Updated: Mar 23
This 5000 year old science, tradition and way of life has a lot to live up to. It has made so much fame all around the world and not just that, it has made a name with style.
We have the aristocracy of Hollywood, Bollywood, musicians, dancers, chefs, physiotherapists, contortionists all swearing by yoga, becoming experts, and teachers.
But I am here telling you, forget about all of them, yoga can help those of us who are ..(ok we are not average) but not famous or bendy or sporty and going through midlife. Age brings with it stiffness, tiredness, insomnia and a slowing down of hormones. Hormones are crucial chemicals we need and they play a massive role in our general wellbeing. These help coordinate our body's functions, from metabolism to growth and development, emotions, mood, sexual function and even sleep. Yoga can help with all of that.
So why yoga?
Simply put, yoga transforms us!
It sounds cliché and all hoohoo but it is true. Yoga really has the ability to change the way our body works. I mean chemically in the brain, metabolically in the body. Research shows this. Regular practice of yoga can affect all the aspects that make us who we are. From an outer perspective, one might think that it can change our personality but in reality, it is just peeling off layers to show us who we really are.
Imagine a rose bud and all the layers of petals. Similarly, we humans have layers too.
These are 5 layers known as the Koshas or sheaths.
The outer most layer is the physical layer, our gross body that we can feel and touch. This is nourished by food. Annamaya Kosha.
Then its the energetic body, nourished by breath. Pranamaya Kosha.
From there we go into the mental layer. Our thoughts and mind. Manomaya Kosha.
Through the mind we can reach into our intellectual or psychic layer. Vignyanamaya Kosha.
And our blissful inner self. Anandamaya Kosha.
Yoga has the ability to pierce through each these layers to bring a union to our inner true self. There are many other ways Yoga affects us but this is a simple version. Our yoga practice has to be an integrated practice. It must to include, postures (asana), breath expansion (pranayama), and meditation (dhyana). When practiced together, these bring the body into harmony and alignment. The balance is not just on the physical level. We become more aware of how we breathe throughout the day and this awareness brings with it self-esteem, self-worth, deep grounding and connection to who you truly are.
Regular yoga and meditation practitioners are known to have a balanced endocrine system which in turn helps with hormonal balance and better sleep. Postures are specifically designed to open up blockages and bring a flow of energy in the body. Breathing mindfully through the postures, calms the wavering mind and connects you into the moment. Even a 20min practice when done with complete immersion in breath and mind will make you feel ALIVE.
Yoga also helps cognitive function, focus, concentration, mental balance that we lose as we get older (yeah, brain fog is also a very real symptom) It helps with mobility, joint health and strength building. For generations, yoga has been utilized as a therapeutic tool to achieve positive health and control and cure diseases.
The more you practice, the more you start to truly understand your body and your mind. You start to develop this inner intelligence about yourself. You also become acquainted with your inner quiet voice/mind urging you gently to make better life choices.
All in all, there isn't one reason to take up Yoga there are many.
If you are thinking, I'm not nimble and flexible to do yoga;
Or you are thinking, I'm over it, my body has already fallen apart and nothing can help;
If look at the rubber-bandy shaped figures on social media and get put off thinking that will never be you;
Or maybe, you are fit and sporty but want to connect with your breath better for endurance;
If you are struggling with self confidence, body image, sleep deprivation, hormone imbalance, injuries, anxiety and stress;
If you are oh so busy in your life and feel like your world is coming crashing down.
If you have a body;
Yoga is for you.
Yoga comes from the word Yuj meaning Union. A union to our inner-self.
Yoga IS SIMPLE yet it is POWERFUL.
Give it a chance.
Written by: Purnima Trasi - Soulsprite Yoga Instructor