What is Yoga?
Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which aim to quiet the mind and sustain a state of overall well-being. Yoga means union of 'Mind, Body and Soul'. This ancient practice originated in India and nowadays traditional and modern yoga is practiced worldwide.
Generally yoga practices consist of physical poses, concentration practices and breathing techniques. This practice of is originated in ancient India and is believed to have started with the very dawn of civilization. Yoga is first mentioned in the Rigveda, and is referred to in a number of the Upanishads. Rigveda is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns (suktas). It is one of the four sacred canonical Hindu texts known as the Vedas.
Modern yoga teachings became widely popular in Western countries by the 1970s. The term "yoga" in the Western world often denotes a modern form of Hatha yoga and a posture-based physical fitness, stress-relief and relaxation technique, consisting largely of the asanas (body postures). It was introduced to Western world by gurus from India after the success of Swami Vivekananda's adaptation of yoga without asanas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Importance of Yoga Practice
In the present day living conditions, people are prone to diseases and ill health due to several reasons like stress, pollution, food adulteration, use of pesticides etc. Modern life style also contributes to physical disorders and mental tension.
Nature has made our physical body perfect and given us the power to resist illnesses which we are prone to. Even though medicines have been discovered for almost all sorts of illnesses and new treatment methods have been evolved, the dependence of man on medicines is increasing. This is something we have to think about.
Keeping our body healthy is becoming more and more difficult these days and we are forced to find out harmless methods for keeping it healthy and fit. This is where the magic of yoga comes in. Regular practice of yoga asanas helps us to stay in full strength and vigor and to enjoy life more. It helps to keep the body healthy, and mind calm and peaceful.
We can minimize the chances of falling ill by giving reasonably good care to our body and avoiding toxic matters from entering into it through food and other means.
How Does Yoga Help To Maintain Health and Vitality
Yoga contributes to pure consciousness in action, good health, resistance, power and vitality of the body. It is the only exercise which affects the innermost parts (internal organs) of the body. The health of our body and mind depends mainly on the soundness of our internal organs (the heart, lungs, digestive system, glands, the nervous system etc.).
Evidence show many therapeutic effect for regularly practicing yoga asanas. study results show the following health benefits for the regular practice of yoga.
- Enhance muscular strength and body flexibility
- Promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function
- Promote recovery from and treatment of addiction
- Reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain
- Improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.
Yogic exercises strengthen the inner organs of our body. While performing yogic exercises, we turn and twist the body, stretch it tightly and then release it. Regular practice of yoga asanas purifies the veins and nerves and promotes general health. Through this process, our veins are cleaned up and the heart is helped in pumping purified blood which circulates throughout our entire body.
Yoga asanas and pranayama purifies the blood vessels, opens up the lungs and helps the muscles to become elastic. This boosts their contracting and expanding power enabling them to absorb more oxygen. It also burns up the toxins from the body and ejects them in the form of carbon dioxide.
Finding 45 minutes or one hour in the morning or evening daily for practicing yoga asanas is worth it in the aspect of keeping your body healthy and the mind, body and soul in perfect alignment.
Yoga is now regarded in the Western world as a holistic approach to health and is classified by the National Institutes of Health as a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Therapeutic yoga is defined as the application of yoga postures and practice to treat, prevent, reduce or alleviate health conditions.
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