Hello lovely ladies! Hope you had a wonderful week! We decided to talk about benefits of practicing Yoga on account of ‘International Yoga day’.
Last week, we celebrated Yoga Day, with Prime Minister Modi pitching in too! All of us know that yoga is being practiced since a long time.
Yoga is a set of spiritual, mental and physical practices that has been around since ancient times. It originated in India was extensively practiced by our sages and passed on through the generations.
The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘yuji’ which means union. The various breathing exercises, meditation and poses in yoga help uniting the mind and body. It is also known as ‘joga’ in some languages and the person who practices yoga is called yogi or ‘jogi’.
History of Yoga:
Per ancient scripts, Yoga was introduced by sage Patanjali through various vedic literature almost 5000 years ago. Although the first mention in found in Rigveda, there is an interesting story in Indian mythology. Parvati was asking many questions about mind and body. So Shiva broke his silence to reveal how the layers of the body connect with the layers of the world and become one. The serpent around Shiva’s neck overheard this conversation. When he eventually took human form, he came to be known as sage Patanjali. Thus Sage Patanjali came to share this knowledge about yoga practice after hearing it straight from Lord Shiva. (Reference: Devdutta Pattanaik – Yoga Mythology).
Later in 3rd century, this knowledge of Yoga spread through Jain, Buddhists and Hindu literature. Early practitioners mainly practiced it as a part of religious and spiritual practice.
Ashtanga Yoga is eight-limbed yoga as Sage Patanjali outlined in yoga sutras. This text was imparted to T. Krishnamacharya in early 1900. He was the teacher of Pattabhi Jois, who started teaching yoga practice through his ‘Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute’ as per the sacred ‘Guru – Shishya’ tradition.
The principle in yoga practice is once you align your body, your mind becomes balanced and aligned to outside elements too. Along with this, there are so many factors at work when we do regular yoga practice.
Let us try and understand the basic benefits of practicing yoga regularly –
1. Reduces stress
Yoga is an effective way to reduce stress. Yoga decreases the secretion of the stress producing hormone called cortisol. Regular practice of yoga and meditation helps keep depression and stress controlled. It is like having your body reset everyday.
Regular me-time helps reset your body. So, download ‘Think Metime’ app to regularly schedule me-time sessions: Download here
2. Practicing yoga regularly relieves anxiety
Many researchers conducted studies which show that Yoga is a way to relieve a person suffering from anxiety or panic attacks. People having anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have noted significant reduction in levels of anxiety and stress. The regularized breathing in Vinyasa might be the key to finding inner peace and relieving anxiety.
3. Improves Heart Health
The heart is the most important organ in our body. It supplies blood and nutrients continuously throughout the body. High blood pressure and heart disease affect the effective functioning of the heart and eventually affect the body too. Taking care of the heart is very important. Yoga helps immensely to bring down blood pressure. Studies also show that those who practice Yoga regularly are less prone to any heart ailment.
Various studies have shown that Yoga helps reduce depression. As mentioned above, yoga controls the secretion of the hormone cortisol and ACTH, a hormone that triggers secretion of cortisol. Meditation followed by yoga effectively reduces the signs of depression, studies say. You can even opt for eco-yoga. Practicing yoga in nature helps keep your mind fresh and recharge your senses.
5. Reduces Chronic Pain
Chronic pain occurs in many different forms like injury, arthritis, osteoporosis etc. Yoga increases the flexibility and strength of the body. Certain poses improve balance and bone strength. Studies show regular yoga practice helps alleviate pain.
6. Benefits of regular yoga practice includes increase in sleep duration and quality
There are people who suffer from insomnia and less sleep. Or few people who even after completing requisite sleep, feel tired. Such people should regularly practice yoga. Yoga increases the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Yoga also helps achieve peace of mind and reduces stress and pain. All these factors help in curing insomnia and allowing a person to get quality sleep and wake up fresh.
7. Yoga practice Improves posture and balance
Yoga is all about body balance and alignment. People aiming to achieve balance and improve posture follow Yoga religiously. Athletes and sports persons practice Yoga for strengthening their backbone. Certain postures enhance bone strength and balance, thus helping achieve performance.
8. Regular yoga practice improves breathing
Vinyasa in Ashtanga yoga focuses on breathing and flow of body. Pranayam is a yogic breathing exercise that focuses on controlling the breath through breathing techniques. Regular practice of vinyasa during yoga and pranayam after yoga improves the vital capacity of the lungs. Vital capacity is the maximum amount of air that you can expel from the lungs. Yoga and breathing exercises are important for those who suffer from lung or heart disease or asthma.
Life of a millennial has become very hectic. Unmanageable deadlines, irregular food and sleep deprivation has resulted in high stress levels and lower fertility level. Fertility yoga stimulates the ovaries and strengthens the backbone. It flushes out toxins from the body and makes the groin, hip and spine more flexible. Also, it reduces mood swings, stress and fatigue and helps in easy gestation and delivery.
10. Renewed awareness
When we practice yoga regularly, we become aware of our mind and body. As a result, we become aware of breathing, the energies flowing and act accordingly. We tend to follow the instructions given by our body and not sway by mood swings. This renewed awareness of your body creates and maintains peace from within!