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Yoga Is More Than Physical Fitness

By True Alisandre on Mar 2, 2004

Combining Yoga and Meditation

Each time we pause from our daily routine of going from this thing to that without thinking, slowing our movements down a bit, we come to know ourselves on a much deeper level. This is one of the overriding benefits in a therapeutic practice of yoga and its close cousin - massage therapy: they help us slow down and become more aware of our identity as a body, mind and spirit.

For three decades I both have taught & practiced yoga asanas, meditation & massage therapy. During this time I've come to see thatthe two are very similar on many levels.

Yoga postures stretch our bodies beyond our preconceived limitations, and allow us to return to a more free flowing state of being, with much less stress in our joints, muscles, and soft tissues. In many ways it also provides an internal massage for our lymph, sebaceous and endocrine glands. Massage, like yoga, tones our body parts in a sense sculpting & reworking our human frame to operate more efficiently, and gracefully.

We are also brought back to the present moment and become less concerned with the past and future.This is why time moves so differently in a yoga class or during a massage. One of the less obvious benefits that yoga and massage offer us are an increase of our fluid memory. We all know that we emerged into this world from an aqueous environment, and our first movements on Earth were quite loose, flowing, and spontaneous. I contend that our state of health is directly related to how much we sense ourselves as fluid beings. Scientifically, we admit we are 70 - 80% water, but practically speaking, most of us live and move in the world as if we were a solid  object bumping up against or avoiding collisions with other solid things.

By becoming aware that we are a body, mind, and spirit living in the present & flowing along with varying degrees of stress, we can make course corrections by hearing the inner promptings from our higher mind and ever abiding spirit. Many sages and spiritual teachings attest to this as the sole purpose of life: know thyself, and to that Self be true. When we stay on a purely physical or even reactive mind level, we are running our lives counter to their intended purpose.

We must realize that we didn't create ourselves, and that our return to Oneness from which we ventured, is beyond our human comprehension. The word "Y O G A" actually means union or oneness, and therefore it is actually the goal of our practice, and not the means. By a regular practice of the 7 limbs of yoga: abstinences / observances, expanding and contracting postures, breath control, sense withdrawal, concentration & contemplation we are gently guided to the sustained period of meditation called "samadhi", or yogic oneness.

Even seconds in these holy instances is refreshing, rejuvenating, and inspiring beyond the farthest reaches of our imagination. So, establishing a daily practice of 15 - 30 minutes of yoga asanas & breath control followed by an equal period of meditative sitting will begin the journey without words to reuniting with our One Self, or True Nature - as we were created - in harmony with all that is. 

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"True Alisandre (last name means "helper of people" in French) has been offering his self care health care practices for 30 years to thousands of people both in individual and group sessions. He's taught yoga, massage, stress awareness & prevention, and free drawing classes in hospitals, health clubs, businesses, churches, colleges, and for drug treatment programs.

All of True's sessions whether massage, yoga, or drawing require only short spans to be effective, and encourage free-form spontaneous movement, and full bodied breathing. True has taught his approaches throughout the eastern United States, and abroad in the Philippines. He is very interested in teaching his methods to children, and worked / played for 10 years with children having emotional and physical problems.

He is a self-published author of three books: A Healthy Smokers Observations, Breath.Sound.Touch.Movement therapy, and Pictures of Health to Breathe & Move With. He's also written numerous one page essays on health, time, relationships, spirituality, A Course in Miracles (ACIM), and creativity. He's currently working on abstract drawings on each of ACIM's 360 daily lessons, and is open to commissions of his energetic / free drawings from anyone in the world.

For further questions visit True's website or contact True at: smoothyoga2004@yahoo.comor call: 870-405-6464 in the United States.