Yoga as a form of self-cultivation has benefits for health maintenance when practiced regularly in the same way as many westerners benefit from a regular exercise routine. However, there are more profound effects from yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and other ancient practices that westerners have begun to appreciate.
The main focus these ancient techniques share is precision breathing. That may sounds simple, but to energize the core of our bodies with our breathing and direct this fortified oxygen to targeted areas…well, you get it, that’s where the precision comes in. In the far east, meditation has long been integral to developing one’s spirituality, but to the casual observer its inherent medicinal association may not be apparent. The practice of yoga, and other meditation-based disciplines, brings with the breath work specific body postures – asanas in yoga (movements/forms, etc. in the other practices) that enhance the healing properties and lend themselves collectively to what is sometimes called “moving meditation.”
How we move in our bodies, how we feel on a day-to-day basis, how yoga brings about a quiet calm – all these factors can influence the body’s ability to heal and maintain wellness.Have you ever had a leg or other muscle cramp and taken a few minutes to stretch it out while breathing slowly, deeply, and purposefully? If so, then you’ve experienced a modified yoga effect.
Ayurvedic medicine has developed alongside yoga, while tai chi and qi gong are a branch of Chinese medicine. Medical professionals within these disciplines are trained in modalities that assist the body with rebalance and recovery from illness. Western practitioners are themselves benefiting from some mind-body practices and incorporating various modalities in the western model.
Ayurvedic medicine has developed alongside yoga, while tai chi and qi gong are a branch of Chinese medicine.
The use of these principles – a meditative/spiritual state of mindful intention applied to affect a specific outcome on the body – are elements of the shifting paradymn in modern medicine. In 1998, the National Institute of Health (NIH) inaugurated the Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, based on research, efficacy, and outcomes of evidence-based mind-and-body medicine.
Thousands of students around the world participate in self-cultivation and wellness classes. Check YogaHub’s resources for a class/event near you. Practices which help us transform our perspectives, from tai chi to yoga to drum circles and other cultural traditions are becoming world traditions. From a sociology perspective, what were remnants of village culture left aside during migrations to urban centers may transcend, in some ways, to enlighten the demands of the world community.