KaivalyaDhama

Chakra Meditation

Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on experiential and transcendental phenomena. It focuses on bringing a positive harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living. The science of yoga has its origin thousands of years ago, long before the first religions or belief systems were born.

Did you know? In the yogic lore, Shiva is seen as the first yogi or Adi yogi, and the first Guru or Adi Guru.

Let us First Understand some Types of Yoga

Kundalini yoga derives from kundalini, defined in Vedantic culture as the energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine until it is activated and channeled upward through the chakras in the process of spiritual evolution.

Bahiranga yoga is a Sanskrit term that means ‘external’ or ‘outside’. In the 8-fold path of yoga, it is associated with the first 5 limbs – Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, and Pratyahara.

The fifth limb. Pratyahara acts as a bridge connecting the external to the internal Practice.

Antaranga yoga is common to all paths of Yoga and is verily Kundalini Yoga which leads a yogi to the ultimate state of consciousness.

Moving ahead, Let us Understand the Relevance of Kundalini Yoga for Life & Living

Hatha Yoga (II:2) says that mind and bodily energy are interdependent. If one is calm and stable the other will ultimately become calm and stable. Chakra Meditation, being a part of Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga, has rather direct influence on energy dynamics of the body and thereby direct influence on the mental dynamics.

What is the main aim of Chakra Meditation? 

The main aim of chakra meditation is to normalize the over-activated, depleted, imbalanced chakras. It mainly aims to balance and energize all the chakras for proper physical, mental and spiritual health.

There are seven main chakras, four in our upper body, which govern our mental phenomenon, and three in the lower body, which govern the instinctual domain of our being. The names are Muladhar chakra, Swadhisthan chakra, Manipura chakra, Anahata chakra, Visuddhi chakra, Ajna chakra and Sahasrara chakra.

Thus chakras act as points of connection between our physical and non-physical bodies, enabling energies to flow from one of these vehicles of manifestation to the other. They are means by which we absorb energy from and externalize it to the environment and also exchange energy with others. Generally, some of our chakras are not opened, which means they are not fully operative. If we want to be at peace with ourselves, the balance of chakras is a must pre-requisite. When all our chakras are opened, the energy evens out and becomes balanced.

Scientific yoga research shows immense benefits of yoga and meditation in general. Let us dive deep into what chakra meditation has to offer.

Benefits and Implications of Chakra Meditation are as Follows:

  • Balancing Muladhara Chakra: If the root chakra is not opened adequately, one feels imbalanced, insensible, unstable, and insecure. The person whose root chakra is opened adequately is very much connected to the physical body and trusts people around him/her. If it is unbalanced /under-active, one feels nervous and fearful. In some people Root chakra is overactive. Those people are generally greedy and attached to material things. So, there is a need to balance the Root Chakra.
  • Balancing Swadhisthan Chakra: This chakra deals with feeling and sexuality. If this chakra is unbalanced and under-active, one tends to be apathetic and insensitive and does not open to anybody. Overactive chakra makes you over-emotional and very sexual.
  • Balancing Manipur Chakra: After this chakra is opened sufficiently, you feel good and dignified. A person’s behavior is aggressive if the said chakra is over-active.
  • Balancing Anahat Chakra: Anahat chakra connects lower chakras to upper chakras. This chakra is associated with Peace, Love for self and others, caring attitude, con-genial relationships, compassion, empathy, awareness, forgiveness and so on. If this chakra is under-active, one’s nature is unfriendly and cold. The overactive heart chakra leads to high blood pressure, palpitation and heart attack. Persons having unbalanced anahat chakra live in fear, grief, anger, hatred and jealousy.
  • Balancing Vishudhi Chakra: The fifth chakra is located at the base of the throat which controls the thyroid and endocrine system. The throat chakra is associated with creativity, communication and self-expression. Underactive chakra makes the person feel low in self-esteem, shy and unable to express properly. Overactive chakra, a person tends to speak too much and also is a bad listener. Balanced chakra regulates the flow of hormones and all the functions of the throat and head. One can balance Throat chakra and can become a more effective communicator.
  • Balancing Ajna Chakra: Third eye chakra is located in the middle of the head. Persons with this chakra activated adequately have amazing intellect, intuition, wisdom and spiritual powers. Underactive Third Eye chakra leads to confusion. For thinking more clearly and to develop imagination and awareness one has to balance the Third Eye Chakra
  • Balancing Sahasrar Chakra: Considered to be the highest of the seven chakras and regarded as a gateway to the energy of the universe itself. The proper opening of this chakra opens the door to connect with our higher Self. Underactive chakra tends to make a person rigid in thoughts. Unbalanced crown chakra tends to create depression, boredom, frustration, and greed. For self-confidence, spiritual insight this chakra needs to be balanced adequately.

Meditating through all the chakras helps bring the entire chakra system into a balance between sympathetic & parasympathetic nervous systems. Over time you’ll be able to sense which chakras are blocked or are out of balance and will know the science of self-healing with advantage to your personal, familial and social lives.

If you find a need to experience this advanced meditation, here is a workshop by Kaivalyadhama, a leading yoga institute. This workshop will help you understand chakra meditation in depth and practice it thoroughly.

Tip: Always rely on a health care center that really cares for your wellness. Everybody knows, Kaivalyadhama cares.

Dr. Santosh Pandey

Dr. Santosh Pandey

Working as Research Officer, Scientific Research Dept, Kaivalyadhama

Dr. Santosh Pandey has completed B.N.Y.S, MBA (Hospital Administration); he is also Reiki Grand master level 12, Advance Pranic Healer, PGDIA, and PGDIN. He has been awarded the President’s National award, and has also earned a Gold medal in Yoga and Naturopathy in 2005 awarded by the International Naturopathy Organization in New Delhi, India. He has over 20 years of experience.

The Power Of Pranayama

Pranayama is one of the most renowned ancient and popular practices of yoga. Its practice has been mentioned in the Vedas and its existence dates back to Patanjali Yoga Sutra written in 200 B.C. 

Preliminaries of Pranayama

Pranayama is both a traditional and a scientific technique that balances the mind, body, emotions, and ultimately the soul. Its therapeutic benefits have been gaining popularity all over the world, encouraging people from different walks of life to practice and master the art of Pranayama. Yoga is an art of establishing “harmony between individual existences with cosmic existence” and Pranayama is an application of this “art” through which one develops an awareness of one’s Prana (vital life force).

The soul of Pranayama lays in controlled inhalation, retention, and controlled exhalation of the breath. It not only extends and empowers the Prana, but it also revitalizes and soothes the vital energy so that the body can harness it.

Unleash the Power and Learn Pranayama

There is no doubt that by practicing pranayama one acquires complete control over one’s body. It cures the diseases of Vata (air), Pitta (bile), Kapha (cough) and enhances the gastric fire in one’s body. One who regularly practices Pranayama is able to develop a lustrous face, clarity of voice, brightness of eyes, slimness of the body, freedom from diseases like Asthma, Sinusitis, Hypertension, Ischemic Heart Diseases, Indigestion, and many more. It helps in the management of reproductive disorders, degenerative diseases like Fibromyalgia, reduces the metabolic strain on kidneys and most importantly increases the blood supply to the cortex in the Brain. It improves one’s mental health and cures many personality disorders. Pranayama has a tremendous power to revert back the aging process. It has an inherent power to boost the immune system. It increases one’s confidence and self-esteem and helps in channelizing positive energy.

Did you know?

Mastery over the art of Pranayama helps in the purification of Nadis (channels through which Prana flows), and through determined practice, one may also awaken the Kundalini Shakti. The Prana tends to move along the principle Nadi-Sushumna; the individual starts experiencing higher levels of consciousness, ultimately culminating into a transcendental state. 

Scientific Yoga Research also supports the many Benefits that Pranayama Offers. Here are few of them

  1. Pranayama enhances the blood circulation inside the chest and abdomen, which stimulates their function and excites the nerve endings. (Kuvalyananda,1930).
  2. The breathing process in Pranayama consumes less amount of Oxygen for itself. As a result, more oxygen is available for body functions. (Basu, 1924; Rao, 1968).
  3. Pranayama with Kumbhaka in the long term practice gives voluntary control over many visceral functions. Heart rate and metabolic processes slow down resulting in less consumption of energy by the body. (Byramjee,1975; Chinna, 1980; Karambelkar, 1968; Laubry et. al. 1936).

But ultimately, the soul of Pranayama lies in the simplicity of its art, being complex and powerful at the same time-rewarding the practitioner with enormous benefits, which is beyond any gift that humankind could ever get in this modern era. However, learning this healthful art from an authentic source is a must. Choose the best and the leading yoga institutes to start your journey towards healing with yoga.

“As long as Prana (vayu) is flowing in the body, life exists. Death ascends as soon as Prana (vayu) is drawn out from the body. Therefore Vayu should be regulated and Pranayama should be practiced”. (Sutra 3, Chapter 2, Hathapradipika)

Yogacharya Sandhya Dixit

Yogacharya Sandhya Dixit

Yogacharya Sandhya Dixit is one of the senior-most teacher in Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla. She has experience of 39 years in the field of yoga. She has actively conducted workshops and training camps at national and international levels. Her 10 days online workshops series in March 2020 ‘Yoga for senior citizens’ collaboration with the Ministry of Ayush was applauded and acknowledged by thousands of people. Her Pranayama online workshops have been successful since June 2020. Workshop participants love her style of teachings. She recently is awarded Swami Kuvalayananda Yoga Puraskar 2020 for her dedicated, committed and extraordinary work in the field of Yoga.

Yoga and Mindfulness for Teens

Today’s modern life between all the hustle and bustle of new trends or fads, our  Teenagers or Generation Z usually fail to prioritize their wellbeing. The cherry on the top is the pandemic which has brought various changes to our regular routine and isolation at home and absence of the active environment of an academic institute, giving birth to increased rate of anxiety, stress and depression. Teenagers today are facing challenges which were very rare and unusual 30-40 years back. So the question is how can we help and guide our teens?

Voilà! The solution to this problem is YOGA. Yoga is not only performing asanas, it is much more than that. Yoga is a simple and wholesome process which keeps our physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing in shape.

So, in this blog I’ll be sharing with you about some common teenage problems and how a little bit about yoga for children in this technology centric lifestyle to bring happiness & peace.

Teenage World and Their Problems

Now, let’s take a quick glimpse into the Teenage world. Teenagers between 13 and 19 years of age go through a turbulent phase both internally and externally. They deal with hormonal changes, social changes, academic, competitive exam preparations and peer pressure and on and on which leads to various problems.

Most Common Problems for Today’s Teenagers are

  • Anxiety and Depression: According to some researches 75% of our teenagers cope with various mental health problems unknowingly. Teenagers are more concerned about their physical appearances and as a result they ignore their mental health.
  • Self Esteem: Children with early childhood trauma lack in confidence, they may feel victimized, feel lonely and isolated and also might have negative thoughts about themselves.
  • Body Image: Body image issue can begin in teenagers in response to the changes in body during puberty. Individuals who are obese and dissatisfied with their physical appearance are prone to depression.
  • Cyber Addiction: Today’s generation Z a.k.a. “Loneliest generation” in the race to follow new trends spend endless hours online and on smartphones inadvertently moving them away from human interaction and sending them into isolation with no real people to talk to or have conversations. They Crave for social acceptance.
  • Bullying and Peer Pressure: Bullying and negative peer pressure can cause teens to suffer from low self esteem, anxiety and depression.
  • Lack of Concentration: Physical and emotional changes, lack of sleep, a poor routine, excessive screen time or a family trauma can cause lack of concentration in teenagers. Unfocussed, confused teens are unable to find happiness and purpose in life.

YOGA – A Supreme Secret of Life

Yes, you read it right. Yoga is a magical and a supreme secret to a happy and peaceful life. It’s a remover of misery and destroyer of pain.

As they say “You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside”.

Yoga is a path to a new world for today’s stressed out generation. Daily dose of yoga can impact and transform teenagers life in healthier way. They learn to cope with any challenge in life and build a healthy population.

Importance of Yoga in Teenagers

  • Regular practice of yogic practices will help teenagers to live a Healthy lifestyle. It will improve their muscle strength, increase stamina, boost their immunity, improve their body physically and physiologically and reduces chances of childhood obesity.
  • Meditation will improve their concentration and creativity level, it will sharpen their memory and will bring mental stability and calmness.
  • Through the various breathing yogic practices and poses yoga help students feel in control of their body and mind.
  • Yoga at an early age encourages self esteem and body awareness with a physical activity. It creates a better mind and body connection.
  • When combined with mindfulness it increases patience, maintains calmness and improves work efficiency.
  • Most important benefit of yoga is that it will help teenagers to get rid of depression, anxiety and mental stress.
  • It will teach teenagers the techniques to lead a healthy, peaceful and contented living.

I am sharing all above mentioned benefits after experiencing them personally. When I was a teen I suffered from anxiety and work pressure but yoga did wonders for me. So, basically yoga is a whole package that comes with physical, mental and spiritual practices. It’s a way of living which keeps us in harmony and equanimity.

Now that you know the importance of yoga for children, here is an online workshop presented by Kaivalyadhama that will help you bring authentic yoga into practice for the wellness of your kids.

ONLINE WORKSHOP LINK

Click on the link to know more about this need-of-the-hour workshop & take a step towards holistic wellness with one of the leading yoga institutes in India – Kaivalyadhama

Ms. Chhavi Agarwal

Ms. Chhavi Agarwal

I am post graduate in English literature and pursuing PG diploma in yoga education
(2021 batch) at Kaivalyadhama, Lonavala.

Appreciation of Pātañjalayogasūtras

Online Workshop Series August, September and October 2021

Yoga is a Science and Art of living life and going beyond it. Yoga is as old as human civilization. Yoga has been there in various forms. ‘Pātañjalayogasūtras’, ‘Pātañjalayogadarśana’ or ‘Yogadarśana’ was propounded by Sage Patañjali. Sage Patañjali is not the creator of Yoga, he collected the existing knowledge on Yoga, codified it and put it together in form of Sūtras. Sūtra-form was the most suitable form to systematize the entire knowledge in a super-brief fashion. Here’s definition of Sūtra:

अल्पाक्षरमसंदिग्धं सारवद्विश्वतो मुखम् ।
अस्तोभमनवद्यञ्च सूत्रं सूत्रविदो विदुः ।।
Alpākṣaramasandigdhaṁ sāravadviśvatomukham ।
Astobhamanavadyañca sūtraṁ sūtravidoviduḥ ।।

  • अल्पाक्षरम् Alpākṣaram: Made of few words
  • असंदिग्धं Andigdhaṁ: Clear and unambiguous
  • सारवत् Sāravat: Contains the essence of the topic
  • विश्वतो मुखम् viśvatomukham: Having multiple facets
  • अस्तोभम् Astobham: Devoid of redundant words
  • अनवद्यं Anavadyam: Devoid of errors in grammar etc.
  • सूत्रविदो Sūtravido: The knowers of Sūtra
  • विदुः Viduḥ: Know

Yoga is a spiritual experience, which aims at removing the impurities of the mind (the Citta). Sage Patañjali, who was the first to codify Yoga, drew up eight steps – Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna and Samādhi, a wholistic discipline for silencing the mind. These eight steps systematically wash away the impurities of the mind, making it progressively pure and clean. It begins with Codes of conduct, for the world / social and personal, talks about having a fit body, conducive physiological functions, leading to withdrawal of engagements in the world and worldly things and sense gratifications, leading to the single pointedness of mind and ultimately absorption in the Supreme reality. ‘Each Soul is potentially Divine…’ the purpose of Human Birth is realization of that Supreme Reality.

In order to learn the ‘Yogadarśana’ one must learn the original Saṃskṛta Yogasūtras. Recitation of the Pātañjalayogasūtras as per the Śāstra is a must, which leads to their understanding. This will help a practitioner to come close to the original Saṃskṛta Śāstra and help in making friends with it. This will simplify the Pātañjalayogadarśana and help in grasping the essence of the Pātañjalayogadarśana in totality.

Kaivalyadhāma, one of world’s best-known institutes of Yoga, is presenting the Online workshop series Appreciation of Pātañjalayogasūtras’, designed by
Dr. Rajani Pradhan. It is a wonderful mix of wisdom and practice of ancient traditional knowledge of Yoga.

Who should Attend the Online Workshop Series ‘Appreciation of PYS’?

These workshop series are for those who would like to know the content of Patañjali’s Yogasūtras or Yogadarśana. There are 195 Sūtras divided in 4 chapters. If we know these Sūtras and their meaning we know the Yogadarśana. Here is an outline of the 3 series of workshop in the months of August, September and October 2021:

1. 6th, 7th & 8th August 2021:

  • Introduction to Yoga.
  • Discussion on selected concepts of Yoga; e.g. Citta, Cittavṛttis.
  • Introduction to Chanting of Pātañjalayogasūtras
  • A basic understanding of Sthāna (place) of the sound production of the Devanāgarī Akṣaras (Letters), Knowledge and Practice of Saṃskṛta grammar in relation to the Pātañjalayogasūtras

2. 3rd, 4th & 5th September 2021:

  • Introduction to Methods of Cittavṛttinirodha.
  • (Aṣṭāṅga Yoga, Kriya-Yoga, Abhyāsa-Vairagya)
  • Chanting of selected Pātañjalayogasūtras
  • A basic understanding, knowledge, and practice of selected Saṃskṛta grammar concepts relevant to the Pātañjalayogasūtras

3. 8th, 9th & 10th October 2021:

  • Discussion on Methods of Cittavṛttinirodha.
  • (Aṣṭāṅga Yoga, Kriya-Yoga, Abhyāsa-Vairagya)
  • Understanding of selected concept of Pātañjalayogadarśana.
  • Chanting of selected Pātañjalayogasūtras

This workshop will deal into chanting of few selected Yogasūtras as well as understanding of some of the concepts therein. Saṃskṛta is written in Devanāgarī Lipi (script), this workshop will have a basic understanding of Sthāna (place) of the sound production of the Devanāgarī Akṣaras (Letters). Knowledge and Practice of ‘Kaṇṭhaḥ’ / Guttural sounds, ‘Tālu’ / Palatal sounds, ‘Mūrdhā’ / Retroflexes, ‘Dantaḥ’ / Dentals, ‘Oṣṭhaḥ’ / Labials, Kaṇṭhatālu / Guttural Palatal sounds, Kaṇṭhoṣṭham / Guttural – Labial sounds, Dantoṣṭham / Dental – Labial sounds etc. Basic understanding of selected Pātañjalayogasūtras. Understanding of selected concept of Pātañjalayogadarśana (e.g., Citta, Citta-Prasādana, Īśvara, Īśvarapraṇidhāna, the three Adhikārīs – Uttama, Madhyama and Adhama or the Manda Adhikārīs and the Yoga-Sādhanās for them in the Pātañjalayogadarśana etc.)

Impact of Yoga on Auto Immune Diseases

We have grown learning and knowing that our immunity is our greatest shield against diseases and works as the defense mechanism to protect our body. But what if this immunity is misled to fight against something it is supposed to protect?

Rheumatic Arthritis, Thyroid, Lupus, Alopecia, IBD, Type 1 Diabetes, Psoriasis, etc are all examples of auto-immune disorders, where the body is literally attacking itself. Modern science has been struggling over the years to treat such diseases and in many cases, there are no real treatments, but just management of the symptoms to ease the suffering.

Understanding Yoga for Diseases:

Studies, research, and experience have shown that Yoga can help manage such autoimmune disorders at a physical, mental, and emotional level. Yoga is truly a lifestyle and thus has a complete message and the blueprint to make the right modifications and recalibrate your health. Adopting such a lifestyle, backed by the right practices, diet, and managing the mind can make a significant positive impact on those suffering from auto-immune diseases.

Recent studies also show that moderate exercises can stop/reduce inflammation in the body, which is common with many autoimmune diseases. Traditional yoga asanas are gentle and practiced to one’s capacity and comfort. Thus regular and sustained yoga practice can increase muscle strength, endurance, and balance. The asanas help in improving flexibility of the joints and mobility which are very useful in the case of rheumatic arthritis. Stress and anxiety are known to worsen auto-immune conditions.

Studies show that yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which reduces the body’s stress response. Yoga & Ayurveda helps to develop a general sense of calmness and wellbeing through mindfulness, meditative focus, and increased body awareness, which leads to a reduction in stress and anxiety.

Managing Auto-Immune Disorders:

One of the most important challenges of Auto-Immune disorders is the changing condition of health/ pain/ suffering experienced each day which literally takes away the joy of living. It is thus necessary for people suffering from autoimmune disorders to shift their focus away from the body to something that is deeper and more meaningful. Realizing that we are not just our body and much more can add a different perspective to the management of such disorder. Understanding the personal triggers which aggravate your situation can only come from a deep sense of total awareness. The awareness can also help us develop the ability to focus on sensations and symptoms that really require attention and thus help immensely in managing the day-to-day life with such disorders.

However, management of such disorders with Yoga needs a careful and well-guided approach by Yoga teachers who have hands-on experience with the disease and understanding of traditional yoga. A combination of asanas, pranayama, diet, sleep management, relaxation, and mental attitude can provide the much-needed answers to manage auto-immune disorders. 

Kaivalyadhama, one of the leading yoga institutes in India offers one such workshop, both online &

on-campus  for your comprehensive understanidng on how yoga helps to manage auto-immune disorders.

Even if Yoga may not claim to cure you fully, it will still give you the tools to take care of yourself and reset your lifestyle to lead a path of health and happiness.

This war is within us and the winning solution for the same can also be found within us. Befriend your body and bring back the joy of living with Yoga.

Ms. Renu Jain

Ms. Renu Jain

A certified yoga professional from Kaivalyadhama who has won over Auto immune disorders like Rheumatic Arthritis, Thyroid, and Alopecia by adopting a Yoga based lifestyle approach.

Moving the Yoga Way

COVID-19 has put us all into mandatory captivity and a new normal. Here are my two cents on this scenario which might help you tackle this pandemic and lead a healthy life.

New Normal has Come with the New Health Problems: 

Work from home, online classes, and virtual meetups are the common new normals. These indeed demand more screen time for work and leisure which eventually invites the following:

  • More sustained postures with rounded shoulders
  • Forward head and poking chin
  • Reduced hip and knee flexibility due to increased chair sitting
  • Less weight-bearing activities leading to reduced bone mineral density
  • More screen time disrupts melatonin production and hence reduces the quality and quantity of sleep

All of these cause chronic fatigue, irritability, painful muscle knots, or myofascial triggers. As a pain clinician, this is where I find my patients in a classic Pain – Weakness cycle.

How can Yoga Help?

Yoga is a way of life and an experiential science. Yoga and Ayurveda have again prevailed their importance since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Today in this blog, I am going to focus on the movement component of Yoga i.e. Asanas. Scientific yoga research demonstrates that the practice of asanas makes us move the body in the range we don’t usually move. A quick look into what yoga asanas offer:

  • Improves flexibility and overall coordination.
  • Frees up the tight hips and groin muscles.
  • Breathing while holding the asanas makes us mindful of the pattern of breathing and helps to improve the quality rate and depth of breathing.
  • Increases the secretion of our feel-good chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and reduces the level of cortisol which greatly decreases stress.
  • Improves the Samatvam or balance of the body and mind.

Most Important – Dos and Don’ts:

Now that you got an idea of how you can indirectly use yoga for diseases management, considering some more tips is important. It is ideal to consult a practitioner to make a program tailor-made for you. You can always get associated with top yoga health centers.

(Note – This is just to give you tools for safe practice and is not intended to replace a qualified practitioner.)

Simple points to consider:

  • If you are a beginner or restarting after a long gap, start with a 15 to 20 min routine to be done preferably on an empty stomach.
  • Choose a manageable time and be consistent.
  • Give a day’s rest in between sessions. Focus on the form and not the number of poses done.
  • Get in and out of the pose gently. Attempt a pose how much ever comfortable.
  • Breathe mindfully focussing more on the exhale in that position. Always end the routine with belly breathing, keeping exhale twice of inhale. Start with 3 rounds and proceed up to 20 rounds at one time. Once comfortable with this, you can try both nostril pranayama like ujjayi or sheethali and then go to cleansing kriyas like kapalbhati and nadi shodhana pranayama.

Sample Routine for Any and All:

Practice 5 rounds of the following & hold for 15 sec each time:

  1. Setubandhasana
  2. Pawanmuktasana
  3. Shalabhasana
  4. Bhujangasana
  5. Goumukhasana
  6. Dandasana
  7. Vrikshaasana
  8. End the routine with Savasana for 1 min and belly breathing 3-5 rounds with exhale twice of inhale.

Start with these and with time & guidance you can always move to advanced yoga with leading yoga institutes in the country.

With this, I will sign off by wishing all of you a Healthy and Pain-Free year.

 Dr. Anjanaa Subramanian MPT( Sports)

Dr. Anjanaa Subramanian MPT( Sports)

Dyed, DAc,NASM – CES, NESTA-SNS

Dr. Anjanaa is a Physiotherapist specializing in Musculoskeletal Medicine, having over 10 years of experience in the field of Rehabilitative medicine, founder of RECOVER PHYSIOTHERAPY a chronic pain specialty center for the past 8 years. She is a certified Yoga Therapist from Kaivalyadhama Institute of Yoga and Research, Lonavala.

Yoga in COVID-19

Lockdown is nothing new for Indian Civilization

India’s spiritual masters and Yogis are living a self-isolated life since thousands of years with an intention to realize the ultimate truth of life. Eventually what happened to them is that they realized the nonexistence of what human body and mind experiences. Indian philosophy & its ancient life style allows human to self-realize and self-purify on the body and mind level.

Ideally, Ancient Indian lifestyle is divided into 4 stages or Ashrams of life. All the four concerns to a 1/4th of a life time for their particular offerings;

  1. Bhramcharya – time to spend in studying and learning.
  2. Grihastha – time to spend in Sansara (social life).
  3. Vanprastha – retired life period.
  4. Sanyas– time for renunciation.

Now, let’s talk a little more about third and fourth stages.

The one who has completed the second stage of life i.e. Grihastha Jivan, he will move to a life where social responsibility has ended. If you understand the etymology of Vanprastha, you will see that it is made up of two words- ‘Van’ meaning forest and ‘Prastha’ meaning to walk towards. This indicates that a human being needs to start detaching from the materialistic life; need not to abandon fully but just start the renunciation bit by bit. Take the own time and step by step leave the worldly life and enter into Sanyas, the fourth stage of life.

In PATANJALI YOGA DARSHAN, Sadhan pad-
स्वविषयासंप्रयोगे चित्तस्वरूपानुकार इवेन्द्रियाणां प्रत्याहारः ॥ २५४॥
Sva-viæayâsamprayoge cittasyasvarûpânukâra ivendriyâñâm pratyâhâraï __2.54
ततः परमा वश्यतेन्द्रियाणाम् ॥ २५५॥
Tataï paramâ vaåyatendriyâñâm__2.55

Patanjali suggests the same idea. When one starts withdrawal of senses and renunciation at worldly objects and start living detached life, it is Pratyahar. Symbol of Pratyahar is Turtle, the one who withdraws the senses and turns towards inside

2 stages of Pratyahar 

  1. Physical i.e. body level.
  2. Impressions i.e. association process.

Today, the whole humanity is facing a tough time. We all are bound to live a quarantine life and take our senses from outside towards inside. We all wish to go back to our pre-COVID lives. On the other hand, we are also struggling to reduce our material association of life through limited access. But our mind desires object of association which again brings hindrance in the purpose. And this is exactly where we are facing the problem.

Our Rishis and Yogis were masters in it, now it’s time for us to learn. Yogis used to do action without association. They were able to detach.

We might be highly qualified in our studies but what we are actually uneducated about the situation we are facing. But deep somewhere down, we hold impressions of all these qualities. We had Buddha in our history, who left the ultimate comforts and attained peace; Adi Shankaracharya, who left his home at the age of 8; Swami Vivekanand, who was a highly intellectual person; Shri Aurovindo, supreme conscious being.

India’s past has witnessed these great masters, who achieved peace after detaching themselves from all these associations with which we are fully attached.

This COVID 19 is great opportunity for humanity to attain peace within.

In PATANJALI YOGA DARSHAN, Sadhan pad
तीव्रसंवेगानामासन्नः ॥ १२१॥
Tîvra-samvegânâmâsannaï__1.21

For those who seek Peace whole heartedly, Peace comes close.

We have peace within us, what we lack it is to understand the nonexistence of human body and mind experience. Peace is not something to be achieved but to be realized. It is a natural human stage where misery of life doesn’t exist. Misery is our current stage and that’s where we have our senses but of that experience is limited. So, grow from limited to unlimited, senses to senseless experience and what you will experience is peace.

Mr. Jasmin Panchasara

Mr. Jasmin Panchasara

MSc. in Yoga, P.G.D.Y.T., NDDY. M.COM, B.ED
Yoga Coordinator and Senior Yoga Therapist at Project ‘Life’, Rajkot.

Yoga For Weight Loss

Our body tries to maintain its ideal weight through various internal regulatory mechanisms, which is the result of a complicated network of neural, hormonal and numerous chemical reactions. There are various factors involved in management of weight in adults, say

  • Metabolic Rate
  • Physical Activity
  • Hormones
  • Diet

Though there are numerous tips and tricks all over the web for weight loss, there is one ancient form that could control all the above factors that aids in successful weight loss and its maintenance when followed not just meticulously but as a lifestyle.

Yoga – The Ancient Science

This article will take you to the various changes yogic practices bring in your body that helps in weight loss.

Asanas

Apart from energy expenditure during asanas, they also bring about internal pressure changes over the organs due to manipulation of various parts of the chest and abdomen. Impaired insulin leads to impaired thermogenesis leading to weight gain. Insulin resistance is also associated with increased adiposity. Stretching of abdomen in asanas, (Dhanurasana, Chakrasana) increases digestive fire and improves insulin sensitivity which ultimately maintains a good body weight.

Pranayama

In long standing pranayamic practices like Sitali and Sitkari, the tongue becomes dry and taste buds become slightly desensitized, which helps to control excessive hunger. The rawness in the throat also activates the satiety centre. The vagus nerve activation in most practices influences the hypothalamus and controls food intake and satiety.

Regular practice of Bhastrika, Suryabhedana pranayama burns fat, increases BMR, thus reducing weight and visceral fat.

Shuddhi Kriya

Hatha Pradipika (II-78) the classical Hatha Yogic text book describes the stimulation of gastric fire and slimness of body as the success of Nadi Shuddhi (Anulom Vilom).Shuddhi Kriyas like Kapalbhati, Vaman, Dhand Dhauti; Vastra Dhauti neutralizes the acid balance in the stomach and thus reduces hunger. Thus no excess eating, no weight gaining, but losing.

Studies point out that to decrease the Body Mass Index, skin fold thickness and hip and waist circumference, practicing Kapalbhati alters intra-abdominal pressure and increases Basal Metabolic Rate. Agnisar promotes weight reduction and reduces waist circumference. A very high negative pressure ensures efficient blood supply to abdominal organs improving their functional ability.  The practice of Laghu shankhaprakshalana results in reduced fat absorption for the next several days.  Both these Kriyas have affirmative effects in weight reduction.

Mitahar

Mitahar (Moderation in Food) is the practice of filling half the stomach with sweet agreeable food, one quarter with water and the other quarter left empty, as guided by classical hatha yogic text books like Hatha Yoga Pradipika(Vs. 1:59 to 61) and in Gheranda Samhita (5:21-22).

Along with the practice of Mitahara, one has to follow decreased food frequency which provides an abdominal condition that is conducive for the practices of asana and pranayama and thus reducing weight.

 Endocrine System’s Efficiency by Yoga

Yogic practices calms down your endocrine system, which overwork in times of stress. The activities of endocrine glands are relaxed and thereby regulate their secretions. Repeated bouts of excess cortisol leads to obesity and metabolic syndrome. Various studies demonstrate that Pranayama, Dharana and Dhyana increases Alpha wave which has direct correlation not only in reducing stress and calming the mind, but also reduces the cortisol levels, thereby preventing weight gain.

Connection Between Sympathetic Nervous System, Yoga and Weight Loss

Impaired insulin leads to reduced activity of the Sympathetic Nervous System. Low sympathetic activity is a risk factor for weight gain and obesity. In other words, it could be said that higher sympathetic activity is essential to shed pounds.

Sympathetic activity is experienced while holding an asana (say, Viparita Karani, Halasana) or any other Kriya (Kapalbhati); though it returns back to normal when one comes out of the pose.

Belief correction

Contrary to the popular belief that yoga has to be accompanied with other forms of physical activity to assist in weight loss, appropriate asana principles and techniques, pranayama, dharana and dhyana appear as a promising measure to support in weight loss and of course maintenance too.

Ms. Bindu Sunil

Ms. Bindu Sunil

Post-Graduation in Food Science and Nutrition, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga Education.

YOGA FOR THE UNIVERSAL WELLBEING!

Friends, as we know we all are going through the worst pandemic in about 100 years where it has affected millions of lives across the continents; the loss of our fellow human beings is heart breaking and disturbing.As scientist, doctors and researchers there look for new ways to fight and defeat this virus, here we can only hope and pray.

For the last few decades many advanced countries and the developing world kept on evaluating its frantic economic, scientific and technological progress without giving much importance to our fragile environment thriving with millions of life forms. With only GDP as its economic yardstick most of the countries have failed to evaluate the real cost or price, we as citizens will pay if things resume and continue in the earlier ways of our life where ignorance is driven by greed, competition and violence.  

GET FITTER AND HEALTHIER – DO YOU YOGA?

When millions of people are looking for different ways to cope up with stress and anxiety during this challenging time – Patanjali’s Ashtanga YOGAalong with Ayurveda can be the real necessity or discipline to instill for the betterment of all Human Beings!  These ancient Indian scriptures and teachings are now been looked upon by many experts, philosophers, theologians as a contemporary science with its roots dating back thousands of years to the Vedic era of India.

Sage Patanjali’s sutras form the basic texts of Yoga are the scriptures or literature which will answer your queries for the Why? of yoga or rather How? yoga can help us in our normal day to day life!

The 8 limbs as they are called ASHTANGA (meaning eight angas), consists of life changing sutras or aphorism which has deeper meaning entrenched and are said to liberate oneself from the shackles of this materialistic world and lead a happy and contented life.

(8 Limbs are – YAMAS, NIYAMAS, ASANA, PRANAYAMA, PRATYAHARA, DHARNA, DHANYA & SAMADHI)

The relevance of these 196 sutras must never have been looked upon as widely earlier as it is now, where in this period of the pandemic, most of the people are trying the unconventional ways to bring peace, health and contentment in their lives. The fact that all forms of YOGA are being explored to keep oneself fit or healthy, cannot be denied.  The relevance of these practices during this time is unquestionable even by some of the greatest critics who have termed yoga as just another passé or a form of exercise which has no scientific basis.   The practice of pranayama which is elaborated in the 4th limb of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras clearly personifies its relevance &efficacies bestowed on millions of practitioners around the world. This literature which accepts its influence or authority from Vedas has been the most revered work, in Indian culture, as far as YOGA is understood as a philosophy.

Inhale life with PRANAYAMA!

The word Pranayama consists of 2 words –prana and ayama. Prana refers to the life force in us and Ayama is generally understood as control but specifically, control through stretching or elaboration/expansion. So, pranayama means control of prana by expanding or stretching it. Practise of this limb is said to improve our immune system, as it enhances your breathing capacity making the lungs stronger and healthier. This makes our respiratory system robust to fight against any lung’s enemy.

The belief that this form of yoga can be practiced only after a certain degree of expertise gained in the basics of yoga or (other forms of yoga other than Ashtanga Yoga), is indeed a self-fulfilling prediction or a misconception, inflicted by some experts to a few of the beginners who are keen to delve into this practice or to know about this great literature.

Yoga and Pranayama in this Corona

A Yogic (asanas/postures) practice along with pranayama has been a tangible (non-medicinal) prescription by most doctors to most of the COVID 19 patients today.  The importance of Ayurveda has also been realized along with conventional medicine in the treatment of this virus, and much can be found or heard in our day to day life from various sources or mediums. Also, after the observations, this coronavirus had a very tough time getting the yogis (practitioners) down on the knees with its vicious attack, prolonging their medication or treatment. The most prominent hospitals around India with its doctors continue to request people to cleanse our system regularly with different kriyas, like shat karma along with asanas and pranayama to keep this malicious and often chest squeezing virus at bay.

This pandemic has given us a chance to look upon this world from a very different and holistic perspective, as the world leaders need to tackle our environment urgently with awareness and compassion towards all life forms existing.

Traditional Yoga not only takes care of our Respiratory and Immune system but also takes care of our overall wellbeing. Although there is a lot of literature found online to understand, learn and practice this form of YOGA it is always advisable to learn first hand from the most prestigious and prominent schools of YOGA!

Kaivalya Dham Institute, LonavlaIndia, is a school with great Gurus who continue to Inspire,Train, and Teach thousands of students every year from all walks of life and from every corner of the world. This institute is one of the oldest in the world and still continues to bestow Yogic Knowledge in the purest and most traditional form. The Institute was formed by Swami Kuvalyananda in 1923 with his Passion, Devotion and love for humanity albeit with a scientific attitude.

NAMASTE!

The above opinions are of my own understanding – excuse my words or thoughts if it might have harmed anyone, which was unintentional.

Shri Sujeet Pawar

Shri Sujeet Pawar

Yoga Instructor
Sujit is an Engineer with a Masters in Business Administration and is practicing yoga for the last 8 to 9 years.

Elements Of Yogic Practices To Keep You Away From COVID

Viruses are not new to mankind; the world has seen several virus attacks in the past and they’ll be there in the future too. SAARS, NIPAH, EBOLA, Swine flu to name a few. It is certainly recognized that there is an increase in the development of already existing viruses or mutated ones which could result in many new such pandemics.

At present, we are engulfed in a pandemicity of COVID-19. It will be a year soon of this coronavirus to be in action in the world (9 months in India). Abundant studies have been conducted and are still in progress to understand and analyze this Virus. Nevertheless, most of these studies point out that boosting the immune system is the only way to tackle CoronaVirus.

Yoga, Ayurveda & Immunity to Resist COVID-19

Yoga and its counterpart Ayurveda have recognized these facts about immunity centuries back.  They function as a preventive technique by enhancing our immunity to tackle any such pandemics. This blog speaks not just about handling COVID; it tells about developing our immune system holistically so that we can overcome any & every strain of such viruses.

Yogic practices like Asana, Pranayama, Shuddhi Kriya and various other concepts of yoga bring about physiological changes to enhance immunity.

Asana Abhyasa

We very well know that the main organ that is affected by COVID-19 is our lungs. Thus keeping the lungs healthy is the key.

Why are Asanas Important?

In our general day to day activities, there is little movement or minimum extension of the thoracic spine compared to the lumbar and cervical region; which over a period of time gets tightened as compared to cervical and lumbar. Practicing specific asanas like bhujangasana, chakrasana, or any back bending asanas, improves the efficiency of lungs expanding the thoracic spine.

What does Asanas Give?

  • Backward bending asanas expand the anterior part of the chest.
  • Forward bending asanas stretch the posterior part of lungs.
  • Backbend is assisted with inhalation, diaphragm is pulled down.
  • External intercostal raises the ribs and expands the chest cavity.
  • Lung volume increases.

In practices where Intra-abdominal pressure is reduced, there is increased oxygenated blood supply to various abdominal organs which ensures optimal functioning of the same. Nauli, Uddiyana Bandha is to name a few that produce these effects.

The alternating pressure in Agnisar and the massaging of the abdomen not only tones the abdominal organs but also regulates the adrenals which in turn controls the stress hormones.

By stimulating the Lymphatic & Endocrine System, the increased Intra-abdominal pressure in some asanas apart from strengthening the lumbar spine, also massages and purifies organs like spleen, which has an important role in the lymphatic system.

Practice of Pranayama

Pranayama is a slow and complete type of breathing with or without a voluntary pause wherein there is-

  1. Usage of maximal respiratory muscles
  2. Maximum lung expansion
  3. Increased Decreased Anatomical Dead Space
  4. Increased Tidal Volume, Minute Ventilation, Alveolar Ventilation and diffusion of gases

3 Prime Pranayama

1. Anulom Vilom- Improves the erectile tendency of the nasal tissue, which helps in opening and clearing the nostrils.

2. Ujjayi Pranayama-

  • The contraction of abdomen throughout the Ujjayi Pranayama, aids in Venous return thereby the lymphatic system.
  • The partial closure of glottis decreases the dead space and further increases the airway resistance, which in turn allows maximum alveolar opening.
  •  Also, in Ujjayi unused parts of lungs (say, apex) are used.
  •  The humming sound in Ujjayi generates relaxation.

3. Bhramari- It relaxes the skeletal muscles as well as the smooth muscles of the blood vessels improving circulation and thereby oxygenation and also cleanse the paranasal sinuses.

In deep inhalation during any pranayama, the Intrathoracic Pressure decreases, which helps in lymphatic drainage from head and arm. As Lymphatic drainage increases, so does the increase in WBC, which is the most essential part of the immune system (WBCs’ help in attacking the pathogens that enter the body).

 All these factors aid in conditioning our respiratory system which is the maximum affected system by coronavirus.

Studies demonstrate that yogic practices reduce stress hormones like Adrenaline and Cortisol. It is a known fact that stress has a negative effect on our immune system. So by reducing stress through yogic practices, we will be able to enhance our immunity.

NOTE- Absorption of Micronutrients

Micronutrients are required for the development and maintenance of the immune system. Studies prove that practicing yoga improves micronutrient absorption, which is of utmost importance to develop immunity.

 

Role of Shuddhi Kriyas

Loss of taste and smell are additional symptoms associated with COVID. This is mainly because the entrance point of coronavirus is the nose and mouth. Shuddhi Kriya practices like Jalaneti, Kapalbhati, Dhauti clears the respiratory tract of any possible pathogens entering through nose and mouth, as it increases the ciliary action and clears the mucus.

Niyama

Patanjali Yoga Sutras explicitly explains the concepts of Niyama (rules/codes) to follow in order to achieve the best results out of the yogic practices. Niyamas are moral codes of Self Discipline that one has to follow, irrespective of age and sex.

The Concept of Sauca (Cleanliness) being the first of five Niyamas, is being reiterated again and again during this pandemic period, as “social distancing”, to avoid the spread of infection.

 The Concept of Janasanga is yet another principle. The classical text book Hatha Pradipika(1:16,17) explains Sadhak-Badhak Tattva (Abidance and avoidance factor) one of which is to avoid crowds (janasanga), which ultimately aids in avoiding the spread of infection.

To Conclude

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of health like never before. It is high time that we start embracing our long forgotten yogic lifestyle; not for anybody else but for self. To stay safe and healthy in advance to overcome such virulence, practicing the above mentioned yogic techniques will prove a boon for all.

Take care.

Ms. Bindu Sunil

Ms. Bindu Sunil

Post-Graduation in Food Science and Nutrition, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga Education.