The Thirty Reasons to Start Doing Yoga
When an Easterner says the word Yoga, he or she is referring to a path to God and the means we use on this path.
When a Westerner says the word Yoga, he or she most likely means the performing of postures (asanas). However, the asanas are only one of the steps on the long way to self-realization.
The goal of Hatha Yoga, which includes mastering of asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), bandhas (body locks), and mudras (spiritual gestures), is to keep the body fit and the mind calm.
Below are the thirty reasons to start doing yoga, if you do not already.
- Only you
In our busy world, we rarely have the opportunity to be alone with ourselves. Even when home alone, we tend to turn on the TV, browse the Internet, or at best read a book. Doing yoga is your chance to look inside yourself and calm the mind, leaving all cares and worries outside.
- Down with the high blood pressure
Clinical studies conducted at the American College of Vedic Medicine, proved that meditation and pranayama help fight heart disease and lower blood pressure.
- Young again
With age, the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in our blood increases, and the level of sex hormones – testosterone and estrogen – decreases. Youth and beauty depend on this. Yoga helps turn back the clock: Experiments have shown that a 10-minute performance of Cobra pose increases the level of sex hormones by 12%, when the cortisol level decreases by 16%.
- Down with the Bad Cholesterol
The level of “bad” cholesterol, which narrows coronary arteries, increases not only because of malnutrition, as is commonly believed, but also because of stress, and therefore almost everyone is at risk. It has been proven that 10 minutes of pranayama reduces “harmful” cholesterol, while increasing the level of the “good” one.
- Protection from the inside
At the beginning of the 20th century, doctors proved that immunity and the condition of the connective tissue are linked. Therefore, deep stretching in asanas not only helps develop flexibility, but also increases the body’s resistance to disease.
- Stay slim
Want to lose a few extra pounds? Unlike traditional sports, the practice of yoga stimulates the production of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a substance that helps reduce weight.
- All clean
The ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika’ describes Shatkarma, or six cleansing techniques of Yoga. They are special procedures that can be performed separately help clear the airways, digestive tract and even eyes!
1. Neti: nasal cleaning, including jala neti and sutra neti.
2. Dhauti: cleansing of the digestive tract.
3. Nauli: abdominal massage.
4. Basti: colon cleaning.
5. Kapalbhati: purification and vitalization of the frontal lobes.
6. Trataka: blink-less gazing.
- Better than a cosmetician
Through practice, the skin rejuvenates and acquires a special glow. Skin tone evens out, dark circles under the eyes fade. Proper breathing during asanas and pranayama regulates the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood, resulting in improved metabolism and biochemical processes in tissues.
- Just calm
You will experience what it means to be both relaxed and focused (even though earlier it seemed impossible) as early as during your first lesson. Moreover, over time, you will learn how to apply this skill in everyday life.
During the practice of asanas and pranayama, a great amount of serotonin and endorphins is thrown in the blood stream providing a sense of psychological comfort that does not depend on external circumstances.
- Better than anti-depressants
All strong emotions and psychological traumas leave imprints on the body. Regular practice gradually frees the body from these tensions, eventually dissolving the subconscious emotional block as well.
- No back pain
Yoga helps to get rid of chronic lower back pain, which eventually begins to disturb even those who lead an active lifestyle. Moreover, if you start practicing without waiting for the unpleasant symptoms in your back, the backache will likely not appear!
- Forget about chronic fatigue
Not getting enough sleep due to constant overworking? Meditate! Studies have confirmed that only 15 minutes of meditation give the same effect as several hours of deep sleep.
- Say no to oxygen starvation
During the practice of pranayama, the blood receives extra oxygen, because the air reaches all parts of the lungs. It is an excellent treatment for asthma and chronic bronchitis.
- Be your own masseur
Performing asanas, you literally do a self-massage of the internal organs. Twists are particularly useful in this regard because the abdominal organs are alternately stretched and compressed. The result – normal digestion and smooth functioning of the kidneys.
- Toned muscles
Yoga works at the deep-seated muscles, which we often do not even know about. They play an important role in the formation of a slim figure.
- Strong support
By lowering the level of the stress hormone cortisol, regular practice helps keep calcium in the bones and prevent osteoporosis, which can develop as early as age 35!
- A new beginning
Yoga helps get rid of bad eating habits. Before you notice it, you will start choosing fresh vegetables and fruit instead of cakes and steaks!
- Gentle action
Yoga, unlike most sports training programs, almost never causes muscle spasms. The practice gradually tones the muscles and lengthens the ligaments.
- Royal posture
A hunched back, distorted spine, and sunken chest – all these are the “benefits” of civilization. Regular practice of yoga will help restore the aristocratic posture just in a few months.
- Curb emotions
By learning to control the most subtle movements of the body in the asanas, we gradually acquire the ability to manage our negative emotions, thus becoming less irritable and short-tempered.
- When expecting
It is never too late. Even if you did not do yoga before pregnancy, there is no reason not start practicing with a qualified instructor. After all, yoga helps with physical and emotional relaxation, thereby reducing the probability of uterine hypertension. It also alleviates lower back pain.
- Recharge your nerves
A sedentary lifestyle can cause nerve fibers become lethargic and gradually atrophy. Yoga softly tones millions of nerves throughout the body, at the same time arousing the related parts of the brain. That is why after practice we feel fresh and energetic.
When mastering difficult asanas, we overcome the fear of an unfamiliar position of the body. As a result, our confidence increases not only on the mat, but also in everyday life.
- Creativity charge
In ordinary life, we are much more likely to use the left hemisphere responsible for logical thinking. The practice of asanas and pranayama balances the work of both hemispheres of the brain, activating the right one, responsible for creative thinking and intuition. The creative energy begins to flourish!
- Infertility treatment
Yoga in general and bandhas (energy locks), in particular, improve the blood supply to the pelvic organs. Therefore, the practice can be helpful in cases of infertility.
- Upside down
Where else, if not in a yoga class, will you turn upside down! By the way, inversions have a very special effect on the body improving the blood circulation, stimulating the brain, and reducing the risk of varicose veins.
- Attention: Sugar
Regular yoga classes along with a special diet help control blood sugar levels in Type 2 Diabetes. It does so by decreasing stress, and therefore normalizing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline – the stress hormones that increase sugar.
- Find yourself
Yoga gives the incomparable feeling of oneness with the world, and most importantly with ourselves. You will learn to hear yourself and to distinguish inessential things from what is truly important.
- Lightness of Being
By performing an asana, we fully focus on the body, discarding all other thoughts and living in the present moment. Therefore, we learn to remain in the “here and now” and enjoy every second of life.
TODAY’S TIP: Sacred Sanskrit texts talk about four types of yoga. All of them, if performed correctly, are able to deliver us from the bondage of the material world.
Karma yoga – path of action. Acting in accordance with one’s duty (dharma) without consideration of personal self-centered desires, likes or dislikes. One acts without attachment to the results of one’s deeds.
Jnana yoga – path of knowledge. Those who see with eyes of knowledge the difference between the body and soul, and also can understand the process of liberation, attain to the supreme goal.
Mystical yoga (sometimes called Raja yoga) – is the path of self-discipline and practice. If the mind is still and pure, the Self will automatically, instantaneously shine forth.
Bhakti yoga – path of love. It teaches how to connect to the Supreme by means of loving devotional service.
“Bhagavad Gita”, a sacred Sanskrit text teaches that out of the four paths the way of love is not only the shortest and surest but the most pleasant one as well. It is recommended at our age of degradation, when all other paths are too complicated to follow (See Kali Yuga – the Age of Quarrel).