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What is Yoga? Importance and 7 benefits

What is Yoga?

Importance of Yoga and its benefits

yoga
Yoga

Introduction:

The origin of Yoga is believed to be several thousands of years ago and the knowledge and philosophy has been passed down from master to student for generations. Ancient sages observed and analyzed how the cosmos (universe) and human beings are connected.

As many of you might know what the word ‘Yoga’ means in terms of health benefits but the science of it is actually rooted to approximately 10,000 years ago. It doesn’t belong to any religion, community or any basis of belief system. It’s a way of living that focuses on every aspect of one’s life. 

The literal meaning of ‘Yoga’ according to ancient Vedic language (Sanskrit) is ‘to unite’ or ‘to join’ as an individual consciousness to the Universal or pure consciousness. The primary aim of this spiritual practice is to attain a state of freedom referred to as ‘moksha’ or ‘mukti’ which in English means Enlightenment, through the process of Self-realization.

It is commonly used as a therapy for health and fitness. But the benefits are just consequences or rewards, though the goal is to harmonize oneself with that of the universe. Most people think of it as poses and postures, and the benefits are understood only at the physical level, but this is just the beginning and there is more to it.

The process of this practice starts with the body as asanas (poses/postures), breath as pranayama (breathing techniques), mind as dharana (concentration/focus) and inner self/divine as meditation. It works on the level of one’s body, mind, emotions and energy. Thus, yoga involves pretty much everything from physical to spiritual health.

There are four major classifications of yoga: Click on this link to know more

Paths of yoga Path used Meaning
Karma yoga
Action/Karma
Involves action through one's body
Bhakti yoga
Devotion/Emotions
Involves one's devotion or emotions
Gyana yoga
Wisdom/Knowledge
Involves one's mind and intellect
Kriya yoga
Inner Energies
Involves one's energies

Importance of Yoga:

Today’s generation of modern life is the time where we need yoga the most. Working in IT industries, spending most of the time at home on mobiles and laptops has made our mental and physical life more distressing. One is disturbed in so many ways including the childhood trauma which has become dreadful, apparently. One such importance of yoga is to make one live more consciously, be in the present; boost self esteem and mindfulness.

Since, everyone is living a modern lifestyle where the need of concentration, creativity and memory is ever growing, this is where it helps abundantly. Also, most of the people have developed an imbalanced posture sitting in front of the computers. So, the basic help it offers is to improve one’s posture; either sitting, sleeping or walking.

Benefits of Yoga:

1) Overall fitness:
 
Yoga for Fitness
Fitness
Practicing it daily helps to maintain a good physique with healthy bones, toned muscles, good skin, clear eyes, good hair, etc. The poses help in stretching and gaining muscle strength and endurance and an increase in stamina. It also detoxifies the body.
 

2) Managing weight: Poses such as sun salutation(surya namaskara) helps in maintaining the average physique a person needs to do daily activities. As you start this practice, you also become conscious of your diet, hence it helps in managing weight. Here are some Asanas for weight loss and Asanas for weight gain

3) Mental health:

Yoga for mental health
Mental Health

15-20 mins of this practice daily can be a great way to get rid of stress, both in body and mind. Yogasana, pranayama, and meditation are effective techniques to release stress and anxiety .

4) Improves Immunity: Practicing these poses help massage organs and strengthens muscles while breathing techniques and meditation release stress and improve immunity.

5) Awareness and inner peace:

Yoga for awareness
Awareness

The mind is constantly involved in an activity, from the past to the future but never stays in present. Being aware of mind’s tendency, we can avoid getting stressed or tensed. Asanas for inner peace

6) Relationships and sexual health:

Yoga for better relationships
Better relationships

When the mind is relaxed, happy and content, it is able to deal with sensitive relationship matters better. It helps in keeping the mind happy and peaceful. The poses help your body in producing more good hormones (including sex hormones), thereby increasing the sex drive. Asanas for better sex

7) Improves intuition: Yoga and meditation have the power to improve your intuition. You realize what needs to be done, when and how, to yield positive results. Practicing it helps develop the body and mind to be intuitive.

It transforms your life and broadens your horizons in ways you can never imagine. It is absolutely worth trying!

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