Aim of Yoga and how it is beneficial tocommon man
By M.Rathna Devi
AIM OF YOGA AND HOW IT IS BENFICAL TO COMMON MAN
Yoga is the Sanskrit term for Union. Many people believes that, the term Yoga refers to union between body and mind or body, mind and spirit, but, the traditional acceptance is the union between the Jivatman and Paramatman that is between one’s individual consciousness and the Universal Consciousness. Therefore, Yoga refers to a certain state of consciousness as well as to methods that help one reach that goal or state of union with the divine.
Origin of Yoga
‘Yoga’ was propounded by the ancient Indian sage Patanjali and is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which means ‘union,’ presumably union with the divine being or God. It is a secular and scientific methodology to experience the integration of the body-mind-soul.
The Need of Yoga
Amidst the stress of the regular activities our mind craves for peace and tranquility. To uplift ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually, most of the time we walk at the seashore or gaze at the soothing sunrise to attain temporary peace. But, it becomes more refreshing and reviving if we can take a break and opt for the soothing Yoga activities.
Aims of Yoga
Yoga offers both the goal and the means to reach it
Yoga has a diverse range of things that it can offer. It could be said that a primary goal of yoga is
- To gain balance and control in one’s life.
- To free one from confusion and distress.
- To provide a sense of calm.
- To practice breath control.
- To overcome the limitations of the body.
Main goals of yoga are:
- Physical Health
- Mental Health
- Social Health
- Spiritual Health
- Self-Realisation or realisation of the Divine within us
Yoga teaches you that the goal of every individual’s life should be “to take the inner journey inside one’s self”. Yoga however realigns and rejuvenates the body inside and out, yoga frees the mind from the negative feelings caused by the fast pace of modern life. The practice of yoga installs optimism within you. It helps you to focus better and overcome any obstacles in your way while on your road to perfect health, spiritual contentment, and total well-being. When there is perfect harmony between mind and body, we achieve total balance and control. Yoga teaches us that challenges that we all face indicate themselves in either a physical or mental form. When our physical state is not perfect, this causes an imbalance in our mental state. The practice of yoga helps us to overcome that imbalance.
This physical well-being has a strengthening and calming impact on the mind.
Yogic poses can cure physical ailments and correct the alignment of the body. By learning the practice of yoga you will become totally responsible for yourself.
Yoga poses tone the whole body, they strengthen bones and muscles, correct posture, improve breathing, and increase energy.
Practicing yoga poses cleanses and detoxifies the body, by increasing the circulation of fresh blood through the body, you will be able to cleanse and flush out toxins which are the direct result of an irregular lifestyle, unhealthy habits, and poor posture.
Regular practice of the stretches, twists, bends, and inversions – the basic movements of yoga poses – restores strength and stamina to the body. Poses together with the control of breath, rectify physical, physiological, and psychological disorders.
Asanas are based on the four basic human postures of standing, sitting, supine and prone. But they are not a series of movements to be followed mechanically. They have a logic, which must be fully comprehended if the pose is to be practiced correctly. The end result of each pose is achieved when all the parts of the body are positioned correctly, with full understanding of the foundations. Other forms of exercises are good but good is not enough, they strain the muscles, joints, the entire skeletal system and cause free radical damage at a cellular level.
Yoga for common man
Yoga promotes physical health in multiple different ways. Some of them derive from better stress management. Others come more directly from the physical movements and postures in yoga, which help promote flexibility and reduce joint pain.
However, more and more Western scientific research is studying the very tangible physical effects of a yoga practice on the physical and mental bodies. The following is a list of scientifically researched, studied and proven health benefits of yoga.
- Increases Flexibility
One of the most obvious side effects of a yoga practice is a lengthening and loosening of the muscles and the connective tissue (such as fascia) of the body.
As you stretch and move within your practice, you undoubtedly improve your level of flexibility. You may notice as you lengthen the hip flexors that your lower back pain starts to decrease, or as you stretch and relax the neck, your headaches seem to disappear.
Yoga is a perfect teaching of unions, and it reminds you that the entire physical body is connected and that all of this is also connected to your psyche. The practice of yoga has endless benefits far beyond these few major points mentioned here.
You cannot isolate tight hips without having them “pull” on the lower back, creating tension, tightness and potential pain there. Nor can you isolate your bad mood from the tension it creates in your physical body. So, the practice of yoga works to connect all of these elements to increase flexibility in both the body and the mind.
- Builds Muscle Strength
Strong muscles work to protect the body and (ideally!) keep it free from injury. Muscle strength helps prevent conditions such as lower back pain or arthritis.
For example, strong muscles help your body to align the skeletal system keeping space and integrity in the vertebra of the lower spine. The beauty of yoga is that as you build strength within the muscles, you simultaneously create flexibility.
This simple balance of strength and flexibility helps to keep your body safe to maintain longevity in your practice as well as in your body’s overall health.
- Improves Posture
As just noted, yoga builds equivalent strength and flexibility within the body. This action creates a more aligned stacking of your bones in their natural and intended positioning.
As a result, this lengthens and extends your spine back into its meticulous configuration, recreating the natural curvatures of your whole spinal column.
Not only does this action make the load of your body weight much easier for the muscles to bear (and thus creating less tension, tightness and strain), it also improves your ability to breathe fully and deeply.
- Increases Lung Capacity
A major component of a yoga practice is pranayama, or breath work. These different exercises teach the practitioner to deepen and lengthen the breath.
With the ideal stacking of the skeletal system, lung and diaphragm capacity can work to its maximum intended reach. Practices such as deep diaphragmatic breathing and inhale and/or exhale retention systematically teach the body to increase the lung capacity and the intake of oxygen spread throughout the bloodstream.
- Protects Bone Health
It is well documented in Western science that weight-bearing exercises increase bone stability and strength. The physical yoga practice is chock-full of weight-bearing poses in which you use your own body weight to strengthen and train the bones.
Poses such as Plank, Chaturanga, Down Dog, Up Dog, Handstand and many, many more, are weight-bearing postures that help to strengthen the bones (particularly within the arms where we don’t normally bear weight) which may also help to prevent osteoporosis.
- Maintains Joint Health
Healthy joints all have one thing in common: they are often used and moved. Movement within the joints stimulates the production of synovial fluid (a viscous liquid that lubricates the joint, removes debris and reduces the friction between the articular cartilages of the joint).
Without the production of synovial fluid, the cartilage within the joints can be worn down, causing deterioration and pain. A well-rounded yoga practice moves the body through the full range-of-motion within the major joints of the body.
These actions within the body stimulate the production of synovial fluid to keep the joints safe, mobile, and stable to be able to maintain a lifelong practice.
In addition to the conditions listed above, preliminary research also shows that yoga may help with migraines, osteoporosis, Asthma, Arthritis, balance and mobility issues, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, fibromyalgia, and ADHD. There are several asanas that can be practiced to inculcate confidence and keep depression at bay.
Practicing yoga also increases self-esteem; boost metabolism and helps in lowering blood sugar levels.
Yoga is a beautiful practice that teaches practitioners to work from the inside out. It draws your attention inward and teaches you to focus on the breath. The physical practice works and moves the body in intelligent ways to strengthen and lengthen, which (hopefully) also transcends to the mind.
Yoga is one of the simplest forms of exercise you can do to improve your health, mind, and body. All you need is a yoga mat, and some comfortable clothing or none if you prefer naked yoga!
To put simply, there is not a thing that yoga can not improve!