Benefits of Yoga

Yoga practice includes five major parts: asanas, pranayamas, pratihava, dharana and dhyana, which later leads to Samadhi. Asanas are the basic and physical aspect of yoga. In this chapter let us know the benefits of yoga, and how it works on our body. Yoga is a science as well as an art of living. It works for physical health and mental health as well. Usually its practice begins with physical exercises or asanas. Asanas work for the external flexibility and cleaning of the body and are thus good for health. There are three very essential prerequisites for vitality and rejuvenation: a healthy central nervous system (brain and spine), healthy glands and healthy internal organs.

Physical benefits

Flexibility: It is the basic physical benefit of yoga. The body becomes more flexible by stretching the tight muscles and joints. Within no time a man feels his hamstrings, back, neck, shoulders, hips and other big and small joints more flexible.

Strength: Yoga increases the physical strength of the body. Many yoga postures help in it, as balancing the body weight on one leg (tree pose) or putting the weight on the hands and balancing the body in all these postures. This makes the arms and legs strong, while balancing increases the general strength of the body.

Muscle tone: By getting stronger through yoga, one can expect to see increased muscle tone. Yoga helps shape long lean muscles by stretching them and balancing the entire body.

Prevention of pain: Strengthened and flexible muscles help in preventing pain. People suffering from back pain or tight muscles in different parts of the body, feel relieved through flexibility which reduces the pain Yoga also helps in body alignment which also helps in preventing as well as curing pain.

Better breathing: Breathing exercises in yoga are called pranayama. They focus the attention on proper breathing. They cause better use of the lungs and proper use of breath. This eventually cures many diseases. Most of us breathe very shallowly. By learning proper breathing more oxygen is served to the organs and thus to the entire body which help the organs to work energetically. It even alms the central nervous system, which benefits the physical as well as the mental level.

Detoxification of body: As the asanas and the breathing techniques gently massage our organs, they also increase the flow of blood to the various parts of the body. The increased blood flow cleans the body thoroughly and detoxifies it. This delays the ageing process and also makes one feel energetic.

Supports heart: Yoga and meditation is known for lowering the blood pressure, pulse rate and heart rate. New scientific studies have proved that yoga and meditation performed at least three times in a week can lead to reduction in blood pressure and lessens the risk of heart diseases.

Prevention of various diseases: Apart from other benefits, daily practice of yoga prevents and helps against diverse disease, like digestive disorders, arthritis, chronic fatigue, varicose veins, asthma, insomnia and multiple sclerosis. New researches have found its benefits in therapeutic use also.

Support during pregnancy: Yoga helps in distressing a pregnant woman. It also lessens fatigue so that she may resume her energy. It is also good for the foetus in the womb.

Mental benefits: Yoga not only makes a man healthy at the physical level but also at the mental level. There are many benefits of yoga practices which make a man healthy and cheerful at the mental level.

Mental peace: Though yogasana is a physical activity, it needs a lot of mental effort to get full benefit out of it. As told earlier in the book, asanas need full concentration on physical activity. This concentration helps in easing many mental disturbances and calms down the mind leading to peace. Yoga also teaches proper breathing and meditation, which again lead to concentration within. Yoga calms down the thought process and leads to calm and peaceful mind.

Reduction in stress: Yoga relieves stress. Physical activity in yoga helps in relieving stress. While concentrating on physical activity in yoga, the troubles of everyday life melt away and provide great relief. Continuous stress takes a break during this process.
As Shelly says in his famous poem “To a Skylark’,
“We look before and after and pine for what is not,
Our sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught….”

It is human nature to live either in the past or in the future. Such thinking is always a cause of pain and gives stress. Yoga also emphasizes the being in the moment and not to dwell in the past nor to anticipate the future.