Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to yoke, join or unite. Its principles are to integrate all aspects of the body with the mind and soul to achieve ultimate happiness with a balanced life. Yoga is an ancient practice for living healthily that combines physical and spiritual disciplines that connect the body and mind. It originated in India more than 5,000 years ago.
There is no written record mentioning the invention of yoga. It was practiced by yogis long before any written document came into existence. These learned yogis over the millennia passed on their discipline to younger generations. Ultimately, many different schools of yoga developed in different parts of India.
The earliest written record of yoga is by Patanjali, an Indian sage, who lived around 2,000 or 2,500 years ago. Many schools of yoga have evolved over the centuries, but they all follow the principles described by Patanjali.
The Science and benefits of Yoga:
Yoga is growing in popularity. Research has shown it can help people afflicted with conditions such as back pain, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, cancer, heart disease and tuberculosis. Among its many beneficial effects, yoga has been shown to increase strength, flexibility and balance, enhance immune functions, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and improve overall psychological well-being. It also helps reduce stress.
Yoga is perhaps the only activity that massages all the internal glands and organs of the body thoroughly — including the prostate. It increases the lubrication between joints, ligaments and tendons. Rigid parts of the body become flexible. By gently stretching muscles and joints, as well as massaging various organs, yoga ensures optimum blood supply to various parts of the body and helps flush out toxins.
How it all works:
Though scientists don’t know exactly how yoga works for good health, it is a good proven mind-body therapy as it causes the release of endorphins — natural painkillers — and “feel good” chemicals from the brain. Yoga is thus a complementary therapy that can be used with conventional medicine to treat a wide range of health ailments, but it does not cure any disease.
Yoga is therefore, a perfect holistic approach for attaining good health. It has become more popular than ever, with celebrities, politicians, businesspeople, movie actors/actresses and people from almost every walk of life practicing it.