Yoga is the oldest system of personal development encompassing body, mind, and spirit. Yoga is a complete science of life that originated in India many thousands of years ago. This valuable science developed by the ancient sages of India, and modified through generations, took many years to spread around the world.
In the modern times, the value of Yoga is being increasingly recognized for general health and its preventive and curative effects.
The Yoga Postures or Asanas exercise every part of the body, stretching and toning the muscles and joints, the spine and the entire skeletal system. They work not only on the body's frame but on the internal organs, glands and nerves as well, keeping all systems in radiant health. By releasing physical and mental tension, they also liberate vast resources of energy. The Yogic breathing exercises known as pranayama revitalize the body and help to control the mind, leaving you feeling calm and refreshed, while the practice of positive thinking and meditation gives increased clarity, mental power and concentration.
Asanas are body positions in which one remains steady and comfortable, both physically and mentally, for a desired length of time without strain. Asanas help the muscles relax by improving circulation, which in turn relieves built-up tension and stress. Stretching helps to tone and condition the muscles, thereby helping to prevent injuries.
Pranayama: Prana refers to vital air or energy, and Yama is the control and direction of that energy. Pranayama, therefore, is the control and direction of this vital energy via steady breathing. Steady breathing increases the prana in the body, resulting in good health.
Meditation is the practice of mindfulness, focussing on awareness whole-heartedly. It is the practice of paying attention to everything, down to the smallest thing you does in life. Meditation is not a practice to achieve blank space or blank thought by blocking, suppressing and neglecting our concerns. It is the feeling of happiness and peace within when we close our eyes and integrate our body, mind and spirit.
Although Yoga is taught and practiced in different ways; Hatha-Yoga a unique combination of Asanas, Pranayama and Meditation, provides a balanced and wholesome approach to achieving perfect physical and mental health, happiness and tranquility. All Yogic postures are based on the formula of stretching, relaxation, deep breathing, and increasing circulation and concentration.
Who Can Practice YOGA?
Yoga can be practiced by anyone, at any age, a strong desire for a healthier and more fulfilled life. Yoga breathing techniques (Pranayama) are very powerful since they work as a tonic to reduce stress, insomnia, emotional imbalance, headache etc. Yoga, therefore, is for all ages from 12 years to as long as we live.
How To Practice YOGA?
It is very important to practice Yoga with the full mind. Best time to practice Yoga is either in the morning or in the evening, Beginners find it easier to practice in the evening because the body is supple. It is best if practitioner practices Yoga at a time that best suits his or her schedule, as long as the stomach is empty prior to the practice.