Yoga & Holistic Health
In philosophy, the principle of Holism (which comes from the Greek "holos" meaning "all" or "total") was concisely summarized by Aristotle in his "Metaphysics": "The whole is more than the sum of its parts". [i] It is the idea that parts of a system do not stand alone, they are dependent on the whole, if there is a problem, you need to look at an entire system in order to address the specific parts problem.
From a lifestyle perspective the concept of holism is that the body is interconnected and is affected by all the parts together. Each body part, system and function have an effect on the entire body, giving substance to sayings or metaphors like ‘we are what we eat’ and ‘the thoughts we think and the words we speak create our experiences’.
Yoga is also about looking at the whole, it’s not just ‘one part’ often thought as the asana (the poses), it’s a whole mind-body experience incorporating pranayama (breath), Dhyana (meditation) and relaxation. Yogi’s learn to apply Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s, a collection of Indian sutras on the theory and practice of yoga, into their daily life’s, to connect the body, mind, emotions and spirit, to achieve physical and mental benefits.
The benefits of yoga can spread to other areas of your life. I quiet like this analogy from Timothy McCall “When you do something like yoga, its benefits accumulate, growing like a savings account with compound interest. In the first few weeks, you may feel more relaxed and have a bit more energy. Over the months, your posture may improve and you may withstand the stresses of day-to-day life a little better. After years of steady practice, yoga can transform your body, mind, and spirit.”[ii]