On the international day for Yoga, we want to take the opportunity to reiterate the benefits of the practice of Yoga. Our ancestors have been practicing Yoga for thousands of years. It was one of the corner stone of our healthcare system. It is really interesting to see United Nations to declare June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. It is a testament to the benefits of Yoga as well as its international acceptability.
‘Yoga’ is not an uncommon term for most people across the globe and the ancient system of physical and meditational exercises has stemmed into a wide array of practices, belief systems and schools. With its origins dating back to Vedic India (1900 BCE), the word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’, which is a verb for ‘to join’ or ‘to connect’ used in a figurative sense. Hence, ‘to yoke’, ‘to harness’, or ‘to concentrate’ are the most widely accepted translations for the word.
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Recently I wrote a blog post about the health benefits of doing Yoga. I asked Archana – who has been doing yoga (on and off) for close to 15 years now – for her views on how one can start with Yoga. Her views are listed below.
- Read up on Yoga – Being Indians most of us are aware of Yoga, having seen or heard of some family friend or relative practising it. Now, thanks to the Govt propagating the World Yoga Day, there is even greater awareness. To understand what Yoga can do for you, i suggest you start by reading on the Internet. If you would like to seek specific guidance relating to an ailment, then its best to reach out to a yoga teacher and ask for a customized routine.
- Set realsitic expectations – While doing research on Yoga one comes across several schools of thought. Pick a branch of Yoga whose philosophy you are comfortable with. For example, I dont look at Yoga as a tool to lose weight or cure myself of an ailment. To me, Yoga is for improving flexibility and feeling good. I dont seek perfection (such as getting a posture right or holding the breath for exactly 60 seconds etc). My expectations therefore are set accordingly. Yoga may not be a substitute for a high intensity workout that may help you lose 3 Kgs a month. But if you are looking for better health (mental and physical) over a 12-24 month period or longer, Yoga can help.
- Don’t wait for for a good day or time to start – Unlike other forms of exercise that may require lots of energy, and therefore get restricted to either early mornings or late evenings, Yoga can be done pretty much any time of the day, as long as you give at least an hour’s gap post eating food. Further, you dont need a specific outfit or props to get started with Yoga.