Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.
- The Bhagavad Gita
Yoga is a great practice for both mind and body, it offers peace and mindfulness. It is quite unlikely that one is not aware of the term “Yoga”. It has become very popular in past few years and why not when it has numerous benefits in our life. It has the power to change our way of living and make us a better person both internally and externally.
Yoga is not just a physical activity, it focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. Yoga offers physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages. Yoga is a series of stretches and poses that you do with breathing techniques. Yoga offers many powerful benefits to our body. Yoga is a gentle form of exercise, therefore almost anyone can do it, regardless of your age or fitness level. There are yoga exercises for each age group and yoga forms varies from easy, moderate to intense one.
The word “ YOGA” was derived from the Sanskrit word yuj which means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. The union here referred to is that of your mind with your body. Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, Man & Nature.
Lord Shiva is considered to be the first yogi, it is believed that He disseminated his knowledge and learning to seven learned men known as the Saptarishis. They, in turn, spread this knowledge in seven different directions covering diverse regions - knowledge that humans can evolve beyond their physical limitations.
One who experiences this oneness of existence is said to be in yoga, and is termed as a yogi, having attained to a state of freedom referred to as mukti, nirvana or moksha. The ultimate aim of Yoga is Self-realization, to overcome all kinds of sufferings leading to 'the state of liberation' (Moksha) or ‘freedom’ (Kaivalya).
Yoga helps in healing both your body and mind. It is a kind of spiritual practice and one who start practicing it with full faith and determination, can never deny from the benefits it offers.
Below are some of the benefits that yoga can fetch you.
1. Yoga improves posture of your body and flexibility
Practicing yoga on a regular basis, stretches and tones the muscles of our body and also makes them strong. It also helps in improving body posture when you stand, sit, sleep or walk. Yoga balances our body and foster stability.
“Yoga is essentially a practice for your soul, working through the medium of your body.” – Tara Fraser, yoga teacher and author
2. Yoga improves immunity
Yoga asanas boost immunity, build the body’s strength, increase energy levels, and infuses positivity and freshness in the mind.
3. Yoga helps in reducing stress
Yoga can also help fight oxidative stress which poses a risk to the healthy cells. If done regularly, yoga reduces stress systemically in the body, which in turn, cuts down inflammation and degeneration. Also the breathing exercises are said to be highly effective in reducing stress and anxiety. The emphasis yoga places on being in the present moment can also help as you learn not to dwell on past events or anticipate the future.
4. Yoga gives you relaxation and prospers better sleep
Regular yoga routine can help you get in the right mindset and prepare your body to fall asleep. One of the study concluded that those who practice yoga feels fewer sleep disturbances. Yoga is a great way to relax your body and mind and provides you better sleep.
5. Provides mental strength and peace
When you are in regular yoga routine, you will feel a boost in your mental and physical energy, a boost in alertness and enthusiasm, and less negativity around. Yoga keeps you calm and peaceful. Yoga is one of the best ways to calm a disturbed mind.
6. Yoga teaches mindful breathing
This involves becoming aware of your breath and focusing on it. It does not mean that yoga is trying to change the way you breathe. However, the act of focusing on the breath usually slows down breathing patterns, making you feel more relaxed. As you focus on how air moves in and out through your lungs, mouth and nose, it becomes a form of calming meditation. Experts say that using pranayama has the power to clean 72,000 channels in the body. It involves inhaling with the mouth closed, then exhaling through the nose. This type of breathing technique can clean blood and clear your respiratory system. Breathing exercises improve the functioning of our lungs.
Inhale the future, exhale the past.
7. Yoga builds strength
Yoga involves holding your breathe and also holding certain body postures and holding a pose helps in building strength. With regular practice you will feel more strength and energy in your body.
8. Provides relief in joint pain
Yoga also involves stretching your body parts and regular stretching practice provides you ease in pain and improve mobility. Gentle yoga has been shown to ease some of the discomfort of tender, swollen joints for people.
9. Yoga helps in weight management
With regular practice of yoga, we tend to become more sensitive to our body and its needs. Breathing Exercises activate our abdominal muscles. Kapalbhati Pranayama helps to get rid of belly fat and tones the abdominal muscles. Different pranayamas helps your body to be in shape.
10. Yoga provides inner peace and contentment
Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as how to focus on your breath and disengage from your thoughts. The mental benefits of yoga are well-supported by scientific research. Peace is something which lies right inside us and yoga is something which calms our body and mind and connects us more towards our soul and provides an ultimate feeling of self-satisfaction and peace.
You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.
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