Yoga – Benefit for Body and Soul
Yoga is "trendy".
Everyone is doing yoga – are you?
Yoga is still one of the fastest growing health trends.
Three hundred million people practice yoga worldwide – and this trend is growing.
In Japan alone, the number of people practising yoga has increased by 413% in the last 5 years.
Why is yoga so popular?
Stress and tension are said to be the greatest issues in our fast-paced, restless and high-tech world. Life is focused outward, and many people have lost connection with themselves. There is a lack of leisure time and reflection.
But the times we live in are changing. People are increasingly looking for natural, sustainable ways to relieve stress and to calm the mind and body.
And it works: yoga has scientifically-proven positive effects that include improved physiological balance and mind-body coordination, better digestion, sleep, healthy heart and metabolism, normalisation of blood pressure, easing of back pain and improved spinal mobility, muscle relaxation – and much more.
What is yoga?
Today, when the word "yoga" is mentioned, most people think of physical exercises, yoga poses, which are actually called (yoga) "asanas".
But yoga is more than just practising body postures, although these are really valuable and promote your health, and Ayurveda highly recommends practising yoga asanas on a daily basis.
Yoga is a comprehensive philosophy and offers techniques and methods that can help us discover our hidden inner potential.
The word "yoga" means union, unity.
Yoga is a state, a "state of yoga" of unity, that is achieved when our minds are at rest and we are grounded in our own nature.
The yogis and seers of ancient India teach that deep within us there is a place that is completely healthy, free of pain, unbounded, balanced, quiet and peaceful. A source of infinite energy, fulfilment, creativity and intelligence. Our inner self.
Yoga can give us the keys needed to set this hidden inner potential free, to experience and live the "state of yoga".
When the activity of our mind comes to complete rest in this state of yoga and we are grounded in our own nature, our individual consciousness unites with its fundamental nature, pure consciousness – this is the true meaning of the word yoga.
How can we experience this state of yoga?
"Yoga can only be recognised through yoga" – Vyasa (a sage of the Vedic period)
It is possible to experience the state of yoga through authentic and traditional systems of yoga meditation. When we direct our attention inward, we encounter our innermost self.
For this reason, the natural, effortless method of Transcendental Meditation, which allows one to experience the state of yoga without effort, concentration, autosuggestion or thoughts, is one of the most important approaches in Maharishi Ayurveda.
The origins of yoga
Like Ayurveda, the science of yoga is based on ancient and traditional knowledge that goes back thousands of years and was handed down by "Rishis" and "Maharishis" (the word "Rishi" means "seer" and "Maharishi" means "great seer") who recognised or saw the nature of life during deep meditation.
The seer Maharishi Patanjali then divided the yoga system, i.e. the yoga philosophy, into four sections using concise aphorisms also referred to as the "Yoga Sutras". He there also describes the eight limbs of yoga and how to achieve the yoga state in all areas of life – from the outer to the inner realm, called "Ashtanga yoga" ("Ashta" means "eight", "Anga" means "limbs"). By the way, the name does not have much in common with the style of yoga of the same name that is often offered today.
If you are interested in the topic, we would suggest reading:
In this book the various branches of yoga philosophy are explained in depth. It is suitable for beginners and advanced learners.
One of the eight limbs of the mentioned "Ashtanga yoga" is called "Asana". Asanas are the yoga postures that are mostly associated with the term yoga. Another of the eight limbs is "Pranayama" (breathing exercises). And then there is, of course, the experience of unity in meditation.
Therefore, yoga postures (yoga asanas) and breathing exercises (Pranayama) are recommended before meditating. The synergy of the three methods leads to a clearer experience of the state of yoga.
Start the day with a morning sun salutation. This simple exercise activates your whole body – from head to toe. “Suryanamaskar” loosens tensions and energizes; the body becomes more flexible, powerful, and strong. Moreover, this series of yoga exercises has a positive effect on your emotions and your weight. Start with one or two sets and gradually add more as you wish and are able to. Enjoy the wonderfully relaxed feeling after your exercise and allow yourself to rest on your back for a few minutes.
Disclaimer: People with high blood pressure, fever or serious illnesses should not practice this sequence or should not do it without personal instruction from a competent yoga teacher.
Maharishi Yoga Asanas
This yoga style offers traditional yoga. It has never been modernised and differs in many ways from the large number of various yoga offerings found today, some of which are more of a workout. If you want to exert yourself, you should rather take up a demanding sport – and attentive yoga in addition.
Maharishi Yoga Asanas are practised easily, comfortably, and naturally, without strain, force or control, slowly, and with full attention. The exercises are suitable for all ages, easy to learn and practise, regardless of your physical condition.
The unique exercise style balances the body, which in turn leads to a high degree of integration of all body systems. Physical and mental health and well-being improves and resistance to diseases increases.
The daily practice of special yoga asanas helps relieve stress and blockages (areas of dysfunction) that may have accumulated in various parts of the body over many years.
The vedic sage and founder of Maharishi Ayurveda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, together with renowned Indian yoga experts (Yogacharyas) developed a special sequence of exercises based on classic yoga postures as described in traditional yoga texts.
Where can one learn Maharishi Yoga Asanas?
Participants in a meditation course for beginners learn this special set of exercises and the breathing exercises as part of the course.
Local meditation centres or teaching institutes also offer courses that provide a comprehensive understanding of the nature of yoga and cover many aspects of the practice.
In addition to learning yoga postures and breathing exercises, the courses offer insight into yoga philosophy and traditional yoga literature, and teach ayurvedic principles and recommendations for routine and nutrition, among other things.
Check here for contact information in your area: www.global-tm.org.
Inquire whether the teacher has completed additional training in the field of Maharishi Yoga Asanas.
MERU, located in the Netherlands directly behind the German border, also regularly offers Maharishi Yoga Asanas courses. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, we would rather not recommend learning yoga asanas via the Internet or from a DVD. You wouldn’t be able to receive a personalised introduction by an experienced yoga teacher who customises the postures based on your physiology. After learning, and as you gain confidence, you can then practice more and more on your own. At home, in the garden, in the park or on holiday – all you need is a yoga mat ...
We wish you much joy on your yoga journey and all the best for your health!