Informative exploration essay on yoga can help provide better health
Although yoga has only become popular in recent years it has a rich and long history that is not less than five thousand years old. Even then it still remains unknown when exactly the practice began. A review of various literature insinuates that in ancient times people’s desire for health, need for self understanding and long life gave birth to yoga, a mental and physical exercise which has ever since spread to many parts of the world. What Yoga is
The word ‘yoga’ essentially means to yoke or join together’ and thus the exercise is meant to harmonize the functions of the mind and body and result to an individual’s general well being and wellness (Monro, 1997, 215-21). The yoga system is built and supported by meditation, simple postural exercises, relaxation and breathing practices. Yoga exercises are designed and developed to appropriately put pressure or strain on the body’s glandular systems consequently increasing their efficiency and an individual’s total health. The body on the other hand is perceived as the primary instrument that allows people to evolve and work and therefore the yoga student is required to treat it with immense respect and care. The breathing techniques are supported by the assertion that breath is unarguably the source and basis of life for the human body. Therefore breathing practices and control is imperative to improve and enhance the mind and body functioning. Generally breathing and exercises that are inbuilt in yoga are meant to prepare the mind and body for meditation. As a result the student learns how to attain ‘a quiet mind, inner peace and silence’ which paves way for healing and recovery from the consequences of every day life stresses (Monro, 1997, 215-21). Regular practice of yoga as a whole is thus expected to result into a bright, clear mind, a capable and strong body.
The yoga tradition and routine has been passed on from teacher to student through practical demonstration and oral teaching starting many years ago. The formal technique and procedures that are currently referred to as yoga are thus collective experiences of numerous individuals that have accumulated for many years. The earliest texts reflecting yoga were compiled by Patanjali, an early scholar, who set down or came up with the most widespread yoga practices and theories. Patanjali wrote about the ‘Ashtanga yoga that forms yoga’s eight limbs and what is currently known as classical yoga’ (Boccio and Feuerstein, 2004, 33). Classical yoga eight steps require restraint from casual sex, violence, hoarding, stealing and lying; niyama which implies observance of tolerance, contentment, remembrance, purity and study; asana which means physical exercises; dharana which requires an individual’s concentration on one subject for a specific amount of time; pranayama meaning breathing techniques; pratyahara that entails preparation for meditation; dhyana involving mediation defined as the capacity to focus on nothing or one thing indefinitely and samadhi meaning absorption and requiring an individual’s realization of the importance of self. Nonetheless modern yoga classes usually focus on asana, pranayama and dhyana (Yardi, 2001, 7-12). Health benefits
Yoga is becoming even more popular and is gaining respect and acceptance as more people become conscious of its benefits. HHP (2009) assert that even though it was previously perceived as an ‘abstruse Eastern discipline’ yoga is now regarded as an important aspect of health and fitness in America. They indicate that a national survey conducted recently reveals that close to sixteen million Americans practice yoga while another nine million are planning to try it within the year. Even though most people adopt the routine mainly for purposes of improving their overall...