What is yoga?
Yoga literally means “to yoke.” We connect the mind with the body, breath with movement, awareness within ourselves. Yoga may mean, look, and feel different from one person to the next. For me, it is a way of life that I incorporate breathwork, meditation, and mindful movement with everything I do. When we practice yoga, we bring awareness to the actions of our body, our speech, and our mind.
Breath and Meditation
In our military careers we go through a lot of physical training and physical stress, and we may hurt our bodies. How do we heal our bodies? (No, not with 800 mg of your favorite anti-inflammatory medicine.) We rest the part that is hurt allowing it time to heal. This is the same idea with our brains. When we experience trauma, we may replay the incident (or multiple incidents) over and over like a movie reel. How can we get that to slow or stop? How do we calm our minds? One way is through meditation.
To begin a meditation practice, start with a minute or two a day. Find a space where you feel safe and are comfortable and take a moment to connect with your breath. Once you’ve found your spot, find stillness, close your eyes or gaze down softly. Then bring your awareness to your breath. Notice how it sounds in your ears as you breathe in and breathe out. Notice the physical movements of your breath. Where does your breath move through your torso? Do your shoulders rise and fall? Does your belly expand and soften?
For a few easy movements, including those you can do from your chair, see the Coast Guard Wellness Wednesday Video and Allyson’s Power Point (PPT) from that video at the website links below.
After an easy flow, take an easy seat, come back to your breath for one more moment of stillness to fully take in the benefits of your movement.
About the author: Allyson has been practicing yoga for nearly 25 years and teaching yoga for the past three years both virtually and in person. She has more than 1,000 hours of training to include children’s yoga, yin yoga, power vinyasa, and trauma informed yoga.