Yoga is a systematic approach to improving the mind and body. It is not a panacea for disease and sickness, but it can be helpful in the healing from a myriad of challenges such as hypertension, depression, cancer and many others. It will improve athletic performance and everyday performance. Hatha yoga benefits include: flexibility, muscle tone, cardiovascular capacity, and overall strength. Yoga can be modified to suit the needs and abilities of anyone desiring to improve their overall fitness.
If we are what we eat, then quality is vitally important. Fresh organic food is a prerequisite to improving and maintaining overall health. Individuals who eat a plant-based diet have been shown to have lower incidences of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension and some cancers, particularly colon cancer. While plant-based eating does not necessarily mean becoming a vegan or vegetarian it is a shift to a well-planned diet that is primarily fresh vegetables, fruit and reduced meat consumption.
Mindfulness is being connected to life as it is happening. It is intentionally paying attention to our surroundings, our body and our feelings without judgement. It is like stopping to smell the roses, the honeysuckle or the coffee. Being mindful can prevent injury, since it is those moments that we are not fully engaged with our surroundings that sets us up for accidents. The benefits of being mindful is better decision making, improved athletic performance, reduced stress and emotional balance.
Our mind is continuously processing thoughts, reliving drama, projecting fears, and anticipating problems. This wears us down over time. Meditation gives the mind a rest, allowing us to make clearer decisions and become more productive. Meditation is like shutting the door to the outside world for a few moments and taking time to be with yourself in silence. A regular meditation practice has been shown to improve concentration, lower blood pressure, slow the effects of aging and improve overall cardiovascular and immune health.
Sometimes the best way to improve our mood is by being thankful for the blessings that have taken place in our lives. It does not mean life is perfect or we live in an ideal situation. It only means that if, we can take the time to be thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon us, we are usually okay at the moment and we have the capacity to understand our situation and be at peace with it. Practicing gratitude creates its own positive karma in life.
Compassion is the heartfelt desire to alleviate the suffering of fellow living beings. Compassion is created by the intuitive understanding of the connectedness we have with all of life. When we can alleviate or reduce the suffering of others, we uplift our own spirits not for the sake of being pious, but because in our hearts it feels like the right thing to do.
The idea there is more to life than our physical being and our material possessions is profound. To care about all of humanity and not selectively choose sides based on our inbred prejudices, biases and fears is to be fearless. To know that no matter how smart we think we are, there is something or someone that made everything we see and touch possible is humbling. To continue the work of great sages and prophets throughout history as they remind us of the importance of unconditional love for all life, is the ultimate high.