The increasing impact of yoga
I have been doing yoga for about 15 years. I started because I was dealing with severe migraines and read a lot about the yogic breathing practices that help reduce the incidence and severity of migraines. It did not work immediately, but the practice of yoga, in my opinion, made me calmer and take the stresses of life in my stride. Whenever I felt a little upset or angry, I practiced deep breathing that allowed me to at least be more rational. Of course, my flexibility increased and I was in better health than I was 10 years ago.
In the last couple of years, I have come to believe that regular practice of yoga is indeed effective in alleviating symptoms of certain physical ailments, mental illness, sharpening the intellect, unleashing creativity and enhancing emotional balance and happiness. More researchers are exploring the physical and mental impact of Yoga. Psychotherapy is also incorporating the techniques of breath control, mindfulness and detachment to make treatment of mental ailments more effective.
It is important to understand what yoga is. It is not just a collection of physical poses to bring about flexibility and strength of body parts. It is not just meditation. It is a complete philosophy that seeks control of the mind through practice of physical poses, breathing techniques and mindfulness trough meditation. Is yoga then esoteric?
Yogic practices were methodically put together with a knowledge of the the reciprocal impact of physiological and mental well being. most people cannot bring themselves to sit still for long and meditate. The physical asanas or poses help to contain the mind by bring focus to physical action. Practice of poses leads to more mental stability that is further stabilized by breathing practices. A calmer state of mind is required for the practice of meditation. The contention is that if one can contain the mind for long periods of time then the physical poses can be dispensed with.
The trifold practice of yoga – asanas, pranayama (breath work and Dhyana( meditation) work together to reset the brain the control center of all human behavior. How does this happen. Consistent and regular practice regulates the secretion of the life impacting hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline.
This is going to be the first in a series of articles about yoga and its benefits