|It takes a great deal of courage to face a disease that seems to have no cure as yet. Many people with HIV experience intense feelings of fear, hopelessness, anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Yoga cannot take the place of professional counseling in dealing with severe distress, but Yoga techniques can do much to help you reduce excessive fear and anxiety, learn stress-coping skills, and build inner strength through the relaxation and self-awareness training of meditation. Yoga makes the most of the physical capabilities that you have.
Yoga consists of three parts: exercise, breathing, and meditation. Yoga exercises are simple movements that stretch and strengthen the nervous system and the major muscle groups, improve circulation so that the brain and all vital organs receive fresh blood and nutrients, and press on glands and organs to stimulate the hormonal system. A regular daily program of even a few Yoga exercises will increase your energy levels and feelings of well-being.
Breathing exercises are your best tool for learning to cope with stress and anxiety. By concentrating simply on the sound of the breath, you build concentration, willpower, and the ability to reduce the harmful effects of a stress reaction. Breathing techniques also strengthen all the respiratory muscles and improve vital capacity.
Relaxation training teaches you to be more aware of your body so that you can release muscle tension before it causes pain and stiffness. A complete relaxation always precedes meditation, which is simply a technique of trying to stop thinking for a few minutes at a time. This gives tremendous strength; it teaches you to rely on the experience of the present moment, free from the anxieties of past or future; and it helps to relieve loneliness. Regular practice of meditation can help you to realize that there is a part of you that never becomes ill or dies, and that can be a constant source of personal power and strength for daily living. Yoga gives you a deeper connection to your real self - not just the physical body which is always transient and fragile.