It’s 2011 in San Diego, and America’s Finest City is more than just that. Over the past decade, San Diego has grown into one of the country’s most diverse and dedicated centers of yoga. As many locals can attest, it’s nearly impossible to drive through a San Diego neighborhood or suburb without encountering at least one new studio that has popped up seemingly overnight. Many of us have the choice of where to practice, which type of yoga to pursue, and how hard we want to work. And while we may seem like a small and exclusive community by some standards, the reality is that yoga really has gone Mainstream. We are no longer embracing an idealistic or even “alternative” pastime; if yoga has been calling to the masses, then the masses seem to have heard its call.
With yoga being publicly embraced by celebrities, incorporated into the fitness routines of professional athletes, and now even recommended by many western doctors, even the most staunch non-believers must be willing to admit that yoga seems to be more than a passing trend. But for the many people who still haven’t tried it, and who are skeptical that (no matter how you package it) yoga is still just “stretching”, the question remains: Could this be the right exercise for me?
The answer is, quite simply, “yes”. The health benefits of yoga are numerous, and present a list too long to be counted in a single article. To generalize, I can tell you that yoga will help you heal from acute injuries just as effectively as it can help you to work through chronic conditions. Thousands of people have attributed their yoga practice to the alleviation of pain in the back, knee, and other areas of the body.
Even more astounding, yoga has been proven effective in the treatment of more complex long-term conditions to include arthritis, asthma, diabetes, blood pressure imbalances, and depression. Future articles will go into greater depth in the ways that yoga has been demonstrated to help people – old or young, weak or strong, happy or sad. But for now, it’s important for people to know that, while yoga practitioners are known to sport those rock-hard abs and chiseled backs, even more noteworthy is the “Zen”. Yes, that that apparent state of bliss and serenity in which yoga people seem to move through life and their interactions with others.
Yes, yoga is for everyone. A mental and physiological state of balance is an inevitable step in the journey of yoga – a byproduct, if you will, of a disciplined cleansing of your body and mind. With yoga at your fingertips, you can reach new heights of health and contentment, all while burning calories and trimming those thighs.
In future articles, I’ll delve deeper into the specifics of yoga and talk more about what I’ve learned – and continue to learn – in my own practice. For now, just know that the phenomenon of yoga is real and accessible by you, and everyone.