Yoga has existed since time immemorial. It has a solid textual foundation as well as a long history of effective practices that contribute to and enhance the quality of life. That is perhaps the reason that it has survived the uncertainty and unpredictability of times. Let’s get to know about the benefits of yoga for health and a happy life.
The dictionary meaning of ‘quality of life’ is, ‘the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group’. It is evident that health and therapy are essential parts of quality of life. So, let us explore the contribution of yoga towards health, comfort and happiness.
Categories of yoga for health
Yogic practices can be broadly categorised as physical and mental. Asana or yogic postures and Pranayama or yogic breath control are physical practices, and meditation is mental in nature.
Health is not merely the absence of disease. Happiness and a sense of well-being are also integral parts of health. Diseases can also be physical and mental in nature. The process of eliminating disease is called therapy. The above mentioned yogic practices have been proven to be effective therapeutically from traditional and scientific points of view.
What are asanas?
Asanas are yogic postures that are stable and comfortable. They mainly contribute to physical health by rendering the internal organs and the various systems like nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory healthy. If done as per yogic protocol and not workout, they have the potential to prevent, manage and cure diseases like arthritis, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, indigestion, Premenstrual Syndrome and menopause. Ongoing scientific research is proving the effectiveness of asanas as therapy.
Contribution of Pranayama to mental health
Pranayama is a practice of yogic breath control. It mainly contributes to mental health. It is a proven fact that the breath and the mind affect each other. A disturbed mind leads to irregular breathing and vice-versa. This is where the importance of Pranayama lies. By regulating the breath, the mind can be calmed down. Scientific research has proven that pranayama when done as per protocol, is effective in combating stress and stress responses like anxiety, fear, panic, anger, depression, hot flashes in menopausal women and PMS. It is being used as a tool in psychotherapy by numerous practitioners.
All about meditation
Meditation is a practice where one’s awareness flows in a single direction alone. There are several meditational techniques outlined in yoga to achieve this. It remedies the distracted mind and results in better focus and concentration. According to modern science, it is an effective therapy for psychosomatic disorders. Meditation is also a practice that instills a sense of happiness and wellbeing.
So, we can say that the practice of yoga is not only an effective therapeutic tool, but it also instills a sense of happiness in an individual. This, in turn, makes him or her healthy.