According to Wikipedia, “Yoga is an Indian physical, mental and spiritual practice or discipline.”
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ meaning to join, or to yoke or to bind. Yoga originated thousands of years ago in India, probably 6,000 years ago, during the period of the ‘Sat Yuga’ also called the Golden age. With the discovery of Indus-Valley civilization, the largest civilization, the knowledge about the origin of yoga came into light.
Yoga is performed across the world for it relaxes the body and the mind, strengthens the muscles, tissues, ligaments, joints and nerves, maintains smooth functioning and health of all the body’s systems, cures stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, etc, improves concentration power and what not! The advantages of yoga are numerous.
In honor of the International Yoga Day, here are 3 forms of yoga to keep you fit and forever young :
1. Pranayama :
Pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit word – Prana and Ayama. ‘Prana’ means force and ‘Ayama’ means development or control. Therefore Pranayama is the development and control of life force. It is a form of breathing exercise.
How is it Performed : Be seated in a comfortable posture. Place your hands on your knees. Feel relaxed. Focus on breathing pattern and be relaxed. Breathe in by inhaling forcefully through both the nostrils. Make sure that your lungs are full with air. Once you inhale fully, exhale with great force making hissing sound.
Advantages : Pranayama helps both in prevention and treatment of respiratory diseases, brings down stress and enhances power of relaxation, boosts functioning of immune system, increases power of concentration at work, improves blood circulation and bestows peace of mind and more positive outlook to life.
2. Meditation :
Meditation means concentrating one’s mind in a particular thing or object.
How is it performed : Select a calm, quiet,clean spot or a corner of a room. Sit there in any comfortable posture with your body erect. Mediation can be performed both with closed and opened eyes. Chant a few hyms or ‘om’ . It is advisable to meditate early in the morning.
Advantages : Meditation helps to improve mental health, keeps the mind calm and clean, curbs stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, improves concentration power, reduces depression.
3. Asanas :
‘Asanas’ in Sanskrit means posture. Asanas are body postures which are designed to promote a state of mental and physical well-being or good health. They are a part of yogic excercises. There are nearly 84 asanas, each one has a special name, special form and a distinct way of performing.
Here are a few types and asanas and the ways to perform them :
- Tadasana :
Stand straight on the ground. Raise both your hands and then join your hand fingers. Extend the shoulder blades and bend a little towards the back. Stay at this pose for minimum 30 seconds and then release your body slowly.
- Dhanurasana :
Lie on your stomach with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by the side of your body. Fold your knees and hold your ankles, breathing in, lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs up and back. Look straight ahead for a while.
- Kapalbhati :
Sit in a steady posture, place your hands on the knees and breathe normally, relax the whole body with your spine straight, now breathe in and out rapidly, with exhalation being forceful.
- Halasana :
Start with lying on your back, relax fully and breathe normally. Form a fist and slide it under the buttocks to slightly support the weight of the buttocks. Hold breath and slowly raise the legs straight up.
Advantages : Various types of asanas strengthen and tone the muscles, tissues, ligaments, joints and nerves, maintain smooth functioning and health of all the body’s system and promote physical and mental well-being.
The Present world is characterized by rapid growth and popularity of yoga. Swami Vivekananda, Swami Yoganada, Sir Aurabindo were some of the popular names connected with yoga. Currently Baba Ramdev is working towards the development of yoga.
Yoga is good for overall health. Yoga should be performed on a daily basis if one intends to lead a happy and contended life!