Today is International Day of Yoga, a day to celebrate this ancient practice that India gave to the world. Yoga is not just a fad. It is not just an exercise. Ask those who are ardent practitioners and they will tell you Yoga is a way of life. It’s an integral part of their lives.
The word ‘yoga’ derived from Sanskrit means to join or to unite, symbolising the union of the body and consciousness. The theme for the 2017 celebration, organized by the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, is ‘Yoga for Health‘. The theme highlights the fact that yoga can contribute in a holistic way to achieving an equilibrium between mind and body.
If you are still on the fence about Yoga, we give you the following reasons to incorporate Yoga in your life.
1. Physical benefits
Practising any form of yoga will impact positive changes in your body. Yoga is not about weight loss, though it is one of the benefits you gain from proper practice. With regular and consistent practice, you will increase your flexibility, improve your muscle strength and tone, have more energy, improve your cardio and circulatory health, experience better athletic performance and even protection from injury.
2. Stress Reduction
Practising yoga is not only an effective stress reliever but also a way to ease symptoms of anxiety. By transferring focus and attention to the body and breath, yoga can help to temper anxiety while also releasing physical tension.
Incorporating a daily routine of breathing and meditation can make you calm and put your mind at peace. Yoga is a practice, not a competition. Start where you are and proceed with caution.
3. Goal Setting
Yoga is a method for finding joy in the practice. It is also a reflection of the changing nature of the dynamic between self and action. For some of us, finding the balance between joy and achievement is a bit of a tightrope walk. What do you want to get better at? Choose something, and then do it. Yoga teaches you to to get lost in the process and to enjoy the process.
Having a clear intention and clear goal is critical for your success whether in business or in Yoga. Without intention, it’s easy to crumble when the going gets rough. Intention serves to inspire and focus you mentally and spiritually. Goals, on the other hand, help you apply the right physical effort to the task at hand.
The next time you unroll your mat, take a moment to check in with both your intention and your goals. Why are you undertaking this activity? How do you want to be as you move through it? That is your intention. Where and when do you want to be? Those are your goals.
4. Pain Reliever
It’s no secret that yoga increases muscular flexibility and strength, but you may not know that yoga is a proven treatment for back pain, knee pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other chronic pain conditions. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that among 313 people with chronic low back pain, a weekly yoga class increased mobility more than standard medical care for the condition.
Yoga is a safe alternative to weight-bearing exercises that could worsen weak joints because it strengthens the muscles around them, which reduces tension and increases mobility.
Both recent research and yogic philosophy suggest that practising yoga is an excellent way to quiet the mind and improve concentration. In yoga, you develop concentration through practice, to being able to focus on one thing. You train the mind to become aware and present.
Practicing yoga quiets your mind and keeps distracting thoughts at bay. Patanjali, the sage who compiled the Yoga Sutras said, ‘yoga chitta vritti nirodha’, which means yoga reduces the fluctuations of your mind. It flushes out the emotional clutter in your head and helps you concentrate better.
6. Better Life Choices
Your life is made up of the choices you make. You have the power within you to choose how to go through your days, and how to go through your life. Experiencing all the benefits of yoga will make you more aware and able to choose things in life that support this positive journey. Yoga will help you to become healthier and you will find naturally the necessary changes you want to make in your life, be it a healthier diet or lifestyle changes.
These benefits are available to everyone. Every age, body, size, strong or not. Yoga will make you feel better, no exceptions, no excuses. The more you practice yoga, the more benefits you’ll get from it! So, give this wonderful practice a place in your life. It is undoubtedly worthwhile!