Most people identify yoga with myriad postures and body contortions. Well! That is what the general public feels. However, any yoga practitioner will tell you, that yoga is more than that. It is about mindfulness, breath patterns, and also about rest. You can also call it an amalgamation and application of two traditional sciences, Ayurveda and Yoga. Leaving that quintessential yoga class aside, there are various yoga practices that are customized for individuals.
Yoga works on all levels, be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. A private yoga session can turn out to be more beneficial, than numerous medicines. It is all about holistic wellness. Additionally, you will hear quite a few debates on Yoga. However, you have to understand, where to draw the line at times. Let us understand what its benefits are and its limitations.
Benefits of Yoga Decoded
- Yoga can make you a part of a community. When you participate in group yoga classes, you become a part of a close circle of like-minded individuals. If you thought, that personalized sessions are lonely, think again. You can develop a nurturing Guru-Shishya relationship with each passing day. You can ask your friends and family to join in with you, for some active sessions of yoga. Additionally, you also manage to foster new friendships when you practice in yoga ashrams and communities. What more? You could also rope in seniors for the classes. Give them a chair, and allow them to practice at their convenience. See the magic thereafter. Yoga and Carnatic music also go hand-in-hand. So, you can combine the musical community too.
- Yoga has the power to improve your strength and flexibility. When you stretch your body, you actually give all your body muscles a stretch. Most yoga poses, involve multiple muscles. Moreover, when you hold your poses for a long time, the action goes deeper. There are various forms of yoga, and Yin yoga amongst them can help you with a deeper action. Vinyasa yoga helps with the flexibility, as it is a type of flow yoga. When your body’s flexibility increases, so do your posture. Additionally, you will notice that your resistance to injuries also improves manifold. When you hold your yoga poses for a long time, you tend to improve your focus as well. You should know about some of the asanas, that are beneficial for flexibility. They are Padangusthasana, Utthita Trikonasana, and Baddha Konasana, to name a few.
- Yoga helps you to relax deeply and sleep well. It is a known fact, that yoga helps you to relax, and remain stress-free. Some of the aspects of Yoga which assist the body in relaxation are Ujjayi Pranayama, or breathworks. When you practice this technique, the exhaled breath emulates the sound of ocean waves. If you practice these techniques right before bedtime, you will definitely get some good night’s sleep. After you have practiced some rounds of yoga, you can lie down in the Savasana pose. It helps the body relax.
- Yoga provides pain relief and can also alleviate chronic symptoms. You are already aware, that yoga is a practice that brings alignment of the body, mind, and soul. Moreover, it has provided pain relief in many cases. It can also reduce inflammation and chronic illnesses. Many patients suffering from back pain, neck pain, and chronic body pain have got benefitted through yoga. Yoga mainly alleviates pain. By reducing the perception of pain. Yoga Nidra is one of the most powerful mindfulness meditation techniques, that has been known to reduce the perception of pain. It mainly dissociates the negative effects of pain from the body. Yoga also reduces the body’s stress response, and can reduce inflammatory pain caused by autoimmune diseases.
So, these are the most important benefits that you can derive from yoga, amongst many others.
Limitations of Yoga Therapy
Now, that you know of the various benefits of yoga therapy, you should also know about some of the limitations. Yoga is a ‘Darshana’, according to philosophy. You cannot call it a ‘therapy’, in the true sense of the word. It does have myriad benefits, but you need to know, who can benefit and who cannot.
- Not all people, nor all diseases can be cured by yoga. Yoga cannot treat patients who have suffered fractures. Yoga is a complementary or alternative healing methodology, which you can apply for pain relief during other forms of treatments. This is the first limitation.
- Yoga may not also be an alternative for situations that require surgery. However, yoga can provide support both physically and mentally to the patient, undergoing the surgery.
- You have to understand, that your body has to be receptive to yoga. Then only, you can benefit from it. Take the example of the disease Diabetes. Yoga can cure the disease in certain individuals, while it cannot in others. If your pancreas is not working properly at all, you may not get any advantage from yoga.
- Yoga can cure certain diseases, to a certain capacity. Moreover, it depends on the stage of the disease. If a disease in its first stage, when it is weak, you can get cured with yoga.
- Additionally, the body constitution of the patient is also important. If the body constitution of the patient is weak, the diseases cling to such people. However, the other way round is also true. If you have a strong constitution, you can fight off, diseases, quite easily.
- Another factor, which plays a huge role here is the mindset of the patient. Yoga cannot cure a patient, who has no belief in the system. The mind is very powerful. Furthermore, you can call it the ‘Control room’ of the body. If your mind works in alignment with the yogic practices, you may be cured.
Therefore, you can come to the conclusion that yoga is a supportive and complementary healthcare modality. It cannot replace the western forms of medicines and surgical treatments completely. However, it is therapeutic and alleviates discomfort and pain. Most western treatments, surgeries, and medicines work well in conjunction with yogic practice, and vice versa.