Yoga is a 5,000-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice having its origin in India. Yoga aims to transform both the body and the mind. Since the last 2 years it has gained importance worldwide thanks to efforts by many leaders.
On December 11 in 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. This was after Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi suggested making June 21, which is the Summer Solstice as the International Day of Yoga. Yoga will be practised across the world today by people from various religions and ethnic origin.
The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. As per Yogic scriptures the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the universal consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body.
Pre-Classical Yoga: The beginnings of Yoga were developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in North India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred texts, the Rig Veda.
Classical Yoga: In the pre-classical stage, yoga was a mishmash of various ideas, beliefs and techniques that often conflicted each other. The Classical period is defined by Patanjali’s Yoga-Sûtras, the first systematic presentation of yoga. Patanjali is often considered the father of yoga and his Yoga-Sûtras still strongly influence most styles of modern yoga.
In today’s times Yoga has spread all over the world by the teachings of great personalities like Swami Shivananda, Shri T.Krishnamacharya, Swami Kuvalayananda, Shri Yogendara, Swami Rama, Sri Aurobindo, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, Acharya Rajanish, Pattabhijois, BKS. Iyengar, Swami Satyananda Sarasvati and the like.
- Better Flexibility : The various poses of yoga condition your body to improve its flexibility day by day.
- Better posture: A poor posture leads to backaches, neck pain, joint problems, and muscle fatigue. Yoga is one of the best ways to fix poor posture since each pose aims to get your body back into proper alignment without forcing you into unnatural positions.
- Tones the body: One really great aspect of yoga is that it works to tone your body without using weights or exercise equipment. Like a push-up or a pull-up, yoga only uses your own body weight as resistance.
- Better sleep: If you are someone who has trouble sleeping, scientists recommend trying yoga as it gives significant improvement in the participants sleep quality and quantity.
- Lower blood pressure: Yoga is a great workout for your heart and over time will improve your cardiovascular function. The key is sticking with it long enough to get these benefits.
- Lower cholesterol: Research has shown yoga to lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and boost HDL “good” cholesterol.
- Weight Loss: Yoga can help boost your metabolism and build stronger muscles, two things which are essential for weight loss.
- Less stress and anxiety: Research says when you perform yoga feel good brains chemicals like serotonin are released, putting you in a better mood. Additionally, yoga helps quiet the mind, gives your body an outlet to release energy blocks that may have you stressing out even more.
- Lower Blood sugar levels: Yoga has the ability to lower blood sugar levels when done on a regular basis. Paired with a well-balanced diet, this can go a long way towards keeping these levels within healthy parameters.
- Improves digestion: In yoga, you perform a combination of deep breathing exercises and twisting poses that really massage the organs, works your intestinal muscles, and helps release any trapped toxic stool.
Am sure most of you must be regular yoga practitioners. If not, then start today and make sure to include Yoga as a part of fitness regime.