Yoga Diversity

yoga-diversityYoga is a practice and a philosophy of mind, body and spirit, their unity, and the means to achieve an awareness of this unity. The origins of Yoga are ancient, yet its practice today has provided many benefits, some of which are surprising. Most Yoga classes focus on the unification of body, mind and breath.

The benefits of Yoga practice are numerous, starting with fitness and the affects it has on our muscles, bones and joints. The three components of musculoskeletal health are flexibility, strength and aerobic endurance. What makes Yoga unusual is that the movements eventually work every joint in the human body throughout their possible ranges of motion. Due to this awareness, Yoga is now used in rehab centers across the nation for rehabilitation of injuries.

Let’s talk about everybody’s favorite, libido. Yoga practice includes techniques called bandhas, which stimulate specific endocrine glands. The reproductive glands are no exception, and this practice will increase your sex drive.

Then there comes the aspect of resistance and immunity. Our lymphatic system is both our sewer system, receiving the excess fluid and wastes made by our cells, and our defense against disease. Keeping the tubes of the lymph system flowing is crucial to overall fitness. Yoga contracts all the muscles of the body while taking care to make inhalations deep and slow.  Both these are the mechanism by which this fluid pumps through the system.

Along with Cardiovascular Health, Yoga also enhances pulmonary (lung) capacity. In normal, unconscious breath, the body moves the rib cage only enough to bring the minimal amount of air it needs at any moment.  Yoga forces the ribs to expand beyond the minimum, increasing the flexibility and expansion of the ribs, bringing in more air flow. Due to the relaxation Yoga provides, it can slow down the heart rate by introducing excess oxygen into the body’s internal systems.

Many postures stretch, roll, twist or compress our digestive organs, maintaining their fluidity while in constant contact.  This aids in digestion, absorption and excretion.

In reading Pathology texts, we find that the phenomenon of stress is the instigator of so many diseases and imbalances. Hatha Yoga stresses the component of Dharana (concentration, mindfulness) in its practice. The attentive mind considering breath and movement adds a magical component, primal energy (Prana). The addition of Prana is what allows the deep, stress-reducing relaxation experienced in Yoga practice.

While Hatha Yoga focuses on the body/mind/breath, the remaining components of Yoga practice move towards the knowledge of the Inner Self.  As the Yogi’s say “the world screams for our attention while our soul whispers.” We need to shut out the noise in order to connect with the silence.

Michael Rosen-Pyros, D.C. has practiced Yoga since 1968. He has taught anatomy and philosophy at Yoga Teacher Training programs throughout Tampa Bay, has classes at his home Studio in Sarasota, and practices a combination of Chiropractic and Thai Massage. He is the author of Life in a Spacesuit – Anatomy for Mystics. (Available at To learn more visit or