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From time immemorial yoga has been considered the best form of exercise to stay healthy. Yogasanas have a direct relation with the nervous system, which in turn helps in maintaining a healthy body. Brain is the organ, which caters to all internal and external needs of the body in addition to managing social reactions and spiritual connectivity. However, very few us are aware of the deep and profound impact that yoga has on every aspect of our lives. International Yoga Day, celebrated on 21st June every year, aims to educate people about the very many ways this traditional technique impacts our life.
Every thought, action and reaction that take place in the body and the mind are created, monitored, modulated and delivered by the brain. Prana or breathing is vital and it was at the centre of contemplation among ancient rishis as well. One tends to breath in different ways in response to the changing states of the mind. Over years of study the rishis discovered that the reverse too is achievable; that is, by controlling the way you breathe you can control your mind and in turn your health as well.
Yoga was born from this realisation and the credit for creating the yoga sutras must go to Patanjali, an ancient Indian sage who described the Asthanga yogas. Among the different types of yoga asanas, the "yama yoga" is more closely related to posture and has tremendous effect on the flexibility of the body. It also makes the mind very calm and flexible and influences the physical body, mind, the endocrine system and the autonomic nervous system which is normally not under our control.
Yoga can yield a variety of benefits. Let me shed light on a few of them on the eve of International Yoga Day. For example, pranayama is a different way of controlling breathing, which in turn controls the mind, keeps it calm, helps conserve energy and makes it bright and clear. People who do yoga regularly achieve not only physical flexibility, health and agility, but are also able to control their endocrines system, which ensures that all their glands function normally. Regular practice of yoga results in a balanced autonomic nervous system, which means a balanced heart rate, blood sugar and blood pressure levels. It also improves your respiratory function, sex life, digestion and sleep. It also has a phenomenal effect on the mind and those who pursue higher levels of yoga, experience the super-conscious state.
As far as the brain is concerned, the concept that if this one organ is kept healthy, it can take care of the rest of the body needs to be reiterated. Yoga helps us achieve and maintain excellent health by taking care of our brain and mind. Yoga is also beneficial in many neurological conditions. It can alleviate symptoms, modulate the natural course of the disease, augment the therapeutic effect of treatment and, in many ways, compliment the current state of medicine. Basically our brain is full of electrical activity, which causes many chemicals to produce various actions in the body. Both electrical and chemical activities can be modulated through yoga. So obviously, it can be helpful in creating a more attentive and focused mind, which leads to greater work efficiency and productivity. Equally,
Yoga can be helpful in managing many neurological diseases like stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson's and other degenerative conditions of the brain. By alleviating many psychological conditions including depression it helps us control diabetes, hypertension and reduces the risk of complications, which are caused by
these two conditions. Read: Autistic Pride Day 2018: How can yoga help deal with autism?
It is a proven fact that pranayama helps in reducing cerebral vascular resistance. Since the brain is the major organ for blood supply, when the cerebral vascular resistance is reduced blood can flow through this organ very effectively without any hindrance. When blood flows freely the functioning of the brain improves. It halts degeneration as the brain cells get plenty of nutrition; it also improves neuro- transmitter synthesis and chemical synthesis. Good blood circulation significantly reduces the risk of stroke and in the event of a stroke improves the chances of fast
recovery. Improved circulation increases the concentration of oxygen in the blood supplied to the brain, which increases the longevity of nerve cells, keeps them healthy for a much longer time and reduces the chances of Alzheimer's. Since it is known to regulate the chemical synthesis process, it helps to induce healthy sleep and modifies the neuronal activity by modulation. The function of the brain can be sharp.
Even in Parkinson's disease it can have a tremendous effect. It can lower anxiety and bring down tremors as a result of which medication can be reduced. It is also well known that people with irritable personalities can become calm with yoga. There are specific asanas, which help these functions.
Unfortunately, yoga is still not integrated into modern medicine, although, clearly it should be a part of health care even for normal people. In schools too yoga should be taught. Over years, through continuous practice you will certainly reap the benefits.
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