Importance of yoga in modern lifestyle

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Yoga enables you to look at yourself in ways you never imagined. There may be more than humour to this statement. Did you know that yoga was ranked at number ‘14’ in a list of top 20 worldwide fitness trends in 2020? 

According to the International Yoga Federation, about 300 million people in the world practice yoga every day. In Japan alone, the growth rate of yoga has gone up by 413 percent in the last five years. 

All philosophies and religious communities alike validate the necessity of yoga for physical and mental health. Yoga nonetheless, is not a religion, but a way of living, to attain a healthy mind and body. Today, more than ever the modern man needs yoga as he is diseased by too much anxiety, pollution, and a fast-paced lifestyle, not to mention, the stress caused by the pandemic. 

A human being is made up of three aspects — the physical, the mental/emotional, and the spiritual. Gymming, aerobics and physical exercises render us physically fit, but to become emotionally and spiritually fit, yoga is the solution. A sedentary lifestyle is the reason for many physical health troubles like limited flexibility, poor strength, bad posture, stiffness, etc.

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The practise of yoga asana facilitates body movements in different directions helping to reduce stiffness, increasing joint mobility, and releasing stress, leading to strength and flexibility. Yoga protects the muscles and helps maintain a compact, balanced and flexible body thereby increasing working capacity. Some yoga asanas also help the bones of the body, lessening the risk of bone-related diseases.

Any yoga practitioner will tell you that yoga refreshes and energises us and helps in maintaining better control of our body and mind. It helps us recharge by injecting us with cosmic energy removing negative thoughts that act as spiritual toxins to our minds. 

Modern lifestyle has given us many luxuries but it has also led our brains to be constantly engrossed in endless thoughts and we are never really at peace. Hence, we lack focus, concentration and vitality. Yoga calms the brain down causing an improved concentration and increase in vital functioning.

Yoga helps in reducing stress and anxiety leading to greater self-awareness, attention, concentration and focus. Survival in modern life depends on concentration and productivity in all aspects because all of us are constantly juggling several tasks at a time. 

Studies indicate the usefulness of yoga to reduce anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic period. About 67.8 percent male and 55.6 percent of female yoga practitioners from the state of Kerala reported lesser anxiety or no anxiety due to yoga sessions in periods of lockdown.

The advantages of yoga on mental health can lead to improved sleeping habits and enhanced productivity. 59 percent of yoga practitioners in the US alone believe that yoga helps them sleep better.

Mental health directly affects our physical health. Stress is the primary reason for acid reflux and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Thus, practising yoga for stress-relaxing is useful. While yoga may not cure acid reflux alone, it offers relief as part of a larger treatment plan. 

Migraine can be exhausting and often requires medical treatment to be checked. Regardless, research has revealed that yoga benefits migraine patients by lessening the frequency of migraine attacks. Yoga promotes blood flow and aids post-surgery recovery.

It also offers relief to patients suffering from conditions like asthma and arthritis. Besides positively impacting our physical and mental health, regular practice of yoga tones down our body making us look fitter and more presentable.

People these days are glued to their smartphones, gaming devices, social media platforms and television sets. All over the world, people of all ages and genders alike, are spending large amounts of time in front of screens.

A couple of decades ago, most people were naturally active and working hard physically to accomplish their daily tasks.

Today, we hardly use our muscles, getting things done, literally, at the push of a button. We have become extraordinarily dependent on technology – be it the simplest of things to highly complicated stuff. We barely walk, use mechanised transportation all the time, even for travelling short distances, and use elevators/escalators instead of the staircase. 

According to the World Health Organisation, inadequate physical activity is a fundamental cause of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes as well as, the leading risk factor for death worldwide. Thus, we should try to include some physical activity in our schedule every day, and yoga is the easiest and most viable option. 

One of the many great things about yoga is that it works to tune into what our body expects and demands. Many find that the acknowledgement and self-love they practise on the yoga mat has an overpowering impact on the way they treat their bodies off the yoga mat, whether it is through improved activity, better nutrition choices, or reducing reliance on tobacco and alcohol.

Yoga stimulates our body’s natural healing processes. The body has a remarkable ability to heal itself if offered suitable conditions. Yoga practice can be a fantastic way to create a habitat that allows the body’s intrinsic healing powers to kick in.

This happens due to its impact on the immune system, enhancing the body’s ability to fight disease and restore health. The strengthening effects of yoga can increase mobility and organ function, helping the body to heal from physical injuries. 

In conclusion, we can say that yoga helps the mind and body to improve the quality of life. The science of yoga is indeed our true friend and companion that could grant us well-being in a modern lifestyle.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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