Medical practitioners, various medical aid health clubs and holistic healers alike agree that yoga is a great way to increase physical strength, to relax, to meditate or to simply escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. It has been academically proven that yoga can improve a person’s overall health.
Yoga favours a holistic approach. One is to seek a balance between the physical, spiritual, psychological and social aspects of one’s health. It emphasises purification, a higher level of consciousness and self-realisation, rather than treating illness.
The origin of yoga has been extensively disputed. Sacred texts and teachings were communicated orally or written on leaves resulting in a lack of clarity. Yoga experts suspect the practice is approximately 5 000yearsold but some suggest it can be as old as 10 000 years! And there is a valid reason that the Western world adopted the discipline as physical exercise and a mental health routine.
The physical benefits of yoga are endless; the Official Journal of the American Society for Preventative Cardiology writes that an eight-week, professionally-devised yoga programme can improve isokinetic muscular strength for elbow extension, elbow flexion, and knee extension. It also improves ankle flexibility, shoulder elevation, trunk extension, and trunk flexion.
Yoga can strengthen your core, optimise your breathing patterns in different situations(especially stressful ones) and it can assist those suffering from sleeplessness. It also regulates blood pressure, blood sugar, hormones in your adrenal glands and it releases tension in your limbs. It can maintain your nervous system, improve your balance and even boost your immune system functionality meaning no more excess payments on medical aid schemes and perhaps you can even opt for a basic hospital plan instead.
Where to begin
You have already completed the first step – choosing to begin practising yoga! The second step is to find a class you feel comfortable in as you wouldn’t want to start on a level beyond your current knowledge and ability. The third step is to practise at home to perfect your technique. Yoga can take years to master but the more you practise, the better you’ll get. And the better you are at yoga, the more fit and healthy you’ll surely be.
Yoga basics: http://www.yogabasics.com/learn/history-of-yoga/
Physical and perceptual benefits of yoga asana practice: results of a pilot study: