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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Welcome positivity into your life (Part 3)

beautiful-day

Creating a positive life

The first part of the series was, ‘Identifying negative people in your life‘. In the second part of the series we saw how to ‘Re-organizing your life – away from negative people‘. This is the third and the final part of the series, in this we will look at ways in which you can create your own sense of positivity.

Here are some ways.

1 Use positive affirmations: Maintaining a positive lifestyle isn’t the easiest of task, especially during the transition period. Hence there will be times when you struggle to maintain a positive attitude day to day. To overcome this start your day by saying a positive affirmation out-loud to yourself 5 to 10 times.

  • “I will” not lose my temper.
  • “I am” good at my job.
  • “I can” live without smoking.

2 Keep a check on yourself: It takes time to get rid of negative habits. Initially you will find yourself slipping back into your negative lifestyle or getting diverted from the goals that you have set for yourself. As such you need to keep a check on yourself. Some common mistakes that may happen are:

  • Accepting an invitation from a negative co-worker
  • Again start consuming junk food.
  • Endlessly watching television.
  • Your exercise plan falls apart.
  • Sleeping for more than 8 hours.

3 Focus on an activity you enjoy: Set aside a specific amount of time (per week) for a hobby or activity that you enjoy. This should be something doable and something that you enjoy like:

  • Knitting
  • Yoga
  • Tennis
  • Running

Channelizing your energy in the right direction will keep your negative emotions at bay.

4 Take care of yourself: There is a huge difference between leading a self-centered life and self-care. A self-centered person is someone who cannot think beyond himself/herself, while self-care simply means setting aside some “me time” for yourself every week. Use this time to connect with your real self, or maybe pamper yourself with a massage.

Now that you have started leading a positive lifestyle, the important thing is to follow a schedule. It may take some time to get used to your new lifestyle, but you will soon start seeing and enjoying the benefits of a positive lifestyle.

Always remember, you cannot live a positive life with a negative mind.

Stay positive and always remember to help the needy.

Welcome positivity into your life (Part 2)

jigsaw

Re-organizing your life – away from negative people

The first part of the series was, ‘Identifying negative people in your life‘. Now that you know how to identify negative people, the next step is to get rid of them.

Here are some steps that will help you get rid of negative people.

1 Limited contact or communication: Once we have identified negative people, the best thing would be to stay away from them. But it is easier said than done. Let’s look at it this way, what if that negative person happens to be your neighbor? You cannot indefinitely avoid your neighbor, or stop communicating with him/her for the rest of your life. Hence the realistic approach would be to limit your contact or communication with negative people.
Word of caution: There is a big difference between a negative person and a criminal/outlaw. If you believe or know that a person belongs to the second category, it is best that you stay away from that individual and stop communicating, unless you are a budding criminal or a method actor.

2 Make time for yourself: Once you have decided to stay away from negative people, the next thing that you need to do is plan activities to keep yourself busy. The reason being, your loneliness may not only make you vulnerable but also drive you back towards the very same negative people that you are trying to stay away from.
Here are some activities to keep you busy:

  • Yoga/Meditation
  • Book reading
  • Painting
  • Learning to play a musical instrument
  • Gym or mixed martial arts class
  • Cooking
  • How about starting your own blog?

3 Choosing your battles: After you have eliminated a couple of negative people from your life, you should not think that you will never encounter a negative person. Actually, something quite different would start happening. Since you know what qualities make a person negative, you will initially feel that you are meeting more negative people than earlier.
But this time when you encounter a negative person who tries to provoke you, think:
Is this where I make a stand?
Being positive is not about remaining silent, but it is about choosing your battles.

4 Help a friend: As mentioned earlier, negative people may not necessarily be evil. So if there is a friend or someone who you really care about, do help.
Start by giving small suggestions, as to how your friend can change his/her attitude towards life. If your friend is receptive and ready for a change, start sharing more. If you are able to save your friend from negativity, you would be really proud of yourself.

5 Meet positive people: Once you have decided to stay away from negative people, start making acquaintances with people who have a positive outlook towards life. While making new friends takes time, and it takes more time once you reach your thirties or forties. But the important thing is to start building a circle of people who have a positive outlook towards life. These people will not only help you grow in life, but will not be a drain on your time and energy and be unresponsive when you need them.
When making new friends, take things slow. Don’t open your heart to the very first person who is ready to listen to your feelings.

While we cannot control the way people in general behave or think, but we surely can change ourselves. A positive life may not make you the richest person in the world, but it would surely make you a happy individual.

Once you have re-organized your life away from negative people, the next step is to create a positive lifestyle. This is what the next and the final post of this series is going to be about.

Always remember, you cannot live a positive life with a negative mind.