In our chaotic and busy lives, yoga has come forward as a saving grace and has offered a respite from the physical ailments and mental dilemmas that plaque us. Already very popular in the east, it has become increasingly popular on the western side of the globe. Many swear by the benefits of yoga and have made it a part of their daily fitness and wellness routine.
Through the yogic asanas (postures), one can achieve inner peace and clarity of mind. This pertains to the spiritual aspect of yoga and deepens the connection between us and the divine. Here’s all you need to know about it.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga?
The practice of yoga is beneficial for people of all ages. As per the National Institute of Health, yoga improves general wellness by alleviating stress, anxiety, improves sleep, relieves pain, helps manage weight and menopausal symptoms, and enhances the quality of life.
These benefits can be broadly classified in 3 niches:
1. Mental Benefits
Incorporation of yoga and meditation in the daily routine can do wonders for your mental health. It helps relieve the symptoms of mental health issues.
A review of 12 recent studies with 672 participants showed positive effects of yoga for stress management. It reduces the secretion of cortisol, the stress hormone and promotes relaxation.
- As per a study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, yoga improves the quality of sleep in older adults, causes fewer sleep disturbances, and allows them to fall asleep faster.
- People suffering from anxiety and depression can benefit from yoga. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine proved the efficacy of yoga in the treatment of depression.
- You will feel an increase in physical and mental energy after practicing yoga. This can help boost your mood, keeping negative feelings at bay.
2. Physical Benefits
Yoga is renowned for the physical benefits it offers with its relaxation techniques and postures. If you’re recovering from an illness, have undergone surgery, or are suffering from a chronic condition, “yoga can become an integral part of your treatment and potentially hasten healing”.
- The stretching exercises involved in yoga increase flexibility and muscle strength. It also improves your balance.
- Yoga has the ability to ease moderate to severe lower back pain. As per the NIH research, it is an effective “a carefully adapted set of yoga postures may help reduce pain and improve the ability to walk and move”. It is also beneficial in the treatment of chronic neck pain.
- According to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga, yoga therapy has a significant effect on patients suffering from migraine. It can reduce the severity of their headaches.
- Yoga can help lower down the blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and glucose levels in the body. It lets your body relax to reduce your heart rate, which can prevents you from harmful diseases.
3. Spiritual Benefits
The spiritual aspect of yoga allows you to become self-aware and work towards a higher level of consciousness through the process of self-discovery. It refers to a combination of yoga and meditation.
The practice of yoga gives you the inner strength to get through the emotional stress and psychological challenges you have been facing.
Yoga enhances your ability to focus and helps you develop better concentration skills. This increases your productivity and attentiveness.
With yoga, you set on a journey towards self-discovery. This helps you gain confidence to believe in your abilities.
You become aware of the spirit and energy through yoga. The spirit here is the higher consciousness, a driving force that influences the way we think and perform.
When you practice yoga daily, you reconnect with your creative, inspirational abilities, which are often overshadowed by troubling thoughts and low self-esteem. It helps to clear your mind and gives you a sense of hope.
Include Spiritual Yoga in Your Daily Practice
Practicing spiritual yoga can help you achieve a sense of inner peace. According to The Art of Living, our mind frequently oscillates between the past and the future, causing us to worry and anticipate. It is full of desires, cravings, fears, and aversions. We must bring our minds to the present moment, which can be accomplished through yoga.
Kundalini Yoga is deeply rooted in the spiritual dimension of the practice. It moves spiritual energy through our central channel by using our physical body. It involves chanting, breathing exercises, physical movement, and meditation. The goal of Kundalini yoga is to awaken the spiritual energy located at the base of your spine like a coiled serpent. When dormant energy flows freely in the upward direction through the seven chakras (energy centers) and contributes to an enhanced state of consciousness, you achieve Kundalini awakening.
You can attain yogic spirituality with the following asanas:
1. Padamasana- Lotus Pose
The lotus flower is a symbol of purity and represents divine birth and spiritual growth. As lotus blooms in muddy waters, this asana represents a human being with their roots in the world but mind one with the divine. The formation of petals symbolizes the complete detachment of the yogi from the world.
How to perform
- Sit on a yoga mat with your legs crossed and placed on opposite thighs. Make sure your spine is erect.
- Do breathing exercises by holding your breath and then breathing in and out.
2. Viirabhadrasana – Warrior Pose
As per the ancient yogic philosophy, lack of self-awareness is the cause of suffering for many. The warrior pose gives you the courage, strength, and bravery to face your inner demons and let go of ego and ignorance.
How to perform
- Stand with your legs firmly placed on the ground.
- Look to your right and extend your arms powerfully, as if you were a warrior.
- Push your pelvis down during the pose.
- Change the directions and keep breathing as you practice this asana.
3. Balasana – Child Pose
The Balasana is ideal for the times you are stressed out or tense. It brings you to a state of calm, allowing the spirit to nourish itself. It relaxes you, calms you down, and strengthens the connection between the mind and body. The child’s pose allows positive feelings to flourish within you.
How to perform
- Kneel down on the ground and tuck your legs underneath.
- Bend forward with your torso between your thighs. Put your arms by your side or stretch them to place them in front of you.
- Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to a few minutes.
Yoga clears your mind of stress and gives you a better sense of direction. Meditation provides the disturbed mind with a feeling of relaxation. Spiritual yoga cleanses your mind of doubts and consciousness, leaving you refreshed and rejuvenated.
The yogis gain inner strength to deal with the situation at hand better. It allows you to understand and acknowledge your inner self in order to realize your highest potential.
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