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.

The Rest is Just Sand

Dunes

A philosophy professor stood before his class with a few items on the table in front of him. He picked up a large glass jar and started to fill it with rocks.

The professor then asked his students. “Is the jar full?”

The students nodded their heads and agreed that the jar was full.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again. “Is the jar full?”

The students again nodded their heads and agreed that the jar was full.

The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled up the remaining open areas of the jar.

He then asked once more. “Is the jar full?”

The students this time responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now” said the professor. “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff.

“If you put the sand into the jar first” he continued. “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, or fix the disposal.”

Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

Schooled

Cartoon.png

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

How to set goals

Goal Setting.png

While some tasks are completed within a matter of a few seconds, others take a life time to achieve. But if you want to move through life, you need to set goals – else you will become a driftwood.

  1. Determine your goals: When planning life goals you need to ask yourself a question: where do you want to see yourself after 10 years, or maybe 15? A career life goal might be to become a programmer. A fitness goal might be to become fit.

Examples of specific goals:

  • I want to cut down junk food.
  • I want to learn Spanish.
  • I want to participate in 10K marathon.
  1. Break your goals into smaller constituents: Once you have decided your goals it is time to break it down into smaller goals, this way you will be able to track your progress also. For example, if you want to be fit you need to start eating healthy.
  1. Write short term goals: One you have decided what your main goal is and also divided it into smaller goals, it is time to write it down. This will not only make it harder for you to ignore but make you accountable.
  1. Move towards your larger goals: Use these small goals that you have made for yourself as a stepping stone to achieve your bigger goal.
  1. Adjust goals periodically: There is nothing constant in life, including life itself. Hence one should always be prepared to tweak his/her goals.

Always remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish.

The importance of setting goals in life

The importance of setting goals in life.jpg

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.

Meaningless Goals

running-dog

A farmer had a dog that used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come around. As soon as one came he would run down the road, barking and trying to overtake it.

One day a neighbor asked the farmer “Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a vehicle?”

The farmer replied “That is not what bothers me. What bothers me is what he would do if he were to ever catch one?”

Many people in life behave like that dog, pursuing meaningless goals.

Reasons why you should travel

travelling

Many people think that we need to wait for our later years of life to explore the world, and that the only places worth visiting are those that have a religious or historical significance. Well, everyone has the right to decide what’s right for them. But there is much more to traveling than just visiting places of religious and historic significance. Here’s my list of 5 reasons why you should travel:

  1. Disconnecting with your regular life: You get the opportunity to forget your problems for at-least a week or so. Sometimes this distancing away from the problem helps you understand it in a different perspective, thus helping you to solve it.
  2. The art of being patient: Traveling involves a lot of waiting, like waiting for your flight, waiting for your meal to be served at the restaurant, waiting to see God (or just the idol). All this teaches you the art of waiting, making you less twitchy and more relaxed.
  3. Making friends isn’t that difficult: Once we reach a certain age we find it difficult to make friends, why? The reason is that we are too busy meeting deadlines. But when traveling, we aren’t chasing any deadlines, and hence we are relaxed. This makes it the perfect opportunity to make friends.
  4. Flexibility: Probably not in the physical sense, unless you are visiting a yoga retreat. While most of the traveling schedule is planned, either by you or your travel agent, but there is always a surprise or two waiting for you. Like the unplanned rains, which makes you wait at a restaurant and sample Parsi cuisine.
  5. Improves social skills: Making small talk with your fellow passengers or having a lively discussion at the local bar, traveling will surely improve you social skills.

Life is a wonderful gift, and there is nothing more wonderful than traveling the world we live, understanding different cultures and most importantly creating beautiful memories that we can share and cherish.