Yog and Pranayam
The nature is made of different elements, which produce new substances with the action and reaction of one another. When there is some kind of imbalance or opposition in their functioning and work then the nature brings back its balance, if the nature is allowed to do its work according to its style then there will no imbalance in the environment. This is the best arrangement, which is the quality of the nature.
Yoga cures the person as per the
principles of the nature, But yoga has to face many obstacles, which if avoided
can give instant results. If the person has to follow too many principles then
the life become complex. Simple, natural and easy life style proves to be
beneficial. Proper diet, sleep, labor and other things should not be neglected.
We should come out of the world of pretence, aspirations, desires and do not
show any kind of laziness in the practice of yoga, it should become a daily
routine and propagated in the same manner. We should also stop thinking that we
know everything; otherwise pride can be the biggest obstacle in the path of
achieving good health.
Yoga is the method of attaining spiritual riches and superiority. This brings good changes in die life of a person. Yoga devotion begins with the body and body is the basis for all the activities of the world. Hence it is necessary to keep it healthy and fit. The muscles become healthy, blood circulation improves, oxygen is used in more quantity, this purifies the blood, the polluted substances are evacuated through sweat and the body becomes light.
Yogic actions are more
beneficial. Yogic actions are easy, which are good exercise for the body organ
and removes the stiffness in the body, it refreshes the body and removes body
related problems. The human body is a tool which is based on the worldly and
actions of the soul, it is necessary to use it properly for the development of
our selves otherwise deformity could obstruct the spiritual progress. A healthy
mind resides in a healthy body, therefore keep on practicing for a healthy mind
and body; we should practice pranayam and yoga everyday.
DEFINITION OF YOGA
Yoga is made from the word Yuj, which means the act of joining. In spiritualism this word is used to unite soul and supreme soul. The detachment of soul from the supreme soul is the cause of all problems and sinful actions, disharmony, crime, immorality, etc arise due to these. Everybody wants to live happily but due to ignorance they search for happiness in temporary things. They search for happiness in wealth, fame, respect name, woman, son, relatives, society etc. but in the end they get sorrows only. This soul is limited within the body. When it goes beyond this limit and reaches the supreme soul then it becomes separate from the body. Yoga is important from both physical and world point of view.
Yoga devotion arouses the internal powers of the person. Their arousal happens according to a specific rule and method. The person experiences sensuousness of the soul and after that he transforms this consciousness into consciousness of the world and begets salvation. This is his last achievement. The practice of yoga begins with the process of controlling the mind. Patanjali has explained this in one dictum. Yoga is controlling ail the conditions of the mind. The mind is the center of all the worldly activities of the human being and it enters the internal world from the external world. This needs awareness. Pure mind is its center; this is the main task of meditation.
YOG ASANAS AND HEALTH
Yoga asana is the best method to keep the body healthy, disease free, strung, bright and active. Yoga asanas are the exercise for the whole body; this makes the body flexible, active and fresh. This cures constipation, helps in proper blood circulation, strengthens the nerves and muscles and regular practice of the asana cures almost all types of diseases.
For example stomach diseases, gastric problem, constipation, ulcer, acidity, diabetes, seminal problem, gout, backache, pills, asthma, sleeplessness. Surya Namaskar, tadasana, Bhujangasan, Pa van muktasana, vajrasan, etc. Should be practiced regularly to cure the physical problems. They should be practiced under the guidance of a guru and should he followed strictly with proper care. The person practicing yoga asana should follow certain rules, diet, regimen, proper sleep, proper nest etc. Excess or absence is harmful as they can cause diseases.
PRANAYAM AND HEALTH
Pranayam is equally important as yoga asanas for maintaining good health. Yoga asana purify the mind, which increases the semen and strength. Pranayam purifies the vital life source the prana. It gives additional energy to the body.
Pranayam controls the playfulness of the mind, this give physical health. Regular practice makes the mind happy. The body remains active Liin.1 Mums.' aria ikr glow increases. The person is able to control the hunger and thirst and cold and hot temperatures, this prevent any kind of discquilibria in the body. It improves the digestion, delays ageing, purifies the nerves, reduces obesity, and cures many other physical and mental diseases.
Prana governs all the functions of the body, the body is the combination of five elements and the actions of the mind, body, and brain are carried with it. The prana leaves the body at the time of death. Prana is spread in all places; the human beings use it for respiration. If the person learns the proper method of respiration then he can use the vital life source to the fullest and develop the physical, intellectual and mental capabilities, it will arouse the dormant powers of the body, which makes him efficient. In the classics prana is said to be the age. When the prana leaves the body the age ends. The prana performs all the actions in the body and in the absence it becomes inactive. The dead body also has soul but it becomes inactive and unconsciousness as prana leaves the body. The soul is related to the prana and hence it leaves the dead body and goes in search of a new body.
When the body and vital life source loses the relationship then that soul ends all this activities and reaches the supreme soul in its pure form. This is known as salvation of the soul. Through yoga devotion it is necessary to understand the science of prana. Fire element is present in the wood but it cannot come out in the absence of oxygen similarly the soul has all the powers but in the absence of prana it becomes inactive. Pranayam is the only source, with which the body can maintain all its functions.
It is a different element. Oxygen has prana element but it itself is not prana. If oxygen would have been prana then, doctors would have kept the people alive with it but this is a different element. This is beyond science. If oxygen is prana then the dead person can be made alive with it Therefore it is clear that the prana element is different from oxygen.
Prana is required to keep every cell in the body alone, the person inhales this prana from the atmosphere and reaches it to the cells; the cells are alive with this prana. Before beginning the practice of pranayam if we understand the respiration profess then we can avid several problems and get good benefits. Respiration takes the air in and circulates it to the body organs. While exhaling we breathe out the unwanted substance. These two actions the flow of prana takes place continuously in the body. When their pace is regulated, then the body mind and intelligence are in balance, this is the sign of good health, but when they are irregular, if the energy level increases in the body and sometimes it reduces this imbalances the prana and diseases are caused. Good health neguiates the pace of prana in the body in a natural manner, which is the arrangement the nature.
What are the benefits?
The Physical Benefits
Can contribute to create a
toned, flexible and strong body. Helps improve respiration, energy and
vitality. Can help to maintain balanced metabolism. Can contribute to promote
cardio and circulatory health. Helps to relieve pain. Helps you look and feel
younger. Improves athletic performance.
The Health Benefits
Regular practice of Yog aasans and Pranayam has in many cases provided relief in various ailments. Research and innumerable case studies shows that Yog and Pranayam helps control
Acidity, Allergy, Anxiety, Arthritis, Asthma, Backache, Blood Pressure, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Cervical Sodalities, Constipation, Depression, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Fatigue, Gastric Disorders, Headaches, Heart Diseases, Obesity, Migraine, Sciatica Pain, Sinus, Weakness etc.
Analysis of medical parameters
pre and post Yog Workshop participation have, for example, shown loss of
between 8 to 16 lbs. of an attendeeâ€™s weight in case of obese participants
and a weight gain of 4 to 8 lbs. by those clinically diagonised as underweight.
Asthmatic, Diabetic and High Blood Pressure patients have found significant
relief in their symptoms. Patients with Migraine, Depression, Sinus, Allergy,
Arthritis, Cervical Spondylitis, Sciatica Pain, Acidity, Constipation, Gastric
Disorder, Backache, Weakness and many other disorders. Studies have revealed
that regular practice of Yog and Pranayam can lead to freedom from dependence
on inhalers by Asthma patients, freedom from insulin injections for Diabetics,
freedom from regular medication by High Blood Pressure patients and freedom
from blockages in blood vessels.
The Mental Benefits
Helps you relax and handle stressful situations easily. Teaches you to quieten the mind so you can focus your energy where you want it to go â€“ on a difficult yog aasan, on the tennis court or golf course or in the office. Encourages positive thoughts, self acceptance and self confidence.
The Spiritual Benefits
Builds awareness of the body, feelings, the world around and the needs of others and empathy with nature. Promotes interdependence between mind, body and spirit. Helps you live the concept of â€œonenessâ€.
Other benefits of Yog and Pranayam
The most important benefit of Yog and Pranayam is physical and mental cleansing. The aging process, which is largely an artificial condition, caused mainly by auto-intoxication or self-poisoning , can be slowed down by practicing Yog. By keeping the body clean, flexible and well lubricated, one can significantly reduce the catabolic process of cell deterioration. To get the maximum benefits of Yog one has to combine the practices of Yog aasans, Pranayam and meditation.
Why are Yog and Pranayam successful?
According to medical scientists, Yog and Pranayam therapy is successful because of the balance created in the nervous and endocrine systems which directly influences all the other systems and organs of the body.
Yog acts both as a curative and preventive therapy.
The very essence of Yog and Pranayam lies in attaining mental peace, improved concentration powers, a relaxed state of living and harmony in relationships. Through the practice of Yog and Pranayam, we become aware of the interconnectedness between our emotional, mental and physical levels. Gradually this awareness leads to an understanding of the more subtle areas of existence. The ultimate goal of Yog and Pranayam is to make it possible to fuse together the gross material (Annamaya), physical (Pranamaya), mental (Manomaya), intellectual (Vigyanamaya) and spiritual (Anandamaya) levels with the being.
Pranyam And Its Benefits
Pranayama has the capacity of freeing the mind from untruthfulness, ignorance and all other painful and unpleasant experiences of the body and mind; and when the mind becomes clean it becomes easy for the Sadhaka to concentrate on the desired object and it becomes possible for him to progress further in the direction of Dhyana and Samadhi.
By Yog asanas, we remove the distortions and disabilities of the physical body and bring it into discipline. However Pranayama influences the subtle and the physical bodies in a greater measure than Yogsanas do and that too in a perceptible manner. In the human body, lungs, heart and brain hold very important positions and they depend on each other heavily for their health.
Physically, Pranayam appears to be a systematic exercise of respiration, which makes the lungs stronger, improves blood circulation, makes the man healthier and bestows upon him the boon of a long life. Physiology teaches us that the air (Prana) we breathe in fills our lungs, spreads in the entire body, providing it with essential form the body, take them to the heart and then to the lungs, which throws the useless material like carbon dioxide out of the body through the act of exhalation. If this action of the respiratory system is done regularly and efficiently, lungs become stronger and blood becomes pure.
However, most of the people do not have the habit of breathing deeply with the result that only one-fourth part of the lungs is brought into action and 75 percent remains idle. Like the honeycomb, lungs are made of about 73 million cells, comparable to a sponge in their making. On normal breathing, to which we all are accustomed, only about 20 million pores in the lungs get oxygen, whereas remaining 53 million pores remain deprived of the benefit, with the result that they get contaminated by several diseases like tuberculosis, respiratory diseases and several ailments like coughing, bronchitis etc.
In this way, the inefficient functioning of the lungs affects the process of blood purification. Heart weakens because of this with a constant possibility of untimely death. It is for this reason that the importance of Pranayama has come to be recognised, for a healthy long life. Several diseases can be averted by regular practice of Pranayama.Hence, it is obvious that the knowledge of the science of Pranayama and its regular practice enables a man to lead a healthy and long life. It is for this reason that in several Hindu religious rites, Pranayama is found to have been introduced as an essential element.
Mental disturbances like excitement, anxiety, fear, anger, disappointment, lust for sex (lasciviousness) and other mental perversions can be calmed down by regular practice of Pranayama. Besides, Pranayama practice improves the functions of the brain cells with the result that memory and the faculty of discrimination and observation improves, making it easy for the Sadhaka to perform concentration and meditation.
Another benefit of Pranayama is that by its regular practice, habit of deep breathing is developed which results in several health benefits. It is said that the nature determines our life span on the basis of the number of respirations we do. Man gets the next birth in accordance with his karmas (deeds) done in the present life.
Our karmas (deeds) result in the formation of certain tendencies, which determine the nature of our next birth either as humans or as animals of various categories. A man, who regularly performs Pranayama, is required to take lesser number of breaths and therefore lives longer.
Some rules for Pranayam
- Select a clean and peaceful place for doing Pranayama. If possible, choose a place near a clean pond or river.
- As there is a lot of pollution in the cities, some kind of incense can be lit like Guggulu and purified butter, to create a clean environment at that place, igniting a lamp with purified butter only, can also serve the purpose.
- Sit either in any of the Asanas, viz. Padmasana, Sidhasana or Vajrasana, which ever you find convenient. The sheet or cloth (cotton or wool etc.) on which you sit must be a non-conductor of electricity.
- Breathe only through the nose, because by doing so the air which you take in, is filtered. During daytime when you are not sitting for the performance of Pranayama make it a habit to do respire only through nose and not through mouth. Nasal respiration keeps the temperature of the Nadis (Vessels) -'Ida',Pingala and 'susmana' even. It also prevents foreign and harmful objects from getting into lungs.
- Like 'Yog', Pranayama should also be performed four or five hours after taking food. In the morning Pranayama should be done after finishing daily routine acts like cleansing mouth, emptying of bowels etc., it should also be done before Yogsana. In the beginning Pranayama should be done for five or ten minutes gradually the time may be increased up to about 1/2 or 1 hour. Maintain a specific number of repetitions and do not variate. Maintain a specific rhythm. If it is not possible to clean the bowels by morning, at night take some mild laxative like terminalia chebula (Indian Hardaya) or any other mild laxative (a non habit forming medicinal herb having a laxative effect). Kapala-bhati Pranayama, if done regularly for a few days will help in curing constipation.
- Keep your mind calm and composed. However, Pranayama can also calm down the disturbed mind and keep one happy.
- Methods of Pranayama may be varied according to the seasons and your own physical make up and mental attitude. Keep this in mind and modulate the method accordingly. Some Pranayama increase the body temperature, whereas, some bring it down. Some Pranayama maintain the temperature at the normal level.
- If you feel fatigued in the course of doing Pranayama , rest for sometime and then begin deep breathing, which will remove the fatigue.
- Pregnant women, hungry persons, persons suffering from fever and those who are lustful having no control on their passions should not do Pranayama . If you are sick, keep in mind the instructions to be followed by sick persons while during Pranayama.
- For prolonged exercises of Pranayama, observance of celibacy is necessary. Besides, food should be simple not containing irritating spices. It should be 'Sattvika' - (Plain and simple, non-spicy food). Use of cow's milk, ghee (clarified butter), fruits and green vegetables can be said to be ideal food. Moderation also is a good rule to observe.
- Do not strain yourself while doing 'Kumbhak' i.e. retaining the breathed air inside or keeping the air out after exhaling (Breathing in is called 'puraka', retaining the breathed air in is called 'Kumbhak' and exhaling the air is called 'Recak').
- Pranayama does not mean just breathing in, keeping the breathed air in and exhaling it. It also means establishing control on the entire breathing process, and maintaining mental equilibrium, and concentration of mind.
- It is beneficial to chant the mantra (a group of words that carry vibrations and energy) Om (the first cosmic soundless sound), aloud and repeat the same several times before doing Pranayama. Even recital of sacred songs in the praise of almighty God or recital of some sacred hymns may be beneficial. This will calm your mind and make you fit for Pranayama, because a peaceful mind is very essential while doing Pranayama . Mental or loud recitation of Gayatri Mantra (considered as one of the greatest mantra, used in meditation and also for chanting) or any other sacred hymn brings spiritual benefits to the Sadhaka.
- See that while doing Pranayama , none of your organs such as mouth, eyes, nose, etc. feels any strain and it should be done gradually without any undue stress or strain. All the organs of the body should be kept in normal condition. While doing Pranayama sit in an erect posture. Keep your spine and neck straight. This is essential for reaping the full benefit of Pranayama .
- If possible Pranayama should be done after your usual morning functions like cleansing of mouth, evacuation of bowels, bathing etc. However, if it becomes necessary for you to take bath after Pranayama , keep an interval of about 15 to 20 minutes between Pranayama and bathing. For acquiring proficiency in Pranayama do not depend on books or what is done and preached by others. Seek the guidance of an expert and do Pranayama under his direct supervision.
- Different treatise advocating or dealing with the subject of Pranayama describe several methods and each of them has its own importance. However, it is not possible for most people to do all these exercises daily. Hence, with the blessings of our teachers and in view of our experience, we have evolved seven methods of Pranayama , which incorporate into themselves, almost all the peculiarities of Pranayama rendering them scientific and useful from a spiritual point of view. All these seven types of Pranayama can be done, as a routine and in a time bound programme of about 20 minutes. The person who does these exercises daily and regularly can attain following benefits which are briefly described as under:
- All the three Doshas (Humors) - Vata , pitta and Kapha get adjusted in proper proportion and abnormalities in them are removed.
- Digestive system improves and diseases pertaining to digestive organs are cured.
- Diseases pertaining to lungs, heart and brain are also cured.
- Obesity, Diabetes, Cholesterol, Constipation, Flatulence, Acidity, Respiratory troubles, Allergy, Migraine, High blood pressure, diseases pertaining to kidneys, sexual disorders of males and females etc. are also cured.
- Resistance against diseases is stepped up. Immunity develops.
- Hereditary diseases like diabetes and heart disease are can be avoided.
- Falling of hair or its premature graying, appearance of wrinkles on face or other parts of the body at young age, diminution of eye sight, forgetfulness, etc. are relieved and process of aging is retarded.
- Face becomes bright, luminous and calm.
- Energy Chakra are cleansed and enables the practitioner to awaken the Kundalini.
- Mind becomes stable and tranquil. A sense of contentment and enthusiasm or zeal develops. Conditions like depression are relieved.
- Performance of yogic exercises like meditation will be easy.
- All the diseases of the physical and etheric bodies will be cured. Freedom from negative and harmful mental conditions like anger, lasciviousness, greed for money, arrogance etc. will be achieved.
- All the physical and mental disorders and abnormalities are cured and toxins eradicated from the body.
- Freedom from negative thinking is achieved and the mind develops the habit of positive and constructive thinking.
Asana may be done both in the morning and evening. If one cannot do them at both the times, then morning time is better. The mind remains calm in the morning. Asana can be done in the morning after performing daily chores, on an empty stomach, or in the evening, 5-6 hours after lunch. If there is a problem of constipation then one should drink water kept in a copper or silver utensil, in the morning, and take a stroll. This helps in clearing the system. If it is a case of severe constipation, one should take Triphala powder with warm water before going to bed.
A clean, calm and secluded place is the best for performing Asanas. Places like greenery of trees, park, garden, pond or river side are the most suitable places. Adequate amount of oxygen is available in open spaces and near the trees, which is good for health. If Asanas and pranayama are being performed at home, a lamp (diya) or guggulu should be lit to fill the air with aroma.
While doing asanas, clothes should be minimum and comfortable. Males can wear half-pants/shorts and a vest. Ladies can wear salwar, blouse, etc.
4. Surface and duration:
It is appropriate to spread a soft mat or blanket on the ground. Do not do Asanas directly on the floor/earth. Perform all the Asanas according to your stamina. Complete practice of the asanas takes about one hour, medium practice about 30 minutes and brief practice in about 15 minutes. Every person should preferably do these exercises for at least half an hour, daily.
Practice should be according to ones own capacity, physical strength, age and with a happy and enthusiastic disposition and full concentration of the mind. Only then can the person achieve the benefits of Yog. Weak and old people should not practice too much of Asanas and pranayam. Children above the age of 10 can do all the exercises. Pregnant ladies should not attempt difficult exercises. They should only undertake deep breathing and pranayam slowly, chanting Gayatri-mantra and other sacred mantras while meditating.
6. Stage and precautions:
Asanas and pranayama can be done in all situations. They enable healthy people become healthier. Such a person does not fall sick, whereas an unhealthy person will become alright. There are a few Asanas which a sick person should not perform or those who have discharge from ears, who have redness in eyes, who have a weak nervous system and heart, should not perform Sirsasan. Weak hearted people should not perform heavy exercises like full Salabhasana and Dhanurasana. Persons suffering from hernia should not do Asanas that put pressure on the lower part of the body, below the navel. Patients of high blood pressure should not do Sirsasan and women should not perform exercises during the 4-5 days of menstrual period. Those who have pain in the neck and back should not do exercises, which require bending forward.
Food should be taken at least half an hour after performing of Asanas. Food should be simple. Consumption of fried and spicy food leads to stomach disorder. Consumption of tea once destroys around 50 cells of liver and other delicate glands. You can yourself imagine the harmful effects of tea consumption. Tea is a bitter enemy of health, which deforms the whole body. Tea consumption has an addictive effect, which makes it habit forming. It affects the digestive system causing acidity, gas, constipation and several other problems. Tea and allopathic Ayuvedic Products are the two main factors causing deformation of the liver.
8. Inhale-exhale rules:
While doing Asanas, it is a common rule to exhale while bending forward and inhale while moving backwards. Breathing should take place through nose only, not through mouth, as the air inhaled through nose gets filtered automatically.
Asanas done with eyes closed, help increase concentration of the mind, and thus help in eliminating stress and instability of the mind. Normally Asanas and pranayam can also be performed with eyes kept open.
Some Asanas are performed on one side only. If an Asanas is performed in one direction then it should be repeated in the opposite direction also. In addition, decide the order in which the Asanas should be done so that performing the succeeding asana provides exercise of the muscles and joints in the opposite direction also. For example, one should do Matsyasana after Sarvangasana and Ustrasa after Mandukasana. The beginners will experience pain in the muscles and joints during the first 2-4 days, however they should continue to practice. The pain will subside by itself. Whenever you get up after doing the Asanas in the lying position, you should turn leftwards while getting up. At the end of practice, Savasana should be done for 8-10 minutes so that the body parts are relaxed.
Whenever one feels tired while doing asanas, one should perform Savasana Makarasna to provide rest to the body. When tired, one may take rest in between also.
Gurupadishtmargen Yogmev sambhayset
Yog is accomplished with the grace of the Guru and by following the path shown by him. Therefore, Yog-asanas, pranayam and meditation, etc. should be performed under the supervision of the Guru.
Yog practitioners must follow the principles of Yam-Niyam with full commitment. Without them nobody can become a Yogi.
14. Temperature of the body:
If the person is ill or the environmental temperature is high, which rises further while doing the Yog-practice, then inhale through left nostril and exhale through the right nostril repeatedly, to bring the temperature back to normal.
15. Cleaning the stomach:
If the bowels are not regular or there is a problem of constipation or indigestion, take harad or Triphala etc., before going to bed, for a few days in the beginning. If the bowels are not clear, one may face problems relating to eyes, mouth, head or weakness in the nervous system. Therefore, it is essential to have clear bowels, no constipation and good digestion, sufficient sleep, appropriate food and proper living conditions.
16. Difficult Asana:
Any person who
has fractured his bone(s) any time previously, he/she should never undertake
difficult asanas, otherwise the concerned bone(s) may be damaged again at the
If one sweats while performing asanas, the sweat should be wiped with a towel. This refreshes the body, makes the skin healthy and prevents germs from entering the body, through the skin. Yog Asanas should be undertaken preferably after a bath. One can take a bath after 15-20 minutes of exercises, when the body temperature becomes normal.