Even though there have been people in Asia practicing the stretching and relaxation postures for centuries, what we now call “Yoga” has a much modern birth than is generally assumed. In the “Bhagavad Gita” the word “asana” refers to a seat and in the “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” there is a mention of a sitting posture for meditation.
Mark Singleton, author of “Yoga Body: the Origins of Modern posture Practice” wrote that the “yoga asana” arose from a combination of four historical factors:
- The physical culture movement of the 19th century that praised fitness.
- The legacy of the British gymnastics in the Indian sub-continent.
- The appropriation of Indian nationalism as a political banner.
- T.Krishnamacharya, an Indian teacher, taught yoga techniques to young students of the Indian elite in the Mysore palace under the patronage of the Maharaja in the 1930s.
Pranayama is the standardized practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of our prana—the inner force—with several poses and techniques. Yoga can be adapted to the precise needs and capabilities of each individual, for which it constitutes a good complement to the gym workout routines.
Yoga exercises are designed with the central tenet that humans should have a better control of their bodies by increasing their strength and durability. These exercises also improve the focus on more efficient ways of breathing.As many of these yoga techniques require a straight back for good results, the practitioners will develop a better posture that avoids chronic back pain.
One of the collateral benefits of the practice of yoga is the needed meditation in our daily lives that will decompress so much information overload we receive from the media and the environment. Five minutes seated alone and in silence will go a long way to conserve our mental sanity in our societies. Humans need that precious break to process the events and ideas swirling non-stop all around us, which will be certainly appreciated by our family, our friends, our co-workers and all those people that come in daily contact with us.
What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.