Working Toward Oneness: 6 Favorite Asanas

According to a write-up on India’s Ministry of External Affairs website, the term yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning to control, yoke, or unite.  The philosophy was developed thousands of years ago as a way of bringing together individual consciousness with that of the Universal consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, Man and Nature, the article explains.  Although the physical branch of yoga that many of us practice does not encapsulate the whole of the original discipline, it does offer a wide array of benefits which can contribute to our sense of oneness and a happier, healthier life. 

Arizona

You may have read my article on how yoga can contribute optimal function of the entire body, reason enough to do some sort of regular practice. One of the best physical benefits, in my opinion, is keeping our fascia stretched and pliable.  The many ways we don’t move our bodies daily can lead to the fascia becoming tight, restricting flexibility, which compounds as we age and can lead to limited movement.  Differing poses offer particular benefits, as well.  I want to share with you the 6 types of asanas, or poses, that I practice daily, along with the specific reasons.

  1. Forward FoldsI think my love for forward folds started because as a young adult, I developed tight hamstrings, and I wanted to be able to touch my toes.  In an article describing the benefits of forward folds, American-Australian Yoga Teacher Jacqueline Buchanan says that, in addition to opening the backside of the body from the heels to the head, these postures also increase circulation and soothe the nervous system.
  2. Backbends – As a youngster, I couldn’t get enough of gymnastics on the mat and on the grass.  Dropping into a backbend from an upright position was a regular part of that.  I don’t do those anymore 😊, but decades of yoga have taught me that bending the front of the spine is just as important as bending the back of the spine.  These days, I find bridge pose, cobra, and pigeon pose get the job done.  In a Yoga Basics article, backbends are said to enhance posture, boost mood, and improve breathing.
  3. Side Bends – Yup, more spine bending!  This time, from side to side, because how often do we do those types of movements each day?  According to Roger Jahnke, author of The Healer Within: Using Traditional Chinese Techniques to Release Your Body’s Own Medicine, regularly stretching the spine in all directions can help us avoid lung problems.  So simple, huh?

  1. Twists – According to an article on Total Yoga, twisting poses stimulate the liver and lymph system, release tension, and can even help with back pain.  From years of learning from yoga teachers, I’ve also gleaned that twists are good for digestion.  I enjoy seated twists and twisted lunges, which also challenge my balance.
  2. Balancing Poses – Speaking of balance, I shared in a post several months ago about how I committed to doing half moon pose every day for a couple years to improve my once horrendous sense of balance.  It worked, and to this day, I still do it along with other balancing poses such as tree pose, side plank, and extended hand to toe pose regularly to keep my abs taut and my balance in check.  As we age, we tend to lose the skill of balance unless efforts are made to maintain it.
  3. Inversions – A few years ago, I attended a weekly arm balancing yoga class, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had with a group of yogis.  Handstands, shoulder stands, crow poses, and their many variations were always part of the merrymaking. Unfortunately, the teacher moved to another state, but even today inversions are an enjoyable part of my routine.  They boost blood flow to the brain and improve immune function, according to Yogapedia.com.  If you have only a few minutes a day for legs up the wall, it can be beneficial.
Colorado

Even on days that I don’t do a full yoga practice, I incorporate at least one of each of the above into stretching prior to and after other exercises. Every little thing we do, or don’t do, works together either for our benefit or to our detriment, and committing to small healthy acts is an easy way to stay on the positive side of that equation. (I’m a big-picture person, you may have noticed!)

Oregon Coast, shrouded in fog

Although the yoga that we know doesn’t involve the original philosophy in its entirety, we are fortunate that its physical practice has been brought to us through the ages. As you can see, the advantages of yoga are practical, and regular practice builds a strong foundation for uniting mind, body, and spirit, getting us a little closer to a sense of oneness.

Yogi Blessings,

Lisa

The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

50 thoughts on “Working Toward Oneness: 6 Favorite Asanas

  1. Great post on yoga Lisa with your amazing pictures. Love it and the half moon is great for balance. I too don’t always do every pose everyday as I incorporate lots into my practice. Happy hiking and stretching this weekend my friend💖💖💖💖

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi, Alec, I’d much rather you question me than leave my blog feeling befuddled! Yoga is a mindful practice if done correctly, bringing your attention into the present moment, which is very calming for the mind & the body. Studies show that regular yoga results in the anxiety-reducing GABA being produced, helping bring the body into a relaxed state for hours. Deep relaxation is where optimal body function occurs. Check out my post https://microofthemacro.com/2021/04/09/5-ways-to-nudge-your-body-toward-optimal-function/
      for more info. Thanks for dropping by! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa, this is great! I practice a little yoga every morning and I am enjoying the process. I am glad that you mentioned that Yoga is more that the poses and the mat. I haven’t done a tone of research on the yogic path, but I do know there is so much there.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I started doing yoga stretches years ago for my back and now I find that many of them also are helpful for my pelvic floor dysfunction. As we grow older, keeping agile, flexible and strong are important to good health. And our balance is crucial as well. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing this and your lovely photos as well.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. How sweet of you to check on me, Janet! Yes, we are fine, thank God. The flooding is taking place a few miles north of us where there was a wildfire a couple years ago. My heart goes out to the folks who live in that area. Thanks for your concern, my friend! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Lisa, good to see you here. My friend, Cindy, at Unique Times (also on WordPress), shares lots of yoga practice clips on her page that can also be found on YouTube. Plus she’s a hoot! You will feel the difference yoga makes in mind & body after just a few short weeks. And once you’re more comfortable, it might be easier to commit to finding a beginners’ class. Happy weekend, my friend! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the tips, Lisa. This morning before getting out of bed, I raised one of my legs in the air and was going to give each of them 30 seconds, but the non-raised leg went into a charley horse. Now you know how out of shape me and my parts are! Will check out Cindy’s blog, my friend.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I have tried yoga but I just didn’t get on with it. However, as a walker, I’ve always loved movement and thoroughly enjoyed Tai Chi which my wife and I did for several years. However, a major house move meant we stopped for several years and were unable to find good teachers. We were into our 60s by then. Now though, into our 70s we’ve found Qi Gong which is wonderful. We practice each day and we love it. Your photos are stunning, as usual. Enjoy your Sunday! Keep well, and cool! 💐💐🙋‍♂️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This blog has awakened me and made me realize that I should start doing some kind of yoga again. After a long, hard and challenging school year this past year, where I seem to be like the energizer bunny on cocaine each day, I became somewhat dormant during the summer break. Yes, I did some walking and swimming, but have not been as kind to my body as I should be. Thank you for this “awakening”!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m happy you found the post useful, mamaceil! Life always got in the way of my self care, too, until I started scheduling it. I put my exercise plans, massage appointments, etc, on both a calendar in my kitchen and the calendar in my phone. Once I’ve done my yoga, climbing, hiking, or whatever for the day, I put a smiley face on that day on the calendar in my kitchen. It’s silly, but I’ve been doing it for probably 8 years now, and it helps keep me consistent. Not to mention, I LOVE getting smiley faces! Good luck, my friend, and stay “woke!” 🌞

      Like

  6. I really do notice a difference when I incorporate an intentional stretching routine into my weekly schedule, particularly after intense exercise. After a hard running game of ultimate frisbee, a warm shower followed by some longer than usual stretches ensures the next day is a more easily navigated one!

    Liked by 1 person

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