Taking today’s busyness into account, as well as the amount of work we get to do in a day, our relaxation has become something of high value because we rarely have time for it. Of course, older generations were well aware of how this sort of lifestyle is often accompanied by stress which then leads to a number of health issues, so relaxation isn’t something they took lightly.
Luckily, nowadays people are also becoming aware of this, and time spent on physical activities is becoming a must. Considering the need for physical activity and the lack of time for it, one would wonder where the middle ground is; it’s something that’s been around for centuries – yoga.
Meditation as part of it can be done anyplace, anytime, it’s all about mastering the breathing techniques. The world today certainly isn’t short on yoga centres and yogis for that matter, so here are some interesting facts to honour this centuries old philosophy.
The name yoga comes from the yuj, a Sanskrit root, meaning to join together, referring to the mindful joining of the mind, body and spirit in one, creating a unison. In the beginnings, about 5,000 years ago in the region of northern India, this practice was all about spirituality and meditation, so it was all about the body as is, but once the asanas got into focus, yoga evolved into a practice that required the use of props, the yoga pillow and mat being the basic ones.
Though there are those brave ones who prefer to do yoga the old way, many can’t imagine going through the discomfort of doing the asanas without any support. Though certain poses may not seem physically challenging, like the padmasana (lotus pose), try practising it without a yoga pillow and you’d see it actually is. After all, yoga is about ease and relaxation, not an experience meant to put you through discomfort so props are a necessity. Besides, props in the likes of a yoga pillow, strap and block can be helpful with more asanas and help you easily master them as they align the spine, which is why they’re as essential as they’re popular.
There are eight different yoga branches: yama, pranayama, niyama, asana, pratyhara, dhyana, dharana and samadhi, out of which the asana is related to the postures and poses. All these eight branches have resulted in the creation of more than 100 different yoga schools, such as karma, bikram, raja, hatha and bakhti among others, with hatha being one of the most widespread today.
The many elements yoga is comprised of as a practice, transcendence, illumination and shamanic poses to name a few, imply it’s an integration of Stone Age shamanism going as far back in time as 25,000 BC. Some of the notable names that helped spread yoga in the western world are Ralph Waldo Emerson, US essayist and poet, who also inspired his essayist and poet friend Henry David Thoreau to become a yogi, Carl Jung, and the Beatles’ member George Harrison.
Australia, in the world of yoga, is known for the contribution made by researchers proving yoga helps with binge eating, and eating disorders in general, as well as the Guinness recorder Bette Calman famous for being the world’s oldest yoga teacher until she retired at 87 in 2013.
Considering yoga is the practice that can help with boosting the immune system and bettering the overall well-being, along with reducing the risk of heart diseases and high blood pressure thanks to improving blood circulation, while also being helpful with asthma, it’s a practice worth giving a try as it’s one that wouldn’t take up much of your time and is sure to give you the relaxation you need.