Embracing Yoga for healthy living

Embracing Yoga for healthy living

Despite many advances in medical sciences, modern medicine has only partly succeeded in winning the public confidence, primarily because it takes only a clinical view of man. It considers man just as a biological entity, and sidelines the mental, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects that cumulatively determine the well being of human kind.

On the other hand, Yoga – an over 5,000-years-old holistic, Indian system of healthy living – takes into cognizance the functional modalities of the mind-body-soul trio, and urges people to act accordingly.

After the world woke up to the immense health benefits inherent in Yogic practices, its tentacles have proliferated to all corners of the globe. To carry the Yoga message further, the Indian government under Narendra Modi’s leadership, committed to re-establish indigenous systems, made the UN declare June 21 of every year to be observed as International Day of Yoga, a global validation of India’s glorious past! The event is slated to be celebrated globally on a scale hardly witnessed in history, with 192 of 193 UN member-countries planning celebrations this Yoga Day.

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise...we would have found the safest way to health,” said Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician.

The therapeutic benefits of body movement – to improve the lungs’ capacity to inhale oxygen, the heart’s ability to pump blood and the pancreas’ secretion of insulin, while strengthening the metabolic system and boosting overall immunity – have been repeatedly corroborated by advanced medical institutions across the world.

Numerous collaborative studies by the AIIMS, New Delhi, with several Yoga centres found a significant improvement in cardiac parameters like cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. when heart patients practiced Yoga asanas, as reported in Indian Heart Journal.

Yet, deep breathing, asanas and body postures comprise just the tip of what Yoga is, with the next stages being meditation, Kundalini jagran and Samadhi, each leading progressively to the realisation of a higher self. Advanced stage of Yoga thus aligns the practitioner with the super consciousness. 

H E Davey, the Japanese Yoga master said: “By keeping the mind in the present, unless you deliberately want to contemplate the past or future, it is possible to firmly face life without fear. Then, no thoughts of past failures or future problems will exist in the mind, and a truly positive mental state will result.” Yoga takes us to where life exists: the present moment.

Embracing Yoga implies rising above ego, developing love for all and shedding malice towards others, thus blessing one  with divine grace, as outlined in Patanjali Sutras, the philosophy of Yoga’s foremost commentator: “Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.”

Spreading Yoga’s legacy

After grand masters like Patanjali and Swami Vivekananda, Ramdev ranks top among those who spread the Yoga message globally in our era. Others include Kundalini guru Swami Sivananda, B K S Iyengar, T Krishnamacharya, Ashtanga Yoga Guru Sri Pattabhi Jois, T K V Desikachar, Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Chidananda Saraswati, etc. Outside India, H E Davey, Tara Fraser, Kathryn E Livingston, Sharon Gannon, Carol Horton and many others have brought hordes of people into the fold of Yoga.

Most major health problems of our age – high calorie diet; little or no physical exercise; insomnia, diabetes, hypertension, obesity; alcoholism and other addictions; mental disorders like autism, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, ADHD and bipolar disorder, are amenable to Yoga.

“Our wonderfully complex body with a plethora of processes within, all in unison, is a great gift from God. So, keeping it in good health and shape is a duty, else we shall be disabled to keep our mind strong and clear,” said Buddha.

More efficient the body, higher the energy levels and greater the capacity to deliver results. Discovering the hidden magic of our daily life by espousing Yoga can kill inactivity, adding years of pleasure to our life.

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