Facts You Should Know about Yoga?
Yoga is a systematic practice of physical exercise, breath control, relaxation, diet control, and positive thinking and meditation aimed at developing harmony in the body, mind, and environment. The practice entails low-impact physical activity, postures (called asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), relaxation, and meditation. Most people are familiar with the physical poses or yoga positions but don't know that yoga involves so much more.
What are the benefits of yoga?
- In the health fields, yoga techniques are being applied in health promotion programs, substance abuse treatment programs, and as a complementary treatment for diseases such as anxiety disorders, depression, coronary heart disease, cancers, and chronicle disease. Yoga is a high-level self-help approach to well-being.
- The origin is a Sanskrit word Yog meaning union. Yoga is a union of the organ systems in the body with the consciousness in the mind. Philosophically, yoga produces a union of body, mind, and spirit (or soul or cosmic energy) to bring about a state of equanimity (calmness). Progressing to an even more advanced state, blending science and philosophy, one experiences a union of body, mind, internal spirit, and the all-pervading cosmic energy, resulting in better physical health, mental control, and, ultimately, self-realization.
What Is Yoga History?
The origins of yoga are shrouded in the mists of time. The ancient wisdom is known as "the supreme science of life" is believed to have been revealed to the great sages of India several thousand years ago.
Yoga is an ancient system of physical and mental practices that originated during the Indus Valley civilization in South Asia. The fundamental purpose of yoga is to foster harmony in the body, mind, and environment.
Yoga professes a complete system of physical, mental, social, and spiritual development. For generations, this philosophy was passed on from the master teacher to the student. The first written records of the practice of yoga appeared around 200 BC in Yogasutra of Patanjali. The system consisted of the eightfold path or Asthangayoga.
In the West, several schools of yoga are popular and use some or all limbs of Asthangayoga described by Patanjali. The eight limbs are as follows:
- Yama: Yamas (Sanskrit: यम), and their complement, represent a series of "right living" or ethical rules within Humanity and Yoga.
- "Ahimsa" — Sanskrit for "non-harming"
- "Satya" — Sanskrit for "refraining from dishonesty"
- "Asteya" — Sanskrit for "non-stealing"
- "Brahmacharya" — Sanskrit for "wise use of sexual energy"
- "Aparigraha" — Sanskrit for "non-possessiveness"
- Niyama: Niyama (Sanskrit: नियम) are positive duties or observances. In Indian traditions, particularly Yoga, niyamas and its complement, Yamas, are recommended activities and habits for healthy living, spiritual enlightenment and liberated state of existence.
- "Saucha" — Sanskrit for "purity"
- "Santosha" — Sanskrit for "contentment"
- "Tapas" — Sanskrit for "self-discipline"
- "Svadhyaya" — Sanskrit for "self-study"
- "Ishvara pranidhana" — Sanskrit for "surrender to a higher source"
- Asaana: Asana is a Sanskrit term which is often translated as “posture” or “pose.” Asana can also be translated as “a steady, comfortable seat,” particularly for the purpose of meditation. Many people equate asana with the act of performing fancy, advanced poses.
- Pranayama: "Pranayama is control of Breath". "Prana" is Breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and "ayama" means control. So Pranayama is "Control of Breath".
- Pratyahara: The fifth step or limb is called pratyahara and is defined as "the conscious withdrawal of energy from the senses.
- Dharana: Dharana is the sixth limb of the eight-limbed path as defined by Patanjali, who compiled the Yoga Sutras. Dharana means “holding,” “concentration,” or “steady focus.” When you practice Dharana, you are “binding” the mind to one place, idea, or object.
- Dhyana: Dhyana is the 7th limb of yoga, building upon asana (physical posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (control of the senses, moving the focus to the inside), and dharana (concentration). The word dhyana comes from the Sanskrit word dhyai, which means "to think of."
- Samadhi: Yoga is a spiritual practice, and Samadhi is the 8th and final stage on the eightfold path of yoga. It is a state of consciousness where individual awareness dissolves into the great Whole.
Several schools of yoga exist and use all or some of the eight limbs. The traditional practice of yoga was quite rigorous. A lifelong devotion to the practice and adherence to strict sacrifices was expected. Later-age yoga teachers have modified the techniques, and various paths emerged:
- Bhakti yoga: Bhakti yoga, also called Bhakti marga (literally the path of Bhakti), is a spiritual path or spiritual practice within Hinduism focused on loving devotion towards a personal god. Bhakti is mentioned in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad where it simply means participation, devotion and love for any endeavor.
- Jñāna yoga: Jñāna yoga, also known as Jnanamarga, is one of the several spiritual paths in Hinduism that emphasizes the "path of knowledge", also known as the "path of self-realization". ... The jnana yoga is a spiritual practice that pursues knowledge with questions such as "who am I, what am I" among others.
- Raja yoga: Raja means King. A king acts with independence, self-confidence and assurance. ... Raja Yoga is the path of self-discipline and practice. Raja Yoga is also known as Ashtanga Yoga (Eight Steps of Yoga), because it is organised in eight parts: Yama - Self-control.
- Karma yoga: The word “Karma” means action, so Karma Yoga is the Yoga of Action or duty. Karma Yoga can be best defined as followed: “Doing your duty at your best without any involvement of ego or attachment” In this definition of Karma Yoga, there are 4 essential words: duty, ego, attachment, and expectation of reward.
Other techniques such as
- Hatha yoga: Hatha Yoga is a popular form of physical activity and a type of mind-body exercise. A regular Yoga practice can improve strength, flexibility, and balance; reduce stress; and provide many therapeutic benefits as well. The physical practice of Yoga is just one part of a Yogic lifestyle, which incorporates eight limbs.
- Mudra yoga: Mudra means “seal,” “gesture,” or “mark.” Yoga mudras are symbolic gestures often practiced with the hands and fingers. They facilitate the flow of energy in the subtle body and enhance one's journey within.
- Chakra yoga: In yoga, the life force energy (otherwise known as "prana") travels through the subtle body in a series of channels, called "nadis." These nadis intersect at points of intensified energy, called "chakras." A Sanskrit word for "wheel," chakras are spinning vortexes of energy in the subtle body.
Today, many schools of yoga have simplified the techniques and made them easy to practice for working people.
The system of yoga is in the process of developing as an organized science. Various techniques have developed and become popular throughout the world.
One well-evolved school of yoga is Yoga with Pressurepoint, or a system of primordial energy unification. The hallmark of this school is that it starts from the seventh step in Asthangayoga that of Dhyana to Samadhi(Rajyoga).
In Pressurepoint yoga, the fundamental meditation technique involves performing a "formless" contemplation at different points including the pituitary and the hypothalamus glands. In addition to the meditation, selected asanas, breathing techniques, and relaxation geared primarily toward muscular strain reduction, enhancing the vital capacity of the lungs, and balancing the endocrine and central nervous systems are also practiced. With this system of yoga, physical exercises are simplified.
A recent variation is called power yoga, in which practitioners take a more athletic approach and move rapidly from one pose to another.
Health Benefits of Yoga?
Share Your Story The benefits of various yoga techniques have been professed to improve body flexibility, performance, stress reduction, attainment of inner peace, and self-realization. The system has been advocated as a complementary treatment to aid healing of several ailments such as coronary heart disease, depression, anxiety disorders, asthma, and extensive rehabilitation for disorders including musculoskeletal problems and traumatic brain injury. The system has also been suggested as behavioral therapy for smoking cessation and substance abuse (including alcohol abuse).
If you practice yoga, you may receive these benefits:
- Improved body flexibility and balance
- Improved cardiovascular endurance (stronger heart)
- Improved digestion
- Improved abdominal strength
- Enhanced overall muscular strength
- Relaxation of muscular strains
- Weight control
- Increased energy levels
- Enhanced immune system
- Relief of stress resulting from the control of emotions
- Prevention and relief from stress-related disorders
- Intellectual enhancement, leading to improved decision-making skills
- spiritual life with meaning, purpose, and direction
- Inner peace and tranquility
- ContentmentA word of caution about the incorrect practice of yoga is necessary at this point.
With the many benefits may come injury for new practitioners of yoga or those doing it without proper instruction. All over the world are reported to be practising some form of yoga and health care professionals are seeing injuries such as muscle and ligament sprains, neck and back pain, and cartilage tears. According to the International Health, Racquet, and Sports club Association, about 86% of health clubs offer yoga. If you are inactive, yoga may be the ideal exercise for both mind and body to begin your activity life. Yoga also provides stress reduction in addition to strengthening the bones and muscles and improving posture as well as overall health and vitality. Because you don't have to be in peak physical shape to practice yoga, it is the right activity for sedentary people and for seniors who might not otherwise exercise. Instructors can help modify yoga poses. You don't have to get down on the floor or a mat to practice yoga. It can be started while you simply sit in a chair.
Ongoing research: The National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health is evaluating yoga as a treatment for chronic low back pain, insomnia, and other conditions.
How Do I Get Started with Yoga Classes?
You don't have to be flexible to practice yoga. In fact, yoga will help you become flexible. Because there are many different styles of yoga, ranging from gentle to vigorous, you will want to find a teacher and style that suit your needs, abilities, limitations, current physical condition, and class schedule. Make sure the teacher knows about any health conditions and your level of fitness. Don't force any movements or poses.
Mastery will come with practice. Wear comfortable, stretchable, or slightly loose clothing and expect to take off your shoes. A yoga class should make you feel invigorated, calm, and not in physical discomfort. Try to attend a yoga class twice a week or more. Classes usually last 60-90 minutes. Some of the other guidelines for practicing yoga are as follows:-
- Remove contact lenses,
- Wristwatch, and other accessories, and tie up long hair.
- Do not attempt yoga on a full stomach.
- Use a non-slip mat that is long enough for you to lie fully stretched on your back.
- Do a warm-up session.
- The muscles need to be fluid for the complex stretches.
- Practice in a quiet and peaceful environment.
- Food and water should not be consumed before 40 minutes and after 40 minutes of practice of Yoga.
For any assistance contact Pressurepoint
By Dr.Anand K Singh