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WHAT DO WE REALLY NEED?
by Anthony Scott
Unfortunately, we didn’t come with a users guide. We were not born with the maintenance manual for the human body. But just like any other vehicle, we need to continually maintain our body to ensure a long and healthy life.
From birth we are taught so many things, how to eat, talk, walk, read and write. At school we study history, geography, maths and science, languages and even biology. We learn how to drive, behave, make a living, cook and many other skills, but when, and who, teaches us how to look after our body in the way it is meant to be?
We work hard to keep up and maintain our so-called ‘standard of living’, but is what we do and how we live enhancing and improving our wellbeing and our health, or are we on a downward spiral ensuring sickness and a frail old age, dependent on others?
Why work to improve our bank balance, or work hard improving someone else’s, if we cant enjoy the time we have because we are not fit and healthy enough to do the thing we really want to do, in the time we have to do it?
Why is it that the most important thing of all – our health, seems to be completely neglected or put way down the list or into the ‘to hard’ basket? Why is it we seem to be able to find the time to do everything else? Why is it we make up excuses as to when, were and how we exercise? Why do we wait until we get sick and diseased, overweight, stressed out, run down, fatigued, in pain, inflexible and weak, before we do something about it?
We need to address this situation seriously. We need to take a closer look at how we prioritize our life.
We continually keep putting thing of until tomorrow, as if we have all the time in the world to do it. We haven’t. We have only got one chance at this. We are old for just as long as we are young. Therefore, must prepare ourselves for the years ahead, not wait until it’s too late, and then say: “I wish I had started this 20 years ago.”
Still, we continually make excuses, usually because what we choose to do takes too long, is too hard, leaves us in pain, is inconvenient, embarrassing, or simply because we don’t want to be reminded of how out of condition we really are. Instead, we drink too much, smoke too much, overeat, eat the wrong foods and live in denial that it is effecting us. It is effecting us.
What we need is not always what we want, and what we want is not always what we need. But we can take control over our own health if we go about it the right way. We are not going to improve, only deteriorate, if we don’t take control.
We can easily fall into the trap of a false sense of security if we think going for a run or to the gym once or twice a week will keep us on the improve, and cover all the aspect of fitness needed. It wont and doesn’t.
So we continue on a downward spiral, getting weaker, sicker and stiffer as we get older. Movement becomes difficult, our joints seize up with arthritis, lack of mobility sets in as our spine looses range of motion and the vertebrae begin to fuse together, our posture gets worse and the breath slowly diminishes, we loose balanced as our core strength disappears, stress builds up and takes toll over our nervous system, obesity becomes a problem, our digestive system and metabolism becomes sluggish, we cant sleep, we fatigue more easily, become lethargic, lack motivation and fail to keep enjoying the things in life that once brought us joy and happiness. We lose faith in ourselves, and this can lead to addiction and unhealthy habits.
However – there is no reason why we can’t be as fit and healthy at 80 as we were at 20. Putting everything down to getting older is not the way it has to be.
So we are left with the big question, what can we do about it?
YOGA, A HOLISTIC METHOD
For a start we need to take a look at our lifestyle and find a fitness path that suits our needs and is complete and convenient. We also need an exercise that can be done on a regular basis, is effective and gets results. Doing the right things regularly is the key to continual fitness growth. We also need to do something safe, that will not harm us over the long term, and we can do it for the rest of our life. It must be simple, easy to follow, yet challenging, and it must be something we can do on our own anywhere at any time – for as long or as short as we wish.
It is mind-boggling how many different exercise systems and methods there are out there to choose from. Gyms seem to be getting more hi-tech and expensive, and there are thousands of dvd’s offering a huge array of “workouts”.
We can do aerobics, palates, get a personal trainer, tai chi, qigong, bike, jog, walk, run, push weights, swim, row, ski, do boxing or martial arts, dance, play a huge range of sports and games, the list goes on. All these have there benefits, but very few can stand alone in offering us what our body really requires on a long term basis.
I have participated in many of these activities as well as observed the advantages and shortfalls they have to offer. I am not about to go into the advantages and disadvantages of each one, but all I will say is that none are complete. None of them can offer us a holistic approach to health and wellbeing that we can participate in safely and continue with, at any stage of our life. As I drifted in and out of everything from long distance running, to full contact martial arts over the past 35 years, the only thing I continue with is yoga.
I am not suggesting you should stop participating in the activity you love or do. Yoga will only enhance any sport or physical activity, lessen the chance of injury and shorten the recovery time if you do get injured. You may also find you will improve markedly, and enjoy it even more, for a much longer time.
Yoga is also a proven and valuable cross training method and is now being adapted by many coaches in a wide range of sports.
Many don’t look upon yoga as a fitness activity, but people who have tried vinyasa yoga will surely have a very different outlook. I have been teaching vinyasa yoga for the past 10 years and have not yet seen anything as effective on a long term basis.
Yoga has stood the test of time, with roots dating back to the first written documents, and is now the fastest growing system of self development in the world today. It was first developed to prepare the body in order to still the mind for meditation. Yoga works on a holistic level, giving strength, alignment, stamina, flexibility, balance, vitality as well as a calm focused mind.
There are many different styles, and as many different approaches to teaching them. There are over 890,000 different postures, and an infinite amount of ways to put them together. My introduction into yoga came through Sivinanda Yoga, and then into Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, which has been my path for the past 10 years.This powerful practice has been the single most beneficial and amazing thing I have ever done.
After practicing and teaching Vinyasa yoga for an extended length of time, I am completely convinced there is nothing else I could have done that would have brought to me what this practice has.
I have taught mostly privately over the past 10 years, and this has led me into a therapeutic, fitness oriented path.
Through my teaching experience and my personal practice, I have developed a systematic approach that allows the yoga to be adapted to the student, not the other way around. Yoga should not be a “one size fits all” activity. Everybody is unique, and has their own strengths, weaknesses, goals and abilities. With the right approach, yoga can be adapted to suit anybody in any condition or age.
TRISTHANA VINYASA YOGA
Movement is what the body needs to hold back the effects of aging. We must breath deep and long to purify and energize the body and calm the mind. We must focus on what we do, with awareness and intent.
Tristhana is the ability to continue harmonizing the breath with movement and concentrated awareness. This is the essence of Vinyasa yoga practice. It is the blending of these 3 aspects that give us the ability to unlock the potential that lays dormant in each and every one of us. The entire body benefits as the breath improves, and the mind becomes calm and focused.
Tristhana Vinyasa Yoga is a systematic approach to the establishment of a yoga practice that builds the foundation and platform ensuring a safe, enjoyable, ever evolving practice for life. The benefits are entirely up to the effort that is put into it. The development of your own regular personal practice it the key. This allows freedom and regularity, saving time and expense. Your own yoga practice may end up being one of the most valuable things you will ever have and do. It has certainly proven to be that for me.
Once the body and mind flow together, and the breath is long, smooth, deep and effortless, this challenging practice will bring harmony, joy, contentment, fitness and health, longevity, a sense of achievement, and empowerment, and a closer connection to our inner self and the wonderful world around us.