yogacta“Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.”  ~Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

“In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice they are not.” Yogi Berra

It is always exciting for me to begin my new “teaching year” each September. I look forward to the challenge of helping the mix of new students and familiar faces bring the amazing practices of Yoga and Meditation to their live in relevant and helpful ways.

At the same time I am reminded that developing and maintaining healthful positive habits is a challenge.  Particularly as we return to a post summer life,  taking the time you need to care for yourself can be a casualty as schedules are re-built. With demands of busy and changing lives keeping the practice of Yoga and meditation in your life can be an important support and comfort as well a source of great joy.

In understanding why, research and anecdotal evidence is mounting that confirms what we Yoga practitioners have long known. Physical and mental stress, the lack of proper and healthful motion in our lives can be a powerful component of so many of the negative health issues that were formally blamed on age, genetics or some other aspect of life beyond our control.

In an article from the Yoga Basics  (1) website entitled “How Yoga Heals”, the negative aspects of the stress response is powerfully detailed as follows:

“Stress can lead to continuously high levels of the {adrenal gland hormone], cortisol. This hormone at normal levels helps to maintain an active, healthy body (including regulation of metabolism and blood pressure). But excessive amounts of cortisol can suppress the immune system and cause sleep disturbances, loss of sex drive and loss of appetite. High levels of cortisol can also increase your heart rate, blood pressure and your cholesterol and triglyceride levels (risk factors for both heart attacks and strokes).  The byproducts of cortisol act as sedatives, which can lead to changes in mood, especially to feelings of depression.”

Yoga and meditation are increasingly shown to offer some great results in impacting accumulated effects of stress as well as help with day to day stress management. In the online article The New Science on the Health Benefits of Yoga(2)  frrom a range of anecdotal and research evidence is presented that indicate the amzing and far reaching benefits of Yoga practice on conditions such as cardiovascular problems and hypertension, diabetes, musculoskeletal back and neck, and overall stress levels and more.

In one example outlining the overall anti-aging effects of Yoga they report the beneficial effects:
” that 90 days of yoga had on an obese 31-year-old man who had a history of fatigue, difficulty losing weight, and lack of motivation. Not only did adopting a yoga or meditation-based lifestyle help erase some signs of aging, but also prevented several lifestyle-related diseases of which oxidative stress and inflammation are the chief cause.”.(3)

So it turns there is much evidence we have more control, and therefore more responsibility for our health and well being than was thought in the past.

Yoga practiced in class settings or in more individualized therapeutic settings is reported to have been successfully applied in various ways to address such disparate issues as Addiction, Arthritis, Asthma, Diabetes, Back, Heart conditions Pain Management,  Cancer and much more. Clarifying your intentions and setting goals for your practice is the first step. Finding the setting, teacher/therapist and direction on how to integrate the best practices to manifest those goals follow soon afterward. It seems clear that combined with responsible medical treatment and monitoring , Yoga can be a fundamental component of a lifestyle changes that help of a whole host of the conditions and maladies that plague us. ,

At this point I have good news  and “bad” news. Here, the good news and and the bad news are the same. There can be some initial discomfort in the realization that in the longer term there may not be a miraculous magic bullet to resolve the deeper difficulties that have lifestyle at their root cause. These issues have taken time to develop and may take some time to fully resolve. You may, however, experience quite soon some pretty amazing benefits and experiences that can help you know you are on the right track. Understanding this can help as you embark on paths to wellness such as Yoga and meditation with eyes open and  allow you to accept a more complete and skillful(non-blaming or self judgmental) responsibility for your health.

shutterstock_270911084I believe the good news lies in sense of authentic empowerment all this responsibility implies. Disciplines such as Yoga and meditation can help you do something enjoyable and meaningful to consistently to improve your wellbeing and the quality of your life. This is a true gift you can give to yourself and those who depend on you; one that so many describe offers greater and greater benefits over the years!

Beyond the tangible health benefits. as I have watched my students and clients progress over the years I believe these practices support deep and inner shifts in  that open them to experiences of  “Grace”; the often unexpected and unlikely moments of illumination that touch us and change us forever.

I invite you to enjoy the rewards of embracing the journey of wellness and growth through Yoga, meditation and the healing arts as a “Way”. Consistent and persistent work on ourselves can a least be in part play, an enjoyable ongoing exploration and path of living integrated in the fabric of your present life. Making this a conscious choice may be itself a reflection of a moment of grace—the highest form of inspiration possible, and the deepest form of ongoing motivation.

***Starting your journey in yoga can be both exciting and challenging. I am here to help you with your questions and help you navigate those difficulties and discover the best way for you to meet your goals. You can explore this website for information on the individual and group yoga classes I offer in the Guilford, Madison, Branford and New Haven and Woodbridge Connecticut areas. I specialize in employing yoga and other powerful energetic, meditative and relaxation practices that offer non -medical support to help with posture and movement problems, stress management and mitigating the physical and mental effects of long term stress.

For a free no risk consultation for answers to your questions or help deciding which services may best meet your needs please call me, Alan Franzi at (203)488-1700.

(1) “How Yoga Heals”
(2)The New Science on the Health Benefits of Yoga
(3)The New Science on the Health Benefits of Yoga