I don’t know a single person that hasn’t improved his or her quality of life after having wholeheartedly been practicing yoga for a while.
It has positively changed lives for many of us. I agree with master BKS Iyengar that words cannot fully describe the value of this universal and centuries old practice but in trying to illustrate and explain here are a few very close and accurate descriptions from people who have dedicated a big part of their lives to keep and advance this method for human improvement.
Erich Schiffmann (1996) is an accomplished American Yoga Master, author of a best-selling book, Moving into Stillness. He has been teaching yoga for more than twenty years and says:
The simple perspective I have come up with, through all the years and thousands of hours of practicing yoga and meditation since that first exposure, is that yoga makes you feel good. It’s relaxing. It’s energizing. It’s strengthening. You feel better at the end of a session than before you began, and life runs more smoothly when you maintain a consistent discipline than when you don’t. Yoga enhances your experience of life. It changes your perspective. You thereby find yourself spontaneously embracing a larger, more accurate conception of who you are, how life works, and what God is. You start seeing things differently, with less distortion – which results in more peace of mind, better health, more enthusiasm for life, and an ever-growing authentic sense of inner well-being. As you practice yoga and meditation regularly, this subtle sense of feeling good gradually becomes so pervasive, so natural and genuine, so much a part of you that it carries over into the whole of your life. And in doing so it helps clarify your deepest longings, motivations, and aspirations, thereby restoring optimism, hope, meaning, and purpose to life. (p.20)
Timothy McCall MD (2007), internist american physician, author of ‘Yoga as Medicine’, says:
As someone who has been an MD for over twenty years, I can tell you that yoga is quite simply the most powerful system of overal health and well-being I have ever seen. Even if you are currently among what might be called the temporarily healthy, as preventive medicine, yoga is as close to one stop shopping as you can find. This single comprehensive system can reduce stress, increase flexibility, improve balance, promote strength, heighten cardiovascular conditioning, lower blood pressure, reduce overweight, strengthen bones, prevent injuries, lift mood, improve immune function, increase oxygen supply to the tissues, heighten sexual functioning and fulfillment, foster psychological equanimity, and promote spiritual well-being… and that’s only a partial list. (p. 3).
Ramiro Calle (2009), a pioneer of yoga teaching in Spain and author of many articles describing the contributions of yoga to psychoanalysis of meditation, psychotherapy and neuroscience, clearly explains:
Physical yoga is a complete integral health science. Its techniques benefit the body, its functions and energy levels. Its millenary methods are of great preventive, therapeutic and restorative efficiency. It includes amongst others, relaxation techniques and body postures that allow beneficial prolonged stretching and deep automassage. These postures best know as “asanas”, activate and stimulate your whole organism, balance the nervous system, harmonize and calm the body’s psychosomatic energies. They can be practiced by any person, and since they don’t put any strain on the heart, they are a perfect workout for older people , as well as for teenagers. Its practice benefits the mind and emotional well-being. (p.5)