Hatha yoga is a system for achieving longevity, and radiant health.
Old age and sickness tend to settle first in the joints and in the spinal discs. Medical studies have revealed that these spinal discs often begin to show signs of degeneration as early as 30 years of age. Yoga postures make the joints flexible, they stretch and irrigate the spinal vertebrae keeping them youthful even late into old age
Yoga postures, known as asanas, promote the free flow of energy throughout the nervous system and at the same time assist in the elimination of toxins and poisons from the joints and other body parts. These yoga postures exert a beneficial pressure on various glands and internal organs, flushing and stimulating them.
However more is involved in asanas than just the promotion of physical health. Through yoga postures one can improve their mental outlook, achieve a more harmonious emotional life and develop more vital awareness.
The mental and physical bodies are connected. When you meet someone who stoops forward, notice if they tend to be discouraged. Or think of a stubborn person whose chin juts out. If there is a holding in the upper part of the chest, that person may be suppressing their natural feelings. Just as mental attitudes affect the body so also can bodily posture affect the mind, for instance a bent spine and slumped shoulders can induce moodiness.
Practitioners of yoga use the body/mind relationship to induce physical relaxation and encourage serenity in a worried mind. Conscious breathing is an important aspect of yoga. If we change our breathing patterns, our mental state will be changed as well. Anyone who has taken a yoga class knows how quickly the mind calms down while focusing on breathing slowly, deeply and fully using the lungs’ full capacity to inhale and exhale.
What is the purpose of doing Yoga? We can see that after we practice yoga we feel more flexible and strong, our spirits are uplifted, our energy is balanced and our minds are clearer.