My mother suffered from severe Migraine for many years, and tried every medicine and treatment in the book and any other options she heard of. It was the most stressful time of her life; but in the end, she was rescued by Pranayama, which is the formal practice of controlling the breath.
Many of us would have heard of such stories about Yoga and its benefits for both Physical and Mental well-being. Some of us might have even tried it at some point in life. But how many have actually made it into a routine? Very few… we are so busy with Social Media these days, that our own health has become secondary for us. However, do you know Yoga is actually an addiction for many? Why? Because its regular practice provides benefits like improved flexibility, stress reduction, mental clarity and many other benefits.
I try to do my bit every weekend by attending a Yoga session at Gayatri Chetna Center in Piscataway. It’s an hour long class that is free of cost and I have been attending it religiously for the last one year or so. An additional benefit is I get to visit the temple, which my mom is so happy about.
The session normally starts off with a Prayer followed by body warm-ups. The best way to do that is through Sun Salutation (also called Surya Namaskar) which is a combination of 12 poses. It is a great workout for the whole body and includes stretching, flexing and toning the muscles, and is an excellent exercise for weight loss. It leads us to meditation also by relaxing the mind.
Once we are through the basics, we do multiple poses (or asanas as they are normally called). These include stretching, balancing, forward and back bending, twisting and many more in both standing and sitting positions.
The benefits of all these are numerous.
On the Physical side:
- Our body becomes more Flexible. Also, with our sedentary lifestyle, we need these exercises to loosen up our sore muscles.
- It builds up Strength as a result of which Muscle tone also increases and weight loss is much faster.
- Helps in Balancing, which helps as we age.
- Pain prevention, helping with arthritis in a major way.
- Better Breathing, thus avoiding certain types of allergies.
Even Mentally, we derive many benefits including Mental calmness, Stress reduction and becoming aware of our Body, thus leading to greater self-confidence.
We also do some Pranayama, which is the source of our prana, or vital life force. For those who are familiar, we cover Alternate Nostril Breathing, Frontal Brain Purification and Bumblebee Breath. What follows is a period of short relaxation in Corpse Pose (shavasana).
In the end, we practice Yoga of sound by chanting 3 sounds of Om. Om is considered the monarch of all mantras. Expert Yoga teacher Adrian Cox explains, “When you chant OM with the right understanding, it becomes a powerful yoga practice in its own right…Chanting OM creates detachment and empowers all mental and spiritual processes. It can take you all the way to deep states of yoga, if you have good concentration.”
I feel so relaxed after this class that I look forward to it.
I suggest if you want to live a blissful life, practice Yoga. Just doing Sun Salutation alone five times in a day has innumerable benefits. And, it’s our body after all!