Introducing yog or yoga for mind-body-spirit wellness

Yog as a discipline aims primarily at God-realization. On the way to this goal it doctors the body and mind to perfect health. It is truly a friend of body, mind and spirit. Mahatma Gandhi was a yogi and so was Albert Einstein. Yog relaxes the mind, improves concentration at work, sharpens eyesight, removes toxins from the body, strengthens the body and mind to fight and prevent disease.

Sarvang Asan, Yoga for mental health

Yog has a recorded history of at least 5500 years in India. The book, Srimad Bhagwad Gita by Ved Vyas elucidates several forms of Yog: Karm yog, Bhakti yog, Gyan yog, Karma-sanyasa yog, etc. Patanjali’s Yogsutras give a step by step guidance to Ashtang yog or the eight-runged ladder to fulfillment.

Yogasans or exercises being the third step of Ashtang yog, are the most popular aspect of yog, and popularly known as yoga.

Yogasans or exercises being the third step of Ashtang yog, are the most popular aspect of yog, and popularly known as yoga.

Yam, Niyam, Asan, Pranayam...

The first two steps in Ashtang Yog, Yam and Niyam are meant to discipline the mind. The third step comprises of exercises or Yog-Asans. Pranayam, or breath control is the fourth step.

...Pratyahar, Dharna, Dhyan, Samadhi

The last four steps direct the mind to self realization. Pratyahara, the fifth step involves working on sense perceptions. The sixth step, Dharna includes focusing the mind in a particular direction, or concentration. Dhyan or meditation is the seventh step, culminating in the eighth step, Samadhi or state of equilibrium.

Swami Vivekanand and Paramhansa Yogananda took the western world by storm by introducing this aspect of Indian culture to them. Yoga and meditation are the latest in healthcare in the west. Places like Rishikesh in India, have quite a few yoga and health care centers.

Yoga as it is popularly known today is a way to lead quality life. A daily yoga routine of as little as 10 minutes is a useful investment in health. It keeps disease at bay by keeping the body's natural immune system in good shape. It takes care of mental health too, and eventually attunes one to God-realization, going by recommendations from yogis such as Paramhansa Yogananda, Swami Vivekanand, Raman Maharshi, Paul Brunton, etc.

For those ailing with chronic problems like diabetes, blood-pressure, asthma, hypertension and stomach problems, yoga can take charge of the system to cleanse, heal and rejuvenate the body.

Yoga therapist Mrs Aruna Sharma says that chronic patients healed through yoga are encouraged to take up a short list of exercises life-long to guard their new-found health. "It is important to make yoga a part of life" she says.

Yoga is a simple as it is effective. A good teacher and a receptive student is all that it takes to adopt this ancient discipline for health and fulfillment.

Anisha Sharma
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Artists, Padmashri Prof Ranbir Singh Bisht and Prof Vimala Bisht, Lucknow, India