Yoga for Holistic Health

The mention of yoga brings to mind a set of physical exercises with a flavor of India.  And yes, there is meditation involved too. But there is more to yoga than this. Yoga involves both physical and mental disciplines; however, the purpose is to help those who practice yoga to achieve their spiritual goal. The physical fitness and mental calm gained in the process are incidental.

Cultural Significance

The purpose of a human existence according to Hinduism is to achieve oneness with the Supreme Reality. Ill health can be a major deterrent to this goal. Therefore, ancient Hindu seers amassed a wealth of knowledge for both physical and mental well being. We know them as yoga, a combination of which results in physical, mental and emotional health, rendering a person holistically fit.


Hindu Vedic philosophy has six main systems, with the system referring to yoga called Yoga Darshana. This was compiled by Sage Patanjali; the compilation was based upon ancient yogic teachings of several other sages before him. 

Basic Principles  

Yoga is a system that makes use of certain inherent principles of nature to ensure good health.  The basic surmise is that all human beings contain the same five elements that the universe is made of – air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are evident in the human body in the form of life-forces or doshas, classified as vata, pitta and kapha. The body remains healthy as long as the three remain in balance. Ill health of any kind is caused by an imbalance in these doshas and the treatment aims to correct the balance.    

The science of yoga is based on five basic principles. These are :
•    Proper relaxation
•    Proper exercise
•    Proper breathing
•    Suitable diet
•    Positive thinking  

Exercise, breathing and diet can affect the life-forces or dosha that impact overall health. Similarly, depending upon the age and physical condition of a person, the dosha or life-force balance varies. Appropriate exercises or asana as they are called in yoga, suitable pranayama –breathing exercises, and a proper diet differ according to the dosha balance in a person. It is possible that an asana or breathing technique that benefits someone else might actually cause you discomfort.

Yoga Clothing

Whether you choose a tunic top or dress to practice yoga, be sure it will stay in place during your poses and will be comfortable enough for final relaxation. Pair with your favorite yoga dresses that are easy to slip on and off. Longer, sporty-styled tunic tops for yoga are better because they don't bare the belly every time while lifting up the arms. Tunic dresses also goes well for yoga for their versatility -- just pull off your pants and tuck them into your bag, add some accessories and you're ready for a lunch date after class.


In yoga exercises a lot of energy is consumed resulting in sweating and perspiration.Yoga Clothes should be comfortable, sweat absorbent and breathable. Women prefer stretchable cotton pants when practicing yoga. These cotton pants fit loosely around the hips, and have a flattering leg finish.


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