York County Medicine Summer 2019 - 20

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

FEATURE:

TWISTED
YOGA
by Christina Wilson

I began practicing yoga when I was in college - it helped me to relax in the midst of both working and going to college
full time. I have continued to practice it and eventually teach it for much that same reason. Yoga offers a peace and
calm to my life that has been a cornerstone in my own health and wellbeing. It is a part of my personal mission to
share yoga with others so they too can reap the many benefits of this age-old practice that centers on bringing the
mind and body together in a greater degree of balance and harmony.

A

s advances in modern medical practices are changing to
include alternative, holistic treatments, many doctors
are recommending yoga as a form of stress therapy in
lieu of medication. Much research has been conducted over the
last decade showing that the benefits of yoga positively impact a
person's overall well-being, and I could not agree more!

Because yoga had such a profound, transformative effect on me,
I decided to train to become a Certified Yoga Instructor so I could
help others create positive changes in their lives. Since earning my
certification, I took an early retirement from teaching high school
mathematics in order to own and operate Twisted Roots Yoga &
Wellness. What a blessing it has been!

Having been a practitioner of yoga for over 15 years, I am able
to personally attest to the positive impact yoga has had, not only
on my stress level, but also on my mental, emotional, and physical
well-being.

Having the studio has allowed me to witness the positive effects
yoga has on others, as well. Many of the practitioners at the studio
have highly stressful careers, such as teachers, nurses, doctors,
and lawyers, and in their words, are "so grateful for yoga and the
studio." A charge nurse of the operating room, who coordinates
the flow of the schedule, often remarks how yoga has brought
her a sense of calm outside of the studio, often using her breath
in stressful situations at work. Another student, who is a lawyer,
almost always enters the studio saying "Ahh, my happy place,"
as it has become an opportunity for her to let go of the outside
world. In addition to relieving mental stressors, almost every
student of yoga has had physical transformations in the areas of
weight loss, increased muscle tone, reduction in blood pressure,
and improvement of posture.

I found yoga, or perhaps, yoga found me, at a point in my life
when I was looking for an alternative form of exercise, one which
included physical activity with less stress on the joints as well as a
deep muscular stretch. I found an Iyengar Yoga class at a local gym
and was hooked from the start. However, what began as a physical
practice, soon evolved into much more.
As my physical practice strengthened, I noticed my subtle body
changing; that is, my breath, my mental clarity, my concentration,
and my sense of calm, to name a few. As with most people who
begin their yoga path through the physical body, a pathway to selfrealization begins and continues to grow beyond the physical; that
is the essence of practicing of yoga, where the true journey begins.
During the physical practice of yoga, the poses or asanas are
performed using the rhythm of the breath. While it takes time
and practice, once this rhythm between the breath and the poses
is established, the practitioner is then able to allow the mind to be
free from thought, while at the same time concentrate and tune
into the sensations of the body. It is my opinion, that during this
time when the mind is allowing itself the freedom from outside
thoughts, that stress-reduction begins. At this point in my personal
practice, there is no opportunity for worry, or for thinking about
anything but the present moment: practicing yoga. Therefore, my
mind has no stress placed upon it, nor does it have the availability
for thoughts to enter, as I am continually reminded to return to
my breath.
20

York County Medicine | SUMMER 2019

The beauty of yoga is that is a practice for EVERYONE. A
beginner does not need to be in peak physical performance nor
does he or she need to be flexible in order to perform any of the
postures; only a willingness to try. It is a commitment one makes
with him or herself every time he or she steps on the mat.
Often, it feels intimidating to try yoga for the first time, as has
been my experience when beginners inquire about the practice or
enter the studio. If you are considering a yoga practice for the first
time, I would suggest the following:
* Research studios in your area to see what styles of yoga are
offered. There are many different styles of yoga; the greatest
differences being a flow yoga versus holding poses and heated
versus room temperature.
Some studios may only offer one style, while other studios may
offer many styles. This information will be on their website.


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York County Medicine Summer 2019

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