By Guest Blogger: Kristi Paxton
Have you ever experienced suffering and disappointment only to find they are unexpected gifts? My greatest gifts have presented themselves through loss, adversity, and disillusion. For example, I experienced the death of a spouse at a young age, raised three children alone for ten years, and now face the struggles and disappointment of divorce.
When I was asked to write this blog about the health benefits of yoga, I looked at it as another opportunity to really see my reality and to share with you what has helped me heal. I hope you can find something from my path to help you move through your suffering and disappointment.
Yoga, I have found, is one of my greatest “gifts” for healing. Among its many other benefits, yoga has been my lifeline. The cliché statement, “yoga incorporates mind, body, spirit”, is completely and undeniably true. My dream and passion are for everyone to experience the benefits of yoga! Looking at my life through the lens of yoga has taken the suffering my heart endured, which made me feel weak and shut down, to feeling open and strong. Yoga replaced disappointment with confidence.
I am so grateful for this practice and what it has taught me about myself and the world around me. I became a teacher of yoga because I wanted to share the healing and strengthening benefits of this beautiful practice.
Take a look at some of the benefits or “gifts” of yoga that might help you, too:
1. WORKS BREATH – (Pranayama – breath work) - This is the most important and #1 on the list for me. Learning to take full body breaths through the nostrils activates your parasympathetic nervous system to keep the body and mind calm and in a healing state.
Did you know you cannot feel stress in an exhale breath? How cool is that??? Try this…take five rounds of inhale/exhale breaths using a four count full body inhale, holding the breath in for a three count and letting it go on a five or six count full body exhale. See how you feel after THAT!
2. CALMS THE ADRENAL SYSTEM AND LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE - ... Ahhhhhh!
3. INCREASES SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-CONFIDENCE – In a world full of disappointment and suffering, who doesn’t need a dose of that?
4. INCREASES STRENGTH, FLEXIBILITY, AND PHYSICAL ENDURANCE – Everyone benefits from these, but athletes have noticed that through the practice of yoga, fewer injuries occur from keeping muscles flexible and strong.
STRENGTH + FLEXIBILITY = POWER
5. MENTAL ENDURANCE ALONG WITH PHYSICAL STAMINA INCREASES – You can achieve this by holding postures for extended breaths.
6. IMPROVES RESPIRATION, ENERGY, AND VITALITY – aka…makes you feel GREAT!
7. BALANCES METABOLISM AND HELPS CONTROL WEIGHT - …Yay!!
8. INCREASES CIRCULATION ALONG WITH CARDIO BENEFITS – It really gets your blood flowing and allows more oxygen to travel to your cells. Try inverted poses like handstands and headstands to encourage blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart where it can be pumped to the lungs and freshly oxygenated.
9. KEEPS THE SPINE HEALTHY AND PROTECTED – Our spine is our lifeline and yoga is one of the best ways to keep the spine in optimal condition.
Try back bends, forward bends and twists to achieve the best results…not to mention KILLER posture!
10. YOGA IS GREAT FOR THE CORE - The center of the body (3rd chakra) is very important. It houses your personal power and self-esteem. This is where your WARRIOR energy comes from!
Let’s keep it strong! Yoga IS core focused!
11. BALANCE, BALANCE, BALANCE – Not only does yoga keep you balanced in mind, body, and spirit…it keeps the body balanced by increasing strength in the tiny stability muscles that hold the body upright.
Try a series of standing postures to test your balance. For example, Tree Pose (Vrksasana) promotes balance and centering, which strengthens leg muscles, ankles, feet, groin and inner thighs.
12. Last but not least, YOGA IS A MEDITATIVE PRACTICE – I love this about the practice of yoga because it increases self-awareness, acceptance, concentration, and encourages a healthy lifestyle.
My lifestyle and sense of self-have greatly improved because of this 5,000 year old practice.
In this life, we are not promised perfection. Because the struggles never cease, we must find tools to heal, grow, move forward and love unconditionally.
Yoga is just one of many tools, but for me, it is a GIFT I’m glad I opened!
Kristi Paxton lives in Tupelo, Mississippi and is a 500hr certified Vinyasa Yoga instructor, Stand Up Paddle Board Instructor, Boga Fit Instructor, trainer for Boga Yoga Paddle board company and an Ambassador for Liquido Active.
You can find her teaching Vinyasa Power Yoga at Haven Studio in Ms or SUP Yoga for @yogAqua in 2018 for Wanderlust Festival.
She has 3 grown children & 2 beautiful granddaughters. She is passionate about yoga, health, fitness & loves to travel the world!
Follow Kristi Paxton on Social Media:
Stellar Legging Black (Coming Soon)
Glossy and Shine Bra Lustrous Black
*If you want to write for us and be part of our bold tribe, please write: firstname.lastname@example.org