Mind and Body in Perfect Union
In part, yoga owes its current worldwide respect by health professionals to the liberated 1960s Western youth culture that found fascination in reviving centuries-old Eastern philosophies. What began as a hip trend spread steadily, flourished and proved itself an extraordinarily powerful complement to cardiovascular and muscular conditioning programs for people of all ages and at all stages of life. Today, the grown-up and grown-wise ’60s generation continues to embrace yoga as an elixir to extend mental and physical vitality throughout advanced age.
Lisa Hampton, exercise physiologist, ACE ( American Council on Exercise ) certified personal trainer, and consultant of mind-body health and fitness, provides all Mindful Fitness yoga instruction. Lisa’s expertise is the result of working with numerous exceptional yoga instructors over the course of 20 years. Since 1994, Lisa has offered students her distinctively patient and compassionate style of yoga blended with the Iyengar system.
Iyengar yoga is named after India-born B.K.S. Iyengar, the world’s foremost living authority on and teacher of yoga. Now in his ninth healthful decade, Iyengar continues to practice what he has shared with millions of followers, a system of five intertwined aspects:
- 200 postures, known as asanas
- 14 types of breath control, known as pranayamas
- correct anatomical alignment, achieved with props when necessary
- specific sequencing of positions and breathing
- maintenance of postures for specific durations
Practice of the Iyengar system, from simplest postures to more complex, is a gradual progression well-suited to beginners. Props, including belts, blankets and blocks, help students to achieve the correct body alignment so fundamental to Iyengar asanas. Movements are purposefully sequential to expand range of motion over a series of sessions, reducing likelihood of injury.
Yoga beautifully integrates mind and body, allowing the student to become aware of the smallest parts of the body while the mind becomes alert and clear. Breathing is the essence of yoga practice and becomes smooth, deep and relaxed. Yoga counters the stress of contemporary lifestyles, re-establishes sense of self and can be profoundly healing. Yoga students typically benefit from improvement in all of the following:
- inner harmony
- lung capacity
- mental, physical, and spiritual awareness
- pain relief
- sense of centeredness
- sense of self
- stress reduction