Yoga is becoming increasingly popular in recent times. We hear about many health issues being resolved by Yoga and many benefits the practice offers. In fact the first thing a practitioner of Yoga asks is – “What are the Benefits of Yoga practice”. I have heard many superficial answers to this and many that focus on those benefits. Practitioners want to know whether it reduces weight, cure ailments, improve concentration, reduce stress etc. Yes, it does all that and much more. In this blog I have tried to give a more holistic picture. I wrote this article for an internal magazine of GE and sharing the same here.
The principal benefit of yoga is that it builds more self awareness. From this awareness, sprouts many physical and mental health benefits as positive by-products. Most of the commonly faced chronic physical problems such as back pain, neck pain, knee pain are due to lack of awareness of the right usage of one’s body. Wrong posture, while sitting (especially for longer duration), walking, running etc, is the root cause for any such pain. Constant practice of Yoga helps in detection and correction of one’s posture and frees the practitioner from most of the chronic physical problems.I have explained this point in detail in my earlier blog: Misunderstanding the Pain
Effective breathing during Yoga practice helps nourish the cells with proper nutrients, making the practitioner energetic and strong. The various movements and postures of the Asanas benefit in toning and massaging internal organs, thereby releasing muscle tension and improve flexibility. All this will create a sense of freeness in our physical body. Freedom in physical body creates more freedom in one’s breath. Freedom generated thus will directly impact in calming the mind. With a calm mind one is able to concentrate better, reduce anxiety and stress levels and go deeper with-in oneself, which in turn increases one’s awareness.
This increased awareness of self leads to questioning of one’s lifestyle thereby bringing natural changes in habits and diet. A sensitive body accepts and rejects food as it wants without any external force. This awareness naturally leads to normalization of body weight.
As famous Yoga guru BKS Iyengar said “Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit.” Awareness achieved though Yoga practice will bring this complete harmony and great health.