Yoga for beginners
Before starting yoga for beginners, the one big question in front of all of us may be about the word yoga, its origin and worthiness in our life.
What is Yoga
Yoga is considered a cultural outcome of the Indus Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred text, the Rig Veda. Yoga has proved itself to cater to both the material and spiritual enhancement of humanity.
The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’. The practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of Universal Consciousness. One who experiences this oneness of existence is said to be in yoga and is termed a yogi. Yoga governs a perfect harmony between the mind and the body, the man & nature.
Thus the aim of Yoga is Self-realization. And overcome all kinds of suffering leading to the state of liberation or freedom. Yoga also refers to an inner science comprising a variety of methods through which human beings can realize this union and achieve mastery over their destiny.
Yoga is commonly understood as a therapy or exercise system for health and fitness. While physical and mental health is natural consequences of yoga, the goal of yoga is more far-reaching.
Why should I do yoga ?
In the medical system (any Allopathy, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, etc.), the emphasis is on medicine. That is you take in the prescribed medicine and that medicine acts on your body system. Your effort is almost nil. But in Yoga, it is you and your efforts that make you disease-free. You perform yoga for a certain time period and see the result.
So, if you can invest efforts in your body, Yoga is for you (along with its countless health benefits). Besides this yoga is also completely free.
Difference between yoga and exercise
- Exercises involve repetition of certain movements aimed at building a certain group of muscles, thereby increasing the muscle weight and improving the strength of those body parts whereas, in yoga asana, the muscles receive minimum nutrition/ oxygen and the organs receive more.
- Most exercises increase your breathing rate and heart rate whereas in yoga the respiration rate and heart rate fall.
- You consume more oxygen during exercises than when you are doing your daily routine activities whereas, in the practice of yoga, the oxygen consumption is reduced.
- In Yoga the body temperature drops and in exercise it tends to rise.
- In yoga the body’s metabolic rate drops whereas with exercise it is seen to increase.
- Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, while exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.
- Yoga develops inner awareness.
- It is a must for our mental well-being. Regular yoga-asana practice relieves stress, anxiety, hyperactivity, or depression. You may call yoga a mood enhancer also.
Yoga for Health and Wellness
The great rishi Patanjali is considered the father of yoga. He organized the practice of yoga into an “eight-limbed path” containing the steps and stages towards obtaining Samadhi or enlightenment.
These are namely—
Yama [moral codes]Niyama [self-purification and study]Asana [posture]Pranayama [breath control]Pratyahara [sense control]Dharana [concentration]Dhyana [meditation]Samadhi [absorption into the Universal]
It means control. These are restraints for Proper Conduct as given in the Holy Veda. They are a form of moral imperatives, commandments, rules, or goals.
The practice of Niyama helps us maintain a positive environment in which to grow and gives us the self-discipline and inner strength necessary to progress along the path of yoga.
A posture that seems firm and comfortable is your asana. It is capable of bringing about the stability of body and mind for a considerable length and period of time as well.
consists of developing awareness of one’s breathing followed by willful regulation of respiration as the functional or vital basis of one’s existence. It helps in developing awareness of one’s mind and helps to establish control over the mind.
It means literally “control of ahara,” or gaining mastery over external influences. It indicates the dissociation of one’s consciousness from the sense organs which helps one to remain connected with the external objects.
It refers to the concentration of the mind. Dharana involves fixing the mind on a particular object – either external (such as an image or deity) or internal (such as a chakra).
Or Meditation. It is a constant and effortless flow of awareness of a point, object or a centre. Dhyana help in self-realization leading to transcendence.
Or Integration. It is a meditative aspect of yoga. In Samadhi the mind becomes still. It is a state of being totally aware of the present moment; a one-pointedness of mind.