Understanding yoga is not easy. In fact, anything that had been in existence for more than about thousands of years is not easy. The origins of this unique form of physical act or exercise are not very clear. However, experts feel that the origins of yoga were found either in ancient Egypt or ancient India.
As we all know, yoga has gained tremendous popularity since last few decades. The different types of postures of yoga have helped many people to promote healthy mind, body, and soul. It has been proved as an excellent means of relaxation, which proffers a sense of inner peace and balance.
These days, the art of yoga has become a never ending rage among youngsters, children and the old. With celebrities like Madonna embracing yoga for health benefits, the craze for this unique form of exercise is here to stay.
A) What is yoga?
Yoga involves a series of different postures in conjunction with stretches. This is practiced within a holistic mindset and deep concentration that results in emotional, spiritual mental, physical and health benefits.
Most people who have been practicing yoga for a long time have understood yoga as a form of meditation. The more one tends to practice this art, the more one feels enlightened and experience transforming effects. Yoga works towards gifting and developing an individual’s inner as well as outer personality. It also helps in transforming one into a good human.
B) Yoga as a way of life
Yoga can be understood as a lifestyle or a way of life. It is an art of righteous living. Experts would like to refer it as an effective system to benefit the body mind and inner spirit. This unique are was originated ancient years back.
You can find some excellent references to yoga in ‘Puranas’ and ‘Upanishads’. These were beautifully composed by Indian Aryans in the later vedic and post vedic period.
The principles of yoga were described in full fledged eight fold yogic discipline. This is explained by Patanjali in his ‘yoga sutra’. It was composed almost two thousand years ago! The eight important stages of yoga recommended by Patanjali are as follows:
These are the stages of yoga discipline:
a)Yamas – Restrains and abstentions
b)Asanas – Physical exercises or postures.
c)Pranayama – Total control over vital energy or breathing pattern.
d)Niyamas – Observances such as contentment, study, austerities, purity and surrender of the ego.
e)Dhyana – Meditation
f)Partyahara – Withdrawal of the senses.
g)Samadhi – Attainment of the super conscious state
h)Dharana – Contemplation or concentration of the mind.
C) Superb health benefits of yoga
There are several health benefits of practicing yoga.
a)Weight loss and Weight control
b)Enhances immune system and blood circulation in the body
c)Control over anxiety
d)Relief from asthma, multiple sclerosis, headaches, blood pressure and carpal tunnel syndrome.
e)Reduces arthritis pain, depression, stress, heart disease, chronic fatigue and back pain.
f)Helps in removing toxins from the body.
g)Heals several diseases and body ailments
h)Enhances concentration power and creativity; Reduces stress and tension
i)Allows better thinking, enhances flexibility and balance.