles while improving balance and posture. And yoga is a great way to cross-train for other sports; it can ease strains from injuries and increase strength and flexibility.
When all the body’s systems are balanced, yoga practitioners feel healthier and find they want to make other healthy choices in their life.