“Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one’s being, from bodily health to self realization. ~ B.K.S Iyengar
Yoga is for everyone regardless of body shape, age, beliefs, and the path you are leading. It is an ancient practice of bringing harmony between the three – core body, mind, and soul. Yoga is both art and science. Focusing on the latter, Yoga is an ancient science.
Why Yoga is a Science?
The word Yoga has roots in the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ meaning to unite. For scientists, knowledge is never an end in itself, but a means to an end. Likewise, for yogis, the knowledge of yoga (union) is a means to the realization of the supreme self. Every form of yoga, Hatha, Ashtanga, Karma, Bhakti, all are performed in a unique yoga-tific method which in its formal structure and approach is very systematic and rational as its scientific counterpart’s approach to the world. As a bodily science, it teaches us to bring Chitta (mind fluctuations) under control. To conclude, yoga is the supreme science, the sciences of all science.
The Scientific Benefits of Yoga:
1. Increased Brain Functioning:
In the Vedas, Yoga is defined as Chittavritinirodha. It implies that yoga teaches its practitioners to bring Chitta under control. The yoga practices increase density in the layers of the cerebral cortex, the brain organ associated with higher learning. Also, it increases neuroplasticity, which is associated with learning and the way we do things. According to science, every time a practitioner holds a mountain pose, cobra pose, camel pose, and so many more while trying to balance and concentrate, the logical brain gets activated. This part of the brain serves the emotional and cognitive function.
2. Positively Alters Chemical Structure:
The 8400000 yoga asanas involve mindful and controlled entry-holding-stillness-release. Scientific researches show that strong prefrontal cortex activity is required to maintain concentration and stillness in the poses. As you make an effort to stay in the pose, the prefrontal cortex regulates sympathetic signals helping you keep focused. This is how yoga trains your brain to manage stress. Yoga postures also give a boost to brain chemicals like GABA, serotonin, and dopamine that promotes a sense of wellbeing.
3. Emotional Harmony:
Yoga stimulates parasympathetic nervous system which is scientifically proven the fact. A parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for calmness. As the parasympathetic nervous system gets activated, the restoration and healing process in the body improves and functioning of the intricate body organs increases. Emotional wellness is closely related to physical and mental health. Therefore, for the wellbeing of the other two, emotional solidarity is essential.
4. Healing Trauma:
Psychologists in increasing number are using yoga as a tool to heal trauma and PTSD (post trauma stress disorder). PTSD fosters feelings of disconnection with the world and self. Yoga Nidra is a meditative science that takes you through the five layers of the self resulting in connection and wholeness. When sufferers start to feel reconnected with the self, they are encouraged to come home, to their families, to daily life.
5. Good Heart Health:
From birth to death, the heart works continuously. Daily, heart pumps 70%blood to the brain and 30% to the body. In stressful situations, the body demands more blood in less time, and the heart reduces relaxation time due to which 80% of the blood gets purified. Lesser oxygenated blood circulating in the arteries is harmful. Pranayama is the key to ensure oxygenation of the blood and better circulation. Deep breathing keeps blood pressure in control, one of the major causes of heart attacks.
6. Better Pain Management:
Chronic pain affects millions. The range of possible causes includes injuries to arthritis. Much scientific research shows yoga helps in better pain management as well as healing. The practice of yoga is highly beneficial for patients of carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis.
7. Enhanced Quality of Life:
Yoga practices work equally on the three aspects physical, mental, and emotional. By improving each aspect of your life, yoga impacts the life of practitioners in miraculous ways. You become a conscious eater, your heart works better, the mind becomes calm, muscles get strengthened, joints are lubricated and last but not the least, the soul is at peace.
Both scientifically and Vedically, Yoga is the science of wellness.