On International Yoga Day: A beginner’s guide to the centuries-old ‘medication and meditation’

Hustle and bustle of modern life has given people not only the means of survival, but also burdened them with various health problems. As the number of diseases is ever increasing in the modern world, people are searching for various options to fight them. In the array of such options, natural methods like yoga are a popular choice among urban population of Nepal.

Bidur Phuyal Sadhak Swapnam has been yoga instructor for last 12 years. On the occasion of International Yoga Day, Onlinekhabar caught up with him to ask some questions about yoga.

Yoga instructor Bidur Phuyal

What is yoga?

The word ‘yoga’ originates from the Sanskrit language and it means to add, to accumulate, or to combine. However, its definition is diverse and vague. In modern days, it is used in the health sector only.

Yoga basically has three dimensions: asanas, pranayamas and dhyanas. These are three means to keep people physically and mentally healthy. Yoga is a science of experiment and feeling. It leads the practitioner to a state of spirituality.

Why yoga?

People are living with various stresses and diseases. Yoga helps them stay health physically, mentally and spiritually.

Who cannot do yoga?

Everyone can do yoga, but people who have undergone surgeries, who have high blood pressure or diabetes, pregnant and menstruating women and people living with spinal problems have to take special care.

They need to take up different methods in consideration of their problems. For example, people with high BP cannot do all asanas. t is not advisable to do yoga within five hours after meal. You need to have an empty stomach.

Once you begin practising, do not quit halfway because it is both a form of medication and meditation. Yoga instructors should teach their students keeping in mind what problems they are facing.

The learner should know what they are doing and why. They should get clad in comfortable and loose clothes.

Is it okay to learn yoga from TV?

All asanas that you see on television may not be appropriate for you. Some asanas may have adverse impacts if wrongly practised. Therefore, it is necessary to learn basics of yoga from a learned practitioner for at least one month.

How much do our food habits matter to yoga?

You are what you eat. Yoga is more beneficial if your food habit is healthy. Yoga cannot make any effect if you eat whatever you like and cannot adapt yourself to a healthy lifestyle.

However, it is absolutely wrong to believe that quitting food results in weight loss.

Why is yoga relevant in hectic daily life?

Being busy is a more psychological issue than an actual one. You are busy only if you think you are busy. Yoga helps you realise whether you are busy or not. Therefore, yoga is more necessary in so-called busy life.

When you are busy, you have more stresses and tensions. Everyone has their own stresses and they need yoga to get relieved of them. Yoga makes you concentrated, stress-free and fresh.

Is yoga a compulsion or a choice?

As everyone needs rest daily, they also need yoga. Those who are involved in manual labour need yoga; those who are not need it more. But, there are differences between physical exercise and yoga. Physical exercise aims at making your body fit whereas yoga aims to make you relaxed and fresh. Therefore those doing physical exercise need to do yoga for internal peace. Likewise, yoga increases immunity against diseases and willpower.

What do today’s youth need to learn about yoga?

Today’s youth need motivation to achieve their goals in life. Yoga helps them find that. Yoga motivates them to purposeful activities from useless ones. It helps them get away from drug addiction and various mental problems.

How long should one do yoga every day?

You get physically, mentally and spiritually healthy if you do yoga from 20 minutes to one and half hours every day.

What is the relevance of yoga to mental health?

There are around 8.4 million asanas in yoga. Of them, 84 are in common use. Many of them help oxygen inside your body circulate to all body parts. When oxygen reaches your brain, you release your stress. You can think better. You can memorise things better.

What is the relation between yoga and diseases?

Yoga’s effectiveness depends on the status of disease. If your disease is older, yoga takes more time to have an impact. Doing yoga for a month cannot free you of all the diseases. You need to do yoga for years to cope with years-old diseases. Yoga helps you free of diseases that you have and protects you from others that you do not have. But, you need to have patience. It is a deep science and it takes time to work.

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