Yoga for Holistic Health

By Jamuna Rangachari



Yoga is predominantly concerned with maintaining a state of equanimity at all costs. Yoga is a synergy of the body, mind and spirit as yoga always maintains that a calm mind with conscious breathing is extremely important for complete wellness.

In Sanskrit, the term 'yoga' stands for 'union'. A yogi's ultimate aim is to be able to attain this 'union' with the Eternal Self with the help of certain mental and physical exercises.

 
Yoga for complete synergyYoga is a synergy of the body, mind and spirit for holistic health and complete wellness.

The basic idea of yoga is to unite the atma or individual soul with the paramatma or the Universal Soul. According to philosophy of yoga, by cleansing one's mind and controlling one's thought processes one can return to that primeval state, when the individual self was nothing but a part of the Divine Self or the Cosmos itself. This is the sense encapsulated in the term samadhi. The aim of the yogi is to be able to perceive the world in its true light and to accept that truth in its entirety.

In Sanskrit, the term 'yoga' stands for 'union'. Yoga’s ultimate aim is to be able to attain this 'union' with the Eternal Self with the help of certain mental and physical exercises. It is often said that the Cosmic Womb himself had originally advocated the traditional system of yoga, from which all other yoga schools have evolved. But for all extant knowledge of yoga and its practices, such as yoga asanas and pranayama, the entire credit goes to Maharishi Patanjali. It was Maharashi Patanjali who systematized the various yogic practices and traditions of his times by encapsulating them in the form of aphorisms in his Yoga Sutra. Here, he describes the aim of yoga as knowledge of the self and outlines the eight steps or methods of achieving it.

These steps are:

  1. Yamas or eternal vows of Yoga

The most often mentioned Yamas are – Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (non-falsehood, truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Mitahara (non-excess in food, moderation in food), Kshama (non-agitation about suffering, forgiveness), Daya (non-prejudgment, compassion) that really help in stabilising our mind.

These include restraining oneself in one's actions, words and thoughts

  1. Niyamas or observances of Yoga

 The Hatha Yoga Pradipika lists the ten niyamas in the following order, in verse

    Tapas: persistence, perseverance in one's purpose, austerity

    Santosa : contentment, acceptance of others and of one's circumstances as they are, optimism

    Astikya : faith in the real self (jnana yoga, raja yoga), belief in God (bhakti yoga), conviction in Vedas/Upanishads

    Dana: generosity, charity, sharing with others

    Isvarapujana: worship of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being or a Higher Consciousness)

    Siddhanta vakya sravana: Listening to the ancient scriptures

    Hri: remorse and acceptance of one's past, modesty, humility

    Mati: think and reflect to understand, reconcile conflicting ideas

    Japa: mantra repetition, reciting prayers or knowledge

    Huta: rituals, ceremonies such as yajna sacrifice.

    Vrata : Fulfilling religious vows, rules and observances faithfully.

  1. Yoga asanas or yoga postures

These are the physical exercises to make the body function optimally. There are specific yoga asanas to make all the organs function optimally. People have recovered or healed significantly even from various ailments so much so that even mainstream doctors recommend the practice of yoga for all.

  1. Pranayama

The control of breath is extremely important in the practice of Yoga. It is often said this practice itself has alleviated pain and relieved many ailments.

  1. Pratyahara

Withdrawal of the senses from distractions of the outside world is very important in Yoga. We often get disturbed or even excited about all the events outside which are not at all relevant to us. Instead, Yoga focusses on making our inner strength calm and serene at all times.

  1. Dharana

Concentration or Dharana on an object, place or subject is very important in the practice of Yoga. This makes everyone more focussed in life. This is why many people, including teachers, say that a regular practice of Yoga makes students perform better.

  1. Dhyana

Dhyana is the meditation that makes everyone more mindful and aware of their own inner self which is the primary mission of Yoga itself.

  1. Samadhi

This is the ultimate stage of yoga where one sees oneself as being one with a Higher Self. There are many who often feel almost saint like after a practice of Yoga.

At Life Positive, we have come across many people who have completely transformed their lives through the practise of yoga and made it a part of their lives.

We all know that complete health is possible only with a balanced body, mind and spirit. This has been the motto of Yoga always which is why many people are now turning towards yoga for health and complete wellness.

 

About The Author

Jamuna Rangachari is a software professional and writer who currently manages the websites of Life Positive and also writes for the magazine. She has authored three books for children, compiled and interpreted Teaching Stories-I and II for Life Positive and published a book “Dancing with Life” through Hay House.

 

A mother of two children, she is keen that the next generation is balanced and grounded which is why she made a foray into writing and wrote for them, trying to reach out to them through her writing. Writing to her is a passion as she does wish to convey the idea of oneness and human values to one and all. Her articles have also been published in Daily News and Analysis, New woman, Khabar an NRI magazine, Wedding Vows and Times of India among others.

 

She also blogs at www.jai-joy.com

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