Article by Arun Rajkumar
From time immemorial, man has had to deal with challenges in the body, mind and spirit. So the sages of ancient India came up with a discipline called Yoga to deal with this skilfully. Interestingly, it is as relevant to the modern day man as it was to the people of those days.
The amazing thing about yoga is that it considers man, not as a sum total of billions of cells but, as a consciousness that is connected with the universal consciousness. Yoga does not aim at curing any disease. It works on uplifting the spirit in you. As a by-product of this, one gets relief from a host of ailments like backache, headache, stress, ulcer, migraine, dullness, depression, anxiety, obesity etc.
Let us now look at the popular myths about Yoga.1)”Yoga is only for those with flexible bodies.”Many watch videos and photos of yoga classes and compare their flexibility with that of the instructor and decide that they can’t do it.Yoga is for all, irrespective of your age, sex or flexibility. With sustained practice, you will only get better and will be able to do what all those cover-page models on Yoga books do and much more.Because of our habit of sitting for long hours in front of the computer or TV, our muscles get stiffened and thereby reduce flexibility. By paying a little attention to this phenomenon, we can overcome it.
2)”Yoga is a religious practice.”Yoga is an ancient Indian art and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is perhaps the most scientific piece of literature that man has ever produced. It is a path that leads to the ultimate: enlightenment.Yes, Yoga can be practiced religiously. But it is not a religion. It is a way of life that is life-supportive. Honouring the body is Asana.Honouring the breath is Pranayama.Honouring the spirit is meditation.
3)”You need to be a vegetarian to do yoga.”A vegetarian diet, no doubt, has tremendous advantages over a non-vegetarian diet and is also consistent with the non-violence that Yoga advocates. Though it is highly recommended to lead a vegetarian life, it is not a necessity, to learn Yoga.There are three types of food: a)One that causes activity (Rajasik).b)One that causes sleep or lethargy (Tamasik). c)One that keeps the mind calm and centred (Satvik). Non-vegetarian diet comes under the second category. How you would like your day to be: tired, lethargic and sleepy or active, alert and brisk? The foods that enhance the latter are called Satvik foods. And they include green leafy vegetables, sprouts, grains, milk and curd.
4)”Yoga is difficult to practice.”The law of the body is, “When there’s no pain, there’s no gain.” If you want to learn to play the guitar, you have to spend time everyday to practice the techniques taught. Only then you will be able to reap the benefits of your efforts. Similarly, in order to reap the benefits of Yoga, you need to come out of your comfort zone and actually do something. However, some of the benefits, like feeling light and calm, can be felt almost within minutes of your practice.
5)”I’m young and I don’t need to do Yoga now. It’s for people above 60.”A friend of mine once very aptly said, “If you begin to practice Yoga when you’re 20, you’ll lead a peaceful life. If you begin when you’re 60, you’ll have a peaceful death.”
Now, the choice is yours.
About the Author
The article is written by the web team Art of Living
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