Many people nowadays would like to lose weight, lower the blood pressure or reduce the tax of cholesterol. Others would like to fight insomnia, being able to sleep without taking pills, or to get better from a depression. All this and much more is possible with a balanced yoga practice.
Modern studies show something that was known by some ancient people: different states of mind (fear, anger, friendship, sadness, joy, etc.) correspond to certain breathing patterns, this is, a person who is anxious breaths in a different way from another who is sitting quietly reading a book. The interesting part is that the reverse is also true: imitating a certain breathing pattern produces the corresponding state of mind.
During yoga practice we try to have a quiet, slow and deep breathing, which induces a state of serenity. Further detailed adjustments lead each practitioner to find more refined balance.
The effects can be seen in an increasing self-confidence, in the quality of the sleep, a more positive spirit, in the recovering from depressions, a greater resistance to stress, etc.
Many of our physical health problems are rooted in our psyche. The stress of modern life undermines the body's defenses. A positive way of looking at the world helps to keep them in good shape.
A good physical health helps a lot! One of the first benefits of yoga is the restoration or maintenance of health. How is this done? Mainly with the practice of poses, although these should not be dissociated from breath or attention.
Different poses allow the body to move in different directions, working on every muscle either loosening them or toning them. Poses improve blood and lymphatic circulation, they massage internal organs improving the functioning of all body systems.
As strange as it may be, we live with our body for years and years... and we still don't know ourselves! We only notice that something is wrong when our body «screams», ... and we find ourselves sick. Before that happens, there are many signs that we don't acknowledge. If we could notice them, we could avoid the worst.
When we practice yoga, we learn to pay attention to what our body has to «say», we learn to recognize what is normal and what is different at that moment... We learn to «read the signs».
But «knowing one's self» goes far beyond that. Yoga allows us to know our mind, our emotions, our way of being and it allows us to go towards something much deeper, source of peace, tranquility, wisdom and happiness. There is no way of explaining this in a scientific manner. It is the experience of many who have practiced yoga along the centuries and of many who do it now.