So much has been written about yoga, millions of people practice it every day. Why?
Because it offers something no other exercise program does; apart from making your body strong, youthful, defined and flexible, it makes body more alkaline, which is crucial for the health of bones, muscles and tissues.
This is due to the way a practitioner breathes during their yoga class. And the way the breath is used in partnership with concentration calms the nervous system, releasing stress and anxiety.(diffusing fight or flight response) Relaxation and /or meditation are healing parts of end of the class bringing about a sense freedom and deep peace.
Another important element of yoga practice is that it teaches us to communicate with our bodies and minds wisely; shows us how to listen to both so that we can take best care of both, cultivating equilibrium, which leads to perfect health and joyful living. It gives us the tools to tackle life’s challenges, teaches us how to act skillfully rather than react. Yoga is not just a great exercise, although it is probably the best way to stay fit. Yoga is much more than that, it changes lives for the better as it allows us to discover what it is to be a human being – a self discovery on a deepest level.
Yoga is a scientific system of mental and physical practices. Its purpose is to systematically help each one of us achieve our highest potential and enjoy perfect health and hapiness. Highest yoga path consists of 8 limbs:
1. Yamas (ethical guidelines regarding moral behaviour)
The word yoga means “union” in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India where yoga originated thousands of years ago (although noone really knows exactly how long ago) union occurring between the mind, body and spirit with the Supreme. Yoga is tool for personal transformation and self-realization.
Lots of people think that yoga is just stretching. But while stretching plays its part, the aim of yoga is to create balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility; help us become aware of our thought processes, and having calmed our mind – become more aware of our being. It allows us to get in touch with the real being within, unobstructed by ‘our stories’, conditioning, relationships, sorrows and ideas we may have about ourselves. This is why people often say that yoga helped them see situations objectively, and clearly, and enabled them to make profound life changes.
People who come to yoga for the first time often say it made them feel alive, joyful and wonderful. That is another reason for people to tend to stick with their yoga practice for years (often becomes a lifetime practice).
Those who have tried various ways to stay fit but lack motivation also tend to stick with their practice as by the end of the class, they feel wonderfully cleansed, purified, and calm, unlike some exercise programs which leave a person exhausted.
Those with depression have found yoga to be very beneficial as offers empowerment and instills confidence. There are many health conditions and illnesses that have been reduced with a regular practice, including backaches, headaches, anxiety, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, cancer recovery, addictions, eating disorders, arthritis, scoliosis, asthma, heart conditions, constipation, hyperventilation, bi-polar, shoulder aches, headaches, muscular tension, chronic stress, insomnia, menopause, injuries and many more.
Practising yoga affects us on multiple levels simultaneously; structurally – helping to align the vertebrae, increase flexibility, and strengthen muscles and connective tissue. At the same time, internal organs are toned and rejuvenated; the epidermal, digestive, lymphatic, cardiovascular, and pulmonary systems are purified of toxins and waste matter; the nervous and endocrine systems are balanced and toned; brain cells are nourished and stimulated. Regular practice results in increased mental clarity, emotional stability, and a greater sense of overall well-being.
BENEFITS OF PRACTISING YOGA
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