by MaryGrace Naughton, Yoga and Meditation Specialist, Miraval Resort & Spa
We all begin a yoga practice for many different reasons. Maybe a friend loves it and encourages you to try something new, perhaps your doctor feels it will help you with stiffness or improve your balance. Maybe you think it will be a great work out and you want to get fit without having to go to a gym. Whatever reason brings you to yoga is wonderful. What I hope you will find is a deeper wisdom and understanding of the body-mind connection and the ability to create greater balance in all aspects of your life.
For me, the beauty of a true yoga practice is that we can’t help but see things about ourselves that we don’t normally notice without the specific combination of movement, stillness and the inward focus on our breath. The willingness to look within as we challenge ourselves in yoga asana or postures brings many benefits. After years of practice, here are the 10 benefits of yoga that I’ve learned:
- The ability to know and understand oneself.
- The ability to employ a judgment-free mindset as well as cultivate compassion as one continues to learn about the body and mind connection.
- Greater muscle tone, strength and flexibility, which enhances other physical activities and helps prevent injuries.
- Increased range of motion and balance.
- Reduced stress due to breath and a body/mind awareness.
- Decreased risk factors for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Relief of chronic conditions such as anxiety, insomnia and depression.
- Improved self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Improved concentration and focus.
- A greater sense of well-being and inner calm.
About MaryGrace Naughton: MaryGrace Naughton,has been studying and practicing yoga and meditation since 1987. She became a certified yoga teacher through the Providence Institutein 2001. Since 2004, MaryGrace has been passionately teaching at Miraval, the acclaimed destination resort and spa nestled in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona. At Miraval, MaryGrace brings her deep knowledge and understanding of “Heart Centered Communication” and “Lovingkindness Meditation” to her expression as a teacher of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. She was instrumental in the creation of Miraval’s new Aerial Yoga and Floating Meditation experiences. In 2011, MaryGrace traveled with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic to Azores, Madeira, Canary & Channel Isles. In the fall of 2012 MaryGrace was the first specialist to travel the world for Miraval Journeys as a yoga and meditation specialist in Croatia. In 2014, MaryGrace will be traveling with Whole Journeys to Tuscany Italy (October) offering Miraval mindfulness and stress mastery classes. Beyond her foundational training, MaryGrace has studied yoga therapeutics with several master teachers including Darren Rhodes, Christina Sells, and Noah Maze. She continues to sharpen her mindfulness skills and meditation experience by attending extended retreats every year as she has for the last 11 years. She shares, “My two beautiful teenage daughters continue to be my most cherished teachers and students. Through them I have learned to bring a playful as well as spiritual nature to all my teaching.”
Photo courtesy of Miraval Resort & Spa