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Difference Between Yoga and Stretching

vivekananda-meditationYoga vs Stretching

Even though people sometimes ask as to what are the best stretching exercise in yoga, yoga and stretching exercises are completely different. Let us begin with the definition. Yoga is traditional discipline that originated in India and allows a person’s mental and physical well being. Stretching on the other hand is physical exercise that relates to stretching of the muscles to their maximum length so as to improve the elasticity and tone of the muscle. As a result a person feels flexible and is able to control a variety of body motions.

Yoga emerged or is associated with the meditation principles of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. However this is not the case with stretching and it is more of a western concept. Even though out of India, yoga is usually associated with Hatha Yoga and other form of exercises, its true meaning is derived from its root word ‘“ yuj, which can be translated into ‘joining’, ‘union’ or ‘means’. Stretching on the other hand is simple exercise associated with the skeletal muscles.

Stretching is the most basic exercise and can be performed both by the humans and the animals. It is a very natural exercise and goes together with yawning. It takes place after you have just woken up from a sleep or has just come out from a confined space where oxygen was less. On the other hand yoga is can only be performed by the humans and plenty of oxygen is essential to do yoga.

Many athletes do the stretching exercise so as to improve their performance or alleviate from an injury pain. This practice is disputable has people often feel that instead of benefitting it may prove harmful. However, I’m sure you haven’t seen these athletes performing yoga before their activity!

History of yoga can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization (3300 – 1700 BC). Some of the seals which were discovered while excavation, showed figures where poses resembling meditation were depicted. This practice developed later and contains references in the Brahmanas (Indian theological text) dating back to 900 ‘“ 500 BC). But there is no history related to stretching and stretching exercises were developed in the modern era.

Some of the Islamic bodies have banned Muslims from practicing yoga as it has fundamentals of spiritual teachings of Hindus. However they also state that yoga without chanting the religious mantras is permissible. This is not the case with stretching exercises as they are accepted worldwide without any bias.

1.Yoga has a historical background while stretching does not.
2.Stretching exercises are very basic and normal to any human or animal, while yoga can only be performed by humans.
3.Yoga is banned in Islam but stretching exercises are not.

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  1. Hi,
    Yoga is beneficial for the health in ways that modern science is just beginning to understand. Even though it has beenapplied with therapeutic intention for thousand of years, Yoga Therapy is only just now emerging as a discipline initself.
    More health care practitioners are starting to include yogic techniques in their approach to healing — andmore yoga teachers give a therapeutic intention to their teaching. People who have never tried yoga before are startingto consider including Yoga in their treatment plan.
    As science begins to document the importance of understanding the interrelation of all existing things, it looks to Yogawith an intrigued eye, for Yoga speaks Unity in every word. As yoga techniques are researched and new data is gathered,it becomes easier for science and the medical establishment to understand and accept the benefits of Yoga Therapy.Yet there is still not one consensual definition of the discipline.
    In order to arrive to an adequate definition and tocome up with proper standards for Yoga Therapy, it is crucial at this early stage to properly address some delicateprofessional and ethical issues. At the same time it is important to educatethegeneralpublic about Yoga Therapy’sbenefits and careful use.
    so this article will really helpful to me..

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