“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day”.
~ Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
In his speech on 27th september 2014 at the united Nations General Assembly the prime minister of India, Honourable Shri Narendra Modi urged to have 21 June as International Yoga day. He suggested this day because this day is the longest day of the year in northern hemisphere and shortest day in southern hemisphere this day has significance in many parts of the world. So he called out others to be a part of this movement in order to bring peace and harmony in the world.
Do you know what is the art and science of healthy living?
Yoga is the art and science of healthy living. It refers to the inner science that comprises of different methods that helps human beings to achieve self realization with the union between the mind and the body.
The word yoga is derived by from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means “to join” or “to unite”. Basically, Yoga means to unite your self- consciousness (self-ego) with God (define self). Union in context of yoga also means that it brings you to reality where individual manifestations of life are surface bubbles in the process of creation.
The word Yoga essentially means “that which brings you to reality”
• Brief History about Yoga
Today, Yoga is taken to be a form of exercise to be fit. It is gaining much popularity amongst those who are looking for weight loss, strength and flexibility. According to today’s lifestyle people are turning towards yoga to reduce the stress and attain relaxation in their life.
The origination of yoga is actually a debated topic. But it is believed that the roots of yoga are buried deep in India i.e. yoga originated in India approximately some 26,000 years ago, and then the yoga gurus introduced this knowledge in west lately. It was Swami Vivekananda (a Hindu Teacher and philosopher) who first introduced yoga to the people of west during his tours to Europe and United States of America in the year 1890. After which yoga became a popular system of physical exercise and today this system is followed by millions and millions of people around the world.
Being originated in India there has been a lot written on yoga. Various classic definition are stated below to make you understand what yoga means
- According to Katha Upanishad,” When the five senses along with the mind remain still and the intellect is also not active, then this is the highest state which is considered as yoga.
- The Bhagavad Gita; “Yoga is the skill in action”, “yoga is the separation from contact with suffering.”
- Yoga sutras of Patanjali say that, “Yoga is the detachment of mind from its activities.
- Vaisesika Sutra says that yoga is that stage where mind withdraws itself from the pleasures and suffering that occurs when the five sense are active.
Whatever the definitions tells us, but the ultimate aim of yoga will be to attain liberation (moksha) with a disciplined method of attaining control over the mind and body.
Fundamentals of yoga
Yoga works on the level of one’s mind, body, energy and emotions. There has been a broad classification of yoga on this basis: Karma Yoga where body is used, Jnana yoga where one utilises mind, Bhakti yoga makes utilization of emotions and energy is used in kriya yoga. Each individual has unique combination of these elements and only the yoga guru can guide you through your appropriate combination of the four fundamental parts.
• Traditional schools of yoga
Being into existence for so long there has been several schools or types of yoga that have emerged. If you look at Bhagavad Gita, It has 18 chapters and 700 shoklas, every chapter gives different meaning of yoga. So some scholars have divided the Gita into three different sections. The sections are:
- Karma Yoga: Karma yoga is the yoga of Action. This includes the first six chapters and 280 shoklas.
- Bhakti Yoga: It is the yoga of devotion. There are chapters from seven to twelve and next 280 shoklas in this.
- Jnana Yoga: The yoga for knowledge. This set piles up the last six chapters and shoklas within this.
Apart from Bhagavad Gita the other philosophies and traditions include the guru-shishya parampara which leads to emergence of different traditional schools of yoga. These are patanjali yoga, kundalini yoga, hastha yoga, dhyana yoga, Mantra yoga, Raja Yoga, Jain yoga and Budha yoga, Asthanga Yoga, etc. Each school has its own unique approach which leads towards the ultimate goal of yoga.
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The Commonly practiced yoga are: Pranayams, dhyan, Asanas, mantra-japas etc.
The Pranayam practice develops awareness through breathing which is followed by wilful regulation of respiration as the functional and important basis of existence. Pranayams helps to establish control over the brain and develops awareness of mind. The initial stage is “flow of breathe-in and breathe-out” through nostrils. dhyana: dhyana in simple language are called meditation. Meditation tries to through light of attention inside the mind and body. Asanas: Asanas are form of exercises that bring stability between the mind and body. There are several of Yoga exercises that perform the act of balancing.
Mantras-Japas: There is believe that the mantras have unique power that opens the minds. “OM” chants are the most powerful of all. If you chant Om for 5 minutes every day in the morning you will feel energized throughout the Day
General Guidelines for Practicing Yoga
Now that you have decided to include yoga in your day to day morning ritual, so I feel that it is my duty to inform you certain guidelines that every yoga practitioner should follow.
BEFORE THE PRACTICE
- Before beginning with yoga in the morning make sure that you have a clean surrounding.
- This practice demands a calm and quiet atmosphere to experience a relaxed body and mind.
- Make sure you have an empty stomach before practicing yogic exercise. If you feel weak you can consume small amount of lukewarm water add honey if you require prior the practice.
- Utilise a mat, blanket or a yoga mat while practicing.
- Always wear cotton clothes for light and comfortable movements.
- Never perform yoga when you are ill, exhausted or in hurry.
- You Should Consult a yoga therapist/expert while performing yoga during pregnancy, menstruation, cardiac problems or any other pain or chronic disease.
DURING THE PRACTICE
- Start the practice with a prayer. This will create an environment that relaxes the mind.
- There should be an awareness of body and breathe while you are performing yoga.
- One should do the yoga practice slowly.Breathing should always be through the nostrils and do not hold your breath for a long time unless asked to do so.
- No need of holding the body tightly or to give an unnecessary jerk during the practice.
- Do not stretch your limits. Rigorous practice can have side effects. Remember this practice takes time so have patience and keep moving that direction, you will get results in long term.
- End your yoga sessions with either deep silence, meditation.
AFTER THE YOGA
- Take some time after the session to go for a bath or to eat something. Yes, even though yoga sessions are lighter there must be minimum 20 to 25 minutes gap before you consume anything.
Now that you are sure to take up yoga you would require certain gears so here are my recommendations
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