It’s actually quite difficult to put into words why yoga is so good for us. For those who have been practicing for some time , I’m sure you know, it just feels right in so many ways. I think the words below by Vanda Scaravelli (taken from her book “Awakening the Spine”) go some way to help describe why we should all give a little time each day to a yoga practice. And for those times when we have wandered away from our mat, they are words of encouragement to get back to it!
“If you practice yoga, your everyday activities will improve and become more efficient. You will have less time for useless occupations which constantly get in the way, preventing your contact with more essential things. Yoga is like a sieve through which the superficial falls away, leaving only what is important.
When you are tired, your digestion will improve if you do some poses before eating. You will need to sleep fewer hours as your body will be more relaxed during the night. You will gain a few inches in height. By eliminating that curve along the back of the spine and allowing space between your vertebrae, you will grow a little taller. You will be able to improve the poses, as there is no end to progress. You will grow straighter if one part of the body is weaker that the other, by paying a lot of attention while doing your poses. By continuing this attention throughout the day, you will reach a better balance.
You will no longer be a slave to your body, as independence from it is the greatest gift you can receive.
Health is freedom. When we are healthy the body is not “in the way”, it will be better prepared to react against illness and disease.
The presence of the body should not be felt negatively. It is only when it does not work properly or when it is ill that we feel encumbered by its presence. Even when a small part of it is disturbed, like a mild pain in a cut finger, or a simple cold that blocks your nose, keeping you busy the whole day with a handkerchief in your hand, or a sore throat which makes you lose your voice, it heavily reminds you of its existence and you are obliged to become conscious of it all the time.
Yoga is a way of life. It changes you and therefore changes the way you relate to other people and influence your environment.
As the sun delicately opens the flowers, unfolding them little by little, so with slow and careful training, yoga exercises will open the body.
When the body is open, the heart is open. There is a transformation in the body’s cells. They work in a different way, and new growth is possible.
To re-establish contact with our body is to be in contact with nature, and so to come in contact with the cosmos.
Balance is restored. Space is around us and that tremendous power, arising from the earth in unison with these universal forces, will become part of us.
What is that binding force that holds the many worlds together and whose intensity also attracts us to each other? Can we call it gravity, energy, love?”
This excerpt give a great example of how Vanda Scaravelli passes on so much rich information in a form that we can all understand. The book is called ‘Awakening the Spine’ and is crammed full of such gems – a perfect present for yourself or a loved one.