Yoga began as an ancient practice in India circa 3000 B.C. as a means of achieving harmony between body and soul on the path to enlightenment. Along the way it was discovered that it had many physical benefits as well. This is what many westerners come to yoga looking for but discover along the way that they benefit mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well.
Yoga, from “yug”, which can mean to yoke, unite or concentrate or in other translations “to put to active or purposeful use”. Yoga nowadays has come to describe a means of uniting, or a method of discipline. It can refer to union with God or union of the ego self with the Divine Self (Infinite Spirit).
Initially Hatha Yoga, or the physical aspect of yoga, was developed as a means to meditation. It prepared the body for stillness by cultivating the strength and stamina by which one could sit for hours at a time allowing the mind to calm. As a science it offered a practical method for controlling body and mind, making deep meditation possible.
There is a direct link between body and mind, therefore if the body is stressed, through tension or illness, the mind cannot concentrate. As well, if the mind is stressed, with anxiety, depression, worry or concern, the body is weakened. Yoga deepens our understanding of the links between our states of mind and our body.
The awareness that it cultivates is crucial to making changes in our life. Leaving old patterns of behaviour and negative ways of approaching situations behind we are able to grow as humans, thus moving closer to that union with the Divine.
13 benefits of yoga supported by science
- helps reduce stress
- helps relieves anxiety
- helps decrease inflammation
- can improve heart health
- can improve quality of life (mood, fatigue, etc.)
- can improve quality of sleep
- helps fight depression
- helps reduce chronic pain (injuries, arthritis, etc.)
- improves flexibility and balance
- improves breathing
- may relieve migraines
- helps promote healthy eating habits and mindful eating
- increases strength and stamina
Many studies have confirmed the myriad of benefits that can be attained through the regular practice of yoga. The physical benefits are numerous but the mental and emotional ones cannot be discounted.
Incorporating yoga into your regular routine can help to improve your health, increase your strength and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.
Just a few practices added to your week may be enough to make a noticeable difference when it comes to your health.
The above information was gathered from an article at healthline.com