Yoga….Union of Body, Mind & Soul by Shahnaz Husain


“I have a demanding career, with hectic schedules. I have found Yoga to be an excellent way of relieving stress. The best thing about Yoga is that it does not need any equipment and can be done anywhere. I have been practicing Yoga every morning for a long time. I continue with it even when I am traveling abroad. One of the aspects which appeal to me is that it involves breath control and specifies the inhalation and exhalation of breath during the exercise. Thus, without any strain on the body, one can achieve an aerobic effect. I have found Yoga to be ideal for reducing stress, relieving fatigue, calming the mind and bringing about total relaxation. “

According to Yoga, the body is the temple of the soul. The appeal of Yoga lies in it numerous benefits, as it works on muscle groups, increases vitality, tones the internal organs, stimulates the nerve centers, relieves stress and clears the mind. Yoga has become so popular because of its relevance to modern needs, in terms of delaying degenerative processes and reducing stress. It is an ancient Indian discipline and was considered the traditional path to physical, mental and spiritual good health. In fact, it has also gained relevance today as a means of attaining a well-balanced personality and delaying aging.

The word “Yoga” actually means union and signifies the union of body and mind. Therefore, it recognizes that body and mind are not separate entities, but are interdependent and interlinked. We should not mistake it to be some mystic discipline, involving bodily contortions because modern research has shown that it is based on scientific principles.

It was Patanjali who first described the Eight Limbs of Yoga, around 200 BC. Among the many yogic paths, which include meditation, it is Hatha Yoga, which is popularly practiced. It deals with physical exercises, entailing the assumption of postures, or “asanas”, as they are called. These are well-defined and have precise results. Pranayama, or control of breathing, is combined with these. These asanas involve static positions and a particular pose is supposed to be held for a prescribed duration of time. During this time, the mind is also disciplined, as it concentrates on the particular parts of the body. At the same time, the muscles and nerves are also exercised.

One of the advantages of Yoga is that it can be adjusted to suit age and personal capacity. The duration and frequency can be adjusted according to the flexibility and stamina of the individual. The duration can be increased gradually. The other important aspect of Yoga is that it involves breath control and specifies the inhalation and exhalation of breath during the exercise. Thus, without any strain on the body, an aerobic effect can be achieved.  In fact, the exercises end with poses which aid recuperation, calming the mind and bringing about total relaxation. The best thing is that there is no fatigue after exercising. Instead, there is a feeling of physical and mental exhilaration.

The yogic asanas are designed to keep the spine and joints flexible and supple and this goes a long way in delaying age-related signs. It also includes exercises for particular physical complaints. There are numerous other benefits. The posture improves and so does suppleness and grace. Muscles are toned and blood circulation improves. It helps to induce relaxation of both body and mind, soothing the nerves and releasing mental tensions. Yoga also helps to relieve fatigue and allows recuperation of energy. Thus, it has renewing and rejuvenating benefits.

Yoga can be included in any exercise program, but it is best learned under supervision and guidance.

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