Today, June 21st 2016, is International Yoga Day. Big deal you may say, why should that make any difference to you, your family, your team or your business? Well if you take a few minutes to read some of the growing body of evidence of the benefits of yoga perhaps it can help you make very positive impacts on all of these areas in your life.
Firstly let’s kick some of the preconceptions of yoga into touch … yoga is not about being the bendiest or stretchiest in a class ; it is not only for super fit individuals in sprayed on lycra who can manoeuvre and contort their body into positions others may only dream of or pay to see in adult rated films ; you don’t need to be a muesli eating, practical sandal wearing, single person of a certain age ; and most importantly of all, you don’t need to be able to touch your toes to practice yoga. So pushing these stereotypes firmly aside, what is yoga and what benefits could it bring.
At the simplest level, I was taught that yoga is about calming the mind and through this process becoming open to experiencing our true self – this is achieved through breathing (pranayama), meditation (dhyana), exercise (asanas), diet (sattvic) and relaxation (shavasana). Now if I have nearly lost you at this stage, and I know you have limited time, let’s pull you back in with the article below that was published by Greg McKeown in the Harvard Business Review in October 2014 where a Microsoft Exec found over a period of time that using a number of tools helped reduce his stress and longer term proved life changing for him.
Today, on International Yoga Day 2016, why not try your initial introduction to yoga through breathing ? No muesli, lycra or gym membership needed and certainly no toe touching required – see if this helps you to feel calmer and more engaged and if it does then tomorrow try if for longer. As you progress and feel the benefits then perhaps introduce it to your team, family and friends. If like me, you embrace new technologies as you strive for health and wellness, then a great free app to help you on your breathing journey is the biobeats “Hear and Now” app. This app, based on clinically validated stress-reducing and mindfulness practices, will remind you to breathe and guide you through the process, showing you how your heart responds to deep, focused breathing using just your mobile device.
Wishing you a more enlightened introduction to yoga, happy breathing and Namaste