The word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj,’ which means, ‘to join or’ ‘to unite.’ The art of practising yoga helps us to maintain harmony between our body, mind and soul. Yoga is an essential part of Indian culture and its practise traces back to 2700 B.C. of the Indus Saraswati Valley, with fossil remains depicting figures performing yoga. Our Maharishis used to practise yoga as it was incorporated in their daily rituals to stay mentally and physically fit.
Revered personalities such as Swami Shivananda, Sri Yogendra, Sri Aurobindo, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, BKS Iyengar, Swami Satyananda Sarasvati, and many more popularised and spread yoga worldwide by their impactful teaching.
Unfortunately, owing to the fast-paced urban lifestyle, we have forgotten the importance and value of practising yoga. The impact of the last two years of lockdowns and restrictions has impacted everyone’s physical and mental well-being, causing imbalance and disturbance.
According to a survey conducted by Covid Health Assessment Scale (CHAS), indicates that people practising yoga are not only more physically and mentally healthier, but their lifestyle and coping skills to any obstacles or challenging situations are higher, they sleep better, and their endurance level is better than, non-yoga practising people.
The last couple of years has deeply impacted people across all age groups globally, creating more awareness and the importance of physical and mental health. People have become more conscious and concerned about their fitness now. During the lockdowns, yoga once again gained its lost glory and importance.
65% of Indians aged between 18-24 years agreed to suffer from mental health issues, according to the report on ‘the impact of Covid on the mental health of elderly in Indian’. Therefore, it becomes of utmost importance and concern for us to confront it and improve and minimise the mental health problem.
Studies show that yoga is beneficial for physical health and mental health and in building stronger immunity to fight infections.
As there is an increase in demand for learning yoga, I tried to understand how Covid 19 has played a significant role in the rise of yoga practice. Also, to understand what factors should be considered before starting a yoga practise, especially for beginners.
Yoga has become popular among millennials in the last few years. Sadly, many of us blindly follow fad diets and gym techniques to stay fit, and it is more so true for beginners who are highly influenced by celebrities. But what they forget is that they have expert trainers who understand their clients’ body types and requirements.
I got in touch with Gautam Sanwaria, (35), yoga instructor (Pune) and Anuja Chowdhry, (40), yoga instructor at Anahata Yoga, who shared with us their expert opinion on the things we should consider before joining yoga classes.
Introducing yoga to beginners
In today’s scenario, everyone is concerned about their health and wellness, resulting in the rise of yoga classes. Beginners are a significant factor in the increase in demand for yoga classes.
According to Anuja, first-timers should always begin with simple and gentle asanas and gradually advance to complex ones. Gautam too recommends starting with easy asanas; otherwise, wrong posture alignment may lead to injuries.
Yoga beyond thirty
Both the yoga expert says, ‘Yoga is ageless,’ and anyone can learn it irrespective of their age. If they are determined, focused and have patience, it becomes easier and enjoyable to practice yoga.
Get an instructor
Anuja and Gautam highly recommend beginners practise yoga under an instructor’s supervision to avoid any self-injuries. Once they understand the various yoga poses and correct posture alignment and are confident enough to do without any errors, they can choose between online or offline classes.
Yoga for the seniors
Gautam firmly believes, “Yoga is a gift for elderly people.” It helps them to stay healthy, strong and active.
Anuja, too shares the same sentiments, “Yoga for elderly people is a wonderful way to enhance their physical health and overall wellness. The stretching, breathing and meditation practice of yoga is highly beneficial for senior people.”
Benefits of yoga for Women
Anuja, a woman and a yoga instructor, firmly believes, “Yoga provides strength to women to deal with their physiological and psychological changes. It aids in optimising the performance of the body organs; it also balances the hormones, moods and inner peace to attain an excellent quality of life.” Gautam also highly recommends that women include asanas such as Sarvangasana and Supta Baddha Konasana as it helps in improving thyroid levels and their overall health.
Well ventilated room
Anuja warned and advised beginners not to practice yoga in a hurry or in a state of exhaustion and illness and that it should be done in a neat and clean room, if possible, in an airy, well-ventilated room.
Enhance overall lifestyle
Anuja strongly believes in yoga and explains how yoga is beneficial if introduced in our daily routine. According to her, those who practise yoga regularly will reap the benefits such as, “Yoga helps decrease stress, anxiety and depression, reduce chronic pains, promotes good sleep, improves flexibility and balance, helps improve breathing and increase overall strength.
7 easy yoga asanas for everyone.
As per the suggestion from our yoga experts Anuja and Gautam, I have listed below seven yoga asanas that are easy to practise at home without any supervision or leading to any injuries. You may consult your yoga practitioner regarding these or watch reliable Youtube videos on the correct technique.
In today’s uncertain and fast-paced lifestyle, yoga is seen as a blessing. If practised with little caution regularly, yoga is a very effective mechanism for building immunity, staying mentally and physically strong, fighting stress, anxiety and depression.
It is beneficial to people of all age groups. Today people have accepted yoga as one of the ways of staying healthy and fit. With this belief in yoga, it has once again become popular and gained its lost glory.
Contributor: Sonal Srivastava
About our Writing Program Student
A simple yet strong and emotional girl, Sonal a fitness enthusiast firmly believes in healthy living. She loves travelling and exploring new places and being a foodie, loves to cook! For her, spending time and energy reading, listening to music, watching movies with friends and family is a an investment of a lifetime.