Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape!

Perhaps one of the most important health choices I make these days is my Yoga practice. I was introduced to Yoga in my thirties by a friend; she went for 30 days and I went for 3 years. Within in a short period of time the benefits of Yoga transformed me and life has never been the same.

Yoga, meaning “union,” has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, and currently, millions of Americans are enjoying its health benefits. Yoga can hardly be called a trend. Most yoga classes focus on learning physical poses, which are called asanas. They also include some form of breathing technique, and I like classes that include meditation as well.

Yoga classes are designed for energy and relaxation while teaching you how to move your body in new ways. The focus of Yoga is on honoring your body where it is today, moving toward your “edge” but not past it.  Each practice is new, so we meet our body again for the first time with each pose. The health benefits come from enabling you to develop your flexibility, strength, and balance, but this is only part of the gift of this powerful practice.  Yoga is about creating balance of body, mind, emotion, and spirit.

The practice of Yoga, which for me is meditation, works remarkably well to achieve this harmony and helps the mind to work in sync with the body.  How often do we find conflicts in our mind that weigh heavily upon us?  The Yoga mat is one of the best places to leave this worry and stress behind.

The meditative practice of yoga helps in achieving an emotional balance through detachment or what I like to call “dropping the rock”! Meditation creates the space to be here now; a place where you are not negatively affected by what’s going on around you. This, in turn, creates a remarkable calmness and a positive outlook, which has tremendous benefits on physical health. I leave my stress at the door, at least for an hour at a time, and I find with continued practice the leaving-it-all-behind benefits last longer and longer.

Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice the brighter your flame. – B.K.S Iyengar

Here are just some of the tangible benefits that can be achieved through yoga.

Physical Benefits:

Improved Digestion

Weight loss

Improved posture

Increased flexibility & strength

Optimal breathing

Reduced headaches and upper body tension

Reduction of symptoms from old illnesses and injuries

Deeper sleep

Mental Benefits:

Increased ability to manage stress

Improved focus and concentration

Better memory

More creativity

Emotional Benefits:

A sense of emotional freedom

Increased enjoyment of life

Increased freedom of expression

More peace of mind

More feelings of empathy & love

Increased self-confidence

Aids in grief recovery

Spiritual Benefits:

Connection with the purpose of life

Experiencing more joy

Brightness of spirit

Increased optimism

Increased creativity

I think you will agree that the benefits of Yoga are many.

With the popularity of Yoga now, most places have Yoga centers. Find one in your town and try it out. If you don’t have a studio near you, bring Yoga home in the form of a DVD.  Yoga truly is one the most powerful, profound technologies available today.  And with regular  practice, you can improve your life greatly at every level.  And with that said, I am off to do just that! – JR

(J.R. Westen, D.D. is a Holistic Health & Spiritual Counselor who has worked and presented side-by-side with Neale Donald Walsch for over a decade. He is passionate about helping individuals move beyond their emotional and spiritual challenges, transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs. His coaching provides practical wisdom and guidance that can be immediately incorporated to shift one’s experience of life. As is true for most impactful teachers, J.R.’s own struggles and triumphs inspired him to find powerful ways of helping others. Sober since June 1, 1986, J.R.’s passion for helping individuals move through intense life challenges drove him to also specialize in Addiction and Grief Recovery. J.R. currently shares his gift of counseling & coaching with individuals from around the world through the Wellness Center, Simply Vibrant, located on Long Island N.Y.  In addition, he works with Escondido Sobering Services and serves on the Board of Directors for the Conversations with God Foundation. He can be contacted at, or to book an appointment, write

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  • Ruchir Garg

    I have found this place to have a most authentic teaching of yoga, breathing, meditation, and self-transformation:
    They are 2.5 hours by road from New York City
    I purchased my first CWG book there in 2010 🙂

  • mewabe

    This advice on flexibility also applies to beliefs, mental attitude and behaviors.

    Has anyone noticed that the young is often more open-minded, while as people get older their minds are “set”, and the elderly is often extremely inflexible mentally?

    Staying young is also a matter of remaining soft, tender and pliable in terms of mental outlook and behavior.

  • Erin/IAm

    Ruchir…’The Himalayan Institute’ is not far from me…Awesome complex of many avenues for mind, body, & soul! There is a new place in Milford called ‘The Circle of Trees’ which is quite amazing even in it’s young stages of becoming. Milford is an Artisan community very much worth a pit-stop, as well. Nice to imagine our paths may have crossed here some time.:)

    I play with horses & if you have not yet had the opportunity to use your Yoga with horse-connect you have a whole new door awaiting opening! Heck, on a Belgian you can do just about any pose! Horses are more ‘sensitive’ than most realize…some are amazing healers, too. Anyone do their Tai-Chi in a pasture of equine? They will often ‘dance’, too…Very cool ambiance of energies indeed!:)

    In love of holding dear the aspects of youth…I wish you Good Journey!:)