A Guide To The Physical And Spiritual Benefits Of Yoga

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By practicing yoga, you can discover within yourself inner strengths you did not suspect were there, potentials you never stopped to cultivate. In short, through yoga you can find a new understanding of your true self and be something more than you ever were before. These are some of the wonderful benefits of yoga.

You need to follow some modest minimum physical routines to make this possible.

First, follow certain simple rules of hygiene:

Sleep enough but not too much, in a well-ventilated room but avoiding drafts, making sure that your bed doesn’t sag and that you aren’t smothered with too many covers. Always sleep with your head to the North and your feet to the South. In this way your body gets the benefit of the earth’s magnetic currents flowing harmoniously through it in the proper direction. Your sleep will be infinitely more beneficial if you remember to do this.

In the morning try if possible to set aside a regular period for your yoga breathing, relaxation and concentration routines, preferably combined with a few asanis(poses). If you must leave these routines for later in the day, at least make sure of a few minutes given over to deep breathing before you dress.

Do the breathing after you have washed, brushed your teeth and cleaned your tongue and also emptied your bladder. Try to establish the habit of evacuating your bowels at this time, too, especially if you plan on the full yoga routine; but do not force yourself or allow the bowel movement to become a matter of concern.

After your breathing and relaxation exercises, make sure you eat breakfast without gulping. Never skip this first meal, but keep it light. It is a good general rule not to overeat: always get up from the table slightly unsatisfied, as if you could stand another mouthful.

If morning is not a good time for your yoga exercises, be sure to allocate a regular period for them either at the end of your working day or before going to bed. But do not delay until you stagger with fatigue. If you do, it will be too late for the exercises to do you the maximum good. Do not wait until you are overtired.

Make it a practice sometime during your waking hours to take out five to fifteen minutes for complete relaxation, with your mind a blank and your body completely limp.

Remember to practice deep breathing at odd moments, whether while taking a walk or sitting relaxed in a chair.

So much for the needs of your body. There are in fact benefits of yoga of quite a different nature. As for rules of conduct, a Yogi, remember, expects to live by high standards. He must overcome fear, be honest with himself, be sincere, aware of others and must never hurt anyone. Self-knowledge is a most important goal. One of the objects of meditation is to learn to see yourself as you really are, which isn’t necessarily as others see you.

Once you have reached this stage of understanding of self you will also have reached a far greater understanding of your fellow human beings. You will then experience a great sense of belonging, of oneness with those around you — something which in this age of isolation and alienation is the greatest possible boon.

Jealousy, anger, envy, hate are not only to be avoided — they are emotions unworthy of one whose philosophy attempts to encompass true understanding of others. As your own self-searching bears fruit, you will find these unwelcome emotions more and more foreign to you. For, knowing that the shortcomings of others are no worse than your own, you will look upon them with tolerance. And as you yourself tend more and more to be well-disposed toward those with whom you come in contact, they in turn will respond with greater good will and positivity toward you.

Tolerance, charity, compassion are to be cultivated and soon will become a happy habit. This in turn will bring its own dividends. You will find yourself more and more at peace with the world, no longer permitting the imperfections of others to act as irritants.

These are the true benefits of yoga which a sincere practice of the discipline can offer you.

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