Namaste! Today millions of yoga practitioners can say June 21 is their day, as in 2014 the date was chosen by the United Nations General Assembly as International Yoga Day. The holiday was first celebrated in 2015, and was marked by a new Guinness Record for the largest yoga lesson with almost 36,000 participants! Nevertheless, is yoga as healthful and flawless as many of us believe? Let's dig deeper into the matter to find it out!
Of course, yoga is not a simple set of exercises for your body aimed at helping you get stronger and more flexible. It is a whole group of physical, mental and spiritual practices that originated in India. It’s still a debatable issue when it appeared, but some scholars believe this practice to be more than 4,000 years old! There exist many kinds of yoga, and the most well-known of them are classical yoga, hatha yoga, kundalini yoga, and tantra yoga. One of the yoga terms is Ashtanga Yoga, which literally means “Eight-Limbed Yoga”. It represents eight yoga compounds: Yama (abstentions), Niyama (observances), Asana (seats), Pranayama (breath exercises), Pratyahara (abstraction), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (liberation). The complicated structure of yoga proves that it’s not a mere physical activity, but a multiplex philosophy for those who crave something more. However, what exactly can yoga give you?
- Yoga works as a natural stress reliever helping you become less worried. The combination of special breathing exercises and postures and the positive attitude they create relieves anxiety and calms you down.
- Yoga can help you attain the figure of your dream. The exercises it offers can’t be called simple ones, and you’ll easily lose weight if you practice it regularly for at least several months.
- Yoga can make you smarter. The most important factor here is meditation, as it boosts your memory, improves your ability to focus, increases the blood flow of your brain, and stimulates your inner strength.
- Yoga is a wonderful detox. It’s able to influence your organs helping your body get rid of toxins.
- Yoga doesn’t require special gear. You can find a room to practice (or do it outdoors), a mat and … that’s it! No special clothes, no expensive training equipment or anything of the kind – it’s as simple as that.
Are you already running to the front door with your yoga mat? Don’t hurry – we’ve got something else to say about yoga, and it won’t sound so encouraging.
- Still, yoga CAN be expensive. The classes at a local yoga studio may cost a bundle, and not everyone can afford to spend $25 per class. However, if you sign up for the local coupon deals a yoga class can be as cheap as $1 per class! Besides, you may buy a DVD with yoga classes or watch it for free on YouTube.
- You may feel ill at ease if you start yoga practice in a class full of yoga experts. It may seem intimidating, and the negative emotions you’ll experience may urge you to give up the classes. Don’t do that! Choose classes for beginners, and you’ll feel just like all the other people in the class do. Don’t forget that yoga is not a competition, and don’t pay too much attention to minor mistakes.
- It may be hard to find your perfect yoga instructor or yoga studio. You may dislike the manner of teaching, the music, the people around you, or the general atmosphere in the room. Anyway, you don’t have to suffer or give up the classes completely. Spare some time to find your ideal teacher or studio, and you’ll feel how inspirational the process can be.
- You may not have enough time for all these things. Your lifestyle is busy, you have a heavy workload, and you can’t even find time to see your friends and relatives. It’s a common problem, but is it as unsolvable as it seems? Just imagine that your yoga class is another appointment – how would you deal with it? You’d definitely find time to meet a person who’s important to you, and you’ll surely find an hour several times to week to get your body right.
- The last disadvantage of yoga is the most (and probably the only) serious one because it bears a direct relation to your health. When people start practicing yoga (or another physical activity), they frequently want to have their cake and eat it. They push their bodies too much by exercising for several hours without rest or trying controversial “Hot Yoga” (performed in a hot room). Just be careful about it and remember that moderation is a key to success!
Start your yoga classes with a trained instructor you can trust, review your tough schedule, try classes for beginners, and don’t overexercise! Happy International Yoga Day!