Yoga – The Ideal Route to Health and Happiness
Article by Brian Goodwin
Yoga, the roots of which lie in India and the Hindu philosophy, is a vast, complex and integrated system designed to provide mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. If you are a beginner to this ancient practice, then you can easily get overwhelmed with the vastness and expanse of yogic philosophies, practices and the literature available on the subject.
Yoga is not just a couple of exercises or poses to attain health and wellbeing; it is all rounded discipline which aims at healing the entire body at psychological, physical and spiritual levels. There are a few key principles that you need to understand to grasp the essence of this ancient health practice.
‘Liberation teaching’ is what experts say yoga is all about. The end result of yogic training should be to liberate your mind and body from all the limitations that you had and attain a greater, wiser and better you. It is best to learn the practices of this ancient form from an instructor or with the help of live videos. But having said that, there are also books and CDs which can be used to learn yogic poses and are helpful in the long run. Learning from an instructor or guide gives you the advantage of understanding the complete meaning of the particular pose and you can also get corrected instantly if you are making a mistake.
There are different styles of yoga which have been designed in accordance to the strengths and weaknesses of each human body. Hence you must first understand what your body requires and then adopt the styles best suited for you.
One important style is Raja yoga or the Royal yoga, the main philosophy of which is to liberate the mind and soul through the practice of meditation. This is best suitable for people who have the capability of immense and intense concentration. Hatha yoga has been designed to use physical exercises and transformation to achieve liberation. Mantra yoga is another style which makes use of powerful sounds like ‘Om’ and ‘hare Krishna’, the repetition of which is used to attain liberation of the mind and soul.
Yoga is an equal mixture of theory and practice and hence understanding the principles and practicing the yogic postures regularly is important for good and sound physical and mental health. The yogic philosophy is deeply rooted in good moral values like truthfulness, sincerity, nonviolence and kindness; hence to achieve real liberation, it is important to inculcate these moral values. Self-discipline is an important concept of this ancient form and a positive change should be adapted in every walk of your life to imbibe the real goodness of yogic practice.
Self-transformation at a physical, mental and spiritual level is the main principle behind yoga and for this, the first value that you must learn and practice is patience. Leave behind old and unwanted habits to untangle the complexities of your life; a simple and humble approach to every aspect of life is the essence of yoga which in turn gives us good health, peace of mind and happiness.
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