Did you know?Yoga began in India as early as 3000 B.C.
According to archeological evidence, Yoga has been mentioned in the classic Indian poem Mahabharata (400 B.C. – 400 A.D.) and The Bhagavad Gita. Yoga was systemized by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras (300–200 B.C.)The word “yoga” comes from a Sanskrit root “yuj” which means union, or yoke, to join, and to direct and concentrate one’s attention. InIndia yoga is an integral part of a longstanding cultural and spiritual tradition.
Indian rishis understood that performing Raja-yoga (procedure of concentration to liberate soul or atma from the bondage of maya into paramatma) always needs a healthy body – “Sharirmadyam, khalu dharma sadhanam.” So, they developed “Hatha yoga,” which includes asana, mudra, pranayama, etc. “Gharanda samhita” said there were 84 lakh asanas from which 16,000 were best and only about 300 are popular.
Interestingly,Yoga along with increasing ones strength, endurance and flexibility, facilitates characteristics of friendliness, compassion, and greater self-control. Sustained practice leads to changes in life perspective, self-awareness and an improved sense of energy to live life fully and with genuine enjoyment. A physiological state opposite to that of the flight-or-fight stress response in the stress response, a sense of balance and union between the mind and body can be achievedonly through Yoga.
Teachings and practices of yoga’s healing systems follows four basic principles:
- First principle: The human body is a holistic entity comprised of various interrelated dimensions inseparable from one another and the health or illness of any one dimension affects the other dimensions.
- Second principle: The need of every individual is unique and therefore must be addressed to acknowledge his individuality and their practice must be tailored accordingly.
- Third principle: Yoga is self-empowering; the student is his or her own healer, engaging in the healing process from within.
- Fourth principle: The quality and state of an individuals mind is crucial to healing. When the individual is in a positive state of mind healing happens more quickly and healing may be prolonged in case of dominating negative thoughts.
So far, there is no proper literature regarding the frequency of practice, the more you practice the more you benefit.Practice should happen with wisdom and should be modified to meet individual needs and goals. Individuals should practice as often as possible, especially in the beginning. Depending on an individual’s initial level of fitness and health status,the length of the induction phase will vary. If one finds it difficult to practice in the beginning then quite ironically their body needs it more.
Generally, yoga is identified only with asanas, the physical practice of yoga. You should be aware that asanas are just one of the many tools used for healing the individual; conscious breathing, meditation, lifestyle and diet changes, visualization and the use of sound are amongst the other less known.
Let’s learnabout the benefits of Yoga in common Health problems:
STRESS AND DEPRESSION:
Stress and stress-induced disorder need a scientific and holistic approach.Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia are among the most common problems commonly treated with Yoga as an adjuvant therapy.
There is scientific evidence to show that stress plays a role in to cause of heart disease, cancer, stroke and many more chronic conditions and diseases. It is important to manage stress and reduce negative emotional states to reduce the burden of a disease. Stress has a negative impact on the immune system and prolonged exposure increases susceptibility to disease and leads to physical and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Practicing yoga and meditation regularly relieves both acute and chronic stress. Thisis calming and restorative; it lowers breathing and heart rate, decreases blood pressure, lowers cortisol levels and increases blood flow to the intestines and vital organs, thus helps individuals overcome other co-morbidities associated with diseases.
Restorative postures, savasana, pranayama, and meditation encourage pratyahara, a turning inward of the senses which enables downtime for the nervous system, the byproduct often being improved sleep.
Yogic practices have shown to improve cardiorespiratory performance, psychological profile, and plasma melatonin levels, also significantly reduced systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, and orthostatic tolerance.
Studies have shown that individuals doing regular yogapractice (period of 1 year or more)have improved exercise capacity and a decrease in body weight. Serum cholesterol levels, (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels) also showed greater reductions as compared with control group. The chances for heart attacks are also reduced.The mechanism of the beneficial effect of yoga in the management of hyperlipidemia and obesity cannot be explained by simple excess caloric expenditure since the practice of asanas does not bring about increased, rapid large muscle activity and energy generation.
Researches have shown that there is no cure through Yoga for Cancer. There are lot of benefits like decrease in post-chemotherapy-induced nausea frequency, nausea intensity, intensity of anticipatory nausea, and anticipatory vomiting. Additionally, yoga subjects reported decreased anxiety, depression, and distressful symptoms and showed significantly reduced toxicity scores compared to the controls.
Yoga practices including physical postures, breathing, and meditation practiced by pregnant women 1 hr daily resulted in an increase in birth weight, decrease in preterm labor, and decrease in IUGR (Intrauterine growth retardation) either in isolation or associated with PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension).
There are breathing practices to alleviate pain during labor as well.
Caution must be taken while practicing Yoga during Pregnancy, the person teaching the asanas should be qualified and experience. In spite of this a DOCTORS OPINION IS MANDATORY
Asthmatics practicing “pranayama” on a regular basis have proven benefits. Improvement in various parameters of lung function with breathing control techniques, specific postures, and/or relaxation techniques have been proven.
The sudden surge of diabetes in India is attributed to several aetiologies.Studies comparing yoga versus medication, reported a large and significant reduction of fasting glucose in individuals with type 2 diabetes. These researches need to be more scientific, in my opinion practicing Yoga in case you have a family history or predisposition will be beneficial.
There is evidence that yoga is useful for several pain-associated disorders which includesof back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, headache/migraine, and other indications.In people with chronic low-back pain suggest that a carefully adapted set of yoga poses may help reduce pain and improve function (the ability to walk and move).
TRAINING FOR YOGA:
Several training programs for yoga teachers are available. These programs vary from a few days to more than 2 years. Standards for teacher training and certification differ depending on the style of yoga.
DO AND DONT’S FOR YOGA:
- Yoga cannot be considered to replace conventional medical care or to postpone seeing a health care provider about pain or any other medical condition.
- If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before starting yoga.
- Make sure you choose a correct Yoga practitioner through a trusted source. Find out about the educational qualification, training and experience of any practitioner you are considering.
- Selecting an instructor who is experienced and attentive to your needs is an important step towards helping you practice yoga safely. Everyone’s body is different, and yoga postures should be modified based on each individual’s abilities.
Although many forms of yoga practice are safe, some are strenuous and may not be appropriate for everyone. In particular, elderly patients or those with mobility problems may want to check first with a clinician before choosing yoga as a treatment option. Yoga is generally low-impact and safe for healthy people when practiced appropriately under the guidance of a well-trained instructor.
Overall, those who practice yoga have a low rate of side effects, and the risk of serious injury from yoga is quite low.
Yoga, relatively risk-free, can be considered a safe form of exercise if practiced after proper training. Yoga is helpful in preventing many illnesses and assist in curing many others according to latest evidence.