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Learning the Ropes of Yoga at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga

By Marina I. Jokic

"Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga grew out of the desire to offer people a safe and comfortable environment in which to begin their journey into yoga," Linda Martone, operations manager, said. "Sujantra McKeever, the founder of Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga, saw yoga becoming increasingly popular."

Indeed, yoga has become wildly popular all over the world and represents a highly effective method for practicing self-care. Learning to incorporate physical activity into our daily lives is an essential component to a healthy and balanced existence.

Yogic practice allows you to reconnect to your core, and builds a strong foundation for replenishing your energy. Restorative yoga, meditation, and mindfulness should ideally be practiced in tandem to achieve the most tangible physical and mental benefits. Classes at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga center on these three basic practices.

Among its numerous health benefits, yoga has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress, curb arthritis, and alleviate a slew of chronic aches and pains. In other words, yoga provides comprehensive benefits to the mind and body, and might even keep certain health conditions entirely at bay. Incorporating regular yoga practice into your routine can bring fundamental physical and psychological advantages.

Yoga doesn't have to be so physically taxing or complicated in order to be efficacious. Much to the contrary. When it comes to self-care, whether it's a full-length class or a few poses spread throughout the day, yoga has a unique way of waking the body. It addresses postural issues and teaches us to take a deep breath and center ourselves even in the most stressful of situations.

Restorative yoga is especially geared to regenerate the body through deep stretches and flowing movements. Poses like downward facing dog, child's pose, and cobra are effective in elongating the muscles and allowing you to sink gradually into a particular asana or pose.

Yoga teaches participants to relax and to observe their thoughts like they would a passing train, and not be taken in by them. The goal of meditation is to clear the mind, which sounds simple enough but is quite difficult to achieve. Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga teaches students to listen to the body and respect its limits while becoming aware of its incredible strength and resilience. The studio offers over 80 classes a weeks with 15 different varieties of classes including heated flowing yoga, gentle yoga, and rope wall yoga.

Martone highlights several popular course options. The deep healing yin yoga is a meditative practice that gently stretches the connective tissues of the body, increases joint lubrication, and reduces chronic pain. Rope wall yoga deepens postures by opening the body and lengthening the spine, and building core strength.

Heated flowing yoga has been shown to detoxify the body through causing profuse sweating at temperatures between 90 and 95 degrees. As uncomfortable as that sounds, the warm temperature actually allows you to be more pliable and sink deeper into a pose.

Organized by Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga, the Festival of Yoga San Diego takes place on June 17th this year in Balboa Park from 8am to 3pm. Currently in its second year, the event celebrates the International Day of Yoga, which was established by the United Nations in recognition of the value and benefits of discipline. The event is free, so participants only need to bring a mat, sunscreen, and water.

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