Could it be true? Could Yoga, a 5,000-year-old Hindu discipline of mind and body that first became known in Western society during the hippie generation of the Sixties and early Seventies be the cure to modern day stress?
Yoga’s image as a mystic practice started disappearing as fast as the stressful aspects of the Eighties appeared and suddenly we find ourselves in 2015, with more and more stresses being placed on families and individuals.
As an effective method of stress management, yoga has spread from the hippie individual into the business world; aiding not only helping professions, nursing and old age homes but it’s also fast becoming a core feature in the treatment of alcoholics, hyperactive children and youngsters with learning disabilities.
One thing that’s changed since the Sixties is the competition yoga centres now face from adult education classes from the likes of local colleges, boards of education and parks and recreation departments. However this is great news for everyone. A real Win – Win!
With so many places to learn yoga there are increasing opportunities to learn differing ideologies. Let’s not forget that yoga means the union of the body, mind and spirit with truth. There are many kinds of yoga to study and for the willing student, endless years of practice!
One of the most popular forms of yoga in the West is Hatha Yoga. It emphasises the practice of postures, which stretch and strengthen the body, help develop a sense of balance and flexibility, as well as develop body awareness and mental concentration.
As stress levels in society reach new heights, Raja Yoga, the yoga of meditation, is growing in popularity in Western society, while others, such as Krya Yoga, the yoga of cleansing, and Mantra Yoga, the yoga of chanting, not surprisingly, have little appeal for newcomers.
Stretching and toning, though beneficial, aren’t the primary reasons people turn to yoga. Newcomers are hoping that yoga will provide them with a means for handling stress and diffusing tension. The difference between exercise and yoga is that yoga has a meditative quality.
One thing all forms of yoga have in common is the practice of proper breathing techniques for relaxation, to rest the mind from its constant chatter, to experience an internal calm and to energize and purify the body.
A lot of people are exercising for the psychological benefits and trying many of the Eastern activities, like yoga and tai chi. Yoga seems to have a calming effect on people.
When I say people I mean the little people too! Yoga techniques work on children just as well, if not better, than with adults. When your children are quarreling, ask them to stop what they’re doing, raise their arms over their heads, lean forward and breathe deeply to help diffuse their anger. It definitely helps them to cool it.