Everyone has heard of yoga. You just say the word and immediately picture a group of people in stretchy pants looking so calm as they strike perfectly balanced poses on different colored mats. While this may be what you imagine in your mind, yoga is so much more than a stretching exercise. It comes from ancient traditions of self-development and self-realization.
It has the power to heal and strengthen not only the body, but also the spirit.
You’ve heard the word “yoga” a million times, but do you actually know what it means? Like its literal definition? Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means “to join” or “to unite.” By this definition, you could say yoga is the uniting of the body, mind, and spirit.
Yoga itself is not a religion, but it can increase your spirituality as you take time to reflect on what’s truly important to you and all you have to be grateful for. As you open your mind and heart to spirituality, you can tap into the healing power that comes with it.
In an article from Yoga Journal titled “The Healing Power of Yoga for Veterans,” five veterans describe how yoga is helping them heal from years of disturbing war. One veteran in particular caught our eye. Chris Eder retired in 2013 after serving in the military for 23 years. He felt his mind and body start to struggle and turned to yoga for healing. Chris said in the article, “I’m pretty sure without my yoga and meditation practice, I would be a statistic. I had a pretty solid home practice and began teaching in 2008, but over the past three years, my therapist have taken me into some seriously dark places. The comfort and security of my mat, my space, and my practice have kept me going and given me hope.”
So it honestly doesn’t matter what religion you practice or if you even practice one, yoga can help you cultivate peace, inner strength, and the faith to face life’s challenges with a courageous heart.