What is YOGA?
"Yoga is a comprehensive system for well-being on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. It provides techniques and guidance for enriched living. Today, millions of people use various aspects of Yoga to help raise their quality of life in diverse areas like fitness, stress relief, wellness, vitality, mental clarity, healing, peace of mind and spiritual growth." - Adapted from the International Yoga Alliance's website.
Yoga is not a religion or a set of beliefs, but a way of life. Yoga is often seen as the practice of physical postures and breathing techniques, but in reality is much more than that. Yoga as practiced traditionally also includes ethical rules for living, control of the senses and concentration and meditation practices, with the aim of reaching eternal bliss.
Even if you do not wish to include spiritual aspects in your Yoga practice, the physical and mental benefits will still offer great rewards. We are all on different journeys in life, and therefore you can decide how you want your practice to be.
The benefits of Yoga
Increases muscle strength
Increases energy and vitality
Increases the metabolism
Increases cardiovascular health
Increases athletic performance
Increases focus and concentration
Improves sleeping patterns
Published articles on some of the benefits of Yoga
“In conclusion, patients with chronic diseases who regularly practiced yoga reported better overall health status and physical quality of life than those who did not. Practicing yoga under naturalistic conditions seems to be associated with improved physical health in chronically diseased patients.”
– Cramer et al (2013), Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
“Yoga has potential utility as a complementary and alternative therapy for chronic diseases and can help older adults to maintain their health." – Eda (2014), Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics
“Findings also reveal that participants experience psychological benefits from the practice of yoga asana in addition to mindfulness, such as a more holistic understanding of psychological distress, adaptive coping strategies, and enhanced well-being.”
–Kahya et al (2016), EXPLORE: The Journal of Science & Healing
“Though we cannot change our biology or chronological age we can definitely reverse/slow down the pace at which we age by adopting YMLI [Yoga and Meditation based lifestyle intervention]. This is the first study to demonstrate improvement in both cardinal and metabotrophic biomarkers of cellular aging and longevity in apparently healthy population after Yoga and Meditation based lifestyle intervention.”
–Tolahunase et al (2017), Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity