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National Yoga Month

Beach Yoga at Hilton Head Health

Yoga is much more than just a workout.  Yoga positions, asanas, are just as good for the body as for the mind (neurological system) as well as the metabolism (endocrine system).  

If you did not already know, September marks the first official National Yoga Month designated by the Department of Health & Human Services. We helped to celebrate National Yoga Month by hosting a three day yoga workshop here at H3.  As we close our three day enlightenment, we wanted to share some light on some basic yoga terms.

Yoga:  The word yoga comes from the same root that gave us the word “yoke.”  It means union.  You will hear “union” described in many ways within the yoga community.  Union as the unity of mind and body, as the kinship with others or with all of humanity and, or as the sense of oneness with the planet.  Yoga is literally the joining together of the finite self and the infinite selfThe finite self is defined as the actual physical body and the experiences that we have physically.  Everyone can relate to the physical body because it is a real entity that can be seen and touched.  The infinite self however, is the inner self.  The higher self: the spiritual self.

Om: Aum (or OM) is a mantra or vibration that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of a yoga practice.  It is made up of three Sanskrit letters, aa, au and ma which, when combined together, make the sound Aum or Om.  It is believed to be the basic sound of the world, as it contains all other sounds.  Om is thought to be the sound of the universe.  So, what exactly does that mean?  The ancient yogis knew that the entire universe is moving.  Nothing is ever solid or still.  Everything that exists pulsates creating a rhythmic vibration.  The ancient yogis acknowledged this rhythmic vibration with the sound of Om.  We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, or in the inside of a seashell.  Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves; the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts.  As we chant the mantra it takes us for a ride on this vast universal movement.  A movement through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection, a connection that is both uplifting and soothing.

Namaste: “I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me” (Deepok Chopra).  Ideally Namaste should be done both at the beginning and at the end of class.  The gesture Namaste is an acknowledgement of the soul in one by the soul in another.  “Nama” means bow, “as” means I, and “te” means you.  Thus, namaste literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you”.

You don’t have to be a yogi to practice yoga – just head over to our You Tube channel where you will find five Yoga videos taking you through the basics and ending with a Sun Salutation. 

Namaste.

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