YOGA FOR HEALTH
The basic assumption of Yoga is that the body and the mind are part of one continuum of existence, the mind being more subtle than the body. This is the foundation of the yogic view of health. The interaction of body and mind is the central concern of the entire science. It is believed that as the body and mind are brought into balance and health, the individual will be able to perceive his true nature; this will allow life to be lived more freely and spontaneously. Yoga first attempts to reach the mind, the place where health begins, for mental choices strongly affect the health of the body. Choices of food, types of exercise, which thoughts to think, etc. all affect the body. As practiced traditionally in India, Yoga includes a set of ethical imperatives and moral precepts, including diet, exercise, and meditative aspects. In the West, Yoga focuses primarily on postures (gentle stretching exercises), breathing exercises, and meditation. Yoga is frequently used in modern medicine to enhance health and treat chronic disease as well as stress.
Yoga for Stress-free life
In the midst of our modern world characterized by daily stress, fatigue, and pollution, more and more people are seeking that elusive sense of relaxation and inward awareness. We are often depressed, tired, and an easy victims of disease. Though the practice of Yoga is closely associated with ancient texts, beliefs, and values, it also yields benefits useful for people’s practical daily lives. Here are some reasons why more and more people are practicing Yoga:
- Yoga relaxes the body and the mind. Even in the midst of stressful environments, Yoga helps control breathing and clears the mind of cluttered thoughts, leaving only deep physical and mental refreshment.
- Yoga can help normalize body weight. For people who are either overweight or underweight, Yoga exercises can help achieve the desired weight. The principles of balance and moderation in physical activity and diet under Yoga can also lead to a healthier lifestyle.
- Yoga improves your resistance to disease.The postures and movements in Yoga massage the internal organs, enhancing blood circulation and functionality, thus, lessening the risk of illness.
- Yoga increases your energy level and productivity. For as quick as 20 minutes, Yoga can replenish the mind and body with precious energy needed to respond to daily tasks and challenges.
- Yoga leads to genuine inner contentment and self-actualization. Meditation -one of the aspects of Yoga- focuses the mind, taking it away from the distractions of the highly-materialistic world and leading it to genuine happiness.
How it Works?
Yoga ExercisesYoga employs asanas, pranayama (breathing), kriyas (cleansings) and meditation to achieve the perfect harmony amongst the body, prana, mind, intellect, and consciousness.
Yoga Postures (asanas)
Postures are gentle stretching movements designed to help balance the mind and body. The Yoga Postures are designed to release tensions by stretching or pressurizing muscles, nerves, spine, glands and internal organs. They work by increasing the blood circulation and prana supply to these areas and by stimulating them with a gentle squeezing action. All the asanas were designed with economy of time and effort in mind. Most of them work on more than one aspect of the body at the same time. For example, the spinal twist asana benefits the spine, adrenal glands, liver, pancreas and kidneys. The Yoga asanas produce their beneficial effect on the organs and glands all at once :
- The position of the asana causes an increase in blood circulation to the specific target organ or gland.
- The position of the asana often produces a slight squeezing of the organ or gland. This has the effect of massaging the organ or gland and stimulating it.
- Deep breathing and visualizing the target area sends an extra supply of prana to the area.
- Yoga’s effect on the spine is to increase its flexibility. This ensures a good nerve supply to all parts of the body, since the nerves from the spine go to all the organs and glands.
Pranayama: Breathing Techniques
Pranayamas are specially developed breathing techniques to create and store a huge amount of energy in the solar plexus area at the navel centre. This will cause the body to radiate vitality and, if any sickness is developing, the body can call upon some of this energy reserve to combat the disease. Yoga breathing also improves brain function (intelligence and memory), as well as increasing the elimination of toxins from the system. The total effect of Yoga asanas and breathing is to produce a state of high vitality and rejuvenation.
Meditation and Positive Thinking
The benefits of the postures are greater if you concentrate on the healing action where it is needed. You can incorporate a variety of affirmations, meditation/concentration practices and visualization. Many times focusing on an object or sound (like clicking of a clock) can help us concentrate and leave our distracting thoughts away. An affirmation is a statement from yourself to yourself. They are inner-self conditioners. Our inner mind will believe everything we say with conviction and emotional force, though it may take some persistent repetitions to get the desired result. Typical affirmations that can be used are:
- I am at my desired weight (for dieters)
- My lungs are pure and clean (for smokers who want to get out of the habit)
- I feel continuously alert, vital and useful (general), etc.
An even more powerful technique than affirmation is visualization. Here, we show our subconscious mind a picture of what we are talking about. Forming such pictures inside our minds is called visualization. To be effective, visualization should involve all the senses, not just the sight. Imagine the state or thing we want. How does it feel when we have it? What will you be with it? What does it feel? What does it look like? How does it sound? How does it taste? How does it smell? For healing therapy, visualize the state without the condition. For example, for those trying to lose weight, visualize yourself in the desired weight and physical condition and imagine the life in the new state. In other words, you should mentally see the affected area as they receive fresh blood circulation, oxygen and physical massage. A diabetic should visualize the healing energies flowing into the pancreas, near the stomach. A rheumatic can concentrate on the release of synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is a lubricant and also disperses waste matter which can cause stiffness at joints.