Yoga is an ancient Indian body of knowledge that dates back more than 5000 years ago. The word “Yoga” came from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means “to unite or integrate.” Yoga then is about the union of a person’s own consciousness and the universal consciousness.
Ancient Yogis had a belief that in order for man to be in harmony with himself and his environment, he has to integrate the body, the mind, and the spirit. For these three to be integrated, emotion, action, and intelligence must be in balance. The Yogis formulated a way to achieve and maintain this balance and it is done through exercise, breathing, and Meditation – the three main Yoga structures.
In Yoga, the body is treated with care and respect for it is the primary instrument in man’s work and growth. Yoga Exercises improve circulation, stimulate the abdominal organs, and put pressure on the glandular system of the body, which can generally result to better health.
The Five Principles of Yoga are the basis of attaining a healthy body and mind through the Practice of Yoga.
Principle 1: Proper Relaxation
By releasing the tension in the muscles and putting the whole body at rest, you revitalize your Nervous System and achieve inner peace, making you feel relaxed and refreshed. This relaxed feeling is carried over into all your activities and helps you conserve your energy and let go of all worries and fears.
Principle 2: Proper Exercise
This principle revolves around the idea that our physical body is meant to move and exercise.
Proper Exercise is achieved through the Yoga Postures or Asana which systematically works on all parts of the body – stretches and tones the Muscles and Ligaments, enhances the flexibility of the spine and the joints, and improves Blood Circulation. The asanas are designed to regulate the physical and physiological functions of the body. Practicing these Yoga Poses makes your body relaxed, gives you more strength and energy, and rejuvenates the various systems of the body. The Yoga Posture goes together with Proper Breathing. Each movement and stretch should be guided by your breath, making your movement and your breath coordinated and feel like one and the same. The execution of the Asana is beneficial to the body, and at the same time contributes to spiritual and Mental growth.
Principle 3: Proper Breathing
This means breathing fully and rhythmically, making use of all the parts of your Lungs to increase your oxygen intake. Proper Breathing should be deep, slow and rhythmical. To achieve this, you need to be able to regulate the length and duration of your inhalation, exhalation, and the retention of air in your lungs or the pauses between breath. Yoga Breathing Exercises or Pranayama teaches you on how you can recharge your body and control your mental state by regulating the flow of Prana – the life force. This helps you achieve a calmer and more focused mind, and increases your energy level.
Principle 4: Proper Diet
What you eat extremely affects your mind. Improper diet results to mental inefficiency and blocks spiritual awareness. Proper Diet is one that nourishes both mind and body. It should be well balanced and based on natural foods. Proper Diet in Yoga also means eating in moderation and eating only when you are hungry. We sometimes tend to eat when we are upset, using food to fill the gap or the emptiness that we feel. Bad eating habits will cause our senses to be dull that we won’t even notice how much we eat or how it tastes and may result to diet related ailments like Obesity and Diabetes. Food should sustain our body. It should keep the body light and supple, the mind calm, and it should also help in keeping a strong immune system.
Principle 5: Positive Thinking and Meditation
The way we think highly affects our way of life. Practice keeping a positive outlook in life, this will facilitate in having a peaceful mind. Positive thinking and Meditation helps you remove negative thoughts and puts your mind under perfect control.
Alpa Raval has been enjoying the benefits of yoga all her life. She is a nationally certified yoga teacher and has been teaching yoga over 12 years. Alpa has also been in service to her community as a children’s yoga instructor at several after school programs and seniors yoga at several yoga studios. She has also taught at the Golds gym for the past 10 years and now a power yoga instructor at various locations at LA fitness. Alpa is also a professor of yoga at Barnett Honors College UCF, and teaches Therapeutic Yoga at UCF Pegasus Health Care Center. She is passionate about yoga and the benefits each person can gain from the practice no matter the age. Alpa will host different yoga classes at the Asia Trend / YESS center located inside the Orlando Fashion Square Mall in mid-February. Please contact us at www.yessfl.org for more class details