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Why is Yoga Universal?

By Judi Thompson

How has the ancient system of Hatha Yoga from India become so popular all over the world today that it has become “mainstream?”  How can these simple asanas or postures help so many people in such a positive way? How can Hatha Yoga both energize the body and relax it at the same time?

The benefits of regular Hatha Yoga practice cut across national and cultural boundaries. All people everywhere share the same basic needs. For centuries Yoga has helped people in many different ways by strengthening, aligning and harmonizing body, mind and spirit. There is a secret to it of course, and that secret is: You have to do it! The key word is “practice” and regular practice at that.

The word, “Yoga” in Sanscrit means “to yoke,” “to unite” or to bring together in harmony the three basic facets of man: physical, intellectual and spiritual. But, you might say, my life is too busy to do Yoga regularly. Are you too busy to eat every day? To take a shower or to brush your teeth?  Health should be a priority in every life and is usually taken completely for granted… until it is lost. A hidden benefit in a regular Yoga practice is that the more you do Yoga, the more you want to do Yoga!

There is no age limit to Yoga. When I first began Yoga in Honolulu, I noticed that the student in class that did the best headstand was a tiny little old lady! I asked her how long she had been practicing and she surprised me by answering “Just two years!”  She was 79 years old when she started Yoga, she went on to explain, for her arthritis. She soon discovered that as long as she practiced Yoga, her pain disappeared. When she quit Yoga, it returned. This gave her the motivation to include in her schedule a regular Yoga practice which she continued the rest of her life.

Currently, my assistant and I conduct a weekly Yoga Class in Spanish for the children and their mothers of Ojalá Niños, a non-profit organization that provides daily learning classes for over 100 kids in the rural indigenous community of San Miguel Viejo. The one-hour class of Hatha Yoga services children of all ages with the youngest being 3 years old. This little boy not only attentively practices all of the poses to the best of his ability, but he is able to sit very still with closed eyes for the several moments of rest that completes each class.

Yoga strengthens the immune system that protects us from imbalances and disease. When the immune system is strong, we remain healthy and being in the physical body is like riding through life in a well-oiled machine!  Try it!  You’ll like it!

Visit us at The Yoga Room, 19 Calle San Rafael Sur, San Antonio or call 415 111 7030 for more information.


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