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YOGA

Yoga

The Surest Way of Complete Health & Importance of Yoga :

Yoga poses have been developed over centuries of research and experience. They have been found to be extremely effective in:

Increasing flexibility of the body and freeing all the energy blocks . Besides increasing flexibility, this leads to a healthier body. freeing all the energy blocks. Besides increasing flexibility, this leads to a healthier body.

JULY - 2008

flexibility, this leads to a healthier body. JULY - 2008 Helping to lose excess flab and

Helping to lose excess flab and weight - another cause of ill health. lose excess flab and weight - another cause of ill health.

Massaging the internal organs of the body and the rarely stimulated parts such as the thyroid gland. internal organs of the body and the rarely stimulated parts such as the thyroid gland.

Helping to treat several health disorders - from common ones such as backaches and arthritis to 'seemingly' unrelated disorders health disorders - from common ones such as backaches and arthritis to 'seemingly' unrelated disorders such as stammering.

It is recommended to include some form of yoga positions and preferably a yoga routine in your life.

What is the right yoga routine for me? Yoga routines will vary depending on the purpose for which you seek to do yoga - it may be for better fitness or for specific ailments.

To know what poses are best for you, please feel free to consult our yoga expert .

Meditation, Pranayama (Breathing), Relaxation and Cleansing

These are very important aspects of yoga, yet the most ignored. A complete yoga session should include these aspects which results in HUGE benefits in terms of:

Correcting metabolic disorders.these aspects which results in HUGE benefits in terms of: Overcoming stress and mind behaviors that

Overcoming stress and mind behaviors that seem beyond your control.HUGE benefits in terms of: Correcting metabolic disorders. Changing firmly entrenched attitudes or personality

Changing firmly entrenched attitudes or personality disorders.stress and mind behaviors that seem beyond your control. Integral Yoga Integral yoga is a very

Integral Yoga

Integral yoga is a very important school of yoga that ensures all round personality and health development by concentrating on yoga positions, meditation, Pranayama techniques and body cleansing methods.

Yoga Exercises/ Yoga Asanas

Yoga has simple and effective body movements that strengthen one's back, firm the stomach, and redistribute body weight. Yoga exercises stretch and tone the body muscles. They increase endurance and improve flexibility.

Yoga Asanas or positions are the best among all exercises for toning muscles, lubricating joints and massaging the body. Yoga postures bring physical as well as mental stability, health and vigor. These Asanas were developed thousands of years ago and have evolved over centuries. They work wonders in keeping the body healthy and the mind peaceful. Asanas exercise the nerves, glands, ligaments, and muscles. In other words, yoga exercises are the most comprehensive method of self care

Although asanas are very powerful, the effect becomes dramatic when they are done the right way. The mind must be in harmony with the body movements. For this it is essential to equip yourself with the other tools of Integral Yoga.

Pranayama & Yogic Breathing :

The Power of Effective Breathing :

Pranayama forms a vital step in the path to ascendancy through Yoga.

forms a vital step in the path to ascendancy through Yoga. Pranayama is derived from 2

Pranayama is derived from 2 Sanskrit words - Prana (life force) and Ayama (control). Therefore, in its broadest description, Prananyama would mean the control of the flow of life force. One of the initiation techniques into Prananyama is through the practice of Yogic Breathing or Yoga Breathing. Yogic Breathing helps us break down and understand our breathing better as being composed of diaphragmatic and thoracic breathing. Although this breathing technique forms a basis to advanced Pranayama techniques, it leads to important benefits of its own and provides us a glimpse of what we are capable of reaching through Pranayama.

Breathing Components that form the basis of Pranayama : During breathing for Pranayama inhalation (puraka) stimulates the system and fills the lungs with fresh air; retention (kumbhaka) raises the internal temperature and plays an important part in increasing the absorption of oxygen; exhalation (rechak) causes the diaphragm to return to the original position and air full of toxins and impurities is forced out by the contraction of inter-costal muscles. These are the main components leading to Pranayama which massage the abdominal muscles and tone up the working of various organs of the body. Due to the proper functions of these organs , vital energy flows to all the systems. The success of Pranayama depends on proper ratios being maintained between inhalation, exhalation and retention.

Yoga breathing can be carried out by lying down on your yoga mat. The "Twintex" yoga mats provide the right snug to give a comfortable yet firm feel that is desirable.

Learn breathing… the yoga way :

With the ever-increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases like cardio-vascular and nervous system disorders, the time has come for us to address this ourselves, fair and square WITHOUT external dependence.

Did you know that reprogramming your natural breathing technique would not only help in preventing these problems but also help in the “reversal” of several such harmful conditions? Yes, it’s not only possible but proven too. In fact leading cardiac experts are advocating the benefits of “correct” breathing to their patients.

Surprising as it is, almost none of us use the full capacity of our respiratory organs. This is aggravated by our sedentary lifestyles and leads to several complications popularly called - lifestyle disorders.

The first question that comes to mind is – “How can I alter my natural breathing process?” Well, astonishing as it may seem, it’s true. By training our body to breathe in a particular fashion, we re-program our involuntary system to adopt this new way of breathing.

This breathing technique is called the “Full Yogic breath” or simply Yoga breathing.

Without wasting time, I’ll plunge right away into the technique followed by its overwhelming benefits.

First, lie down on your back, relaxed, with hands and legs outstretched and eyes looking up at the roof. Gently close your eyes and relax.

Step 1: Abdominal breathing

Observe your natural breath. You will notice that as you inhale the abdomen rises and then falls with exhalation. Watch this for a few moments to check this flow. Now begin to deepen, lengthen and extend that movement. That is, while inhaling, let the abdomen rise to its limit and at exhalation let it fall completely. Keep the chest still during this entire process only move the abdomen. Continue this for 20 breaths and then rest.

Step 2: Thoracic (chest) breathing

Again observe your normal breath, this time focusing your attention on the chest. You will notice the chest moving slightly up at inhalation and down with exhalation. Again observe this pattern for a few moments. Now again, begin to deepen, lengthen and extend that movement. This time, on inhalation expand and lift the rib cage, filling the lungs completely. Then on exhalation, let the lungs collapse fully, sinking to the limits. In this step, keep the abdomen still, moving only the chest. Do this for 20 breath cycles and then stop

Step 3: Full Yogic breathing

This combines the above 2 steps in the following way:

First inhale by filling the abdomen and then CONTINUE inhaling as you expand and fill the chest. Then exhale first from the chest as it empties and falls and then CONTINUE exhaling from the abdomen as it draws inwards completely. This is one round of the full yogic breath. Repeat this for 20 rounds.

Remember the pattern… Inhaling - abdomen then chest; Exhaling chest then abdomen.

GOLDEN RULE: All of the above steps should be done WITHOUT strain. The natural tendency is to heave with effort. The right way is to make it smooth and effortless. Go slow and easy.

Initially you will experience unevenness or bumps in this breathing process as if there are 4 separate parts to the full yogic breath. This is natural considering the years we have spent breathing improperly.

Instead, try to picture this breath as a continuous wave like pattern as if the breath moves up from the navel to the throat with every inhalation and then, down from the throat to the navel with each exhalation. It may take a few weeks of practice to perfect a “SMOOTH flowing pattern with MINIMUM effort and with MAXIMUM capacity.”

This is the desired effect!! Over time, the yoga way of breathing will come naturally to you.

And now for the all-important benefits…

The full yogic breath is the basic building block of the powerful yoga breathing techniques, also called ‘Pranayama’ in Sanskrit, which are known for their multifarious benefits.

But the tangible benefits of the full yogic breath are that it:

Releases acute and chronic muscular tensions around the heart and digestive organs.the tangible benefits of the full yogic breath are that it: Helps sufferers of respiratory illnesses

Helps sufferers of respiratory illnesses such as asthma and emphysema to overcome the fear of shortness of breath. It actually increases lung capacity.muscular tensions around the heart and digestive organs. Encourages proper nervous stimulus to the cardio-vascular

Encourages proper nervous stimulus to the cardio-vascular systemof shortness of breath. It actually increases lung capacity. Dramatically reduces emotional and nervous anxiety Improves

Dramatically reduces emotional and nervous anxietyproper nervous stimulus to the cardio-vascular system Improves detoxification through increased exchange of carbon

Improves detoxification through increased exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygensystem Dramatically reduces emotional and nervous anxiety Amplifies the auto immune system by increased distribution

Amplifies the auto immune system by increased distribution of energy to the endocrine systemthrough increased exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen Calms the mind and integrates the mental /

Calms the mind and integrates the mental / physical balance.by increased distribution of energy to the endocrine system And the real icing is that it

And the real icing is that it contributes to both vitality and relaxation through this single practice.

With such powerful all-round benefits, do you really need to be “motivated” to get going?

Go ahead, and take charge of your life like never before.

Understanding Pranayama - Part I

Pranayama works as the basis for spiritual awakening in yoga. Although this is the supreme aim, Pranayama brings about tremendous benefits along the way such as increased energy, increased perception and development of various brain faculties.

What is Pranayama?

To most, control of breath is Pranayama. However, this is a result of wrong interpretation.

For a rightful interpretation, it must be understood that 'prana' is an energy or life force that is universal in nature - it is omnipresent. A portion of that prana is also present in the human body. It flows at a superficial level to maintain the body and its organs.

The goal of Pranayama is to increase the quantum of this life force (Prana) so that it can reach out to 'hidden' recesses of the brain. This helps in expanding the human faculties and retarding degeneration.

How Prana operates?

All the life force or Prana lies as dormant potential energy called the 'pranashakti' or 'kundalini'. It resides at a center which is found just above the genital area, called the 'mooladhara chakra'.

According to yoga, this prana flows from the base 'mooladhara' center up along the right side of the spinal column into the center which lies at the top of the spinal column. This center is called the 'Ajna Chakra'. The prana also gets distributed to the whole body through a different set of nerve channels so that it reaches every atom of the body.

This is how prana operates in the normal body and the scope of Pranayama is to extend this influence beyond the physical body.

Prana and the Brain

Modern science has divided the brain into three parts: the new brain, the middle brain and the primitive brain. According to yoga, the primitive brain forms nine out of ten parts of the brain. These parts are 'silent' and unexplored. The next phase of evolution will see the development of these parts and Pranayama helps achieve that.

Pranayama helps create a greater quantum of prana and also purifies the channels that will carry this increased prana to these 'silent' areas of the brain. It is very important that the channels be purified first to cope up with the increased energy created by Pranayama.

When this fantastic amount of energy is created it flows from the mooladhara through the right side of the spinal column (pingala nadi) and up to the Ajna Chakra. From here it flows into the silent areas of the brain. These are the little known brain areas that house 'mysterious' faculties such as clairvoyance, intuition and expanded awareness.

Understanding Pranayama - Part II

How Pranayama works?

Through the practices of Pranayama, a certain amount of heat is generated which influences the existing quantum of energy or Prana. For example, if you produce heat in a vessel, it will heat the existing air.

We all have a certain amount of Prana which gives us life and maintains our organs. Pranayama serves to heat that quantum of Prana which then ascends along the spinal column into the Ajna Chakra. When sufficient heat is generated within the system, the Ajna Chakra sends a feedback to the base (the mooladhara) of kundalini and the dormant potential energy is awakened to increase the energy flow to the Ajna Chakra. This is the purpose of Pranayama.

While Pranayama serves to awaken the kundalini, certain Pranayamas are done to purify the carrying channels so that this increased energy can be handled appropriately. For example, the Ujjayi pranayama clears the pingala nadi for the ascension of kundalini.

The science of Pranayama is based on the retention of prana called 'kumbhaka'. Inhalation and exhalation are merely incidental. Those who are serious in awakening the hidden recesses of the brain need to perfect the art of retention (kumbhaka). During kumbhaka there is an increased blood flow into the brain and simultaneously heat is generated in the system.

The heat generates an increased energy in an electrical form. This electrical spark alters the chemical structure of the cerebral fluid which surrounds the brain. When this fluid is chemically influenced, it affects the behaviour of the brain. This is why one experiences a dizziness.

All the great experiences take place in this condition of dizziness. However, it is important that when this occurs you are fully aware. Few people are able to handle it and that is why the practice of Pranayama should be combined with the practice of concentration. When awakening takes place, dizziness occurs and a visual aid is necessary such as a candle, a dot or the 'Om' symbol.

Therefore, the practice of Pranayama has to be done very intelligently and patiently.

Asanas Yoga - Yoga Exercises & Postures

The practice of Yoga Exercises means practicing both your body and your mind. It takes willpower and perseverance to accomplish each Yoga Pose and to practice it daily. But the prize for your perseverance is really worth all the hard work. The practice of Yoga Exercises or Yoga Asanas with your yoga blocks can improve your health, increase your resistance, and develop your mental awareness. Doing the Yoga Poses requires you to have your own yoga kit and to study each pose and execute it slowly as you control your body and your mind. Read on and follow our free Yoga Posture animations to discover more about the different Poses in the following sections:

Warm-Up Poses In general, warming up depends on the Yoga Style that you practice. This section covers In general, warming up depends on the Yoga Style that you practice. This section covers some Warm-Up exercises that you can do prior to a Yoga class or session.

Standing Poses Learn how to practice the different Standing Poses - Triangle Pose, Hands to Feet, Standing Learn how to practice the different Standing Poses - Triangle Pose, Hands to Feet, Standing Side Stretch Pose, Stand Spread Leg Forward Fold, Warrior Pose, Tree Pose, and Sun Salutation.

Seated Poses There are poses which can be done while sitting on yoga mats . In this There are poses which can be done while sitting on yoga mats. In this section, know how to do the various Seated Poses such as Spread Leg Forward Fold, Hero Pose, Seated Forward Bend, and Child Pose.

Twist Yoga Poses Aside from strengthening the back, the Half-Spinal Twist and Sage Twist are Yoga Poses which Aside from strengthening the back, the Half-Spinal Twist and Sage Twist are Yoga Poses which tone and massage the abdominal area and improve digestion.

Supine Poses This section covers several Yoga Poses which are done in supine (lying face up) position This section covers several Yoga Poses which are done in supine (lying face up) position - Leg Reclining Lunge, Locust Pose, Leg Pulls, Leg Raises, and Wind Relieving Pose.

Inverted Postures and Balance Poses Shoulderstand, Headstand, and Plough can help increase circulation, stimulate the brain, enhance glandular system Shoulderstand, Headstand, and Plough can help increase circulation, stimulate the brain, enhance glandular system functioning, and relieve pressure on the abdominal organs.

Backbends Backbends are Yoga Poses which promote flexibility in the spine and strengthen the arms, legs, Backbends are Yoga Poses which promote flexibility in the spine and strengthen the arms, legs, and abdomen. In this section, know how to practice Backbends.

Finishing Poses The Corpse Pose or Savasana and the Final Corpse are Yoga Poses which are usually The Corpse Pose or Savasana and the Final Corpse are Yoga Poses which are usually practiced as final relaxation at the end of a Yoga Session.

Warning: We encourage everybody to try and practice the Yoga Poses by yourselves at home or in the office. However, if you are feeling uncomfortable or are not able to complete a posture, do not push yourself. Yoga Exercise is not a competition, so just relax and try again. Moreover, do not try Yoga Postures which are beyond your capabilities. It will be helpful to actually sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each Yoga Pose and make sure you are doing the exercise correctly.

Yoga: Yoga Dictionary

By Sri Swami Sivananda

Yoga Glossary - Yoga Dictionary

ABHYASA - Spiritual practice.

Abhyasin - Practitioner.

Acharya - Preceptor; Teacher.

Adhara - Foundation; base which supports.

Adhikarin - Qualified person.

Adhyatmic - Pertaining to Atman.

Agni - Fire.

Ahankara - Egoism.

Ajna Chakra - Spiritual centre at the eyebrows.

Ajnana - Ignorance.

Akasa - Ether.

Akhanda - Unbroken.

Anahata Chakra - Cardiac plexus.

Ananda - Bliss; happiness; comfort.

Antahkarana - Fourfold internal organs, viz., Manas, Chitta, Buddhi and Ahankara.

Anubhava - Experience.

Asana - Seat; posture.

Avidya - Ignorance.

BAHIH - Outward; external.

Basti - The purificatory exercise for congested bowels. Bhakta - Devotee.

Bhakti - Devotion.

Bhava - Feeling.

Bheda - Difference; piercing.

Bhrumadhya - The space between the eyebrows.

Bhuta Siddhi - Control over elements.

Brahmachari - Celibate.

Brahmacharya - Celibacy.

Brahmamuhurta - The period from 3 to 6 a.m. intended for Yoga - Abhyasa.

Brahmarandhra - An aperture in the crown of the head.

CHAITANYA - Consciousness.

Chakras - Spiritual centres in Sushumna Nadi.

Chandra - Nadi - Moon - flow; another name for Ida.

Chit - Knowledge.

Chitta - Consciousness.

DANA - Charity.

Darshana - Interview.

Deha - Physical body.

Dharana - Concentration.

Dhauti - The exercise for cleaning the stomach.

Diksha - Initiation.

Dosha - Fault; impurity.

Drishti - Vision.

Duhkha - Misery; pain.

Dvesha - Hatred; repulsion.

GRIHASTHA - Householder.

Granthi - Knot.

Gulma - Chronic gastritis.

Guru - Spiritual preceptor.

ICCHA - Desire.

Ida - The Nadi that runs on the left side of Sushumna.

Indriyas - Senses.

JADA - Insentient; lifeless.

Jada Kriya - Physical exercise.

Japa - Repetition of a Mantra.

Jaya - Mastery.

Jiva - Individual soul.

Jnana - Indriyas - Five organs or senses of Knowledge. viz., ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose.

KAIVALYA - Isolation.

Kama - Passion, desire.

Kanda - The source of all Nadis.

Karma - Indriyas - Five organs of action, viz., speech, hands, legs, genitals and anus.

Karma - Action; duty.

Kaya - body.

Kaya - Sampat - Perfection of body.

Krama - Order.

Kripa - Grace.

Kriya - Physical action or exercises.

Krodha - Anger.

Kumbhaka - Retention of breath.

Kundalini - The mysterious power in the body.

LAKSHYA - Object of concentration.

Laya - Dissolution.

MADHYAMA - Middle; centre.

Manana - Reflection or concentration.

Manas - Mind.

Mandala - Region.

Manipura - Solar plexus situated at the navel.

Mantra - Holy words.

Matsarya - Envy; jealousy.

Maya - Illusive power; veiling Shakti.

Mada - Arrogance; pride.

Mitahara - Moderation of diet.

Moha - Attachment; infatuated love.

Moksha - Liberation; emancipation.

Mouna - Vow of silence.

Mrityunjaya - Conqueror of death.

Mukti - Final beatitude.

Mula - Origin; root; base.

Muladhara Chakra - The spiritual centre at the base of the spinal column.

NABHI - Navel.

Nada - Anahata Sound.

Nadi - Astral tube that carries Prana.

Nasikagra Drishti - Vision at the tip of the nose.

Nauli - Purificatory exercise of abdominal region.

Neti - The exercise for cleaning the nostrils.

Nididhyasana - Profound meditation.

Nirguna - Formless; without attributes.

Nishkama Karma - Disinterested work.

Nishtha - Fixity; steadiness.

Nivritti Marga - Path of renunciation.

Niyama - Religious rules; second step in Yoga.

OJAS - Spiritual energy.

Oordhvareto - Yogi - The Yogi in whom the seminal energy flows upwards.

PADMA - Lotus; Chakra; a name for the plexus.

Parama - Supreme.

Pingala - The Nadi that runs on the right side of Sushumna Nadi.

Poorna - Full.

Prakriti - Nature; undifferentiated matter.

Prana - Vital energy.

Pranayama - Regulation of breath.

Pratyahara - Withdrawing the senses from objects.

Pratyakshatva - Direct perception.

Prema - Divine love.

Prerana - Inner goading.

Puraka - Inhalation.

RAGA - Attachment.

Rajas - Passion; motion.

Rajasic - Passionate.

Rechaka - Exhalation.

Rupa - Form.

SADHAKA - Spiritual aspirant.

Sadhana - Spiritual practice.

Saguna - With form.

Sahasrara - The spiritual centre at the head.

Sakshatkara - Direct perception.

Sama - Equal; balanced state of mind.

Samadhi - Superconscious state.

Samsara Chakra - Wheel of death and birth.

Samskara - Impression.

Sankalpa - Formative will; determination.

Sattva - Purity.

Sattvic - Pure.

Satyam - Truth; Brahman.

Shakti - Power.

Shat - Karmas - Six purificatory exercises of Hatha Yoga, viz., Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Nauli, Trataka and Kapalabhati.

Siddhas - Perfected Yogins.

Siddhi - Perfection; psychic power.

Sindur - Vermilion.

Sparsha - Touch; feeling.

Sraddha - Faith.

Sravana - Hearing of Srutis.

Sthula - Physical; gross.

Sukha - Happiness; comfortable.

Sukshma - Astral; subtle.

Surya Nadi - Another name for Pingala.

Sutra - Aphorism.

Svara Sadhana - Regulation of breath.

TAMAS - Inertia; darkness.

Tamasic - Dull; lazy.

Tattva - Elements; faculty.

Titiksha - Forbearance.

Trataka - Gazing at a particular spot.

Trikala - Jnani - One who knows the past, present and future.

Trishna - Craving.

Triveni - The place where three holy rivers meet.

Tushti - Satisfaction.

UNMANI AVASTHA - Mindless state of Yogins.

Uttama - Qualified person.

VAIRAGYA - Renunciation; dispassion.

Vajra - Adamantine; firm.

Vak - Speech.

Vasana - Impression of action that remains in the mind.

Virya - Seminal power; energy.

Vishuddha - Laryngeal plexus at the base of the throat.

Vritti - Mental function.

YAMA - The first step in Yoga.

Yatra - Pilgrimage.

Yoga - Superconscious state; union with Paramatma.

Yogic - Pertaining to Yoga.

Yogin - One who is devoted to Yoga.

Yukti - Common - sense.

Karma Yoga: The yoga of action/work

Bhakti Yoga: The yoga of Devotion/spirituality

Jnana Yoga: The yoga of Knowledge

Raja Yoga: Yoga of Mind and Meditation

Kundalini Yoga: Release of Spiritual Energy

Hatha Yoga: for Gaining Physical Strength

Tantra Yoga: Sexual Awakening/Enlightnment