Benefits of Yoga

Yoga

Today being international yoga day, I felt it only necessary to write a couple of lines about yoga and its benefits.

What is yoga?

Yoga is a way of living that aims towards ‘a healthy mind residing in a healthy body’. Contrary to the belief, it is not a religion. Which means that even if you hate Hinduism you can still safely practice yoga. Although just like everything that has originated in this country and been there since millenniums, yoga has its roots in the Hindu culture.

What is the use of yoga?

The benefits of yoga mostly depend on the lifestyle one follows and the kind of asanas one practices. But even after regularly practicing yoga for just a few weeks, here are some of the benefits one may experience:

  1. Improved flexibility
  2. Muscle strength
  3. Better posture
  4. Better blood circulation
  5. Lower stress levels
  6. Relaxed body and mind
  7. Better focus

What are the advantages of yoga?

The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia. The various poses and deep breaths help the heart do its job, increasing blood flow throughout the body, and improving the entire circulatory system. Yoga is also known to relieve stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation. It also sharpens attention and concentration.

Can yoga get you in shape?

While yoga is not an intense workout as running or aerobics would be, but you can still get in shape if you stick to a regular workout schedule.

What is the ultimate purpose of yoga?

The goal of yoga is to help the individual transcend the self and attain enlightenment.

यदा विनियतं चित्तमात्मन्येवावतिष्ठते |

नि:स्पृह: सर्वकामेभ्यो युक्त इत्युच्यते तदा ||

Which means, when a perfectly disciplined mind gets freedom from all desires and becomes absorbed in the self alone, a person is said to have achieved yoga.

But this is easier said than done and takes years of devotion, practice, dietary restrictions and control over senses to reach such a state. As for the ordinary person, it improves circulation, posture, flexibility, muscle strength, helps relax the body and the mind, brings down stress levels and helps sleep better.

In 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested United Nations to celebrate June 21 as the International Yoga Day as it is the summer solstice; the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. This tradition is 5000 years old. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in wellbeing. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.” — Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly, September 2014.

If you still haven’t welcomed yoga into your life, it’s never too late.

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Schooled

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One night four college students, instead of studying for tomorrow’s test, went out and partied – they had a really nice time.
In the morning, they hatched a plan to get out of taking a test. They covered themselves with grease and dirt and went to the dean’s office. Once there, they told the dean that the previous night there was a medical emergency. One of their friend had an accident and hence they had to rush to the hospital. On their way-back they had a flat tire and hence had to push the car back to their place.
The dean listened to their tale patiently, even though he could detect a slight hint of alcohol in their breath. After thinking for a couple of seconds the dean told them that they can take the test three days later. The students thanked the dean and left.
When the test day arrived the four students went to the dean, who put them in separate rooms for the test. They were okay with this since they had prepared well for the test. Then they saw the question paper, it had just 2 questions.
1) Your Name __________ (1 Mark)
2) Which tire burst? __________ (99 Marks)
(a) Front Left
(b) Front Right
(c) Back Left
(d) Back Right

The importance of setting goals in life

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The last post, Meaningless Goals, was about wasting time and energy chasing absurd and pointless targets. So it was only logical, or at-least this is what I thought, to talk about the importance of setting goals in life in this post.

So what exactly are goals?

Goals are the oxygen of our dreams, they give direction and meaning to life. Compelling us to lead a disciplined life and transforming our personality and outlook in a positive way.

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. – Tony Robbins

Here are my 5 reasons why setting goals is important in life:

  1. Achieving potential : Setting a goal means setting a target to strive towards. To accomplish this one needs to stretch beyond the normal. This helps the person look beyond the familiar routine and grow in life. Always remember, familiarity is the nemesis of growth.
  2. Creating focus : We all have potential to do something good in life. It is up to us to realize our potential and focus our abilities and talent in the right direction. Just like how sunlight can’t burn through anything without a magnifying glass focusing it, a person cannot achieve anything without focus.
  3. Taking control of your life : At some point of time we need to grow up and take control of our life. Meaning, not only should we hold ourselves responsible for our success but also for our failures. So instead of waiting for things to happen we need take charge and make things happen.
  4. Creating accountability : Having goals makes a person accountable, because rather than just talking a person is compelled to act. This self accountability makes the individual responsible for his/her successes or failures.
  5. Motivation : Setting goals helps a person connect with his/her innermost desires. Motivating and giving the person something to strive for. This motivation helps overcome the negative desires that cloud the mind, reconnects with the innermost desires and redirects the focus on accomplishing the goals.

Goals are simply tools that help funnel energy in the right direction. They help a person reach his/her potential and do something good, for oneself and for the community at large.