The ancient discipline of yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the world today. HomeLoveLifestyle spoke with Sarah Habib, a certified instructor but eternally a student of yoga.
Why would you pick yoga over other forms of exercise?
I prefer yoga because it works in the discipline of the body as well as the mind. It concerns the emotions, the will. It brings a poise to the soul and enables one to look at life in all its aspects, evenly. No other discipline is comparable.
What is the number one thing most students of yoga are looking for?
Most students are focused on the physical aspect only, that’s the unfortunate part. The western world has projected this image of the discipline.
What are the physical benefits?
Yoga is a holistic discipline in which mind and body are viewed as a harmonious whole. Different asanas impact different parts of the body, even internal organs. Aasnas like the plank and warrior develop core strength which is very important. It improves posture, balance and flexibility, improves blood flow. It also regulates the lymphatic system and strengthens the immune system. These are just some amongst many other benefits.
What’s your take on all the new forms of like Bikram, Hot & Power Yoga etc?
I think any yoga is better than none. However, I personally prefer the original, basic Hatha version. The other forms are all variations and derivations of that. They often require props and are limited to an age.
Please elaborate on the mental aspect of the discipline?
When the mind, intellect and self are under control, freed from restless desires, then only is the spirit within at rest and at peace. Yoga is the practise of control, physically, through breathing and then the mind.
Explain the importance of breathing?
Evenness of breathing leads to healthy nerves and brings evenness of mind and temper. Controlled breathing, Pranayama, helps control emotions. It oxygenates the entire body and aids in relieving physical ailments like migraines, sinus, stress etc.
Can one take it up at an advanced age?
Yes. That is the beauty of yoga. One can start the beginner level at any age. That’s why it is known as as a practice. One does not need to do asanas which might cause discomfort.
How is yoga beneficial for children?
Children are flexible in mind and body. Learning yoga at an early age will instill calmness, discipline and control. Today children need this more than ever to deal with the fast pace of life. It helps in concentration and focus.
How has the discipline impacted your own life?
Every human being is different. Each one takes something different but always positive from yoga. It is a ladder for those who want to scale the heights of knowledge, higher- self, mind and spirit.
It has impacted me in many ways, too many to list. And the journey is still on. It has taught me to be open-minded, open to learning and to always be aware. It has taught me to still the senses and rest the mind.