All who have experienced the 26 postures twice through the beginning and ending with a breathing exercise, know that feeling when you get up from your final savasana.
If you’re anything like me, no matter what state my body and mind are coming into my practice, I always feel better coming out.
My body feels fantastic; some say “buzzing,” blood flowing freely, breath deep and steady, muscles tired, stretched, and relaxed.
For me, it feels like a physiological reset that allows me to literally feel my body’s vitality…my life force.
I know this sounds strange, but one of my favorite moments when I teach a class is when I get to catch the moment when a student walks from the studio door to their car to leave. I watch their bodies embrace ease and openness in their stature that wasn’t as apparent when they walked in to practice.
It’s funny how that little before and after shot in my mind of a student’s stature walking in, versus their stature walking out, is truly all the inspiration I need to keep marching down this yogic path.
So what is it that makes us feel so dang good after we practice?
Dilip Sarkar, a retired vascular surgeon, turned yoga teacher and clinical researcher from Virginia, explains that: “…yoga therapy relaxes blood vessels and reduces blood pressure while increasing the blood flow to the heart muscle.”
Increased blood flow to the heart means:
- More oxygen-depleted blood (full of carbon dioxide and other cellular waste) is presented to the lungs to be exhaled out
- More depleted blood is available to be infused with fresh oxygen on the next inhale
- More oxygenated blood (with fresh cellular nutrients) is distributed throughout the entire body
Using our yoga postures, breath, and gravity, as tools, we have our circulatory system to thank for giving our insides a good wash, allowing optimal blood flow to specific organs and muscle groups replacing waste with nutrient-rich blood!
The next time you practice, allow your knowledge of the direct connection between oxygen intake and the removal of waste through your breath to enhance your mind-body connection.
- There is power in your Inhale! As oxygen inflates your lungs, depleted blood is infused with that same oxygen! That blood is pumped throughout your body, rejuvenating cells in your organs, muscles, and bones!
- The specific shape of your posture, along with gravity, disperses the oxygenated blood accordingly, highlighting blood flow to specific areas.
- There is power in your exhale! Your steady exhale throws out carbon dioxide (basically, poison to your body) and other cellular waste.
Being considerate of how your inhale and exhale physiologically affect your body in a posture can be expansive to your mind-body connection, allowing you to feel the direct benefit of a steady inhale and exhale through the nose.
With an enhanced mind/body connection, the practice becomes about an accurate dispersion of energy throughout the body in your posture, which brings an element of energetic balance.
This Hatha yoga practice is not about “muscling through” poses, it’s about using only the engagement of specific muscles to enhance or restrict blood flow to targeted areas.
The April 1924 edition of one of the first scientific journals published studying yoga asana in India, The Yoga Mimamsa, reads:
“The ancient savants of India, who developed and formulated the science of Yoga, have so wonderfully economized the expenditure of muscular energy, in every attempt to secure a particular physiological advantage, that they have almost reduced to a minimum.”
I know using minimum effort to hold a posture while breathing normally in a 26 & 2 yoga class sounds like it might be easy. But, really, it takes full concentration to explore what muscles need to be contracted in a posture, and what muscles need to be relaxed.
Why is “minimal effort” better for circulation?
- When muscle fibers contract, blood flow is increased to those muscles.
- By only contracting the muscles needed, blood flow can be enhanced to targeted areas for specific therapeutic benefits.
- Specific areas can be targeted to be flushed of carbon dioxide/toxins and replaced with nutrient-rich oxygenated blood restoring and rejuvenating specially targeted cells.
When I complete a 26 & 2 class and get up from that sacred final savasana, my physical and mental state experience an undeniable shift.
With strategically rejuvenated cells happily buzzing all over my body, I am truly my best self.
When anxiety feels suffocating, or depression looms in my life, I rest assured that I have 26 powerful tools at my disposal to shift my energy.
Don’t you wish you could gift this “after final savasana feeling” to everyone in this world?
However, I suppose that’s one of the beautiful truths about having a yoga practice; no one can do the work it takes to feel good in your body and mind but you.
Trust me and everyone at PURE Yoga Texas when I say, your vitality is worth the effort.
Everyone deserves to have the tools it takes to be their best self.
We at PURE are happy to provide all the resources for anyone ready to take their first step. Sign up for your first virtual class here.
Meet Your Author:
Laine Edwards, teacher @Pure Yoga Texas.