Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Introduction to Yoga

Yoga is a physical and mental discipline which uses techniques of breathing, exercise, and meditation. It originated from India and is mostly associated with meditative practices in Buddhism and Hinduism.

Yoga, which means "union" in Sanskrit, aims to unite the mind, body, and spirit. Its ultimate goal is to reach "self realization" and "enlightenment" - or a state of "eternal bliss".

The practice of yoga has numerous benefits on both our mental and physical health. Constant practice of yoga improves posture, flexibility, balance, strength, muscle tone, and endurance. It is known to reduce stress and other mental worries. Yoga also helps clear the mind and promotes calmness and a positive outlook in life. Other benefits include prevention or cure of problems such as constipation or even cancer.

Balance and unity of the mind and body is achieved through the practice of physical postures or "asanas", purification practices, controlled breathing, and the calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation.

The combination of asanas and controlled deep-breathing techniques prepares the mind for a much contemplative state which is recommended for meditation.

Through deep-breathing exercises we increase the oxygenation of our body cells and various organs in our body. Purification practices in yoga, such as the rolling of the abdominal muscles, are a good way of massaging our internal organs. These practices help improve digestion and relief from constipation.

After the asanas, relaxation poses such as the corpse pose (lying on the floor) or the child's pose help in stabilizing and keeping a settled state of mind. These poses have similar benefits to sleep and have a powerful stabilizing effect on the mind and emotions.

The practice of yoga produces intense internal heat and sweat that detoxifies the body. This results to improved circulation of blood, a stronger body, and a calm mind. Through Yoga, we gain control of our mind and emotions, increase spiritual enlightenment and attain the goal of yoga: seperate ourselves from worldly desires.

Personally, I use Yoga as a form of exercise only. Using the Yoga asanas enables me to have a fitness routine that requires the least metabolism and stress. Compared to many other strenuous exercises, where I exert much more effort, I am able to use low-intensity exercises and benefit from its stress-reducing qualities.

Some people find that the practice of yoga leads to spiritual enlightenment, while others just enjoy it as a low-intensity workout. Find out which is suitable to you and enjoy the benefits of Yoga.

On my next post on yoga, I will be talking about how to perform some yoga postures and how you can benefit from them.

No comments:

Post a Comment