THE BENEFITS OF HATHA YOGA
"I just know that something good is going to happen, and I don't know when but just saying it could even make it happen". Kate Bush "Cloudbusting."
Sheer positivity is perhaps one of the greatest boons you may acquire through Yoga. One message from yoga is that you don’t have to malfunction as you age, like the computer Hal in the movie 2001, whose units were removed one by one!
Once you have started yoga practice every little molecule of your body will shimmy into new life. Your posture, vision and appearance will improve, and you will start feeling fresh, frisky and youthful. Your body will acquire lightness, suppleness and strength, and your mind may shine at times like crystal.
The artistry and beauty of many yoga forms can be compared to those of ballet, gymnastics and the martial arts but you don’t have to be able to bend and twang like a rubber band in order to obtain the benefits of yoga. It isn’t a sport or a competition and the ideal pose is only there to inspire you. The real challenge in yoga is with oneself. Your own body is your best teacher and you stop as soon as you reach your natural limit. Each time you return to a yoga movement, you are able to stretch a little more. Eventually you will experience a feeling of integration and coordination, as you sense the body as a whole.
Many of the yoga forms use the principles of Isometrics to improve muscle tone. In many poses the muscles are permanently tensed as they act against the ground (as in the crow or peacock) or against each other (as in the boat). You may develop muscular power in yoga without having to rely on repetitions with a dumbbell or a gym machine.
Yoga is unique in the attention it gives to the spine. The yogis say you are as young as your spine, and many of the movements are made to keep it elastic and strong. The spine is like a great battery, giving off energy to every organ. As each ligament is stretched, vital nutrients and vitality are released to the motor, sensory and visceral nerve roots.
Inversion poses also make yoga something special. The headstand is like the rocket of the asanas. Once you have created your triangular launch pad, using your forearms, clasped hands and the crown of the head, you are ready to rise and defy the laws of gravity. The whole body inverts to bathe the brain cells and the pituitary and pineal glands in pure fresh blood. The pituitary gland, along with the hypothalamus, regulates your internal chemistry to bring all your body-systems into equilibrium. As these glands thrive on new oxygenated blood you can understand how the inversions will act to enhance their functioning. The inflow of fresh healthy blood also improves your complexion and helps to preserve a youthful appearance without the use of a scalpel. The anti-gravitational effects of the inversions bring great benefits to the heart and circulatory system, the digestive system, the respiratory system, the eliminative and reproductive systems and the muscular and nervous systems. The immune system also receives a boost. In the shoulder-stand it is the thyroid and parathyroid glands that receive extra attention as the chin pressures the throat and rests around the top of the chest. The two main hormones secreted by the thyroid gland govern the body’s metabolic rate and are responsible for the body’s renewal and development. The parathyroid glands, which can be found near the thyroid, help to maintain muscle and bone. Under or over activity of either or both glands may be beautifully balanced in the shoulder-stand. Regular practice of the inversions can heal headaches, nervousness, hypertension, asthma, hemorrhoids, ulcers, halitosis, varicose veins, backache, memory loss and colds and coughs and so much more.
Yoga techniques are of tremendous therapeutic value and can be used to ease all manner of ills. Yoga aims to uproot the cause of illness, which is often brought on by poor oxygenation, insufficient nutrition, inadequate exercise and poor elimination of toxins that clog up the body system. Yoga exercises help to clear obstructions on all levels, giving nature a good chance through pranic life-energy, to heal disease.