India is the land of ancient history and rich cultural heritage. Among India’s notable contributions to the world, YOGA tops the list. Yoga is over 5000 years old, comes from the pre-Vedic era and has had a long and enriching journey across civilizations. Defining yoga would be confining and restricting its numerous benefits in few distiches.
It is a discipline, a technique, a spiritual mechanism, an ancient science and can be categorized in branches based on the intensity of practice. It takes physical fitness regime to a higher level with complex poses and body movements, arising from a meditative & spiritual core. Over the period of time, Indian yoga gurus have spread yoga and its benefits to the west. Yoga postures or Asanas are designed and sequenced in a manner that they stimulate, regulate and create a sync between the various body functions. Practicing yoga and adopting the ‘yoga’ way of life has many benefits for kids, adults and elderly.
Endocrine glands like the pituitary and hypothalamus directly influence the development and function of the immune system; a system made up of tissues & organs that reaches out to destroy pathogens, disease causing substances etc. Though we cannot shun from coming in contact with such pathogens, we can indeed strengthen our defense mechanism. Yoga stimulates and improves the functioning of pituitary gland thereby regulating other body functions. Most likely, asanas that elevate the heart above the head drive blood flow to the brain and stimulate the pituitary gland. Regular practice of yoga increases blood oxygen level and helps fight fatigue.
Metabolism is the complex bio-chemical process wherein your body digests food and the nutrients & substances are effectively absorbed and transported to and fro from cells. A good metabolism ensures food is properly digested and the body gets the vital nutrients. Yoga helps the body maintain good metabolic health, but the degree of effect depends on the type of yoga you practice. Meditative Yoga in general, relaxes the mind and body which means the craving for junk & fatty food, which is more psychological, can be controlled effectively. Intense yoga, like Hatt yoga or Ashtanga yoga, strengthen the core muscles and stimulate good digestion and calorie burn.
When the circulatory system isn’t functioning properly, metabolism slows down, the oxygen does not reach the cells in required quantity and this condition leads to organ dysfunctions. Yoga emphasizes on synchronized deep breathing that can improve circulation.
Be it in sports, business or daily activities, to increase our capacity to perform tasks better and exceed the threshold, we need good stamina. Yoga works on physical and mental health which increases endurance and gradually boosts stamina. Unlike other form of fast workout, Yoga works slow but steady on your body. The focus is on strengthening the core, improving posture, supporting the spine and boosting functions of every organs. The outcome thereby, is enduring.
Stress Management, Poise & Control
Yoga increases mindfulness. Consistent practice & success in balancing complex poses, inculcates a steady confidence within us. This helps us deal with stress in an optimistic and fruitful manner. It is a journey that acquaints us with our inner strength to accept life and fight challenges. It fosters emotional pliability and inner peace. And the best part about Yoga is that, it can be practiced anywhere. Even while travelling one can continue focusing on harmonized breathing or if possible do couple of Suryanamaskar; the sun salutation sequence, which is a combination of multiple Yoga poses and muscle stretches.
We got to admit that the fast pace world that we live in is not likely to slow down or grow less complex. It seems prudent that we devote time to our mind & body, to cope up with the complexities of living. We cannot always control what goes on outside, but by inculcating comprehensive awareness of body, mind & soul through yoga, we can activate control of what goes on inside us.