Arguably, the difference cannot be wider between India and America. One country is deeply rooted in its past, somehow unchanging through the times. It’s true. Many of India’s practices are considered “taboo” to the Western world. A classic example is an extreme adoration given to cows, considered the most sacred animal in India. You can see cows walking around traffic unmolested even today. By the looks of it, America is the best the world can offer. Its military is touted as the biggest in the world; its technology is envied, accelerating at breakneck speeds.
Perhaps it’s America’s obsession to be the most dominant nation on the planet that has made it vulnerable. One thing’s certain, many of its citizens are struggling with health and mental issues. And as if on cue, Americans embrace the healing benefits of yoga over time. Indeed, India has made its way to the heart of American society through yoga. And the Land of the Brave should be thankful. As COVID-19 pummels America, more and more of its citizens are seeing the tremendous healing benefits of guided meditation.
The Melting Pot Meets the Guru
On its way to the top, America made strides that left the world in awe. First up, it ended the war on a high note: by dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima, Japan. No country ever since have done that. Secondly, their astronauts were the first to land on the moon thousands of miles away.
By the late 1960s, America was leading the pack. It was fast becoming the superpower nation that it is today. At the same time, India was still a young democracy, fresh from its independence from British Rule in 1947.
One thing India kept all these years was its spirituality. A thousand years B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) or B.C. (Before Christ), Indian Sanskrit already mentioned yoga as the uniting of the Divine and the human spirit. Such introspection will have enormous influence in the West.
The Indian spiritual guru that pierced the American bubble was Swami Vivekananda. He visited America to speak on Hinduism in The Parliament of the World’s Religions on September 11, 1893. It was held at the Art Institue of Chicago. But it provided the West a clear glimpse of the greater spirituality of the East.
Just in his 30’s, Swami made such an impact that America was soon left in awe, impressed by him. After he spoke in the parliament, newspapers went crazy about him calling him “God in America”. Swami soon toured America teaching yoga in lectures and in private sessions. And the rest is history.
The Tremendous Benefits of Yoga
As the many benefits of guided meditation became more apparent, it didn’t take long for yoga to become mainstream. Numerous yoga clubs emerged in America.
Stress relief is one of its greatest benefits. Multiple studies revealed that the regular practice of yoga decreased cortisol secretions. To note, cortisol has been identified as the stress hormone.
But yoga can also benefit the muscles and not just the psyche of an individual. A Vinyasa flow yoga session, for instance, can be most useful in building muscle strength. In short, it improves your fitness.
Overall, the many benefits of yoga have attracted many medical doctors to incorporate it into healing. For one, it has played a huge role in the healing of patients with severe mental illnesses. It’s but rational.
Women with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), a mental illness accompanied by extreme fear after a traumatic event, can benefit from yoga. Regular practice has been shown effective in lowering PTSD symptoms.
And America is benefiting from the practice of yoga even to this day. Yoga has been tapped to help in treating skyrocketing mental health issues of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, it has been used to help build greater immunity to fight the virus.
The world celebrates World Yoga Day in June as designated by the United Nations. The proven method to calm yourself has certainly conquered hearts all over the world.
Today, there are over 35 million Americans who practice yoga. And though the religious aspect of yoga has been muted, its essence has become a big shot in the arm for everyone.
America has gained much from the practice of guided meditation. And you would do well to practice yoga. At a time when the virus is largely at large, a tried-and-tested methodology to free yourself of stress should bid you well.