Rejuvenate your body and soul through Yoga
Today Millions of youngsters, with an innate desire, to look and feel perfect, are turning to an extremely popular and healthy, ancient fitness mantra… Yoga. The form of yoga illustrates an interlinking of an individual’s own consciousness with that of the universal consciousness. The different styles of yoga help lead a stress free peaceful existence.
WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga derived from the Sanskrit word “YUJ” meaning to “unite as one,” “join,” or “yoke together” is a way of life, offering a better perspective of life’s myriad intricacies along with a great discernment to move ahead for an individual practicing it. Therefore, a body-mind therapy that augments litheness, suppleness; helps brace up the muscles, improves concentrations and enable to unwind offering a sense of inner calm and peace.
HISTORY TO YOGA
Yoga dates back to almost 26000 years in ancient India, as a foremost part of one of the six schools of Hinduism. It is said that an Indian sage, Patanjali, initially wrote the evidence of the ideologies, beliefs, the way of life and the traditions of ancient yoga known as yoga sutras, meaning “thread” in Sanskrit. Most of the yoga schools grown over the years continue to practice the basic principles of Patanjali symbolizing a physical, mental and spiritual discipline using meditation to accomplish spiritual discernment and inner peace. Due to their meditative aspect, they have been chiefly associated with Buddhism and in some way to Christianity and Islam too.
Over the years, yoga with its therapeutic uses, gained tremendous reputation for being a fitness mantra among common people to famous celebrities from all walks of life. Yoga practice, a vital part of the avant-garde culture is deemed to have become a global phenomenon, barring the religious connotations.
TYPES OF YOGA
Hatha Yoga or yoga of vitality
In Sanskrit, “Ha” denotes the “sun” and “tha” denotes the moon. Hence, Hatha yoga signifies the sun and moon depicting the positive and negative, existing within the system. The chief focus of this asana is to hone the mind through the body and create a balance between the two, through various breathing techniques. The foundation of all traditions of yoga, Hatha yoga is the training for beginners for more advanced levels of yogas. Practiced leisurely with graceful lucid movements, Hatha yoga is executed with a peaceful and serene mind. A great stress buster reducing anxiety, this yoga is beneficial for effective functioning of all body organs.
Iyengar yoga or restorative yoga
Iyengar or restorative form of yoga based on the most ancient of yoga sutras illustrated by Patanjali, is a variation of Hatha yoga. The asana is performed with the use of props such as cushions, blocks, belts and blankets with concentration on the body’s physical position and balance. Iyengar yoga helps elevate body and mind and is ideal for people suffering from various ailments
Created by Bikram Choudhury, this type of yoga, known as the Bikram yoga, popularized during the early 70’s, was formed based on the Hatha system of yoga. Practiced in a room of 105F degrees heat and 40% humidity, Bikram yoga is the most common variety of hot yogas. This style of yoga promotes circulatory health, strengthens joints and muscles in the body and protects against organ failure and cardiovascular diseases.
Kundalini yoga or yoga of awareness
An ancient yoga, Kundalini is one of the spiritual forms of yoga embracing various methods, by means of the mind, body and senses. The term kundalini denotes the root chakras energy, often symbolizing a snake at the center of the spine. Practiced in quick speedy movements, placing a lot of importance on breathing meditation and chanting, this yoga helps effective and enhanced performances of the lymphatic, glandular digestive and nervous systems.
The meaning of Ashtanga in Sanskrit denotes eight (ashta) limbs (anga). K.Pattabhi Jois propagated Ashtanga yoga, a traditional system of yoga, based on Pantanjalis yoga sutra. This yoga practiced as a powerful vigorous workout, lays little importance on meditation and more on building a strong body and mind.
Vinyasa is interpreted in Sanskrit as to place (nyasa) in a special way (vi). This yoga practiced in slow, flowing, uninterrupted, consecutive movements and postures coordinates movements with breathing techniques. The most popular form of yoga in the United States, Vinyasa yoga is a stress buster offering cardiovascular benefits and promoting muscle strength.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF YOGA
Yoga offers extensive physical, mental and spiritual benefits. A great way to relieve stress and anxiety regular practice of yoga imparts a feeling of wellness and feel good factor.
PHYSICAL BENEFITS OF YOGA
Since all the muscles are utilized in various yogic poses, the exercise of yoga increases strength and endurance. Apart from strengthening the skeletal system, yoga also boosts muscle and bone strength.
Almost all forms of yoga involve stretching in various poses. This helps increased flexibility of the muscles bones and joints in the body.
Yoga strengthens the inactive, weak muscles and imparts a toned look.
PSYCHOLOGICAL AND MENTAL BENEFITS OF YOGA
Yoga reduces levels of cortisol in the body thereby decreasing symptoms of stress related depression often resulting in physical and mental fatigue. Due to the concentration and breathing techniques adopted in yogic exercises, it improved a person frame of mind, with reduced anxiety disorders, bad temper and mood swings, besides providing an inner sense of calm and serenity.
One of the breathing techniques used in the practice of yoga is breathing through one nostril at a time. This enables improved activity of the opposite side of the brain and perks up communications of both sides of the brain. Studies indicate that these could result in enhanced brain activity and cognitive performance.
Yoga increases self-awareness, which helps patients cope with chronic pain. Another aspect is that the relaxation technique adopted in the exercise of yoga increases the self-awareness of an impending medical disorder and helps take precautionary measures to prevent them.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF YOGA
The ancient Yoga therapy and meditation are perfect ways to enjoy good health and fitness. This therapy helps in treating the symptoms of various medical conditions thereby improving overall health and instilling a sense of peace and calm.
Yoga provides immense benefit for cardiovascular health by stabilizing heart rate and improving oxygen levels during exercise. Since many inhalation and exhalation techniques are followed, yoga helps promote circulatory health preventing atherosclerosis. The exercise also reduces stress and helps maintain healthy levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride besides enhancing the immune system.
Certain studies reveal that yoga helps improve asthma attacks and in some cases, there has been a significant reduction in the quantity of prescribed medicines. Read home remedies for asthma
The breathing exercises in yoga helps control attacks of breathlessness associated with patients suffering from respiratory problems.
Regular yogic exercises help reduce the blood glucose levels in the body. Yoga has the ability to reduce the stress hormones, like cortisol, noradrenalin, and adrenaline thereby improving insulin secretion. Also read Understanding Diabetes
The gentle movements of the yogic poses help improve blood circulation in the joints thereby improving arthritis pain. Since yoga adds strength and flexibility to the joints and bones, rigorous practice of yoga helps relieve these symptoms of arthritis and osteoarthritis.
The modern life with a hectic lifestyle is one of the causes for back pain. Chronic back pain often leads to muscle tension aggravating the pain. However, Yoga with its ability to enhance strength and flexibility of the body helps prevent back pain.
Obesity is one of the major contributors to many lifestyles diseases in the young and old alike. Regular practice of yoga helps weight loss effectively. Yoga postures help reduce unwanted fat deposits in the body and promote effective functioning of the internal organs, endocrine glands, brain mind, besides strengthening the sinews and bones.
According to findings, yoga has been beneficial as an alternative therapy, for treating cancer.
According to ancient philosophy of yoga, a person age is not calculated by the number of years that he has lived but on the flexibility of his spine. Hence, Yoga with its ability to improve skin elasticity, strengthening and toning the muscles improves flexibility of the spine thereby preventing ageing.
RISK FACTORS AND WARNING
According to certain findings, due to compelling breathing practices prevalent in the exercise of yoga, it might cause temporary harm to people with high blood pressure. In addition, some of the hot styles of yoga performed under extreme hot and humid conditions have a tendency to increase sweating and blood pressure levels.
Although yoga does not affect the foetus, some of the vigorous styles of yoga are best avoided during pregnancy.
Some of the fast-paced yogic postures with powerful breathing techniques cause undue pressure on the abdomen inflicting pain to those with a recent history of abdominal surgery.
Besides these, it is best to avoid or alter the form of yogic exercises during times of menstruation, injury, glaucoma and sciatica. However, it would be advisable to consult a physician regarding certain medical conditions before starting yoga
Everyone irrespective of age can practice yoga at home or at a center to reap the excellent benefits of rejuvenating the body and mind. Nevertheless, it would be wise to practice yoga under the professional expertise of an experienced yoga instructor.
Since yoga requires a lot of stretching, practicing in bare feet on the ground is important. Sofas and beds should not be used, instead opt for a clean mat or rug.
Practicing yoga in a calm and relaxed atmosphere with plenty of fresh air is beneficial.
Exercising yoga in the early hours of morning or evening on a relatively empty stomach does have a lot of good.
Although offers many health benefits it cannot become a replacement for medical care. It is very essential for yoga to be practiced with regular treatment closely working with a medical expert.
Before embarking on yogic exercises, it would be advisable to discuss with the instructor regarding the style of yoga that would be suitable for the individual, depending upon the physical demands.
Learning yoga from the basics in a slow and systematic manner might help with the breathing techniques and postures before venturing into styles that are more complicated.
Wearing loose comfortable cotton clothes that permits free movements of the limbs is ideal while practicing yoga.
It is vital to remain hydrated to stay cool while performing the hot yoga in a hot atmosphere.
It is very important to notice any feeling of light-headedness, chest pain or dizziness while doing yoga. For prolonged pain, stopping the exercise immediately and consulting a healthcare provider would be a wise option.
The ancient principles of Yoga discipline has turned out to be the miracle cure for the modern generation suffering from stress. With its incredible benefits on the health and mind, yoga provides a positive attitude for pursuing a healthy and peaceful life.