What is the Importance of Yoga?
When we get something, we enjoy it, we are lured by it and get enthused by its possession. But what one should realize is: how far is it wise to desire a thing which is temporary in nature, with which we have to part one day or the other and which is bound to cut the very roots of our life. The question, therefore, arises: what should man aspire to in his life? The answer lies in Yoga. Yoga alone has the potential to give what we expect of life.
Let me be happy. Let my family, neighbors, and community be happy, let my province, country, and the entire world be happy. Yoga alone will help us in taking such a vow and affect the implementation. Yoga alone can show us the path of peace and happiness. It alone helps us in developing our personality and also a sound and disciplined life.
The greatest need of the hour is Yoga for all-boys and girls, young and old, householders and businessmen. The reason is obvious: they must be healthy enough to carry out their routine duties successfully in the world.
Yoga alone can faster a balanced muscular system, elasticity of the bones, proper circulation of blood in the body and a proper functioning of the glandular system. Not only this, Yoga can also set right the most important systems in our body namely, our nervous system, the digestive and respiratory system etc. Moreover, Yoga can vitalize such important organs of the body without which life is impossible, such as Brain, Heart, Kidney etc.
One great advantage of Yoga is that it enhances our work efficiency as a result of the soundness of our health. One can work continuously for hours with devotion and dedication and do whatever work one is assigned to us. Obviously, one who works with concentration is
better than one who is careless in his work. He is liked by all. He knows how to make the best use of time. Since such a man works without any tensions and with a smile on his face, he never feels tired. Work without tensions helps in an activating his cells, rather than destroying them. This is the secret of his evergreen youth and longevity.
The practice of Yoga keeps us for away from ailments. If sometimes ailments come our way, we take no time to recover. The reasons are that Toga creates in us a tremendous power of resistance and that is why the body does not fall an easy prey to disease. But a sound body goes hand in hand with a sound mind and intellect. The soundness of the three faculties leads to mental peace, a poised intellect, decision making power and a clear line of thought process. Even then man’s life is not supposed to be complete. He also needs self-purification which can only be possible when one surrenders oneself to the Yogic way of life.
A scientist’s inquiry is limited to the objective world. A talented and an intelligent teacher imparts knowledge to his pupils by his sharp reasoning and imaginative power. But a Yogi’s experiments are based on personal intuition. He observes a thing and understands what he has observed. His observation soars beyond it, even beyond the physical and the imaginative spheres. His findings are based not on knowledge, but on personal experience. He stands face to face with Truth and Reality. Objective understanding, introspection of a thing or to reach its logical conclusion may be different. But Truth is one and unchangeable. It is realized by Yogi alone.
Yoga plays an important role in the development of a man’s qualities. The quality of mercy absorbs anger in itself. Selfless work and renunciation dispel greed and selfishness. Attachment and hatred melt into nothingness when the individual soul merges into the universal. In the development of an individual into a genius and in uniting the individual with the universal soul, Yoga plays a vital role.
Life is meaningful when one is able to control one’s passions emotions and sentiments. Take the example of a car which runs on the road without brakes or that of a human being who has the capacity to run, but is unable to stop when required to do so, working all the
time, but never learning to take rest. A man who wastes away his energy in useless activity, rather than utilizing it in a meaningful work, one earns tons of wealth and is never inclined to spend a penny for the general good of the society. Such a man’s life is useless, meaningless and incomplete. Here again, it is the practice of Yoga that can help us strike a balance between the two extremes.
According to Sages, there are eight limbs of Yoga.
- The first limb ‘YAM’ dwells upon the upliftment of the society.
- The second limb, ’NIYAM’ deals with the betterment of one’s own conduct.
- ‘ASANAS’ are necessary to make the body pure and static.
- ‘PRANAYAM’ is essential for the purification of the mind.
- ‘PRATYAHAR’ helps us in withdrawing our senses from the objects.
- ‘DHARMA’ enhances our power of concentration.
- ‘DHAYAN’ is meant to purify Chitt or Consciousness. It is in this way Yoga regulates and systematizes our entire life from the personal to the social.
- ‘SAMADHI’ is the ultimate goal of Yoga or it is called the super-conscious state. It is one thing to experience the relaxation of the body, sense organs, and mind or to attain peace and bliss. But it is altogether a different experience to put one’s heart and soul in the work and yet remain alert. This state is known as wakeful Samadhi, which is considered as an Elevated State, as the aspirant’s total personality-body, mind, intellect, and consciousness are involved in the performance of his duty. Such a practicing is most fortunate in the spiritual sense of the word. Here again, it is Yoga alone that helps us to attain this state of Samadhi.
By detaching oneself from single unit Yoga units us with the whole one and a yogi treats everyone as his own and serves the humanity at large devotedly and selflessly, meaning thereby that all his personal attachments get merged into the service for and the good of mankind. In this way, the attachment and hatred and other mental disorders are set right. Usually, a person decorates himself from outside but Yoga decorates himself from within by elevating his mind. A person who does not practice Yoga can never look within and one who cannot look within can never cultivate the capacity for dispelling such evils of the mind as jealousy, hatred etc. It is a common experience of all of us that the more our thoughts become clear, simple and elevated, the more beautiful the ordinary things and mankind appear to us. This one great benefit of Yoga is that it detaches us from the narrow circle of attachment to a particular thing or person, and makes our thoughts universal and all-pervasive.
The general tendency of a person is to demand more and more and give less and less. But after the attainment of self-realization this tendency to give arises in a Yogi automatically and naturally. A Yoga-practitioner does not behave like a beggar. He acts like a millionaire, who only gives and never expects anything in return. A Yogi’s life is illumined with the light of service and sacrifice.
Yoga also inculcates in us a sense of discipline. We feel encouraged at every stage of life. With the constant improvement in our conduct of life, we are able to distinguish between the right and the wrong. We transcend the dualities of hatred and attachment, pain and pleasure, loss and profit, defeat and victory. Their impact is limited only to our sensory and mental facilities. Such a transcendental stage of mind can only be attained by the practice of Yoga.
If we desire to have a sound and healthy body, a complete and contented life, if we want to overcome the adversities of life, if we desire to cultivate the qualities of simplicity, objectivity, and industriousness as well as the purification of body and mind and attain high thinking, we must start the practice of Yoga. If we long for sharp intelligence, illumine our life with selfless service, lead a highly moral, noble and spotless life, and attain an equability of mind in pleasure and pain, cultivate love and affection for the entire mankind, to experience self-realization and a subtle understanding of microcosm and macrocosm, we must pursue Yoga as our way of life. Remember, there is no alternative to Yoga. If we are sincerely anxious to attain what is attainable in this life, we should start the practice of Yoga sooner than late. Do not put off till tomorrow what we can do today.
The ultimate goal of yoga is self-realization. Self-realization is the knowledge that we all are interconnected and that what we think, say, and do affects those around us. Burdened by the pressures and demands that exist outside of ourselves—of our jobs, bills, desire for status and for material possessions—we forget this. Self-realization is the ability to achieve freedom from these demands and to know that true happiness comes from fulfilling our own potential and from lifting up those around us without the thought of self-gain. Dedicating yourself to the regular practice of yoga can help bring you back to this place. Yoga is, indeed, an excellent form of exercise that carries with it many immediate and long-term physical benefits from improved flexibility to stronger muscles and bones. However, yoga is not just about moving through the poses. Mindfulness plays an essential part in any dedicated yoga practice. If performed properly, yoga quiets the mind of all distracting thoughts from the outside world, bringing you to a place of peace within. In turn, being mindful of your thoughts will allow you to be mindful of, and truly connected with, your body, thus completing the cycle of mental and physical health that will allow you to enjoy all the wonderful things that life has to offer