In todays society, Americans have become more overweight, unhealthy, and are under more stress. With all of the work and family obligations of the 21st Century, many people are not taking the time to take care of themselves both physically and mentally resulting in many illnesses and bodily injuries. A great way to get in shape and heal from within is the practice of the ancient art of yoga.
Practicing yoga is a great alternative way to get into shape and calm an over-active mind. With the healing powers of yoga, many could find relief from back pain, asthma, and many other hard to treat conditions. In Sanskrit, the word yoga means to join or yoke together which basically means that practicing yoga can bring the body and mind together (to yoke) into one harmonious experience. However, yoga takes practice for no one has ever suggested being a yoga master, hence the term, yoga practice.
Author John Hanc of Runners World magazine has a firm belief that not being able to bend like a pretzel does not mean that one cannot do yoga. He states, With a little practice, you may even touch your toes again (56).
In the practice of yoga, there are three main structures that cannot exist without the others: breathing, meditation, and exercise, the most important aspect of yoga being the breath. The breath is the core of yoga and without breathing properly; one would not be practicing yoga correctly and could result in injury to the body. Special yogic breathing techniques focus on the breath being the source of life in the body where the healing from within begins. Breathing is something humans do everyday without even thinking about it; however, yogic breathing takes great concentration (this is where the practice of meditation comes into...