Yoga promotes a healthy mind and body

Someone once said, "Health is wealth," which implies that if one has good health, one has a lot.

Yoga features more than 50,000 positions, but one needs only a few to achieve lasting health benefits.

The word yoga, a Sanskrit word, means to unite. It's the blending of body, mind, and spirit.

Yoga originated thousands of years ago. Over the years, many types of yoga were developed by different Yoga Gurus, or masters. Bikram yoga, Ayangar yoga, Raja yoga, Hatha yoga and Astanga yoga are some of those types.

Hatha yoga is the most popular in the United States and the Western world. All yogasanas (positions) are called Hatha yoga.

The Hatha yoga positions purify one's body. Raja yoga is geared more for purification of mind through meditation. Astanga yoga deals with both body and mind.

Several kinds of yogasanas are given names, such as lotus, snake, locust, and peacock postures, according to forms of flowers, animals and birds.

In order to perform them perfectly, one needs the guidance of competent teachers to avoid injury. After learning yoga positions, one can practice them individually at home.

Yoga has many benefits. According to yoga masters, regular practice can help a person balance the glandular secretion of hormones which can cure different diseases and emotional problems. Yoga can also make the bones and muscles stronger. One becomes physically relaxed, mentally stronger, and full of vigor by practicing yoga regularly.

Jay Wooldridge, Richland Yoga Club co-advisor, started taking yoga classes at Richland in April 2006. He uses a head-to-knee yoga position to prevent problems with knees and the plough position to prevent back pain when he planted trees and gardened.

"Yoga increased my body flexibility, released mental stress, and helped me for problem solving," Wooldridge said. "It helped me to cure back pain. I can sleep better after practicing yoga."

"I still practice yoga three to four times a week," Wooldridge said. "I use yoga positions and meditation before musical performances."

Wooldridge said he would like to do yoga practice every day and master the art of meditation. He goes to yoga classes offered by the club almost every week.

Those who use yoga have a more self-disciplined life. They acquire more physical energy for work, sleep less, and have better mental awareness.

Yoga classes are taught free of charge in El Paso Hall, Room E-036 by Richland Yoga Club members. Contact Dada at 972-699-3838 or e-mail Shambhu Sharan at for more information.

This article was originally published in Richland Chronicle.