Lifestyle Mental Health

I am sure we all have heard, at some point in our lives, about how Yoga as a daily life practice can help us in several ways. We’ve been told about how its benefits range from emotional, physical to our psychological well being. However, until you experience Yoga for yourself it is very difficult to explain or understand what it truly changes inside.

Yoga is a lifestyle change; it’s about bringing more discipline and focus into our chaotic life. People have been practicing yoga for years and there is surely a good reason for that which, each of us needs to find out for ourselves in this modern day mess we call “Life”.

There are so many types of yoga practices that have come up in the past few years and so many new ones being introduced each year. These have clearly been introduced because people find it difficult to practice the authentic form of yoga and have issues with dedicating time to the practice anymore. In order to make things more doable we have practices that have been altered to individual needs. This isn’t wrong but somewhere in doing this we have lost the essence of what yoga truly is.

Now days the concept of Yoga is commercialized and it’s only become about everyone striking a pose and posting it on social media in order to receive appreciation from people they may have never even met before. It’s sad to see how shallow we have become over the years and how we all are missing the point of what our scriptures spoke and emphasized about Yoga.

What I understand of an authentic Yoga practice is that it helps us look inward and be completely still in the moment, with ourselves, in order to evaluate and review the life changes we may require at that point to become more evolved beings, However, in today’s “modern day’’ scenario it has ended up becoming a practice of who can strike a better yoga pose or who’s picture quality and lighting is better than the others.

We need Yoga in today’s modern world more than ever before. The stress levels of individuals in the present day have hit highs we couldn’t imagine at one point. People are getting diagnosed for Depression, Bipolar Disorders, High BP, and Diabetes younger than they were in the past. The high stress levels have also played a crucial role in the increase in the suicide rates in recent times. We see children who are suffering from Depression due to academic pressure imposed on them by the school or their parents. This has resulted in a rise of a lot of lifestyle diseases. The stress levels of women have also shown a clear correlation to their fertility rate, making it difficult or almost impossible for them to conceive naturally. It is a proven fact that when a woman’s stress levels are reduced, due to exercise or yoga or other alternate therapies, they are more able to conceive.

We keep using the word “Stress” without realizing what it actually is and what causes it. It could come from a variety of unresolved issues, such as, unhealthy competition, feeling of not being good enough, not being able to deal with our insecurities and so on. Yoga helps us to go within and touch the core of our consciousness in order to deal with these issues in a more appropriate and channelized way. It helps us to slow down and be one with ourselves while being able to block out any unnecessary distractions in our life. Being able to sit still and observe one’s body sensations and focus on breathing and our body awareness is a brilliant way to start exploring the true yoga practice that we talk about.

With the million other benefits that a daily Yoga practice has to offer, one of the most crucial ones is that it helps us to control and regularize our breath. I am sure we have all noticed that when we get stressed or sense fear in a situation our breathing patterns change and we either breathe too fast or stop breathing completely for a few seconds thus making our breathing process erratic. Yoga happens to talk a lot about normalizing breath and practices such as ‘Pranayama’ help to do so. The importance of Yoga in today’s modern times is extremely essential for this reason and people need to find time to practice it as it helps to balance a person holistically.

Yoga taught me more than just to focus and concentration in situations or breathing and being aware of my body. Being a Practicing Psychologist in Mumbai and dealing with patients with different emotional and psychological issues, on a daily basis,  I was losing a part of myself to the exhaustion post my clinical sessions. This was before I was introduced to Yoga, however after I started my daily morning Yoga practice I started noticing a lot of changes in the way I was conducting myself and the people close to me started noticing this change too. I felt more positive and less exhausted during and after my sessions with my patients.

An important fact that we need to know about Yoga, especially in today’s day and age, is that it has nothing to do with religion and can be practiced by any person of any race or ethnicity. In the olden times it was assumed that only ‘Hindu’s’ or ‘Godly people’ could practice it, that myth has been washed away as so many people all over the world have embraced Yoga with open arms and are practicing and teaching it to so many others. These days Yoga is being used in schools and colleges to introduce children to ways to control their anger and frustration and of course the academic pressures they face on a daily basis. Yoga is also being used in Pre-natal and Post natal cases which help the new mother adjust better to her new baby and life. This has reduced the cases of Post Partum Depression in a big way, allowing the new mother to rationally deal with the exhaustion that may arise post pregnancy.

To conclude this article, knowing the importance and benefits of Yoga and its daily practice is one thing and actually getting down to practicing it every day without excuses is another. What Yoga does for each one of us is very individualistic and one must practice Yoga in the best and most authentic way possible in order to understand oneself better and be in sync with one’s own core being. Yoga is very relevant and extremely important in the modern day context and the sooner we turn towards Yoga for our holistic wellbeing the faster we will see ourselves evolve into better versions of ourselves.