What is Yoga?
The word meaning of Yoga is – union, addition. It has originated in spiritual context and implies – the union of individual self with The Absolute, Eternal Life.
The Indian sages of Vedic times- the rishis, had discovered the super science of yoga and thereby guided practical ways for accomplishing complete well-being. The rishis had derived methods to awaken the unlimited power (puissance) of human life by means of Yoga.
Though Yoga had become a recognizable term across the Globe, people at large are uneducated of the real meaning and purpose of yoga. They regard it as a ‘package’ of physical exercise alone. No doubt, the physical exercise (asanas) derived from yoga are most natural and effective means of physical fitness but its domain is not confined to these. In fact, it encompasses all aspects of life.
In simple terms, the philosophy of yoga teaches us that a life when lives as per the will and disciplines of the Supreme Creator becomes a life united with His Supreme Powers. Yoga aims for healthy tuning of a person. The asanas rejunveates the physical body and prnymas (breath control exercise) elevate bio-energy and help cleansing and calming the mind, and chanting of mantra in the heart helps augment inner strength.
Importance of Physical Exercises
Our body is like a huge factory in which several processes of production, supply, distribution and consumption of vital elements continue all the time. There is also an accumulation of wastes and byproducts of its internal reactions and of external pollutants and invading organisms and chemicals.
Physical exercises help cleansing of the dirt and toxic deposited in various forms and energizing all components of the body, appropriating blood-circulation and supply of vital elements to different organs. The defense and repair mechanism of the body are also strengthened by specific physical exercise.
There are so many asanas and prnymas practices which is not possible for most people in today’s life-style because of time constraints, as not only the number of commonly taught asanas is large, but also due to the fact that many of these requires relaxation (sithilkarna) in-between or between two asanas. Practicing arbitrarily selected asanas in random order of sequence might lead to negative effects.
Keeping the above-mentioned constraints and practical difficulties in mind and considering the common causes of health hazards these days. There are few yoga-asanas and kriyas that are easy to practice in feasible time and space and which are very effective as preventive measures, and as means of regaining or sustaining fitness in present times.
Importance of Breathing Exercises
The Vedic sages (rishis) have rewarded us with invaluable knowledge for our well-being and mental spiritual evaluation. The yoga science of prnyma is unique of such precious gifts, which offers enormous benefits to our physical as well as subtle bodies by enhancing our prana (vital spiritual energy).
The yoga-science of pranayma or the science of breathing as it is often called describes ten nadis (neuronal channels) of the flow of prana. The discipline of yoga-science pertaining to these aspects is known as Swar Yoga or Swar Vigyan Ida, Pingla and Susumna are most prominent among the nadis referred in Swar Vigyan. These are also called the lunar (Chandra nadi), solar (surya nadi) and absolute currents of prana.
Natural breathing through the left nostril is linked with activation of the Ida, which has cooling (calming) effect on the mind body system. This pattern of breathing is called Chandra swar. The surya war – natural breathing through the right nostril – is linked with activation of the Pingla, which has warming (stimulating) effect on the mind body system. Very rarely we naturally breathe through both the nostrils.
At this time the parna flows through the Susumana. Such moments occur at the time of reversal of respiration from left to right or vice versa. Each type of swara has its positive or negative effect depending upon the state and activity of the mind and body. Upasana parak are effective in enhancing vitality and alertness. These also help purify the nadis and harmonize the swaras and thus help maintain mental calm and concentration.