Yoga is one of the oldest art forms in the world. Most people think yoga is an exercise – and it is – but it’s also so much more. Yoga is a complete way to transform your body, mind, and soul. Just a few minutes of practice at the end of a day can help relax and stretch sore muscles. Practice regularly, yoga can be a powerful way to tackle daily stress and relieve anxiety. Over time, it also can transform your body, building stronger muscles while it improves joint mobility and flexibility.
Though many people think of yoga as a fitness exercise, actually it is a complete life philosophy that originated more than 5,000 years ago in India. The word “yoga” means “to unite” and refers to the fusion of mind, body, and spirit through meditation, physical postures, and breathing. The postures, also called asanas, belong to a branch of yoga called hatha yoga. They were developed to improve health, strengthen the body, and prepare for meditation. In modern yoga practice, the postures may serve any or all of these purposes.
Want to find out the connection between yoga and spirituality? How about learning yoga for the mind? Here are the many transformational elements of yoga.
Yoga for the Mind
In recent years, scientific research has proven what ancient yogis knew centuries ago: that the mental benefits of yoga are unlimited.
On a fundamental level, people have known for years that yoga helps calm the mind. By helping you focus on your breath and movements, it lowers the volume of the endless chatter in your brain during your practice and also helps increase attention and focus throughout the rest of your day.
While these things are extremely beneficial, scientists have recently proven that the mental benefits of yoga go beyond what was originally believed. Practicing yoga helps reduce the symptoms related to major mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The scientists discovered that a regular practice of yoga helps reduce the quantity of cortisol – a hormone related to depression and stress– in the body. What the researchers discovered was amazing: that doing yoga could help people relieve stress and manage stressful situations in a much more positive way.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
The physical benefits of yoga are almost infinite. Not only will you get a healthier body, stronger, but also you’ll find yourself more flexible and generally in a better mood.
Some of the basic physical benefits of yoga include:
- Increasing muscle tone
- Increasing muscle strength
- Helping to maintain or reduce weight
- Lower blood pressure
- Improving respiratory and circulatory health
- Improving heart health
Remember to prepare by stretching for a few minutes. This doesn’t have to be intensive, but take a little bit of time to start with few rounds of sun salutations (if practicing in morning) or moon salutations (if practicing in evening).
Yoga and Spirituality
The benefits of yoga on our spiritual wellbeing is a very different process and is much difficult to quantify for scientists. While completely praised as a way to get your body and mind in shape, yoga really shines when you consider its philosophical properties.
Yoga has been practiced as a form of meditation from the beginning. Not only does it help your mind slow down and focus on what’s happening within your body, but also yoga helps you connect to something greater than yourself. Spirituality doesn’t have to mean religion and it doesn’t have to mean chanting and crystals. While both of those are great, sometimes the spiritual is as simple as refocusing on what’s important.
Yoga and spiritually go hand-in-hand. One of the ancient forms – also one of the greatest paths a yogi can take – is to practice Raja Yoga. This is a type of yoga that combines many other forms (Mantra, Karma, Hatha, etc.) to help you attain a state of harmony with spiritual forces.
Let Arohan Yoga Help to Transform Your Mind, Body, and Soul
Now that you know how yoga can transform your mind, body, and soul, look into some of our specialty yoga teacher training! Find the perfect course for you and take the next step to become a certified yogi today. Start your journey with Arohan Yoga today.