To continue with our overview of the physical component of self mastery, it goes without saying that walking is a valuable aerobic exercise - but you have options. You can use a bicycle for nice days, or use indoor aerobic exercise equipment for use on inclement weather days.
My personal favorite is the elliptical trainer. Elliptical trainers allow you to cross train - they are very low impact exercise equipment - you use upper and lower body - and they don't cause excessive wear in your joints. Elliptical trainers provide a weight bearing workout that tones muscle, adds to bone density, and burns more calories than an exercise bike.
Some of my clients have literally shed weight away with regular use of an elliptical trainer, Yoga classes, and a moderate diet. That leads into the next aspect of physical health: your diet.
Diet has to be moderate and something you can live with. If your diet causes you to be depressed, you can't stick with it, due to your mental health. However, that doesn't justify a "junk food" diet.
So where do you start? Look at your diet now and make moderate adjustments. Don't get pulled into a "fad diet" that insults your intelligence and causes rapid weight loss. Most clients gain all that weight back, and then some, after they get off the quick fix diet. Hence the nickname, "yo-yo diets", is a suitable label.
Yoga does have diet plans, and eating in moderation is a key factor. Eating affects mental, physical, and spiritual health. Sometimes the motivation for excessive eating is not due to hunger at all. Food is used to replace an empty feeling, and eating becomes an emotional response, resulting in health problems, due to over consumption of food.
Therefore, eating should be restricted to balanced, nutritionally dense, and moderate meals. You should consider your immune system, daily nutritional requirements, and sustaining strength while consuming meals and drinks throughout the day.
Personal hygiene is another area to consider. Yoga has cleansing practices (Kriyas or Shatkarmas), that would not be entirely accepted in the west. However, suffice to say, that you should keep your orifices clean, brush your teeth and tongue, floss, drink a lot of pure water, monitor your skin, and listen to your body. A little prevention goes a long way in regard to your health.
Yoga also teaches you how to breathe fully from the bottom of the lungs. There are many Yoga breathing techniques called, "pranayama." The best result from this practice is to get more oxygen into your blood, and proper breathing can make you feel more energetic.
The last point to bring up about your physical health is that you should be taking a daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. Choose one of good quality and research your choice. Choose an appropriate supplement for your age and gender.
Paul Jerard is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in North Providence, RI. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. He is a master instructor of martial arts, with multiple Black Belts, four martial arts teaching credentials, and was recently inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness to children, adults, and seniors in the GREater Providence area. Recently he wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students, who may be considering a new career as a Yoga teacher. http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/index.html