Yoga and the City: Effects of a Mindful Practice
2 May 2019
Framed by a large evergreen landscape hedge, the Level 11 Sun Deck at 1000M is the perfect place to lounge in nice weather and gather as a community, while also offering an idyllic yoga and meditation space where veteran and novice yogis alike can come together to stretch in the sun. With changing rooms and showers just steps away, your yoga has never been easier.
Yoga as Meditation
Beyond being a workout, yoga is a lifestyle practice. The most commonly found form of Yoga in Western cultures is hatha yoga. Hatha can be translated as the yoga of activity or the yoga of balance — ha being “sun” and tha being “moon.” Because hatha yoga encompasses the physical act of practicing yoga, it’s accurate to describe many different types of yoga under this term, including power yoga and hot yoga.
Hatha yoga aligns your body and mind in preparation for meditation, including a practice of control and mindfulness. The physical act of yoga and the mindfulness of meditation that accompanies it bring about surprising effects in other aspects of life.
Physically practicing yoga is proven to decrease the production of cortisol, the stress-creation hormone. Serotonin production, on the other hand is increased, and this is the hormone that quite literally aids in happiness production. Additionally, yoga increases the production of oxytocin, the love and bonding hormone. This means that when you practice yoga in a group setting, you’re actually chemically bonding to the people around you.
Lowering your stress, increasing your joy and strengthening your bonds to a community all contribute to mood stabilization. Beyond the chemicals that are regulated by yoga, the meditation component of hatha pushes your thinking towards mindfulness. You’ll find yourself better able to process stress when it does come your way, with renewed focus. Your thinking will become more controlled, just like your body.
Yoga puts a focus on strength training and flexibility. Hatha yoga asanas, or yoga postures, are each unique and focusing on improving a different portion of the body and its functions. But the central focus of asanas always comes back to the spine, which is the core of your body’s operations.
Practicing hatha yoga will improve posture, which consequently helps minimize back and shoulder pain. and can also improve flexibility and balance and build muscle strength. Studies have shown that yoga may reduce inflammation and improve heart health, as well.
The physicality and mindfulness of the practice leads to heightened bodily awareness. As you become stronger in body, your mind also becomes more connected to your body, helping you to gain more bodily control.
Whether you’re ready to dive deep into mindfulness or you just want to strike a classic warrior pose, the Level 11 Sun Deck at 1000M is the perfect place to explore your yoga practice. And as one of the perks of being right on the Cultural Mile, 1000M is a pleasant stroll from Millenium Park’s Summer Workout. Come together with the larger Chicago community on the Great Lawn for tai chi, yoga, pilates and zumba. View the full programming and scheduling here.