Poses provide poise: Yoga offers mind, body, spiritual benefits

October, 2011 Posted in Your Health

By Omie Drawhorn

Wendy Stone started attending to yoga classes to feel relief from the aches and pains of her fibromyalgia.

The 61-year-old Stayton resident started attending the weekly yoga class at Stayton Library just over a year ago. The class is at 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

“I always wanted to (try yoga),” she said.

After she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, she heard that yoga could help with the symptoms and she decided to give it a go.

Tsipora Berman, a yoga instructor who teaches classes in throughout the region, has taught the mixed levels class at the Stayton Library for more than a year.

She said the class is not geared toward seniors, but many in class are around that age range.

Yoga is popular for all age groups, but it has been known to help with healthy aging, and age-related diseases like arthritis and high blood pressure, making it great for seniors, Berman said.

Stone said she loves everything about yoga.

“(I’m seeing) increased flexibility, and temporary relief from constant aches all over my body,’ she said.

Berman said yoga helps with balance, bone density, memory, flexibility, building muscle mass, endurance, and stress, which are benefits to yogis of all ages.

Different postures produce different physical and mental benefits. For example, standing and balancing postures helps develop concentration, build strength, increase coordination, focus attention in the body, and increase absorption of the mind.

Stone also enjoys the relaxation she gets from the meditation.

Berman said the beauty of yoga is that it has so many components: the mind, body, spiritual, aspects. She said it starts with the breath.

“The breathing part is key,” she said. “Many people tell me ‘I didn’t know I couldn’t breathe.’

“Breath is your first tool to bring you outside your body and into your head.”

When she teaches yoga, Berman said she teaches that everyone is connected to that wholeness which involves the mind, body and spirit. Berman teaches a kripalu style of yoga, which is designed to access all three things.

“You can do yoga in any kind of body by raising mindfulness, eventually different things change so fast; don’t even think things stay the same,” she said.

She said one of her skills is being able to judge people in the room, determine what’s right for the group.

“It someone is really hurting, I guide class in a way that will guide that person; when they aren’t here I tell the others to embrace that person.”

Stone attributes Berman’s teaching style as to part of the reason she loves coming to yoga.

“She makes everyone feel welcome and she is able to accommodate beginners, intermediate level people, or very experienced ones in the same class. And she does it seamlessly.”
Stone said she enjoys the challenge of some of the poses. Any of the poses involving balance are difficult for her.

“My favorite pose is probably pigeon or one of the twist stretches, because they stretch parts that need to be stretched, they relieve muscle aches, and keep me limber. “

Stone said she also enjoys the sense of community she’s gotten from attending the class. She said it’s a different feeling than with other social activities.

“I’ve gotten to know people (in class) by sight, but I don’t necessarily know their name. Yes, there is a sense of community in a yoga class, but it’s not a ‘Hi, how have you been? What’s going on in your life?’ thing.

“It’s an unspoken connection (an energy within the room kind of) you get from doing yoga with two other people or 10. And I think it would be the same if the class was huge, like 50!”
Berman said one of the most important things her students can do is “practicing yoga on and off the mat.

“You are creating a supportive lifestyle that supports the things you want,” she said.

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