Yoga was already popular but, in the pandemic, it became a household tool for each one of us to prevent falling sick, thanks to the time-tested benefits of yoga.
By Susheel Jain,
International Yoga Day 2021: The above words totally stand true even in this pandemic where most of the people resorted to yoga to stay fit and healthy and took the journey to transform their immunity for better. Yoga was already popular but, in the pandemic, it became a household tool for each one of us to prevent falling sick, thanks to the time-tested benefits of yoga.
As per my experience and of the yoga teachers I know, the number of people doing yoga has increased multiple folds. The yoga teachers have mushroomed over the last one year along with hundreds of yoga apps, YouTube channels, blogs, etc. A lot of coaches belonging to other fitness disciplines have resorted to yoga too. All this is because of the holistic well-being and the zillion benefits that yoga has to offer.
International Yoga Day 2021: Long term impact on mental and emotional well being
The first reason why anyone would start doing yoga is for physical reasons but in the long run it has a very deep and positive impact on mental and emotional well-being. Let us talk about the physical benefits that yoga has to offer specially in the covid times. In the pandemic I think the most used word was “Immunity” which happens to be one of the benefits of yoga. A person has a good immune system when all the organs of the body are healthy and function properly. One quality which makes yoga stand ahead of other fitness forms is it works on the internal and vital organs of the human body.
One of the most important organs of the body which yoga helps with is the respiratory system and in the common language i can say yoga helps you to breathe better and hence more “oxygen”. The 2 tools of yoga that help with this are the asana and pranayama. The asanas help to stretch the muscles around the chest to help improve the flexibility, blood circulation, and get rid of any stiffness so that we can breathe better and longer. So, we are creating more room for the lungs to expand to breathe deeper. The poses which help with this are Tiryaka Tadasana, Trikonasana, Parshvakonasana, Backbends and others.
Importance of Pranayama
The pranayama on the other side is a subtle tool to improve the breathing pattern and to calm the mind. The breath and the mind are closely connected, for example when we are stressed,angry or in fear the breath becomes shorter and shallow. On the other hand when we are happy, relaxed, the breath is long and deep. So, by lengthening the breathing pattern we are changing the mood and the state of mind. Hence it is also impacting the nervous system.
Apart from pranayama, the poses which help relax the nervous system are forward folds and inversion. So next time you feel stressed out then all you need to do is to go upside down.
How Yoga strengthens your digestive system
The next important organ which yoga helps is the digestive system. Every other person that I come across has some or the other digestive issues which can impact the immunity big time. Yoga poses like twists and forward folds help to balance and strengthen the digestive system. Happy tummy leads to a healthy body and mind.
Similarly, yoga impacts the other vital systems in the body like the reproductive system, endocrine system, etc. I would like to share a real-life experience of my student who was suffering from hormonal imbalances, irregular periods, high BP, anxiety, acidity, and migraine. She used to take painkillers and antibiotics until she thought of giving yoga a chance. She has not just healed herself but also become a yoga teacher and sharing her knowledge with others and yes yoga helped her fight with covid too.
I could keep writing pages on the benefits yoga has to offer but I will end it here. I would say yoga helps you to become physically, mentally and emotionally stronger and helps you to find your true and healthy self.
The columnist is an International Yoga Teacher. Views expressed are the columnist’s own.