“One can be said to be in a perfect state of health when one is physically fit, mentally calm and emotionally steady,” says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Beyond just physical fitness, yoga strengthens mental and emotional capacity.
A yoga practice inspired by family fitness goals
Growing up with a father who was a sports enthusiast, I used to tag along with him on the tennis court. My father would often bring home trophies after winning tournaments in basketball, tennis and bowling. While I did not become a professional tennis player as my dad secretly wished, I eagerly shared his goal of achieving fitness. For me, this meant playing sports, joining dance lessons and learning yoga and meditation to boost my energy levels.
Yoga boosts fitness at all levels
Fitness is also about being able to handle changes in life as they happen with a calm mind. Yoga keeps us fit on different levels of our existence: the body, breath and mind. On the level of the body, we get a total body workout through practice of yoga postures. Practicing breathing exercises called pranayamas
boosts lung capacity. Through attention on the breath, yoga postures and meditation help to calm the mind when emotions run high and low at different times.
With a more peaceful, clear mind, better decision-making happens and the mind is able to stay more focused on a task for a longer time, boosting mental capacity.
When something happens that is different from an expected result, a common response is anger. But how long should that anger last? According to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, “It should last only as long as a line drawn on the surface of water. Some carry over anger from the previous day, previous month, or ten years ago. The mind suffers. Meditation will help. Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya and yoga are the answers.”