Yoga is an ancient art of meditation that originated in India some 5,000 years ago. This discipline is still practiced today, in all parts of the world; not surprising since it began as a Sanskrit word that translated means “to join” or “unite”.
Yoga is a Spiritual Discipline
When one thinks of yoga in practice, the mind conjures up visions of peaceful beings contorted into various physical configurations representing our animal friends. This mental image isn’t entirely incorrect, but it’s not exactly right, either. For those who practice yoga as a spiritual way of life, it is much more than a slow-motion game of solitary Twister.
Yoga isn’t specific to any religion, per se, but leans toward a more intimate understanding of the self through the mind, body, and soul. Enlightenment isn’t a destination or goal of yoga, merely a byproduct, with perfection of self being the focus. This is achieved through diet, exercise, balance, and meditation.
Yoga Connects Us While Teaching Self-Awareness
Anyone can learn yoga, and the benefits of taking up yoga as a daily part of your life is evidenced in medical studies as well as philosophical and spiritual settings. As the art of yoga is becoming more mainstream in the West, it has gained much support from the medical and mental health communities.
Education experts have praised the effects of young children practicing yoga in school, and statistics have shown that praise to be well earned. Students who regularly practice yoga scored better overall than those who have never been exposed to the art. These students were also more active, physically healthier, and generally more well-adjusted as they entered into higher educational levels.
Physicians and psychologists almost unanimously agree there are healthful benefits of patients incorporating the practice of yoga into their daily routines. Since meditation is a key part of yoga, it makes sense that yoga is often recommended to reduce stress, help people lose weight, and cope with life’s major stressors and inevitabilities.
Peace of Mind Isn’t for the Faint of Heart
Dedication and discipline are core ideals in the practice of yoga, regardless of the reason. As stated before, yoga poses are often physically demanding, and require patience, diligence, and practice to accomplish correctly. It is always sound advice to seek out a teacher when beginning, to avoid unnecessary injury.
Yoga can be individualized to reflect your personal needs and can be adjusted to allow for physical, mental, and emotional limitations. The flexibility of a yoga program is only limited by the amount of interest and effort you put into it. One should remember that yoga is not simply an exercise regimen, but is also a philosophical, physical and emotional discipline in equal parts.
Your Unique Yoga Journey
There is no one true path to enlightenment and personal fulfillment through yoga. Each person must commit to lifestyle changes that will facilitate the personal growth they wish to achieve, but through yoga you won’t go it alone.