Hey Yogis! I’ve been teaching a lot more lately both at our wellness center as well as for our Autoimmune clients. My head is full of ideas about how to up level the practice even more. In general, the practice of Yoga has become so much about the poses and “powering” through the vinyasa. But today, I want to connect the dots for you on how it’s so much more than that.
Yoga’s Transcendence of the Physical
The practice of Yoga impacts the full body system – our neurological, digestive, endocrine, cardiometabolic, immunological, and psychological systems. Therefore, I believe it is imperative that our Yoga Teachers not only understand the physiological and anatomical workings of the body, but also the aspects that transcend the physical.
Drastic health improvements, in the form of physical and mental breakthroughs are available to you through the practice of Yoga. Ancient Yogis knew this and they believed that the practice can extend beyond the physical to the spiritual.
In order to transcend the practice beyond the physical, one must first master mind-body mastery, health mastery, self mastery, and life mastery. Then, you can reach a point where you are able to live your life full of wisdom, joy, and gratitude. You will become the epitome of compassion and love. There can be no disease in this coherent and synergistic state of being.
Having this miraculous practice available means you, as a Yogi, are called to be much more than you think you can contribute to the world. That is what this blog, as well as our Functional Yoga Medicine Show, is all about! Through this practice, you empower yourself to grow and become the best version of yourself beyond the mat. Taking it down into its parts, the physical practice of yoga requires some level of focus and awareness. You must start with finding your drishti and breath with every movement, transition, and pose.
Yoga is both dynamic and static. We move and hold constantly. Every pose has the potential to tap into the depth of each joint. This includes the spine (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar), pelvis, hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, feet, etc.. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) requires spinal extension and flexion into all such joints, and requires the muscles to activate, stabilize, stretch, and mobilize. When we move this way with breath, we are able to metabolically move the energy force – the Nadi in Ayurveda and Qi (Chi) in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The Autonomic Nervous System
What’s more important is that when we twist our spine, our thoracic spine is affected. This is important because this is where our autonomic nervous system lies. Our autonomic nervous system has two parts, the sympathetic and parasympathetic.
The sympathetic nervous system is where the “fight or flight” response comes from. This system tends to trigger our bodies to produce epinephrine and adrenaline, which is necessary if we are in danger. In our modern world, pings and dings from our various devices that have us constantly connected create such responses.
The parasympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, is more the restorative, relaxing, and calming system. Here, the body is able to focus on digesting and relaxing and is in the healthier state of equanimity.
We need a balance of both. However most people in the western world are living with the sympathetic system in a dominant state. This creates lots of anxiety, fear, and depression. It also causes a various onset of symptoms which have a potential to become a disease. The goal then with Yoga is to have a balancing effect by getting tuned into our mind and body. First, by becoming aware. Then, by connecting with our nervous systems in ways to promote a healthier balance by creating an internal healing environment. Our structural posture and alignment in every pose helps create a much more desirable and unobstructed path for energy flow.
Utilizing the Full Body System
Through Yoga we are able to contract, relax, expand, constrict, extend, flex, lengthen and shorten the body to create symmetry. This makes it essential for our mind and our nervous system to fully connect to our body (muscles). This enables full range movements with specific muscle activation, contraction, and relaxation that allow for healthy movements without dysfunction. When this happens, we are able to enhance our metabolism, detoxification, and elimination of all waste products. Additionally, we can assimilate all nutrients into our body and utilize our energy so that we have a healthy ecosystem. Activation of our full body system has a net positive effect in all the functions of our body, including the immune, neurological, digestive, cardio metabolic, endocrine, etc.
The next time you practice Yoga, I encourage you to be mindful of your body in space and connect each movement with your breath. Bring awareness to your alignment and posture in each pose, with drishti that focuses you to be present in the moment to gain the full effect of this practice. Doing this will have a residual effect beyond the mat. The more you can understand the why and hows of the workings of your full body system, the more you can be aligned with your true core values. This enables you to show up as the best version of yourself and to live out your destiny.
And yes, Yoga can have this profound effect. The most important effect is ultimately that we can align ourselves with our core being. So much so that we find joy, gratitude, and health in all life circumstances, good or bad, and show up as the best versions of ourselves fulfilling our true destiny. That’s truly what I want for you.
Your Next Steps
If you like what you hear, you can work with us. We now offer the BEST Functional Yoga Medicine training program. It combines the best practices of functional medicine, physical therapy, nutrition, psychology, Yoga, and Pilates at both the foundations (200 hr) and mastery level (500 hr). It is the only certification that provides you with comprehensive training in all aspects of building your clinical practice, using Yoga to show your clients and patients just how they can truly transform their lives.
This program also includes business mastery, nutrition certification, therapeutic specialist certification, or pilates certification as part of the 500 hr training. Created by my personal frustrations in each of the fields In psychology, functional medicine, physical therapy, nutrition coaching, yoga, and pilates, I wanted to create a breakthrough program that allows you to have the ultimate healing effect that looks at the body as a whole being, not in parts. It’ll be the one stop shop to provide you with the Ivy League education in Yoga that will set you apart from the marginalized, commodity based practice severely limited by linear thinking.
There are two ways to join me. You can join our FREE Facebook group where I share strategy, tactics, and big picture thinking in the practice of Yoga. If you feel you are ready to drastically transform your practice and or up level your practice, then you can request a FREE consult to see if we are the right fit. Either way, keep looking forward and keep dreaming big. Most importantly, don’t sell yourself short, aim to dare greatly and I promise you, you can transcend all your expectations.