The “boom” of yoga
The adepts of this ancient practice that “is so addictive” to whom surrenders in body and soul are increasing. The benefits are many and at various levels.
In recent years, yoga has been sought out by a growing number of people of almost all ages and all professions. Is it a matter of fashion, marketing and advertising or not (always)?
Whatever the reasons, the fact is that this art has acquired a renewed interest in the west, which is not surprising if we look at the current society, extremely aggressive, competitive and fast-paced, always demanding more and more, pushing us inexorably away from our essence, compromising our health and wellness. And in these conditions, the “nerves” break down, the disease begins to compromise our quality of life and becomes rather difficult to keep ourselves balanced.
That is why there’s an increasing demand for practices, like yoga or tai chi chuan, which somehow allow us to restore the balance, to keep the body healthy and strengthen the nervous system even in the midst of all the stresses of everyday living.
“The structure of society – Tells us Carlos Rui who is in love with this ancient practice from teenager – leads people into needing to look for ways of balance that transcend mechanization and computerization, and makes them to be with themselves.
Basically, yoga is a bridge to interiority, it allows people to go a little deeper into themselves and thus establish links with their essence, maintaining balance in a world extremely appealing to what is on the outside and that mainly lives from the incidental and transitional. And if the individual is not somehow centered in itself, he feels a great emptiness, is always with great dissatisfaction, and above all insecurity.
Yoga leads people to inside, which do not necessarily mean that they have more security in themselves, but at least live within boundaries which can be handled in a less ephemeral form.
So this boom of yoga, is a typical phenomenon of big cities and is still expanding. In the United States there are large centers with two or three floors, various classes, everyone is practicing, but is reaching its peak and begins to decline.
In Europe, by contrast, begins to have a greater impact as a result mainly from what is happening in America.
I think we are actually growing, although in some countries the growth can be a lot more due mainly to fashion.
There is, for example, a growth of advertising, such as yogurt somehow related to health, which in one way or another show people in postures that resemble yoga or tai chi.
There is therefore a tendency of the current market to promote these practices .”
People can in fact start yoga because of fashion, due to marketing and advertising. But because they keep going and many become “addicted” to this art, not giving up for anything its practice?
If it’s pouring rain, makes a heat of death, there’s traffic, strikes, if they come from far or from near… there they are as cast in stone, at least in this center where Carlos Rui transmits its knowledge, learned in India, the birthplace of yoga, coded and systematized by the Hindu thinker Patanjali, 2500 years before Christ, in the text Yoga Sutras.
The director of the Portuguese Yoga Center, laughing, confirms: Here, people do not come for fashion.
Practitioners who are here normally show symptoms of good health, good mood and wellness. It’s not that they have more or less success than others, but possibly they can cope with the normal adversities of everyday life, be at a professional, personal or emotional level, more smoothly, and without realizing it.
The practice will gradually leading the people to have greater peace of mind, be more flexible and not get involved in situations so easily, and that creates a certain serenity and wellness that is transmitted to your circle of acquaintances.
So who comes to our center usually comes recommended by friends and they know they do not come for yoga of display, but to work hard and harsh. They not come here to sleep.
They are already prepared for some ‘sacrifice’, which is just in the beginning, and that quickly brings numerous benefits in terms of physical, mental and emotional health.
In this center is practiced in “a restrictive and narrow” way what is considered in the west as Hatha Yoga, following without fanaticism, the lines of the Iyengar Yoga workout (world renowned teacher, student of Krishnamacharya in the 30s, of the last century) and the Vinyasa from Asthanga Yoga of Pattabhi Jois, another acknowledged master.
The whole approach of yoga, says Carlos Rui, is made to act deeply in internal organs and its inherent systems, producing greater health to an organic level.
“This action by the conscious use of the muscles and joints, causes compressions, pressures and strains in the abdominal and thoracic area producing a massage and a regularization of the internal organs and their functions, generating health and wellness.
It also reflects at the health of joints, in a greater muscle and joint control, and in an aesthetic figure that becomes more appealing and enjoyable.
The person within its physical constitution becomes more balanced, with more appropriate forms to its bone structure, without excesses for neither more nor less. And the muscles also become more toned, with more flexibility.
At an organic and physical level there is, therefore, an objective and clear improvement.” And as the physical structure is not separated from emotions or from the mind, at these levels the effects are also felt.
“Our mind and our ability to relate to the world becomes more clear, people can see what is essential and what is secondary in life with more objectivity and clarity, which is also reflected in their emotions.
There are many fears that have to do also with a relation we have with the very poor and very unconscious body.
When we begin to relate with the body in a safer and dynamically way we interact with ourselves with greater consciousness, and this also has an impact on the emotional level and mental activity.
I notice, that regular practitioners are more relaxed, more open to dialogue, more tolerant and less prejudiced people. ”
Of fitness has little
Only apparently a yoga class seems a fitness workout, with leaps forward and backward flexibility exercises or motor coordination.
There are very large differences between the two, starting with the fact that the asanas (physical postures) meet the criteria of body alignment, always synchronized with the breath.
“There is awareness of the breath and movement,” explains Carlos Rui “the yoga practitioner, although moves vigorously and dynamically, always remains focused on what is doing, breaths controlled, slowly and deeply, and the movement follows the natural and conscious flow of the breath, which is not true in fitness activity.
Besides, the purpose of fitness it’s not to act in the internal organs, central nervous system and endocrine glands, unlike yoga that uses physical movements, arms and legs to act deeply on those.”
Are traditional practices within the yoga the ásanas (who also develop motor coordination, flexibility and strength of joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles), the pránáyámas (breathing exercises that develop a greater mastery over the emotions and nervous system), the yoganidra (exercises that lead to a deep relaxation, freeing your mind and body from stress) and the dhyana (meditation exercises that develop intuition, concentration, memory and also tranquilize the mind).
There are large differences between yoga and fitness
A road, many paths
Yoga offers many paths, allowing each person to find the precise technique that best matches their temperament, psyche and personality.
The practitioner learns and follows its own path, regardless of the geographic location where they are, whether in India, in Europe, or if the chosen technique is the yoga of devotion (Bhakti), of disinterested action (Karma), strength and harmony of the body (Hatha) or knowledge (Jnana).
Any of these variants is valid if it helps us to be ourselves, to discover our inner being and “to attain liberation (the unconditioned state of mind),” the ultimate goal of yoga.