Getting Yoga concept clearer

I have come across many people who believe that yoga is for the lazy, health conscious people, these are people who like to walk but think of yoga as a waste of time, many believe yoga is just stretching. Gymmers don’t believe in yoga, many feel that yoga is not meant for the ordinary, it is for the mystical yogis, many say it is not scientifically proven. True it was not proven but studies today are showing that yoga is beneficial for good health, even doctors today recommend yoga to their patients.

Anyway, let’s get back to the main topic. Many health conscious people who are into regular brisk walking think that yoga is not for them as they are fit and healthy.  During my Teacher Training Course at the end, we have to do an internship for a month. Wherein we have to teach yoga and spread awareness.  We scout for a location hall and we hold a month long summer course on yoga for the general public, so for that we have to do advertising , marketing activities through  WhatsApp, Facebook and physically distribute pamphlets door to door, gardens, parks so that people are aware of the program happening. Well one fine morning when we were distributing pamphlets at a park one elderly gentleman walked up to me and said in a sarcastic tone why are you wasting your time distributing these pamphlets. I politely told him that we are spreading awareness regarding the program, to that he rudely replied look around you, look at all the people walking in the park do you think they would be interested in doing yoga, they are all healthy people they don’t need yoga and if people do need to enroll for a yoga course, they have Google  to search for  and find a class nearby. They are all educated people who can find what they want when they want, they don’t need to be told or need advice to do yoga. Well I thought to myself this is a very rude gentleman and even if I try to advise him on the benefits of yoga he wouldn’t understand as he has already judged and made assumptions that yoga is not required for people who do brisk walking. When somebody has already made a mindset it’s not easy to change it immediately.  So with a smile on my face I politely thanked him for the advice and continued my work that is spreading awareness on yoga.

Well to set the record straight

Let’s first say yeah I believe brisk walking is the best form of exercise. There’s no doubt about it.

But to say Yoga is a waste of time is not right.

… And Now, Yoga

The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit verb yuj which means to join. Yoga means the joining or union of an individual with the Supreme reality i.e. the Brahman,connection of individual Soul to the Divine soul.

Yoga is a very wide term indeed which has different connotations. It has therefore, branched out in different streams such as Raja yoga, Hatha yoga, ashtanga yoga, karma yoga, etc. However, the purpose of each of these branches is singular i.e. Self realization or Samadhi.

But for us mere mortals we will just focus on self realization, so to keep it very simple Yogic practices help us in keeping the coordination between the mind and the body. The whole point of yoga is to bring you an experience wherein, you are here, in the now, in the present moment.  When we do yogic practices we focus on our breath and do counting of breaths i.e Prandharana: prana is breath and dharana is fixation of mind, hence prandharana means fixation of mind over breath or breathing awareness.  Mind is so unsteady constantly wandering off on different topics every moment; the mind is like a butterfly that flies from one flower to another, never standing still. It is said that the mind thinks around 60,000 thoughts a day, that’s incredible all suffering that human beings are going through is just in their thoughts – it is in the way they think.

Coming back to the point I want to ask a question.

When you are brisk walking is your body and mind in coordination?

The answer is no for 99 percent of the regular walkers.

Now you all will say our body and mind is in coordination when we walk.

But tell me when you walk do you listen to music playing on your smartphone?

Are you constantly talking on the phone while walking?

Are you walking in a state of tension?

If you are walking with your friend, spouse or in a group, are you walking quietly or are constantly gossiping, discussing office or personal work, making plans for the next day or other discussion.

Maybe you are walking quietly but your mind is wandering on different topics, you are chatting with yourself. Right?

So where is the coordination between the mind and the body?

Are you in the present moment, are you feeling the walk, are you enjoying the view, are you counting the steps you take, is your focus on your breath, are u feeling the energy etc  

Probably not.

Awareness is aliveness. This is where yoga comes in. While practicing any asana, when you focus on your breath you are trying to keep your mind still, you are trying to divert your mind away from all the thoughts that are entering in your mind, you gain more control over your thoughts.

So to say yoga is for the lazy, a waste of time is not right. Practice yoga along with your other activities but ensure a half an hour gap between yogic practices and physical exercises to achieve the objectives of both and to ensure no harm results.   

Regular yogic practices ensure flexibility of body and mind, efficient functioning of all systems of body and co-ordination amongst them. In a way flexibility is a sign of youthfulness and rigidity is a sign of old age.  

Achieve, natural health with yoga.