January/February 2018 GASPARILLA ISLAND 55
Balance and strength are other benefits from
practicing. It also can help some people deal with
the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and the
slow breathing used with yoga can help treat
insomnia because it calms the mind and assists
in achieving a sense of tranquility.
Many of the poses mimic the behavior of
animals, hence the “downward-facing dog” and
The philosophy is more than 5,000 years old.
Ancient yogis wanted to be able to sit and
we are taught
to calm down
there’s a reason
Both instructors agree that yoga can be life
“You don’t have to flexible and you don’t have to
be strong when you start out, but you’ll notice
meditate to reach a higher level of consciousness,
and they realized to be able to do that would
take both mental and physical stamina. Most
poses help strengthen the core as well.
“The main purpose of yoga is to shut off our
brains and focus on the physical movements and
how much they are helping our bodies and our
minds,” DiMaura said. “It doesn’t have to be
strenuous. If all you do is come to class and lay
on your mat and breathe – you’re doing yoga.”
Breathing is most important because new
oxygen stimulates new blood as it moves to
different areas throughout the body. It helps calm
the nervous system and brings warm, moist
filtered air into the lungs and it also helps filter
“Even as a child when something upset us,
changes in your body after just a few classes,”
Williamson and DiMaura said while it’s good to do
yoga daily on your own, having a coach can help you
stay on target during the poses. Sometimes it’s the
mind that gets lost and needs to be pulled back in
when you get lost from the present moment.
Regular practice of yoga not only promotes
strength, endurance and flexibility, but it can also
facilitate compassion and greater self-control.
The practice produces a physiological state
opposite to that of the stressful response to fight-orflight
theory when the mind is forced to make a
decision on how the body must immediately react.
Stretching gives the body the opportunity to move
the blood and help with circulation throughout the
a variety of