Pakistan's Yoga Community - Why adding it to your routine is important? - Ibra Aamir

Yoga is a mind and body practice. It constitutes stretching poses along with breathing techniques that release stress for the body while simultaneously providing peace and harmony to the soul. I also got involved in yoga last year during the pandemic. The stress of coping up with online education and the fraught tribulations of people around me who were affected by natural disasters got the best of me and I sought for solace. Doing yoga every morning ritually after fajr prayer relaxed my mind and aided in muscle movement that had slowed while staying in quarantine.

While the exercise of yoga originated from India, its popularity has spread fast on the territory of Pakistan. On June 21, 2019, the government of Pakistan tried to promote yoga in the country by tweeting its spiritual and physical benefits and acknowledged its overall significance. The discipline that was first condemned publicly has now been accepted and hushed celebrations of International Yoga Day have been allowed. For three years in a row, International Yoga Day is being commemorated in Pakistan. However, the stereotypical communities have called out the government claiming that it is an imposition of Indian culture on them. Yoga gurus have been trying to remove the stigma attached to this discipline for decades now. While it was initially practiced in Karachi alone, yoga has become an integral part of the morning routine of youth and aging adults as essential awareness has been created regarding its fruitfulness.

The practice of yoga was scarce in Pakistan a few years ago, but yogis have emerged and have been promoting the discipline publicly these days and organizing yoga camps, after receiving permission from the government. A Muslim yogi, Shamshad Haider, has been encouraging Pakistanis to include yoga in their morning rituals. He has opened more than 50 yoga centers across Pakistan and heads the main ones. Speaking with Hindustan Times, Yogi Haider said, “Yoga helps to gain mental stability, peace, balanced living. Moreover, it teaches us discipline which is vital in Islam and all religions.”

The different poses of yoga relax different muscles hence regulating blood flow in the body. The brain releases chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins that help you feel calm and better. The various breathing methods not only circulate oxygen in the body, but also relax the soul. Yoga’s spiritual advantages include focus, concentration, self-awareness, emotional stability and mind and body development. It helps us move and stretch muscles that slip our attention. The variant positions tackle different systems and muscles. Yoga aids the bodily systems to work in a cohesive manner and activates muscles that we do not normally use.

Yoga is equally important for the young generation. The excessive and overwhelming pressure of modern education demands that students take tender care of their mental health. One of the most effective ways to do so is include yoga in their early morning routine before getting ready for school. I implemented the equivalent in my life. The physical and spiritual discipline regulates rising anxiety levels within the body that could further lead to weakness and facial breakouts. Furthermore, the potential competition in studies could exhaust the mind and body at an accelerating rate. Thereby, it is crucial to proffer the soul and body with exercises that would heal them and stimulate their processes.

People often feel this indescribable restlessness that accompanies them most days. While being perfectly healthy and happy in their mortal lives, why do they experience this uneasiness? It is because their soul is not satisfied. While they maintain their body with essential vitamins and REM sleep, they do not perform spiritual disciplines that would soothe their soul. More often than not, patients describe peculiar health issues that doctors commonly associate with anxiety. 33.62 percent population of Pakistan is victim to anxiety and depression. This reported figure implies that there is a lack of encouragement in the country to pursue spiritual practices that would instill inner peace and harmony in life. Instead of turning to doctors and therapists for medication like sleeping pills, it is prudent to first pinpoint the problem yourself and ferret around for a solution.

It is imperative to work on the wellbeing of your soul and scientific studies have proven yoga as an effective method to do so. It produces harmony and balance in life while enhancing the ability to think. It is conducive to healing of the soul from futile anxiety and stress. Practices that foster spiritual growth are incumbent to the soul and should be pursued regardless of religion.

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