06 Feb

It might seem like a modern trend, but yoga actually began more than 3,000 years ago in India. The word yoga is a Sanskrit word. It means to “yoke,” or unite, the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga includes physical postures, but it’s also about life balance, training your mind, body, and breath — as well as connecting with your spirituality — are the main goals of the yoga lifestyle.

The physical part of the yoga lifestyle is called hatha yoga. Hatha yoga focuses on asanas, or poses. A person who practices yoga goes through a series of specific poses while controlling his or her breathing. Some types of yoga also involve meditation and chanting.

Yoga is an ancient practice that involves physical poses, concentration, and deep breathing. A regular yoga practice can promote endurance, strength, calmness, flexibility, and well-being. Yoga has become very popular around the world. One in seven adults in the United States practiced yoga.

The first mention of the word “yoga” appears in Rig Veda, a collection of ancient texts. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj,” which means “union” or “to join.”Yoga can be traced back to northern India over 5,000 years ago. Indian monks spread their knowledge of yoga in the West during the late 1890s. Modern yoga teachings became widely popular in Western countries by the 1970s. The overall philosophy of yoga is about connecting the mind, body, and spirit.

There are several branches of yoga. Each branch represents a different focus and set of characteristics. The branches are:

  • Hatha yoga: This is the physical and mental branch that aims to purify the body and mind.
  • Raja yoga/Ahtanga Yoga: This branch involves meditation and strict adherence to a series of disciplinary steps known as the eight limbs of yoga.
  • Karma yoga: This is a path of service that aims to create a future free from negativity and selfishness.
  • Bhakti yoga: This aims to establish the path of devotion, a positive way to channel emotions and cultivate acceptance and tolerance.
  • Jnana yoga: This branch of yoga is about wisdom, the path of the scholar, and developing the intellect through study.
  • Kundalini or Kriya yoga: This branch of yoga focuses on the practices of Chakras and Kundalini.

94% of adults who practice yoga do so for wellness reasons. Yoga has many physical and mental benefits:

  • building muscle strength
  • enhancing flexibility
  • promoting better breathing
  • supporting heart health
  • helping with treatment for addiction
  • reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain
  • improving sleep
  • enhancing overall well-being and quality of life

Although the main aim of yoga was self-recognition, the modern world considers it as a better and healthier way of living. To understand the importance of yoga in our life, we shall be discussing a few points. Therefore, yoga for a healthy life is what we all look forward to nowadays.

  1. Achieving Tranquility:
    In these days of stress and tension, we all search for some tranquility. Scientists have found that regular practice of yoga for four months can successfully reduce stress hormone secretion. Meditation and proper food habits can definitely change a person’s viewpoint towards life within such a short span of life. It can make the people cheerful and happy and provide a sense of overall calmness.

2. Relief from Anxiety:
Many people find it really difficult to reduce their stress which results in anxiety. If not controlled at the right time, this can lead to several mental issues. Practicing yoga asanas regularly helps in mitigating anxiety. Practicing yoga daily helps in improving blood circulation in the body that heals the body and also relaxes the mind. Yoga postures and different types of pranayama have been found very effective in reducing stress.

3. Improves Concentration:
Many students find it challenging to concentrate on their studies. This results in getting lower grades, and if it becomes serious, they can also fail in their class. However, practicing yoga can relax the mind and also improve their focus. It is why many of the schools have yoga classes included in their curriculum. Although the schools have counsellors who take care of students’ mental health, scientists have found nothing to work better than practicing yoga every day.

4. Lower Down Depression:
Depression has become one of the most common mental issues in every country. People are suffering from depression not only because of personal problems but also because of work stress. With more time, depression can turn into a severe mental problem, which can turn into a disorder. So people who suffer from depression are suggested to join yoga classes.

5. Tone the Body:
People who are health-conscious need to do exercises regularly. However, it has been found that practicing yoga has given better results than common exercises. Moreover, most of the activities required special equipment, which could be difficult for some people to arrange. Yoga can be practiced without any such equipment. One just needs to find some time daily, preferably in the morning, and practice the yoga poses correctly.

Yoga for a healthy life has thus become one of our ultimate goals. Naturally, we strive hard to achieve success, but in due course, we lose a lot. Practicing Yoga thus helps in improving our health, mind, and soul.

All you need to do is incorporate a few simple things in your lifestyle and you can inculcate the physical, mental and emotional benefits of yoga.

  1. Vajrasana/Thunderbolt Pose
    This simple seated pose has major benefits. It’s great for your knees, for all the muscles of your legs and to make your ankle joints flexible. It’s also great for digestion (which is why the Japanese eat in this posture). It may be hard to do at first and your ankles will hurt, but if you sit in this posture for just a few minutes every day, you will see how quickly your body adjusts and you’ll be sitting comfortably in vajrasana for long stretches very soon.

Sit with your spine straight. Bring your legs under your body, with your knees bent. Your toes should touch each other and your ankles should be bent inward.

  • Padmasana/Lotus Pose
    This is the most beneficial and effective of all yoga asanas. The ultimate goal of a yoga asana practice is to be able to make our body limber and flexible enough to be able to sit for long hours of mediation. Padmasana is the preferred asana of choice of all yogis. In the beginning it may be hard to do this, but just a few minutes of practice every day and you will magically feel your hips, pelvis and legs open up. This asana is great for all the muscles of your legs, spine, for digestion and even for circulation.

Sit in a comfortable posture.

– Take your right ankle and place it on your left thigh.

– Take your left ankle and place it on top of your right thigh.

– Adjust your legs so that they are as comfortable as possible.

  • Gomukhasana/Cow’s face pose:
    Gomukhasana is a great stretch for our spines. It helps in aligning our bodies and helps in preventing and getting rid of spinal and back problems – such common ailments of our time.

Sit with your back straight, and your right leg bent over your left leg. Your knees are stacked on top of each other.

– Bring your right leg is over your left leg then Inhale and raise your right hand. Now bend your elbow.

– Bring your left arm out to the side and then behind your back to catch hold of the fingers of your right hand.

– Stay here and breathe.

– Now we repeat this on the other side, placing the left leg over the right leg and raising our left arm.

  • Kapalbhati Pranayama:
    This pranayama oxygenates your body, energizes your mind and pumps all the stale air out of your body. In Sanskrit, “kapalbhati” means “shining skull” so it gives you that beautiful yoga glow as well.

 Sit in a comfortable meditation posture. The head and spine should be straight with the hands resting on the knees in either chin or jnana mudra.

– Exhale through both nostrils with a forceful contraction of the abdominal muscles. The inhalation should take place passively by allowing the abdominal muscles to relax. Inhalation should be spontaneous.

Continue doing this in a rhythmic fashion.

  • Parvatasana/Mountain pose:
    This asana is yoga’s most popular asana for good reason. It’s a fantastic all-body stretch and eases a lot of tension from your back. It’s also great for circulation because it gives a gentle inversion to the body. It also helps tone the arms, legs and tummy, so you can get rid of a tummy bloating as well.

Come up on your palms and feet, pushing your hips up into the air.

– Your body should be in the shape of an inverted V.

– Your legs and arms should be straight and your body should be balanced.

– Don’t forget to breathe! Yoga is also about using your breath, so make yourself steady and comfortable in the asana.

*Begin by holding this asana for a minute. Then gradually build it up. You can do this at any time of the day or build it into your current fitness regime.

  • Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is a deeply relaxing and rejuvenating asana which can reset and recharge your body and mind. It relaxes the legs, the back and the neck.

– Sitting in vajrasana, bring your head down on the floor in front of you.

– Your arms are on your sides. Your shoulders, neck and head should be relaxed.

– Add a twist to this by bringing your left arm out in front of you and your right arm underneath your head and to the left.

– Turn your head to the left so that your forehead is resting on the ground.

– Stay here, breathing and relaxing.

– Repeat the same on the other side.

*This is a great “time out” asana and can be done at any time of the day. It’s great before you go to bed because it helps relax and rejuvenate.

Role of Food in Keeping One Healthy
Yogis in The Himalayas can survive without food because they don’t need to eat as their body survives on prana. But we need to eat and maintain a healthy diet. Did you know that your next day starts from your dinner? What you eat, what time you eat and how much you eat affects your sleep, the morning and your entire day. Needless to say, ahaar (food) makes a profound impact on your body and mind. Imbalance of vata, pitta and kapha (three prime energies in the body) lead to most health-related issues. For instance, if someone’s pitta (fire element) is high, certain foods can aggravate the pitta and cause restlessness, lack of sleep and anxiety, which makes it a necessity to know what foods are suitable for the body and mind by consulting an ayurvedic doctor.

Second Most Important Aspect of Health
Vihaar (Daily Routine) plays a tremendous role in measuring how healthy an individual is. A sadhak should know what is suitable for his/ her living.

There is a tendency in our body towards health. At one level, our body intelligence signals that what we are doing is not alright, but we all have our excuses because we are following our mind and emotion. That intelligence fails when you become a slave to your mind and creates problems on a physical level. And soon, it becomes a pattern. A headache is not a disease, but a signal for something bigger, and when we suppress that sign with painkillers, the real cause soon surfaces on a much bigger scale.

Yoga is an ancient practice that has changed over time. Modern yoga focuses on poses designed to stimulate inner peace and physical energy. Ancient yoga did not place as much emphasis on fitness. Instead, it revolved around cultivating mental focus and expanding spiritual energy. There are many different types of yoga available. The style a person chooses will depend on their expectations and level of physical agility. People with certain health conditions, such as back pain, slipped disc, sciatica, should approach yoga slowly and with caution. Yoga can help support a balanced, active lifestyle.