Yoga - More than Exercise
Linda Frank, Yoga Instructor
I bumped into Ken the other week and he asked me to enter an article about "What Yoga Means To Me" for his Food Guy Newsletter. I appreciate that Ken not only expounds on the cuisine of the palate, but his newsletter is a wonderful example of cuisine of the soul, opening people's eyes to ways of taking better care of their physical and spiritual health.
Yoga has fit many facets of my life. I've been a student of some form of yoga since 1974. For the last five years as I've taught and shared yoga with my students, I've noticed a delightful and continual inner growth branching out into different dimensions. Whether one is "labeled" a student or teacher we in actuality interchange these roles amongst ourselves.
Yoga has taught me to have more respect for my well-being on physical, mental and spiritual levels. The health and condition of our bodies is foremost to allow us to be productive and supportive of others in our lives.
Yoga is not merely doing stretches and meditating. Yoga is in a way my "tool kit" for maintaining good health and tweaks me when I'm out of balance. Through the poses I learn to focus, to improve my posture, to increase endurance, to gain confidence and self acceptance. The breathing exercises used assist in energizing me and/or calming my mind. Meditation, or sitting still just a few moments several times a day promotes clearer thinking and better problem solving and decision making abilities. My diet consists of a minimal intake of dairy products, and no meat or fish. I eat vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and soy products. I drink water, herbal teas and juice. I avoid caffeine and hot spices. My major weakness is dark chocolate.....oh, well, at least I no longer smoke!
In a nutshell, yoga has aided me in finding an approach toward life filled with optimism, calmness, self acceptance and the never ending desire to keep on learning from life's lessons.