The World Is Tuning In to the Ancient Art of Yoga
Whether on Oprah, the cover of Time magazine, or at your
local gym, yoga is flowing into the mainstream. More than just a trend,
it appears that yoga is here to stay. It's not surprising, considering that
yoga is over five thousand years old-and a science in and of itself. The
reason why more and more people are buying yoga
books and videos and rushing off to yoga studios is because yoga actually
works. Yoga not only strengthens and sculpts the body, but it has also been
shown to benefit internal organs like the heart, kidneys, and lungs and
like digestion, circulation, and metabolism. Practitioners are reporting
whether they start doing yoga to look better or to feel better, they are
Another aspect of yoga that puts it a cut above other forms of
exercise-and may explain why it has such staying power-is the effect it can
have on the mind. Studies show that yoga can greatly reduce levels of stress
and anxiety, especially if you meditate
afterward. In fact, many practitioners claim to feel "blissed out"
after an invigorating yoga session.
Wai Lana, world-renowned yoga teacher and host of the internationally
aired TV series Wai Lana Yoga,
says, "By helping your mind and senses detach from the things that agitate
them, yoga and meditation can help you achieve a real sense of peace. These
days, people usually start doing yoga to get into shape, but they keep doing
it because it makes them feel good."
The Antidote to Modern Stress
The pace of the modern world is breathtaking. Although there are many
of living in this age, people are also noticing the buildup of stress. With
the increasingly interconnected world moving quicker and quicker, we are all
looking for simple ways to calm our nerves. Ancient practices like yoga offer
time-tested ways to effectively and efficiently reduce stress in our lives.
"Yogis have known since ancient times that Yoga Nidra soothes
the nerves and calms the mind; for centuries they have used it for health and
purposes. Today doctors
acknowledge the link between nervous disorders, stress, and physical disease
and often prescribe relaxation for their patients. Its effectiveness is
up by scientific research showing that deep relaxation oxygenates the body's
cells fully and efficiently, which helps combat
cancer, high blood pressure, and many other diseases,"
"The stress we experience takes its toll on our bodies. Although
it is experienced first in the mind, it often manifests in the body,"
commented Wai Lana. "In milder cases, it
turns up as a stiff neck or tight shoulders, which may lead to headaches and
back pain. Stress often causes insomnia, which leads to further stress and
When we are under this type of stress, our immune system becomes depressed
we become more susceptible to viruses and disease. Stress can also cause
disorders. When stress is present over a long period, it can lead to more
conditions, such as high blood pressure. It's a risk factor for heart disease
and can lead to depression and alcohol and drug abuse. Research shows that
stress-reducing techniques, if performed daily, can prevent the longer-term
debilitating effects of unmanaged stress."
Reducing Disease, Building Health
As we enter a new millennium, more and more people are seeking lifestyle
changes that foster mental and spiritual well-being as well as physical
and fitness. As a result of this trend, the ancient discipline of yoga is
currently undergoing a widespread renaissance .
People are more aware than ever of the health benefits of
physical activity and fitness. Regular exercise
has been linked to a reduction in the risk of heart disease, strokes, and
Although it is common knowledge that exercise helps build and maintain
bones, muscles, and joints, reduces blood pressure, and promotes
well-being, there is increasing consensus among health and fitness experts
physical activity doesn't need to be strenuous to be effective.
Yoga offers the perfect combination of strength and flexibility."
"Yoga's roots date back around five thousand years, when
it was established as a form of
The Sanskrit word 'yoga' means 'union,' and practicing yoga ultimately brings
one back in touch with the state of union, or oneness, that exists at the
of every being," she added.
Wai Lana is the foremost authority on yoga, hosting the world's most-watched
show, Wai Lana Yoga, which airs on five continents, including nationally in
the U.S. on PBS, cable and satellite.