Yoga means ‘union’; it is derived from “Yuj” in Sanskrit.
It implies a ‘oneness with the Supreme Energy’. The philosophy of Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago.
Yoga works towards giving us a healthy mind in a healthy body. Practise of yoga on a regular basis helps us achieve good health (both physical and mental) by not only reducing the built up toxins in our body but by also preventing illnesses both mental and physical. Yoga teaches us number of asanas and postures that makes our body supple and improves the blood circulation which makes us strong from within. It is only when the body is strong, fit and agile that the mind can focus on the essentials. Yoga transforms our lives and helps us to live in harmony with the world around us.
When we see a small baby sleep, we marvel at its undisturbed peaceful countenance and steady rhythmic breathing. The baby wakes up rested, full of zestful energy and enthusiasm for its innumerable activities which needs to be done – learning to walk, talk, hold a toy, etc.
Alternatively look at a sick person in a hospital, his breathing is laboured and fast and he continues to be tired and listless. The difference arises because of the breathing pattern. If we learn to control our breathing, the peaceful demeanour with limitless energy to channelize it in the right direction will be ours. Learning to breathe the right way in yoga is called pranayam.
‘Prana’ is life. It is cosmic energy. There are different types of pranayams and we will address them as we go along.
Yogasanas are yoga postures that work on the organ or muscles that they are targeted for. Ideally Yoga is done early in the morning. The bowels have to be empty before starting the asanas. A mat can be laid on which the “asanas” can be performed, instead of the bare floor.
The “asanas” have to be done barefoot. Wear light and comfortable clothing. Do only what you are comfortable doing and do not push yourself if your body hurts. Slowly over a period of time, with practice, you will be able to achieve it.
For a beginner, the asana should be held for only 30 seconds. Once you achieve competency you can extend it to whatever you are comfortable doing. Focussing on your breathing during the “asanas” will help achieve a greater level of concentration.
Remember, it is important to be guided by an experienced Yoga Teacher!
Swami Udit Chaithanya