“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”
– K.S.Iyengar, Renowned Yoga Guru
Many have written about tips and tricks to crack what is deemed to be one of the toughest exams in the country – the UPSC civil services exams. There are articles about how to beat stress, how to study without losing focus and interest, how to stay calm during the exam, how to avoid distractions, how to improve concentration, and the list is endless. But without a doubt, what is most effective and all-encompassing is something that as Indians we can be proud of. YOGA – The ancient Indian wisdom that the whole world has embraced.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word which simply means ‘union’. This implies union of the mind and the body in its most practical form and also implies union of the human soul with the highest supreme soul at its most esoteric form. In its most basic form, Yoga strives to achieve and sustain a balance between the mind and the body. Whatever the meaning, it is being used by millions all over the world (20 million as reported by an American newspaper) to enhance their quality of life. The benefits of Yoga are many. All over the world, universities are encouraging their students to take up Yoga as a means to enrich their studying, and also develop their mental health. As UPSC civil service aspirants, you would be undergoing a rollercoaster of emotions during your IAS preparation. It is important to keep equanimity in your mind and fitness in your body if you want success in the UPSC civil services. Let us see the many ways in which Yoga can help you ace the civil services exams and achieve your dream profession.
Benefits of Yoga
“Yoga brings the knowledge, passion and action together.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Better physical health
Yoga is basically a set of exercises. Regular practice of Yoga helps you be fit and fine. Good physical health is a precursor to good mental health. Also, it keeps away minor ailments like cold, cough, digestive issues and other allergies. While preparing for the UPSC civil services, you can’t waste precious time by falling sick. Practice Yoga to be fit and ready for anything!
Increased concentration& memory
Yoga sharpens the mind by increasing blood circulation to the brain. This improves concentration and memory which are extremely valuable while preparing for the civil services.
Reduced anger & negativity
Yoga increases your positive energy and reduces negativity. It calms your mind and enhances a spiritual awakening in you. This naturally reduces negative emotions like anger, frustration, tension and depression. All of this contributes to a more rounded and balanced state of mind which is required if you want success in the IAS exams.
Practicing Yoga regularly gives you a better posture. Preparing for the UPSC civil services exams involves sitting with a book for long hours. This can damage your body posture. Avoid this by doing Yoga.
A lot of UPSC civil services aspirants complain of being stressed out or burned out during the course of their IAS preparation. Huge syllabus coupled with societal pressure can break anyone. Practice Yoga to de-stress and motivate yourselves. There are asanas particularly for this.
Following are some of the asanas or poses you should try
- Sukhasana or the easy pose
- bhujangasana or the cobra pose
- dandasana or the staff pose
- tadasana or the mountain pose
- shavasana or the dead body pose
- ek padasana or a single leg stand
- malasana or the garland pose
- parsvottasana or the mountain pose
- trikonasana or a triangle pose
- uttanasana or standing forward bend
- Surya Namaskar
Asanas especially for improved brain power and memory:
- shirsasana or the head stand
- padmasana or the lotus pose
- halasana or the plough pose
- paschimotanasana or the posterior stretch
- janushirasana or the head to knee pose
- sarvangasana or the all organs pose
Students should also practice Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya and meditation. Pranayama is basically breathing exercises and has multiple benefits all of which will help make your UPSC preparation a much smoother and fulfilling experience. Some of the ADVANTAGES OF PRANAYAMA are:
- Relieves stress
- Relieves symptoms of asthma
- Steadies the mind
- Helps purify the blood and the respiratory system
- Relieves headache
- Brings peace and blissfulness
Practice MEDITATION also and experience the following BENEFITS:
- Reduced stress
- Increased attention span
- Increased immunity
- Improved metabolism
- Improved brain functioning
- Better sleep at night
- Increased positivity and happiness
If you are preparing for the civil services exams and already know Yoga, don’t stop practising it saying you don’t have the time. If you are ignorant about Yoga, learn at least the basics. It is time well spent as in the long run you will actually gain time. Just 15 minutes daily will immensely aid you in your studies and in life. The benefits of Yoga are just too many for anyone to ignore. It helps you unlock your potential and develop more, professionally and personally. It also brings harmony into your life.
But remember to learn Yoga from a good teacher and don’t venture into it without the consultation of a doctor particularly if you suffer from any ailment.
“Through practice comes Yoga, through Yoga comes knowledge, through knowledge love, and through love bliss.” – Swami Vivekananda