Yoga and Elements of Yoga
Yoga has spread far and wide around the world. According to a Nationwide survey in 2017, one out of seven adults performed Yoga in the past 12 months in the United States of America. However, Yoga and elements of yoga are not about twisting and bending one’s body and holding breath for a long time. It is about centering yourself and finding peace and harmony in yourself.
What is Yoga?
Before reading about the elements, you should understand what Yoga is. Yoga is an ancient method that involves physical poses and concentration. It’s a meditation that brings harmony and unison between the mind and body. The word Yoga is from the Sanskrit language. Yoga means ‘to unite’ or ‘to yoke’. The practice of Yoga started thousands of years ago, even before there was any religion or belief in God. Shiva is the first yogi in the yogic lore. Thousands of years ago, the yogi Shiva transferred all his knowledge to seven sages in the Himalayas. The sages spread this yogic knowledge to different parts of the earth. Later, One of the sages, Agastya went to the Indian subcontinent and reshaped their culture around a yogic way of life. Yoga is an exercise and therapy system to obtain inner peace and physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Yoga is the self-realization of our true selves. But in today’s world, Yoga is the practice of maintaining, preserving and promoting physical and mental health. Some very famous yogis are spreading yoga by giving lessons throughout the world. Some famous yogis are Swami Shivananda, Sri Aurobindo, Baba Ramdev, Swami Rama, Maharishi Mahesh yogi, and Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Scientifically speaking, Yoga is a technique to relax and find peace within our bodies.
Benefits of Yoga
Yoga provides physical, emotional, and mental benefits for people of all ages. Yoga can improve your balance and strength. Moving slowly and breathing deeply can help in increasing blood flow and strengthen your body. Additionally, Yoga can help with back pain and improve mobility. It can also comfort the tender and swollen joints of individuals with arthritis symptoms. It promotes self and helps manage stressful routines.
Furthermore, regular Yoga practice can benefit your heart health and help you sleep better. Yoga can boost enthusiasm and positive feeling by increasing your mental energy. Dr. Natalie Nevins, a DO, Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine Specialist, and certified Kundalini Yoga instructor in Hollywood, said, “The relaxation techniques incorporated in Yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, headaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.”
Three Elements of Yoga
There are three basic elements of yoga: Asana, Pranayama, and Dhyana. Yoga is an optimistic ordeal for the mind, body, and spirit. It is all about breathing, movement, focusing, and relaxing. B.K.S Iyengar introduced things like Yoga blankets, blocks, and Yoga straps so people of all ages could perform. Yoga poses with ease. Chairs and walls also proved useful for yoga students of all age groups. The three elements are explained below.
Asana is one of the three elements. In English, Asanas can be described as yoga postures and poses. In the 15th century, Hatha Yoga Pradipika innovated 84 asanas and later described some of them. Moreover, Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S Iyengar together introduced hundred more asanas. They were the people who brought Yoga to the western world. Asanas can be beneficial for both body and spirit. They can boost strength, flexibility, and balance. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and can eliminate diseases like diabetes.
“Asana is placing the physical body in positions that cultivate awareness, relaxation, and concentration,” said Satyananda Saraswati. In her book, Yoga Anatomy, Leslie Kaminoff wrote, “All of the asana practice can be viewed as a methodical way of freeing up the spine, limbs, and breathing so that the yogi can spend extended periods in a seated position.” According to Iyengar, the real importance of asana is how they train the mind, conquering the body and making it a fit vehicle for the spirit.
Pranayama is another yoga element. It is an ancient breathing method method that originated from yogic lore. It is speculated that by doing pranayama, you can control your mind by regulating your breath. Pranayama allows you to develop breath control and improve your mental health. Strong pranayama breaths can further help you to detoxify your body. Regular pranayama practice can provide improvement in lung functioning. Holding your breath for a longer period can also help strengthen your respiratory muscles. It can be very useful for people who have asthma. Pranayama can also provide help in lowering anxiety levels and hypertension. Furthermore, it can improve heart functions and metabolic activities.
Dhyana is the third element. It is a process to withdraw the mind from automatic responses and lead the mind to the perfect state of equanimity and awareness. In dhyana, we concentrate on one specific object and practice becoming one with it. The object of your focus can be anything from a body part to a certain flower. Dhyana can provide benefits for the mind and body. It will help you to relax and find peace inside your mind. You don’t have to perform any complicated pose for it. You will have to sit comfortably for about 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure that you choose a quiet place. It will help you to relieve stress and you find more peace of mind in your daily life. Practicing dhyana along with other elements will result in perfected mindfulness and detachment.
Yoga is a great exercise for individuals of any age and capability. You can start doing yoga if you’re depressed, tired, anxious, and stressed. It will not only improve your mental health and help you to calm down the chaos inside your head but will also provide you with a toned body.