Although some might think yoga is for those who are into health and fitness, it usually originates from the idea of developing a bridge between your mind and body. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which means ‘to unite’
Yoga provides a path for the ultimate freedom or Moksha. It is said to have originated around 5000 years back in ancient India and has gained immense popularity in western culture.
In many countries including America, yoga is used in the form of Hatha Yoga which largely includes postures and Asanas. This is because there this activity is mostly done as an exercise rather than relaxation.
Renowned Yogis and gurus have explained the true purpose of yoga. It activates the soul of a person. Anybody doing yoga with full concentration and determination is said to have a complete union of mind, soul, and body. He/she is on the path to feeling something much greater. If you are looking to feel your existence is intertwined with the existence of the universe, it is important to realize the true meaning of yoga.
Apart from Hatha yoga, there are also many other types of yoga:
- Vinyasa Yoga: the most athletic and energetic type of yoga. This includes all types of tough asanas.
- Iyengar Yoga: Iyengar Yoga focuses on the alignment and movement of the body while holding the breath in for a longer period of time.
- Kundalini Yoga: this type of yoga includes both physical movement as well as spiritual indulgence. This can be done through chanting mantras and meditation
- Astanga Yoga: this type is known as the ‘eight limb path’ which requires many people to perform Astanga together.
- Yin Yoga: Yin yoga is a little slower comparatively and mostly comprises of seated asanas that are held for longer durations.
- Restorative Yoga: this yoga style focuses more on relaxation and aims to cleanse the mind.
Now you must be thinking, so many styles, which one is right for me? There is no single style of yoga that can benefit you. Experts suggest that there needs to be no rush while learning how to do yoga. The only prerequisites are patience and effort.
It is good to experiment with various methods and then decide which one suits you the best. Some might like to do asanas more than spiritual yoga in order to improve their flexibility. Others might indulge in meditation in order to acquire more mental peace.
The most interesting characteristic of yoga is that it does not have only a single benefit attached but multiple. Some of them can be listed as :
- Increases blood circulation in he body
- Breathing exercises improve the conditions of lungs
- Increases mindfulness
- Increases flexibility
- Is also done for weight loss
- Improves mental health
Unlike going to the gym and sweating the worries out, yoga provides a means to actually understand what your mind is going through. Many of those who do yoga have claimed to have a better connection with their own body and emotions. Like mentioned before, yoga acts as a bridge of connection.
Meditation and Yoga
It is said that in order to acquire the union of mind and body, both need to be in a relaxed zone. This is where meditation comes in Meditation means total consciousness of your breath. The mind needs to stay in the present and try to gain control when it starts to wander off into thoughts. It is a very gentle activity.
Guided meditation is also a form of meditation where a speaker guides you through a story in order to make you more relaxed and conscious of your thoughts. Meditation need not have any immediate results but it is very effective. It allows your body to attain stillness and power over your mind.
Yoga and meditation go hand-in-hand. One cannot be performed without the other. Yoga requires a great deal of perseverance and meditation is the first step to achieve that. It is through their combined effort that one can attain Moksha from everything and walk the path of complete truth.
It is recommended to sit in an upright position while meditating. Although you can also choose to lie down comfortably. There is no hard-fast rule. If you are meditating, it is important to be in an environment in which you feel safe and secure.
Also, there is no ‘winning’ in meditation. It is completely natural for your mind to wander off but if you start noticing this pattern then it means your mind is calling you to come back. You are, hence, gaining some control over your thoughts. Doing seated asanas along with meditation has proven to be very helpful in reducing stress.
4 asanas that can help build your immunity
During these unprecedented times, it is essential for everyone to build immunity to fight off COVID-19. Although there are multiple medicines available in the market, doctors strongly advertise the use of yoga as a natural means to improve the immune system. Some asanas that help in doing so are:
- Pranayam – this is a breathing exercise for improving your lungs. It involves breaking your breath into two parts and exhaling in two parts.
- Kapal Bhati – this exercise requires the person to inhale normally and while exhaling, exhale with forceful and rhythmic breaths.
- Anulom Vilom – Anulom Vilom includes breathing in from one nostril while closing the other with your finger and exhaling through the other nostril and doing the same repeatedly.
- Balasana – this asana is also known as ‘child’s pose’ Kneel down and sit on the heels of your feet. Move forward with your arms stretch out and try to touch your nose on the ground.
Doing these asanas for 20-30 minutes each day will definitely improve your immunity.
Yoga should become a part of your life. In a world where everything is moving so fast and there is no such thing as ‘me time’ anymore, it is so significant for people to make simple efforts to retain their mental peace and health. Doing yoga every day will help clear your mind of daily stresses at least for a few minutes.