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5:00 AM Fri, Nov. 16th

<I>'A path to a union within'</I><BR>Yoga aligns the mind and the body as one

Hatha Yoga is what most people are familiar with, and it incorporates postures (steady poses) and deep, steady breathing. The four main paths of yoga include Jhana yoga (a philosophical path), Karma yoga (a path of selfless service), Raja yoga (the royal path that is more scientific) and Bhakti yoga (a devotional path).

"Yoga is a path to a union within," Grey said. "It's a path of self-realization. All these are paths to get to that place. It's a study of your body, your mind and your breath."

Grey added that the mind is the most important part of overall health, and "your mind is your vehicle to go through life. You want to maintain it and keep it healthy."

When a person feels fatigued or stressed or sick, "all their energy goes into that. Yoga helps to balance yourself. It frees your energy and creativity so you can put it toward anything you choose."

Yoga involves different postures and deep breathing that allows a person to fall into a relaxed state of mind. This enables meditation and thinking that goes beyond the surface.

"Through controlling the body and breath you're controlling the mind. You're learning to calm the mind to access a deeper part of yourself," Grey said.

There are also many physical benefits to yoga, she added, including the increase of flexibility, balance and strength.

"All the internal organs are being massaged, toned, strengthened and cleansed," she pointed out. "All the breathing is great for the lungs and it oxygenates the whole body. Every system in your body is affected. Yoga is one of the most amazing sciences of health that has been around forever."

Yoga ranges in difficulty depending on the level. Grey said it can be slow and gentle, and can range "up to one of the hardest workouts you'll ever do."

Christina Sell, owner and director of Prescott Yoga, said yoga strengthens muscles and balances the nervous system. "The outer body to the way the organs function are brought into harmony."

She added that "when energy is balanced, it helps optimize the health of the body. The nervous system and all the organs are affected. During yoga, people are breathing deeply and the mind follows. If you focus the mind and train the awareness, it enhances the clarity of the mind. If you get the body in a certain state of ease, then there is a benefit to the mind and the emotions."

Contact the reporter at rbump@prescottaz.com