I woke up on ‘World Yoga Day’
“Wow” 35,000 people and Prime Minister doing yoga at Rajpath and trying to break the Guinness record!
I got “josh” to recall my yoga lessons. After nearly 2 or 4 months, I did all my asanas – Yashtic, Bhujang, asthapatha usthang and Pranayam and even Kapalbhati ( I do know the asanas as you can see).
Well, I had a catch in the back.
Lesson 1: Don’t do yoga unsupervised.
By the way, I did start on yoga a couple of years ago. Yatin is my yoga teacher. I must confess that I started yoga with an objective of losing weight, which obviously did not happen after 1 year. Yatin has been quite patient with me in trying to do more of Shavasana rather than other asanas and finally after nearly a year he gave up on me. I looked for excuses like OT is starting, day is busy and slowly from 5 days a week to 2 days a week and now I am a defaulter.
Lesson 2:. Be regular and consistent
On seeing the TV programme I suddenly found a “Guru” proclaiming that yoga can cure cancer and reduce weight and there are atleast 500 videos on how yoga reduces weight and cures cancer. That got me thinking on the real benefits of yoga. There is no doubt that it is an ancient art practised by the Indian yogis and marketed in the United States as a billion dollar industry.
It has great potential benefits
Well , I am not a guru and nor do I want to profess to be one but what I can tell you is that if one starts expanding Yoga into cancer control and cure then there is a big big problem. Yes, yoga can help in the treatment phase when there is a lot of stress and physical factors coming in. Meditation would certainly help. It would also, as I told you, improve flexibility but yoga is not for cancer, yoga is not for weight loss. Certainly practice yoga for all the benefits which are substantial but not for those which are professed by some “gurus”.
Lesson 3 : Yoga does not cure cancer. Yoga is not for losing weight
It does improve flexibility which is the biggest casualty of the ‘couch potato culture’ which we have now. It is really pathetic to see someone who cannot even pick up a coin which is dropped on the floor and struggling to even bend their backs. As age advances with less and less use of joints we are likely to become stiffer purely because of lack of flexible exercises. Practising yoga gives the flexibility . See Iyengars yogic poses to be convinced. That itself is good enough to start practicing yoga.
Lesson 4: Yoga improves flexibility
The second component of yoga apart from the asanas is ‘meditation’ which is an integral part. This is about keeping still and trying to keep your mind focussed. It is interesting to know the basis of trying to keep your mind still. Obviously you cannot keep your mind still and thoughts keep flooding you. You need to focus on something. Interestingly yogic teachers have discovered that breath which all of us inherently have as God given gift, can be used to focus and control your thoughts. Autonomic nervous system controls breathing and the cardiovascular system which we do not even perceive. You don’t perceive that your heart is beating or that you are breathing. Only when you breathe consciously certain other physiological factors come into play. Like when you breath in deeply and watch your pulse, your pulse slows down. Slowing down of pulse actually is beneficial as you have a good physical fitness.
These physiological changes are perhaps what are harnessed by yoga for reducing blood pressure which is now well documented and also reducing stress which is also a big positive benefit. So just concentrating on your breath and chanting a simple word like ‘Om’ can reduce your stress.
Lesson 5: Meditation in Yoga reduces stress and calms your mind to focus better
I would leave you with this note that everything has to be practised consistently. Just doing yoga on ‘World Yoga Day’ like I did, might actually give you a backache. So be careful and like me promise yourself that you would be consistent in your practice of yoga.
It is good for us.