Yoga is an ancient and complex practice, rooted in Indian philosophy. It began as a spiritual practice but has become popular as a way of promoting physical and mental well-being.
Although classical yoga also includes other elements, yoga as practiced in the United States typically emphasizes physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation (dyana).
There are many different yoga styles, ranging from gentle practices to physically demanding ones. Differences in the types of yoga used in research studies may affect study results. This makes it challenging to evaluate research on the health effects of yoga. Yoga and two practices of Chinese origin—tai chi and qi gong—are sometimes called “meditative movement” practices. All three practices include both meditative elements and physical ones.
Yoga ‘yoke’ or ‘union’ is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India and aim to control (yoke) and still the mind, recognizing a detached witness-consciousness untouched by the mind (Chitta) and mundane suffering (Duḥkha). There is a wide variety of schools of yoga, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism,and traditional and modern yoga is practiced worldwide.
Two general theories exist on the origins of yoga. The linear model holds that yoga originated in the Vedic period, as reflected in the Vedic textual corpus, and influenced Buddhism; according to author Edward Fitzpatrick Crangle, this model is mainly supported by Hindu scholars. According to the synthesis model, yoga is a synthesis of non-Vedic and Vedic elements; this model is favoured in Western scholarship. Yoga-like practices are first mentioned in the Rigveda as a non-Brahminical practice. Yoga is referred to in a number of the Upanishads. The first known appearance of the word “yoga” with the same meaning as the modern term is in the Katha Upanishad, which was probably composed between the fifth and third centuries BCE. Yoga continued to develop as a systematic study and practice during the fifth and sixth centuries BCE in ancient India’s ascetic and Śramaṇa movements. The most comprehensive text on Yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, date to the early centuries of the Common Era; Yoga philosophy became known as one of the six orthodox philosophical schools(Darśanas) of Hinduism in the second half of the first millennium CE. Hatha yoga texts began to emerge between the ninth and 11th centuries, originating in tantra.
There is no consensus on yoga’s chronology or origins other than its development in ancient India. There are two broad theories explaining the origins of yoga. The linear model holds that yoga has Vedic origins (as reflected in Vedic texts), and influenced Buddhism. This model is mainly supported by Hindu scholars. According to the synthesis model, yoga is a synthesis of indigenous, non-Vedic practices with Vedic elements. This model is favoured in Western scholarship.
Speculations about yoga began to emerge in the early Upanishads of the first half of the first millennium BCE, with expositions also appearing in Jain and Buddhist texts c. 500 – c. 200 BCE. Between 200 BCE and 500 CE, traditions of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain philosophy were taking shape; teachings were collected as sutras, and a philosophical system of Patanjaliyogasastra began to emerge. The Middle Ages saw the development of a number of yoga satellite traditions. It and other aspects of Indian philosophy came to the attention of the educated Western public during the mid-19th century.
Slow movements and deep breathing increase blood flow and warm up muscles, while holding a pose can build strength. Yoga is as good as basic stretching for easing pain and improving mobility in people with lower back pain. The American College of Physicians recommends yoga as a first-line treatment for chronic low back pain. Gentle yoga has been shown to ease some of the discomfort of tender, swollen joints for people with arthritis, according to a Johns Hopkins review of 11 recent studies.
Regular yoga practice may reduce levels of stress and body-wide inflammation, contributing to healthier hearts. Several of the factors contributing to heart disease, including high blood pressure and excess weight, can also be addressed through yoga. Research shows that a consistent bedtime yoga routine can help you get in the right mindset and prepare your body to fall asleep and stay asleep.
You may feel increased mental and physical energy, a boost in alertness and enthusiasm, and fewer negative feelings after getting into a routine of practicing yoga. According to the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss and quality sleep.
Participating in yoga classes can ease loneliness and provide an environment for group healing and support. Even during one-on-one sessions loneliness is reduced as one is acknowledged as a unique individual, being listened to and participating in the creation of a personalized yoga plan.Living in a fast-paced society makes it difficult to find the time to accomplish all the things on our todo list, let alone find the time to relax. The Eastern practice of yoga has become a modern-day symbol of peace, serenity and wellbeing in the West. More and more centers are offering yoga classes in Istanbul for those who want to incorporate exercise with relaxation and stress release.
Though yoga is a relatively new practice in the West, there are proven health benefits to this new trend of exercise.
– Flexibility The first thing you are likely to notice with yoga is how much it improves your flexibility. While a back bend is not likely to be achieved after the first class, touching your toes will seem like a great success after a few classes. A bit of endurance and a great deal of patience will have those muscles loosened after the initial aches and pains disappear.
– Increase muscle density Muscles serve a purpose beyond eye candy; they protect you from conditions such as arthritis and back pain, and strengthen bone density. Building muscle, as well as flexibility, not only gives you a leaner body but a healthier one too. Having a strong core will enable you to carry your own weight and improve your posture. Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine.
– Blood Flow The relaxation exercises practiced in yoga can help circulation, especially in hands and feet, and get the blood flowing. It also delivers more oxygen to your cells, boosting levels of hemoglobin in the red blood cells. This helps with swelling in your arms and legs. Twisting poses are thought to wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released.
– Joint Account Each yoga session takes your joints through their full range of motions. Cartilage in the joints is like a sponge: When its fluid is squeezed out, it receives fresh nutrients. This can prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Neglected areas will eventually wear out and expose the underlying bone.
– Clarity A clear mind allows you to think and feel clearly. Yoga and meditation allow you to calm the mind and soul and break free from destructive emotions like anger, frustration and even hate. Chronic anger, hostility and frustration are strongly linked to heart attack, as are smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol. A calm mind allows you to connect with your inner feelings and increase emotions of compassion.
– Connective Tissue In yoga everything is connected: your posture with your breathing, your breathing with your mental state and your mental state with your emotional wellbeing. This connection is vital to understanding yoga. This holistic system simultaneously taps into many mechanisms that have additive and even multiplicative effects. This synergy may be the most important way that yoga heals.