The Origins & Benefits of Yoga
The practice of yoga evolved in India some 5000 years ago and was originally developed as a means to help spiritual aspirants prepare the body for long periods of meditation where higher states of consciousness could be reached. Asana, the physical poses that we know as ‘yoga’, are in fact just one of the eight steps on this spiritual path. With the addition of pranayama (control of breath) and meditation, the practice of yoga becomes more profound than mere physical exercise and consequently has many holistic benefits beyond the improved flexibility and strength it is renowned for.
While asana, through its manipulation of the body’s tissues, undoubtedly improves muscular-skeletal health it also helps to stimulate the cardio-vascular and lymphatic systems, the adrenal glands and the endocrine system. As a result blood pressure and heart rate are lowered, the body’s immune system is improved, and stress hormones are reduced thereby improving mood, mental clarity and quality of sleep. These beneficial physical and mental effects are enriched by the control of breath (pranayama) which has a similar yet more subtle effect on the body’s systems, and meditation which encourages self-awareness and discipline whilst relaxing the mind. By working with the mind, body and breath the body’s energy becomes balanced, symptoms such as fatigue, pain and anxiety are overcome and an overall sense of health and well-being are achieved. Read more about the Benefits of Yoga…