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Yoga is considered to be one of the oldest forms of exercise regime that is beneficial not only for body but also for mind and soul. It is almost 5000 year old and believed to have originated in India. It is a combination of exercises, breathing, diet, relaxation and medication and includes both physical and mental disciplines which makes the body stronger and healthier as well as the mind more mild and controlled. It helps in self realization and gives break from all kinds of physical and mental problems. It understands the vital relationship between the body, mind and soul and helps to bring harmony between them. It synchronizes breath with movement ensuring that correct amount of energy is being utilized without wasting any energy on activities that are not required or beneficial. It uses different kinds of preparation, counter pose, sequences of linked postures and modification of postures to suit the individual needs. This ultimately has a significant impact on the body and mind of the individual. In simple terms Yoga is the art of simple and skilful living. It helps one to discover their true potential and bring their minds under control. It has a holistic effect which brings about a positive change in our health as well as our attitude towards us and the world. It brings a lot of positive change in us thus influencing our life, thought processes and the way we live. The results may not be immediate and at times it can be very demanding, but it is one of the time tested and most beneficial regime that have long term effects. It is accessible to anyone and everyone and the sessions can be easily adapted to one's lifestyle, fitness or state of health.

History & Literature

It has vedic origins as several seals which depict different yoga poses has been found in Indus Valley Civilization. Some of the precursors to yoga can be the ascetic practices, concentration and bodily postures used by Vedas priests to conduct all the Vedic rites and rituals or fire sacrifice or yagna. It is also believed that between the period of 200 BCE and 500 BCE different philosophical schools of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism were taking form which also led to the emergence of a coherent philosophical system of yoga. Over the middle ages many other satellite traditions of yoga developed. By mid 19th century it caught the attention of the western world and became widely popular there.

According to records the earliest mention of the word Yoga is found in the Rig Veda but is denoted as a Yoke which can also be a war chariot. Besides it, the word is also frequently mentioned in the Upanishads. The actual term 'Yoga' was first mentioned in the Katha Upanishad, a scripture dating to the third century and later in the Shvetasvatara Upanishad. In these texts they have described the hierarchy of mind body constituents like the senses, mind, intellect etc. In Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, which is considered to be the earliest Upanishads, there is a reference to meditation. In the great epic Mahabharatha, yoga is used to denote a 'divine chariot which carried him in a burst of light to and through the sun, and on to the heaven of gods and heroes.' Besides this Yoga also finds mention in the early Buddhist texts, different Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita. Hence it is a very important aspect of India tradition and culture which is now slowly taking over the world.


Yoga has immense benefits for the body, mind and soul. It provides a holistic approach to harmonize the different parts of the body. It is good for the pose and the structural balance which also leads to mental balance. Some of the other benefits are as follows

  • It promotes flexibility and suppleness.
  • It improves strength and stamina.
  • It tones the internal organs and improves concentration.
  • It improves breathing which has numerous positive benefits.
  • It makes you relax and relieves you of all types of stress.
  • It makes your mind calm and thus improves your ability to focus.
  • It includes some type of physical exercise which supplies a fresh supply of nutrients and oxygen to the body.
  • It increases energy, vitality and flexibility of youth.
  • It can also cure a whole lot of diseases and ailments like asthma, high blood pressure, lower back pain, arthritis, ME, menopausal changes, menstrual problem, stress, anxiety and depression.
  • It helps the muscles to release all the built up tension.
  • It helps to improve circulation and proper alignment of bones.
  • It also helps to alleviate age related rheumatism and arthritis.

One should not expect immediate results of Yoga as it is a gradual and progressive process. It is very important to perform it correctly; hence one should find a well trained and experienced teacher for maximum benefits.

Some of the other important facts about yoga are:

Anatomical Focus

Yoga can benefit a whole lot of body parts. There are different poses and each has its benefit for separate body parts and ailments related to it. Some of the important body parts that can benefit from different poses of yoga are abdomen, ankles, arches, arms, bladder, brain, buttocks, calves, chest, diaphragm, digestive organs, foot, groins, ham strings, hands, fingers, heart, hips, intestines, kidneys, knees, legs, liver, lower back, lungs, neck, ovaries, pelvis, pituitary, prostate gland, shoulders, spine, thighs, thyroid, upper back, uterus and wrists. Hence it covers a wide range of human body parts and is very beneficial.

Therapeutic Applications

Yoga can cure many ailments and diseases originating from different parts and organs of the body. With time it can relive humans of many diseases that other medicines may not have cured. Some of its therapeutic applications include providing cure for the following ailments and diseases anxiety, asthma, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fatigue, flat feet, headache, high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, menopause, menstruation, mild depression, neck pain, osteoporosis, pregnancy, sciatica, sinusitis and stress among many others. In today's modern world where life has become so hectic, it helps to cure a lot of life style related diseases and brings in fresh and positive energy in our lives.

Contraindications and Cautions

With all its benefits and positivity, yoga has its own contraindications and cautions. There are certain circumstances where it can cause more damage than benefits. Some of the times where you need to avoid yoga are as follows asthma, back injury, carpel tunnel syndrome, diarrhea, headache, heart problems, high blood pressure, knee injury, low blood pressure, neck injury and pregnancy. However this does not mean you cannot do yoga at all in these cases. It is just that there are certain poses which needs to be avoided when you are going through these. There are also specific yoga poses which is only meant to be done when you are suffering these ailments, hence yoga can be done when you have these, just you need to be careful and avoid poses that can be damaging during this time.

Beginner's Tip

Yoga is very beneficial and helpful but it is also very demanding and requires a discipline and adherence to regular discipline. Initially people may face problems with flexibility and strength, especially if you are starting at an advanced age. Howe ever things will become smooth and easy. Here are a few beginners tip

  1. Practice yoga only under the guidance of trained and experienced professionals.
  2. Have proper consultation to find out which poses are suitable for you, depending on your needs and medical history, as all poses may not be beneficial and some may even be damaging.
  3. Start with simple basic poses to improve your strength and flexibility and slowly move to the advanced level.

Preparatory Poses

Some of the preparatory yoga poses for the beginners are the mountain pose, downward facing dog, warrior pose, tree pose, bridge pose, triangle pose, seated twist, upward facing dog, pigeon pose, crow pose and child pose. These are the basic poses with which you can start practicing yoga. It will help to make your body flexible and give it more strength. This is very essential to ensure that you are able to perform all the other poses better.

So what matters the most is to follow the instruction as well as to go for a proper guidance in order to make most out of the yoga. It is also the most essential element of life for better and healthy lifestyle as well as to get rid of certain problems related to health.

Try yoga and stay fit and healthy.

Sanskrit Name English Name
Adho Mukha Svanasana Downward-Facing Dog
Adho Mukha Vrksasana Handstand
Agnistambhasana Fire Log Pose
Akarna Dhanurasana Archer Pose
Ananda Balasana Happy Baby Pose
Anantasana Side-Reclining Leg Lift
Anjaneyasana Low Lunge
Ardha Bhekasana Half Frog Pose
Ardha Chandrasana Half Moon Pose
Ardha Matsyendrasana Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Ardha Navasana Half Boat Pose
Ardha Uttanasana Standing Half Forward Bend
Astavakrasana Eight-Angle Pose
Baddha Konasana Butterfly Pose / Bound Angle Pose
Bakasana Crane Pose
Balasana Child's Pose
Bharadvajasana I Bharadvaja's Twist
Bhujangasana Cobra Pose
Bhujapidasana Shoulder-Pressing Pose
Bidalasana Cat Pose
Bitilasana Cow Pose
Chakrasana Wheel Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Dandasana Staff Pose
Dhanurasana Bow Pose
Dwi Pada Sirsasana Legs Behind Head Pose
Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose
Eka Pada Koundiyanasana I Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya I
Eka Pada Koundiyanasana II Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana II One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Eka Pada Sirsasana One-Leg-Behind-Head Pose
Ganda Bherundasana Formidable Face Pose
Garbhasana Foetus Pose
Garudasana Eagle Pose
Gomukhasana Cow Face Pose
Guptasana Perfect Pose
Halasana Plow Pose
Hanumanasana Monkey Pose
Janu Sirsasana Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
Jathara Parivartanasana Reclined Straight-Leg Twist
Kandasana Upward Ankle Twist Pose
Kapotasana King Pigeon Pose
Karnapidasana Knee to Ear Pose
Krounchasana Heron Pose
Kurmasana Tortoise Pose
Makarasana Crocodile Pose
Malasana Garland Pose
Mandalasana Circle Pose
Marichyasana I Pose Dedicated to the Sage Marichi, I
Marichyasana II Marichi's Pose
Marichyasana III Marichi's Pose
Marjaryasana Cat Pose
Matsyasana Fish Pose
Mayurasana Peacock Pose
Mulabandhasana Root Lock Pose
Natarajasana Lord of the Dance Pose
Nidrasana Yogic Sleep Pose
Padangustha Dhanurasana Bow Pose
Padangusthasana Big Toe Pose
Padmasana Lotus Pose
Parighasana Gate Pose
Paripurna Navasana Full Boat Pose
Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose
Parivrtta Parsvakonasana Revolved Side Angle Pose
Parivrtta Trikonasana Revolved Triangle Pose
Parsva Bakasana Side Crane Pose
Parsvottanasana Intense Side Stretch Pose
Pasasana Noose Pose
Paschimottanasana Seated Forward Bend
Pavanamuktasana Wind Relieving Bend
Pincha Mayurasana Feathered Peacock Pose
Poorna Salabhasana Complete Wheel Pose
Prasarita Padottanasana Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Purna Chakrasana Complete Wheel Pose
Purvottanasana Upward Plank Pose
Salamba Sarvangasana Supported Shoulderstand
Salamba Sirsasana Supported Headstand
Salabhasana Locust Pose
Sasangasana Rabbit Pose
Savasana Corpse Pose
Siddhasana Perfect Pose
Sirsasana Headstand
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Bridge Pose
Shirsha Padasana Foot to Head Pose
Simhasana Lion Pose
Sukhasana Easy Pose
Supta Baddha Konasana Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Supta Padangusthasana Reclining Big Toe Pose
Supta Virasana Reclining Hero Pose
Svastikasana Auspicious Pose
Tadasana Mountain Pose
Tittibhasana Firefly Pose
Tolasana Scale Pose
Trikonasana Triangle Pose
Upavistha Konasana Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Urdhva Dhanurasana Upward Bow or Wheel Pose
Urdhva Hastasana Upward Salute
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana Upward-Facing Dog
Urdhwamukha Tittibhasana
Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana Standing Split
Ustrasana Camel Pose
Utkatasana Chair Pose
Uttanasana Standing Forward Bend
Uttana Shishosana Extended Puppy Pose
Utthita Hasta Padangustasana Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose
Utthita Parsvakonasana Extended Side Angle Pose
Utthita Trikonasana Extended Triangle Pose
Vasisthasana Side Plank Pose
Vatayanasana Horse Pose
Vibhakta Janushirshasana
Viparita Chakrasana Reversed Wheel Pose
Viparita Karani Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
Viparita Shalabhasana Superman Pose
Virabhadrasana I Warrior I Pose
Virabhadrasana II Warrior II Pose
Virabhadrasana III Warrior III Pose
Virasana Hero Pose
Vrischikasana I Scorpion Pose I
Vrischikasana II Scorpion Pose II
Vrksasana Tree Pose

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