Meaning of Yoga:'Yoga' means the individual should be united to or be in communion with the God. Yoga means union, join, yoke, bind, attach or connect. It also means the unification of physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual aspects of human being. The following definitions can be beneficial to understand the meaning of yoga :
"Checking the impulses of mind is Yoga."
"Yoga is attaining the pose."
—Mahrishi Ved Vyas.
"Yoga is spiritual Kamdhenu."
— Swami Sampurnanand.
Importance of Yoga : Yoga is useful for promoting health and vitality and treating many diseases. It not only brings fitness and vigour to the physical body, but also harnesses our will and emotions to improve our power of analysis, insight and vision. The following points clearly show the importance of Yoga :
(i) Physical purity : Internal organs of our body can be cleaned by various yogic exercises. Basically there are three substances in our body i.e., Vaat, Pitt and Kaph. There should be proper balance between these to remain healthy. Jal Neti, Dhoti Neti, Nauli, Kapaalbhati keep the internal organs of our body in a clean state.
(ii) Reduces mental tension : The modern age has disturbed a person's peace and happiness because of stress and tension. Yogic exercises like Prathahar, Dharana, Dhyana play and important role in getting peace of mind. Shavasana,Padamasna, Vajrasana and Sidhasana etc., are beneficial for releasing stress and tension of mind and body.
(iii) Cure and prevention of diseases : Regular practice of Yoga can prevent many diseases like constipation, cold, cough, insomnia, asthma, high blood pressure, arthritis, acidity, heart attack, leprosy, menstrual disorder, back pain. It is highly effective to cure large number of disorders. Various Yogic exercises increase the immunity power of an individual.
(iv) Postural deformity : If you are not having proper posture you are not able to perform your work efficiently. We usually put more energy even for simple work. Yogic asanas help in correcting body deformities if we perform on regular basis. Dhanurasana is good for stimulating posture for back limbs, nerves, muscles. Sarvangasana, Vajrasana, Mayurasana, Bhujangasana etc., are best to remove postural deformity.
(v) Provides relaxation : To remove fatigue from the body rest and relaxation are essential. Anyone who involves herself/ himself in long duration of work gets tired.
Shavasana and Makarasana are beneficial for relaxation and also reduce mental fatigue.
(vi) Beautification of the body: Beautiful body is appreciated by everyone. Everybody wants to be slim, overweight people do not feel comfortable. Obesity is the most common problem nowadays. Obese people fall prey to various diseases. Obesity can be reduced by yogic exercises and Pranayama. Yoga brightens the face, adds glow to the face, removes wrinkles, and makes the body strong and flexible. Mayurasana is helpful for facial beauty.
(vii) Increases willpower and confidence : Regularity plays an important role as it takes time to develop this major quality. All these yogic asanas aim at purification, nervous control and co-ordination and attention increases which help in building up of confidence at work.
(viii) Improves health and reduces obesity : Everyday practice of yoga for about 30 minutes leads to perfect health and fruitful life. Only yoga can bring peace and happiness to life. Reducing weight is not a day's work, it needs lot of effort and strong will. Yoga asanas and Pranayama if practiced regularly reduce obesity and make the person flexible and healthy.
(ix) Spiritual development : Through yoga efforts can be made to attain spiritual development. An individual constantly pays attention to God, he forgets about himself and has good control over mind. Padamasana and Sidhasana are best for spiritual development. Pranayama is also useful in spiritual development that brings peace in life.