By Sangeetha Saran
Yoga is many things to many people. Yes, it has mental and emotional benefits, but who is kidding who? Do students look past the physical benefits? Let's address the needs of the people and eventually those loyal students will see how their lives changed due to yogic practices.
Yoga for a Healthy Body
It really does a body good, both inside and outside. Famous people practice it for the simple reason that it works in a multitude of beneficial ways. You can't fake yoga. You must be committed. You must invest in a consistent yoga routine to achieve the balance and spirit that keeps a body centered.
"It puts you in the right place." – Meg Ryan
"Yoga really purifies your organs and your blood. The real lesson yoga brings you is learning to be present." - Christy Turlington
"Yoga calms me down. It’s a therapy session, a workout, and meditation all at the same time!" - Jennifer Aniston
"I do some yoga every day." – Gisele Bundchen
Of course, yoga is there for everybody, not just for the slender celebrity. This ancient practice has been embraced by many people around the world and not just for all the bending and twisting that goes with the discipline. Yoga is all about controlled breathing, yoga postures (asanas) and meditation.
Take for example the Sarvangasana, or shoulder stand. The position is fondly called the 'mother of all asanas,' because when done properly, the shoulder stand zeroes in on several key zones and functions of the body. The pose delivers a lot in the name of health and beauty.
The Sarvangasana helps many yoga students maintain a slim physique because when the body is held in that position, the thyroid gland is stimulated. The blood supply is increased in the throat area, allowing the thyroid to function normally, and therefore, to aid in weight control.
The shoulder stand is also excellent for improving circulation. The pose allows blood to flow out of the legs, especially benefitting those with varicose veins. Since the spine is inverted during the Sarvangasana, flexibility gets stronger and energy is boosted.
The Sarvangasana is an important position for asthmatics says N.V. Raghuram, a yoga guru from India. "In this posture," he says, "the diaphragm muscle is strengthened because it has to work against gravity. This opens the chest and improves lung capacity."
It's pretty amazing that practicing an asana like the shoulder stand can keep one in great health. Yoga gives back so much to the student who learns that the head, heart and hand are all connected. Reaching that harmony becomes a wonderful way of living.