When many of us think of Yoga, we think of people holding stretching poses or crossing their legs in meditation and chanting “om.” Well, it’s actually all of that and so much more!

The word “yoga,” derived from the Sanskrit word "yuj," means to integrate or unite. While Yoga is not a religion, it is an ancient philosophy and practice based on the goal of harmonizing the human mind and body with the “Universal Spirit.” The Yoga Sutra , a “guidebook” assembled by Patanjali, an ancient Indian sage, provides 195 “sutras” or “words of wisdom” – to help practitioners of Yoga achieve harmony. It also outlines the eight “limbs” or practices of yoga:

  • Yamas – moral conduct or restraint, such as not harming others, and practicing truthfulness
  • Niyamas –observances/positive habits that help purify body and mind and bring about wellness, such as healthy food and a clean environment; contentment/gratitude; self-discipline; self-study; devotion to something greater than the “self”
  • Asana – postures, the physical stretching or strengthening poses
  • Paranayama –breathing exercises performed for purification
  • Pratyahara - withdrawal of the senses, focusing within versus on the material world
  • Dharana – focused concentration on one thought
  • Dhyani – meditation or “mindfulness”
  • Samadhi – absorption

What is being discovered through various scientific studies is that the practice of yoga has statistically significant positive effects on neurochemistry and can be beneficial in treating youth in trauma recovery . The application of yoga in trauma recovery is supporting these findings. Read more