Yoga is an ancient form of spiritual and physical exercises that encourage health and well-being. Originated in India, yoga is useful for conditions such as anxiety, arthritis, headache, migraine, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. Generally speaking, yoga comprises simple exercises and everyone can perform them without much effort. To practice yoga, one does not require any paraphernalia or particular clothes. All that is required to practice this form of exercise is some space and an intense longing for wellness. At the same time, there must be a desire for a healthy and satisfied living.

Yoga postures, better known as 'asanas', are beneficial for the work out of all parts of the body. While practicing, yoga helps to straighten and tenor the body muscles and joints, including the spinal cord and the skeletal system, it also influences the internal organs, glands as well as the nervous system. This ancient form of exercise also helps to liberate mental as well as physical anxiety and thereby release enormous reserve of energy to keep the systems alert and healthy. Yoga also includes breathing exercises, identified as 'pranayama', invigorates the body and enables a person to be in command of his awareness and thoughts. This process helps not only to refresh the body and the mind, but also brings in a soothing experience. At the same time, practicing 'pranayama' sets an optimistic thinking and meditation that eventually results in intelligibility of thoughts, intellectual power and attentiveness.

Looking back at the genesis of yoga, it originated in India thousands of years ago during the Vedic period and is a complete science. Yoga is considered to be the oldest form of exercise that covers all aspects of the human being - the body, mind and even the spirit. Although it may seem to be incredible, the primeval yogis (a practitioner of yoga) were copiously aware of man's basic temperament, personal needs as well as the prerequisites for living in synchronization with himself and the world around him. These yogis recognized the physical body as an automobile, the mind as its driver and the spirit or soul as his exact essence. They identified deed, sentiment and acumen as the three different energies that helped to set the body or 'vehicle' in motion. Hence, the yogis felt that in order to run the 'vehicle' or body effectively and efficiently it was essential that all the three forces were in equilibrium. Keeping all these as well as the co-relation between the body, mind and the soul, the yogis developed an inimitable mechanism that struck a balance among the three different powers. They consequently invented yoga, which merged various aspects of life and ensured that the body gained all the movements that are necessary for physical wellness as well as sound mental and spiritual conditions. Hence, the 'pranayama' as well as meditation were incorporated in yoga.

Yoga in your life

There are many reasons for taking up yoga and each one has his own motivation. Generally, people are attracted to yoga and take up the exercises with a view to keep themselves healthy and agile. There are some others who take up yoga with the aim of toning their body so that they appear handsome and attractive. However, there are many who go to the trainers to practice yoga with a view to get relief from different ailments or complaints like anxieties and backaches. Again, there are people who believe that they are not getting enough from life and wish to make it more fruitful and pleasurable by practicing yoga. No matter, what is your reason or goal, yoga can definitely be an efficient means or mechanism for a person offering him what he expected from the exercises and much more.

However, it is not feasible for anyone to learn all about yoga without practicing it himself. Hence, if one wishes to understand what yoga is and the benefits it offers, he should contact a trainer and take up the exercises. On the outset, yoga appears to be merely a chain of physical exercises or postures (asanas) that helps one to keep his body slim, fit and agile. But as one delves into the intricacies of yoga and continues practicing the asanas, he is able to realize the delicate changes it brings to his body and attitude towards life. Apart from toning and healing the body, yoga also brings about serenity in the mind which eventually leads to inner peace and tranquility revealing one exact personality. Honestly speaking, the self-realization experienced through yoga is its real spirit, as each one of us has been earnestly seeking self realization whether knowingly or involuntarily. And the evolution brought about through the practice of yoga helps one to lead a peaceful and fulfilled life.

It is an accepted fact that if one is able to be in charge of his mind and thoughts, he is able to do wonderful things. Actually, then there is no limit to what you are able to achieve. If you look back, you will realize that it is only your delusions and misapprehensions that often prevent us from doing things that we should be doing. And as a result of these we are unable to achieve much, including a fulfilling life. However, when we reigned in through the practice of yoga asanas, we feel liberated physically as well as mentally and can achieve wonders.

Yoga's physiology

As people age, their body begins to function lethargically. As years pass, many of the body organs become weak and inept. They even become less receptive to external stimuli. But then how many of us have really stopped to think why these changes happen or why our bodies fail to work as efficiently as when we are younger, or why the animals are able to function in a uniform manner throughout their lives. All these notwithstanding, one would be surprised to learn that ageing is basically a contrived condition that is brought about through self-intoxication or self-poisoning. However, one must not loose heart over this as if we want and make sincere efforts to keep our organs hygienic and well oiled, we can successfully slow down the catabolic wear and tear process of the cells.

Although yoga continued to be considered as an ancient Indian form of exercise, in recent times modern medical science has turned its focus towards the consequences or rather benefits of yoga. A number of researches have been undertaken in this regard and their findings have been encouraging. For example, one studies have show that the 'corpse pose' or the 'shav asana' effectually alleviates high blood pressure and people who regularly practice the yogic asanas and pranayama can get relief from numerous aliments, including arthritis, chronic fatigue, asthma, varicose veins, arteriosclerosis and even poor heart conditions. What is significant is the fact that laboratory examinations have established that owing to regular practice of asanas and pranayama for long periods, the yogis can effectively be in charge of the automatic or involuntary body functions like heart beat, temperature and blood pressure.

A study conducted for over six months on the consequences of 'hatha yoga' has confirmed that practicing this asana regularly helps to enhance lung capacity and improve breathing, as well as lessen body weight and obesity. In addition, this particular asana is also helpful in equipping the body with the aptitude to withstand stress and lower the cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the system. All these functions in turn help to stabilize as well as restore the body's natural systems retarding the ageing process. Several studies undertaken by the scientists to gauge the consequences of yoga have proved beyond doubt that this ancient form of Indian exercise comprising asanas and pranayama is not only effective in protecting us from numerous disorders, but also helps to cure an assortment of ailments. It is effectual both as a preventive as well as a curative remedy.