Celebrating Yoga As an Important Part of the Healing Journey

Yoga is an ancient practice and philosophy rooted in Indian traditions.  The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means to yolk, or to bind. Yoga practices such as pranayama (breathing), asana (postures), and dhyana (meditation) are some tools that are used to yoke the outer self to the inner being, the capital ‘S’ Self. 

At the root of yoga philosophy is belief that our inner Self is connected to all that is: every human, plant, creature, molecule, and rain drop are all manifestations of one essence, referred to in Sanskrit as Brahman. The practice of yoga brings us back home to ourselves, and also connects us with the rest of the world. It is a remembering of who we truly are in connection with all that is. 

The earliest roots of yoga come from The Vedas, one of the oldest living scriptures from India dating back to the 3rd or 4th Century BCE.  Throughout the centuries, yoga has taken on many manifestations and forms.

In the 1900’s, Indian yoga teachers began spreading the power of yoga to the Western world.  Some of these teachers including Swami Vivekananda, Paramahansa Yogananda, T. Krishnamacharya, Patthabi Jois, BKS Iyengar, TKV Desikachar, and many more. As Westerners began working with the practice, it spread like wildfire.

Today, Yoga can be found on nearly every street corner in our modern world, with the primary focus being on Yoga asanas, or postures.  There are also many styles of Yoga asana practice such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kundalini, Yin, Restorative, Iyengar and Yoga Nidra which can range from very energetic and athletic, to very calm & relaxing.  A yoga asana (posture) practice stretches and strengthens the body with the intention of moving subtle energy.  Do you ever feel stagnant or stuck? A vigorous Vinyasa practice can help you create heat in the body and feel more energetic.  Feeling exhausted or burnt out? A nourishing restorative or yoga Nidra can help restore balance to the body and calm the nervous system.

Yoga can also be an important part of any cancer journey. A recent study published by Helene Langevin at Harvard University found that stretching for 20-30 mins per day had a significant decrease in the tumor size in cancer cells, and helped boost immune function and reduce inflammation.  For more information from Dr. Langevin, see here.

Health and healing take into account a person as a whole being – body, mind, and spirit.  A yoga practice can be an important part of the healing journey and re-discovering your whole Self.  This was exemplified by Tigerlily yogi Catherine Odderstol who advocated for the importance of practicing movement regularly.

Tigerlily Foundation’s Pure Cat Initiative was launched in honor of Cat, a sassy yogi, who danced through life, spread light and joy with everyone she met, and who left us the gift of her eternal gypsy soul.  Cat was dedicated to helping others have a mind, body, spirit approach to health and wellness.  Cat has inspired us to honor her SPIRIT legacy, by offering patients, caregivers and loved ones access to programs that inspire them to light up life, focus on faith not fear, and as she loved to say, “Let Love be Your Frequency”.   

On this International Day Of Yoga, Monday June 21st, come practice yoga with us! Every Monday at 4pm, join your instructor & breast cancer survivor, Valencia Robinson for a nourishing, all-levels yoga class on Zoom.  This class is open to everyone and suitable for all levels of experience.