‘Yoga’ is the science of right living and, as such, is intended to be incorporated in daily life. It works on all aspects of the person; the physical, vital, mental, emotional, psychic and spiritual.
Today, as we entered in 21st century, a spiritual heritage is being reclaimed of which yoga is very much a part. While yoga’s central theme remains the highest goal of the spiritual path, yogic practices give direct and tangible benefits to everyone regardless of their spiritual aims.
Physical and mental therapy is one of the yoga’s most important achievements. What makes it so powerful and effective is the fact that it works on the wholistic principles of harmony and unification. Yoga has succeeded as an alternative form of therapy in diseases such as asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, arthritis, digestive disorders and other ailments of a chronic and constitutional nature where modern science has not. Research into the effects of yogic practices on HIV is currently underway with promising results. According to medical scientists, yoga therapy is successful because of the balance created in the nervous and endocrine systems which directly influences all the other systems and organs of the body.
For most people, however , yoga is simply a means of maintaining health and well-being in an increasingly stressful society. ‘Asanas’ remove the physical discomfort accumulated during a day at the office sitting in a chair, hunched over a desk. Relaxation techniques help maximize the effectiveness beepers and twenty-four hour shopping, yogic practices make great personal and even business sense.
Beyond the needs of individuals, the underlying principles of yoga provide a real tool to combat social malaise. At a time when the world seems to be at a loss, rejecting past values without being able to establish new ones, ‘Yoga’ provides a means for people to find their own way of connecting with their true selves. Through this connection with their real selves it is possible for people to manifest in the current age, and for compassion to emerge where hitherto there has been none.
In this respect, yoga is far from simply being physical exercises, rather, it is an aid to establishing a new way of life which embraces both inner and outer realities.However, this way of life is an experience which cannot be understood intellectually and will only become living knowledge through practice and experience.