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Friday, 30 September 2011

Yoga and Constipation

Yoga Articles > Yoga and Constipation
 
“Sometimes small things can make your life difficult” — How often have we heard this sentence in our life? Numerous times, I guess! If we have to describe at least one of those so-called ‘small things’, constipation can very well be the first thing that comes to our mind.


Yes, constipation — a common and a major problem. It won’t be wrong to say that at least half of the world’s population suffers from it currently. Besides, every person in his or her lifetime may have faced this problem at some point of time. Constipation may sound as a small thing initially, but if neglected for a long period, it can lead to many serious complications like abdomen pain, formation of wind, appetite loss, headache, lethargy, distension of the abdomen, nervous exhaustion, pimples, rheumatism, arthritis and lastly, the deadly cancer.


Although the usage of laxatives provide temporary relief, it becomes ineffective in the long run because of its constant use. Doctors also warn not to use laxatives regularly. Yoga proves highly effective in the treatment of constipation. The following asanas are very important for a person who is suffering from constipation:
  • Bhujanghasana: It removes constipation and gas and helps in digestion.
  • Trikonasana: It helps a person to pass stool normally.
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana: It increases the digestive fire and provides relief from constipation.
  • Supta Vajrasana: It helps in digestion and provides relief from constipation.
Besides, these four asanas, a person who is suffering from chronic constipation, should also try Dhanurasana, Sarvangasana, Kapalbhati, Bhastrika and Mayurasana.


All these yoga poses work on the abdominal movement and hence make it easier to pass the stool. These asanas also help in improving the human digestive system and therefore, eradicate constipation completely from your system. In addition to curing constipation, these yoga postures also provides relief from other disorders, if combined with a healthy diet and adequate sleep.


However, all these asanas should be practise under the expert supervision of a Yoga Guru. Besides, if you are pregnant or having a heart disorder, then these postures should be avoided.


Apart from practicing yoga, a constipation patient should not have too much of tea, coffee or junk food. The diet should be healthy and balanced and at least 1.5 litres of water should be consumed by the person.


Finally, remember that Yoga is not only for the yogis. It’s just not constipation that can be cured by yoga but also various dreadful diseases. So make yoga a part of your life in order to lead a healthy and happy life.

Yoga and Diabetes

Yoga Articles > Yoga and Diabetes
 
One of the most common causes for deaths in the United States is diabetes. On an average, around 18 million Americans suffer from it. Diabetes occurs when the body fails to produce or use insulin, which converts sugar, starches and other food items into energy.


Diabetes is basically divided into two types: Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is caused due to the non-production of insulin and cannot be cured by yoga. Here the patient needs to use insulin shots or insulin pumps. On the other hand, Diabetes 2, which is caused by improper life style or stress-related ailments, can be effectively treated by yoga, if not cured fully. This is the most common form of diabetes and can be developed by anyone.


Yoga not only complements the lifestyle changes which are required to keep the diabetic symptoms under control, but also helps a lot in creating a life that is full of happiness and vitality. Yoga exercises reduce the harmful effects of stress-related ailments.


The most important yoga exercise for the people suffering from diabetes is sun salutation. What it tends to do is that it increases your blood supply to various parts of the body and hence improves the insulin administration in the body. This exercise is so effective that the benefits can be experienced instantly if four rounds are done within a minute. If practiced slowly, it gives the benefits of asanas.


After sun salutation, asanas proves as the most beneficial in the treatment for diabetes. Asanas gives stability and comfort to the body. Due to the various twisting and stretching experienced during the asanas, the internal organs of the body are stretched and subjected to strain. This results in the increase of blood supply and oxygen supply to the organs, thereby increasing its efficiency and functioning. The various asanas which prove beneficial for a diabetes patient are Dhanurasana, Ardhamatsyendrasana, Vajrasana Yoga Mudra, Pavan Muktasana, Sarvangasana, Halasana and Matsyasana.


After asanas, comes the pranayamas. Pranayamas has a calming effect on mind, brain and nervous system, which reduces the stress levels and thus helps in the treatment of diabetes. Pranayamas also increase the oxygen levels and reduces carbon dioxide levels in the blood. However, an important thing which has to be remembered while practicing the pranayamas is that it should be practiced under the expert guidance of a Yoga Guru.


Practice of meditation is also required for diabetic treatment as it helps in stress management. Meditation not only creates a calming effect on the nervous system, but also brings a perfect balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Concentration on pancreas during the meditation shows positive effects on sugar levels, which is very vital for diabetes treatment.


Apart from all these yoga exercises, one can also do yoga nidra and the cleansing processes like shanka prakshalana.

Yoga Can Cure Impotency

Yoga Articles >Yoga Can Cure Impotency
 
Yoga is often described as the complete science of life as it helps a person lead a happy and healthy life. It is also said that by practicing yoga, a person can get rid of all health problems and live a balanced life. Yoga is so effective that one can even get cured of impotence by practicing certain yoga poses regularly.


Impotence has become one of the biggest concerns of male society and hence it also indirectly affects the female society. Although impotence does not have any serious physical consequences, it can lead to mental complications as a person may become mentally distressed because of it. In case a person is not involved in a sexual relationship, impotence can greatly reduce his chances of actually being into one. At the same time, if the man is already in a sexual relationship with a woman, the relationship may undergo stress and not survive long.


It is our changing lifestyles that have contributed to the rise of impotence or sterility in men. Impotence, a disorder where a man’s penis is unable to get erection during sexual intercourse, is mainly due to the inadequate blood supply to the male reproductive system. Although several medications are available to get rid of this problem, the best way to cure impotence is through the yogic way. Medicines may have side effects, but with yoga, there are no side effects.


One has to understand that anything related to stress or anxiety contributes heavily to impotence as it interferes with relaxation that is absolutely necessary for erection. This is where yoga comes into play naturally. Yoga is all about relaxation and stress-busting. While stress leads to erectile dysfunction, yoga reduces stress and helps in the treatment of impotence. Yoga is an effective exercise as it not only cures impotence but also improves overall health.


Men suffering from impotence should use Yoga’s healing power and with the traditional techniques taught in the Kama Yogi, recapture their lost vigor and energy. Practice yoga regularly if you want to get permanent results.
Here are a few asanas that could help you to overcome impotence.
However, all these yoga poses should be practiced regularly for about a month to get the results since yoga is a slow healing process. One should also take care of the fact that the poses are done under the expert guidance of a yoga teacher.

Yoga and Depression

Yoga Articles >Yoga and Depression
 
Have you ever felt sad without any reason? Have you ever felt that you have lost it and a feeling of emptiness has gripped you? Well! If yes, then you are actually suffering from depression. But you are not the only person suffering from depression. Around 121 million people across the world suffer from it. In fact, 80% of people who are depressed also suffer from anxiety.



However, if depression persists for a long time it can be detrimental for your life as it suppresses your energy and makes you disease-prone. Depression is the most common disease in this fast-paced world and the first thing that a depressed person does is reach for anti-depressant pills. This often leads to serious side effects.


In contrary, several studies have shown that doing regular exercise or Yoga can provide instant relief from depression because the yoga postures increase the levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which alleviates depression. This is absolutely true because a depressed person literally becomes immobile. He doesn’t move. But two to three poses of Yoga in a few minutes’ time, along with some breathing exercises, ticks you on and energizes you so much that you will want to move more and more.


Yoga exercises not only put pressure on glands and organs to produce chemical balance but also improve blood circulation. This pushes oxygen to your brain and muscles. Besides, the stretching and strengthening movements also flush toxins from the body.


The breathing exercises called pranayamas energizes the body and alleviate anxiety thereby creating a sense of calm and well-being. The breathing exercise known as ujjayi pranayama is best for healing depression.
On the other hand, the most recommended asanas for a depressed person are:
Regular practice of these yoga postures along with the pranayamas will protect you from depression. However, just remember that yoga alone cannot cure depression. You need to abstain from alcohol and drugs. You also need to follow a proper diet and sleeping pattern.
Depression can be viewed as a warning for you to protect your physical and mental health. It signals that it’s time for a change. Get rid of bad habits and lead a spiritual and healthy life.

Yoga and Healthy Skin

Yoga Articles >Yoga and Healthy Skin
 
Your skin is the reflection of the health state of your body. A glowing, supple and flawless skin stands for a fit body and peaceful mind. An unhealthy diet, lacking required nutrients, sedentary lifestyle, intake of junk food and aerated drinks, rising pollution levels, over exposure to sun and high stress factors, are some amongst the sundry factors squeezing the life out of your skin and cause for the spiraling number of skin diseases. 


It’s high time you start caring for your skin. Yoga bestows a natural luster to your skin by balancing your hormones and promoting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your skin. This keeps your skin springy and prevents dehydration and sagging. Yoga nourishes your skin at the cellular level and detoxifies it. All the internal organs and particularly the endocrine glands get activated and their functioning is optimized. It helps lower stress levels considerably and provides complete relaxation. 


The following exercises should be practiced for at least 5 minutes each on an empty stomach, ensure that you do it religiously since the efforts will be realized only after 3 weeks.
  • Bhastrika: Inhale a good volume of air through your nose and then exhale it. This is quite simple and acts like a warm up session before you take up the others.

  • Kapalbhatti: In this exercise you blow out air from your nostrils and are detoxifying yourself. The speed at which you blow the air out should be moderate. The ideal speed is one blow per second.

  • Anulom Vilom: Here you inhale air from one nostril and exhale through the other. While you breathe in from one nostril you need to close the other one with your thumb and while breathing out release your thumb.

  • Shitli Kumbhak: It is an extremely useful pranayama for skin. This has the potential to reduce facial wrinkles and purify the blood. To perform this, you need to fold your tongue so that it protrudes a little from the mouth. Slowly inhale through your mouth and experience the coolness inside the neck while inhaling. Then swallow the breath and hold inside your stomach for a few seconds before exhaling through the nose
More oxygen + More blood circulation + Stress-at-bay = Yogic formula to a healthy and glowing skin. 

Asanas that help you achieve the above are:
So you see, yoga can breathe life into your skin and bring about dramatic changes to your looks. All it asks for is your time; don’t lose heart if you don’t get immediate results. “Patience” is the watchword. Also once you have achieved the desired results do not discontinue yoga because like I said it is nutrition for your skin, body, mind and soul.

Yoga for Sportsman

Yoga Articles > Yoga for Sportsman 
 
Yoga benefits for sportsman

Yoga should be a part of the everyday life of a sportsman. Yoga can improve the performance of any sport. Yoga releases stress and creates inner peace and also trains the body, mind and spirit to become strong and flexible. The benefits of yoga are observed and written by successful athletes and sportsmen. Another very important point to note is that yoga is not very time consuming, regular yoga practice lasts from 30 min 1.30 hours.


There are unlimited benefits of yoga if one does it religiously. We all know that yoga increases the flexibility of the muscles but one also gains balance and poise from the various yoga poses. The different yoga postures imports strength to the body . The deep breathing exercise which forms the fundamental part of yoga helps to send oxygen to the body cells. Yoga improves and complements the ability of the athlete in any sport that he chooses. Yoga also brings about coordination between body and mind and this enables them to function efficiently. Stiffness of the back is a common problem among cyclists. Yoga back postures could heal this stiffness; also the stretching poses could heal the stiffness of the legs and shoulders. People who play golf are prone to uneven muscular development because when a golfer swings he uses the same muscle group all the time and this cause’s muscular tension. Yoga Postures stretch these muscles and eases the muscular tension. For any sportsman yoga could be taken up as a warm up and warm down routine.


Yoga also improves blood circulation. It strengthens deep connective tissues preventing or minimizing injuries. The deep breathing or Pranayam in yoga builds up one’s life force energies and boosts up the immune system. It also increases stamina. Yoga trains the body to create strength through breathing control. This could be particularly applied for people who play tennis. Deep breathing exercises helps the tennis players as holding the breath at points of exertion takes a great deal of energy that could be used by players during long sets or matches . With the regular practice of balancing yoga poses, the athlete is able to perform stunts which demands right balance of the body. The athlete while performing stunts remains centered and injury free because whenever he experiences imbalance, his body immediately recovers the balance on its own .


The benefits which yoga can give to a sportsman cannot be overlooked. Yoga builds energy in a non-aggressive manner. Yoga releases tension through a slow, tensionless process. It brings about more focus, flexibility, mobility and strength which are needed by the sportsman to keep themselves fit . There are still many more advantages of yoga for sportsman. Some of the benefits have been listed below –


The effect of Yoga on our body is simple yet extremely effective.
  • Yoga is a great strength training exercise, but it is also relaxing
  • Yoga also helps to increase your oxygen intake thanks to the deep breathing used in yoga.
  • Yoga also keeps your weight in control.
  • Yoga postures tones, stretches, strengthens the body and also boosts the immune system.

There are many more benefits that a sportsman can derive from the regular practice of yoga.

Yoga Improves Memory

Yoga Articles >Yoga Improves Memory
Memory is the ability to retain and recall information as and when required. Memory capacity is the ability to analyze and process the assimilated information and not raw data storage alone. Memory power varies from one individual to another.


Yoga and Memory: are linked by an umbilical cord

Memory is critical to our daily lives. Throughout the day, we are constantly flooded with information, data and new happenings/developments/facts. Thus our mind has its natural way to sieve out only the information that is relevant or useful to us. Thus it is important that we train our minds accordingly and ensure a healthy state of functioning.

Yoga provides an excellent tool for improving memory power and fighting forgetfulness

The brain functions of attention, cognition, processing of sensory information and visual perception are honed with yogic practices. Yogic practices hatha yoga, which is a medley of asanas, pranayama, meditation and Om chanting increase blood feed to the brain. This helps in soothing mind and enhances concentration.

Memory power is given a boost, while also improving the ability to maintain focus and concentration.
  • YOGA ASANA: Sarvangasana and Bhujangasana are the two main asana, which are a great remedy to all your physical and mental problems.

  • PRANAYAMA: In pranayama, the mind is focused on the breath as it flows in and out of the body. Oxygen and prana (energy) levels in mind and body also elevate due to the regulation of breath. Bhastrika, Kapalbhati and Brahmari Pranayam are the best. They improve the memory power and alleviate forgetfulness.

  • OMKAR CHANTING: Here you inhale air from one nostril and exhale through the other. While you breathe in from one nostril you need to close the other one with your thumb and while breathing out release your thumb.

  • Open-Legged Forward Bend and Sirshasana are some other yoga practices that strengthen memory. 

There are some yogic techniques that exclusively stimulate the brain and nervous system to improve memory and concentration.

  • Dharana: or the practice of Concentration: is known to yoke the wandering mind. This relieves strain on the mind. Mental strength increases. Efficiency and effectiveness of work is known to improve. The daily practice of dharana reduces the wavering attitude of mind with peace and mental calm settling into life. Moreover it trains the mind to become clear, focused and directional.

  • Meditation: is a step beyond Dharna, requiring even more mental focus and concentration. The practice of meditation, either by itself or in conjunction with asana and pranayama solaces the mind by reducing excessive thinking.

Conclusion


Joan Shivarpita Harrigan, director of Patanjali Kundalini Yoga Care says that if you practices yoga religiously, he can shift the patterns of the autonomic nervous system over time. It can empower one to change the physiology, the hormones, and the neurotransmitters in the brain and create a foundation for more peacefulness and clarity and receptivity and retentiveness." To sum it up in the words of the Yoga Sutra, "Yogah cittavritti nirodhah" -- yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. A calm mind is a focused mind.

Is Yoga A Medicine?

Yoga Articles > Is Yoga A Medicine?
 
 
From time immemorial, the debate continues whether yoga is an alternative medicine or not? In order to answer this, one first needs to understand what holistic and alternative medicine is.

Holistic and alternative medicine is defined as “those non-traditional systems of health care which concentrate on the relationship between the healer and the patient for attaining optimal physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health.” This system of health care includes acupuncture,homeopathy, chiropractic, herbal medicine and finally, yoga. The holistic and alternative medicine practitioners include yoga teachers as well.



Yoga is indeed a medicine. It is a medicine based on ancient science rather than modern allopath. Yoga is essentially a kind of mind-body therapy whose benefits are attained by doing various exercises and meditation. Yoga is now universally recognized as a powerful alternative branch of medicine. The sole reason for this is that Yoga has no side effects whatsoever. It is perhaps the only medicine whose results are long-lasting and does not lead to any further complications or new diseases which generally happen in case of the orally-administered medicines.

If described in other terms, “Yoga is a healing system of theory and practice.” It is a combination of breathing exercises, physical postures and meditation which just needs to be practiced. This kind of treatment is neither expensive nor does it require any diagnosis or lab tests. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine had conducted a survey in the United States on who all used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), what they basically used and why it was used? It was observed that Yoga was the 5th most commonly used CAM therapy (2.8%) in the United States during 2002, which has continued to improve as the years have passed by. Finally, it has been concluded that by 2010 it will rank 1st among the CAM therapies used in US.

Why Yoga has continued to increase its popularity as CAM therapy is because it reduces the health effects of generalized stress, from which 90% of the US population suffer from. Yoga calms the nervous system and balances the body, mind, and spirit. Besides, it also lowers blood pressure, improves co-ordination, flexibility, concentration, sleep and digestion. That is why more and more people are now thronging to yoga classes to practice it under the expert guidance of a yoga teacher. In addition, people who don’t have the luxury of time can also have easy access to yoga through online web portals and videos.

To conclude, we can say that yoga is indeed a powerful medicine, if not magic!

Yoga For Children

Yoga Articles > Yoga For Children
Yoga is not only for adults , it's also for children. 

Children may derive multiple benefits from yoga. Though we may not consider our children going for yoga classes at such tender ages yet one must not forget that children too have a stressful life and yoga brings relief and relaxes the body. Children do have a significant amount of stress in their lives in terms of school pressures, incessant lessons, video games, malls, and competitive sports. These little pressures which build stress can be overcome by yoga.

Yoga at an early age fosters concentration and a sense of calm besides building body-awareness and strength. As discussed before, children do have busy and stressful lives and yoga helps counter many problems. When kids do yoga they are not competing with any individual, this non-competency helps children learn self esteem and cooperation which soon becomes a personality trait which helps them in the long run too. So here is a quick recap of all the benefits of yoga mentioned.

Yoga comes in as the savior! Yoga can be defined as an exercise to stimulate and harmonize all levels of a biological system, physical, mental and spiritual. It is a powerful tool to burn calories and return to or maintain shape as it offers a holistic and versatile means of losing weight. Many people also choose to combine yoga with running, walking or other aerobic exercise in order to reach their weight loss goals.

Physical Benefits
  • Enhances flexibility
  • Enhances strength
  • Enhances coordination
  • Enhances body – awareness
Mental Benefits
  1. Fosters concentration
  2. Improves the sense of relaxation and calms the mind
It’s kind of challenging to teach yoga to children because they are very playful by nature. It’s not easy to hold their attention on something. Kids love to move around and are also fond of animals, so keeping these factors in mind the yoga teacher should make yoga fun for the children by making them roar in a lion pose, stretch like a cat which the kids won’t refuse to do. Teaching yoga to children falling in the age group of ten-thirteen, is a challenging experience. But the result is very positive .These kids learn with zeal and also tend to learn quickly.

Physical Benefits
  • If you are practicing yoga for the first time then you’re the best person to tell your child about the benefits you have derived from yoga. If both of you are beginners in yoga then you may talk about what you will be learning and how it will help.

  • Make sure your child learns simple poses first and also make it a point to use visuals in order to make it interesting.

  • If your child has his/her own pose, let them do it after making sure it’s safe for them.

  • The most important thing which you should not forget is to have patience while teaching kids and also explain things in a simple manner.

  • The first session of your class should be that of breathing session .Make the kids lie down on the floor with her arms at her side. Tell her to breathe deeply.

  • It would be better to keep yoga sessions short for children. They may not like long sessions unlike adults.

The benefits of yoga are far reaching and parents of grown up kids should encourage them to join yoga classes after educating them about the golden benefits which yoga will foster on their mental and physical.health. In this time where fast food is becoming a trend among youngsters and health problems are taking a toll on every family, yoga is the best medicine to stay fit."A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves." - T. Guillemets

Laughter Yoga

Yoga Articles > Laughter Yoga
 
Laughter Yoga is a form of exercise based on the philosophy of ‘acting happiness’. It is a life changing form of an exercise which anybody can do. Laughter yoga is body-mind approach to laughter. It was first developed in India by an Indian physician. Now laughter yoga has become popular worldwide with an estimation of 6000 laughter clubs in 60 countries. We all face stress in our daily lives and laughter yoga is best medicine to wind down the contradictory effects of stress and negative thoughts.
Laughter yoga is not a mental process. In order to practice laughter yoga one need not depend on jokes or humor. Laughter is universal language which also builds good communication and enhances inter-personal relations. Scientists have proved that even when we laugh in contemplation of laughing our bodies will get the same health benefit which it would get from a hearty laughter.


  • Laughter yoga has got world of health benefits, it makes it easier to cope with life and its challenges.

  • Laughter is the only moment where we can experience happiness. People who doesn’t laugh often are the ones who worry more than the ones who laugh often. People who laugh often make there life easy going and less serious. They develop the ability to tolerate even intolerable situations. 

  • Laughter also helps us to stay miles away from fear and anger. Laughter releases these negative emotions and helps us to ease our relations with others. 

  • Laughter makes us feel repose as it releases happy hormones called Endorphins; and it is also a cure for depression. It makes us feel good about life. 

  • Laughter also builds self confidence as it eases much of our awkwardness. 

  • Laughter also helps us develop a positive perspective towards every situation which may be of serious/negative nature. 

  • Laughter Yoga is also an approach to unmitigated love. 

  • Laughter boosts good communication among people and hence leaves no room for conflicts. 

Laughter adds more joy into our lives. You may begin laughing alone anywhere anytime. You have to decide to laugh. When you have decided to laugh feel happy about it. You may start by laughing every time you take a shower! Just tell yourself all the time that you are in good mood and also try and sing happy songs. You may also join laughter clubs where you will laugh along with a group and group laughter sessions can be fun! Experience childlike playfulness like:
  1. Dance
  2. Funky
  3. Play
  4. Ask questions with big smile on your face
  5. Draw cartoons
  6. Act playful
  7. Collect Rainbows
  8. Climb tress
  9. Have a pillow fight
  10. Fly kites
  11. Play with toys, walk in the rain and the list goes no and on!
Having said all hearty laughter is good however you should be careful if you have
  1. Extremely high blood pressure
  2. Advanced pregnancy
  3. Hernia of any kind
  4. History of heart attack
  5. Any kind of heart disease
  6. Undergone any surgeries lately
So laugh as often as you breathe and love as long as you live! So loosen up, move out of your comfort zone and laugh for no reason!
Water demands No reason To Flow A Child demands No Reason To Be Happy "Why Do We Need A Reason To Laugh?" "Laugh For No Reason"

Yoga Etiquette

Yoga Articles >Yoga Etiquette
 
Yoga is always to be practiced in an open and friendly environment. This is why the Yoga classes and studios always value every individual in the group or batch. To make things pleasant for everyone, they suggest some basic yoga etiquettes to all.


These yoga etiquettes based on common sense and courtesy helps everyone feel comfortable in new environment. Whether it’s a beginner or a person who is attending his hundredth yoga class, everyone needs to experience an enjoyable and stress-free environment.

Before laying down the guidelines of proper yoga etiquette, one has to understand that Yoga classes are different than aerobic classes as the yoga sessions involve certain breathing exercises or pranayamas which can easily be disrupted by some unlikely behavior in the class.
Here are the basic Yoga etiquettes:
  • Try and arrive in the class 5 to 10 minutes before and relax on your yoga mat.

  • In case, you get delayed due to some unavoidable circumstances and the class has already begun, enter it as quietly as possible without disturbing the concentration of others or grabbing their attention.

  • Always remove your shoes before entering the class. Most of the yoga studios have a place for your shoes by the front door, keep your shoes there itself. Never ever enter the studio floor with your outside shoes as most of the time yogis will be spending time there.

  • Switch off your mobile and try to be as quiet as possible when instructions are being given in the class.

  • Never ever wear put on perfume, oil or deodorant which has a heavy smell, fragrance or aroma in the class as yoga sessions deal with heavy breathing.

  • Avoid wearing jewelry in classes, especially the ones which make noise.

  • Do not ask questions frequently and try to avoid long questions long. But do ask so that everyone can learn with you.

  • Always respect your teacher. Even if you don’t like their attitude or way of teaching, don’t show disrespect by making faces etc.

  • Try and not to watch others during the yoga sessions. Some people find it uncomfortable if anyone except the teacher, watches them do the steps of a yoga pose or pranayama. Also this will help you to avoid comparisons and competition as yoga has nothing to do with competing with others, it’s all about self-attainment.

  • Go to the bathroom only during the resting poses like in child’s pose or downward dog’s pose. And also you need not take the teacher’s permission as it would affect the concentration of the class.

  • But never leave the class during Savasana as it is the most important relaxation which ends the session. In case there is an emergency, try to leave as quietly as possible though it’s unlikely that it won’t disturb at least one person. It is better to inform the teacher beforehand that you won’t stay till Savasana and hence, leave prior to it by doing some short relaxation.
Though these etiquettes are a must in the yoga class, one has to remember that preparation for yoga actually begins much before the session. You should take your last meal or snacks one hour before the class and thereby giving your body some time to digest it. Also avoid food which leads to flatulence or bloating.

Last but not the least, ensure that you are wearing proper yoga attire that not only covers your body but also allows you to bend and stretch. Tight fitting clothes are allowed if it doesn’t restrict your body movement. Just remember that if you wear anything funny, it will also lead to disturbance in the concentration level of the yogis present in the class.

Yoga And Food

Q1. Do I need to consult a yoga teacher for my diet chart?
It is found that man is the best teacher of himself through his own personal experience. Therefore it is recommended that he enjoys his freedom of food and set his own limitations. Moreover a number of factors play a role in the proper selection of one's individual diet. They are age, size, weight, habits, tastes, metabolism, climate, availability, resources, occupation, lifestyle, physical activities and social customs. For example, a human being should change his diet according to his growing age keeping in mind his medical history and his circumstances.

Q2. Is there an ideal diet for a yoga practitioner?
There is nothing called an 'ideal diet' as such. But a balanced diet is always preferred and recommended. Proper intake of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fats, minerals, roughage and the so-called trace elements should be taken care on a daily basis. Moreover having a wholesome diet in a correct proportion taken from a wide range of natural food is always good.

Q3. Will vegetarian food serve as an ideal ingredient for my diet?
A preferred meal for any yogi is Lacto-vegetarian food. This includes whole-grain cereals, pulses, legumes, wheat-germ, gram flour, oilseeds, vegetable oils, nuts, roots, tubers, green and fresh vegetables, fresh and dry fruits, honey, sugar, milk, ghee, butter, sweet buttermilk, sweet curd and germinated grams. A permutation and combination of these above given natural food in a correct proportion is the best meal for a practitioner.

Q4. Do I have any specific timings for having my food?
The meals taken round the clock must be followed religiously on a daily basis. It is always better to avoid eating too often at irregular intervals. The best way of eating is to space out proper timings in a day and to follow that regularly. Even taking food at long intervals can be extremely harmful for the body as the stomach remains empty for a longer time.

Q5. Does light eating in between proper meals help?
Generally, two wholesome diets are sufficient for most people. Sometimes junk foods like nuts, chocolates and snacks taken in between the meals can disturb the digestion process as they will get consumed by your digestive system and you may lose the appetite for your main meal.

Q6. What is the best time to eat before going to bed?
The ideal time to go to bed is 2 hours after having dinner. It is not advisable to take dinner too late at night or going to bed as soon as you finish your meal. Also going to bed empty stomach is not recommended. But keeping your stomach light is advisable.

Q7. Can I eat something just before or after my yoga sessions?
Taking food right before or after vigorous exercise or hard work is not encouraged. It is better to rest for a while and then take a proper meal.

Q8. Why is being a vegetarian stressed so much while practicing yoga?
There is no hard and fast rule that a practitioner should become a complete vegetarian while practicing yoga. A normal diet which is balanced is what matters the most. However, as a yogi progresses in his path of yoga, he soon realizes that killing is unethical and therefore changes his diet automatically.

On medical ground, a vegetarian diet is recommended due to many reasons. Most important among them is that, Asanas and Pranayama give an automatic repulsive force to body and mind that refuses flesh-based diet in order to bring cellular quietness. Therefore, simple vegetarian dishes do not irritate the system.

Yoga Mudras

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras - Hand and Finger Postures

Mudra is the science of hand and finger postures. It can help to cure bodily ailments in a wonderful manner. It affects the body's energetic sysytem and the flow of prana (life energy) within it. It actually helps in balancing the five elements ( panch-tattvas ) in the human system to their optimal levels.

Abhaya Mudra
"Abhaya" means 'fearless' in Sanskrit. This mudra is a sign of benevolence and peace.
Dhyana Mudra
"Dhyana" connotes 'meditation' in Sanskrit. This mudra is assumed during meditation.
Gyana Mudra
"Gyana" refers to 'knowledge' in Sanskrit.
 
Linga Mudra
"Linga" or "angustha" refers to 'thumb' in Sanskrit.
Mritsanjeevani Mudra
"Air" is referred to as 'Mritsanjeevani' in Sanskrit. This mudra helps in balancing the air element in your body.
Prithvi Mudra
"Prithvi" means 'earth' in Sanskrit. This mudra restores balance of the earth element in your body.
Shunya Mudra
"Shunya" refers to 'zero' or 'sky' in Sanskrit. This mudra helps to connect your mind.
Surya Mudra
In Sanskrit, "Surya" means 'sun'. Sun is the source of energy. This mudra provides energy.
Vaayu Mudra
In Sanskrit, "vaayu" connotes 'air'. Air element of the body gets properly balanced with this mudra.
"Varuna" means 'water' in Sanskrit. This mudra helps maintain balance of water in your body.

Abhaya Mudra

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Abhaya Mudra
"Abhaya" means 'fearless' in Sanskrit. This mudra is a sign of benevolence and peace.

Sequence:

  1. Sit comfortably in Padmasana.
  2. Raise both your hands to ear level.
  3. Join the thumb and index finger at the tips.
  4. Keep the hands raised.

Benefits:

  • This yoga mudra restores inner strength.
  • It develops a sense of fearlessness.
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Dhyana Mudra

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Dhyana Mudra
"Dhyana" connotes 'meditation' in Sanskrit. This mudra is assumed during meditation.

Sequence:

  1. Sit cross-legged.
  2. Open out your palm.
  3. Join the tip of the thumb and index finger to form a ring.
  4. Relax the other three fingers keeping them together.

Benefits:

  • This mudra increases the ability to focus.
  • Dhyana Mudra is the mudra of meditation and concentration.
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Gyana Mudra

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Gyana Mudra
"Gyana" refers to 'knowledge' in Sanskrit.

Sequence:

  1. Sit in Padmasana.
  2. Place your hands on respective knees with your palms facing up.
  3. Join the tips of thumb and index finger.
  4. Spread out your other three fingers.
  5. Remain in this posture for some time.

Benefits:

  • Many mental problems get cured with regular practice of this pose.
  • The body and mind both get relaxed.
  • You can attain intelligence.
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Linga Mudra

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Linga Mudra
"Linga" or "Angustha" refers to 'thumb' in Sanskrit.

Sequence:

  1. Join both your palms.
  2. Intertwine your fingers.
  3. Keep your right thumb raised.
  4. Encircle the right thumb with your left thumb and index finger.

Benefits:

  • Practice of this mudra can be beneficial for obese people.
  • Cold (chronic and seasonal) can be treated with this mudra.
  • Phlegm of chest can be cleared with Linga Mudra.
  • People with irritable nature should perform this mudra to gain calmness.
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Mritsanjeevani Mudra

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Mritasanjeevani Mudra
'Air' is referred to as "Mritsanjeevani" in Sanskrit. This mudra helps in balancing the air element in your body.


Sequence:

  1. Spread out the fingers of your hands.
  2. Fold the index finger and bring it close to the thumb pad.
  3. Put your thumb over the index finger and press it on the pad of the thumb.
  4. Bend your middle and ring finger to touch the tip of the thumb.

Benefits:

  • Heart patients can benefit from this mudra.
  • Blood pressure patients can practice Mritsanjeevani Mudra to normalize blood pressure.
  • Self-confidence gets a boost with regular practice of Mritsanjeevani Mudra.
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Prithvi Mudra

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Prithvi Mudra
"Prithvi" means 'earth' in Sanskrit. This mudra restores balance of the earth element in your body.

Sequence:

  1. Spread out your fingers.
  2. Join the thumb and ring finger at the tips.
  3. Straighten all the other fingers.

Benefits:

  • Balance of your body is achieved.
  • When applied with meditation Prithvi Mudra can provide spirituality.
  • Prithvi Mudra helps develop tolerance and patience.
  • Prithvi Mudra can help build body strength.
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Shunya Mudra

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Shunya Mudra
"Shunya" refers to 'zero' or 'sky' in Sanskrit. This mudra helps to connect your mind.

Sequence:

  1. Spread out your fingers.
  2. Bend your middle finger.
  3. Place the fore part of the middle finger on the thumb pad.
  4. Press it down with the thumb.
  5. Straighten out the other fingers.
  6. Practice this mudra for about 30-45 minutes at a stretch.

Benefits:

  • Practice this mudra in case of earache to get instant relief.
  • Impaired hearing can get treated with this mudra.
  • Nausea and vertigo can be overcome with Shunya mudra.
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Surya Mudra

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Surya Mudra
In Sanskrit, "Surya" means 'sun'. Sun is the source of energy. This mudra provides energy.

Sequence:

  1. Spread out your fingers.
  2. Bend your ring finger.
  3. Place the upper part of the ring finger on the thumb pad.
  4. Press it down with the thumb.
  5. Spread out and straighten the other fingers.

Benefits:

  • This mudra helps reduce fat, thus helping in weight loss.
  • Surya mudra provides mental calmness.
  • It helps get rid of all mental burden.
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Vaayu Mudra

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Vaayu Mudra
In Sanskrit, "vaayu" connotes 'air'. Air element of the body gets properly balanced with this mudra.

Sequence:

  1. Spread out your fingers.
  2. Fold the index finger and place it on the thumb pad.
  3. Put your thumb over it and press lightly.
  4. Keep the other fingers apart.

Benefits:

  • You can get relief from all kinds of pains and aches.
  • It provides relief to patients of Cerebral Palsy and Parkinson's disease.
  • Nervous system functions better with regular practice.
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Varuna Mudra

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Varuna Mudra
"Varuna" means 'water' in Sanskrit. This mudra helps maintain balance of water in your body.

Sequence:

  1. Open out your palm.
  2. Join the tips of your thumb and little finger.

Benefits:

  • Regular practice of Varuna Mudra enhances beauty.
  • Cold, cough, asthma and sinus can be treated with Varuna Mudra.
  • Low blood pressure patients can benefit from this mudra.
  • Dry skin regains moisture and becomes supple with practice of this mudra.
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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Pranayama

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Breathing - Pranayamas
Pranayama is an aspect of Yoga that deals with breathing. It is the breathing process or the control of the motion of inhalation, exhalation and the retention of vital energy. Proper breathing is to bring more oxygen to the blood and to the brain, and to control Prana or the vital life energy.


"Agni" connotes 'fire' in Sanskrit. In this pranayama the internal fire is stirred up, thus increasing the body heat.

In this pranayama, you breathe in and out through alternate nostrils. Hence the name.

"Bhramar" means 'bee' in Sanskrit. In this pranayama a humming sound is produced while breathing just like a bee.

Bhastrika Pranayama - Bellow Breathing 
"Bhastrika" refers to 'bellows' in Sanskrit. Air is drawn in and out of the abdomen just as a blacksmith uses his bellows.


"Dirgha" connotes 'long' in Sanskrit. This pranayama involves a long and deep breath which fills all the three chambers of the lungs.

"Kapal" means 'skull' and "bhati" means 'shine' in Sanskrit. This pranayama cleanses the respiratory system, particularly the nasal passages in the skull.

In Sanskrit, "Moorcha" means 'fainting' or 'swooning'. This pranayama involves slow inhalation and retention of air for a long period.

 
"Sheetal" means 'cool' in Sanskrit. This pranayama has a cool effect on the body by lowering the body temperature.

Sheetkari breathing has a cooling effect on your body.

In this pranayama, inhalation is done only through the right nostril.

The word "Ujjayi" means 'victorious' in Sanskrit.
Also explore the three important  yoga bandhas
and yoga asanas 

Agnisara

"Agni" connotes 'fire' in Sanskrit. In this pranayama the internal fire is stirred up, thus increasing the body heat.

Sequence:

  1. Stand erect with your legs fairly apart and hands hanging by the sides.
  2. Bend your trunk forward and bend your knees slightly.
  3. Place your palms on the corresponding knees.
  4. Exhale completely.
  5. As in Uddiyana Bandha, retain your breath.
  6. Blow out your stomach without inhaling.
  7. Keep this for about 2 seconds.
  8. Pull in your stomach.
  9. Pull in and blow out your stomach 4-6 times.
  10. Inhale.
  11. Repeat steps 4-10 four to five times.

Caution:

  • Do not practice this pranayama after a meal.
  • Pregnant and menstruating women should not perform this pose.
  • This pranayama should be avoided by people with abdominal surgery.

Benefits:

  • This pranayama improves digestion.
  • Agnisara is an energy booster.
  • This pranayama helps reduce fat from your abs.
  • Blood circulation to the digestive system is increased.

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