Say Yes to Yoga
The pursuit of good health is a common trend today. From movie stars to housewives, almost everyone is jogging, buying flashy sports gear, and talking about fitness and wellbeing. It’s easier to exercise than you think – and it does not have to be about huffing and puffing while you rain sweat! Yoga is a non-rigorous routine for anyone and everyone; it is a philosophy, rather than just a form of exercise; one that can prevent and cure some illnesses, as well as strengthen and tone your body.
What is yoga, really?
Practised in India for over 3000 years and recently gaining immense popularity in the West, yoga is a set of disciplines that will bestow upon you the strong and well toned muscles, an improved immune system and a calmer and more balanced frame of mind.
The most well-known of the many, many systems of yoga is Ashtanga (eight-pillared or eight-limbed) yoga, developed by the great sage Patanjali. The most prominent of these metaphorical pillars or limbs are asana (posture), pranayama (breath control), dharana (concentration on a single object), and dhyana (meditation).
Meditate – it will make you a better person!
Everyone knows that it is good to meditate, but most often don’t know what it is all about and where to start. First, meditation is not just sleeping or keeping still like a statue. Meditation aims at powering up the seven energy centres or ‘chakras’ These chakras are located along the central ‘nadi’ which runs inside the spine. Each chakra in your spinal column is believed to influence or even govern bodily functions near its region of the spine. They are also believed to control personality traits, both good and bad.
Chanting is important, too. When you chant, you send resonant waves throughout your entire body, which vibrate particularly strongly in the skull, creating a powerful positive feeling. Experts say that prolonged focus on any single chakra is bad – this weakens the other chakrass. The Ajna or forehead chakra, though, is said to strengthen all seven centres simultaneously if meditated upon long enough! Also, each chakra is supposed to have a different colour and symbol delegated to it, like a rune you might find in ancient Gaul. Pretty mystical, isn’t it?
Yoga for children
Yoga can be very beneficial for young children as well. It can improve the general physical health of your child by boosting stamina, enhancing stability and balance and improving immunity. Asanas also strengthen the child’s muscle tone and improve his posture. But yoga has benefits beyond the physical. In an increasingly hurried and harried world, yoga can teach your child to control his emotions and his mind, and cope with stress. This is of especial relevance to children, who tend to be excitable and hyperactive by nature.
Children can begin practising yoga from the age of five. Initially, they should start with a 15-20 minute session that gradually stretches to half an hour as they grow older. However, do keep in mind that not all asanas are suitable for children since their bodies are still growing and cannot cope with the more strenuous ones. So be sure to find a yoga teacher who specialises in children’s yoga for your little one.