Apart from being the longest day, 21st June has a lot of significance in many regions across the globe. After perceiving yoga as an invaluable gift, the Indian government has started celebrating it as international yoga day.
The announcement was made way back in 2014 when the prime minister was delivering his speech at the UN General Assembly.
Check out the video below to know what Narendra Modi said while announcing the 21st June as International Yoga Day –
So, let’s look at what yoga is all about, its origin, the health benefits the poses offer and some interesting facts.
What Does Yoga Refer To?
Since the ancient traditions, yoga has always been considered as an invaluable gift. While a sequence of steps help in uniting the body, soul and the mind, a harmony can be achieved between a human being and nature. To put it in a nutshell, yoga could be referred to as a holistic approach to the overall health and well-being.
History of Yoga
It was 1500 years back when yoga actually came into existence. Over a period of time, yoga was gradually developed by the Rishis who noted down the practices in the Upanishads. Later, after a few centuries, the yoga experts came up with a set of practices for refreshing the body and the mind.
Tantra Yoga was developed with unique techniques that help to clean the body as well as the mind. But, in 1800s, the practice of yoga became famous in the western parts of the world. While Krishnamacharya was the founder of the Yoga School in Mysore, Shivanada established the Divine Life Society near the banks of the river, Ganga.
Health Benefits of Yoga
Regular practice of yoga always offers incredible health benefits. Apart from toning the body and the muscles, the poses also make the mind strong. So, let’s look at the benefits as listed below.
Increases Strength and Flexibility
Many outdoor sports always enhance physical strength. But, if you have decided to practice yoga regularly, then you can boost flexibility and strength at the same time. The variations of different poses help to strengthen the ligaments and make the connective tissues as pliable as the muscles.
Improves Cognitive Functioning
Whenever an individual performs a set of breathing and stretching exercises, he is always in a better position to improve cognitive functioning. As the memory is enhanced to a certain extent, the individual can focus on tasks in a better way.
Reduces Pain and Inflammation
There are numerous studies that have proved yoga to be effective at relieving pain. As the person carries out the exercises, he can gain instant relief from pain due to ailments like arthritis, migraines, or fibromyalgia.
In case he is feeling uncomfortable due to back pain, then there’s no other option than practicing yoga.
Enhances the Respiratory System
Yoga is one of the practices that uses pranayama. So, as the individual inhales and exhales air repeatedly, he would be able to increase the lung capacity, control the breathing rate and think about leading a healthy lifestyle.
Controls Blood Pressure
If you are facing problems associated with hypertension, then it’s always better to practice yoga. While the poses are extremely effective, they keep the blood pressure under control and reduce the risk of heart ailments. Moreover, since yoga helps in maintaining the cortisol level, it aids in relieving the person from stress.
Enhances Mental Health
Since yoga relaxes the mind, it can improve the individual’s mood and reduce depression. As the person starts feeling confident, he would be able to control his emotions and gather extra motivation to do work at his own pace.
Boosts the Immune System
It’s always interesting to know that yoga helps to enhance immunity and prevent degenerative diseases. While a person can keep the cholesterol level under control, the body is replenished with Vitamin C, Oxytocin, Thyroxin and other active compounds.
Detoxifies the Body
As yoga helps in flushing out bad cholesterol, it also detoxifies the liver to a better extent. For instance, in case you get into the forward fold pose, then stagnant blood flows through the muscles. Apart from offering a massage to the liver, the asana helps the kidneys and spleen to function in a better way.
Helps for Weight Loss
While the person performs the stretching and breathing exercises frequently, he can help himself to shed a few calories. This not only helps to lose weight but also control the food intake once the person is on a diet.
Meditation along with yoga helps to increase awareness and attain inner peace. This, in turn, improves intuition and aids to take decisions wisely. After a time span, the person would be able to act carefully without getting confused.
Some Facts About Yoga
#Fact – 1
In Sanskrit, the word ‘yoga’ means union or yoke. The entire practice draws inspiration from the practices that are followed in Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism.
#Fact – 2
Yoga was introduced in the US during the 19th Century. Today, most of the Americans have spent $5.7 billion just for the yoga classes and the items pertaining to yoga.
#Fact – 3
Quite interestingly, it is observed that laughter or Hasyayoga is practiced in more than 60 countries across the world.
#Fact – 4
In USA, the number of women who practice yoga is much more than the number of men. While almost 70 percent are female yoga practitioners, the rest are supposed to be males.
#Fact – 5
Yoga should be practiced in a systematic way and only on an empty stomach. Before getting into the main asana, the person has to relax for a few minutes, and then start off with some preparatory poses.
In brief, Yoga is considering as an effective fitness trend after an announcement of 21st June as International Yoga Day. Make it a part of your daily lifestyle and live a healthy life.