Last weekend, I had an opportunity to attend GOPIO International Youth Conference 2019 at Johor Bahru, Malaysia as a speaker. It was not a presentation or a talk, it was different approach called, human library session, where we experts sit with group of Youth and they will ask questions. This was repeated for 5 groups.Though at the end it was exhausting but felt fulfilling as I could root some of the ideas of what is Yoga, clear few misconceptions and could inspire them. Sharing few of the questions and answers at GOPIO International Youth Conference
1. Yoga is slow and boring, what is your opinion on this?
This is common misconception among adults too. Why yoga looks boring and slow? In Yoga, we hold pose where it needs lot of coordination like balance, stability, focus on breath. This also needs a lot of patience. Most of us are not patient enough to experience this, that is why it looks slow and boring.
If you are that kind of person who needs active workout, start with dynamic Yoga sessions like ashtanga, vinyasa or yoga flow. According to me, base of yoga is same. Whatever style of Yoga you do, it eventually led to harmony, health and happiness. Patience and consistency needed.
2. What can I achieve with Yoga which I can’t achieve with exercise?
It is necessary everyone should understand what Yoga is. Yoga is not only physical, and it is only about Yoga postures. Yoga has different aspects as pranayama, Yama (social conduct), Niyama(self-discipline), meditation etc.
If we talk about Yoga asanas and comparing with exercises. The major difference is that Yoga gives you much more than exercises. Physically it builds strength, flexibility, improves energy level, tones up your muscles, improves immunity and benefits are much more but needs to be regular and consistent. In addition to that, it works on mental and emotional level as well. Exercises can give you short term benefit, but Yoga is long term and sustainable.
What happens when you hold a posture, you automatically slow down your breath, reduce activities in mind and bring balance on nervous system, which releases dopamine, happiness hormone
3. I heard that meditation helps to release stress, but I can do that by listening to music, then why do I need meditation?
During stress, heart beats increases, muscles becomes tight, blood sugar rises, breathing becomes fast. Sometimes you arrive at fight or flight situation. Listening to music helps to distract you from situation, releases feel good hormone, breathing becomes normal because you are focusing on something you like. If you do any activity which you like eg; dance, singing cooking and when you totally immerse yourself into it is like meditation.
Meditation is also similar, but it has much more benefits in longer run. Meditation is to focus on either breath, sound or an object. One can use Meditation as a tool to release stress, but I would say one should use Meditation to come to the point where you don’t fall into stressful situation or bring awareness and knowledge to handle stressful situation wisely.
Read More on Myths about Meditation
So, my suggestion is don’t look at it as tool to release stress, but tool to prepare yourself not to arrive stressful situation or handle it wisely.
4. Do I have to be flexible to do yoga?
No, you must do yoga to become flexible. This will also help bring flexibility on mental level.
5. I want to try yoga, but I feel it is slow and waste of time, what should I do?
Your willingness to try is half work done. But understand that you have made this opinion based on what someone else told you. You should make opinion based on your own experience.
If you want to try, go with open mind and belief.
6. Can yoga help in weight loss?
Why not? I lost weight entirely with Yoga after my two pregnancies. But understand that Yoga will not help you if you don’t take care of what food you eat and your mental and emotional health. Means if you are stressed and anxious all the time, you will not lose weight whatever exercises you do. So, it needs right balance of proper yoga training, balanced diet and your mental health.
For yoga, find a right teacher to guide you how to do this
Amusing part is most of the adults also have similar questions in their mind at GOPIO International Youth Conference. Good part is if we provide the opportunity to youth at this age and help them understand benefits and need, they might take that path.
Yoga is invigoration in relaxation. Freedom in routine. Confidence through self-control. Energy within and energy without.”
Youth are tomorrow’s changemaker and if they want to be successful and create impact in the world. They have to take care of their physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health..
Because without good health nothing is possible.
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