Yoga: Emancipation of Soul
Kaulik Ghosh talks about yoga and its immense healing power. He details the health benefits Of yoga. And how yoga can also be effective in healing the ailments of body and mind
Yoga is skillful action. “(Yogah Karmashu Kaushalam.’’) Bhagaved Gita, “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.’’ B.K.S. lyengar, Father of lyengar Yoga.
Yoga is emancipation of body and soul. Moreover, it is a process of building bridge with God-the ultimate union with the divine. Yoga has also become immensely relevant in modern day with increasing lifestyle disorders, stress, asthma, diabetes and even cardiac problems. Like a good diet, if Yoga is part of the daily routine, life will simply be beatific. The Hindu school of Yoga finds its origin in ancient India in ‘Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’. It also describes Yoga as a ‘state of calm of mind’.
Various traditions of yoga are also found in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. By the turn of the first millennium, ‘Hatha Yoga’ had emerged as a prominent tradition of yoga. It is distinct from Patanjali’s ‘Yoga Sutras’ and marked the development of ‘asanas’ with full body postures. From effective communication or creativity at work to serious ailments like arthritis, cardiac problems-yoga has answer for all.
Three main schools of Yoga are Sahaj Yoga, Hatha yoga and Surat Shabd Yoga. However, each of these categories have several sub-categories.
1) Sahaj Yoga: It is a meditation style. And it is also a state of self-realization through awakening of the soul. It usually helps to achieve self-realization. Mataji Nirmala Devi propounded Sahaj Yoga in India and England. She was popularly known as ‘Mother’ to her followers. ‘Hahaj Yoga’ is the state of self-realization produced by ‘kundalini’ awakening. And it is then accompanied by the experience of self-awareness and immense mental silence. Practitioners of the Sahaja Yoga meditation say that they feel a cool breeze on their hands and on top of their heads while meditation. This yoga helps to achieve a deep physical and mental relaxation.
Sahaj Yoga claims to cure patients of high blood pressure, asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, and cancer and can prevent many other ailments. In an interview, Nirmala Srivastava had stated that Sahaja Yoga has cured people of AIDS. She has also said that Sahaja Yoga can cure mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.
2)Hatha Yoga: This type of Yoga has its roots in 15th Century. This yoga aims at purification of mind and body through breathing techniques. There are various schools of yoga under Hatha Yoga. It has around 14 categories. The most popular in this category are ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ and ‘lyengar Yoga’. In this category, under ‘Ashtanga Yoga’, originates from the ancient text of ‘Korunta’. And it was popularized by Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari. The tradition was later passed down to Pattabhi jois, who is known as the modern day proponent of ‘Astanga Yoga’. Since 1948, Pattabhi jois had taught ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ from his yoga centers across the country. Ashtanga yoga literally means “eight-limbed yoga,’’ as delineated by the sage Patanjali in the ‘Yoga Sutras’. It include the following:
Yama or moral codes
Niyama or self-purification and study
Asana or posture
Pranayama or breath control
Pratyahara or sense control
Dharana or concentration
Dhyana or meditation
Samadhi or absorption into the Universal
We can practice the first four segments in day-to-day lives. The yama, niyama, asana, pranayama-are considered external cleansing practices.
3) Surat Shabd Yo s a rmf spiritulraticehat is form of spiritual practice that is followed in the ‘Sant Mat’ and many other related spiritual traditions. Surat means “attention,’’ or “face,’’ which is the outward expression of the soul. To perform ‘asanas’ correctly in Ashtanga yoga tradition, one must incorporate the use of vinyasa and tristhana. Vinyasa means breathing and movement system For each movement, there is one breath. For cxample, in Surya Namskar there are nine minyasas. The purpose of vinyasa is for intermal cleansing. These yogas naturally help to improve blood circulation, relieve joint pain and removes toxins and diseases from various organs. The sweat generated from the heat of ‘vinyasa’ then carries the impurities out of the body. ‘Tristhana’ refers to the union of “three places of attention or action: posture, breathing system and looking place’. These three are very important for yoga practice and cover three levels of purification-the body, nervous system and mind.
Another important component of yoga is ‘bandhas’. Bandhas in Yoga are essential components of the ‘ujjayi’ breathing technique. Bandhas means ‘lock’. This is essential part of yoga and without it; ‘asanas’ will not reap its benefits.
According to Yoga Guru Tushar Seal, “Yoga can cure many chronic diseased like asthma and arthritis if it is practiced regularly. Yoga cannot cure diabetes but it is effective in controlling the blood sugar to a normal level. There are various yoga ‘asanas’ that are natural cures for lower back pain and indigestion. The splitting headaches are generally symptoms of migraine. So, they can be easily cured through yoga’’. It is an alternative natural cure. The yoga ‘asasas’ help to stabilize the body and sense organs and the mind can have a balance. Yoga also teaches the art of building confidence and creating a perfect mind-body balance. Even though for most healthy people yoga is safe non-aerobic form of exercise, it is not without its risks. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the yoga injuries most commonly treated in emergency rooms. It involve overstretching and strain from repetition to the: neck, shoulders, spine, legs and knees. Some other benefits of yoga re as follows:
1)Fitness 2)Weight Reduction 3)Stress Buster 4)Inner peace 5)Improved immunity 6)Control Disease 7)Increased energy
Seek thyself, the main motto of Yoga with all its stages is to seek thyself- be it through Sahaj Yoga or Hatha yoga.
The four internal cleansing practices-pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and Samadhi-bring the mind under control and soothes the mind. When purification is complete, then mind control occurs. So, in Bhagbat Gita, it transcends our mind towards a higher level of consciousness. And it also helps to eradicate the soul from six vices, such as ‘kama’ (desire), ‘krodha’ (anger), ‘moha’ (delusion), ‘lobha’ (greed), ‘matsarya’ (sloth), and ‘mada’ (envy).
One must learn and practice Yoga under the supervision of a Yoga teacher. Experts say that people have different physiologies and each person’s response to yoga is different from the other.
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