What is yoga? By Hope Zvara, Mother Trucker Yoga®
A question that a few years ago could have been more easily answered. But in todays modern western world one that is a bit more complicated to answer.
Many equate yoga to stretching, or even impossible poses followed by sitting still and meditating (what is that exactly?).
And for some, that is true. But yoga really is way more than physically stretching or mastering the impossible pose. It’s about stretching ones’ self beyond their current situation and striving to master the quest to get to know ones’ self.
In a world that thrives on compartmentalizing everything from school children to medical care, from diets to fitness, yoga is all encompassing. And that may be the very reason why many struggle to understand it, or choose to extract only parts from such a well rounded practice.
So, what is yoga really?
I often explain it to my students that yoga is a lifestyle, a way to approach life and everything in it. And the part of yoga we are most familiar with is only ONE aspect of such a huge life application. Which is why I believe many thrive to pick it apart and twist it around.
Asana (pronounced ah-sa-na), better known as poses, are the physical exercises performed on the rectangular thing called a yoga mat. Extract asana from yoga and you have physical fitness. Which in today’s western world is what many equate to yoga.
I believe that how you practice yoga is a mini incubator for how you live your every day life.
Timid, forceful, aggressive, unsure, rough, questioning, full of comparison, anxiety, fear, joy, happiness, confusion. These feelings and then some are the exact feelings, emotions and attitudes you are experiencing in your every day life. The only difference is now you are in a controlled setting with no where to run, unable to talk back, no cell phone to distract you, and you are now asked to sit with your feelings and…feel.
Yoga for me personally was a tool to help me overcome a life strangling eating disorder and develop tools to manage and overcome very high levels of anxiety.
So, what is yoga to a trucker?
Yoga can be that missing tool to help you improve that aching back or painful sciatica or plantar fasciitis. Or aid in a better night’s sleep, manage stress, improve breathing, step away from addictive patterns. Yoga can help balance out a change in diet and my favorite…help you start to live a more mindful centered life.
When the road is your home yoga can become that constant for you. Those few moments in your day where you feel centered, calm and relaxed. And because yoga can be done anytime, anywhere, yoga is perfect for a road warrior.
Still not sure?
Here are a few more amazing benefits to what yoga can offer you.
- Improves flexibility
- Strengthens muscles, conditioning us from arthritis and back pain
- Realigns the spine & help to distribute weight evenly
- Moves all 300 joints
- Helps to keep your spinal disks supple giving them the nutrients they need.
- Natural weight-bearing exercise, increasing bone density
- Gets your blood flowing, getting more O2 to your cells and helps boost hemoglobin & red blood cells.
- Increases the drainage of lymph, helping to destroy & fight cancerous cells
- Gets your heart rate up lowering the risk of heart disease
- Gets you breathing
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers cortisol levels, helping with long term memory, also fighting depression
- Helps to burn calories
- Gets you to become more conscious of your being: eating, social, presence
- Lowers blood sugar & LDL & boosts HDL (“good” cholesterol)
- Improves coordination, reaction time, memory and even IQ
- Helps you to relax, shifting from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system
- Increases body awareness
- Reduces chronic tension, muscle fatigue, soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck & face.
- Yoga becomes a way to cope with the business of life
- Improve immune function
- Helps to expand lung function and breathing capacity above the normal 18%
- Yoga & and meditation help to build awareness
- Helps to reduce anger and replaces it with compassion
- Builds good karma-Karma Yoga, service to others
Hope Zvara is the CEO of Mother Trucker Yoga, best-selling author, speaker, and lifelong yogi. Hope believes everyone deserves to “feel better, wherever” from yogis to truckers. Hope has helped change thousands of lives of the past 15 years, going beyond her experience in the fitness and wellness industry. Hope’s mission is to Help Others Purposefully Excel on and off the mat, in and out of the truck.
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