Yoga is a very famous and widely used discipline which helps bring peace and harmony to our mind and body. Practicing yoga on a daily basis helps one to become the best version of themselves. The word ‘Yoga’ has its roots in an ancient Sanskrit word called ‘Yuj’, which means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. It helps unite with our physical, mental and intellectual being.
Sir Aurobindo, a great Indian philosopher, poet and yoga guru, described yoga as a methodical practice toward self-perfection by developing talent on the physical, mental and spiritual level. Therefore, we can say that yoga is a science that focuses on an individual’s self-development and realizing self-potential. Yoga is purely based upon pranayama (meditation), asana (physical postures) and breathing techniques.
The advent of yoga dates back to 3000 BCE, to the oldest civilization in India, The Indus Valley Civilization. The archeological excavations at Mohenjo-Daro have yielded a figure of a yogi sitting in cross-legged yoga pose. This figure was named as Shiva Pashupati by renowned archeologist Sir John Marshall. According to Indian mythology, Lord Adi Nath (another name for Lord Shiva) is assumed to be the founder of Yoga. And Lord Shiva’s wife, Parvati is believed to be his first disciple.
While talking about Yoga, one cannot forget about ‘The Sun Salutations’ or the ‘Surya Namaskars’. It is a prayer which is offered to Lord Surya the god of health, early in the morning. The 12 steps are to be performed with proper breathing pattern. The names of these 12 asanas are:
- Chaturanga Dandasan
- Adho-mukha Svanasan
These asanas give you a full body workout as you use many muscles while performing them. With yoga, some advantageous pranayamas are Anulom-vilom pranayama, bhramari pranayama and Kapalbhathi pranayama. They help in improving concentration and mindfulness and aids in healthy lung function. Let’s dive deeper into other asanas which are taught in Yoga. Some yoga poses are also made to help with a particular ailment.
There are some very famous yoga poses (aasnas) which you can do easily:
Tadasan– This pose gives balancing benefits and also helps in elongating your spine.
Bhujangasan (Cobra pose)- This pose strengthens the spine and also opens the lungs. There are a few other types of Cobra poses which you can do to relieve stress on different parts of your spine.
Trikonasan (Triangle pose)- This pose increases stability and opens the shoulders and hips.
Cow and cat pose– This pose improves posture, which we need after long hours of sitting in front of the laptop.
Downward facing Dog– It stimulates blood-flow and also strengthens your foot muscles.
Vriksasan (Tree pose) – Helps in improving your balance thereby increasing concentration and productivity.
There are many benefits of practicing yoga regularly like, it improves flexibility and boosts your immunity. Another benefit is that you increase your strength with due course of time. It also is a kind of exercise which helps relieve stress and reduce anxiety. And the last and the most important, yoga helps improve mental health.
We can relate to the last point as when the world came to a standstill because of the pandemic, we were all required to stay at home. While this helped many bond with their family, there were others who couldn’t help but become a target of worsening mental health. Because of this, yoga became their therapist. Practicing it everyday was pleasantly helpful. Many families incorporated it as a daily routine to stay healthily and fit while fitness freaks found yoga as a replacement to their prior workout habits.
Indian yoga practices are so beneficial that they have also attracted a huge foreign audience. Canada, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway etc. are some countries where yoga is popular.
One thing that one must always keep in mind is that practicing yoga is beneficial if you practice it the right way. You need to follow the proper technique to ensure the effectiveness. Some yoga poses are not to be done if you have any prior ailment such as knee pain. In a nut-shell, yoga has been a life-changer for many and you can also be one of them. Never hurts to learn something new and then maybe you’ll end up loving it too!
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Gargi a student of class 10th at Ryan International School, Pune. She has always believed that everything related to us is connected to the universe in many ways. She is fascinated by human anatomy and genetics and wishes to know more about it. Gargi also wishes to dive deeper to understand how to interpret the human mind. She wants to pursue a career in medical science while balancing her love for writing. She says, “I would love to enthral everyone with my quirky thoughts, penned down.”
He has completed his Masters in Medical Biotechnology from The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda and is currently an active researcher in Molecular Epidemiology at The Centre for Cancer Epidemiology, Navi Mumbai. His journey in Science and Creativity began together during his childhood days. He believes that Art and Science indeed have a beautiful world altogether in them and sailing across its spectrum inspires him to sow his thoughts deep into Science and carve out the pillars of Art through them! Being a Science enthusiast and an Artist, he wishes to devote a good share of his life to wildlife and marine conservation as he feels that the creativity of nature needs to be taken care of in the current era.