Advice from a Moksha Yoga Instructor
By Charlotte Bumstead
In the modern world, we are so familiar with the hustle of daily routine—the stress, the fatigue, the pollution—sometimes we forget to breathe. Breathing is a natural source of serenity. When you take a moment to focus on the rhythm of each breath, you can find yourself in a state of expanded imagination. Yoga allows you to link breathing with movement. When you breathe in, you are taking responsibility for a problem so you can breathe out a solution. Through yoga, you can breathe in mental stress, and breathe out relaxation. Breathe in stiffness, breathe out flexibility. Breathe in heaviness, breathe out lightness. Breathe in pollution, breathe out fresh air. Yoga uses the simple method of breathing to detoxify the body.
Yoga Instructor, Lauren Gerber, describes how yoga can greatly improve not only your health but your happiness, too. “Once I started yoga, I found myself much calmer and level-headed in situations that would normally bring me heightened stress,” says Gerber. “I knew immediately I wanted to share this life-changing practice with as many people as I could.”
Gerber’s next step was to take the Moksha Yoga program in Montreal to become a certified trainer. Now she teaches classes for females and males of all ages. “Yoga is completely gender neutral,” she says. “It’s amazing how many more men are attending classes that I both teach and take. They love it!”
Yoga offers vast health benefits of which are especially noticeable as you age. This includes: stress relief; weight control; maintaining (and improving) flexibility; heightened levels of mood boosting chemicals; helping with inflammation, circulation, chronic pain and hypertension; and reducing risks of arthritis and heart disease.
There is also the option of hot yoga, which works even deeper. Increased humidity allows you to breathe easier, and by sweating, your body safely regulates its own temperature. A warmed-up body allows you to stretch, twist, bend and arch further than before. It is a way of massaging your inner organs, glands, muscles and ligaments to develop improved mobility and decrease areas of pain.
Gerber goes on to further explain the health benefits of yoga for Zoomers, specifically clarifying the ability to help manage osteoporosis. This is evident first through prevention—as any type of weight bearing exercise helps decrease the speed of bone mass loss. “Yoga sequences consist of weight bearing postures for the entire body, while also being low impact to maintain safety,” says Gerber. Although yoga cannot replace bone mass already lost, it will help maintain the existing strength in the bones for longer, while also bringing greater agility to the joints. “This individual will have to stay in tune with [his or her] body in order to prevent any fracturing or injuries; especially around the hips, spine and wrists,” she says.
Zoomers interested in trying yoga for the first time should check out a low intensity class at a local studio. By stepping out of your comfort zone and making yoga a part of your regular routine, you will continue to see boundless results. “I am reminded everyday of the benefits of yoga… even by smiling more at strangers,” says Gerber. “There is nothing to lose; so be adventurous and explore.”