Physical inactivity is linked with a number of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, which are among the leading causes of illness and death worldwide. By improving fitness, teaching how to breathe correctly, and working to diminish stress, yoga can help to cultivate healthier lifestyles.
Various research studies across the globe proved the potential benefits of Yoga in the prevention and management of various psychosomatic disorders.
Practicing yoga can also help raise awareness of our role as consumers of the planet’s resources and as individuals with a duty to respect and live in peace with our neighbors. All these elements are essential to building a sustainable future of dignity and opportunity for all.
Yoga is essentially a path to liberation from all bondage. However, medical research in recent years has uncovered many physical and mental benefits that Yoga offers, corroborating the experiences of millions of practitioners.
There are unlimited benefits of practicing Yoga. Some of them are as following:
- Improves your flexibility
- Perfects your posture
- Builds muscle strength
- Helps you sleep well
- Helps reduce weight
- Beneficial for physical fitness, musculoskeletal functioning and cardio-vascular health.
- Beneficial in the management of diabetes, respiratory disorders, hypertension, hypotension and many lifestyle-related disorders.
- Improves psychological/mental well-being.
- Helps to reduce depression, fatigue, anxiety disorders and stress.
- Boosts memory and improves concentration.
A CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE
Health Care Problems of Canada
- According to the Canadian Diabetes Association,there are over 9 million Canadiansliving with diabetes or prediabetes
- According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation heart disease is the leading cause of death in Canadian women
- Multiple sclerosis may not be a leading killer, but it’s a scary and uniquely Canadian disease. Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world, with about 100,000 people living with the disease.
- Cancer as a whole is the leading cause of death among Canadians, and the incidence of the disease is expected to increase in coming years as our population ages. More than 75,000 Canadians are estimated to die of cancer a year.
- Alcohol can account for eight percent of all deaths among Canadians under the age of 70, and a study from the journal Addiction says that Canadians drink about 50 percent more alcohol than the rest of the world, on average.
- According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 20 percent of Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime, and eight percent of adults will experience major depression. Mental illness also leads to suicide, which is one of the leading causes of death among Canadians from adolescence to middle age.
Solutions in Alternatives
Wake Up Canada! Yoga is a solution to most of Canada’s health care issues; you name it & yoga has a cure!
- Wellness & robust health can be promoted naturally through yoga & public health care costs can be rationalized
- Yoga techniques can enrich allopathic medical practice & make it successful
- Yoga is cost-effective; it requires only a soft mat and comfortable clothing for practice. Therefore, people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can do it. Also, it is highly adaptable to individual fitness levels
HISTORY OF YOGA
The science of Yoga originated & evolved in India thousands of years ago, even before the times of Veda.It developed into a systematic doctrine & technique when Maharishi Patanjali composed the Yoga Sutras, though Patanjali is not the inventor of Yoga. Then who is it?
In the yogic culture, Shiva is not only seen as a God, but also as the Adiyogi, the first yogi – the originator of yoga. He was the one who first put this seed into the human mind. According to the Yogic lore, several thousand years ago, Shiva transformed himself into the Adi Guru. This day when the first guru was born is known as Guru Purnima.
On the banks of KantiSarovar, a lake that lies a few kilometers above Kedarnath, Shiva produced seven fully enlightened beings – the seven celebrated sages who are today known as the Saptarishis, and are worshipped and admired in Indian culture. Shiva put different aspects of yoga into each of these seven people, and these aspects became the seven basic forms of yoga. Even today, yoga has maintained these seven distinct forms.
The philosophy and techniques of Yoga were used in all the endeavors of human existence for creativity and originality, be it Science, Arts, Medicine, Architecture, Cosmology and more. After Patanjali, many sages and Yoga masters contributed greatly for the preservation and development of the field through well-documented practices and literature.
In the modern times, what has become popular among the masses in the name of Yoga is only the Asana & Pranayama. But that is only small part of Yoga. Yoga has spread all over the world by the teachings of eminent Yoga masters from ancient times to the present date. Today, everybody has conviction about Yoga practices towards the prevention of disease, maintenance and promotion of health. Millions and millions of people across the globe have benefited by the practice of Yoga and the practice of Yoga is blooming and growing more vibrant with each passing day.
The yogic science is not about a yoga class that you go through about how to bend your body – which every new born infant knows – or how to hold your breath – which every unborn infant knows. This is the science of understanding the mechanics of the entire human system.
A Yoga practitioner should follow the guiding principles given below while performing Yogic practices:
BEFORE THE PRACTICE
- Śauca means cleanliness – an important prerequisite for Yogic practice. It includes cleanliness of surroundings, body and mind.
- Yogic practice should be performed in a calm and quiet atmosphere with a relaxed body and mind.
- Yogic practice should be done on an empty stomach or light stomach. Consume small amount of honey in lukewarm water if you feel weak.
- Bladder and bowels should be empty before starting Yogic practices.
- Yoga mat, sheet, or folded blanket should be used for the practice.
- Light and comfortable cotton clothes are preferred to facilitate easy movement of the body.
- Yoga should not be performed in state of exhaustion, illness, hurry or in acute stress conditions.
- In case of chronic disease/ pain/ cardiac problems, a physician or a Yoga therapist should be consulted prior to performing Yogic practices.
- Yoga experts should be consulted before doing Yogic practices during pregnancy and menstruation.
DURING THE PRACTICE
- Practice sessions should start with a prayer or invocation as it creates a conducive environment to relax the mind.
- Yogic practices shall be performed slowly, in a relaxed manner, with awareness of the body and breath.
- Do not hold the breath unless it is specially mentioned to do so during the practice.
- Breathing should be always through the nostrils unless instructed otherwise.
- Do not hold the body tightly, or jerk the body at any point of time.
- Perform the practices according to your own capacity.
- It takes some time to get good results; so persistent and regular practice is very essential.
- There are contraindications/ limitations for each Yoga practice and such contraindications should always be kept in mind.
- Yoga session should end with meditation/ deep silence.
- Bath may be taken only after 20-30 minutes of practice.
- Food may be consumed only after 20-30 minutes of practice.
A few dietary guidelines can ensure that the body and mind are flexible and well-prepared for practice. A vegetarian diet is usually recommended, and for a person over 30 years, two meals a day should suffice, except in cases of illness or very high physical activity.
- Ministry of Ayush: http://ayush.gov.in/about-the-systems/yoga
- United Nations International Day of Yoga: http://www.un.org/en/events/yogaday/
- Common International Day of Yoga Protocol: http://ayush.gov.in/sites/default/files/CYP%20Booklet%20English%20%281%29.pdf
- History of Yoga Documentary Film: http://vishuddhifilms.com/history-of-yoga.html
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