Yoga for the Body, Mind, and Soul
Jason Crandell, a teacher on the science of ‘yoga’, once said:
“The nature of yoga is to shine the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the body.”
When one ponders over the thought of yoga, pictures of saints sitting in deafening silence on the mountain top comes to the mind. It is, in fact, one of the very orthodox traditions of Indian philosophy. As poetic as it may seem, the dynamics and dimensions of yoga traverse way back into the forgotten past of ancient times. Yoga has its base from the ancient Indian language Sanskrit “yuj” meaning “union”. It implies the meaning of unifying mind, body, and soul. Yoga to me is the exercise to our ‘spiritual self’. If physical exercise is nourishment to the ‘skeletal self’, yoga is one such to the former.
In the thick and the bygone clouds of human existence, we forgot the real meaning of it, methinks. To reaffirm the importance of it, and with a plan to bring back the lost glory to this spiritual science, Prime Minister of India, Mr. Modi during his United Nations General Assembly Speech in 2014, set up an International Yoga Day on 21st June, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The prime minister would later go on to release the Common Yoga Protocol edited by Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY), Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India.
The main maxim of yoga is to allow one to find wholeness to self; to find and reintroduce their lost selves. Yoga personifies a connection between body and mind and reviews the relationship between humanness and soul. In addition to healing the spiritual heart, yoga does have the following health benefits (Mody J, 2018).
- Useful for cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health.
- Advantageous in the management of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and elevations in blood pressure.
- Helps fighting weariness, stress, and depression.
- Helps in improving women’s health.
In dissimilarity to the aforementioned advantages ‘yoga’ does play a role in altering the molecular landscape of the human body. Researchers have reported that performing yoga will have an ample change in the gene expression and a decrease in the transcription activity, thereby increasing the immune response. Research conducted by Manoj K Bhasin and his team revealed that decent emphasis on mind-body interactions (MBIs) has resulted in the reduction of long-standing stress and improved the quality of lifestyle. Their research has also opened doors for carrying out in-depth research on ‘molecular pathways’ and arriving at benefits on a clinical front (Manoj K Bhasin, 2013). Another study reported that alterations in the expression of genes in spermatozoa can reduce the assembling of mutagenic bases in one place, and neutralize genetic expression. Also, practicing Yoga Based Lifestyle Intervention (YBLI) will enhance the quality of the life of progeny (Dhawan, Vidhu, 2018). To put many a doubt and misconception to bed, we’d like stress on the following words (Mandpaka RT, 2016)
“To think that yoga is all about the human body is wrong. It is about the body, mind, and soul. Yoga helps in the unquestionable and indisputable truth that a sound mind in a sound body helps realize the meaning and purpose of life and helps in the communion with that invisible, inexpressible, incomprehensible, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient power called God. Yoga helps man rise above the innate animal instinct, live through the human instinct and reach the levels of divinity. Yoga helps man in all walks of life to transcend from selfishness to altruism, from hatred to love, from jealousy to appreciation, from parochialism to real patriotism. Yoga helps one to see the oneness of humanity and human unity. Yoga helps one to become a world citizen – craving for peace and crying against violence. If sport is to unite the world, every sportsman must embrace yoga – body, mind, and soul”.
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- Bhasin, Manoj K., et al. “Relaxation response induces temporal transcriptome changes in energy metabolism, insulin secretion and inflammatory pathways.” PloS one 8.5 (2013): e62817.
- Dhawan, Vidhu, et al. “Meditation & yoga: Impact on oxidative DNA damage & dysregulated sperm transcripts in male partners of couples with recurrent pregnancy loss.” The Indian journal of medical research 148.Suppl 1 (2018): S134.
- Mandapaka, Ravi Teja, and Sujatha Nellore. “The Impending Importance of Physical Exercise in Maintaining Perfect Bone Health and Preventing the Onset of Osteoporosis.” J Osteopo Phys Act 4: 173. doi:10.4172/2329-9509.1000173.
- Mandapaka, Ravi Teja, Rachabathuni Srinivas, Jyothirmai D. “Yoga as an Exercise in the Professional Life of a Swimmer Leads to Perfection.” J Yoga Phys Ther 6 (2016):239. doi:10.4172/2157-7595.1000239.
- Mody J. “Epigenetics and Yoga.” J Clin Epigenet 4 .2 (2018):10