Yoga – An introduction

mDhil caught up with Dr. K.J. Johnson who has been working in the field of holistic healing for the last 20 years to find out more about this centuries old discipline.

Yoga an introductionQ Why should people opt for yoga?

A. Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. It advocates the cause of holistic living which includes the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being of a person.  With yoga, the body can heal itself holistically. To begin the process, the body needs three preconditions – attention, internal relaxation and positive intention

Attention: When you focus while doing an asana, you spread awareness to all parts of your body. This awareness has immense healing potential.

Internal relaxation: Yoga relaxes your internal organs and conserves energy. This energy is then used for healing.

Positive intention: Having positive intentions, feelings like “I want to get cured” or “I will get better” helps in triggering the healing process.

Proper postures in yoga help us in attaining these three preconditions.

Q What kind of people should ideally opt for yoga?

A. Yoga is beneficial for all kinds of people. Anyone can do it and reap its benefit. People with specific ailments should consult both their doctors and their yoga trainer before they try particular asanas.

Q Can children also practice yoga effectively?

A. In my experience, kids can start yoga as early as 12 years. Before that neither do they have accumulated stress nor can their minds fully grasp yoga’s potential. Kids are very active by nature and we shouldn’t try to suppress that.

Q Yoga postures look extremely difficult and seem like they require a high level of flexibility. What advice would you give to beginners who think they don’t have enough balance or aren’t flexible enough?

A. It is very important that beginners start at their level and gradually progress to advance levels. They can even start with simple stretching which will loosen the muscles and help them with yoga postures later on. Yoga is a lifelong process, the ultimate aim is enlightenment. There is no need to speed up the process by trying advance postures too soon. Attempts to do so may lead to you hurting your body.

Q Can yoga be used for stress management?

A. Yes! Nowadays yoga is extremely popular for stress management. Before we can talk about managing stress, we should be able to understand stress. Unless mental, physical and emotional stress is released, you will not be able to rid yourself of stress.

Q  Is there some specific diet that one should follow before practicing yoga?

A. Traditionally, a vegetarian diet should be followed by all those practicing yoga. But for beginners, this rule is often relaxed. As you progress to advanced level, you’ll need to strengthen your nervous system and increase your stamina to support the advanced postures. That’s when a vegetarian diet is needed.

Q When is the best time to do yoga?

A. The best time for yoga is very early in the morning, before 6 AM. This is because the fresh energy present in the environment at that time gets easily absorbed by the body. However, if that time is not suitable to you, don’t let that stand in the way. Practice yoga whenever you find the time.

Q What are the common myths and misconceptions around yoga?

A. The most common myth around yoga is that it is just another form of physical exercise. Yoga has a higher purpose. It is beneficial for your body, mind and spirit. Also, many people start yoga for superficial benefits. It’s important that people understand that yoga is a form of holistic training.

Inputs from Dr K.J.Johnson who has been working in the field of Holistic healing for the last 20 years.

 Photograph via sxc.hu