123_loginpanel REgister with Lose-It Here. Download the iPhone app here! Log Calories on Lose It Here.

Already a loseit member?

Complete the form below to calculate your ideal body weight.




  • Lost it / Portland Tribune
  • Lost it / Portland Tribune
  • Lost it / Portland Tribune
  • Lost it / Portland Tribune
  • Lost it / Portland Tribune

Joomla Templates and Joomla Extensions by ZooTemplate.Com

Meditative yoga can promote physical, as well as spiritual wellness

Instructors, physicians tout benefits of
meditative practices

By Shannon O. Wells
staff writer


Even in the Portland area, where yoga studios and wellness spas are as common as coffee shops, concepts such as conscious breathing or being “mindful” and “in the moment” don’t arise too often in a traditional doctor’s office.

Yet more and more people are discovering the link between the non-Western medicine practices of yoga and meditation and overall health and well-being. Before becoming an instructor and starting her own Gresham studio,

Yogamoves, Laureen Lucero, 68, let the chronic tension and pain she suffered as a young mother lead her to the soothing power of yoga practice.

“I wanted to get back into shape after the kids were born,” she says. “I had headaches and backaches. I was a tense person, Type A. Yoga brought some calm and peace into my life. I knew when I did yoga I always felt better.”

Yoga is a broad ter

m based on traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India and associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Within Hinduism, it refers to one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, while in Jainism, yoga is the sum total of all activities — mental, verbal and physical.

Got that? While yoga’s history is rich, complex and spiritual, the yoga most of your friends and cubicle mates talk about usually boils down to this: a 60 to 90 minute meditative session that combines stretching, movement and deep, conscious breathing. All you need to practice is comfortable clothing (no shoes or socks, please) a mat and an open mind.

You don’t have to be deeply spiritual to practice yoga, but it certainly helps to be open to spiritual or philosophical thought.

“It felt like it put me in a better place, a more spiritual place, if you will,” Lucero says. “When I went to a yoga class, it felt like I went to church in a way. It was just a very good experience.”

Contrary to some beliefs, you don’t have to be slim or in tip-top physical shape to practice yoga. Many instructors, in fact, see yoga as a portal to achieving one’s physical and emotional health goals — as the place to start.

“If people are willing to do what they (are able to), they can always get better, stronger, more flexible,” Lucero says.

A certain level of discipline is less negotiable, however.

“It isn’t easy. You work at it,” she notes. “And the gift is the ease with which you’re in your body. The important thing is to find things that work for you and use those.”

Dr. Aura De Olazo, an internal medicine specialist at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center in Gresham, says the combination of concentration, relaxation and self-awareness in yoga can benefit patients with asthma, anxiety, insomnia and obesity, among other issues.

“There is increasing awareness of the benefits of alternative medicine ways to treat chronic problems,” she says. “Personally, I’ve always believed there are not just pharmacological ways to treat illnesses.”

She admits she didn’t appreciate the benefits of yoga the first time she tried it.

“I thought yoga was boring,” she says with a laugh. “But after a couple of tries, I realized I was sweating in the middle of the workout. Once I understood the routine, I realized it was very beneficial.”

Bookmark with:

Deli.cio.us    Digg    reddit    Facebook    StumbleUpon    Newsvine

Special Edition

Our Social Presence