YOGA AND ITS BENEFITS
(21st June is the INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY)
YOGA FOR THE BENEFIT OF OUR BODY, MIND & SOUL
The word Yoga
originates from the Sanskrit word Yuja
meaning to bind or to unite or align
all the organs
of our body to work as a cohesive unit
For ensuring integration
of body, mind and soul
for ensuring holistic growth
by regulation of breathing exercises
with emphasis on focused attention
to get maximum benefits
with different Yogic postures.
and instills discipline in the Yogi
along with enhancing our concentration
through focused attention
thereby controlling the function
of our body and mind
along with ensuring
the control over our emotions
which helps in self-realization
by knowing our innate potentials
ensures sound metabolic process of our body
for a sound circulation in our veins
for our good health and wellbeing.
Thence we have Karma Yoga
meaning performing our functions or duties
with utmost sincerity
with no attachment of any type
with the result of our action or Karmic deeds
thus following spiritually orientation
and ensure enhancement of our Karmic credit account
and realise the purpose of our life
of connectivity with Almighty God
and ensure merger
of soul with Super Soul.
The word YOGA has originated from the Sanskrit word ‘yuja’ meaning to integrate or bind or to align to unite to act or to discipline oneself to act in a natural way to seek complete self-realization or self-awareness. It means the unity or integration of an individual’s consciousness with that of Universal Consciousness.
The origin of Yoga is mystic. by 5th Century BC, Yoga was very popular. It is also believed that Sant Patanjali was the father of modern Yoga. It also finds its place in Vedic Scriptures. But it cannot be disputed that Lord Shiva was the father of ancient Yoga; as His posture shows Him in Yogic mode.
The ancient rishis believed that our body, mind and the soul have to join together or integrate with the environment in which a person is living. For this to happen meaningfully, it is essential that an individual’s emotions, thinking, actions and intelligence have to be work cohesively in order to realize the purpose of our life. For integration of the three (body, mind and soul) with environment in which a Yogi is living, various well-coordinated exercises with regular breathing, experienced over a period of time for their applicability; besides meditation are undertaken ultimately for deriving maximum benefits. For deriving optimum benefit from the Yogic exercises, discipline in the conduct of various exercises, coordination with the various parts of the body especially control of mind and mind cohesiveness is of optimum importance. The Yogis who are disciplines in conduct of Yogic postures with focused attention will get maximum benefits. Yoga exercises also help a Yogi in focused meditation and other daily functions as a disciplined Yogi and lead a spiritual oriented lifestyle to realize the purpose of life – to establish connectivity with Almighty God.
IMPORTANT FUNCTIONS OF YOGA
SOUND BODY. It is understood that our body works as a entire unit, integrating the task of various organs, for carrying out different functions and if it is hale and hearty and possessing energy and synergy, we can transact more functions with our body. For this to happen, we’ve to have balanced diet besides proper exercises or Yoga exercises to keep it hale and hearty. It is also in sync with the saying: sound mind dwells in sound body.
SOUND MIND. We have to control our mind so that the senses (sense of sight, sense of touch, sense of smell, sense of taste and sense of hearing) which it possess coordinate all the functions of our body eloquently and works in sync with the requirement of a Yogi. Wavering of senses from one object to another just makes our task of focusing more difficult. That is why we have to mind our mind if we want to have complete benefit from Yoga exercises. This is easier said than done since we have to take the assistance of all the organs of our body including internal resolve along with making the environment conducive, so as to make the Yogic exercise a fruitful exercise.
SOUL/SPIRIT. The soul is self which lives in the body and does its functions through it. When there is no soul in our body our body becomes lifeless and becomes a purposeless for any functions. It is just like a rudderless boat floating aimlessly in the vast ocean without destination. Or it is like a bulb without electricity to give energy to give light to us. Hence, we are living, having emotions and perceiving things intelligently or our mind is functional because we’ve got a soul which gives our body life. A soulless body is a lifeless body. When body and mind are in fine fettle then our soul too functions accordingly. It is also well said that our soul or spirit is not apart from the Super Soul (Parm Atama) who is the creator, evolution/preserver and destroyer for reproduction.
Breathing in O2 (Oxygen) and breathing out CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) is one of the most important requirements of our body and if it is closely regimented and systematically done then it proves to be divinely provided sustenance to our body and Yoga bestows us opportunity to enhance breathing methodically which could be proved scientifically. When breathing control is ensured meticulously then we proceed with the next step focused meditation or prayer. While doing so, our mind’s quietness or stillness state is termed as passive activism.
YOGIC EXERCISES & ITS BENEFITS
In Chapter two of Bhagwad Gita, it has been very emphatically mentioned that our responsibility is only to perform our prescribed duty, but we never are entitled to its fruits. It is because our results would be in our favour if there is sincerity in our actions. We should not be motivated by results of our thoughts and actions but we should not be overly attached to the results of our actions. For performing our duty, we should remain balanced minded both in success and failure – no heightened emotions at all. Such a calm temperament and our expertness in performing our task is called YOGA.
Only detached actions (selfless actions) and performing that action with best of our capability will make our pursuit purposeful and meaningful in the long run. We can choose the various duties but it is not in our hands to choose results as we desire. But practically, it has been found that if our pursuit of action is sincere and done with cool temperament then result cannot be disappointing. In this state of mind, even if the results are not good, we shall not be disappointed.The Yogic exercises or Asnas done persistently makes it possible to regulate our breathing thus making it possible to improve the entire metabolic system of our body; in that blood circulation, abdominal organs function perfectly besides keeping all the organs of the body function wonderfully well because every limb of body is benefited with the regulated exercises. When our body is functionally healthy then we can perform various tasks cohesively.
KARMA YOGA – THE YOGA OF ACTION
Karma Yoga is relation to our action that we transact. Before any action is undertaken, it has to be based on some sound thought. The thoughts for action ought to be positive in nature besides being selfless and detachment from the fruits of that action. Karma Yoga has been amply mentioned in Bhagwad Gita stresses that we should transact our actions and detach from the fruits of those actions. Meaning when our actions are based on sound and rational thoughts then their results will have to be good. Also by detaching ourselves from the fruits, we’re able to concentrate/focus on out actions besides offering those actions to God rather than frittering our energies by attaching ourselves with result of our action.
VARIOUS TYPES OF YOGA
HATHA YOGA (YOGA OF POSTURES)
In this branch of Yoga, the Yogis use physical pose or asana with proper breathing exercises or pranayama and subsequent meditation in a focused manner for ensuring good health besides ensuring our spiritual forward march.
BHAKTI YOGA (YOGA OF DEVOTION)
Bhakti word originated from Sanskrit word Bhaja meaning to contemplate, pray, love, worship etc. Here a Yoga meditate persistently thus integrates heart and body functions wherein body, mind and soul just combine for integrating with Super Soul. Yoga of Bhakti makes us aware of ONE DIVINE by undivided concentration and thus helps us see ONE DIVINE in everyone and everything. While Karma-yoga becomes Bhakti-yoga, it is done with God consciousness.
RAJA YOGA (YOGA OF SELF-CONTROL)
Raja means associated with royalty. In other words, it is KING OF YOGA. It is based on teachings of the EIGHT LIMBS OF Yoga which is based on YOGA SUTRAS. In this, A Yogi considers self as a central to all and thus considers animate and inanimate the same – no difference in living and non-living things. If you wish to learn discipline, then Raja Yoga would perfectly suit that need.
JNANA YOGA (YOGA OF THE MIND)
Jnana Yoga is related with the mind and therefore its focus is on intelligence of a person. Here Yogis lay more emphasis on wisdom and intellect and try integrate the two so that it works for the self optimally. Also Jnana Yogis are after knowledge, they acquire the knowledge from any source or religions because they work on the principle that knowledge could be gleaned from any sources – religions and philosophies. It is universal in nature. Jnana Yoga proponents are rational in their approach for getting knowledge and thus believe that in order to get connectivity with a SINGLE ONE any path or any religion could be followed. Religion or caste or creed is not limiting factor in acquiring knowledge.
TANTRA YOGA OR YOGA OF RITUALS
Tantra yoga deals with head and heart. While pursuing tantra yoga one has to have the quality of purity of mind, devotion, humility, love etc. Here some rituals are observed for obtaining benefit for the body, mind and spirit.
There are still a lot of misconceptions about yoga, for instance, yoga being a religion. Yoga is not a religion. It is more of a set of techniques for us to find spirituality. In fact, yoga is being practiced by a lot of people from different religions and benefiting from doing this.
Another misconception is that yoga is merely an exercise, a way for us to keep fit. It is partly true, but if you think that yoga is just that then you are greatly mistaken. Yoga develops the body since a weak one is a hindrance to spiritual growth. It does not simply focus on the physical but on the mental and spiritual aspects as well
BENEFITS OF YOGA
Ban Ki-moon has rightly said:
“Yoga does not discriminate…all people can practise, regardless of their relative strength, age or ability.”
- Yoga instills discipline in the Yogi.
- Yoga is a scientific method which unites soul with the Super Soul (God) – we rise above delusion and reunite with our Creator.
- It enhances our concentration through focus on the omniscient spiritual eye (between the two eyebrows) thereby memory.
- It controls our stress and strain thus we can function perfectly since we learn how to keep our mind under control besides controlling our emotions which keep us adversely affected.
- As in Yoga, we give more credence to ‘self’, we can thereby can attain self realization first and subsequently God-realization.
- Breathing control ensures sound metabolic process of our body thus we have proper circulation of blood besides all the internal organs like heart, liver, lungs including all abdominal organs of our body function in fine fettle because of this regulated breathing and exercises.
- Meditation in rigorous and with focused manner ensures that we move forward spiritually with a view to connect with our Lord/Creator in a disciplined way. It should always be remembered that systematic meditation makes a true Yogi.
- Yoga helps us in facing challenges of life boldly and with equanimity.
- Yoga helps us to imbibe the trait of love and acceptance for everything and everybody.
- Yogic exercises through various postures enhances our self control thus self confidence because of opening the door of intuitive consciousness – sixth sense which makes it possible to anticipate the coming events!
- While stress is on self (as is done in Raja Yoga), it enhances the Yogi’s self esteem and self control besides enhancing self reliance in everything a Yogi ventures.