Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Yoga methods encompass the entire field of our existence, from physical, emotional, mental to the spiritual levels of our existence. Its methods include ethical disciplines, physical postures, breath control as well as meditation.
In recent years Yoga exercises have been recommended as a means of cleansing the body of its impurities (for detoxification of the body), of reducing weight, of tuning the nerves and muscles, and generally of improving health and prolonging life.
Yoga by Shri Krishna
What is the meaning of Yoga?
Dr JV Hebbar
There are many meanings to the word Yoga.
Simple Sanskrit word meaning is to combine, to connect.
In the spiritual world, Yoga is defined as combining the individual soul (jīvātma) with the universal soul (paramātma).
The above and many other definitions of Yoga, make it seem like Yoga is only for spiritual seekers or who do Sadhana or spiritual practices such as meditation everyday.
But the simplest meaning of Yoga has been explained by the greatest Yogi of the world, Bhagavan Shri Krishna.
In Shrimad Bhagavad Geetha, he preaches
योग: कर्मसु कौशलम् ॥
yoga: karmasu kauśalam ||
The above verse can be elaborated as –
Yoga is the excellence in work.
Yoga is doing all the work that we do on a daily basis, with utmost concentration, energy and dedication.
Yoga is seeking perfection in all our works.
These jobs can be cleaning the room, making the bed, washing clothes, cooking food, working in the office etc.
In all these jobs, if we can maintain our focus on the work, without worrying much about all other things, putting all our energy into doing that small / big work with perfection, then that is Yoga and at that moment, we become Yogi.
Let us all thrive to keep our smartphones away, while we prioritize the life that we have in front of us, over the ones that we live online.
Benefits of Yoga
Strengthens body, tissues and makes one fit and healthy – The activities of Hatha Yoga makes the body strong and composed, healthy, stable and immune, kindles digestion and improves metabolism, depletes excess fat, strengthens muscles and tissues and makes the body tolerable to hardships and stress. Such body strengthened and fortified by Hatha Yoga always gets involved in auspicious and wholesome activities which are auspicious and wholesome for Ihaloka (mortal world) and paraloka (immortal and eternal world). The healthy body built by practicing Hatha Yoga will be enriched with superior qualities of dhatus (tissues) and ojus (essence of all the tissues which represents the overall immunity of an individual). Such a body will always be bestowed with everlasting strength, vigor and courage. Hatha Yoga prepares the person to undergo Raja Yoga, which is all about mental control, the attempt to know self and live better.
Strengthens and purifies mind, helps in discovering one’s better self – Yoga also has a strong impact on mental health, especially the practice of Raja Yoga. With regular practice of Yoga the Satvik qualities are invoked and enriched in the mind. The Raja and Tama Gunas which are said to be the morbid qualities of the mind (Mano doshas) are also burnt and destroyed with regular practice of Raja Yoga, hence making the mind pure, healthy and sterile.
Read related: Yoga: Introduction, History, Definition, Shat Karma, Benefits
Provides body-mind equilibrium – Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali comprehensively enhances and fortifies the mental and spiritual health of an individual and enables the equilibrium of body-mind dynamics. This enables the man to reach the unconquerable heights of success, happiness and true bliss in the life.
Detoxifies body, enhances the functioning capabilities of organs and tissues, prevents diseases and damages, and enhances immunity – When one constantly practices Pranayama, Bandha, Mudra and Shat Karmas which are part of Hatha Yoga, the body gets cleansed and detoxified. The body will be adorned with unparalleled immunity and will nullify any fear of impending diseases. The activities of the internal visceral organs including stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas, kidneys etc will get enhanced and they will function to their optimum best, uninterruptedly. These activities enhance the digestion and metabolic processes and will enable to throw out the wastes and toxins out of the system, thus shielding and protecting the body from any damages and diseases. This in turn enhances the immunity of the body.
Read related: 2 Simple Yoga Breathing Exercises That Can Help Treat a Migraine
Good exercise and fortification of body and mind – The Yoga Asanas will enable proper and good blood circulation and nerve conductivity in the body, will enhance the digestive fire. Asanas provide good exercise to the interior and exterior of the body. The body and mind will get fortified with unparalleled good health and a disease-free state.
Contributes towards comprehensive personal and community health – Yoga through its treasures of the likes of Shat Karamas, Shodhana treatments, Asana, Pranayama, Yama-Niyama etc has been responsible and immensely contributed towards providing comprehensive personal and community health. Therefore, as a science, Yoga has been universally accepted, followed, preached and adapted.
Read related: Types Of Pranayama – Effect on Health – Through An Ayurveda Microscope
Regular practice is the key – One should practice Yoga on daily basis to ward off (keep away) the mental stress which occurs as a part of daily life and also to conquer many other mental disorders and instabilities. We need to remember that a healthy mind keeps the body healthy, because we are what we think. The combination of Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga helps in terminating the diseases of body and mind and makes one strong and healthy. Therefore they are exemplary in the treatment of many psycho-somatic diseases.
Just Before Finish
By regular practice of Yoga people will develop compassion, sympathy and love in their minds. They will become reasonably better human beings on the planet. They start caring for each other. The world enveloped and invaded by bad, sinful and unhealthy traits like agony, pain, depression, jealousy, hatred, possessiveness, lust, crime, corruption, cruelty and greed can be saved and made a better place to live only by Yoga, because Yoga helps in conquering all these qualities and develop those qualities within us which are not only beneficial for us but also are useful for community.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)