Walking day after day through a hectic schedule, people tend to have anxiety and depression. In this modern era sometimes, traditional motivation is required to keep both the mental and physical state of human beings stable. With people working around the clock, Yoga is the best and perfect traditional solution for them. Yoga has been helping human beings in keeping both physical and mental state sharp and healthy for thousands of years. It is one of the benefits of Yoga and it serves a better purpose while working amidst a stressful and chaotic working environment. Yoga would not only keep both the mind and body healthy but would also give you an inner peace that most people seek nowadays.
History of Yoga
The main purpose of ‘yoga’ is to have an inner peace in both mind and body. Some believe it is an art and some others consider Yoga to be a science, but the actual truth is they are both art and science of healthy and peaceful living.
Now apart from knowing the benefits of yoga, let us first know how the practice of Yoga started, who started it and how did it come to the modern era?
The history of Yoga can briefly be explained by dividing it into 5 parts. They are:
- Pre-Vedic and Vedic period
Yoga was first mentioned in Rig Veda around 1500 B.C. It was again mentioned in Atharva Veda around 1000 B.C. There it has mentioned the importance of breathing, which is one of the health benefits of Yoga.
However, Archaeologists have discovered several seals and fossils that date back to 2700 B.C. (Indus- Saraswati civilization) with the figures that are performing Yoga Sadhana.
This shows that the discovery of Yoga dates back to the early stages of civilization.
- Pre-Classical Period
This era is known to be the birth of ‘Upanishads’. Through personal teachings, the Upanishads have properly explained the workings of the mind and the spirit written on the Vedas. They have adopted and embraced mantra recitation and meditation to reach the goal of enlightenment. There were a total of 108 Upanishads and amongst them, 20 Upanishads along with meditation taught different yoga methods and techniques that included pranayama and pratyahara, which are both breathing exercises. This is how these exercises contributed to the benefits of yoga for everyone.
- Classical Period (500 B.C.-800 A.D.)
The classical period is divided into 4 different contexts.
- The early teachings of Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira were mainly based on Yoga Sadhana. Lord Buddha taught that the enlightenment could be achieved through accurate postures and meditation whereas Lord Mahavira taught that through meditation, freedom, and salvation could be achieved.
- Yoga was mentioned in Bhagavat Gita also. The concept of Yoga is briefly explained in a conversation that takes place between Lord Krishna and Prince Arjuna before Prince Arjuna goes into the battle. In the Bhagavat Gita, Lord Krishna elaborately explains the concepts of Dharma Karma Yoga (generous and kind actions), Bhakti yoga (dedication and considerate actions) and Jnana Yoga (knowledge).
- In the Mahabharata, some of the verses that back to 300-200 B.C. mention terms such as Vichara (reflection), and Viveka (discrimination) by Sage Patanjali.
- The father of Yoga Maharishi Patanjali during the second century B.C. systematically arranged the Yoga practices. In his Yoga Sutras, he has elaborately explained the actual meaning and benefits of yoga and offered all the knowledge of Yoga. It was called Raja yoga.
Mental benefits of Yoga
Keeping the mind fresh and healthy would make any individual fit and strong. A mind plays a huge part in keeping a body fit. A strong mind also helps in keeping the body immune to various diseases. Thus, it is essential to keep a mind healthy to keep the whole body healthy. Thus, it can be said that the mental benefits of yoga are equivalent to the health benefits of yoga since having a strong mind could keep the whole body strong and fit.
Following are some of the mental benefits of yoga that you should know about:
- Lowers Depression
It is one of the important benefits of yoga for depressed people. Studies show that practicing yoga keeps both mind and body calm. The breathing techniques of yoga helps in reducing stress, thus, decreasing any depressing symptoms. Yoga increases focus and keeps the individual aware of the current situation or environment, resulting in making him/her aware of the negative or depressive moods.
2. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can lead an individual to serious health issues such as high blood pressure or diabetes. These health issues could lead to major health issues in the future. Therefore, an individual must control his/her stress and anxiety. The only possible solution for such issues is only Yoga. Through the benefits of yoga leads to the enhancement of one’s calmness, relaxation and also increases the endurance level of an individual
The yoga for anxiety can also lessen panic attacks or disperse any uncontrollable emotions.
3. Encourages Mindfulness
Mindfulness helps an individual in focusing the present and connecting oneself by linking the mind and the spirit. It is one of the significant benefits of the mental benefits of yoga and is used for treating numerous mental health conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. It is done by the meditation process.
4. Enhances Sleep
In addition to the reduction of stress and anxiety, you can also see the benefits of yoga in the elimination of insomnia. With the power of yoga, both the mind and the body relax which helps an individual in catching a good night’s sleep.
5. Controlling Mood Disorders
Yoga also helps in controlling the mood disorders of an individual. Yoga gives an individual the power of endurance and keeps one’s mind sharp. With the increase of patience, an individual can learn to control his/her moods.
6. Improves Concentration
Each yoga techniques and yoga pose helps in stimulating the brain and nervous system of an individual. Studies have proved that an individual has increased his concentration level through the benefits of yoga within a few months.
If an individual’s mind is sharp, he can also tackle many serious mental and health issues. An individual would also be aware and alert of his surroundings, which would further help him in making decisions.
7. Boosts Self-Confidence
Self-confidence and self-esteem reflect the individual’s attitudes, beliefs, and one’s mindset. The yoga postures help in boosting the self-confidence and self-esteem of an individual. The benefits of yoga give self-confidence and self-esteem and thus an individual can actively participate in any activities.
8. Manages Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects an individual’s ability to think, behave and feel clearly. The individual is confused most of the time and they react in confusion.
This condition is incurable but it is possible to keep it control with treatments like medication or social and psychological therapy. Doctors also consider the benefits of yoga as a supplementary treatment in treating schizophrenia along with medications and psychological therapy.
9. Eases PTSD Symptoms
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is common among veterans who were involved in any combat and facing traumatic experience, victims of physical and sexual assault and witnesses of terrorist accidents or any natural disaster. It is a very serious condition and should not be taken lightly.
The psychologists of PTSD patients also suggest the benefits of yoga as the treatment methods for PTSD. Since yoga helps in reducing any mental disorders and helps an individual sleeping peacefully at night.
Thus, it is proved that Yoga can be treated as a remedy to many mental and health issues. Keeping the mental state of an individual stable is one of the health benefits of yoga that further leads to making the individual stay physically fit for a very long time.
Benefits of Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation have played a major part in improving an individual’s mental and health state. If done properly for at least 15 minutes, it would keep the mind and the body of an individual calm for a very long time.
Following are some of the benefits of yoga and meditation that can also be added as some of the health benefits of yoga that you should know about:
10. Improves Posture
Doing yoga daily with different yoga poses would stretch the muscles and improves an individual’s body posture. A posture defines whether an individual is healthy or not. Posture is needed in doing any activity whether it is for sleeping, sitting or eating. A proper posture could keep the bone structure of a human being strong and would also keep the mind healthy.
11. Keeping Fit
Just like the gym, you can also see the benefits of yoga in keeping an individual fit. Instead of going to the gym and lift weights or run on a treadmill, an individual can stay at home and do yoga. Whatever a gym is offering to keep an individual fit, yoga is also offering the same but in a more safe and peaceful environment.
12. Weight Loss
Yoga benefits helps in increasing metabolism and helps in burning fat. Thus, it leads to losing weight and keeping you healthy and active at the same time.
13. Increase In Energy
Regular yoga helps in increasing energy so that a person can actively participate in their daily tasks. It also prevents an individual from getting tired. Thus, yoga is quite beneficial in circumstances when an individual has to do lots of work and completes it without getting tired by the end of the day.
14. Stress Reduction
Yoga and meditation both helps in reducing stress. As yoga comprises of breathing, poses, and meditation, an individual who practices yoga daily can keep their heart rate lower, which allows the body to respond to stress energetically.
15. Promoting Emotional Health
Meditation and yoga both can help in improving the emotional health of an individual. A weak emotional health state can take an individual towards depression. Nowadays, depression has turned out to be common among youngsters and adults. Doctors have suggested that practicing yoga can reduce the symptoms of depression and keeps the emotional state of an individual steady.
16. Controlling Dementia
Since both yoga and meditation helps in improving the concentration level and also enable the person to think it results in keeping the mind of an individual young. Furthermore, studies have shown that few meditation styles have increased memory, attention and mental quickness of senior citizens. With the help of yoga and meditation, senior citizens with dementia can partially recover memories.
17. Fight Addictions
With yoga and meditation, the mental health of an individual tends to get stronger and stronger. And the strength of mental health is enough to fight off any addictions. Addictions are not easy to get rid of as it involves mental dependency. To fight off the dependency, doctors usually urge patients to meditate more.
Meditation would not only help an addict person fight off the addiction but would also motivate the person to become emotionally stronger.
18. Improves Sleep
Meditation and Yoga also helps in fighting off insomnia. Most of the people are suffering from insomnia now. Every human being needs proper sleep. Proper sleep leads an individual towards a healthy lifestyle. To continue keeping a healthy lifestyle by sleeping properly, meditation is the sole solution for it.
19. Help you Think Clearly
Daily yoga and meditation can also help in increasing the concentration level of an individual. It keeps the mind relaxed. When the mind is relaxed, it is easier to think clearly if someone is involved in stressful situations. Meditating in the mornings could help in concentrating better throughout the day.
20. Decrease Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can further lead to heart attacks or strokes. It needs to be kept in control. Meditation and yoga helps in the reduction of strain on the heart thus, keeping the pressure in control.
21. Helps In Breathing Better
The controlling of inhaling and exhaling is a part of yoga breathing techniques. Learning to control breathing would keep an individual’s body balanced and more relaxed. It also helps in keeping calm and think clearly in dire situations and helps in reducing pain too.
22. Be Happier And Showing Kindness To Others
It is one of the significant benefits of yoga and meditation and you should know that doing meditation and yoga daily could keep a person’s mind and body relaxed for a very long time. If that person is relaxed, he or she would remain happy. It makes a person emotionally stronger, which leads to happiness and when the person is happy, he/she can be kind to others as well.
23. Live Longer
Since yoga helps in reducing stress, keeps an individual fit, regulating heart and keeps anyone happy, it is not surprising to know the above elements could lead an individual towards a healthy life.
Yoga also helps in decreasing many heart diseases and helps in keeping breathing stable which leads to prolonging the lifespan of an individual.
From the above-mentioned points on the health benefits of yoga and meditation, the conclusion arrives at the point that both meditation and yoga keep an individual healthy in many ways for a very long time.
Health benefits of yoga breathing techniques
The breathing exercises are called Pranayama. Doing pranayama every day for at least 10-15 minutes might reduce stress and anxiety, clears up the mind and can also help in sleeping better at night. The different yoga breathing techniques help in keeping both the mental and physical state of an individual calm and relaxed. The health benefits of yoga breathing techniques that everyone should know and practice it at home are:
24. Releasing toxins from the body
With the help of a yoga breathing technique, all the toxins are released through outdoor breath. It also helps in improving the blood circulation of the body.
25. Reduces stress
When a person is fully stressed out, he might face the problem of shallow breathing. The shallow breath could further lead to an increase in blood pressure and the pulse rate.
For such situations, pranayama could help out by. By taking small and deep breaths, it could stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system that would calm both the mind and the body.
With inhaling and exhaling deeply, the whole body’s muscles and nerves start to get relaxed. Pranayama helps in controlling breathing. Doing pranayama daily could make an individual habitual of breathing deeply. So during stressful situations, the habit of breathing deeply could keep an individual calm and relaxed.
27. Burn Calories
Pranayama helps in losing weight. It takes a lot of time but eventually it would help an individual burn a lot of calories. Deeper and longer controlled breathes facilitate in burning down calories as proven by recent studies. Anuloma Viloma is the most widely used breathing technique in losing fats.
29. Increases Energy Level
Sufficient energy is needed for an individual to perform day to day tasks. With a decreased level of energy, the individual would lag on his task. For such cases, the energy level of the individual should be intensified. Pranayama techniques in collaboration with few yoga poses can help in increasing the energy level of an individual. Thus, it leads to the individual working actively around the clock.
30. Helps In Taking Full Breaths
There is a pranayama asana called ujjayi, which allows the individual to take full breath instead of taking short and shallow breaths. It sounds like snoring lightly when doing both inhaling and exhaling.
Ujjayi helps in reducing the heart rate making it normal which is likely to increase in situations like stress or exhaustion.
31. Improves Heat Rate
Doing pranayama with yoga poses can improve the heart rate of an individual. While performing ujjayi, it can lower the heart rate of an individual and brings it back to normal that mostly happens when an individual is having stressed or exhausted from doing different poses of yoga.
32. Improves Digestion
With the help of kapalbhati pranayama it could regenerate brain cells that leads to higher concentration, makes the skin glow and rejuvenate the nervous system. This breathing also helps in improving digestion by increasing metabolism.
From the above benefits of healthy breathing techniques, we can jump at the conclusion that doing breathing exercises daily for 5-10 minutes can lead to release stress, burning calories, makes an individual more relax, etc.
With running through the hectic schedule every day, people are bound to have stress and they breathe in a very shallow manner. With the increased level of stress among adults, pranayama is an easy solution for them. Pranayama would not only lessen the stress but would also keep the mental and physical state of an individual healthy. As per the yoga benefits research, this is how breathing techniques can contribute towards the health benefits of yoga and keep the person healthy for a very long time.
Thus we can see how we can stay fit even without going to the gym just by doing yoga at home. Practicing yoga is an easy task. It would not only keep the individual fit but would also help him reaching his inner peace by connecting his mind with the body. It is mentioned in the health benefits of yoga about how yoga can help an individual connecting oneself and always be aware of the present state.
Thus, from the yoga benefits research, we can easily conclude how the health benefits of yoga have positively affected an individual. Every individual who has practiced yoga or has been practicing yoga until now has enjoyed the benefits yoga has given to them.