Sunday, September 18, 2011

Benefits of the Philosophy Behind Yoga

Before taking this course, I have always considered yoga in terms of exercise and physical fitness rather than as a philosophy - so when I considered yoga's relation to Christianity and other religions, I was sort of shocked to hear that yoga is actually a questionable topic with regards to religion, particularly Christianity. I consider myself to be rather objective and open-minded in general, especially when it comes to my religious beliefs - so I wouldn't immediately consider religion and yoga as challengers. Personally, I think that the philosophy of yoga could really benefit our society as a whole, and reading and considering the sutras from multiple perspectives has helped me come to this conclusion. When I say "multiple perspectives," I am referring to reading the sutras from a literal perspective and then deeply reflecting on their meanings as they apply to different situations. I think that the messages in all of them are not only useful while practicing yoga - they are a useful tool for reflecting on one's own habits, behaviors, attitudes, and abilities.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stress Management

The last week has definitely been the most enjoyable for me in terms of my experiences in the practice of yoga. I have noticed that I am much more relaxed and refreshed after class, which makes it a lot easier to find the energy to study. Also, last week I was assigned a "Behavior Enhancement Project" for my Health Education class - the purpose is to identify an aspect of my lifestyle that needs improvement and to work toward developing long-term behaviors in order to accomplish certain goals. Despite my initial insecurities about yoga, I am surprised at how many times during the week I turn to yoga practice and/or philosophy in situations that may not immediately involve either. The behavior that I have chosen to focus on is stress management, which of course precipitates from many different areas of life, in my case particularly the ability to relax and get a good night's rest. The first method that came to mind for helping me with the project was... yoga! I have already seen a great improvement in my ability to re-energize after class, so I hope that using yoga as a relaxing and energizing technique will not only aid in successfully completing my project, but also in developing lasting habits.