Yoga practice has never failed to elicit debate. Years after successfully making an entry into the mainstream and even adopting a commercial outlook in some parts of the world, yoga still attracts suspicion. Despite the numerous health and physical benefits associated with the yoga practice, there are those who appear reluctant to reconcile with the idea of embracing this 5000 year old practice which has its roots in India.
In late 2014, yoga enthusiasts received a major boost after the United Nations declared 21st of June as the International Yoga Day further cementing this old practice into the global map. The day was conceived partly following a spirited appeal by India’s current Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a UN address. Finally, yoga practice enthusiasts could legitimately market yoga and showcase its benefits to its critics.
Why ditch other forms of fitness and practice yoga?
Yoga adopts a holistic approach that goes beyond exercising. It creates a sense of oneness with the body, the world and nature as it exemplifies unity of body and mind. The psychological benefits of yoga are multifaceted – it aids in improving balance, minimizing anxiety or eliminating it all together and improving concentration and memory.
Yoga practice beats other forms of exercises associated with keeping fit such as going to the gym, hiking, running for a number of reasons:
- It is not competitive-yogis can practice at their own pace and time
- You can safely practice at home with little risk of injury
- Yoga is suitable for all age groups including very young children to the elderly.
- It is very cost effective. You don’t need to spend money on expensive machines. All that is required are fitting clothes and perhaps (optional) a mat.
- Can be practiced anywhere. You can practice yoga at the comfort of your office, car, home etc.
- It is friendly to people with disabilities including the visually and hearing impaired and those with physical disabilities.
Some experts at the American Osteopathic Association have also given yoga practice the thumbs up and link the practice to lessening of chronic pain such as headaches, lower back pain and arthritis, easing insomnia and lowering blood pressure.
Physical benefits linked to yoga include:
1. Weight loss
2. Improved flexibility within a relatively short period of time
3. Improved muscle strength and tone
4. Increases blood circulation
5. Aids in developing motor skills for children
6. Improved postures