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             26 June, 2022
 

    
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Yoga A Timeless Culture For A Healthy Lifestyle

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2007-02-06 22:23:20     
Article by Michael Russell

Yoga is one of the six longest surviving classic systems of Hindu philosophy in the world, which originated from ancient India some 5000 years ago. The term yoga comes from the sanskrit word "yuga", which means union. Yoga masters (yogis) believed that the union of all aspects of an individual: body, mind and soul and the reunion of all opposites: mind and body, stillness and movement, masculine and feminine, sun and moon would lead to an inner illumination, the ecstasy of the true knowledge of reality.

Yoga practitioners designed physical and mental exercises to achieve this union. Physical exercises include yoga postures called asanas, which the yogis claimed to have maintained and perfected for millennia. Asanas are performed to purify and strengthen the body and control and focus the mind. It aimed to improve blood circulation and functioning of specific organs in the body. It also served as stable postures for prolonged meditation and often practiced in conjunction with the mental exercises, which include breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation. Yogic breathing techniques and meditation are powerful tools to quiet, calm and discipline the mind and energize, harmonize and balance the body.

Yoga would not have survived thousands of years had it not been beneficial to its devotees. Medical research has confirmed that yoga is indeed helpful in alleviating problems concerning high blood pressure, pain management, backaches, sleep problems, diabetes, digestive disorders, arthritis, chronic fatigue, asthma, obesity and heart conditions. Hence, it is not unusual to see more and more people adhering to the doctrines of yoga. As the results of Roper Poll stated, that at least 11 million Americans do yoga routines occasionally and 6 million perform it frequently.

With so many people adhering to the yoga system, as can be due to the notions cited above, equal number of people might think that yoga is only for unhealthy, sick and disturbed people suffering form mild to severe and chronic disorder or disease. Or in some extreme cases, yoga might be perceived as something other-worldly and non-practical activity as can be due to the perversions of the media and entertainment industry labeling yoga with some negative remarks. Contrary to most misconceptions, people of all ages could perform the yogic exercises, though cautions should be kept in mind. And of course, yoga doesn't need any serious preparations. All that is needed is a vacant space with flat floor surface large enough to stretch out on, a mat or towel, enough overhead space to fully raise the arms and loose and appropriate clothing. Yoga should be done with an empty stomach, preferably three or more hours after meal. And there's nothing more important than mental and spiritual readiness.

Yoga is such a powerful exercise, that proper precautions are prerequisites to its use. Hence, noted are the following: people with disabilities severe, acute or chronic health conditions should first consult their medical practitioner and yoga instructor to keep away from any dangers that might arise. Although there is no age requirement, certain poses and techniques vary according to the abilities of the practitioner, thus, it is better to consult a qualified yoga trainer for advice.

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