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About Yoga

05/10/06

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  YOGA-THE SCIENCE OF HOLISTIC LIVING

INTRODUCTION

While the incidence of psycho-somatic ailments are on the increase and the medical researchers the world over are running from pillar to post seeking a cure for them, YOGA has cast their attention as a cure for these psychosomatic diseases like Asthma, Hypertension, Diabetics,Migraine,Angina, Ischemic Heart diseases, etc

As most of these diseases originate and get aggravated due to stress YOGA is found to reduce stress levels like miracle and provide shelter to those suffering from these diseases. Yoga is now getting acceptance as a nonpharmacological system of therapy the world over.

 WHAT IS YOGA

Yoga is the Indian science of Holistic Living. Centuries ago the Indian seers called the rishis invented yoga as a tool for enlightenment. According to the yogis the human entity is not mere the physical body, but some thing more. Just as the onion is a collection of peels, human personality has many layers which they call the kosas or sheaths. When these kosas are in harmony perfect peace and relaxation results. The person becomes more relaxed, positive in outlook, more loving and caring and stress free with perfect mental health. 

INTEGRAL YOGA. 

Integral yoga is a set of practices which brings down the desired integration of these sheaths. They are yamas and niyamas(ethical DoNots and Dos).Asanas-the physical postures,pranayama-the management of pranic energy,meditation,prayers and philosophy- or darsan. Yogic philosophy is based on Upanishads-the direct description of the seers of inner self.. Yoga is now being taught as an alternative or supplement to modern medicine in the cure of psychosomatic ailments. 

THE PRACTICE 

Various schools have designed various combinations  of practices. We have to select a few according to our convenience and availability of time. Usually it may take about an hour or more. Minimum one hour required. The best time for practice is early morning before sunrise or in the evening before sunset. Minimum three hours should be left after a heavy meal. Better practice on empty stomach.

 EFFECT OF YOGA 

  1. The body becomes  flexible and relaxed
  2. The mind becomes more relaxed and tension-free
  3. Improves concentration.
  4. Improves health. Yoga helps cure psychosomatic ailments like Asthma,diabetics,backpain,hypertension,and prevents heart attacks
  5. A pessimist naturally develops optimistic thoughts gradually.

6    Reduces stress levels and controls wild emotions like anger, frustration etc.

7    A person become more and more energetic day by day and a feeling of well being is generated

       8   A feeling of freshness is retained through out the day even after       continuous hard work. 

YOGA – UNION OF JIVATMA AND PARAMATMA 

Yoga means union. Union of the Jivatma and Paramatma. Jivatma is the in–dwelling God-consciousness and Paramatma is the Universal God consciousness or the cosmic soul. The rishis or seers of ancient India centuries back invented Yoga as a tool to bring about this union. According to them each soul is potentially divine. Ayamatma Brhma:-the soul itself is brahma or divinity. Every human is an avatar or incarnate of the divine power. But in some it is manifest and in some it is not manifest.

Yoga is the tool that helps unfold the divine power and help man manifest divine qualities, that is elevation from man to MAN.

So yoga was part of spiritual discipline.Spirituality is science and yoga is the technology. All religions advocate spirituality and yoga helps speed up spiritual elevation. 

WHAT IS SPIRITUAL ELEVATION? 

People go to Temples Churches and Mosques. Some are blessed. Some are not. Even the priest who lives in the church is not blessed.But a layman staying away from the church gets blessings.

Why?

 

Take a new radio receiver. It has got all components ok. Still its not receiving the nearest station. But another radio is old. But it receives even the  distant radio broadcasts. Why. Because the former is not properly aligned and the latter is properly aligned.

It means  once properly aligned even an old radio set can receive stations better than a new one which is not properly aligned. So

It is the alignment that is important. In the similar way if a man is properly aligned or attuned  to divinity he can  better manifest divine qualities even if he is far away from the church or the temple  better than than  even the priest. Yoga is the technic of  bringing about  such alignment.

YOGA-  and the  Upanishads

Upanishads are travelogues narrated by the explorers of mans inner self. They are called seers In ancient India rishis observed penacce and they traversed their inner psyches and exposed its contenets. The text of their findings are found in Upanishads. There are many Upanishads and the Taitiriya is one among them.According to the Taitiriya Upanishad, man is pancha kosa i.e, mans entity is Five layered.

Comprising of Five kosas or sheaths. These kosas are:- 

1.     The Annamaya Kosa – the physical body

2.     The pranamaya Kosa- the pranic sheath

3.     The manomaya Kosa-the mental sheath

4.     The vignanamaya Kosa- the intellect or the analytical faculty.

5.     And finally the Anandamaya kosa-the sheath of ananda or bliss. 

In ordinary human beings these kosas are not integrated. The real nature of man is bliss.

He is happy, relaxed,loving, and having emotional control. He always think good, speak good and act good. This state is possible when these kosas are integrated, or working in harmony. But in ordinary human beings these kosas are not working in harmony. Because of this disharmony, man has problems –physical, mental, emotional and intellectual.

According to yogis diseases are caused due to pranic excesses and scantiness. You are said to have disese when your going is not easy, that is, dis+ease. Yoga helps bring about  this integration , consequently , man becomes healthy and happy.

Note. The original texts on yoga were written in Sanskrit language, a language that prevailed in ancient India. Pancha in Sanskrit means “Five”. Prana means the life principle in the universe, the bioenergy

 THE INNER WORLD OF MAN-samskaras and smritis. 

One day, on my way, I found an irate mob beat up a man. He was crying for help. I peeped through the crowd . I was really amazed to find that he was the same man who,years back,

humiliated me in the public for no fault of mine. He beat me up. My mind was filled with revenge; but I could not do any thing as I was small and he was a known rowdy. I had forgotten that incident. But now when I saw him being beaten up, my mind recalled the entire episode. In fact I was happy as the mob was doing the job which I wanted to do. I shouted “beat him up again”. Had he be a man who has done a good thing for me, I would have tried to help him. Remember Jesus Christ said, he who sows shall reap.

Let us analyse the above situation. Years back I had a bitter experience with that man. I thought  I had forgotten. But the fact was that the experience was kept recorded in my psyche and when the appropriate stimuli came the whole thing came to mind. That means even if we feel that it is forgotten, the fact is not like that. It has disappeared from the conscious plane, but entered the subconscious. Every day we record into our psyche ,all our experiences. These recorded data are called samskara  and when it is recalled it is called smriti. Whatever we experience in the universe through or senses are recorded and we can have access to them in times of need.The yogis say that we have the same universe outside us , within our inner self. So if we want to explore the universe we need not travel but simply look within and deep into our psyche. 

These samskaras,the seers say, are not only experiences of the present birth, but also previous births. Here they believe that the jivatma is born again and again several times till it gets revelation.

We can take another example. Suppose you are giving a lecture on the origin and evolution of cricket. While speaking you may recite a lot of things in your mind, the different aspects of cricket, the matches you have seen,read about etc. These memories come in neat array. At that time your mind does not recollect about wars and battle. When you are speaking about wars and battles, you recollect about wars and battles and not about cricket matches.

It means the psyche records and keep the data in neat order so that we can fall back upon very easily and recollect them seraially. That is the power of the brain.

GOOD AND BAD  TUNE TO SEE GOOD IN OTHERS. 

I had an urgent work in an office situated up town. I was very much unhappy as I had no friend there.The time with me was short and I had to retu7rn at the earliest.  

As I entered the office I could find a big crowd. Not knowing what to do I kept silent for a while, when I heard a voice” Mr. Raman why you are here.” I saw  a man smiling towards me. I told him my need. Immediately he called me inside and got my work done. I could not believe. Even the man was not known to me. I asked ,”how do you you know me me.” He  narrated an incident. Years back I had done him a favour which helped him a lot in his life. I could not remember the incident but he remembered the same as the matter was so important for him. My mind was filled with the thought

A small help however trivial it may be for us can yield better rewards. If contrarily, I had ill treated him

What would have been my fate. We can win love, by loving. Get help, by helping. Yoga during the practice help us develop these qualities without even our knowledge. Similarly, man has good and bad qualities. We cannot find a 100 percent good man and 100 percent bad man.  If we identify a person with his good aspects, he will like to be friendly with you.

Yogic meditation helps you to transplant your samskaras

ASHTANGA YOGA 

Yoga has eight limbs: 

1.     The yamas-the ethical Do-nots

2.      The niyamas- the ehical Dos.

3.     The Asanas- the physical posturtes

4.     Pranayama- the control of prana, the bio-energy

5.     Pratyahara- withdrawal of senses

6.     Dharana- concentration

7.     Dhyana – meditation

8.     Samadhi- the transce. 

The classical yoga text is available as the Patanjali yoga sutras by sage Patanjali. The sutras are Sanskrit aphorisms. According to Patanjali, Yoga is a technic of silencing the mind. That is controlling mental modifications.( Yogaschitta vridhi nirodhah.) 

Sage Vasishta has also defined yoga as  mana prasamana upayah.

Both points to the same technic of controlling the mind. All yoga practices are designed to calm down the mind and control it. Let us examine each limb one by one. 

The Yamas- the first limb

1. Ahimsa-   do not kill. Man has no right to kill. In a broad sense the yogis say we should not hurt others in word thought or deed.

2. Stayam : Truthfulness. Always say truth. If you cannot say don’t tell any   thing. But never tell lies.

3. Astheyam: Non stealing. Donot aspire for others property.

4. Aparigraham: Do not try to amass wealth more than wat is required. Remember Jesus see the flies they are not sowing and harvesting. Avoid greed in earning riches.

5, Brahmacharya: celibacy. In fact ther is belief that one should not engage in sex while doing yoga. This is a misconception. In the broader sense you should try to spend less energy as yoga aims at conserving energy so that it gets transmuted as ojas a refined form of energy that gets reflected on the face of godly people. And sexual act is one which drains up energy as if in blast. So

try to avoid energy wastes as far as possible. 

The Niyamas  the second limb 

1.     Soucham:  Clenliness. Clean up your body and keep it dirt free.Keep the mind also clean with sublime thoughts . Don’t let sinful thoughts enter your mind.

2.     Santhosham: Happiness. Try to cultivate thehabit of being happy always. Face unhappy situations with equanimity.

3.     Tapas:  persevere . Fix an aim in life and persevere to reach the goal . Relentless pursuit.

4.     Swadhyaya: Self study that is study about our own self. Who am I. My mind etc. Upanshadic philosophy gives insight into the self.

5.     Iswarapranidhana: Surrender to God. Mother Teresa said I am pen at the hands of Jesus.

6.     Every action of yours is not yours but of god. Prayers help materialize this surrender. 

The above yamas and niyamas are moral discipline and irrespective of whether you are in the yoga lore or not, the practice of which helps you to lead a tension free life. Yoga is a way of life and

while practising yoga, try to imbibe the above even if you feel it is difficult. Remember slow and steady wins the race. 

STRESS , PSYCHOSOMATIC AILMENTS AND YOGA 

Harold was a dedicated worker. He was very much duty conscious and tried to perform the tasks with utmost sincerity.  His colleagues were not as good as him and many important tasks were assigned to him.

One day his boss called him into his cabin and fired him left and right. A few of the clients with whom he had maintaind good rapport were inside the room. Harold knew the fault was not his; yet the boss was very cruel. Harold felt humiliated in front of the outside clients and blood rushed on to his face.Unable to say any thing to the boss he swallowed the tension and came out.  The whole day he was depressed and could not do any thing. He made a lot of  mistakes that day.

Next day  agin the boss called him into the cabin. Contrary to his expectation the boss seemed apologetical and wanted Harold to forget the incident.. Harold never expected such a behaviour from his boss. He felt elated and  came out  happy. That day he performed well.

The above is a typical case of  stress and release of stress. The first day he was stressed up , his mind laden with sorrw and humiliation. He  had no way to release the stress. But when the

boss apologized his sorrow melted out and the stress got released.

In daily life we face a lot of stressful situations like this. Some get released and and some do not. These stresses pack up into your system till a saturation point is reached wherein  the pwer to accommodate is lost. This causes imbalance and this imbalance results in functional disorders which get aggravated as psychosomatic diseases. Asthma, diabetics,hypertension, angina, low back pain, insomnia, etc are the main psychosomatic ailments. Medication

can only control the symptoms and once medication stopped the symptoms again spring up.

Yoga works miracles in reducing stress levels and  the diseases are attacked at their very root.Scientific researches show that yoga is effective in controlling psychosomatic diseases.

See www.vkyogas.org.in   - RESEARCH. The rishis of India had branded these diseases as Aadhija Vyadhis

meaning vyadhis born out of aadhis. In Sanskrit aadhi means psychic distractions ,vyadhis

means diseases and ja means born out of. 

ASANAS   OR   POSTURES  The Third limb 

In yoga many asanas are practiced. Asanas are physical postures generally imitating animals and birds in nature.These  asanas can be broadly classified in to 2. The meditative postures and cultural postures.

The sitting posturtes are meditative postures, that is postures used for meditation. 

The cultural postures culture the body. 

The cultural postures are again classified into

1.     Standing

2.     Sitting

3.     Supine-that is lying on the back; and

4.     Prone – lying the frontside down. 

There are so many types of asanas. Similarly, the same asana is given different names.

People usually get confused, which is better. In fact one has to choose the number, type

Etc according to his capacity and time. The effect of yoga is obtained  not by doing difficult asanas but by doing tha proper way.  Always remember yoga asanas are to be practised in a gentle way.

NA HATAT  NA BALAT-  NOT WITH BRUTAL FORCE. No suffocation , no gasping, no shivering and no jerks. After the practice you should feel cool , relaxed and energetic. 

An ideal selection should contain one forward bent, one backward bent. One lateral bent and

sideward twist. 

Always there is a principle of counter posture , i.e. a forward bend to be followed by backward bend

One lateral bend to one side followed by lateral bend to the opposite side and one right twist followed

by one left twist.As almost all asanas involve movement of spine, it is important to take care not to get the spine injured. The final posture as in picture may not be possible. Need not worry. Bend as much as possible with out any discomfort. Remember one day you will reach that stage, even after months of practice. Be patient and stead fast.  Else you may damage your spine. Even before reaching the final stage, you will surely get the benefits.

 

                                                                        Thank you

 

                                                                              Raman

 

 

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