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International Day of Yoga - Significance, History, Health Benefits

On June 21st this year, you can vow to take care of your health, mind and overall wellbeing by observing the International Yoga Day. Wondering why this has gained such popularity in recent years? Well, yoga is a discipline that traces its roots back to ancient Indian history,and is a popular form of physical and mental exercise that aims at establishing harmony between the mind, body and the environment. The earliest written record of Yoga was found in the Yoga Sutra ,and the credit goes to the renowned sage Patanjali.This is widely regarded as the only authoritative text on Yoga.

The Eight-Fold Path of Yoga

Yoga focuses on 8 different aspects of life, as listed below:

  • Yama- This basically refers to the rules of living in a society.

  • Niyama- These are the techniques for managing and purifying the self.

  • Asana- Postures and techniques for mental and physical balance, which we commonly refer to as exercise today.

  • Pranayama- This refers to breathing techniques.

  • Pratyahara- This is the technique of detaching the mind from external or material objects, to achieve a sense of calm.

  • Dharana- It refers to mental focus.

  • Dhyana- This includes meditation techniques for mental balance and calm.

  • Samadhi- Advanced meditation technique that lets one experience oneness with the cosmic spirit.

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International Yoga Day – Significance & History

Today, Yoga is widely regarded as a combination of both art and science, for healthy living, both in India and abroad. So much so that in order to spread awareness about the many health benefits of yoga amongst people, the UN has designated 21st June as International Yoga Day. The idea of a dedicated day to celebrate this historic discipline was first proposed by our Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, and was first celebrated in 2015. In this short span of time, the celebration of International Yoga Day has gained widespread popularity, which is evident in the large public gatherings that take place in designated areas, to perform yoga asanas.

Important Health Benefits of Yoga

Gradually, the whole world is waking up to the numerous benefits of yoga. Yoga techniques are often believed to complement traditional treatments, especially when it comes to substance abuse and other illnesses like anxiety disorders, heart diseases, cancers, HIV/AIDS and a range of lifestyle disorders. Here are some of the well-known benefits of yoga:-

  • Improves Flexibility- This is one of the prominent benefits of yoga. By regularly performing asanas, your body can become flexible, and gradually, aches and pains from joints will begin to disappear.

  • Builds Muscle Strength- Muscle strength keeps problems like arthritis at bay and prevents accidental falls due to poor body balance.

  • Corrects Your Posture- There are a number of asanas that help you to correct your posture, thereby preventing a number of problems that creep in due to poor posture. Problems like arthritis, degeneration of spinal cord, and lower back aches commonly affectthose who have posture problems.

  • Protects the Spinal Disk- Spinal disks can herniate and compress the nerves. Regular movements like bends and twists can keep these disks supple.

  • Improves Bone Health- There are a number of asanas that require you to lift your own weight. These exercises improve bone health and increase bone density as well.

Health Insurance and Yoga

It is a known fact that yoga does not just promote health and wellbeing, but is also used in the treatment of a range of health conditions. So, you might be wondering, if yoga can help you treat multiple health concerns, why would you need health insurance?

Well, while yoga can improve overall health and reduce your risk of falling ill, it cannot prevent all disorders and emergencies. In such cases,conventional medical intervention becomes necessary. And such treatments can be quite expensive.So, if you are not prepared enough, you might have to dip into your savings to pay for hospital bills and medicines. This is where a health insurance can come in handy. And the earlier you choose one, the better it will be for you, as premiums charged are low when you are young.

Wrapping up

Though yoga cannot replace medical treatments, it promotes healing, enhances your immunity, builds your strength and paves the way for mental peace too. Also, it is often combined with medical intervention and does not in any way negate medical practices. In fact, a number of insurance companies have recognized the importance of yoga and offer it as a part of preventive healthcare and wellness package. This can cover the expenses of those yoga sessions that you undergo at an institute. Living the good life was never easier!

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