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Making yoga work for you.

By Arun Goel

As the year draws to an end, it is worth examining the meteoric rise of yoga as a major stress-reliever, fitness provider and as a tool for contentment.

While the cynics would have us believe that yoga is a fad, is it really? Well, the answer is a resounding NO - it cannot be because it's existed for centuries and it has tremendous PROVEN benefits for body and mind health.

The best part about yoga is that it understands the complex relationship that exists between the body and mind. The reason why various fitness programs often fall over their head is because of the unsustainable momentum created when you first start working with them. The difference between expectations and actual results is far too wide. As a consequence, boredom sets in followed by a frustration and the eventual giving up. The benefits gained are too shallow for the practice to be sustained.

Yoga grows upon you slowly in a way that the mind and body remain in perfect sync. As this harmony is developed, an inexplicable bliss or contentment is created which makes you WANT it to go on.

Yoga understands the union between the body, mind and energy. In fact, the word yoga means union. It simultaneously works in an interconnected manner so that the development of the body automatically leads to the development of the mind and energy and vice versa. This creates a remarkable re-enforcing effect, which leads to the stable development of the student.

How it works

As you do the yoga exercises with awareness on the movement pattern it creates a 3-fold effect -

  • it provides the physical toning to the applicable muscles, organs, joints and ligaments.

  • Simultaneously, this unlocks the energy blockages and help in channeling the energy (Prana) appropriately.

  • Also, as the physical exercises are carried out with awareness - an awareness of the breath flow and awareness of the body parts during the movements - it exercises the mind by creating the right thought pattern for effective meditation.

The meditative positions in yoga help in channeling this harmonious thought pattern towards a higher consciousness.

As you proceed, you will feel the effect that yoga has on your mind. The thinking will become clearer, the head lighter and you will experience a unique calmness. This in turn will motivate you to proceed with your daily yoga asanas (exercises), which will tone your body in a better manner.

In this way an upward spiral or virtuous cycle is created.

Similarly, yoga breathing and relaxation techniques re-enforce the benefits so gained. These work on the balancing of various energy flows in the body to provide maximum benefits. The relaxation practice of Yoga Nidra is known to provide equivalent relaxation in 10 minutes as a 4-hour sleep. Likewise, the breathing (Pranayama) techniques are very effective in transforming moods and dull mental states - a need that is felt today more than ever before.

As you can see, the diverse benefits prove the desirability of bringing yoga into our daily routine. As you proceed in your practice, over time, you will feel the development of an expanded consciousness or move towards "Enlightenment", which is in fact the ultimate goal of yoga.

With the New Year soon approaching, it is perhaps the best time to give yourself a great opportunity for self-development - it will be one resolution that you wished you had made earlier.

To help you understand the yoga practices, PLUS develop a weekly schedule and to equip you with the necessary tools for starting out on the yoga path, the 'Health and Yoga' team have compiled a special 'yoga kit' this season. You may like to evaluate it by clicking here

Life is beautiful and yoga helps you realize it. Embrace yoga for what it provides to your mind and body.

All the best,
Arun Goel

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