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Meet The Masters

There are preachers and spiritual leaders propagating various methods. All our innumerable methods of praying, meditations, scripture reading, chanting, satsangs, seva, yogic kriya; are only various methods used for our own purifications. We all know; without the right purity of – bhao, heart, mind, body, soul – it is impossible to be anywhere near the divine powers.Know your master.

Meet The Masters ; Know Your Master

Gautam Budhha
Gautam Buddha was one of the greatest religious teachers that the world has seen. His teachings expounded in Buddhism, are immensely popular in Burma, China, Japan and other South Eastern Countries.The Buddha was born in 563 B.C. as Siddhartha to Shuddhodana the king of Kapilavastu in Nepal. Siddhartha was made to lead a very sheltered life as the astrologers had predicted that he would give up worldly pleasures. For 45 years, Buddha spread his message of a spiritual life. He did not believe in rituals but pointed to an 8 - fold path towards salvation - that of right speech, understanding, determination, deeds, efforts, awareness, thinking and living. 

Maharishi Patanjali
Patanjali, undoubtedly the greatest expounder of Yoga, lived sometime between 500 and 200 B.C. The life of Patanjali is an enigma to modern historians, and almost nothing is known about this great Master who epitomizes Yoga. It is only with the help of legends that one can draw inferences about him. Undoubtedly he was a great Yoga adept and was perhaps the head of a school in which “Swadhyaya”, study of the Self, was regarded as an important aspect of spiritual practice. The Indian Tradition however, differs in opinion strongly and advocates that the above different treatises were done by a single person and even further,  attributes various medical treatises to him.

Acharya Rajneesh (Osho)
Osho was born Chandra Mohan Jain at his maternal grandparents' house in Kuchwada, a small village in the Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh state in India, as the eldest of eleven children of a cloth merchant. Osho developed new forms of active meditation. The best known is Dynamic Meditation which often starts with strenuous physical activity followed by silence and celebration. Never Born - Never Died - Only visited this planet Earth between December 11, 1931 and January 19, 1990. Rajneesh obtained a masters degree in philosophy from the University of Saugar.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living movement, believes in spreading the knowledge of living a healthier life through his message of compassion, commitment to society, and a cosmic understanding of life. Born on May 13, 1956 in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Ravi developed an inclination and an amazing acumen for the study of the ancient Vedic scriptures. By the age of 17, he obtained an advanced degree in Modern Physics, and later received an Honorary Doctorate from Kuvempu University, Karnataka, India.

Parmhansa Yogananda
In the hundred years since the birth of Paramahansa Yogananda, this beloved world teacher has come to be recognized as one of the greatest emissaries to the West of India's ancient wisdom. His life and teachings continue to be a source of light and inspiration to people of all races, cultures and creeds. Paramahansa Yogananda was born Mukunda Lal Ghosh on January 5, 1893, in Gorakhpur, India, into a devout and well-to-do Bengali family. From his earliest years, it was evident to those around him that the depth of his awareness and experience of the spiritual was far beyond the ordinary.

Swami Ramdev
Swami Ramdevji Maharaj, a celibate since childhood, is well versed in Sanskrit Grammar, Ayurved and Vedic Philosophy. A strong Proponent of Indian cultural values, his services in the field of cow-breeding, research in the field of AYURVED and his practical approach of Yog has won him several thousands of admirers throughout India. His detachment to worldly happiness and devotion to social service has made him a phenomenal character in the saintly world. Revered Swami Shankerdevji Maharaj got him initiated in the ascetic order on the sacred banks of River Ganga.
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Bakasana : Crow Pose

Bakasana or Crow Pose is one of those yoga poses that actually looks a lot harder than it really is. Clearly there is some serious upper arm strength involved and, of course, balance. But it is a balance posture.

Bakasana : Crow Pose - Detailed Description



Steps:
  1. Place the palms of both hands on ground and then place the knees above the elbow on the arms.
  2. While taking deep breath place the body weight on palms and then try to lift the legs from ground to upside as possible.
  3. Now stay in this posture from few seconds to one minute.
  4. Exhale to lower the feet slowly to the ground and squat.
Benefits:
  • Strengthens arms and wrists.
  • Strengthens upper back.
  • Strengthens abdominal muscles.
  • Abdominal organs get toned up.
Tips and Help:
  • Avoid it in carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Don’t do it in pregnancy
  • Keep the eye in front of you and not looking down.
  • Extend the arms as much as possible once the balance is achieved in this posture.
  • Keep on breathing and don’t hold it.
  • Stop this asana in case the pain is felt.
  • Heart and high Blood pressure patient, don’t try it even.
  • Old aged person should be cautious while doing it.
  • Children from the age of ten years onward can do it under the supervision of experienced person.
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Adho Mukha Svanasana : Downward Facing Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana is also called Downward Dog or Down Dog posture. The name comes from the Sanskrit words, adho which means downward, mukha which means face, svana which means dog and asana meaning pose. Adho Mukha Svanasana helps in building power, flexibility and alertness. This is the first pose which some people learn as they begin to do yoga. Adho Mukha Svanasana is often classified as inversion posture since the head is lower than the pelvis.

Adho Mukha Svanasana : Downward Facing Dog Pose - Detailed Description


Steps:
  1. Keep your legs shoulder width apart.
  2. Slowly, bend down, until your palms touch the floor ahead of you.
  3. Exhale while bending.
  4. Do not lift your heels off the floor.
  5. Don't bend your knees, but at the same time, don't lock them.
  6. Spread your fingers wide apart.
  7. Now, push your head between your arms, towards your knees. Feel the stretch in your legs.
You could also do this the other way around by first getting down on your knees, and then slowly lifting yourself up. Exhale while lifting yourself up. This is, in fact, the right way of performing this asana, but you may find it difficult to place your heels on the floor initially.
A good rule of thumb to remember is to exhale when performing any stretch that scrunches the stomach muscles, and inhale when returning to position, or when performing a stretch that expands the stomach muscles. Thus, when bending down, or bending sideways, exhale. But while bending backwards, inhale.
Benefits:
  • This pose leaves you energized and rejuvenates the body
  • It lengthens the spine, strengthens the muscles of the chest increasing lung capacity.
  • It brings strength throughout the body especially the arms, shoulders, legs, feet. Helps to tone muscles
  • It increases circulation to the brain
  • Calms the mind and helps relive headache, insomnia and fatigue.
Tips and Help:
  • Avoid doing this asana if you suffer from high blood pressure, Carpel tunnel syndrome, detached eye retina, weak eye capillaries, dislocated shoulder / shoulder injury or diarrhea.
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Ardha Halasana : Half Plough Yoga Pose

Ardha means 'half' and 'Hala' means 'plough' in. Ardha Halasana is similar to Halasana, the only difference being it is performed using one leg at a time rather than both the legs together

Ardha Halasana - Detailed Description


Steps:
  1. Lie flat on your back.
  2. Stretch your legs at full length.
  3. Keep the heels and the big toes together.
  4. Stretch your arms on the respective sides with palms turned down.
  5. Inhaling, press the palms down and raise first one leg slowly as high as possible without bending the knee, keeping the other leg flat on the floor.
  6. Hold the leg straight up until you complete the inhalation.
  7. Exhaling, bring the leg down slowly.
  8. Repeat the process with the other leg also.
  9. Take three turns, alternating the legs.
  10. Inhaling, press the palms down and, without bending the knees or raising the hands, raise the legs together slowly till they make an angle of 30 degrees to the ground, then 60 degrees, and, finally, bring them perpendicular at 90 degrees to the ground.
  11. Complete the inhalation.
  12. Fix your gaze on the big toes.
  13. Remain in this position as long as you can hold your breath comfortably.
  14. Exhaling, press the palms down again, and without bending the knees, bring down your legs together slowly, pausing for five seconds each as they reach 60 degrees and 30 degrees to the ground.
  15. Execute three turns, raising both legs together.
Benefits:
  • Ardha Halasana builds up the elasticity of the muscle in the abdominal area.
  • It prevents the prolapse of the abdominal organs, such as the uterus in women and the rectum in men.
  • It has a curative effect on menstrual disorders.
  • It helps to rid the stomach and intestines of gas and eliminate constipation.
  • It prevents hernia.
  • Persons who have varicose veins can practice this posture several times a day to get relief.
  • You may perform this asana in bed also before rising in the morning if you are plagued by constipation.
Tips and Help:
  • Practice this asana on an empty stomach.
  • Keep your back as close to the floor as possible.
  • The legs should not shake while performing the asana.
  • Women should not practice this asana during menstruation and after the third month of pregnancy.
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Anantasana : Side-Reclining Leg Lift

The name Anantasana is made of two separate Sanskrit words ‘Anant’ and ‘Asana’. While Asana just means posture or exercise, Anant means endless, never ending and infinite.  In Hindu mythology, the god Vishnu has the name ‘Anant’. There are popular images of Lord Vishnu lying in a reclining pose on his side on top of a snake. This is how this yoga pose, which looks like Vishnu’s posture, has got its name.

Anantasana - Detailed Description

Steps:
  1. Lie down on your back in a straight position.
  2. Turn towards your left hand side.
  3. Now lift up your right leg in a 90 degree angle. Place your left hand below your head in order to support it.
  4. Raise your right hand up in the air and now try to catch the toes of your right leg with your fingers.
  5. Stay in this position for about 20 seconds; count your breath and then release.
  6. Slowly turn towards the other side and repeat the same activity on the right hand side too.
  7. Do not forget to count your breath every time you switch to a new position.
  8. As a beginner it would be difficult for you to balance your body in this position. But you can certainly take help and rest your body against the wall so that it helps you to get balance. Also, if you have neck pain problems, it would be advisable to consult a doctor, physiotherapist
Benefits:
  • Anantasana is a very good exercise for stretching the muscles of your back and side torso as well as the hamstrings and the muscles of the calves.
  • Pelvic floor muscles and hip muscles are toned and abs are firmed. Additionally it strengthens armpit muscles and shoulders.
  • Anantasana increases flexibility in legs and prevents issues of hernia. 
  • This yoga exercise can be good against back pain as well. 
  • By lying on your left side, you stimulate your blood circulation which is beneficial for your heart and the supply of oxygen throughout your body. Through this proper blood circulation, even edema of legs and arms can be healed. Your digestive system also has a benefit from this pose. You shift undigested food from one side of the intestines to the other. 
  • If you suffer from light arthritis, Anantasana can help you reduce your pain. Regular practice can prevent further worsening. If you do this pose regularly, your risk of sciatica is minimalized as well. 
  • Through the movement of your leg, the yoga pose is good for your bladder and for women beneficial for the ovaries while men have benefits for their prostate glands. The whole region is working and women experience that menstrual disorders are reduced. 
  • Apart from the physical benefits already described, Anantasana also reduces mental stress and strain as well as its results. Stress related disorders such as fatigue can be prevented and also cured with a workout practice that includes this yoga exercise. 
Tips and Help:
As a beginner it can be difficult to find your balance. As a little help, you can start this practice by doing the exercise with your back to the wall which makes it impossible to fall backwards. Additionally you can keep your lower foot flexed. 
There is no need to stretch the toes far out. That would move the complete leg muscle and make you fall either forwards or backwards. 
If it is difficult for you to grab your toes with your hands, use a piece of cloth, place it over the sole of your foot and grab it to pull.
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Swami Ramdev Pranayama Package

Swami Ramdevji Maharaj is first, in the world health history, to use freely available Pran (Oxygen) as a medicine and in turn remains successful in treating thousands of grief stricken persons suffering from lethal diseases like Diabetes, H.B.P., Angina, Blockages in Arteries, Obesity, Asthma, Bronchitis, Leucoderma, Depression, Parkinson, Insomnia, - Migraine, Thyroid, Arthritis, Cervical Spondalities,Hepatitis, Chronic Renal Failure, Cancer, Cirrhosis of Liver, Gas, Constipation, Acidity etc. which are still a challenge in modern medical science.
Swami Ramdev advises Pranayama Package [combination of Seven Pranayama Seven Asana, Seven Mudra, Seven Suksham Vayaam (light exercises), Acupressure and (in certain caes) Divya Medicines] for vibrant, healthy and holistic life.

Swami Ramdev Pranayama Package: Gateway for Holistic Health

Pranayama was there in Text Books for long time but, the common man had not access to it because the techniques for practicing them were very complex and words of caution were attached to such instructions, as “any deviation from the practicing technique would cause immense harm to a person”. Swami ji has done a tremendous job in breaking this concept of fear in common people about the harm caused by Pranayama. He has devised simple techniques for practicing the Pranayama which are very easily picked up by any common man just by watching the T.V.
Components of Swami Ramdev's Pranayama Package for Holistic Health
  1. Seven Pranayama (Breath Control):
    • Pranayama is the breathing technique of yoga that works wonders in increasing physical and psychological performance. Swami Ramdev has evolved the sequence in performing seven pranayama - Bhastrika Pranayam, Kapal Bhati Pranayam, Bahaya Pranayam, Anulom Vilom Pranayam, Bharamari Pranayam and Pranav Pranayam for living a vibrant and healthy life.
  2.   Seven Asanas (Yogic Exercises) with Pranayama:
    • An asana is a pose or posture used in the practice of yoga. Asanas serve as stable postures for prolonged meditation. There are thousands of asanas in the incredibly varied discipline of yoga, with around 100 in active use by yogis all over the world. Swami Ramdev has advocated seven Aasans to be performed with Pranayama for maximum benefit.
  3. Seven Suksham Vayaam (Light Exercises) with Pranayama: 
    • Suksham Vayaam maintain s the flexibility and strength of different parts of the body through exercise, and blood circulation is increased and the nerves are ensured their supply of nutrients and oxygen. These light exercises done between pranayama also maintain continuity.
  4. Seven Mudras (Hand Positioning) during Pranayama:
    • Mudras start electromagnetic currents within the body which balance various constituting elements and restore health. The joining of fingers creates an effect on the human body. While sitting any of the aasana for doing pranayama hands can be positioned in any one the mudras according to individual's own requiment. 
  5. Accupressure for Good Health:
    • Acupressure is an ancient Chinese technique based on the principles of acupuncture, and involves the use of finger pressure (without the needles) on specific points along the body. Acupressure massage therapy stimulates and activates the body’s own energies to help fight illness and restore harmony. Some of the most common acupressure technique are Rubbing, Kneading, Percussion and Vibration.
  6. Divya Medicines:
    • Swami Ramdev's Divya Medicines are 100% natural, made from potent herbs of the himalayas. They have proven extremely effective for combating all forms of sickness and disease. He recommends Divya Medicines only in special cases, and for speedy recovery which will strengthen the immune system and quicken the healing process..
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Panchkosh : Five Sheaths

An individual's personality consists of Panch Kosh or five sheaths. These five sheaths are: 
    1.  Annamaye Kosh or food sheath 
    2. Pranamaye Kosh or vital-air sheath 
    3. Manomayh Kosh or mental sheath 
    4. Viganamayh Kosh or intellectual sheath 
    5. Anandamaya Kosh or bliss sheath 
1. Annamaye Kosh or food sheath : 
  • As the name itself suggests, the first level to take into consideration is the physical body that subsists on gross food and drink. That includes the body and its physiological processes, as viewed from a Western perspective. From the Indian perspective, the human anatomy is viewed via the ayurvedic tridoshas. These describe both the overall body type of the individual as well as its current condition. 
  •  The physical body is called the food sheath. As the name implies, the physical structure arises out of food, exists in food, after death goes back to become food for other living organisms. This sheath consists of the five organs of perception and five organs of action. 
  •  How the Annamaya Kosha is Affected:  
    • The physical body has been bestowed with, besides other things, the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems to cope with stress situations. Roughly translated into Western terminology this refers to the glandular system in our bodies. In any emergency situation, the sympathetic system is automatically activated, ensuring a quick and spontaneous flow of essential fluids to cope with the situation. When the stress response is engaged normally and healthily, the body adapts to stress situations with a steadily elevated blood pressure. 
    •  Subsequently, it is the duty of the parasympathetic system to pull the sympathetic back to its original state. Unfortunately, down the years, and particularly in modern days, the frequency and intensity of stress situations have grown so much that the organs involved are subject to abnormal pressures. The parasympathetic system, after a while, can no longer bring its sympathetic counterpart back to normal and hence a failure in the endocrine and other vital systems of the body, leading to such psychosomatic syndromes as asthma, chronic constipation, blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc eventually resulting, in heart disease even. 
2. Pranamaye Kosh or vital-air sheath: 

  • The human being is an intricate network of energy, creativity and intelligence. Hence the need for a proper flow of energy to maintain good health. The Pranic or Energy Sheath, contains all the prana vayus (breaths of energy) in the system, the energy channels or nadis and the chakras or energy centers. Hence it is also called the "vital sheath" or "vital body". Prana, the vital breath which man lives by, is the bridge between the gross and subtle bodies as well as between the other koshas. Amending one’s breathing patterns through pranayama, helps enhance the flow of energy in the right direction.
  •  The vital-air sheath represents the internal physiological functions of the body. This sheath consists of five faculties: 
      1. Prana or perception, 
      2. Apana or excretion, 
      3. Samana or digestion, 
      4. Vyana or circulation, and 
      5. Udana or thinking. This sheat controls and regulates the food sheath. With age, all five faculties become weaker. 
  • How the Pranamaye Kosh is Affected 
    • The spasmodic dilations and contractions in the organs, veins and arteries of the physical body are a direct reflex response to cope with changing situations. This is what is happening in the energy body as well. In stress situations, the breath becomes short and rapid and, subsequently, the flow of energy is restricted. Over time, the breath becomes stifled, one starts to suffer from palpitation and shortness of the breath. Without being really aware of what’s happening, there is a rapid contraction and expansion in the entire energetic sheath. While, this may be helpful in emergencies, imagine what it will do to the system in the long run. Result, psychosomatic diseases like asthma. 
 3. Manomayh Kosh or mental sheath 
  • The third is the Mental or, here understood as the psycho-emotional sheath. It is the abode of all the dominant emotional and thought patterns that comprise one’s personality. Our feelings, stimuli and responses to situations, thoughts and actions spring from this sheath. The strength or weakness of this sheath decides whether a person is emotional or unemotional, easily or uneasily moved, gross or sensitive. Mental sheath controls and regulates the food sheath and the vital-air sheath. The mind is always in the state of flux. It is the source of emotions and feelings. 
  •  How the Manomayh Kosh is Affected 
    • Actually, it happens both ways and here there’s no telling which came first, the chicken or the egg. Emotional upsets and disturbances send out stimuli to the other sheaths. Subsequently, dilations and contractions in the Annamaya and Pranamaya Koshas happen. But, in actual fact they start at the mental level. Over time it becomes a chronic syndrome. Love, hate, resentment, ambition, competition and hostility are only some of the characterizations. 
    •  While in genuine situations, these emotions may be considered healthy response and create the necessary backups and reinforcements for survival, what happens when they become chronic and repetitive are translated into states of anguish, anxiety and depression. Subsequently, they perpetuate the physical stress response and man falls into the vicious cycle of coping with habitual stress. Extricating oneself from this is a trying and, sometimes, impossible process. 
 4. Viganamayh Kosh or intellectual sheath 
  • Then comes the fourth sheath, again the Mental, but here referred to as the Intellectual sheath. Whereas at the third level, the mind functions as a stimulus/response mechanism, in the fourth sheath, one is able to understand and discern. Further, personal understanding permits us to look beyond personal roles and perceive the larger picture. This is the level of cognition, conditioning or de-conditioning of one’s core beliefs, the most deeply rooted of which is the ‘I’ concept. In Sanskrit this is referred to as the ‘aham’, from which springs the word ‘ahamkara’. Little wonder then that this is the seat of the ego. The mental sheath is controlled by the intellectual sheath, which is the seat of judgment, decision, and directed thinking. How the Viganamayh Kosh is Affected This is best illustrated in the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2, verses 62 and 63: Man first contemplates on an object of desire. That develops in the mind attachment to it. From this attachment springs desire. Failure to satisfy desire leads to frustration. From frustration comes anger, leading to delusion. Continuous delusion results in loss of memory, resulting in destruction in the intellect. When the intellect is destroyed, everything is lost. 
 5. Anandamaya Kosh or bliss sheath 
  • The fifth level is least easily understood, but for reasons of explanation to the lay public is referred to as the sheath of bliss. Here the minds is said to rest in its intrinsic, natural state of bliss and ease. This is of vital understanding in relation healing since it refers to one’s health as essential nature, devoid of ‘chitta-vrittis’ or confusions and distraction The bliss sheath is the innermost or subtlest of the five sheaths, which regulates the intellectual sheath. It consists of Vasanas (innate tendencies or undogested desires) before they become manifest into thoughts and actions. 
  •  How the Anandamaya Kosh is Affected 
    • The above situation is precisely what prevents man from reaching his natural state of bliss. A constant state of being opposed to bliss is frustration, anger, disappointment and their attendant psycho-physiological strains, resulting in afflictions of the mind-body syndrome.
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Classification of Yoga

Yoga is as old as the universe. It is based on the very nature of mind. On this planet it has been known from antiquity. Maharishi Patanjali formulated the classic Yoga Teachings in 196 sutras several centuries Before Christ. Yoga works on the level of one's body, mind, emotion and energy. This has  given rise to four broad classifications of Yoga:
  1. Karma Yoga: 
    • Karma Yoga is a path of devotion to the work. One looses his identity while working, only selfless work remains. This state is very difficult to achieve. Generally some rewards or incentives or outcome follows the work and one is attached to this reward or incentive. This is not the Karma Yoga. Non-attachment with the work and becoming the perfect instrument of the super consciousness in this manifested universe is the ultimate aim of Karma Yoga.
    • In the initial stages of Karma Yoga, individual possesses strong sense of ego and consciously or unconsciously he is attached to the fruits of his efforts or at least praise or recognition but by continuous involvement in the work and change in mental attitude, one can surely disassociate himself from the ego and his own personality. In this state the work becomes worship to the God, it becomes spiritual, also the individual becomes expert, skilled and Yogi. He achieves stability of mind in all conditions, he is not disturbed or excited or happy in any of the situations. He becomes divine & his actions represent God's will.
    • The essence of Karma Yoga as extracted from 'Bhagvad Gita' says: The world confined in its own activity except when actions are performed as worship of God. Therefore one must perform every action sacramentally and be free of your attachments to the results.
  2. Jnana Yoga: 
    • Jnana Yoga is the process of converting intellectual knowledge into practical wisdom. It is a discovery of human dharma in relation to nature and the universe. Jnana Yoga is described by tradition as a means to obtain the highest meditative state and inner knowledge.
    • Jnana literally means 'knowledge', but in the context of yoga it means the process of meditative awareness which leads to illuminative wisdom. It is not a method by which we try to find rational answers to eternal questions, rather it is a part of meditation leading to self-enquiry and self-realisation.
    • Some of the components of Jnana Yoga are :
      1. Not believing but realising.
      2. Self-awareness leading to self-analysis.
      3. Experiencing knowledge.
      4. Realising the personal nature.
      5. Developing intuitive wisdom.
      6. Experiencing inner unity
  3. Bhakti Yoga: 
    • Bhakti is a Yoga of devotion or complete faith. This faith is generally in the God or supreme consciousness in any of the forms. It may be Lord Rama, Krishna, Christ, Mohammed, Buddha etc. It may be a Guru for his disciples.
    • Important thing is the person interested in following this path should have very strong emotional bond with the object of faith. The flow of emotional energy is directed to this object. Mostly people suppress their emotions and that often reflects in the form of physical and mental disorders. This Bhakti Yoga releases those suppressed emotions and brings the purification of inner self.
    • Continuous meditation of God or object of faith gradually decrease the ego of the practitioner, which further prevents new distractions, fickleness or even pain and induces strong bonds of love. Slowly the practitioner looses the self identity and becomes one with the object of faith, this is a state of self realization.
  4. Kriya Yoga: 
    • The word kriya means 'activity' or 'movement' and refers to the activity or movement of consciousness. Kriya also refers to a type of practical or preliminary practice leading to total union, the final result of practice. Kriya Yoga does not curb mental fluctuations but purposely creates activity and awakening in consciousness. In this way all faculties are harmonised and flower into their fullest potential.
    • Kriya Yoga originated in antiquity and evolved over time through practise and experience. The full form of Kriya Yoga consists of over 70 kriyas out of which only 20 or so are commonly known.
    • The kriya practices are incribed in numerous tantric texts written in Sanskrit. To date only a few of these have been translated into other languages. The most authoritative magna opus on the subject of Kriya.
    • The practices of Kriya Yoga were propagated by Swami Satyananda Saraswati from secret teachings described in the Yoga and Tantra Shastras. The kriyas, as taught by Satyananda Yoga?, are one of only two systems of Kriya Yoga recognized the world over, the other being that of Paramahamsa Yogananda.

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Yoga Styles

Yoga is an ancient Indian philosophy and way of life, where complete harmony between our body and mind is achieved by special exercise (Asanas), breathing (Pranayama) and meditation.
There are a lot of Yoga Types recognized up until today. Most popular styles of Yoga practiced over the world are listed below. Each has characteristics and style.
  1. Anusara Yoga : This Yoga type emphasise to be aware with your alignment and the inner energy as the gift from the nature. Every practice is usually begins with an invocation. The practice of this yoga can be gentle or vigorous  but both have a friendly atmosphere. 
  2. Ashtanga Yoga:  All the poses are done quite fast in a sequence combined with the breathing techniques. A lot of stamina is needed since the practising it is very challenging but the good news is you can practice to build up your strength. 
  3. Bikram / Hot Yoga : From the name, it is clear that  yoga exercise is done  in a hot room with temperature around 106 degrees and 40 % humidity. Usually  sequences of 26 yoga poses are done. The hot temperature will help you to stretch your muscle easily and cleanse toxic from your body by sweating a lot which is believed as the output of the toxic. 
  4. Hatha Yoga : It is one of the well-known yoga types that can easily found in many yoga centers. This is the most recommended yoga type for beginners since all the yoga poses are done gently. It is also believed as the center of all derivation of yoga styles. 
  5. Integral Yoga :  If you have physical abilities, this class is suitable with you as you will do the gentle movements. Besides, the class has a combination of chanting, mantra, pranayama, meditation, and relaxation which is good for those who are looking for spiritual practice.
  6. Iyengar Yoga : This class focuses on by concerning the alignment of your body when doing yoga poses since it is believed can heal the physical ailments. Therefore, you will get a detailed instruction in each pose. Moreover, you have to hold your poses for a bit longer time but don’t worry since you may use some of yoga props such as blocks, belts, or straps which is the typical of this yoga type. 
  7. Jivamukti Yoga : This style of yoga combines asanas with spiritual practice such as mantras, chanting, and also meditation. Moreover, the yogis are expected to apply the spiritual comprehension in their daily life for example being vegetarians. 
  8. Kripalu Yoga : Basically, kripalu yoga class has the same character with integral yoga’s. It is intended for people with physical limitation or those who are looking for deep serenity since the concept is all about meditation even in motion. 
  9. Kundalini Yoga : You will do kriyas or sequences in a repetition even for a simple movement such as waving the arms. Moreover, the class is also consisting of chanting or mantras. The class can be vigorous to push your comfort limits.
  10. Power Yoga : If you have advanced your yoga level, so why don’t you try this style of yoga which is a derivation of ashtanga yoga. The class is very intense by doing some advanced poses and you should hold it for long duration. 
  11. Sivananda Yoga : The class focuses more on sun salutation sequence as it has 12 basic yoga poses and also the intense pranayama. Besides, the class usually has a bit longer time for 2 hours and is ended by doing mantra meditation. You will hear the use of Sanskrit name all the way through in the class. 
  12. Vini Yoga ;  If you are looking for private practice to solve your health problem, find the vini yoga class or instructor. The practice is usually done in gentle. You will also be taught to focus on the process of your self-discovery or transformation. 
  13. Vinyasa Yoga :  I suggest you to try this yoga type if you have practiced yoga for 2-3 month regularly since the class has a fast paced movements controlled with the breath. 

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Seven Sukshma Vyayayam (Light Exercises) during Pranayama

Sukshma Vyayaym are light exercises which can be practised between pranayams and can also be practised independentally for providing energy, vitality and maintaining a healthy body. Sukshma Vyayayam is basically subtle yogic warm ups with gentle stretching and coordinated breathing that results in deep relaxation. This readies you for a more dynamic sequence of pranayama, asanas and other physical exercises.

Need for Suksham Vayaam

  1. Stiff muscles that are subjected to sudden elongation during exercise or sports can more easily become torn or strained.
  2. Tightness in muscles can cause pain elsewhere in the body. Tight calves, for example, can cause knee pain, shin splints and foot pain. Tense muscles at various points in the lower back can cause pain to radiate throughout the entire torso.
  3. Lack of flexibility can cause muscular imbalances. A tight hamstring, for example, can make the thighs work harder at keeping the body properly aligned, which may cause knee pain. Beyond that, feeling stiff makes you slow down, move more carefully, act more tentatively—it''s the first way a young man starts to feel like an old one.

Swami Ramdev advocates the following Sukshma Vayama:

All sitting Aasans are started from Dandasan posture. Stretch both legs straight and keep them joined together. The palms of both hands should be touching the ground firmly on both sides of the waist. Fingers should be pointing backwards. Keep waist and hands straight

Sukshma Vayama-1 : Stretching  and Rotating Feet :

Suksham Vayama-1
Steps: Sit on the floor with legs straight on front side. Keep your hands on the floor little behind your body. Relax on your hands . Stretch your feet towards your body and away from body.Do this 4 – 5 times.
Make a circle with your foot clockwise and then anticlockwise. Do this 4 – 5 times.
Benefits :   Stretching and rotating feet brings flexibility in the foot joints and muscles of legs. It helps in reducing extra weights from legs.

Sukshma Vayama-2 : 

Butterfly : Sukshma Vayama-2 Steps:  This is very common and very beneficial light exercise. Sit with both legs folded in such a way so that both foot face and touch each other. Now lift and release your knees like a butterfly wings. This can be done for 2 to 3 minutes.
Benefits :  Butterfly exercise is beneficial for hip joint, Knee joints, lower body and lower area of spine. It helps in reducing weight from waist and hips.

Sukshma Vayama-3 : Rotating Fists :

Sukshma Vayama-3 Steps:  Sit comfortably and bring your hands straight in front.  Hold your thumb in fist and touch both fists together. Rotate clockwise then anticlockwise. This can be done 10 times each.
Benefits :  Beneficial for joints in fingers, palms and wrist. Reduces weights from hands.

Rotating Hand round Shoulders :

Sukshma Vayama-34 Steps:  Sit comfortably and touch your fingers on shoulders Inhale and form a big circle by rotating your hands around shoulders clockwise and anticlockwise. Can be done 5-10 times.
Benefits :  Beneficial for joints in elbow, shoulders, collar bone and neck. Reduces weights from shoulders and neck. You will never get exhausted, makes you fresh in seconds. Reduces pain in shoulders, neck.

Sukshma Vayama-5 : Pulling Hand behind Head :

Sukshma Vayama-5
Steps:  Hold both your hands with each other behind your head. Alternatively pull one hand with the other towards one side of body. Do this for 1-2 minutes.
Benefits :  Reduces fatigue. Beneficial all joints in hand, neck and shoulders.

Sukshma Vayama-6 :  Pushing Hands and Head against each other :

Sukshma Vayama-6 Steps:  Interlock your fingers of both hands. Bring them back of your head with front of palms touching head at backside. Push hands and head against each other. Push gently first then try increasing the pressure. Do this 3-5 times. Small vibration will occur.
Now push left hand on the left side of head. Push gently first then try increasing the pressure. Do this 3-5 times. Now push right hand on the right side of head. Push gently first then try increasing the pressure. Do this 3-5 times.
Benefits :  Highly beneficial for neck joints in spine.

Sukshma Vayama-7 : Rotating Shoulders :

Sukshma Vayama-7 Steps:  Sit straight in Sukhasana. Keep both hands on knees.  Rotate shoulders clockwise and opposite. Repeat this exercise 5-10 times.
Benefits :  it straight in sukhasan, both hands on knees Rotate shoulders clockwise and opposite. This can be don 5-10 times.

Benefits of Sukshama Vyayayam /Subtle Yoga

In Sukshma Yoga the whole body, from head to toe, is treated, relaxed and rejuvenated. External and internal body parts undergo deep transformation in this type of Yoga. These are scientific exercises that not only make us strong and supple, but also help remove impurities from the body and improve the memory, concentration and will-power. Regular practice of this type of Yoga ensures a long healthy life. Sukshma Yoga may be practiced independently or as part of a larger Yoga plan. People of every age can practice and receive the benefits of these exercises that can be comfortably practiced within 20-30 minutes. It includes easy exercises for the eyes, tongue and jaws, neck, hands, feet, knees, ankles and hips.

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Seven Asanas to be performed during Swami Ramdev's Pranayama

Asanas' in Sanskrit means posture. There are around 84 asanas - each one has a special name, special form and a distinct way of performing.ń Asanas are designed to promote, a state of mental and physical well-being or good health. This may be defined as the condition that is experienced when all the organs function effectively under the intelligent control of the mind. Asanas have an extraordinary capacity to overhaul, rejuvenate and bring the entire system into a state of balance. Swami Ramdev has advocated the follwing seven Aasans to be performed with Pranayama for maximum benefit.

A) Aasans to be performed in sitting posture

:
  1. Mandukasana :
    Sitting in Vajrasana pose, place the left palm on the right palm and keeping them on the navel and press the stomach inwards and while exhaling bend forwards like Mandukasana. Repeat this position 3 to 4 times.
  2. Shashankasana : Sit in Vajrasana. Inhale and raise your arms above your head. Exhaling bend forward from your waist and keep your palms on the floor. Your abdomen must be pressing against the thighs and your buttocks must be resting on your heels.

B) Aasans to be performed in lie down on back posture :

  1. Markatasana : Lie down straight and spread the hands at the shoulders level. The palms should open towards the sky. Then fold both the legs up to the knees and keep them near the hips. Now turning the knees toward rihgt side, rest the right knee on the ground. Left knee should rest o the right knee and the left ankle should rest on the right ankle. Turn the neck to the left side.
  2. Pavanmuktasana :  Lie flat on the back in the shava-asana. Inhale and bend the right knee and pull it close to the torso with both hands while interlocking the fingers just below the knee. Keep the left leg flat on the floor. Hold the inhaled breath for a few seconds then exhale slowly through the nostrils and lift the back, shoulders and head off the floor and touch the knee with the forehead.

C) Aasans to be performed in lie down on belly posture :

  1. Shalbhasana : Lie on the ground with the face downwards and both hands under the chest touching the ground with the palms of the hands and both legs raised in the air ten inches high. Regular practice of the pose can get rid of a bulging tummy. Edema of ankles and feet can be treated with Shalabahsana.

  2. Makarasana :  Lie prone, the chest should touch the ground and both the legs stretched out. Hold the head with both the arms. This is Makarasana that increases the heat of the body.
     
  3. Bhujangasana  : Take prone lying position, legs together, toes together, pointing outward, hands by the side of the body, fingers together palm facing upward and forehead resting on the Read More...

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Yoga and Food Classification

Practicing Yoga Asanas enriches the consciousness makes  one alert, aware and active. It really creates wonder and rejuvenate the life when  complemented with the healthy food habits. In fact, eating the right food is an essential part of living a Yogic life.
What we eat, not only influences our physical well being, but also our emotions and thoughts. Yoga, does not dissect food into proteins, carbohydrates or fats, instead it classifies them according to the effect they have on the body and mind, into three types :
  1. SATVIC FOOD
    • Sattvic foods are those which purify the body and calm the mind. Cooked food that is consumed within 3-4 hours can be considered sattvic. Examples - Fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, grains, fresh milk , certain spices
  2. RAJASIC FOOD
    • They stimulate the body and mind into action. In excess, these foods can cause hyperactivity, restlessness, anger, irritability, and sleeplessness.Overly tasty foods are Rajasic. Examples – Spicy food, onion, garlic, tea, coffee, fried food
  3. TAMASIC FOOD
    • Tamasic food are those which dull the mind and bring about inertia, confusion and disorientation. Stale or reheated food, oily or heavy food and food containing artificial preservatives fall under this category. Example – Non vegetarian diet, stale food, excessive intake of fats, oil, sugary food
Not just the right kind of food, it is vital to eat the proper quantity of food at the right time. Overindulging leads to lethargy while under eating will not provide enough nourishment.
Yoga Diet – Foods to Eat

Yogic Diet : Food Pyramid
  1. All vegetables, particularly the green, leafy ones.
  2. Fresh, sweet fruits of all types, preferably taken whole.
  3. Butter, ghee (clarified butter) and all good natural plant-based oils like sesame, olive and sunflower.
  4. Dairy products such as milk, ghee, yogurt and cottage cheese from dairy animals that have been treated well.
  5. Moderately roasted or salted nuts and seeds such as almonds, coconuts, walnuts, pecans and sesame.
  6. Ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, cumin, coriander, turmeric, mint, basil, fenugreek and other such sweet spices.
  7. Herbal teas, natural water and fresh juices, particularly of the lemony kind.
  8. Pulses and lentils.
  9. Whole grains like rice, wheat and oats.
  10. Natural sugars such as jaggery, honey, maple syrup and molasses.
Yoga Diet – Foods to Avoid:
  1. Alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee and all stimulants.
  2. Artificial beverages.
  3. Artificial sweeteners.
  4. Artificial, processed and junk foods.
  5. Canned foods, except naturally canned fruits, vegetables and tomatoes.
  6. Factory farm dairy products.
  7. Fried foods
  8. Meat, fish and eggs.
  9. Microwaved and irradiated food.
  10. Genetically engineered foods.
  11. Old, stale, over and reheated food.
  12. Over-spiced food.
  13. White sugar and white flour.
  14. Animal fats, margarine and poor quality oils.

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International Yoga Day : 21 June

United Nations has declared 21st June as the International Yoga Day. It recognised that Yoga "provides a holistic approach to health and well-being" and that wider the dissemination of information about benefits of practising Yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice which integrates the body and the mind.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27, called for declaring  21 June as  International Day of Yoga.  He said 
"Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness within yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day."
This will provide a plateform to people of all age groups who want to experience the meditativeness and expand their perception of life from individuality to universality.
Yoga, an age old practice having its origin over 6000 years ago in India that has grown exponentially in recent times and is enjoying all over the world. Yoga is taught in many schools as well as individuals or groups in different parts of the world today.  It is not a religion. It is a vast science of spirituality. The aim of yoga is to be a good human being and to be happy in life. So it is for everybody because everybody wants to be happy.
Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of body, mind, thought and work of life. It also restraints the fulfillment and harmony between the nature and human being. It is a holistic approach to health as well as well-being. It is not only exercise, but also uncover the sense of oneness within yourself, the nature and the world. It is good for changing our lifestyle and creating our consciousness. It can help us in many ways.
Activity Schedule for First International Yoga Day :
Date : 21 June 2015 ;  Time period- 35 min.
  • Part 1 (2 min)  : श्लोक
               "संगच्छध्वम संवद्यध्वम, संवो मनासी जानताम् ।
                देवाभागम् यथा पूर्वे, संजानाना उपासते ।।"
  • Part 2 (3 min) : Warming up (For relextion)
    • Neck rotation
    • Shoulder rotation
    • Hip rotation
    • Knee rotation etc...
  • Part 3 (15 min) :  Yoga Asana
    • A) Yogasan in standing position
      1. Tadasan ; ताड़ासन
      2. Vrukshasan ; वृक्षासन
      3. Pad Hastsan ; पादहस्तासन
      4. Ardhchakrasan ; अर्धचक्रासन
      5. Trikonasan ; त्रिकोणासन
    • B) Yogasan in seating position
      1. Bhadrasan;  भद्रासन
      2. Shashankasan;  शशांकासन
      3. Ardh ushtrasan;  अर्धउष्ट्रासन
      4. Vkrasan;  वक्रासन
    • C) Yogasan in sleeping position (on stomach)
      1. Bhujangasan;  भुजंगासन
      2. Shalbhasan;  शलभासन
      3. Makrasan;  मकरासन
    • D) Yogasan in sleeping position
      1. Setu bandh sarvangasan;  सेतुबंध सर्वांगसन
      2. Pawan muktasan;  पवन मुक्तासन
      3. Shwasan;  शवासन
  • Part 4 (2 min) : Kapalbhati;  कपालभाति  
    • Kapal Bhati Pranayama (10-12 strocks in 3 round)
  • Part 5 (5 min) :  Pranayaam ; प्राणायाम
    1. Nadishodhan;  नाडीशोधन  (5 round)
    2. Bhramari Pranayaam;  भ्रामरी प्राणायाम  (5 round)
  • Part 6 (6 min): Meditation in Shambvi Mudra
    • Sit in any kind of Dhyan mudra ; (शांभवी मुद्रा, आँखे बंद और हाथों  की ज्ञान मुद्रा ।)
    • At the time of Meditation play melodies background music.
  • Part 7 (2 min) : संकल्प
I commit, to make myself into a healthy, peaceful, joyful and loving human being. Through every action of mine, I will strive to create a peaceful and loving atmosphere around me. I strive to break the limitations of who I am right now and include the entire world as my own. I recognize the kinship of my own life with every other life. I recognize the unity of all there is.
मैं एक स्वस्थ, शांतिपूर्ण, खुशहाल और अनुरागशील इंसान बनने के लिए प्रतिबद्ध हूँ ।  मै अपने प्रत्येक कार्य  के माध्यम से अपने परिवेश में  एक शांतिपूर्ण और प्यार भरा माहौल बनाने का प्रयास करूँगा । मुझे लगता है मैं अभी कौन  हूँ इस बारे अपनी सोच सीमाओं को पार करते  हुए पुरे विश्व को अपने  में शामिल करने के लिए प्रयासरत रहूँगा।   मैं  औरों के जीवन को अपने जीवन से सम्बंधता पहचानता हूँ।  मैं सभी की एकता को पहचानता हूँ।

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What is Pranayama ?

Pranayama is the conscious and deliberate control and regulation of the breath (Prana means breath, ayam means to control, to regulate). With each breath we absorb not only oxygen, but also Prana. Prana is cosmic energy, the power in the Universe that creates, preserves and changes. It is the basic element of life and consciousness.

What is Pranayama : 
  • It is the art of breath manipulation and energy balance. Pranayama involves breathing techniques practiced thousands of different ways.
  • Breath is a physical aspect or external manifestation of prana, the vital force, and thus pranayama begins with the regulation of the breath. 
  • Breath, like electricity, is gross prana, while prana itself is subtle. By controlling the breath you can control the prana – just as you can control the other wheels by controlling or stopping the fly wheel of a diesel engine, and just as you can control the hairspring, cog wheels and the main spring of a watch by controlling the minute hand. 
  • Control of breath is achieved through manipulation of the lungs and the breathing process.
  • Pranayama is the perfect control of the life-currents through control of breath, and is the process by which we understand the secret of prana and manipulate it. You can hardly make any spiritual progress without the practice of pranayama. One who has grasped this prana has grasped the very core of cosmic life and activity. Through various exercises and training in pranayama the yogi tries to realize in this little body the whole of cosmic life, and attain perfection.

Effects of Pranayamas

Physical Effects
  1. Preservation of the body’s health
  2. Purification of the blood
  3. Improvement in the absorption of oxygen
  4. Strengthening the lungs and heart
  5. Regulation of blood pressure
  6. Regulation of the nervous system
  7. Supporting the healing process and healing therapies
  8. Increasing resistance to infection
Mental Effects
  1. Elimination of stress, nervousness and depression
  2. Quietening of thoughts and emotions
  3. Inner balance
  4. Release of energy blockages
  5. Spiritual Effects
  6. Deepening of meditation
  7. Awakening and purification of the Chakras (energy centres)
  8. Expansion of consciousness

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Common Yoga Protocol

1. PRAYER


Yogic Practice shall start with a prayer or prayerful mood to enhance the benefits of practice.
ॐ  संगछध्वं संवदध्वं
सं  वो मनासिं जानताम् 
देवा भागं यथा पूर्वे 
सञ्जानाना  उपासते।।
ॐ  samgacchadvam samvadadhvam
sam vo manamsi janatam
deva bhagam yatha purve
sanjanana upasate।।
May you move in harmony; may you speak in unison; let our mind be equanimous like in the beginning; let the divinity manifest in your sacred endeavours.

2. SADILAJA / CALANA  KRIYAS / LOOSENING PRACTICES


The Calana Kriyas/ loosening practices/ Yogic Suksma Vyayamas help to increase microcirculation. These practices can be done while standing and sitting.
I. NECK BENDING
  • Sthiti:  Samasthiti (Alert Posture)
  • Technique
    • Stage - i : (Forward and Backward Bending)
      • Stand with the feet comfortably apart.
      •  Keep the hands straight beside the body.
      • This is Samasthiti. This is also called Tadasana
      • Keep your arms on the waist.
      • While exhaling, move the head forward slowly and try to touch the chin to the chest.
      • While inhaling, move the head as far back as is comfortable.
      • This is one round: repeat 2 rounds.
    • Stage - ii : (Right and Left bending)
      • While exhaling, bend the head slowly to the right; bring the ear as close as possible to the shoulder without raising the shoulder.
      • While inhaling, bring the head to normal position.
      • Similarly, while exhaling, bend the head to the left side.
      • Inhale and bring the head up to normal position.
      • This is one round: repeat 2 rounds.
    • Stage - iii : (Right and Left Twisting)
      • Keep the head upright.
      • While exhaling, gently turn the head to the right so that the chin is in line with the shoulder.
      • While inhaling, bring the head to the normal position.
      •  Similarly, while exhaling, turn the head to the left.
      •  Inhale and bring the head to the normal position.
      • This is one round: repeat 2 rounds.
    • Stage - iv : Neck Rotation
      • Exhale; bend the head forward trying to touch the chin to the chest.
      • Inhale; slowly rotate the head clockwise in a circular motion, exhale while coming down
      • Do a full rotation.
      • Then rotate the head in anti-clockwise direction.
      •  Inhale; go back and exhale, come down. 
      • This is one round: repeat 2 rounds.
  • Note:
  •  Move the head as far as possible. Do not over strain.
  •  Keep the shoulders relaxed and steady.
  •  Feel the stretch around the neck and loosening up of the joints and muscles of the neck. 
  •  Can be practiced sitting in a chair. 
  •  People with neck pain can do the practice gently especially when taking the head back to the extent it is comfortable. 
  •  Elderly people and persons with cervical spondylitis, high blood pressure may avoid these practices.
II.  TRUNK MOVEMENT
Trunk Twisting (Katishakti Vikasak)
  •            Sthiti: Samasthiti (Alert Posture)
  •            Technique
      •  Keep the legs about 2-3 feet apart.
      • Rise both the arms up to chest level
      • with palms facing each other and keep them parallel. 
      • While exhaling twist the body towards the left side so that the right palm touches the left shoulder, come back with inhalation.
      • While exhaling twist the body towards the right side so that the left palm touches the right shoulder, come back with inhalation.
      • This is one round: repeat two more times. 
      • Relax in Samasthiti.
  • Note:
    •  Do slowly with breathing. 
    • Cardiac patients shall do with care.
    •  Avoid this practice in case of severe back pain, vertebral and disc disorders, after abdominal surgery and during menstruation.
III.  KNEE MOVEMENT
  •      Sthiti: Sama Sthiti (Alert Posture)
  •      Technique
    •  Inhale, lift your arms up at the shoulder level, palms facing downwards. 
    • Exhale, bend the knees and bring down your body to the squatting position. 
    • In the final position both the arms and thighs should be parallel to the ground. 
    • Inhale, and straighten the body. 
    • Exhale while bringing down the hands. 
    • Repeat two more times.
  • Note:
    •  Strengthen knees' and hips' joint.
    •  Avoid this asana in case of acute conditions of arthritics.
3.  YOGASANAS

A. STANDING POSTURES
(1).   TADASANA (Palm Tree Posture)
Tada means lm tree or mountain. This asana teaches one to attain stability and firmness and
forms the base for all the standing asana.
  • Technique
      1. Stand with feet 2 inches apart.
      2. Interlock the fingers, and turn the wrist outwards. Now inhale, raise the arms up and bring them in line with the shoulders. 
      3. Raise the heels off the floor and balance on the toes. Stay in this position for 10 -15 seconds.
      4. Exhale, bring the heels down.
      5. Release the interlock of the fingers and bring the arms down parallel to the trunk, and come back to standing posture.
  • Benefits
    • This asana brings stability in the body, helps to clear up congestion of the spinal nerves, corrects faulty posture.
    • Helps to increase height up to a certain age.
A word of caution
  • Avoid lifting the toes in case of acute cardiac problems varicose veins and vertigo.
(2).  VRKSASANA (The Tree Posture)
Vrḳsa means tree. The final position of this asana resembles the shape of a tree, hence the name.
  • Technique
    • Stand with feet 2 inches apart.
    • Focus on a point in front.
    • Exhale, bend the right leg and place the foot on the inside of the left thigh. The heel should be touching the perineum.
    • Inhale and extend the arms up and join the palms.
    • Stay in the position for 10 to 30 seconds and breathe normally.
    • Exhale and bring the arms and right foot down.
    • Relax and repeat the asana by bending the left leg.
  • Benefits
    • Improves neuro-muscular coordination, balance, endurance and alertness.
    • It tones up the leg muscles and rejuvenates the ligaments also.
  • A word of caution
    •  Please avoid this practice in case of arthritis, vertigo and obesity.
(3).   PADA-HASTASANA (The Hands to Feet Posture)
Pada means feet, hasta means hands. Therefore, Pada Hastasana means taking the palms down towards the feet. This is also referred as Uttanasana.
  • Technique
    • Stand straight with feet 2 inches apart.
    •  Inhale slowly and raise the arms up.
    • Stretch up the body from the waist.
    • Exhale and bend forward until the trunk is parallel to the ground.
    • Exhale, and bend forward until the entire palm rests on the ground.
    • Maintain this final posture for 10-30 seconds.
    • Those who are having stiff back should bend according to their capacity.
    • Now inhale, come up slowly to the vertical position and stretch the arms above the head.
    • Exhale and slowly return to the starting position in reverse order.
    • Relax in Tadasana
  • Benefits
    • Makes the spine flexible, improves digestions, and prevents constipation and menstrual problems. 
  • A word of caution
    • Please avoid this practice in case of cardiac or back problems, abdominal inflammation, hernia and ulcers, high myopia, vertigo and during pregnancy.
    • Those with vertebral and disc disorders should also avoid  this practice.
(4).   ARDHA CHAKRASANA (The Half Wheel Posture)
Ardha means half  Chakra means wheel. In this posture, as the body takes the shape of a half wheel, hence it is called Ardha Chakarasan.
  • Technique
    • Support the back at the waist with all the fingers together pointing forward or downward.
    • Drop the head backwards and stretching the neck muscles.
    • As you inhale, bend backwards from the lumbar region; exhale and relax.
    • Stay here for 10-30 seconds with normal breathing.
    • Inhale and slowly come up.
  • Benefits
    • Ardha Chakarasan  makes the spine flexible and strengthens the spinal nerves.
    • Strengthens the neck muscles, and improves breathing capacity.
    • Helps in cervical spondylitis.
  • A word of caution
    • Avoid this posture in case of vertigo or a tendency to giddiness.
    • Hypertensive patients shall bend with care.
(5).   TRIKONASANA (The Triangle Posture)
Trikoṇa means triangle. Tri means three and kona is an angle. As the āsana resembles three arms triangles made by the trunk and the limbs, it has been named Trikoṇāsana.
  • Technique
    • Stand with your feet comfortably apart.
    • Slowly raise both the arms sideways till they are horizontal.
    •  Exhale, slowly bend to the right side and place the right hand just behind the right foot.
    • The left arm is straight up, in line with the right arm. 
    • Turn the left palm forward.
    •  Turn your head and gaze at the tip of the left middle finger.
    • Remain in the posture for 10-30 seconds with normal breathing.
    • As you inhale slowly come up.
    • Repeat for the left side.
  • Benefits
    • Prevents flat foot.
    • Strengthens calf, thigh and waist muscles.
    • Makes the spine flexible, improves lungs capacity.
  • A word of caution
    • Avoid this posture in case of slipped disc, sciatica, and after undergoing abdominal surgery.
    • Do not do beyond limits and overdo the lateral stretch.
    • If one cannot touch the feet, one can reach for the knees instead.
B. SITTING POSTURES
(1).   BHADRASANA (The Firm/ Auspicious Posture)
Bhadhra means firm or auspicious.
  • Sthiti: Long sitting posture (Visramasana)
  • Technique
    • Sit erect with the legs stretched out straight in the front.
    • Keep the hands beside the hips. This is Dandāsana.
    • Now put the soles of your feet together.
    • Exhale and clasp your hands together over your toes. Pull your heels as close as
    • possible up to perineum region.
    • If your thighs are not touching or are not close to the floor, place a soft cushion underneath the knees for support. This is the final position.
    • Stay here for some time
  • Benefits
    • Keeps the body firm and stabilize the mind.
    • Keeps the knees and hip joints healthy.
    •  Helps to relieve knee pain.
    • Acts on the abdominal organs and releases any tension in the abdomen.
    • Benefits women by relieving abdominal pain often experienced during menstruation.
  • A word of caution
    • Avoid this practice in case of severe arthritis and sciatica.
(2).   ARDHA USTRASANA (The Half Camel Posture)
Usṭra means camel. The final version of this asana resembles the hump of a camel. In this version, only the first stage (half) of the asana is being practiced.
  • Technique
    • Sit in Viṣramasana.
    • Come to Dandasana.
    • Fold your legs and sit on your heels.
    • Keep the thighs close and big toes touching.
    • Place the hands on the knees.
    • The head and back should be straight.
    • This is Vajrasana.
    • Stand on your knees.
    • Place the hands on the waist with fingers pointing downward.
    • Keep the elbows and shoulders parallel.
    • Bend the head back and stretch the neck muscles; inhale and bend the trunk backwards as much as possible. As you exhale, relax.
    • Keep the thighs perpendicular to the ground.
    • Remain in the posture for 10-30 seconds with normal breathing.
    • Return with inhalation; sit in Vajrasana. 
    • Relax in Visramasana
  • Note
    • If you can reach the heels, you can place your hands on them and bend backwards. This is called Ustrasana.
  • Benefits
    •  Relieves constipation and back pain.
    • Increases blood circulation to the head and cardiac region.
  • A word of caution
    • In case of hernia and abdominal injuries, arthritis, vertigo and pregnancy, please avoid doing this āsana.
(3).   SASANKASANA (The Hare Posture)
Sasanka means hare.
  • Sthiti: Vajrasana
  • Technique
    • Sit in Vajrāsana.
    • Spread both the knees wide apart, keep the big toes touching.
    • Keep the palms between the knees.
    • Exhale and slowly stretch them full length.
    • Bend forward and place the chin on the ground.
    • Keep the arms parallel.
    • Look in front and maintain the posture.
    • Inhale and come up.
    • Exhale and come back to Vajrāsan.
    • Stretch your legs back to Viṣrāmāsan
  • Benefits
    • It helps to reduce stress, anger etc
    • It tones up reproductive organs, relieves constipation, improves digestion and relieves back pain.
  • A word of caution
    • Please avoid this posture in case of acute backache.
    •  Patients with osteoarthritis of the knees should exercise with caution or avoid Vajrāsana.
(4).   VAKRASANA (The Spinal Twist Posture)
Vakra means twisted. In this asana, the spine is twisted which has a rejuvenating effect on its functioning.
  • Sthiti: Dandasana
  • Technique
    • Bend the right leg, and place the right foot beside the left knee.
    • As you exhale, twist the body to the right.
    • Bring the left arm around the right knee and clasp the right big toe or place the palm
    • beside right foot.
    • Take the right arm back and keep the palm on the ground with the back straight.
    • Remain in the posture for 10-30 seconds with normal breathing and relax.
    • Take out your hands with exhalation and relax
    • Repeat the same on the other side.
  • Benefits
    •  Increases flexibility of the spine.
    • Helps to overcome constipation, dyspepsia.
    • Stimulates pancreas and helps in the management of diabetes.
  • A word of caution
    • Please avoid this posture in case of severe back pain, vertebral and disc disorders, after abdominal surgery and during menstruation.
C. PRONE POSTURES
(1).   BHUJANGASANA (The Cobra Posture)
Bhujanga means snake or cobra. In this asana, the body is raised like hood of a snake.
  • Stithi: Prone posture or Makarāsana
  • Technique
    • Lie down on your stomach, rest you head on your hands and relax the body.
    • Now join your legs and stretch your arms.
    • Keep the forehead on the ground.
    • Now place your hands just beside the body; keep palms and elbows on the ground.
    • As you inhale slowly, lift the chin and chest come up to navel region.
    • Stay there comfortably.
    • This is called Sarala Bhujangasana.
    • Now come back and place your forehead on the ground. 
    • Keep your palms besides the chest where your elbows were and raise the elbows.
    •  Inhale; slowly lift the chin and chest up to navel region. 
  • This is Bhujangasana.
    • Exhale, rest your forehead on the ground and place your palms and rest your head on the palms and spread your legs and relax.
  • Note:
    • Keep the legs firm so that no load or strain is felt on the lumbar spine.
  • Benefits
    • This asana is best for stress management.
    • It reduces abdominal fat and alleviates constipation.
    •  It also helps to remove backache and bronchial problems.
  • A word of caution
    • Those who have undergone abdominal surgery should avoid this asana for 2-3 months.
    • Those who suffer from hernia, ulcers should not practice this asana.
(2).   SALABHASANA (The Locust Posture)
Salaba means a locust.
  • Sthiti: Prone posture; Makarasana
  • Technique
    •  
      Lie down on your stomach in Makarāsana.
    •  Rest the chin on the floor; keep both hands beside the body; palms facing upwards
    • Inhale, raise the legs off the floor as much as you can without bending the knees.
    • Extend the arms and legs well to ease the lift of the body off the floor.
    • Stay in this position for 10-20 seconds breathing normally.
    • Exhale, bring the legs down towards the floor.
    • Rest for a few seconds in Makarasana.
  • Note:
    • Pull up the knee caps and squeeze the buttocks to improve the posture. This āsana is more beneficial when performed after Bhujangasana
  • Benefits
    •  Helps in sciatica and lower backache.
    • Tones the hip muscles and those in the kidney region.
    • Reduces fat on the thighs and buttocks; good in weight management
    • Helps the abdominal organs aiding digestion
  • A word of caution
    • Cardiac patients should avoid this posture. Please proceed cautiously in case of sever lower back pain.
    • People with high blood pressure, peptic ulcers and hernia should also avoid this posture.
(3).   MAKARASANA (The Crocodile Posture)
In Sanskrit, Makara means crocodile. In this asana, the body resembles a crocodile.
  • Sthiti: Prone relaxation posture
  • Technique
    • Lie down on your stomach with the feet wide apart, feet pointing outward.
    • Bend both the arms and place the right hand on the left hand.
    • Place the forehead on your hands.
    • Keep the eyes closed. This is Makarasana.
    • This asana is practiced for relaxation in all prone postures.
  • Benefits
    • Promotes relaxation of the lower back.
    • Helps in recovery of back problems.
    • Indicated for all orthopedic ailments.
    • Indicated to counter stress and anxiety.
  • A word of caution
    • Avoid this practice in case of low blood pressure, severe cardiac problems and pregnancy.
D. SUPINE POSTURES
(1).   SETUBANDHASANA (The Bridge Posture)
Setubandha means formation of bridge. In this posture, the body is positioned like a bridge, hence the name. This is also called as Cạtusp̣ādāsana.
  • Sthiti: Supine lying; Savasana.
  • Technique
    • Bend both the legs at the knees and bring the heels near the
    • buttocks.
    • Hold both the ankles firmly; keep the knees and feet in one straight line.
    • Inhale; slowly raise your buttocks and trunk up as much as you can to form bridge.
    • Remain in this position for 10-30 seconds, with normal breathing.
    • Exhale, slowly return to the original position and relax in Savasana.
  • Note
    • In the final position, the shoulders and head remain in contact with the floor.
    • If required, in the final position, you can support your body at the waist with your hands.
  • Benefits
    • Relieves depression and anxiety. Strengthens lower back muscles.
    • Stretches abdominal organs, improves digestion and helps to relieve constipation.
  • A word of caution
    • People suffering from ulcers and hernia, and women in advanced stages of pregnancy should not practice this asana.
(2).   PAVANAMUKTASANA (The Wind Releasing Posture)
Pavan means wind and mukta means to release or to make free. As the name suggests, this asana is useful in removing wind or flatulence from the stomach and intestines.
  • Sthiti: Savāsana
  • Technique
    • Lie down flat on the back.
    • Bend both the knees and bring the thighs to the chest.
    • Interlock the fingers and clasp the shin below knees.
    • Exhale; rise the head till your chin touches the knees and relax.
    • This is Pavanamuktasana.
    • Bring the head back to the ground.
    • While exhaling, lower the legs to the floor.
    • Rest in Savasana
  • Note
    • Synchronise your breathing with the leg movement.
    • While touching the knee with the nose/ forehead, you should be able to feel the lumbar region stretch; keep the eyes closed and focus your attention on the lumbar region.
  • Benefits
    • Removes constipation; gives relief from flatulence, decreases the bloating sensation in the abdomen and aids digestion.
    • Offers deep internal pressure, massage and stretching of the highly complicated network of muscles, ligaments and tendons in the pelvis and waist region.
    • It tones up the back muscles and spinal nerves.
  • A word of caution
    • Please avoid this practice in case of abdominal injuries, hernia, sciatica or severe back pain and during pregnancy.
(3).   SAVASANA (The Dead Body Posture)
Sava means dead body. The final position in this asana resembles a dead body.
  • Sthiti: Supine Relaxation Posture
  • Technique
    •  
      Lie down on your back with arms and legs comfortably apart.
    • Palms facing upward; eyes closed.
    • Relax the whole body consciously.
    • Become aware of natural breath and allow it to become
    • rhythmic and slow.
    • Remain in the position till you feel refresh and relax.
  • Benefits
    • Helps to relieve all kinds of tensions and gives rest to both body and mind.
    • Relaxes the whole psycho-physiological system.
    • The mind, which is constantly attracted to the outer world, takes a U-turn and moves inwards, thus gradually getting absorbed; as the mind turns quiet and absorbed, the practitioner remains undisturbed by the external environment.
    • It is found very beneficial in the management of stress and its consequences.

4.  KAPALABHATI
  • Sthiti: Any meditative posture eg Suḳasana/ Padmasana/ Vajrasana
  • Technique
    • Sit in any meditative posture.
    • Close the eyes and relax the whole body.
    • Inhale deeply through both nostrils, expand the chest.
    • Expel the breath with forceful contractions of the abdominal muscles and relax.
    • Do not strain.
    • Continue active/forceful exhalation and passive inhalation.
    • Complete 30 rapid breaths, then take a deep breath and exhale slowly.
    • This is one round of Kapālabhati.
    • Each round shall be followed by deep breathing.
    • Repeat 2 more rounds.
  • Breathing: Forceful exhalation by contracting the abdominal muscles, without any undue movements in the chest and shoulder region. Inhalation should be passive throughout the practice.
  • Number of rounds: Beginners can practice up to 3 rounds of 20 breaths each. The count and rounds can be increased gradually over a period of time.
  • Benefits
    • Kapālabhāti purifies the frontal air sinuses; helps to overcome cough disorders.
    • It is useful in treating cold, rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma and bronchial infections.
    • It rejuvenates whole body, and keeps the face young and vibrant.
    • It balances and strengthens the nervous system and tones up the digestive system.
  • A word of caution
    • Please avoid this practice in case of cardiac conditions and giddiness, high blood pressure, vertigo, chronic bleeding in the nose, epilepsy, migraine, stroke, hernia and gastric ulcers.

    5.  PRANAYAMA
    (1).   NADISODHANA or ANULOMA VILOMA PRAṆAYAMA  
               (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
    The main characteristic feature of this prānạ̄ yāma is alternate breathing through the left and right nostrils without or with retention of breath (kumbhaka).
    • Sthiti: Any meditative posture.
    • Technique
      • Sit in any meditative posture.
      •  Keep the spine and head straight with eyes closed.
      • Relax the body with few deep breaths.
      • Keep the left palm on the left knee in Jnāna mudra.
      • The right hand should be in Nāsāgra mudra.
      • Place the ring and small fingers on the left nostril; fold the middle and index finger. Place the right thumb on the right nostril;
      • Breathe in from the left nostril; then close the left nostril with the small and ring fingers and release the thumb from the right nostril; exhale through the right nostril.
      • Next, inhale through the right nostril.
      • At the end of inhalation, close the right nostril, open the left nostril and exhale through it.
      • This complete process is one round of the Nadisodhana or Anuloma Viloma Prsnayama
      • Repeat 5 rounds.
    • Ratio and timing
      • For beginners, the duration of inhalation and exhalation should be equal.
      • Gradually make 1:2; inhalation: exhalation
    • Breathing
      • Breath should be slow, steady and controlled. It should not be forced or restricted in any way.
    • Benefits
      • The main purpose of this prānạ̄ yāma is to purify the principle channels of carrying energy called naid's; hence nourishes the whole body.
      • Induces tranquility and helps to improve concentration
      • Increases vitality and lowers the level of stress and anxiety
      • t elevates cough disorders.
       
(2).  BHRAMARI PRANAYAMA (BHRAMARI RECAKA)
Bhramari is derived from bhramara which means a black bee.
During the practice of this prānāyāma, the sound produced resembles the buzzing of a black bee.
  • Sthiti: Any meditative posture.
  • Techniques: Type - I
    • Sit in any meditative posture with eyes closed.
    • Inhale deeply through the nose.
    • Exhale slowly in a controlled manner while making a deep, steady humming sound such as that of black bee. This is one round of Bhrāmarī.
    • Repeat 5 rounds.
  • Type - II
    • Sit in any meditative posture with eyes closed.
    • Inhale deeply through the nose.
    • Close the eyes with index fingers, mouth with ring and small fingers and ears from respective thumbs as shown in the figure. This is also called Śanmukhi Mudra.
    • Exhale slowly in a controlled manner while making a deep, steady humming sound such as that of black bee. This is  one round of Bhrāmarī.
    • Repeat 5 rounds.
  • Benefits
    • The practice of Bhrāmarī relives stress and helps in alleviating anxiety, anger and hyperactivity.
    • The resonance effect of humming sound creates a soothing effect on the mind and nervous system.
    • It is a great tranquiliser; found good in the management of stress related disorders.
    • It is a useful preparatory prānāyāma for concentration and meditation.
  • A word of caution
    • Please avoid this practice in case of nose and ear infections.

6. DHYANA IN SAMBHAVI MUDRA
Dhyana or meditation is an act of continuous contemplation.
  •  Sthiti: Any meditative posture.
  • Technique
    • Sit in any meditative posture.
    • Keep your spine comfortably erect.
    • Hold Jnāna mudra as follows:
      • Touch the tip of the thumb to the tip of the index finger,
      • forming a circle.
      • The other three fingers are straight and relaxed.
      • All three fingers are side-by-side and touching.
      • Keep your palms facing upwardsupon the thighs.
      • Arms and shoulders should be loose and relaxed.
    • Close your eyes and sit with a slightly upturned face.
    • You need not concentrate. Just maintain a mild focus between the eyebrows and be
    • conscious of your breath.
    • Dissolve your thoughts and attain single and pure thought.
    • Meditate.
  • Note
    • For beginners, soothing music may be played in the background during meditation.
    • Stay as long as you can.
  • Benefits
    • Meditation is the most important component of Yoga practice.
    • It helps the practitioner to eliminate negative emotions like fear, anger, depression, anxiety and to develop positive emotions
    • Keeps the mind calm and quiet.
    • Increases concentration, memory, clarity of thought and will power.
    • Rejuvenates the whole body and mind giving them proper rest.
    • Meditation leads to self-realisation.

    7.  SANKALPA
      हमें  हमारे मन को हमेशा संतुलित रखना है,
      इसी में ही हमारा आत्मविकास समाया हुआ है। 
    Hame hamare man ko hamesha santulit rakhana hai, 
    Isi main hi hamara atma vikas samaya hua hai.

    SANKALPA :  (End the Yoga Practice Session with a Sankalpa)
    I commit, to make myself into a healthy, peaceful, joyful and loving human being. Through every action of mine, I will strive to create a peaceful and loving atmosphere around me. I strive to break the limitations of who I am right now and include the entire world as my own. I recognize the kinship of my own life with every other life. I recognize the unity of all there is.
    मैं एक स्वस्थ, शांतिपूर्ण, खुशहाल और अनुरागशील इंसान बनने के लिए प्रतिबद्ध हूँ ।  मै अपने प्रत्येक कार्य  के माध्यम से अपने परिवेश में  एक शांतिपूर्ण और प्यार भरा माहौल बनाने का प्रयास करूँगा । मुझे लगता है मैं अभी कौन  हूँ इस बारे अपनी सोच सीमाओं को पार करते  हुए पुरे विश्व को अपने  में शामिल करने के लिए प्रयासरत रहूँगा।   मैं  औरों के जीवन को अपने जीवन से सम्बंधता पहचानता हूँ।  मैं सभी की एकता को पहचानता हूँ। 

     8.  SANTIH PATH

    ॐ  सर्वे  भवन्तु सुखिन:, सर्वे सन्तु निरामय:।  
    सर्वे भद्राणि  पश्यन्तु , मा कश्चिदु: खबाग्भवेत्।  
    ॐ  शान्ति :शान्ति :शान्ति : ।।
    sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah,
    Sarve Ssantu Niramayah
    Sarve Bhadrani Pasyantu,
    Maa Kaschit Duhkha Bhagbhavet
    ॐ Shanthi Shantih Shantih
    सब सुखी हो, सब निरोग हो। 
    सब निरामय हो, सबका मंगल हो।,
    कोई दुखी: न हो।  
    May All become Happy, May All be Free from Illness.
    May All See what is Auspicious, May no one Suffer. 
    Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

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