An article produced by Harvard Medical School back in 2016 told of the increased popularity of yoga in the United States, with a survey in that year highlighting the number of Americans doing yoga had grown by over 50 per cent from 2012. This meant that over 36 million were practicing yoga in the States as of 2016, up from 20.4 million in 2012. More recently, in 2018 Forbes magazine reported that yoga and meditation were becoming “a lot less alternative and a lot more mainstream”. According to two studies from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, both practices have risen in prevalence from the year 2012 to 2017, the report said. In Cayman the number of entities promoting yoga is steadily on the rise. One such studio is Cayman Yoga Club, run for the past 18 months by Hally Vu.
Hally says she started practicing yoga regularly over 11 years ago as a student at university.
“Yoga has been a staple in my life in times of turbulence and stress as well as times of joy and health,” she advises. “When I first found a consistent practice as a young adult, I considered teaching, but it wasn’t until I entered the professional world beyond university that I truly realised the benefits of a regular yoga practice.”
Hally says it was then that she was inspired and ready to complete teacher training. After a couple of years of teaching yoga in the States, she visited Cayman and felt the calling to continue sharing the gift of yoga with people.
“This bustling island beautifully represents our human connection to Mother Nature,” she says. “Change is constant in everyone’s lives – and especially on our fast-developing island – but it’s is even more magnified by the transient qualities of island life. I aim to share the stabilising clarity and love that yoga teaches among the healing energies of our beaches and seas so that all who come and go as well as those that choose to stay here may feel a bit more loved, free, and supported.”
Yoga is beneficial in so many ways and for all aspects of life, Hally advises. From a physical perspective, yoga asana allows for a realignment of the body through a heightened sense of body awareness. Creating optimal alignment in the body allows for optimal engagement of the muscles to support everyday life – from sitting and standing straight and fully supported to walking and running evenly and in a light and balanced manner.
Healthy alignment of body and soul
Practicing in a studio with a teacher and fellow yogis can be beneficial for the shared energy and consciousness of the community as well as for the gentle assists that an instructor can provide. Besides muscle strength and tone, yoga also creates space for increased flexibility and cardio and circulatory health. Breath work alone (as well as along with yoga asana) promotes blood circulation, which sends fresh oxygen throughout the body for optimal functioning of the spine, muscles and organs, improving such things as posture, metabolism and heart-function. Yoga asana is generally low impact so it is great for everyone, young and old, to maintain health as well as to recover and rehabilitate from injury.
Along with the physical benefits, the steady practice of yoga also creates peace of mind through meditation and concentration, Hally says. Yoga often provides relief from mental illness like depression and anxiety. Through breath work, meditation, and yoga asana, one can find relaxation through clearing the mind and calming the nervous system.
Cayman Yoga Club is located at the West Shore Centre on West Bay Road.