Yoga is a mental, physical and spiritual practice which originated in ancient India. It includes the deliberate control of the breath or prana in Sanskrit (life force) for spiritual enlightenment, specific meditation to control the mind and performance of various postures or asanas to strengthen the body and retain health and vigour. Yoga nowadays is getting increasingly popular among the masses due to its ability to bestow health and relaxation.
Various perspectives and beliefs came from different religions like Hinduism and Buddhism.
There are 4 essential description about Yoga:
- Yoga also refers to six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy (darsana);
- Yoga being linked to the words, “hatha-, mantra-, and laya-,” pertains to traditions specializing in certain techniques of yoga;
- Yoga may help in attaining a goal when you practice discipline;
- Yoga has its techniques to control your body and the mind;
Types of Yoga:
Yoga in Sanskrit means “to unite” or “to join” in its most literal sense. Yoga is an ancient meditation technique dating back to the 5th and 6th century. There is a broad variety of schools of thought regarding its practices and goals in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.
The four paths of Yoga are Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, and Raja Yoga. These four paths of Yoga are characterized as a whole. The four paths of Yoga work hand in hand.
- Bhakti Yoga: the yoga of devotion and self surrender. This is said to be the simplest and easiest path because we are not asked to do anything but give up all control.
- Karma Yoga: is the yoga of action, in this practice, we practice non-attachment with every deed, word, and thought.
- Raja Yoga: also called Ashtanga yoga is the synthesis of the above two and focuses on controlling the mind in order to bring it into stillness.
- Jnana Yoga: Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge, wisdom, introspection and contemplation. It involves deep exploration of a human’s personality by systematically exploring and setting aside false identities.
The essence of spirituality, as taught in the four paths of yoga, is to let nature run its course. Aim for living in the moment – and thinking rationally in different situations.
When you learn to accept your shortcomings in your life, that anything you do will not alter its course significantly, you become stronger to accept the life you are living.
You become more drawn towards your life goals, but you also believe that whatever happens has been deemed as the best course of life for you. This directs to a harmony in your internal and external environment, and leads to a contented heart and mind.
Yoga practitioners these days integrate these four paths of yoga, resulting to contentment and a feeling of inner satisfaction. These four paths allow the cleansing of the body and mind, and remove any negative thoughts.
Regular yoga practice improves body balance, flexibility and stamina in our core – a healthy, strong and alert heart.
Health Benefits of Yoga:
Asanas are different for different age groups, yet they have one common principle; holding the tension between the muscles. Different muscle groups are focused on different postures, ensuring benefit to all body systems.
- Improved blood flow to the peripheral blood vessels, leading to improved cardiovascular function.
- Exercises of abdominal muscles improve digestion and help to remove body fat.
- Gentle relaxation helps to ease muscle tension, while different postures allow complete joint mobility. This leads to increased strength of joints, and muscle flexibility.
- As yoga is aimed at relaxation of the mind, long term benefits are reduced stress and anxiety, increased stamina and maintenance of composure.
Yoga vs Gym – Which is better?
People aiming to be fit and stay in shape have their options for physical training panned out – join a gym and lift weights or start a regular yoga practice. Both have different aspects of building strength and have different approaches.
While in a gym, the environment is pumped up and active. The special equipment available is excellent for weight loss and building muscle, and you can do cardio exercises as well, leading to quicker weight loss than yoga practice.
However, gym memberships are expensive and you have to take out time, especially to go every single day. Gyms have specific opening and closing times, which may not necessarily coincide with your schedule.
When compared with yoga, Yoga practice would be more favorable if you have odd working hours. Practicing yoga does not require specific timing, and you can do yoga at any time of the day.
You do not require any special equipment nor a large space for practicing Yoga – you do not even need to sign up and pay a high membership fee. You can always join a yoga studio and learn the basics in a week, and can incorporate asanas whenever you like it as you practice yoga in your own home.
You may not lose weight quickly, but you’ll definitely be comfortable with your surroundings, and this is why yoga is favored by the Millennials today.
With odd working hours and living in a metropolis where basic necessities that includes food and residence are expensive, yoga is a cost-effective practice which can keep you fit and promote tranquility and a strong core.