Yoga For Well-being


Every year June 21 is marked as the International Day of Yoga across the world. Today the global popularity of yoga is so pervasive that it has become a byword for a set of physical exercise to stay physically, mentally and spiritually fit. In fact, yoga has become so popular that everybody these days seems to be doing yoga from a layman to prominent leaders. To cater to these phenomena, yoga paraphernalia – specially designed mat, trouser, vest and other gears – are ubiquitously available. Today every major city, particularly in the West, is dotted with yoga centres and it's an industry worth billions of US dollars. 

To mark the day in Nepal, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and Minister for Education, Science and Technology Sumana Shrestha on Friday graced a yoga event organised in Sano Thimi, Bhaktapur on the occasion. At the event, the Prime Minister said that "regular yoga practice strengthens a person's health, reduces stress, enhances concentration and work capacity, boosts disease resistance, fosters positive things and cultivates discipline and internal energy." This remark truly encapsulates the benefits of doing yoga.

In a world increasingly grappling with traumatic events – such as floods, drought, and heat waves – brought about by extreme climate, the importance of the practice is more than ever. Study after study has shown that yoga practitioners are better placed to navigate the emotional challenges brought by shocking events that results in various mental conditions like depression. In addition, inmates have unfailingly reported improved mental clarity and emotional health upon going through yoga training. This explains why it has become a sought-after exercise in detention and correction centres. In recognition of this importance and to inculcate yoga awareness right from an early age, it has also been incorporated in school syllabus. 

Yoga is the union of the body, mind and spirit. Its purpose is not to achieve specific shapes with the body, but help one become aware and connected with one's mind and body. There has been a tendency to distance meditation from yoga, but experts warn that that is only cheapening of the practice, saying meditation is so integral to yoga that it simply cannot be detached from it. Just as what physical exercise is to body, meditation is to the mind. Both practices help improve physical and mental health, promoting a sense of calm and balance in our lives. To live in high spirits, integration of mind and body is a must. When the body and mind aren't aligned, they become susceptible to diseases and disorders. 

Yoga comes in many styles, each with a unique focus. They depend on various factors like physical fitness, personal preferences, and specific health goals. Whether one is seeking a physically challenging practice or a meditative and relaxing experience, there's a style of yoga that fits every participant's needs. Practitioners of Isha yoga, for example, report significantly lower levels of stress and mental distress, as well as higher levels of well-being. Similarly, Hatha yoga is useful to improve sleep quality. And, those into Kundalini yoga typically report enhanced ability to express their emotions and self-compassion, as well as their spiritual well-being. At the same time, it is also true that it has brought untoward experience when done haphazardly. This is why experts recommend doing it under proper guidance.   

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