YOGA : A Way of Life

YOGA : A Way of Life

Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning “Union”. In the spiritual sense it literally means union of the human spirit with the divine spirit. We all know that India has a rich and vast history of this practice. This ancient wisdom was revealed by the great sages of India thousands of years ago. Sadly, even though it originated in India, we have moved on to the western forms of physical activity and overall lifestyle. 
But Yoga is much more than just a routine physical activity, it is a well-rounded system of mental, social and physical development. It is a way of life. 
The practice of Yoga entails dietary habits, postures, breathing techniques, meditation and low-impact exercises.
However intimidating or challenging it may sound, one can take baby steps to incorporate at least some aspects of the actual yogic lifestyle into their own.
Let us help you with the basics first.

Benefits of Yoga

The practice of Yoga was astonishingly scientific, even in the day and age it was discovered. 
The stretches and contortions in the practice of yoga were designed to align the body and soul, or rather to mesh the physical with the mental and spiritual. Modern-day science confirms that the practice also has tangible physical benefits to overall health benefits that can include improved brain function and denser bones.
Several recent studies have concluded that there are positive effects on the brain, central nervous system and immune system due to practicing Yoga. Other research also indicates that long-term yoga practitioners significantly gain bone density over a 2-year period. 

Here are some other direct benefits of Yoga for everyone

  • Flexibility: Most yoga poses focus on stretching hence improving your overall range of motion. You will feel less stiff and be able to move better.
  • Strength: some styles of yoga such as power yoga, hath yoga, etc. are designed to improve your strength and endurance levels. This will help in toning your body as well as build core muscles.
  • Posture: most postures in yoga require the support of core muscles to maintain the pose, which in turn forces your body to adapt to better posture. 
  • Stress-relief: meditation techniques combined with stretching moves allow your body and mind to relax and release muscle tension.
  • Health: yoga has been known to be beneficial in slowing down the heart rate of people with high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels in the body as well as keeping many diseases at bay by improving immunity.

How to Incorporate the Yoga Lifestyle into Your Daily Routine

Yoga is a self-imposed habit. One needs to be disciplined and determined to actually blend this system into the modern lifestyle. As mentioned, start small and then slowly increase the level of commitment for making this change.
  • Start with 5 deep breaths: Yoga includes a combination of physical poses with breathing movements. You can simply start by taking 5 deep breaths each day with complete concentration and gradually increase it to a few more. It is important to prepare yourself mentally for yoga before jumping into it mindlessly.
  • Commit just 10- 15 minutes: steadily and slowly try to commit 10 or 15 minutes everyday to a few simple yoga moves. Don’t overwhelm yourself with 40 minutes of challenging poses. 
  • Practice Meditation: Meditation is also a crucial part of yogic lifestyle. Try to meditate in a quiet place, without distracting yourself mentally as much as possible. Again, start small with 2 minutes or so and then gradually increase.
  • Keep it simple: Many people jump into the bandwagon with too many complex poses on the very first day or try to achieve complex yoga asanas. This becomes a point of discouragement since it is not meant to be about how much further you can contort into a pose but how correctly and for how long you can hold it even if its simple. Try with simple poses first.
  • Wake up early: There are many benefits of waking up early as it is. If you practice yoga early in the morning, it kicks your mental state into a positive direction and pre-sets your brain and body to take on the day in an impactful way.
  • Take help of supporting tools: If you feel like you are unable to perform certain poses, a yoga mat, blocks, straps, etc. are wonderful and integral tools to use. You may find that you that you can practice many yoga moves with ease and open yourself up to advance poses with the help of these tools. Find out more about tools that can help you perform better yoga moves.
  • Be conscious of your posture: yoga tends to focus a lot on the posture so if you keep checking your own posture throughout the day, you will get better results and be able to quickly do advanced postures.
These are the first few steps you can take to start incorporating yoga into your lifestyle.  
It is important to point out a word of caution about incorrect practice of yoga- it can lead to injury, sprains in ligaments as well as pain in certain areas of the body. It is crucial to learn the correct way of doing Yoga or hiring a certified practitioner for the same.
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