Yoga for holistic health

Yoga for holistic health

It is never too late to take up yoga

The word “yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning “to join”. It means the union of body, mind and soul. Yoga is also known as a spiritual science of self-realisation. The Indian sage Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutra, defines yoga as a practice to control the afflictions of the mind. 

Why is it never too late to take up yoga?

Yoga goes beyond religion, beliefs, ethnicity, gender and health conditions. It is not a philosophy or ideology but rather an experiential practice which works on our cognition. Asanas, pranayama, dhyana etc. allow the practitioner to sense their state of existence. If you have never practised yoga before, it is still okay and you can start doing so at any age.

Yoga is a multidisciplinary science and the practice has to be performed under an expert’s guidance. Yoga must be learned from a qualified yoga teacher. As a beginner, it is safe and beneficial in many ways. Wrong practice will do more harm than good. Yoga practices are usually customised for different age groups. Hatha yoga, one of the fundamental schools of yoga, is recommended for beginners. You need to follow step by step guidelines to gain knowledge and practice in yoga.

Here are some of many advantages of practising yoga:

  • Yoga will help balance the enzymes, hormones, mitochondrial and adrenal activity. These functions slow down as we age and regular yoga practice can bring us back to a state where these functions are maintained at an optimum level.
  • It improves the elementary functions of skin and lymph system, and also increases the oxygen level and prevents you from lifestyle-related problems.
  • Yoga emphasises deep and relaxed breathing and hence it ensures that your breathing improves and prevents respiratory ailments.
  • Chronic inflammation is associated with ageing. We know that any exercise we do has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Moderate-intensity exercises can slow the ageing process. Yoga promotes healthy ageing.
  • Yoga helps build your strength slowly and steadily and improves bone mass.
  • Yoga improves our sense of balance, body awareness and concentration, thereby reducing the risk of falls and fractures.
  • Every asana is practised with a lot of self-awareness and breath control. Such mindful practices improve focus and concentration in day-to-day activities.
  • Yoga asanas correct bad posture. Good posture improves spinal health, reducing the risk of back pain, sciatica and a herniated disc (slipped disc), it also allows the lungs space to function fully. Postural deviations are common conditions these days because of the desk jobs. Yoga helps to correct the condition and it also prevents occupational and lifestyle injuries.

Yoga is a great physical and mental discipline that you can practise irrespective of your age. Since yoga practices boost our confidence and make our daily routines easier, it is absolutely a must-do activity.

What should I do to start the practice?

  • Be prepared mentally to take up yoga
  • Find a qualified yoga teacher who can guide you
  • Discuss and find the best practices that fit your ability and start slowly without taking the extra strain.
  • Yoga should be performed at least three to four days a week and for at least 45 minutes preferably in the mornings.
  • Avoid eating before lass and ensure that your bowels are empty too.
  • Wear loose clothes and practice in an open area or in a well-ventilated room.

You should know the precautions and contraindications which can be discussed with the teacher before you start any lessons. Here you go! Step on the mat..!

(The author is founder & managing director at Atmantan)