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What is Yoga
Yoga is a 5,000-year-old scientific technique for spiritual development. Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning "union," thus its goal is the unification of body, mind, and spirit. This state of union is called samadhi or enlightenment, where we experience the unity of not just our mind-body-spirit, but also of the whole universe as one interconnected whole.
Yoga is not a religion, but a scientific methodology of the experience and integration of the mind-body-spirit. Yoga is a toolbox for spiritual, mental, physical health and overall well-being. One basic assumption of the Yoga Sutras is that the body and the mind are part of one continuum of existence, the mind being subtler than the body. This is the foundation of the yogic view of health. The interaction of body and mind is the central concern of the entire science. It is believed that as the body and mind are brought into balance and health, the individual will be able to perceive his true nature; this will allow life to be lived through him more freely and spontaneously.
As practiced traditionally in India, yoga includes a set of ethical imperatives and moral precepts, including diet, exercise, and meditative aspects. In the West, yoga focuses primarily on postures (gentle stretching exercises called asanas), breathing exercises, and meditation.
Yoga Therapy and Benefits
Yoga therapy begins with relaxation. Living in an age of anxiety, we are often unconscious of our tensions. There are a number of reasons for our stressful life: lack of rest, anxiety, tension and fatigue. These are constantly draining our health energies. Thus, the first priority is to get into a relaxed state.
Yoga employs asanas, pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation and visualization. The yoga postures, or asanas, are designed to rejuvenate the brain, spine, glands and internal organs. They work by increasing the blood and prana supply to these areas and by stimulating them with a gentle squeezing action. The asanas were designed with economy of time and effort in mind. Most of them work on more than one aspect of the body at the same time.
They induce beneficial effect on the organs and glands in three main ways:
- Each position causes an increased blood circulation to the specific target organ or gland.
- It produces a slight squeezing of the organ or gland, thus massaging & stimulating it.
- Deep breathing and visualizing the target area sends an extra supply of prana to the area