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How Yoga Makes Us A Healthier Nation
We should embrace Yoga wholeheartedly, and be proud to share our greatest legacy with the rest of the world
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India, the land of spirituality and the birthplace of Yoga. People from around the world who wish to connect with their inner selves are drawn to India, owing to our country's rich divine and mystic heritage. And yoga is the first step towards healing oneself.
Yoga is the ancient discipline of cleansing one's mind and body by performing various body postures or asanas. Though it originated approximately 2,500 years ago, it couldn't find a connection among young Indians. But all that's changing, as today's youth are finding their way back to our roots by embracing the health benefits of Yoga.
Even in the West, Yoga has won hearts of health-conscious people. In the US, yoga has already become a $30 billion industry. This has, in turn, boosted spiritual travel to India, as yoga enthusiasts rush in to deepen their practice and understanding of the tradition of yoga.
Striving for a Healthy India
As work hours become longer and lifestyles become sedentary, young Indians are at a greater risk of developing a lifestyle-related illness such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, cancer and diabetes. In fact, it is expected that as many as 10 crore people are likely to be affected by Diabetes in India in the next ten years. Also, one's health is determined by one's economic status (higher incidence of under-nutrition in poor and obesity in the rich) and cultural values of the society (dietary preferences in the population). All this can only be countered through proper diet and exercise.
It is, therefore, important to adopt a holistic lifestyle and follow a healthy regimen in order to live a healthy and peaceful life while avoiding a pandemic of lifestyle disorders. These changes need to be made consciously by individuals themselves, but not everyone can afford gym memberships or make time for expensive classes. Yoga is an equalizer - anyone, from any strata of society, can benefit from its regular practice.
Yoga has also steadily found acceptance in the corporate community. It can remove stress from mind & body and improve productivity thereby positively impacting the organization's bottom line.
Living Better with Yoga
Yoga is a holistic and integral science of life dealing with the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of an individual and society. Its primary function is to integrate personality at all levels of existence. Here's why Yoga can help combat India's disease burden and help us live healthier, more fulfilled lives:
Better physical health: Weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Yoga is one exercise that makes full use of one's own body weight. Moreover, in people with diabetes, yoga has been found to lower blood sugar in several ways by lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels, encouraging weight loss, and improving sensitivity to the effects of insulin. Also, yoga practice improves heart health by lowering the resting heart rate, increasing endurance, and improving your maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise.
Improved mental health: Yoga's relaxation exercises get your blood flowing and help improve blood circulation to the brain. Moreover, an important component of yoga is focusing on the present. Studies have found that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores. It also enables a calming effect by shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system, helping you reduce the effects of stress, migraine and insomnia.
Greater spiritual awareness: Regularly practising yoga increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance. Also, some studies show that if one focuses on one's mind's eye through yogic meditation, one can effect change in your body. Also, chanting mantras - as one does during Yoga sessions - is known to facilitate healing by creating a placebo effect in some people.
Yoga has been a part of our culture and folklore for ages, and in some areas, it is even practised as an alternative healthcare therapy. Its orientation towards achieving comprehensive health, both individual and social, makes it a worthy practice for the people of all religions, races and nationalities. We should embrace Yoga wholeheartedly, and be proud to share our greatest legacy with the rest of the world.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.