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Yoga – Introduction

Yoga provides one of the best means of self-improvement and attaining one's full potential. In the advanced stages of yoga, super-conscious states are attained which result in a feeling of bliss, deep peace and the emergence of psychic powers.

Yoga was developed and perfected over the centuries by philosophers and mystics in India. It is basically a method by which we increase the body's supply of energy and remove any interference to the transmission of energy throughout the body. Yoga has specialized in this subject for thousands of years, and streamlined the methods to attain this aim.

These days, yoga classes are being held at most health and wellness centers across the United States. Along with meditation, it is probably one of the most popular alternative therapies. Many physicians, who are skeptical about the efficacy of alternative medicine, support yoga with a passion. There are many clinical studies that show the effectiveness of yoga. And the best part of it is that it is something that can be done in the comfort of your home. A few breathing exercises recommended by yoga will go a long way towards better health and relaxation.

A few months ago, I was talking to Rev. Fr. Philip Jacob of Indian Orthodox Church, Detroit, Michigan. The conversation got into alternative medicine and spiritual healing. Rev. Jacob remembered how his father used to practice alternative nostril breathing, a well known yoga pranayama practice, daily. According to his father, one does not have to do any other exercise to maintain health. A few months later, my sister-in-law, Susan Jacob M.D., who is a board certified pediatric allergist, was visiting us from Houston, Texas. She was searching my library for books about yoga. I asked her why she is looking for books on yoga. She replied, "It is very good. I want to start practicing yoga." Apparently, her cardiologist had recommended yoga. My neighbor and friend, Dr. Donti M.D., often attends out of town workshops on yoga to learn better because, "its effectiveness is well proven." Cleveland Clinic, a world renowned hospital in Cleveland, teaches yoga to patients (especially those who are undergoing cardiac rehabilitation.) These are examples of the far reach of yoga, it is popular with doctors, professionals (many of which do it for stress relief and relaxation) and with common people.

Practiced for more than 5000 years, yoga is one of the oldest forms of healing therapy. The amazing results of yoga are now being studied by scientists all over the world. Teams of doctors at the various yogic health centers in India, keep detailed records of patients treated with yoga for diabetes, respiratory ailments, digestive complaints and obesity. Now it is studied and accepted across the globe for its many healing and relaxation effects.

Why Yoga?

Yoga works on the mind and the body at the same time, as well as exploiting their interdependence. No other system does this. Western psychology studies the mind, western exercise physiology studies the effect of exercise on the body, but there is no emphasis on the interrelationship of the mind and the body.

Yoga asanas (postures) and breathing deal with the physical body, but due to their effect on the brain, they also affect the mind.

All the wonders of modern science will not bring happiness, peace of mind, health or a long life. Although wonders have been achieved in our external environment – space travel, computers, etc. - our internal environment has been neglected. Thousands of years ago the ancient yogis turned their minds inwards and discovered their true nature. This allowed them to work out a system of body and breathing exercises which results in vitality, rejuvenation and peace of mind.

Why not enjoy the benefits of modern science, but also do yoga to enjoy the benefits of vitality, rejuvenation and peace of mind as well? Yes, you can have the cake and eat in too!