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Yoga: Bridging Mental and Physical Health

Yoga is more than just a trend. While the world is catching on to the limitless benefits of Yoga, there is still very little we know about what Yoga can do, and what Yoga is. It’s not simply an exercise routine at a gym, it is not stretching and it definitely isn’t simply meditation. Yoga the ancient practice has been around for centuries, the secrets of which have been passed down generations. It is one of those few practices that can be practised by everyone, of all ages, anywhere in the world at any time.

About Yoga:

What we call Yoga today is a modern form of exercise involving postures or ‘asanas’. Yoga actually refers to an amalgamation of physical, mental and spiritual practices that work on every part of the body, whose origins go way back to the pre-Vedic times. The ancient practice, scholars suggest was most likely developed in the 5th and 6th Centuries BCE. It is also associated with the Sramana movement in the Vedic era. It is often most closely associated with Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism in its tenets and goals. Each adopted their own form and philosophy of yoga as the schools themselves developed and evolved.

In the West, Yoga was introduced in the mid-19th century as a part of Indian philosophy. It was in the 1890s that Swami Vivekananda travelled to the West disseminating different tenets of Yoga which interested Western intellectuals, over time the Western perception of Yoga expanded and grew into what it is today.

The Yoga we know today is mainly comprised of physical activity, asanas and meditation or pranayama, but there have been multiple traditions within Yoga. Classical Yoga known as Raja Yoga is outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This form of Yoga is mainly performed with the use of eight limbs in order to gain enlightenment or samadhi. This includes systematic movements for self-development of mind, body and spirit. Eventually yoga masters developed Tantra Yoga that cleanses the mind and body for health and longevity. Eventually, these practices culminated in what we know today and how Yoga is recognized in the West— Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga aims at purifying the mind and body, removing energy blocks, and creating a balance.

Benefits of Yoga:

There are numerous benefits of Yoga, and here are a few that may interest you:

  • Boosts immunity: Not only does yoga help develop antibodies, but it also cleanses the body and helps keep viruses and digestive problems at bay.
  • Improves flexibility and posture: Yoga relaxes the muscles and loosens the joints to improve your flexibility and unlike other forms of cardio, this doesn’t wear out bones and joints, but rather makes movements smoother, and builds strength. Yoga also protects your spine and improves your posture, that will be reflected in your daily life.
  • Helps your balance and focus: Yoga is all about finding the right balance, with regular yoga your mind will be free of preoccupation and allows you to focus on the present, to centre yourself through each posture and exercise.
  • Improves sleep: Yoga relaxes the joints, the nervous system and quietens your mind. Therefore, it allows you to sleep deeper.

Yoga Asanas for everybody:

While you may not be trained, or you may wonder— “Even if I want to do Yoga, where do I begin?” We have you covered. Yoga doesn’t require you to be an expert, nor does it require you to be of a particular age, shape, gender, etc. If you think you need to be flexible for yoga, then let us tell you that yoga helps you gain felxibility and therefore it has ne physical prerequisites. We have listed a few asanas that may help you on a regular basis, for the best results, do talk to a specialist to find a routine tailor-made to suit you

Palm Tree Pose (Tadasana):

It may appear that all this pose requires is for one to stand straight. But, Tadasana forms the base for most poses and is very good for posture and for physical and mental balance. The pose helps clear congestion in the spinal nerves and also tones the abdominal muscles. The pose is quite simple to get into, by placing your feet on the floor with your heels slightly apart (10 cm) distribute the weight equally on both feet. Raise the arms over the head and interlock your fingers with the palms facing upward. Focus on a point on the wall, inhale and stretch. Make sure your body is in one straight line and hold the pose for 30 seconds

Mountain Pose (Parvatasana):

This pose is one of the most common poses in Yoga and happens to be one of the most effective ones as well. It relieves pains in the spine and strengthens the shoulder, arms and legs. Downward Dog improves blood flow and improves circulation. To get into Downward Dog, kneel down in a table-top position on the mat or floor, move your right foot back and your left foot back alongside it. Rise up with shoulders above the wrists, bend your head towards your knees between your palms and raise hips above the knees, stretching the backs of your legs while keeping the spine neutral.]

Warrior One (Veerabhdrasana I):

The Warrior Pose series has three poses, and Warrior 1 works on the entire body, the lungs, legs, shoulders, arms and back. It also reduces the fat around the hips. Stretch your left leg and tighten the knee. The right knee should be in line with your ankle. Join your palms and raise the head, torso and arms, staring at your palms. Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds and then repeat it on the left side.

Warrior Two (Veerabhadrasana II):

This is the second pose in the series. The pose happens to work not only on the parts that Warrior one does, added to it, it also increases stamina, relieves backaches and can be therapeutic for people with flat feet, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and Osteoperosis among others. Warrior two is also good for those in the second trimester of their pregnancy. To execute this asana, get into Tadasana, inhale then spread your legs 4 to 4.5 feet apart with your arms spread in a straight line. Turn your left foot 90 degrees to the right keeping the leg tight at the knee. Exhale and bend the right knee parallel to the floor in line with your ankle. Gaze at your right fingertips and hold the pose for 20-30 seconds. Repeat the pose on the left side.

Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana):

The Cat-Cow pose is two poses combined in a fluid motion and repeated in a cycle. The pose works effectively on relieving tension in the back and loosens muscles. Apart from increasing one’s balance, it relieves daily stress. Getting into it is extremely easy, kneel on all fours, with your shoulders in line with your wrists and hips in line with your knees. Begin by slowly arching your spine inwards to the floor and lift your head up as you inhale. As you exhale, arch the back outward to the ceiling and bend your head down to look at your navel. Repeat the cycle multiple times to relieve any stress or pain.

Child’s Pose (Balasana):

This pose is known to be one of the restorative and relaxing postures. It relieves the body of both physical and mental stress. To do this pose, kneel down and keep your knees hip-width apart. Although, for those who are less flexible it’s recommended to keep your knees together for better stability. Lower your torso to the floor and rest your forehead on the mat or floor. Extend your arms in front of you to intensify the stretch and hold the posture.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Practice Yoga today, to reap the numerous benefits. Yoga is for everybody and celebrates the spirit of diversity like India has for so long. We at MBS believe in holistic health, and offer special Yoga training and certification towards a healthy India. Wishing India a very Happy Republic Day!

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