By Vicky Nelson, Member Services Representative at Elite Sports Club-North Shore
In 1970, I had a terrible back problem. I went to my doctor and he gave me a prescription for muscle relaxers and told me to take them and go to bed for FOUR DAYS(!!!)—well, I had a 2 1/2 year old and a 6 month old. I said, “I’ll hop right on that,” but we all know that as a mother of young children, that’s pretty much impossible.
I read in the newspaper there was a yoga class starting at the YMCA in a week. I signed up for an eight week course. The first four sessions I thought, “this is a waste of time,” after the 5th week my back stopped hurting and I had a six pack (really!) on top of it!
I have been doing yoga for 44 years now. I feel it has helped me not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. A funny follow-up: my doctor found out I was doing yoga; every time I went in to see my him after that, even if it was for a cold or something minor, he would say, “it’s because you do that yoga.” I love yoga, and am a firm believer in its benefits, and will continue to practice it for the rest of my life!
Yoga means “to yoke” or to “be whole.” Yoga is an ancient philosophical discipline; harmonizing the mind, body, and spirit.
On a physical level, it enhances well-being and brings balance, strength, and vitality. For the mind, it improves memory and concentration, sharpens the intellect, and steadies the emotions to achieve a richer and more fulfilled life.
Our sophisticated, technological world has relieved us of many physically demanding and time consuming tasks. Nevertheless, the price of our comfort has often resulted in more stress, over-use of stimulants, fragmentation of society, and a disconnection from nature and our real self.
Because of this there has been a surge in the popularity of yoga in the West.
So, if there are any skeptics still out there—like my doctor—here are three very simple benefits of yoga that just may convince you to try a class.
Yoga reduces the physical effect of stress on the body, which includes lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion, and boosting the immune system; as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma, and insomnia.
The postures and meditation reduce pain associated with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases, and hypertension; as well as arthritis in the back and neck.
Yoga helps improve lung function, increasing the amount of oxygen available to the body.
Of course there are plenty of other benefits of yoga, but I’m not here to preach to you. I just wanted to share my story about how yoga helped me in my life, and hopefully it can help you too. But, when it comes down to it, you just need to try a few classes. (Remember, I didn’t really like it at first either!) It takes time to make a change, so just give it a chance.
I LOVE introducing people to yoga and will often invite our members at the club or even guests to take yoga classes with me. So, feel free to stop in to the Member Services office to visit me and we can take a class together!
You can check out our mind/body class schedule online here. (All group exercise classes are FREE for members of Elite Sports Clubs!)
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.