The Science of Yoga: Past the mat

The practice of yoga, which was a decade ago, an ancient cultural practice of India; is now the best form of relaxation for millions across the globe.  It has certainly established itself as a go-to option for many and people regard it as a pure form of retreat from their hectic and busy lives. Yoga is now a household-thing. It doesn’t matter where you are, where you belong to or how you look; it can be practised by anyone. 

Yoga, in itself, is of various forms. The Hatha form of yoga comprises of various sorts of physical postures. It focuses largely on three sects of yoga namely pranayama which the exercise of breath-control, asanas that involve the practising of yoga postures and lastly, the sect of savasana which is the period of resting. Yoga is one of those practices that channelize your energy in a way which is, both fulfilling and productive. It allows you to defy any physical barrier you have in mind for yourself yet, it doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed because of that. As mentioned above about the breathing practices, the goal is to focus on your breathing while your mind escapes grogginess and is in a peaceful state of mind.

The practise of yoga has been associated with various positive changes in the human body. The first one is more of a psychological phenomenon which is called as body-image. Yoga is credited with enhancing a person’s view regarding themselves. A person who practices yoga consistently is someone who is self-aware. You tend to do your best while you perform yoga and it draws your attention to your own physical capabilities displayed at the moment. This has been proven by surveys done around the globe. People in constant touch with yoga get to know their bodies way better than anyone. They become aware of their abilities and limitations; making peace with them. This results in them being more satisfied with their bodies rather than criticizing anything and everything they deem as not proper. Yoga is therefore utilised as a tool for curing various eating disorders, which in turn results into promoting body positivity and enhanced self-esteem.

The second positive change that takes place with constant practice of yoga is that the person becomes mindful. Now, the concept of mindfulness is a relatively new psychological aspect and would require a bit of explanation. The concept of mindfulness stems from the idea of being aware of your present surrounding and embracing the thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions that act as the resultant of that scenario. It is the mental state of mind where one only focuses on the present moment and let their ideas and thoughts about it flow. This practice can be a plus point in positively influencing many aspects of your life. But since we mentioned about yoga being a therapeutic approach to eating disorders; we’ll see how it works in that area. When mindfulness is talked about in terms of food; it is regarded as mindful eating.  Researchers have conducted various inquires along with parameters like disinhibition towards food (regarded as a state of lack of self-control displayed in neglecting the social conventions, impulsivity and poor risk assessment. In the case of eating, it could be eating even when the person is full ), the impact of how the food looks, smells or tastes, environmental cues acting at that point in time resulting to eating or emotional eating. It came as a pleasant surprise that people who were consistent with yoga performed well and were more mindful than those who didn’t. But it isn’t much of a surprise when yoga makes you more aware of your body needs and type. This heightened awareness is brought to the kitchen table too and hence; people end up savouring every bit of their food. This results in them being full and not to eat further.

Yet another benefit of practising yoga comes from the idea of weight-loss and its maintenance. As mentioned earlier, people practising yoga who become mindful eaters with consistent practice; tend to be attuned to their body. In light of this statement; various researches have shown that people who practise yoga tend to gain less weight throughout their lives. Overall, it was seen that people practising yoga tend to have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) than non-practitioners. This was positively correlated with the concept of mindfulness.

Lastly, Yoga is also associated with enhancing fitness and being a saviour when it comes to cardiovascular risk factors. With consistent use of Yoga, one can feel that they have attained more endurance, flexibility and strength pertaining to their muscles. Similarly, Yoga is helpful in almost eliminating risk factors like lowering blood pressure, lowering blood sugar levels, lowering stress etc that play a role in cardiovascular ailments. With all these benefits; it’s hard not to see why Yoga is so popular and significant today. With the serenity it brings in one’s life; it’s hard not to go for it. We have programs that are all about Yoga and how to go about it. We hope that you reach out to us for the same.     

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