India’s Heritage Yoga, has been practiced for yugas by yogis. Today’s era, finds every person conscious and mindful of their physical fitness. People indulge in different cardio as well as non cardio regime like cross fitness training, gym, weight training, swimming, walking, running, cycling, marathon and trilithon. But the essence of fitness is lost. Not always and not every person is able to bring the mind attention to the regime being practiced. In early era, yogis or people who practiced yoga believed that exercising is not just a form of maintaining the body at a superficial level rather it has to be worked from inside out. A medium to connect with inner potential of maintaining health, vitality and experiencing bliss. A self connect in ‘me time’
This is the difference between Yoga and and any other form of exercise or fitness training. Yoga as explained by Patanjali, is the union of body, mind and soul. Unlike every other form of exercise, yoga guides the mind to focus upon that part of the body and muscle which are being used for a particular asana. Concentration on the specific body part not only makes us aware of the specific part but also brings mindfulness of the muscles, bones and tissue being used for the asana. We unite with our own body and understand its rhythm sensing the opening up and relaxing specific muscles and strengthening them.
Yoga guides us to work with prana (life force) by the practice of pranayama. Regular practice of pranayama not only regulates our breathing but also helps using right body part and muscles for breathing which, lowers the pressure on the heart that works 24X7 pumping out and purifying blood for our body. Diaphragmatic breathing facilitates using core abdominal muscles for breathing rather than superficial use of chest or neck muscle for this regular exercise. Incorrect breathing technique puts excess pressure on the chest and neck muscle tensing them and leading to various ailments.
Yoga detoxifies the physically accumulated toxins and awakens the brain which, purifies and rejuvenates our thinking, attitude and uplifts our mood. Not only physical aspect but emotional as well as mental aspect of our being are balanced by regular practice of yoga.
One of Patanjali’s sutra throws light upon an important aspect of life which, we tend to ignore.
“Yoga, Chitta, Vritti, Nirodha”
Yoga Chitta, Vritti, Nirodha means cleansing and detoxifying our thoughts, attitude and approach towards people and life. Most of the issue commence with accumulation of baggage of emotions. Chitta refers to our thoughts, Vritti means our tendencies and samaskaras which get accumulated around our spinal centre from several birth times are the vortices that affect and influence our physical, mental and emotional well being. Nirodha means to cleanse and detoxify.
This is why it is said that yoga is the union of body, mind, soul; a deeper level of repairing the body and brain cells for a young rejuvenated, happy and healthy self. Fitness regime of every type keeps us agile and energetic but with yoga it is much more than just this. It makes us alert, sharpens our memory reverses the age rather you feel that your body isn’t ageing at a faster pace compared to others of the same age group. Yoga increases body immunity level. Stretching and using every part of the body from the core muscles enhances the supply of blood and oxygen to the body.
Yoga means action, it is the deep ocean with lots of tapped and untapped treasure. With its roots and origin in India, yoga was learnt by many schools and adopted in different styles/ techniques and different names across the world.
This is the journey of yoga.
It gives me immense happiness not just to see the recognition that yoga has received since the establishment of International Yoga Day but the union and passion of millions of people across the globe to learn more and benefit with each passing year.
A deeper level of Yoga which, works at the subtle prana or breath level is known as Kriya Yoga which, was bought to mankind in this era by Sri Lahiri Mahasaya disciple of Mahavatar Babaji known as deathless Guru.
Different school have different approach of teaching yoga. The latest form of yoga is yoga at 40degree temperature after Power Yoga. As I understand it is similar to doing intense workouts to burn calories and reduce weight.
In my opinion more slowly and gradually you enter into an asana and hold yourself in that asana for as long as your body permits it gives brilliant results. Gradually and slowly you will experience toned body muscles, loose and stabilize body weight and remain fit.
Of the different Yoga styles that I have come across what has appealed me the most is Ananda Yoga which, follows the teachings of Yoga as taught by Sri Sri Paramhansa Yogananda. Ananda Yoga is not just about workouts and physical well being but an upliftment of emotional well being too. There is a true essence of devotion attached to it.
Ananda Yoga fills you with Anand! Every asana every exercise has an affirmation associated with it. Saying an affirmation mentally has twin benefit. First, when entering into an asana your focus and energy is concentrated on the asana following simple inhalations and exhalations pattern. Second, you are alert and much attention is given to the words you mentally repeat and gradually experience that your spine, body and mind are recharged with the affirmation you say and the asana you practice. Mind does not wander in the valley of thoughts keeping attention in the moment deriving maximum benefit with this union of your body, mind and spirit.
By declaring 21st June as International Yoga Day since its inception in 2015 our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has not only created a platform for global recognition of yoga but has also stirred the chord in all hearts to take first step towards self awareness and healthy living.
Happy International Yoga Day.
Much Love and Joy to All!