Physical exercise is not yet a routine activity for majority of people, including children, in India. In earlier days, apart from PT/Game sessions in their schools, children would get their body exercised through some sort of outdoor plays. Not anymore. Once out of school, most children now prefer to play on their gadgets.
Now people all over the world are taking up yoga in a big way. However, we Indians have not really warmed up significantly to this ancient technology for all round personality development. Studies show more foreigners than Indians are benefiting from it.
We, however, are never shy of bragging about Yoga. “It is our ‘own’ wellness system, developed by our ancestors thousands of years ago. It is India’s gift to the world”. When the United Nations decided to observe June 21 as International Yoga Day, our chests swelled with pride. Now, the day is a witness to spectacular yoga events not just in India, but many parts of the world every year. However, in India, most of them are token events led by some celebrities to exhibit some yogic postures. Regular yoga practitioners are still a minuscule minority in the society. While Yoga as a concept has established its place in the collective consciousness of the people, the practical aspect is yet to touch their life.
Almost everyone accepts yoga is good for physical health. Many also believe it is also good for mental health. And very few are aware of its spiritual dimension as well.
It is true that most learn and practice some form of yoga at some point in their life. But few make yoga a routine activity. One common reason offered is lack of time. Why people find no time for yoga? Those who go out for work get up in the morning with an idea of rushing to workplace. Their energy and activities are channeled towards logging into the office on time. When they get back home, they find their body in need of relaxation rather than exercise. Then it is time for dinner. Where is the time for yoga, then?
On the other hand, those who stay back home get up with a sense of bigger responsibility of seeing others — read husband and children– leave home on time, most of the times with lunch boxes. Then they have other household chores.
A simple solution to the time-constraint problem would be rising early in the morning. But modern way of living, in which the day ends with late night television shows, makes it impossible to do so.
As such, years roll by without yoga entering most people’s lives. Many of them awaken when they are past their prime due to some physical problems. Of late, even allopathic doctors are advising their patients to take up yoga to deal with some chronic diseases. Some people look for quick results, as it happens with allopathic drugs. Obese ones want to lose weight as quick as possible. Diabetic want to be off insulin doses at once.
However, yoga is not meant for quick fixes. You should make it a habit for life to really benefit from it. Then the benefits you get will surpass all your expectations in the long run.
-By Susheela Hegde