By Rekha Hariharan
Yoga is an art which connects our soul, mind and body. Today yoga is mostly practised to attain weight loss, physical fitness and stamina. Yoga basically revolves around elevating the life force or ‘Kundalini’ at the base of the spine. It can be achieved by a series of physical and mental exercises.
Mind-body interventions such as yoga and meditation have been proven to have a pronounced and radical impact on our physical and mental health. But yoga as a universal practice is a tool to facilitate inner peace which also helps an individual to transcend the self and attain enlightenment.
Mind-body interventions such as yoga and meditation have been proven to have a pronounced and radical impact on our physical and mental health. Moreover, doing yoga regularly improves the immune system, thereby reducing the risk of frequent cough and cold, body ache and fever.
Yoga has also been credited to reduce the risk of chronic ailments like diabetes, hypertension, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS in women) by regulating metabolism and keeping all the organs of the body healthy and fit. Yoga increases the flexibility of the body, makes it toned and supple, and also helps maintain a good body weight. Yoga and meditation are also known to reduce the risk of migraine by improving sleep patterns, lowering the stress levels.
Yoga, like all other restorative exercises, improve blood circulation and oxygen flow, thereby by augmenting the core strength of the body. Twenty minutes of Hatha yoga has been seen to yield more benefits to the brain function than 20 minutes of aerobic exercise (jogging)!
Yoga plays a very important role in today’s cosmopolitan world filled with stress and fatigue. Regular practice of yoga will help us reduce lose-weight, improve immunity There are various health benefits of yoga like:
- It improves your flexibility: Flexibility is one of the first benefit of yoga. Moving and stretching helps in bringing great range of motion to tight areas. Some of the asanas like Gomukhasana (cow face pose), Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Down-ward facing dog), Uttana Shishosana (Extended puppy pose), Malasana (Garland Pose) etc. needs to be practiced every day.
- Increases your blood flow: The relaxation exercises in yoga helps your blood circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Oxygen circulation throughout the body can be improved by practicing some twisting poses like headstand, shoulder stand and some other inverted poses. Yoga also helps in boosting levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells which carry oxygen to the tissues.
- Perfects your posture: Maintaining a perfect posture is still a dream for many. Due to sedentary lifestyles and poor eating habits many of us tend to have poor body postures, exhibiting the traits of kyphosis, which results in development of excessive rounded upper spine and arched lower back. By practicing yoga, it actually helps you in reducing abnormal curves, correcting hunchbacks and the swayback which occurs due to postural lordosis.
- Improves your bone health: Weight-bearing exercises helps in strengthening bones which acts as a prevention to osteoporosis. Many exercises in yoga would demand you to bear your own body weight like downward and upward facing dog, improves the arm bone strength. Practicing yoga also helps you increase the bone density level in the vertebrae.
- Improves Quality of Life: The adjunct therapy to improve quality of life for many individuals today is Yoga. Practicing yoga regularly keeps oneself calm, mood swings and fatigue would be balanced and the quality of life will be significantly improved.
- For a healthier lifestyle: Practicing yoga regularly helps you burn calories and also the spiritual and emotional dimensions would encourage an individual to address any eating and weight issues to a deeper level.
(Rekha Hariharan is Yoga therapy executive at Columbia Asia Hospital, Hebbal, in Bangalore, India.)