Mind, Body and Spirit
To battle school stress with both mind and body, more and more students are turning to the practice of yoga. The 5,000-year-old spiritual tradition is still prevalent and has become today’s latest mind and body trend.
Yoga is a vast collection of spiritual techniques aimed at connecting the mind, body and spirit. It roots back to the origin of a word meaning ‘union’ or ‘yoke’ in Sanskrit and is one of the six systems of Hindu philosophy.
Practioners say yoga is based on certain immutable Laws of Nature. Students of yoga aspire to master liberation from worldly materials and the transcendence of desire to achieve a state of peace and enlightenment. The physical postures are meant to strengthen and purify the body while meditation focuses and connects it with the spirit.
Many people have turned to this spiritual practice for its rejuvenating effect on all the systems of the body. Yoga has become a serene sanctuary for people in a society that is fast-paced and unhealthy. Fifth-year ecology and evolutionary biology major and yoga participant, Terra Perkins said, ‘Yoga de-stresses [me].’
The growing popularity of yoga is much accredited to its therapeutic, physical, emotional and spiritual advantages. Bonnie Crotzer, a fourth-year dance major said, ‘It heals my body and refocuses my mind every time I go to [yoga] class.’
Fourth-year history major Zarin Panjarian says she took the class to ‘gain more flexibility.’
Yoga’s history has many areas of obscurity and uncertainty due to its oral transmission of sacred texts and the secretive nature of its teachings. Scholars divide its rich history into four main periods of development: Pre-Classical, Classical, Post-Classical and Modern Period. In the late 1800s, yoga masters traveled to the West and popularized Hatha yoga and the brilliant legacy of T. Krishnamacharya, a teacher of yoga.
The importation of yoga to the West continued at a trickle until Indra Devi opened a yoga studio in Hollywood in 1947. Since then, yoga’s popularity has been on an ultimate rise.
According to the Yoga Research and Education Center, in the 1960s, yoga was an attempt to get a drug-less high. Now, it has just become an ever-growing fad for stress management, body strengthening, and spiritual finding. As indicated by Bonnie and Zarin, yoga’s popularity has now heightened due to the new focus on lifestyle change and obsession with working out. Also, people are looking for a form of exercise that is gentle, yet effective.
Yoga is not about winning or losing; it is about the person. To many, yoga is the perfect solution to their problems. It is not only exercise but also a way of life. What interests people is that yoga is not a religion and doesn’t impose beliefs, but rather is an aid to the practice of the basic spiritual truths in all religions.
Celebrities like Madonna, Ricky Martin and Meg Ryan have aided yoga’s growing attractiveness. There are many different styles of yoga and a style to match every personality. People convey that yoga connects their bodies and minds to help them steer away from worldly matters and obsessions.
Today, yoga is popular among college students of all majors and even New University writers: