IDY - INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA - 21st June

Yogic Practises for Health and Wellness

 

    The widely practiced Yoga sadhanas are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, Bandhas and Mudras, Shatkarmas, Yuktahara, Mantra-japa, Yukta-karma etc.

    Yamas are restraints and Niyamas are observances. These are considered to be pre-requisites for further Yogic practices. Asanas, capable of bringing about stability of body and mind, "kuryat-tadasanam-sthairyam", involve adopting various psycho-physical body patterns and giving one an ability to maintain a body position (a stable awareness of one's structural existence) for a considerable length of time.

    Pranayama consists of developing awareness of one's breathing followed by wilful regulation of respiration as the functional or vital basis of one's existence. It helps in developing awareness of one's mind and helps to establish control over the mind. In the initial stages, this is done by developing awareness of the "flow of in-breath and out-breath" (svasa-prasvasa) through nostrils, mouth and other body openings, its internal and external pathways and destinations. Later, this phenomenon is modified, through regulated, controlled and monitored inhalation (svasa) leading to the awareness of the body space getting filled (puraka), the space(s) remaining in a filled state (kumbhaka) and it getting emptied (rechaka) during regulated, controlled and monitored exhalation (prasvasa).

    Pratyahara indicates dissociation of one's consciousness (withdrawal) from the sense organs which connect with the external objects. Dharana indicates broad based field of attention (inside the body and mind) which is usually understood as concentration. Dhyana (meditation) is contemplation (focussed attention inside the body and mind) and Samadhi (integration).

    Bandhas and Mudras are practices associated with Pranayama. They are viewed as the higher yogic practices that mainly adopt certain physical gestures along with control over respiration. This further facilitates control over mind and paves way for higher Yogic attainment. However, practice of dhyana, which moves one towards self-realisation and leads one to transcendence, is considered the essence of Yoga Sadhana.

    Satkarmas are detoxification procedures that are clinical in nature and help to remove the toxins accumulated in the body. Yuktahara advocates appropriate food and food habits for healthy living.

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