Yoga is a scientific system of physical and mental practices which was developed and honed to perfection by philosophers and mystics from India more than 3,000 years ago. An integral part of Ayurveda (a traditional Indian system of medicine), the word “Yoga” is literally derived from the Sanskrit verb “yuj”, meaning “to yoke/join” and “samadhi” or “concentration.
Basically, at its core, Yoga is a method by which one can increase the body’s supply of energy and wherever possible, remove ‘interference’ to the transmission of energy throughout the body, and, unlike other exercises that focuses only on the body, Yoga’s benefits extend to spirit, mind, body and emotion.
There are numerous Yoga forms that are practised today in which some concentrate on postures and breathing exercise while some others place greater emphasis on spirituality. The more common Yoga activities we normally see are related to the former, which is essentially the physical component of the Yoga lifestyle, that is, Hatha Yoga.
Hatha Yoga focuses on asanas or specific poses that requires focused concentration, discipline and breathing that results in a greater union of mind, body and spirit.
The highest form of yoga is the Raja Yoga in which one attains “union by mental master”.
One of the Yoga poses, Uddyina Bandha (the Stomach Lift), contracts and stretches the digestive organs, thus resulting in an improved blood and nerve supply to the digestive system, which gradually result in them functioning optimally.
A lubricant known as synovial fluid is secreted when we engage in Yoga postures that requires us to stretch our joints. This synovial fluid is released into the joints, thereby keeping them supple as well as removing waste products. As a result, this reduces stiffness, which prevents arthritis or reduces the effects of arthritis (for those who are already afflicted by arthritis).
Stretching of the skin during some Yoga posture, like for example the Headstand pose, causes stimulation of skin cells. This produces a natural ‘face-lift’ that results in firmer, healthier skin which won’t sag or get wrinkled.
One of the causes of hair loss is poor blood circulation in the head, in which Yoga postures such as “Standing Forward Bend”, “Shoulderstand”, “Downward Facing Dog”, “Head Stand”, “Cow Pose”, “Camel Pose” and “Cobra Pose” could improve, by increasing blood flow to the scalp and also relieving tension in the neck. However, the postures should not be attempted if one has heart problems or high blood pressure.
In general, Yoga stretches and breathing exercises releases toxins from joints, muscles and connective tissues, due to the design and function of the Yoga routines where optimal quantity of blood is supplied to all points of the body.
Interestingly, Yoga posture such as the “Torso Twist” cleanses toxins from internal organs – when twisting, blood is squeezed out of internal organs and releasing the twist enables fresh blood flows into the organs.
So now you know a little bit of Yoga and it’s various health benefits. Why not try out some simple yoga moves here ?