Yoga for fitness – body and mind


02-March-2012

Hat yoga includes physical exercises for keeping body and organs fit and healthy. Controlled breathing exercises primarily meant  for nose, respiratory system including lungs and other internal organs termed as Praneyaam, has wonderfully favourable effects and the practice of meditation relaxes the mind completely making it calm, quiet, peaceful, keeping it in perfect condition.

Yoga originated over 3,000 years ago and is the gift of Indian civilisation known to be the oldest civilisation. With increasing stresses and strains of modern life, the importance of yoga has grown increasingly popular all over the world. In the United States of America and Europe millions practice yoga regularly and many programmes have been developed locally and are being marketed. It is really a pity that many programmes are being created mainly for commercial interests as the main theme.

Yoga requires little or no equipment and offers enormous physical and mental benefits. It is not as physically demanding as other traditional and non traditional exercises. Practice of yoga also makes us spiritually conscious, creating discipline not only in body and mind but in our way of life as well. It won’t be wrong to assume that yoga helps us to create a more pleasing and impressive personality.

Satisfaction brings stability and peace of mind and obviously the mind starts working more efficiently. Regular practice of yoga is bound to develop our personality and its benefit in creating a better society free from many health ailments needs no emphasis. Further benefits of regular practice of yoga make us not only free from any ailments but certain yogic exercises are capable of curing many serious ailments as well. Seychelles, with the gift of a natural and pure environment free from any pollution, offers an excellent place for practicing yoga regularly.  
    
Regularly performing a yoga fitness and weight loss program will increase overall muscular strength, improve muscular endurance and stamina, improve coordination, balance and flexibility, calm and relax the mind, and unify the mind-body connection.

There are several types of yoga, with many styles contained under each type. For instance, several styles of yoga involve chanting while others place a higher emphasis on spirituality. However, there are several common aspects that are associated with all types and styles of yoga. All yoga types and styles include body postures that require balance and improved flexibility, increase structural strength, emphasise proper breathing techniques, promote a proper mind-body coordination inducing increased patience and relaxation.

The purpose of proper breathing, known as Praneyaam, is to increase the oxygen concentration in the blood and making the lungs more flexible, imparting healthy breathing. This leads to better flow of oxygenated blood to our brain/other vital organs, and aids in controlling Paraná (the vital life energy of the body). For optimum results Praneyaam yoga is performed in coordination with Asana (physical postures). The unification of these two yogic principles -- Praneyaam and Asana -- are considered the highest form of purification and self discipline for both the mind and the body. A healthy mind in the healthy body is the best combination of nature’s gift for a successful satisfying life and can easily be achieved with regular practice of yoga.

The importance of adding a yoga exercise routine to your daily lifestyle cannot be overstated. For this reason, Jeo-Jyoti Foundation of India (JJ India) based in Seychelles is planning to organise yoga sessions (including in house sessions on demand) in Seychelles starting mid April to mid May this year and aiming to organise at different locations so that larger sections of the society can reap the benefits of this unique system. For additional information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Types of Movements

While it is true that practicing yoga involves performing physical movements and maintaining specific positions, yoga emphasises proper breathing techniques and creating an effective connection between our mind and the body. The effect increases many folds in an environment charged with positive energy created by soothing music and the ambiance of essence. This gives food to all our senses – hearing, smell, taste, touch and sight. Spirituality plays a large part when performing yoga. From a physical aspect, yoga is an exercise type which combines movements that stretch all soft tissues and require muscular strength to maintain postures and sequences of postures with increased blood supply. Most of the sessions are expected not to induce any fatigue but give relaxation to the body and mind completely.

A session is expected typically to begin with the warm-up exercise designed to increase blood and oxygen flow throughout the entire body. In many cases, a series of movements known as Butterfly movements, Sun Salutations (Surya Praneyaam)  etc. as the warm-up sequence of movements are performed. Thereafter, the focus is on performing specific poses that exercise and relax the various parts of the body, specially keeping the joints in healthy condition. These keep the development of arthritis controlled and even if developed helps in keeping it in easily manageable limits. Relaxation and calming exercises (meditation) are typically performed at the end of each session. After the session we come out fresh and relaxed as all the tension, fatigue and tiredness are removed. We get a feeling of a rejuvenated new human being.

Yoga consists of many types and styles of exercise routines and has been developed by many practitioners claiming different names like Power Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Ayengar Yoga and others. But all have the same principles originally propounded by Rishi Patangili - the inventor of yoga in India.

Yoga for fitness includes gentle yoga movements designed to improve flexibility and promote deep breathing through the performance of slow stretches to keep fit and healthy, improving our way of life, including a greatly improved sex life as well. The heart and mind are activated to perform in the most efficient way. Performing yoga fitness routine targets all major muscle groups and utilises the individual's body weight and gravity as resistance in the technique.

Yoga is an excellent exercise type for elongating soft tissue, increasing the oxygen content in the blood, promoting increased blood flow throughout the entire body, and toning and shaping the body through light strength gaining poses and sequences, without producing any fatigue or strain in the individual, unlike the case in the aerobic and other modern exercise techniques. Unfortunately to many, the fashionable treadmill, cycling and other gym techniques appeal more in the modern society, whereas far more benefits can be secured by regular yoga practices at home without any equipment and that too in much shorter time. Yoga provides energy and food for the body, mind and soul.

In addition, many of the poses and movements performed in a yoga exercise session focus on core development and cure for many ailments which affect adversely our normal lives considerably. The lower and upper backs are aligned properly and any pain (quite common in Seychelles due to high humidity) is cured completely. The proper development of body shape helps in effective weight loss. Many of the types and styles of yoga are not intended to achieve an aerobic effect. In other words, they do not elevate the heart rate to its target heart rate and maintain that level.

Without accomplishing this, an aerobic effect cannot be achieved. However, performing a yoga exercise routine will burn a reasonable number of calories and promote effective weight loss creating a balanced perfect shaped body. Sarvang Asan (all body posture) is especially very effective in creating enviable beauty, figure and attractive body in the women as it activates the thyroid. Registration for a limited number of seats can be made on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the pilot sessions starting mid April onwards. 


Compiled from different sources by Surya Khanna, Jeo Jyoti Foundation of India (JJ India) based in Seychelles

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