With yoga, you can develop a deep sense of yourself. It does sound like something positive and beneficial but one cannot help but wonder what that is really all about. How does it feel? What does it look like?
Yoga is not a solution but more of a process. It can help you get in touch with yourself enabling you to fix yourself. Yoga turns your attention inward instead of pointing you to some external solution (such as a new exercise gadget, a trendy weight loss ingredient, a pair of the latest model running shoes). This may sound like a cliche but truly, you have inside of you the answer to every question.
The most popular form of yoga in the United States involves physical postures which reflect the meditative aspects of yoga. Its practice provides numerous health benefits and below, I will be discussing the seven life-enhancing benefits of a good, solid physical yoga practice.
Yoga increases flexibility. Needless to say, yoga is synonymous to flexibility. Regular stretching of the connective tissues in the body improves their elasticity. In the same way that a rigid tree would break due to strong winds and a more flexible one would bend without breaking, a person with good flexibility is less susceptible to torn muscles, ligaments or tendons. They have built-in protection from injuries because their tissues stretch and therefore would not easily tear.
Yoga prevents aging. With age comes rigidity of the connective tissues and organs. In the same way that a plant that has not been watered for a long time would have trouble extracting nourishment from the soil, a body that is not regularly stretched will have circulation problems because the tissues become dense and coated with fibroid tissues. Because of this, blood, vitamins, minerals, and energy cannot flow smoothly through them. This is how being flexible keeps the body young and combats the effects of aging.
Yoga tones the organs. Yoga positions serve several functions. The forward bend for instance, helps to flush the kidneys, while the triangle opens the liver. When done correctly and held for a sufficient length of time, yoga practice can tone and improve the functioning of every internal organ of the body. Keeping ones internal organs in good condition does not only benefit ones health, it also greatly reduces the possibility of developing medical problems which may lead to expensive transplants. Thus, indirectly yoga also provides financial benefits to those who practice it.
Yoga increases healthy energy flow. The yogis of ancient India discovered nadis which are energy pathways that flow through the body. As we grow older, the nadis constrict and because of this, the amount of vital energy flowing through the body increasingly lessens. This results in aging, loss of energy and eventually, death. Yoga keeps these energy pathways open which allows plenty of vital energy or life force to continuously flow into the body. This helps you to stay young and healthy.
Yoga focuses the mind. Another widely known benefit of yoga is that it significantly increases ones ability to concentrate. The physical postures developed by the yogis of ancient India are such that they are impossible to do if your mind is on something else. With yoga, it is essential to focus on what you are doing at the present moment and nothing else, otherwise you might end up in a tangled heap on the floor.
Yoga gives you power. Once you practice yoga, you will quickly understand that thinking is a choice and not an obligation. The mind is very similar to a powerful computer and its an awesome tool to be used by YOU when it is helpful.
Yoga gives you the choice to whether to use your power of thinking or not. It puts you in the position to be the master over your mind, which is probably one of the most powerful things in the world. You can use it to overcome compulsive eating, angry outbursts, all sorts of addictions and other behaviors which all start off as a thought your mind. The essence of all power lies in this ability to decide which thoughts you want to empower.
Yoga gives you love. As you practice yoga, you will begin to realize that all of us are in this together. In its essence, yoga means union and this manifests itself on many different levels. You will come to know who and what you are, and also find integration in many aspects of your life. But it doesn't end there, you will also come to know others for who they really are. We all wear masks but underneath we are all the same in that we go through life in the same way. All of us are in search for union with each other and with a higher power.