Yoga is an ancient Indian science and practice for the spiritual, mental, and physical development of the body. It is over 5000 years old practice introduced to the world by great scholars of ancient India. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘‘yuj’’, meaning to join or unite.
The science of yoga has been mentioned in many ancient Indian texts including Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis, and scholarly texts of Sanskrit grammarian and sage, Panini, and Patanjali. Vedas which are the oldest scriptures in the world have extensively mentioned the significance and benefits of yoga. During the Vedic period, many yoga techniques including Pranayama, Surya Namaskar (sun salutation), and Meditation were a part of daily routine and are well documented in Yajurveda. Upanishads considered yoga as the oneness of breath, mind, and senses. Treatment of various diseases is well documented in theories of these valuable scriptures.
Yoga is a valuable integrative practice that can positively modulate and improve the healthy functioning of the body and mind. It modulates a balance between three energy forces or doshas of the body - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Any imbalance or disorder in these energy forces causes disease. The most commonly performed practices of yoga include dhyana (meditation) pranayama (breathing exercises) and asanas (physical postures). These yoga practices oxygenate cells and regulate the physiological machinery while improving the efficiency of the mind and other organs. Yoga practices reduce the rate of cellular aging and provide longevity by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
By practicing yoga people can prolong youth and lead a healthy life. It is the key to healthy aging and overcoming complex disorders and their associated co-morbidities.