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YOGA

 

YogaThe root for the word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which means the Union. Here it means the Union of the Mind, Body and Spirit, also the Union of Oneself with the Universal Self. This holistic science emphasises that this Union is necessary for a person seeking good health and well-being. Sage Patanjali is considered as the Father of Yoga. He formulated the Astanga Yoga – the Yoga with 8 paths which is widely practised today.

Yoga is particularly of importance in today’s life to prevent and cure diseases – the so-called psychosomatic diseases – the cause of which is mainly from the mind. In today’s life of Stress, Yoga thus acquires an imminent role.

The parts of Yoga that are mainly used in therapeutics are the Asanas, Pranayamas, Meditation, Kriyas and Relaxation techniques.

  • Helps maintain the suppleness and flexibility of the muscles and joints
  • Has a deeper effect on the tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, lymphatics and the nerves
  • Brings about a co-ordination of mind and body movements
  • Helps create an appreciation of the finer movements
  • Improves the sharpness of the senses
  • Helps us be aware and improve our breathing
  • Helps us have a positive attitude and lighter approach
  • Helps regulate digestion, respiratory rate and heart rate
  • Improves memory, concentration and intelligence through Pranayamas and Meditation
  • Helps cleanse our nostrils, upper respiratory passages, eyes through Kriyas


The Meaning of Yoga

The meaning of Yoga is different from person to person in view of varied nature of an individual's feelings & experiences. For some it is a way of life and for others it is a way to keep the body free from different ailments. For many it involves the practice of Relaxation and Meditation. However, according to my own experience, Yoga is a way of unfolding our hidden qualities and awakening our dormant faculties.

The word "Yoga" literally means "to unite", and people interpret this unity in different ways. Some say it is the uniting of individual consciousness with higher consciousness, others believe it to be a state of realisation. However, practically speaking it is a state of unity, balance and equilibrium between body and brain, brain and mind, mind and spirit. When all the aspects of personality are in balance our personality expresses itself in a different way.

YOGA AND THE ALTERED STATE OF THE CONSICIOUSNESS

Any change in the normal behaviour of the mind can be an altered state. When we get angry it is an altered state of consciousness, when we go to sleep it is another altered state, and when we express ourselves we create altered states. There are some experiences which bring the mind down towards the gross, instinctive and rational plane, and other experiences that go beyond the instinctive and rational level, which are probably best expressed by the term "intuitive states of mind."

Yoga helps us with the different situations and experiences with which we are confronted. Some are very pleasing and we feel elated, but when we are confronted with depressing situations we let them get us down. During our whole life from birth till death, our mind fluctuates between these two extremes. One such extreme is of happiness, satisfaction, joy. 

The other extreme is of sadness and frustration- Our thoughts, emotions, feelings, behaviour and attitudes are always fluctuating, moving from one side of the scale to the other, and during these fluctuations our energies become unbalanced.

Unbalanced means that we are unable to harness the potential of our personality, and our mind stays in a state of dissipation, unable to concentrate, unable to become one-pointed or focused. It is at this time that, by practising Yoga we are able to gain a better control over our intellect, emotion and behaviour.

ASPECTS OF YOGA

There are three aspects of Yoga- Physical, Mental and Spiritual.

THE PHYSICAL ASPECTS OF YOGA

Physical aspect of Yoga is where we try to harmonise the body and become aware of the different types of imbalance within the physical structure which cause various types of stress and tension. Due to muscular and physical stress, a state of imbalance occurs which becomes the cause of different aches and pains, psychosomatic and somopsychic disorders, where the harmony of the body is distorted.

Let’s see, how many types of physical movements we go through during the day:



Just try to imagine. We sit in a chair; our body is bent. We sit on the floor; our body is bent. We sit on the bed; our body is bent. Most of the movements that the body experiences in the hours of our waking state create a lot of physical tension. How many times do we actually stretch our body? How many times do we actually provide traction to the body during the day? Very few times. How many times do we twist our body in a controlled way without any jerk? Again very few times. How many times do we make a conscious effort to curve the body backward? Very rarely. 

We can say that, apart from sleeping flat in bed, most of the time we spend is in a forward bend posture. Right now you are bending forward. Your spine may be straight and upright but your legs are bent. This type of posture creates some type of tension. This imbalance creates a definite distortion in the functioning of the internal organs and systems. The digestive system is affected without doubt, unless we have a very powerful digestive tract.

The physical aspect of Yoga aims to eliminate this imbalance by prescribing various postures or Asanas. Asanas are smooth, controlled movements which are done slowly and with awareness, to provide the maximum stretch to the body in every direction. When we begin Yoga we do not start with difficult practices like the Headstand, but with very simple practices like moving the fingers and toes, the hands, wrists and arms, just to gain a deeper understanding about the state of our body, about our muscular, nervous and skeletal systems. 

Thus we become aware of where we are stiff, where we are tight and how best we can remove that stiffness and tightness. It is this gradual working with the body that leads to the discovery of the body, which is the main object in the physical aspect of Yoga.

Apart from the physical structure, within our body we experience levels of energy. When we wake up we feel fresh, energetic but by the end of the day we are feeling down, low in energy, tired. If we again relax for some time and the body is able to recuperate, again the level of energy rises and we feel okay. The stale of tiredness decreases. The level of energy also increases with the state of physical relaxation and decreases when the body is in a state of tension.

Asana

"Asana", a Sanskrit word translated as "posture" does not literally mean "exercise" or "posture", but "at ease and relaxed". You could be standing totally upside down on one arm, in a state void of tension or stress. If you are able to achieve that then you can say, "I am doing an Asana". So what the whole thing ultimately boils down to, is knowing one's body.

When we practice Asana, by stretching the body in different directions we are also relaxing the muscular structure, tissues, bones and nervous system, and massaging the internal organs like the liver, kidneys, intestines and stomach. It is a gentle toning. In this way the whole body is brought into a state of balance. When we feel balanced within, physically free from tension and stress, free from stiffness and tightness then that physical harmony influences the activity of the brain.

Pranayama

Apart from Asana there are practices of Pranayama, breathing techniques. The breath is intimately related with the states of emotion and intellect. We take our breath for granted and fail to understand that by harmonising the breathing pattern we can also influence and alter the pattern of our emotions, mind and intellect. When you have felt afraid or angry your breath becomes fast and shallow, but when you are relaxed, tension-free, breath becomes slow and deep. The breath definitely controls certain aspects of the nervous system, the activity of the brain, and emotional and intellectual expression. The practice of Pranayama gives us voluntary control over our intellectual and emotional activities.

THE MENTAL ASPECT OF YOGA

When we study Yogic literature we find that Yoga is a form of psychotherapy. The whole process of Yoga eventually deals with knowing, understanding and realising the mind.

Another type of stress is emotional. Emotional stress plays a very important role in our life. Intellectual stress plays a very important role also. Both types of stress deal with the feeling of security, inhibition, inferiority or superiority complexes and our ability to express ourselves. Many things are involved here, not just one. Through various practices of relaxation and concentration which aim to focus the attention at one point, we are able to overcome the state of emotional stress.

Relaxation is definitely something which we all require. We cannot avoid it. Sleep is a form of relaxation. But when we go to bed at night we carry our problems with us. We carry our thoughts, frustrations, anxieties, and stress. So, when sleep comes we do not know, and if the level of stress is high we pass a very restless night. If the level of stress is low we are not even aware of how we passed the night - all the lights are out. Yoga says that in order to relax totally one should be able to go to bed alone. It means that we should not carry extra baggage with us to relax the mind. 

Before you go to bed put your thoughts aside on your bedside table. Just like you take off your glasses and watch, remove your thoughts and keep them aside- Remove the stress and keep it beside you. Just go to bed by yourself- By doing this we become more aware of our mental requirements and of what is needed for proper physical and psychological relaxation.

Remember we need the ability to observe our state of mind - I am having this type of thought, I am undergoing this type of physical experience, I am passing through this emotional experience, I am undergoing this conflict, this tension - full awareness of body and mind.

As you throw off the day in preparation for sleep, become aware of the different parts of the body (for example, the breath) and acknowledge that they exist. Become aware of the mental activity in terms of thoughts - what types of thoughts are coming? How are they affecting me? It is a process of becoming awake to our inner mind, watching the mind, observing the mind.

Concentration is not Meditation. Concentration is just focusing the dissipated energies of mind, and when these dissipated energies are focused the resulting concentrated awareness becomes willpower. The concentrated mind becomes the experience of self-confidence, and a new vista, a new perspective of life and work opens up. This is the mental aspect of Yoga.

THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT OF YOGA

The meaning of spirituality in Yoga is defined as experiencing the spirit, the energy, the driving force, the motivation behind every action and experience in life. Some people are aware of it and some are not, but there is a driving force behind our every thought, feeling, attitude and action, and it is becoming aware of that which is termed as the spiritual aspect of Yoga.

There are times when we become highly active. There are times when we become highly sensitive, passive or dynamic. Dynamism, vitality, energy is a definite force known as "Prana". The fluctuations in our mood, in our experiences, represent low forms of energy that govern and direct the whole of our life.

Being passive, analytical, intuitive, aware, having a broad view and vision are the expressions of a different type of energy. This second form of energy is known as "Chitta". Combining these two energies, Prana and Chitta, the physical aspect and the mental aspect, we are able to experience life in its totality, and that is the ultimate aim of Yoga.

So Yoga means "unity of the physical and mental energies". When the restlessness of the mind, intellect & self is stablised through the practice of Yoga, the Yogi by the grace of Spirit within himself finds fulfilment. There is nothing higher and more blissful than this.


Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna


SURYANAMASKAR (SUN SALUTE)

A set of 12 postures which completely fulfils the purpose of Yoga. The 12 postures are designed in such a way as to exercise each and every muscle group and joints in the body. It strengthens and stretches the entire body. Specific breathing is indispensable while performing the sequence. The pattern is such that the movements and the breathing are in perfect rhythm as in a dance sequence.

BowASANAS

These are the physical postures in Yoga. Asanas help us in culturing the body entirely, 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 co-ordination of the mind with the body as there is total awareness to each and every slight body movement along with focus on breathing.

 


BREATHING EXERCISES

There is a set of Asanas designed for improving the breath. Here each movement is followed closely with inhalation and exhalation. Care is taken to expand the lungs and relax the muscles assisting breathing and thereby improving the lung capacity.

KriyasKRIYAS

These are the purificatory techniques in Yoga, mainly cleansing of the nostrils, sinuses, eyes, digestive system and the excretory system through very simple means. Kriyas also help strengthen the nerves, sharpen the memory, strengthen the glands as well as purify them. Different methods include:

  • Jalaneti
  • Sutraneti
  • Vamanadhouthi
  • Sankhaprakshalana… etc

MEDITATION

It is a continuous concentration of the mind on an object / sound / thought. This is the state where the person forgets one’s physical self and focuses one’s entire energy on the object of meditation which helps attain a blissful state and reach one’s innermost potential.

We have several Meditation techniques like:

BCAM TRANSFORMATION MEDITATION

It’s basis lies in the theory that stress, a negative thought in the mind has a great negative impact on the body so as to cause illnesses of the cardia, respiratory system, locomotor organs, etc. Any positive suggestion to the mind can reverse the negativity and bring about a positive change in the body and also create positivity in the entire self.

CHAKRA MEDITATION

Here we focus on the 7 chakras running through the Sushuma Nadi, their characteristics and functions. We try to energise these chakras and dissipate their energies to the systems corresponding.

OM MEDITATION

Meditating on the positive energies of the first sound that evolved in this universe, thereby building positivity within us and in our surroundings.

BREATH MEDITATION

Simple procedures of focussing entirely on our breath without interfering with it. Noticing the effects of breathing – its subtleness and the changes it brings about in our system.

RELAXATION

Various techniques to focus on our body and breathing and thereby realizing the lightness and freshness in our body and mind. It involves suggesting the different parts of our body to relax by focusing fully on that region and sending positive suggestions. The various techniques are:

  • Shavasana
  • Deep Relaxation techniques
  • Instant Relaxation techniques

YOGA NIDRA

This is Yogic Sleep. Through this technique one attains the benefits of sleep without actually falling asleep. The mind and body is taken is taken to a state as in sleep through continuous suggestions and focus.

TAI CHI

This is a gentle martial art that involves a combination of meditation and flowing exercises to help improve the health of the body and mind. With regular practice it can relieve stress and improve metabolism and the immune system.

  

Yoga 

The concepts and practices of Yoga originated in India about several thousand years ago. Its founders were great Saints and Sages. The great Yogis presented rational interpretation of their experiences of Yoga and brought about a practical and scientifically sound method within every one's reach. Yoga today, is no longer restricted to hermits, saints, and sages; it has entered into our everyday lives and has aroused a worldwide awakening and acceptance in the last few decades. The science of Yoga and its techniques have now been reoriented to suit modern sociological needs and lifestyles. Experts of various branches of medicine including modern medical sciences are realising the role of these techniques in the prevention and mitigation of diseases and promotion of health.

Yoga is one of the six systems of Vedic philosophy. Maharishi Patanjali, rightly called “The Father of Yoga” compiled and refined various aspects of Yoga systematically in his “Yoga Sutras” (aphorisms). He advocated the eight folds path of Yoga, popularly known as “Ashtanga Yoga” for all-round development of human beings. They are:- Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. These components advocate certain restraints and observances, physical discipline, breath regulations, restraining the sense organs, contemplation, meditation and samadhi. These steps are believed to have a potential for improvement of physical health by enhancing circulation of oxygenated blood in the body, retraining the sense organs thereby inducing tranquility and serenity of mind. The practice of Yoga prevents psychosomatic disorders and improves an individual's resistance and ability to endure stressful situations.

Definition of Yoga

Yoga is a discipline to improve or develop one's inherent power in a balanced manner. It offers the means to attain complete self-realisation. The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word Yoga is 'Yoke'. Yoga can therefore be defined as a means of uniting the individual spirit with the universal spirit of God. According to Maharishi Patanjali, Yoga is the suppression of


Salient Features of Yoga 

1.Yoga a universal practical discipline

Yoga is universal in character for practice and application irrespective of culture, nationality, race, caste, creed, sex, age and physical condition. Neither by reading the texts nor by wearing the garb of an ascetic, one can become an accomplished Yogi. Without practice, no one can experience the utility of Yogic techniques nor can realise of its inherent potential. Only regular practice (sadhana) creates a pattern in body and mind to uplift them. It requires keen desire on the part of the practitioner to experience the higher states of consciousness through training the mind and refining the gross consciousness.

2.Yoga as evolutionary process

Yoga is an evolutionary process in the development of human consciousness. Evolution of total consciousness does not necessarily begin in any particular man rather it begins only if one chooses it to begin. The vices like use of alcohol and drugs, working exhaustively, indulging too much in sex and other stimulation is to seek oblivion, a return to unconsciousness. Indian yogis begin from the point where western psychology end. If Fraud's psychology is the psychology of disease and Maslow's psychology is the psychology of the healthy man then Indian psychology is the psychology of enlightenment. In Yoga, it is not a question of psychology of man rather it is a question of higher consciousness. It is not also the question of mental health, rather, it is question of spiritual growth.

3.Yoga as soul therapy  

All paths of Yoga (Japa, Karma, Bhakti etc.) have healing potential to shelter out the effects of pains. However, one especially needs proper guidance from an accomplished exponent, who has already treaded the same track to reach the ultimate goal. The particular path is to be chosen very cautiously in view of his aptitude either with the help of a competent counselor or consulting an accomplished Yog


YOG (योग) Meaning in Hindi

दो अथवा पदार्थों का एक में मिलना अथवा उन्हें एक में मिलाना।
एक में मिले हुए होने की अवस्था या भाव।
दो या अधिक चीजों या बातों का आपस में होनेवाला सम्पर्क या संबंध।
आत्म तत्त्व का चिंतन करते हुए ईश्वर या परमात्मा के साथ मिलकर एक होना।
उक्त प्रकार की साधना के उपाय,प्रणाली,स्वरूप आदि बतलानेवाला शास्त्र।
मन को इधर उधर भटकने न देना और आध्यात्मिक ज्ञान प्राप्त करने के लिए उसे एकाग्र करना।

In Vedic Sanskrit, the more commonly used, literal meaning of the Sanskrit word yoga which is "to add", "to join", "to unite", or "to attach" from the root yuj, already had a much more figurative sense, where the yoking or harnessing of oxen or horses takes on broader meanings such as "employment, use, application, performance" (compare the figurative uses of "to harness" as in "to put something to some use"). All further developments of the sense of this word are post-Vedic. More prosaic moods such as "exertion", "endeavour", "zeal", and "diligence" are also found in Epic Sanskrit‘Eko sd vipra bahudha vadanti’ (truth is one but defined differently by saints and sages for ages). Basically, Yog is the merger of individual soul to Divine, the means or kriyas adapted to reach this ultimate goal are called applications of yog or yog sadhan and the dedicated and devoted practice undertaken under the tutelage of spiritual master is called yog practice or yog sadhna. This yog sadhna enables one to know the self and finally blend in to ultimate. This realization ensures liberation from all kind of sorrows and stay in eternal bliss -- beyond life and death.


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Yog in true sense is a state of going beyond body and mind and joining the individual energy with the cosmic energy. It is a merger and becoming ‘Sindhu’ (ocean) of a ‘Bindu’ (drop), a small molecule blending in with the absolute. And this is the reason, why great yogis of Indian tradition have always been applying the holy mantra of “OM” (the cosmic sound), which is more strong than “B”om“b.” Yet, it is sweetest and away from any destruction. Similarly, the mantra “Soham” (merging ‘Ahem’ i.e. ego in to ‘So’ i.e. the absolute) explores the sure possibility of growing and turning an individual into absolute.

Practically speaking, yog aims at balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions and it is gained through practice of yaam, niyaam, shatkarm, asaan, pranayam, mudra, bandh and meditation. Spiritual masters or ‘Gurus’ of great Indian Yog traditions have been transmitting application of these great mantras with proper technique to work effectively deeper into the subject or the ‘Yog learner’ to invoke divinity hidden and lying deep due to darkness of ignorance within him. It is the technique of Yog that infuses in to the day to day life of a yog aspirant and brings a dynamic change in his life style and his approach towards life.

Yog works at the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels all together. Yog sadhna reflects on our outermost part the physical body as the balance gained through yog sadhna is experienced at different organs, muscles and nerves because it brings the different functions into perfect coordination. The same is the case with mental and emotional levels.

Interfractons of everyday life lead the man to stress, tension and fear resulting in to phobia and neuroses etc. Applied yog develops awareness of the inter relation among the physical, mental and emotional levels. Such application of yog leads the yog enthusiast away from darkness of vices, pains, sufferings, worries and sorrows and decorates him with the bright day light of positive thinking, divine living, paramount joy and blissful state of mind. It is an easy, sure and the only way to overcome the mental impurities that lead an individual to physical impurities in form of sickness. It is already established that the man peaceful, positive, transparent and delighted at mind always stays healthy and has got no reason to suffer from complicated ailments.

Bharat Yog

History of Yog

Yoga In The Light Of Vedas

We are providing you with the knowledge of Different Aspects of Yoga, Vedic Yoga, Important Aspects of Yoga, Scientific Aspect of Yoga, Yoga in Vedas, in the absence of which most of us fear of adopting this useful thing and therefore are not able to take the maximum benefit out of it.

The first books to refer to yog are the ancient Vedas. Although they don’t give specific practices, they allude to yog symbolically. The verses of the Vedas were heard by the rishis, seers, in states of deep, yogic meditation or Samadhi, and are regarded as revealed scriptures. In Upanishads Yog begins to take a more definable shape.

According to mythical tradition, Lord Shiv is said to be the founder of yog and goddess Parvati, his first disciple. We get the first glimpse of Yog in Vedas, the oldest scripture and later in Treta Yug we get Yog Vashishta from guru Vashishtha, the guru of Lord Rama. Then in Dwapar Yug we get the real lesson of Yog as SRIMADBHAGVAD GEETA by Yogeshvara Krishna. Finally today in Kalyug Yog is not an unfamiliar name.

Yog arouse at the beginning of human civilization when man started feeling difference between sorrows and joys. He was in search of permanent remedy to come out of this ocean of sorrows and as an alternative wanted to seek imperishable joy later known as bliss. Indian sages realized their spiritual potential and began to evolve techniques to develop it. The yogic science was evolved and developed by ancient sages all over the world.

In archaeological excavations made in the Indus Valley at Harappa and Mohenjodaro, now in modern Pakistan, many statues have been found depicting deities resembling lord Shiv and Parvati performing various asaans, mudras and meditation. These ruins were once the dwelling place of people who lived in the pre-Vedic age before the Aryan civilization started to flourish in the Indus sub continent.

In ancient times, Yog techniques were kept secret and were never written down or exposed to public view and were passed on from Guru to disciple by word of mouth as shruti due to which there was a clear understanding of subject, yog sutras and their meaning and aim. Till day, many enlightened gurus believe that knowledge of yoga can never be gained through books. One needs a practical training under the expert guidance of a guru and this is the only reason that many of the ancient and the most effective techniques of Yog are still with the enlightened Gurus and not in any of the book or videos.

In the 6th century BC, Lord Buddha’s influence brought the ideals of meditation to the fore and the preparatory of Yog were ignored. The Indian thinkers soon realized the limitations of this view and Yogi Matsyendra nath taught that before taking to the practices of meditation, the body and its elements need purification. Yogic pose Matsyendrasana was also named after this great master. His chief disciple Guru Gorakhnath wrote books on Hath Yog.


Different Aspects of YogaVedic YogaScientific Aspect of YogaYoga in VedasBharat Yog


Yoga In The Light of Science

Yoga is a science, which deals with the facts. Yog is a therapy to forever remain young fit and happy. Yoga is a lifestyle which touches all the levels of human life, Physical level, mental level, emotional level, intellectual level, Social level, financial level, psychological level and Spiritual level.

Yoga is a science to keep the body fit and prepare the mind for uplift of the spiritual aspects. Yoga works as a strengthening tool for the entire mind and body. Our body is like any other machine which needs proper care, checkups, toning, repair and proper rest. Let’s take the example of the car. Before driving a car we check the petrol, we check the tyres, and we check whether the engine is toned up or not… but unfortunately we never check this machine, this divine gift of God… our body, we wake up in the morning and start taking work from this body without checking its working conditions.

So, if we have proper and guided knowledge of yoga and meditation, Different Aspects of Yoga, Vedic Yoga, Important Aspects of Yoga, Scientific Aspect of Yoga, Yoga in Vedas, we can use it to our maximum and therefore be benefitted. 
All of the machines need external forces to keep them work smoothly but we have the power inside this body i.e. the mind + will power + determination + Science of yog to constantly tune up our body.

Yog is not at all a magic, which can cure all of the ailments including cancer and aids. In fact it’s a science which increases the immunity level of the practitioner with continuous practice, it’s a science which is preventive first and later curative, it’s a science which is not a substitute for medication but can make the practitioner stay away from medicines with continuous yog practice.

Effectiveness of yog depends on the regularity and accuracy of the exercises. “Yog is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the presence, it is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow” says swami Satyanand saraswati ji. Mind control exercises combined with controlled breathing is a vital tool to acclimatize the body and mind.

Yog Guru Bharat Bhushan ji tells “This has been scientifically proved that on an average day an average man have around 70,000 thoughts in his mind and out of these 70,000 thoughts 95% of the thoughts are all same each day… Yog is the only technique, which takes an individual beyond the thoughts. Guru Bharat Bhushan ji adds, “We generally judge others very easily, we wish to control… to master the entire world… but what about knowing ourselves? What about controlling and mastering ourselves? The only technique for self- control and self- mastery is YOG.”

For quality wise improvement in performance, to increase resistance power, mental abilities and for self-mastery, yog has been proved as a great science.

Types of Yog

Yog has been classified and defined with different names such as: Karma Yog, Bhakti Yog, Gyan Yog, Hath Yog and Raj Yog etc., most of the people believe that a yog seeker should practice any one of the above. However, this is a wrong notion. Actually they all are integral parts of individual personality and these have to go together on the path of Yog sadhna. Maharishi Patanjali introduced Raja Yog* (link to Raj Yog) and blessed humanity with systemized volume on this great science as Yog sutra. (link to GURU patanjali) . It codified the first definitive, unified and comprehensive system of Yog.


Types of yoga,Yoga StylesDifferent Types of yoga,Different Yoga StylesYoga Styles,Different Types of yogaDifferent Yoga StylesBharat Yog


Yog has been derived from the Sanskrit word Yuj that means ‘To Join’ and in hindi language the word ‘Yog’ means ‘Total’. Hence when the word itself means total then there is no use dividing it but still as Yog is one of the most ancient sciences hence from time to time many changes have been made due to which different schools of Yog evolved. The Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ means ‘to join’ and this is the final aim of Yog… ‘to join’ to join the personal soul to the universal and whatever school we choose the destination is same just like the different rivers flow through different paths, enjoy different journeys, different areas and finally blend into the same destination… the ocean. Similarly whatever school a yog sadhak chooses but finally the destination is same. Five authentic schools of yog are:

Raj Yog

It is an eight fold yog prescribed by Maharishi Patanjali, to introduce and educate the yog seeker with behavioral, social, intellectual, mental, physical, philosophical and spiritual aspects of yog. These eight folds are:

YAAM - Self restrains
Five Yaam are mentioned in Yog Darshan. These five self restrains are :

  • Ahinsa Non violence (there are 6 kind of violence- Kaya, vacha. Manah, krit, karit, anumodit)
  • Satya truthfulness
  • Asteya non stealing
  • Brahmcharya celebacy
  • Aparigrah non storing


NIYAAM - Self observances.
Five Niyaam are mentioned in Yog Darshan. These five self observances are:

  • Shauch Purity (internal, external, physical, mental, psychological)
  • Santosh Contentment
  • Tapah Resistance
  • Swadhyaay Self study
  • Ishvarpranidhaan Leaving everything to the will of God


  • ASAAN control over body
  • PRANAYAAM Control over breath


  • PRATYAHAAR Control over senses
  • DHARANA Concentration
  • DHYAAN Meditation
  • SAMADHI Identification with pure consciousness


Patanjali's writing also became the basis for a system referred to as "Ashtanga Yoga" ("Eight-Limbed Yoga"). This eight-limbed concept is derived from the 29th Sutra of the Book 2 of Yoga Sutras. They are:

  1. Yama (The five "abstentions"): Ahimsa (Non-violence, non-harming other living beings), Satya (truthfulness, non-falsehood), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy, fidelity to one's partner), and Aparigraha (non-avarice, non-possessiveness).
  2. Niyama (The five "observances"): Śauca (purity, clearness of mind, speech and body), Santosha (contentment, acceptance of others and of one's circumstances), Tapas (persistent meditation, perseverance, austerity), Svādhyāya (study of self, self-reflection, study of Vedas), and Ishvara-Pranidhana (contemplation of God/Supreme Being/True Self).
  3. Asana: Literally means "seat", and in Patanjali's Sutras refers to the seated position used for meditation.
  4. Pranayama ("Suspending Breath"): Prāna, breath, "āyāma", to restrain or stop. Also interpreted as control of the life force.
  5. Pratyahara ("Abstraction"): Withdrawal of the sense organs from external objects.
  6. Dharana ("Concentration"): Fixing the attention on a single object.
  7. Dhyana ("Meditation"): Intense contemplation of the nature of the object of meditation.
  8. Samadhi ("Liberation"): merging consciousness with the object of meditation.

Hath Yog

Hath yog is six fold path of yogic discipline with noted masters such as Gheranda Rishi, Guru Gorakshnath, matsyendra nath and Swatmaram etc. It is more or less closer to Raj Yog as it is assumed that in contemporary society of ancient times Yaam and Niyaam were deep rooted and necessity of their separate mention was perhaps not realized. There is a misconception and exaggeration regarding Hath Yog that it is all about performing tough postures with excessive outlook and is even mistaken as HOT YOGA putting the yog seekers to tough exercises in rooms under high temperature but opposite to this Hath Yog is based on science of swaras, the energy flow in left and right nostrils of an individual named as ida and pingala or surya and Chandra naadi i.e. the sun and the moon.



Gyaan Yog

The basis of gyaan yog is to lead the yog seeker to salvation through intellectual power to realize the self and liberate from the bondages of ignorance where ultimate truth alone survives.



Karm Yog

Karm Yog is the path suggested by Lord Krishn establishing the importance of Karm and seeking bliss through devotion to Karm without indulging in the aspirations of expectations. It removes the myths that yog leads an individual away from worldly duties on the contrary it equips him with perfect wisdom and skill to go deep in karm and still staying aloof being detached with the fruits. This lesson of karm Yog was given in the battle field of famous Mahabharat where great warrior Arjun had withdrawn from his duty in the battle field under deep stress and depression.



Bhakti Yog

Though appears as different school of thought Bhakti Yog also has the same goal to achieve and that is meeting and merging into divine but the doors of bhakti Yog are open even for those who are not intellectuals as even Gyan Yog also lead us to merge into divinity through realization by intellectual methods of bhakt or a devotee like Meera, Raidas, Nanak and even illiterate Kabir could attain this consciousness through Bhakti Yog. On records there is no individual to be mentioned as founder of the path of Bhakti Yog but the examples of series of Bhaktas turned into realized souls declair Bhakti or devotion as a sacred path to realization of the ultimate goal of Yog.

Yog Therapy for Different Ailments

Next »

Only medicine, only exercise or only diet control is not going to help the practitioner in getting rid of any ailment. It requires a special combination of yogic kriyas (especially asaan and pranayaam) and diet followed by yogic life style that leads one to absolutely stress free peaceful life.

Do not 'try' yog but practice it with perfect devotion and regularity. You are sure to come out as a real winner. Here are a few asaan and the balanced diet selection.

NOTE: Names of the asaan, pranayaam and kriyas differ book by book, so kindly consult the master before practicing.


Yoga therapy BenefitsYoga Health benefitsbenefits of yoga therapy,Yoga Health benefitsYoga therapy Benefits,Health benefits of yoga,benefits of yoga therapy,Yoga Health benefitsBharat Yog


diabetes

All those yogic kriyas that help the pancreas to work more efficiently are highly beneficial in case of diabetes. Here are few:

MandookasanaAkarnadhanurasanaMatsyendrasanaUddiyan BandhaAgnisar KriyaBhastrika PranayamBharat Yog


Asthma

Yogic kriyas which provide ample supply of oxygen and allow it to reach even to bottom part of lungs to the practitioner are highly beneficial in case of asthma. Here are few:

AshwatthasanaSarvangasanaMatsyendrasaanSinghasanaGomukhasaanAshwathasaanSuryanamaskaarNadishodhan PranayaamBharat Yog


Back Pain

Modified yogic kriyas that bring back the alignment of vertebral column and release tension of nerves and the muscles should be practiced in case of back pain. Here are few:

KatichakrasaanSarpasaanModified PawanmuktasaanJaanu Bhu sparshBharat Yog


Stress & Tension

Yogic kriyas that give deep relaxation to the entire body and lead the mind to perfect withdrawal from sensory subjects leading to rejuvenation are highly beneficial in case of stress & tension. Here are few:

TadasanaSinghasanaAanandmadirasaaGuru PranaamasaanChanra DhyanamSheetali PranayaamBharat Yog


pregnancy

Asaans that improve the proper functioning of reproductive organs and supply ample energy to body permitting the baby in the womb to go for balanced growth and the pranayaam and mudras to give deep relaxation and mental peace to mother and enable her to go for a comfortable delivery at appropriate time. Here are a few:

Dhruv AsanaPadmasana with Brahmanjali & Gyan MudraGomukhasaanGorakshasaanSugam KonasaanModified GurupranamModified UttakatBharat Yog


Memory, Wisdom & Patience / to grow Brilliant:

Yogic kriyas which touch the endocrine system by giving exercise to pituitary and pineal glands existing in skull are highly beneficial to attain memory, wisdom and patience -the three main faculties of brain. Here are few:

Shambhavi MudraMicro exercises for KapalGurupranaamasaanMaha BandhShadmukhi MudraBharat Yog


For Cold

Lack of resistance is responsible in catching cold and such other irritations & infections. This yog program does not only waves off such aggravations but also enable the aspirant to enjoy winter in single shirt and stay free of cold and cough.
Here are a few of such kriyas:

Bhastrika PranayamVirechan KriyaKapal Bhati PranayaamSurya NamaskarSurya Bhedi PranayaamBharat Yog


Pimples, Acne & Aging Shadows / For Glowing Skin

Formation of fresh blood with strong liver and purification of blood with ample supply of oxygen combined with Nadi Shuddhi (purification is veins) kriyas bless the practitioner with desired result of staying in true beauty. Here are a few of such cleansing kriyas: 
Here are a few of such kriyas:

SinghasaanMandookasanSarvangasaanSuryanamaskaarSheershasaanShadmukhi MudraNeti, Kunjal etcBharat Yog


Arthritis

The expulsion of toxins from joints and tension from mind is an easy answer to problem of arthritis. Friendly yogic kriyas controlling the aggravation of wind are highly beneficial in eradication of this disease.

TadasanaSarvang PushtiKatichakrasaanPawanmukta KriyasChakrapaadasaanDwipaadhastachalanSupta UshhtraPawanmuktasaanBharat Yog


Poor Digestion

Yogic kriyas which improves the proper functioning of pancreas, spleen, and gallbladder, strengthens the weak lever and balances the disturbed naval are Raam baan for poor digestion. Here are few:

Vajra AsaanUttan PadasanaUddiyan BandhAgnisar KriyaNauli KriyaPashchimottanasaanBharat Yog


Constipation

Constipation itself is not the severe problem but it is certainly the mother of many such problems that in gradual process prove an untimely threat to life. Moderate yogic kriyas, ample intake of water, fiber food, seasonal fruits and vegetable can make constipation a matter of past.

TaadasaanKatichakrasaanVajra AsaanSarvangpushtiGatyamaanhalasaanUdarkshetra MicroexercisesMrinalasaanKonasaanSkandhasaanBharat Yog


sexual vitality

'Kama' is not confined jut to sexual urge of human being but in true sense it is the foundation stone of all human activities and main motivational force behind all worldly business. Kama is the the best friend and the worst foe so we have to handle it with perfect care which is possible through yogic lifestyle only. 

Yogic Kriyas that build up the physical strength, improves the heart and lung efficiency, provides sanyam and cover the art of handling premature ejaculation. Here are few:

Surya NamaskaarBilao AsaanMool BandhYogmudrasaanBharat Yog


Anemia

Anemia results in to loss of life force with faded face, lost glow and paling body due to lack of required quantity and quality of blood. Healthy liver, strong digestion, fresh oxygen intake through yogic kriyas and proper food gives us the desired results.

SarvangasaanPashchimottanasanaModified aadi Shodan PranayaamSurya NamaskaarPashchmottanasaanHastapaadasaanBharat Yog


Obesity

Obesity is a sin as growing weight on joints and burden on inner organs like heart, lungs and liver lead us away from perfect health. Moderate yogic kriyas with justified breathing burn the excess fat and bring back the naturally unwrinkled skin full of yogic glow.

SarvangpushtiPashchimottanasaanGatyamaan HalasaanEngine Daud, Virechan KriyaKrishnasaanVyaghrasaanSuryanamaskaarBharat Yog

LIST OF  Yogas:                 

  1. Yog Pranayaam
  2. yog for all
  3. Just 20 minutes of  Yog
  4. Yog for Migrane
  5. Yog for Hypertension
  6. Yog for Hypotension
  7. yog for Hair Car
  8. Yog for diabetes
  9. Yog for Insomnia
  10. Yog for Thyroid
  11. Yog for Constipation
  12. Yog for Asthma
  13. Yog for Back Pain
  14. Yog for Cold & Cough
  15. Yog for Healthy Skin
  16. Yog for sexual vitality
  17. Yog for Anemia
  18. Yog for Piles
  19. Yog for Insomnia
  20. Yog for Anger
  21. Management  Yog for
  22. Depression  Yog for Slipped Disc
  23. Yog for Memory, wisdom & Concentration
  24. Yog for Prostate
  25. Yog for Eye care
  26. Yog for Liver
  27. Yog for Menstruation Disorder
  28. Yog for Sinus
  29. Yog for Kidney
  30. Yog for menopause
  31. Yog for Obesity (hare motapa  Yog)
  32. Yog for Gastric Trouble (Vaat Rog Chutkara Yog)
  33. Yog for Children (Chue Gagan Hamare Bache)
  34. Yog for Hernia
  35. Yog for Lumber Pain
  36. Yog for Indigestion

Name of course

Duration

Certificate Course in yoga & naturopathy

3 months

Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga and Naturopathy

Yoga teacher training certification course

 Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga and Naturopathy

Diploma in Yoga Science

1 Year

Certificate Course in Yoga Science

Three & Half Months

Foundation Course in Yoga Science

1 Month

PGD in Yoga Therapy for Doctors

1 Year

PGD in Yoga Therapy

 

Yoga Therapy Orientation Training For Doctors

3 Years

Yoga Teachers Training Course

3 Years

Yoga Instructor Course

1 Month

Course in Yoga Studies

4 Months

Certificate in Yoga Science & Life Style

3 Months

International Yoga Teachers Training Programme

2 Years

Teachers Training Course

1 Year

Teachers Training Course

7 Months

Comprehensive Teachers Training Course

3 Months

Teachers Training Course (TTC)

1 Month

Master Degree in Yoga

2 Years

Yoga Teachers Training Course

1 Month

P.G.D. in Yoga Vijnana

1 Year

P.G.D. in Human Consciousness  & Yoga Therapy

1 Year

Foundation Course in Yogic Science (Distance Mode)

6 Months

Certificate Course in Yoga & Alternative Therapy

6 Months

Yoga Instructor Certificate Course (YICC)

3 Months (Senior secondary examination (10+2) or any equivalent examination)

Diploma in yoga education and human sciences (DYEHS)

1 Year (Bacheolar's degree from a recognized university)

Diploma in Yoga Shishak (D.Y.S)

1 Year

Post graduate diploma in Yoga Therapy(P.G.D.Y.T.)

2 Years

Certificate in Yoga & Naturopathy (C.C.Y.N)

One & Half Months

Certificate in Yoga Education (C.Y.Ed)

3 Months

Certificate in Naturopathy

6 months

Certificate in Yogic Science

6 Months

Diploma in Yoga and Naturopathy (D.Y.N)

1 Year

Certificate in Naturopathy

6 months

Post Graduate Diploma in Yogaic Science

1 Year

Diploma in Yoga and Naturopathy

1 Year

Certificate in Yogic Science

6 Months


100 hour Yoga Teacher Training programme,



100 Hrs Teaching Course Schedule Study of theory and practical techniques of Integral Transformational Yoga

  • Introduction to Hatha Yoga, Prana Yoga, Raja yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Kundalini yoga
  • Introduction to Integral Transformational Yoga
  • Introduction to Para and Apara dimension of conciousness
  • Introduction of 7 chakras and relation with the 5 bodies (physical, prana, mental, psychic and spiritual)
  • Prana body and 5 Pranas energy flow (Apana, Samana, Maha, Udana and Vyana) and their functions
  • Impurities of 4 bodies (physical, prana, mental and psychic), effects and purification techniques for each body
  • Awakening of Spiritual body
  • Energy mechanics of integral transformational yoga
  • Difference of integral transformational yoga from other types of yoga.
  • Introduction to Meditation
  • Talk on diet/Lifestyle for yoga teachers
  • Practice of Integral Transformational Yoga
  • Basic integral transformational yoga sequence
  • Technique of integral transformational yoga
  • Invocation of Divine Mother Light through mantras

5 Prana Yogic Breathing Technique

  • Maha Prana Breathing
  • Apana Prana Breathing
  • Udana Prana Breathing
  • Samana Prana Breathing
  • Vyana Prana Breathing

Joint cleaning
Yogic energy awakening science (Kriyas)
Introduction to Pranayam

  • Kapalabhati
  • Brahmari
  • Nadi Shodhan

Yoga Asanas (practice of Integral transformational yoga asanas sequence- set 1,2,3 and 4)
Mantra Sounds of relaxation, purification and activation for chakras
Element Mantra for Chakras
Introduction to Meditation methods
Observation and awareness Techniques
Introduction to Yog Nidra


200 hour Yoga Teacher Training programme,

 



A gateway to the yogic world, 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training programme, is a channel to the most profound health system in the world. Approved by International Yoga Alliance, Acharya kulam is delighted to offer residential-based 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training programme to aspiring yogis and yoga enthusiasts.

Promising to transform your life, this professional step will define your practice and give it a new direction. Our Yoga Alliance approved faculty will take you through the course and help you adapt to its mysterious ways only known to the Yoga experts. Simplifying each and every molecule of the programme, we empower you to become a yoga instructor and materialise your dream.

100hr1

  • Asanas or body postures, involved in Ashtanga , Hatha Yoga and Laughter Yoga
  • History of yogic sciences and its relations to Vedas
  • Brief theory of Yoga and Ayurveda
  • Mental relaxation focused upon by way of meditation & healing
  • Deep cleansing & detoxification of the body by way of Ayurveda
  • Sanskrit names of the asanas & their connection to the muscles
  • Ayurveda treatment by way of Ayurvedic massages & other treatments explained
  • Teaching lessons & methods for conducting classes
  • Stress free living techniques
  • Yog nidra, chakra healing etc.

Centres of BCAM  are the best yoga teacher training schools , our schools offer systematic approach to this ancient art of well-being.

100rh2

With so much to learn & grasp from the inexhaustive field of yoga, we have chosen the best modules & practices. In our 100 hour YTTC, we also focus on:

  • Detoxification Process: We have set practices which follow in order to cleanse our students system viz Ayurveda and offer a healthy body.
  • Pranayama: Well known breathing practices are followed in order to calm the mind and derive maximum results
  • Hand Gestures: Mudras or hand gestures plays a pivotal role in correcting internal body ailments.
  • Meditation: Focusing on the mind is an important part of Yoga and therefore, we lay equal emphasis on teaching proper mediation practices to help our students overcome mental stress.
  • Bandhas: Body locks to enable better blood circulation and increased body movement, Bandhas are taught.

Apart from the above mentioned techniques, there are numerous other tips that the students can receive from our yoga experts. Everyday living habits & diet issues gets sorted under expert guidance. Some of the other asanas practiced are:

100hr3

Apart from the above mentioned techniques, there are numerous other tips that the students can receive from our yoga experts. Everyday living habits & diet issues gets sorted under expert guidance. Some of the other asanas practiced are:

  • Asanas for body ailments
  • Surya namaskaras & Chandra namaskaras
  • Body correcting postures
  • Hatha yoga subtle poses
  • Balancing poses
  • Stretching and other body correction asanas

BCAM & beyond the working of everyday life to offer the gift of yoga. Simple practices start giving fruit when we turn to this side of Mother Nature. 200 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh is a blessing in its true form.
Moving forward in a systematic manner, we encourage that each day should be able to teach you something new. Considering this we have divided each day into a specific timetable so that you get the best of the best.

300 hour Yoga Teacher Training programme,

A step further into your personal yoga practice, 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training at BCAM 

allows the students to take a dip deeper into the yoga world. Give a professional edge to your qualification of 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with this advanced Yoga Alliance certified Yoga course. The way to tranquillity & complete freedom was never paved so clearly before.

Get an intermediate level of training in this field and while you recollect your yoga learnings from the previous cycle, inhale the new information smoothly. Offering best 300 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, Acharya Kulam to deliver heightened results. our traditional yoga gurus will brush your skills and add on to them, transforming your whole being.

  • Deeper studies of yogic philosophy
  • Harder and intermediate poses in yoga taken up
  • Ashtanga Vinyasa & Hatha Yoga practiced with longer hold durations
  • Refined meditative practices adopted and taught
  • Connections of body and their relation to the mind is also taken up
  • Greater emphasis of correct postures (asanas) is laid
  • Cleansing process are further defined
  • Flow of energy and universe laws explained
  • Chakras, their placement and their workings
  • Pranayama or flow of breath controlled with greater emphasis in the asanas
  • Teaching practices & their correlation to the students mind
  • Dealing with multiple student types

This deeper level of training is best suited to those yogis & yoga instructor who want revive their connection. Dealing with various hindrances, 300 yoga teacher training course at our school will grant you the key to success in the field of yoga education. A higher level of confidence and power to overcome obstacles makes you the winning horse.

Acharya Kulam follows traditional and modern techniques in 300 hour YTTC to make every student the best yoga teacher.  Here are some of more techniques that we cover in this course:

  • Iyengar yoga: The famous yoga guru, Iyengar form of yoga is explained and taught for greater enhancement.
  • Breathing practices: New form of pranayama is also taught Greater exposure to advanced teaching practices Human body & its anatomy deciphered
  • Mantras: Verbal songs & saying are taught to achieve a higher level of living and peace Fast paced yoga to extract faster results is also undertaken.
  • Advance mudras: Kechri mudras, Sambhavi mudra, Eye mudras etc.

500 hour Yoga Teacher Training programme,

Welcome to BCAM India

Enabling extensive exposure into yogic sciences, this is the final step in yoga te

acher training programme. Merging content from 300 hour yoga teacher training programme, 200 hour certified teachers can opt for this programme directly. Offering yoga professionals an opportunity to jet fast their career graph, this advance programme will enhance the connection with the roots of yoga.

With an aim to enrich the mind of the yoga students, Acharya Kulam takes up each part with complete surrender. From body postures to hand movements, nothing misses the sharp eyes of our Yoga Alliance approved faculty. Mental peace when combined with measured breathing practices offers miraculous results. Forms like these & much more is added in the course too. Ayurveda treatments are also briefly dealt with, as cleansing of our students is of utmost importance for us. On successful completion, the students can be awarded as RYT500.

  • Deep studies about yoga & Ayurveda
  • Methods on smoothly handling a class
  • Smoother techniques of dealing with students doubts
  • Systematic approach to handling special students
  • Mental correlation to the universe and other mystic forces
  • Identification of the body types based on Ayurvedic studies
  • Exceptional teaching techniques useful in everyday teaching
  • Ashtanga Vinyasa & Hatha Yoga’s topmost asanas & inverted postures taught
  • Guideline to be followed by yoga instructor
  • Swara Yoga & Iyenger yoga explained.
  • Mantras, meditation & pranyama, taught with all their significance & relations to the divine
  • Study of Indian history related to Ayurveda & Yog Patanjali Sutras explained
  • Other areas based on every students taken up and sharpened

With all this, the students get a hands on experience of taking up classes, we allow them to assess themselves & their fellow mates. Outlining various methods, the students also get immediate feedbacks from the trained & certified faculty time to time.

The sea of yoga is bottomless & endless. Believing this, Acharya Kulam covers almost all the major techniques in the 500 hour YTTC:

  • Defined patterns energy movement in the body revealed.
  • Spiritual training of the mind & body is also explained briefly
  • Inculcating various techniques to how to discipline oneself & their classes thereon.
  • Chakra healing & prana energy distinguishingly taught.
  • Power yoga, Ashtanga vinyasa & Hatha yoga postures & forms with breathe movement taught.
  • Methods on how to give constructive feedback also divulged
  • Ways to maintain rapport & deeper connection with the future students

We conduct our 500 hour yoga teacher training in our peaceful and lush-green campus at World Yoga Capital – Rishikesh. Offering contemporary amenities but with a traditional setup, our school is a yogi’s heaven. Lie in the beautiful surroundings & continue your practice at ease. For the convenience of our students & in lieu of heightened learning, the day has been sytematically divided.

Health Tips

Health Tips under Normal Conditions

  • Wake up early in the morning as it allows the body cycle to stay normal. An early riser always stays away from plenty of diseases especially gastric and stomach-related problems.
  • Thank Divine for allowing you to see one more morning and blessing you with all goodness. It is excellent to maintain harmony and stay out of stress.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Train yourself to attend natural calls of urine and latrine in squatting position in stead of European commode to prevent joint pains and comfortable and perfect release. F. Better to massage your gums and teeth with turmeric, salt and mustered oil and brush it later to keep the pockets free from infections and teeth from decay. You may even use brushing with neem or keekar sticks to keep teeth and gums healthy.
  • Prefer bathing with naturally cold running water and use warm water only when you apply oil massage on your body. Always begin your bath from top of the head.
  • Better practice Yog Sadhna after bath to save time and risks.
  • Rub your palms, face and even entire body and give dry massage to have proper warming up and improved circulation of blood.
  • Discharge urine after meals, dance, yog practice or gym exercises.
  • Wash your hands before taking meals and avoid spoons etc to feel favorable temperature and check that nothing favorable is eaten. Eating food with hands gives exercise to different acupressure points.
  • Avoid standing meals & drinks and prefer taking meals sitting on asana in crossed leg position.
  • Sit in Vajraasan after meal for giving additional supply of blood to gear up your digestion.
  • Prefer taking water before meals, avoid water intake during meal and never take water immediate after meals. Don't fill the stomach fully with food but leave 25% of it free for comfortable breathing and airflow.
  • Always stay cheerful at meals and thank God for the food given.
  • Have sufficient water intake after an hour of your meals. It will add harmony to your endocrine and digestive system, peace to your mind and cheer to your life.
  • Better to take liquid or semi solid eatable in your breakfast, have rich lunch and add seasonal vegetables and fruits as dinner.
  • Prefer taking evening meals before at least an hour of your bed time.
  • Wash your face, feet & hands and apply mustered oil in naval, nails & nostrils before going to bed.
  • Lie on your right side for 8 breath, straight on your back for 16 breath and left for 32 breath after meal for better digestion.
  • Never carry tensions and worries to your bed, always pray before going to bed instead and feel that I am well protected in the holy lap of Divine.
  • Always wear a sweet smile on your face and learn to meet the toughest tasks with sweetest smile.
  • Always learn to enjoy a peal of free laughter at least twice a day to have healthy lungs and free flow of blood to your face and skull.
  • Ensure that you do not take meal if you have not toiled hard to sweat at least once a day.


Health and Fitness TipsHealth and Fitness CenterYoga Health and FitnessHealth and Fitness ProviderBharat Yog

CORPORATE YOGA

One of the wonders of Acharya Kulam Yoga is that it can now be tailor made to suit different settings and as an instant remedy for groups of individuals who cannot make time for Acharya Kulam Yoga Daily Practice. One of the advantages of the Corporate Acharya Kulam yoga programme is it can be a low-cost option for employers to contribute to employees’ overall health while helping them to work harmoniously together and also improve perception about their job and their work environment.

They are designed to fit the needs of the individuals of the group and are suitable for almost everyone even beginners.
Acharya Kulam brings rejuvenation to you in 3 different ways!!

  • Corporates can arrange a visit the Acharya Kulam Yoga studio for personalised classes.
  •  Acharya Kulam Yoga visits your work premises to share knowledge of Yoga.
  • Alternatively, we can go to a recreational retreat and experience the treasure that is Yoga

other3

WEIGHT LOSS SUTRA

Obesity is a common modern day ailment that is both a symptom as well as a cause of other related diseases. Our endeavour is to address the cause of obesity rather than merely treating the symptom. Not wanting to follow the one size fits all method; we prefer to delve into the individual causes of obesity. Based on our evaluation we work with individual patients, offering detoxification solutions, smart and intense yoga workouts, a personalised diet, Ayurvedic consultation and personalised medication. For instance for hormonal imbalance we work on the hormones that cause one to gain weight.

other4

TALK LIKE A REAL YOGI (SPOKEN SANSKRIT CLASSES)

Acharya Kulam Yoga conducts a short 21-hour programme aimed to promote the learning and use of spoken Sanskrit. These entry-level classes are designed to make anyone without any prior knowledge of Sanskrit, speak the language. We have adopted a fun way of teaching this unique language with lot of highly interactive sessions, game and more.

Sanskrit is the language of yoga and Ayurveda with a lot of terms and phrases requiring a basic understanding of usage and meaning, and using English in such situations may be clumsy and inaccurate. Besides the recitation of Sanskrit sholkas and mantras is sometimes seen as being complementary to yogic practice.

TRADITIONAL YOGA THERAPY

Yoga therapy is typically conducted one-on-one or in small groups. It is resembles meeting a physical therapist rather than a typical yoga class. Yoga therapy takes a whole-body approach, assessing each person’s overall health and working with whatever limitations are present. This approach also considers mental health, sometimes using a combination of talk therapy and movement, under the assumption that mental and physical wellness are integrated. Individual assessment is key, since two people with similar conditions could have very different medical histories or complicating factors that would result in a different course of treatment.

It links movement to deep rhythmic breathing and emphases relaxation. It encompasses a broad range of methods and purposes. In terms of physical health, this can be rehabilitative, curative, preventative, or to manage a chronic condition with the goal of improving quality of life.

Myths about Yoga

There are certain myths regarding yoga. Let's see how yog guru Bharat Bhushan ji clarifies the things:

1. Yog is a religious concept and non-Vedic i.e. other than Hindus can not adapt yog as a lifestyle.
This is a myth that non-Hindus can't adapt yog as a lifestyle but yes this is absolutely true that yog is a religious concept. Yog is the final destination for all the religions. All the religions finally merge into yog just like different rivers come from different ways and finally merge into the ocean, same is with yog and religion. Let it be any religion, it finally merges into yog. In Christianity we call it Self-realization, in Islam we call it Vasla or Deedar, in vedic religion or Hinduism we call it Atmasakshatkara. All is yog. For being religious one has to become yogi and to adapt yog as a lifestyle.

2. One can loose 3 to 4 kgs of weight in 2 to 3 days through yog practice.
Yog is a science not a magic, its true one can loose weight through continuous yog practice but 3 to 4 kgs in 2 to 3 days is not recommendable as it may become threat to good health.

3. Cancer and Aids patients can be medicated through yog.
Yog practice can of course increase the immunity level of an individual and make him fit but absolute medication of such crucial disease is not possible.

4. Yog therapy is a substitute for medication
Yog therapy is not a substitute for medication; but it is a vital adjunct to the surgical procedures, psychotherapy and medication. A continuous practitioner needs not to take any medicine as his immunity level increases.

5. Yogis are unmarried.
God himself is a Grehasti to look after his entire Universe, his big family. If we go back in history all the yogis were Grehestis i.e. married. Let it be Yogiraj and Natraj Shiv, Yogeshvara Krishna, Marayada Purushottam Ram, Yogi Raja Janak or Guru Ram Krishna Paramhansa, all were married and the real yogis who made a balance in all of the aspects of their life, and this is what Yog is all about… balance and harmony.

6. Yog means meditation / Yog means pranayam or breathing exercises/ yog means physical exercises.
Yog is not only meditation, not only pranayam and not only a set of physical exercises. Pranayam, asan i.e. physical exercise and meditation all are parts of yog and hence yog is complete lifestyle in itself. Yam, niyam, asan, pranayam, pratyahar, dharana, meditation and Samadhi all are different parts of yog and when one joins these different parts then only it is called yog.
'Yog and Meditation' is a wrong phrase as meditation is already there in yog.

7. Yog practitioner or Guru should be serious, and should never laugh.
Laughter is the divine gift of God to human beings… Only Yogi, the yog practitioner can laugh and enjoy every moment of his life.

After each session Attahas i.e. laughter is practiced, as it's the best exercise for body, mind and soul.

8. There is no sweating in yogic exercises hence aerobic or other form of exercise is the substitute for this.
There are fast exercises in the Bharat Yog, the traditional and original form of yog, which are known as Drut Kriyas that are there for calorie consumption and helps in sweating.

9. One should be flexible for practicing yog.
Shri Krishna said to Arjun 'tu jis bhi sthiti mein hai meri or chal mein tujhe prapt ho jaunga' You have to begin your journey right from the station where you are standing, don't wait for getting rid of the vices, just start walking on the path of yog and vices'll be removed naturally.

10. One can become yog teacher after joining one month yog teachers training course.
No… never. Yog teacher in one month seems as if a joke. Yog is such a wide subject that I truly feel even one birth is a very short period to learn this great Indian science.

11. Youngsters doesn't need to learn yog. Its too early for them.
Yogacharyaa Pratishtha started learning yog at the tender age of three and was appointed professionally as a yoga consultant at the age of 20. I personally feel that as its much more easy to give shape to sand as compared to sand utensil, same is there with kids. At young age a child can be molded as we want, hence this is the right time to teach him the perfect way to live i.e. Yog, which can help them to Discover their Destiny as they want.

12. One needs to change his lifestyle before practicing yog.
No need to change the lifestyle before practicing yog. It'll be changed automatically while moving on the path of yog which will for sure provide the practitioner the eternal joy.

13. Only Pranayaam (breathing exercises) is sufficient.
Only pranayaam can never give perfect results as toxins get deposited on different joints of the body and for proper flow of praan is must before practicing pranayaam because until toxins are there at the joints pranayaam cant help in complete flow of oxygen. Hence, before practicing Pranayaam, aasan and kriyas are must.

14. Only meditation is sufficient.
Meditation is not only relaxation. In fact, something much more than relaxation and only the one who is tired can enjoy the pleasure of being relaxed. In the beginning one can practice dynamic meditations or lying meditations. The perfect method for attaining perfect result is to do meditation in meditative posture like Padmaasan, siddhaasan or vajraasan and to sit in these postures one should practice them. Some stretching exercises are must before practicing meditation so that the practitioner can concentrate easily without any diversion towards pain at any part or unease in sitting.


Frequently Asked Questions on Yoga ?

  1. 1 What does the word Yoga means?

 

Ans. The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word Yoga is to ‘yoke’.  Accordingly, Yoga can be defined as a means for uniting the individual spirit with universal spirit of God.

 

Q. 2 What is Yoga?

 

Ans.  According to Maharishi Patanjali, “Cessation of thought wave is Yoga”.  Then, the ‘Seer’ is firmly established in his original state i.e. the state of pure consciousness.

 

Q. 3 What is the right place to do Yoga?

 

Ans. The place for practicing Yoga should be well protected from the menace of animals, rodents and insects. If it is indoors, it should be well ventilated and having sufficient light.  The surroundings should not be noisy.  The ground should be plain and flat.

 

Q. 4  Is Yoga just stretching?

 

Ans. Yoga is not just stretching, it is more than that. Yoga is science and art of living healthy, spiritually uplifted, happy and contended life.  It provides the state of harmony between stretching and relaxation brought without any efforts, which tranquilises the mind and stabilises the body.

 

Q. 5  What are the risks of learning Yoga without proper guidance?

 

Ans.  .  There are chances of getting oneself hurt during the practice of various Asanas and Pranayamas in a wrong way. Desired results may also not be achieved if practiced is continued in wrong manner. So, it should be done under the guidance of a trained and experienced guru.

 

Q. 6 How important is it to learn Yoga from a Yoga Instructor?

 

Ans. Learning Yoga under supervision of trained Yoga Instructor is essential.  The Yoga Instructor appropriates yogic practice for an individual keeping in mind the age, sex, physical strength of the learner. Every individual requires different set of Yogic practices keeping in mind his objective of doing Yoga, flexibility and strength.  There are chances of getting oneself hurt during the practice of various Asanas, Pranayamas etc. if done in a wrong manner.

 

What is Yoga?


The word Yoga is originated from a Sanskrit root, Yuj, meaning unity or yoke. The purpose of Yoga is to unite ourselves with our highest nature, which means peace, plenty, prosperity, development & progress. This re-integration is accomplished through the practices of various yoga disciplines. Until this re-integration takes place, we identify ourselves with our limitations -- the limitations of the body, mind, and senses. Thus, we feel incomplete and limited and are subject to feelings of unhappiness, sorrow, insecurity, fear and separation since we have separated ourselves from the experience of the whole. When the restlessness of the mind, intellect & self is stablised through the practice of Yoga, the Yogi by the grace of Spirit within himself finds fulfilment. There is nothing higher than this. The ultimate aim of this philosophy is to strike a balance between mind and body and attain self-enlightenment. To achieve this, Yoga uses movement, breath, posture, relaxation and meditation to establish a healthy, lively and balanced approach to life.



Maharishi Patanjali explains in his first Sutra, "Atha Yoganusasanam" that Yoga is a discipline. 

Various Yoga disciplines are -- Personal discipline (Yama), Social discipline (Niyama), Physical discipline (Asana), Pranic discipline (Pranayama), Senses discipline (Pratyahara), Mental discipline (Dharana), Intellect discipline (Dhyana)& Full-self discipline (Samadhi). Those who understand the importance of this discipline should prepare themselves to learn, study, and practice Yoga with mind, action and speech. Maharishi Patanjali's first lesson is that you have to discipline yourself & must keep the balance in every field of your life. For that, follow these seven commandants in everyday’s life.


Everyday

Systematically

Scientifically

Regularly

Without fail

With interest

Nothing is impossible

 

Harmony is called Yoga - "Samatvam Yoga Uchyate"- says the Bhagavadgita. It means that in every situation keeping your balance is very important. There are three As in it- Adjust, Accommodate & Adapt. Yoga does not mean remaining hungry or eating too much or remaining wide-awake for nights together or to sleep long hours or to remain completely silent continuously or go on speaking without respite. Such imbalances cannot be termed Yoga. Do everything in moderation. Gurudev Swami Shri Sivananda used to say," In all conditions, I am blissful, I am blissful, I am blissful, absolute".

 

In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna has given a very beautiful and exact definition of Yoga, "Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam". It means that Yoga is skill & efficiency in action. Work alone is your privilege, never let the fruits of action be your motive. Be not affected by success or failure. Lord Krishna says that performing all your Karmas with skill & efficiency is Yog. Whatever work you do, do it whole-heartedly & well organized. A lady, who is a good cook can become a good Yogini because her mind is alert in her job. If you are talking, talk, if you are walking walk, if you are eating eat and even if you are getting angry then get angry whole-heartedly. It means that if you are exclusively focussed towards a job & your mind is alert and stays alongwith the body, the condition is termed Yoga.

 

Maharsi Patanjali also defines Yoga as "Yogah Chitta Vrihti Nirodhah". It means steady control of the restless mind. Mind, by its very nature, is outgoing and unsteady.  


Thoughts come & go from the Mind. The four inner organic faculties or functions of mind are Manas, Buddi, Chitta and Ahamkara. (a) Mind is having the power & faculty of attention, selection & rejection. (b) Mind reasons, that is intellect - Buddi. (c) Memory or Chitta accumulates the reasoning. It is the faculty of consciousness, in which all actions of the present, memories of the past and visions of the future take place. Mind keeps reasoning on irrelevant things. Ego or Ahamkara, is the "I"syndrome, the state which ascertains that 'I am know all'. It is rigidity.


We require a calm, serene, one-pointed mind, free from negative emotions and the distractions created by cravings, obsessions, and desires. To reach the subtler levels of consciousness and awareness, we need willpower, clarity of mind and the ability to consciously direct the mind towards our goal. Removing the fickleness or taking out the bad thoughts of the mind is Yog. “Yoga is the control of the Vrittis (modifications of the mind field,)” It means the control of all four faculties of the psyche.

 

Gita tells us, "Yuktahara Viharascha" That means maintaining balance in life style. We require correct eating & living habits. We need good health, a calm mind, sincerity and a burning desire to rise above our human imperfections. Our health is maintained by a simple and well- regulated diet, adequate sleep, some physical exercise and relaxation. Imbalance or excesses in food, exercise, sleep or our personal relationships produce physical and emotional disruptions. 


If one desires to satisfactorily carry out any job, it is essential to have a healthy body & mind. He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working and recreation can mitigate all material pains by practicing the Yoga system. Hatha yoga can bestow health. Raja Yoga leads to highest state in the absolute.


Yoga is a way of life. It is the science of consciousness, creativity & personality development. It is the science of the self, of the body & of the mind. Actually, its meaning, definition & explanation may differ from person to person in view of varied nature of an individual's feelings & experiences. But one thing is perfectly clear that Yoga is always concerned with three integrated components of body, mind & consciousness.



The Role of Yoga in Diarrhoea



Frequency of passing stool is known as diarrhoea. Normally, ten litres of fluids reach the intestines from the food, drinking water and from internal secretions of the stomach, liver, pancreas and intestines each day. But when it is not re-absorbed or if there is excessive secretion of fluid into the intestinal lumen (The lumen is the cavity where digested food passes through and from where nutrients are absorbed), the enlarged volume of fluid causes increased motility (Motility is a biological term which refers to the ability to move spontaneously and actively) of the intestinal wall and the unabsorbed material is passed out as watery, loose stool. There are two types of diarrhoea- acute and chronic.


Acute is a short term illness. Chronic is a long term symptom, lasting for weeks, months or years and may worsen or improve with changing seasonal conditions.


Symptoms

 

Food poisoning, overeating, simple indigestion, irritable colon syndrome (Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine), dysentery, colitis and even cancer of the bowel


Causes

 

1. Infections, toxins, poisons and drugs

2. Psychogenic stress (mental or emotional stress) is also an important factor; it may be developed into an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) later on in life.


Causes Of Chronic Diarrhoea Can Be Classified As:


1. Gastric disturbances

2. Neoplasm (tumor; any new and abnormal growth)

3. Hepatobiliary disorders (diseases affect the liver plus the gallbladder, bile ducts or bile)

4. Pancreatic disorders

5. Small intestinal disturbances

6. Colonic disturbances

7. Rectal disease

8. Metabolic disorders (A metabolic disorder is a medical condition characterized by problems converting food to energy).

9. Drug induced diseases

10. Post operative causes


Clinical Signs & Symptoms

Frequent loose motions, abdominal cramps and pains, mild to severe fever, vomiting, excessive thirst and cramps in the legs are the most common symptoms in causing mild to severely acute diarrhoea. In chronic diarrhoea, along with frequent loose motions, other important associated findings may include:


 Weight loss

 

• Malabsorption (Malabsorption is a state arising from abnormality in absorption of food nutrients across the gastrointestinal (GI) tract)

 

• Arthritis

 

• Skin manifestations

 

• Fistula and sinus formation (Fistula and sinus formation may result from subcutaneous or submucosal abscesses from infected anal glands)

 

• Severe abdominal pain

 

• Nocturnal diarrhea (Diarrhoea that occurs chiefly at night)


Along with clinical assessment of signs and symptoms, laboratory examination of fresh stool for blood, pus, amebae (A single-celled (protozoan) organism that constantly changes shape), and bacteria such as staphylococci, salmonella and claustridia, is usually indicated.


Management Of Diarrhoea


1. Restriction of solid food for 24 to 48 hours.

2. Bed rest.

3. Consumption of enough boiled water to replace lost fluids. In severe cases parenteral fluid replacement (intravenous glucose or saline) may be instituted where there is a threat of dehydration, especially in children.

4. Application of heat to the abdomen.

5. Medicines can suppress intestinal motility (Intestinal motility disorders apply to abnormal intestinal contractions) and remove infection.


A mild bout of diarrhoea is usually short lived and self-limiting. It may come at a time when we have eaten unwisely or in excess, or when digestion and thermo-regulation have been temporarily disturbed. It represents an attempt by the body to restore good health. It is wrong to suppress such a bout of simple diarrhoea with medicines which block the natural purifying reaction of the body. The best treatment is to simply rest, fast for one or two meals and drink boiled water. As symptoms diminish, food can be recommenced, beginning with liquid broth or light khichari. Usually this is enough to correct the situation.


However, if the diarrhoea continues or worsens, or high fever, vomiting or dehydration supervene, it is an indication that a more severe acute infectious process is underway, possibly even typhoid or cholera. In this situation, a physician can make the diagnosis and prescribe a suitable antibiotic agent. A proper medical diagnosis is also the first step in the treatment of chronic diarrhoea. This usually involves examination and culture of stool specimens in a pathological laboratory. Treatment can then be instituted according to the cause and site of origin of the disease.


Poor Digestive Power


One of the most common causes of chronic diarrhoea is poor digestive power. This produces hypoacidity, flatulence and indigestion, and is often the root cause of the low energy state which results in dysentery and amebiasis (Amebiasis is an infection of the intestines caused by the parasite Entamoeba histolytica). In the long term, chronic mucus colitis may supervene and where there is major psycho-emotional stress involved, the disorder is known as ulcerative colitis (Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease). Yogasanas, Shatkriyas and relaxation play an important role in the treatment of colitis in conjunction with dietary regulation, fasting, conventional chemotherapeutic drugs and purification of the water supply.


Our Digestive System


The digestive system is made up of the digestive tract—a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus—and other organs that help the body break down and absorb food. Organs that make up the digestive tract are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine-also called the colon- ,rectum and anus. Inside these hollow organs is a lining called the mucosa. In the mouth, stomach, and small intestine, the mucosa contains tiny glands that produce juices to help digest food. The digestive tract also contains a layer of smooth muscle that helps break down food and move it along the tract. Two “solid” digestive organs, the liver and the pancreas, produce digestive juices that reach the intestine through small tubes called ducts. The gallbladder stores the liver’s digestive juices until they are needed in the intestine. Parts of the nervous and circulatory systems also play major roles in the digestive system.



Preventive Measures


Polluted water is the main cause of infective diarrhoea. Therefore, water should be purified for drinking purposes. Most Indian villages generally depend on open well water or water from ponds, lakes or small rivers, sometimes the only source of water is a pit dug in a dry river-bed.


Therefore, the following preventive measures should be taken to avoid infections.


1. Where there is no safe water supply, drinking water should be boiled.


2. Water should be chlorinated and purified with bleaching powder.


3. Open eatables from the shop should be avoided, at least in summers when diarrhoea is more prevalent.


4. Contamination or infection of water is commonly due to unsanitary toilet habits. Instead of using open grounds and roadsides, trench latrines should be prepared and waste covered with a little soil.


5. Hands and feet should be washed well after defecation.


The Role Of Yoga


• Many people think that Yoga is not very helpful in cases of acute or chronic diarrhoea. Yogasanas and Pranayama are the best means of developing and maintaining a strong digestive power and thereby eliminating dysentery and colitis, as well as many skin diseases, menstrual disturbances and liver problems.


• However, the correct application of Yoga can be very effective, especially in emotional cases, where relaxation techniques such as Yoga-nidra help to diminish emotional stimuli from the hypothalamus. This in turn reduces the hypermotility of the colon.


• Kunjal and Vyaghra Kriyas are other important practices for increasing digestive fire, and alleviating the troublesome symptoms of indigestion in the upper digestive tract.


• The Yogic Shatkarmas, or physical cleansing techniques, are an important means of improving a weak digestive capacity. The practice of Shankhaprakshalana involves drinking sixteen glasses of warm salt water to wash the entire alimentary canal.


Shankhaprakshalana, as well as cleaning and revitalizing the digestive tract, also has a reflex action on the hypothalamus, influencing the emotional processes and relieving disease stimuli. In the case of chronic amebiasis caused by E. hystolytica (Entamoeba histolytica is an anaerobic parasiticprotozoan, part of the genus Entamoeba), Shankhaprakshalana washes away all of the debris and thick mucus attached to the walls of the intestines. As a result causative organisms lying in the folds of the mucosa are successfully eliminated. Inflammation in the sub-mucosal layer is also relieved due to fomentation by the warm saline water. The inflammation then subsides as E. hystolytica remaining in the sub-mucosa find their way to the surface of the bowel. 


If Shankhaprakshalana is then performed again later, all amoebae are eliminated from the colon. Thus, by following this simple procedure, a person can be completely cured of chronic amebiasis.


Recommended Practices


After Shankhaprakshalana has been performed, the following Asanas are recommended on a daily basis:


1. Preparatory Practices Part 1 & 2 (Read my article “Yogic Home Work”)


2. Vajrasana, Pawanmuktasana, Sarvangasana, Halasana, Bhujangasana, Shalabhasana, Paschimottanasana, Shashankasan, Matsyendrasana, Yog mudra and Shavasana. These major Asanas should only be undertaken after pawanmuktasana Preparatory Practices is perfected.


3. Pranayamas are most useful in restoring depleted digestive capacity, particularly:


Omkar, Sheetali Sheetkari, Bhastrika (The Bellows Breath), Shivananda Pranayama (Full abdominal breathing in Shavasana) 15 to 20 minutes.


4. More advanced practices include:


Nadi- shodhana with Uddiyana, Moola and jalandhara Bandhas


5. Nauli Kriya.


For Acidity, Gas, Dyspepsia, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Constipation, Piles, Fissure Following are a must do


• Before food ,Yoga- mudra & Pawanmuktasana for 5 to 10 minutes (no hernia problem). In case of hernia then first go for treatment. In that case operation is the solution.


• After 6 to 8 weeks of operation Pawanmuktasana can be done.


• After having food , Vajrasana 15 to 20 minutes.


• Diet plan according to the problem.


• Omkar 5 to 10 minutes


• Sheetali & Sheetkari Pranayama 10 to 15 times


• Shivananda Pranayama 15 to 20 minutes


• Meditation 15 minutes


• Take less medicine because it has side effects.

 

Dietary Recommendations

 

1. Avoid all heavy foods, particularly fried foods, which over tax the digestive system.

Avoid uncooked vegetables.


2. Simple boiled vegetables and khichari are ideal.


3. Avoid overeating. Take the evening meal around 5 p.m. Try to fix a regular time for meals and do not take any snack foods in between.


4. If diarrhoea is due to indigestion, take one light meal per day and avoid dairy products. Rice and dahi (yoghurt) are useful when digestion is strong, but when this is not the case, the best preparation is whey.


5. Fasting is the most effective way to alleviate any exacerbation of symptoms.


Other Home Remedies


• An effective remedy for diarrhoea is the use of buttermilk. It is the residual milk left after the fat has been removed from yogurt by churning. It helps overcome harmful intestinal flora and re-establish the benign or friendly flora. The acid in the buttermilk also fights germs and bacteria.


• It may be taken and mixed with a pinch of salt three or four times a day.


• Carrot soup is another effective home remedy for diarrhoea. It supplies water to combat dehydration, replenishes sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulphur and magnesium, supplies pectin and coats the intestine to allay inflammation. It checks the growth of harmful intestinal bacteria and prevents vomiting. One pound of carrot may be cooked in five ounces of water until it is soft. The pulp should be strained and boiled water added to make a quart. Three-quarter tablespoon of salt may be mixed. This soup should be given in small amounts to the patient every half an hour.


• The pomegranate has proved beneficial in the treatment of diarrhoea on account of its astringent properties. If the patient develops weakness due to profuse and continuous purging, he should be given repeatedly about 50 ml. of pomegranate juice to drink. This will control the diarrhoea.


• Mango seeds are also valuable in diarrhoea. The seeds should be collected during the mango season, dried in the shade and powdered and kept stored for use as medicine when required. It should be given in doses of about one and a half gram to two grams with or without honey.


• Turmeric has proved another effective home remedy for diarrhoea. It is a very useful intestinal antiseptic. It is also a gastric stimulant and a tonic. Turmeric rhizome, its juice or dry powder are all very helpful in curing chronic diarrhoea. In the form of dry powder, it may be taken in buttermilk or plain water.


• In case of diarrhoea caused by indigestion, dry or fresh ginger is very useful. A piece of dry ginger is powdered along with a crystal or rock salt. A quarter teaspoonful of this powder should be taken with a small piece of jaggery. It will bring quick relief as ginger, being carminative, aids digestion by stimulating the gastrointestinal tract.

• Starchy liquids such as arrowroot water, barley water, rice gruel and coconut water are highly beneficial in the treatment of diarrhoea. They not only replace the fluid lost but also bind the stools.


• Other home remedies include bananas and garlic. Bananas contain pectin and encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria. Garlic is a powerful, effective and harmless antibiotic. It aids digestion and routs parasites.


• The best water treatments for diarrhoea are the abdominal compress (at 60 o F) renewed every 15 to 20 minutes and cold hip bath (40 o - 50 o F). If the patient is in pain, abdominal fomentations for 15 minutes should be administered every two hours.





The Yogic Approach to Managing Depression


Depression is a psychosomatic disorder which afflicts the whole physical and mental structure. The nervous system, the network of endocrine glands, the muscular system of the body, sleep patterns and appetite are all disrupted. These days depression is one of the most common illnesses and the impact of this disease is not on the sufferer alone, but it has far reaching effects on family members, friends and colleagues as well. Depression is equally common in both women and men. The most likely sufferers belong to two groups: Men in retirement and women undergoing the menopause or 'change of life'. However, depression can surface at any age, often in young people, for example, college students and young housewives.



Symptoms:

 

Some of the common symptoms of depressive illness are listed below, but not all these features will be present in every depressed patient.


Loneliness: The person feels that no one else can know exactly how wretched he is feeling. This persistent lowering of mood is one of the most characteristic features.


Insomnia: There is always a disturbance in sleep pattern. Sometimes there is difficulty getting off to sleep; but more often the complaint is of waking in the night or early morning and being unable to go off to sleep again. Sometimes a depressed person will sleep for 12 or more hours and still wake un-refreshed.


Lack of energy or overwhelming physical tiredness: Depressed persons are easily fatigued, even if just sitting in a chair all day


Loss of appetite and weight: A decreased appetite is almost always seen among depressed persons with resulting weight loss.


Increased irritability: The depressed person is usually irritable. Small things annoy him. He is aware that the irritability is unjustified, but can do nothing about it.


Loss of memory and concentration power: Depressive disorders can affect memory and concentration.


Loss of interest in life: Things are put off until tomorrow, and even simple tasks become insurmountable difficulties.


Excessive worrying: There is difficulty in making decisions, even very simple ones such as what clothes to wear.


Anxious and agitated behaviour often masks underlying depression: When anxiety is eliminated either by tranquillizing drugs or by Yogic practices, the depression manifests itself fully.


A variety of physical ailments: such as aches and pains; constipation or indigestion.


Slowness to act and slowness of body movements, speech, etc: This is termed psycho-motor retardation.


Feelings of self-pity and hopelessness: The person feels that he is not appreciated and that no one really cares. This is when thoughts of suicide begin to arise.


Causes:


Three distinct types of depression reactions are recognized, but they frequently complicate one another. They are biologically based depression, reactive depression, drug-induced depression.


1. Biologically based depression:

This includes endogenous depression and manic depression. The onset of this type of depression is unrelated to external or environmental stress factors. However, it can frequently be traced to hormonal disturbances, especially imbalance of the pituitary, thyroid and reproductive hormones in the blood. Both underactive thyroid and menopause are prominent causes of depression.

This state of depression commonly follows diseases such as influenza and hepatitis, and sometimes childbirth in women. Biologically depression is also a symptom of some physical disorders such as anaemia and electrolyte imbalance.


2. Reactive depression:

 

This is a state of depression which descends following some form of environmental stress in the life of the sufferer. Disappointment in life is a common precipitating factor. The particular circumstances which lead on to depression, for one person depend on his individual personality, strengths and weaknesses. Common precipitating causes may include unfulfillment in marriage, failure of business enterprise, academic under-achievement or failure, response to the pain and disability of a physical illness, etc. This form of depression is especially common following sudden and unexpected failure in life.


3. Drug-induced depression:

 

This is a form of depression which has become far more common in recent years as many more powerful drugs and medicines are being prescribed. A wide variety of drugs such as anti-hypertensive agents (prescribed for blood pressure), sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs, anti-psychotic drugs, stimulants and appetite suppressant drugs. There are some others also: Indomethacin prescribed for arthritis, sulphonamides for dysentery and other infections, levodopa for parkinson's disease, oral contraceptives for prevention of pregnancy may produce depression.


Normal and abnormal depression:


A depressive reaction is considered to be a normal event following a loss in life. It may last for 8 to 10 weeks and does not require medical treatment. When it persists beyond this, it may become a depressive illness. In the recently bereaved, who have been deprived of a close relative or family member, insomnia, sadness, despair, anger, guilt, restlessness and increased physical complaints are part of the normal grieving reaction. These persist for a few months. If symptoms continue and an aura of hopelessness and sadness continues to surround the sufferer, then abnormal depressive illness is present. Such a depressive illness usually runs a course of between 6 and 12 months. It may become chronic and last for years.


Medical management of depression:


Medical management of depression is largely symptomatic at the present time. Doctors rely on anti-depressant drugs including the tricyclic anti-depressants and the monoamine oxidase inhibitor group, to temporarily elevate the patient's mood. However, soon after these drugs are discontinued, the depression usually descends as before. Also, the drugs have troublesome side-effects which increase with time of usage.


Severe depression may be prescribed electroconvulsive shock therapy (E.C.T.) in which a short, high-voltage electrical shock is applied to the brain. This is a major procedure which profoundly alters the state of the patient's memory, recall and other capacities, at least for some days or weeks. It offers temporary relief of overwhelming depression, and is often the only remedy for severely depressed patients in whom suicide seems a real and likely possibility. It has the advantage that the depressive mood is elevated immediately, whereas anti-depressant drugs must be taken for 3 weeks before reliable blood levels are attained and elevation of depression occurs. Psychotherapy has also been utilized for some depressed patients, but with limited success. At present, medical cure of depressive illness remains elusive.


The Yogic Approach to Managing Depression:


Yogic practices effectively alleviate depression. Even the deepest depressive states and illnesses respond to Yogic therapy, but this therapy should be undertaken by a qualified Yoga teacher. According to Yogic science, depression occurs when there is no objective in life and no engagement for the mind. It occurs especially after retirement, when many people do not know how to fill in the extra time because they have no social, cultural, artistic or spiritual interests. So, they just end up sitting idly, wasting time. But how long can one just keep sitting? It may go on for one or two years, but during this time, the mental faculties are undergoing a process of degeneration through disuse and the nerves themselves begin to atrophy. This is nervous depression.


Yogic program for depressive illnesses:


Asana: preparatory practices (part 1, 11 & energy block postures). For these Asanas please read my article on ‘Yogic Home Work’.


Then start with Surya-namaskara, Trikonasana, Vajrasana, Ushtrasana, Shashankasana, Bhujangasana,Shashank-Bhujangasana, Paschimottanasana, Sarvangasana, Halasana, Utthanasana, Yoga-mudra, Matsyasana, Shavasana.


Pranayama: Deep breathing, Shitali, Shitkari, Ujjayi, Nadi Shodhana, Bhastrika, Maha Bandha and Brahmari.


Yogic Kriyas: Neti Kriya, Kunjal Kriya, laghoo Shankhaprakshalana, Agnisar Kriya, Kapalbhati Kriya, Nauli Kriya.


Mudras and Bandhas: Uddiyana Bandha, Moola Bandha (contraction and release of perineal body) 25 times. Maha Mudra.


Yoga Nidra: The use of a carefully chosen Sankalpa (personal resolution) during the practice of Yoga nidra will help the practitioner to grow in strength and self-esteem. Also, the decision to dedicate 30 minutes daily to this form of self-care is an important step in healing. It results in increased energy and reduced tiredness, and will probably be deemed enjoyable!


Meditation: One should do Meditation daily. Sit for Meditation early morning, at noontime, in the evening and at night for 15 to 20 minutes.


Trataka Dhyana: Another meditative practice that is often beneficial in managing depression is Trataka on a candle flame. The light of the flame stimulates the pineal gland. Under stimulation of the pineal by light is now recognized in scientific circles as a significant contributor to seasonal affective disorder – SAD, or winter depression. Also, Trataka develops willpower in the practitioner and this quality assists the depressed person in establishing regular practice, so necessary for recovery.


Diet: To bring the depression down to nil level it is advisable to consume fresh vegetables, fresh juices of fresh fruits, sprouted grains, skimmed milk without cream.


Avoid: Non-veg food, oily & spicy food, refined foods, fast food and preserved food.


Karma Yoga, a study of good books, company of people of matured thought and positive thinking, company of people who can infuse faith, inspire and leave deep impression would be of much help. The patient should go on repeating to his mind “I am quite well, I am quite healthy, I am quite composed.” He should continue thinking that all around is beautiful, all around is auspicious, and then everything will turn out beautiful, healthy, sound and happy.


To summarize, the Yogic approach to managing depression is to take the energetic view. We can reduce depressive states and gather the strength and willpower to embark on the next phase – that of examining and resolving the underlying causes of the depression. The practice of Yoga will clear all depression and will surely enlighten the life by rejuvenation and lightening the lamp of hopeful life.

Treating Intestinal Gas With Yoga


To satisfy hunger and taste we have invented various types of delicious food. But all loving things may not be auspicious.We may not be having the capacity to digest all food items which are tasty to the tongue. It is not wise to eat the food which is not digestible by the body.Those who have complaints of gas should control their diet.





GAS-HOW PRODUCED & TYPES

 

(1) The gas produced from bacteria due to putrefaction of food.

(2) The gas produced from the chemical reaction of indigestion.

(3) The gas produced due to inadequate blood circulation in the intestine.

There are five types of gases produced in the intestine. They are nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, methane & oxygen.


CAUSES

There are many reasons for gas formation. It occurs due to different reason in different people. It may occur due to food like potatoes, onion, milk, curd, rice, fried items, pulses, raw vegetables, soft drinks etc.Stress could be a cause too.


SYMPTOMS

With gas problem one suffers from headache, knee pain, low backache & bodyache. It could be fatal particularly for cardiac patients.


SOLUTION


AVOID

Heavy meals, pulses like channa, urad, moth and rajma, pickles and spices, fried, fatty, starchy & sugar containing food, soft drinks ,tea, coffee, cocoa, white flour, tinned fruit, refined cereals, non-veg, hot milk, raw fruit like mango, banana, late meals & gas forming foods.Avoid eating while talking, reading or watching TV.


ADOPT

Asanas such as Ardhapavanmuktasana, Pavanmuktasan, Vajrasana, Yogamudra, Halasana, Karanpidasana & Pranayamas such as Shitali, Shitkari & Sivananda. I am giving details of few Asanas & Pranayama below.


ARDHAPAVANMUKTASANA

 

Pavan means gas and mukta means free. Pavanmuktasana means freedom from gas. Any kind of physical abnormality that occurs due to gas can be prevented by regular practice of the Pavanmuktasana.

Lie down on your back on the mat with legs straight. Bend the right leg at knee joint & bring the knee to the chest. Interlock your fingers around the knee & press it to the thigh. Hold it for few seconds. The pressure should be felt on the belly by the leg which is bent at the knee. Then exhale & raise your head up & try to touch the knee with the forehead. Stay there for few seconds without forcing yourself. Then come back while inhaling. Do the same with the other leg. Do 3 times each side. Do same exercise with both the knees 3 times.


VAJRASANA


Vajrasana is the only asana which can be done immediately after having food. It is very good asana for digestion. Kneel on the floor. Keep the knees together. Let the right big toe overlap the left big toe. Heels apart, adjust your hips between the heels. Place your palms on your respective knees, keep the head straight & back erect. Breathe normally. Eyes closed and relax.When done, come back. Start the practice from 20 to 30 seconds and gradually increase to 15 to 20 minutes after the meals. (If there is pain in the thighs, the knees may be separated slightly in the beginning. A folded blanket or small cushion may be placed between the buttocks and the heel).


BENEFITS

By sitting in Vajrasana, the extra blood circulation is obtained in stomach by reduction in blood circulation in lower part of the body below the navel. Therefore, the working capacity of the various glands connected to digestion process increases. So there is no indigestion and as a result no gas formation.


YOGAMUDRA

Sit in Padmasana. If not possible, sit in normal comfortable position. Take both the hands behind the back and hold the left wrist by the right hand. Make fist of the left hand with left thumb inside of the left fist. First inhale & stretch the spine up.

Then start bending forward while exhaling. If possible, try to touch your forehead to the ground. Initially stay there for few breaths then gradually increase for few minutes.


BENEFITS

The regular practice of Yogamudra increases the harmony and fitness of the digestive system and it corrects all the disturbances in the abdomen. It increases the working capacity of the internal glands to a great extent.The digestion improves and there is no gas formation.


PRANAYAMA

Practice Shitali and Shitkari Pranayama in early morning & Sivananda Pranayama in the evening or when abdomen is light or empty. I have already mentioned Shitali and Shitkari Pranayama in my last Article (Balancing Weight with Yoga)


SIVANANDA PRANAYAMA

Lie on your back on the mat with your palms facing upwards. Bend both the knees. Keep the knees & feet apart.Take your mind to the solar plexus (navel)...Watch the breath... breathe in as slow as possible... breathe out as slow as possible...While breathing in, your stomach is rising... while breathing out, your stomach is falling...Remain a witness to the breath…You can practice Sivananda Pranayama for a period of ten to fifteen minutes in the morning, noon, evening as well as late night, whenever your stomach feels light, about three hours after meals.


BENEFITS

By this Pranayama, you will get mental soundness. It is very useful panacea for blood pressure, mental tension and irregularities connected with stomach.

Yoga & Frozen Shoulder


Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis. A person with adhesive capsulitis has inflammation of the shoulder joint. The inflammation causes joint stiffness and decreased range of motion of the joint. As the condition worsens, the range of motion in the shoulder significantly reduces. It is as if you stitched the folds of a tablecloth, you wouldn't be able to open the cloth up to its full size. 


Diabetes, shoulder trauma (including surgery), a history of open-heart surgery, hyperthyroidism and a history of cervical disk disease are all associated with an increased risk of this problem.


BASIC SHOULDER INTRODUCTION


The shoulder is the most movable joint in the body. However, it is an unstable joint because of the range of motion allowed. It is made up of three bones which are connected by muscles, ligaments and tendons. The round end of your upper arm bone (humerus) fits into a shallow groove on your shoulder blade (scapula). The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. It is easily subject to injury because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket that holds it. Generally socket is little bigger than the size of the ball, so that ball can fit inside the socket and easily move around. One way of picturing this joint is to think of a golf ball on a tee. Therefore, the exercise of moving shoulder up and down, forward and backward, arms rotation in a circular motion or hinge out and up away from the body are very important to keep the shoulder mobile.


YOGIC EXERCISES


The exercises below are a boon for frozen shoulder & neck pain. These help you to restore full & pain free range of motion and function to your shoulder. The good thing about these exercises is that these involve easy & slow stretching movements that require you to focus on your body. This focus will help you to pay attention to your body and any pain that may come from the stretching. It helps to warm up your shoulders and their smooth movement. It is important to be careful, patient and persistent. Initially do these exercises multiple times a day by connecting body, breath & mind. These will bring positive energy into the shoulders.


SITTING POSITION- VAJRASANA


1. Keep your arms at the sides, keep them straight and loose. Raise shoulders up and down with the breath. Up is inhale down is exhale. Do not bend the elbows. Repeat the process 7-10 times.


2. Rotate the shoulders back to front 7-10 times, then reverse, front to back 7-10 times, do with the breath. Up is inhale down is exhale. Arms are hanging loose at the sides.


3. Fingers on the shoulders, rotate them front to back7-10 times and then reverse 7-10 times. Do with the breath. Up is inhale down is exhale. Start out with very small circles and then make then bigger and bigger circles as your shoulder becomes free.


4. From Vajrasana gently stand on the knees. Cross the arms in the front, inhale, raise them up over the head & exhale. Bring them down from the sides. Repeat 7 times clockwise & 7 times anti clockwise. Do the same thing from the sides.


5. Now sit back in Vajrasana. Inhale and raise your arms up over the head, press the palms together as hard as you can, then keep pressing them & bring them down in front of the chest, while exhaling. Repeat 7-10 times.


6. Arms are apart, palms are facing towards each other, fingers together. Put anti pressure on the upper arms & bring the palms closer to each other at a distance of 6 to 8 inches while inhaling, then relax. Do 7-10 times.


7. Inhale, take your right arm down over the right shoulder behind the neck. Exhale, take your left hand from down behind the back. Try to hold your hands in a hook shape & pull them in the opposite. Try to remain in the position to the count of three breaths. Then reverse the position & do the same with the other side. Repeat 3 times each side (use a belt if hand does not come half way down the back).


8. Bring right arm in front of the chest by bending the elbow. Cross the left arm under the right arm. Hook the elbows and place hands as close as you can in a prayer position. Keep the hands near the nose. Do normal breathing. Now start with the left arm. Repeat 3 times each side.



Yoga … Stress and Your Health


Stress is a natural feeling that is created when we react to a particular situation. It can come at us from any number of facets of our lives; environment, mismanagement of daily routine, job, relationship, family, financial problem, children's studies, servant problem, getting perturbed on small matters, driving the car, children's attitude etc. Our reaction to stress is based on personal beliefs and values & also our attitude; positive or negative. Most of the people do not have major reasons for stress; most of it is self created.


For example:

 

· It may create stress if you wake up late in the morning and fail to reach the place in time; on the other hand, if you don't have to go to office but unfortunately you wake up early, you feel that your morning is spoiled. In both situations you may create stress.


· Every individual has his own status, plenty of wishes, there is no end to expectations but there is lack of ability to obtain every thing. Potentiality is inadequate but still people want to pluck the stars from the sky. Nothing wrong in that... but it is not proper if such uneasiness creates stress.


· Sometimes it happens that a joyful condition for one may be painful for the others. A little increase in daily workload may disturb one person while other person may become helpful to needy person even after completing his own work. This is where attitude matters.


These all are the reflections of the mental stress. Once it enters in your life, it should be eliminated by mature understanding. You are the key. You have a choice to turn the key clockwise or anticlockwise, that is to lock or unlock.


Gurudev Shri Swami Sivanandji Maharaja always propogated, "In all conditions, I am Bliss, I am Bliss, I am Bliss Absolute! ...... " It means that one should remain balanced and reassured in all conditions.


How Stress Works:


The problem is first assessed by the cerebral cortex, the thinking part of the brain, which then sends signals to the hypothalamus, the switch for a stress response & then on to the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS is an automatic system that controls the heart, lungs, stomach, blood vessels and glands. Due to its action we do not need to make any conscious effort to regulate our breathing or heart beat.


The ANS is divided into two parts: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The SNS and the PNS are located in the spinal column. They originate in the brain, run down through the spine, and branch out to nearly every organ, blood vessel, muscle and gland of the body including the sweat glands and hair roots. The two systems generally act in opposition to each other.


The Sympathetic Nervous System:

 

In a stressful situation, the SNS is called into action - it uses energy - blood pressure increases, heart beats faster and digestion slows down. These are "Fight or Flight" responses. Anxiety and panic attack "symptoms" such as sweating, hot flashes, nausea, diarrhoea, heart pounding, smothering, dizziness or light-headedness, tunnel vision, dry mouth, chest pain, etc. result from the normal operation of the sympathetic.


The Parasympathetic Nervous System:

The PNS does the opposite of what the SNS does and thus restores balance in our lives - blood pressure decreases, heart beats slower and digestion is proper. In other words, it calms and cools the system.


A correct balance between SNS & PNS will help in making our lives stress free. However, if SNS is misused for long periods, as often happens in a chronic stressful situation, it can cause sickness and disease.


Is it Possible to Live a Stress Free Life?


Yes! Sit peacefully for a few moments and ask these questions to yourself.


· Do I get disturbed on small matters?

· Do I get disturbed sleep?

· Do I feel exhausted and disturbed when I wake up?

· Am I very much worried?

· Am I having deep anxiety?

· Have I various complaints?

· Am I quarrelsome on small matters?

· Do I experience hopelessness and frustration?

· Do I feel that life is a burden?

· Do I feel fed up of life?


If the answer to any above questions is, "yes" you are living stressful life.


Counteract Stress with Trataka:


Trataka is a very effective way of withdrawing from external stress and distractions and allowing the brain to enter a relaxed and highly beneficial alpha state. It has a strong influence on the pineal gland and the sympathetic nervous system (Since the eye is directly connected to the pineal gland via the SNS).


Trataka helps in decreasing sympathetic nervous activity and increasing parasympathetic function. The level of relaxation attained in Trataka serves to lesson the harmful effects of 'fight or flight' response. The mind becomes steady and still, while all disturbing or stressful thoughts are blocked.


To Perform Trataka:



Sit peacefully with straight spine in front of a candle least lighted room. Light the candle and place it on a small bench at a distance of 2 feet from the eyes. Now watch the flame of the candle or the wick of the candle continuously and steadily. When you feel that your eyes are exhausted, close the eyes & try to visualize the flame of the lamp with closed eyes. Try to feel the flame inside you between your eyebrows. When this after image disappears, re-open the eyes and again start gazing the flame tip to re-establish the image in your mind, and continue this experiment several times. While gazing at the candle, engage your mind with chanting Omkar / Bhramari / watching on the breath / take your mind to your childhood period. Try to recapitulate the pleasure of the childhood. Jumping and its joy, laughing free minded and without any restriction etc. After remembering childhood, impressions try to recapitulate your youth gradually. Remember your cheerful youth, delight, enthusiasm, happiness, humour, romance, victory and defeat and if you want to cry do it freely by remembering old happenings. It will wash your stress through tears. Initially gaze for 2-3 minutes. Increase the duration of gazing each time and do it for maximum possible duration of about 15-20 minutes, but undue strain should not be taken. Ending this exercise, slowly close the eyes & lie down in Shavasana for some time.You can freshen the eyes afterwards by rinsing them carefully and gently with cold water.



Some Tips to De-stress

 

Ever noticed that certain people seem to adapt quickly to stressful circumstances and take things in stride. They are cool under pressure and able to handle problems as they come up. If you want to build your resilience, work on developing these attitudes and behaviours.


· Understand yourself by honest efforts, continuous awareness and learning. Identify the root causes & the role of expectation in creating stress.


· Train your mind to change the situation & smile when stress develops.


· Your outlook, attitude, and thoughts influence the way you see things, is your cup half-full or half-empty. Turn your negative energy draining thoughts into positive and empowering thoughts.


· Eliminate old habits, which cause disturbances in small matters of your daily life. Protect yourself from negative and stressful influences.


· Live methodical life with new thoughts. For that, you don't have to change your values and loyalties. Along with the change in the life, break your stubbornness, ego, obstinacy and old traditional thinking.


· Strengthen your power, capacity and mental abilities by practicing Yogasanas, Pranayama, Shavasana and Mediation regularly.


· Introspect daily life schedule peacefully, engage yourself in utilizing wonders of universe, beauty of life, importance of nature and every moment you have.


· Walk in fresh air; enjoy walking on green grass ground in the early morning, observe the colours of the rainbows, the flowers with soft leaves, groups of black bees, singing birds and dancing peacock, watch the stars in the blue sky; watch the ocean with jumping, undulating black water.


· Be optimistic. Believe in yourself. Be sure to breathe. And let a little stress motivate you into positive action to reach your goals. Interact with others & participate regularly in activities for relaxation and fun.


Practice this Tratak meditation regularly. The life, which you obtained, will be peaceful and stress free. You will become light minded; as calm & pleasant as a beautiful morning after heavy rains.


INNER BALANCE….Yoga & Premenstrual Syndrome(PMS)


WHAT IS PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is defined as a series of physical, emotional, psychological, and mood disturbance symptoms in women, which arises a few days before start of menstruation. About 80 percent of the ladies, when they reach the age of 30, experience sudden changes in their nature a few days before starting of menstruation. Symptoms that occur around the time of menstruation are many. 


Shashank Asana



Some women are mildly affected, experiencing few symptoms, whilst for others PMS may seriously affect their lives every month. Different conditions and different problems arise in different individuals. These include anxiety, irritability, depression, crying, oversensitivity, mood swings with alternating sadness, anger, headache, migraine, cramps, backache, weight gain, fatigue, bloating, breast tenderness, insomnia, acne, inability to concentrate, confusion, appetite changes with food cravings and lack of interest in usual activities. All these conditions obtain in premenstrual syndrome.


CAUSES OF PMS


Its cause is unknown, but PMS is probably related to changes in the levels of hormones, especially estrogens and progesterone (estrogens excess or progesterone deficiency), hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), vitamin B6 deficiency, abnormal metabolism of prostaglandin (hormone-like substances), excessive fluid retention, and endorphin (a substance in the brain that provides pain relief) withdrawal activities.


DIET & PMS

Reducing stress, increasing exercise, and making dietary changes around the time of menstruation can prevent PMS symptoms from worsening. Women should be encouraged to eat regular, well-balanced meals. A diet low in salt and sugar, adequate in protein, moderate in fat, and high in complex carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, good quality protein, nuts and seeds) will all help rebalance and maintain your hormones. Specifics dietary pattens like the following can be incorporated:-


First thing in the morning

Lemon water (lukewarm) with one-teaspoon honey


Before breakfast A glass of cabbage juice / carrot juice + spinach (add some honey into it)


Breakfast Have Munacca (10-15 Nos.) and Figs (2-4 Nos), soaked in water overnight in a glass container. Chew it well and do not throw away the water, drink it. Also dates & fresh fruit


Lunch

Wheat flour chapatti with Soya flour + seasonal vegetables + curd / buttermilk of skimmed milk & salad


Evening

1glass of coconut water / watermelon / cucumber / barley water / fresh coriander (dhania) water / buttermilk


Dinner

Mixed veg. soup , salad & steamed vegetables


Before going to bed

Lemon water (lukewarm) with one-teaspoon honey


Avoid

Sweets, sugar, cold drinks, fried, fatty, spicy, starchy and sugar containing food, tea, coffee cocoa, tinned fruit, white flour, refined cereals.


FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS



  • Drink tons of water (of normal temperature)
  • Eat small meals to maintain stable energy levels; this will also significantly reduce food cravings.
  • Cut down on salt and salty foods to help reduce fluid retention.
  • Wear a well fitting cotton bra if you suffer tense, painful breasts.
  • Talk to your family about your PMS so they can have some understanding of the problem. Help them develop attitude to be supportive during this time.
  • Make an effort to avoid extra stresses (mark your premenstrual time on the calendar so that you can avoid major activities).
  • Adequate rest, relaxation & sleep is essential. A yoga class is ideal.
  • Try to develop positive thinking & avoid excessive worry, anger, tension, jealousy and hurrying.
  • Thorough overhauling of the whole system under expert guidance is very helpful.



YOGA AND PMS


The practice of regular Yogasanas, Pranayama, Mediation, Shavasana along with introspection and self-examination have their effects on physical, mental and emotional life. Yoga is beneficial in improving general health and helps relieve nervous tension, anxiety, blood circulation, maintaining muscle tone, weight control or reduction and flexibility, and increasing the levels of mood-regulating chemicals in the brain, decrease in fluid retention and increase in self-esteem. While you are experiencing PMS, Shashankasana & a simple breathing exercise called Anulome Vilome can be performed at any time of the day to relax the muscles and nerves, which are under constant stress, strain and irritation. Both are helpful in regulating your hormones and balancing your system & state of mind.



SHASHANKASANA


1. This Asana is performed while sitting in Vajrasana. Keep back, neck and head in a straight line.

2. Sit with your legs folded behind in a manner similar to position occupied by Muslim friends while they sit for ‘Namaz’.

3. Take a deep breath and raise both the hands in one line with head up.

4. Now releasing breath and keeping the head steady in between the shoulders come down right up to the ground so that both the palms of the hands, the elbow and the forehead touch the ground.

5. Be sure that while bending down in this manner both the buttocks remain set between both the heels. They should not be raised.

6. As you go on bending forward, go on releasing the breath.

7. Breathe normally, when the head touches the ground.

8. Remain a witness of inhaling as well as exhaling of breath.

9. Stay in this position, as long as you are comfortable.

10. While you come up, breathe in.


NADI SHODHANA PRANAYAMA

 

Sit in a comfortable position steadily. Keep the palm of the right hand facing the face. Bend the first two fingers next to the thumb inside. Now put the right thumb on the right nostril and last two fingers of the same hand should be used to press the left nostril. Remember, for the practice of this Pranayama always start & finish the breathing from the left nostril.


TECHNIQUE

 

1. Breathe in through the left nostril slowly & deeply. Close the left nostril with the ring & little fingers and breathe out through the right nostril gently & deeply.

2. Breathe in through the right nostril. Close the right nostril with the thumb & breathe out through the left nostril.

3. This completes one round of Nadi Shodhana.

4. It can be done five to fifteen minutes according to the capacity of the body.


PLEASE NOTE

The above advice about Premenstrual Syndrome diet and eating habits is offered for general educational purposes only. If you suffer from severe PMS, please consult your physician for specific personal medical & dietary advice.



INNER BALANCE….Yoga & Premenstrual Syndrome(PMS)


WHAT IS PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is defined as a series of physical, emotional, psychological, and mood disturbance symptoms in women, which arises a few days before start of menstruation. About 80 percent of the ladies, when they reach the age of 30, experience sudden changes in their nature a few days before starting of menstruation. Symptoms that occur around the time of menstruation are many. 


Shashank Asana



Some women are mildly affected, experiencing few symptoms, whilst for others PMS may seriously affect their lives every month. Different conditions and different problems arise in different individuals. These include anxiety, irritability, depression, crying, oversensitivity, mood swings with alternating sadness, anger, headache, migraine, cramps, backache, weight gain, fatigue, bloating, breast tenderness, insomnia, acne, inability to concentrate, confusion, appetite changes with food cravings and lack of interest in usual activities. All these conditions obtain in premenstrual syndrome.


CAUSES OF PMS


Its cause is unknown, but PMS is probably related to changes in the levels of hormones, especially estrogens and progesterone (estrogens excess or progesterone deficiency), hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), vitamin B6 deficiency, abnormal metabolism of prostaglandin (hormone-like substances), excessive fluid retention, and endorphin (a substance in the brain that provides pain relief) withdrawal activities.


DIET & PMS

Reducing stress, increasing exercise, and making dietary changes around the time of menstruation can prevent PMS symptoms from worsening. Women should be encouraged to eat regular, well-balanced meals. A diet low in salt and sugar, adequate in protein, moderate in fat, and high in complex carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, good quality protein, nuts and seeds) will all help rebalance and maintain your hormones. Specifics dietary pattens like the following can be incorporated:-


First thing in the morning

Lemon water (lukewarm) with one-teaspoon honey


Before breakfast A glass of cabbage juice / carrot juice + spinach (add some honey into it)


Breakfast Have Munacca (10-15 Nos.) and Figs (2-4 Nos), soaked in water overnight in a glass container. Chew it well and do not throw away the water, drink it. Also dates & fresh fruit


Lunch

Wheat flour chapatti with Soya flour + seasonal vegetables + curd / buttermilk of skimmed milk & salad


Evening

1glass of coconut water / watermelon / cucumber / barley water / fresh coriander (dhania) water / buttermilk


Dinner

Mixed veg. soup , salad & steamed vegetables


Before going to bed

Lemon water (lukewarm) with one-teaspoon honey


Avoid

Sweets, sugar, cold drinks, fried, fatty, spicy, starchy and sugar containing food, tea, coffee cocoa, tinned fruit, white flour, refined cereals.


FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS



  • Drink tons of water (of normal temperature)
  • Eat small meals to maintain stable energy levels; this will also significantly reduce food cravings.
  • Cut down on salt and salty foods to help reduce fluid retention.
  • Wear a well fitting cotton bra if you suffer tense, painful breasts.
  • Talk to your family about your PMS so they can have some understanding of the problem. Help them develop attitude to be supportive during this time.
  • Make an effort to avoid extra stresses (mark your premenstrual time on the calendar so that you can avoid major activities).
  • Adequate rest, relaxation & sleep is essential. A yoga class is ideal.
  • Try to develop positive thinking & avoid excessive worry, anger, tension, jealousy and hurrying.
  • Thorough overhauling of the whole system under expert guidance is very helpful.



YOGA AND PMS


The practice of regular Yogasanas, Pranayama, Mediation, Shavasana along with introspection and self-examination have their effects on physical, mental and emotional life. Yoga is beneficial in improving general health and helps relieve nervous tension, anxiety, blood circulation, maintaining muscle tone, weight control or reduction and flexibility, and increasing the levels of mood-regulating chemicals in the brain, decrease in fluid retention and increase in self-esteem. While you are experiencing PMS, Shashankasana & a simple breathing exercise called Anulome Vilome can be performed at any time of the day to relax the muscles and nerves, which are under constant stress, strain and irritation. Both are helpful in regulating your hormones and balancing your system & state of mind.



SHASHANKASANA


1. This Asana is performed while sitting in Vajrasana. Keep back, neck and head in a straight line.

2. Sit with your legs folded behind in a manner similar to position occupied by Muslim friends while they sit for ‘Namaz’.

3. Take a deep breath and raise both the hands in one line with head up.

4. Now releasing breath and keeping the head steady in between the shoulders come down right up to the ground so that both the palms of the hands, the elbow and the forehead touch the ground.

5. Be sure that while bending down in this manner both the buttocks remain set between both the heels. They should not be raised.

6. As you go on bending forward, go on releasing the breath.

7. Breathe normally, when the head touches the ground.

8. Remain a witness of inhaling as well as exhaling of breath.

9. Stay in this position, as long as you are comfortable.

10. While you come up, breathe in.


NADI SHODHANA PRANAYAMA

 

Sit in a comfortable position steadily. Keep the palm of the right hand facing the face. Bend the first two fingers next to the thumb inside. Now put the right thumb on the right nostril and last two fingers of the same hand should be used to press the left nostril. Remember, for the practice of this Pranayama always start & finish the breathing from the left nostril.


TECHNIQUE

 

1. Breathe in through the left nostril slowly & deeply. Close the left nostril with the ring & little fingers and breathe out through the right nostril gently & deeply.

2. Breathe in through the right nostril. Close the right nostril with the thumb & breathe out through the left nostril.

3. This completes one round of Nadi Shodhana.

4. It can be done five to fifteen minutes according to the capacity of the body.


PLEASE NOTE

The above advice about Premenstrual Syndrome diet and eating habits is offered for general educational purposes only. If you suffer from severe PMS, please consult your physician for specific personal medical & dietary advice.




Yoga and Drug Detox


The habit on which we have no control and turn into a slave to it, is called Addiction. Addiction is a chronic but treatable brain disorder. Repeated use of drugs leads to addiction which disrupts the well-balanced neurochemical systems in the brain and severely alters the areas of the brain which are critical to decision making, learning, memory and behavioral control.


INTOXICANTS & THEIR EFFECTS

 

• Barbiturates, methaqualone, glutethimide, chloral hydrate and tranquilizers act to depress the nervous system and therefore affect breathing, heart rate as also our thoughts and emotions.


• Amphetamines, cocaine, caffeine and tobacco are stimulants. They suppress sleep and appetite and generally interfere with body rhythms.


• LSD, mushrooms, mescaline, marijuana & other chemicals consist of synthetic and natural substances. Marijuana has hallucinogenic effects & can cause a psychotic break in predisposed individuals.


• Opium, heroin, morphine, codeine and methadone come under the category of narcotics and opiates & produce both psychological and physical addiction.


There is no end to this list. When the addict is not satisfied by all these addictions, he goes on adding more and stronger items, ultimately getting scorpions and serpents giving stings on his tongue.


SYMPTOMS

 

• Changes in school performance – falling grades, skipping school etc.

• Changes in peer group – hanging out with drug using, antisocial friends

• Breaking rules at home, school and society

• Extreme mood swings, depression, irritability, anger and negative attitude, sudden increase or decrease in activity level, withdrawal from family and keeping secrets

• Changes in physical appearance – weight loss, lack of cleanliness, strange smells etc,

• Stammering, red watery glossy eyes or running nose (which are not due to allergies or cold), changes in eating and sleeping habits

• Lack of motivation or interest in activities which teenagers usually enjoy (eg sports, hobbies etc)

• Lying, stealing and hiding things, using street or drug languages or possession of drug paraphernalia or items, cigarette smoking

• Spendthrift in money matters.

• In the surroundings of his residence you will find empty bottles, aluminum foils, small pieces of cardboards or metal tubes, empty match boxes and injection syringes etc.


CAUSES

• A weakening of willpower

• A lack of external, social and family support, love, affection and not having an aim in life

• The curiosity to experiment with something new

• Bad company of friends who have wrong habits

• Illiterate people residing in cold regions


PSYCHIC ENERGY CENTERS

 

Ancient Indian Yogic texts describe Psychic energy centers (Chakras). This Psychic energy is translated into hormonal, physiologic and ultimately cellular changes throughout the body. Each major Chakra is associated with a major nerve plexus and a major endocrine gland. In a drug user, Prana (Life Force) is likely to be crystallized in Mooladhara and Swadhisthana Chakras. All the passions, complexes, anguish and desires have their roots there. The ensuing Pranic imbalance creates energy fluctuations in the nervous system, which may be the cause of the visual and auditory hallucinations. If the energy of these two Chakras is not purified, freed and transformed by passage to the higher Chakras, the impulses and experiences which guide a human being will be influenced by the qualities of these two chakras.


RECOMMENDED PROGRAM

 

To treat dependency and addictions, following program is recommended. It progresses from drug detox to postures to breath-work and to meditation.


DRUG DETOX


Detoxification is a necessary part of overcoming drug abuse. It is vital in the recovery process because it helps the body break its addiction to the substance the person has been abusing. If an individual does not go through drug detox, he will continue to have a strong physical craving for drugs and the withdrawal symptoms will make it very difficult to stay away. Methods used in detoxification are Yoga Asanas (postures), Sukshma Vyayam (gentle exercises), Pranayama, Bandhas, Mudras, Yoga Nidra, Meditation, Naturopathic Diet, massage, steam bath, jalneti, enema, wet and mud packs, hip bath, spinal bath, hot foot bath, full body dry friction, chest pack and chromotherapy (healing by using colour and light). Individuals who abuse drugs will need to go through medically supervised detoxification.


SHAVASANA FOR FIVE MINUTES


Lie down on the floor with your legs comfortable apart and arms limp by your side. First relax the entire physical body part by part mentally, then bring the awareness of the breath in the abdominal region, expand the abdomen with each inhalation and relax the abdomen with each exhalation. While doing these movements of the stomach feel the body relaxing & the body is becoming free from any kind of tension. Then just observe the whole body mentally & feel if there is still any tensions in any part of the body… release it. Observing your breath, your thoughts are directed towards detecting and discarding any remnants of tension. Thoughts are regarded and then released. This is the birth of mindfulness.


ASANAS

 

In the early stages simple legs & arms exercises and then shoulder rotations are excellent. As the practitioner increases his energy levels and physical strength, he can start with Kati- Chakrasana, Chakrasana, Dhanurasana, Paschimottanasana, Nauka Sanchalanasana, Vajrasana, Shashankasana, Ushtrasana (camel), Marjarisana (cat stretch) Tadasana, Trikonasana and Surya Namaskara. The various movements loosen up the joints & give flexibility, balance and strength to the body thus aiding the detoxification process.

 

PRANAYAMA

 

Pranayama is a panacea for the health of the mind and the heart. Bhramari (humming bee breath), Sheetali, Ujjayi, Kapalbhati, Bhastrika, Nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) and abdominal breathing all are good in a progressive way.


• Bhramari (humming bee breath) is useful for mental stress. It increases inner calmness and can soothen the turbulent mind. A few rounds of Bhramari are good for those who have trouble going to sleep. This is very useful at the time of detoxification when many addicts cannot sleep due to withdrawal.

• Sheetali cools the mind & helps in preventing and reducing the intensity of panic attacks.

• Ujjayi balances the endocrine system and very good for relaxation.

• Kapalbhati is useful in reducing the quantity of recurrent obsessive thoughts.

• Bhastrika removes the toxins.

• Nadi shodhana Pranayama is a crucial practice for mental clarity, alertness, balance and purification of the Nadis.


While doing Pranayama, breathe in peacefully and breathe out peacefully. With each inhalation, feel as you are inhaling new power, light, knowledge, brightness and development inside you. With each exhalation, feel as you are distributing happiness, composure and divinity to the universe. Fill the universe with composed and healthy thoughts, health and composure will return to you thousand-fold. Even if one continues a routine of Pranayama two to three times a day for ten to fifteen minutes for one continuous month, one can feel tremendous improvement in health.


BANDHAS

 

Once the energy and physical strength start increasing, Bandhas can be started. These are energy block removers. They compress organs and endocrine glands, affecting secretion and direction of flow. Bandhas increase stamina, strengthen the abdominal and lumbar muscles and massage the abdominal organs, increasing circulation to these areas. This massage works well on the liver, an important major organ for detoxification.


YOGA NIDRA

 

The practice of Yoga Nidra, which is a simple and indirect method to contact the preconscious and unconscious mind, is a practical and easily applicable technique. It allows the body to heal and to rest completely. Yoga Nidra gives time to step back and gain a wider picture of what is going on. Proceed systematically and very gradually; initially start with breath awareness, breath counting and rotation of consciousness around the body. 


To see one’s condition, introduce positive visualizations, but keep them simple, realistic, practical and grounded that contains self-recovery images which are linked with a Sankalpa (resolve). Sankalpa is the most useful and important part of the practice which is directed towards an improvement in physical balance. Always discover your own Sankalpa. Experience that you are fully composed and healthy. After few practices one will feel better, have more physical energy with improved digestion and sleep and a reduced level of anxiety.


DO’S & DON’T’S OF VISUALIZATION


• Choose those which relate to reality and are linked with everyday life. One can use visualizations connected with the sequence of Asanas performed or which were likely to improve the functioning of the physiological systems and organs, i.e. those directed towards the attainment of a definite practical objective. In general keep the visualizations very simple.


• Avoid suggesting any visualization which causes the practitioner to `fly away' and stimulate vivid memories. Avoid visualizations like walking on rainbows, sitting by crystal lakes, etc. However, under the influence of certain drugs you actually visualize certain things like that, so the association with that type of visualization would be drugs, a drug induced experience. We want to avoid any association between yoga and taking drugs, therefore, we try to keep the visualizations very grounded and practical.


A SMALL VISUALIZATION TECHNIQUE


For example, first go back through the day from the morning up to the present. Then go back another day. When you have the confidence of the practitioner, you can go further back, like one week, one month, one year & so on. It is quite important to go back to childhood. Recall is a useful technique for showing that there was a time before drugs were used, that the stage of using was just a middle stage, a period in their life, and did not last forever. It is quite useful for bringing up memories which people, who have been using drugs, didn't recall before, just to acknowledge "Yes, I did this," without guilt. It is very beneficial to clear out these mental images. If a cloud moves in, the sun gets covered. There is no reason to think that the brightness of the sun has reduced. Try this method two to three times in a day; you will surely attain complete composure and health.


JAPA SADHANA


Remember name of any God in which you have complete faith, while you move about, walk, sit and get up. God means peace, composure, beauty and happiness. Peace and happiness are your aims in life. Remember that name which would fill you with peace and composure in your internal consciousness. Forget the past. Do not worry about the future. Observe God every¬where in the planes with green grass extending on long distances in green field, in the high trees reaching the skies, beautiful streams, open sky, sunrise, sunset, the chirping of the birds, your sickness will run away. Open your heart before God. Oh God, I belong to you, you are mine, let anything that is good for me, happen. Remember God in your quiet and peaceful mind. God is inside you. You are also pure, you are intelligence incarnate. Feel this and you will inhabit new life.

 

AJAPA JAPA PRACTICE FOR 30 MINUTES

 

Sit in a meditative posture, keeping the eyes closed. If you feel you can’t keep the eyes closed wear eye patches so that you can stay in that relaxed state of mind only. Any visual stimulation affects the state of relaxation in the brain. Ajapa Japa, is a practice in which deepening of concentration and internalization of awareness takes place. Begin by witnessing the flow of the natural breathing of the nasal passage. Be aware of the cool sensation within the nostrils at the time of inhalation and the warm sensation within the nostrils at the time of exhalation. Concentration on the temperature of the air going in and out of the nostrils helps to balance the activities of the two brain hemispheres.


The flow in the right nostril stimulates the left hemisphere and the flow in the left nostril stimulates the right hemisphere. The right nostril is the location of Pingala Nadi, the source of heat and vitality, and the left nostril is the location of Ida Nadi, the source of coolness and tranquility. Therefore, if we were able to merge the mind with the experience of breathing and the temperature of the breath, it would be possible to induce changes in the patterns of the brain waves. This can be achieved through concentration and awareness of the fact that one is breathing in and out, and observing the temperature of the breath.


After observing the breath in the nostrils, become aware of the movement of the breath in the frontal passage between the nose and the navel.


Normally when we breathe in, the air goes down into the lungs and when we breathe out the air comes up out of the lungs. However, in the practice of Ajapa Japa, we reverse the awareness factor, so at the time of inhalation, imagine the breath was ascending from the navel to the nostrils and at the time of exhalation that the breath was descending from the nostrils to the navel.


This practice internalizes your attention and awareness so deeply that there would come a time when you would stop hearing the noises outside, though ears are not blocked. By keeping the eyes closed, or by wearing eye patches, there would be visual deprivation, and by observing the flow of the breath there would be auditory deprivation.


Then start repeating the mantra So Ham with the breath. So represents the sound of inhalation and Ham represents the sound of exhalation. The mantra has the effect of making the mind more focused, tranquil and peaceful. After practising mantra repetition with the breath for five to seven minutes, the practice of Ajapa Japa ends. Then chant Om verbally for five minutes, still keeping your eyes closed. This ends the thirty minute practice of Ajapa Japa. Now you can very slowly open the eyes.


HOW THESE TECHNIQUES HELP


Apart from damaging the central nervous system, drugs also suppress the immune response because of the hyper stimulation of the glands of the adrenal cortex. Situations of stress and continuous reactions of the fight or flight mechanism bring about excessive production of adrenalin and noradrenalin hormones and reduced production of corticosteroid hormones. The immune system can be re-conditioned by relaxation techniques which help in stimulating the thymus gland. Just one session of relaxation combined with regular physical exercise, can increase the production of killer cells and of endogenous opioides.


CONCLUSION


Yoga is undoubtedly one of the best methods of inner awakening, being relatively safe and well charted. It generates willpower and vitality, which can alter the mental state of desiring and craving. All the Yoga techniques work on self-acceptance. It is quite necessary to shower love, goodwill & patience till the addict does not make conscious efforts to do so. Yoga might represent the possibility of tripping the switch in the right direction. As spring follows the winter slowly and adorns the whole world, same way, Yogic treatment instills new consciousness, new enthusiasm, fullness, will power and creates an irrepressible desire to live life fully.


Yoga and Maternity


Yoga is a great way to enjoy pregnancy, to align your body optimally for healthy carriage and delivery of the baby, to provide breathing and relaxation techniques during pregnancy and labour. Prenatal Yoga is a much gentler variant, which focuses on relaxing the hips in preparation for labour, reducing lower back pain and swellings. 


It helps keep you & your baby calm and relaxed. Smooth pregnancy and a natural childbirth are just some of the benefits of Yoga. But more importantly, Yoga does wonders on the physical and mental development of the foetus. Happy Mommies make happy Babies. Yoga has 6 vital tools for pregnancy. When followed together, they work wonders on your health and your capability to have a smooth pregnancy. These are:


Yoga exercises

Breathing or Pranayama

Bandhas

Meditation

Deep Relaxation

Diet


YOGA EXERCISES


Get in touch with a trained Guru who can guide you on the exact asana or postures to use. Most Gurus can alter the postures to suit you depending on the aches and pains you have developed due to pregnancy.

One should not do any kind of exercise for three months after conception. Regarding Yogasanas, the practice of Shavasana can certainly be done.


Yes, if there is a habit of doing household work and going for a long walk, it should not be discontinued. It will be helpful in the development of the child.


After five months of pregnancy, Katiutthanasana & Balasana can be done (described below). All flexibility exercises, without bending forward and without abdominal rolling should be done by sitting in Sukhasana (crossed legged).


If one sits on her feet and walks back as if she is cleaning or mopping the floor for five minutes in the morning, afternoon and evening, the pelvic girdle stiffness decreases and it gets relaxed. Also, the hipbones and its muscles get relaxed and become soft.


BREATHING OR PRANAYAMA

 

Aumkar, Bhramari, Anulome Vilome Pranayama, Sivananda Pranayama are some of the most beneficial techniques for women health during pregnancy. Good breathing and control of Prana (energy) are vital, because just like the nutrients you provide your baby from your food, you are also responsible for providing him/her with high quality oxygen and prana from the air you breathe.

These phenomenal techniques also help to release emotional tension during labour.


MULABANDHA


Moolabandha has powerful effects on a woman’s reproductive organs. By repeatedly contracting the anus muscles up and on inner side, the elasticity of vaginal opening increases. Due to this, the child comes out easily and the lady enjoys painless delivery and pleasant childbirth.

 

MEDITATION

During pregnancy, the way you are feeling & thinking will affect the child too. Meditation will help you to think positive & explore your inner self. It would establish a connection with your child that is difficult to explain.


YOGA NIDRA / DEEP RELAXATION


Yoga nidra is particularly effective during pregnancy for physical and mental relaxation as well as for childbirth preparation.


DIET

It is better to take simple, fresh and vegetarian diet as far as possible. It can be digested easily. It is nutritive and very beneficial for the health of the mother and the intrauterine foetus.


I am describing two exercises & one Pranayama below. Before you start with any kind of exercise, it is important to seek permission from your gynaecologist.


KATI-UTTHANASANA

Kati means waist and Utthan means raised

· Take a Yoga mat and lie on your back on the mat with your palms on the sides, both the legs straight on the ground.

· Now bend both the legs one after the other slowly from the knees and bring them right up to the buttocks.

· Keep distance between the legs equal to the distance between the shoulders.

· Now transfer the weight on both the legs and both the hands, raise the waist as much as possible, and remain steady. Breathe normally.

· Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths.

· This asana helps in toning your hips, lower back and your abdomen muscles.

 

BALASANA (CHILD'S POSE)

This exercise helps open up your chest and pelvis & increases blood circulation. Rejuvenates the brain cells & relieves fatigue.

Sit in Vajrasana with knees a little wider than your hips. This will create more room around the belly. It also allows deeper breathing.

Place your forehead on the floor with your arms out in front or at your sides. Do whichever you feel is more comfortable.

If you have difficulty sitting on your heels in this pose, place a thickly folded blanket / cushion between your back thighs and calves.


SIVANANDA PRANAYAMA

Take a Yoga mat and lie on your back on the mat with your palms facing upwards. Bend both the knees. Keep the knees & feet apart.

Take your mind to the solar plexus (navel).

Watch the breath, breathe in as slow as possible and breathe out as slow as possible.

While breathing in your stomach is rising, while breathing out your stomach is falling.

· Remain a witness to the breath so that the breathing in and breathing out do not happen without your knowledge.

· You must remain happy in this watchfulness.

· You can practice Sivananda Pranayama for a period of ten to fifteen minutes in the morning, noon, evening as well as late night, whenever your stomach feels light, about three hours after meals.

· By this Pranayama, you will get mental soundness. It is very useful panacea for blood pressure, mental tension and irregularity of the stomach.



Showing posts with label Yogic Solution for Common ColdShow all posts


Yogic Solution for Common Cold




The common cold, also known as "acute coryza," is an inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and is caused by infection with virus. It is a very irritating condition. You are neither sick nor are you well enough. In spite of all the modern advances made by science, no drug or vaccine has yet been discovered to cure the common cold. 


There is an old adage that if you take medicine the cold is cured in a week otherwise seven days. But in case of weak constitution a cold may lead to more serious diseases like tonsillitis, laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia and tuberculosis. It is essential to receive proper treatment. Through Yoga Sadhana (practice) it is possible to build up sufficient energy, strength and resistance to overcome cold and its unpleasant effects. All Yogic techniques are designed to strengthen the body and mind and when learned under expert guidance, help to make us less susceptible to mental depression, emotional upsets, loss of energy and imbalance in the neuro-endocrine systems.


SYMPTOMS

 

The common symptoms of cold are running nose, sneezing, heaviness in the head, mild temperature, aches and pains in the body, soreness of the throat, tiredness etc. If the flu virus is more severe, its symptoms are severe as well. This includes headache, high fever, exhaustion, cough and chills, intense muscle pain, sore throat, blocked nose and loss of appetite.


CAUSES

 

Toxic condition of the body, disorders in the functioning in the heart, overeating, eating acid -forming food, liver problem, high level of cholesterol, sudden changes in temperature, wrong eating habits, excessive smoking, over and under sleep, lack of exercise, pollution, and so on.


YOGIC SOLUTION

 

Yoga is very effective in conditions of cold and cough. Yoga not only helps prevent cold but improves a person's health and strengthens the immune system thus lessening susceptibility to colds.


YOGASANAS

 

Surya namaskar, Sarvangasana, Bhujangasana, Shalabhasana, Dhanurasana, Marjari Asana and Yogamudra in Vajrasana are useful Asanas to shun cold.


PRANAYAMA

 

Ujjayi, Kapalbhati, Bhastrika, Suryabhedana and Anuloma- viloma are effective means to ward off cold.


YOGIC MUDRAS

 

The practise of Ling Mudra along with Pran Mudra for a few minutes everyday is very helpful. (If ling mudra is practised daily, along with a proper practise of Kapalbhati Pranayan then various incurable disease of the chest can be healed).


LING MUDRA


To form Ling Mudra, join both palms and lock the facing fingers together, keeping right thumb straight and upright. The upright thumb must be encircled by the other thumb and index finger. Linga Mudra is the booster of body’s immune system and helps to relieve other problem related to human anatomy.


PRECAUTION


Practice it any time you want. But don't practice it a lot as it produces heat in the body. It can cause sweating even in winter if you practice it longer. In addition to practice of this Mudra follow a balanced & healthy diet. Drink lots of water, juices and eat more of fruit.


BENEFITS

 

It stops production of phlegm and gives power to lungs, cures severe cold and bronchial infection, invigorates the body, good in low BP. Regular practicing of this Mudra is effective for those who are overweight.


PRAN MUDRA

 

To form the Pran Mudra, join the tips of the ring finger and the little finger with the tip of the thumb.


BENEFITS

 

It improves immunity, improves the vitality of the body, improves eyesight, helps in proper functioning of the lungs, energizes the heart and removes the vitamin deficiency and fatigue.


YOGIC KRIYAS

 

Jalneti and Kunjal constitute the Yogic method of relieving and curing the common cold.


• Kunjal cleans the stomach of mucus and clears the throat. This has a reflex action on all the glands of the body as they are governed by the same parts of the autonomic nervous system.


• Neti then cleans out all the nasal passages, sinuses, eustachian tubes leading to the ears, as well as the eyes. This reduces inflammation, swelling and pain. The salty water acts by osmosis to draw out mucus and phlegm, and helps to dry and clear the passages.


• Neti also rebalances the Nadis, allowing Prana to flow more efficiently and clears the mind of tension. Kunjal and Neti rebalance the Doshas, reducing Kapha and increasing the digestive fire so that we feel heat radiating from the navel centre. Bhastrika performed after Neti further fans the gastric fire.


NOTE

 

When you can reduce the unpleasant effects of cold through the regular practice of Kunjal and Neti, it becomes possible to view the cold as a cleansing process with great long term benefits. Therefore we should never try to suppress or 'cure' a cold with drugs. Colds remove from our systems the accumulated toxins and poisons that have built up over the years. The extra production of mucus increases the metabolism of the body and the subsequent use of protein and other substances washes out internal dirt more efficiently. This means that our bodies can function better afterwards. With this outlook, cold can even be viewed as part of the path to higher and cleaner living.


DIET


The following diet will aid the elimination of mucus:


• Salads with plenty of tomato, carrot, celery, cucumber; papaya, guava, apple, orange, lemon

• Raw sugar (gurh/ jaggery) mixed with turmeric and made into small balls, taken with a little water

• Hot vegetable or lentil soup

• Chapatti


The following drinks will aid the elimination of mucus and help fight the cold:


• Boiled water with lemon juice

• Cracked wheat (dalia) with raw sugar

• Carrot and other vegetable juices

• Tea with grated ginger, black pepper, Tulsi leaves

• Cumin (jeera) juice - made by boiling one glass of water, then adding cumin seeds until the color of the water changes. Strain and drink.


AVOID

 

Milk, ghee, cheese, yoghurt (dahee), bananas, and all heavy, starchy & fatty foods which increase mucus and thereby depress the gastric fire.


SOME RECEPIES FOR COUGH & COLD


SOUP

 

Take more of tomatoes & spinach, 50 gms onion, 5-10 flakes of garlic, 2 shimla mirch (capsicum), cabbage, carrot, lauki (bottle gourd), green coriander, little salt. Cook all these vegetables in the cooker with water. Then strain them. To make it tastier squeeze lemon juice and sprinkle roasted jeera (caraway seeds) in it. If you want to make thick soup then first churn the boiled vegetables in a mixi and then strain.


UKADA (HERBAL TEA)

 

Take 1 cup water, ½ inch ginger crushed, 1”cinnamon crushed, two black pepper corns crushed, ten Tulsi leaves crushed, ten mint leaves crushed

Boil everything together. Strain and put one teaspoon of honey. Drink four times a day.


HEBAL TONIC

 

Fresh ginger juice ½ teaspoon, Tulsi juice ½ teaspoon, a pinch of black pepper

Mix all in one teaspoon of honey. Take 3-4 times


FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

 

• Drink only warm water.


• Add 1 teaspoon of honey and lemon juice each to half a cup of warm water and drink it several times a day.


• During fever if feeling shiverish do hot water sponge bath. If fever is high use normal water for sponge bath.


• Do Kunjal first thing in the morning followed by Neti. Repeat Neti 2-3 times during the day.


• Steam inhalations with balm help to relieve stuffiness and sore throat.


• Chest pack along with hot foot bath relieves cold, bronchitis, asthma, pleurisy, pneumonia, fever, cough, whooping cough and so on. Hot foot bath is beneficial especially if powdered turmeric is added to the water.


• Sleep is the best cure when you have a cold.


CONCLUSION

 

Cold is often ignored as a common infection but it needs to be treated. A Yogic lifestyle makes the body and mind flexible so that we can better handle the stresses and strains of modern living. We begin to tune into the natural cycles of day and night, and seasons, so that changes in weather are accompanied by a corresponding change in our bodies. 


Yoga helps us to overcome cold by maintaining our internal heater. Through the science of Prana, a Yogi becomes immune to the dual nature of existence so that heat and cold, pleasure and pain, sorrow and joy, all come under his control and are seen as inseparable phenomena. Heat generated in the body is an aspect of Prana, the life-force. When we awaken Prana, we feel its warmth at many levels. Through regular Paranayam, proper quantity of Vitamin C in your diet as well as consuming fruits and vegetables are some methods to prevent cold. Most essential is washing your hands frequently, especially after coming into contact with someone who has a cold.

xxxx

Yoga Classes for the Disabled


Yoga has its role to play in the lives of people of all ages and nationalities. However it has particular benefit for those who are disabled because it works on three levels-the physical, the mental, spiritual and maintains an integrated development. 


For physical health, Yogasanas and Pranayama can be often utilized to improve sluggish blood circulation in defective limbs, to improve and stimulate nerve functions and to develop weak muscles and bring them under conscious control. 


For mental health, Yoga definitely helps disabled children to realize their potential and to lead creative, productive lives, so that they can be of maximum use to themselves, their families and society as a whole beacause they have brilliant minds and the capacity to reach the highest degree levels.


For spiritual health, though in spirit there is no disability whatsoever still through Yoga many disabled peolple come to realize that there is much more to their nature than the limitations imposed upon them by a mere physical defect.

Kati Utthana


Pawanmukta



HOW TO TEACH THEM YOGA


Let’s begin the class:


Warming up:


Form a circle and start with music, songs or kirtan, just about anything.


Yogasanas:


Now begin in a circle on the floor, lying on the back, then move onto the side, to the front, into Vajrasana, to seated Asanas and then to the standing position. Transition from one level to the other can be quite challenging for some. Being in a circle creates a feeling of unity, trust and connection, and enables you to observe all quite easily.


You participate in many of the Asanas so that students can be visually reminded of that Asana. Moving around the class and assisting when needed either physically (with permission) or verbally is a technique frequently used.


Balancing Asanas can also be attempted in a circle, holding each other’s hands or shoulders for support. This enables success for most and a feeling of being part of the group even if unable to balance.


You keep the classes similar from week to week so that students become familiar with the Asanas, and this has been beneficial in ways. The students should be encouraged to do regular exercise and should often do the Yoga Asanas they have learnt.


The following Asanas can be emphasized throughout the class as many of the students have larger bodies and need to keep moving the joints in particular.


Exercise 1: Toe Bending


Assume the sitting posture with legs stretched directly in front of the body. Place the hands on the floor by the side of the trunk. Lean backward, taking support on the straight arms. Become aware of the toes.


Move the toes of both feet slowly backward and forward, keeping the feet rigid. Repeat 10 times.


Exercise 2: Ankle Bending


Remain in the base position as in exercise 1. Move both feet backward and forward as much as possible, bending them from the ankle joints. Repeat 10 times.


Exercise 3: Ankle Rotation


Remain in the base position as in exercise 1. Separate the legs, keeping them straight. Keep the heels in contact with the floor. Rotate the right foot clockwise about the ankle. Repeat 10 times.

Rotate the right foot in the same way, but anticlockwise. Repeat 10 times. Repeat the same procedure with the left foot. Then rotate both feet together.


Exercise 4: Ankle Crank

 

Assume the base position. Place the right ankle on the left thigh. With the assistance of the left hand, rotate the right foot clockwise 10 times then anticlockwise 10 times.

Repeat the same procedure with the left foot.


Exercise 5: Knee Bending

 

Assume the base position. Bend the right leg at the knee and clasp the hands under the right thigh. Straighten the right leg without allowing the heel or toe to touch the ground. Keep the hands under the right thigh but allow the arms to straighten. Bend the right leg as much as possible at the knee, bringing the heel near the right buttock. Repeat 10 times.

Now repeat the same procedure with the left leg.


Exercise 6: Dynamic Spinal Twist

 

Assume the base position. Separate the legs as much as is comfortable. Keeping the arms straight, bring the right hand to the left big toe and stretch the left arm behind the back. Keep both arms in one straight line. Turn the head and look backward, directing the gaze to the left hand. Turn the trunk in the opposite direction; bring the left hand to the right big toe and stretch the right arm behind. This is one round. Repeat 10 or 20 times.

At the beginning, do the exercise slowly, then gradually increase the speed.


Exercise 7: Half Butterfly

 

Assume the base position. Fold the right leg and place the right foot on the left thigh. Place the left hand on the left knee and the right hand on top of the bent right knee. Gently move the bent leg up and down with the right hand, allowing the muscles of the leg to relax as much as possible. Continue this exercise until the right knee starts to touch or nearly touch the floor.

Repeat the same process with the left knee.

After some days or weeks of practice, the knee should comfortably rest on the floor without effort.


Exercise 8: Full Butterfly – i

 

In the base position, bring the soles of the feet together. Try to bring the heels as close to the body as possible. Interlock the fingers and place them under the foot. Gently push the knees towards the ground, utilizing the elbows, and bend the body forward. Try to touch the ground with the head; this will be difficult initially.


Exercise 8: Full Butterfly – ii

 

Keeping the soles of the feet together, place the hands on the knees. Utilizing the arms, push the knees towards the ground, allowing them to bounce upward again. Repeat 20 or more times.


Exercise 8: Full Butterfly-iii

 

Maintain the same position, but place the hands on the floor behind and to the side of the back, keeping the arms straight. Move the knees up and down 20 times or more.


Exercise 9: Hand Clenching

 

Hold the arms straight out in front of the body, so that they are on the same horizontal plane as the shoulders. Stretch and tense the fingers of both hands. Close the fingers over the thumbs to make a tight fist. Again stretch and tense the fingers. Repeat this movement10 times.


Exercise 10: Wrist Bending

 

Maintain the same position as in exercise 9. Bend the hands at the wrist, as if you are pressing the palms against a wall. From the upward pointing of the fingers, bend the hands at the wrist and point the fingers downward. Again point the fingers upward. Repeat 10 times.


Exercise 11: Wrist Joint Rotation

 

Stay in the same position as in exercise 10, but with only the right hand extended. Clench the right fist and rotate it clockwise 10 times about the wrist. Then rotate the fist anti-clockwise 10 times. Repeat the same movement with the left hand.

Extend both arms in front of the body with the fists clenched. Rotate the fists together, 10 times clockwise and then 10 times anti-clockwise.


Exercise 12: Elbow Bending

 

Maintain the same position as in 11, but hold both arms outstretched with the hands open and the palms upwards. Bend both arms at the elbows, touch the shoulders with fingers and then straighten the arms again. Repeat 10 times.


Exercise 12: Variation-i

 

Perform the same exercise but with the arms extended sideways- Repeat 10 times.


Exercise 13: Shoulder Socket Rotation

 

Stay in the same position as in exercise 12, variation-i. Make a circular movement from the shoulder joints, keeping the fingers in contact with the shoulders. Repeat 10 times clockwise, then 10 times anti-clockwise. Try to make the circular movement of each elbow as large as possible, bringing the two elbows in contact with each other in front of the chest.


Exercise 14: Neck Movement-i

 

Assume the base position. Slowly move the head backwards and forwards 10 times.


Exercise 14: Neck Movement-ii

 

Slowly tilt the head to the left and to the right, first while facing directly forward and then while turning the head to the left and right. Repeat both methods 10 times.


Exercise 14: Neck Movement-iii

 

Slowly rotate the head in as large a circle as possible, 10 times clockwise and then 10 times anticlockwise. Do not strain.


Some more Asanas:


Utthanpadasana, Chakrapadasana, Pada Sanchalanasana, Naukasana, Shavasana, Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana (Dynamic spinal twist), Chakki Chalana, Nauka Sanchalana, Vajrasana, Marjariasana, Vyaghrasana, Shashankasana, Ushtrasana, Shashank Bhujangasana, Makarasana. Asanas help to remove extra fat from the abdomen, hips and thighs. 


Have fun with many of the Asanas as they are based on animal movements, and sounds of those animals are sometimes heard. Even Bhramari Pranayama sound (humming bee breath) is very popular with the students. At the end of each term you provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their favourite Asana and have the others join them.


As they age, gain weight and lose some mobility, chairs can be brought in and postures can be modified. Students have various ‘conditions’, including Down’s Syndrome, autism, epilepsy and other unknown disabilities. Their abilities range from being able to perform most of the Asanas to attempting some, or relaxing when unable to move into them.


Pranayama:

 

Pranayama consists of Bhramari, Nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) and abdominal breathing. A form of Nadi shodhana is sometimes performed from Makarasana (crocodile pose), by lifting one leg as they breathe in, lowering the leg as they breathe out, and changing legs alternately. It is also an excellent practice for coordination, for lower back problems and stimulating correct breathing.


As many are mouth breathers, emphasis is placed on breathing with the mouth closed, head up and a slower breath. Upper respiratory tract infections are common so encouragement to keep the mouth closed is beneficial.


Yoga Nidra:

 

End each session with Yoga nidra. Music can be played quietly in the background during this time as it helps them with settling. In the beginning, Yoga nidra should start for about five minutes, as it is all the time they could lie still. Then it can be done for about ten to fifteen minutes. Keeping language simple is essential for the body rotation stage. Visualizations involve familiar aspects of nature, such as walks at the beach, exploring a park or bush and rural settings. By the end of the hour session, the students will leave in a more relaxed state than when they had entered.


Benefits:

 

I’ve noticed the following since I started classes with these special groups of people :)

An increase in flexibility in many; a willingness to try anything; an ability to remember many of the Asanas and the order we often do them in; an increased awareness of their body parts; being able to breathe more slowly and deeply in some of the classes and becoming calmer by the end of each session.


I would encourage Yoga teachers to take on the experience of teaching disabled clients as no matter how you feel, they are sure to bring you into the moment totally, to make you smile and laugh.

An attitude of fun, love, trust, perseverance and patience is needed when conducting these classes and has a tenfold reward. Their Aum chanting is a special gem in the lotus!



The Importance of Yoga during Adolescence Period


Adolescence refers to the period of transition from childhood to adulthood. During this period young boys and girls develop to sexual maturity. Developing one’s own identity, dealing with sexual maturation and development, emancipation from home, re-examination of beliefs are the major psychological developments for the adolescent. A method for providing the major necessities for a healthy, confident lifestyle should be introduced to the adolescent, if not before adolescence. 




The systematic practice of Yogasanas is ideal for these children as it helps to keep the glandular system balanced and functioning well. When practising Asanas, there is stimulation and balancing within the thyroid gland, which is the second most important gland in the body and controls all the lower glands.


YOGIC TECHNIQUES


Yoga postures not only help to strengthen bones and muscles, but when one reaches the adolescence stage, the execution of the postures is done with more time and awareness than when one is younger and the body is still developing. Physical movements from one posture to another provide strength, flexibility and health in general to the bones and muscles; maintaining the positions for a period of time brings about internal, hormonal and cellular changes. 



Yoga for Anaemia


Anaemia is a condition in which haemoglobin concentration, or the number of red blood cells, is below the defined level. The job of haemoglobin is to carry oxygen around the body. When red blood cells and therefore haemoglobin are low, the blood fails to supply the body's tissues with sufficient amounts of oxygen. Your lungs and heart will then have to work harder to get oxygen into the blood. Proper food, correct treatment and the practice of asanas & pranayama have proved very valuable for the production of hemoglobin and necessary elements in the blood in the pure form.


Recommended Asana

Trikonasana and its variations, Sarvangasana (If the child is younger than 12 years then in place of Sarvangasana, child can practice Viparita¬karani-mudra), Surya¬namaskara, Yoga-mudra


The practices of above asana are useful for purification of blood and increase of blood cells.

 

Recommended Pranayaam

Sivananda Pranayama, Shitali, Sitkari & Anuloum Vilom


Preparation

Spread a blanket or a warm cloth on the ground, over it spread a cotton sheet. The reason for this type of blanket being spread and lying down there in is that the energy or capability in form of electrical charge that gets produced from meditation or Pranayama may not be conveyed away to the ground. It is the characteristic of ground to conduct away electricity hence at the time when we sit for meditation, Pranayama or concentration; one should use a spread which is not a conductor of electricity.


Sivananda Pranayama

By doing Sivananda Pranayama, we get maximum oxygen by inhaling. The air (containing oxygen) that we breathe into our lungs is transferred into our blood, which travels around our body delivering oxygen to our brain, organs and all other parts of our body. It helps the nervous system, the heart, the digestive system, muscles, sleep, energy levels, mental soundness, concentration and memory and much more. When we exhale properly, we also get rid of the waste products like carbon dioxide, toxins etc.


This Pranayama can be done in the morning, noon, evening as well as late night, whenever your stomach feels light, about three hours after meals.


Position

Lie down on your back, bend the legs from knees, knees & feet apart, make sure heels are not touching to the buttocks, keep both the arms a little away from the body with palms facing upwards.


When one lies down with legs bent from the knees and knees pointing upward, the blood circulation in the thighs and parts of the lower body reduces and intestines get enough & good quantity of blood.


Method

Focus your mind on the solar plexus (navel)…Start watching the breath… Breathe in as slow as possible… Breathe out as slow as possible… Now begin to deepen, lengthen and extend this movement consciously… While inhaling, let the abdomen rise to its limit… at exhalation let it fall completely… Keep watch on each breath… Do this practice ten to fifteen minutes. Once you are finished then turn to left side with bent knees. Place your left hand under the head, right hand on the right thigh. Relax for some more time. Then sit up from that side.


The mind here gets concentrated on the solar plexus & it is drawn away from surrounding atmosphere hence the body gradually gets relaxed. The Pran Vayu lying above the navel and the Apana Vayu lying under the navel both get together and awaken Samana Vayu. The energy created thereby distributes any element found short in. Thus whichever element is insufficient in the body the same element is sent at the spot in enough quantity.


Shitali Pranayama

The practice of Shitali Pranayama is useful especially for supply of oxygen in a greater quantity.


Preparation

Spread a blanket or a warm cloth on the ground, over it spread a cotton sheet.


Position

Sit facing East on Padmasana, Sukhasana, Siddhasana or Swastikasana or Vajrasana in the early morning hours before sunrise to practice this Pranayama.


Method

Open your mouth & stretch your tongue outside the lips, fold the tongue like a pipe from both the sides, inhale gently, not forcefully, through the folded tongue, take the tongue inside your mouth and close the lips firmly, hold the breath as long as possible, then very – very slowly exhale through the nose. This is one round. Make 15-20 rounds like this.


Shit-kari Pranayama

Sheetkari is a variation of Sheetali Pranayama. Those people who cannot fold the tongue outside the mouth they can turn the tongue inside the mouth towards the throat.


Method

Turn the tongue in behind the rows of the teeth, Keep the upper and lower teeth together, open the lips, inhale deeply & gently through the teeth with a sound like (si-si-si), then keep the lips closed & hold the breath as long as you can, slowly – slowly exhale through the nose without opening the mouth. This is one round. Make 15-20 rounds like this.


If these two Pranayamas are performed in the early morning before sunrise, a very good digestive power is observed, hunger increases, blood gets purified.


Anuloma and Viloma

If the breath is simply inhaled and exhaled, this process is known as Anuloma and Viloma. The proportion of time to be maintained is 1:2. That means to the time spent in exhaling will be twice the time spent in inhaling.


Preparation

Bring the palm of the right hand facing the face. Bend the first two fingers next to the thumb inside. Now put the right thumb on the right nostril and last two fingers of the same hand should be used to press the left nostril. Remember, for the practice of this Pranayama always start & finish the breathing from the left nostril.


Method

• Breathe in through the left nostril slowly & deeply. Close the left nostril with the ring & little fingers and breathe out through the right nostril gently & deeply.

• Breathe in through the right nostril. Close the right nostril with the thumb & breathe out through the left nostril.

• This completes one round of Anulome-vilome.

• Make 15-20 rounds.


Never make any hurry or haste in inhaling, or exhaling. The belly should expand when you breathe in and the belly should get inside when you exhale. In the execution of all breathing exercises this fact has to be perfectly observed.


Benefits

Increase of working capacity of intestines creates a new process of sending the iron that is produced additionally, in the various organs of the body.


So the practice of asana, pranayama, relaxation, concentration and meditation play a very major role in arranging for missing elements in the blood.


Other natural remedies

• Close the left nostril with the ring finger & little fingers of the right hand & inhale & exhale from the right nostril whenever it is possible.

• Cold-water bath is very good. After that rub the body dry with the palms of the hands.

• Sun bathing in the morning for about quarter of an hour daily.

• Steam bath, massage, exercise such as walking, swimming are very beneficial.


Diet plan



  • First thing in the morning
  • Take a glass of warm water with the juice of lemon with two teaspoon honey
  • Before breakfast
  • Freshly prepared beet juice
  • Breakfast
  • Munacca / raisins (15no.) figs (4 no.), washed & soaked in water overnight in a glass container. The water in which they are soaked should also be drunk. In addition seasonal fruit (dates, apple, orange, papaya, black grapes, strawberries, melon, musk melon, guava, musambi). Eating one variety of fruit each time is very beneficial.
  • Before Lunch
  • Salad in any quantity (onion, cucumber, tomatoes, sprouts, lettuce, carrots, beetroots, radish, cabbage, soaked peanuts)
  • Lunch
  • Chapatti of wheat flour with extra bran, + seasonal green leafy vegetables, brinjal, cabbage, carrot, celery, beets, tomatoes, spinach + curd / buttermilk of skimmed milk.
  • Evening
  • Veg. soup, veg juice (spinach / carrot)
  • Dinner
  • Same as lunch or dalia (broken wheat), fruit / salads.
  • Avoid
  • Fried, fatty spices, starchy & sugar containing food, tea, coffee, cocoa, white flour, tinned fruit, and refined cereals.



Daily Recommendation

 

• Drink water as much as possible during whole day other than at mealtime. We can have soup, buttermilk along with the meals.

• Add milk, cheese, egg, almonds, peanuts, wheat germ and soybeans in your daily diet.

• Honey taken in any form is ideal for anaemic patient because of its high content of iron, manganese and copper.

• A combination of ripe banana and honey is considered to be good source of energy as well as all the essential minerals.

• Take black sesame seeds (soaked for a few hours in warm water, ground, strained) and mixed with 1 cup of warm milk with honey or jaggery.

• Garlic can help get rid of some types of intestinal parasites.

• The anaemia patient must have his full quota of sleep.

• Avoid excessive worry and tension. Try to be cheerful.


These are some of the most effective & safe natural remedies for anaemia. Though these natural remedies are safe but it is advisable to consult your doctor before adopting.


Yoga For Dental Care


A clinical survey conducted in medical wards showed that 95% of the population suffers from tooth troubles. The strength of our teeth is a true barometer of the strength of our bones. The organ responsible for the growth of bones is the pituitary gland. So any posture or Asana which stimulates more blood to this gland will give more strength to bones including teeth. Sirshasana stimulates more blood to flow to the pituitary gland, which in turn maintains the strength of our teeth. Apart from strength, another factor is infection in teeth. The common disease involving teeth is called "pyorrhoea". "Pyo" in Greek means "pus". Most of the patients attending medical outdoor suffer from this disease.


Important Causes For The Disease Of Pyorrhoea


The teeth should be used to bite, chew and masticate food but we seldom use our teeth properly and pay for this negligence in the form of toothache, tooth decay and pyorrhoea.


Many people are not aware that half of the digestion of food starts and completes in the mouth itself by proper mixing of food with saliva. Saliva contains an enzyme known as "plylin", which helps in the digestion of carbohydrate. Most of us eat very fast. This is called "gulping down food". This food goes to the stomach and the poor stomach has to work more. But it cannot break this bigger bolus or particle of food into a smaller one, so it is passed into the duodenum in the same form, then into the small intestine and colon, thus fermentation starts. 


Due to this we get the trouble of dyspepsia, gas trouble, gas belching, which causes irritation of the mucous membrane and thus development of carcinoma of the colon. So mastication of food is important for the proper digestion of food as well as the fact that it strengthens the teeth. Our Grandmas used to make chaklis (a kind of snack) and hard edibles so that we were forced to use our teeth to break and chew them. This also reduces the work of the stomach.


Along with this exercise, our teeth need to be kept clean. Despite ail advice and health education we do not care to brush our teeth regularly in the morning and at night. This causes germs to survive and invites dental disorders. The net result is aching teeth and caries in the teeth. The specific method of brushing the teeth should be explained by the parents to their children as well as in school health education, which in turn will prevent most of the dental problems.


We are always fond of chocolates and other sweets which are the worst enemies of our teeth. They attack the enamel coating of teeth and thus produce caries. To prevent this, the mouth has to be washed immediately after eating these food particles. With this little care our teeth can be made to serve us for a lifetime - for they are meant by nature to last longer, not to decay.


Children should be taught not only to brush the teeth but to massage the gums as well, which will help to remove the entangled food particles in the teeth and gums due to the increased amount of blood flow. This will also strengthen the roots of the teeth and ensure even growth of the teeth as they grow older. A few Yogic practices like Shitali and Sheetkari Pranayama produce correct alignment of teeth thus avoiding their irregular development.


Excessive use of pan, pan-masala, betel nut and tobacco in different forms produces discolouring of the teeth as well as their weakening. Tobacco definitely produces increased incidence of oral cancer. Pan bahar, betel-nut and spicy food cause more incidence of sub-mucosal fibrous. The conditions described above are very prevalent in India, mid-eastern and south-east Asian countries. In Europe and America people are mainly accustomed to smoking and chewing Tobacco. Yogasanas, like Sarvangasana, help to stimulate the thyroid gland which causes an increased circulation of blood in the oral cavity, and this fights germs in the mouth. The thyroid hormone causes increased resistance in the body as well as in the prevention of dental disorders.


We are living in a modern civilisation. The more civilised the country the more the incidence of psycho somatic disorders. In the oral cavity this is manifested by the development of a disease called Lichen plamues. Yoga definitely helps in the prevention and cure of these disorders.


Professional Hazards Of Dental Surgeons

 

Professional hazards of dental surgeons are:


• Low backache


• Cervical spondylolysis


• Pain in the left leg due to unequal load. This occurs due to prolonged standing and taking more loads on the left leg.


• Eye problems - These problems occur due to continual and persistent concentration into the oral cavity where the light is dim.


• Varicose veins in the lower limb.


• Skin diseases, like contact dermatitis, which occur due to skin contact with local anaesthetic and chemical materials used in the dental clinic.


Yoga Therapy


These above hazards can be prevented and cured in most cases by doing Yoga Therapy.


• Our backbone is very versatile; it twists and swings into 180 degrees arc as well as vertically up and down. It supports most of the body weight and provides security to the vital spinal cord. Due to prolonged standing, the backbone gets tired and thus one feels pain. 


Bhujangasana is one of the Asanas which makes the spine supple and rejuvenates and revitalises the spinal cord. After practising it, one feels relief and in most cases backache is gone. It also helps in the treatment of cervical spondylolysis. Apart from this Asana, another Asana which helps in the treatment of back ailments is Padmasana. Padmasana works wonders for the spinal cord, lungs and stomach. It keeps the spinal cord erect, healthy and flexible like the lotus stalk, and that is why the name Padmasana is given to this Asana. By keeping the backbone erect and the diaphragm in proper position the lungs are filled with oxygenated air. This Asana also strengthens the legs by pulling the nerves, muscles and bones taut and thereby massaging them thoroughly and keeping them healthy.


• The eyes are the windows of the body and if they are damaged permanently, nature's marvels become a closed book. The dental surgeon has to concentrate over the oral cavity and that is why he is more vulnerable to the development of eye disorders. Asanas, especially Sirshasana, can help both the normal and diseased eye by producing increased blood circulation in this organ. This Asana also prevents the development of long and short-sightedness. 


Further, it also tones the muscles around the eyes and thus gives them a new sparkle. While doing Sirshasana you must devote a few minutes for doing eye exercises to strengthen the eye-muscles. The eye-muscles are: superior rectus, inferior rectus, medial and lateral rectus, superior oblique and inferior oblique. These exercises can be done in Vipareeta Karani Mudra or Padmasana.


• For the prevention of varicose veins, which occur due to prolonged standing (and the dental surgeon has to do most of his clinical work in this posture), Yogasana, especially Vajrasana, help in the majority of cases. Due to this posture, the blood flow to the lower limbs gets reduced, nerves and muscles are stretched, and thus varicose veins are cured or prevented. Most of the blood flows, during this posture, to the gastrointestinal tract; hence it improves the digestion. That is why it is the only Asana which can be performed even after taking food.


• Skin diseases like contact dermatitis occur due to either allergic problems or poor resistance. The cure for these skin problems lies in strengthening the vital glands such as the pituitary and thyroid. Both of these glands improve the resistance of the body. So Yogic exercises like Sarvangasana, Matsyasana, Vipareeta karani mudra and Pranayamas like Sheetali and Sheetkari strengthen these glands and help increase the body resistance to all diseases including skin disorders.


To summarise the scientific evaluation of Yoga towards the prevention and cure of dental problems seen in patients, as well as for the remedy for professional hazards seen in dental surgeons, the following programme is recommended:


• Sarvangasana for 2 minutes;


• Sirshasana for ½ a minute;


• Halasana 2 minutes;


• Matsyasana for 2 minutes;


• Bhujangasana for 1 minute;


• Shalabhasana for 1 minute;


• Dhanurasana for 1 minute;


• Shavasana for 5 minutes;


• Sheetali and Sheetkari for 5 minutes;


• Inflating the cheeks to strengthen the buccinators muscle for 1 minute;


• Ujjayi for 5 minutes;


• Meditation for 15 minutes

 

Thus, devoting 40-50 minutes on an average every day, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that you remain fresh mentally and physically and away from professional hazards, because the practice of Yoga rejuvenates and revitalises ail the organs of the body including the vital organs like the heart and brain.





Yoga for Deskjob People


Modern day life is full of stress and majority of us are affected. We have to cope with long hours of travelling and traffic jams & are exhausted by the time we reach office / home. Lot of us are into jobs which involve constant sitting in front of a desk/ computer for long hours, resulting in back pain, headaches, eye and neck strain and a host of other related conditions. 


We don’t find time to relax and rejuvenate. Just taking a few minutes at the convenience of your office place without disturbing your work, you can do stretches at your desk, which can relieve stress, increase productivity and most importantly make you feel better. Following are few stretches exercises:


BODY POSTURE


Just sit with your back straight. Try to loosen the clothing that feels tight around your waist. Take your shoes off before starting these stretches in case you are wearing high heels.


1. SHOULDER ROTATION


• Keep both the hands on the respective shoulders, right hand on the right shoulder and left hand on the left shoulder. By keeping the hands on the shoulders rotate the arms & shoulders in a large circle. Try to touch the elbows in front of the chest.

• Do clockwise for eight to ten times and then anti clockwise for eight to ten times. Deeply inhale when the elbows move forward and exhale when the elbows move backwards.


2. CATCHING THE FINGERS LIKE A HOOK


• Bring both hands up to the level of the chest & catch them like a hook as in case of two friends meeting and shaking hands. Take a deep breath and pull the hands in opposite direction. Release the breath while lowering hands. Repeat this exercise eight to ten times.

• Repeat the same exercise behind the head also. Take a deep breath and pull the hands in opposite direction. Make sure your hands are not touching the head from behind. For relaxing or exhaling, bring the hands back over the head in the front every time. Repeat this exercise eight to ten times.


3. RELEASING THE PAIN AROUND THE NECK


• Lock the fingers of both the hands in such a way that the fingers remain on back side of the palms. Keep both the palms on lower part of the skull (the part from where the cervical vertebrae start and the skull ends). Both the elbows should remain parallel to the ground.

• Now exhale and bring both the elbows nearer to each other in front of the face by pressing your hands towards the head and head towards the hands.

• Inhale deeply and move the elbows away from each other and parallel to the ground as well as in line with the shoulders.

• Exhale each time when the elbows move forward and inhale when they move away from each other and on back side. Repeat this exercise eight to ten times.

 

4. PRESSING THE FINGERS


• Close the fists by keeping the thumbs inside the fingers and press on the thumbs as hard as you can. Then open the fists. After that close the fists by keeping the thumbs outside the fingers and then open it.

• Inhale at the time of closing the fist. Exhale at the time of opening the fist. Do this process eight to ten times by keeping the hands away from the chest.


5. COW FACE


• Take your right arm down over the right shoulder behind the head and bend it at the elbow on back and lower side. Then take the left hand on the low back side and then bend the elbow from below with hand upside. Make the hooks of the fingers and pull the hands in opposite direction. The upper elbow should remain exactly on the back side of the head so that it gives complete exercise to the cervical spine. Inhale deeply when you pull the hands. Relax the hands when you exhale.

• Then do the same exercise by bringing the left hand from above and the right hand from below.

• Those who can’t grasp the fingers can hold a thick handkerchief by the hand from above and lower end of the handkerchief from the hang below. Pull it. Try to bring the fingers of both the hands nearer to each other with the help of the handkerchief.

• Repeat it for 3-4 times each side. Try to remain in the position to the count of three breaths.


6. NECK EXERCISE


• Sit with keeping the back straight. Close the fist of the right hand with thumb inside. Keep the part of the bent fingers where you wear ring under the chin. Now press the chin upwards by the fist. Head will move upwards. Then make a hook of the index finger. Keep it on the chin and press it downwards towards the chest. Inhale when you press upwards and exhale when you press downwards. Do it eight to ten times.


• Very slowly rotate the head first on the right side and then on the left side. Inhale deeply when the neck moves on the right side and comes in the line of right shoulder and exhale when it returns to front side position. Inhale when it moves on the left side and exhale when it returns to front side gradually. Repeat this exercise eight to ten times in total that is four to five times each side. Now relax the neck.


• Thereafter bring the right ear up to the right shoulder and then the left ear to the left shoulder. Repeat this exercise eight to ten times in total that is four to five times each side. Now relax the neck.


• Now rotate the head and neck from right side. In this tilt the head first on the right side then on the back side then on the left side and in front last. This would complete one rotation. Repeat four to five times very gently and without any stress. Do it in reverse direction also that is starting it from the left side. Repeat four to five times without hurrying.


• Rub the hands & massage the neck with warm hands nicely.

 

7. BLINKING AND PALMING


• Blinking and palming are very good exercises to relax the tired eyes. They eliminate eye strain instantly.

• Close and open both the eyes very quickly eight to ten times. This process is called ‘Blinking’.

• Thereafter rub both the palms of the hand together vigorously so that they become warm. Then put hollow of the palms on closed eyes gently for few seconds. Feel the warmth & energy from your palms into the eyes. Do three -five times. Then slowly open your eyes. This process is called ‘Palming’


8. STRETCHING THE WHOLE BODY


• Stand straight with feet together or apart slightly. Raise your arms over the head. Interlock your fingers & keep your palms up towards the sky. While inhaling stretch the whole body on the toes. Maintain the balance. While exhaling come back. Do 3-5 times.


9. RELAX INSTANTLY DURING BREAKS -METHOD


• Concentrate on your breathing…..

• Slowly inhale through the nose...

• Exhale completely and very slowly through your mouth...

• Place your left palm on your belly...

• Observe that your hand is moving forward while breathing in...and going inward while breathing out...

• Breathe out twice the duration of breathing in...

• Inhale and count 4 mentally...

• Count 8 while breathing out... Next time increase the duration in the same ratio.

• Do it for at least five minutes.

• As you practice, you will find it more and more effective in keeping you relaxed, when you are stressed...


Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna

Aum Shanti

Yoga for Deskjob People


Nowadays life is full of stress and nobody is spared. We have to cope with long hours of travelling and traffic jams & are exhausted by the time we reach office / home. Lot of us are into jobs which involve constant sitting in front of a desk/ computer for long hours, resulting in back pain, headaches, eye and neck strain and a host of other related conditions. We don’t find time to relax and rejuvenate. Just taking a few minutes at the convenience of your office place without disturbing your work, you can do stretches at your desk, which can relieve stress, increase productivity and most importantly make you feel better. Following are few stretches exercises…


BODY POSTURE


Just sit with your back straight. Try to loosen the clothing that feels tight around your waist. Take your shoes off before starting these stretches if you are wearing high heels.


SHOULDER ROTATION

Put your hands on the shoulders, do rotation of the arms & shoulders in a large circle with the breath. Try to touch the elbows in front of the chest. Do 7-10 times front to back, 7-10 times back to front. While raising the elbows up, inhale & while bringing them down, exhale.


SHAKING THE HANDS

Bring both hands opposite to each other at the height of the chest but away from the chest & catch them like a hook. Take a deep breath and pull the hands in opposite direction, lower both the hands while releasing breath. Do 7-10 times. Repeat the same exercise behind the back 7- 10 times. Make sure your hands are not touching the head. For relaxing, bring the hands back over the head in the front every time.


ANTI PRESSURE WITH THE HANDS

Interlock your fingers and place them tight just behind the head. Keeping the head straight, inhale, press your hands towards the head. While putting anti pressure your elbows should come in the front. Then relax. Do 7- 10 times.


PRESSING THE FINGERS

Inhale & press the fingers towards the palms as hard as you can with thumbs outside. Exhale & open the fingers & then again inhale & close the fingers with thumbs inside. Do 7- 10 times.


NECK EXERCISE

Make a fist of your right hand with thumb inside, bring it under the chin and press your chin upward, now make a hook shape with your index finger, press your chin downwards to your chest. Repeat 4- 5 times. In case of cervical, look straight.

Turn the head towards the right very slowly. Similarly move it to the left, without any haste or any jerk. Repeat both sides about 10 times.

Thereafter bring the right ear up to the right shoulder and then the left ear to the left shoulder. Repeat both sides 10 times.

Now keep you head straight, rotate the neck clockwise very gently and without any stress 4 times & then anticlockwise 4 times. In cervical problem, one should do only the back circle. Rub the hands & massage the neck.


ELIMINATE EYESTRAIN

Blinking is very good exercise to relax the tired eyes. So keep blinking the eyes many times in between while working on the computer.

Close your eyes. Rub your palms together vigorously and place them over your closed eyes gently for few seconds. Feel the warmth & energy from your palms into the eyes. Do three -five times. Then slowly open your eyes.


COW FACE

Take your right arm down over the right shoulder behind the neck, left hand from down behind the back. Try to hold your hands in a hook shape & pull them in the opposite. Then reverse the position & do the same with the other side. Those who cannot hold the hands they can use handkerchief or napkin from the top and try to reach towards the other side. Do 3 times each side. Try to remain in the position to the count of three breaths.


STRETCHING THE WHOLE BODY

Stand straight with feet together or apart slightly. Inhale; raise your arms over the head. Interlock your fingers & keep your palms up towards the sky. Inhale; stretch the body on the toes. Then come back while exhaling & place the hands on top of the head. Do 3-5 times.


RELAX INSTANTLY DURING BREAKS


METHOD


  • Concentrate on your breathing…..
  • Slowly inhale through the nose.
  • Exhale completely and very slowly through your mouth.
  • Place your left palm on your belly.
  • Observe that your hand is moving forward while breathing in and going inward while breathing out.
  • Breathe out twice the duration of breathing in.
  • Inhale and count 4 mentally.
  • Count 8 while breathing out. Next time increase the duration in the same ratio.
  • Do it at for least five minutes.
  • As you practice, you will find it more and more effective in keeping you relaxed, when you are stressed.

    Yoga for Knees



    YOGA FOR KNEES



    Knee pain is a nagging malady, which can immobilize a person thus making one helpless. Knee pain may vary from mild to severe, depending on the cause of the pain. Severe knee pain can be debilitating, as flexibility of the knees is vital to our mobility. The knees work almost like shock absorbers and along with the surrounding muscles, it has to sustain and support your weight. Yoga is one of the best ways to deal with chronic knee pain. Practiced with care, yoga postures can contribute to the long-term health of your knees by strengthening your quadriceps, opening your stiff hips and teaching your body improved alignment and movement patterns that transfer into your everyday activities.


    OUR KNEE 

    The knee is made up of four bones. The femur (the thighbone) is the large bone in your thigh and is attached by ligaments and a capsule to your tibia (the shinbone). Just below and next to the tibia is the fibula, which runs parallel to the tibia in the leg. The patella (the kneecap) rides on the knee joint as the knee bends. A membrane called a synovial sac protects the joint and secretes the synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant and provides nourishment to the articular cartilage & lines the joint. Other tissues that make up the knee joint include cartilage, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Two crescent shaped pads of cartilage, each called a meniscus, sit between the shinbone and the thighbone and act as cushions between the bones and shock absorbers during movement. It helps to protect the joint and allows the bones to slide freely on each other. Two sets of ligaments—the cruciates and the collaterals—strap all four bones in place. The cruciates crisscross below the kneecap; the collaterals run alongside the outside of the kneecap. The leg's substantial muscles help these ligaments keep the bones properly aligned. To function well, a person needs to have strong and flexible muscles. In addition, the meniscal cartilage, articular cartilage and ligaments must be smooth and strong.

     

    YOGA & KNEE PAIN 

    Yoga is excellent for increasing strength and flexibility in knees. It improves circulation in the joints and flushes out toxins and other wastes. The improved circulation also implies improved nourishment for the surrounding joints & ligaments. As with any other discipline, it is necessary for you to consult a skilled and qualified practitioner before attempting any practice. 

    Following are very simple exercises that can be very helpful for rejuvenating knee joints.

    PULLING UP KNEE CAPS IN SITTING POSTION 
    Sit with legs outstretched, place the palms on the floor just behind the buttocks, the back, neck & head should be straight, straighten the elbows, lean back slightly taking the support of the arms. Pull up your kneecaps by squeezing you thigh muscles gently. Relax. Do 10 times with the breath. Repeat it many times in a day. This helps support your knees.

    VARIATIONS IN STANDING POSITIONS
    • Stand tall, move your feet close enough to hold a ball or thick book between your thighs. Arms straight at your sides and shoulders relaxed. Squeeze your thighs gently without locking your knees. Hold it for some time. Repeat 10 times.
    • Stand tall, turn your heels in & keep them together. Notice that this engages your thigh muscles, causing your kneecaps to rise. Repeat 10 times.
    • Same as above, now instead of heals bring the toes in & keep them together. Repeat 10 times.

    KNEE ROTATION
    Sit with legs outstretched, bend the right knee & place the right arm under the right thigh and hold the right wrist with the left hand. Inhale, raise your right leg up to an angle of 90 degree & rotate your lower leg from the knee to ankle in a large circular movement, exhale on the downward moment. Try to straighten the leg at the top of the upward movement. The upper leg & trunk should be completely still. Repeat 10 times clockwise, 10 times anti clockwise. Repeat this process with the left leg.

    CYCLING 
    Lie on your back with the legs outstretched, inhale, bend the right leg at the knee & bring it to the chest, then raise & straighten the leg upward toward the ceiling completely. Then exhale & lower the straight leg in a forward position. Do not keep it on the floor. Bend the knee & bring it back to the chest to complete cycle. Repeat 10 times clockwise, 10 times anti clockwise. Repeat this process with the left leg.

    RECLINING LEG EXTENSION & ITS VARIATION
    Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your left foot on the floor, lift your right knee up toward your chest and then straighten your right leg upward toward the ceiling. Grab your right calf or thigh. Press your lower back into the floor. Flex your right foot, pointing your toes back toward your face, without locking your knee. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Repeat the pose on the other side. Do 3-5 times with each leg.

    VARIATION 
    If you would like to move on to a deeper, more advanced stretch, raise your torso up and move your forehead toward your knee. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. To release, gently lower your torso and your right foot to the floor.

    CYCLING ON THE ABDOMEN 
    Lie face down on the abdomen, keep both the legs straight & slightly apart, raise the head up & rest the chin on the palms with the elbows on the floor. Now from behind, bend alternate legs towards the hips with natural breathing for some time. Then do the same with both the legs by bringing the feet together.

    ARDHA SHALBHASANA 
    Lie on your stomach with your forehead or chin on the floor, place your palms & forearms under your shoulders, legs together. Bend your right knee from behind towards the right buttock. Pressing down with the left forearm take your right arm backward & hold the right foot in a way that you curl your fingers over the tip of your toes & your elbow facing up toward the ceiling. The base of your palm should be pressing the top of the foot. Now press your foot toward the buttock; after a while, if you have the flexibility, take the foot slightly off to the side and press it toward the floor. Be sure to keep your knee in line with your hip. Don't push your foot too hard if it hurts your knee. Square your shoulders with the front of the mat and don't collapse into your left shoulder. Instead, press down with your elbow to lift your chest. Repeat on the left side. Repeat 3 to 5 times on each side.

    ADHOMUKHA SHAVASNA 
    Come onto the floor on all fours. Curl your toes under. Spread your fingers wide apart. Keep your hands as wide as your shoulders and feet as wide as your hip. While exhaling, lift your knees away from the floor forming a nice V shape with your legs. At first, keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Slowly & consciously, stretch your legs & arms by raising your hips and tailbone up towards the ceiling. Push the heels downwards into the floor. Drop your head between the arms. Bring the chin closer to the chest to relax the back of the neck. Stay in this position for some time with natural breathing & then come back. To release, bend your knees and return to the starting position.

    The best way to prevent a knee problem is to maintain a healthy weight and improve the flexibility and conditioning of the knee's stabilizing muscles so that the joint is less vulnerable.

Yoga for Navel Displacement


In Northern India, navel displacement is called Nabhi Chadna / Tharan Chadna. Just as a misalignment occurs within the spinal cord, so a misalignment of the navel and stomach muscles (rectus abdominus) also occurs. It is the condition when the navel centre shifts. 


In most cases the navel will take a move in either an upward or downward direction; only sometimes a sideways movement occurs. The displacement is directly connected with the navel, nerves, stomach muscles and movement of Prana, and will affect each of these in some manner. 


Normally this problem corresponds to weakening of ligaments related to large intestine.The problem is said to occur more in women and may produce unaccountable menstrual pain and excessive or scanty bleeding. The ailments caused by this particular trouble usually involve only the abdominal area.


CAUSES


Uneven walking, running, unbalanced jumping, picking up heavy objects, a sudden twisting or bending movement, sexual activity.


SYMPTOMS


Symptoms are varied according to the direction of movement. For instance, if the navel has moved up, there is a chance of constipation, vomiting or feeling of nausea. If the navel has moved down then it leads to diarrhoea. Whichever way it moves, there is always pain in the abdominal area which may extend into the back, buttocks, thighs and calves. After the navel has shifted once, it is a problem which occurs frequently thereafter unless Yogic precautionary practices are started.


HOW TO DIAGNOSIS THE CORRECT ALIGNMENT


• The misalignment can be detected by using string to measure the distance from the large toe of both feet to the navel centre. Lie down on the flat surface facing upwards. If there is a difference in the length of these two measurements it indicates shift in navel position. However, when measuring the position with string, care should be taken to ensure that the body is correctly aligned.


• The original position can also be detected in some people by feeling for a pulse in the area. Lie on the flat surface facing upwards and press your thumb in the navel. If throbbing sensation under the navel is there, it means pulse and navel are together, the position is correct.


• In men, the measurement can be taken from the right and left nipples to the navel. If disparity in distance is there, it indicates the incorrect position.

 

YOGA FOR NAVEL DISPLACEMENT

 

Correct Yogic treatment for displacement and its adjustment eliminates this trouble within a short period, say 3 to 4 days. The Asanas that should be mainly practised are those which give equal backward stretch to the rectus abdominus muscles. Asanas such as Uttanpadasana, Bhujangasana, Matsyasana, Kandharasana, Supta vajrasana, Chakrasana, Dhanurasana, Makarasana, Naukasana, Matsyakridasana, will give relief. Shankhaprakshalana asanas can also be effective. 


No forward bending Asanas can be practised excepting Shashankasana and Marjariasana in some cases. After cure, practice of these Asanas should continue so that stomach and back muscles strengthen and prevent further recurrence. Following is a method of Uttanpadasana. It is very simple and easy to do.


METHOD OF UTTANPADASANA


• Lie down straight on your back with the palms flat on the floor, legs straight and toes together.


• Inhale and raise both the legs upwards up to 30degrees and hold it for 10 seconds,


• Then 60 degree, again hold it for ten seconds,


• Then 90 degree and hold it again for 10 seconds.


• Then same way come back while exhaling.


• While returning, place the feet slowly on the floor, avoiding any jerks.


• After resting for a while repeat the exercise 3 to 6 times.


This Asana helps in keeping the dislocated navel in its proper place.


NOTE

 

Those suffering from acute backache should practice it using one leg at a time.


BENEFITS


• This Asana strengthens the intestines and makes them free of diseases. It removes constipation, gas formation, obesity and improves the digestive system.


• It is useful in preventing displacement of the navel, heart disease, stomach pain, and respiratory problems.


• It is especially useful for back-ache, when performed using one leg at a time.


SOME OTHER METHODS


• Normally elders have good knowledge about this problem. Some people cure this by massaging the area near navel. Make sure they must have proper knowledge of massage otherwise further damage may result.


• Another massage technique is applied to different areas of the legs, corresponding to acupuncture points. When this method is used, a piece of string is tied around the big toe 'to keep things in place'.


• Another method involves an herbal pack placed on the stomach.


• These latter methods are local Indian methods usually practised in the villages. They provide good treatment but fail to prevent recurrence. They can be used successfully in conjunction with Asanas.

Yoga for New Mom


Last week, I had discussed pre-natal Yoga regimen. Continuing with the series, I am bringing out some beneficial instructions for post delivery period of the new Moms'. Postnatal Yoga is a wonderful way to regain your physical shape and energy. 


One should start Yogic exercise gradually after the delivery. The standard recommendation is to wait four to six weeks after a normal delivery, and eight weeks after a caesarean. The lady should enjoy whole two months with physical and mental peace so that she should fully concentrate to bring up the child under fully relaxed state of mind. Taking nutritive diet, Japa, meditation and reading of good books provide good way of life to the mother. Yogic exercises can be started gradually, once your doctor gives you the go ahead.


BENFITS OF YOGA POST- PREGNANCY

 

• Tones the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles • Helps bring the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size • Strengthens the lower back & stretches the upper back • Improves circulation and maintains good posture • Reduces fatigue and increases relaxation


POST – PREGNACY'S MOST COMMON CHALLENGES


FOR WEAKENED PELVIC FLOOR… KEGEL EXERCISE


Close your eyes & locate the pelvic floor muscles by trying to stop the flow of the urine. Once you've identified your pelvic floor muscles, empty your bladder and sit or lie down. Now contract your pelvic floor muscles repeatedly. Make the contractions longer- squeeze for five, hold for five, and release for five. Repeat 10 times. To get the maximum benefit, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Do this exercise 3-4 times in a day.


FOR UPSET STOMACH… KNEES TO CHEST


Lie down on the back with legs straight. Bend the right knee & bring it to the chest, interlock your fingers around the right knee. While inhaling press it to the abdomen for 30 seconds. Keep the other leg straight. Then exhale & raise the head off the floor towards the knee. Try to touch the knee with forehead. Come back while exhaling. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat 3 times with each leg. Try same exercise with both the knees.


FOR RELAXATION & REJUVENATION… VIPARITA KARANI


Lie down on the back with legs straight, feet together. Inhale, raise both the legs to 90 degree. Exhale, bring them to the head & immediately place both the hands on the hips. Inhale & bring the legs back to 90-degrees straight up into the air. Now half body from shoulder to navel is 45 degree & half is 90 degrees. Hold it for some time. Then come back slowly. First, bring the legs back towards the head, then while inhaling, bring them back to 90 degree, then exhale & come back.


FOR WEAKENED ABS… ABDOMINAL BREATHING


Lie down on the mat with face upwards. Bend both the legs from the knees. Keep the distance between the legs same as the distance between the two shoulders. Keep palms of the hands facing upward and a little away from the body. Close the eyes.

Start watching the breath. Breathe in as slow as possible. Breathe out as slow as possible. Now begin to deepen, lengthen and extend this movement consciously. While inhaling, let the abdomen rise to its limit and at exhalation let it fall completely. Keep watch on each breath. Do this practice ten to fifteen minutes in the morning & evening whenever your stomach feels light, about three hours after meals.

 

FOR ACHING NECK & SHOULDERS… GOMUKHASANA


Sit on the floor with legs stretched out in front of you. Cross both the legs by bending the knees & slide them towards both sides of the hips. Keep both the heels away from the hips. Knees should be together one above the other. Now take your right arm down over the right shoulder behind the neck, left arm from down behind the back. Try to hold your hands in a hook shape & pull them in the opposite. Then reverse the position & do the same with the other side. Those who cannot hold the hands they can use handkerchief or napkin from the top and try to reach towards the other side. Do 3 times each side. Try to remain in the position to the count of three breaths. Remember that whatever knee is on top (say right) the same side of the arm (say right) is going to be the one that has the elbow pointing up in the air.


TO BULID STAMINA… TRIKONASANA

 

Stand with legs three - four feet apart, turn the right foot in and the left foot out 90 degrees. Bring your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor, as you stretch the right arm up toward the sky, and bring it near the head so that the hand remains at right angle to the ground. The palm of the right hand should face towards the left. Exhale, bend sideways towards the left, slowly, and touch the left ankle joint with the left hand. The face should point forwards but the body should not bend forward. Stay in this position for 5 seconds or according to the body capacity. While returning back, inhale and repeat the same exercise with the opposite side. Repeat 3-4 times.


TO STAY CALM & CENTERED… UJJAYI BREATHING


Sit in any comfortable posture with the spine, head & neck in one straight line. You can keep your hands on the knees in Gyan Mudra Posture (join the tips of the index fingers to the tips of the thumbs while keeping the other fingers extended & loose). Close your eyes gently & relax all the muscles. Spend a few moments being aware of your natural breath as it passes in and out of the nose. Closing the mouth, slowly draw in air through both the nostrils to the mouth, then the touch of air is felt in the throat to the chest. Bring your mind to the throat and feel the contraction in the throat while expanding the chest. The sound is as if wind blows with pressure. The sound should be uniform and continuous. After completing inhalation, slowly exhale completely. While exhaling, the passage of the outgoing air should be felt on the roof of the palate. This is one round. Repeat the cycle for 5 to 10 minutes.


You can try this technique with your baby too, when the child is crying. It will not only calm the baby down, but also promote bonding with your child. Hold your infant close your chest. Start deep Ujjayi breathing. The deep rhythmic sound of your breath could very well soothe your baby.



Yoga for Our Eye Sight


It is said that the face is the index of the mind and the eyes are the windows of the soul. There are five Karmendriyas and five Jnanendriyas. The hands, legs, genitals, anus and speech are Karmendriyas. The eyes, nose, ears, skin and tongue are Jnanendriyas. We depend on sight more than any other of our senses to maneuver through the space around us. So the importance of the eyes can’t be overemphasized. The late physician Swami Sivananda considered sight the most abused of our five senses.


Human eyes are a wonderful creation of nature and these need care and attention. As years go by, the muscles around the eyes lose their tone. Eyesight becomes weak after the muscles around the eyes lose their elasticity and become rigid, thereby reducing the power to focus different distances. In addition, tension around the eyes affects the brain causing stress and anxiety. 


There is a deep correlation between the eyes and the mind. It is said that vision occupies 40 percent of the brain's capacity. Therefore, when we close our eyes, relaxation is induced in the brain. Eyesight is dramatically improved when the muscles of the eyes are relaxed.

 

HOW OUR EYES WORK


Our eyes are smaller than lemons. The eye has two parts- inner and outer. Both the parts are extremely delicate. The body has several ways of protecting this vulnerable organ. The eyeball sits in the eye socket (also called the orbit) in a person's skull, where it is surrounded by bone. The skull bones always protect the eyes. The visible part of the eye is protected by the eyelids and the eyelashes which keep dirt, dust and even harmful bright light out of the eye. There are lacrimal glands located at the inner angle of the eyes. The tears are secreted from these glands only. The tears are salty in taste, free from germs and they are antiseptic. When we open and close the eyelids these tears move from one end to the other end of the eye and it keeps the eye clean, wet and free from communicable diseases. The tears are secreted more when we cry or when we are sorrowful. The tube which connects the eyes and nose (known as nasolacrimal duct) drains the tears.


To see, the three pairs of muscles called extraocular muscles surround the eyeball in the skull work in co-ordination and because of that eyes can rotate and move on all sides. There is a hole in the eye in its center, which is called a pupil. We can see with the help of that. The size of pupil gets small and big by the muscles of the iris due to which the light rays falling on the retina are controlled. These retinas are located on the backside of the eyes. After the light rays fall on the retina, the brain senses them through optic nerve. We call it as vision. There is an elastic lens located behind the pupil and iris. It is attached with ciliary body. The muscles of ciliary body change the curvature of lens and make it thick or thin to concentrate rays on the retina.


On seeing the objects the light rays enter into the eyes and pass through the lens to get concentrated on the retina. It is said that there are thirteen crores and seventy lakhs of sensory receptors in this retina. There are thirteen crores of rod shaped cells to differentiate black and white. The seventy lakhs of cells are triangular. These rods are wide spread in retina. If a small glow-worm from the front of the eyes in a dark night or if a small insect strikes with the eyelashes, lakhs of waves originate in the retina. These impulses pass at the speed of 450 kilometers per hours from the eyes to the brain. The brain receives these impulses. If the mosquito or some insect is to be removed from the vicinity of the eyes by the hand it takes only 0.002 second for the brain to order it.


CAUSES OF EYE STRAIN


Bright sunlight, reading in poor light or in a lying down position, reading or writing in a moving train, plane, car or bus, watching television for too long or working at a computer for long hours, causes stress on the eyes and contracts the eye muscles. This leads to deteriorating eyesight or pain in the eyes.


PROTECTION BY YOGA


There are muscles around the pupil of the eye. There are muscles around the eye ball also. The muscle in the upper part is called as superior muscle and the muscle situated in the lower part of the eye ball is called as inferior muscle. There are muscles on the sides of the eye ball also. These muscles should be exercised. Yogic eye exercises strengthen the muscles of the eyes and thus help in curing many ailments of the eyes. Vision could be improved with eye exercises like palming, eyeball rotations and gaze shifting. So, eye exercises are important to any individual.




YOGIC EYE EXERCISE


We can do this exercise by sitting in a chair, sofa or on the Yoga mat. Keep your back and neck straight but not stiff. Rest should be given to the eyes for sometime after doing one eye exercise. One can sit in Padmasana, Vajrasna, Sukhasana, Swastikasana or Siddhasana for doing eye exercise. Before beginning the eye exercises, just relax the eyes by closing them for a moment or assume the corpse pose to relax all the body parts. Now do the following:


TECHNIQUE


1. Move the eyeball up and look at the space between the eyebrow center then lower the eyeballs and look at the tip of the nose. Don’t move the head. See only by moving the eyeballs. Do it for eight to ten times. The cornea will be seen moving up and down. Then take rest by closing the eyes.

2. Move the eyeballs horizontally parallel to the floor in a straight line from right to left and from left to right side. Do it for eight to ten times. Then close the eyes for some moments and give rest to the eyes.

3. Now move the eyeballs on left upper side and then right lower side. After that move it on right lower and left upper side in oblique direction. Do it for eight to ten times. Then take rest by closing the eyes for some time.

4. Now reverse the sequence. Move the eye balls on right upper and then left lower side. after that move it on left lower and then right upper side in oblique direction for eight to ten times. Then close the eyes and take rest for some time.

5. Now move the eyeballs from right to left and from left to right in upper semi circle. Do it for eight to ten times. Then by closing the eyes take rest.

6. Now move the eyeballs from left to right and from right to left in lower semi circle for eight to ten times. Then take rest by closing the eyes for sometime.

7. Now rotate the eyes clockwise and then anticlockwise in circular motion. Do it for four to six times on both the sides. After that give rest to the eyes.

8. Now stretch the right arm forward and keep it parallel to the floor. Keep the index finger vertically pointing up and fix the eyes on the nail of the finger or just beyond the nail. Now see the finger with both the eyes. Gradually bring the finger towards the nose and keep it there for sometime then take it away from it. You can do like this four to five times. While focusing your attention at the finger you will find you are not seeing one finger but two. Hence in this exercise eyes become eccentric. One finger will be the main finger, which is real and the other will be an optical illusion.

9. In the end, blink the eyes eight to ten times. Now rub the palms and create heat and do palming on the eyes repeating three times. The warm Prana current flowing from the palms relieves the tension and strain around the eye muscles.


NOTE

• The body must be relaxed and the head should not move when the eye exercises are performed. Except for the eyes, all parts of the body should be in a relaxed position.

• Give rest to the eyes by keeping them closed for 10 to 12 seconds between each process.


SOME MORE SUGGESTIONS


• For all eye problems, splash fresh & clean water on your eyes.

• Do eye exercises to tone your eyes. Remove your glasses or contact lenses while exercising.

• Other recommended Yoga exercises are Shirsasana, Sarvangasana, Vipritkarni Mudra for those who don't have cervical spondylosis, high myopia, hypertension or pregnancy. The eyes obtain tremendous power by practising these asanas. After doing Shirsasana don't sit up or stand up immediately. Take rest in Shashankasana for sometimes.

• Regular practice of Bhramari, Aumkar, and Anulom-Vilom Pranayama can also perfuse the eyes with plenty of blood flow.

• Constipation also affects our eyes. Therefore, it is essential that bowels get cleaned fully everyday. For this, practise Yogamudra, Vajrasana (after the meals) & Shitali Pranayama in morning and evening.

• Practice of Jalnetikriya can balance the breathing system of the nose. Along with that it gives much benefit to eyesight.

• Practice of deep breathing and meditation also can give rest to the eyes and increase its working capacity.

• Practice of concentration or Trataka by sitting in front of a flame also gives special strength to working system of the eyes.

• Every four to six months or minimum once in a year eyes should be checked up for their visual capacity even though our eyes are normal. They should be immediately tested if something unexpected happens so that if there is any change in the vision the eyes can be immediately treated. It is very important especially for the children.

• In India the self urine therapy experiment to wash the eyes is popular. It increases the working capacity of the eyes and removes stress.


Eyes are the pearls of life. Taking care of them is our prime duty. The eyes can be donated after death. Hence two eyes can give vision to two needy persons who will be able to see the world. Utilize them with the correct eye care program that includes eye exercises, proper diet and supplementation. Don't misuse them.




Yogic Managament to Improve Eyesight


Human eyes are a wonderful creation of nature and these need care and attention. As years go by, the muscles around the eyes lose their tone. Eyesight becomes weak after the muscles around the eyes lose their elasticity and become rigid, thereby reducing the power to focus different distances. In addition, tension around the eyes affects the brain causing stress and anxiety. There is a deep correlation between the eyes and the mind. It is said that vision occupies 40 percent of the brain's capacity. Therefore, when we close our eyes, relaxation is induced in the brain. Eyesight is dramatically improved when the muscles of the eyes are relaxed.


OUR EYES


Our eyeball comprises three layers—sclerotic or the outer layer, choroid or the middle layer and retina or the inner layer. The sclerotic layer is white and opalescent, with a transparent center called the cornea. Light is transmitted to the eye through the cornea. The choroid layer is called the iris, with the pupil in its center. Directly behind the iris lies the crystalline lens, which focuses light passing through it upon the retina. Around this lens lie the ciliary muscles that control its contraction and expansion. The retina or the inner layer is like a screen that receives the projected images of external objects.


You see something when the pupil lets light pass through the cornea onto the crystalline lens. Brightness is controlled by the pupil through contraction or dilation. These rays converge upon the retina via the convex crystalline lens, forming an inverse image. The optic nerve then transmits this image to the brain, producing the final sense of vision.


THREE MOST COMMON DEFECTS OF THE EYES


Sight can be adversely affected by various things, ranging from malnutrition to a recurring cough and cold. Perhaps the three most common defects of eyesight are myopia (short-sightedness), hypermetropia (long-sightedness) and presbyopia (failing eyesight due to age). While in myopia, the image is formed short of the retina, in hypermetropia or presbyopia the image is formed beyond the retina. These conditions are the result of faulty eye muscle action or imperfect accommodation. Generally, such disorders are corrected by introducing artificial lenses such as spectacles. These lenses bring the image onto the retina. But this amounts to treating the symptom, not the disorder of imperfect accommodation.


YOGIC MANAGEMENT


Yoga offers a host of corrective measures for defective eyesight. Simple Yogic exercises can keep your eyes free from impaired vision and ugly spectacles. Yogic eye exercises strengthen the muscles of the eyes and thus help in curing many ailments of the eyes. Vision could be improved with eye exercises like palming, eyeball rotations and gaze shifting. 


To improve the eyesight follow the methods described here:


YOGIC EXERCISES FOR EYE MUSCLES


Sit in Padmasana, Vajrasna, Sukhasana, Swastikasana or Siddhasana or on a chair but your back and neck should remain straight. Before beginning the eye exercises, just relax the eyes by closing them for a moment or assume the corpse pose to relax all the body parts. Do the following eye exercises regularly to prevent and cure any disorder of the eyes.


TECHNIQUE


1. Move the eyeballs up and look at the space between the eyebrow-center then lower the eyeballs and look at the tip of the nose. Do it effortlessly in a slow motion allowing the gaze to go up and down to the maximum level. Don’t move the head. See only by moving the eyeballs. Do it for eight to ten times. The cornea will be seen moving up and down. Then take rest by closing the eyes for some moments.


2. Move the eyeballs horizontally parallel to the floor in a straight line from right to left and from left to right side allowing them to go as far as they can. Do it for eight to ten times. Then close the eyes for some moments and give rest to the eyes.


3. Now move the eyeballs on left upper side and then right lower side. After that move it on right lower and left upper side in oblique direction. Do it for eight to ten times. Then take rest by closing the eyes for some time.


4. Now reverse the sequence. Move the eye balls on right upper and then left lower side. after that move it on left lower and then right upper side in oblique direction for eight to ten times. Then close the eyes and take rest for some time.


5. Now move the eyeballs from right to left and from left to right in upper semi circle. Do it for eight to ten times. Then by closing the eyes take rest.


6. Now move the eyeballs from left to right and from right to left in lower semi circle for eight to ten times. Then take rest by closing the eyes for sometime.


7. Now rotate the eyes clockwise and then anticlockwise in circular motion. Do it for four to six times on both the sides. After that give rest to the eyes.


8. Now stretch the right arm forward and keep it parallel to the floor. Keep the index finger vertically pointing up and fix the eyes on the nail of the finger or just beyond the nail. Now see the finger with both the eyes. Gradually bring the finger towards the nose and keep it there for sometime then take it away from it. You can do like this four to five times. While focusing your attention at the finger you will find you are not seeing one finger but two. Hence in this exercise eyes become eccentric. One finger will be the main finger, which is real and the other will be an optical illusion.


9. In the end, blink the eyes eight to ten times. Now rub the palms and create heat and do palming on the eyes repeating three times. The warm Prana current flowing from the palms relieves the tension and strain around the eye muscles.


NOTE

 

• The body must be relaxed and the head should not move when the eye exercises are performed. Except for the eyes, all parts of the body should be in a relaxed position.


• Give rest to the eyes by keeping them closed for 10 to 12 seconds between each process.


• Do not wear spectacles while doing the exercises.


SOME BRIEF EXERCISES FOR THE EYES


• Bounce a ball in a v-shape from one hand to the other and follow the movement of the ball with the eyes.


• Elephant swing: From a standing position, bend forward with feet 1 foot apart. Bend the knees, hands together, hang them down and swing like the trunk of an elephant, looking down on the floor.


• Take a sculpture/picture or any other object and look at it for about 30-45 seconds. Close eyes and visualize the object with the eyes closed and relaxed. Use a different object each day.


• Distance accommodation: look at a tree for 30 sec, then look at the palm, all the lines on the palm, for 30 sec, blink and see (5 times)


• Read in candle light (10 minutes).

 

NECK EXERCISE


• Sit with the back straight. Turn the tongue inside towards the throat and touch it against the upper palate.


• Bend the head downwards and press the chin to the chest then head up looking backwards. Inhale when the head moves upwards and exhale when the head moves downwards. Do it four to five times.


• Very slowly rotate the head first on the right side and then on the left side. Inhale deeply when the neck moves on the right side and comes in the line of right shoulder and exhale when it returns to front side position. Inhale when it moves on the left side and exhale when it returns to front side gradually. Repeat this exercise eight to ten times that is four to five times each side. Now relax the neck.


• Thereafter bring the right ear up to the right shoulder and then the left ear to the left shoulder. Repeat this exercise eight to ten times in total that is four to five times each side. Now relax the neck.


• Now rotate the head and neck from right side. In this tilt the head first on the right side then on the back side then on the left side and in front last. This would complete one rotation. Repeat four to five times very gently and without any stress. Do it in reverse direction also that is starting it from the left side. Repeat four to five times without hurrying.


• Rub the hands & massage the neck with warm hands nicely.


You can do shoulder rotation and arms rotation exercises also to remove stress from the shoulders and arms. Do clockwise for eight to ten times and then anti clockwise for eight to ten times.


DIET



  • Take fruits and vegetables which contain more of Vitamin A in good quantity. All red and yellow color fruit are recommended.
  • First thing in the morning – lemon water (lukewarm) with two teaspoons honey.
  • Breakfast- Have munacca (Dry fruit) (10-15no.) and figs (2-4 no.), should be soaked overnight in water in a glass container after being cleaned thoroughly. They should be taken along with the water in which they were soaked. Chew well. If you are still feeling hungry then after half an hour gap, take seasonal fruit such as mangoes, banana, apple, apricot, papaya- all red and yellow color fruit. Eating one variety of fruit each time is very beneficial.
  • Lunch– Chapattis of wheat flour with extra bran + seasonal vegetables (lauki, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, drumsticks, cauliflower, spinach, salad) & curd
  • Evening- Carrot juice, veg. soup, lemon water honey
  • Dinner- Same as lunch or Dalia (Broken wheat)
  • Avoid- Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, deep fried foods, processed foods and most chemical preservatives in packaged foods. Also avoid white sugar and use little salt. Use honey or brown sugar.



ASANA


Shirsasana, Sarvangasana, Vipritkarni Mudra for those who don't have cervical spondylosis, high myopia, hypertension or pregnancy. The eyes obtain tremendous power by practising these Asanas. After doing Shirsasana don't sit up or stand up immediately. Take rest in Shashankasana for sometimes. Other Yoga poses that strengthen eyes include Bhujangasana, Shavasana and Surya Namakara.


PRANAYAMA


Aumkar, Bhramari, Shitali and Anulom-Vilom. Do Shitali Pranayama with opened eyes. Regular practice of these Pranayama perfuses the eyes with plenty of blood flow. Pranayamas should be practiced in the mornings and evenings on an empty stomach.


YOGA-NIDRA AND MEDITATION


For better eye care, include deep relaxation (Yoga- nidra) in the practice routine. Practice of Yoga- nidra and Meditation gives rest to the eyes and increase their working capacity.


MEDITATION AND VISUALIZATION


Slowly, concentrate your awareness on your eyeball and create its mental picture. If you are myopic, tell your eyes to contract enough to allow the image to coincide on the retina. If you are long-sighted, tell your eyes to elongate enough to allow the image to coincide on the retina. Supplement your visualization with some catchy affirmation such as: "My eyes perform better than the best automatic cameras I have ever known." Practice this visualization Meditate at least for 15-20 minutes twice a day.


PRANA MUDRA FOR INCREASING EYE SIGHT


Touch the tips of little finger and ring finger by tip of the thumb. Rest two fingers that is index and middle finger should be straight. Perform Prana Mudra for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Practice regularly for better vision.


TRATAKA


Light a candle and keep it at eye level at a distance of about two feet. Sit comfortably and gaze at the candle flame without blinking for about 2-3 minutes. If eyes begin to water before that, close the eyes. Once the eyes are closed, try to gaze internally at the after-image of the candle flame at the back of your mind’s eye. Repeat this whole routine one more time.


Then slowly get up and fill your mouth with water. Keeping this water in your mouth, wash the eyes with tap water. Then spit the water out. This water will be warm as heat gets released from the body. This has to be done twice or until the water temperature gets normal. This is a must after this particular Kriya.

This routine will help you strengthen and relax the eye muscles. Also, it is used as a practice for developing focus and concentration and can be used as a prelude to Meditation.


JALA NETI KRIYA (NASAL WASH)


Jala Neti is a simple technique which involves using a special "neti pot" filled with warm, slightly salted water. The nose cone is inserted into one nostril and the position of the head and pot is adjusted to allow the water to flow out of the other nostril. Whilst the water is flowing through the nasal passages one breathes through the mouth. (One should do this Kriya under guidance in the beginning).Practice of Jalaneti kriya gives much benefit to eyesight. It keeps the eyes free from congestion and strain, and improves vision. Its use can be learned from any Yoga instructor. Neti should be practiced in the morning before Pranayama.


WASHING THE EYES


After attending to the call of nature, wash the eyes in the eye washing glass. Fill the eye washing glass with pure water and cup the eyes in it. Blink inside the water 15 to 20 times. (In the absence of an eye washing glass your palm can be cupped for the purpose.) Throw away the water and refill the glass with some more fresh water and wash once again. Repeat the same with the other eye. Wash them after watching television, before retiring to bed, as you come home after a long tiring day outdoors, and also after reading for a considerable time at a stretch. Do not watch television unblinkingly.


SUNBATHING THE EYES


Early morning, allow indirect Sunlight into the eyes (closed eye lids). Keep your feet a foot apart, let your arms hang loosely at the sides and be as relaxed as possible and sway the body gently from side to side like a pendulum for three to five minutes. Hot Sun at noon should be avoided. At Sunrise and Sunset look directly into the Sun for a short period of time. It should be stopped as soon as the Sun causes discomfort.


After the Sun treatment, come to the shade and place a piece of cold wet cloth on the closed eye lids for two minutes / Sprinkle cold water over your eyes and then dry them with a soft piece of cloth.


BLINKING


• Practice deliberate blinking for five full minutes any time of the day.

• Squeeze gently under the eyes before going to sleep.

• Roll the eyes in the socket clockwise and anti-clockwise.


PALMING


• Rub both palms together quickly for 10 seconds. This friction creates mild heat. Close the eyes and gently place the left palm over the left eye and right palm over the right eye. Do not apply pressure with the palms, but just left them gently rest. Breathe in and out slowly to release stress. Repeat this 2-3 times.

• Sit comfortably in a chair in front of a table and stay relaxed. Close your eyes. Cup your right palm and shield the right eye with it. Cup your left palm and cover the left eye with it. Let the fingers of both the hands meet on the forehead. Rest the elbows on the table and keep yourself completely relaxed. Look only at the darkness without opening the eyes. Let your mind also relax for some time. Sit like this for five minutes at a time, at least thrice a day.


AVOID


Bright Sunlight, reading in poor light or in a lying down position, reading or writing in a moving train, plane, car or bus, watching television for too long or working at a computer for long hours. These cause stress on the eyes and contract the eye muscles which lead to deteriorating eyesight or pain in the eyes.


SOME MORE SUGGESTIONS


• For all eye problems, keep the eyes clean. Splash fresh & clean water on the eyes 10-15 times at least twice a day.


• Dampen wads of cotton-wool with pure Organic Rose Water and place over closed eyes. Relax for 10 minutes that way. The cooling effect of organic rose water helps cool tired eyes.


• Every four to six months or minimum once in a year eyes should be checked up for their visual capacity even though our eyes are normal. They should be immediately tested if something unexpected happens so that if there is any change in the vision the eyes can be immediately treated. It is very important especially for the children.


• In India the self urine therapy experiment to wash the eyes is popular. It increases the working capacity of the eyes and removes stress.


• Constipation also affects our eyes. Therefore, it is essential that bowels get cleaned fully everyday. For this, drink plenty of water through the day, as constipation or internal dryness can have adverse effect on the eye. Do practise Yogamudra and Vajrasana (after the meals). Shitali Pranayama in morning and evening is very effective. Periodic use of enema is also helpful.


• Morning and evening walks rejuvenate the eyes, enhancing proper sight.


• Walking barefoot on the grass in the morning is very good for the eyes.


• In case you have access to Triphala, put a teaspoonful of Triphala powder in a glass of water and let it stay overnight. Strain the water and wash the eyes with it.


• Improve your diet; enjoy Sun-shine and fresh air. Winter Cherry (Ashwagandha) also helps strengthen vision.


• To improve eyesight, soak seven almonds overnight. Next morning grind it to a paste with seven peppers and mix with water and sugar candy using the same water in which it was soaked. Take this paste after meals regularly for a few months.


• These remedies can help you keeping your eyes healthy and beautiful, and can be used by everyone, in general.


Eyes are the pearls of life. Taking care of them is our prime duty. Spare at least half an hour every day for eye care. Change your food habits and do regular eye washing and other exercises and you will be benefited by these safe and natural methods. The eyes can be donated after death. Hence two eyes can give vision to two needy persons who will be able to see the world. Utilize them with the correct eye care program that includes eye exercises, proper diet and supplementation. Don't misuse them. Every morning start the exercises with the determination that YOU ARE GOING TO IMPROVE THE EYESIGHT AND DISCARD THE GLASSES. Have faith and patience.



Yoga for Rejuvenation



ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA

 

In Sanskrit Adho means downward, Mukha means face, and Svana means dog. Thus, Adho Mukha Svanasana means Downward-Facing Dog Pose. The pose resembles a dog stretching after a nap. It's an excellent Yogasana all on its own. It imparts power, flexibility and alertness to the body and mind & stretches the spine, hamstrings and relaxes the heart. Regular practice of this pose rejuvenates the entire body and gently stimulates the nervous system.


HOW TO DO IT



  • Sit in Vajrasana. Raise your body from your heels
  • Kneel with the hands and knees on the floor, hands under the shoulders, fingers spread wide, knees under the hips & tuck the toes under the feet.
  • Then, on an exhale, push back with your hands, raising your buttocks up and forming a nice V shape with your legs.
  • Weight should be evenly distributed between your hands and feet.
  • Hold the position for a few breaths and watch as blood moves through your body. The body would feel energised.
  • Exhale, lift the head up, drop the knees to the floor & get into Vajrasana. Rest in Balasana.



2. BALASANA (CHILD'S POSE)

 

The Sanskrit word Bala means child. The Balasana is one of the more relaxing Yoga Postures and it can be done before or after any asana.

 

HOW TO DO IT



  • Sit in Vajrasana
  • Keep your knees apart, about the width of your hips. This will create more room around the belly. It also allows deeper breathing.
  • Place your forehead on the floor and then swing your arms forward with the palms toward the floor or bring the arms back alongside the thighs with the palms facing upwards. Do whichever you feel more comfortable.
  • These are two arm variations.
  • Be sure that while bending down in this manner, both the buttocks remain set between both the heels. They should not be raised.
  • Breathe normally, when the head touches the ground.
  • Remain a witness of inhaling as well as exhaling of breath.
  • Remain in this position for at least a minute and allow your body and mind to relax.



HOW THESE ASANAS REJUVENATE

In both these positions, the head goes lower than the heart. Hence, heart has to work lesser in pumping the blood to the brain. Therefore, blood circulation in head is increased & this increased blood circulation rejuvenates the brain cells & relieves fatigue.


BENEFITS

Both these asana calm the mind, relieve stress & are beneficial for mild depression, headache, insomnia, back pain and fatigue. The cerebrum, cerebellum, pituitary, pineal, thyroid, parathyroid, the lungs and heart itself get benefit.


It is advisable to practice the asanas under the guidance of a Guru or a qualified yoga instructor.


Yoga for Sciatica


Yoga is one of the most effective forms of exercise for Sciatica related problems. As with any spinal injury, great caution is required when attempting any form of exercise and this holds true for Yoga as well. First, let us understand what Sciatica is. The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body. It starts from our spinal cord in the lower back and passes down through the hip into the back area of the lower leg to each foot. The sciatic nerve controls the movement of many muscles in the thigh and leg as also provides a means of sensory input to the brain. When the sciatic nerve becomes irritated and inflamed, it results in Sciatica. Patients with Sciatica may suffer from sharp pain through the lower spine, a stabbing sensation in the buttock, knee/ankle pain or even numbness in the leg. This usually happens only on one side of the body.


COMMON CAUSES OF SCIATICA

There are many causes of sciatica such as long sittings for desk jobs, pregnancy, dehydration, spinal degeneration etc. Once you experience the symptoms of Sciatica, get evaluated by your physician to determine the cause. Some more common causes of Sciatica include Herniated Disc, Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and Piriformis Syndrome.


HERNIATED DISK

Your backbone or spine is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between them are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. A herniated disk is a disk that slips out of place or ruptures. If it presses on a nerve, it can cause Back Pain or Sciatica. Herniated discs are the most common cause of Sciatica.


SPINAL STENOSIS

It is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows and compresses the spinal cord and nerves, which cause pain in low back as well as pain or abnormal sensations in the legs, thighs, feet or buttocks or loss of bladder and bowel control. This is usually due to common occurrence of spinal degeneration that occurs with aging.


PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME

The Piriformis muscle is one of the small muscles deep in the buttocks that rotates the leg outwards. It runs from the base of the spine and attaches to the thighbone (femur) roughly where the outside crease in your bum is. The Sciatic nerve runs very close to this muscle and sometimes even through it. If the muscle becomes tight, it can put pressure on the Sciatic nerve causing irritation and inflammation.

 

YOGA POSES

Yoga Poses that provide Sciatic pain relief are those that open the hips as also provide a gentle twist for the back. Some yoga poses for Sciatica that are particularly effective & easy to do are Supta Padangusthasana & its variations, Utthita Parsvakonasana, Ardha Chandrasana, Bharadvajasan, Salamba Sarvangasna, Setubandhasana, Shavasna & Adhomukha Shavasna. Do all these Asnas under some qualified Yoga instructor because each specific condition may warrant a distinct approach to Asana practice. Use props such as a strap and bolster if you need the extra support. If you do not have all these then you can use a scarf or belt as a strap and a stack of blankets or towels as a bolster. Following are very simple stretching exercises to reduce the symptoms of Sciatica.

SOLES STRETCHING

Sit with legs outstretched with feet little apart, place your hands on the floor to the sides & just behind the buttocks, keep the back straight, straighten the elbows & now stretch the feet forward & backwards as much as possible. Hold each position for a few seconds. Repeat 10 times


SUKHASANA (SPINAL TWIST)

Sit in simple crossed legged position with the fingertips on the floor besides the hips. Place the palm of the left hand on the outer right thigh. Now inhale, press the right fingertips into the floor & stretch the spine upward. Exhale, press the left palm into the thigh & turn toward the right. Look over the right shoulder. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Come back & repeat on the other side. Change the cross of the legs. Do 3- 5 times each side.


GOMUKH (ONLY SITTING POSITION)

Sit with legs outstretched in the front, cross the right leg over the left leg and place the right heel by the side of the left hip. Fold your left leg in and bring the left heel by the side of the right hip. Try to keep the knees together one above the other. Sit in this position for some time with normal breathing and then change the cross of the legs. If you are feeling good while doing it then repeat 3-5 times each side.


MAKARASANA

Lie face down on the abdomen on the floor or on the bed. Keep your legs apart about 2 to 2 ½ feet, toes out to the sides; heels are in facing towards each other. (If it is not comfortable then bring the legs slightly closer & the tips of the big toes should touch each other). Now form a pillow with the arms by crossing the arms (place your right hand on the left shoulder, left hand on the right shoulder) Rest your forehead on your forearms. Keep the upper chest slightly lifted from the floor by adjusting the arms. Do breathing slowly, deeply & consciously. As you breathe in, expand not only your abdomen but lower back & hips muscles too. As you breathe out feel total relaxation. Do for 5 minutes if possible.

 

MAKARASANA (HOLDING THE FACE)

Lie face down on the abdomen, keep both the legs straight & slightly apart, raise the head up & rest the chin on the palms of the hands with the elbows on the floor. Bring the elbows together & closer towards the body. Now from behind, bend alternate legs towards the hips with natural breathing for some time. Then do the same with both the legs by bringing the feet together


SHITHILASANA (RIGHT SIDE)

Lie face down on the abdomen with the fingers locked under the head. Turn your head to right side. You can adjust your arms if it is not comfortable. Then draw the right foot near the left knee & bring it closer to the right elbow Place your left hand by your left side & left leg straight. Do normal breathing as long as possible.


SHALBHASANA

Lie face down on the abdomen on the floor. Keep your leg straight. Bring your palms either under your thighs or by your sides. Rest the chin on the floor. Inhale, raise your right leg up, exhale, bring it back very slowly. Repeat the same with the other leg. Do 3 times with each leg.

 

SHITHILASANA (LEFT SIDE)

Same exercise as mentioned above now with the other side of the body.


VAJRASNA

Kneel on the floor. Let your right big toe overlap the left big toe, heels apart, sit down between the heels, knees together, hands on your thighs. Sit peacefully for 20 to 30 seconds with normal breathing.


SHASHANKASANA (POSITION VAJRASANA)

Inhale, raise your arms, while exhaling bend down forward & place your arms, elbows, forehead on the floor/ the block. Breathe normally for some time. Remain in this position for at least a minute. Allow your body and mind to relax.


SHASHANKASANA (VARIATION)

From Shashank pose, stretch the right leg out straight backward. Hold it for some time with normal breathing. Then come back & try to do the same with the other leg. Repeat 3 times each side. (If you do not feel comfortable, then stretch that leg out behind in which you do not feel pain).


CAT STRETCH (MARJARIASANA)

Sit in Vajrasana. Raise your body from your heels & stand on your knees. Lean forward and put your hands on the floor in front of you. Keep your knees & feet together. Inhale and raise your head up and stretch your neck backwards. Hold it for a while. Then exhale & look straight. Repeat it 4-5 times.


ADHOMUKHA SHAVASNA (POSITION VAJRASANA)

From cat stretch asana lift the knees off the floor, forming a nice V shape with your legs. Hold the position for a few breaths. Make sure that your feet are in line with your hands and the same distance apart. Hold the position for a few breaths. Consciously stretch your legs & arms. Exhale and then rest your head on the block if it is possible. Stay in this position for some time with natural breathing then come back. Exhale & get into Vajrasana. Then rest in Shashankasana.


SHAVASANA

Lie down with the back on the Yoga mat. Keep your eyes closed. Arms are little away from the body with palms upward. Legs are apart about 3 to 4 inches. Keep the toes in the outer directions. Heels are facing towards each other. Keep the whole body relaxed part by part mentally. You can lie down in this condition as long as you desire.


MAKARASNA ON THE BACK

Lie down on your back with legs straight and together. Bend the knees & bring the feet closer to your hips, keep your feet & knees together and flat on the floor. Interlock your fingers below your head. Without lifting the elbows, inhale and start moving your head and knees in the opposite direction. Stretch the spine to the maximum. Come back to the center & exhale. Then do the same with the other side. Do 5 times each side.


SUPTA PADANGUSTHASANA & VARIATION

Lie on your back with the legs outstretched, soles of both feet touching the wall. Bend the right knee towards your chest. Place a Yoga strap around the ball of the right foot. Hold both ends of the belt with the right hand or with both the hands. Slowly start straightening the right leg up toward the ceiling till wherever you feel comfortable. Simultaneously keep pressing the sole of the left foot more firmly into the wall and the left thigh on the mat. Feel the stretch in your right calf. Initially, stay in this position for 20 -30 seconds. With practice, increase the time to 1 minute. Repeat the pose on the other side. Do 3-5 times with each leg.


VARIATION

After you raise your right leg (step 1), exhale, then lower your leg with the right hand to the right, keeping it straight. Place your right foot on the block if you want. Keep your left arm sideways at your shoulder level. Pull on the belt so that you can feel the stretch in your leg. Press the left foot against the wall and the left thigh on the mat. Hold the pose for 20 - 30 seconds. Repeat the pose on the other side. Do 3-5 times with each leg.


A FEW CAUTIONS

· Before you start a yoga practice while suffering from sciatic pain, consult your health care provider and a qualified yoga instructor and make sure you follow their advice diligently.

· When performing the postures, be careful not to overstep your pain boundaries. If you experience pain, back off. You must find the program that best suits your body. Listen to your body.

· Do not sit for long periods and avoid activities that worsen your pain especially if you've been diagnosed with a herniated disc. When you do sit, always use a lumbar support. In most cases, extensive walking is also not advisable.

· Be sure that you are adequately hydrating yourself with at least eight glasses of water each day.

· The key to prevent sciatica is to prevent any damage to your lower spine. Maintain a good posture while sitting.

· Finally, remember to continue with these poses long after the symptoms have disappeared.


Yoga for Senior Citizens


Life starts at 60, as you are passing through just another beautiful phase in life. The responsibilities are over & the time to be at ease has begun. In fact, it is a stage when you have so much more time to devote to yourself. This is also the time to do futuristic planning for a very healthy older life by initiating yourself into regular Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation & a host of hobbies like gardening, swimming, reading & writing.


THE PHYSIOLOGY OF AGEING


As we age, our bodies undergo a number of degenerative physiological changes in the skin, bones, heart, blood vessels, lungs, nerves and other organs and tissues. Ailments that are linked to old age are joints inflexibility, poor blood circulation, arthritis, vision problems, blood pressure, lower back pain, osteoporosis, digestive disorders, difficulty in breathing, stress-related problems, unable to sleep peacefully & chronic pains. The reasons of many of these problems may be insufficient exercise, unwise eating habits and shallow breathing. Three conditions that are very common in the older people are arthritis, osteoporosis & hypertension.


ARTHRITIS


Arthritis is a medical condition that affects the joints and causes pain, swelling and stiffness. Two of the most common types that affect are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.


RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA)


RA is a chronic inflammation of the joint lining (synovium), which leads to weakness, loss of mobility and eventual destruction and deformity of the joints. Because RA is a systemic disease, it affects other organs in the body. Yoga improves musculoskeletal flexibility and range of motion (ROM) which helps to restore flexibility and improve circulation to joints. Systematic yoga exercise relaxes and softens contracted muscles, ligaments and other tissues and tones up those, which are weakened. Asanas such as the bound angle pose (butterfly) increase the space within the joints, cat pose provides both extension and flexion and the tree pose strengthens surrounding ligaments and tissues.

 

OSTEO ARTHRITIS (OA)

 

OA is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage in the part of the joint that cushions the ends of bones. This causes the bones to rub directly against each other, causing pain and limiting movement. OA affects the hands and weight-bearing joints, such as those in the knees, hips, feet and back. OA can lead to long-term joint damage, chronic pain, loss of function and disability. Yoga is a weight-bearing exercise that can help stimulate bone growth in people of all ages. By contracting the muscles around the bones, yoga poses create a force that encourages bone maintenance throughout all areas of the body. By strengthening the muscles supporting the joints and providing balance training, yoga can also reduce the risk of falls, a major concern for the old. Postures such as cobra, quadruped opposite arm and leg raises and modified camel pose increase muscular strength around the spine, improve posture and relieve spinal compression.


HYPERTENSIONBlood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers; the top value (120) is the systolic blood pressure, which measures the force of blood in the arteries as the heart beats, whereas the bottom value (80) is the diastolic blood pressure, which records the force of blood as the heart relaxes during beats. It is important to remember that blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day. However, when blood pressure stays elevated over time, it is classified as hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension is dangerous because it causes the heart to work too hard, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. A blood pressure level of 140/90 mmHg or above is considered hypertensive. Hypertension is usually the result of lifestyle factors, such as obesity, stress, high alcohol and sodium intake or genetics. Hypertension can be treated with Pranayama, guided relaxation, meditation, diet and exercise. Pranayama such as Anulome- Vilome, Sheetali & Bhramari are very good in hypertension. These techniques relax the mind & help in returning both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels to normal more quickly. Breath retentions (pausing at the end of the inhalation or exhalation) are not recommended for hypertensive participants.


SIMPLE YOGA BREATHING PRACTICE 


This simple exercise can reduce stress, teach mindfulness and relieve spinal compression. It is beneficial for people with arthritis, hypertension and osteoporosis.


Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep knees and feet hip-width apart, hands by the side of the body and palms facing upward. Be comfortable (you can use a small pillow to support the head if you want).


  • Close the eyes and observe your natural breath…
  • You will notice that your stomach is moving up & down with each breath…
  • As you inhale, it is rising… as you exhale, it is falling…
  • Take slow, deep, unforced breaths…
  • Avoid straining to increase the length of inhalations or exhalations…
  • Keep watch on each breath…
  • Do this practice 10-12 times …
  • When ready to come out of this position, roll onto one side & sit up as slow as possible.



DUTIES OF CHILDREN


At this stage, the grown up children have to take proper care of their parents and they should not forget that these senior people have brought them up by facing many difficulties. These seniors have given them protection and education. Now is the time for them to shower all the love that their parents deserve. It will really help in boosting their confidence. If the future generation takes care of their parents, the old age will not be lonely, difficult or painful. In fact, children can take advantage from the experiences & treasure of knowledge of their parents and grand parents.


Yoga for Sinisitus


WHAT ARE SINUSES

 

Sinuses are the air chambers in the bone behind your cheeks, eyebrows and jaw. They make mucus, a fluid that cleans bacteria and other particles out of the air you breathe. Tiny hairs called cilia (say: “sill-ee-ah”) sweep mucus out of your sinuses so it can drain out through your nose.


WHAT IS SINUSITIS

 

Sinusitis is a condition in which the lining of your sinuses becomes inflamed. Its main causes are changes in temperature or air pressure, allergies, use of excessive decongestant nasal sprays, smoking, swimming or diving. Growths called polyps also block sinus passages. When sinusitis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection, you get a sinus infection. Its symptoms are pain or pressure in the forehead, cheeks, nose, between the eyes, headache, fever, nasal congestion, reduced sense of smell and aching teeth.


THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

 

The immune system keeps us healthy and protects us against all sorts of viruses, bacteria, microbes, parasites and toxins. The best way to prevent allergic reactions is having healthy immune system. To strengthen and balancing the immune system against sinus, practicing yoga postures in a relaxing way with slow deep breathing and the intention to let go and relax the nervous system can be very beneficial. Through relaxation, the nervous system can tell the immune system to settle down and stop attacking the foreign bodies, which are naturally cleared out in a non-allergic person by sneezing once or twice a day. When the immune system backs off, inflammation and mucus decrease and symptoms diminish.


YOGIC MANAGEMENT

 

Asanas, Pranayama, Meditation, Yogic Kriyas & Proper diet play a vital role in curing the problem.


ASANAS

 

Surya namaskar, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Matsyasana, Simhasana, Shavasana


PRANAYAMA

 

Omkar, Bhrahmari, Suryabhedi, Ujjayi, Kapalbhati, Bhastrika, Anulome- vilome


YOGIC KRIYAS

 

Jal neti, Kunjal kriya


I would recommend that you should learn the Kriyas only under the guidance of a Yoga Instructor.


DIET

Diet should be light, nutritious & well- balanced. Take plenty of enzyme rich foods (papaya, tomato, carrots, and spinach), fiber, and roughage (whole wheat flour, lots of vegetables, soups, fruit juices, fruits etc.), Avoid heavy meals, excessive worry, anger, tension, jealousy and hurrying, fried, fatty, spices, starchy & sugar containing food, smoking, alcohol, cocoa, white flour, tinned fruit, refined cereals, tea coffee , milk products and fruits such as banana.


TAKE CARE OF SINUSITIS


  • Drink tons of lukewarm water.
  • A glass of hot Tulsi water with honey and ginger is very soothing to the allergies.
  • Apply moist heat by holding a warm wet towel against your face or breathing in steam through a cloth or towel. This will relieve sinus pressure & help open your sinus passages.
  • Rinse your sinus passages with a saline solution. Learn Neti.
  • Expose the body to sunlight and fresh air breathing deeply every day.
  • Avoid dusty places, exposure to cold, food to which you are sensitive, mental worries and tensions.
  • Have sound sleep of 7 to 8 hours daily. It can make your sinuses feel more stopped-up, so try lying on the side that lets you breathe the best.


 

MANAGE YOUR ALLERGIES & BUILD UP RESPIRATORY STAMINA WITH


SIMHASANA (ROARING LION POSE)

 

Simhasna means Lion pose. In this position we roar like a lion. It strengthens the lungs, throat & voice. It stimulates the tonsils, immune system & helps to reduce stress & anger.


To start with, sit in Vajrasana. Place both your hands on the respective knees. Eyes closed. Breathe normally. Now do these steps. Take a deep breath and retain it for few seconds. Exhale forcefully with a roaring sound aaaaaaahhhh like a lion and simultaneously take your tongue out as much as you can, stretch your fingers as wide as you can, open your eyes as wide as you can, focus your mind at the space between the eyebrows or tip of the nose. This is one round. Repeat this 4-5 times. Massage your throat after finishing Simhasana. Those who cannot do Sarvangasana and Halasana they can do Simhasana


OMKAR

There is no scientific training necessary for practice of Omkar. Inhale deeply through the nose, then open the mouth and chant Omkar loudly. Performing Omkar will help keep the sinuses healthy & increase the vital capacity of the body. Circulation of blood increases thereby increasing the capacity of lungs. Do for 5 minutes. One can do this pranayama any time, either in the morning, noon afternoon, or at night, whenever the belly is not full.


Yogic approach for Chronic Backache


Our back or spine is like the pillar on which the entire body rests but the strongest part can also be the vulnerable spot if not taken care of well. About 80% of the people suffer back pain at some time or the other in their lives.


The spine consists of many small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are further divided into five sections, namely the cervical region (the neck area) which contains 7 vertebrae (C1 to C7), the thoracic region (the chest area) which contains 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12), the lumber region (the abdominal area) consists of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5), the sacrum region (the pelvic area) consists of 5 vertebrae (S1 to S5), and the coccyx region (the tail bone area) consists of 4 vertebrae. 


These vertebrae are separated by discs which allow the spine to bend. In a slumped posture, instead of the weight passing through these discs there is pressure on the facet joints of the spine which are not designed to be weight bearing. Gradually this can lead to localized pain at these joints and surrounding tissues, producing swelling from the loss of fluids from minute tears. This clears away in the healing process but leaves a residual area of scarring, hardened tissues and weakness. However, not all back pain is from facet joints (facet joints of the spine allow back motion); it can come from soft tissues (tendons, cartilage, ligaments) and surrounding muscles and from the nerves as they emerge from the spinal column. 




CAUSES:


Lack of exercise, standing or bending forward for long periods, slip disc, cervical problems spondylosis, lumbar spondylosis, overgrowth of bones, pain in the pelvic region or pelvis, gastroenteritis, chest pain, constipation, kidney problems, sprains, using the wrong mattress ( Mattress should neither be too soft nor too hard), bad posture, drooping shoulders, sitting in a sloppy manner or with a bent back (at your workplace make sure you use a comfortable chair with a backrest), watching T.V. lying on the bed or the sofa, carrying a heavy load on your back like a school bag, laptop, shopping bags, slinging bulky bags which apply pressure only on one side of the shoulder, wearing high heels, a sudden gain of weight, obesity or beer bellies, degeneration of bones,driving with the chair tilted back etc .


YOGIC APPROACH FOR CHRONIC BACKACHE


Regular practice of Yoga is beneficial for people with chronic backache and it also helps relieve pain in the neck and the shoulders. Let’s begin with correctly aligned posture in the standing position:


• Bring the feet a few inches apart (10 cm) and parallel to each other. Then bring the awareness into the soles of the feet and gently rock backwards and forwards coming up onto the toes and back onto the heels. Then return to a standstill position and feel the contact with the floor through both feet. The body sways and the weight moves forwards and back and left and right quite naturally. Be grounded through the feet and allow them to take the weight evenly.

• Make sure that the knees are unlocked and pull up the kneecaps. If they point in towards the centre then rotate the thighs outwards and tighten the buttocks.

• Now tilt the pelvis backwards and forwards finding the balance so that the spine can grow comfortably upwards out of the hips.

• Bring the shoulders up and back, and let them go wide with the arms hanging loosely.

• Hold the head and neck upright so that the ears are above the top of the shoulders and the head feels lightly balanced on top of the neck.

• Imagine that a string is attached to the top of the head and that someone is lifting the head up and out of the shoulders. Feel how your posture alters when you 'let go' of this imaginary string.


SUGGESTED PRACTICES


Lying in supine positions:

Supta Tadasana, Ek Pada Uttanansana, Kati Makarasana, Ardha Pavanmuktasana, Pavanmuktasana


Lying in prone positions:

Makarasana, Bhujangasana, Ardha Shalabhasana, Naukasana


In sitting position:

Vakrasana, Brahma Mudra (neck exercise slow)


Pranayam:

Kapalbhati, (In case you have acute backache, don’t do Kapalbhati), Anulom Vilom Pranayama


Shavasana:

• Lie down with the face up on the wooden bench.

• Relax the body.

• Keep both the fists open, legs a little relaxed and widespread.

• Now listen to the beating of the heart.

• Remain a witness of the inhalation as well as exhalation.

• Breathe 50 times slowly with breath consciousness

• Create a feeling that your body is peaceful, composed and completely disease free.

• In this manner, without the movement of any part of the body, remaining fully composed having no restlessness of any type, go deep into mentally quiet attitude.


BENEFITS OF THE ABOVE ASANAS


• The vertebral column and the discs between the vertebrae are made strong and flexible.

• The spinal cord is massaged.

• Increase the blood flow into the spinal cord ensuring a good supply of nutrients.

• The autonomic nervous system is rebalanced and toned up by the action of the blood supply and the massaging effects.

• The back muscles are strengthened and nourished by the increased flow of blood.

• Posture is readjusted and corrected, removing spinal deformities. Backache will be cured by relaxing tense muscles, releasing compression of the spinal nerves and removing general body fatigue.

• The whole body is made healthy through these Asanas. The abdominal organs are massaged and Manipura Chakra, the Pranic centre of the body, is stimulated and rebalanced. The lungs are fully inflated and massaged, cleaned and stretched. The heart is stimulated and cleansed. The blood is purified more efficiently by the lungs, kidneys and liver. The brain benefits from an increased amount of blood. Massage of the spinal cord also improves brain function. When the spinal cord and brain are relaxed and the whole body is toned up, back problems are eliminated.


TO BE AVOIDED


Sit ups, avoid double leg raising, Halasana (plough pose), Sarvangasana (full shoulder stand) , Forward bends, Trikonasana twisting to the opposite foot and variation 2 with the arm stretched over the head, lying on the side and lifting both legs up, Shalabhasana (full locust pose) Dhanurasana (bow pose)- can be done with knees remaining on the floor, Vyaghrasana (tiger pose)- is OK if the leg being raised does not go past 15 degrees above the horizontal (the lumbar spine is stressed beyond this point especially when the movement is done too quickly), Paschimottanasana (back stretching pose) is not recommended to stretch hamstrings, Squatting and Vajrasana to be avoided where knee problems exist.


NOTE


If you are feeling uncomfortable while doing Yoga Asanas by yourselves, do not push yourself. It will be helpful to actually sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each Asana and will make sure that you are doing the exercise correctly.

 

The Yogic Approach to Managing Osteoporosis


Osteo means bones and porosis means porous. Osteoporosis is the disease which affects the bones inside the body of the human beings. In this disorder, the bones of the skeleton become fragile due to excessive loss of tissues. 


Ladies are affected more than the males by osteoporosis. This difficulty is noticed mostly in postmenopausal women who cross the age of 50 to 55. When a person suffers from osteoporosis, the bones become susceptible to fractures even by small injuries.

Kati Uttanasana


Sethu Bandha



It could result in cracking and collapsing of the bones in the three parts of the body areas like wrists, hips and spine. Normal bone consists of a series of thin, intersecting plates called 'trabeculae'. These plates are surrounded by a dense shell. These plates form is called the bone mass. In osteoporosis, they become filled with holes or may even totally disappear. This causes a diminution of bone mass. 


With loss of bone mass, the shell also becomes thin. All these changes make the bones extremely fragile and it can crack with the most trivial injury.


Symptoms:


• If the fracture is in the spine, the victim may feel a shooting pain that spreads from the back to side of the body.

• Repeated fractures in the spine can result in a deformed and curved spine. It may give the affected person a hunched back.

• Some victims of this ailment may develop minimal trauma fractures while performing regular activities like walking or climbing stairs.


Causes:


• After menopause, women tend to lose bone density and, in some cases, this leads to the development of osteoporosis.

• Some women develop osteoporosis due to their genetic structure.

• People who do not get adequate amount of calcium and Vitamin D in their diet also develop osteoporosis in their later years.

• Excess consumption of meat, heavy smoking, chronic alcoholism, post-menopausal hormonal imbalances and diminished physical activity with age increase the chances of osteoporosis.

 

The Yogic Approach:


Osteoporosis can be prevented and treated through regular Yogasanas, with proper diet and lifestyle habits. Yogasanas surely help to strengthen your bones and muscles, preventing the onset of this condition and providing relief from the pain. Yoga helps in creating a balanced harmony between the ovaries, adrenals, parathyroids, pituitary and pineal gland, thus ensuring that the body receives a steady supply of the right hormones for maintaining bone strength and maximum health and well being. Any one without any fear can start with simple Yoga flexibility exercises.


Flexibilty Exercises:


• Sit on the ground with legs stretched out straight on the ground, and exercise the parts of toes of legs, soles, ankles, leg muscles, knees, backbone and thigh bones, waist, spinal column, fingers, palms, wrists, elbows, shoulders, chest, belly and stomach, neck, eyes and muscles of the face.


• To perform the flexibility exercise known as butterfly exercise, one has to sit with legs extended in front. Thereafter bend both the legs from the knees. Thereafter widen both the knees. Thereby heels are nearer the body now hold toes of both the feet by both the hands. Now move the knees in such a manner that it resembles the butterfly moving its wings up and down. Heels must remain touching each other and as near to the body as possible. This exercise helps bones of the thighs, pelvic girdle; cover bones of the knees and joints of the paws of legs.


• Now repeat this butterfly exercise by holding the knees. Heels and toes should remain touching each other and remain very near to the body. Now hold the knees and press both the knees downward as well as upward position.


• In the third process of the exercise stretch left leg forward; raise and lift right leg and put it on the left thigh. Now move the right knee initially from top to bottom and bottom to top and thereafter in a round circular motion. This process must be repeated at least 16 times. In the above-described manner now straighten the right leg; put the left leg on the right thigh.


• Thereafter left knee should be moved alternatively up and down, as well as down to up. Thereafter move the left knee in a circular movement. This process should also be repeated 16 times.


• In addition to these flexibility exercises even when food is consumed one can no doubt sit in Vajrasana. In Vajrasana keeping the legs turned behind, the bones of knees and bones in the leg with its muscles including tibia-fibula and other bones as well as ankles of the legs and fingers of the legs get a good advantage.


 

Certain moreYogic postures are very helpful in battling this ailment.


They are called Kati-utthana, Setubandha, Trikonasana and different types of Trikonasanas, Virikshasana (Tree pose), Suryanamaskara, Bhujangasana, Shalabhasana, Dhanurasana, Chakrasana, Halasana, Paschimottanasana, Ushtrasana, Supta-vajrasana etc.


Pranayam: Omkar, Bhramaari, Nadi Shodhana, and Kapalbhati (Frontal brain cleansing breath) are also beneficial for osteoporosis.

 

Below is a description of Kati-utthana, Setubandha, Shalabhasana, and Supta-vajrasana:


Kati-utthana: Lie on your back, and bend your knees. Keep your feet close to your hips with hands by the side, and palms resting on the floor. Inhale slowly and push the waist upwards as much as you can without any pressure on your neck. Hold for some time while breathing normally.


Setubandhasana: From Katiutthana get into Setubandhasana.


Now support the waist by both the hands. Keep both the upper hands up to the elbow from the shoulders parallel to the ground; the hands from the elbow to the wrists should be straight at right angles. The support of the hand will be given to the waist from down under. Now straighten both the legs on the ground slowly; knees should not be bent, heels and toes should be touching the ground, legs should touch each other. In this fashion the shape of the body will resemble a fly-over bridge.


This Setubandhasana if practiced will give exercise to the joints of bones of the shoulders, bones of the elbows, and joints of the bones of wrists, fingers, whole of the spinal column, bones of the waist pertaining to the thighs, knees and ankles of the leg.


Shalabhasana: Lie in the prone position, bring the legs together, toes pointing outwards, hands by the side of the body, fists closed, and chin on the floor. Then raise both the legs slowly without bending at the knee. Do not tilt the pelvis. Hold this for some time with normal breathing, and come back down slowly.


Supta Vajrasana: Sit straight in Vajrasana. Keep your feet apart on the floor. Lean backwards on your right and left elbows. Now try and bend your head a back towards the floor as much as you can till you are comfortable while stretching the abdomen. Keeping the hands on the thighs, hold for some time breathing normally. Now with the help of the elbows slowly come back to the original position.


Yogic Diet for Osteoporosis:


Diet plays an important role in the treatment of osteoporosis. A Yogic diet of fresh fruit (orange, lemon, pineapple, papaya) and vegetables (green leafy vegetables, red beet and carrot), whole grains and high protein foods with moderate amounts of dairy products (milk, curds and milk products) will provide the calcium and other important minerals to prevent and reduce the development of osteoporosis. In particular, add omega-3 and vitamin E rich nuts, seeds and fish. 


Beware of consuming too much salt and animal protein as these can both leach calcium from your bones. Caffeine, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks and nicotine can also deplete your body’s calcium supply and a diet high in sugar has also been linked to low bone density. Make sure you get outdoors for your daily dose of vitamin D from the Sun. While supplementing your diet with calcium and other vitamins and minerals is important to help meet your daily intake requirements, these vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, are much readily absorbed and utilized when they are obtained from the food you eat.


Osteoporosis can be avoided through adequate prevention and by adhering to a calcium-rich diet, Yogasana, Pranayama and regular checkups with a qualified orthopedic doctor.

Yogic Approach to Phobic Anxiety


Phobic anxiety is characterized by fear of one’s own nature and is related to anxiety about how others will perceive us, reflecting our self-hatred. Anxiety states are a result of overstimulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The limbic and psychic centres in the brain are highly sensitive to emotional states such as fear. They in turn stimulate the hypothalamus which triggers the ANS and endocrine system to respond to the threat. The parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems which control the automatic processes of the body, such as digestion, respiration, blood pressure, etc. are thrown into an imbalanced state because the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated and hormones are secreted (thyroxin from the thyroid and adrenaline from the adrenals). Long term imbalance in the autonomic nervous system and endocrine system caused by high levels of panic and anxiety also lead to exhaustion and depression and can result in lowered immunity as in conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 




PHOBIC ANXIETY


There are three broad groups of phobias:


1. ORDINARY OR SIMPLE PHOBIAS


Fear of a cockroach or a lizard, fear of a closed space, fear of loneliness, fear of height and when some animal is seen.

Below is an example of great Napoleon Bonaparte:

Napoleon was one of the greatest military commanders in history. A wild cat had jumped over Napoleon Bonaparte when he was quite young. Even when he reached adulthood the fear that had got into him during childhood was still prevalent. Once the enemy camp learnt about this personal phobia of such an adept soldier who was habituated to fight many a terrible wars, they kept in the forefront of their army 500 cats tied with chains. On viewing these cats Napoleon started retreating, he was caught, he lost the battle and ultimately met his death.

Some children form a phobia for certain animals. Such children even when they become adults are not capable of driving away that phobia which had entered their child like mentality because their adult mind does not drive out the fear that has entered their nervous system.

 

2. AGORAPHOBIA


Agoraphobics tend to be introverted, cannot bear big crowds. Public transport and vehicular traffic as well as deep noises in the market place are intolerable for them. Under such circumstances they get afraid of getting caught, entangled and entrapped as well as getting confused. They have difficulty expressing their feelings and communicating their needs and desires, especially anger and frustration.

Agoraphobia mainly affects adults. This type of fear can be observed in persons who have matured.


3. SOCIAL PHOBIAS


The third type of phobia is arising out of incapacity of speaking or acting in public or in community meetings. It develops in adolescence and the person is concerned about shameful, stupid or inept acts. Extreme feelings of shyness and self-consciousness build into a powerful fear. As a result, a person feels uncomfortable participating in everyday social situations.


Amongst people who are affected by phobia, agoraphobia is observed in majority. The form of agoraphobia is quite different from the normal fears. In all the societies, whether from the east or the west, 5 to 10 percent of the people are found to suffer from one or the other phobia. This agoraphobias or any other type of phobia is more common amongst ladies than amongst males. Agoraphobia, social phobia and animal phobia are commonly found amongst members of the same family.


SYMPTOMS


Physical symptoms include: chest pain, palpitations, drop beats, flushing, feeling faint, sighing, choking, yawning, dyspnoea, dry mouth, 'butterflies' in stomach, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, frequency/hesitancy of urination, sexual dysfunction, tension headaches, blurred vision, sweating, ringing in the ears, shaking, dilated pupils, teeth clenching and chronic jerks.

Psychological symptoms include: feelings of impending disaster, worry, inability to relax, not being able to cope, restlessness, sense of 'not being yourself', insomnia, nightmares, depression and panic attack. Some of these symptoms are also experienced in chronic ongoing anxiety or stress. The person often believes in having a physical condition such as heart disease, and this contributes to the anxiety.


CAUSES


Inherited disposition, childhood experiences and conditioning, and may be related to conditions where the functioning of the brain is somewhat impaired.


A psychoanalytic perspective suggests that the anxiety response in phobias is not to the object or the event itself, but to the possibility that some unacceptable unconscious material is about to erupt into consciousness. Phobias are, therefore, understood as a result of repression: when the repressed event or content threatens to come to consciousness, the frontal passages of the brain are stimulated – the limbic and psychic centres – and a panic attack results. While the threat begins in the mind, the body responds as if it were real. Phobias thus illustrate the interdependence of the mind, body and the unconscious forces which shape our experience.


YOGIC APPROACH TO PHOBIC ANXIETY

 

Fear is a mental attitude. One has to strengthen and develop mental power to face any fearful situation. It is possible to achieve this by practicing Pranayama, Asanas, Meditation and Yoga-nidra since Yoga views and treats the mind, body, emotions and energetic systems as a whole. The regular practice of these balances the nervous and the endocrine systems and the Prana or energy in the body, bringing greater emotional and mental calm.


ROLE OF THE CHAKRAS AND NADIS


According to Yogic understanding, the body, mind and emotions are comprised of and sustained by Prana the subtle energy or force that creates all life. The energy bodies are linked in through the seven Chakras which correspond with nerve plexuses and the Nadis. If phobias are a product of repressed material, Yoga suggests that the combination of genetic and environmental impressions is stored in the Chakras, and in the flow or blockage of the Nadis. Over activity or under activity in the Chakras or Nadis causes disease.


• Mooladhara Chakra, at the perineum or cervix, is the site of these karmas and knots, and is also the location of our primal energy. When unbalanced, fear, insecurity, low vitality and self-esteem, depression and fear of the future result.

 

• Swadhisthana Chakra, at the coccyx/pubic bone, is related to the subconscious mind, pleasure and the repression of pleasure.

 

• Manipura Chakra, at the navel, is the site of all power, the desire to control, and self-assertion, and is related to the stomach and the adrenals.

 

• AnahataCchakra, the heart centre, and Vishuddhi Chakra, the throat centre, are related to love and communication respectively.

 

• Ajna Chakra, the eyebrow centre, controls the activity of the brain.


Speculating, we can say that a phobia probably involves at least Mooladhara – fear, anxiety, and Manipura – the desire to control the anxiety, the fear of fear and need to control that characterizes panic and anxiety states. Ajna Chakra, the site of mental worry and anxiety, is also involved, as are the heart centre – palpitations, and the throat centre – inability to speak. The unconscious fears at Mooladhara may be related to repression of primal energy or sexuality.


Of the Nadis, Ida and Pingala are the most relevant here. Ida is linked to the left side of the body and the right side of the brain, moving in the left nostril, while Pingala controls the right side of the body and left side of the brain and moves in the right nostril. Ida and Pingala meet and cross at each of the Chakras which are linked by Sushumna moving in the central spinal column. Unhealthy Ida results in introversion, depression and paranoia, and ongoing mental tensions, while unhealthy Pingala is related to lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle and overeating. Since Ida relates to the parasympathetic nervous system and Pingala to the sympathetic nervous system, an imbalance in these Nadis will reflect an imbalance in the systems, as in panic attack.


ASANAS


Surya namaskara is of great benefit for all anxiety states because it works to balance the entire body and endocrine system. Shashankasana, Marjariasana, Ushtrasana, The Trikonasana series, Chakrasana and Dhanurasana work on the adrenals. The Shakti Bandha series, Spinal twists, Paschimottanasana and Bhujangasana are also recommended. The inverted poses- Sarvangasana, Vipareeta karani Mudra, Halasana and Shirshasana can be practised by the more experienced student.


PRANAYAMAS


The practice of Shitali and Sheetkari Pranayama brings mental peace and capa¬bility. Ujjayi, the 'psychic' breath, brings stillness, clarity and calm. Bhramari, the humming breath, is useful to alleviate mental tensions and worries. Nadi shodhana is especially beneficial because it works directly on the Nadis, purifying the Pranic system and bringing the whole body into balance. Bhastrika revitalizes the sympathetic nervous system while Kapalbhati tones the parasympathetic nervous system.


YOGIC KRIYAS

 

Kunjal is especially beneficial for releasing tensions held in the Manipura area. Neti and Shankhaprakshalana are soothing and work to tone and balance the body. Kapalbhati Kriya works to remove impurities and makes the mind calm, while Trataka, working on Ajna chakra, influences the pineal gland, the hypothalamus and the sympathetic nervous system.


MEDITATION


By a regular practice of meditation we inherit fearlessness and self-confidence. There is one simple formula. Whenever you sit for Meditation, before beginning the process, pray, “Let there be peace in the east, in the west, in the north, and in the south. Let all meet auspiciousness in mountains, ocean, and forests. Let there be welfare of all, everywhere.” Thereafter think that you are not meditating. Who is the entity for your medi¬tation? Suppose you are meditating on Shree Rama, in that case always think that Rama himself is meditating on Rama. This is not your body this body belongs to Shree Rama. The legs, hands, belly, chest, neck, head nothing belongs to you. All these belong to God. This process is called “Anga¬nyasa and Kara-nyasa”. If you are given any Guru mantra, repeat the same. The more regular you are in Japa, the more the manifestation of God’s power, strength and domi¬nation in you. You earn the boon of Grukrupa (God’s Grace) through the power of Japa. Japa, Meditation, company of the wise, study of scriptures, company of good and strong-minded persons will make you strong.


YOGA NIDRA


Yoga- nidra is probably the most powerful practice in the long term treatment of phobias and extreme anxiety. It acts as a 'tranquilizer' to balance the hypothalamus and relieve anxiety states. Most importantly, the regular practice of Yoga- nidra gives access to the deep unconscious and subconscious forces which are the basis for the phobia and allows them to be released. In the advanced stages of Yoga -nidra, practitioners are asked to submit voluntarily to threatening emotions while preserving a state of deep relaxation and 'witness awareness' to the whole process. A specific program of Yoga -nidra, beginning with the basic technique and continuing into specific guided visualizations, should be constructed, with a teacher who can guide the person through this process.


A TECHNIQUE OF SUKHPURVAKAPRANAYAMA TO DEVELOP MENTAL POWER


• Sit in Padmasana, Siddhasana, Vajrasana or Sukhasana, keeping the back and spinal column erect. However, if you cannot sit in any of the above postures, you can sit in a chair or you can even lie on the ground.


• Begin by deep inhalation through both the nostrils. Thereafter exhale through both the nostrils slowly and without any fear. Do not use any force while inhaling as well as exhaling. This process is all right to begin with. It is not necessary nor there is any need to count the number of respirations. Breathe in and breathe out peacefully, without any sort of haste and as quietly as possible.


• Thereafter try to retain the breath inside. Inhale through both the nostrils and hold the breath inside. Thereafter exhale peacefully through both the nostrils and hold the breath outside.

The inhaling is called Purak, the holding of breath is called Kumbhak and the exhaling is known as Rechak. The breath that we hold inside is called Antar-kumbhaka and the breath, which we exhale and stop it outside, is called Bahya-kumbhaka.


• The rule for the period to be observed in Purak, Kumbhak, Rechak and Kumbhak are 1:4:2:4. Do not worry if the process is not possible to begin with. Be satisfied with inhaling and exhaling.


• Every inhalation brings in some newness, energy, vitality alertness, joy and enthusiasm.


• Every exhalation makes you one with the Almighty power of the universe.


SOME MORE IMPORTANT POINTS

 

• Feel that you are not alone. The whole world is connected with you. There is no reason to be afraid. Even if we sit at one end of a quiet pond and start splashing, the waves will travel to farthest end. The light touch at one end of the pond is felt at the other end.


• When you start feeling that you are afraid, drive out the thought from your mind that you are all alone. Even when you do not feel any fear always hold a powerful thought in your mind. “I am infinity I am joy incarnate. I am great”. Almighty is the only truth. The creator of the universe is God. He is beyond time, He is everywhere, He is present in everything and He is all-powerful. Therefore live, throwing off all the phobias, live happily.


• Fear can be reduced if a fearing person is brought out amongst the society by moving him away from lonely life and by slowly making him accustomed to meet and mix with people in the society.


• The fear could also be reduced by making him form a habit of taking a stroll under the open sky, at night under the stars studded night, along the river banks, along the streams and in gardens full of flowers.


• Always remember, you are your own friend and your own enemy Fear is not outside, it is inside you. Never underrate yourself. Virat Purusha resides in you. He is a fountain of great power. The ocean of joy is rising in big waves. You have in you a fountain of enthusiasm. Manifest it by meditation and be fearless.


• Besides the above, get up early in the morning. Go for a long walk before sunrise. You will be filled with nature’s fresh power by the effect of open air, open blue sky, the chirping of birds and the exhilarating atmosphere.


A man who entertains fear for particular things can be repeatedly brought near that item and explained that his fear is ill placed and there is nothing in that item worth any fear.


One day Swami Vivekanandaji was loitering at Varanasi in an uninhabited area. A group of monkeys followed him. He was afraid and started running away One Sash on seeing him running called out, ‘Don’t be afraid, stop, present a strong front, if you get afraid they will try to make you more fearful”.



CONCLUSION

A Yogic approach to therapy for phobias and related anxiety states offers real benefits to the affected. Yoga shifts the emphasis from the external environment to the inner attitude, and from 'fixing' the mind or ego to a systemic transformation. Finally, it empowers the person to become his own healer, teacher and psychoanalyst!

Yogic Approach to thyroid




Thyroid is one of the larger endocrine glands in the body. It is located in the neck and produces hormones, principally T4 (thyroxin) and T3 (tri-iodo-thyronin) that regulate the rate of metabolism and affect the growth and rate of function of many other systems in the body. When the thyroid gland functions lesser than required, this condition is called hypo-thyroidism. However if thyroid works more than required amount that condition is known as hyper-thyroidism. When the gland works properly, it is known as euthyroidism. The thyroid gland depends on supply of iodine for manufacture of hormones.


SYMPTOMS


Symptoms of hypo-thyroidism disorder are overweight, lethargy, loss of hair, scaling away of the skin, swelling in parts of the body, the body suddenly getting cold, changes in hunger pattern etc. People with this disorder should avoid cabbage & lady finger. Symptoms of hyper-thyroidism disorder are nervous tension, an increased mental activity, uncontrollable body movements, an increase in heartbeat & pulse rate, excessive sweating, loss of weight & jutting out of eyeballs in certain cases. People with this disorder should eat more of cabbage & lady finger.


YOGA & THYROID

 

Regular Yoga practice & Pranayama help to nourish & balance the thyroid by bringing fresh oxygenated blood into the area & flushing out old blood & toxins. In Yoga, the practices of Ujjayi Pranayama & Matsyasana have had beneficial effects on the thyroid. While doing these two practices, focus your mind on the throat, the effects will be more. If you are not confident of any of the exercises, please ask your instructor for guidance.


MATSYASANA / FISH POSE

In this posture, we get pressure on the neck. It works & energizes the thyroid gland, strengthens the abdomen and opens your throat chakra. Metabolism balances and immune system is boosted.


TECHNIQUE

Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent.

Inhale, lift your hips slightly off the floor, and put your hands under your tailbone with your palms facing the floor, your thumbs touching each other.

Now rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands (don’t lift them off your hands as you perform this pose). Try to adjust your forearms and elbows under the spine properly.

While pressing your forearms and elbows firmly against the floor, inhale, draw your head backward and place the top of the head on the floor.

Deepen the arch by lifting the chest up.

Your weight should rest on your elbows. There should be a minimal amount of weight on your head.

Breathe normally all the while, keeping your legs and lower torso relaxed.

To come out of the pose, exhale, lift your head and place it gently back down, then release the arms.


UJJAYI PRANAYAMA

 

Ujjayi Pranayama stimulates thyroid gland to work normally.

 

SITTING POSTURE

Sit in any comfortable posture with the spine, head & neck in one straight line. You can keep your hands on the knees in Gyan Mudra Posture (join the tips of the index fingers to the tips of the thumbs while keeping the other fingers extended & loose). Close your eyes gently & relax all the muscles. Spend a few moments being aware of your natural breath as it passes in and out of the nose.


TECHNIQUE

· Closing the mouth, slowly draw in air through both the nostrils producing a sound in such a way that while inhaling the touch of air is felt in the throat to the chest. The sound is as if wind blows with pressure. The sound should be uniform and continuous.


· It means that after inhaling the breath through the nose, the passage of the incoming air is felt on the roof of the palate first, then towards the throat (bring your mind to the throat and feel the contraction in the throat), after that to the lungs. Then fill the lungs up to the brim.


· During inhalation, do not allow abdomen to bulge out, let the chest expand.


· After completing inhalation, slowly exhale. During exhalation chest should go inside and abdomen should remain steady.


· While exhaling, the passage of the outgoing air should be felt on the roof of the palate.


· The process described above completes one cycle of Ujjayi Pranayama.


· Repeat the cycles for five to 10 minutes keeping the eyes closed.


· With each breath say to yourself mentally that I am getting improvement


· Then lie on the floor for Shavasana.


· Ujjayi Pranayama can also be done while lying down on the floor. This pranayama can be done at any time of the day and night.


· After practising it for few days, knowing your limitations, keep the ratio between inhalation and exhalation 1: 2.


The three-pronged approach of Yoga-abhyasa, a specialist Doctor's advice and positive frame of mind will cure your Thyroid complications completely & you'll get a boon of perfect, happy and composed health.

Yogic Managament to Improve Eyesight


Human eyes are a wonderful creation of nature and these need care and attention. As years go by, the muscles around the eyes lose their tone. Eyesight becomes weak after the muscles around the eyes lose their elasticity and become rigid, thereby reducing the power to focus different distances. In addition, tension around the eyes affects the brain causing stress and anxiety. There is a deep correlation between the eyes and the mind. It is said that vision occupies 40 percent of the brain's capacity. Therefore, when we close our eyes, relaxation is induced in the brain. Eyesight is dramatically improved when the muscles of the eyes are relaxed.


OUR EYES


Our eyeball comprises three layers—sclerotic or the outer layer, choroid or the middle layer and retina or the inner layer. The sclerotic layer is white and opalescent, with a transparent center called the cornea. Light is transmitted to the eye through the cornea. The choroid layer is called the iris, with the pupil in its center. Directly behind the iris lies the crystalline lens, which focuses light passing through it upon the retina. Around this lens lie the ciliary muscles that control its contraction and expansion. The retina or the inner layer is like a screen that receives the projected images of external objects.


You see something when the pupil lets light pass through the cornea onto the crystalline lens. Brightness is controlled by the pupil through contraction or dilation. These rays converge upon the retina via the convex crystalline lens, forming an inverse image. The optic nerve then transmits this image to the brain, producing the final sense of vision.


THREE MOST COMMON DEFECTS OF THE EYES


Sight can be adversely affected by various things, ranging from malnutrition to a recurring cough and cold. Perhaps the three most common defects of eyesight are myopia (short-sightedness), hypermetropia (long-sightedness) and presbyopia (failing eyesight due to age). While in myopia, the image is formed short of the retina, in hypermetropia or presbyopia the image is formed beyond the retina. These conditions are the result of faulty eye muscle action or imperfect accommodation. Generally, such disorders are corrected by introducing artificial lenses such as spectacles. These lenses bring the image onto the retina. But this amounts to treating the symptom, not the disorder of imperfect accommodation.


YOGIC MANAGEMENT


Yoga offers a host of corrective measures for defective eyesight. Simple Yogic exercises can keep your eyes free from impaired vision and ugly spectacles. Yogic eye exercises strengthen the muscles of the eyes and thus help in curing many ailments of the eyes. Vision could be improved with eye exercises like palming, eyeball rotations and gaze shifting. 


To improve the eyesight follow the methods described here:


YOGIC EXERCISES FOR EYE MUSCLES


Sit in Padmasana, Vajrasna, Sukhasana, Swastikasana or Siddhasana or on a chair but your back and neck should remain straight. Before beginning the eye exercises, just relax the eyes by closing them for a moment or assume the corpse pose to relax all the body parts. Do the following eye exercises regularly to prevent and cure any disorder of the eyes.


TECHNIQUE


1. Move the eyeballs up and look at the space between the eyebrow-center then lower the eyeballs and look at the tip of the nose. Do it effortlessly in a slow motion allowing the gaze to go up and down to the maximum level. Don’t move the head. See only by moving the eyeballs. Do it for eight to ten times. The cornea will be seen moving up and down. Then take rest by closing the eyes for some moments.


2. Move the eyeballs horizontally parallel to the floor in a straight line from right to left and from left to right side allowing them to go as far as they can. Do it for eight to ten times. Then close the eyes for some moments and give rest to the eyes.


3. Now move the eyeballs on left upper side and then right lower side. After that move it on right lower and left upper side in oblique direction. Do it for eight to ten times. Then take rest by closing the eyes for some time.


4. Now reverse the sequence. Move the eye balls on right upper and then left lower side. after that move it on left lower and then right upper side in oblique direction for eight to ten times. Then close the eyes and take rest for some time.


5. Now move the eyeballs from right to left and from left to right in upper semi circle. Do it for eight to ten times. Then by closing the eyes take rest.


6. Now move the eyeballs from left to right and from right to left in lower semi circle for eight to ten times. Then take rest by closing the eyes for sometime.


7. Now rotate the eyes clockwise and then anticlockwise in circular motion. Do it for four to six times on both the sides. After that give rest to the eyes.


8. Now stretch the right arm forward and keep it parallel to the floor. Keep the index finger vertically pointing up and fix the eyes on the nail of the finger or just beyond the nail. Now see the finger with both the eyes. Gradually bring the finger towards the nose and keep it there for sometime then take it away from it. You can do like this four to five times. While focusing your attention at the finger you will find you are not seeing one finger but two. Hence in this exercise eyes become eccentric. One finger will be the main finger, which is real and the other will be an optical illusion.


9. In the end, blink the eyes eight to ten times. Now rub the palms and create heat and do palming on the eyes repeating three times. The warm Prana current flowing from the palms relieves the tension and strain around the eye muscles.


NOTE

 

• The body must be relaxed and the head should not move when the eye exercises are performed. Except for the eyes, all parts of the body should be in a relaxed position.


• Give rest to the eyes by keeping them closed for 10 to 12 seconds between each process.


• Do not wear spectacles while doing the exercises.


SOME BRIEF EXERCISES FOR THE EYES


• Bounce a ball in a v-shape from one hand to the other and follow the movement of the ball with the eyes.


• Elephant swing: From a standing position, bend forward with feet 1 foot apart. Bend the knees, hands together, hang them down and swing like the trunk of an elephant, looking down on the floor.


• Take a sculpture/picture or any other object and look at it for about 30-45 seconds. Close eyes and visualize the object with the eyes closed and relaxed. Use a different object each day.


• Distance accommodation: look at a tree for 30 sec, then look at the palm, all the lines on the palm, for 30 sec, blink and see (5 times)


• Read in candle light (10 minutes).

 

NECK EXERCISE


• Sit with the back straight. Turn the tongue inside towards the throat and touch it against the upper palate.


• Bend the head downwards and press the chin to the chest then head up looking backwards. Inhale when the head moves upwards and exhale when the head moves downwards. Do it four to five times.


• Very slowly rotate the head first on the right side and then on the left side. Inhale deeply when the neck moves on the right side and comes in the line of right shoulder and exhale when it returns to front side position. Inhale when it moves on the left side and exhale when it returns to front side gradually. Repeat this exercise eight to ten times that is four to five times each side. Now relax the neck.


• Thereafter bring the right ear up to the right shoulder and then the left ear to the left shoulder. Repeat this exercise eight to ten times in total that is four to five times each side. Now relax the neck.


• Now rotate the head and neck from right side. In this tilt the head first on the right side then on the back side then on the left side and in front last. This would complete one rotation. Repeat four to five times very gently and without any stress. Do it in reverse direction also that is starting it from the left side. Repeat four to five times without hurrying.


• Rub the hands & massage the neck with warm hands nicely.


You can do shoulder rotation and arms rotation exercises also to remove stress from the shoulders and arms. Do clockwise for eight to ten times and then anti clockwise for eight to ten times.


DIET



  • Take fruits and vegetables which contain more of Vitamin A in good quantity. All red and yellow color fruit are recommended.
  • First thing in the morning – lemon water (lukewarm) with two teaspoons honey.
  • Breakfast- Have munacca (Dry fruit) (10-15no.) and figs (2-4 no.), should be soaked overnight in water in a glass container after being cleaned thoroughly. They should be taken along with the water in which they were soaked. Chew well. If you are still feeling hungry then after half an hour gap, take seasonal fruit such as mangoes, banana, apple, apricot, papaya- all red and yellow color fruit. Eating one variety of fruit each time is very beneficial.
  • Lunch– Chapattis of wheat flour with extra bran + seasonal vegetables (lauki, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, drumsticks, cauliflower, spinach, salad) & curd
  • Evening- Carrot juice, veg. soup, lemon water honey
  • Dinner- Same as lunch or Dalia (Broken wheat)
  • Avoid- Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, deep fried foods, processed foods and most chemical preservatives in packaged foods. Also avoid white sugar and use little salt. Use honey or brown sugar.



ASANA


Shirsasana, Sarvangasana, Vipritkarni Mudra for those who don't have cervical spondylosis, high myopia, hypertension or pregnancy. The eyes obtain tremendous power by practising these Asanas. After doing Shirsasana don't sit up or stand up immediately. Take rest in Shashankasana for sometimes. Other Yoga poses that strengthen eyes include Bhujangasana, Shavasana and Surya Namakara.


PRANAYAMA


Aumkar, Bhramari, Shitali and Anulom-Vilom. Do Shitali Pranayama with opened eyes. Regular practice of these Pranayama perfuses the eyes with plenty of blood flow. Pranayamas should be practiced in the mornings and evenings on an empty stomach.


YOGA-NIDRA AND MEDITATION


For better eye care, include deep relaxation (Yoga- nidra) in the practice routine. Practice of Yoga- nidra and Meditation gives rest to the eyes and increase their working capacity.


MEDITATION AND VISUALIZATION


Slowly, concentrate your awareness on your eyeball and create its mental picture. If you are myopic, tell your eyes to contract enough to allow the image to coincide on the retina. If you are long-sighted, tell your eyes to elongate enough to allow the image to coincide on the retina. Supplement your visualization with some catchy affirmation such as: "My eyes perform better than the best automatic cameras I have ever known." Practice this visualization Meditate at least for 15-20 minutes twice a day.


PRANA MUDRA FOR INCREASING EYE SIGHT


Touch the tips of little finger and ring finger by tip of the thumb. Rest two fingers that is index and middle finger should be straight. Perform Prana Mudra for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Practice regularly for better vision.


TRATAKA


Light a candle and keep it at eye level at a distance of about two feet. Sit comfortably and gaze at the candle flame without blinking for about 2-3 minutes. If eyes begin to water before that, close the eyes. Once the eyes are closed, try to gaze internally at the after-image of the candle flame at the back of your mind’s eye. Repeat this whole routine one more time.


Then slowly get up and fill your mouth with water. Keeping this water in your mouth, wash the eyes with tap water. Then spit the water out. This water will be warm as heat gets released from the body. This has to be done twice or until the water temperature gets normal. This is a must after this particular Kriya.

This routine will help you strengthen and relax the eye muscles. Also, it is used as a practice for developing focus and concentration and can be used as a prelude to Meditation.


JALA NETI KRIYA (NASAL WASH)


Jala Neti is a simple technique which involves using a special "neti pot" filled with warm, slightly salted water. The nose cone is inserted into one nostril and the position of the head and pot is adjusted to allow the water to flow out of the other nostril. Whilst the water is flowing through the nasal passages one breathes through the mouth. (One should do this Kriya under guidance in the beginning).Practice of Jalaneti kriya gives much benefit to eyesight. It keeps the eyes free from congestion and strain, and improves vision. Its use can be learned from any Yoga instructor. Neti should be practiced in the morning before Pranayama.


WASHING THE EYES


After attending to the call of nature, wash the eyes in the eye washing glass. Fill the eye washing glass with pure water and cup the eyes in it. Blink inside the water 15 to 20 times. (In the absence of an eye washing glass your palm can be cupped for the purpose.) Throw away the water and refill the glass with some more fresh water and wash once again. Repeat the same with the other eye. Wash them after watching television, before retiring to bed, as you come home after a long tiring day outdoors, and also after reading for a considerable time at a stretch. Do not watch television unblinkingly.


SUNBATHING THE EYES


Early morning, allow indirect Sunlight into the eyes (closed eye lids). Keep your feet a foot apart, let your arms hang loosely at the sides and be as relaxed as possible and sway the body gently from side to side like a pendulum for three to five minutes. Hot Sun at noon should be avoided. At Sunrise and Sunset look directly into the Sun for a short period of time. It should be stopped as soon as the Sun causes discomfort.


After the Sun treatment, come to the shade and place a piece of cold wet cloth on the closed eye lids for two minutes / Sprinkle cold water over your eyes and then dry them with a soft piece of cloth.


BLINKING


• Practice deliberate blinking for five full minutes any time of the day.

• Squeeze gently under the eyes before going to sleep.

• Roll the eyes in the socket clockwise and anti-clockwise.


PALMING


• Rub both palms together quickly for 10 seconds. This friction creates mild heat. Close the eyes and gently place the left palm over the left eye and right palm over the right eye. Do not apply pressure with the palms, but just left them gently rest. Breathe in and out slowly to release stress. Repeat this 2-3 times.

• Sit comfortably in a chair in front of a table and stay relaxed. Close your eyes. Cup your right palm and shield the right eye with it. Cup your left palm and cover the left eye with it. Let the fingers of both the hands meet on the forehead. Rest the elbows on the table and keep yourself completely relaxed. Look only at the darkness without opening the eyes. Let your mind also relax for some time. Sit like this for five minutes at a time, at least thrice a day.


AVOID


Bright Sunlight, reading in poor light or in a lying down position, reading or writing in a moving train, plane, car or bus, watching television for too long or working at a computer for long hours. These cause stress on the eyes and contract the eye muscles which lead to deteriorating eyesight or pain in the eyes.


SOME MORE SUGGESTIONS


• For all eye problems, keep the eyes clean. Splash fresh & clean water on the eyes 10-15 times at least twice a day.


• Dampen wads of cotton-wool with pure Organic Rose Water and place over closed eyes. Relax for 10 minutes that way. The cooling effect of organic rose water helps cool tired eyes.


• Every four to six months or minimum once in a year eyes should be checked up for their visual capacity even though our eyes are normal. They should be immediately tested if something unexpected happens so that if there is any change in the vision the eyes can be immediately treated. It is very important especially for the children.


• In India the self urine therapy experiment to wash the eyes is popular. It increases the working capacity of the eyes and removes stress.


• Constipation also affects our eyes. Therefore, it is essential that bowels get cleaned fully everyday. For this, drink plenty of water through the day, as constipation or internal dryness can have adverse effect on the eye. Do practise Yogamudra and Vajrasana (after the meals). Shitali Pranayama in morning and evening is very effective. Periodic use of enema is also helpful.


• Morning and evening walks rejuvenate the eyes, enhancing proper sight.


• Walking barefoot on the grass in the morning is very good for the eyes.


• In case you have access to Triphala, put a teaspoonful of Triphala powder in a glass of water and let it stay overnight. Strain the water and wash the eyes with it.


• Improve your diet; enjoy Sun-shine and fresh air. Winter Cherry (Ashwagandha) also helps strengthen vision.


• To improve eyesight, soak seven almonds overnight. Next morning grind it to a paste with seven peppers and mix with water and sugar candy using the same water in which it was soaked. Take this paste after meals regularly for a few months.


• These remedies can help you keeping your eyes healthy and beautiful, and can be used by everyone, in general.


Eyes are the pearls of life. Taking care of them is our prime duty. Spare at least half an hour every day for eye care. Change your food habits and do regular eye washing and other exercises and you will be benefited by these safe and natural methods. The eyes can be donated after death. Hence two eyes can give vision to two needy persons who will be able to see the world. Utilize them with the correct eye care program that includes eye exercises, proper diet and supplementation. Don't misuse them. Every morning start the exercises with the determination that YOU ARE GOING TO IMPROVE THE EYESIGHT AND DISCARD THE GLASSES. Have faith and patience.


Yogic approach for Chronic Backache


Our back or spine is like the pillar on which the entire body rests but the strongest part can also be the vulnerable spot if not taken care of well. About 80% of the people suffer back pain at some time or the other in their lives.


The spine consists of many small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are further divided into five sections, namely the cervical region (the neck area) which contains 7 vertebrae (C1 to C7), the thoracic region (the chest area) which contains 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12), the lumber region (the abdominal area) consists of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5), the sacrum region (the pelvic area) consists of 5 vertebrae (S1 to S5), and the coccyx region (the tail bone area) consists of 4 vertebrae. 


These vertebrae are separated by discs which allow the spine to bend. In a slumped posture, instead of the weight passing through these discs there is pressure on the facet joints of the spine which are not designed to be weight bearing. Gradually this can lead to localized pain at these joints and surrounding tissues, producing swelling from the loss of fluids from minute tears. This clears away in the healing process but leaves a residual area of scarring, hardened tissues and weakness. However, not all back pain is from facet joints (facet joints of the spine allow back motion); it can come from soft tissues (tendons, cartilage, ligaments) and surrounding muscles and from the nerves as they emerge from the spinal column. 




CAUSES:


Lack of exercise, standing or bending forward for long periods, slip disc, cervical problems spondylosis, lumbar spondylosis, overgrowth of bones, pain in the pelvic region or pelvis, gastroenteritis, chest pain, constipation, kidney problems, sprains, using the wrong mattress ( Mattress should neither be too soft nor too hard), bad posture, drooping shoulders, sitting in a sloppy manner or with a bent back (at your workplace make sure you use a comfortable chair with a backrest), watching T.V. lying on the bed or the sofa, carrying a heavy load on your back like a school bag, laptop, shopping bags, slinging bulky bags which apply pressure only on one side of the shoulder, wearing high heels, a sudden gain of weight, obesity or beer bellies, degeneration of bones,driving with the chair tilted back etc .


YOGIC APPROACH FOR CHRONIC BACKACHE


Regular practice of Yoga is beneficial for people with chronic backache and it also helps relieve pain in the neck and the shoulders. Let’s begin with correctly aligned posture in the standing position:


• Bring the feet a few inches apart (10 cm) and parallel to each other. Then bring the awareness into the soles of the feet and gently rock backwards and forwards coming up onto the toes and back onto the heels. Then return to a standstill position and feel the contact with the floor through both feet. The body sways and the weight moves forwards and back and left and right quite naturally. Be grounded through the feet and allow them to take the weight evenly.

• Make sure that the knees are unlocked and pull up the kneecaps. If they point in towards the centre then rotate the thighs outwards and tighten the buttocks.

• Now tilt the pelvis backwards and forwards finding the balance so that the spine can grow comfortably upwards out of the hips.

• Bring the shoulders up and back, and let them go wide with the arms hanging loosely.

• Hold the head and neck upright so that the ears are above the top of the shoulders and the head feels lightly balanced on top of the neck.

• Imagine that a string is attached to the top of the head and that someone is lifting the head up and out of the shoulders. Feel how your posture alters when you 'let go' of this imaginary string.


SUGGESTED PRACTICES


Lying in supine positions:

Supta Tadasana, Ek Pada Uttanansana, Kati Makarasana, Ardha Pavanmuktasana, Pavanmuktasana


Lying in prone positions:

Makarasana, Bhujangasana, Ardha Shalabhasana, Naukasana


In sitting position:

Vakrasana, Brahma Mudra (neck exercise slow)


Pranayam:

Kapalbhati, (In case you have acute backache, don’t do Kapalbhati), Anulom Vilom Pranayama


Shavasana:

• Lie down with the face up on the wooden bench.

• Relax the body.

• Keep both the fists open, legs a little relaxed and widespread.

• Now listen to the beating of the heart.

• Remain a witness of the inhalation as well as exhalation.

• Breathe 50 times slowly with breath consciousness

• Create a feeling that your body is peaceful, composed and completely disease free.

• In this manner, without the movement of any part of the body, remaining fully composed having no restlessness of any type, go deep into mentally quiet attitude.


BENEFITS OF THE ABOVE ASANAS


• The vertebral column and the discs between the vertebrae are made strong and flexible.

• The spinal cord is massaged.

• Increase the blood flow into the spinal cord ensuring a good supply of nutrients.

• The autonomic nervous system is rebalanced and toned up by the action of the blood supply and the massaging effects.

• The back muscles are strengthened and nourished by the increased flow of blood.

• Posture is readjusted and corrected, removing spinal deformities. Backache will be cured by relaxing tense muscles, releasing compression of the spinal nerves and removing general body fatigue.

• The whole body is made healthy through these Asanas. The abdominal organs are massaged and Manipura Chakra, the Pranic centre of the body, is stimulated and rebalanced. The lungs are fully inflated and massaged, cleaned and stretched. The heart is stimulated and cleansed. The blood is purified more efficiently by the lungs, kidneys and liver. The brain benefits from an increased amount of blood. Massage of the spinal cord also improves brain function. When the spinal cord and brain are relaxed and the whole body is toned up, back problems are eliminated.


TO BE AVOIDED


Sit ups, avoid double leg raising, Halasana (plough pose), Sarvangasana (full shoulder stand) , Forward bends, Trikonasana twisting to the opposite foot and variation 2 with the arm stretched over the head, lying on the side and lifting both legs up, Shalabhasana (full locust pose) Dhanurasana (bow pose)- can be done with knees remaining on the floor, Vyaghrasana (tiger pose)- is OK if the leg being raised does not go past 15 degrees above the horizontal (the lumbar spine is stressed beyond this point especially when the movement is done too quickly), Paschimottanasana (back stretching pose) is not recommended to stretch hamstrings, Squatting and Vajrasana to be avoided where knee problems exist.


NOTE


If you are feeling uncomfortable while doing Yoga Asanas by yourselves, do not push yourself. It will be helpful to actually sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each Asana and will make sure that you are doing the exercise correctly.

Yogic Management of Constipation


Constipation is a very common complaint. It occurs due to disturbance of the lower digestive tract & majority of us face this problem at some point in time in our lives. The problem starts with the stool becoming hard and the person is unable to pass it with ease. If not taken care of, this condition turns chronic and is the chief cause of many diseases since it produces toxins, which find their way into the blood stream and are carried to all parts of the body. The body begins to be poisoned by the build-up of its own wastes, which results in weakening of the vital organs and lowering of the resistance of the entire system. The gas produced in the stomach due to constipation causes pain in the knees, backache, rheumatism and other pains. Some of the common diseases connected with constipation are piles, peptic ulcers and acidity.

 

YOGA & CONSTIPATION


Good health, high vitality and freedom from diseases demand that the wastes must be expelled regularly and efficiently. Yogasana, Pranayama, Kriyas, Mudras & Bandhas are helpful to eliminate wastes & heal many problems and ailments. Yoga is a science whose power is infinite. The problem of constipation can easily be solved by regular practice of this science. If balanced diet and plenty of fluids can also be combined with Yoga techniques, results would be more prompt and better. The following Asanas have proven to be very beneficial in curing constipation as they strengthen the abdominal & pelvic muscles and stimulate the peristaltic action of the bowels. These Asanas should be practiced after drinking about two- four glasses of water.


TADASANA (THE STRETCH POSE)


· Stand straight with feet about10 cms apart, arms by the sides.

· Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.

· Interlock your fingers, palms facing towards the sky.

· Exhale; place the hands on top of the head.

· Inhale stretch the arms up over the head & slowly rise up on your toes, stretching and lengthening the abdominal area

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Exhale, bring the heels down on the floor and hands on top of the head.

· This is one round.

· Repeat 8 times.


TIRYAKA TADASANA (SIDE BENDING STRETCH POSE)

 

· Stand straight with feet about two feet apart.

· Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.

· Interlock your fingers, palms are facing towards the sky.

· Inhale, extend the spine.

· While exhaling, bend the body to the right from the waist.

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and slowly come back to the upright position.

· Similarly repeat the process on the left side.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


KATI CHAKRASANA (WAIST ROTATING POSE)

 

· Stand straight with feet about two feet apart and the arms by the sides.

· Make fist of the right hand with thumb inside, place it in the center of the lower back, press it nicely.

· Inhale; bring the left hand on the right shoulder.

· Exhale, as you twist the upper body to the right side & turn your head fully to your right to look behind towards the left heel.

· Keep the feet firmly on the ground while twisting.

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and return to the staring position.

· Similarly repeat the process on the left side.

· Inhale and return to the staring position.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


ASHVA SANCHALANA MUDRA (TIRYAKA BHUJANGASANA)

 

· Lie with forehead down on the stomach with feet about half a metre apart, heels should be on top and toes are curled under, hands directly under the chest.

· Now inhale and raise the head forward.

· Exhale, Twist the head and upper portion of the body to the right shoulder and look over the shoulder at the left heel.

· Try to feel a diagonal stretch of the abdomen.

· Relax the back and keep the navel as close to the floor as possible.

· Stay in the final position for a few seconds.

· Inhale; bring the face forward again.

· Exhale, twist to the other side without coming back to the floor.

· Inhale & return to the centre and exhale as you lower the body to the floor.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


 

UDARAKARSHANKRIYA (THE ABDOMINAL MASSAGE POSE)

 

· Sit in squatting position with feet apart & the hands on the knees.

· Inhale; bring the right knee to the floor near the left foot, pressing the stomach with the left thigh.

· While doing so push the left knee towards the right.

· Exhale, turn the head towards the left side and look over the shoulder.

· Stay in the final position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and come back to the starting position.

· Similarly repeat on the right side.

· Inhale and come back to the starting position

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


After completing the exercises if you feel that you are still not getting the pressure to relieve yourself, then drink water again & do the same exercises.


DIETARY GUIDELINES


  • Taking a glass of lemon water (lukewarm) with one / two teaspoons honey after waking up helps the bowels to clean
  • Before breakfast, one can have raw veg juice (lauki, carrot ---anyone of these)
  • For breakfast, one should have dry fruits such as munacca and figs soaked in water overnight in a glass container. The water in which they are soaked should also be drunk.
  • In addition, one can have seasonal fruits (pears, papaya, apricot, orange, apple, pineapple, grapes, melon, muskmelon, raspberry, guava, pomegranates, mangoes, and musambi). Eating one variety of fruit each time is more beneficial.
  • For lunch, one should take chapattis (black channa flour 80%+ wheat flour 20 %) / chapattis of wheat flour with extra bran & seasonal vegetables (lauki, cauliflower cabbage, carrot, leafy vegetable, turnip, peas, french beans, pumpkin). Salad in any quantity (onion, cucumber, tomatoes, sprouts, carrots, beetroots, cabbage) & curd or buttermilk of skimmed milk. One can have salad before lunch also.
  • For dinner, same as lunch / sweet dalia without milk or salty dalia with vegetables / salad + soup.
  • Before going to bed, take hot milk with munacca / mixing 2-3 tsp of isabgol in milk or warm water / plain hot water is also useful.



FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Drink water as much as possible during whole day other than at mealtime. We can have soup, buttermilk along with the meals. After half an hour of completion of meals, certainly plain water can be taken. Don't take chilled water and chilled drinks as far as possible. The food doesn't get digested rapidly due to that and the possibility of constipation increases.


We should not take meals unless the previously taken food is digested. One should give a gap of minimum 3 hours between breakfast and lunch & of 6 hours between lunch & dinner. In between, one can have lots of warm water, thin buttermilk, salads & fruit. One should have early and light dinner. Usually the common vegetarian diet gets digested within 4 to 6 hours. However, some contents of the non-vegetarian diet remains in the stomach and intestine even up to three days & get putrefied.


We should eat food consciously, peacefully and without speaking. When we chew the food properly, it will be wet when it enters the stomach & this would help in easing the problem of constipation to a large extent.


Form the habit of visiting the toilet at a regular and appointed hour in the morning and in the evening even if you may not have the urge to void your bowels. Of course you should on no account exert yourself or strain the intestines to effect the evacuation.


Never lie down or go to sleep immediately after eating. It will be a wonderful help in digestion of the food by sitting in Vajrasana for fifteen to twenty minutes after meals.


Remember constipation does not trouble people who are physically active. In case of chronic constipation through overhauling of the whole system under expert guidance is very helpful.

Avoid excessive worry, anger, tension, jealousy and hurrying.


Yogic Management of Constipation


Constipation is a very common complaint. It occurs due to disturbance of the lower digestive tract & majority of us face this problem at some point in time in our lives. The problem starts with the stool becoming hard and the person is unable to pass it with ease. If not taken care of, this condition turns chronic and is the chief cause of many diseases since it produces toxins, which find their way into the blood stream and are carried to all parts of the body. The body begins to be poisoned by the build-up of its own wastes, which results in weakening of the vital organs and lowering of the resistance of the entire system. The gas produced in the stomach due to constipation causes pain in the knees, backache, rheumatism and other pains. Some of the common diseases connected with constipation are piles, peptic ulcers and acidity.

 

YOGA & CONSTIPATION


Good health, high vitality and freedom from diseases demand that the wastes must be expelled regularly and efficiently. Yogasana, Pranayama, Kriyas, Mudras & Bandhas are helpful to eliminate wastes & heal many problems and ailments. Yoga is a science whose power is infinite. The problem of constipation can easily be solved by regular practice of this science. If balanced diet and plenty of fluids can also be combined with Yoga techniques, results would be more prompt and better. The following Asanas have proven to be very beneficial in curing constipation as they strengthen the abdominal & pelvic muscles and stimulate the peristaltic action of the bowels. These Asanas should be practiced after drinking about two- four glasses of water.


TADASANA (THE STRETCH POSE)


· Stand straight with feet about10 cms apart, arms by the sides.

· Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.

· Interlock your fingers, palms facing towards the sky.

· Exhale; place the hands on top of the head.

· Inhale stretch the arms up over the head & slowly rise up on your toes, stretching and lengthening the abdominal area

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Exhale, bring the heels down on the floor and hands on top of the head.

· This is one round.

· Repeat 8 times.


TIRYAKA TADASANA (SIDE BENDING STRETCH POSE)

 

· Stand straight with feet about two feet apart.

· Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.

· Interlock your fingers, palms are facing towards the sky.

· Inhale, extend the spine.

· While exhaling, bend the body to the right from the waist.

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and slowly come back to the upright position.

· Similarly repeat the process on the left side.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


KATI CHAKRASANA (WAIST ROTATING POSE)

 

· Stand straight with feet about two feet apart and the arms by the sides.

· Make fist of the right hand with thumb inside, place it in the center of the lower back, press it nicely.

· Inhale; bring the left hand on the right shoulder.

· Exhale, as you twist the upper body to the right side & turn your head fully to your right to look behind towards the left heel.

· Keep the feet firmly on the ground while twisting.

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and return to the staring position.

· Similarly repeat the process on the left side.

· Inhale and return to the staring position.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


ASHVA SANCHALANA MUDRA (TIRYAKA BHUJANGASANA)

 

· Lie with forehead down on the stomach with feet about half a metre apart, heels should be on top and toes are curled under, hands directly under the chest.

· Now inhale and raise the head forward.

· Exhale, Twist the head and upper portion of the body to the right shoulder and look over the shoulder at the left heel.

· Try to feel a diagonal stretch of the abdomen.

· Relax the back and keep the navel as close to the floor as possible.

· Stay in the final position for a few seconds.

· Inhale; bring the face forward again.

· Exhale, twist to the other side without coming back to the floor.

· Inhale & return to the centre and exhale as you lower the body to the floor.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


 

UDARAKARSHANKRIYA (THE ABDOMINAL MASSAGE POSE)

 

· Sit in squatting position with feet apart & the hands on the knees.

· Inhale; bring the right knee to the floor near the left foot, pressing the stomach with the left thigh.

· While doing so push the left knee towards the right.

· Exhale, turn the head towards the left side and look over the shoulder.

· Stay in the final position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and come back to the starting position.

· Similarly repeat on the right side.

· Inhale and come back to the starting position

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


After completing the exercises if you feel that you are still not getting the pressure to relieve yourself, then drink water again & do the same exercises.


DIETARY GUIDELINES


  • Taking a glass of lemon water (lukewarm) with one / two teaspoons honey after waking up helps the bowels to clean
  • Before breakfast, one can have raw veg juice (lauki, carrot ---anyone of these)
  • For breakfast, one should have dry fruits such as munacca and figs soaked in water overnight in a glass container. The water in which they are soaked should also be drunk.
  • In addition, one can have seasonal fruits (pears, papaya, apricot, orange, apple, pineapple, grapes, melon, muskmelon, raspberry, guava, pomegranates, mangoes, and musambi). Eating one variety of fruit each time is more beneficial.
  • For lunch, one should take chapattis (black channa flour 80%+ wheat flour 20 %) / chapattis of wheat flour with extra bran & seasonal vegetables (lauki, cauliflower cabbage, carrot, leafy vegetable, turnip, peas, french beans, pumpkin). Salad in any quantity (onion, cucumber, tomatoes, sprouts, carrots, beetroots, cabbage) & curd or buttermilk of skimmed milk. One can have salad before lunch also.
  • For dinner, same as lunch / sweet dalia without milk or salty dalia with vegetables / salad + soup.
  • Before going to bed, take hot milk with munacca / mixing 2-3 tsp of isabgol in milk or warm water / plain hot water is also useful.



FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Drink water as much as possible during whole day other than at mealtime. We can have soup, buttermilk along with the meals. After half an hour of completion of meals, certainly plain water can be taken. Don't take chilled water and chilled drinks as far as possible. The food doesn't get digested rapidly due to that and the possibility of constipation increases.


We should not take meals unless the previously taken food is digested. One should give a gap of minimum 3 hours between breakfast and lunch & of 6 hours between lunch & dinner. In between, one can have lots of warm water, thin buttermilk, salads & fruit. One should have early and light dinner. Usually the common vegetarian diet gets digested within 4 to 6 hours. However, some contents of the non-vegetarian diet remains in the stomach and intestine even up to three days & get putrefied.


We should eat food consciously, peacefully and without speaking. When we chew the food properly, it will be wet when it enters the stomach & this would help in easing the problem of constipation to a large extent.


Form the habit of visiting the toilet at a regular and appointed hour in the morning and in the evening even if you may not have the urge to void your bowels. Of course you should on no account exert yourself or strain the intestines to effect the evacuation.


Never lie down or go to sleep immediately after eating. It will be a wonderful help in digestion of the food by sitting in Vajrasana for fifteen to twenty minutes after meals.


Remember constipation does not trouble people who are physically active. In case of chronic constipation through overhauling of the whole system under expert guidance is very helpful.

Avoid excessive worry, anger, tension, jealousy and hurrying.


Yogic Management of Constipation


Constipation is a very common complaint. It occurs due to disturbance of the lower digestive tract & majority of us face this problem at some point in time in our lives. The problem starts with the stool becoming hard and the person is unable to pass it with ease. If not taken care of, this condition turns chronic and is the chief cause of many diseases since it produces toxins, which find their way into the blood stream and are carried to all parts of the body. The body begins to be poisoned by the build-up of its own wastes, which results in weakening of the vital organs and lowering of the resistance of the entire system. The gas produced in the stomach due to constipation causes pain in the knees, backache, rheumatism and other pains. Some of the common diseases connected with constipation are piles, peptic ulcers and acidity.

 

YOGA & CONSTIPATION


Good health, high vitality and freedom from diseases demand that the wastes must be expelled regularly and efficiently. Yogasana, Pranayama, Kriyas, Mudras & Bandhas are helpful to eliminate wastes & heal many problems and ailments. Yoga is a science whose power is infinite. The problem of constipation can easily be solved by regular practice of this science. If balanced diet and plenty of fluids can also be combined with Yoga techniques, results would be more prompt and better. The following Asanas have proven to be very beneficial in curing constipation as they strengthen the abdominal & pelvic muscles and stimulate the peristaltic action of the bowels. These Asanas should be practiced after drinking about two- four glasses of water.


TADASANA (THE STRETCH POSE)


· Stand straight with feet about10 cms apart, arms by the sides.

· Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.

· Interlock your fingers, palms facing towards the sky.

· Exhale; place the hands on top of the head.

· Inhale stretch the arms up over the head & slowly rise up on your toes, stretching and lengthening the abdominal area

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Exhale, bring the heels down on the floor and hands on top of the head.

· This is one round.

· Repeat 8 times.


TIRYAKA TADASANA (SIDE BENDING STRETCH POSE)

 

· Stand straight with feet about two feet apart.

· Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.

· Interlock your fingers, palms are facing towards the sky.

· Inhale, extend the spine.

· While exhaling, bend the body to the right from the waist.

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and slowly come back to the upright position.

· Similarly repeat the process on the left side.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


KATI CHAKRASANA (WAIST ROTATING POSE)

 

· Stand straight with feet about two feet apart and the arms by the sides.

· Make fist of the right hand with thumb inside, place it in the center of the lower back, press it nicely.

· Inhale; bring the left hand on the right shoulder.

· Exhale, as you twist the upper body to the right side & turn your head fully to your right to look behind towards the left heel.

· Keep the feet firmly on the ground while twisting.

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and return to the staring position.

· Similarly repeat the process on the left side.

· Inhale and return to the staring position.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


ASHVA SANCHALANA MUDRA (TIRYAKA BHUJANGASANA)

 

· Lie with forehead down on the stomach with feet about half a metre apart, heels should be on top and toes are curled under, hands directly under the chest.

· Now inhale and raise the head forward.

· Exhale, Twist the head and upper portion of the body to the right shoulder and look over the shoulder at the left heel.

· Try to feel a diagonal stretch of the abdomen.

· Relax the back and keep the navel as close to the floor as possible.

· Stay in the final position for a few seconds.

· Inhale; bring the face forward again.

· Exhale, twist to the other side without coming back to the floor.

· Inhale & return to the centre and exhale as you lower the body to the floor.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


 

UDARAKARSHANKRIYA (THE ABDOMINAL MASSAGE POSE)

 

· Sit in squatting position with feet apart & the hands on the knees.

· Inhale; bring the right knee to the floor near the left foot, pressing the stomach with the left thigh.

· While doing so push the left knee towards the right.

· Exhale, turn the head towards the left side and look over the shoulder.

· Stay in the final position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and come back to the starting position.

· Similarly repeat on the right side.

· Inhale and come back to the starting position

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


After completing the exercises if you feel that you are still not getting the pressure to relieve yourself, then drink water again & do the same exercises.


DIETARY GUIDELINES


  • Taking a glass of lemon water (lukewarm) with one / two teaspoons honey after waking up helps the bowels to clean
  • Before breakfast, one can have raw veg juice (lauki, carrot ---anyone of these)
  • For breakfast, one should have dry fruits such as munacca and figs soaked in water overnight in a glass container. The water in which they are soaked should also be drunk.
  • In addition, one can have seasonal fruits (pears, papaya, apricot, orange, apple, pineapple, grapes, melon, muskmelon, raspberry, guava, pomegranates, mangoes, and musambi). Eating one variety of fruit each time is more beneficial.
  • For lunch, one should take chapattis (black channa flour 80%+ wheat flour 20 %) / chapattis of wheat flour with extra bran & seasonal vegetables (lauki, cauliflower cabbage, carrot, leafy vegetable, turnip, peas, french beans, pumpkin). Salad in any quantity (onion, cucumber, tomatoes, sprouts, carrots, beetroots, cabbage) & curd or buttermilk of skimmed milk. One can have salad before lunch also.
  • For dinner, same as lunch / sweet dalia without milk or salty dalia with vegetables / salad + soup.
  • Before going to bed, take hot milk with munacca / mixing 2-3 tsp of isabgol in milk or warm water / plain hot water is also useful.



FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Drink water as much as possible during whole day other than at mealtime. We can have soup, buttermilk along with the meals. After half an hour of completion of meals, certainly plain water can be taken. Don't take chilled water and chilled drinks as far as possible. The food doesn't get digested rapidly due to that and the possibility of constipation increases.


We should not take meals unless the previously taken food is digested. One should give a gap of minimum 3 hours between breakfast and lunch & of 6 hours between lunch & dinner. In between, one can have lots of warm water, thin buttermilk, salads & fruit. One should have early and light dinner. Usually the common vegetarian diet gets digested within 4 to 6 hours. However, some contents of the non-vegetarian diet remains in the stomach and intestine even up to three days & get putrefied.


We should eat food consciously, peacefully and without speaking. When we chew the food properly, it will be wet when it enters the stomach & this would help in easing the problem of constipation to a large extent.


Form the habit of visiting the toilet at a regular and appointed hour in the morning and in the evening even if you may not have the urge to void your bowels. Of course you should on no account exert yourself or strain the intestines to effect the evacuation.


Never lie down or go to sleep immediately after eating. It will be a wonderful help in digestion of the food by sitting in Vajrasana for fifteen to twenty minutes after meals.


Remember constipation does not trouble people who are physically active. In case of chronic constipation through overhauling of the whole system under expert guidance is very helpful.

Avoid excessive worry, anger, tension, jealousy and hurrying.


Yogic Management of Constipation


Constipation is a very common complaint. It occurs due to disturbance of the lower digestive tract & majority of us face this problem at some point in time in our lives. The problem starts with the stool becoming hard and the person is unable to pass it with ease. If not taken care of, this condition turns chronic and is the chief cause of many diseases since it produces toxins, which find their way into the blood stream and are carried to all parts of the body. The body begins to be poisoned by the build-up of its own wastes, which results in weakening of the vital organs and lowering of the resistance of the entire system. The gas produced in the stomach due to constipation causes pain in the knees, backache, rheumatism and other pains. Some of the common diseases connected with constipation are piles, peptic ulcers and acidity.

 

YOGA & CONSTIPATION


Good health, high vitality and freedom from diseases demand that the wastes must be expelled regularly and efficiently. Yogasana, Pranayama, Kriyas, Mudras & Bandhas are helpful to eliminate wastes & heal many problems and ailments. Yoga is a science whose power is infinite. The problem of constipation can easily be solved by regular practice of this science. If balanced diet and plenty of fluids can also be combined with Yoga techniques, results would be more prompt and better. The following Asanas have proven to be very beneficial in curing constipation as they strengthen the abdominal & pelvic muscles and stimulate the peristaltic action of the bowels. These Asanas should be practiced after drinking about two- four glasses of water.


TADASANA (THE STRETCH POSE)


· Stand straight with feet about10 cms apart, arms by the sides.

· Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.

· Interlock your fingers, palms facing towards the sky.

· Exhale; place the hands on top of the head.

· Inhale stretch the arms up over the head & slowly rise up on your toes, stretching and lengthening the abdominal area

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Exhale, bring the heels down on the floor and hands on top of the head.

· This is one round.

· Repeat 8 times.


TIRYAKA TADASANA (SIDE BENDING STRETCH POSE)

 

· Stand straight with feet about two feet apart.

· Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.

· Interlock your fingers, palms are facing towards the sky.

· Inhale, extend the spine.

· While exhaling, bend the body to the right from the waist.

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and slowly come back to the upright position.

· Similarly repeat the process on the left side.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


KATI CHAKRASANA (WAIST ROTATING POSE)

 

· Stand straight with feet about two feet apart and the arms by the sides.

· Make fist of the right hand with thumb inside, place it in the center of the lower back, press it nicely.

· Inhale; bring the left hand on the right shoulder.

· Exhale, as you twist the upper body to the right side & turn your head fully to your right to look behind towards the left heel.

· Keep the feet firmly on the ground while twisting.

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and return to the staring position.

· Similarly repeat the process on the left side.

· Inhale and return to the staring position.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


ASHVA SANCHALANA MUDRA (TIRYAKA BHUJANGASANA)

 

· Lie with forehead down on the stomach with feet about half a metre apart, heels should be on top and toes are curled under, hands directly under the chest.

· Now inhale and raise the head forward.

· Exhale, Twist the head and upper portion of the body to the right shoulder and look over the shoulder at the left heel.

· Try to feel a diagonal stretch of the abdomen.

· Relax the back and keep the navel as close to the floor as possible.

· Stay in the final position for a few seconds.

· Inhale; bring the face forward again.

· Exhale, twist to the other side without coming back to the floor.

· Inhale & return to the centre and exhale as you lower the body to the floor.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


 

UDARAKARSHANKRIYA (THE ABDOMINAL MASSAGE POSE)

 

· Sit in squatting position with feet apart & the hands on the knees.

· Inhale; bring the right knee to the floor near the left foot, pressing the stomach with the left thigh.

· While doing so push the left knee towards the right.

· Exhale, turn the head towards the left side and look over the shoulder.

· Stay in the final position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and come back to the starting position.

· Similarly repeat on the right side.

· Inhale and come back to the starting position

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


After completing the exercises if you feel that you are still not getting the pressure to relieve yourself, then drink water again & do the same exercises.


DIETARY GUIDELINES


  • Taking a glass of lemon water (lukewarm) with one / two teaspoons honey after waking up helps the bowels to clean
  • Before breakfast, one can have raw veg juice (lauki, carrot ---anyone of these)
  • For breakfast, one should have dry fruits such as munacca and figs soaked in water overnight in a glass container. The water in which they are soaked should also be drunk.
  • In addition, one can have seasonal fruits (pears, papaya, apricot, orange, apple, pineapple, grapes, melon, muskmelon, raspberry, guava, pomegranates, mangoes, and musambi). Eating one variety of fruit each time is more beneficial.
  • For lunch, one should take chapattis (black channa flour 80%+ wheat flour 20 %) / chapattis of wheat flour with extra bran & seasonal vegetables (lauki, cauliflower cabbage, carrot, leafy vegetable, turnip, peas, french beans, pumpkin). Salad in any quantity (onion, cucumber, tomatoes, sprouts, carrots, beetroots, cabbage) & curd or buttermilk of skimmed milk. One can have salad before lunch also.
  • For dinner, same as lunch / sweet dalia without milk or salty dalia with vegetables / salad + soup.
  • Before going to bed, take hot milk with munacca / mixing 2-3 tsp of isabgol in milk or warm water / plain hot water is also useful.



FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Drink water as much as possible during whole day other than at mealtime. We can have soup, buttermilk along with the meals. After half an hour of completion of meals, certainly plain water can be taken. Don't take chilled water and chilled drinks as far as possible. The food doesn't get digested rapidly due to that and the possibility of constipation increases.


We should not take meals unless the previously taken food is digested. One should give a gap of minimum 3 hours between breakfast and lunch & of 6 hours between lunch & dinner. In between, one can have lots of warm water, thin buttermilk, salads & fruit. One should have early and light dinner. Usually the common vegetarian diet gets digested within 4 to 6 hours. However, some contents of the non-vegetarian diet remains in the stomach and intestine even up to three days & get putrefied.


We should eat food consciously, peacefully and without speaking. When we chew the food properly, it will be wet when it enters the stomach & this would help in easing the problem of constipation to a large extent.


Form the habit of visiting the toilet at a regular and appointed hour in the morning and in the evening even if you may not have the urge to void your bowels. Of course you should on no account exert yourself or strain the intestines to effect the evacuation.


Never lie down or go to sleep immediately after eating. It will be a wonderful help in digestion of the food by sitting in Vajrasana for fifteen to twenty minutes after meals.


Remember constipation does not trouble people who are physically active. In case of chronic constipation through overhauling of the whole system under expert guidance is very helpful.

Avoid excessive worry, anger, tension, jealousy and hurrying.


Yogic Management of Constipation


Constipation is a very common complaint. It occurs due to disturbance of the lower digestive tract & majority of us face this problem at some point in time in our lives. The problem starts with the stool becoming hard and the person is unable to pass it with ease. If not taken care of, this condition turns chronic and is the chief cause of many diseases since it produces toxins, which find their way into the blood stream and are carried to all parts of the body. The body begins to be poisoned by the build-up of its own wastes, which results in weakening of the vital organs and lowering of the resistance of the entire system. The gas produced in the stomach due to constipation causes pain in the knees, backache, rheumatism and other pains. Some of the common diseases connected with constipation are piles, peptic ulcers and acidity.

 

YOGA & CONSTIPATION


Good health, high vitality and freedom from diseases demand that the wastes must be expelled regularly and efficiently. Yogasana, Pranayama, Kriyas, Mudras & Bandhas are helpful to eliminate wastes & heal many problems and ailments. Yoga is a science whose power is infinite. The problem of constipation can easily be solved by regular practice of this science. If balanced diet and plenty of fluids can also be combined with Yoga techniques, results would be more prompt and better. The following Asanas have proven to be very beneficial in curing constipation as they strengthen the abdominal & pelvic muscles and stimulate the peristaltic action of the bowels. These Asanas should be practiced after drinking about two- four glasses of water.


TADASANA (THE STRETCH POSE)


· Stand straight with feet about10 cms apart, arms by the sides.

· Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.

· Interlock your fingers, palms facing towards the sky.

· Exhale; place the hands on top of the head.

· Inhale stretch the arms up over the head & slowly rise up on your toes, stretching and lengthening the abdominal area

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Exhale, bring the heels down on the floor and hands on top of the head.

· This is one round.

· Repeat 8 times.


TIRYAKA TADASANA (SIDE BENDING STRETCH POSE)

 

· Stand straight with feet about two feet apart.

· Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.

· Interlock your fingers, palms are facing towards the sky.

· Inhale, extend the spine.

· While exhaling, bend the body to the right from the waist.

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and slowly come back to the upright position.

· Similarly repeat the process on the left side.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


KATI CHAKRASANA (WAIST ROTATING POSE)

 

· Stand straight with feet about two feet apart and the arms by the sides.

· Make fist of the right hand with thumb inside, place it in the center of the lower back, press it nicely.

· Inhale; bring the left hand on the right shoulder.

· Exhale, as you twist the upper body to the right side & turn your head fully to your right to look behind towards the left heel.

· Keep the feet firmly on the ground while twisting.

· Hold the position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and return to the staring position.

· Similarly repeat the process on the left side.

· Inhale and return to the staring position.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


ASHVA SANCHALANA MUDRA (TIRYAKA BHUJANGASANA)

 

· Lie with forehead down on the stomach with feet about half a metre apart, heels should be on top and toes are curled under, hands directly under the chest.

· Now inhale and raise the head forward.

· Exhale, Twist the head and upper portion of the body to the right shoulder and look over the shoulder at the left heel.

· Try to feel a diagonal stretch of the abdomen.

· Relax the back and keep the navel as close to the floor as possible.

· Stay in the final position for a few seconds.

· Inhale; bring the face forward again.

· Exhale, twist to the other side without coming back to the floor.

· Inhale & return to the centre and exhale as you lower the body to the floor.

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


 

UDARAKARSHANKRIYA (THE ABDOMINAL MASSAGE POSE)

 

· Sit in squatting position with feet apart & the hands on the knees.

· Inhale; bring the right knee to the floor near the left foot, pressing the stomach with the left thigh.

· While doing so push the left knee towards the right.

· Exhale, turn the head towards the left side and look over the shoulder.

· Stay in the final position for a few seconds.

· Inhale and come back to the starting position.

· Similarly repeat on the right side.

· Inhale and come back to the starting position

· This is one round.

· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


After completing the exercises if you feel that you are still not getting the pressure to relieve yourself, then drink water again & do the same exercises.


DIETARY GUIDELINES


  • Taking a glass of lemon water (lukewarm) with one / two teaspoons honey after waking up helps the bowels to clean
  • Before breakfast, one can have raw veg juice (lauki, carrot ---anyone of these)
  • For breakfast, one should have dry fruits such as munacca and figs soaked in water overnight in a glass container. The water in which they are soaked should also be drunk.
  • In addition, one can have seasonal fruits (pears, papaya, apricot, orange, apple, pineapple, grapes, melon, muskmelon, raspberry, guava, pomegranates, mangoes, and musambi). Eating one variety of fruit each time is more beneficial.
  • For lunch, one should take chapattis (black channa flour 80%+ wheat flour 20 %) / chapattis of wheat flour with extra bran & seasonal vegetables (lauki, cauliflower cabbage, carrot, leafy vegetable, turnip, peas, french beans, pumpkin). Salad in any quantity (onion, cucumber, tomatoes, sprouts, carrots, beetroots, cabbage) & curd or buttermilk of skimmed milk. One can have salad before lunch also.
  • For dinner, same as lunch / sweet dalia without milk or salty dalia with vegetables / salad + soup.
  • Before going to bed, take hot milk with munacca / mixing 2-3 tsp of isabgol in milk or warm water / plain hot water is also useful.



FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Drink water as much as possible during whole day other than at mealtime. We can have soup, buttermilk along with the meals. After half an hour of completion of meals, certainly plain water can be taken. Don't take chilled water and chilled drinks as far as possible. The food doesn't get digested rapidly due to that and the possibility of constipation increases.


We should not take meals unless the previously taken food is digested. One should give a gap of minimum 3 hours between breakfast and lunch & of 6 hours between lunch & dinner. In between, one can have lots of warm water, thin buttermilk, salads & fruit. One should have early and light dinner. Usually the common vegetarian diet gets digested within 4 to 6 hours. However, some contents of the non-vegetarian diet remains in the stomach and intestine even up to three days & get putrefied.


We should eat food consciously, peacefully and without speaking. When we chew the food properly, it will be wet when it enters the stomach & this would help in easing the problem of constipation to a large extent.


Form the habit of visiting the toilet at a regular and appointed hour in the morning and in the evening even if you may not have the urge to void your bowels. Of course you should on no account exert yourself or strain the intestines to effect the evacuation.


Never lie down or go to sleep immediately after eating. It will be a wonderful help in digestion of the food by sitting in Vajrasana for fifteen to twenty minutes after meals.


Remember constipation does not trouble people who are physically active. In case of chronic constipation through overhauling of the whole system under expert guidance is very helpful.

Avoid excessive worry, anger, tension, jealousy and hurrying.


Yogic approach for Chronic Backache


Our back or spine is like the pillar on which the entire body rests but the strongest part can also be the vulnerable spot if not taken care of well. About 80% of the people suffer back pain at some time or the other in their lives.


The spine consists of many small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are further divided into five sections, namely the cervical region (the neck area) which contains 7 vertebrae (C1 to C7), the thoracic region (the chest area) which contains 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12), the lumber region (the abdominal area) consists of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5), the sacrum region (the pelvic area) consists of 5 vertebrae (S1 to S5), and the coccyx region (the tail bone area) consists of 4 vertebrae. 


These vertebrae are separated by discs which allow the spine to bend. In a slumped posture, instead of the weight passing through these discs there is pressure on the facet joints of the spine which are not designed to be weight bearing. Gradually this can lead to localized pain at these joints and surrounding tissues, producing swelling from the loss of fluids from minute tears. This clears away in the healing process but leaves a residual area of scarring, hardened tissues and weakness. However, not all back pain is from facet joints (facet joints of the spine allow back motion); it can come from soft tissues (tendons, cartilage, ligaments) and surrounding muscles and from the nerves as they emerge from the spinal column. 




CAUSES:


Lack of exercise, standing or bending forward for long periods, slip disc, cervical problems spondylosis, lumbar spondylosis, overgrowth of bones, pain in the pelvic region or pelvis, gastroenteritis, chest pain, constipation, kidney problems, sprains, using the wrong mattress ( Mattress should neither be too soft nor too hard), bad posture, drooping shoulders, sitting in a sloppy manner or with a bent back (at your workplace make sure you use a comfortable chair with a backrest), watching T.V. lying on the bed or the sofa, carrying a heavy load on your back like a school bag, laptop, shopping bags, slinging bulky bags which apply pressure only on one side of the shoulder, wearing high heels, a sudden gain of weight, obesity or beer bellies, degeneration of bones,driving with the chair tilted back etc .


YOGIC APPROACH FOR CHRONIC BACKACHE


Regular practice of Yoga is beneficial for people with chronic backache and it also helps relieve pain in the neck and the shoulders. Let’s begin with correctly aligned posture in the standing position:


• Bring the feet a few inches apart (10 cm) and parallel to each other. Then bring the awareness into the soles of the feet and gently rock backwards and forwards coming up onto the toes and back onto the heels. Then return to a standstill position and feel the contact with the floor through both feet. The body sways and the weight moves forwards and back and left and right quite naturally. Be grounded through the feet and allow them to take the weight evenly.

• Make sure that the knees are unlocked and pull up the kneecaps. If they point in towards the centre then rotate the thighs outwards and tighten the buttocks.

• Now tilt the pelvis backwards and forwards finding the balance so that the spine can grow comfortably upwards out of the hips.

• Bring the shoulders up and back, and let them go wide with the arms hanging loosely.

• Hold the head and neck upright so that the ears are above the top of the shoulders and the head feels lightly balanced on top of the neck.

• Imagine that a string is attached to the top of the head and that someone is lifting the head up and out of the shoulders. Feel how your posture alters when you 'let go' of this imaginary string.


SUGGESTED PRACTICES


Lying in supine positions:

Supta Tadasana, Ek Pada Uttanansana, Kati Makarasana, Ardha Pavanmuktasana, Pavanmuktasana


Lying in prone positions:

Makarasana, Bhujangasana, Ardha Shalabhasana, Naukasana


In sitting position:

Vakrasana, Brahma Mudra (neck exercise slow)


Pranayam:

Kapalbhati, (In case you have acute backache, don’t do Kapalbhati), Anulom Vilom Pranayama


Shavasana:

• Lie down with the face up on the wooden bench.

• Relax the body.

• Keep both the fists open, legs a little relaxed and widespread.

• Now listen to the beating of the heart.

• Remain a witness of the inhalation as well as exhalation.

• Breathe 50 times slowly with breath consciousness

• Create a feeling that your body is peaceful, composed and completely disease free.

• In this manner, without the movement of any part of the body, remaining fully composed having no restlessness of any type, go deep into mentally quiet attitude.


BENEFITS OF THE ABOVE ASANAS


• The vertebral column and the discs between the vertebrae are made strong and flexible.

• The spinal cord is massaged.

• Increase the blood flow into the spinal cord ensuring a good supply of nutrients.

• The autonomic nervous system is rebalanced and toned up by the action of the blood supply and the massaging effects.

• The back muscles are strengthened and nourished by the increased flow of blood.

• Posture is readjusted and corrected, removing spinal deformities. Backache will be cured by relaxing tense muscles, releasing compression of the spinal nerves and removing general body fatigue.

• The whole body is made healthy through these Asanas. The abdominal organs are massaged and Manipura Chakra, the Pranic centre of the body, is stimulated and rebalanced. The lungs are fully inflated and massaged, cleaned and stretched. The heart is stimulated and cleansed. The blood is purified more efficiently by the lungs, kidneys and liver. The brain benefits from an increased amount of blood. Massage of the spinal cord also improves brain function. When the spinal cord and brain are relaxed and the whole body is toned up, back problems are eliminated.


TO BE AVOIDED


Sit ups, avoid double leg raising, Halasana (plough pose), Sarvangasana (full shoulder stand) , Forward bends, Trikonasana twisting to the opposite foot and variation 2 with the arm stretched over the head, lying on the side and lifting both legs up, Shalabhasana (full locust pose) Dhanurasana (bow pose)- can be done with knees remaining on the floor, Vyaghrasana (tiger pose)- is OK if the leg being raised does not go past 15 degrees above the horizontal (the lumbar spine is stressed beyond this point especially when the movement is done too quickly), Paschimottanasana (back stretching pose) is not recommended to stretch hamstrings, Squatting and Vajrasana to be avoided where knee problems exist.


NOTE


If you are feeling uncomfortable while doing Yoga Asanas by yourselves, do not push yourself. It will be helpful to actually sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each Asana and will make sure that you are doing the exercise correctly.

Yogic approach for Chronic Backache


Our back or spine is like the pillar on which the entire body rests but the strongest part can also be the vulnerable spot if not taken care of well. About 80% of the people suffer back pain at some time or the other in their lives.


The spine consists of many small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are further divided into five sections, namely the cervical region (the neck area) which contains 7 vertebrae (C1 to C7), the thoracic region (the chest area) which contains 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12), the lumber region (the abdominal area) consists of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5), the sacrum region (the pelvic area) consists of 5 vertebrae (S1 to S5), and the coccyx region (the tail bone area) consists of 4 vertebrae. 


These vertebrae are separated by discs which allow the spine to bend. In a slumped posture, instead of the weight passing through these discs there is pressure on the facet joints of the spine which are not designed to be weight bearing. Gradually this can lead to localized pain at these joints and surrounding tissues, producing swelling from the loss of fluids from minute tears. This clears away in the healing process but leaves a residual area of scarring, hardened tissues and weakness. However, not all back pain is from facet joints (facet joints of the spine allow back motion); it can come from soft tissues (tendons, cartilage, ligaments) and surrounding muscles and from the nerves as they emerge from the spinal column. 




CAUSES:


Lack of exercise, standing or bending forward for long periods, slip disc, cervical problems spondylosis, lumbar spondylosis, overgrowth of bones, pain in the pelvic region or pelvis, gastroenteritis, chest pain, constipation, kidney problems, sprains, using the wrong mattress ( Mattress should neither be too soft nor too hard), bad posture, drooping shoulders, sitting in a sloppy manner or with a bent back (at your workplace make sure you use a comfortable chair with a backrest), watching T.V. lying on the bed or the sofa, carrying a heavy load on your back like a school bag, laptop, shopping bags, slinging bulky bags which apply pressure only on one side of the shoulder, wearing high heels, a sudden gain of weight, obesity or beer bellies, degeneration of bones,driving with the chair tilted back etc .


YOGIC APPROACH FOR CHRONIC BACKACHE


Regular practice of Yoga is beneficial for people with chronic backache and it also helps relieve pain in the neck and the shoulders. Let’s begin with correctly aligned posture in the standing position:


• Bring the feet a few inches apart (10 cm) and parallel to each other. Then bring the awareness into the soles of the feet and gently rock backwards and forwards coming up onto the toes and back onto the heels. Then return to a standstill position and feel the contact with the floor through both feet. The body sways and the weight moves forwards and back and left and right quite naturally. Be grounded through the feet and allow them to take the weight evenly.

• Make sure that the knees are unlocked and pull up the kneecaps. If they point in towards the centre then rotate the thighs outwards and tighten the buttocks.

• Now tilt the pelvis backwards and forwards finding the balance so that the spine can grow comfortably upwards out of the hips.

• Bring the shoulders up and back, and let them go wide with the arms hanging loosely.

• Hold the head and neck upright so that the ears are above the top of the shoulders and the head feels lightly balanced on top of the neck.

• Imagine that a string is attached to the top of the head and that someone is lifting the head up and out of the shoulders. Feel how your posture alters when you 'let go' of this imaginary string.


SUGGESTED PRACTICES


Lying in supine positions:

Supta Tadasana, Ek Pada Uttanansana, Kati Makarasana, Ardha Pavanmuktasana, Pavanmuktasana


Lying in prone positions:

Makarasana, Bhujangasana, Ardha Shalabhasana, Naukasana


In sitting position:

Vakrasana, Brahma Mudra (neck exercise slow)


Pranayam:

Kapalbhati, (In case you have acute backache, don’t do Kapalbhati), Anulom Vilom Pranayama


Shavasana:

• Lie down with the face up on the wooden bench.

• Relax the body.

• Keep both the fists open, legs a little relaxed and widespread.

• Now listen to the beating of the heart.

• Remain a witness of the inhalation as well as exhalation.

• Breathe 50 times slowly with breath consciousness

• Create a feeling that your body is peaceful, composed and completely disease free.

• In this manner, without the movement of any part of the body, remaining fully composed having no restlessness of any type, go deep into mentally quiet attitude.


BENEFITS OF THE ABOVE ASANAS


• The vertebral column and the discs between the vertebrae are made strong and flexible.

• The spinal cord is massaged.

• Increase the blood flow into the spinal cord ensuring a good supply of nutrients.

• The autonomic nervous system is rebalanced and toned up by the action of the blood supply and the massaging effects.

• The back muscles are strengthened and nourished by the increased flow of blood.

• Posture is readjusted and corrected, removing spinal deformities. Backache will be cured by relaxing tense muscles, releasing compression of the spinal nerves and removing general body fatigue.

• The whole body is made healthy through these Asanas. The abdominal organs are massaged and Manipura Chakra, the Pranic centre of the body, is stimulated and rebalanced. The lungs are fully inflated and massaged, cleaned and stretched. The heart is stimulated and cleansed. The blood is purified more efficiently by the lungs, kidneys and liver. The brain benefits from an increased amount of blood. Massage of the spinal cord also improves brain function. When the spinal cord and brain are relaxed and the whole body is toned up, back problems are eliminated.


TO BE AVOIDED


Sit ups, avoid double leg raising, Halasana (plough pose), Sarvangasana (full shoulder stand) , Forward bends, Trikonasana twisting to the opposite foot and variation 2 with the arm stretched over the head, lying on the side and lifting both legs up, Shalabhasana (full locust pose) Dhanurasana (bow pose)- can be done with knees remaining on the floor, Vyaghrasana (tiger pose)- is OK if the leg being raised does not go past 15 degrees above the horizontal (the lumbar spine is stressed beyond this point especially when the movement is done too quickly), Paschimottanasana (back stretching pose) is not recommended to stretch hamstrings, Squatting and Vajrasana to be avoided where knee problems exist.


NOTE


If you are feeling uncomfortable while doing Yoga Asanas by yourselves, do not push yourself. It will be helpful to actually sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each Asana and will make sure that you are doing the exercise correctly.

Yogic approach for Chronic Backache


Our back or spine is like the pillar on which the entire body rests but the strongest part can also be the vulnerable spot if not taken care of well. About 80% of the people suffer back pain at some time or the other in their lives.


The spine consists of many small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are further divided into five sections, namely the cervical region (the neck area) which contains 7 vertebrae (C1 to C7), the thoracic region (the chest area) which contains 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12), the lumber region (the abdominal area) consists of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5), the sacrum region (the pelvic area) consists of 5 vertebrae (S1 to S5), and the coccyx region (the tail bone area) consists of 4 vertebrae. 


These vertebrae are separated by discs which allow the spine to bend. In a slumped posture, instead of the weight passing through these discs there is pressure on the facet joints of the spine which are not designed to be weight bearing. Gradually this can lead to localized pain at these joints and surrounding tissues, producing swelling from the loss of fluids from minute tears. This clears away in the healing process but leaves a residual area of scarring, hardened tissues and weakness. However, not all back pain is from facet joints (facet joints of the spine allow back motion); it can come from soft tissues (tendons, cartilage, ligaments) and surrounding muscles and from the nerves as they emerge from the spinal column. 




CAUSES:


Lack of exercise, standing or bending forward for long periods, slip disc, cervical problems spondylosis, lumbar spondylosis, overgrowth of bones, pain in the pelvic region or pelvis, gastroenteritis, chest pain, constipation, kidney problems, sprains, using the wrong mattress ( Mattress should neither be too soft nor too hard), bad posture, drooping shoulders, sitting in a sloppy manner or with a bent back (at your workplace make sure you use a comfortable chair with a backrest), watching T.V. lying on the bed or the sofa, carrying a heavy load on your back like a school bag, laptop, shopping bags, slinging bulky bags which apply pressure only on one side of the shoulder, wearing high heels, a sudden gain of weight, obesity or beer bellies, degeneration of bones,driving with the chair tilted back etc .


YOGIC APPROACH FOR CHRONIC BACKACHE


Regular practice of Yoga is beneficial for people with chronic backache and it also helps relieve pain in the neck and the shoulders. Let’s begin with correctly aligned posture in the standing position:


• Bring the feet a few inches apart (10 cm) and parallel to each other. Then bring the awareness into the soles of the feet and gently rock backwards and forwards coming up onto the toes and back onto the heels. Then return to a standstill position and feel the contact with the floor through both feet. The body sways and the weight moves forwards and back and left and right quite naturally. Be grounded through the feet and allow them to take the weight evenly.

• Make sure that the knees are unlocked and pull up the kneecaps. If they point in towards the centre then rotate the thighs outwards and tighten the buttocks.

• Now tilt the pelvis backwards and forwards finding the balance so that the spine can grow comfortably upwards out of the hips.

• Bring the shoulders up and back, and let them go wide with the arms hanging loosely.

• Hold the head and neck upright so that the ears are above the top of the shoulders and the head feels lightly balanced on top of the neck.

• Imagine that a string is attached to the top of the head and that someone is lifting the head up and out of the shoulders. Feel how your posture alters when you 'let go' of this imaginary string.


SUGGESTED PRACTICES


Lying in supine positions:

Supta Tadasana, Ek Pada Uttanansana, Kati Makarasana, Ardha Pavanmuktasana, Pavanmuktasana


Lying in prone positions:

Makarasana, Bhujangasana, Ardha Shalabhasana, Naukasana


In sitting position:

Vakrasana, Brahma Mudra (neck exercise slow)


Pranayam:

Kapalbhati, (In case you have acute backache, don’t do Kapalbhati), Anulom Vilom Pranayama


Shavasana:

• Lie down with the face up on the wooden bench.

• Relax the body.

• Keep both the fists open, legs a little relaxed and widespread.

• Now listen to the beating of the heart.

• Remain a witness of the inhalation as well as exhalation.

• Breathe 50 times slowly with breath consciousness

• Create a feeling that your body is peaceful, composed and completely disease free.

• In this manner, without the movement of any part of the body, remaining fully composed having no restlessness of any type, go deep into mentally quiet attitude.


BENEFITS OF THE ABOVE ASANAS


• The vertebral column and the discs between the vertebrae are made strong and flexible.

• The spinal cord is massaged.

• Increase the blood flow into the spinal cord ensuring a good supply of nutrients.

• The autonomic nervous system is rebalanced and toned up by the action of the blood supply and the massaging effects.

• The back muscles are strengthened and nourished by the increased flow of blood.

• Posture is readjusted and corrected, removing spinal deformities. Backache will be cured by relaxing tense muscles, releasing compression of the spinal nerves and removing general body fatigue.

• The whole body is made healthy through these Asanas. The abdominal organs are massaged and Manipura Chakra, the Pranic centre of the body, is stimulated and rebalanced. The lungs are fully inflated and massaged, cleaned and stretched. The heart is stimulated and cleansed. The blood is purified more efficiently by the lungs, kidneys and liver. The brain benefits from an increased amount of blood. Massage of the spinal cord also improves brain function. When the spinal cord and brain are relaxed and the whole body is toned up, back problems are eliminated.


TO BE AVOIDED


Sit ups, avoid double leg raising, Halasana (plough pose), Sarvangasana (full shoulder stand) , Forward bends, Trikonasana twisting to the opposite foot and variation 2 with the arm stretched over the head, lying on the side and lifting both legs up, Shalabhasana (full locust pose) Dhanurasana (bow pose)- can be done with knees remaining on the floor, Vyaghrasana (tiger pose)- is OK if the leg being raised does not go past 15 degrees above the horizontal (the lumbar spine is stressed beyond this point especially when the movement is done too quickly), Paschimottanasana (back stretching pose) is not recommended to stretch hamstrings, Squatting and Vajrasana to be avoided where knee problems exist.


NOTE


If you are feeling uncomfortable while doing Yoga Asanas by yourselves, do not push yourself. It will be helpful to actually sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each Asana and will make sure that you are doing the exercise correctly.

Yogic approach for Chronic Backache


Our back or spine is like the pillar on which the entire body rests but the strongest part can also be the vulnerable spot if not taken care of well. About 80% of the people suffer back pain at some time or the other in their lives.


The spine consists of many small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are further divided into five sections, namely the cervical region (the neck area) which contains 7 vertebrae (C1 to C7), the thoracic region (the chest area) which contains 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12), the lumber region (the abdominal area) consists of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5), the sacrum region (the pelvic area) consists of 5 vertebrae (S1 to S5), and the coccyx region (the tail bone area) consists of 4 vertebrae. 


These vertebrae are separated by discs which allow the spine to bend. In a slumped posture, instead of the weight passing through these discs there is pressure on the facet joints of the spine which are not designed to be weight bearing. Gradually this can lead to localized pain at these joints and surrounding tissues, producing swelling from the loss of fluids from minute tears. This clears away in the healing process but leaves a residual area of scarring, hardened tissues and weakness. However, not all back pain is from facet joints (facet joints of the spine allow back motion); it can come from soft tissues (tendons, cartilage, ligaments) and surrounding muscles and from the nerves as they emerge from the spinal column. 




CAUSES:


Lack of exercise, standing or bending forward for long periods, slip disc, cervical problems spondylosis, lumbar spondylosis, overgrowth of bones, pain in the pelvic region or pelvis, gastroenteritis, chest pain, constipation, kidney problems, sprains, using the wrong mattress ( Mattress should neither be too soft nor too hard), bad posture, drooping shoulders, sitting in a sloppy manner or with a bent back (at your workplace make sure you use a comfortable chair with a backrest), watching T.V. lying on the bed or the sofa, carrying a heavy load on your back like a school bag, laptop, shopping bags, slinging bulky bags which apply pressure only on one side of the shoulder, wearing high heels, a sudden gain of weight, obesity or beer bellies, degeneration of bones,driving with the chair tilted back etc .


YOGIC APPROACH FOR CHRONIC BACKACHE


Regular practice of Yoga is beneficial for people with chronic backache and it also helps relieve pain in the neck and the shoulders. Let’s begin with correctly aligned posture in the standing position:


• Bring the feet a few inches apart (10 cm) and parallel to each other. Then bring the awareness into the soles of the feet and gently rock backwards and forwards coming up onto the toes and back onto the heels. Then return to a standstill position and feel the contact with the floor through both feet. The body sways and the weight moves forwards and back and left and right quite naturally. Be grounded through the feet and allow them to take the weight evenly.

• Make sure that the knees are unlocked and pull up the kneecaps. If they point in towards the centre then rotate the thighs outwards and tighten the buttocks.

• Now tilt the pelvis backwards and forwards finding the balance so that the spine can grow comfortably upwards out of the hips.

• Bring the shoulders up and back, and let them go wide with the arms hanging loosely.

• Hold the head and neck upright so that the ears are above the top of the shoulders and the head feels lightly balanced on top of the neck.

• Imagine that a string is attached to the top of the head and that someone is lifting the head up and out of the shoulders. Feel how your posture alters when you 'let go' of this imaginary string.


SUGGESTED PRACTICES


Lying in supine positions:

Supta Tadasana, Ek Pada Uttanansana, Kati Makarasana, Ardha Pavanmuktasana, Pavanmuktasana


Lying in prone positions:

Makarasana, Bhujangasana, Ardha Shalabhasana, Naukasana


In sitting position:

Vakrasana, Brahma Mudra (neck exercise slow)


Pranayam:

Kapalbhati, (In case you have acute backache, don’t do Kapalbhati), Anulom Vilom Pranayama


Shavasana:

• Lie down with the face up on the wooden bench.

• Relax the body.

• Keep both the fists open, legs a little relaxed and widespread.

• Now listen to the beating of the heart.

• Remain a witness of the inhalation as well as exhalation.

• Breathe 50 times slowly with breath consciousness

• Create a feeling that your body is peaceful, composed and completely disease free.

• In this manner, without the movement of any part of the body, remaining fully composed having no restlessness of any type, go deep into mentally quiet attitude.


BENEFITS OF THE ABOVE ASANAS


• The vertebral column and the discs between the vertebrae are made strong and flexible.

• The spinal cord is massaged.

• Increase the blood flow into the spinal cord ensuring a good supply of nutrients.

• The autonomic nervous system is rebalanced and toned up by the action of the blood supply and the massaging effects.

• The back muscles are strengthened and nourished by the increased flow of blood.

• Posture is readjusted and corrected, removing spinal deformities. Backache will be cured by relaxing tense muscles, releasing compression of the spinal nerves and removing general body fatigue.

• The whole body is made healthy through these Asanas. The abdominal organs are massaged and Manipura Chakra, the Pranic centre of the body, is stimulated and rebalanced. The lungs are fully inflated and massaged, cleaned and stretched. The heart is stimulated and cleansed. The blood is purified more efficiently by the lungs, kidneys and liver. The brain benefits from an increased amount of blood. Massage of the spinal cord also improves brain function. When the spinal cord and brain are relaxed and the whole body is toned up, back problems are eliminated.


TO BE AVOIDED


Sit ups, avoid double leg raising, Halasana (plough pose), Sarvangasana (full shoulder stand) , Forward bends, Trikonasana twisting to the opposite foot and variation 2 with the arm stretched over the head, lying on the side and lifting both legs up, Shalabhasana (full locust pose) Dhanurasana (bow pose)- can be done with knees remaining on the floor, Vyaghrasana (tiger pose)- is OK if the leg being raised does not go past 15 degrees above the horizontal (the lumbar spine is stressed beyond this point especially when the movement is done too quickly), Paschimottanasana (back stretching pose) is not recommended to stretch hamstrings, Squatting and Vajrasana to be avoided where knee problems exist.


NOTE


If you are feeling uncomfortable while doing Yoga Asanas by yourselves, do not push yourself. It will be helpful to actually sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each Asana and will make sure that you are doing the exercise correctly.

Yogic approach for Chronic Backache


Our back or spine is like the pillar on which the entire body rests but the strongest part can also be the vulnerable spot if not taken care of well. About 80% of the people suffer back pain at some time or the other in their lives.


The spine consists of many small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are further divided into five sections, namely the cervical region (the neck area) which contains 7 vertebrae (C1 to C7), the thoracic region (the chest area) which contains 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12), the lumber region (the abdominal area) consists of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5), the sacrum region (the pelvic area) consists of 5 vertebrae (S1 to S5), and the coccyx region (the tail bone area) consists of 4 vertebrae. 


These vertebrae are separated by discs which allow the spine to bend. In a slumped posture, instead of the weight passing through these discs there is pressure on the facet joints of the spine which are not designed to be weight bearing. Gradually this can lead to localized pain at these joints and surrounding tissues, producing swelling from the loss of fluids from minute tears. This clears away in the healing process but leaves a residual area of scarring, hardened tissues and weakness. However, not all back pain is from facet joints (facet joints of the spine allow back motion); it can come from soft tissues (tendons, cartilage, ligaments) and surrounding muscles and from the nerves as they emerge from the spinal column. 




CAUSES:


Lack of exercise, standing or bending forward for long periods, slip disc, cervical problems spondylosis, lumbar spondylosis, overgrowth of bones, pain in the pelvic region or pelvis, gastroenteritis, chest pain, constipation, kidney problems, sprains, using the wrong mattress ( Mattress should neither be too soft nor too hard), bad posture, drooping shoulders, sitting in a sloppy manner or with a bent back (at your workplace make sure you use a comfortable chair with a backrest), watching T.V. lying on the bed or the sofa, carrying a heavy load on your back like a school bag, laptop, shopping bags, slinging bulky bags which apply pressure only on one side of the shoulder, wearing high heels, a sudden gain of weight, obesity or beer bellies, degeneration of bones,driving with the chair tilted back etc .


YOGIC APPROACH FOR CHRONIC BACKACHE


Regular practice of Yoga is beneficial for people with chronic backache and it also helps relieve pain in the neck and the shoulders. Let’s begin with correctly aligned posture in the standing position:


• Bring the feet a few inches apart (10 cm) and parallel to each other. Then bring the awareness into the soles of the feet and gently rock backwards and forwards coming up onto the toes and back onto the heels. Then return to a standstill position and feel the contact with the floor through both feet. The body sways and the weight moves forwards and back and left and right quite naturally. Be grounded through the feet and allow them to take the weight evenly.

• Make sure that the knees are unlocked and pull up the kneecaps. If they point in towards the centre then rotate the thighs outwards and tighten the buttocks.

• Now tilt the pelvis backwards and forwards finding the balance so that the spine can grow comfortably upwards out of the hips.

• Bring the shoulders up and back, and let them go wide with the arms hanging loosely.

• Hold the head and neck upright so that the ears are above the top of the shoulders and the head feels lightly balanced on top of the neck.

• Imagine that a string is attached to the top of the head and that someone is lifting the head up and out of the shoulders. Feel how your posture alters when you 'let go' of this imaginary string.


SUGGESTED PRACTICES


Lying in supine positions:

Supta Tadasana, Ek Pada Uttanansana, Kati Makarasana, Ardha Pavanmuktasana, Pavanmuktasana


Lying in prone positions:

Makarasana, Bhujangasana, Ardha Shalabhasana, Naukasana


In sitting position:

Vakrasana, Brahma Mudra (neck exercise slow)


Pranayam:

Kapalbhati, (In case you have acute backache, don’t do Kapalbhati), Anulom Vilom Pranayama


Shavasana:

• Lie down with the face up on the wooden bench.

• Relax the body.

• Keep both the fists open, legs a little relaxed and widespread.

• Now listen to the beating of the heart.

• Remain a witness of the inhalation as well as exhalation.

• Breathe 50 times slowly with breath consciousness

• Create a feeling that your body is peaceful, composed and completely disease free.

• In this manner, without the movement of any part of the body, remaining fully composed having no restlessness of any type, go deep into mentally quiet attitude.


BENEFITS OF THE ABOVE ASANAS


• The vertebral column and the discs between the vertebrae are made strong and flexible.

• The spinal cord is massaged.

• Increase the blood flow into the spinal cord ensuring a good supply of nutrients.

• The autonomic nervous system is rebalanced and toned up by the action of the blood supply and the massaging effects.

• The back muscles are strengthened and nourished by the increased flow of blood.

• Posture is readjusted and corrected, removing spinal deformities. Backache will be cured by relaxing tense muscles, releasing compression of the spinal nerves and removing general body fatigue.

• The whole body is made healthy through these Asanas. The abdominal organs are massaged and Manipura Chakra, the Pranic centre of the body, is stimulated and rebalanced. The lungs are fully inflated and massaged, cleaned and stretched. The heart is stimulated and cleansed. The blood is purified more efficiently by the lungs, kidneys and liver. The brain benefits from an increased amount of blood. Massage of the spinal cord also improves brain function. When the spinal cord and brain are relaxed and the whole body is toned up, back problems are eliminated.


TO BE AVOIDED


Sit ups, avoid double leg raising, Halasana (plough pose), Sarvangasana (full shoulder stand) , Forward bends, Trikonasana twisting to the opposite foot and variation 2 with the arm stretched over the head, lying on the side and lifting both legs up, Shalabhasana (full locust pose) Dhanurasana (bow pose)- can be done with knees remaining on the floor, Vyaghrasana (tiger pose)- is OK if the leg being raised does not go past 15 degrees above the horizontal (the lumbar spine is stressed beyond this point especially when the movement is done too quickly), Paschimottanasana (back stretching pose) is not recommended to stretch hamstrings, Squatting and Vajrasana to be avoided where knee problems exist.


NOTE


If you are feeling uncomfortable while doing Yoga Asanas by yourselves, do not push yourself. It will be helpful to actually sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each Asana and will make sure that you are doing the exercise correctly.

Yogic approach for Chronic Backache


Our back or spine is like the pillar on which the entire body rests but the strongest part can also be the vulnerable spot if not taken care of well. About 80% of the people suffer back pain at some time or the other in their lives.


The spine consists of many small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are further divided into five sections, namely the cervical region (the neck area) which contains 7 vertebrae (C1 to C7), the thoracic region (the chest area) which contains 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12), the lumber region (the abdominal area) consists of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5), the sacrum region (the pelvic area) consists of 5 vertebrae (S1 to S5), and the coccyx region (the tail bone area) consists of 4 vertebrae. 


These vertebrae are separated by discs which allow the spine to bend. In a slumped posture, instead of the weight passing through these discs there is pressure on the facet joints of the spine which are not designed to be weight bearing. Gradually this can lead to localized pain at these joints and surrounding tissues, producing swelling from the loss of fluids from minute tears. This clears away in the healing process but leaves a residual area of scarring, hardened tissues and weakness. However, not all back pain is from facet joints (facet joints of the spine allow back motion); it can come from soft tissues (tendons, cartilage, ligaments) and surrounding muscles and from the nerves as they emerge from the spinal column. 




CAUSES:


Lack of exercise, standing or bending forward for long periods, slip disc, cervical problems spondylosis, lumbar spondylosis, overgrowth of bones, pain in the pelvic region or pelvis, gastroenteritis, chest pain, constipation, kidney problems, sprains, using the wrong mattress ( Mattress should neither be too soft nor too hard), bad posture, drooping shoulders, sitting in a sloppy manner or with a bent back (at your workplace make sure you use a comfortable chair with a backrest), watching T.V. lying on the bed or the sofa, carrying a heavy load on your back like a school bag, laptop, shopping bags, slinging bulky bags which apply pressure only on one side of the shoulder, wearing high heels, a sudden gain of weight, obesity or beer bellies, degeneration of bones,driving with the chair tilted back etc .


YOGIC APPROACH FOR CHRONIC BACKACHE


Regular practice of Yoga is beneficial for people with chronic backache and it also helps relieve pain in the neck and the shoulders. Let’s begin with correctly aligned posture in the standing position:


• Bring the feet a few inches apart (10 cm) and parallel to each other. Then bring the awareness into the soles of the feet and gently rock backwards and forwards coming up onto the toes and back onto the heels. Then return to a standstill position and feel the contact with the floor through both feet. The body sways and the weight moves forwards and back and left and right quite naturally. Be grounded through the feet and allow them to take the weight evenly.

• Make sure that the knees are unlocked and pull up the kneecaps. If they point in towards the centre then rotate the thighs outwards and tighten the buttocks.

• Now tilt the pelvis backwards and forwards finding the balance so that the spine can grow comfortably upwards out of the hips.

• Bring the shoulders up and back, and let them go wide with the arms hanging loosely.

• Hold the head and neck upright so that the ears are above the top of the shoulders and the head feels lightly balanced on top of the neck.

• Imagine that a string is attached to the top of the head and that someone is lifting the head up and out of the shoulders. Feel how your posture alters when you 'let go' of this imaginary string.


SUGGESTED PRACTICES


Lying in supine positions:

Supta Tadasana, Ek Pada Uttanansana, Kati Makarasana, Ardha Pavanmuktasana, Pavanmuktasana


Lying in prone positions:

Makarasana, Bhujangasana, Ardha Shalabhasana, Naukasana


In sitting position:

Vakrasana, Brahma Mudra (neck exercise slow)


Pranayam:

Kapalbhati, (In case you have acute backache, don’t do Kapalbhati), Anulom Vilom Pranayama


Shavasana:

• Lie down with the face up on the wooden bench.

• Relax the body.

• Keep both the fists open, legs a little relaxed and widespread.

• Now listen to the beating of the heart.

• Remain a witness of the inhalation as well as exhalation.

• Breathe 50 times slowly with breath consciousness

• Create a feeling that your body is peaceful, composed and completely disease free.

• In this manner, without the movement of any part of the body, remaining fully composed having no restlessness of any type, go deep into mentally quiet attitude.


BENEFITS OF THE ABOVE ASANAS


• The vertebral column and the discs between the vertebrae are made strong and flexible.

• The spinal cord is massaged.

• Increase the blood flow into the spinal cord ensuring a good supply of nutrients.

• The autonomic nervous system is rebalanced and toned up by the action of the blood supply and the massaging effects.

• The back muscles are strengthened and nourished by the increased flow of blood.

• Posture is readjusted and corrected, removing spinal deformities. Backache will be cured by relaxing tense muscles, releasing compression of the spinal nerves and removing general body fatigue.

• The whole body is made healthy through these Asanas. The abdominal organs are massaged and Manipura Chakra, the Pranic centre of the body, is stimulated and rebalanced. The lungs are fully inflated and massaged, cleaned and stretched. The heart is stimulated and cleansed. The blood is purified more efficiently by the lungs, kidneys and liver. The brain benefits from an increased amount of blood. Massage of the spinal cord also improves brain function. When the spinal cord and brain are relaxed and the whole body is toned up, back problems are eliminated.


TO BE AVOIDED


Sit ups, avoid double leg raising, Halasana (plough pose), Sarvangasana (full shoulder stand) , Forward bends, Trikonasana twisting to the opposite foot and variation 2 with the arm stretched over the head, lying on the side and lifting both legs up, Shalabhasana (full locust pose) Dhanurasana (bow pose)- can be done with knees remaining on the floor, Vyaghrasana (tiger pose)- is OK if the leg being raised does not go past 15 degrees above the horizontal (the lumbar spine is stressed beyond this point especially when the movement is done too quickly), Paschimottanasana (back stretching pose) is not recommended to stretch hamstrings, Squatting and Vajrasana to be avoided where knee problems exist.


NOTE


If you are feeling uncomfortable while doing Yoga Asanas by yourselves, do not push yourself. It will be helpful to actually sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each Asana and will make sure that you are doing the exercise correctly.



Yogic approach for Chronic Backache


Our back or spine is like the pillar on which the entire body rests but the strongest part can also be the vulnerable spot if not taken care of well. About 80% of the people suffer back pain at some time or the other in their lives.


The spine consists of many small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are further divided into five sections, namely the cervical region (the neck area) which contains 7 vertebrae (C1 to C7), the thoracic region (the chest area) which contains 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12), the lumber region (the abdominal area) consists of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5), the sacrum region (the pelvic area) consists of 5 vertebrae (S1 to S5), and the coccyx region (the tail bone area) consists of 4 vertebrae. 


These vertebrae are separated by discs which allow the spine to bend. In a slumped posture, instead of the weight passing through these discs there is pressure on the facet joints of the spine which are not designed to be weight bearing. Gradually this can lead to localized pain at these joints and surrounding tissues, producing swelling from the loss of fluids from minute tears. This clears away in the healing process but leaves a residual area of scarring, hardened tissues and weakness. However, not all back pain is from facet joints (facet joints of the spine allow back motion); it can come from soft tissues (tendons, cartilage, ligaments) and surrounding muscles and from the nerves as they emerge from the spinal column. 




CAUSES:


Lack of exercise, standing or bending forward for long periods, slip disc, cervical problems spondylosis, lumbar spondylosis, overgrowth of bones, pain in the pelvic region or pelvis, gastroenteritis, chest pain, constipation, kidney problems, sprains, using the wrong mattress ( Mattress should neither be too soft nor too hard), bad posture, drooping shoulders, sitting in a sloppy manner or with a bent back (at your workplace make sure you use a comfortable chair with a backrest), watching T.V. lying on the bed or the sofa, carrying a heavy load on your back like a school bag, laptop, shopping bags, slinging bulky bags which apply pressure only on one side of the shoulder, wearing high heels, a sudden gain of weight, obesity or beer bellies, degeneration of bones,driving with the chair tilted back etc .


YOGIC APPROACH FOR CHRONIC BACKACHE


Regular practice of Yoga is beneficial for people with chronic backache and it also helps relieve pain in the neck and the shoulders. Let’s begin with correctly aligned posture in the standing position:


• Bring the feet a few inches apart (10 cm) and parallel to each other. Then bring the awareness into the soles of the feet and gently rock backwards and forwards coming up onto the toes and back onto the heels. Then return to a standstill position and feel the contact with the floor through both feet. The body sways and the weight moves forwards and back and left and right quite naturally. Be grounded through the feet and allow them to take the weight evenly.

• Make sure that the knees are unlocked and pull up the kneecaps. If they point in towards the centre then rotate the thighs outwards and tighten the buttocks.

• Now tilt the pelvis backwards and forwards finding the balance so that the spine can grow comfortably upwards out of the hips.

• Bring the shoulders up and back, and let them go wide with the arms hanging loosely.

• Hold the head and neck upright so that the ears are above the top of the shoulders and the head feels lightly balanced on top of the neck.

• Imagine that a string is attached to the top of the head and that someone is lifting the head up and out of the shoulders. Feel how your posture alters when you 'let go' of this imaginary string.


SUGGESTED PRACTICES


Lying in supine positions:

Supta Tadasana, Ek Pada Uttanansana, Kati Makarasana, Ardha Pavanmuktasana, Pavanmuktasana


Lying in prone positions:

Makarasana, Bhujangasana, Ardha Shalabhasana, Naukasana


In sitting position:

Vakrasana, Brahma Mudra (neck exercise slow)


Pranayam:

Kapalbhati, (In case you have acute backache, don’t do Kapalbhati), Anulom Vilom Pranayama


Shavasana:

• Lie down with the face up on the wooden bench.

• Relax the body.

• Keep both the fists open, legs a little relaxed and widespread.

• Now listen to the beating of the heart.

• Remain a witness of the inhalation as well as exhalation.

• Breathe 50 times slowly with breath consciousness

• Create a feeling that your body is peaceful, composed and completely disease free.

• In this manner, without the movement of any part of the body, remaining fully composed having no restlessness of any type, go deep into mentally quiet attitude.


BENEFITS OF THE ABOVE ASANAS


• The vertebral column and the discs between the vertebrae are made strong and flexible.

• The spinal cord is massaged.

• Increase the blood flow into the spinal cord ensuring a good supply of nutrients.

• The autonomic nervous system is rebalanced and toned up by the action of the blood supply and the massaging effects.

• The back muscles are strengthened and nourished by the increased flow of blood.

• Posture is readjusted and corrected, removing spinal deformities. Backache will be cured by relaxing tense muscles, releasing compression of the spinal nerves and removing general body fatigue.

• The whole body is made healthy through these Asanas. The abdominal organs are massaged and Manipura Chakra, the Pranic centre of the body, is stimulated and rebalanced. The lungs are fully inflated and massaged, cleaned and stretched. The heart is stimulated and cleansed. The blood is purified more efficiently by the lungs, kidneys and liver. The brain benefits from an increased amount of blood. Massage of the spinal cord also improves brain function. When the spinal cord and brain are relaxed and the whole body is toned up, back problems are eliminated.


TO BE AVOIDED


Sit ups, avoid double leg raising, Halasana (plough pose), Sarvangasana (full shoulder stand) , Forward bends, Trikonasana twisting to the opposite foot and variation 2 with the arm stretched over the head, lying on the side and lifting both legs up, Shalabhasana (full locust pose) Dhanurasana (bow pose)- can be done with knees remaining on the floor, Vyaghrasana (tiger pose)- is OK if the leg being raised does not go past 15 degrees above the horizontal (the lumbar spine is stressed beyond this point especially when the movement is done too quickly), Paschimottanasana (back stretching pose) is not recommended to stretch hamstrings, Squatting and Vajrasana to be avoided where knee problems exist.

Yogic Management of Sterility


Sterility which refers to the state of infertility is defined as an inability to conceive a child after trying to do so for at least one year. Sterility can affect both men and women, with the cause involving either one or both parties. Both partners should consult a doctor in order to find out which of them requires treatment. For a man to be fertile, the testicles must produce enough healthy sperm to be ejaculated effectively into the woman's vagina. For a woman to be fertile, the ovaries must release healthy eggs regularly. In addition, her reproductive tract must allow the eggs and sperm to pass into her fallopian tubes to become fertilized and implanted in the uterus.




EXAMINATION


In the case of men, a general physical examination will be performed, with discussions concerning medical history, illnesses, disabilities, medications and sexual habits. Tests such as semen analysis, hormone testing, transrectal and scrotal ultrasound may also be performed. In case of women, a doctor investigates the endocrine problems. Additional tests to determine sterility include blood tests, an ultrasound of the ovaries and hysterosalpingography to check for physical problems of the uterus and fallopian tubes. A laparoscopy can check the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus for disease. Once a diagnosis has been made, you and your partner can consider the various treatment options.


YOGIC CAUSES


Sterility can be due to the couple’s state of health or due to psychological factors. Men who are too tense or nervous are unable to produce the spermatozoon required for fertilization. The fear of being unable to conceive often prevents a woman from becoming pregnant. Unfortunately even today, in some countries including India, the entire blame for sterility is unjustly laid on women and they feel unduly guilty and this can be a source of despair. After proper Yoga exercises, proper diet and proper relaxation, so called infertile couples are able to have children.


YOGIC MANAGEMENT OF STERILITY


Yoga has been proven to reduce the production of stress hormones which can hamper conception. The study found that women who practiced Yoga were twice as likely to get pregnant than their female counterparts who did not practice Yoga. When trying to conceive, I recommend a gentle flow practice with a focus on restorative poses. You do not need to avoid any particular poses but do skip hot, vigorous or dehydrating exercise. Both partners are recommended to adopt a Yoga program and practice it together with the guidance of a qualified Yoga instructor. The following are the Asanas including one Mudra and one Bandha which are recommended for fostering reproduction and combating sterility.


SHIRSHASANA: THE HEAD STAND


• By performing Shirshasna, the blood circulation is directed much towards the brain, thereby irrigating and regenerating not only this organ but the entire nervous system.

• Some of the most important endocrine glands situated in the area above the heart- hypophysis, pineal and thyroid , particularly the first two, are regenerated and maintained in perfect health by the head- stand.

• It provides a remedy for seminal weakness. Since the testicles are situated between the bladder and the rectum, if these become overfull, especially the rectum of people who are constipated, nocturnal emissions may take place.

• Shirshasana also helps prevent premature ejaculation where this is caused by congestion of the genital organs.

• It is also excellent for women suffering from certain uterine or ovarian troubles or from downward displacement of the womb.

• This posture helps combat psycho-somatic imbalances and ensures that the organs remain highly active.

• When practicing Shirshasana, begin by remaining in this posture for five seconds.Then gradually increase the length of time by fifteen seconds every week until a maximum of three minutes is reached. Be sure to practice this posture every day.


RESTRICTIONS

This Asana should in no circumstances be performed by those with hyper or hypotension, weak cervical vertebrae, by menstruating women and those suffering from heavy cold or have problems with their ears or eyes.


SARVANGASANA: THE SHOULDER STAND


• Sarvangasana is the Asana par excellence for counteracting the faulty functioning of the thyroid and parathyroid glands and for revitalizing them. Situated in the neck region, these glands play a part in the correct functioning of the metabolism, influence one’s state of mind and produce a considerable effect on the sexual maturing process. This delicate balance of hormones not only affects fertility but also menstruation.

• Like Shirshasana, it remedies seminal weakness in men arising from the degeneration of the testes and gives a beneficial effect on the uterus and ovaries in women.

• The exercise can be repeated once or twice in succession for fifteen seconds to three minutes gradually.

• The restrictions which apply to Shirshasna also apply to Sarvangasana.


VIPARITA KARNI: THE INVERTED POSITION

 



• This Asana is comparatively easier to perform than the Shirshasna and the Sarvangasna. All these inverted postures have a direct action on the brain, the thyroid and other endocrine glands and revitalize the entire organism. These Asanas produce a far-reaching action on the pelvic and sacro-lumbar regions as also on the abdominal organs.

• They improve the circulation, thereby producing a tonic effect on the nerves connected to the sexual organs and on the male and female reproductory glands.

• The exercise can be repeated once or twice in succession lasting for fifteen seconds to three minutes gradually.

• It should not be performed by those suffering from high blood pressure.


VARIATION OF THE ABOVE ASANAS: LEGS ON THE WALL


Legs-up-the-Wall Pose is calming and brings energy to the pelvis. It also helps to increase micro-circulation in the reproductive tract. But most importantly, if practiced right after sex, it encourages the sperm to penetrate deeper into the female reproductive organs.


MATSYASANA: THE FISH POSE


• Matsyasana is the counter pose of all the above Asanas. This Asana greatly helps the correct functioning of the thyroid gland (producing a tonic effect on it) and the endocrine system. It also eases constipation and in case of women ensures a healthy uterus. It should be done for five seconds to one minute.


HALASANA: THE PLOUGH POSTURE


• This Asana tones up the nerves of the spine linked to the sexual organs and the neuro-muscular system of the pelvic region.

• This Asana strengthens the male and female reproductory glands.

• It also regenerates the thyroid gland.

• It combats dyspepsia and constipation and has a beneficial effect on the liver.

• It can be practiced two to three times in succession for the duration of five seconds to one minute.

• The restrictions which apply to Shirshasna also apply to Halasana.


BHUJANGASANA: THE COBRA POSE


• This posture helps the blood circulation, regenerates the spinal nerves, the sympathetic nervous system and remedies insomnia & obesity.

• This Asana helps correct irregular menstruation and ensures a healthy uterus.

• Bhujangasana is performed two to five times over a period of five to ten seconds.

 

SHALABHASANA AND ARDHA- SHALABHASANA: THE LOCUST POSE AND THE HALF LOCUST POSE


• These two postures produce a beneficial action on the urogential system, the stomach and the intestines.

• These Asanas correct functioning of the ovaries and that menstruation gets regular and painless.

• They should be practiced two to five times in succession for several seconds.

• The restrictions which apply to Shirshasna also apply to Shalabhasana.


DHANURASNA: THE BOW POSTURE


• This posture produces a tonic effect on the pelvic region and the digestive organs.

• It helps regenerate the male prostate gland and the endocrine glands and genital organs of both sexes.

• It is also recommended to women as a way of ensuring proper functioning of uterus and ovaries.

• Dhanurasana can be performed two to five times for five seconds.


The Cobra, Shalbh, Ardha Shalbh and Dhanur postures are excellent means of combating female sterility resulting from the poor functioning of the reproductive organs and irregular menstruation.

 

PASCHIMOTTANASANA: THE POSTERIOR STRETCHING POSTURE


• This posture revitalizes the nerves connected to the genital organs as well as the sexual glands of both sexes.

• It is recommended as a way of curing seminal weakness and controlling sexual energy.

• It is good for the sciatic nerve and especially beneficial to the sacro-lumbar, pelvic and abdominal region in which it tones up the blood circulation.

• Paschimottanansana is performed two to five times for five to ten seconds.

• This exercise should not be performed by those suffering from spinal problems


JANUSIRASANA: THE KNEE AND HEAD POSTURE


• This Asana promotes health to the prostrate gland and helps cure prostatic enlargement problems.

• In the case of women, this posture strengthens the uterine muscles and fallopian tubes while at the same time improving the functioning of the ovaries.

• In addition, this Asana is beneficial to the nerves of the spinal column which are linked to the genital organs.

• It is also good for the sciatic nerve and the sacro-lumbar and pelvic regions.

• Janusirasana should be repeated two to three times on either side for five seconds.

• The restrictions which apply to Pashimottanasana also apply to Janusirasana.


SUPTA-VAJRASANA: THE SUPINE PELVIC POSTURE


• This posture produces a highly revitalizing effect on the reproductive organs and the entire pelvic region.

• It is also a powerful means of fighting constipation.

• This Asana is performed two times in succession for fifteen to thirty seconds.


ARDHA-MATSYENDRASANA: THE HALF MATSYENDRA POSTURE


• This posture guards against enlargement of the prostate gland and continues to rejuvenate the spinal column and reproductive organs until quite late in life.

• It is effective against constipation and dyspepsia.

• It is vey effective against an enlarged and congested liver and spleen and revitalizes the functioning of the kidneys, bladder and genital organs.

• Ardha- Matsyendrasna should be performed two to three times in succession for five to fifteen seconds on either side.


BOUND ANGLE POSE: COBBLER’S POSE


This pose helps you stretch your hips and thighs. It increases circulation to the pelvic area, making this a great Yoga exercise to increase fertility and relieve menstrual pain.


BANDHA KONASANA: THE YOGA MUDRA FEET JOINED


• This posture stimulates the abdominal organs and the sacro-lumbar region and ensures the correct functioning of the sexual organs.

• It helps ensure regular menstruation and is recommended to those suffering from urinary problems.

• Bandha Konasana should be repeated two to three times in succession for five to ten seconds.


YOGA MUDRA: THE SYMBOL OF YOGA


• This Mudra stimulates the brain by provoking an influx of fresh blood.

• It has a rejuvenating effect on the coccygeal nerves and on the sacral and lumbar plexus.

• It ensures the correct functioning of the abdominal organs and combats constipation.

• It also revitalizes the male and female genital organs.

• This Mudra remedies nocturnal emission and seminal weakness.

• It fosters control of sexual energy.

• Yoga Mudra should be repeated two to three times in succession for five to ten seconds.

 

UDDIYANA-BANDHA: THE RAISING OF THE DIAPHRAGM


• Uddiyana Bandha revitalizes the sacral and solar (lumbar) plexus-the latter controls the principal internal organs. The solar plexus is a vital centre connected with the sympathetic nervous system. It is the place where our vital energy-Prana is stored. Solar plexus is the Sun of our nervous system.


• In addition, this Bandha helps purify the organism, stimulate the digestive organs and fight against constipation and dyspepsia. It ensures proper functioning of the liver, pancreas, suprarenal glands and genital organs.


• This Bandha may be repeated two to five times for five seconds.


• This should always be performed on an empty stomach and is not recommended to those with high or low blood pressure or with serious problems affecting the abdominal region.


The above Asanas, Mudra and the Bandha revitalize the sexual glands and organs, the thyroid, the nerves and other organs which play an important part in reproduction. Besides these, practice of Pranayama,Yoga nidra, Concentration and Meditation gives even better results. However, one cannot expect the body and reproductive organs to function correctly if one overworks, smokes, drinks too much tea, coffee or alcohol, takes drugs, fails to eat a balanced diet or indulges in emotional or sexual excess. Excessive emotion or passion is harmful, as you shall see in my next article.

 

TIPS FOR ENHANCING FERTILITY

 

• Conception is based on an intricate series of events. Every month, hormones from your pituitary gland stimulate your ovaries to release an egg or ovulate. Once the egg is released, it travels to one of the fallopian tubes. If you want to conceive, now's the time. Have sex regularly around those dates.


• Use your day planner or another simple calendar to mark the day your period begins each month. Also track the number of days each period lasts. If you have a consistent 28-day cycle, ovulation is likely to begin about 14 days after the day your last period began.


• Keep a record of your basal body temperature to determine when you are ovulating. You can assume ovulation has occurred when the slightly higher temperature remains steady for three days or more.




• Check your vaginal mucus, if it has a stretchy consistency, then you are at your most fertile.


• Increase your supplement intake by taking folic acid, Vitamin B6 and B12 both before and during pregnancy.


• Eat healthily by adding lots of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as protein to your diet.


• Neti daily and laghoo shankhaprakshalana whenever constipation is present.


• Women should watch their weight as being too thin or overweight minimizes their chances of conceiving.


• Exercise regularly to maintain general health and well being.


• Men should wear boxer shorts and take cool baths to improve circulation around their testicles.


• Adequate rest and a change of environment away from pressures, responsibility and social and family commitments are important first steps.


• A restful and relaxing holiday in natural surroundings is highly recommended.


NOTE


If you are feeling uncomfortable while doing Yoga Asanas by yourselves, do not push yourself. It will be helpful to actually sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each Asana and will make sure that you are doing the exercise correctly.

Yogic Practices for Epilepsy


The word ‘epilepsy’ comes from the Greek word 'epilepsia' which means ‘to seize upon’. Epilepsy is a cerebral (brain) disorder in which repeated fits or attacks of unconsciousness occur with or without convulsions. It is a serious disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) caused by abnormal electrical activity within the brain due to damage of brain cells or some inherited abnormality. It occurs in both children and adults. Most attacks, however, occur in childhood and in early adult life. Attack rates show a progressive decline in frequency with age.


The ancient people believed that evil spirits entered the body of the persons affected, seized upon his soul and threw his body into convulsions. In India, if a man suffers from epilepsy, people nearby would insert spoon in the mouth so that the patient does not bite his own tongue. It is also understood that people keep shoes, ammonium salts, or even crushed onions before the nose of the patients. Some people will undertake to invite Raandal-mata (Hindu Goddess name). She will visit and will also have violent head shaking.



Causes: 


Unknown factors, intracranial (brain) diseases such as tumours, head injuries and strokes, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), kidney disease (uremia), heart disease (blocks of conduction), social or family circumstances, hereditary, mental tension, lack of sleep, particular type of circumstances or situations e.g. fear of examination, some social events causing displeasure,the loss of a near relative by death, withdrawal of alcohol or drugs, chronic constipation, digestive disturbances, intestinal toxaemia, less intake of water, sex disorder, meningitis, typhoid, refined foods, fried food, prolonged lack of vitamins and minerals, the waste matter produced in the body.


Symptoms:


The main symptoms of epilepsy are repeated seizures.There are different types of seizures. It varies from person to person. Some people may have simple staring spells, while others have violent shaking and loss of alertness. The type of seizure depends on which area of his brain is affected. We can divide out epilepsy seizures into two parts:

Petit mal (minor epilepsy), Grand mal (major epilepsy)



Petit mal: 


In petit mal seizure which is a less serious form of epilepsy, an attack comes and goes within a few seconds. In that condition the patient has a momentary loss of consciousness, with no convulsions, except sometimes a slight rigidity, or there may be a slight attack of convulsion such as a jerk, or a movement of eyes, head, trunk or extremities, with no perceptible loss of consciousness. The patient may not fall. He may suddenly stop what he is doing and then resume it when the attack is over, without even being aware of what has happened. Petit mal attacks may occur at any time in life but are most frequent in children. This petit-mal could end in childhood or it is possible that it may turn into a grand-mal.


Grand mal: 


A grand mal seizure is a seizure involving the entire body. At that time there is suffocation of breath & the person becomes unconscious suddenly and his whole body convulses and it is possible that his face as well as hands and feet toss about restlessly. This also affects urinary system and a person may urinate in that condition. Mostly this type of condition does not last long. Before the onset of an attack, some patients get a warning in the form of strange sensations. In young children this may not be described but the mother can often recognize a typical pattern of behaviour. The patient regains consciousness quite quickly and after getting consciousness the patient immediately starts sleeping. 


This sleep is deep and sound. When he gets up after such a deep sleep he may suffer headache, vomiting, giddiness, hands and feet may have cramps and mind gets restless. If the patient does not become conscious and convulsions are repeated in the unconscious stage, this condition is known as “Status epilepticus” (SE is a common, life-threatening neurologic disorder). An EEG (Electroencephalogram) is a test that can help diagnose epilepsy.


YOGIC PRACTICES AND EPILEPSY


Epilepsy is a complex phenomenon with many paradoxical aspects. Yoga therapy with Yogic postures, Pranayama, Relaxation and Meditation Techniques has been recommended as one of the additional method of treatment in the holistic management of chronic intractable epilepsy. Forward bending and inverted Yoga postures help in bringing awareness and concentration to the head region and increase in sensory-motor rhythm, decreasing stress and possibly influencing brain plasticity. If the reason for convulsions is psychosomatic these Yogasanas and Pranayama will revitalize the patient and his life will be rejuvenated.

YOGASANAS:


Ekapada Uttanapadasana:


Lie in supine position with your legs together, and hands by the side. While exhaling, raise the right leg up to 30 degrees from the floor, hold it for 20 seconds with normal breathing, then inhale and come back. Repeat the same with the left leg. Keep repeating this with alternate legs for some time.


Uttanapadasana:


Repeat the above exercise with both the legs together. Initially start with 20 seconds with normal breathing; slowly form a habit of remaining in Uttanapadasana for a minimum of one and half minute.


This exercise adds to working of respiratory system, increases the working capacity of body, self confidence and reduces the thoughts of weakness and dejection to almost nil level.


Sarvangasana:


Lie down in the supine position with the legs together, hands by the side and palms facing the floor. Inhale slowly and while exhaling, raise both the legs together at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Now press the palms and bring the legs towards the head, so that the buttocks face upwards. Now bend the elbows and support the back with the palms. Then take the legs upwards till the legs, abdomen, and chest form a straight line. The chin should be placed against the jugular notch. Hold this for some time, breathing normally. While coming back to the original position first lower the buttocks; release the hands slowly and bring the legs down without raising the head.


Vipreetkarni: 


Put your feet together and hands by the sides with the palms resting on the floor. Now inhale slowlyans while exhaling raise both your legs up, 90 degrees to the floor. Then push your palms on the floor and raise your hips up. Hold your waist with your hands in the final position. Remember to keep your neck muscles relaxed and breathe normally. Stay in this position for 15 to 20 seconds and then come back slowly to the original position in a reverse manner.


Note: If it is not possible to lift the back you can get partial advantage by keeping face up on ground and raising the legs either on a table or a cot or up along the wall.

 

Both Sarvangasana and Viparitakarni- Mudra can be very helpful in alerting brain with its sensory nerves and system of consciousness and understanding.


Uttanapadasana, Viparitakarnimudra or practice of Sarvangasana can be helpful to pump in blood to the head in extra quantities. Although it is true that head gets maximum blood by practice of Shirsasana, the patient of convulsions should under no circumstances practice ordinary Shirshasana. For such patients, there are other methods to take blood circulation to the head. One can sleep with face pointing upwards on a table or a cot keeping the head hanging down. In this process the back is at the bottom, belly is in the top, both legs are kept together, the palms of the hands point downward and head hanging. In this position the head is at a lower level than the heart. Therefore the head gets supply of blood in greater proportion. This excercise should be performed initially from half a minute to one minute. Gradually the time could be increased between five to ten minutes. Even after performing this exercise it is essential to perform Shavasana. We should perform Shavasana for half the period for which we perform the main Asana

Shashankasana: 


Sit in Vajrasana with the back straight. Slowly inhale and raise both the hands upwards. Now exhale, and bend forward slowly. Touch your palms on the floor by stretching the arms but without bending the elbows. Now place your head on the floor with the abdomen pressed to the thighs. Do not raise the buttocks. Hold this position.


In this asana the head goes lower than the heart, so it has to work less in pumping the blood to the brain.By lying in this position the blood circulation to the head is increased.


Neck exercise: A patient of convulsions can profitably use the process of turning the neck from right to left and left to right on the front side and back side as well as turning the head in circular motion in both directions.


PRANAYAMA:


Bhramri Pranayama: Sit in any meditative or comfortable position on the floor, with your back straight, shoulder muscles relaxed and eyes closed. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly while making a sound like that of a bee, without giving stress to the throat and facial muscles.


Omkar Pranayama: 


Sit in any meditative or comfortable position on the floor, with your back straight, shoulder muscles relaxed and eyes closed. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly while chanting Om without giving stress to the facial muscles.


Bhramari Pranayama and chanting prolonged Omkar help upgrade the nervous system tremendously.


Anulom Vilom Pranayama: 


Use the thumb of your right hand to close your right nostril and inhale with your left nostril. Then close your left nostril with your right hand's index and middle fingers and exhale from the right nostril. Now, in the reverse manner, inhale with the right nostril, close your right nostril with your right hand's thumb then exhale with the left. This forms one round of Anulom Vilom Pranayama.


Note: we should inhale and exhale with awareness, slowly and equally. This type of awareness is essential. The more deeper the inhaling & exhaling the more is the effect.


Anulom Vilom Pranayama is an unfailing panacea for mental peace and composure. We are normally not aware of our inhalation and exhalation. This is such a process which is self-propelling. Our body has nine openings for conveying sensations by sensory nerves and performing actual work. But the nose is the principal opening by which we perform respiration. If one keeps oneself slightly aware of this process then a very good achievement can be had in avoiding cerebral disorder.


Do all RelaxationTechniques.


YOGIC KRIYAS:


Yogic kriyas such as Laghoo Shankhaprakshalana, Kunjal and Neti Kriya can be combined with the above practices under expert guidance. It is not recommended for all cases of epilepsy unless expert guidance is available.


AVOID:

• Any practice that involves fast breathing (Hyperventilation) could trigger off an attack and hence is contra indicated (Avoid Kapalabhati, Bhastrika etc).

• Balancing postures are to be avoided.

• Trataka is very useful. Avoid doing Trataka on candle light.

• Avoid all refined foods, fried and greasy foods, sugar and product made with it, strong tea coffee, alcoholic beverages, condiments and pickles - take frequent small meals rather than a few large ones.


DIET PROGRAM:

The most important aspect of treatment of epilepsy is the diet.

• Two usual (substantial) meals

• One meal of raw vegetable salad, with a drink of buttermilk. One of cooked vegetables.

• Once a week a semi fast, only liquid diet

• Fasting on Ekadashi days

• Drink lots of water in small sips.


GUIDLINES:

• An epileptic must avoid excitement of all types. His sex life must be severely restricted. 

• Whenever one feels attack is coming, loosen the dress, apply wet pack on neck, stomach, hands and feet.

• Where convulsions are experienced once only one has to be treated with medicine for 4 to 6 weeks but if convulsions repeat 2 to 4 or more times, the medicine dose should be increased and then gradually reduced or even stopped if no necessity is felt. However, for a patient of repeated bouts of convulsions one should not be careless and should continue the treatment of some special medicine for a fairly long period.

• If we observe some one suffering from such convulsions while we are passing along a road we should shift that person from the middle of the road, to a place on side where it is quiet and breeze is blowing. He will suffer less suffocation if his clothes are loosened. He needs to lie down normally. In order that he may not chew his tongue and may not damage his teeth some soft padding should be introduced in between two rows of teeth.

• If a child gets convulsions he must be admitted immediately to the hospital. It is not so essential in case of an adult, but we cannot overlook the possibility of meningitis in case of children.

• A person who gets convulsions should be kept in social surroundings which would encourage him. He should be kept away from such conditions which can make him feel dejected or sorrowful. If one ensures that such a patient always remains happy, joyful, and enthusiastic, it is possible to keep him fearless.

• If the sufferer from epilepsy has taken strong drugs for many years, he should not leave off entirely all at once. The dosage may be cut down to half to begin with and then gradually reduced further until it can be left off completely.

• The epileptic patient should be encouraged to lead as normal a life as possible but some activities are unacceptably risky like swimming and driving and should be avoided. Thus for instance, bicycle riding on the main road may be fatal if the child has a convulsion. Similarly, unsupervised swimming should be prohibited. The child should be allowed to undertake certain activities, which involve considerable risk, only in the presence of a responsible adult.

• Adopt Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation Techniques. Normal health and peace of mind can be gained through effort and constant practice, leading on into the realms of timeless peace.

• Avoid negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, hostility, insecurities, mental worries and tensions. Try to be cheerful.


CONCLUSION: 


Respiratory system is the main stand for mental consciousness. If the respiration process is regularized, the convulsions that one gets due to latent fears, doubts, misunderstandings or mental problems can surely be reduced. 

Regular practice of Meditation, good reading, good thoughts, positive and decisive thinking, the company of enthusiastic and full-blown people can render mental composure and joyfulness. “I am getting cured. I am already cured. 

All round beauty is streaming, whatever is, is God’s creation, I am also a creation of God. God is there in everything visible, everything discernible. God is inside me, these hands, legs, head, chest, belly, happiness, unhappiness, bliss, space and everything is God. I am infinite, I am integral, I am a stream of happiness.” Think thus in this train of thoughts. Remain joyful, “Fits” (convulsion) will definitely be cured and you will be “fit”.


Courtesy : Dr. Rita Khanna












 

 

Yoga

This article is about the umbrella term yoga which includes religion, philosophy, and practices. For one of the six Hindu philosophy schools, see Yoga (philosophy). For the popular yoga that explains and emphasizes the physical practices or disciplines, see Hatha yoga. For other uses, see Yoga (disambiguation).

Male and female yogis from 17th- and 18th-century India

 

 

Yoga (/ˈjoʊɡə/;.1 SanskritListen) is a physicalmental, and spiritual practice or discipline which originated in India. There is a broad variety of schools, practices, and goals.2 in HinduismBuddhism and Jainism..3.4.5.4 Among the most well-known types of yoga are Hatha yoga and Rāja yoga..6

The origins of yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions, is mentioned in the Rigveda,.note 1 but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, in ancient India's ascetic and śramaṇa movements..8.note 2The chronology of earliest texts describing yoga-practices is unclear, varyingly cr.ed to Hindu Upanishads.9 and BuddhistPāli Canon,.10 probably of third century BCE or later. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali date from the first half of the 1st millennium CE,.11.12 but only gained prominence in the West in the 20th century..13 Hatha yoga texts emerged around the 11th century with origins in tantra..14.15

Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the west,.16 following the success of Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th and early 20th century..16 In the 1980s, yoga became popular as a system of physical exercise across the Western world..15Yoga in Indian traditions, however, is more than physical exercise, it has a m.ative and spiritual core..17 One of the six major orthodox schools of Hinduism is also called Yoga, which has its own epistemology and metaphysics, and is closely related to Hindu Samkhya philosophy..18

Many studies have tried to determine the effectiveness of yoga as a complementary intervention for cancerschizophreniaasthma, and heart disease..19.20 The results of these studies have been mixed and inconclusive, with cancer studies suggesting none to unclear effectiveness, and others suggesting yoga may reduce risk factors and aid in a patient's psychological healing process..19.20

Etymology..

Statue of Shiva in Bangalore,KarnatakaIndia, performing yogic m.ation in the Padmasana posture.

In Vedic Sanskrit, yoga (from the root yuj) means "to add", "to join", "to unite", or "to attach" in its most common literal sense. By figurative extension from the yoking or harnessing of oxen or horses, the word took on broader meanings such as "employment, use, application, performance" (compare the figurative uses of "to harness" as in "to put something to some use"). All further developments of the sense of this word are post-Vedic. More prosaic moods such as "exertion", "endeavour", "zeal", and "diligence" are also found in Indian epic poetry..21

There are very many compound words containing yoga in Sanskrit. Yoga can take on meanings such as "connection", "contact", "union", "method", "application", "addition" and "performance". In simpler words, Yoga also means "combined". For example, guṇáyoga means "contact with a cord"; chakráyoga has a medical sense of "applying a splint or similar instrument by means of pulleys (in case of dislocation of the thigh)"; chandráyoga has the astronomical sense of "conjunction of the moon with a constellation"; puṃyoga is a grammatical term expressing "connection or relation with a man", etc. Thus, bhaktiyoga means "devoted attachment" in the monotheisticBhakti movement. The term kriyāyoga has a grammatical sense, meaning "connection with a verb". But the same compound is also given a technical meaning in the Yoga Sutras (2.1), designating the "practical" aspects of the philosophy, i.e. the "union with the supreme" due to performance of duties in everyday life.22

According to Pāṇini, a 6th-century BCE Sanskrit grammarian, the term yoga can be derived from either of two roots, yujir yoga (to yoke) oryuj samādhau (to concentrate)..23 In the context of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the root yuj samādhau (to concentrate) is considered by traditional commentators as the correct etymology..24 In accordance with PāṇiniVyasa who wrote the first commentary on the Yoga Sutras,.25 states that yoga means samādhi (concentration)..26

According to Dasgupta, the term yoga can be derived from either of two roots, yujir yoga (to yoke) or yuj samādhau (to concentrate)..23 Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy with a high level of commitment is called a yogi (may be applied to a man or a woman) or yogini (traditionally denoting a woman)..27

Goal of Yoga..

The ultimate goal of Yoga is moksha (liberation), although the exact definition of what form this takes depends on the philosophical or theological system with which it is conjugated.

According to Jacobsen, "Yoga has five principal meanings:.28

  1. Yoga, as a disciplined method for attaining a goal;
  2. Yoga, as techniques of controlling the body and the mind;
  3. Yoga, as a name of one of the schools or systems of philosophy (darśana);
  4. Yoga, in connection with other words, such as "hatha-, mantra-, and laya-," referring to traditions specialising in particular techniques of yoga;
  5. Yoga, as the goal of Yoga practice.".28

According to David Gordon White, from the 5th century CE onward, the core principles of "yoga" were more or less in place, and variations of these principles developed in various forms over time:.29

  1. Yoga, as an analysis of perception and cognition; illustration of this principle is found in Hindu texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and Yogasutras, as well as a number of Buddhist Mahāyāna works;.30
  2. Yoga, as the rising and expansion of consciousness; these are discussed in sources such as Hinduism Epic Mahābhārata, Jainism Praśamaratiprakarana;.31
  3. Yoga, as a path to omniscience; examples are found in Hinduism Nyaya and Vaisesika school texts as well as Buddhism Mādhyamaka texts, but in different ways;.32
  4. Yoga, as a technique for entering into other bodies, generating multiple bodies, and the attainment of other supernatural accomplishments; these are described in Tantricliterature of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as the Buddhist Sāmaññaphalasutta;.33

White clarifies that the last principle relates to legendary goals of "yogi practice", different from practical goals of "yoga practice," as they are viewed in South Asian thought and practice since the beginning of the Common Era, in the various Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain philosophical schools..34

Schools of Yoga..

The term "yoga" has been applied to a variety of practices and methods, including Jain and Buddhist practices. In Hinduism these include Jnana YogaBhakti YogaKarma Yoga,Laya Yoga and Hatha Yoga.

The so-called Raja Yoga refers to Ashtanga Yoga, the eight limbs to be practiced to attain samadhi, as described in the Yoga Sutras of Pantajali..35 The term raja yoga originally referred to the ultimate goal of yoga, which is usually samadhi,.36 but was popularised by Vivekananda as the common name for Ashtanga Yoga..37

Buddhism..

Main articles: Buddhist m.ationDhyāna in BuddhismYogacara and Vajrayana

Buddhist m.ation encompasses a variety of m.ation techniques that aim to develop mindfulnessconcentrationsupramundane powerstranquility, and insight.

Core techniques have been preserved in ancient Buddhist texts and have proliferated and diversified through teacher-student transmissions. Buddhists pursue m.ation as part of the path toward Enlightenment and Nirvana..note 3 The closest words for m.ation in the classical languages of Buddhism are bhāvanā.note 4 and jhāna/dhyāna..note 5

Hinduism..

Classical Yoga..

Yoga is considered as a philosophical school in Hinduism..38 Yoga, in this context, is one of the six āstika schools of Hinduism (those which accept the Vedas as source of knowledge)..39.40

Due to the influence of Vivekananda, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are nowadays considered as the foundational scripture of classical yoga, a status which it only acquired in the 20th century..37 Before the twentieth century, other works were considered as the most central works, such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Vasistha,.37 while Tantric Yoga and Hatha Yoga prevailed over Ashtanga Yoga..37

Ashtanga Yoga..

Main articles: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Rāja yoga

Yoga as described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali refers to Ashtanga Yoga..37 The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is considered as a central text of the Yoga school of Hindu philosophy,.41 It is often called "Rāja yoga", "yoga of the kings," a term which originally referred to the ultimate, royal goal of yoga, which is usually samadhi,.36 but was popularised by Vivekananda as the common name for Ashtanga Yoga..37

Ashtanga Yoga incorporates epistemology, metaphysics, ethical practices, systematic exercises and self-development techniques for body, mind and spirit..42 Its epistemology(pramanas) is same as the Samkhya school. Both accept three reliable means to knowledge – perception (pratyākṣa, direct sensory observations), inference (anumāna) and testimony of trustworthy experts (sabda, agama). Both these orthodox schools are also strongly dualistic. Unlike Sāṃkhya school of Hinduism which pursues non-theistic/atheistic rationalist approach,.43.44 Yoga school of Hinduism accepts the concept of a "personal, yet essentially inactive, deity" or "personal god"..45.46 Along with its epistemology and metaphysical foundations, Yoga school of Hindu philosophy incorporates ethical precepts (yamas and niyamas) and an introspective way of life focused on perfecting one's self physically, mentally and spiritually, with the ultimate goal being kaivalya (liberated, unified, content state of existence)..42.47.48

Hatha yoga..

Main article: Hatha yoga

Hatha yoga, also called hatha vidyā, is a kind of yoga focusing on physical and mental strength building exercises and postures described primarily in three texts ofHinduism:.49.50.51

  1. Hatha Yoga PradipikaSvātmārāma (15th century)
  2. Shiva Samhita, author unknown (1500.52 or late 17th century)
  3. Gheranda Samhita by Gheranda (late 17th century)

Many scholars also include the preceding Goraksha Samhita authored by Gorakshanath of the 11th century in the above list..49 Gorakshanath is widely considered to have been responsible for popularizing hatha yoga as we know it today..53.54.55

Vajrayana Buddhism, founded by the Indian Mahasiddhas,.56 has a series of asanas and pranayamas, such as tummo (Sanskrit caṇḍālī).57 and trul khor which parallel hatha yoga.

Shaivism..

Main articles: ShaivismShaiva Siddhanta and Nath

In Shaivism, yoga is used to unite kundalini with Shiva..58 See also 'tantra' below.

Jainism..

Main article: Jain m.ation

Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara

Jain m.ation has been the central practice of spirituality in Jainism along with the Three Jewels..59 M.ation in Jainism aims at realizing the self, attain salvation, take the soul to complete freedom..60 It aims to reach and to remain in the pure state of soul which is believed to be pure conscious, beyond any attachment or aversion. The practitioner strives to be just a knower-seer (Gyata-Drashta). Jain m.ation can be broadly categorized to the auspicious Dharmya Dhyana and Shukla Dhyana and inauspicious Artta and RaudraDhyana.

Tantra..

Main articles: TantraYogi and Siddhi

Samuel states that Tantrism is a contested concept..61 Tantra yoga may be described, according to Samuel, as practices in 9th to 10th century Buddhist and Hindu (Saiva, Shakti) texts, which included yogic practices with elaborate deity visualizations using geometrical arrays and drawings (mandala), fierce male and particularly female deities, transgressive life stage related rituals, extensive use ofchakras and mantras, and sexual techniques, all aimed to help one's health, long life and liberation..61.62

Modern health application..

Apart from the spiritual goals, the physical postures of yoga are used to alleviate health problems, reduce stress and make the spine supple in contemporary times. Yoga is also used as a complete exercise program and physical therapy routine..63

While the practice of yoga continues to rise in contemporary American culture, sufficient and adequate knowledge of the practice’s origins does not. According to Andrea R. Jain, Yoga is undoubtedly a Hindu movement for spiritual m.ation, yet is now being marketed as a supplement to a cardio routine. This scope "dilutes its Hindu identity." Contemporaries of the Hindu faith argue that the more popular yoga gets, the less concerned people become about its origins in history. These same contemporaries do state that while anyone can practice yoga, only those who give Hinduism due cr. for the practice will achieve the full benefit of the custom..64

In 2015 the Australian Government's Department of Health published the results of a review of alternative therapies that sought to determine if any were suitable for being covered by health insurance; Yoga was one of 17 practices evaluated for which no clear evidence of effectiveness was found, with the caveat that "Reviewers were limited in drawing definite conclusions, not only due to a lack of studies for some clinical conditions, but also due to the lack of information reported in the reviews and potentially in the primary studies.".65

History..

The origins of yoga are a matter of debate..66 There is no consensus on its chronology or specific origin other than that yoga developed in ancient India. Suggested origins are the Indus Valley Civilization (3300–1900 BCE).67 and pre-Vedic Northeast India,.68 the Vedic period (1500–500 BCE), and the śramaṇa movement..69 According to Gavin Flood, continuities may exist between those various traditions:

.This dichotomization is too simplistic, for continuities can undoubtedly be found between renunciation and vedic Brahmanism, while elements from non-Brahmanical, Sramana traditions also played an important part in the formation of the renunciate ideal..70.note 6

Pre-philosophical speculations of yoga begin to emerge in the texts of c. 500–200 BCE. Between 200 BCE–500 CE philosophical schools of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism were taking form and a coherent philosophical system of yoga began to emerge..72 The Middle Ages saw the development of many satellite traditions of yoga. Yoga came to the attention of an educated western public in the mid 19th century along with other topics of Indian philosophy.

Pre-Vedic India..

Main article: Indus Valley Civilization

Yoga may have pre-Vedic elements..67.68 Some state yoga originated in the Indus Valley Civilization..73 Marshall,.74 Eliade.9 and other scholars suggest that the Pashupati sealdiscovered in Indus Valley Civilization sites depict figures in positions resembling a common yoga or m.ation pose. This interpretation is considered speculative and uncertain by more recent analysis of Srinivasan.9 and may be a case of projecting "later practices into archeological findings"..75

Vedic period (1700–500 BCE)..

Main article: Vedic period

According to Crangle, Indian researchers have generally favoured a linear theory, which attempts "to interpret the origin and early development of Indian contemplative practices as a sequential growth from an Aryan genesis",.76.note 7 just like traditional Hinduism regards the Vedas to be the source of all spiritual knowledge..77.note 8

Ascetic practices, concentration and bodily postures described in the Vedas may have been precursors to yoga..80.81 According to Geoffrey Samuel, "Our best evidence to date suggests that .yogic practices developed in the same ascetic circles as the early sramana movements (Buddhists, Jainas and Ajivikas), probably in around the sixth and fifth centuries BCE.".8

According to Zimmer, Yoga philosophy is reckoned to be part of the non-Vedic system, which also includes the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy, Jainism and Buddhism:.68 ".Jainism does not derive from Brahman-Aryan sources, but reflects the cosmology and anthropology of a much older pre-Aryan upper class of northeastern India .Bihar – being rooted in the same subsoil of archaic metaphysical speculation as Yoga, Sankhya, and Buddhism, the other non-Vedic Indian systems.".82.note 9

Textual references..

The first use of the root of word "yoga" is in hymn 5.81.1 of the Rig Veda, a dedication to rising Sun-god in the morning (Savitri), where it has been interpreted as "yoke" or "yogically control"..85.86.note 10

The earliest evidence of Yogis and Yoga tradition is found in the Kesin hymn 10.136 of the Rigveda, states Karel Werner..7

The Yogis of Vedic times left little evidence of their existence, practices and achievements. And such evidence as has survived in the Vedas is scanty and indirect. Nevertheless, the existence of accomplished Yogis in Vedic times cannot be doubted.

— Karel Werner, Yoga and the Ṛg Veda.7

Rigveda, however, does not describe yoga and there is little evidence as to what the practices were..7 Early references to practices that later became part of yoga, are made inBrihadaranyaka Upanishad, the earliest Hindu Upanishad..note 11 For example, the practice of pranayama (consciously regulating breath) is mentioned in hymn 1.5.23 of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (c. ~ 900 BCE), and the practice of pratyahara (concentrating all of one's senses on self) is mentioned in hymn 8.15 of Chandogya Upanishad (c. ~ 800–700 BCE)..89.note 12

Vedic ascetic practices..

Ascetic practices (tapas), concentration and bodily postures used by Vedic priests to conduct yajna (sacrifice), might have been precursors to yoga..note 13 Vratya, a group of ascetics mentioned in the Atharvaveda, emphasized on bodily postures which may have evolved into yogic asanas..80 Early Samhitas also contain references to other group ascetics such as munis, the keśin, and vratyas..92 Techniques for controlling breath and vital energies are mentioned in the Brahmanas (texts of the Vedic corpus, c. 1000–800 BCE) and the Atharvaveda..80.93 Nasadiya Sukta of the Rig Veda suggests the presence of an early contemplative tradition..note 14

Preclassical era (500–200 BCE)..

Yoga concepts begin to emerge in the texts of c. 500–200 BCE such as the Pali Canon, the middle Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata..96

Upanishads..

The first known appearance of the word "yoga", with the same meaning as the modern term, is in the Katha Upanishad,.9.97 composed about fourth to third century BCE,.citation needed where it is defined as the steady control of the senses, which along with cessation of mental activity, leading to a supreme state..92.note 15 Katha Upanishadintegrates the monism of early Upanishads with concepts of samkhya and yoga. It defines various levels of existence according to their proximity to the innermost being Ātman. Yoga is therefore seen as a process of interiorization or ascent of consciousness..99.100 It is the earliest literary work that highlights the fundamentals of yoga. White states:

The earliest extant systematic account of yoga and a bridge from the earlier Vedic uses of the term is found in the Hindu Katha Upanisad (Ku), a scripture dating from about the third century BCE.… .It describes the hierarchy of mind-body constituents—the senses, mind, intellect, etc.—that comprise the foundational categories of Sāmkhya philosophy, whose metaphysical system grounds the yoga of the Yogasutras, Bhagavad Gita, and other texts and schools (Ku3.10–11; 6.7–8)..101

The hymns in Book 2 of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, another late first millennium BCE text, states a procedure in which the body is held in upright posture, the breath is restrained and mind is m.atively focussed, preferably inside a cave or a place that is simple, plain, of silence or gently flowing water, with no noises nor harsh winds..102.100

The Maitrayaniya Upanishad, likely composed in a later century than Katha and Shvetashvatara Upanishads but before Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, mentions sixfold yoga method – breath control (pranayama), introspective withdrawal of senses (pratyahara), m.ation (dhyana), mind concentration (dharana), philosophical inquiry/creative reasoning (tarka), and absorption/intense spiritual union (samadhi)..9.100.103

In addition to the Yoga discussion in above Principal Upanishads, twenty Yoga Upanishads as well as related texts such as Yoga Vasistha, composed in 1st and 2nd millennium CE, discuss Yoga methods..104.105

Macedonian historical texts..

Alexander the Great reached India in the 4th century BCE. Along with his army, he took Greek academics with him who later wrote memoirs about geography, people and customs they saw. One of Alexander's companion was Onesicritus, quoted in Book 15, Sections 63–65 by Strabo, who describes yogins of India..106 Onesicritus claims those Indian yogins (Mandanis ) practiced aloofness and "different postures – standing or sitting or lying naked – and motionless"..107

Onesicritus also mentions his colleague Calanus trying to meet them, who is initially denied audience, but later invited because he was sent by a "king curious of wisdom and philosophy"..107 Onesicritus and Calanus learn that the yogins consider the best doctrine of life as "rid the spirit of not only pain, but also pleasure", that "man trains the body for toil in order that his opinions may be strengthened", that "there is no shame in life on frugal fare", and that "the best place to inhabit is one with scantiest equipment or outfit"..106.107 These principles are significant to the history of spiritual side of yoga..106 These may reflect the ancient roots of "undisturbed calmness" and "mindfulness through balance" in later works of Hindu Patanjali and Buddhist Buddhaghosa respectively, states Charles Rockwell Lanman;.106 as well as the principle of Aparigraha (non-possessiveness, non-craving, simple living) and asceticism discussed in later Hinduism and Jainism.

Early Buddhist texts..

Werner states, "The Buddha was the founder of his .Yoga system, even though, admittedly, he made use of some of the experiences he had previously gained under various Yoga teachers of his time.".108 He notes:.10

"But it is only with Buddhism itself as expounded in the Pali Canon that we can speak about a systematic and comprehensive or even integral school of Yoga practice, which is thus the first and oldest to have been preserved for us in its entirety.".10

The chronology of completion of these yoga-related Pali Canons, however, is unclear, just like ancient Hindu texts..109.110 Early known Buddhist sources like the Majjhima Nikāyamention m.ation, while the Anguttara Nikāya describes Jhāyins (m.ators) that resemble early Hindu descriptions of MuniKesins and m.ating ascetics,.111 but these m.ation-practices are not called yoga in these texts..112 The earliest known specific discussion of yoga in the Buddhist literature, as understood in modern context, is from the third- to fourth-century CE scriptures of the Buddhist Yogācāra school and fourth- to fifth-century Visuddhimagga of Buddhaghosa..112

A yoga system that predated the Buddhist school is Jain yoga. But since Jain sources postdate Buddhist ones, it is difficult to distinguish between the nature of the early Jain school and elements derived from other schools..10 Most of the other contemporary yoga systems alluded in the Upanishads and some Pali canons are lost to time..113.114.note 16

The early Buddhist texts describe m.ative practices and states, some of which the Buddha borrowed from the śramaṇa tradition..116.117 The Pali canon contains three passages in which the Buddha describes pressing the tongue against the palate for the purposes of controlling hunger or the mind, depending on the passage..118 However, there is no mention of the tongue being inserted into the nasopharynx as in true khecarī mudrā. The Buddha used a posture where pressure is put on the perineum with the heel, similar to even modern postures used to stimulate Kundalini..119

Uncertainty with chronology..

Alexander Wynne, author of The Origin of Buddhist M.ation, observes that formless m.ation and elemental m.ation might have originated in the Upanishadic tradition..120The earliest reference to m.ation is in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, one of the oldest Upanishads..92 Chandogya Upanishad describes the five kinds of vital energies (prana). Concepts used later in many yoga traditions such as internal sound and veins (nadis) are also described in the Upanishad..80 Taittiriya Upanishad defines yoga as the mastery of body and senses..121

Bhagavad Gita..

Krishna narrating the Gita to Arjuna.

Main article: Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita ('Song of the Lord'), uses the term "yoga" extensively in a variety of ways. In addition to an entire chapter (ch. 6) dedicated to traditional yoga practice, including m.ation,.122 it introduces three prominent types of yoga:.123

The Gita consists of 18 chapters and 700 shlokas (verses),.127 with each chapter named as a different yoga, thus delineating eighteen different yogas..127.128 Some scholars divide the Gita into three sections, with the first six chapters with 280 shlokas dealing with Karma yoga, the middle six containing 209 shlokas with Bhakti yoga, and the last six chapters with 211 shlokas as Jnana yoga; however, this is rough because elements of karmabhakti and jnana are found in all chapters..127

Mahabharata..

Description of an early form of yoga called nirodhayoga (yoga of cessation) is contained in the Mokshadharma section of the 12th chapter (Shanti Parva) of the Mahabharata. The verses of the section are dated to c. 300–200 BCE. Nirodhayoga emphasizes progressive withdrawal from the contents of empirical consciousness such as thoughts, sensations etc. until purusha (Self) is realized. Terms like vichara (subtle reflection), viveka (discrimination) and others which are similar to Patanjali's terminology are mentioned, but not described..129 There is no uniform goal of yoga mentioned in the Mahabharata. Separation of self from matter, perceiving Brahman everywhere, entering into Brahmanetc. are all described as goals of yoga. Samkhya and yoga are conflated together and some verses describe them as being identical..130 Mokshadharma also describes an early practice of elemental m.ation..131

Mahabharata defines the purpose of yoga as the experience of uniting the individual ātman with the universal Brahman that pervades all things..130

Classical era (200 BCE – 500 CE)..

This period witnessed many texts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism discussing and systematically compiling yoga methods and practices. Of these, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are considered as a key work.

Classical yoga..

During the period between the Mauryan and the Gupta era (c. 200 BCE–500 CE) philosophical schools of HinduismBuddhism and Jainism were taking form and a coherent philosophical system of yoga began to emerge..72

Yoga as a philosophy is mentioned in Sanskrit texts dated to be completed between 200 BCE–200 CE. Kauṭilya's Arthasastra in verse 1.2.10, for example, states that there are three categories of anviksikis (philosophies) – Samkhya (nontheistic), Yoga (theistic) and Cārvāka (atheistic materialism)..132.133

Samkhya..

Further information: Samkhya

Many traditions in India began to adopt systematic methodology by about first century CE. Of these, Samkhya was probably one of the oldest philosophies to begin taking a systematic form..134 Patanjali systematized Yoga, building them on the foundational metaphysics of Samkhya. In the early works, the Yoga principles appear together with the Samkhya ideas. Vyasa's commentary on the Yoga Sutras, also called the Samkhyapravacanabhasya (Commentary on the Exposition of the Sankhya Philosophy), describes the relation between the two systems..135 The two schools have some differences as well. Yoga accepted the conception of "personal god", while Samkhya developed as a rationalist, non-theistic/atheistic system of Hindu philosophy..43.136.137 Sometimes Patanjali's system is referred to as Seshvara Samkhya in contradistinction to Kapila's Nirivara Samkhya..138

The parallels between Yoga and Samkhya were so close that Max Müller says that "the two philosophies were in popular parlance distinguished from each other as Samkhya with and Samkhya without a Lord.".139

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali..

Main articles: Raja Yoga and Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Traditional Hindu depiction of Patanjali as an avatar of the divine serpent Shesha.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.140

Pada (Chapter)

English meaning

Sutras

Samadhi Pada

On being absorbed in spirit

51

Sadhana Pada

On being immersed in spirit

55

Vibhuti Pada

On supernatural abilities and gifts

56

Kaivalya Pada

On absolute freedom

34

In Hindu philosophy, yoga is the name of one of the six orthodox (which accept the testimony of Vedas) philosophical schools..141.142Karel Werner, author of Yoga And Indian Philosophy, believes that the process of systematization of yoga which began in the middle and Yoga Upanishads culminated with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali..note 17

There are numerous parallels in the concepts in ancient Samkhya, Yoga and Abhidharma Buddhist schools of thought, particularly from 2nd century BCE to 1st century AD, notes Larson..144 Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is a synthesis of these three traditions. From Samkhya, Yoga Sutras adopt the "reflective discernment" (adhyavasaya) of prakrti and purusa (dualism), its metaphysical rationalism, as well its three epistemic methods to gaining reliable knowledge..144 From Abhidharma Buddhism's idea of nirodhasamadhi, suggests Larson, Yoga Sutras adopt the pursuit of altered state of awareness, but unlike Buddhist's concept of no self nor soul, Yoga is physicalist and realist like Samkhya in believing that each individual has a self and soul..144 The third concept Yoga Sutras synthesize into its philosophy is the ancient ascetic traditions of m.ation and introspection, as well as the yoga ideas from middle Upanishads such as Katha, Shvetashvatara and Maitri..144

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are widely regarded as the first compilation of the formal yoga philosophy..145 The verses of Yoga Sutras are terse. Many later Indian scholars studied them and published their commentaries, such as the Vyasa Bhashya (c. 350–450 CE)..146Patanjali's yoga is also referred to as Raja yoga..147 Patanjali defines the word "yoga" in his second sutra:

योग: चित्त-वृत्ति निरोध:
(yogaḥ citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ)
Yoga Sutras 1.2

This terse definition hinges on the meaning of three Sanskrit terms. I. K. Taimni translates it as "Yoga is the inhibition (nirodhaḥ) of the modifications (vṛtti) of the mind (citta)"..148 Swami Vivekananda translates the sutra as "Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Citta) from taking various forms (Vrittis).".149 Edwin Bryant explains that, to Patanjali, "Yoga essentially consists of m.ative practices culminating in attaining a state of consciousness free from all modes of active or discursive thought, and of eventually attaining a state where consciousness is unaware of any object external to itself, that is, is only aware of its own nature as consciousness unmixed with any other object.".42.150.151

If the meaning of yoga is understood as the practice of nirodha (mental control), then it's goal is “the unqualified state of niruddha (the perfection of that process)”,.152 according to Baba Hari Dass. In that context, “yoga (union) implies duality (as in joining of two things or principles); the result of yoga is the nondual state”, and “as the union of the lower self and higher Self. The nondual state is characterized by the absence of individuality; it can be described as eternal peace, pure love, Self-realization, or liberation.”.153

Patanjali's writing also became the basis for a system referred to as "Ashtanga Yoga" ("Eight-Limbed Yoga"). This eight-limbed concept is derived from the 29th Sutra of the Book 2 of Yoga Sutras. They are:

  1. Yama (The five "abstentions"): Ahimsa (Non-violence, non-harming other living beings),.154 Satya (truthfulness, non-falsehood),.155 Asteya (non-stealing),.156Brahmacharya (celibacy, fidelity to one's partner),.156 and Aparigraha (non-avarice, non-possessiveness)..155
  2. Niyama (The five "observances"): Śauca (purity, clearness of mind, speech and body),.157 Santosha (contentment, acceptance of others and of one's circumstances),.158Tapas (persistent m.ation, perseverance, austerity),.159 Svādhyāya (study of self, self-reflection, study of Vedas),.160 and Ishvara-Pranidhana (contemplation of God/Supreme Being/True Self)..158
  3. Asana: Literally means "seat", and in Patanjali's Sutras refers to the seated position used for m.ation.
  4. Pranayama ("Suspending Breath"): Prāna, breath, "āyāma", to restrain or stop. Also interpreted as control of the life force.
  5. Pratyahara ("Abstraction"): Withdrawal of the sense organs from external objects.
  6. Dharana ("Concentration"): Fixing the attention on a single object.
  7. Dhyana ("M.ation"): Intense contemplation of the nature of the object of m.ation.
  8. Samadhi ("Liberation"): merging consciousness with the object of m.ation.

Yoga and Vedanta..

Yoga and Vedanta are the two largest surviving schools of Hindu traditions. They share many thematic principles, concepts and belief in self/soul, but diverge in degree, style and some of their methods. Epistemologically, Yoga school accepts three means to reliable knowledge, while Advaita Vedanta accepts six ways..161 Yoga disputes the monism of Advaita Vedanta..162 Yoga school believes that in the state of moksha, each individual discovers the blissful, liberating sense of himself or herself as an independent identity; Advaita Vedanta, in contrast, believes that in the state of moksha, each individual discovers the blissful, liberating sense of himself or herself as part of Oneness with everything, everyone and the Universal Self. They both hold that the free conscience is aloof yet transcendent, liberated and self-aware. Further, Advaita Vedanta school enjoins the use of Patanjali's yoga practices and the reading of Upanishads for those seeking the supreme good, ultimate freedom and jivanmukti..162

Yoga Yajnavalkya..

Main article: Yoga Yajnavalkya

संयोगो योग इत्युक्तो जीवात्मपरमात्मनोः॥
saṁyogo yoga ityukto jīvātma-paramātmanoḥ
Yoga is union of the individual self (jivātma) with the supreme self (paramātma).

Yoga Yajnavalkya.163

The Yoga Yajnavalkya is a classical treatise on yoga attributed to the Vedic sage Yajnavalkya. It takes the form of a dialogue between Yajnavalkya and his wife Gargi, a renowned female philosopher..164 The text contains 12 chapters and its origin has been traced to the period between the second century BCE and fourth century CE..165 Many yoga texts like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Yoga Kundalini and the Yoga Tattva Upanishads have borrowed verses from or make frequent references to the Yoga Yajnavalkya..166 The Yoga Yajnavalkya discusses eight yoga Asanas – Swastika, Gomukha, Padma, Vira, Simha, Bhadra, Mukta and Mayura,.167 numerous breathing exercises for body cleansing,.168and m.ation..169

Jainism..

Main article: Jainism

Tirthankara Parsva in Yogic m.ation in theKayotsarga posture.

According to Tattvarthasutra, 2nd century CE Jain text, yoga is the sum of all the activities of mind, speech and body..5 Umasvati calls yoga the cause of "asrava" or karmic influx.170 as well as one of the essentials—samyak caritra—in the path to liberation..170 In his Niyamasara, AcaryaKundakunda, describes yoga bhakti—devotion to the path to liberation—as the highest form of devotion..171 Acarya Haribhadra and AcaryaHemacandra mention the five major vows of ascetics and 12 minor vows of laity under yoga. This has led certain Indologists like Prof. Robert J. Zydenbos to call Jainism, essentially, a system of yogic thinking that grew into a full-fledged religion..172 The five yamas or the constraints of theYoga Sutras of Patanjali bear a resemblance to the five major vows of Jainism, indicating a history of strong cross-fertilization between these traditions..173.note 18

Mainstream Hinduism's influence on Jain yoga is noticed as Haribhadra founded his eightfold yoga and aligned it with Patanjali's eightfold yoga..175

Yogacara school..

Main article: Yogacara

In the late phase of Indian antiquity, on the eve of the development of Classical Hinduism, the Yogacara movement arises during the Gupta period(4th to 5th centuries). Yogacara received the name as it provided a "yoga," a framework for engaging in the practices that lead to the path of thebodhisattva..176 The yogacara sect teaches "yoga" as a way to reach enlightenment..177

Middle Ages (500–1500 CE)..

Middle Ages saw the development of many satellite traditions of yoga. Hatha yoga emerged in this period..178

Bhakti movement..

Main article: Bhakti Yoga

The Bhakti movement was a development in medieval Hinduism which advocated the concept of a personal God (or "Supreme Personality of Godhead"). The movement was initiated by the Alvars of South India in the 6th to 9th centuries, and it started gaining influence throughout India by the 12th to 15th centuries..179Shaiva and Vaishnava bhakti traditions integrated aspects of Yoga Sutras, such as the practical m.ative exercises, with devotion..180 Bhagavata Purana elucidates the practice of a form of yoga called viraha (separation) bhaktiViraha bhakti emphasizes one pointed concentration on Krishna..181

Tantra..

Tantra is a genre of yoga that arose in India no later than the 5th century CE..182.note 19 George Samuel states, "Tantra" is a contested term, but may be considered as a school whose practices appeared in mostly complete form in Buddhist and Hindu texts by about 10th century CE..61 Over its history, some ideas of Tantra school influenced the Hindu,BonBuddhist, and Jain traditions. Elements of Tantric yoga rituals were adopted by and influenced state functions in medieval Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in East andSoutheast Asia..184.185

By the turn of the first millennium, hatha yoga emerged from tantra..14.15

Vajrayana Buddhism..

Main article: Vajrayana

Vajrayana is also known as Tantric Buddhism and Tantrayāna. Its texts were compiled starting with 7th century and Tibetan translations were completed in 8th century CE. These tantra yoga texts were the main source of Buddhist knowledge that was imported into Tibet..186 They were later translated into Chinese and other Asian languages, helping spread ideas of Tantric Buddhism. The Buddhist text Hevajra Tantra and Caryāgiti introduced hierarchies of chakras..187 Yoga is a significant practice in Tantric Buddhism..188.189.57

Hatha Yoga..

Main articles: Hatha yoga and Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The earliest references to hatha yoga are in Buddhist works dating from the eighth century..190 The earliest definition of hatha yoga is found in the 11th century Buddhist textVimalaprabha, which defines it in relation to the center channel, bindu etc..191 The basic tenets of Hatha yoga were formulated by Shaiva ascetics Matsyendranath andGorakshanath c. 900 CE. Hatha yoga synthesizes elements of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras with posture and breathing exercises..192 Hatha yoga, sometimes referred to as the "psychophysical yoga",.193 was further elaborated by Yogi Swatmarama, compiler of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in 15th century CE. This yoga differs substantially from the Raja yoga of Patanjali in that it focuses on shatkarma, the purification of the physical body as leading to the purification of the mind (ha), and prana, or vital energy (tha)..194.195Compared to the seated asana, or sitting m.ation posture, of Patanjali's Raja yoga,.196 it marks the development of asanas (plural) into the full body 'postures' now in popular usage.197 and, along with its many modern variations, is the style that many people associate with the word yoga today..198

It is similar to a diving board – preparing the body for purification, so that it may be ready to receive higher techniques of m.ation. The word "Hatha" comes from "Ha" which means Sun, and "Tha" which means Moon..199

Sikhism..

Various yogic groups had become prominent in Punjab in the 15th and 16th century, when Sikhism was in its nascent stage. Compositions of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, describe many dialogues he had with Jogis, a Hindu community which practiced yoga..200 Guru Nanak rejected the austerities, rites and rituals connected with Hatha Yoga..201He propounded the path of Sahaja yoga or Nama yoga (m.ation on the name) instead..202 The Guru Granth Sahib states:

Listen "O Yogi, Nanak tells nothing but the truth. You must discipline your mind. The devotee must m.ate on the Word Divine. It is His grace which brings about the union. He understands, he also sees. Good deeds help one merge into Divination.".203

Modern history..

Reception in the West..

 

 

 

Various yoga asanas.

Yoga came to the attention of an educated western public in the mid-19th century along with other topics of Indian philosophy. In the context of this budding interest, N. C. Paul published his Treatise on Yoga Philosophy in 1851.

The first Hindu teacher to actively advocate and disseminate aspects of yoga to a western audience, Swami Vivekananda, toured Europe and the United States in the 1890s..204 The reception which Swami Vivekananda received built on the active interest of intellectuals, in particular the New England Transcendentalists, among them R. W. Emerson (1803–1882), who drew on German Romanticism and the interest of philosophers and scholars like G.W.F. Hegel (1770–1831), the brothers August Wilhelm Schlegel (1767–1845) and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel (1772–1829), Max Mueller (1823–1900), Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) and others who had (to varying degrees) interests in things Indian..205

Theosophists also had a large influence on the American public's view of Yoga..206 Esoteric views current at the end of the 19th century provided a further basis for the reception of Vedanta and of Yoga with its theory and practice of correspondence between the spiritual and the physical..207 The reception of Yoga and of Vedanta thus entwined with each other and with the (mostly Neoplatonism-based) currents of religious and philosophical reform and transformation throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. M. Eliade, himself rooted in the Romanian currents of these traditions,.citation needed brought a new element into the reception of Yoga with the strong emphasis on Tantric Yoga in his seminal book: Yoga: Immortality and Freedom..note 20 With the introduction of the Tantra traditions and philosophy of Yoga, the conception of the "transcendent" to be attained by Yogic practice shifted from experiencing the "transcendent" ("Atman-Brahman" in Advaitic theory) in the mind to the body itself..208

The American born yogi by the name of Pierre Arnold Bernard, after his travels through the lands of Kashmir and Bengal, founded the Tantrik Order of America in 1905. His teachings gave many westerners their first glimpse into the practices of yoga and tantra..209

The modern scientific study of yoga began with the works of N. C. Paul and Major D. Basu in the late 19th century, and then continued in the 20th century with Sri Yogendra (1897–1989) and Swami Kuvalayananda..210 Western medical researchers came to Swami Kuvalayananda’s Kaivalyadhama Health and Yoga Research Center, starting in 1928, to study Yoga as a science..211

The West,.clarification needed in the early 21st century typically associates the term "yoga" with Hatha yoga and its asanas (postures) or as a form of exercise..212 During the 1910s and 1920s in the USA, yoga suffered a period of bad publicity due largely to the backlash against immigration, a rise in puritanical values, and a number of scandals. In the 1930s and 1940s yoga began to gain more public acceptance as a result of celebrity endorsementcitation needed In the 1950s the United States saw another period of paranoia against yoga,.206 but by the 1960s, western interest in Hindu spirituality reached its peak, giving rise to a great number of Neo-Hindu schools specifically advocated to a western public. During this period, most of the influential Indian teachers of yoga came from two lineages, those of Sivananda Saraswati (1887–1963) and of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888–1989)..213 Teachers of Hatha yoga who were active in the west in this period included B.K.S. Iyengar (1918–2014), K. Pattabhi Jois (1915–2009), Swami Vishnu-devananda(1927–1993), and Swami Satchidananda (1914–2002)..214.215.216 Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini Yoga to the United States in 1969..217 Comprehensive, classical teachings of Ashtanga Yoga, Samkhya, the subtle body theory, Fitness Asanas, and tantric elements were included in the yoga teachers training by Baba Hari Dass (1923–), in the United States and Canada..218

A second "yoga boom" followed in the 1980s, as Dean Ornish, a follower of Swami Satchidananda, connected yoga to heart health, legitimizing yoga as a purely physical system of health exercises outside of counter-culture or esotericism circles, and unconnected to any religious denomination..204 Numerous asanas seemed modern in origin, and strongly overlapped with 19th and early-20th century Western exercise traditions..219

A group of people practicing yoga in 2012.

Since 2001, the popularity of yoga in the USA has risen constantly. The number of people who practiced some form of yoga has grown from 4 million (in 2001) to 20 million (in 2011). It has drawn support from world leaders such as Barack Obama who stated, "Yoga has become a universal language of spiritual exercise in the United States, crossing many lines of religion and cultures,. Every day, millions of people practice yoga to improve their health and overall well-being. That's why we're encouraging everyone to take part in PALA (Presidential Active Lifestyle Award), so show your support for yoga and answer the challenge"..220

The American College of Sports Medicine supports the integration of yoga into the exercise regimens of healthy individuals as long as properly-trained professionals deliver instruction. The College cites yoga's promotion of "profound mental, physical and spiritual awareness" and its benefits as a form of stretching, and as an enhancer of breath control and of core strength..221

Medicine..

Main article: Yoga as exercise or alternative medicine

Potential benefits for adults..

While much of the medical community regards the results of yoga research as significant, others point to many flaws which undermine results. Much of the research on yoga has taken the form of preliminary studies or clinical trials of low methodological quality, including small sample sizes, inadequate blinding, lack of randomization, and high risk of bias..222.223.224 Long-term yoga users in the United States have reported musculoskeletal and mental health improvements, as well as reduced symptoms of asthma in asthmatics..225 There is evidence to suggest that regular yoga practice increases brain GABA levels, and yoga has been shown to improve mood and anxiety more than some other metabolically-matched exercises, such as walking..226.227 The three main focuses of Hatha yoga (exercise, breathing, and m.ation) make it beneficial to those suffering from heart disease. Overall, studies of the effects of yoga on heart disease suggest that yoga may reduce high blood-pressure, improve symptoms of heart failure, enhance cardiac rehabilitation, and lower cardiovascular risk factors..228 For chronic low back pain, specialist Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs has been found 30% more beneficial than usual care alone in a UK clinical trial..229 Other smaller studies support this finding..230.231 The Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs programme is the dominant treatment for society (both cheaper and more effective than usual care alone) due to 8.5 fewer days off work each year..232 A research group from Boston University School of Medicine also tested yoga's effects on lower-back pain. Over twelve weeks, one group of volunteers practiced yoga while the control group continued with standard treatment for back pain. The reported pain for yoga participants decreased by one third, while the standard treatment group had only a five percent drop. Yoga participants also had a drop of 80% in the use of pain medication..233

There has been an emergence of studies investigating yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer patients. Yoga is used for treatment of cancer patients to decrease depression, insomnia, pain, and fatigue and to increase anxiety control..234 Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs include yoga as a mind-body technique to reduce stress. A study found that after seven weeks the group treated with yoga reported significantly less mood disturbance and reduced stress compared to the control group. Another study found that MBSR had showed positive effects on sleep anxiety, quality of life, and spiritual growth in cancer patients..235

Yoga has also been studied as a treatment for schizophrenia..236 Some encouraging, but inconclusive, evidence suggests that yoga as a complementary treatment may help alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia and improve health-related quality of life..20

Implementation of the Kundalini Yoga Lifestyle has shown to help substance abuse addicts increase their quality of life according to psychological questionnaires like the Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale and the Quality of Recovery Index..237

Yoga has been shown in a study to have some cognitive functioning (executive functioning, including inhibitory control) acute benefit..238

Physical injuries..

See also: Sports injury

A small percentage of yoga practitioners each year suffer physical injuries analogous to sports injuries;.239 therefore, caution and common sense are recommended..240 Yoga has been criticized for being potentially dangerous and being a cause for a range of serious medical conditions including thoracic outlet syndrome, degenerative arthritis of the cervical spine, spinal stenosis, retinal tears, damage to the common fibular nerve, "Yoga foot drop,".241 etc. An exposé of these problems by William Broad published in January, 2012 in The New York Times Magazine.242 resulted in controversy within the international yoga community. Broad, a science writer, yoga practitioner, and author of The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards,.243 had suffered a back injury while performing a yoga posture..244 Torn muscles, knee injuries,.245 and headaches are common ailments which may result from yoga practice..246

An extensive survey of yoga practitioners in Australia showed that about 20% had suffered some physical injury while practicing yoga. In the previous 12 months 4.6% of the respondents had suffered an injury producing prolonged pain or requiring medical treatment. Headstands, shoulder stands, lotus and half lotus (seated cross-legged position), forward bends, backward bends, and handstands produced the greatest number of injuries..239

Some yoga practitioners do not recommend certain yoga exercises for women during menstruation, for pregnant women, or for nursing mothers. However, m.ation, breathing exercises, and certain postures which are safe and beneficial for women in these categories are encouraged..247

Among the main reasons that experts cite for causing negative effects from yoga are beginners' competitiveness and instructors' lack of qualification. As the demand for yoga classes grows, many people get certified to become yoga instructors, often with relatively little training. Not every newly certified instructor can evaluate the condition of every new trainee in their class and recommend refraining from doing certain poses or using appropriate props to avoid injuries. In turn, a beginning yoga student can overestimate the abilities of their body and strive to do advanced poses before their body is flexible or strong enough to perform them..242.246

Vertebral artery dissection, a tear in the arteries in the neck which provide blood to the brain can result from rotation of the neck while the neck is extended. This can occur in a variety of contexts, but is an event which could occur in some yoga practices. This is a very serious condition which can result in a stroke..248.249

Acetabular labral tears, damage to the structure joining the femur and the hip, have been reported to have resulted from yoga practice..250

Pediatrics..

It is claimed that yoga can be an excellent training for children and adolescents, both as a form of physical exercise and for breathing, focus, mindfulness, and stress relief: many school districts have considered incorporating yoga into their P.E. programs. The Encinitas, California school district gained a San Diego Superior Court Judge's approval to use yoga in P.E., holding against the parents who claimed the practice was intrinsically religious and hence should not be part of a state funded program..251

Yoga physiology..

Seven chakras of a yogin

Main article: Yoga physiology

Over time, an extended yoga physiology developed, especially within the tantric tradition and hatha yoga. It pictures humans as composed of three bodies or five sheaths which cover the atman. The three bodies are described within the Mandukya Upanishad, which adds a fourth state, turiya, while the five sheaths (pancha-kosas) are described in the Taittiriya Upanishad..252 They are often integrated:

  1. Sthula sarira, the Gross body, comprising the Annamaya Kosha.253
  2. Suksma sarira, the Subtle body, composed of;
    1. the Pranamaya Kosha (Vital breath or Energy),
    2. Manomaya Kosha (Mind)
    3. the Vijnanamaya Kosha (Intellect).253
  3. Karana sarira, the Causal body, comprising the Anandamaya Kosha (Bliss).253

Within the subtle body energy flows through the nadis or channels, and is concentrated within the chakras.

Yoga compared with other systems of m.ation..

Zen Buddhism..

Zen, the name of which derives from the Sanskrit "dhyaana" via the Chinese "ch'an".note 21 is a form of Mahayana Buddhism. The Mahayana school of Buddhism is noted for its proximity with yoga..255 In the west, Zen is often set alongside yoga; the two schools of m.ation display obvious family resemblances..256 This phenomenon merits special attention since yogic practices have some of their roots manifested in the Zen Buddhist school..note 22 Certain essential elements of yoga are important both for Buddhism in general and for Zen in particular..257

Tibetan Buddhism..

In the Nyingma tradition, the path of m.ation practice is divided into nine yanas, or vehicles, which are said to be increasingly profound..258 The last six are described as "yoga yanas": "Kriya yoga", "Upa yoga," "Yoga yana," "Mahā yoga," "Anu yoga" and the ultimate practice, "Ati yoga.".259 The Sarma traditions also include Kriya, Upa (called "Charya"), and Yoga, with the Anuttara yoga class substituting for Mahayoga and Atiyoga..260

Other tantra yoga practices include a system of 108 bodily postures practiced with breath and heart rhythm. The Nyingma tradition also practices Yantra yoga (Tib. "Trul khor"), a discipline that includes breath work (or pranayama), m.ative contemplation and precise dynamic movements to centre the practitioner..261 The body postures of Tibetan ancient yogis are depicted on the walls of the Dalai Lama's summer temple of Lukhang. A semi-popular account of Tibetan yoga by Chang (1993) refers to caṇḍalī (Tib. "tummo"), the generation of heat in one's own body, as being "the very foundation of the whole of Tibetan yoga.".262 Chang also claims that Tibetan yoga involves reconciliation of apparent polarities, such as prana and mind, relating this to theoretical implications of tantrism.

Christian m.ation..

Main articles: Christian m.ationA Christian reflection on the New Age and Aspects of Christian m.ation

Some Christians integrate yoga and other aspects of Eastern spirituality with prayer and m.ation. This has been attributed to a desire to experience God in a more complete way..263 In 2013, Monsignor Raffaello Martinelli, servicing Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, having worked for over 23 years with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI),.264 said that for his M.ation, a Christian can learn from other religious traditions (zen, yoga, controlled respiration, Mantra), quoting Aspects of Christian m.ation: "Just as "the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions," neither should these ways be rejected out of hand simply because they are not Christian. On the contrary, one can take from them what is useful so long as the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements are never obscured. It is within the context of all of this that these bits and pieces should be taken up and expressed anew.".265 Previously, the Roman Catholic Church, and some other Christian organizations have expressed concerns and disapproval with respect to some eastern and New Age practices that include yoga and m.ation..266.267.268

In 1989 and 2003, the Vatican issued two documents: Aspects of Christian m.ation and "A Christian reflection on the New Age," that were mostly critical of eastern and New Age practices. The 2003 document was published as a 90-page handbook detailing the Vatican's position..269 The Vatican warned that concentration on the physical aspects of m.ation "can degenerate into a cult of the body" and that equating bodily states with mysticism "could also lead to psychic disturbance and, at times, to moral deviations." Such has been compared to the early days of Christianity, when the church opposed the gnostics' belief that salvation came not through faith but through a mystical inner knowledge..263 The letter also says, "one can see if and how .prayer might be enriched by m.ation methods developed in other religions and cultures".270 but maintains the idea that "there must be some fit between the nature of .other approaches to prayer and Christian beliefs about ultimate reality.".263 Some fundamentalist Christian organizations consider yoga to be incompatible with their religious background, considering it a part of the New Age movement inconsistent with Christianity..271

Another view holds that Christian m.ation can lead to religious pluralism. This is held by an interdenominational association of Christians that practice it. "The ritual simultaneously operates as an anchor that maintains, enhances, and promotes denominational activity and a sail that allows institutional boundaries to be crossed." .272

Islam..

In early 11th century, the Persian scholar Al Biruni visited India, lived with Hindus for 16 years, and with their help translated several significant Sanskrit works into Arabic and Persian languages. One of these was Patanjali's Yogasutras..273.274 Al Biruni's translation preserved many of the core themes of Patañjali 's Yoga philosophy, but certain sutras and analytical commentaries were restated making it more consistent with Islamic monotheistic theology..273.275 Al Biruni's version of Yoga Sutras reached Persia and Arabian peninsula by about 1050 AD. Later, in the 16th century, the hath yoga text Amritakunda was translated into Arabic and then Persian..276 Yoga was, however, not accepted by mainstream Sunni and Shia Islam. Minority Islamic sects such as the mystic Sufi movement, particularly in South Asia, adopted Indian yoga practises, including postures and breath control..277.278 Muhammad Ghawth, a Shattari Sufi and one of the translators of yoga text in 16th century, drew controversy for his interest in yoga and was persecuted for his Sufi beliefs..279

Malaysia's top Islamic body in 2008 passed a fatwa, prohibiting Muslims from practicing yoga, saying it had elements of Hinduism and that its practice was blasphemy, thereforeharaam..280 Some Muslims in Malaysia who had been practicing yoga for years, criticized the decision as "insulting.".281 Sisters in Islam, a women's rights group in Malaysia, also expressed disappointment and said yoga was just a form of exercise..282 This fatwa is legally enforceable..283 However, Malaysia's prime minister clarified that yoga as physical exercise is permissible, but the chanting of religious mantras is prohibited..284

In 2009, the Council of Ulemas, an Islamic body in Indonesia, passed a fatwa banning yoga on the grounds that it contains Hindu elements..285 These fatwas have, in turn, been criticized by Darul Uloom Deoband, a Deobandi Islamic seminary in India..286 Similar fatwas banning yoga, for its link to Hinduism, were issued by the Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa inEgypt in 2004, and by Islamic clerics in Singapore earlier..287

In Iran, as of May 2014, according to its Yoga Association, there were approximately 200 yoga centres in the country, a quarter of them in the capital Tehran, where groups can often be seen practising in parks. This has been met by opposition among conservatives..288 In May 2009, Turkey's head of the Directorate of Religious AffairsAli Bardakoğlu, discounted personal development techniques such as reiki and yoga as commercial ventures that could lead to extremism. His comments were made in the context of reiki and yoga possibly being a form of proselytization at the expense of Islam..289

International Yoga Day..

On 11 December 2014, The 193-member United Nations General Assembly approved by consensus, a resolution establishing 21 June as 'International Day of Yoga'..290 The declaration of this day came after the call for the adoption of 21 June as International Day of Yoga by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on 27 September 2014..291.292.293.294.295 In suggesting 21 June, which is one of the two solstices, as the International Day of Yoga, Narendra Modi had said that the date is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world..296

The first international day of Yoga was observed world over on 21 June 2015. About 35000 people, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a large number of dignitaries, performed 21 Yoga asanas (yoga postures) for 35 minutes at Rajpath in New Delhi. The day devoted to Yoga was observed by millions across the world..297 The event at Rajpath established two Guinness records – largest Yoga Class with 35985 people and the record for the most nationalities participating in it- eighty four..298