In recent times yoga has turned out to be very popular. Almost everywhere we see advertisements for yoga classes. Now, the question arises that is it really worth spending our time and money going to these yoga classes? The answer is yes. But here again there is a catch. You need to ensure that the yoga teacher is one with a genuine and recognized certification.
Only a certified practitioner is aware about the safe procedures of doing the asanas. Safety is a very important factor that you should consider before finalizing on your yoga class. An unqualified practitioner might mislead you by making you flex your body in unnatural and unsafe manners.
Now, what really is yoga? It wouldn’t be too much to say that yoga is a complete in science that focuses on the mind-body connection. It has been part of Indian culture and heritage for time immemorial. The benefits one derives from regular practice of yoga have been testified by modern science.
It is a practice that not only helps keep our body in shape but also controls the mind and aids in spiritual evolution. The practice of yoga comprises yogic breathing or pranayama, postures or asanas, and meditation.
One very important aspect of yoga is pranayam. It focuses on developing control over one’s breathing which is otherwise an involuntary phenomenon. It is believed that holding the breath within the body helps generate ‘prana’ or life force which contributes to longevity. Moreover, it helps get rid of stale air from the body that is responsible for producing toxins within the body. It also helps one breathe more mindfully.
Even though yoga has been popularized as a practice for keeping the body fit, it actually has much deeper impalications. Yoga is most beneficial when one aligns the practice of yoga with a yogic lifestyle compelte with the principles of ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), aparigraha (non-possessiveness), brahmacharya (continence).
Yoga is the path to the divine. It helps us connect with the universal life force and when we connect with the universal life force, we go beyond the limits of our physical conditions. It not only helps us get rid of all our diseases but also launches us on a life of true and lasting happiness coupled with genuine peace of mind.
Talking about the general physiological effects of yoga, you can expect to see an improvement in the flexibility and stamina of your body. Moreover, your lung capacity would also increase over time enabling you to breathe deeper and at a lower rate. It is argued that a slow breath rate is one of the secrets of longevity. Improvement in body co-ordination, concentration, posture, resiliency, strength and dexterity can also be expected.
But what is really important is to be mindful of your yoga practice. You would not even get half the benefits if your mind is distracted while you perform the asanas. Yoga is not about unmindful stimulation of the body directed towards a monolithic goal of weight loss.
It is a holistic practice that aims to bring your mind, body and spirit in harmony with each other. This can happen when you concentrate completely on what you are doing and see your body with the highest love and regard while practising yoga.