Benefits of yoga for body health can not be underestimated again, there are a lot of research is revealing its very amazing benefits for health, mental, and even more problems such as woman, man and kids. Large popularity of Yoga would likely make you familiar with its name whether or not you practice this treatment at your daily and or are a member of Yoga club in any health center. Nowadays, it becomes alternative health treatment to keep it stable and even better, avoid away any threat of diseases or health disturbance as well as cure any existing diseases. Yoga even becomes a common choice for some people who have high tension of stress and frustration or those with mental disorders from various levels. Common people with less mental or health problem also like to choose Yoga as it assures mental and physical health through natural ways.
Unfortunately, only a few people know much, complete and reliable information about Yoga. Most of them slightly know that Yoga is an expensive treatment so they are unwilling to practice it. This misunderstanding would certainly not happen if only they knew the information from reliable source and fair point of view. The information would be especially useful when you still consider to do the practice or not and make it as alternative treatment for any purpose you have. Other than that, the information would also be useful when introducing Yoga to your family or friends for inviting them to do Yoga so your invitation would be more convincing.
Anyway, the following is a list of some important information about Yoga including its naming and origin, its basic principles and the most important one, its benefits.
A. Naming, Origin and Related Term(s)
Yoga originally came from Hindunesse tradition as it has been considered as the very first and basic step of spiritual treatment among its believers. Meanwhile, the word Yoga itself is from Sanskrit language meaning being a companion or being united with universe as well as its Creator. Considering its origin, it makes sense that although Yoga spreads across the world and becomes a popular health and mental treatment, it still uses Sanskrit terminologies instead of local languages where it is practiced.
It is said that Yoga had been practiced since 2000 BC and it turns out now that it still blossoms until today. It gets larger popularity nowadays as it combines physical and mental exercise so the result also applies for those two sides. This accords to common opinion saying that nowadays people do not only need body healing or treatment, because they also need mind or mental treatment.
In addition to it, talking about Yoga would not be complete without mentioning someone called The Father of Yoga, Maharsi Patanjali. He made some statement about Yoga which are still often quoted until today. One of which is the most popular one saying that Yoga is actually a way to control worldly things closely relating to physical matter and human’s soul. He also added that Yoga aims to give mental peace and balance.This implies that at first, Yoga was used to train spirituality but later on, it turned out into a fact that spirituality is closely connected to physical thing, particularly the body health of human. Therefore, Yoga is now practiced to keep both mental and physical health. Its practice(s) involve the move of mind and body to increase physical thing and relaxed mind.
B. Basic Principles of Yoga
To give you more detail explanation about what Yoga really is, herewith eight biggest pillars or basic principles (branches) of Yoga as mentioned by so called its father. Take a look at these following points so you would get important information about Yoga in case you are a newbie and about to learn Yoga to consider practicing it.
- Anga. This first branch is all about ethics and morality. It means that Yoga practitioners need to do its daily activities based on ethical norms.
- Obedience. This means a demand for a practitioner to keep his/her body and mind as good as possible so those two would not break the rule applied at their surrounding.
- Asana means physical pose. This implies that Yoga is also addressed for physical health, ranging from improving body strength to strengthening immune system particularly in preventing any disease so that the healthy body could empower mind and soul.
- Pranayama. Prana means life strength while Ayama is existence and the compound of those two words mean lengthening the breath, This shows that breathing system is one of the targetted areas of Yoga. It is said that ancient people like to think that good breathing system accords positively to mind and soul.
- Pratyahara focuses on senses treatment. A big principle of this branch is that sensory organs are which influenced by surrounding so it would feel suffering and illness.
- Dharna or concentration means gathering focus into one thing. As this step or phase comes into the difficult category, Yoga experts chooses the breathing system as the medium to ‘gather’ the focus as it is proved that both are interrelated.
- Meditation is different from concentration because if concentration leads whole focus into one thing, then meditation is keeping focus into nothing. This is the same as emptying mind and throwing away any though for the certain period of time.
- Samadi or semedi is the last and final part. This is the summit of all Yoga moves and poses. At this phase, Yoga practitioner reaches the highest focus and calmness as if s/he sleeps well yet is aware and awake. Reaching the summit of this process is claimed as the unity to The Creator
Benefits of Yoga
As mentioned before, benefits of Yoga range from mental to physical one as it also treats those two dimension. One lovable about Yoga is that it applies for everyone. Meaning to say, Yoga would be effective and working well for everyone no matter how young or old they are. It is not surprising then when you come in to any Yoga center and some teenagers are all around. Following is the list of its benefit divided into two parts, which are mental benefit and health benefit. Pay attention to every detail as you could make better consideration after taking a look at them.
Yoga For Mental Benefits
1. Removing Frustration and Depression
Some moves or posed practiced in Yoga are significantly effective in removing frustration and depression as two of the most difficult-to-avoid-mental-problems. Those moves or the children’s move type, bowing forth move type, cat move type and putting feet to the wall move type. This benefit has been scientifically tested and proved and the research (s) reveal that consistent Yoga practice could increase serotonin levels while at the same time decrease monoamine oxidase levels. Serotonin shows the happiness while monoamine oxidase is an enzyme breaking down neurotransmittor and cortisol, two that stimulate calm feeling and happiness. It is also known that yoga practitioners’ left prefrontal cortex generally show heightened activity showing much greater level of happiness than non-practitioners.
2. Helping to Get More Focus
Yoga is also scientifically proved as having positive impact on cognitive dimension. Researches found that Yoga practitioners tend to experience significant improvement in their cognitive dimension. The indication is the improved focus, stronger and ‘larger’ memory, quicker reaction time and even IQ score. This especially applies to those who like to do Transcendental Meditation, one of main parts of Yoga. It is proved that those people show the higher ability to deal with and solve the problems and remember any information better. Therefore, it would a good choice to teach younger generation to know brief information about Yoga as it would be very beneficial to their study process.
3. Assisting to Be More Social
It perhaps sound hyperbolic but it turns out to be true that Yoga can ‘heal’ asocial type of person. The pose of Yoga serving this function is called Karma Yoga meaning service to others. This type of Yoga was designed to lead asocial person to be more social on the basic assumption that serving people would be beneficial for the doer as s/he would be healthier. According to the concept of this type of Yoga, helping and serving others would give the real meaning to the practitioner. when they deal with other people’s problem, they would tend to thank God more for everything they have and their own problem would not seem so daunting as before. The concept of Yoga in this sense is also supported by a research conducted at the University of Michigan revealing that elderly people who do voluntary action would be likely alive longer than those who do not.
4. Building Inner Peace
People like to think that peace could be reached by visiting some spots, doing certain things or getting something wanted. Those relatively connect to peace with external force, while Yoga leads the practitioners to build inner peace from inside themselves. Yoga accomplishes this mission by stopping the mind fluctuation through slowing down mental loops of some disturbance ranging from stress, high boredom, regret, anger, fear and any feeling causing stress. By doing so, Yoga helps the practitioners to build inner peace because as commonly known, things like stress, frustration, regret, anger and so on and so forth could not be avoided. It just demands good control and management and it is exactly what Yoga does and is done for. You also could try Tai chi benefits to control and decrease your stress mood.
5. Building Better Relationship
Once you could deal with yourself, you would also be able to show your positive aura to other people at your surrounding ranging from spouse, parents, family, colleagues and working teams. Your relaxed mind and sincere happiness would greatly influence on how you would treat other people so your relationship would get better. You would likely be more friendly, more open, smile more often and get more equanimity and compassion. At opposite, if you keep your frustration at your mind without trying to heal it out, it would also appear in the eye of people communicating with you and your daily and, aware or not, would give negative energy to relationship among you and them. This one function accords to a basic principle of Yoga philosophy that to avoid harm others, tell the truth and take only what is needed. If you could do those contents of philosophy, your relationship would certainly be better.
6. Helping to Get Sleep Better
People like to assume that good sleep is an expensive thing to get in this modern life. Modern life is so full of bustle and hustle that its people are hard to be really at home when they reach their house after working. In addition to physical problem such as insomnia, this symptom closely relates to mental problem such as frustration on work target, stress on very tight competition at the school and the likes. If you suffer this kind of problem, try to do Yoga particularly its Savasana and Pranayama poses as well as meditation involving prathayara.
Those poses would be significant in making a turning inward of the senses and the downtime for the nervous system would be automatically provided. Yoga experts and researchers also find that better sleep is one of the most real results of Yoga practice. In addition to it, Yoga would make its practitioner less tired and stressed, get more focus and therefore get less accident. This accords to a statement of Dr. Nevins that Yoga could be very effective in developing skills in reaching better positive outlook and optimism of life. When this happens, a practitioner would have a better sleep as they would be ready for everything at the forth and already happy with everything has been passed or at the present time.
Ability of Yoga to help creating better sleep is not a rumor. Researchers from Harvard relieved that first eight weeks of daily Yoga practitioners could significantly creat better sleep for those with insomnia. Meanwhile, another study found that cancer survivors got better sleep and less fatigue by doing twice-weekly Yoga sessions. Those two real cases show that it is not a rumor or hoax to say that Yoga could help its practitioners to get better sleep. One simple explanation of this is because the main points of various Yoga poses are breathing and mental exercises which are to keys in slowing the mind down and make the practitioner see him/herself better.
Yoga for Health Benefits
1. Controlling Hypertension
Hypertension needs sustainable and serious care as well as treatment as if it becomes worse, it could disturb general body metabolism and cause other related disease such as migraine, heart disturbance, heart attack and so forth. People with hypertension usually do the treatment by regularly consuming medicine and selecting their meal menu. You could add Yoga into the treatment list as it is scientifically proved that doing regular Yoga could drop high blood stream and, slowly but sure, take it into normal. A study published in British medical journal called The Lancet shows that a specific move of Yoga, Savasana (corpse pose) is significantly effective in dropping blood pressure with a-26 point drop.
It is also revealed that if hypertension sufferers do regular treatment, they would get much benefit as the bigger pressur is, the bigger the drop would be. This should be good news for hypertension sufferers as well as their family as the common belief say that the higher pressure or tension is, the more difficult to be back at normal level. Other than Savasana, you can use Padmasana, Padmasana Baddha or Pranayama techniques such as Chandravedi and Sheetali. Those poses could make the body and mind relaxed and it would influence to the mood as well as lowering blood pressure.
2. Increasing the Blood Flow
Moving your body would make your blood flow more than when you do nothing. The flow would be faster—and better—if you are on the right move just like practicing Yoga. When this happens, organs of your body would work better as they get enough oxygen carried by the blood. Vice versa, if your blood flow is not smooth because being blocked by anything or the flow itself is relatively slow, your body organ would not work as usual. Yoga here provides you the best solution as it does not only demand you to move, but also to move in a right and proper way so your blood circulation would run well.
To maximize this function, especially if you have problem with blood circulation, the targeted parts are mainly hands and feet. Some poses using hands and feet are twisting and inverted poses (headstand, handstand and shoulder-stand) which can ease the blood circulation. The former pose would squeeze blood of venous from various internal organs, so that it enables blood carrying oxygen to flow to all parts of body as the twist is released. Meanwhile, the latter pose would stimulate the blood of venous from pelvis and leg to come back to the center, which is heart. From the description, you could know and conclude that just by doing those two poses, you already could to ease coming forth and coming back of your blood from and to the heart.
3. Controlling Diabetes and Lowering Blood Sugar
People like to think that diabetes could be healed and prevented by being selective in setting meal menu. It is not totally false but remember that exercise also works well in dealing with sugar blood level. Yoga here could be the most probable alternative as you can do it at home, under guidance from trusted source, or gather with others in any health or Yoga center. What is clear here is that you would not have to pay too much to do Yoga. At home practice, you will typically need to provide a small mattress while at health center, you have to pay membership fee which is not expensive compared to the benefits you are going to grab.
Anyway, here is the answer on how Yoga could control, prevent and even heal diabetes. It lowers suga blood level by lowering LDL, which is bad cholesterol while improving HDL as a good one. Several moves practiced in Yoga could lower adrenaline and cortisol level, improve recieptance and sensitivity to insulin effects as well as loose weight. Those things are very essential in lowering blood sugar and you could be relieved because as your blood sugar level decreases, you could cure the diabetes as well as avoid away any correlated disease to it, such as heart attack, blindness or kidney failure.
4. Making Heart Healthier
As discussed above, blood stream, blood flow as well as blood pressure play important role in supporting a healthy body. Meanwhile, those organs work under ‘direction’ of a center which pump the blood then it would be distributed to every part of body through blood vessel. This means that the heart plays a central role as it is ‘home’ of blood in which it comes from and comes into. The health of heart, therefore, significantly influences a body metabolism whether or not it could work properly.
Unfortunately, the heart becomes fragile and susceptible of various diseases because of eating habit, life style or lack of exercise. In this sense, you could rely on Yoga to support your heart health because some poses it has are specially designed to care the health of heart ranging from Ujjayi Paranama to Pranayama Bhramar. However, you could not get the best result if only you rely on Yoga exercise without setting a healthier life style and meal menu. This benefit has been proved in some studies revealing that cardiovascular condition increases as Yoga intensity increases. More particularly, those studies could show the lowering of resting heart rate, the increase of endurance and more maximum attack to the oxygen especially during the exercise takes place
To get the best result, it would be great for you to combine those two types of Yoga pose with aerobic Yoga as it could up the heart rate. Increase of heart rate means the more blood to pump so more energy distributed to every part of your body. You could also prevent various heart attacks or other diseases by doing this type of Yoga as well as relieve frustration or depression.
5. Boosting Immune System
Immune system is the other significant part of your body health as it determines how strong your body to fight against any disease threat. Therefore, people are obsessive in keeping and boosting their immune system because it could assure their health and be resistance to various diseases. Yoga offers an effective way to boost your immune system by doing various things. One of which is by helping the drainage of the lymph as a result when a practitioner contract and stretch muscles back and forth and move the organs around. The drainage of lymph means wider and smoother distribution on the lymph content, which is a viscous liquid rich with immune cells. At the same time, Yoga could also cure any infection found at lymphatic system, throw away the toxic waste as well as destroying cancerous cells.
To be more general, your immune system could also be increased by doing Asana, Pranayama and meditation. Among all, meditation is believed as a type with the strongest positive influence on the immune system. It could also make immune system work more properly by boosting the level when needed in certain period of time and also lowering its work when needed. This is a kind of immune system management so that it could work at maximum when needed and when it is not, it could be efficient.
6. Healing Aches and Pain
Having aches and or pain are common problems of people most of which do not know exactly what takes them appear in the body, such as at the back, knee join, back neck and others. They sometimes just think that the aches or pains are temporary and caused by wrong—or unmoving—position in sitting, sleeping or other activities. Therefore, according to them, in a certain time, particularly pretty long after the emergence period, would disappear and everything would be ok as before.
Actually, you should not too ignore that kind of ache and pain because actually, it shows something error on the ‘construction’ of your body. For example, the back pain is generally caused by flattening of the spine while the strain of knee joint is caused by improper alignment of thigh and shine-bone. This means that the cause of problems are almost permanent as it comes from the body anatomy so if you do not target to heal them by making them more flexible so later on it could change into how it should be, the problems would come again and again.
Yoga could be your solution dealing with this problem as it would improve your body flexibility to ‘put’ anything at your body proper and like what it should be. However, at your first classes, you would feel some light pain in certain parts, such as toe and back bends, because you are not accustomed to do its basic poses. Slow but sure as the time passes by, you would start to be accustomed and are aware that pain and aches you used to suffer disappear because your body is already put as what and how it should be. As your body flexibility improves, your connective tissue and muscles would also be more flexible and you would have not only health and free-ache postures, but also the perfect one as it would be mentioned at the next point.
7. Perfecting the Body Posture
The perfect posture does not only mean a better look, but also a healthy ‘new’ body which would be free from various aches such as backache, neck ache and other joint and muscle problems because of incorrect posture. However, as everyone has different points of where the problem exists at your body, simply follow some basic poses and moves at Yoga because it would still help you perfect your posture.
Say for example you feel like having a problem at your head as it like big, round and heavy as well. Consult to your Yoga instructors or any available source and you would find that some simple poses would help you. And believe it or not, problems related to your head would slowly disappear from being fatigue too often, being tired too quick to the strain head muscle.
To get better result of this one function, you would likely need a daily Yoga and not long after your first day, you would find your body stronger, suppler and more flexible when standing, sitting, sleeping or walking. It makes sense why it happens because the more you stretch and tone your body muscle, the faster it would be strong and return to ideal posture.
8. Strengthening (and Protecting) the Bone
The strong bone would not only enable you to be healthier and able to carry something heavy, but also care your bone longer particularly as you grow old. As everyone knows, one of problems of elderly people is bone problem usually called as osteoporosis in which bones are fragile or about to be broken so the elderly would not able to do regular daily activities as normal as before. To prevent this coming in your old age, you need to fulfill what your bone needs as well as do regular exercise to train your bone and make it stronger. No need to be confused about what you need to do because Yoga could be one stop solution for you. It does not only help you to strengthen your bone and make it good at your old age but also protect the most ‘fragile’ part by preventing cartilage and joint breakdown.
Let us discuss from the first one, strengthening your bones and muscles. Some poses and moves of Yoga would demand you to lift or bear your own weight such as Downward, Upward-Facing-Dog. Those poses would strengthen your bones and automatically help to prevent osteoporosis. In particular, doing those two poses would make the arm bones stronger which are vulnerable to osteoporosis fractures. It is also scientifically proved at California State University that Yoga practice could increase bone density in the vertebrate. Besides based on a field research, theoretically, the calcium on the bones would be kept much more as Yoga could lower the production of cortisol (stress hormone) so the calcium focuses to strengthen the bones instead of other ‘regular’ tasks.
Meanwhile, how Yoga protects bones and prevent some most often happened accidents happens as this; When doing Yoga, you would always need to take your joints into full range of motions by making various types of motion from going back, forth, back and left side, top, down, reverse and so on and so forth. Those motions would help you prevent mitigate disability of cartilage as it is not much functioned. To be known, cartilage could get nutrients only when it is used through squeezing out its fluid and soaking up a new supply. Without any activities, some neglected parts of cartilage would wear out and cause underlying bones break.
9. Losing Weight
Being passionate to lose weight sometime lead people to not think logically by doing unhealthy diet that could endanger the dieters into some extent. If you suffer obesity or want to lose your weight, Yoga could be your preferable solution as it offers maximum result with no side effect so you would not have to worry about any disease coming after you get lose weight. The reason is simple. Yoga demands you to move more than what you do daily and that means that you burn your calorie in a right and good way.
In addition to it, Yoga would also train your mind so it would be able to control or even stop you to eat as much as you can with any menu. Yoga would lead you aware to control your eating habit and train you to become a conscious eater. It is a real benefit of the treatment on your spiritual and emotional side. You would be more considerate before eating or in deciding your menu as well as portion and timing. If you want to practice Yoga at home for this purpose, you could try Surya Namaskara, Hashtahan and Trikonasana type and get more information using the keywords.
10. Preventing Various Digestive Problems
Digestive system plays an important role in a body as it assures the absorption of food, cultivating as well as the disposal process. Unfortunately, digestive problems become common in various types ranging from constipation, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome to appetite loss. Some studies show that digestive problems have close connection between digestive system and stress level. Other than that, just like other physical exercises, Yoga could cure constipation and lower the risk of colon cancer. Moving the body properly would also enable food and waste to transport faster through the route so the process of cultivation, absorption and disposing of food could be more properly and quickly conducted.
11. Helping to be Free from Medical Drugs
Those who suffer serious disease would particularly need to consume medical drugs in a long period of time whether for care or recovery, such as heart attack, Tuberculosis, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes type II and the likes. If you are a type of those people, it is a time for yout to try Yoga as many studies show that Yoga is scientifically effective in lowering their dosage of medical drugs consumption. As you can see at the previous points, Yoga is very helpful in supporting body metabolism, boosting immune system and preventing various diseases. It also means that Yoga healing could ‘support’ the task of medicine drugs so it would be safe to lower the dosage without putting the health at risk.
Yoga Targeted Body Parts
In doing Yoga, you would be trained to treat your body through various types of pose and motion especially at these following main points;
- Core Muscles. Your core muscles would be main targets in Yoga practice as it serves just like big frames of your body.
- Arms. Yoga would help you making your arm stronger naturally with the weight of your body. It is done through some poses or motions requiring you to support your full body using your arm in the pose of crane and crow. Plank motion, for example, help you spreading out your body weight equally between arms and legs.
- Legs. All sides of your leg would be involved in Yoga practice ranging from thighs, hips to quadriceps.
- Back. Yoga would make your muscle back stretched through poses like downward, facing dog, child’s pose and cat/cow pose. Various motions are designed to stretch your back so you could naturally cure any back problems such as sore back, backache and the likes.
Things to Pay Attention to
Apart of some benefits both for physic and mental and other information mentioned above, you also need to know and pay attention to some following points for your own safety, health as well as for assuring best result of Yoga treatment. Those are;
- If you are a beginner, it would be better to begin your process at any health or Yoga center under the guidance of an instructor. You would be well-guided and informed and you can also consult with him/her as much as possible. Later on, it would be ok for you if you want to do it at home using Yoga mattress. Do not forget, however, to update information about Yoga so you could try various types and poses to get the best result as expected.
- If you suffer any health problem, particularly relating to your heart, consult to your doctor about Yoga treatment and ask his/her recommendation about the best place (or instructor) to have Yoga treatment.
- Do not do Yoga treatment right after drinking alcohol or after consuming newly-ordered medicine
- Take step-by-step learning to do your focus although many people are at your surrounding
- Do not be nervous and take enough rest in every break session
- Doing Yoga would be better in any comfortable place either indoor or outdoor. However, it is not advisable if you do it right under the sun
- Be patient in your first treatment classes and obey all the instruction