Children, when we see the physique of film stars, athletes or bodybuilders we get so attracted towards them that we desire of having a body like theirs. For this purpose we join a gym which makes a hole in our pockets. Some of us even start buying body fitness machines or take body tone-up medicines for the said purpose which can be hazardous to our health.
A good physique can easily be achieved in our homes without spending any money by just practising YOGA. Yoga creates a wonderful sense of balance in your body, mind and spirit.
Yoga is a science as well as a method of achieving spiritual harmony through the control of mind and body. The asanas (Yogic postures) and pranayama (breath control) are practices that not only help us to acquire perfect health, but also develop the inner force that enables us to withstand stressful situations with a calm and serene mind.
The origin of yoga has been speculated to date back to pre-vedic Indian traditions, but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BC. The earliest account of yoga-practice is in the Buddhist Nikayas. Parallel developments were recorded around 400 BCE in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which combines pre-philosophical speculations and diverse ascetic practices of the first millennium BCE with Samkhya-philosophy.
Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the west, following the success of Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the 1980s, yoga became popular as a system of physical exercise across the Western world.
Its founders were the rishis and the maharishis, great saints and sages. All the sacred books of Bharat like the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Puranas mention the great sages who arrived at the highest degree of knowledge through the discipline of yoga.
Yoga is an essential part of Ayurveda. Its meaning comes from the Sanskrit root ‘yuja,’ ‘to join’ or ‘to unite,’ and indicates the total integration of the individual soul with the Supreme or Divine soul to obtain relief from pain and suffering. Charaka wrote that Yoga is the means of salvation (moksha), which is the end of miseries (vedana).
Yogic postures if practised in steps are far more superior to any other form of exercise. They not only produce simple muscular actions but they also rehabilitate the various vital organs.
According to the Classic Yoga Postures the five common asanas are Padmasana (the lotus position) Siddhasana (the posture of the adept), Paschimottanasana (stretching of the back and hips), Bhujangasana (the cobra position), and Shavasana (the complete relaxation posture).
The practice of asanas should ideally follow the Pranayama. Pranayama is a Yogic breathing whereby the diaphragm, rather than the upper chest wall is moving.
The resultant breath is deep and oxygenates the lower portion of the lungs. Correct practice of Pranayama can dramatically reduce the incidence of asthma, bronchitis, sinus problems and cold. Pranayama is also a highly spiritual practice and is said literally to burn bad karma.
Bear in mind , however , that your body must never be forced or fatigued while practising these postures. Each posture should be carefully , slowly , patiently and properly performed, otherwise the results will not be positive. —Aniket Raja