Think yoga is easy? These yoga poses will change your thinking forever.

Think yoga is easy? These yoga poses will change your thinking forever.

Yoga is considered a slow paced form of exercise and not everyone who wants to tread on HIIT form of exercises would choose yoga as their primary source of losing sweat. But if you believe the experts at Jeevmoksha Yoga Gurukul in Rishikesh, these three exercises will make you sweat as hard as intensity training.

1. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

It may seem simple at first, but when combined with few changes, it becomes one of the hardest pose you will ever try your hands on.
You have to engage your arms and legs, and push into the mat with your widespread finger tips while nudging your heels to keep them as close to the ground as possible.

2. Boat Pose (Navasana)

Boat pose looks extremely easy to someone who isn’t performing it. To someone who is, he may not be in his easiest form. Shivering legs, crying abs.This pose will test your will to its wit’s end.

3. Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)

Nope Nope Nope! Not for the faint harted. This pose make a second pass like an eternity, that too if you are able to perform it. But hey! The sweat drops on your yoga mat will definitely make you proud after your practice.
So go ahead and give it the best you got.

Trataka and its Importance in our life

Trataka and its Importance in our life

Trataka or yogic practice of concentrated gazing is an ancient hatha yoga exercise used for all round development of our body, mind and soul. The meaning of word trataka is ‘’to look fixedly’’ or ‘’to stare pointedly’’. The concept of trataka is defined clearly by some yogis and old yoga texts like hatha yoga pradipika. This is how hatha yoga pradipika defines it:

“Nireekshaennischaladrsâ sukshmalakshya samâhita

Asrusampâtaparyantam âchâryaisrtâtakam smrtam”

Being calm, a practitioner should gaze steadily at a small mark (a small thing), till eyes are filled with tears. This is called trataka by the âchâryas.

It comes under one of the shatkarmas or shatkriyas—six purification techniques in hatha yoga designed to make the body strong and healthy. It is an extremely powerful technique which helps us to cure and improve all eye disorders, removes laziness and controlling our mind.it actually aids in directing the nervous system in a definite direction and also increases our energy level.it quietens all our mental faculties and helps in attaining complete concentration and peace of mind.

Types of Trataka

Conventionally there are three kinds of trataka that can be practiced: Antar trataka, Madhya trataka and Bahya trataka.

Antar trataka : this is done with closed eyes and we have to imagine that we are gazing in the midpoint  of our two eyebrows(bhrumadhya dhrishti),or heart,navel or any other internal organ.

Madhya trataka:in this exercise still gaze is fixed on  centre of the eye(bhrumadhya)or tip of the nose(nasagra)or any nearby object made of any material.it can be practised with aum written in paper, or concentric circles having a black dot in its middle, or a single black dot with open eyes.

Bahya Trataka : It is performed by fixing our gaze on an distant object like rising sun, moon or a bright planet.

Practice of Trataka

The practice of trataka is done by gazing at a fixed point or object without blinking the eyes. The main objective is to bring the mind into focus, and control its wavering tendencies thus making it single pointed and arising the inner vision. All the thoughts and powers of mind are directed into an unbroken flow.it should be a smooth and easy process without any stress. After achieving this state the hidden potential and powers of mind are awakened naturally.

Technique of Trataka

The practice of trataka is done by sitting on ground in padmasana(lotus posture), ardha padmasana or sukhasana(comfortable sitting posture) keeping the spine and the back straight. A cow’s ghee lamp is placed at the same level of your eyes at a distance of one metre. Now keeping the mind relaxed one should look at the bright portion of the flame without blinking, till the tears start coming out of your eyes. This is the last phase of trataka. After doing this the eyes should be closed for a while and the practitioner should relax and sit quietly for 3-5 minutes and then slowly open his eyes. The exercise can be repeated 2 to 3 times. It is advised that after performing trataka one should wash his eyes and face with water. The time period of trataka from the beginning till the rolling down of tears differs from person to person.it also depends on the mental condition of the individual. The duration of trataka in normal individuals is generally 3-5 minutes and some people can extended the practice to longer periods.

Benefits of doing Trataka

Hatha yoga states that if one does trataka on a regular basis,it helps in curing all types of eye related problems and overcoming laziness. Regular practice of trataka assists in the practice of shambhavi mudra which finally leads to a state of dharana(contemplation).the practitioner gets a great vision and intuitive insight.

According to Gherand Samhita a yogic text trataka helps in training and guiding the nervous system in a particular direction. It also aids in reducing and curing all kinds of mental tensions.it leads to a state of peacefulness and calmness. The sleep pattern is corrected within a small time with the practice of trataka. It’s curing and improving tendency depends upon the mental and physical state of a person. It also assists in arising hypnotic powers and sixth sense if practiced regularly. Trataka acts as a means of advancement between physically oriented exercises and mental exercises which finally lead to higher awakening.it acts as a vital link between hatha yoga and raja yoga. Conventionally it comes under hatha yoga but it may also be considered as a part of raja yoga.

Physiology of Trataka

Trataka is really helping in removing all kinds of neural disorders and blockages and it also assists an individual in gaining deep concentration and meditation. The practice of trataka is very conducive in gaining control on our parasympathetic nervous system, lowering of heart rate and respiration rate.it also increases the amplitude of plthysmogram(vasodilation). It increases the peripheral blood circulation of our body.it aids in gaining complete mastery of our mind by eliminating all the emotional disturbances. All kinds of anxieties are removed by doing trataka regularly. Practicing trataka quietens our mental faculties and relaxes our mind by producing well modulated chain of alpha frequency. It is a process of purification.it acts as a catharsis or cleansing   by eliminating all our repressed and suppressed emotions and desires from the subconscious level. The practioner of trataka experiences great relaxation and state of calmness and peace at both physical and mental level.

Precautions :

Avoid using candle or other lamps for doing trataka. Always use cow’s ghee lamp for practicing trataka for best results. Do not practice trataka on a flickering flame. Hypersensative persons should do trataka after doing shavasana. Emotionally and mentally disturbed people should do trataka only after practicing the basic postures (asanas) and processes (kriyas), never rub your eyes after doing trataka. Do not strain your eyes too much and do it as per your capacity. Do not read anything or watch television after doing trataka.

Bhakti: A perennial flow of love | Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti: A perennial flow of love | Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti means uninterrupted, unremitting and perennial flow of unalloyed love, devotion and adoration for one’s chosen Ideal (Ishtam) (The GODHEAD).

Yoga means the communion of the microcosm (atma/soul) with the macrocosm (Paramatma/supreme soul) divine consciousness or simply the commingling of Atma with Paramatma. Bhakti yoga connotes the path of deep, intense and extreme love devotion and adoration for any definite SAGUNA form of one’s chosen Ideal/Godhead.

There are multifarious and variegated ways of reaching the ultimate reality. Karma Yoga, jnana Yoga, Raj Yoga and Bhakti Yoga are four cardinal modes of self actualization/self realization.

Bhakti Yoga is hailed as the easiest and best way to reach the absolute reality/ Providence. It requires complete surrendering of one’s own self at the altar of one’s chosen, Ideal/Ishtam. The five cardinal enemies of one’s self viz anger, delusion, envy, pride and lust have to be relinquished in to for suffusing oneself with the emotions of love, devotion and adoration.

bhakti-yoga2

Bhakti Yoga is the acme/apotheosis of intense love and sublimity. As the crystals of sugar get dissolved in water and lose its identity completely so is the Bhakta who completely gives up his pride, ego, hatred, ill will and self identity for one’s chosen ideal.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Kabir, Meera, Tulsidas, Raidas, Valmiki, Surdas, Narada and Shandilya are some of the pioneers and trailblazers of Bhakti Yoga.

They all were completely overwhelmed and suffused all over by the intense yearning, deep love, absolute devotion and consummate adoration for their chosen ideal/Ishtam/Godhead.

Love is the most noble and sublime of all virtues. A man sans love is akin to a fish sans water, a bird sans feathers and a plant sans flowers.

Bhakti yoga is the easiest, sublime and perhaps the best way of realizing one’s true self for commingling with the divinity while living in this perishable and mortal world.

Bhakti : A perennial flow of love | Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti : A perennial flow of love | Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti means uninterrupted, unremitting and perennial flow of unalloyed love, devotion and adoration for one’s chosen Ideal (Ishtam) (The GODHEAD).

Yoga means the communion of the microcosm (atma/soul) with the macrocosm (Paramatma/supreme soul) divine consciousness or simply the commingling of Atma with Paramatma. Bhakti yoga connotes the path of deep, intense and extreme love devotion and adoration for any definite SAGUNA form of one’s chosen Ideal/Godhead.

There are multifarious and variegated ways of reaching the ultimate reality. Karma Yoga, jnana Yoga, Raj Yoga and Bhakti Yoga are four cardinal modes of self actualization/self realization.

Bhakti Yoga is hailed as the easiest and best way to reach the absolute reality/ Providence. It requires complete surrendering of one’s own self at the altar of one’s chosen, Ideal/Ishtam. The five cardinal enemies of one’s self viz anger, delusion, envy, pride and lust have to be relinquished in to for suffusing oneself with the emotions of love, devotion and adoration.

bhakti-yoga2

Bhakti Yoga is the acme/apotheosis of intense love and sublimity. As the crystals of sugar get dissolved in water and lose its identity completely so is the Bhakta who completely gives up his pride, ego, hatred, ill will and self identity for one’s chosen ideal.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Kabir, Meera, Tulsidas, Raidas, Valmiki, Surdas, Narada and Shandilya are some of the pioneers and trailblazers of Bhakti Yoga.

They all were completely overwhelmed and suffused all over by the intense yearning, deep love, absolute devotion and consummate adoration for their chosen ideal/Ishtam/Godhead.

Love is the most noble and sublime of all virtues. A man sans love is akin to a fish sans water, a bird sans feathers and a plant sans flowers.

Bhakti yoga is the easiest, sublime and perhaps the best way of realizing one’s true self for commingling with the divinity while living in this perishable and mortal world.

Training muscles : The yogic way

Training muscles : The yogic way

Yoga for muscle endurance and resistance.

Muscles are an integral part of functioning of human body. They are the providers of movement at more than 180 joints of our physical body. There have been a lot of discussion and research on the effects of yoga on muscular functions. We will try to assemble some of the facts on the topic, in this article, so as to bring to our readers a qualitative viewpoint towards the benefits of yoga.

Muscles are a collection of very small straps called fibers. Fibers are the contractile unit of a muscle, which is irritated through a nerve impulse from brain, and in response to that they respond as a whole, bringing about the contraction of the muscle. How many fibers are stimulated in a given activity determines the efficiency of performance.

Muscles are to be used constantly in order to keep them strong and fine tuned with the requirements of an individual. Active muscles allow the blood to be transfused through them deeper and maintain the level of nutrition of fibers, which are essentially made up of protein.

When we talk about training the muscles, there are generally two popular methods in the modern regime of workout, Endurance and Resistance training. First let’s try and get a quick glimpse of what these are.

  1. Endurance Training : This method employs the workout which is primarily used for increasing the endurance and stamina. Activities like jogging, swimming, treadmill are some examples. These actions, when performed, engage the slow twitch fibers of muscles, which are generally meant for prolonged output in an aerobic environment, when enough oxygen is available for energy production in the muscles. It helps in increasing the efficiency level of fibers and makes them more resistance to fatigue.
  2. Resistance Training : Resistance training develops muscular strength and anaerobic endurance and increases the bulk of muscles. It employs fast twitch fibers which brings about a burst of quick action in a relatively anaerobic environment. This type of training is helps in improving the strength of muscles and ligaments, improves bone density, ensures cardiovascular health and manages the blood cholesterol. The training is done with the help of increased weight load on the muscles which improves the force production in the muscles and ability to sustain tension. Weight training is a popular method of resistance training. Sprinting is another effective method.

How Yoga Develops Endurance :

First and foremost point is breathing. Practice of asanas is not complete without synchronizing the breathing patterns. This ensures a constant supply of oxygen for the body’s requirement, thus activating the aerobic system. Yoga teaches us how to breathe appropriately in various physical movements in coordination with diaphragmatic and costal muscle involvement. Along with that we are encouraged to breathe slowly and deeply, which helps in the utilization of maximum lung capacity and also increases it overtime.

training-muscles-yogic-way1Asanas increases the endurance in that they require the use of body’s strength in attaining several positions which are not falling under the normal ranges of movement in daily life. Slow paced practice while trying to cover the maximum range of our joints engages the muscles in a way that helps in improving their abilities to explore their inner potential and abilities. Flexor muscles are actively trained to sustain increased level of activity by holding the postures for long duration and the ex tensors at the same time are trained to avoid sending panic signals too quickly in an activity by lengthening them slowly and steadily over a long range of time. Asanas performed for a long duration of time with a steady rate of breath and maximum holding time and meditation sessions which are an integral part of yoga practice, not only improves physical but mental endurance as well. The dedication required for the practice, holding postures and letting go of fears of pain, helps clearing unnecessary Vrittis from the mind, and brings clarity and concentration due to channelization of efforts. Mediation at the same time centralizes the mental energies and help controlling the bizarre tendencies of mind to fluctuate. This strength of mind is essential in facing challenges and avoids stress in life.

How Yoga Develops Resistance :

Resistance training in yoga is about using your own body weight to develop muscles. Instead of external weights and equipment, a yogi employs the body weight and gravity to bring about different types of muscular contraction and engaging various muscle groups in a variety of dynamic actions. This helps achieve muscular strength, healthier tendons and ligament attachments, increased bone density. Different types of muscle contraction also improve the venous return to the heart thereby adding up to the cardiovascular efficiency. The anaerobic endurance is improved and overall muscle tone adds up to the quality of life.

To conclude we can say that as per its meaning, which is to combine or join, yoga provides us the dual benefits of endurance as well as resistance training at the same time. If practiced under the classical guidelines and traditions, yoga actually comes out as a very positive form of workout with no scope for injuries.

Please remember, if we get injured, the fault lies at our end and is not to be ascribed to the yogic practices.

Its difficult to put up the amazing benefits of yoga into articles and words. Rather we would like you to incorporate yoga into your life to experience these benefits by yourself. Patanjali in his Yoga Sturas says that key to siddhi or perfection is Abhyas and Vairagya. Abhyas here means a constant line of practise and Vairagya in this context refers to a refined intellect which can see and discriminate with clarity. Adding up yoga in your routine can actually provide you with the above mentioned effects and you can improve your quality of live and well being phenomenally. After all it’s worth trying as there is everything to be gained here.

Happy Yoga to all

Acharya Vinay

Training muscles : The yogic way

Hatha Yoga: Mind Body Alignment

Hatha Yoga: Mind Body Alignment

Hatha yoga is an art and science of mind body alignment. It is testified over the ages to bring about fundamental changes in our lives. This branch of yoga aims at creating a harmony between the active and passive forces of an individual through various methods of asanas, pranayam and purification. The principle of hatha yoga extends along the lines of intense purification of the body targeting a more calm and focused mind. A body free of toxins and hyper stimulative tendencies is supposed to be the abode of a calm and serene mind which can be put to use efficiently in walks of life.

Purpose

Hatha yoga enables the students to use of certain methods and pursuing some conducts in life in order to achieve this balance. A disciplined life is a prosperous life and a healthy body leads us to healthy and happy experiences which are not distorted by physical or psychic toxins. This philosophy of hatha yoga makes it unique and a comprehensive system of health and wellness conducive to all those with an inclination towards natural ways of attaining health and vitality.

History

Hatha yoga is one of the primary branches of Yoga which was established in its present format by one of the most commendable yogis of his times, Swatmaram. In his classical text on Hatha yoga, named Hatha Yoga Pradeepika (Light on Hatha Yoga) Swatmaram describes Hatha yoga as a means to reach the highest states of Raj Yoga as is clear from the following statement:

pranayam shreegurum naatham swatmaramen yogina |

kevalam rajyogaay hathvidyapadhishyate ||

only for the sole purpose of Raj Yoga, swatmaram instructs the knowledge of Hatha yoga.” He made it clear in the very beginning of the text that this whole system is only a means to the end which is the ultimate state of union.

hatha yoga: mind body alignment

Etymology

The word HATHA is comprised of two root words viz. ‘HA’ & ‘THA’. Ha represents the Solar principle of the universe and Tha represent the Lunar. Sun is the active or the energizing principle of universe which is responsible for activity and action and is related to Prana Shakti or the cosmic force of life. Lunar or Moon is more passive force which is related to mental concepts of thought and emotions and is called Chitta Shakti.

Hatha yoga, as a discipline, is a method of harmonizing and balancing these two forces in the individuals where they are correspondingly represented by Actions and Thoughts. Hatha yoga which is often known as Yoga today almost all over the world, must be understood correctly in order to receive the benefits which it is supposed to bestow on the practitioner. Swatmaram in Hatha Yoga Pradeepika says:

Asheshtaaptaptaanam samaashraymatho hathah l

Asheshyogyuktaanamaadharakmatho hathah ||

“For those continually tempered by the heat of taap or pain (the three types of pain – spiritual, environmental and physical) Hatha is like the hermitage giving protection from the heat. For those always united in yoga, hatha is the basis acting like a tortoise.

Hatha yoga has been prescribed as a unique medicine for the three kinds of sufferings that human beings has to borne in their journey of life. The practices of hatha yoga makes us fit and strong to withstand the unfavourable circumstances in life and also for those who are balanced on all the levels of personality, hatha yoga acts like a foundation of such a balance. we also planing to provide free 200 hour hatha yoga teacher training india classes online to promote yoga worldwide.