How yoga can improve your health

Yoga teacher Steve Bracken has spent the last three weeks teaching at Constance Halaveli,Maldives. Here, he writes how yoga can improve our health and wellbeing.

Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Finding ways to deal with life’s challenges

If we wish to keep moving forward in our lives, we need to embrace the challenges that life brings our way.

This often entails seeking new solutions to our problems that may involve a radical shift of perspective, stepping into a totally new life situation, or more often than not, just a minor tweak to get us back into the flow of our lives.

A minor tweak though still takes awareness and demonstrates a willingness not to stagnate. We  know when we are on the right track as we are rewarded by a sense of aliveness.

Expanding our awareness through yoga

This same attitude applies to our yoga practice. If we challenge ourselves by opening up to new teachers and new ways of approaching a posture we will enrich our practice. We may discover things that previously we may not have ever considered. Equally, the principles we can learn through a yoga practice can enrich other areas of our lives.

Steve Bracken at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Steve Bracken at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Some examples of this would be:

  • Acceptance - Acceptance of our body with its limitations and from this place encouraging  positive change. If we try to force our body it will create injury and discomfort. If we do nothing then there will be no improvement. If we regularly nurture it with love and compassion it will respond. Through acceptance we learn to listen to the messages of the body and respond accordingly and in doing so we can become present and enjoy the journey. We learn to work with the body and not against it.
  • Breath - If we can breathe fully we can relax, even if we are still working hard. If we are straining for breath then there is tension in the body and mind. We need to become aware of what is causing the tension and adjust ourselves accordingly and in doing so release it.  Only then can a sense of spaciousness occur that allows the breath to flow without restriction. When this occurs the body and mind are working optimally.
  • Foundation - the stronger and more rooted our foundation the less effort is required in a posture. If our foundation is unstable then the resulting strain will permeate throughout the whole structure of the body. We must always come back to our foundation to check whether it is secure and connected to the ground beneath us.
Sunset at Constance Halaveli

Sunset at Halaveli

As we work with the principles of movement and explore that which creates health and wellbeing, we find that the underlying concepts apply to all areas of our lives. In fact what is truly good for us is good for everyone and everything. We also come to know that when we work with these principles on a regular basis we feel both happier and more energised.

These are all good reasons to experience new yoga classes and new teachers wherever you find yourself in the world. To learn, to be revitalised, and to reconnect to important principles for both health and life.

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