Yoga - Prana in your sadhana
by Shameem Akthar
Practising for the right reason can be as important, if not more, than the discipline of the practice itself
Shameem Akthar has trained as yoga Acharya with
the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Kerala, and
is a master-trainer in neuro-linguistic psychology.
When you are in the presence of someone charismatic, you feel a gush of palpable energy. Yoga would label such an energy prana, the palpable but indefinable and immeasurable energy that runs through and sustains everything. Yoga diehards would say the reason they practise is to constantly be uplifted by this energy. Every practice gives them a huge dose of this unbelievable energy.
Beyond all the obvious reasons – yoga helps fight disease, detoxifies, and is a youth-elixir – lies the main reason practitioners abide by yoga: it fills you with this pranic energy throughout the day. However, the degree of energy you get from your sadhana depends a lot on the attitude with which you approach it.
Some of the obvious reasons why we practise yoga – everybody else I know is doing it – my family members recommend it – it is a fad – it is cool – I have diabetes or this or that ailment for which yoga is therapeutic – I like the centre where I practise – I like the group with which I practise – I like my yoga teacher – I like to try different things – I like this yoga school – I like my yoga style – I like to practise the same thing. However, if you were to stand on the mat, at the start of your practice, and connect with the cosmic prana for a few seconds and move on, believing that as your mind remains steady with this force, you are drinking continuously of its draught, then the boost you will receive is unimaginable.
When you connect with the force, using your mat-time to meditate on this force, your practice would do what yoga is meant to – make you calm, centred yet energised and expand you. You will experience this subtle energy in all that you do on the mat and out of it. However, for this to happen, you must constantly remind yourself why you are on the mat in the first place. Choosing a right reason to practice can be as important, if not more, than the discipline of the practice itself.
Padahastasana (Standing forward bend):
Also called uttanasana. Stand up straight. Inhale, raising hands overhead. Exhale, extend hands out in front as if reaching for the wall in front of you. Keep lowering hands till they reach the feet. If that is not possible, touch your legs wherever you can. Hang the head low now. Continue normal breathing. In the first few weeks, you may bend knees slightly, but later try to keep the legs straight for maximising benefits. Hold the pose, breathing normally. Release. Repeat a few times. After a few weeks, learn to hold the pose for longer.
Avoid if you have lower back pain or very high blood pressure.
Benefits: Helps lose weight, control diabetes. Prevents age-related bone shrinkage. Keeps face young and wrinkle-free.
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