When we think of relaxing, we usually think of meeting up with friends, watching a movie, partying, playing a sport or doing some activity we enjoy. Some people even say that exercising relaxes them. Maybe it does! But relaxation has a totally different meaning in yoga. The principles of yoga state that you are only relaxed when you consciously slow down your metabolism in order to let go of mental and physical tension.
According to yoga, none of the above-mentioned leisure activities actually can relax you. In fact, most of them increase your metabolic rate.
Research shows that tension in our body and mind causes emotional, behavioural and physical disorders and this prevents us from living life to the fullest. Yoga relaxes our body to the core. By practising yoga daily, we bring out the much-required stability in our over-worked mind and body and be healthy in all aspects of life.
The four pillars
Yoga concentrates on the four major aspects of life:
- Ahar means food. According to yoga and ayurveda, what you eat has a direct effect on your mind and health respectively.
- Vihar means relaxation. How much did you sleep in a day? Sleeping is the best way to relax. Other relaxing activities could include meditation, listening to soothing music, being with nature—anything in which you enjoy the state of your being.
- Achara means routines. How you behave with yourself or how much time you spend with yourself—like bathing, eating and things that you do everyday. Here comes the need of asanas, a little bit of physical activity and cleansing processes, which enhances body's health and fitness.
- Vichara means thinking pattern or emotions. Emotions could be of many types, some may calm your mind and make you happy while others may stress you up and make you irritable or sad.
Just for record
Maintain a diary of all your daily activities based on the four pillars mentioned above—make sure you record everything. By doing so, you will be able to analyse your life well. This whole process will take a maximum of 10 minutes every day.
If you continue to keep this record for one year, the effect of every season on your body will be evident. You might not be aware but the same foods you eat may have a different effect on you during winters than in summers. Similarly, your body will react to a particular food or activity differently when you are stressed than when you are more relaxed. You will also notice differing reactions with respect to your emotions.
By doing this for another year, you will get a much better picture because now you can even crosscheck the details of last year. You will understand the pattern of your body functions and responses. By the third year, you will know your body so well that you can almost predict how your body will behave in a particular season or mood. Once you have reached this stage you will have solutions for most of your health problems. Since you know what it takes to keep your body in the best state, just do it.
The next step would be a stage when problems will simply cease to exist because you will know what to do in a particular climate or while experiencing a certain emotion.
Be your own doctor
You can do this only after you have thoroughly studied your body patterns and behaviours. You are the best person to treat yourself because no one will know your body better than you. No doctor, but you, can find out why your body is behaving in a particular manner [suffering from an ailment or showing too much stress].
Another important factor to consider while treating yourself is to reach and eradicate the root cause of the problem. This is the only solution to any health complication. Any imbalance in the normal state of the body is what causes pain or health complications. Therefore, it is necessary to attend to the whole body and not just that part. For example, if any part of your body is aching, just don't cut-off the pain by popping some pill or applying a balm. This will only give temporary relief; you have not destroyed the problem yet.
The secret to complete and permanent relief is to introspect. Check your food habits, emotions and lifestyle—you will find the solution just there. So, study the four pillars that rule your life to control your body and keep it healthy always.
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