Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on a subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. As per Yogic scriptures, the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, man and nature. According to modern scientists, everything in the universe is just a manifestation of the same quantum firmament. One who experiences this oneness of existence is said to be in yoga and is termed as a yogi, having attained to a state of freedom referred to as mukti, nirvana or moksha. Thus the aim of Yoga is Self-realization, to overcome all kinds of sufferings leading to ‘the state of liberation’ (Moksha) or ‘freedom’ (Kaivalya). Living with freedom in all walks of life, health and harmony are the main objectives of Yoga practice. Yoga has been widely considered as an ‘immortal cultural outcome’ of Indus Saraswati Valley civilization – dating back to 2700 B.C., has proved itself catering to both material and spiritual upliftment of humanity. Ayush Kumar
, an expert on Ashtanga Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Zumba and Aerobics discusses the benefits of Yoga.
Yoga is known for its ability to ease stress and promote relaxation. It decreases the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone. It also lowers levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression. Many people begin practising yoga as a way to cope with feelings of anxiety. It also helps to cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is characterized by severe anxiety and fear, following exposure to a traumatic event.
Daily Yoga practice helps to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is an autoimmune disorder. Chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of pro-inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
From pumping blood throughout the body to supplying tissues with important nutrients, the health of our heart is an essential component of overall health. Yoga helps to improve heart health, reduces cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. High blood pressure is one of the major causes of heart problems, such as heart attacks and stroke. Lowering our blood pressure can help reduce the risk of these problems. Incorporating Yoga in our daily life can help slow the progression of heart disease.
Yoga helps to cope with depression. It helps to decrease levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that influences levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter often associated with depression. Sudarshan Kriya, a specific type of yoga that focuses on rhythmic breathing helps in coping with depression.
Chronic pain is a persistent problem that affects many people and has a range of possible causes, from injuries to arthritis. Incorporating Yoga into your daily routine may be beneficial for those who suffer from chronic pain. Yoga may help reduce chronic pain in conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis.
Poor sleep quality has been associated with obesity, high blood pressure and depression, among other disorders. Yoga helps to combat insomnia, improves sleep quality and duration. It helps to increase the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.
Pranayama, or yogic breathing, is a practice in Yoga that focuses on controlling the breath through breathing exercises and techniques. Practising yoga helps to improve breathing. Improved breathing can help build endurance, optimize performance and keep our lungs and heart-healthy.