What are the benefits of yoga?
Stress, tension and living in a hurry are the main factors and causes of disease in the recent decades. Yoga is a comprehensive way to reduce the level and impact of these factors and to raise the overall level of health by encouraging our bodies to fight negativity and stress at home, at work, in everyday situations, and in contact with the people around us.
This can be achieved by means of physical exercises, breathing techniques, as well as meditation and relaxation techniques.
Physical exercise affects the overall health of the body, regulates the nervous, respiratory, digestive, reproductive and circulatory system. It regulates the muscles and motor skills, blood pressure and hormones triggered by the overall metabolism of the body, slowly and deeply relaxing and cleaning the body from all the accumulated toxins, and relieving menstrual pain in women.
Breathing techniques release the repressed emotions, fears and complexes and activate the breathing, thus bringing more oxygen to the body and brain. In this way they affect emotional and mental health and relaxation.
Meditation and relaxation techniques deeply cleanse the mind and emotions of fatigue, stress, deep-rooted fears, complexes, neuroses, restrictions and conditionalities, which we are not able to solve and which dictate how we behave, act, think and feel.
All these exercises affect multiple levels and complement each other. They create inner happiness, peace, a sense of fulfilment and freedom, which are the foundation of healthy living.
How and how much is Yoga different from stretching and other methods of exercise?
Practicing yoga affects the overall physical, mental and emotional health, eliminates the stress, tension and anxiety which accumulate in us daily and fills us with positive energy. It develops flexibility and relaxation of the whole body, and brings the mind and emotions to a state of relaxation and balance.
The advantage of yoga compared to traditional physical activity is that you activate not only the body, but you also provide your mind and emotions with the necessary activity and relaxation. Regular exercise results in inner balance, state of happiness and fulfilment, health and immunity raised to a higher level. It opens new possibilities of solving problems in an easier and more efficient way, with less stress and aggravation, and the daily functioning becomes easier.
How to choose the right type of yoga?
There are various branches and systems of yoga, and the choice depends on your personality, your needs and lifestyle. If you are energetic, dynamic, desiring intense physical activity, ashtanga yoga or power yoga will probably do you good. Here we are talking mainly about the hatha yoga, one of the yoga branches.
If you have a stressful, tiring job, your mind is restless, swarming with thoughts, you are tense and cannot think clearly, meditation is for you. If you are troubled by emotional problems, you get angry easily and have a short fuse, yoga breathing will help you relax and calm your mind, especially the slow, abdominal breathing.
Satyananda yoga is a system that has a comprehensive approach, combining asanas (physical exercises), the pranayama (breathing techniques), the yoga nidra (relaxation) and meditation. The pace of the class is easy, with an emphasis on movement and breathing during exercise, and the relaxation and observation of effects between the exercises. Such an approach also vitalizes and relaxes the body and mind.
Of course, this is only a rough division and should not be understood literally, but experienced, and only those aspects that suit one should be accepted.
How many times a week is it necessary to practice yoga?
It depends, again, from your lifestyle and your needs. One to two times a week to maintain your overall health, for those who lack time. With three times a week, the effects/changes are faster and more obvious, with the results more visible. However, if you exercise every (or almost every) day, there is a gradual transformation of personality, a change in the way of thinking, your worldview and perception change. So, the frequency of exercise depends on whether you are satisfied with occasional relaxation and stretching (1x), maintenance (2x) or raising your level of health, energy and vitality (3x). Or, if you see yoga as a way of life, you want to integrate it into your life (by exercising daily).
The alternative is to combine yoga with some physical activity or sport (dance – link nemanja and jelena, fitness, swimming…), of course, on separate days.
Is yoga recommended for people who are not physically active?
Yoga can help with health problems. It can at least alleviate most of them, and completely eliminate some of them. Because of its effect (on the body, mind and emotions), yoga is fighting your problem on all fronts. It works simultaneously on alleviating the symptoms of disease and eliminating the causes of the problem.
However, yoga cannot replace allopathic/Western medicine and is not an instant solution, although in the sea of different branches, techniques and tools of yoga, there are such pearls. Its real strength lies in regular exercise (2-3 times a week) and the progressive adoption of its principles in your daily routine.
The purpose of yoga is spiritual evolution, and health promotion is a good start. I emphasise health promotion, and not the treatment of disease. Unfortunately, most people become interested in taking up yoga only when their health is seriously threatened. They want an instant magic pill that would solve their (medical and other) problems. If they solve them, they continue their lives as usual. The disease of the body is the ultimate manifestation of a disorder on subtler levels (the psyche, the mind, emotions).
The body needs to be healed and maintained, however, we should not stop there, but continue taking care of our overall health. That way you will get to the point where you will not think about the treatment of the disease, but, instead, about the next blemish on your personality, about how to transform your fault into a virtue and so on.
Does yoga help weight loss?
Why and how do we become overweight in the first place? Certainly not (only) by failing to exercise regularly? Our physical appearance and weight are affected by many negative factors, the most important ones being stress, improper and irregular nutrition, disturbed biorhythm, and, of course, neglecting our bodies.
Yoga can help with weight loss and the regulation of metabolism through dynamic and fast exercises. Regular exercise leads to the desired effects. However, as with the previous question, to achieve permanent results, it is necessary to continue with the same routine. If you want your teeth to be clean and white, you have to brush them every day. You cannot brush your teeth one month per year and expect them to stay clean. It is the same with our body. Yoga can help with weight loss and maintenance, but other factors should also be taken into consideration and worked on. Then the results will come and will be permanent.