Yoga is a way of life for good living and for the benefit of the body. Yoga is the only way through which the body will be fit and fine without any trainer, without equipment and medicine.
The word “Yoga” originated from the Sanskrit word Yuj meaning to yoke, join or unite. This implies joining all aspects of the individual - body with mind and soul - to achieve a balanced life.
Yoga has gained remarkable popularity during the last few years, and today millions of people practise yoga on a regular basis. Yoga existed thousands of years ago but it is the most rapidly growing health segment today.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a Hindu traditional way of exercise to make the body physically and mentally strong. It uses posture and breathing techniques to induce rest and its health benefits may exceed those of other activities.
Yoga has several types of posture called 'asana', and it is the main feature of total eight limbs of yoga. Very often, asana and yoga are mistaken to be the same and used interchangeably. The eight limbs or branches of yoga described by Patanjali in his Sanskrit Sutras are:
1. Yama (Principles)
2. Niyama (Personal Disciplines)
3. Asana (Yoga Positions or Yogic Postures)
4. Pranayama (Yogic Breathing)
5. Pratyahara (Withdrawal of Senses)
6. Dharana (Concentration on Object)
7. Dhyan (Meditation)
8. Samadhi (Salvation)
Modern day's relevance:
Today, millions of people across the world are following yoga either in the form of one particular asana or a combination taught by a Yogi or guru. Some books even refer to particular asanas depending upon the medical requirement.
Modern yogis claims that yogic exercises cure various diseases like obesity, diabetics, dislocation of disc, respiratory problems, arthritis of various types and various spine problems, high blood pressure besides stress and even cholesterol problems and heart diseases.
Yoga guru Swami Ramdev and many of his cult are making yoga more popular all over the world by demonstrating modern physical exercise of yoga.
Parents who have learnt yogic exercise are motivating their children by teaching them yoga exercise to make them conscious about their health. Even people’s attitude toward health has changed dramatically due to yoga, as they tend to look for answers for their everyday problems.
It is observed that many old persons or senior citizens are meticulously learning and performing some exercise after the live discourse of Swami Ramdev on popular TV channels.
Benefits of Yoga
• Yoga has numerous physical benefits. It stretching and breathing exercises Improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina.
• Yoga also reduces stress and tension and it is an effective form of psychological therapy. It reduces nervousness, resulting in better health and better concentration.
• Yoga helps in treating a wide variety of emotional and mental disorders, including acute anxiety, depression, and mood swings.
• The gentler forms of yoga are known to lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation in the body.
• Creates sense of well being and calm.
• Yoga can also cure insomnia, as regular yoga practice leads to better and deeper sleep.
Yoga in India
The 'Upanishads' and 'Puranas' composed by Indian Aryans in the later Vedic and post-Vedic period contain references to yoga. Patanjali wrote 'Yoga Sutra', about two thousand Years ago. 'Yoga Sutra' is the most important basic text on Yoga.
Swami Ramdev, a new-age yoga guru is dominating Indian viewers with both his performances of yoga asanas and his candid comments against corruption. Swami Ramdev, who hosts a television show with 30 million viewers across the country, owns a peace island in Scotland.
Swami Ramdev has ushered in a hope for people suffering from different kinds of ailments, even the incurable ones. Thousands of people in Europe and USA have attended his Yogic exercises. In India, millions in urban and rural areas watch the Yoga exercise on TV and listen intently to his discourses.