Yoga has been practiced for centuries, maybe even millenniums. There is no general agreement about how and when yoga originated other than the consensus that yoga originated in Ancient India. The Indus Valley during 3300-1900 BCE and pre Vedic Indian States are the suggested origins for Yoga. However, it was not introduced and adopted by the Western educated public until the mid-19th Century. Now-a-days yoga is being practiced and taught in many institutes all over the world in extravagant or simple yoga-
meditation retreat venues.
The main goal of yoga is to create strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body. Yoga also helps with chronic back pain, arthritis, headaches, reduces insomnia and lowers blood pressure. There are many benefits of yoga aside from the physical ones. One of the best benefits of yoga is that it helps a person manage stress. Because stress can take physical forms like headaches, back pains, neck pains, sleeping disorders and the inability to concentrate. Yoga's embodiment of breathing and meditation can help improve a person's overall well-being.
Pranayama (ancient yogic breathing techniques) and meditation are very useful in getting rid of stress that accumulates on a daily basis. The practice helps to let go of attachment. After a long and tiring day, a few minutes of yoga every day provides the secret to feeling fresh and energetic as it's a great way to download and get rid of all the emotional contents we carry. On a physical level, Yoga helps improve flexibility, strength, balance. In fact, balance is key, the rest is secondary. Every time I receive an email from a prospective student who'd like to attend one of my yoga classes in Ealing, I always smile to myself when they mention how inflexible they are. I've even had conversations when people say they'd like to try out a yoga class when they feel more flexible. That's almost like telling a personal trainer you'll come to see them when you're feeling fit. The place to start is by being flexible in your mind and hopefully this translates into your body.
The main idea of yoga is to explore your physical, and most importantly, your mental abilities and test your limits. It is the ideal way of getting in tune with your body and inner-self. Yoga can also help you with early detection for physical problems and allow you to take preventive action.
Yoga can improve your relationships
Yoga can help you in improving your relationships with your spouse, parents, friends or loved ones, more importantly the relationship you have with yourself. A healthy and relaxed mind, a mind that is happy and contented is better at dealing with sensitive relationship matters. Our system is a unified mixture of the body, mind and spirit. Any irregularity that stirs up in the body can affect your mind and a distastefulness or restlessness in the mind can manifest an infirmity in the body.
To benefit from a body that is strong, supple and flexible you only need to include yoga in your daily routine. Practicing yoga regularly makes the body muscles and strong as well as stretching them and toning them. Meditation and yoga have the power and ability to improve or enhance your intuitive ability so that you can effortlessly realise and understand how to meet your needs. It helps you to connect to yourself, to others and your surroundings. Yoga works! You only need to experience it for yourself.
The most important lesson to learn is yoga's a continuous process, a journey of personal discovery. The deeper you move into your yoga, the more insightful are its results.
My two favourite words I like to incorporate into my classes are 'playfulness' and 'introspection'. It has to have that element of fun to it so it can nourish the soul.
Ladan Soltani- 'A dedicated yogi and author of fabulous fitness at 40'