The term Yoga has been defined in various ways in many different Indian philosophical and religious traditions but in simple words, yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines that originated in ancient India.
In the western world, yoga is often considered as an exercise, consisting largely of the postures or asanas. But why is yoga so important for our body? What is so special about it?
Well, to answer your questions, we’re here to justify the need of practicing yoga and why it’s beneficial for our body. To be honest, we’re beginners ourselves, but when we got to know about the benefits of yoga, we couldn’t resist practicing it ourselves.
- The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- It can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.
- It increases flexibility and muscle strength.
- For athletes, it also helps in improving your performance and protects you from injuries.
Apart from physical benefits, there are various mental benefits, and trust me, with the amount of stress we take these days, we should definitely consider practicing yoga.
- Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness.
- It increases body awareness.
- It relaxes the mind and centers our attention.
- Also, it sharpens concentration.
Yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing can help improve a person’s mental well-being. It can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.
Here’s a list of asanas that are helpful for both physical and mental fitness.
Balasana or Child’s Pose is a kneeling asana in modern yoga as exercise. From a kneeling position, bring the forehead to the floor and relax the arms alongside the body, palms upwards.
It helps relieve fatigue and is also a great pose to ease anxiety and stress. It helps lengthen and stretch out the spine as well as gently stretch the ankles, hips and shoulders.
Also known as Cobra Pose, it’s a reclining back-bending asana in hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise. It is commonly performed in a cycle of asanas in Surya Namaskar. The palms are placed under the shoulders, pushing down until the hips lift slightly. The backs of the feet rest on the ground, the legs outstretched; the gaze is directed forwards, giving the preparatory pose. For the full pose, the back is arched until the arms are straight, and the gaze is directed straight upwards or a little backwards.
It stretches the spine, chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen. It tones the hips and is therapeutic for asthma.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward Dog Pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana is an inversion asana in modern yoga as exercise, often practised as part of a flowing sequence of poses, especially in Surya Namaskar. Downward Dog has been called “deservedly one of yoga’s most widely recognized yoga poses”and the “quintessential yoga pose”. It stretches the hamstring and calf muscles in the backs of the legs, and builds strength in the shoulders. It also improves blood flow to the brain.
The pose has the head down, ultimately touching the floor, with the weight of the body on the palms and the feet. The arms are stretched straight forward, shoulder width apart; the feet are a foot apart, the legs are straight, and the hips are raised as high as possible.
Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend is a standing forward bending asana in modern yoga as exercise. The pose is entered from the standing position of Tadasana, bending forward at the hips until the palms can be placed on the floor, ultimately behind the heels.
It stretches the hips, hamstrings and calves. It also keeps your spine strong. It reduces stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue. It calms the mind and soothes the nerves.
Also known as ‘Salute to the Sun’, it’s a practice in yoga incorporating a sequence of some twelve gracefully linked asanas. The asanas are connected by jumping or stretching movements, varying somewhat between schools. The basic sequence involves moving from a standing position into Downward and Upward Dog poses and then back to the standing position, but many variations are possible. The set of 12 asanas is dedicated to the Vedic Hindu solar deity Surya and since it’s a salute to the sun, it’s done early in the morning.
Such patterns of asana practice increases awareness of the body and the patterns in which muscles are engaged, making exercise more beneficial and safer.
So, looking at the current situation, it’s highly necessary for us to be positive. We need to control our stress levels and yoga is the best way to achieve that.
And if everyone did yoga, we would have world peace.