Why I appreciate this system of Alignment Supportive Movement
I was around 8 years old when my sibling and friends used me as a guinea pig when experimenting with the positions they were learning in their hatha yoga class. I mean this was the early 70`s! Yoga was big and so was their imaginations as I was bent, twisted, and contorted into pretzel-like postures! I enjoyed all the attention that was for certain!
Forty-four years later and I feel very blessed to have a healthy, strong, limber body! The difference today, however, then in the past, is that I have a more comprehensive knowledge and understanding of postural yoga (focuses on postures) and the physical & mental benefits. My personal home practice which blends, yoga asanas, Pilates, stretching with isometric & calisthenics movements, is still a challenge for me after all these years! I’m 53 yrs young and there are poses I’m still developing and creating. Poses I’m striving to achieve – this is where the mental focus & determination comes into play. This system of mindful movement is just as interesting to me now as it was 40 yrs ago! And it does this body well, inside & out!
“Having taught aerobics, step classes, aqua courses, I confess that after 15 yrs they lost their appeal. I am less interested in them now, in particular, having to keep up to the groupe thing. But, the attraction to & need for slow, deliberate, mindful movement, attention to breathe, and stilling of my mind, hasn’t lost its appeal. Infact, as I havecome into my Golden Years, I find myelf looking forward to these ”pockets of peaceful practices” more & more. This is the beauty, you can practice daily, anytime and anywhere. I have three places I love go to re-connect, realign, and center myself, prayer, lake, mat.
* PRAYER – LAKE – MAT *
What a blessing to have all three come together!”
These movements are more than just postures, stretches, and contortions to me. They are mindful, require commitment, and motivate me to set physical and mental goals that build self-discipline and perseverance. For certain, the “point de depart” for many new fitness enthusiasts is the physical, but with time and discipline, it also becomes a mental exercise in developing concentration and focus, a trait that carries over into many other aspects of life! Just take a look at any dedicated athlete, the level of physical & mental strength it takes to reach their goals. Mind-body synchronicity This is, in my opinion, at the core of today’s modern contemporary yoga practices, or what is referred to as western postural fitness.
One of my own creation, for example, No-ga, is a system of movements inspired by yoga and combines calisthenics, gymnastics, and isometric movement. No-ga focuses on the physical components, postural alignment, breath-work, and concentration without the eastern spiritualism. These classes use no Sanskrit, meditation, chanting, or religious concepts. The pace, focusing on one posture at a time with pauses for reflection and connection between each movement, allows the participant to develop both physical strength and mental focus and stamina. My classes, void of spiritual nuances, is technically secular yoga which by definition, isn’t really yoga at all when you think about it. And I am honest enough to admit it. Their N0-ga.
As well, contemporary postural practice is really cool & non-exhaustive. You can never run out of postures or possibilities. Impossible, because you are constantly changing & developing physically & this system of exercise too, as new movements, positions, and styles are constantly developing.
In closing, I have been a busy body all my life. I’ve taken and taught, aerobics, step, aqua-fitness, boot camp, and stretching…
I have jogged, swam, biked, windsurfed… I have competed in bodybuilding contest, aerobic fitness competitions, and gymnastics. But few forms of exercise compare to contemporary postural practice for toning, strengthening, and increasing core strength, balance, flexibility, and concentration in such a calm, deliberate, mindful way. Its utterly SOOTHING!
Whatever you want to call it, contemporary yoga, postural yoga, flows, postural or No-ga classes, finding a system of mindful movements, relaxing stretches and calming breathe work does a body good! With time and faithful commitment to practice, physical and mental wellbeing is yours with a minimum of stress, wear, and tear on the body.
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