2018 is the year of the downward-facing dog, of surya namaskars and endless chants of Om. Everyone’s into yoga. From soccer moms to CEOs, techies to pre-teens, and even the Prime Minister himself, yoga seems to have become a global phenomenon. The word ‘yoga’ means union, but you can still practise it alone. And while many people believe that yoga takes time, a little bit a day can go a long way towards developing a flexible body and a clearer mind.
Yoga, unlike most other exercises, is not just about the physical. It’s not about difficult stretches and deep breathing. You actually get to use your mind and emotions as well. After a bit of yoga, the body is refreshed and supple, and that lingering feeling of tiredness and lethargy vanishes. A sharp clarity of the mind is felt, which makes yoga different from perhaps even a very intense workout.
I find yoga to be a perfect and snappy pick-me-up. For people who work long hours on their desks and don’t have the time or energy for an intensive workout, yoga can be their go-to regimen.
The modern world is not meant to be calming or peaceful. Everything about it is jarring, intrusive and stressful. Much of yoga’s appeal lies in its ability to combat several mental and physical ailments like anxiety, depression, and heart problems. By practicing yoga you develop some control over your mind and body together. In fact, researchers at the University of Harvard have found that people who practice yoga require less medical care; yoga helps you fight stress, which in turn reduces the possibility of getting afflicted by problems related to stress.
To stay young and beautiful forever is what the world aspires to. For skin-sagging, wrinkles, and spots, yoga does wonders. It keeps the skin taut, glowing and radiant. So throw away all those skin creams, moisturisers and scrubs, and grab a pair of yoga pants and a mat instead!
At the end of a long day, all we really need is sleep. There is simply no better way to recharge. Sadly, the first casualty of modern living is sleep. Practising yoga significantly improves the quality of sleep. There is no therapy better for your body and mind than that elusive well-rested feeling. That sense of well-being in your bones which makes you feel on top of the world. So, all you insomniacs out there, just do yoga!
I could go on and on about yoga’s medical benefits. Improved blood flow, enhanced immunity, increased flexibility, a stronger spine, perfect posture, lower blood sugar, an enhanced nervous system, better digestion and immunity from viruses and allergies: my ‘reasons-to-practice-yoga list’ is endless!
Even though everyone’s doing it, yoga is still regarded as a frivolous practice by some, especially in the land of its origin; India. The Sacred Pushkar seeks to change that. The festival is a space for discussion and reflection as much as it is about learning new things and meeting new people, and creating a society of wellness enthusiasts.
So head to the Sacred Pushkar Festival folks, where yoga is a key focus area, with workshops, guided sessions and discussions over best practices. Maybe you will come back with an ideal inner mandala of the mind, body and soul.