The Hidden Benefits of Practicing Yoga
Originally published in the March 2015 issue of 'Abraxas Nu'- India's premier Youth Magazine.
As the world around us becomes increasingly fast paced, Shivani Nirula shares her experience of practicing Yoga, and why she believes it makes an excellent form of exercise for today’s young adults.
Hectic. Busy. Crazy. These are some common answers which come from most twenty-something’s when asked a simple question- so, how was your day?
It has taken me more than two years of practicing Yoga to comprehend its immense hidden benefits, which have gradually manifested in my life. In today’s world, a quiet moment is hard to come by. In our twenties we are always told to work hard, party harder, never waste a second, and basically to work as many hours so that we can secure our future. Our generation has become accustomed to jumping from overwhelming working days to a party packed weekend- and then right back to the grind on Monday morning.
Here are some of the ways the simple exercise of practicing Yoga four times a week has given me some welcome relief from this routine.
Disconnecting and Connecting
“The practice of Yoga brings us face to face with the extraordinary complexity of our own being”- Sri Aurobindo.
It is difficult to connect with yourself if you are constantly connected to the outside world through social media and instant messaging. Even an hour of Yoga without pesky notifications and status updates brings one so much peace of mind and clarity. It is a chance to focus my thoughts solely on my breathing and body movements- making me feel completely calm and undisturbed, and it is at this time when we can clearly hear our own innermost thoughts.
As surprising as it may seem, doing a session of Yoga after a particularly tiring day leaves me feeling completely refreshed and energized. Any fatigue or tiredness is replaced with a sense of rejuvenation- and can really give me an energy boost which carries on through to the next day! It leaves you feeling physically fit, agile and mentally recharged.
Focus and Balance
Certain Yoga asanas like Natarajasana (Dancers Pose) and Vrikshasana (Tree Pose) are based on shifting the weight of your body to balance yourself in a tricky position. Practicing these poses not only gradually improves your physical sense of balance, but also improves your focus and concentration skills. I find it impossible to balance in these Yoga poses if my mind is wavering and I don’t have a hundred percent concentration on your current activity. Learning to control our thoughts and focus entirely on the job at hand has immeasurable benefits in our daily lives.
“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” -B.K.S. Iyengar. The practice of Yoga only emphasizes on self improvement without any external competition. The environment of a Yoga class where there is no contest between practitioners is truly wonderful. Instead of competing, each one is inspired by the other. Yoga teaches you to accept your physical limitations, but at the same time, constantly challenge yourself to do better. This motivates us to strive towards making slow and steady progress, not only in our practice of Yoga, but also in other facets of our lives.
Practicing Yoga has completely transformed my sleeping pattern. Like many young people, I used to suffer from a mild form of insomnia and often faced consecutive sleepless nights, which used to leave me feeling like a zombie! Many of us spend a large part of our day in front of a laptop or tablet, without any physical exercise at all. So despite feeling mentally exhausted at the end of the day, sometimes we still have trouble sleeping. For me, Yoga provides the perfect amount of physical exercise and also calms my mind, which has improved my sleeping pattern tremendously. Waking up after a good night’s rest is one of the many good feelings I attribute to my practice of Yoga!
About the author: Shivani Nirula is a Delhi based Designer and is passionate about Yoga, wellness and the creative arts. Under her label ‘ESKA’ she has created a range of Yoga, Lounge and Active Apparel for women and men (www.facebook.com/eskadesigns)
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