In recent years, yoga has become a practice of many rather than few. The beginnings are traced back to ancient India, and the country is still the leading land for yogi, or the people that do yoga. There are many reasons that the people of our planet engage in this spiritual activity, which has attracted an especially large following in the Western world. Practicing yoga makes people feel better. The controlled breathing, meditation, and specific postures relax the body to the fullest extent, while allowing the mind to become clear. After yoga, the body feels as though it has had a full night’s rest.
Due to the great deal of skepticism surrounding this growing trend, numerous studies have been conducted to research the ways in which practicing yoga can improve one’s health. The results are astounding, and the list below indicates the conditions in which yoga can help alleviate some of the symptoms, and improve the issues of:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Chronic fatigue
- Back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Heart disease
- Blood pressure
Aside from enabling people to live comfortably with certain disorders, yoga also tones and strengthens muscles, reduces daily stresses, promotes optimal concentration, and improves the blood flow and general circulation of the body. Although the health benefits are bonus benefits to practicing yoga, this is not the reason why it was originally practiced. In ancient India (about 5,000 years ago) the Vedic religion consisted of many rituals, and yoga was derived from this belief system.
In Sanskrit, a religious and classic language of India, yoga translates to the word “union”. Yoga was intended to bring yogi to a higher level of happiness and enlightenment. This union was thought to bring liberation to its followers. The many types of yoga are ways in which this goal can be attained.
Hatha yoga instructs yogi to pose and breathe in certain ways to reach a union. Pranayama breathing techniques carry the force of life throughout the body and clear the nasal passages so this force can flow generously. As the channels of the body clear, the last vertebrae of the spine can open to release Kundalini. This serpent like force travels through the sushumna nadi, which is the main channel, to meet the crown chakra. Kundalini’s release is another way in which enlightenment and togetherness can be achieved. Yoga is diverse, due to the fact that it is not religious, but rather spiritual, and there are many ways in which to practice it.
Many people that currently practice yoga or are interested in yoga wonder if they are capable of reaching the level of spiritual light so often discussed. Yoga instructors feel that some may, and others may not ever reach this goal, because yoga is a process. If one only gains a positive outlook on life and benefits to your health, yoga has served a purpose in that person’s life.
Yoga studies speak of enlightenment, but not everyone shares the same belief system. Yoga does not favor certain people over others; everyone is welcome to practice it. There are good things awarded to all who practice it, even skeptics.