Yoga

Benefits to Mind, Body and Soul

The practice of yoga is one of the techniques I recommend the most for personal growth. This Hindu discipline not only keeps you healthy and flexible, but trains your consciousness for spiritual insight.

Yoga is almost as old as civilization. It dates back to the Upanishads, the Hindu scriptures written between 1000 and 5000 BC that comprise the basic teachings of Vedanta, a tradition based on immutable spiritual laws common to all faiths and spiritual traditions worldwide. The Vedanta refers to a state of self-realization, harmony and unity with collective consciousness.

The word yoga literally means unity of mind, body and soul. The Hindus practice it to initiate spiritual growth and eventually join the transitory self (Jiva) with the eternal self (Brahman), a similar concept to that of Carl Jung and the collective unconscious.

Physically speaking, yoga is a form of exercise based on the practice of “asanas” (a Sanskrit word that translates to “posture or seat”) as well as breath control known as “pranayama.” As you soon will learn, the benefits of yoga are amazing and go beyond the physical body.

The Levels

There is a wide range of technical difficulty but the good news is that you don’t have to be already fit and extremely flexible. Fortunately, you can start at a level that feels comfortable for you and still reap the benefits of yoga.

You can start at the beginners level with simple asanas meant to help with flexibility and peace of mind. Then, you can move into an intermediate and advanced level with more complicated asanas, if so you want. If you prefer, you can stay at the level that feels right for you. Thus, if you are just starting out, you can leave the complicated asanas for later or skip them altogether and stick to the practice of simple asanas that you enjoy and feel comfortable with, indefinitely. As with any form of exercise, the most important thing is consistency.

You can learn a handful of simple asanas and expand your practice at your own pace and as you see fit. For more yoga poses, that can be fun, relaxing and even challenging, and to get a free class, click here.

The Benefits

The benefits of yoga are well known. Recent research is discovering concrete evidence as to how yoga works to improve health as a whole, by helping heal aches and pains and keeping sickness at bay.

At the physical level, one of the main benefits takes place in the musculoskeletal system. This system gives us form, stability, and movement; thus, if you want to prevent -and in some cases, reverse- common age-related musculoskeletal system ailments, then yoga is a perfect practice for that.

Among the benefits of yoga are increased flexibility of tendons and ligaments, aids in the toning of muscles and keeps the joints lubricated. Certain asanas are especially beneficial to the spine as they increase elasticity and alignment while strengthening and stabilizing the back, which alleviates disc compression and eliminates or reduces lower back pain.

Also, different asanas exert a kind of massage in various internal organs and glands, which stimulate their respective functions maintaining their youthful characteristics that help prevent disease and ageing overall.

The blood supply is also boosted. Increased circulation helps provide nourishment to cells and flush out the toxins, as well a providing more nourishment that comes from the oxygen intake from deep breathing while practicing yoga.

As much as these health benefits are excellent, they can be considered positive side effects to the superb benefits that go beyond physical health. This is because yoga harmonizes the mind, body and spirit for quantum transformation at many levels.

yoga infographic

Yoga and the Mind

As we know, the power of the mind is abundant and limitless. When a mind is set on a purposeful intention, wonderful transformations take place.

An interesting point is the inter-connectedness that’s present between yoga and meditation. When practiced together the benefits increase exponentially. If done correctly, certain asanas and pranayamas produce supernatural states that create a sensation of detachment from the world around us.

When this happens, stress seems to vanish as we perceive circumstances from an “observer” standpoint. This results in a state of calmness and a superior positive mindset, both conditions needed to increase mind power.

Mind, body and spirit must work in sync for attaining extraordinary results in every area of life.  Yoga offers a way to enhance your physical, mental, and emotional health at the same time.

The Types

As a beginner, the first thing is to choose the right type to yoga for you. Your present level of fitness is definitely one aspect to consider, as well as your physical and spiritual goals. Here are some of the most popular types of yoga for you to explore:

  • Hatha

This is the most popular practice in the Western world. It focuses on the proper positions or asanas with the ultimate goal of preparing the mind for spiritual growth. It is thought that when the body is healthy, the mind is in optimum condition to pursue spiritual growth.

  • Kundalini

This is the most powerful of yoga practices. The focus is to move the energy at the base of the spine to the top of your head following the chakra line. You do this by breathing and meditating while changing mantras while you do your asanas.

  • Raja

This practice focuses in directing one’s life force up and down the spine to balance mind and emotions while centering one’s attention on an object.

This  site will give you an overview of the basics of several yoga disciplines.

 Mantras

Mantras –also called chants– are considered Yoga for the Mind. The concept is based on the effects of sound vibration in the mind.

Mantras are a one syllable, phrase or word in Sanskrit or English that help elevate consciousness by creating a higher state of deep concentration according to the meaning of the word used, or the sound,  the rhythm or the tone, as well as the position of the tongue on the palate.

Click here to learn a variety of common mantras.

Whatever practice you end up following, I highly recommend you practice yoga regularly as a form of exercise so you reap the multiple health and fitness benefits as well as enlightenment, self-realization, internal balance, mind power and a more spiritual outlook in life.

For complete details about yoga and how to start the practice, as well as intermediate and advanced tips and postures, I invite you to click here. You can also get a FREE class before you decide what’s the best program for you. All programs and classes are downloadable so you can take your classes wherever you go!

Yours in Health and Balance…

Namaste

Namaste means “The Divine in Me Bows to the Divine in You”; a respectful greeting where you join your hands in a prayer position as you bow your head. This has a completely different meaning to what prayer means in the Western world.