What is the point of yoga?
What is the meaning of yoga?
Yoga – this word has become very popular in the modern world. Around yoga, the disputes of the defenders of traditional yoga and regulars of sports halls do not stop.
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The first openly say that yoga is a part of religion, and the latter call yoga fitness, that is, a set of exercises that help improve the figure and achieve the desired physical form. What exactly is yoga? Who needs it and why is it contraindicated? Let’s try to figure it out.
Yoga – what is it
To understand what yoga is, you need to understand its history of origin. Yoga in the culture of India originated hundreds of years before our era. This is a deep religious philosophy that was passed on from teacher to student, a special knowledge designed to change a person’s condition, to release his divine principle and to elevate him to a new level of life. Yoga, as a spiritual practice, helps a person to concentrate, look inside, meet and connect with what is inside us.
The very word “yoga” from Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language, means “connection”, “harmony”, “communication”. The goal of yogis is to achieve union with the Supreme Godhead through body management, thoughts, desires. It turns out that yoga is a way of meeting with God. In Christianity, people are also looking for a meeting with God, but they use other methods.
Yoga is not a sporting activity, although elements of physical activity are still there. Applying yoga to correct external flaws or to maintain physical fitness is the same as unloading heavy bags in order to pump up muscles or painting walls in a house twice a week just to stretch the spine. Of course, when you are dragging the roller to the ceiling, your spine is dragging along with you, and it’s good. But your goal is not to stretch the bones, but to update the walls, make repairs. Therefore, we paint the walls during repair, and the spine is stretched in the class on physical therapy.
Yoga was not created so that you could throw off a few extra pounds and get rid of cellulite. Yoga is a combination of physical, mental and spiritual practices, the purpose of which is to teach a person to control his mind and physiological processes to achieve and comprehend something spiritual. Yes, yoga really teaches us to control our body, keep balance and make the body hardy, but only so that these “tools” can get close to the divine beginning, touch that which is hidden very deeply.
The difference between yoga and ordinary gymnastics is that yoga is oriented toward changing the human consciousness. Therefore, it is very important to understand the essence of the philosophy of yoga and to deal with it only if this philosophy does not contradict your other beliefs.
But in modern society, yoga increasingly finds new facets. It becomes a sport activity. Of course, that yoga practiced in fitness clubs can not be considered a “true meditation” only because it is taught not by spiritual teachers, but by sports coaches. But! Most clubs, advertising classes in fitness classes, emphasize that their teachers have received special training, studied spiritual practices in India and Nepal, and some even learned from Buddhist monks.
If yoga is only fitness, then why should we know where and from whom the coach studied? It turns out, even in the current yoga studios, there are elements of philosophy.
Yoga exists not so much to correct the figure, as to gain harmony and balance between the inner and outer self.
Is it necessary to be a Hindu to practice yoga?
Of course not, not necessarily. But still a lot depends on your perception. If you are uncomfortable with the philosophy that is contained in yoga, then believe me, doing it will not do you any good, relaxation and pleasure.
The Benefits of Yoga
First of all, the benefit of practicing yoga should be considered in the complex: it is a system that restores the balance between the body, mind and spirituality of a person.
• breathing practices that accompany asanas, contribute to the enrichment of internal organs with oxygen;
• slow exercises and relaxation in poses have a beneficial effect on the psyche, calming the entire body and relieving tension;
• stretch marks in asanas and fixation during their performance significantly increase the elasticity of the muscles, making them flexible;
• Improves the circulation of blood in the body, which helps to heal wounds and even healing from all sorts of diseases.
Who should not practice yoga
There are a number of diseases and conditions in which yoga is categorically contraindicated. Meditating in certain poses, which are contraindicated to you, you risk irreparable harm to yourself. But sometimes, in order to do yoga, it is enough to heal or wait for some time (for example, after severe injuries), but only after starting to perform asanas.
• in the first six months after myocardial infarction or stroke;
• after severe injuries to the skull, spine, bones of hands and feet;
• with problems with the spine;
• with severe heart and blood diseases;
• with malignant tumors;
• with mental disorders;
• in case of impaired functions of the musculoskeletal system;
• with displacement of vertebrae and vertebral hernias.
• any worsening of chronic diseases;
• high temperature, viral diseases;
• Postoperative period (each case must be discussed individually with the doctor);
• sports and other physical overload;
• during pregnancy, only a special course of “yoga for pregnant women” is possible;
• with a large loss of blood, severe bleeding, which was only recently eliminated, during the first days of menstruation;
• After visiting the steam room, sauna or bathhouse, it should take at least 5 hours before you start practicing yoga.
Namaste – a greeting in yoga
People interested in the culture of India or Tibet know that by the word “namaste” in these countries, people welcome others and say goodbye to each other. This word came from the language of ancient Hindus, literally translated as “bow to you.” The word is accompanied by a corresponding action: the person joins the palms together in front of the chest and makes an easy bow. In the same way, Hindus express their admiration for their gods and supreme powers. The more your respect and veneration, the higher you raise your hands to the sky and the lower you decline. Buddhists also greet their god with such a gesture.
Both these religions – Hinduism and Buddhism – recognize the divinity of man. Therefore, greeting another person, a follower of one of these religions will fold his hands together – this is the pose of hands for prayer. In other words, when you are greeted with such a gesture, first of all, they express respect not to you, but to the deity hidden in you.
Greetings to the namaste begin the practice of yoga and they finish. More precisely, namaste – this is the first and last posture for spiritual practice. Doing namaste, you agree with the philosophy of Hinduism and recognize that yoga is not just a sport, but something more, which you find and have come to the studio of yoga.
Asanas – so in yoga are called special poses, from the fulfillment of which is the occupation of yoga. There are many different asanas, each of which carries its spiritual and physiological meaning. If you consider each asana separately, you can see a similarity with the usual exercises. But if we do gymnastics, alternating tension and relaxation of muscles, then the sense of asanas is to take a pose and feel comfortable in it. Hindus believe that certain asanas release the streams of “dirty” energy from different parts of the body, and then fill them with a clean, fresh and fresh that heals the person, acting beneficially on every part of the body.
It turns out that yoga is not just exercise. This is a system aimed at finding harmony. If you choose yoga for yourself as a simple gym for losing weight or getting rid of cellulite, then there will be little benefit from it: swimming or dancing will do a much better job of this task. But if you want to relieve tension, get rid of inner feelings of anxiety, enter into a dialogue with yourself and at the same time improve, then yoga is for you. Just do not forget to ask yourself how far you are ready to go into the study of spiritual practices of one of the most ancient religions of the world – Hinduism.