In my search for self, I came across a practice that is all about finding the inner self, becoming one with yourself through carefully breathing, posing your body, and meditation. This practice is known as Yoga. I know what your thinking, isn't that the the thing skinny people do to become more flexible? My answer is no. As a matter of fact, according to articles at YogaJournal.com, it is not necessary for a person to lose wait before starting to practice yoga, and yoga is more than just standing in funny poses. The philosophy of yoga is a process of teaching "the transformative possibilities of awareness", says Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., P.T., author of "A Year Living Your Yoga". There is actually 3 parts to the study of yoga: Asana (yoga poses), pranayama (breathing), and dhyana (meditation).
While I am by far no expert, I have increased my home practice to include pranayama before, during and after practicing asana, and I attempt to practice dhyana after my asana practice every morning and sometimes in the evening. I have found that Yoga is not only a study about who you really are, but it helps to relax you, strengthen you, and calm you on a physical as well as mental level. I have noticed in the last month of truely devoting myself to this practice at a home level (lack of classes in the area that fit my schedule means I'm on my own!) that I am feeling better about my self and my life situation because I am more aware of it now. The breathing techniques and meditation have helped me calm and relax in order to let tensions and stress melt away. Studies have shown, according to YogaJournal.com, that Yoga in itself is actually beneficial on multiple levels. There was even one article that talked about recent studies that are proving that a dedicated practice of yoga can take the place along side a healthy diet in order for a person to become medically in-shape (goodbye cardio and weight lifting!). Yoga isn't for everyone, mostly because it is a life style change, and a big one. But those who do choose it find peace and become self-aware on multiple levels. And it isn't like some practices where you change your religion and your outlook on life. Yoga is adaptable to what ever you need it to be when you need it to be that way. That is why it is so great, not only does it help you be aware of who you are, but it adapts to your lifestyle and your needs in order to build a healthier, stronger, more aware individual. So, give it a try, you might just find something that fits who you are and helps to reduce your stresses too.