Crisscross and just breathe

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2003

This is the time of year when people slow down from the hustle and bustle of daily life to look around and be thankful.

Just like many people, I’m always interested during this time of year in finding out what I can do to help others, since I’ve been so very blessed.

So anytime I see something on the news about helping the homeless, I pay attention.

What I saw recently, however, was a little shocking.

It seems that psychologists-psychiatrists-some PhD somewhere has decided that homeless people are under a lot of stress and should find ways to deal with this stress.

To that end, those &uot;smarties&uot; have launched a new program to teach yoga to the homeless in the hopes of eliminating their stress.

So, let’s see. They go out on the street and round up homeless people from their refrigerator boxes, I guess. They bring them to a central location and into classes where they teach them to criss-cross applesauce (we used to call it Indian-style) with their legs and breathe through their pores.

I only know the basics about Yoga, so I did a little research. Here’s what I found out:

Yoga was developed in India and is a psycho-physical discipline with roots going back about 5,000 years.

Today, most Yoga practices focus on the physical postures called &uot;asanas,&uot; breathing exercises called &uot;pranayama&uot; and meditation.

The word &uot;yoga&uot; means union. Linguistically, it is related to the Old English &uot;yoke.&uot;

These days the focus of yoga is often on the more down-to-earth benefits including improved physical fitness, mental clarity, greater self-understanding, stress control and general well-being.

Spirituality, however, is a strong underlying theme to most practices. The beauty of Yoga is in its versatility, allowing practitioners to focus on the physical, psychological or spiritual, or a combination of all three.

According to one yoga website, the discipline is responsible for aiding panic attacks, helping people sleep better, balancing the immune system, stopping your arteries from hardening, ceasing chronic pain and much, much more.

I don’t know why doctors are not handing out yoga prescriptions every minute of every day.

In fact, Blue Cross/Blue Shield should get on board and start covering yoga. What a &uot;well&uot; society we could be if it were recognized by private insurance companies.

I certainly could not believe what I was hearing about teaching yoga to homeless people.

What a ridiculous notion.

Yes, I know you’re cold and hungry &045; but just breathe, &uot;Ahuuum&uot; (meditation noise, also from website).

Candace Parker is the news editor of the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at