Yoga is a gentle and ancient form of oriental exercise that uses posture, breathing techniques and relaxation to increase suppleness and vitality, calm the body, improve sleep and relieve stress. Several different types of yoga exist and hatha yoga, which concentrates on posture and exercise, is the one most widely practised in the West. As with all therapies, it is best receive training from a qualified teacher, who will help you achieve mental control and the correct yoga positions for you.
Yoga is based on the concept that physical exercises are linked to mental and spiritual development. Breathing is a major element since the breath embodies a person’s prana or life-force, plays an important role in helping problems associated with emotional and mental disharmony. Many yoga exercises and positions will help control the rapid breathing of hyperventilation, while stretching and relaxing muscles is a wonderful way to start or end the day, particularly for those experiencing stress, insomnia and anxiety.
Before starting there are few points to make sure of:
1. Check with your doctor if you have a back problem or high blood pressure.
2. Do not use yoga within an hour of eating – wait three hours after a heavy meal.
3. Empty your bladder and bowels.
4. Don’t mix yoga with smoking, drugs or alcohol.
5. Wear comfortable, light clothing that stretches easily.
Breathing plays an important part in yoga. The exercise below is an example
The Triangle (Trikonasana)
This position alleviates anxiety and reduces mental stress.
1. Stand comfortably with your legs slightly more than a shoulder-width apart, with your feet facing forward.
2. Breathe in, and raise your right arm up alongside your left ear, stretching as high as possible. As part of the same movement, your fingertips down to your right foot.
3. Breathe regularly and hold the position for thirty to sixty seconds.
4. Make sure you keep looking forward, not down; that your knees and upper elbow are straight; and that your body and feet are not twisted.
5. Return to your original position as you inhale.
6. Repeat the exercise again, this time using your left arm and moving to the right.
At the outset, we must understand what we can gain a lot of benefits out of yoga:
At the physical level, yoga and its cleansing practices have proven to be extremely effective for various disorders. To get a sampling of how yoga benefits health disorders.
Yoga helps you to:
1. Increasing Flexibility – yoga has positions that act upon the various joints of the body including those joints that are never really on the ‘radar screen’ let alone exercised.
2. Increasing lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons – likewise, the well-researched yoga positions exercise the different tendons and ligaments of the body.
Surprisingly it has been found that the body which may have been quite rigid starts experiencing a remarkable flexibility in even those parts which have not been consciously work upon. Why? It is here that the remarkable research behind yoga positions proves its mettle. Seemingly unrelated “non strenuous” yoga positions act upon certain parts of the body in an interrelated manner. When done together, they work in harmony to create a situation where flexibility is attained relatively easily.
3. A better way to give a relaxed massage to your body – Yoga is perhaps the only form of activity which massages all the internal glands and organs of the body in a thorough manner, including those – such as the prostate - that hardly get externally stimulated during our entire lifetime. Yoga acts in a wholesome manner on the various body parts. This stimulation and massage of the organs in turn benefits us by keeping away disease and providing a forewarning at the first possible instance of a likely onset of disease or disorder.