For believers, yoga is a space where one can be at peace with oneself emotionally, mentally, physically and most importantly spiritually. For non-believers, it is just yoga.
While yoga can be argued as the best way to keep one fit and flexible, it is much more than just a medium for an individual to stay physically fit. Yoga is about finding inner peace. It is about meditation. Yoga is about finding one’s spirituality and finding the utopian peace that we all are searching for in this mad, mad world.
A 5000-year-old Indian body of knowledge, yoga helps in increasing the flexibility of the body. When practiced regularly, it not only increases muscle strength and tone but also improves respiration, energy and the vitality. For someone who has digestive problems, yoga is the perfect cure. It helps maintains a balanced metabolism and also helps in reducing or controlling weight. Regular yoga benefits cardio and circulatory health, improves athletic performance and protects the body from injuries. After a considerable time, one can notice significant improvements in diastolic blood pressure, upper body and trunk dynamic muscular strength and endurance, perceived stress, and health perception.
A conscious yoga practice increases experience of relaxation and provides a deeper appreciation for the present moment. One’s concentration is enhanced; focus is improved and the sense of self-discipline, self-awareness and self-confidence is improved multi-folds too. Yoga elevates mood and feelings of contentment; it expands imagination and creativity (especially in children), improves optimism and fosters a healthier body-image.
For someone who is on the path to finding his/her spirituality, yoga is the answer. Regardless of age, experience or any physical condition, you can benefit from yoga. Spiritually, yoga leads to a sense of fulfillment and fosters a deeper sense of gratitude in general. Yoga helps one to discover the connection with one’s sense of purpose or meaning in life. Most importantly, yoga develops a sense of connection to something greater than oneself (nature, inner self, the universe, one’s God or Gods or some other expression of the divine).
Science is starting to provide some concrete clues as to how yoga improves health, heal aches and pains and keep sickness at bay. The key, however, is getting to know your body and learning to honour and respect its strengths, weaknesses and boundaries. Start slow, start now, practice with consistency and experience these life changing benefits yourself!