Over the past two decades, yoga has gained tremendous popularity. Today, you see a lot of men and women spending time in classes, quietly sitting and bending in various postures, and talking about how this activity changed their lives. Of course, you can authenticate their words only when you try it yourself. Can yoga truly change a person’s life? Isn’t it just another form of exercise? Read on to discover the answers to these questions.
There is no exact estimate of when humans started doing exercise and the reasons why they did so. However, what is known is it is a 5,000 years old practice and its country of origin is India. Less than a century ago, it was believed that Yoga was as old as Gautama Buddha. It was not until the discovery of Mohenjo Daro, an ancient civilization along the banks of River Indus currently flowing in Pakistan that archaeologists found that yoga originated more than 5,000 years old. The term comes from Vedas, a Holy Hindu scripture. It refers to the sight of a warrior’s soul flying to the heavens after dying in a war.
A person performing yoga has to hold their body in certain postures called postures or positions. These postures are not just exercises. In fact, they have spiritual meanings associated with them. There are many different postures, each with a specific spiritual meaning. Here are a few popular poses:
The corpse pose is deceptively simple. You have to lie down on your back, motionless. This pose is also referred to as Mrtsana. It is like experiencing death but a different type of death. You lie motionless, disconnected from the world, but you exist in your consciousness. In this pose, you show that you can relax despite the worldly matters and pressures around you.
For this pose, you have to lie down flat on your belly. Your legs should be straight and your belly on the floor. Now, raise your chest, shoulders and head off the ground. That’s you mimicking a cobra. The concept of this pose is that a cobra crawls on earth, but for it to see the world clearly, it has to raise its head. You too have to get out of your worldly matters to see things. You also have to assume the character of the cobra, i.e. you are strong and vicious, and can defend yourself from attacks.
Sit on the floor with your knees tucked underneath. Bend forward between your knees and spread your arms on the floor towards your hips. It is one of the most satisfying yoga postures. This pose should invoke a feeling of security, like the security you had when you were in your mother’s womb. It is also called balasana pose. The child’s pose also refers to surrendering to our world, more like agreeing that we have to return to our world even after we have disconnected from it.
One of the most famous Hollywood actors, known around the world as Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. had lost the battle against substance abuse. After getting caught several times, he had nearly said goodbye to his film career. However, he regained his passion and energies, and found safe sanctuary in yoga. Robert has changed his life after making it a part of his life and today, he is one of the highest paid actors.
Sting is one of the most renowned English singer and musician. He has 16 Grammy Awards to his name to date and due to his popularity, he travels and tours around the world for several months every year. When he is exhausted and out of breath, he does yoga for relief, comfort and calmness and to disconnect from the material world.
The internationally famous singer and songwriter with nearly 80 million Instagram followers, Miley Cyrus has surprised her fans with many things during her career. One of her recent surprises was her doing amazing yoga in a series of videos.
The famous actress from Friends, Jennifer Aniston, does yoga and has some great words of admiration for the activity. She believes it prepares her to face everything life throws at her.
The best thing about yoga is it benefits you not just physically but mentally and spiritually as well. Here are some of its best benefits:
Yoga poses require you to do a lot of stretching. In addition, you have to hold the poses for a long time to benefit from them. This stretching of your body activates your muscles and helps you get rid of the cramps that come with modern sedentary lifestyles. You might not realize but tightness in the muscles results in unexpected pains.
When you hold yoga postures for several minutes, you become habitual to keep your body in those poses. You discover what’s wrong with how you sit or hold your head over your shoulders. Even the slightest tilt in your head’s position on your neck can give rise to severe neck pain and joint-related issues.
Concentration and focus are important for your brain. Things make sense to you when you can focus clearly. Concentration is crucial in all walks of life, whether you are a teacher, a student, an executive, a trainer or trainee. Holding flexible postures in quietness, breathing slowly and concentrating on your energies helps you improve your focus. Throwing away distracting thoughts helps you learn things quickly.
You need to be mentally strong to face the matters of the world. However, even when your mental strength succumbs to the pressure, your spiritual strength comes to the rescue. When you are spiritually strong, you are ready to face the world and take on challenges, just like Jennifer Aniston says.
Experts believe that if you are doing yoga, you are going in the wrong direction. You have to live it as well. Yoga plays a vital role in how you think about your surroundings, interact with people, concentrate on things, and learn new lessons. In short, yoga impacts your entire life. If you are a true yogi, you won’t let needless things distract your mind from your target. It’s this lifestyle that has helped people like Robert Downey Jr. stay clear of substance abuse.
During your poses, such as the corpse, you go inside your conscious and enter a meditation mode. When you meditate, you can change your entire perception about yourself, the world, your surroundings and the people you interact with. It is this nature of yoga which makes it more than just an exercise.
Yoga is not a religion nor is it an exercise. It is a way for you to fill yourself up with positive energy and strengthen your mind, spirit and body. Once you have harmonized your mind, body and spirit, you will notice changes in yourself and the way you interact with the world. In the end, it is imperative that you meet the right people who can guide you in the right direction about your lifestyle. Do your research and join a class only after you have verified the credentials and background of the instructor.