March Consultants Corner

March Consultants Corner

Article Written By: Celebrity Yogi, Keith Mitchell

What is Yoga?

Yoga found me! Not only did it save my body, but it saved my sanity as well. Trusting the recommendation of my doctor to try a class, I had no idea where those first steps onto my mat would lead me. Being in tune with my breath and nurturing my body into healing with every class felt absolutely unlike anything I'd ever experienced.

Yoga is a mind-body practice that brings together physical and mental disciplines to help you achieve peacefulness. It can relax you and help you manage stress and anxiety. Yoga comes from the theory that there is union of mind, body, spirit, and that the discovery of self is possible through a physical practice. It originates from Hindu spiritual discipline which includes breath control, simple meditation, and specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation.

One of my core passions is making the practice of yoga accessible for all. You can imagine some of the reactions people have, when they encounter me as a male former athlete in tree pose. Part of my work is to dispel the longstanding belief that yoga is for women only. A male who practices yoga is called a yogi, a female practitioner, a yogini.

There are several components of yoga which you may not be aware of. It is not only about your flexibility like the pictures and stereotypes we may see.

Components of Yoga

  • Poses also called postures, are a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility. Poses range from lying completely relaxed to more challenging postures that stretch you beyond your physical limits.
  • Breathing is an important part of yoga. Yoga teaches that controlling your breathing can help you control your body and quiet your mind.
  • Meditation or relaxation. In yoga, you may incorporate meditation or relaxation. Meditation may help you learn to be more mindful and aware of the present moment without judgment and experience a sense of calm.

Health benefits of yoga

  • Stress reduction. Studies have shown that yoga helps reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being.
  • Improved fitness. Practicing yoga leads to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength.
  • Management of chronic conditions. Yoga can also help reduce risk factors for chronic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia. I know because I suffered from them after my injury, during paralysis. Finding that I could heal myself makes me confident that it can change your life too.

Breaking Free

We crave to experience freedom in our bodies. During the practice, in the flow of breath we watch the body follow. We have free reign to manipulate the level of stretch or ease we experience. When practicing yoga you are making an investment in growth and expansion. This process creates the journey of being in true alignment with yourself.

What Type of Class Should I Start With?

An intro to yoga or yoga basis class would be a great entryway. It will help you get familiar with the sequences and ethics of being in class with others. In the beginning you will find your limits-where your body will allow you to go. Don't get down or judge yourself-this is an opportunity to grow. If you make a commitment to showing up to your mat you will experience expansion and infinite possibilities. You realize that you can heal, inside out. There was a strong curiosity that developed for me and a confidence in what else I could accomplish.

I hope to practice with you soon!
And So It IS,