Why Do Yoga?

Joy, pleasure and freedom are sustainable, deprivation and austerity are not. When you practice yoga, meditate and have more love in your life, then your brain receives more blood and oxygen, so you think more clearly, have more energy, need less sleep. Your brain may grow so many new neurons that it could get measurably bigger in only a few months. Your face gets more blood flow, so your skin glows more and wrinkles less. Your heart gets more blood flow, so you have more stamina and can even begin to reverse heart disease. Your sexual organs receive more blood flow, so you may become more potent — similar to the way that circulation-increasing drugs like Viagra work. For many people, these are choices worth making — not just to live longer, but also to live better.

2 Comments

  1. Wendy Gorrie
    Posted December 21, 2010 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    What is the correct focus while holding the down dog? Do I focus on my feet, stretching calves, or do I focus on my hands and shoulders? When I lower my hips to the plank position, why does my whole body shake? I can’t hold the plank without all my muscles trembling, and no longer than 10 seconds. What am I doing wrong? Can you tell me how to focus the energy flow?

  2. Posted December 22, 2010 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    For me the primary focus is always the breath. This also ties in with the “Crossing the Intersection post.

    Once you get a resonant breathing rhythm going you’ve got the protection that you need to go anywhere in your body. My feeling is that this rhythm will key you to when you are going too far into a pose and headed towards an injury (muscle pull, strain, etc.) You are focused on your body when you are breathing the pose.

    A direct answer to your question is the cue you have given me in the sentence. Focus where there is action and sensation. You mention “stretching calves.” That’s where you go. Still breathe.

    Going into plank, your body could be shaking for two reasons. One you are getting muscles to work in ways they don’t normally do. Another is that your body is literally shaking out stress or what you’re body has stored from fight/flight response. After having survived an attack from a predator, animals spontaneously shake different areas of their bodies to release the adrenalin they relied on to escape. Watch any documentary on African wildlife and you’ll see examples of this.

    You are not doing anything wrong. You are building strength and endurance and also opening/freeing/clearing channel of energy. Focus the energy flow with your breath. Also consider that what you are feeling in terms of energy flow is just a little bit of what is flowing through you.

    Does that help?

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