Blogger here, reporting for duty.
I always looked at getting older as a rite of passage with wisdom as my reward but it’s the physical attrition of age that has blindsided me and led to yoga. Is yoga a religion? Is photography a science? Do all dogs go to heaven? No, no and yes.
This drawing is of Cheryl. She has been practicing yoga for thirty years and attempting to teach me for 2. The philosophy of yoga is a union of mind, body and soul … but when you are standing like a tree or bending like an eagle, there is only the hope that you don’t fall over. Yoga is a way of life for many people but for most here in the states, it is a way to strengthen the cardiovascular, release endorphins and clear our minds through poses. There are many activities beyond yoga that offer this union … cycling, dancing, walking, etcetera… but yoga uses deep and systematic breathing techniques to inhale oxygen as strength to energize the body. With the stress of everyday work, family and monies, we tend to take breathing for granted. For the most part breathing is spontaneous and natural. With conscious breathing, we bring more oxygen into the body and increase the lung capacity. Oxygen is the most essential nutrient in our bodies; the brain requires more oxygen than any other organ. If the brain does not get a proper supply, it will cause degradation of all the vital organs of the body. In yoga, the breathing practices are called Pranayama. “Prana” means energy and “yama” means to control. If your prana is low or weak, your body is deprived of energy necessary to stay healthy and function effectively. Pranayama is the science of breathing and it consists of a series of exercise’s intended to bring more oxygen to the blood and brain. The most effective way to purify the blood stream is by taking in extra supplies of oxygen from the air we breathe. The control of “prana” means improved functioning of all our organs and systems–respiratory, circulatory, digestive, glandular and nervous. Calm breathing reduces pain, relaxes the body, calms the mind, massages abdominal organs and energizes the body.
There is nothing easy about focusing on the breath in Cheryl’s class but I’m getting there. As a dismissal after class, Cheryl will say,’ Namaste’, which means ‘go in peace’. Of course by the end of class there really is no other way to leave.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is ‘People that have come alive’.” Harold Thurman