There are numerous benefits of yoga, which in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, means ‘Union.’
In the West, what is described as ‘Yoga’ would be possibly more accurately expressed by the Sanskrit word ‘Asana’, which refers to physical poses and postures. Both words are commonly used interchangeably in the Western world, with people often referring to the practice of the asanas, as yoga, or ‘Asana Yoga.’
Asana is one of several different types of yoga. The other types are more focused on spiritual and mental health rather than physical. Some of the more well-known forms of yoga include Hatha Yoga, which is an extremely disciplined yoga, practiced for clear-mindedness and harmonizing the body’s inner currents; and Karma Yoga, a meditative form of yoga which allows a person to free himself from selfish thoughts and the ego.
It is believed that the practice of yoga developed in India more than 5000 years ago, as archaeologists have found statues of men depicted in yoga poses.
For thousands of years, the practice of yoga was passed from teacher to student by word of mouth. Around 2000 years ago, Patanjali, a philosopher, began to organize the yoga principles in the written form. His work became known as the ‘Yoga Sutras,’ and Patanjali is considered by many to be the father of yoga.
These days yoga is a popular method to exercise the body and relax the mind and the benefits of yoga practice can make a huge difference to a person’s well being.
- The practice of the yoga asanas will keep your body in excellent shape. The postures tone muscles and also strengthen respiratory systems, and as oxygen is a vital component for all organs to function, performing the asanas on a regular basis will lead to improved health and feelings of well-being in general.
- Painful disorders such as arthritis and rheumatism can be greatly relieved by practicing yoga. Slow, controlled physical movement of joints is helpful for arthritis patients. Although a sufferer is likely to think they could not possibly do any exercise because of the pain associated with movement, Yoga will help improve blood circulation and therefore remove built-up toxins. It will relax the muscles and joints, therefore relieving the pressure and allowing the affected body parts to ‘breathe’.
- Yoga is an excellent cure for insomnia. There are several asanas that you can practice while trying to fall asleep, such as the Shavasana or ‘Corpse Pose.’
However, any practice of yoga will help you achieve a good night’s sleep, regardless of the time of day it is applied. Yoga promotes well being and eases tension and stress, which is a common cause of sleepless nights.
- Yoga will improve your sense of balance, and also your sense of coordination. This will make everyday activities easier.
With regular practice of the asanas, you will also find you become more flexible. Your muscles will be tones and your limbs become more pliable.
If you are overweight, weight loss is a guaranteed side effect of practicing yoga, and as the body becomes more flexible and built up deposits of toxins are released, yoga practitioners often begin to appear much younger physically.
- Probably, the biggest benefit of performing yoga is the spiritual aspect. While other exercises may promote physical well-being, few have such a deep effect on the mind. Not only does yoga reduce stress but it also trains the mind to focus, and releases repressed emotions.
Performing yogic physical postures can influence the mental part of us in an incredibly positive way.
It is no wonder that with the many benefits of yoga, many people are making this ancient discipline a part of their everyday lives.