Overall Health Benefits of Yoga
What are the overall health benefits of yoga?
Broadly speaking, yoga is a path which provides a scientific and structured methodology for the individual seeker 'to unite' with the Divine, for which he / she has to first unite the triumvirate aspects of individual self, which are mind, body and spirit.
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A note about Overall Health Benefits of Yoga
In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.
In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. Taking these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of certain holistic remedies.
Uniting with the deepest core of the individual soul leads to union with the Cosmic Spirit (that which is variably known as God, Universal Spirit, etc), leading to ultimate liberation or 'kaivalya', which is the final goal of yoga.
Attaining Harmony and Integrating the Aspects of an Individual
The health benefits of yoga are tied to the benefits of integrating mind, body and spirit, which are many.
In the world we live in today, the stress and pain involved in daily living, originates due to the fact that there is fragmentation and compartmentalization of the three main aspects of the individual. The mind is perceived as independent of the physical body, and vice versa.
Moreover, the daily grind allows little or no awareness of the third aspect of the individual, which is the spirit. This is completely neglected, if noticed at all, and the individual continues to function on the physical plane, by going to work, raising children, getting in and out of relationships, obtaining the worldly goals of education, position, wealth, etc, with little understanding or integration of the individual spirit, which resides at the subtlest layer of one's physical body and mind.
Hence, fragmentation occurs, causing conflict in the individual's existence, where the mind is working as an independent entity, the body is independently racing towards its own speedy and inevitable atrophy and destruction, and the spirit, well, the individual remains ignorant of its existence until a crisis occurs like death of a spouse or loved one, failure in attaining goals, loss of job / career, wealth, position, fame, etc.
The health benefits of yoga are grounded in its ability to reverse this fragmentation and restore harmony.
The signs and symptoms of lack of integration of mind, body and spirit are all around us - at the individual / micro level in the form of stress, depression, illness, suicides, and at the macro level, wars, increasing disparities between the haves and have-nots, environmental corrosion, pollution / contamination and destruction of natural resources, and an irreversibly damaged eco system - worldwide.
In such a scenario as described above, yoga is a scientific practice that can help the individual seeker reach a state of integration of mind, body and spirit, and lead it to harmony and self-healing.
In this sense, the health benefits of yoga are therapeutic and can lead to increased awareness of posture, alignment, and greater flexibility at the level of the physical body; on the mental plane, yoga leads to 'alert' calmness and increased ability to deal with challenges without feeling overwhelmed; and at the level of the spirit, it induces tolerance, acceptance, grace and virtuousness.
Yoga practitioners are energetic, youthful, happier and peaceful. It has been scientifically proven that the health benefits of yoga provide physiological, psychological and biochemical advantages that directly translate into good health, wellbeing and longevity.
Yoga Techniques The technique of yoga involves postures (asanas), focus and concentration on the same, and attention and awareness on breathing (pranayama), to bring about the health benefits of yoga - integration of mind, body and spirit.
At the level of the body, yoga asanas (postures) help condition, tone and massage specific body parts and maintain them at peak functionality. This includes visceral and internal organs as well, which cannot be addressed through modern exercise. As you can see, the health benefits of yoga can be quite unique.
This is accomplished through multitudes of postures called kriyas (Sanskrit word for actions), mudras (Sanskrit for seals or hand signs) and bandhas (Sanskrit for muscle locks).
The functions of kriya, mudra and bandha are as follows:
The health benefits of yoga extend beyond the physical body. At the level of the mind, yoga provides techniques to concentrate and focus on certain body parts which will sharpen the awareness of the mind / body connection.
Also, yoga helps the practitioner to observe the patterns and habits of the mind and control the same at will, so as to better handle situations, challenges and at a deeper level, the individual can consciously break destructive conditioned thought processes. The result of this is peace, calmness and inner joy.
At the level of spirit, yoga provides techniques of greater awareness and control of breathing (in-breath or inhale and out-breath or exhale) in order to sharpen connection between mind, body and spirit. This is called pranayama (prana is Sanskrit for life force or what the Chinese call 'chi' energy).
Controlled and mindful breathing is a method to control the flow of energy, helping focus attention, concentration and awareness to the desired center, leading to reduced heart rate, calm mind, and deep states of relaxation.
To read about how yoga benefits some specific health conditions and issues, click here.
For more information on yoga health benefits, do also read the other related yoga articles.
Or, if you are interested in a 30-minute yoga routine which top athletes use and which can help you burn fat; build core strength; improve balance, posture and flexibility; strengthen and tone your muscles; raise mental focus; as well as eliminate stress, click here.
Share YOUR Knowledge and Experiences on Yoga
Do you have any experiences, knowledge and information on yoga which would be useful to our other readers? These could include its health benefits and medicinal properties; usage instructions; reliable and quality sources; background and history; comparisons and reviews; potential side effects, adverse reactions and contraindications; as well as other related topics. We invite you to share your natural health knowledge and experiences on yoga here. If applicable, please discuss the exact brands and dosages which you used.
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