The desire to improve one and to strive towards self fulfillment is one of the biggest trends of modern society. There is a myriad of books on the subject and thousands of internet sites are devoted to help people towards personal growth. Wellness coaches are in high demand and there are countless philosophies and theories on how to achieve growth and find happiness. Followers of yoga maintain that they have experienced this discipline as the best possible way in which to grow.
This discipline is also known as Asana. It is sometimes know as a discipline, or as a philosophy or even as a method. Some people think that Asana is a religion and yet others see it as an exercise regime. In fact, all these people are correct. Asana is a holistic discipline that aims to improve the mind, spirit and body of the practitioner.
Nobody knows where Asana comes from. There are records showing that it has been practiced in one form or another for many millennia in the east. What is known is that Vivekananda, a Hindu, was the one to introduce it to western societies. It became popular and even fashionable straight away. In fact, its popularity just kept growing and today it is practiced by many millions of people all over the globe.
It is a common fallacy to think that Asana is merely a series of stretching exercises and a number of poses. It does use stretching exercises and poses, but they are used for various purposes, including increasing the flexibility and balance of the student. Poses are also commonly used to teach spiritual principles. In this way the poses and exercises become a tool in the hands of the teacher.
Students of Asana enjoy many benefits. The low impact exercises promote fitness and flexibility and can even be effective as part of a diet aimed at losing weight. Students are never under pressure to learn new techniques or moves. Everyone progress at the pace that they feel they can manage. There are no competitions either. Everybody can practice Asana, even people with physical disabilities.
Formal studies have shown that Asana also offer numerous health benefits. Asthma sufferers and people that suffer from chronic pain have enjoyed considerable relief from their symptoms almost immediately after taking up Asana. Those with cardiovascular problems also benefit greatly. Therapists also encourage their patients with certain psychological disorders to take up the discipline because it has proved to be beneficial for people suffering from anxiety and depression.
There are many self help books on Asana and it is therefore very easy to start. There are also excellent websites that teaches the various exercises and poses. Some websites feature high quality instructional videos that not only teach the various physical exercises, but also the spiritual principles underlying the various poses. Many people prefer to join a formal class, but not everyone can afford it.
When one looks at all the benefits offered by practicing yoga it is clear why millions of people believe it to be the best discipline for getting fit and to achieve a new state of spirituality at the same time. It poses no danger and the chances of injuries are very slim indeed. As an added bonus it can be practiced by the entire family.