The science of Yoga, its practice and health benefits have long been recognized by ancient Indians. In recent times, the modern world is also accepting the fact that it can bring mental calm and wellness. While many people truly understand the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of Yoga and practice it faithfully, some others consider it just another fad with countless Yoga workshops mushrooming across the country. However, if you adopt Yoga into your life, you’ll find that it brings you many health benefits aside from helping you overcome the stress and pressures of day to day living and a demanding career. So what really is Yoga? Read ahead and find out.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a spiritual science that helps you achieve self-realization and build a union with the Supreme Being. It can elevate you on the spiritual, psychological, mental, and physical levels. However, it is more than a religious or spiritual philosophy and has roots in actual science. Researchers from all over the world are discovering its many benefits. By regularly practicing Yoga, you can achieve its many positives that include mental peace, flexible body, energy, glowing skin, health and vitality. It includes assuming a series of poses and doing breathing exercises that you can do in any place that is convenient for you.
The practice of Yoga helps you bring tranquility and well-being into your life. As you assume the different postures or poses, also called asanas, you will sense harmony coming over you as your mind, body, and soul synchronize with your surroundings. This sense of harmony and wellness alleviates stress and brings you good health.
History of Yoga
Yoga is an ancient science that has received mention in ancient Hindu holy texts that date back to more than 10,000 years. The word, “yoga” is taken from the Sanskrit word, “yug” that means the unique connection of the individual human’s consciousness with the universal energy of the cosmos. The first mention of the term, “yoga” is found in the Kato Upanishad which is the most important section of the Upanishads in the Yajurveda. Aside from being mentioned in the other Vedas as well, Yoga has also been talked about in the Mahabharata in book 12 which is the “Book of Peace.” It has instructions on how a righteous king should perform his duties and keep balance in his life. Essentially, Yoga is the pathway that every person should adopt to bring harmony in every aspect of his or her life.
How to Perform Yoga
Here are some of the pointers to keep in mind before you begin your session.
- You can practice Yoga in any location in your home that is quiet and roomy enough to spread a mat. Make sure the area is clean and well-ventilated and does not have any sharp objects.
- While any time during the day is ideal, performing the poses in the mornings is likely to give you the best benefits.
- Wear loose comfortable clothes that do not restrict movement and allow you to stretch.
- Always practice Yoga on an empty stomach. Keeping a gap of 2 to 3 hours from your last meal is ideal.
- Begin with simple poses and stretching exercises that help you warm up your body before moving on the more complex ones.
- When you start to learn Yoga, your instructor will direct you to begin with asanas that you can do easily without exerting too much. Side by side, it is essential that you be regular in your practice.
- While learning under the supervision of an expert teacher is a good thing, you can also continue by yourself once you have picked up the moves.
- Consider involving your entire family so you remain motivated and enthusiastic. Or, get a close friend to join you.
Benefits of Practicing Yoga
By practicing Yoga consistently, you can reap its many benefits. Here’s what you can hope to achieve:
- Boost in your immunity levels
- Slimmer and fitter body
- Relief from depression, stress, and anxiety
- Improved flexibility and better posture
- Psychological peace
- Improved relationships
- Better strength and stamina
- Increased vitality
- Heightened levels of awareness
- Well-developed intuition
- Detoxification of the body
Yoga can also help you with health issues like high cholesterol, hypertension, arthritis, and diabetes. If you can learn Yoga by streaming videos, it can prove to be an economical method to regain health and wellness. Further, you won’t need to spend on any specialized equipment.
Yoga Poses and the Body Areas They Target
Aside from the many health benefits of Yoga, you’ll learn that the exercises can help strengthen all the muscles of your body.
- Arms: Since you’ll use your arms to support the weight of your body, you can build not just the strength of your arms but your upper body as well. Choose the plank, crow, and crane poses.
- Glutes: Get a firmer toned butt by performing poses such as the warrior, squats, and bridges.
- Legs: Tone your leg muscles and strengthen them with the help of the big toe pose, bound angle pose, chair pose, and downward-facing dog pose.
- Back: Get relief from back pain by using postures such as the cat or cow, child’s pose, and downward-facing dog.
- Core: Work your core muscles and get a flat belly with poses such as the boat and plank poses among others.
These are only a few examples to give you an idea about the simplicity and ease with which you can do Yoga. As you progress and continue to do the exercises, you’ll find that the added flexibility allows you to take on more complex poses that add to the benefits.
Research Conducted into the Effectiveness of Yoga
According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), among all the complementary health programs adopted by Americans, Yoga is the sixth most popular. More than 13 million people practiced Yoga in the year 2006 alone and in the year, 2007, 1.5 million kids had adopted the science. Here are some results from research carried out on Yoga.
- In 2011, a study was conducted on 313 adults that had recurring lower back pain. After attending 12 Yoga sessions that were held every week, the patients reported better ease of mobility.
- A study was conducted on a group of 51 women who were pregnant and advised to do Hatha Yoga exercises. It was found that they had fewer instances of postpartum depression.
- Scientists studied a group of women that were undergoing surgery and chemotherapy for breast cancer. Typically, such treatments result in lowered flexibility in the arm and shoulder. But, with Yoga exercises, the patients experienced better ease of movement.
Yoga is an ancient healing science that has shown to have many practical applications in modern times. It is safe to do, non-invasive, and helps users with a wide range of health issues. Most important, it brings peace and harmony and with it good health and wellness. This modality can be practiced by any person, young or old, and since it does not need any specialized equipment, you can do it at very economical costs within the privacy of your home.
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