When something is referred to as functional it is a specific purpose or task relating to how that something operates. “Functional” is more practical and useful than flashy, and organically accepts the interconnected nature of most systems- both internal and external.
Yoga is the science of right living. The Western fitness industry has led most of us to believe that yoga is a series of stretches that allows you to someday contort your physical figure into gravity-defying shapes. While this is not untrue, yoga in its rite is so much more. When it comes to the human body perhaps it would be beneficial to our individual and collective health if we shed a functional light on yoga.
According to the Yoga Alliance, 28% of all Americans have participated in a yoga class at some point in their lives (https://www.yogaalliance.org/). That means that 72% of Americans are theoretically either uninterested in yoga, or simply have too many barriers to get to a yoga class (time, money, physical challenge, intimidation, etc). It is likely safe to assume that the sages and gurus whom have shared and documented this exquisite system did not necessarily conceptualize what capitalism, technology and marketing would do to yoga, so let’s look at some modern scientific research from Harvard Medical School about people who practice yoga (https://www.health.harvard.edu/):
- They experience cardiovascular benefits like lowered blood pressure, as yoga restores baroreceptor sensitivity (the body’s intrinsic ability to regulate blood pressure and maintain balance)
- They have better lipid profiles than those who do not practice yoga
- They have stable blood sugar levels
- Their perceived stress levels are lower
- They have better results with weight loss and maintenance
- They become mindful eaters
- They enjoy a better body image, and all of the mental/psycho-emotional benefits that go along with that
Functional Yoga is how we will break the barrier between you and your yoga practice by transcending the studio/class fitness model. Click here for Mandala Integrative Medicine’s Functional Yoga blogs and vlogs: