5 Components of Yoga Practice and Its Benefits
May 18, 2018
Yoga is a set of techniques used to achieve an optimal state of connection with our interior. There is evidence of its practice for thousands of years, originating in the Indus Valley and Saraswati (present India), where archaeological remains were found in stone with carvings of the postures. It was used by ancient sages to achieve states of transcendence, strengthen health and develop special mental abilities.
Thanks to great personalities all this wisdom could be delivered to the West for the benefit of humanity, and today we can find many schools dedicated to the propagation and teaching of Yoga as an excellent antidote to the disease, and also a maintainer of human health. It can be practiced by all types of people, with different variations and adaptations, general and also under specific therapeutic approaches, such as Yoga for diabetics, Yoga for asthma, Yoga for back pain, Yoga to reduce anxiety, Prenatal Yoga, for the elderly, for heart problems, among others.
The practice of Yoga is composed of cleansing, breathing and meditative techniques, mantras/mudras, and physical exercises. Each of these components contains a series of tangible benefits in our body. Then we will know what each one is about:
They are called Shatkarmas or Shatkriyas, they are very old practices and currently, only the simplest ones are used. They help to purify the body by expelling the mucus, toxins, and impurities that accumulate due to poor diet, harmful habits and lack of exercise. There are practices to clean the pits and sinuses, others for the intestines, teeth, tongue, esophagus, eyes, and ears. The yogic philosophy affirms that it is very important to purify the body in order to complete the ultimate goal of Yoga, which is to achieve a state of calm, fulfillment and transcendence. In addition, keeping our organs clean promotes the oxygenation of the blood by cleaning it from chemicals and metabolic waste, relieving inflamed areas, distributing nutrients in a better way, decreasing fluid retention and strengthening our immune system.
It is called Pranayama, Sanskrit word (the ancient language used by the Indian sages) which means control of breathing. The Yogic philosophy affirms that there are several energetic channels in the human being, something like the veins and arteries, but at a subtle level. These channels regulate the flow of vital energy that makes all cells and organs work. Through the practice of Pranayama, we can increase, accelerate or relax this energetic flow, favoring vital functions. There are Pranayamas that help to relax the nervous system, decreasing the production of cortisol, relieving stress and depression. Others who awaken, giving us the necessary drive to perform our day-to-day activities. Others cool in hot moments, others expand the capacity of the lungs and purify their tissues, others warm up in cold weather, etc. In fact, the respiratory flow determines the internal mental state, therefore, making a conscious control of it brings great benefits in the treatment of various symptoms and pathologies, as it also helps us lead a more relaxed and optimistic life.
Consists of a state of stillness where the person is relaxed and concentrated at the same time, purifying the thoughts and internal activity. This gives great cleanliness and the release of negative emotions and memories that hinder daily living and fill us with worries and anxieties. His mastery is progressive, you can work on this state step by step. It basically consists of standing still, with the spine erect, and let the thoughts come and go. However, it is different and unique for each one. Meditation turns out to be a great contributor for psychological treatments, since the person trains a positive perspective of the world in which it is, gaining confidence and assertiveness.
Mantras and Mudras
In contemporary practice, they are only used in a simple form, but they are very important. We know the effect of words, songs and tones in the human brain, and how they can evoke emotions and memories. The use of Sanskrit mantras (words) gives many benefits to our brain, which affect our entire body and also in our subtle fields. Most of these songs come from the Vedas (ancient sacred texts) and refer to mystical contents. In their execution, they produce resonance in the vibratory box of our face, which relaxes our nervous system and favors states of introspection. On the other side, mudras are postures made with parts of the body, in this case, with the fingers of the hands, and act as energy channelers.
In the West, we know the practice of Yoga as the execution of postures and exercises, but now we are clear that Yoga is composed of many other interesting things. In a healthy way, the exercises are the central part of the session due to its innumerable benefits. The yogic postures are designed in a perfect and harmonic way to the human physiognomy, classified according to their attributes. There are bending postures that help stretch the spine by separating the vertebrae and allowing the intervertebral fluid to flow in a proper manner. There are opening postures that open the chest and throat allowing to relieve blockages and colds. There are also exercises that massage the abdominal area and intestines, mobilizing toxins that could be trapped between the folds. Investment postures, for example, are excellent for soothing the mind by reversing blood flow, relieving varicose veins and heart activity.
Through the postures, you can develop flexibility and resistance, tone muscles, lubricate joints, prevent degenerative diseases such as arthrosis, arthritis and cope with pathologies such as fibromyalgia or bone deformities, among others.
Now that we have a basic prospect regarding the practice of Yoga and its benefits, what do you expect to start practicing it?
You don’t need any special skills, just desire, and perseverance. It is proven that yogic techniques significantly improve the quality of life of people because of its multiple benefits, whether an individual or group practices, whether children, young or old, yoga is for everyone, at any time, anywhere.