More often than not, whenever physical exercise is discussed, the focus is on the high cardiovascular kind of activity that usually leaves one out of breath and drenched in sweat.
But did you know that physical well being can be achieved through a seemingly calm and easy physical routine? Welcome to the world of Yoga.
Yoga is a science for good health from ancient India. Yoga holds that the human body consists not only of flesh, blood, bones and secretions and juices of various types but also a mind and spirit. Infection of one invariably affects another.
This is apparent in today’s world where many diseases like hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes and peptic ulcer are caused and aggravated by mental tension.
Good health of a person depends on the equilibrium of all three, i.e. mind, body and spirit. Any disturbance in this equilibrium leads to disease.
“Yoga” in simple terms means joint and “asana”, is a position. The exercise known as, “yogasana” are simply variations of body positions to improve health.
Though medical science has progressed much, it has its limitations. There is no root cure for many chronic diseases like asthma, arthritis, hypertension and diabetes.
Treatment only consists of some lifestyle changes and medicine. These medicines have to be taken for life. Invariably resistance develops to their effects after sometime and doses are augmented. Unpleasant side effects are also produced making people sick due to the treatment, along with the disease.
Yoga offers a useful combination and at times alternative therapy for treatment of chronic diseases. The utility of these exercises has been proved by scientific studies done in various parts of the world.
It has been accepted as a good form of exercise for all ages. People in various countries including western countries have adopted yoga as part of their daily routine.
There are various kinds of physical exercises aiding and enhancing flexibility of joints, backbone, digestion, hormonal equilibrium of the body, for reducing obesity and for chronic ailments.
Certain exercises which involve different breathing patterns are useful in cases of asthma, allergic cold. They also aid in improving mental concentration and relaxation. Then there are specific exercises for total relaxation of the body and mind.
They are very useful for people who suffer from stress related disorders. By doing these exercises overall physical and mental stamina of an individual is built up and augmented.
There are only two things one has to keep in mind while starting yogic exercises. One is that the stomach should be empty.
Preferably they should be done in the morning when the mind, body and outer atmosphere, all are fresh. If not possible at that time, one can do it about two hours after food in the afternoon or evening.
The other important thing is regularity. One should not expect overnight results. In fact no exercise provides desired results immediately. But if one does yoga regularly, he or she is sure to get results after one or two months.
Other things to pay attention to are that the number of movements and duration of each exercise should be increased gradually. One should begin by doing a particular item say one or two times and then increase to five or 10 times.
The movements should be slow and smooth and not jerky.
People of all ages and both genders can do yoga. But certain exercises are more suitable for some people and certain forms of exercise are prohibited for some persons.
For example elderly persons having stiff backs are prohibited from doing exercises which involve bending. Similarly those suffering from high blood pressure are advised not to do exercise involving neck rotation.
There is no restriction to combine other exercises with yoga. One can swim, walk or whatever one fancies, but still continue doing yoga regularly.
While other exercises will refreshen the body and build up stamina, yoga will stimulate the functioning of internal organs and also provide total physical and mental relaxation