Yoga as alternative medicine for emotional relief

According to TIME magazine on alternative medicine, modern medicine accepts the ancient discipline of yoga as a practice of benefit to humans. It’s hard to believe after it was considered heresy and dangerous practice. Until a century ago here in the United States this discipline was not accepted and many were sent to jail. Today most gyms and even in many public schools, this class is taught and every time doctors prescribe it. It took almost 5,000 years to accept it in other cultures.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health alerted to the mental health crisis during COVID-19 causing isolation, fear, anxiety, trauma, depression, substance abuse, stress, and even suicide.  

The Circle of Comadre Luna in Philadelphia uses tools that are available on the internet to serve the community of women. Online yoga classes came to the rescue during confinement, along with another fitness class. Both classes are taught by Zoom and Facebook Live.

We interviewed Sara Giraldo who is the yoga instructor and is also a lawyer in Colombia. He currently works as a paralegal in Immigration.

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 Why did you decide to become a yoga teacher?

” I started teaching yoga to share the benefits of this practice with my Spanish-speaking community.”

What has this practice taught you?

“To find peace, to feel comfortable wherever I am, to find my home even far from my country and my culture, to identify myself without feeling excluded. I have learned useful tools to live with myself and with others in peace. ”

What are the general benefits?

“The benefits are obtained at different levels: Physical: creating body strength and elasticity, to feel the body lighter, improve posture and can even reduce pain. Emotional:   Helps calm the thoughts that make us feel anxiety, depression, etc. It helps us connect with the breath and in this way to live 100% in the present moment, letting go of situations that lower our spirits. Spiritual: the benefits are beautiful. As a Catholic, I learned that God is not only omnipresent but also within each one of us. By practicing yoga I have felt it directly by connecting with that light of God that lives within us. ”

Are special skills needed to practice it?

“Not at all. Yoga offers different modalities of practice that are inclusive for everyone. It can be practiced while sitting and even if you need a part of the body; In addition, all ages can practice it. I do it with my 4 year old son and I have had 80 year old students ”.

How does the yoga class support women in your community?

“Each week we offer different tools and techniques for breathing, meditation and physical movements. In these times of quarantine we have found that moving the body to the rhythm of our breathing helps us calm down, internalize the certainty that this situation, like all the others, will also happen. ”

What exercises or techniques would you recommend to someone who feels fear, anxiety, anger or depression about the current situation?

” Breathing to inflate the stomach: Sitting, lying down or standing. Put one hand on your stomach, another on your solar plexus. Inhale through the nose for a count of 4, bringing all the air into your stomach, exhale through your mouth for a count of 4 and let the air out completely from your stomach. Inhale again, this time for a count of 5, filling your stomach, exhaling through your mouth for a count of 5 and breathing out. Inhale again, this time for a count of 6, inflating your stomach completely, exhale for a count of 6, taking air out. Continue breathing, fully inflating your stomach, feel the movement of the hand that is on your belly, feel the air entering your nose and leaving your mouth. Repeat the exercise for at least 10 breathing cycles. “
Yoga is one more alternative, and you don’t lose anything by trying it.

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