• Saturday, November 29, 2014

YOGA: MORE THAN JUST PHYSICAL

Inma Sumaita Rahman

A few years ago, yoga was considered a niche activity in Bangladesh. There weren't many places that offered yoga classes and the few that were there, weren't very known to the general public. With people becoming more health conscious, along with other exercises, yoga is becoming popular. Yet, most fail to understand that yoga transcends the boundaries of physical well-being.
Yoga is a spiritual and ascetic discipline, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific postures. The practice of yoga dates back to 2000 years ago. To the uninitiated, yoga may seem like a few breathing exercises carried over a few difficult stretch poses and many may feel that it is just another physical exercise. But yoga is more than just physical postures. Even if you only practice for one hour a week, you will experience its benefits. Also, within the physical practice, yoga is incredibly unique because it allows one to connect the movement of the body and the fluctuations of the mind to the rhythm of breath. Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward and we learn to recognise our habitual thought patterns without labelling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our activities and this awareness is what makes yoga unique. The flexibility achieved through yoga is not only experienced by the body but also the mind to a certain extent.
“Yoga has been an important part of my life for the last 16 years. I received my certification to teach last year, and have been teaching since August 2013. I practice for about an hour at least 5 times a week, and meet with my class thrice a week. Yoga is not only a form of physical exercise (asana), but also a way of strengthening the mind and body connection. One of the things I really appreciate about yoga is its inclusivity -- not only in regards to age and gender, but also in terms of when to practice, and how much time to devote to the practice. All you need is a mat and an open mind,” says Ulfath Kuddus (classes on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm at the International Club. Email: ulfathkuddus@gmail.com).
Shazia Omar started teaching yoga in Bangladesh eight years ago, has trained hundreds of students and worked towards popularising the form. According to her, “Your body is the vehicle of your soul. Get to know your vehicle better and you'll enjoy the ride more. Take care of your vehicle and it'll stay in top condition for longer, taking you further, faster. Let it run down and fall into disrepair and you'll end up looking and feeling like a dilapidated ol' jalopy before long.” (Shazia holds classes at the American Club on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm. Facebook: yogilatesindhaka, email: shaziaomar@gmail.com)

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, February 06, 2014

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