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Definition of Yoga
Yoga is a discipline to improve or develop one’s inherent power in a balanced manner. It offers the means to attain complete self-realization. The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word Yoga is ’Yoke’. Yoga can therefore be defined as a means of uniting the individual spirit with the universal spirit of God. According to Maharishi Patanjali, Yoga is the suppression of modifications of the mind.
Yoga a universal practical discipline
Yoga is universal in character for practice and application irrespective of culture, nationality, race, caste, creed, sex, age and physical condition. Neither by reading the texts nor by wearing the garb of an ascetic, one can become an accomplished Yogi. Without practice, no one can experience the utility of Yogic techniques nor can realize of its inherent potential. Only regular practice (sadhana) creates a pattern in body and mind to uplift them. It requires keen desire on the part of the practitioner to experience the higher states of consciousness through training the mind and refining the gross consciousness.
Yoga as evolutionary process
Yoga is an evolutionary process in the development of human consciousness. Evolution of total consciousness does not necessarily begin in any particular man rather it begins only if one chooses it to begin. The vices like use of alcohol and drugs, working exhaustively, indulging too much in sex and other stimulation is to seek oblivion, a return to unconsciousness. Indian yogis begin from the point where western psychology end. If Fraud’s psychology is the psychology of disease and Maslow’s psychology is the psychology of the healthy man then Indian psychology is the psychology of enlightenment. In Yoga, it is not a question of psychology of man rather it is a question of higher consciousness. It is not also the question of mental health, rather, it is question of spiritual growth.
Yoga as soul therapy
All paths of Yoga (Japa, Karma, Bhakti etc.) have healing potential to shelter out the effects of pains. However, one especially needs proper guidance from an accomplished exponent, who has already treaded the same track to reach the ultimate goal. The particular path is to be chosen very cautiously in view of his aptitude either with the help of a competent counselor or consulting an accomplished Yogi.
TYPES OF YOGA
To concentrate one’s mind on divine name or holy syllable, mantra etc. like ’OM’, ‘Rama’, ’Allah’, ’God’, ’Vahe Guru’ etc. through repeated recitation or remembrance.
Teaches us to perform all actions without having any desire for their fruit. In this sadhana, a Yogi considers his duty as divine action, perform it with whole-hearted dedication but shuns away all desires.
Teaches us to discriminate between self and non-self and to acquire the knowledge of one’s spiritual entity through the study of scriptures, company of Saints and practices of meditation.
Bhakti Yoga, a system of intense devotion with emphasis on complete surrender to divine will. The true follower of Bhakti Yoga is free from egoism remains humble and unaffected by the dualities of the world.
Raja Yoga popularly known as “Ashtanga Yoga” is for all-round development of human beings. These are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
Swara Yoga is the Science which is about the realization of cosmic consciousness, through the awareness/ observation then control/ manipulation of the flow of breath in the nostrils. Swara Yoga involves the systematic study of the breath flowing through the nostril (or Swara) in relation to the prevailing phases of the Sun, Moon, time of day and direction. It is the association of the breath in relation to the activities or phases or positions of the Sun, Moon, Planets, Seasons, Time of day, with the physical and mental conditions of the individual and then taking the appropriate action according to these subtle relations.
Kundalini Yoga is a part of Tantric Tradition. Since the dawn of creation, the Tantrics and yogis have realised that in this physical body, there is a potential force residing in Muladhara Chakra, the first of seven Chakras. The seat of Kundalini is a small gland at the base of the spinal cord. In the masculine body it is in the perineum between the urinary and excretory organs. In the female body its location is at the root of the uterus in the cervix. Those people who have awakened this supernatural force have been called Rishis, Prophets, Yogis, Siddhas and other names according to the time, tradition and culture.
To awaken the Kundalini, you must prepare yourself through yogic techniques such as Shatkriya, Asana, Pranayama, Bandha, Mudra and Meditation. Awakening of Kundalini results in an explosion in the brain as the dormant or sleeping areas start blossoming like flowers.
As described by Yogic texts, Nadis are flow of energy which we can visualize at the psychic level as having distinct channels, light, colour, sound and other characteristics. The entire network of nadis is so vast that even yogic texts differ in their calculations of the exact number. Reference in the Goraksha Sataka or Goraksh Samhita and Hatha Yoga Pradipika place their number at 72,000; emerged from the navel center- the Manipuri Chakra. Of all the thousands of nadis, Susumna is said to be the most important. The Shiva Swarodaya enumerates ten major nadis which connect to the ‘doorways’ leading in and out of the body. Of these ten, Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are the most important, they are the high voltage wires which conduct the energy to the substations or Chakras situated along the spinal column.
Ministry of AYUSH
Ayurveda’s immunity boosting measures for self care during COVID 19 crisis
In the wake of the Covid 19 outbreak, entire mankind across the globe is suffering. Enhancing the body’s natural defence system (immunity) plays an important role in maintaining optimum health.
We all know that prevention is better than cure. While there is no medicine for COVID-19 as of now, it will be good to take preventive measures which boost our immunity in these times.
Ayurveda, being the science of life, propagates the gifts of nature in maintaining healthy and happy living. Ayurveda’s extensive knowledge base on preventive care, derives from the concepts of “Dinacharya” - daily regimes and “Ritucharya”
- seasonal regimes to maintain healthy life. It is a plant-based science. The simplicity of awareness about oneself and the harmony each individual can achieve by uplifting and maintaining his or her immunity is emphasized across Ayurveda’s classical scriptures.
Ministry of AYUSH recommends the following self-care guidelines for preventive health measures and boosting immunity with special reference to respiratory health. These are supported by Ayurvedic literature and scientific publications.
I General Measures
Drink warm water throughout the day.
Daily practice of Yogasana, Pranayama and meditation for at least 30 minutes as advised by Ministry of AYUSH (#YOGAatHome #StayHome #StaySafe)
Spices like Haldi (Turmeric), Jeera (Cumin), Dhaniya (Coriander) and Lahsun (Garlic) are recommended in cooking.
II Ayurvedic Immunity Promoting Measures
Take Chyavanprash 10gm (1tsf) in the morning. Diabetics should take sugar free Chyavanprash.
Drink herbal tea / decoction (Kadha) made from Tulsi (Basil), Dalchini (Cinnamon), Kalimirch (Black pepper), Shunthi (Dry Ginger) and Munakka (Raisin) - once or twice a day. Add jaggery (natural sugar) and / or fresh lemon juice to your taste, if needed.
Golden Milk- Half tea spoon Haldi (turmeric) powder in 150 ml hot milk - once or twice a day.
III Simple Ayurvedic Procedures
1. Nasal application - Apply sesame oil / coconut oil or Ghee in both the nostrils (Pratimarsh Nasya) in morning and evening.
2. Oil pulling therapy- Take 1 table spoon sesame or coconut oil in mouth. Do not drink, Swish in the mouth for 2 to 3 minutes and spit it off followed by warm water rinse. This can be done once or twice a day.
IV During dry cough / sore throat
Steam inhalation with fresh Pudina (Mint) leaves or Ajwain (Caraway seeds) can be practiced once in a day.
Lavang (Clove) powder mixed with natural sugar / honey can be taken 2-3 times a day in case of cough or throat irritation.
These measures generally treat normal dry cough and sore throat. However, it is best to consult doctors if these symptoms persist.
The above measures can be followed to the extent possible as per an individual’s convenience.
These measures are recommended by following eminent Vaidyas from across the Country as they may possibly boost an individual’s immunity againstinfections.
1) Padma Shri Vaidya P R Krishnakumar, Coimbatore
2) Padma Bhushan Vaidya Devendra Triguna, Delhi
3) Vaidya P M Varier, Kottakkal
4) Vaidya Jayant Devpujari, Nagpur
5) Vaidya Vinay Velankar, Thane
6) Vaidya B S Prasad, Belgaum
7) Padma Shri Vaidya Gurdeep Singh, Jamnagar
8) Acharya Balkrishna ji, Haridwar
9) Vaidya M S Baghel, Jaipur
10) Vaidya R B Dwivedi, Hardoi UP
11) Vaidya K N Dwivedi, Varanasi
12) Vaidya Rakesh Sharma, Chandigarh
13) Vaidya Abichal Chattopadhyay, Kolkata
14) Vaidya Tanuja Nesari, Delhi
15) Vaidya Sanjeev Sharma, Jaipur
16) Vaidya Anup Thakar, Jamnagar