n connection with the essay we have to write as a requirement for our Yoga certification, I have decided to write about Yoga and its relation to a specific health condition which is present in many of us, if not all: Stress.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, leading to demyelination and scarring. When demyelination occurs the signals used to transfer messages from the brain to another part of the body are interrupted. Demyelination damages the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves. When there is a break in the myelin sheath the signal from the brain is no longer able to transmit the message. It can be compared to an electrical cord on a lamp; if the plastic coating is missing from the electrical cord, the lamp may not function correctly or turn on because the current cannot reach its destination. Yoga can alleviate many symptoms of multiple sclerosis through asanas and meditation, but let’s first explore what multiple sclerosis is and how it affects potential clients.
The cause of multiple sclerosis is still unknown, but scientists believe that a combination of several factors may be involved. The major scientific theories about the causes of multiple sclerosis include the following:
Immunologic – It is now generally accepted that multiple sclerosis involves an autoimmune process, an abnormal response of the body’s immune system that is directed against the myelin in the central nervous system. The exact trigger that makes the immune cells sensitized to attack remains unknown.
Environmental – Multiple sclerosis is known to occur more frequently in areas that are farther from the equator. Epidemiologists are looking at many factors, including variations in geography, demographics, genetics, infectious causes, and migration patterns in an effort to understand why. Studies of migration patterns have shown that people born in an area of the world with a high risk of multiple sclerosis, who then move to an area with a lower risk before the age of 15, acquire the risk of their new area. Such data suggest that exposure to some environmental agent that occurs before puberty may predispose a person to develop multiple sclerosis later on.
Some scientists think the reason may have to do with vitamin D levels. People who live closer to the equator are exposed to greater amounts of sunlight year-round. As a result, they tend to have higher levels of naturally-produced vitamin D, which is thought to have a beneficial impact on immune function and may help protect against auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis. Other scientists study multiple sclerosis clusters because they may provide clues to environmental factors that might cause or trigger the disease.
Infectious – Since initial exposure to numerous viruses, bacteria and other microbes occurs during childhood, and since viruses are well recognized as causes of demyelination and inflammation, it is possible that a virus or other infectious agent is the triggering factor.
Genetic – While multiple sclerosis is not hereditary in a strict sense, having a first-degree relative such as a parent or sibling with multiple sclerosis increases an individual’s risk of developing the disease above the risk for the general population.
Multiple sclerosis is divided into four categories –
Relapsing remitting – People with this type of multiple sclerosis experience clearly defined attacks of worsening neurologic function. These attacks, called exacerbations, are followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions), when no disease progression occurs. Approximately 85% of people are initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
Primary Progressive – This disease course is characterized by slowly worsening neurologic function from the beginning with no distinct remissions. The rate of progression may vary over time, with occasional plateaus and temporary minor improvements. Approximately 10% of people are diagnosed with primary-progressive multiple sclerosis.
Secondary Progressive – Following an initial period of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, many people develop a secondary-progressive disease course in which the disease worsens more steadily, with or without occasional flare-ups or minor remissions.
Progressive Relapsing – In this relatively rare course of multiple sclerosis, about 5%, people experience steadily worsening disease from the beginning, but with clear attacks of worsening neurologic function along the way. They may or may not experience some recovery following these relapses, but the disease continues to progress without remissions.
The most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis include fatigue, numbness, walking, balance and coordination problems, bladder dysfunction, bowel dysfunction, vision problems, dizziness and vertigo, sexual dysfunction, pain, cognitive function, emotional changes, depression, and spasticity.
Now that we have determined what multiple sclerosis is, how it affects the central nervous system, what types of multiple sclerosis a client can have and what symptoms they may have, let’s expand on how yoga can help a person with multiple sclerosis.
Yoga, considered a complementary or alternative medicine, gently stretches the large muscles of the legs, arms and back to help increase flexibility. The asanas used throughout yoga practice, particularly compression asanas, reduce physical and emotional tension by changing breathing patterns, adjusting the body’s chemical balance and pushing fresh blood and oxygen to the brain and other vital organs.
Asanas such as Childs Pose, Ragdoll, Waterfall and Down Dog are good examples of inversion poses for a person who is ambulatory and a person who uses a wheelchair. These poses can be accomplished even while sitting in a wheelchair by simply providing an alternative position. For example, to position a client using wheelchair in Childs Pose, keep feet hip distance apart and extend the head and arms towards the floor. The head should hang freely while the fingertips may graze the floor depending on the client’s flexibility. For someone with balance or standing issues, such as a client who uses a cane, but who can lower to the floor, Waterfall would be another good restorative pose. The client can simply lie with their back on the floor and place their calves on the seat of a folding chair. The legs are still elevated but the accommodation has been made for muscle weakness. An alternative to using a folding chair would be to have the client lie on their back with their buttocks against the wall. Extend the legs up the wall with the bottom of their feet facing the ceiling.
Asanas will also gradually and gently strengthen muscles, which improves balance, flexibility and posture. Using asanas such as Tadasana, Virabhadrasana I and II, Vrksasana and Trikonasana encourage better balance and posture. Placing a folding chair on either side of the client, have them assume the warrior pose while resting their hands on the seat of each chair. This will provide extra support and balance as they stretch and strengthen their spine in the Virabhadrasana I pose. In Trikonasna, or revolved triangle, you can again use a chair to provide assistance and stability. From Mountain pose move the clients left foot three to four feet back, have them lean over the folding chair while resting their left forearm on the seat of the chair and then grip the back of the chair with their right hand. The twist in this position will still be accomplished and provide stimulation for the nervous system.
Seated poses such as Paripurna Navasana, Paschimottanasana, and Matsyendrasana provide strength, improve balance and tone the organs and nervous system. Accommodations to Paripurna Navasana or Boat include placing your hands on the floor and lifting bent legs, or straightening your legs with the elbows on the floor to provide more stability. Blocks may also be used to provide extra height for clients with limited flexibility in their shoulders and spine.
Yoga relaxation and meditation techniques allow individuals with multiple sclerosis to recognize physical tension and release it so that their whole body rests and they can quiet mental chatter. The Egyptian Posture or Chair pose is a perfect example of a relaxation and meditation pose that any client can use. Simple breathing techniques of extending the exhale a bit longer than the inhale, using the pranayama ratio, can help calm the nervous system and reduce fatigue.
Providing instruction to a client with multiple sclerosis does provide challenges. Most of these challenges can be met with some advanced thought and preparation especially for those clients with a progressive form of the disease. Use of props such as blocks, straps, chairs, extra blankets and mats will help provide stability and comfort. The instructor can make the class more interactive by positioning the client, helping them hold poses and repositioning them into the next pose. Since many clients with multiple sclerosis suffer from heat, stress and fatigue, classes or sessions should be scheduled in the early mornings and in an environmentally controlled, wheelchair accessible space. When preparing for a class, include 10-15 minutes of relaxation so that the client can take the time to cool their body and calm their mind.
Yoga practice brings a sense of accomplishment to a client who is suffering with multiple sclerosis as they see the gradual changes in their body systems which include: improved muscle tone, increased balance and coordination, a decrease in fatigue, and an increase in their energy level. This meditative, non competitive form of exercise is a good way for clients with multiple sclerosis to keep fit in both mind and body.
By Tammy L. Plante
Therapeutic Yoga for Coping with Chronic Back Pain
Many people, who suffer from back pain, hope that the pain will correct itself within a few days or weeks. When pain becomes chronic, more options for pain relief can be researched. There are many options for those who suffer from chronic back pain. Non-invasive forms of therapy include – chiropractic medicine, physical therapy, heat and cold therapy, massage therapy, and therapeutic forms of Hatha Yoga.
All of the above-mentioned therapies are proven to be effective. Most of them can be used in conjunction with the rest. In the case of therapeutic Yoga, it is compatible with any other therapy for coping with back pain. As a result of the aspects that a student acquires in Yoga practice, he or she will learn how to prevent recurring back problems, strengthen core muscles, practice proper posture, and learn how to reduce pain within days or weeks.
Proper posturing and asana practice is an important part of prevention. The body tends to become stronger and repairs injured muscles with regular Yoga practice. Improving one’s range of motion will also help students with tight or unbalanced muscular development.
One of the objectives of therapeutic Yoga, for students who need help with chronic back pain, is strengthening muscles that support the spine. When a student maintains a regular Yoga practice, this develops back muscles evenly, so that all of the core muscles work in harmony to protect the back.
Some of the following exercises will help students develop balanced core muscles:
Modified Boat Pose
Cat / Cow Poses
Supine Spinal Twists
All of the above exercises should be cleared with your primary care physician or with your back care specialist. Once medical clearance has been given, it is also wise to consult with a competent Yoga teacher, who has a complete understanding of therapeutic Yoga for back pain.
By Paul Jerard
Hatha Yoga – The Best Path to Holistic Wellbeing?
Yoga is the oldest known path to holistic wellbeing. Yoga has everything to offer us so that we can live in a pure and holistic way. Yoga helps us to live a healthy lifestyle by combining the best of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Through teaching or studying Yoga, we learn how to be happy, compassionate, tolerant and joyful. We also learn to respect others, to be more sensitive to the ones around us, to be more confident, and to be in control of our lives.
We become one with nature and we learn that the most valuable parts of life are free. We also keep our physical body in good health and in shape. By exercising we reduce many common conditions like high blood pressure, arthritis and many other pains in the joints. Even other health conditions can be eliminated like sciatica, rheumatism, asthma, backache, constipation, bronchitis, diabetes, insomnia, poor posture, gall bladder problems, kidney disease, prostate problems, reproductive organs disorders, menopause pain, menstrual pain, obesity and many more conditions which cause suffering to mankind.
Through Yoga practice, we build a sense of calmness and are more relaxed when handling everyday situations. This becomes even more obvious when problems arise to test our Yoga skills. We learn not to live for our own ego but to step up to a higher level of thinking and awareness. Therefore, Hatha Yoga helps us gain our mental and emotional freedom. We learn to appreciate what we have more than agonizing over the possessions we desire.
Yoga doesn’t change us overnight. It takes time, effort, practice and patience to achieve the benefits of Yoga. It depends only on a sincere commitment and determination to make the effort. To all of this, practice is the key. As you discover when entering into a Yoga teacher training course: The learning of Yoga never ends, so we might as well enjoy the journey.
Hari Om Tat Sat
By Sanjeev Patel
‘OM’ THE SACRED SYLLABLE
Om, written in Devanagari, and Aum written in Sanskrit, known as Pranava or Omkara, is a mystical or sacred syllable in the Indian religions; i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It is placed at the beginning of most Hindu Texts as a sacred incantation, to be intoned at the beginning and end of a reading of the Vedas, or prior to any Prayer or Mantra.
The Mandukya Upanishad is entirely devoted to the explanation of the Syllable. The Syllable is taken to consist of three phonemes -A, U, and M, variously symbolizing the three Vedas (Rig-Veda, Sam Veda, and Yajur Veda) or the Hindu Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) or the three stages of life (birth, life, and death).
The name Omkar is taken as a name of God, in the Hindu revivalist Arya Samaj. Omkara has a universal sound and can be heard all around in the surrounding nature. The meaning of the syllable Om is different to different persons. Everyone gives it the meaning that suits him best.
THREE PARTS OF OM
Om is a combination of three sounds ‘A’, ‘U’ and ‘M’. The ‘A’ sound stands for the state of wakefulness, where one experiences externally through one’s mind and sense organs. The ‘U’ sound stands for the dream state, in which inward experiences are available. In the state of deep sleep, represented by the sound ‘M’ sound, there is no desire. and consciousness is gathered in upon itself. However, there is a fourth transcendent state (Turiya Avastha), corresponding to silence. As the other three correspond to AUM, Turiya Avastha is a completely integrated state of being. If one identifies the wordless state with Turiya and Meditates, one realizes one’s true self.
IMPORTANCE OF CHANTING OM
A, U, and M cover the whole range of sound vibrations. The larynx and the palate are the sounding boards. When you pronounce A, no part of the tongue or palate is touched. When you pronounce U, the sound rolls from the very root, to the end of the sounding board of the mouth. M is the last sound, which is produced by closing the two lips. ‘A’, the first sound, is produced as a pure, open column of air rising from the abdomen, and issuing unobstructed through the mouth. ‘U’ raises the sound to the back of the throat, while the nasalized ‘M’, intoned with lips closed, carries the vibrations upwards, and inwards, to stimulate Sahasrara Chakra.
The state of Turiya is then experienced after the physical sound is terminated, but before the next inhalation, in that period of suspension of the breath. In this way, the chanting of long drawn out ‘A – U – M’, with concentration on the source of each sound element, can carry one through the different states of consciousness – into the silence of the final Kumbhaka (Retention). Omkar is a journey from Manipur to Sahasrar (the names of the centers in our body) – lowest and highest.
HOW TO CHECK THE SOUNDS
Sit in a steady and comfortable posture. Keep your spine and head erect. Close your eyes gently. Relax all the muscles. Make sure the body and mind are relaxed. Now, keep your right hand on the abdomen. Do the prolonged pronunciation of Omkar once. See what has happened to the abdomen. The abdomen wall moves in until the pronunciation of Om continues, and it moves out as it is completed. In this way of doing Omkar, the abdomen connects both throat and nose.
EFFECTS ON PHYSICAL BODY
While chanting AUM, we can feel its effects on the navel, the heart, and the head.
1. The first pronunciation A (Akara) creates the vibrations, which affects the spinal cord to increase its efficiency.
2. The second pronunciation U (Ukara) creates the vibrations in the throat and affects the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
3. The last pronunciation M (Makara) brings the vibrations to the brain via the nose. The nasal part of the pronunciation has an effect on the head. Therefore, Omkar does the re-awaking of the cerebrum and cerebellum, thus, increasing the brain’s efficiency.
OMKAR THE PRANAYAMA
Omkar is our first Pranayama. There is no scientific training necessary for practice of Omkar. It is a very simple, but powerful, Pranayama. It has no side effects. Anybody can chant Omkar – at any time of the day or night, whenever the belly is not full.
Inhale slowly, and deeply, through the nose. Open the lips, and start chanting ‘O’ slowly, but loudly. Close your lips completely, and pronounce ‘M’. When we chant Omkar, A and U join together, and the sound becomes ‘O’. In this pranayama, AU is prolonged and M is short.
THE POWER OF OMKAR CHANTING
• Normally, we breathe in for 12 to18 times in a minute, in a comfortable sitting position. There is a saying that we breathe for twelve times in a sitting position, for eighteen times during walking, for forty times while running, and for seventy two times during anger. But on an average, we take breath for fifteen times every minute. So, it is one breath for every four seconds. We breathe in and out in these four seconds.
• While doing Omkar Pranayama, we breathe only 3 to 4 times in 1 minute. It means we do Omkar for four times in a minute each is for 15 seconds. So, the pronunciation of one Omkar takes fifteen seconds. In this way, we are saving 11 breaths and are getting 11 seconds of extra oxygen with one breath. It implies a saving of 11 x 4 = 44 seconds in one minute.
• If we practice Omkar for five minutes, we’ll get extra oxygen for 44 x 5 = 220 seconds. Practicing of Omkar for 15 minutes, at one time, will thus save 220 x 3= 660 seconds or 11 mins. Hence, if we practice Omkar three times a day (each time 15 mins), we can save a total of 11 x 3 = 33minutes. The purification of blood occurs by so much extra oxygen.
• It will be excellent if we practice Omkar for five minutes to start with, and gradually increase it to twenty minutes in the morning after waking up. Regular, and life-long practice of Omkar, increases positive energy and gives us healthy, long, and balanced life. The control of our blood pressure, emotions, and the cooling down of anger is possible.
MULABANDHA AND OMKAR
Mulabandha means contraction and pulling in of the muscles surrounding the anal canal. Mula Bandha, when engaged, prevents Apana escaping from the lower body, and draws it up to unite with Prana. Because of the pressure on the anal sphincter, during Mula Bandha, heat is generated, which causes Apana Vayu to move upward. The usual tendency of this Vayu is to move downward. However, this practice forces Apana to move upward, and unite with Prana Vayu, at the navel center.
When we practice Omkar, and practice Mulabandha, simultaneously, the physical, mental, and psychic bodies leads into preparation for spiritual awakening. Mulabandha should not be performed wrongly.
WHY WE CHANT OMKAR THREE TIMES
Chanting OM creates detachment and empowers all mental and spiritual processes. It can take you all the way to deep states of Yoga, if you have good concentration. Why do we chant Om three times at the beginning and at the end of a class? Every teacher has a different answer. Some say for peace in the physical dimension, the mental dimension, and the spiritual dimension. But the real reason is concentration on the Granthis. The word, Granthi, means ‘knot’. The Yogic system recognizes three Granthis, or knots, in our bodies. The first is Brahma Granthi, the knot of Brahma, the creator, at Mooladhara Chakra.
When you chant Om for the first time, always have your awareness at Mooladhara. Mooladhara is responsible for creation. Our consciousness is stuck in Mooladhara – in the world of matter. The second knot is Vishnu Granthi at Manipura Chakra. When you chant Om the second time, bring your attention from Mooladhara to Manipura. The third is Rudra Granthi, the knot of Rudra, the transformer, the destroyer, the re-emergence of consciousness, rising of the phoenix from the ashes to Ajna Chakra, rebirth. When you chant Om the third time, bring your attention to Ajna Chakra, the eyebrow centre. Stop for at least five seconds, at each of the three Chakras, and become aware of light there. In time, the quality of your experience will change. It may take a week or a month, but you will notice a great difference.
When we chant Aum seven times, each chanting of Aum can be visualized in all the seven Chakras, with a five second pause in between each one. When we practice three times in Mooladhara, Manipura, and Ajna, it is ‘O-M’. When we practice seven times, it is ‘A-U-M’.
REGULAR PRACTISE OF OMKAR
• The regular practice of Omkar in the morning, afternoon, and evening increases the breathing capacity, circulatory capacity, digestion power, functioning capacity of the excretory system and nervous system, significantly. The newer vitality, pleasure, freshness, and enthusiasm are the results of the practice of Omkar. Om is a panacea, or sovereign remedy, for all ailments. All pathogenic, or disease-causing germs, are destroyed or burned by the vibrations of Om.
• The graph of the brain is known as the EEG of the brain. It shows theta waves. The seekers, who practice Omkar regularly, in the morning, afternoon, and evening, show the theta waves in their EEG -which reports that their minds are peaceful. Their minds are not wavering. Their intellect is stable and never faulty. Their hearts are clean. There is no wickedness in their lives. There is no dirty thought in their minds. They believe that living beings, and nonliving things, in this world, are the manifestation of God.
• Their lives are free from malice, but full of compassion and friendliness for the universe. They are free from infatuation and ego. They have equality in life. They always live a satisfying Yogic life. Their soul is of firm determination, because they have fully offered their minds and intellect to God.
• People, who practice Omkar (Pranava) Sadhana, are free from fear, anger, or agitation. They are proficient and expert, but they don’t have any expectation of anything from anybody in this world. They complete their work in the best way – whenever they are given any kind of work. They don’t have any habit of pretending or showing their abilities. They are free from attachment and malice. They are ever cheerful.
• In their minds, friends and enemies are equal. There is no difference in honour and insult for them. They are free from the dualities of winter and summer, happiness and sadness. They can maintain equanimity in defamation and praise. The biggest wealth they have is satisfaction and internal joy. Omkar enlightens the inner self. Those, who have maintained regular practice of Omkar, attain enlightenment. No outer light can enter such an enlightened soul.
• The mysterious vibrations, produced by the chanting of Om, will produce one-pointedness of mind and harmony in the Annamaya, Pranamaya and Manomaya Koshas (food sheath, vital sheath, and mental sheath) and make the mind in tune with the Infinite.
• The practice of Pranava-Omkar should be done regularly, for a long time, with confidence, and faith, as well as with interest. It is also possible to calm down different tendencies like affliction, confusion, suspicion, and sleep – as also to improve memory and reasoning. Maharshi Patanjali says that, ‘Abhyasa Vairagyabhyam Tannirodhaha’- Everything is possible by practice and dispassion.
IMPORTANCE OF OMKAR SADHANA
• Human life is not a straight line. There are ups and downs; there is spring and autumn. Omkar is the magical medicine for the life. It gives you positive energy, strength, and power, when you face difficult situations. The person, who wins over oneself, is a greater battle winner than one who wins against thousands of fighters in the battle.
• It is difficult to engage the active and unsteady mind at one place, and to prevent it from wandering. As the skillful archer straightens the arrow, the practice of Omkar concentrates the mind, and it makes it soft, simple, and straight. As the rain water cannot enter into the house from a well-arranged roof, the thoughts of worldly pleasure don’t enter the mind, which is filled with good sentiments, by the regular prolonged practice of Omkar.
• Our mind is the first reason for the happiness and sorrows in our lives. Our own mind is the reason of freedom and attachment. The mind wanders wherever it likes, according to its will, and due to its unsteady nature. As the elephant driver controls the mad elephant by a hook, the practice of prolonged pronunciation of Pranava (Omkar) controls the mind.
ULTIMATELY, WHAT IS OMKAR?
Ultimately, Omkar is Nadabrahma. It is the sound. Sound is the first incarnation of Parabrahma. In Chhandogya Upanishada, Omkar is known as Ekakshara or Udgitha. So, we call the practice of Pranava as Omkar Pranayama. The same way many Yoga teachers call it as Udgitha Pranayama. Swami Sivanandaji Maharaja tells us to remember Om repeatedly. Soham, Om, Soham, Shivoham, Aham. The practice of Omkar helps the seekers of Meditation to concentrate the mind. There is a great contribution of Omkar – to lead the mind on the spiritual path. The practice of Omkar destroys Tamasik thoughts, and converts the Rajasik thoughts into Sattvik thoughts.
In the long term, if the people living in all four directions on the earth start practicing Omkar regularly, the mental conflicts can be eliminated. Selfishness will retire. Benevolence will be originated. The whole world can become a family. The contradiction will decrease, and smooth conversation will be possible. The wind of pure selfless life will flow. Omkar is the highway of world peace and welfare.
Chant Om from the very bottom of your heart, with profound feeling. When chanting Om, knowing its omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence, feel that Om gushes forth with its true color, from every nerve, every vein, every cell, every atom, every molecule, every electron, and the very blood corpuscles of your body.
Whenever you feel depressed, whenever you get a little headache, take a brisk walk and chant Om while walking. Live in Om. Inhale and exhale in Om. Rest peacefully in Om. Take shelter in Om. Sing Om rhythmically. Chant Om loudly. Roar Om forcefully. Repeat Om mentally. Draw strength from Om. Get inspiration from Om. Imbibe bliss from Om. Rely on Om. Reflect on Om. Meditate on Om. Chanting of Om means going near to the source and tapping the cosmic energy, which is inexhaustible. Pour forth Om vibrations into the world with mighty vigor, speed, force, and strength.
Get ready now for re-charging, and let us practice Omkar, and make our life successful.
By Dr. Rita Khanna
Flexibility Exercise For Hands & Fngers
Our hands and fingers are the chief organs of our body, which are maximally used.
Idleness, or laziness, means working half-heartedly, without alertness, unknowingly, or unconsciously. It is a lack of action or activity. It is as if the work is done during sleep. Unfortunately, our condition has become such that our morning arises to welcome idleness, only. Some people are so lazy that they don’t like to get up on time. They don’t like to bathe for two to four days, or they don’t take a bath at all. After waking, they take tea, read newspapers, listen to the radio, watch TV; and then again, they lie down. They have lots of excuses for all lazy attitudes.
THREE GUNAS OR QUALITIES
The mind has three Gunas, or qualities, born of nature. These are known as:
• Sattwa or light, bliss and goodness
• Rajas, or passion and motion;
• Tamas, or inertia and darkness.
There are three Vrittis, or modifications of the mind, corresponding to the three Gunas.
• Shanta Vritti or peace, equilibrium and balance come from Sattwa Guna.
• Ghora Vritti or anger manifests from Rajo Guna.
• Moodha Vritti or carelessness, laziness, and drowsiness come from Tamo Guna.
Tamas binds the living beings by idleness, laziness, and sleep. Due to idleness, we cannot imagine of healthy thoughts. Idleness is the gateway to death.
HOW TO ELIMINATE LAZINESS OR IDLENESS
Laziness must be eliminated with activity. To get rid of idleness, Tamas must be conquered, with Rajas first, and then Rajas with Sattva. Swami Sivanandji used to say – do not depend on others. All work should be done, by the body, to leave laziness. When we make a habit to do all possible work by ourselves, we get its reward, also. The health remains best. We remain healthy. The intellect becomes sharp, pure, and alert.
Our scriptures say to exist with awareness – wakefulness while awake, wakefulness during dream and during sleep. There should be awakening during eating, drinking, speaking, and walking. Bhagvan Shri Krishna has said that the person is a Yogi when he does not sleep – even while he is sleeping. It means that his inner mind is awake when he is sleeping. So, he does not have binding of Tamoguna. He is free. Once you try to live with alertness and full awareness, you will be able to experience new life and will be free from idleness.
WHAT ARE THE METHODS
There are lots of methods to remove idleness. One of them is Yoga. Normally, what happens when we are not well – the doctor advises us to do some activity, such as Yoga, Pranayama, and Meditation. However, it is better if we get up early by ourselves and do some Asanas. By this, we get the benefit of prevention – before the problem occurs.
Asanas, such as Suryananmaskar, Halasana, Paschimottanasana, Bhujangasana, Shalabhasana, Dhanurasana, Chakrasana; and Pranayamas, such as Sheetali, Kapalbhati, and Bhastrika are very beneficial. All these Asanas open up the vertebrae, increase elasticity in the spinal column, and the blood circulation in the whole body. These exercises will remove laziness and will give you energy and vitality for the whole day. After this, there is no will to lie down in the bed. In the beginning, the Tamasa is destroyed, and then Rajas increases. The active life, proper thinking, and social dealings will lead towards Sattva completely. So, do the Asanas, which are possible for you, out of the above-mentioned Asanas.
For those who can’t do the above-mentioned Asanas, there is a very simple Asana named – Setubandha Asana. Having the shape of fly over bridge, this Asana has numerous potential.
By the practice of this Asana, the vertebrae of the spinal column, shoulders, upper arm, both forearms, elbows, wrists of the hands, palms, fingers, neck, back, waist, thighs, knees, and the calf muscles of the legs, experience energy and vitality.
TECHNIQUE OF SETUBANDHA ASANA (FLY OVER BRIDGE)
• Spread mat or double folded blanket on a flat ground.
• Now, lie down straight on your back.
• Then bend each leg at your knee one by one.
• Both knees should touch each other.
• The heels and the toes should also touch each other.
• Take the heels quite close to the buttocks.
• Feet flat on the floor.
• Keep your hands, by your sides, parallel to the ground.
• By pressing the palms on the ground, lift the waist up.
• The middle part of the body should be lifted up as much as possible, and it should be supported by both hands.
• The fingers of the hands should remain on the outer side and the thumbs should point inwards.
• The waist should be supported with the hands.
• The arm, between the shoulder and the elbow, remains parallel to the ground; and the forearm, between the elbow and the wrist, remains vertical to the ground – as a pole.
• Now, very slowly straighten your legs – one by one; the right leg first, then the left leg.
• Both thighs, both knees, calf muscles, heal, and the toes of the feet should touch each other.
• There should not be any angle at the knee joint.
• This way, the shape of the whole body will be like a fly over a bridge.
• Hold this pose for as long as comfortable.
• When releasing the Bridge Pose, slowly fold the legs – first, one by one, remove the hands, and put them on the sides of the body – then, slowly put the body down back on the floor.
By the practice of Setubandhasna, the body experiences the big tide of energy. The muscles of the legs, hands, and the joints become strong. By its regular practice, one becomes free from psychological abnormality, and obtains the life filled with good thoughts, hopes, and joy.
Do not forget this formula, rest is rust. Always be engrossed in one or the other activity, such as sports, swimming, skiing, learning, or research – so that one should be free from idleness.
By Dr. Rita Khanna
Yoga and its Benefits to our Health
The practice of yoga is more than 5,000 years old, and it’s more popular now than ever. Yoga can help us become fully focused on the body, breath and mind. It refreshes us.
Some Yoga teachers say that the goal of practicing Yoga is the attainment of moksha, which is liberation from worldly suffering. It is true that Yoga can help anyone with mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.