Yoga can be understood as a comprehensive approach to healing, for it works on the root of all disease. It removes all those obstructions within us that tend to manifest as ill health.
The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit source ‘Yuk’ meaning ‘to join, to unite’. Yoga was developed 5 000 years ago which can be traced back to the Indus Valley civilization and the first written literature was found in the ‘Yoga Sutras’ of Patanjali. The ‘Yoga Sutras’ of Patanjali is a 2 200 year old classical piece of Yoga philosophy. Patanjali describes 8 disciplines of yoga that needs to be practiced and mastered in order to reach the ultimate goal of yoga which is to perceive the true self. These 8 disciplines are Yama(universal ethics), Niyama(principles of self conduct), Asana(posture), Pranayama (Breath Control), Pratyahara (withdrawal and control of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (higher consciousness). Yoga, according to Patanjali, serves as a means to tap hidden energy within the body called Kundalini. This energy is found in channels (Nadi) and centres (Chakra) located within our body. If one wants to gain the most from yoga, one has to follow and practice 3 main aspects of yoga i.e. practice of Asanas, Pranayama and Yoga Nidra. With regular practice of Asanas one can reduce weight, stabilize blood pressure and improve overall fitness. Asanas harmonize our mental energy flow leading to mental equilibrium and calmness. Another important benefit of Yoga is that one becomes more in touch with one’s breathing by practicing Pranayama. Yoga poses are practiced in harmony with breathing.
When one breathes easily throughout the day, less tension will accumulate in the body. It also balances our nervous system and reduces the need for sleep. The increase in oxygen in the body improves a person’s physical well being. Yoga Nidra is practiced while in the Shavasana pose (while lying on the back) and is a type of meditation that completely rejuvenates the body and mind which also gives a sense of well being. It also has the ability to calm the psychological and physiological aspects of a person. Yoga has an intimate connection with Ayurveda, which is India’s traditional medical and healing system. Ayurveda literally translated, means ‘science of life’, knows that body and mind form an interactive system. This is a viewpoint also shared with yoga. Both schools of thought also insist that a healthy wholesome life must be happy and morally sound. The authorities of yoga and Ayurveda both recommend for our well-being, the cultivation of selfknowledge and serenity. The system of Yoga can be practiced by anyone and has no limit on age or current fitness of the individual. Yoga belongs to no religion and deals with getting in touch with one’s inner energy that can be used to heal both our body and mind. It can be considered as a path to tranquility. Yoga confirms that physical illness is simply an extension of a person’s state of mind and this is where Yoga helps us to find inner peace thus eliminating illness from the physical body