By Asha Saith
The word yoga has been a part of my existence since I was a child. My mother employed the exercises for an injury to her spine and my grandmother, noting the benefits started Yoga in her forties and was able to achieve an unassisted headstand in her fifties!
For me personally, I do Yoga classes because I leave each class feeling good – rejuvenated and relaxed and also recharged – and ready to face whatever life has in store for me. In my humble opinion this mental state is a strong contributor to good health.
According to Wikipedia: the word Yoga has the literal meaning of yoke, from a root yuj, meaning to join unite or attach.” Yoga may simply be described as the practice of disciplines to achieve mental, physical and spiritual well being. These ancient disciplines were used to set the practitioner on the path to oneness or union with the Supreme Being. The disciplines practiced throughout the centuries of Yoga’s existence have been tried and proven to produce a healthier existence.
In today’s world, when one looks up the word Yoga one will inevitably see the word health in close association. Today’s Yogis, especially amongst the western practitioners, expect to derive health benefits from their practice. The beauty of Yoga is that there are so many styles, forms and intensities that one can choose according to individual needs, and the practice of any combination will result in better health.
Modern scientific research has proved that the main practices of yoga, i.e. diet, breathing, meditation and postures (exercises) are strongly recommended for maintaining good health.
Dietary advice employs the use of foods from the vegetable kingdom and pure foods rather than the processed and refined foods or foods that have been artificially or chemically modified. Scientific research has proved that today’s foods have been linked to many illnesses, from cancer to obesity.
Abstinence from meats is also recommended for yoga practitioners and dietary research has also shown that vegetarians live a longer and healthier life.
The number one cause of many illnesses and disease is stress. Yogic breathing involves deep and controlled breathing to promote a calm and relaxed state of mind, no matter the circumstance.
Lack of sleep and fatigue are another cause of serious illness and affects our ability to deal with our day to day existence.
Both meditation and deep breathing are recommended and have been proved to be effective in dealing with stress management and for relaxation.