“Empowerment is about having the ability and confidence to turn towards and really feel the moment deeply – no matter what that moment involves – and act accordingly, from presence, from reality. You can practise this on the yoga mat, especially when you challenge yourself.”
- Esther Ekhart
Yoga is an ancient practice that brings together body and mind in a series of movements, postures, and breathing exercises with moments of meditation and reflection. Yoga brings physical and mental health benefits to all ages and if you are unwell or recovering from surgery yoga can become part of the integral healing process. Yoga energizes and gives mental clarity. It can brighten moods and can be very empowering as it helps set goals and to achieve those with a better mental focus.
Yoga is very empowering as it puts people in ‘the driving seat’ so that they are in control of their body and mind and feel in harmony with their daily lives and the people and world around them. Yoga and the meditation used in yoga, achieve this by encouraging people to look inwards and to really know and understand themselves, and by using this skill, they can discover what they need and want in life. It presents the opportunity for a person to notice when they are stuck in a cycle of self-limiting thoughts and empowers them to change this.
Yoga for Self-Acceptance
How we feel about ourselves and our attitude towards ourselves, influences the way we view others, our attitudes towards them, and how we interact with them. Self-acceptance makes us much more tolerant of everybody around us. Self-acceptance stops people from comparing themselves to others and being in competition with them. Self-acceptance creates a more harmonious relationship for the person within their environment. Self-acceptance is different from self-esteem as it enables a person to embrace and accept all aspects of their body, mind, and spirit for what they are, as they are, and to accept them with modestly and humility. Difficult to achieve, self-acceptance is very empowering.
Yoga for Stress Relief
Stress is a common consequence of the frenetic pace of modern living. Yoga is empowering because it can bring stress relief and also help those who practice yoga to manage their stress levels well and to rebalance their lives. Yoga can effectively ease both stress and anxiety as it promotes physical and mental relaxation. A number of the postures used in yoga, relieve tension and can release physical blockages such as knotted muscles and when these are eased, emotions and tensions can flow more easily.
Yoga for Weight Loss
Yoga emphasizes mindfulness and this works in perfect harmony with mindful eating. This is a style of eating in which you are totally aware of the smell, taste, and texture of the food you are eating as well as your thoughts and emotions at mealtimes. Coupled with regular yoga sessions, mindfulness definitely promotes healthy eating and can help control blood sugar levels and weight loss. Mindfulness has also been found to be beneficial in the treatment of eating disorders.
Yoga Improves Mood
Practicing yoga regularly can be very beneficial in boosting mood as it improves the circulation in the endocrine glands which improves the function of various hormones that play a key role in the physiology of depression. There is a noticeable change in the level of depression and the improvement of mood in those who regularly practice yoga. There have been a number of studies made on the positive effects that yoga can have on anxiety levels too.
In a study undertaken in Scandinavia, researchers measured brain waves before and after a two-hour yoga session. They found that alpha waves (that promote relaxation) and theta waves (that are responsible for the unconscious memory, dreams, and emotions) had both increased significantly during the yoga session. This suggests that yoga is deeply relaxing for the brain.
Poses for Empowerment
A number of the poses used in yoga are specially designed to encourage and stimulate the flow within the body and to enhance empowerment. These include Virasana (Hero’s Pose) Adho Mukha Svanasona(Downward-Facing Dog) and Salabhasona(Locust). Whilst it is preferable to join a yoga class to learn these movements, Yoga Journal gives an excellent insight into how these poses are composed and can be achieved in the home environment.
Yoga is so rich in benefits for the mind, body, and soul, why not consider trying yoga for yourself? Introduce yoga into your life and by doing so, you will be improving the quality of your life and empowering yourself.