Yoga is practiced by millions of people across the world and has grown strength to strength over the years.
Yoga, to most of us, evokes images of people moving their bodies into impossible poses and positions; one would be forgiven to mistake them for contortionists’. The concept of yoga is much more deeper and spiritual than simple, or for that matter, complicated body movements. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word Yuj connoting to yoke, join or unite; Yoga is a form of exercise and meditation. It does not require any fancy equipment or environment but a sincere effort put in daily by an individual to control mind and body, a simple yet powerful tool for wellness.
Yoga is practiced by millions of people across the world and has grown strength to strength over the years, however, yoga has often been misunderstood and to some extent misused for the sake of better commerce. We at the World Travel Magazine will abet you alter the perception by discovering different facets of yoga and help you decipher the intricacies of this ancient knowledge.
Yoga is not just another form of an exercise. Far from it, according to seasoned practitioners, it is a means of “joining the individual soul to the universal soul” or perhaps the “cessation of the fluctuations in consciousness”. Yoga aims at training the consciousness of an individual for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility that is achieved through the three paths of action, knowledge and devotion.
The earnest practitioner of yoga experiences physical revitalization and discovers a deeper spiritual and emotional state of being. The regular practice of yoga is said to alleviate one from mental and physical pain and enables one to breathe better. The deep breathing exercises involved and postures of yoga give the body a chance to detox and leave a person energized far beyond the end of the session.
The current state of the lifestyle of people is tangled in a web of constant strain and weariness. Yoga serves as a haven to all those seeking the elusive state of relaxation and inward awareness. There is a general positive consensus when it comes to the benefits of yoga.
Yoga first came into being at least 4,000 years ago and is said to have developed during the period of ‘Sat Yuga’ or the Golden age. The excavation site at Indus valley civilization confirmed the origin of yoga to the place, after the discovery of yogi like figures engraved on soapstone seals resembling postures and poses used in yoga. Yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a summation of the control of one’s breath, meditation and the adoption of specific bodily postures.
To a casual observer, yoga may look similar to any other exercise form, such as Tai Chi for instance. It is after practicing yoga that one is able to differentiate and appreciate the art form. There are a variety of Asanas each with differing objectives; whether it is to build strength, make one sweat, improve one’s posture, gain flexibility or simply to build stamina.
The spirit of yoga lies in uplifting the life force through a succession of physical exercises (Asanas), mental exercises (Pranayama) and meditation (Dhyan) to control the wandering mind. There are several types or Marga (path) of yoga that can be taken in order to reunite with the energy within. The variations entrenched in yoga are designed in a way, where each type of yoga stresses on a specific path embracing a certain set of practices. The yoga styles personify a ladder, from the ‘lowest’ form of Hatha yoga, focusing on physical postures and breathing methods, to the ‘highest’ form known as Raja yoga, or union by mental mastery.
A large number of resort spas, studios and gyms provide yoga classes with groups of 10 to 20 students, varying in intensity for novices and experts alike. For the luxury seekers who does not mind practicing yoga in surroundings with a million dollar view, destinations such as Ananda Spa near Rishikesh or Jive Spa from Taj hotel resorts, ensures that one hones the art in the lap of luxury.
The ancient art of yoga has kept up with the trends and has evolved variations such as yogilates, a fusion of yoga and pilates, or the more robust aerial yoga, a combination of yoga and aerial acrobatics.
It is said that practice of yoga reduces a variety of medical conditions but one suspects that any unfit body will be plagued with a range of dieses and any form of exercise, basic or otherwise, would be beneficial. One has to blend yoga with eating habits and leading a balanced lifestyle. Yoga harmonizes the mind, body and soul – the end result is a flexible body and relief from ailments.