By Dr. Heera Lal and Priyal Gangwar

Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science that focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is the art and science of healthy living. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning ‘to join, to yoke, ortto unite’. As per Yogic scriptures, the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of universal consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body.

According to modern scientists, everything in the universe is just a manifestation of the same quantum firmament. Living with freedom in all walks of life, health, and harmony will be the main objectives of Yoga practice. “Yoga” also refers to an inner science comprising a variety of methods through which human beings can realise this union and achieve mastery over their destiny. Yoga, being widely considered an ‘immortal cultural outcome’ of the Indus-Saraswati Valley civilization dating back to 2700 B.C., has proven itself catering to both the material and spiritual upliftment of humanity. Basic humane values are the very identity of Yoga Sadhana.

Yoga in the Current Scenario

Yoga is an ancient practice focusing on breathing, flexibility, and strength to boost mental and physical wellbeing. It is composed of a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines. The main components of yoga are breathing and posture (a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility).

The practice is said to have originated thousands of years ago in India and has been adapted in other countries in a variety of ways. Here we explore where it emerged from, what elements make yoga unique, and how it has been adopted by people all over the world.

Relation of YOGA in healthy life and prevention from the disease

Practicing Asanas: There are various asanas to practice for a healthy body and the core strength of muscles in the form of physical yoga, postures, posture and poses.

Pranayama is a breathing exercise that clears the physical and emotional obstacles in our body to free the breath. It is believed that there are 19 different types of yoga and 66 basic yoga postures.

Yoga has been embraced internationally by Swami Vishnu Devananda, with his guru Swami Sivananda Saraswati demonstrating some of the more foundational postures. In bringing yoga to diverse and global audiences, Swami Vishnu Devananda kept in mind the lifestyle needs of current times, so he adapted the ancient wisdom of yoga into five basic principles:

  • Proper Exercise (Asana)
  • Proper Breathing (Pranayama)
  • Proper Relaxation (Savasana)
  • Proper Diet
  • Positive Thinking and Meditation (Vedanta and Dhyana)

Yoga, as it is known in the West, took off in the late 1890s, when Indian monks began spreading their knowledge to the Western world for the first time. People who travelled to India were also able to rub shoulders with the yogis and observe their practice firsthand.

The introduction of yoga to the West is often credited to Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902). He first came to the United States of America in 1883 and was soon organising world conferences on the subject by describing yoga as a “science of the mind”, and he translated Yogic texts from Sanskrit into English. In 1893, during a visit to the US, he sparked the country’s interest by demonstrating Yoga at the Chicago World’s Fair. As a result of this, many other Indian Yogis and Swamis were welcomed with open arms in Western countries.

Due to Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi’s relentless efforts, June 21 was declared International Yoga Day by the United Nations General Assembly. In its resolution, the UNGA endorsed that “Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being, apart from striking a balance between all aspects of life.

The wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practicing Yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population.” This infused an era of holistic health revolution in which attention was given more to prevention than cure.

Integration of YOGA into the main health care delivery system—this was started in the year 2018. Under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, the Honourable Prime Minister Inaugurated the first Health and Wellness Centre in India. The tradition of indigenous health systems and Yoga has mainstreamed into the health care delivery system by actively engaging practitioners of these systems. Health and Wellness centres provide a sound platform for enabling this integration.

For the integration of yoga, it is in the process of identifying a pool of local yoga instructors and teachers at the Health and Wellness Centre level. These could be ASHA, an ASHA Facilitator, a physical instructor from a village school, representatives from VHSNC, or other NGO groups active in the community. The Department of AYUSH will lead this activity by identifying a pool of YOGA experts and yoga schools who can undertake this training at the state, district, or sub-district level.

Yoga is beneficial for people of all ages and incomes. It can be practised anywhere, at any time, and by people of all countries and cultures. Yoga has been shown to have immediate psychological benefits, decreasing anxiety and stress and increasing feelings of emotional and social well-being. Unlike other forms of physical activity, which can be tiring, yoga can help lower the heart rate and activate the parasympathetic nervous system.

Yoga is just one of many systems and/or forms of knowledge, skills, or practises used in the region to prevent, diagnose, improve, or treat physical and mental illness.

Yoga provides physical and mental health benefits and contributions to life-long health and well-being, promoting healthier populations and a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable Region and world. Looking into the history and benefits of yoga, it helps to keep one physically and mentally healthy and helps to prevent diseases. Hence, YOGA is Preventive Medicine.

(Dr. Heera Lal, IAS, Additional Mission Director, National Health Mission – Uttar Pradesh and Priyal Gangwar, Medical Student at Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital, Mumbai. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the

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