Why do yoga? The short answer is that yoga makes you feel better.
This 5,000 year old practice of postures, breathing exercises, and meditation creates a healthier body, mind and spirit. For many people, that's enough of an answer. But there's more if you're interested.
For starters, yoga is good for what ails you. Specifically, research shows that yoga helps manage or control anxiety, arthritis, asthma, back pain, blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, headaches, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, stress and other conditions and diseases. What's more, yoga:
- Improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina
- Reduces stress and tension
- Boosts self esteem
- Improves concentration and creativity
- Lowers fat
- Improves circulation
- Stimulates the immune system
- Creates sense of well being and calm
- Most of the benefits mentioned above are secondary to yoga's original purpose
Developed in India, Yoga is a spiritual practice that has been evolving for the last 5,000 years. Yoga means "union" in Sanskrit, the classical language of India. The original yogis were reacting, in part, to India's ancient Vedic religion, which emphasized rituals. The yogis wanted a direct spiritual experience -- one on one -- not symbolic ritual. So they developed yoga, a practice where all that is needed is the self.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, a book of almost 200 aphorisms about the yogic lifestyle, outlines the yogic path to include basic morals and ethics, the practice of postures and breathing exercises, and the practice of sense withdrawal and concentration which leads to meditation.