Yoga & Meditation
The root for the word ‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ [pronounced ‘yug’], which means ‘union’ – a union of the Mind, Body and Spirit. It also embodies a union of one’s self with the Universal Self, with the Supreme Spirit. This holistic science emphasises that such a union is necessary for a person seeking his or her good health and well-being. The ancient sage Patanjali is considered as the ‘Father of Yoga’, because he formulated the Astanga Yoga – the yoga with 8 paths – which is widely practised today. Yoga is particularly relevant for today’s fast-paced and stressful life and is helpful both to prevent and cure many psychosomatic diseases – the causes of which stem mainly from the mind.
The parts of Yoga that are mainly used in therapeutics are the Asanas, Pranayamas, Kriyas as well as the Meditation and Relaxation techniques Like yoga Nindra. While Asanas remove blockages, Pranayamas and Meditations specifically improve memory, concentration and intelligence, and Kriyas help cleanse our nostrils, upper respiratory passages and eyes.
In short, Yoga helps to:-
Create an appreciation of the finer movements
Have a positive attitude and lighter approach
Be more aware and improve our breathing
Improve the sharpness of the senses
Maintain the suppleness and flexibility of the muscles and joints
Regulate digestion, respiratory rate and heart rate
To have a deeper effect on the tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, lymphatics and the nerves
Brings about a coordination of mind and body movements
Helps regulate digestion, respiratory rate and heart rate.
Ashtanga Yoga :-
All the eight steps are leading a person towards physical, mental and spiritual health.
- Yama :-
- Niyama :- Precautions and discipline for health Conservations
- Aasan :- Postures and exercises
- Pranayama :- Breathing practices
- Pratyahaar :- Gradual withdrawal from worldly matters
- Dharna :- Convictions
- Dhyan :- Concentration and Meditation
- Samadhi :- Trance or Deep search of self
Yoga as described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali refers to Ashtanga yoga. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is considered as a cental text of the Yoga school of Hindu Philosophy, It is oft in called “Raja yoga” yoga of the kings,” a term which originally referred to the ultimate, royal goal of yoga, which is usually Samadhi, but was popularized by Vivekananda as the common name for Ashtanga Yoga.
These are the physical postures in Yoga. Asanas help us in focussing on the different muscle groups, joints, tendons, ligaments and the soft tissues, apart from the nerves and blood vessels. Asanas also bring about a coordination of the mind with the body, so that there is total awareness of each and everybody movement, however slight, along with a focus on breathing.
There is a set of Asanas designed for improving breathing. Here each body movement is followed closely by inhalation and exhalation. Care is taken to expand the lungs and relax the muscles assisting breathing, thereby improving the lung capacity.
Pranayamas are breathing exercises which clear the physical and emotional obstacles in our body, so as to free the breath and also the flow of prana, or life energy. Pranayamas also generate the cosmic energy that flows throughout the body, and through regular and sustained practise one can supercharge oneself. Research has shown that practicing Pranayama can relieve symptoms of asthma, and can be beneficial in treating stress- related disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
These are the purificatory techniques in Yoga, mainly, cleansing of the nostrils, sinuses, eyes, digestive system and the excretory system, all through very simple means. Kriyas also help strengthen the nerves, sharpen the memory, and strengthen the glands, as well as purify them. Different methods include:
is a continuous concentration of the mind on an object, a sound, or even on a thought. This is the state where one forgets one’s physical self and focuses one’s entire energy on the object of meditation. This helps to attain a blissful state and reach one’s highest innermost potential. There are several Meditation techniques:
Its basis lies in the theory that stress – or any negative thought in the mind – has a great negative impact on the body, going so far as to cause illnesses – of the cardia, respiratory system, locomotor organs, etc. Conversely, any positive suggestion to the mind can reverse the negativity and bring about a positive change in the body, expanding positivity to the entire self, transforming the person.
Chakra means ‘wheel’ in Sanskrit. Chakras are the energy centres that absorb life force [prana] from the universe and distribute it to the nervous system, the endocrine glands, and the circulatory system through the ‘nadis’, which are the ‘wires’ that connect them. The central nadi that runs along the spinal column is called the ‘Sushumna Nadi’. In Chakra Meditation we focus on the 7 chakras running through the Sushumna Nadi, their characteristics and their functions. We try to energise these chakras and then dissipate their energies to the corresponding systems.
Meditating on the positive energies of OM, the first sound that evolved in this universe, thereby building positivity within us and in our surroundings.
Simple procedures of focusing entirely on our breath – without interfering with it. Noticing the effects of breathing – its subtleness, and the changes it brings about in our system.
There are various Relaxation techniques that assist in focusing on one’s body and breathing. They send out suggestions to different parts of the body to relax, by focusing fully on that particular region. They also send out positive suggestions. The lightness and freshness that envelopes both our body and mind after this is palpable. There are several techniques:
- Shavasana [the ‘corpse’] technique
- Deep Relaxation techniques
- Instant Relaxation techniques
Yoga Nidra is ‘Yogic Sleep’. Through this technique, one attains the benefits of sleep without actually falling asleep. The mind and body are taken to a state as in sleep through continuous suggestions and focus. The result on the body and mind are blissful, peaceful and harmonious.