The concept of holistic health emerges from the ancient theory which emphasizes the internal connection between the body, mind, and soul. Being healthy is not merely mean, that the person should be free from any kind of physical disease or discomfort, but it should also focus on how he or she interacts with the environment.
The Elementary notion
The idea of achieving holistic health is more of a lifestyle approach, rather than only concentrating on the specific complications, the individual is facing time to time. It is more of a change of the outlook, which helps the individual to look beyond what is happening at “that moment”. It is basically a way to prepare our entity( both body, mind and soul) for the future, so, that it can hold up its optimal functionality until the last time. The holistic approach of health can be achieved with some small and doable lifestyle changes, which are meant to take care of our body, mind, and soul. For example:
For the physical entity; it can be achieved with a moderate amount of regular exercises with proper diet.
For the mind; meditation has proven to be the most successful way to keep the mind fresh.
And for the soul; it is always paying attention to the inner thoughts and emotions, which keeps our soul going.
During the time of inception
The concept of holistic health may sound very cool and contemporary or new age, but the origin of it dated back to thousands of years ago, when the “yogis and rishis” in Ancient India, identifies the interconnection between the physical and spiritual wellbeing, to achieve the highest state of consciousness. “ Sarirmadyam kholu dharma sadhanam”; written in Sanskrit, meaning, spiritual consciousness cannot be attained if the body is not functioning optimally. And from that time they started practicing different “ asanas”, “Mudras” to achieve the highest state of their body and mind. And those 70 asanas and some 6 pranayama are the foundation stone for the new age yoga, which though travel through time but still proves its effectiveness as it were back them.
Achieve holistic health- the yoga way
Originated from the old Sanskrit term ”yuj”, which basically interpreted as the union of the individual soul with the supreme being, yoga believes in both internal and external harmony of each and every individual. There are six disciplines of yoga like “Dhyanasan”( exercises for meditation), “swasthyasan” ( exercises to build great health), “kulkundalini” ( to align all the chakras), “mudra”( for peace of both body and mind), “satkarmani” ( different ways of cleanse and removing toxins from the body) and “pranayama” (breathing exercises), and each one them is comprised of several complex exercises, which are meant to be beneficial for both body and mind and soul.
Contribution of yoga to achieve holistic health
As, well being of body and mind is equally important for the holistic approach of life, undoubtedly yoga helps to focus on both and that too at once. Yoga benefits both body and soul. Some of the benefits of yoga are:
One of the key advantages of practicing yoga, that it improves the flexibility of the muscles and bones and joints. The inflexibility of muscles can make the individual more prone to frequent injuries and develops poor posture. Practicing yoga on a regular basis and just for 30 minutes can solve these problems.
Increases muscle and bone health
A good bone and muscle health is always necessary to ward off injuries or conditions like osteoarthritis or osteoporosis. Asanas like “upward and downward facing dog”, help the strengthen the arm and leg muscles and bones and also protects the spine from any kind of injury or deformities.
Increases blood flow
All the relaxation exercises described in yoga helps to better blood circulation, especially in arms and legs. Yoga also improves the transportation of oxygen throughout the body, thus helping in the rejuvenation of the cells. Exercises like headstand or handstand or shoulder stand helps in the transportation of blood from the leg region to the core of the body, thus keeps the heart, kidney, and liver and other vital organs healthy.
Yoga increases the drainage of lymph from the lymph nodes and initiates better transportation inside the body. As the lymph system acts as the primary defense of the body and helps fight bacteria, cancerous cells so, in turn, it boosts the overall immune system of the body.
Controls blood pressure
It is a proven fact that “savasana” or the corpse pose, helps to lower down the systolic blood pressure in people suffering from Hypertension. And as the regular practice of yoga improves the blood circulation, it also controls the blood pressure as well.
Lowers blood sugar
As yoga can control the cortisol and adrenaline hormone levels of the body, and also encourages in weight loss, it has been seen that in-turn it improves the sensibility of the Insulin hormone, thus lowers the blood sugar level.
It has been seen in a study that practicing yoga for quite some time will eventually improve the serotonin( the happy hormone) level and simultaneously decreases the level of cortisol and monoamine oxidase( breaks down neurotransmitters) levels and of the body, thus helps to fight depression to some extent.
All the meditation techniques and breathing exercises, included in yoga are meant to improve focus, relaxes the whole system, improves coordination, memory, and even IQ. It has been seen that people practicing transcendental meditation has a clear and sorted thought process than those who never experience yoga in any form.
Yoga believes in “prana”, the vital energy, controls all the extrinsic and intrinsic functioning of the body and mind. Whenever there is a block in the flow of “prana” inside our body, it creates some kind of physical and mental discomforts. The key objectives of all the “asanas and Pranayama” is to create a harmony between the “prana and the body” to keep it free-flowing.
But this harmony is not something that cannot be achieved in one day and rather requires months and years of practice to experience all the benefits from it. Started just to developed and achieved the highest level of consciousness in the ancient time, now yoga is basically used as a self-healing technique all over the world, which helps thousands of people to re-invent the holistic approach of life.