Yoga is a physical, emotional, and spiritual discipline that has been practiced in India for over 5,000 years . Yoga was first included in the Holy Scriptures called the Veda. The Vedas are a set of four ancient Sanskrit scriptures. Breathing strategies and stretches work together to tone the body and ease tension. Gym work can cause exhaustion and hunger, whereas yoga revitalizes and helps to build stamina. More and more people are getting conscious about their health, and the number of yoga practitioners is increasing with each passing year.
The Sanskrit term "yoga" means "to merge or combine," symbolizing the unity between body and mind. Yoga's main goal is to promote physical and emotional balance. Yoga sometimes has been associated with Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism in the past, but it is not affiliated with any faith today. The practitioners are not expected to practice a certain religion or to conduct religious ceremonies like baptisms or bar mitzvahs . Yoga is quickly gaining prominence across the world . Following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014, the International Day of Yoga, as proposed by India's Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, has been formally observed annually on June 21st since 2015. In the Northern Hemisphere, the 21st of June is the longest day of the year, and it has particular importance in several areas of the world .
Asana is an integral part of yoga. An asana is a sitting meditation posture that was initially and is now referred to as a general term. Asanas may be standing, sitting, arm-balances, turns, inversions, forward bends, backbends, or reclining in prone or supine positions, while several of the oldest listed asanas are indeed seated postures for meditation. Competing yoga schools have assigned the asanas a number of English names. While the standard number of asanas is 84, various texts describe different choices, often merely mentioning their names without explaining them .
Scientific findings have shown that:
- Yoga increases stamina, posture, and endurance
- Yoga helps with back pain recovery
- Yoga can relieve arthritis symptoms
- Yoga benefits cardiac health
- Yoga relaxes you, allowing you to sleep calmly
- Yoga can mean more energy and lighter moods
- Yoga helps you handle stress
- Yoga connects you with a supportive community
Mindfulness is a psychological strategy that includes concentrating one's attention on the current moment while peacefully recognizing and embracing one's emotions, perceptions, and bodily sensations. More is understood regarding the effects of yoga and mindfulness, but what happens when these two are merged, a different form of yoga named "Mindful Yoga" emerges. Traditional Buddhist mindfulness teaches the physical practice of yoga, as well as broader insights into the mind and a truly transformative approach . Sixth-graders in a new MIT analysis on the results of an eight-week mindfulness program (which included breathing techniques and yoga) indicated becoming less stressed and experiencing fewer unpleasant feelings during the program. Their amygdala, the part of the brain that processes anxiety, was shown to be less active in brain scans .
Source: Yoga Asana Directory. https://www.wellnesshaven.com/yoga-asana-directory/
With the epidemic of Covid-19, the need for yoga workouts grew as governments in several countries imposed lockdowns to prevent the spread of the disease, and citizens wanted to keep fit by exercising at home. Yoga was one of the most common workouts during the lockdown since it can be done in small spaces. As yoga workrooms closed and people wanted the advice and experience of coaches and consultants to do yogic workouts and mediation methods, online yoga courses exploded. According to Allied Market Research's survey, the yoga industry produced $37.46 billion in 2019 and is projected to produce $66.22 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 9.6% between 2021 and 2027 .
Yoga is now one of the world's biggest ten wellness activities. The widespread dissemination of knowledge and market prospects is the primary explanation for yoga's increasing success. However, as the industry parameters drive yoga to become a mass-market, major compromises on the classic component of this method are being made. Yoga asanas are not acrobatic movements, and those who perform them cannot be gymnasts who leap from one asana to the next while denying yoga's true sense as a sacred activity . As quality control has become an obstacle, the mushrooming of yoga clinics around the world has blurred the core concept of yoga. In the future, we may see a refined type of yoga that is not difficult to practice, maintains the core principles, and is still marketable.
- UN news. Culture and Education. 21 June 2020. https://tinyurl.com/s835rawh
- Ferretti A. Yoga as a religion. Yoga Journal. March 1, 2012. https://tinyurl.com/2vpyywup
- Kabul marks international Yoga Day. Africanews. 22 June 2020. https://tinyurl.com/5x3fh59f
- International Day of Yoga. https://tinyurl.com/38rhd9aw
- List of asanas. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_asanas
- Ribeiro M. What is Mindful Yoga? https://tinyurl.com/sa394cc7
- Trafton A. Two studies reveal benefits of mindfulness for middle school students. MIT News August 26, 2019. https://tinyurl.com/4ca39j4s
- Yoga market to reach $66.22 Bn, globally, by 2027 at 9.6% CAGR: Allied Market Research. GlobeNewswire. October 20, 2020. https://tinyurl.com/fd6hpek4
- Kausthub D. The future of yoga. Ann Yoga Phys Ther. 2016; 1(1): 1001.
Dr. Sanjoy Kumar Pal is a Professor of Biology in Skyline University Nigeria. He has a PhD. in Animal Genetics from Indian Veterinary Research Institute, India.
You can join the conversation on Facebook @SkylineUniversityNG and on Twitter @SkylineUNigeria