“Yoga takes you into the present moment, the only place where life exists.”
The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word yoga is ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. Yoga goes hand in hand with daily life to remain fit and healthy. In ancient Hindu culture as stated in scriptures yoga was the process to train body, mind, and all the senses to work beyond human perception. It was the first step to attain spiritual enlightenment.
Yoga is a 5,000-year-old Indian body of knowledge. Yoga is all about harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through the means of various
1. Breathing exercises (pranayama)
2. Yoga poses (asanas)
It is the part that has a common sense of belonging both to the spiritual world and daily life. It helps to maintain a very healthy interior as well as exterior self.
Pranayama (Breathing exercises)
Pranayama is the formal practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of our prana, or vital life force. Here is the list of some common and most useful pranayamas.
1. Kapal Bhati
Air from the lungs is forcefully exhaled. But inhalation is made involuntarily. Many use this Pranayama in the initial phases of meditation. It helps to improve alertness and concentration. Kapha is related to obesity, and this Pranayama strengthens abdominal muscles and helps to burn calories. Hence, it is beneficial for Kapha’s balance.
Steps to perform :
• Sit on a hard surface with your spine erect to start with the process of Kapalbhati pranayama.
• You can either sit in a sukhasana (your legs crossed), Virasana (your legs bend and your shins tucked in under your thighs or on a chair while performing this pranayama.
•Place your hands on your knees with the palms facing up or you can place your hands one over the other in your lap for higher focus.
•Inhale air with both the nostrils.
•Exhale the air with a little forceful action and again breathe in.
2. Bhramari Pranayama
It is targeted more towards mind spirituality than the body. It balances all the three Doshas. I have heard from a Spiritual Yogi that this makes you “think before you talk” – Based on this explanation, it can be said that it helps to control Vata in mind and in speech. It also increases Kapha to a minor extent. Bhramari translates as a “large bee.” You may want to reserve this calming pranayama when you have a few moments alone because this can get pretty loud!
Steps to perform :
• Inhale completely through both nostrils
•Exhale, producing the buzzing sound of the bee
•Repeat up to 5 minutes and take rest in Savasana
Yoga pose (Asanas)
Yoga poses are great to strengthen and relax the body. There are lot of asanas that could be performed with directions or under special supervision to attain wellness of the body and mind. One such pose is Hastapadasana which is described here in detail.
There are lots of asanas that not only improve health but also help in keeping the muscles toned and blood pressure maintained throughout the body with major breathing techniques.
One such asana is Hastapadasana which is a Sanskrit word which means hand to feet pose. Also known as ‘Standing forward bend’ it involves slow, balanced body movement with a continuous breathing rate. Covering the complete body’s muscle movements and major internal organs involved makes it a pose to perform on a daily basis for both males and females. This asana could be performed before or after food with a minimum gap of 3 hours between a meal and asana. It is proved that early morning and evening for performing yoga could lead to the best results.
Steps to perform :
•Stand straight on your feet with no extra support.
•Balance your body weight on both feet equally.
•Keep your hands in a relaxed
with no extra forces applied.
•Close your eyes and breath normally.
•Lift your hands to the level above your head while slowly inhaling such that body remains straight and balanced.
•Once it reaches above your head level start bending your body from the waist joint slowly towards the ground while exhaling.
•Keep your head in a relaxed position and make sure you don’t put a lot of strain on your legs and backbone.
•Keep breathing deeply, bring your chest near the knees and lift hip and tail bone higher.
•When hands reach the level of toes try touching the ground or cross your hands on the respective leg.
•Stay there for a while and continue to breathe in and out.
•Try to feel the stretch starting from the torso to the spine, hip joint, back, and neck.
•Slowly inhaling rises from the ground level inhaling and return to the initial position.
•After reaching the intermediate level slowly bring back your hands to normal position while exhaling.
•Repeat in the cycle of 3 or 6 at a time with individual choice of a person depending on the body capacity.
It is suggested that people suffering from back injuries and other such back problems do not perform these asanas since it involves the stretching of certain muscles. People also suffering from Spondylitis, cervical pain or any kind of pelvic or spinal problems should refrain from this pose.
There is no stated age restriction for performing these Asanas but it should be based on the capacity of the individual.
Women who are pregnant should not perform these poses. Initially, the asanas should be started slow, and then gradually the frequency of performance should be increased. It involves a good level of body flexibility and stretches so it should not be forced on the body all at once. These asanas should always be conducted first time under supervision or complete knowledge of its know-how as any yoga if performed incorrectly have a huge negative impact on the body.
3. Yogic meditation
There are lot of meditation practices going on everywhere for capturing different types of yogic powers. But the true spirit of yoga lies in the union of God and soul. For this purpose, the purest form of yoga- Vihangam yoga is the ultimate pathway.
Vihangam Yoga is the complete form of yoga – the ultimate technique of meditation, practiced under the able guidance of the Sadguru. Vihangam means bird. Just as a bird leaves its base on the earth to fly high in the sky, so does Vihangam Yoga enables the human soul (Atma) to cut off its moorings in the phenomenal world (Prakriti) and realize its true and free nature. It is also known as Brahmavidya, Para Vidya, Madhuvidya, and Sahaj Yoga. Brahmavidya or Vihangam Yoga is the root of all Yoga.
This is the technique of meditation that was prevelent during the Vedic Period. This is the oldest meditation technique on this earth. This technique disappeared after Mahabharata Period until it was brought to this earth by the Great Swayam Siddha Sadguru KABIR SAHIB. 600 years after Kabir Sahib, this knowledge was again brought back by Abhyas Siddha Sadguru Shri. Sadafaldevji Maharaj. The great glory of this Brahma Vidya Vihangam Yoga finds its mention in all the spiritual scriptures like Vedas, Geeta, Bible, and Quran, but is least understood and practiced. In recent times, Sadguru Sadafaldeo Ji Maharaj has revived the same great, ancient-most, supreme knowledge that is being preached to every human being, under the able guidance of the present Sadguru Swatantradeo Ji Maharaj.
Yoga represents the union of each separate life forms with the ultimate power. Science and spirituality both dissolve at this point. On one hand, the vibrations created due to rhythmic breathing provides benefits to the body, mind, and soul to which science also supports experiments but holds no true reason for the effects. On another hand, an asana is performed basically for stretches in the end and the start of rigorous exercise sessions be it yoga or any other exercise. All asanas are a way to improve our lifestyle and give us strength both mentally and physically. If performed on a regular basis yoga has the capacity to not only prevent us from major chronic diseases but helping us to reach the fullest to our potential.
Also, Meditation is the ultimate way finally to reach the divine through exploring but the self. This is the real essence of yoga which transforms lives.