Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Bendy Antidote - Yoga

To treat is to act or behave in a specific manner toward something. Since there are so many somethings, it stands to reason that today in a society teeming with choices that there is no shortage of solutions to what ail us.

You can visit a medical doctor to treat the body; you can visit a therapist to treat the mind; you can visit a religious official to treat the spirit. And in so doing you address one aspect of your Being (and yes there are occasions when a singular source may be essential such as an emergency). But your Being is not an isolated entity in which its components are severed from one another. The mind, body and spirit do work and fit together on a daily basis. They comprise your Being and when one aspect is hurting, it impacts the others. And conversely, when one aspect is doing well it supports the others.

So what can one do to address all three dimensions of our Being in an efficient and effective way? You can do yoga. Yes, yoga! Yoga, and I refer to its traditional paths and in particular to Hatha Yoga and its integration of asana (posture), pranayama (breath), meditation (mindfulness) and samyama (witness consciousness). But how does it work? Herein lies its true beauty.

Unlike every other form of fitness or service, yoga naturally integrates the parts of the body in a supportive way. It balances us out by enhancing the connectivity of our electrical grid: strengthening, stretching, massaging and detoxifying our mind, body and spirit. It distills us. It is like an epiphany, a large dose of Vitamin C and an exorcism each time you go to the mat. It is a symphony that melds each part of your Being together for where you are at a given time and offering you a chance to unwrap a bit of yourself and grow healthier and happier.

Your path of opening occurs through change. Change in your perception of yourself; change in your perception of what matters; change in your perception of what you can achieve. This change does not happen without work and it does not happen without letting go. These two elements can and will be hard and they will be inevitable through yoga. But the payoff is phenomenal, because the end result will be a glow and a sense of life heretofore inexperienced where love replaces hate, mindfulness replaces habit and wonder replaces monotony. Thoughts have bearing on us be they negative or positive.

So instead of reaching for the licit and illicit societal pharmacopeia, the usual suspect or some exercise huckster’s latest gimmick, give yoga a try. Commit to three months. The proof is in the experience. And the beauty of yoga is its simplicity. It can be done in a two by six foot space and even smaller if more confined. You only need your body (sometimes a strap or block is helpful) and a skilled instructor or an understanding of the practice to do it yourself – albeit, never underestimate the value of collective energy. There is simply no other form of treatment for everyday health and wellbeing that achieves so much for such a nominal amount of money and time. The return on investment is unmatched!