I've been moving my body in some way all my life. Started in the crib, learned to ski before I could walk, was taking swim lessons, tennis lessons, dance lessons from the earliest age you could possibly sign up.
I also loved being on the swim team, tennis and soccer team, dance squad and more. In other words, I'm not new to movement.
How I Started With Yoga
Some almost 23 years ago I was new to yoga after being run over by a car as a pedestrian. At that time I had no aspiration to do a full backbend or handstand or arm balance or put my foot behind my head. All I wanted to do was move by myself, drive myself, propel my actions without being afraid of breaking.
I learned how resilient the body is and how fragile at the same time.
Why did I start yoga? Because of the physical benefits. I don't apologize for it anymore, although I used to for a while when the yogier than thou yogis got me down.
I thought that even though I loved the movement and that's why I was in it, I had to have loftier goals. But I've come full circle.
Yoga for the Mind
So how does this work for the mind exactly if the practice is so physical?
Well, scientists agree that the best form of exercise is that which involves learning complex movement, including balance and coordination. Western science also goes on to say that MOVEMENT provides physiological release that we need to bring our body back into balance.
At the same time, it is also good for our brain because moving helps form more connections between the neurons in our brain. Humans are physical beings.
Though it moves through the gateway of the body, yoga is exercise for your mind. ~Silvia Mordini
Other benefits of learning coordinated movements which in yoga we call Vinyasa Krama include:
- improved mental well-being;
- increased neurotransmitters;
- mood regulation;
- anxiety control;
- ability to handle stress better;
- better socialization;
- ability to better process more information;
- enhanced attentiveness, and
- improved ability to choose appropriate responses.
Of all those benefits and ways yoga helps the mind, I like appropriateness the best. I struggled for a long time as an overly sensitive person in appreciating and learning how not to overreact to what others did or said.
Yoga calms my mind and makes me better able to not take things personally. I make better decisions when the noise in my brain quiets after practicing yoga. I need the yoga to impact the ventromedial portion of the frontal lobe of my brain!
And all that comes to me as a result of moving. So don't say that physical movement (read: asana practice) is only good for the body. Movement is good for your mind!