We had our first yoga class at the beach and it was great! Sounds of the ocean, sand in your feet (and hair and back, but it’s all good!) and the expansive ocean view. I’m a little sore but it’s a good sore. The kind of sore you feel when you know your muscles have worked and it feels good. For those who are pregnant it’s good preparation for labor, for those who aren’t it’s good preparation….. for your day, for your week, for your health.
The benefits of yoga are wide ranging and include stress reduction, improved fitness, improved posture, and alleviation of some chronic health conditions. Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that incorporates and integrates mind and body for a full healing experience. There are many different types of yoga but the point of yoga is to build strength and flexibility in both your body and mind. Yoga improves our ability to be at peace with ourselves and our place in the world so that we can face any challenge with ease and dignity. The types of yoga to choose from include, but are not limited to, hatha, iyengar, vinyasa, ashtanga, bikram, kundalini, and many more. Whichever type you choose to do each has incorporated in it breathing, meditation and poses (asana) that build strength, endurance and flexibility. Yoga is a moving meditation that encourages you to be in touch with areas of your body that you may not always be in touch with. While having this focus on yourself you improve your health and your outlook on the world by sending loving positive energy to all spaces and places especially those that need it most.
In her book Yoga: A Gem for Women, Geeta Iyengar writes that according to the Indian tradition there are 4 paths to self realization; The path of knowledge, the path of action, the path of devotion and the path of yoga. Yoga is the path that encompasses all the other three because you have to do it (action), it increases your awareness of self (knowledge), and increases your awareness that the Creator exists in all things (devotion). Following any one path alone will not attain self realization. All paths are interwoven. Following the path of yoga makes it possible for one to follow the other paths as well.
For women, especially pregnant women, yoga can bring a sense of harmony and balance back into your life and your body. A pregnant woman’s body is ever changing. The opportunity to improve posture in a body that wants to be lopsided, improve energy in a body that wants to lay down, improve flexibility in a body that is gaining weight, instill courage in a mind that fears the unknown, and instill strength in a mind and body that wants to protect can not be missed. Movement and life go hand in hand. One is necessary for the other. Yoga will help you move in ways both familiar and unfamiliar at your own pace. That’s the beauty of it.
Many traditions have exercises and teachings that are adhered to in order to maintain peace, happiness and serenity in one’s life. Prayer, song, dance, meditation all are components of what one can do to bring about harmony and knowledge of oneself in the world. Yoga is just one form of ritual that has grown in popularity in Western civilization.
So let us partake and cultivate being in touch with ourselves so that we may bring about a better tomorrow for our selves and our children. I am sponsoring yoga classes at the beach until the weather permits. We meet on Sundays at 8am on Coney Island Beach in front of the NY Aquarium Mural.It’s community yoga so donate what you’re able to. If you’re not able to make it to the beach (or the beach is just not your thing!) there are many yoga studios and classes around the city. Look for one in your neighborhood or by your job and indulge yourself. I’m 99% sure you won’t regret it! Please bring a yoga mat and blocks, if you have, a towel and some water.
By train: F or Q to West 8th st NY Aquarium
By car: Google Map New York Aquarium, Surf Avenue, NY. For the best route from your location