Exercise is one of the main tenets of achieving superior health. For years I have experienced the benefits of stretching and deep abdominal breathing, and therefore have felt a natural inclination to explore Yoga. So, recently I decided to take it a step further and picked up a book entitled Christian Yoga by Susan Bordenkircher. This is a great Yoga book for people who want to integrate their Christian faith and spirituality with their yoga routine.
This afternoon, I spent a good hour outside on our deck going over the basics Bordenkircher outlines in her book: relaxation, deep breathing, and warming up. The basic warm-up exercises even included a foot stretching exercise something I was not familiar with. What a relaxing and at the same time energizing way to spend some time outdoors. I haven’t even gotten into the poses yet and I’m hooked.
I’m no Yoga expert, but this much I’ve figured out. Yoga has many benefits to it because it focuses on overall health: body, mind and spirit. Learning to quiet the mind and focus on deep breathing, muscle tension and relaxation is an art in and of itself which has many mental and emotional health benefits. Christian Yoga takes it a step further and helps the individual to focus on the triune God through out their exercise routine (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
One of the main principles of Yoga is learning deep abdominal breathing. One of the added benefits of this type of breathing is that it gently exercises the internal organs. As your diaphragm rises and falls it’s actually massaging you on the inside. Deep breathing is not only energizing, but it also promotes healing. The process of abdominal breathing results in toxins being released and eliminated, and more oxygen being distributed to the cellular level. Finally, learning to relax your muscles is one of the best ways to counteract stress and anxiety.
Taking care of your mind, body and spirit through Christian Yoga, is also a great motivator to eat right as well. When feeling good because you are relaxed, positively energized and focused on God, there is much less temptation to make the wrong food choices and more motivation to make the right choices. A holistic approach to health is most certainly the best approach.