Yoga has been practised for thousands of years and is known for its numerous physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. It is interesting to note that in recent times, Yoga has gained global recognition. From common people to celebrities like Hollywood actors Jennifer Aniston, Madonna, and Beyonce and Bollywood actors like Shilpa Shetty, and Kareena Kapoor among others. They have been advocates for Yoga which not only helps maintain the aesthetic aspect of the body but also helps unite the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness.
This blog discusses the history, importance, and elements of Yoga and the need for the annual international yoga day. It also highlights the top 10 yoga asanas, the top 8 yoga mudras, and the best complementary daily diet that fits well with your daily yoga routine.
History, importance & Elements of Yoga
Yoga originated thousands of years ago in ancient India and has been passed down through generations. It comprises physical postures, breath control, meditation, and ethical principles.
The word “Yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuj”, meaning “to unite” or “Oneness”, and the one to experience this oneness or unity of existence is said to be in “Yoga” and is called a “Yogi”. Yoga is a science that comprises a spectrum of methods that allow us to experience our union with the universe.
The wise sages who dedicated their lives to Yoga, have experienced various levels of enlightenment and have been spreading this Yogic science across the world. Though Yoga originated in India, it is an accepted form of self-preservation, a way of healthy living and a path to higher consciousness. Let’s step into the enchanting tale of how Yoga began and how the common Surya Namaskar came into existence.
Yoga is believed to have started at the very dawn of civilization, long before the first religions or belief systems. According to the yogic tradition, Adiyogi, the source of yoga, is also known as Shiva.
Adiyogi is considered the first yogi or “Adi Guru” – the originator of yoga.
These Saptarshis then became the founding fathers of various yogic practices.
Patanjali, an ancient sage, is widely known as the father of yoga.
He compiled the Yoga Sutras into a comprehensive guide to the practice of yoga.
During this course of events, Maharshi Patanjali collected, systematised and codified all the practices of Yoga through his Yoga Sutras. Many other Maharishis contributed to preserving and developing Yoga with their well-documented practices and knowledge.
Yoga is seen to have existed from the pre-Vedic period (2700 B.C.) to Patanjali’s period. The teachings of Buddha, Jainism, Panini, Epics, and Puranas, along with the Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis, etc., that were established during this period are the main sources of yogic knowledge
500 BC to 800 A.D. was considered the most prominent period in the development of Yoga as Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita, etc., came into existence during this period.
Moreover, this period witnessed two of the greatest religious teachers of India – Mahavir and Buddha. The concept of Ashta Marga (Eightfold Path) by Buddha is believed to be the early nature of Yoga Sadhana. Apart from containing various aspects of Yoga, Patanjali’s yoga sutra is also primarily identified with the Ashta Marga (eightfold path) of Yoga.
Patanjali is known as the father of yoga because his teachings have shaped modern Yoga.
Refer: The History of Yoga
Elements of yoga
What are the elements of yoga?
There are several key elements of yoga that work together to make yoga a holistic practice.
These elements of yoga include:
- Asanas (physical postures)
- Pranayama (breathing exercises)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Yamas and Niyamas (ethical principles)
Importance of yoga: 10 benefits of yoga
Yoga offers a variety of benefits for people of all ages and fitness levels.
10 major benefits of Yoga are:
- Increases flexibility
- Improves physical strength, body posture and joint health
- Increases self-esteem and cures depression
- Increases blood flow and lowers blood sugar
- Improves breathing and concentration
- Enhances natural healing in the body
- Improves sleep better
- Boosts mindfulness
- Boosts metabolism
- Reduces stress
These were just 10 of the countless benefits of Yoga. Yoga benefits your physical, mental and spiritual well-being in various ways.
History of International Yoga Day
June 21 was declared as the International Yoga Day by the United Nations General Assembly in the year 2014. and the world has been celebrating this Day since 2015.
It was first proposed by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, during the opening of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly. 175 member countries approved this proposal.
Let’s talk more about the significance of this day.
Significance of International Yoga Day
Yoga is a super-effective practice to establish a mind-body connection. It boosts the strength and flexibility of our body and reduces mental stress and anxiety.
Yoga helps maintain the chakras in our body. Chakras are the vital points of energy, thoughts, spirit and the physical body.
Although there is a slight difference witnessed in modern yoga and ancient yoga.
In modern Yoga, postures are practised to promote inner peace, physical energy, and well-being. In ancient Yoga, the focus on fitness is less and more on cultivating mental focus and expanding spiritual energy.
International Yoga Day is significant as it promotes yoga’s benefits worldwide. This day serves as a reminder of the universal appeal and significance of yoga.
This year we will be celebrating the 9th International Yoga day with the theme “Humanity”.
International Yoga Day 2023 aims to spread awareness about this day, its theme and the holistic nature of Yoga. It aims to implement Yoga in people’s lives worldwide as a regular regime for better health.
10 powerful Types of Yoga Asanas
We know that “Yoga Asanas” are the “physical postures” practised in Yoga.
Yoga asanas (postures) help improve strength, flexibility, and balance. They are vital for your physical, mental and spiritual health. Yoga asanas dramatically boost immunity and enhance overall well-being.
10 powerful types of yoga asanas:
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
- Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
- Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
- Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1 pose)
- Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2 pose)
- Phalakasana (Plank pose)
- Marjari-Bitila Asana (Cat – cow pose)
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
- Utkatasana (chair pose)
Disclaimer: Follow these 10 types of yoga asanas as per the instructions of the yoga professionals in the video.
9 effective Yoga Mudra
What is yoga mudra?
“Yoga Mudra” or “Hand gestures” help channel the body’s energy flow during Yoga and meditation. Yoga mudras balance your body chakras, promoting healing and many other physical and mental benefits. They also have the potential to strengthen the mind-body connection.
9 powerful yoga mudras:
- Improves the immune system and reduces fatigue
- Increases your eye power and stimulates the eyes
- Increases concentration and memory power
- Cures insomnia and treats issues like anger, stress, anxiety and depression
- Dissolves extra fat and controls obesity and cholesterol levels
- Improves digestion and body strength and reduces stress and tension
- Helps with focus and concentration
- Helps with energy activation and flow and spiritual connection
- Balances the air component in your body and reduces excess wind from the stomach and body. Thus, relieving rheumatic chest pain and abdominal gas.
- Increases mental peace
- Lifts your mood and promotes vitality and positive thinking
- Helps with issues such as tinnitus and hearing loss and improves cognitive abilities
- Helps ease vertigo and motion sickness
- Calms the mind, promoting focus, concentration, mental clarity, and mindfulness
- Beneficial in case of irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes and cardiac diseases
- Improves the excretory system and helps manage piles
- Promotes physical fitness
- Improves blood circulation and strengthens weak bones
- Increases patience, boosts concentration, Reduces mental exhaustion and dullness
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Yoga is a transformative practice encompassing physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
International Yoga Day 2023 serves as a reminder of yoga’s global significance. By incorporating these top 10 yoga asanas and 9 yoga mudras and maintaining a healthy diet with Nutriplus DailyHealth, individuals can experience the holistic benefits of yoga and lead a more balanced and fulfilling life.
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