Updated: Jul 24, 2021
Yoga gained worldwide recognition when 21st June was declared as "International Yoga Day". Since 2015, every year to mark the importance of yoga, International yoga day is celebrated. Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India proposed the idea to dedicate the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
Derived from the Sanskrit root 'Yuj,' yoga means 'to join, yoke, or unite.' It is a centuries-old discipline that balances the mind and body and brings harmony between them. It connects an individual's consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness.
It comprises breathing exercises, meditation, and certain bodily poses that promote relaxation and improve physical, mental, and psychological well-being. Practising yoga has many benefits although not everything is backed by science, there are still many studies out there where yoga has proved itself. The real-life experiences of many people support these studies and findings.
In this article, I am going to share some exemplary stories of people who immensely benefitted from yoga.
Keith Mitchell—Spinal contusion
Keith Mitchell is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League turned internationally renowned Celebrity Yogi. After suffering a life-changing football injury that left him paralyzed for months, he used yoga and meditation for complete recovery. Later he got diagnosed with a spinal contusion, which led to his early retirement. Through a rehabilitation program, he got into meditation. A nurse inspired him to practise conscious breathing, and that is how he got into yoga. Keith credits yoga for not only healing his body but also bringing him emotional and mental peace. He now teaches the benefits of yoga to individuals of all ages, including children.
Mr Purushotaman—Parkinson's disease
A gentleman from Chennai, India, Mr Purushotaman practised yoga regularly to heal himself. The 77-year-old man has been suffering from Parkinson's disease for the past four years. He joined a community support group for people affected by Parkinson's disease and attended all the meetings and yoga sessions regularly. Even after practising customized yoga therapy, he saw no substantial progress for a long time. But he continued to practice. With regular asana and Pranayama practice for a couple of months, he observed his energy level rose. His handwriting has also improved significantly. With a little practice before heading to the bank, his signature is now flawless.
Angela was fed up with living in chronic agony after 18 years of battling lupus (SLE), migraines, and fibromyalgia. Her doctors told her to only do light exercises, but she feared it would end up with a painful flare-up. With some encouragement from friends, she finally started doing yoga. With continuous practice, her body became more flexible, strong, and she could finally break free of her pain cycle. Whenever she was in pain, she stretched out into Downward Dog, twist her arms into Eagle Pose, or simply ‘rag doll’ it until her pain level drops. And then the miraculous news came—"Angela was completely cured of lupus". She gives all thanks to daily physical activity like yoga combined with a more natural medicine route.
Vernon Kenny - Addiction
Reluctant to go to a yoga class at first, he quit drinking and smoking only after six months of yoga classes. Till ten years ago, he was regularly drinking and smoking a lot. To manage depression, he got into excessive shopping and substance abuse. Not only yoga helped him to control his psychological addiction to smoking, but he also became much happier, relaxed, and more open and compassionate. The change in his behaviour also improved his relationship with his wife. He now practices yoga for an hour and a half daily and meditates in the evening. Not only yoga brought him a deep sense of relaxation physically, but it also created more space for him mentally and spiritually.
Lady Gaga - Eating disorder
Lady Gaga swears by yoga. The American singer-songwriter benefitted from IT. She practices yoga, which helped her to recover from an eating disorder and surgery. According to her, yoga is not only a celebrity fitness hack, but it is also a part of a well-balanced life.
Yoga is a holistic approach to health and well-being that embodies the union of mind and body, thinking and action, restraint and fulfillment, the balance between man and nature. There are many scientific studies to prove the benefits of yoga, but still, a lot more is required.
Yoga can boost immunity and strengthen the body to fight diseases. Keep in mind that yoga is not a cure for every disease, but it can help in the journey of recovery.