Updated: Jun 2, 2021
Many people have a limited understanding of yoga, thinking that it is restricted to the asana practice to increase flexibility, tone up muscles, relax the body, increase strength, improve balance and find stress relief. While yoga does all of the above, it is a limited view of what yoga really has to offer us. The true purpose of yoga is to develop a relationship with the Self that exists deep within our core.
I have been practicing yoga for many years. I developed an interest in Yoga because of my grandfather, who himself is a yoga guru and has been teaching yoga for years. He has been my inspiration from day one. He was teaching people who were both young and old. One thing I saw was there was no age limit or need to have a certain type of body or flexibility to learn yoga. And this is because Yoga is not just about being flexible or fit or young, Yoga is more than that. There are so many aspects to it! Yoga is a combination of physical postures, breathing exercises and techniques, mediation, and relaxation. It involves understanding your body, focusing on your breath, paying attention to every movement, and most importantly slowly moving inward. The purpose of Yoga is to achieve mental and physical well-being, to connect to your inner self and live a happy & healthy life. It solely depends on what you are interested in and working within your abilities. There is so much to yoga than one can ever imagine!
Why do I say yoga is for all ages & body type?
Here are the Reasons why Yoga is for everyone:
1. Practicing yoga from a young age can enhance a child's mental and physical growth, immune system, and other body functions. It will help them cope with stress and anxiety, they will be more at peace with their body and build inner-outer body strength, flexibility, balance, and stamina.
2. As young adults, teens go through several changes mentally and physically - their body & environment. There is a lot of stress, nervousness, and anxiety due to staying up late finishing assignments, finding jobs, meeting deadlines which often affects their sleep cycle causing sleep deprivation. Therefore, by regularly practicing yoga helps them stay awake and helps them relax, cool down, manage stress, and sleep properly.
3. As we get older, regular practice of yoga helps manage the stress due to parenthood and contributes to work-life balance, by keeping you healthy and mentally strong enough to take up challenges head-strong. It can help prevent certain diseases and reduce pain or compression in joints and spine from constant sitting or hunching. It also helps to build and maintain flexibility and muscle strength while growing older.
4. When we enter mid-life, we want to live a healthy-conscious life, preventing lifestyle disorder with growing age. It is a time for prioritising one's health and focusing on the wellness aspects, which can be achieved by consistent practice of yoga. The yoga practices will be more therapeutic, gentle, and slow as we grow older but will provide stability and strength to the body. With reduced working hours or retirement there are plenty of opportunities to travel to yoga retreats or attend workshops and focus on what the body needs. People also tend to seek greater purpose and meaning in life, meditation practice helps in guiding through the mental challenges and providing peace and comfort.
Yoga has a great effect on the body, mind, and spirit. It does not require a lot of space or special equipment. It's all about listening to your body, practicing in your comfort-zone, slowly-gradually working towards building flexibility and strength that is appropriate to your personal limitations. One has to practice in a safe, healing way and know when to stop. There are so many different asanas with modifications for everyone - children, young people, old people, and whoever does yoga lives a healthy, peaceful, and happy life.
So, start practicing Yoga today for a happy and healthy life.