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In this day and age, we are often overwhelmed with personal and professional concerns. It is only natural for us to lose our sense of calm and peace. Consequently, our stressed routine life manifests itself in the form of several lifestyle ailments and overall uneasiness. What’s worse is that our coping mechanisms for everyday anxieties, further deteriorates our health.

Young Indians are increasingly at risk of modern lifestyle problems. This is concerning but can be effectively tackled because it is India that gifted the great legacy of Yoga to the world. Millions of people across the world have tapped into the regenerative and re-energising capacity of their own body thanks to the powerful practices marked out in Yoga. It is only fair that on Yoga day we revisit the benefits of this ancient, time-honoured practice and integrate it seamlessly to live fuller, richer and calmer lives.

So, here’s why should you make Yoga a part of your daily routine:

1. Embracing holistic well-being

Yoga acknowledges and embraces the fundamental fact that there is an unbreakable unity between our mind and our body. In our rush for a better, more prosperous life, we have started dedicating more and more time to improving our material prosperity and disregarding the heavy cost in mental health that we end up paying for it.

Alternatively, our lifestyles and blinkered worldviews coax us into living it up like there is no tomorrow at the cost of our physical well-being. Yoga can help us step away and with persistent effort step out from this toxic cycle. Our well-being does not just start with the body but at a much deeper level of our mind. As long as our minds remain in turbulence, how can our bodies chart a smooth course through our daily routine? Yoga works simultaneously-on the mind as well as the body. Once the mind is centred and calm, it can discipline the body. Yogic exercises through different forms of breathing locate our energies within our body and anchor us to the present.

2. Anchoring oneself to the present

Far too often, our days are spent in mental agonies of all sorts. Worries about monetary self-sufficiency, our health, our family, keep us on the edge and our mind keeps running simulations of all kinds of make-believe emergencies. With such an agitated mind, it is quite natural for our productivity and quality of life to suffer. Yoga’s portfolio of body and breathing exercises stops us from getting lost in the symbolic maze of our mind and our thoughts. When we shed our pre-occupations with the future and our hang-ups from the past, only then are we ready to accept the gift of the present. Once we station ourselves firmly in the present, we become capable of joy and friendship.

3. Cultivating joy and fostering relationships

We hear it all the time: It is a dog-eat-dog world or big fish eats the small fish. That such phrases have become part of our vocabulary is a signal that we are, at one time or the other, or perhaps, all the time, operating in a self-defence mode. It is as if the world out there- our office colleagues, our relatives, our neighbours or people at large- are out to get us, and here we are, symbolically defending ourselves against everyone, perpetually assessing who works in our self-interest and who doesn’t; who can we ally with and with whom we should be ready to wage war. However, we rarely question this inner voice. Yoga helps us to disarm ourselves and teaches us to honour and respect the kindness and vulnerabilities in others. By reducing the volume of our anxieties, it helps us understand that everyone else is also operating on the same rules of self-defensive behaviour and that true friendship and amity are possible only when we lower our defences and open our hearts and minds to others.

4. Improve overall immunity

Yoga aligns the mind and the body. When the mind is in control, one honours and respects the body. Yoga generates strong ownership and responsibility towards one’s body. Once this feeling pervades our mind, it is near unthinkable to flood it with any harmful and unhealthy substances. A realisation dawns that one’s body is their temple, one that is to be kept in pristine condition. Yoga also helps boost metabolism and contributes to weight reduction slowly but far more sustainably than any crash diets or strenuous gym outings. It also works muscles in our body whose existence we have long forgotten about thanks to sedentary and desk-oriented work practices. Slowly and steadily, with continued practise, Yoga strengthens our immunity making our bodies strong at their core.

The final stretch

This Yoga day revisit and strengthen your commitment to Yoga if you are a relatively new practitioner of it, whereas if you are an old practitioner, help spread the word and educate people on how their lives can stand to be so much better thanks to Yoga’s near-endless benefits. In case, you have never really practised Yoga before, commit yourself to this exercise form for some time, and you will surely see Yoga working miracles on your mind and your body.

Yoga exercises for a stronger you

Bhujungasana

Bhujungasana:

Lie down on your stomach. Place your palms next to your chest with elbows pointing outwards. Ensure that your stomach touches the floor. Raise your body with your hands and with no help from your legs.

This exercise helps strengthen your back muscles and lungs. It also increases blood circulation.

vrikshasana

Vrikshasana:

Stand on one foot. Place your other feet on your inner thigh. Press your hands together and stretch them directly upwards.

This exercise helps you improve your body balance. It also improves pelvic stability and strengthens the bone strength of hips and legs.

Padmasana

Padmasana:

Sitting on the floor, fold your left foot over your right thigh and vice versa. Remember to keep your spine erect.

This exercise is the classic meditation pose for Yoga. If you find it difficult to maintain a Padmasana pose for long, maintaining a half padmasana for starters works as well.

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