How yoga boosts your body and mind
Yoga is a means of connecting to the universal consciousness. The energy is within us, all we have to do is to awaken it.health and fitness Updated: Jun 20, 2015 14:07 IST
"Practice Yoga: It works on the body, mind, emotions and energy. Live life to its full potential," read an early morning text from the Ministry of AYUSH, which is the nodal ministry for promoting World Yoga Day on June 21.
"Practice Yoga: It cam make you feel active, energetic and positive. Live life to its full potential," read another test from the ministry behind the mega demonstration at Rajpath on Sudnay.
Yoga practioners vouch for the benefits of this ancient form of healing on the body, mind and soul, especially now when growing physical and mental stress is assaulting the body's immunity.
"It is all about prevention, and yoga offers several kriyas (practices) that are effective in fighting infections and help a person stay healthy," says PC Kapoor, director, South Delhi's Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Nataraja Centre.
Cleansing exercises are a good way to begin. Jal neeti kriya (nasal cleansing) is one of the many cleansing practices that can be done at home. It's done using a clay pot with an outlet filled with salted lukewarm water, which is sucked in through one nostril and taken out from the other.
"It clears the nasal passage. In winter, especially in polluted cities like Delhi, particulate matter clogs up the nasal cavity and lungs. This kriya cleanses out the dirt," said Kapoor. Jal neeti one can try while brushing teeth.
Breathing exercises such as Kapalbhati, Anulom-vilom Pranayam also strengthen lungs and clean the nasal passage.
However, the technique and timing is important, with yoga experts insisting simply breathing - thoughtlessly inhaling and exhaling air - doesn't work.
"Normally, people breathe using the chest but pressure for correct breathing must come from the abdomen," says Abeba Alemayehu, a trainer at the Sivananda Centre. Over time, breathing kriyas help treat ailments of the respiratory tract.
Also recommended is Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), which is a set of 12 powerful asanas that provide a cardiovascular workout while strengthening the back and limbs. If done regularly, sun salutation makes the body immensely flexible.
Surya Namaskar should be done for at least 10 minutes each day, accompanied with two-three rounds of breathing exercises. Experts, however, warn against starting on your own without adequate supervision.
"These are easy exercises and can be done at home regularly, but you have to learn them under the guidance of a skilled yoga practitioner. Once learnt, you can continue on your own," says Alemayehu.
Apart from asana (postures), people also need to breathe correctly, eat healthy, be positive and meditate to establish harmony between the mind, body and soul.
"Yoga is a means of connecting to the universal consciousness. The energy is within us, all we have to do is to awaken it and that is what we do in the form of Sahaja Yoga. For us more focus is on the meditation part," says Rtd. Lt. General VK Kapoor, who has been practicing Sahaja Yoga for the past 21 years.