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The various paths, practices and disciplines of Yoga are intended to help us realize our eternal or Divine nature, which is pure awareness transcending all duality and desire."
- - Dr. David Frawley (American Thinker)
"We owe a lot to Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made." - - Albert Einstein (Referring to Indian 10 based Number System, used as it is today)
|1. Introduction||2. Ashtanga Yoga||3. Yogasans: Importance, Ruleas and Classification||4. Disease Cure and Yogasanas|
|5. Padmasana||6. Baddha Padmasana||7. Parvatsana||8. Utthita Padmasana (Lolasana)||9. Kukkutasana|
|10. Garbhasana||11. Siddhasana||12. Simhasana||13. Mandukasana||14. Gomukhasana|
|15. Padangusthasana||16. Kandapeedanasana||17. Veerasana||18. Pashchimottanasana||19. Janu Shirasana|
|20. Ardha Matsyendrasana||21. Purna Matsyendrasana||22. Ardha Vakrasana||23. Vakrasana||24. Akarna Dhanurasana|
|25. Shavasana||26. Ekapada Uttanasana||27. Uttanapadasana||28. Pavanamukasana||29. Setubandhasana|
|30. Tolangulasana||31. Matsyasana||32. Katiasana||33. Suptabhadrasana||34. Viparitakarni|
|35. Sarvangasana||36. Halasana||37. Vartulasana|
|38. Ardha Shalabhasana||39. Purna Shalabhasana||40. Bhujangasana||41. Dhanurasana||42. Makarsana 43. Vipareet Matsyasana|
|44. Mayurasana||45. Vrishchikasana||46. Bakasana||47. Tolasana||48. Utthita Dwihastabhujasana|
|49. Uttamangasana||50. Uttitha Ekapadashirasana||51. Konasana|
|52. Vajrasana||53. Supta Vajrasana||54. Bhoo-Namana-Vajrasana||55. Ushtrasana||56. Vrushasana|
|57. Garudasana||58. Vrukshasana||59. Vatayanasana||60. Santulasana||61. Natarajasana|
|62. Utkatasana||63. Tarasana||64. Trikonasana||65. Padahastasana||66. Chakrasana|
|67. Sheershasana||68. Urdhva Padmasana|
|69. Surya Namaskara||70. Pranayama||71. Yogasana and Pranayama|
|Some Yogic Institutes|
Yoga has been integral part of Indian life since the time immemorial. The world "Yoga" is derived from the Sanskrit root 'Yuj' meaning to bind and yoke.
It is true union of ourselves with our core level which is Aatm Brahm(self GOD).
The various paths, practices and disciplines of Yoga are intended to help us realize our eternal or Divine nature, which is pure awareness transcending all duality and desire. This is the ultimate goal of human existence for which all other labors are merely preparatory. Yet since the beginning of history we have always imagined a quick and easy way to God, a spiritual path without tears or struggle, a path free of pitfalls we can follow to the end quickly, without great effort or sacrifice.
But genuine attainment is not possible without preparation. An instructive image occurs in the Vedas: before we are able to drink the Divine Soma (the nectar of immortality) we must have a properly prepared vessel, one that can contain this hot and penetrating nectar without breaking. If the nectar is poured into an unbaked vessel, it will shatter and the soma will be lost. We are the vessels, and yoga is a methodology for preparing us to contain the Divine Soma or inner bliss. We are properly prepared when we have attained a certain degree of purity, maturity, and strength of body, mind, and heart. Without preparation, we are like unbaked soma vessels, running after the spiritual nectar without concerning ourselves with our ability to handle it.
There are many types of Yoga, namely Karm Yoga (Way of realizing God by detached actions), Bhakti Yoga (Way of realizing God by devotion), Sankhya Yoga (Way of realizing God by Meditation and Austerity).
To understand the first two type of Yoga you should read Bhagvadgita. Bhagvadgita is a portion of great historical epic Mahabharata. This is the largest epic in the world. It compiles the facts about Krishn, Pandav and Kaurav. Bhagvadgita covers the section where Krishn(Manisfestation of GOD) explains His friend and devotee Arjun the greatest secret and reverred truth of the universe. He explains to him the immortal nature of the soul and how it derives from Him. He also describes to Arjuna how this whole universe is created and how it is inhaled by Him.
Here we are going to discuss Astanga Yoga (Eight Part Yoga). It falls under the category of Sankhya Yoga (Way of realizing God by Meditation).
Astanga Yoga falls under the category of Sankhya Yoga (Way of realizing God by Meditation). It consists of eight stages. The following are these eight stages.
Yama means restraint or abstension. It refers to five moral practices. They are :Ahinsa (nonviolence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (nonstealing), Brahamcharya (moderation in sex) and Aparigraha (nonacquisitiveness).
Ahinsa (nonviolence) means not to hurt any creature mentally or physically through mind, speech or action.
Satya (truthfulness) is the presentation of the matter as perceived with the help of sense organs.
Asteya (nonstealing) means not to covet and acquire physically, mentally or by speech other's possessions.
Brahamcharya (moderation in sex) does not mean lifelong celibacy, but moderation in sex between married couples.
Aparigraha (nonacquisitiveness) means abandoning wealth and means of sensual pleasurs.
It means rules of conduct towards oneself. It consists of certain disciplines which are both physical and mental.
These are five in number. Shaucha (cleanliness), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (self-study) and Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to Braham).
Shaucha (cleanliness) means internal and external purification of the body and the mind.
Santosha (contentment) is a state of mind by which one lives happily and satisfied in congenial or uncongenial atmosphere.
Tapas (austerity or penance) is the conquest of all desire or sensual pleasures by practising purity in thought, speech and action.
Svadhyaya (self-study/discussion of Braham related knowledge) means exchange of thoughts in order to secure purity in thought and accomplish knowledge.
Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to Braham) consists of pure devotion to GOD and surrender of all actions to Him.
It means holding the body in a particular posture to bring stability to the body and poise to the mind. The practice of Aasana brings purity in the tubular channels, firmness to the body and vitality to the body and the mind.
The literal meaning of the Pranayama is Breath Control. The aim of practising Pranayama is to stimulate, regulate and harmonize vital energy of the body. Just as bath is required for purifying the body, so also Pranayama is required for purifying the mind.
The extroversion of the sense organs due to their hankering after worldly objects has to be restrained and directed inwards towards the source of all existence (Braham). This process of drawing the senses inwards is Pratyahara
6. Dharna (Concentration)
It means focussing the pure mind on Brahm. The practice of Dharana helps the mind to concentrate on a particular object.
When one sustains and maintains the focus of attention through Dharana unbounded by space and time, it becomes Dhyana. Deep concentration destroys the Rajas Gunas and Tamas Gunas of the mind and develops Satvika Gunas. Please read Bhagvadgita to understand the Gunas (charasterstics) of the mind and body.
The eighh and final stage of Yoga is Samadhi. At this stage one's identity becomes both externally and internally immersed in Braham. This is like salt mixing in sea. The meditator, the act of meditation, and the object meditated upon all three shed their individual characterstics and merge with one single vision of the entire cosmos and become Braham only, which is the true nature of every object. Supreme happiness free from pleasure, pain or misery, is expeerienced. Samadhi is the climax of Dhyana.
The group of last three stages, namely, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi is called Samyam and is referred to as Internal Yoga in the Science of Yoga. These come by practice. And one who is able to realise oneself is eternal even in this body, one gets Mokcha. Please read Bhagvadgita to understand it more.
The first five stages- Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara constitute the External Yoga. If all these five stages are practised and followed in life, virtues like morality develop in human. Besides there is allround progress in human life, physically, intellectually and spiritually and human attains physical fitness and mental equanimity.
Padma means lotus. Padmasana acquires its name because when performed this resembles a lotus. This is also known as Kamalasana. This is best suited for meditation and for reciting mantras. It is beneficial to both men and women.
Sit on the ground. Spread the legs forwards and place the right foot on the left thigh and left foot on the right thigh. Let the left hand rest on the left knee and the right hand on the right knee. Let the tips of the thumbs of both the hands touch the tips of the index fingers. Keep the head and spinal column erect. Keep your eyes close or open.
Those who can place only one leg on the thigh should practise this aasana daily with zeal. They will be able to perform this aasana easily after some practice.
Stay in the final position for one or two minutes in the initial stage. Later gradually increase the time.
1) This Aasana is useful for Japa, Pranayama, Dharana (Retention or Concentration) and Samadhi.
2)This Aasana stimulates the endocrine glands.
3)This Aasana is useful to cure diseases like asthma, insomnia and hysteria. It is greatly beneficial to the persons suffering from insomnia.
4)The Aasana relieves the body of its excessive fat and it increases the vitality.
This is a variation of Padmasana. This Aasana is not meant for meditation. It is chiefly meant for health-improvement and for making the body strong. This Aasana is difficult to perform. Those who are unable to practise this Aasana should not be disappointed. They should patiently try to accomplish the final position.
Sit in Padmasana with legs crossed. The heels should touch the lower part pf the abdomen. Swing the right armbehind the back of the shoulder and bring the hand near the left hip. Catch the left big toe. Similarly, swing the left arm and and hold the right big toe.
If you experience difficulty in holding the toes, bend slightly forward and make it convenient to hold the big toe.
After catching the toes, sit erect as before and breathe normally. Stay in this position for one or two minutes in the initial stage. Gradually increase the time till you can stay in the position for ten minutes.
1) In this Aasana the weight of the body is borne by the knees and the ankel-joints, so the joints of the leg become strong.
2)Both the heels of the legs get sufficient exercise.
3)The continuous practice of the Aasana helps the person to gradually overcome the weakness of the heart, the lungs, the stomach, the liver and the spine. Moreover it reduces the pain in the knees and the ankle-joints.
4)The Aasana helps to cure ailments like indigestion. fatulence, stomach-ache, etc.
5)By practising this Aasana one can get all the advantages of the Padmasana.
Parvat means a mountain. This aasan is also known as Viyogasana, because it involves a special technique of Yoga. Only healthy persons should practise this aasana.
Sit in Padmasana with legs crossed. Join the palms of the hands. Stretch the arms vertically up over the head.
1) As both the arms are kept vertically up in this aasana, the Pran is sublimated.
2)If Suryabheda Pranayama is practised for fifteen minutes before performing this Parvatasana, the lungs, the abdomen and the spine become strong and healthy.
3)This aasana gives sufficient exercise to the muscles of the arms.
This aasan is a variation of Padmasana. In this aasana the body is lifted up with both the hands on floor. This is the reason why it is named so. This aasana is more difficult than Padmasan because in this aasan the whole body is balanced on both the hands.
Sit in Padmasana with legs crossed. Rest the palms on the floor beside the hips. Slowly raise the trunk without a jerk. The body should not quiver. Retain the breath in the lungs as long as the body is in raised position. Exhale when body is lowered down. While performing this aasan some beginners experience tremor in the hands because of some weakness. But this should not daunt them. They should practise the aasan with patience and perseverance.
1) This aasan strengthens the joints and muscles of the arms.
2)This aasan helps to cure intestinal weakness, constipation, indigestion, dysentery, drowsiness, impurities of tubular channels etc..
3)This aasan works as an appetiser which is a good characterstics of of health.
Kukkut is a Sanskrit word which means a cock. This aasan or posture resembles that of a cock and hence the name is Kukkut Aasan.
Sit in Padmasana with legs crossed. Insert the hands through the gap between the thighs and calves near the knees. Start with the fingers and gradually push the hands upto elbows. Inhale and raise the body off the floor. Then continue normal breathing. Legs should be raised off the floor upto the level of elbows. Hands can easily be inserted in the gap if the Padmasan position is slightly raised. Pot-bellied persons will find it difficult to insert the hands in the gap between the calves and the thighs. In the beginning remain in this position for ten seconds and gradually increase the time to a minute depending on age and ability to aspirant.
1) All the benefits derived from Utthita Padmasan are derived from this aasan.
2)This aasan is beneficial to those who have worms in their intestines.
3)This aasan is very useful to woman as it cures uneasiness, pain in the hips and heaviness caused by menstruation.
4)This aasan gives sufficient exercise to the arms.
5)This aasan invigorates the body and delights the mind.
When this aasan is performed, the pose achieved resembles that of a human foetus in the womb. So this aasan is called Grabh Aasan.
As in Kukkut Aasan, insert the hands between the thighs and the calves. Push the arms forward till the elbows can be easily bent. Then hold the lobe of the right ear with the right hand and of the left ear with the left hand. Stay in this position very cautiously to avoid tumbling.
The constant practice of this aasan will enable you to balance the body on the coccyx (the tail bone).
If aspirants experience difficulty in performing this aasan in Padmasan position, it should be practised without Padmasan. While performing this aasan, let the legs be stretched on the floor. This aasan should be formed 8 to 10 seconds in the beginning. Later the time of the rentention of the aasan can be increased to one minute depending on age and ability of the aspirants and benefits expected.
1)This aasan helps to cure diseases like colic pain, flatuence, enteritis, chronic fever, constipation et-cetera.
2)This aasan keeps the abdominal organs trim. It cures gas trouble and increases the digestive power.
3)The abdominal organs, the breast and the joints of the arms and the legs get sufficient exercise through this aasan and their ailments disaapear.
4)This aasan helps to preserve the semen and the mind begins to have communion with the Aatama(self).
Yoga At The Speed Of Light And The Meaning Of 108
-Professor Subhash Kak (narrated by Linda Johnson)
It is amazing how much Western science has taught us. Today, for example, kids in grammar school learn that the sun is 93 million miles from the earth and that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per hours. Yoga may teach us about our Higher Self, but it can't supply this kind of information about physics or astronomy.
Or can it?
Professor Subhash Kak of Louisiana State University recently called my attention to a remarkable statement by Sayana, a fourteenth century Indian scholar. In his commentary on a hymn in the Rig Veda, the oldest and perhaps most mystical text ever composed in India, Sayana has this to say: "With deep respect, I bow to the sun, who travels 2,202 yojanas in half a nimesha."
A yojana is about nine American miles; a nimesha is 16/75 of a second. Mathematically challenged readers, get out your calculators!
2,202 yojanas x 9 miles x 75 - 8 nimeshas = 185,794 m.p.s.
Basically, Sayana is saying that sunlight travels at 186,000 miles per second! How could a Vedic scholar who died in 1387 A.D. have known the correct figure for the speed of light? If this was just a wild guess it's the most amazing coincidence in the history of science!
The yoga tradition is full of such coincidences. Take for instance the mala many yoga students wear around their neck. Since these rosaries are used to keep track of the number of mantras a person is repeating, students often ask why they have 108 beads instead of 100. Part of the reason is that the mala represent the ecliptic, the path of the sun and moon across the sky. Yogis divide the ecliptic into 27 equal sections called nakshatras, and each of these into four equal sectors called padas, or "steps," marking the 108 steps that the sun and moon take through heaven.
Each is associated with a particular blessing force, with which you align yourself as you turn the beads.
Traditionally, yoga students stop at the 109th "guru bead," flip the mala around in their hand, and continue reciting their mantra as they move backward through the beads. The guru bead represents the summer and winter solstices, when the sun appears to stop in its course and reverse directions. In the yoga tradition we learn that we're deeply interconnected with all of nature. Using a mala is a symbolic way of connecting ourselves with the cosmic cycles governing our universe.
But Professor Kak points out other coincidences: The distance between the earth and the sun is approximately 108 times the sun's diameter. The diameter of the sun is about 108 times the earth's diameter. And the distance between the earth and the moon is 108 times the moon's diameter.
Could this be the reason the ancient sages considered 108 such a sacred number? If the microcosm (us) mirrors the macrocosm (the solar system), then maybe you could say there are 108 steps between our ordinary human awareness and the divine light at the center of our being. Each time we chant another mantra as our mala beads slip through our fingers, we are taking another step toward our own inner sun.
As we read through ancient Indian texts, we find so much the sages of antiquity could not possibly have known-but did. While our European and Middle Eastern ancestors claimed that the universe was created about 6,000 years ago, the yogis have always maintained that our present cosmos is billions of years old, and that it's just one of many such universes which have arisen and dissolved in the vastness of eternity.
In fact the Puranas, encyclopedias of yogic lore thousands of years old, describe the birth of our solar system out of a "milk ocean," the Milky Way. Through the will of the Creator, they tell us, a vortex shaped like a lotus arose from the navel of eternity. It was called Hiranya Garbha, the shining womb. It gradually coalesced into our world, but will perish some day billions of years hence when the sun expands to many times it present size, swallowing all life on earth. In the end, the Puranas say, the ashes of the earth will be blown into space by the cosmic wind. Today we known this is a scientifically accurate, if poetic, description of the fate of our planet.
The Surya Siddhanta is the oldest surviving astronomical text in the Indian tradition. Some Western scholars date it to perhaps the fifth or sixth centuries A.D., though the text itself claims to represent a tradition much, much older. It explains that the earth is shaped like a ball, and states that at the very opposite side of the planet from India is a great city where the sun is rising at the same time it sets in India. In this city, the Surya Siddhanta claims, lives a race of siddhas, or advanced spiritual adepts. If you trace the globe of the earth around to the exact opposite side of India, you'll find Mexico. Is it possible that the ancient Indians were well aware of the great sages/astronomers of Central America many centuries before Columbus discovered America?
Knowing the unknowable
To us today it seems impossible that the speed of light or the fate of our solar system could be determined without advanced astronomical instruments. How could the writers of old Sanskrit texts have known the unknowable? In searching for an explanation we first need to understand that these ancient scientists were not just intellectuals, they were practicing yogis. The very first lines of the Surya Siddhanta, for of the Golden Age a great astronomer named Maya desired to learn the secrets of the heavens, so he first performed rigorous yogic practices. Then the answers to his questions appeared in his mind in an intuitive flash.
Does this sound unlikely? Yoga Sutra 3:26-28 states that through, samyama (concentration, meditation, and unbroken mental absorption) on the sun, moon, and pole star, we can gain knowledge of the planets and stars. Sutra 3:33 clarifies, saying: "Through keenly developed intuition, everything can be known." Highly developed intuition is called pratibha in yoga. It is accessible only to those who have completely stilled their mind, focusing their attention on one object with laser-like intensity. Those who have limited their mind are no longer limited to the fragments of knowledge supplied by the five senses. All knowledge becomes accessible to them.
"There are [those] who would say that consciousness, acting on itself, can find universal knowledge," Professor Kak admits. "In fact this is the traditional Indian view."
Perhaps the ancient sages didn't need advanced astronomical instruments. After all, they had yoga.