Yoga can be explained as a spiritual discipline that is formulated on a subtle idea of science that focuses on ushering harmony among the mind and body. It is a practice of mind and body. There are various styles of doing Yoga that include physical posture, breathing techniques, meditation, and also relaxation. It has a huge role to play in the flexibility and mobility of the human body.
Origin of Modern Yoga
“Yoga” was mentioned in the Rig Veda that is a collection of ancient texts. It is derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” meaning union or to join. Yoga can be traced back to 5000 years ago and it is still a very celebrated practice in human beings.
Indian Monks went around spreading their knowledge on Yoga throughout the west during the 1890s. Today, modern Yoga practice has become extremely popular in the west by the 1970s.
The main idea of Yoga is to connect the soul with the body. It is a state of peace where your mind meets your body. There are 6 branches of Yoga, namely –
- Hatha Yoga: This branch is mainly the physical branch that aims to connect the mind with the body.
- Raja Yoga: This branch deals with meditations and special cohesion to a series of disciplinary levels known as “eight limbs of yoga”.
- Karma Yoga: It gives direction to free oneself from negativity and selfishness.
- Bhakti Yoga: This gives a path to establish devotion, which is a positive way to channelize emotion and learn the art of acceptance.
- Jnana Yoga: This branch is about wisdom, the road of the scholars, and imbedding intellectual knowledge through studying.
- Tantra Yoga: This is the path to developing an awareness of rituals, ceremonies, and relationships.
Benefits of Yoga
According to a study in 2012, 95% of adults who perform yoga do that for wellness reasons. The benefits of doing yoga are:
- Developing muscle strength.
- Developing flexibility.
- Enabling better breathing.
- Supporting the health of the heart.
- Helping to treat addictions.
Not All Yoga Forms Are Equal
In the above segment, we have learnt about various branches of yoga. The purpose of each branch was different and unique. Likewise, there are various yoga exercises. That depends on the purpose of the person doing that. There are dance forms, gymnastics, strength training, and many more. Every form of yoga has its purpose. But while doing that one should always try to avoid any exercise that requires excessive mobility or over flexibility. That can be at times harmful for the person doing that.
The Two Sides Of Yoga: Good And Bad
Everything comes with pros and cons. Like discussed earlier the benefits of yoga now lets see a vivid concept on the contrasting nature of yoga: the good side and the bad side of performing yoga.
There are not dozens of studies that prove the benefits of yoga. There are hundreds. Some of them range from advancements in stress, anxiety, pain, depression, cardiovascular disease, and many more. Added with that there are many testimonials from various individuals accepting the fact that they have benefited largely from yoga. However these benefits are not unique in yoga, research has shown that similar benefits can be obtained by doing other forms of exercise as well.
For a long time, the research on yoga mainly focused on the benefits of yoga. But in recent times there have been studies that focused on the other part of yoga that is injury. Yoga can subject to potential risks and injuries.
According to a systematic study in 2018, it was proven that those who practice yoga have a higher risk of meniscus injuries compared to those who do not.
Yoga In Solving Your Caloric Issue
Many may think since yoga has the same injury risk as any other sports then it is obvious the caloric expenditure after doing yoga will be the same as any other sport. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Yoga is a low caloric form of exercise compared to other exercises.
Boundaries Of Movement
Now that we have known there are specific boundaries for movement in the human body, the question now is what are those boundaries?
Unfortunately, we as humans do not like boundaries. But just like any other thing in life, here in yoga also some rules and boundaries have to be maintained. The quote “rules are made to be broken” does not fit in all notions of life. Yoga is one of those. If the rules and boundaries are not taken care of that will ultimately affect the well being of the practitioner. When it comes to solid main elements of science that connect to human movements like physiology, biomechanics, and anatomy, if someone tries to break the rule, the rule will break their body instead.
Increasing Mobility And Flexibility In Yoga
The popular idea of gaining more and more mobility and flexibility in a never ending fashion is simply based on the concept of “more is better”. But that is not how the human body should work as we do not want too much or too little of anything entering our bodies. Instead, we want an optimal amount of everything to enter our bodies.
Simply put, the aim should be to find ideal mobility and maintain it. This is applicable to all movements including yoga, weightlifting, Pilates, and so on.
Chronic To Acute Injuries In Yoga
When talking about injuries, there can be acute injuries that can be traced back to chronic injuries that happened when any of the tissues are stressed inappropriately too many times. This is a very important point one should keep in mind about the injuries caused during performing yoga. Over time this repeated misuse can result in “structural weakness” and eventually the tissues break. This explains best the exact reason why we see ACL injuries in sports.
Stop preparing your body for faulty and dangerous positions as that will result in breaking down your tissue despite strengthening them. Instead, try to avoid these dangerous postures.
Key Points On Proper Movements, Flexibility, And ROM
- Any kind of physical exercise, be that yoga, weightlifting, Pilates, gymnastics has the ability to make your body or break it. The difference lies in the execution.
- There many exercises that can be done, but not are beneficial.
- The idea that the human body can do something doesn’t make it optimal.
- Just because yoga provides you benefits that don’t mean it is optimal.
- Just because some injuries don’t cause immediate pain, that doesn’t mean it won’t give you that pain later.
Yoga is a very ancient physical practice that has changed its shape over time. Modern yoga emphasizes poses that deal in improving physical strength (improves your body’s flexibility and mobility) and inner peace. Ancient yoga dealt mostly with inner peace and mental focus rather than physical strength. There are various styles and branches of yoga that are available and depending on the body shape, size, and capability the exercises differ from person to person.