Swami, how I love Ya! Yoga’s benefits
Thursday, August 19, 2004 7:52:00 PM
by Niki Collins-Queen
|'Yoga is the only exercise I know of that takes into account the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual components of a person. I really enjoy it, and I even experience things more deeply because of it. The trees seem greener, the sky bluer.'
THE MACON NEWS
By DebbIe Pilard
Tuesday, November 9, 1982
When Niki CoIlins was visiting the Bahamas a little more than a year ago, she decided to stay at a yoga retreat to save on expenses.
After two days of yoga and meditation on Paradise Island, she felt she had enough of it and took a ferry to the city during her free time.
It was then she really noticed a change in herself.
"For the first time, I didn't feel uptight in the city.
Before, the traffic, noise and crowds would make me tense, but I was able to remain relaxed. I knew then it was a carry-over of the yoga. I couldn’t wait to get back to the retreat," said Collins.
She ended up staying eight days at the retreat Instead of two. This August she attended another retreat in New York, and yoga has become a daily part of her schedule.
ORIGINALLY from South Africa, Collins said her Interest in Eastern thinking first prompted her to attend the retreat.
"Yoga is the only exercise I know of that takes in to account the physical, emotional, Intellectual and spiritual components of a person. I really enjoy it, and I even experience things more extensively because of it. The trees seem greener, the sky bluer," she said.
Because of the change Collins has experienced through yoga, she
felt the need to share her knowledge and accepted an invitation to teach a class at the Ruth Hartley Mosley Women's Center.
The class begins tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. and continues each Wednesday through Dec. 15. Registration for the class can still be made by calling the center at 742-6409. The class is limited. Cost is $I5.
The hour-long class will stress muscle toning and mental relaxation through exercise, proper breathing and meditation.
She has taken the yoga class at the YWCA and helped teach during the instructor’s absence, but this is her first time teaching a class. "We will work with 12 basic postures. Anyone can do the postures.
Some people may need to find their own limits," said Collins. She will be teaching hatha yoga techniques.
She pointed out that the atmosphere will be quiet and peaceful,and that the eyes are closed to keep outside stimulation to a minimum.
"So many people associate yoga with strange music and activities, but it mainly is a way to relax," she added.
Each posture is done slowly, gracefully with full attention and awareness, she said.
"A key word in yoga Is balance. There is a balance between body tension and relaxation, activity and rest. After each posture there is a period of rest. Relaxation is also sought while holding a posture.
Also every forward bending posture is counterbalanced with a backward bending posture," she said.
A COUNSELOR at the Community Mental Health Center, Collins said the best time for her to practice yoga is after work. She also runs two miles each day. Some of the benefits she lists are:
Physical: Keeps the body fit, toned, strong and flexible. Body posture is also improved. Yoga retards the aging or catabolic process. Helps in the control of voluntary and involuntary muscles. It increases blood circulation thereby giving the nerves a greater supply of nutrients and oxygen. The breathing exercises increase lung capacity and draw on the energy stored in the solar plexus.
Emotional: Yoga exercises are a form of stress management, release from tension and body relaxation. Yoga gives more energy and vitality. Senses achieve a heightened awareness. Concentration on the present is another step towards freedom from past and future worries.
Intellectual: Yoga improves attention span and concentration. It helps develop the capacity to stop mental agitation at will and steady the mind.
Spiritual: Yoga helps us to stop identifying with the body and realize our basic divinity. Through mental and spiritual relaxation, we begin to identify and experience the God-self, which is the powerful, peaceful, joyful self of pure consciousness. Yoga involves the following principles: proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet, positive thinking and meditation.
Photo: Collins practices the yoga headstand.