Today, I want to talk a little about yoga. I am sure that almost everyone has an idea about what yoga might be. However, I am convinced that most of you only see the tip of the iceberg. Thus, I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce some general aspects of yoga and how this may affect your health and your lifestyle.
What is yoga?
Yoga was fist described about 10,000 years ago in India. The word “Yui”, which yoga derived from, originally means “unite” or “to join”. Thus, the aim of yoga is to bring union to oneself.
There are different ways, by which this union is to be brought to the practitioner: by asanas, which means the yoga postures, by pranayanas, which means breathing techniques, by mudras, which means gestures or attitudes and by bandhas, which means locks for channelling energy.
The yoga theory states that the body, the mind and the spirit each effect each other and the purpose of practising yoga is to achieve harmony among them. Yogis believe that there is a kind of universal or life energy, which is called prana. They say that we take prana in through food, sunlight and the air and that it is useful to actively control and regulate prana.
Different styles of yoga
There are numbers of different styles of yoga, each of which have their own emphasis. Some examples are:
- Karma yoga (selfless action)
- Mantra yoga (speech and sound)
- Hatha yoga (bodily control)
- Jnana yoga (knowledge)
- Kundalini yoga (creative energy)
- Tantric yoga (sexual energy)
Health benefits of practicing yoga
Yoga is not just doing some acrobatic postures, but rather provides a certain way of living. In the industrial world, we all have forgotten how to live in harmony with ourselves and with others. We are stressed by materialistic problems and are addicted to materialistic goods. We eat synthetic and sickening foods, become overweight and ill.
Yoga aims to balance the body and the mind and to bring people back to a harmonic and balanced being. Yoga practitioners gain self-awareness and receive a certain sense of calmness and clarity in their every day life.
From a medical point of view, yoga is seen to be beneficial, since it stimulates the nervous and the endocrine system. These in turn affect all other systems in the body. People practising yoga feel increased strength and flexibility, inner peace, increased energy levels, improved balance and coordination and increased self-awareness. They say that they experience better sleep, improved stress management and a regulation of their metabolic rate, which leads to healthy weight loss in overweight or obese individuals.
I could spend hours on talking about the benefits of yoga, but I will stop here. I am going to include some more yoga posts into this blog, covering more detailed knowledge about practising yoga, benefits and contraindications soon.