The practice of Yoga dates back more than 5,000 years. The desire for personal freedom, health and longevity gave birth to this form of physical and mental exercise. Yoga brings the mind and body together in a harmonious encounter which is why many use Yoga for healing.
The System of Yoga
Yoga, built on the three compositions of exercise, breathing, and meditation strengthens the glandular systems, ultimately increasing a person's total health. The body is the means that allows us to act and evolve in the world. Therefore those practicing Yoga treat the body with respect and care.
Breath work is as much a part of Yoga as breath is the body's source of life. Increasing breath control is essential in improving the health of both the body and mind. Using exercise and breathing together help prepare the mind for meditation which allows for quiet and healing from everyday stress. Daily practice of Yoga with exercise, breath control and meditation help produce a clear mind and strong body.
Therapeutic benefits of Yoga are not always quantifiable but today many medical practitioners and surgeons are recommending Yoga for a wide range of symptoms and illnesses. Among some of the most commonly treated are back and knee pain, sciatica, tendonitis, carpal tunnel and many others.
Benefits of Yoga
Physical benefits of Yoga include the following.
- Strengthens and tones every part of the body.
- Increases endurance and the capacity to do work.
- Creates more flexibility through correct stretching.
- Establishes a straight and effortless posture.
- Improves glandular function and relaxation for increased energy.
- Creating a healthy state of well-being and a balanced body and mind.
Mental and spiritual benefits may include these advantages.
- An improved ability to concentrate on daily issues.
- Better mental balance resulting in increased emotional stability.
- Inner peace and a sense of being calm even during times of stress.
- Increased intellect and wisdom.
- A sense of lightness and freedom that is as deep as the soul.
- Unity of body, soul and spirit.
Types of Yoga
There are several different types of Yoga. Hatha Yoga is probably the most recognized name. Hatha Yoga incorporates the physical movements and postures with breathing techniques. Postures serve a dual purpose of spiritual development and physical health. Executing postures correctly and consistently can help to give physical health in all areas.
Raja Yoga incorporates exercise, breathing, meditation and study producing a well-rounded person. Jnana Yoga includes learning the nature of self. Jnana Yoga, termed the yoga of wisdom, is considered the most difficult path.
Bhatki Yoga and Karma Yoga are both more spiritual with a concentration on one's concept of God. The difference between the two is that Bhatki focuses on emotion while Karma focuses on action.
There are several other forms of Yoga and choosing one is a completely personal choice. Just as we are all unique people, so are the different forms of Yoga. Each bring with it healing and calming qualities. Yoga is notable for helping the body deal with changes in life, seasonal changes, stress and much more.
Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA.