The term ‘Yoga’ has been derived from the Sanskrit word, ‘Yuj’ which means union. It can be explained as the union of the mind and the body to achieve perfect harmony at the most profound level. it helps us to reach a higher level of consciousness, thought a transformation of the psychic organs.
Yoga has no specific religious connotations. Its appeal is universal and is practiced by many. The Upanishads, the Mahabharata, including the Bhagavadgita, Jainism and Buddhism accept yogic practices. The ‘Yoga Sutra’ of Patanjali is the oldest text book of yoga. It was written during second century and became very popular. It developed as one of the six schools of classical Indian philosophy, often associated with the Samkhya school.
Yoga is a methodical effort to attain perfection through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical. yoga has two firms bases. They are the physical and the spiritual. On the physical side, there are asanas, kriyas, bandhs and pranayams, besides the mudras. A proper practice of these exercise prepares the body and the mind of yoga practitioner to make spiritual progress.
The spiritual aspect is basically the control of the mind and self-development, but also with direct control of the inner energy, i.e., pranayam. Pranayam is one of the most important features of yoga. This is mainly the regulation of ‘breath’ when one inhales air from one part of the nose and exhales it from the other. Swami Ramdev, the famous yogi, claims that a regular practice of pranayam can prevent and cure fatal disease like cancer, heart ailments, diabetes, blood pressure, liver disorders and series gynecological problems.
Today, yoga has evolved almost as an alternative system of medicine. More and more people are learning and doing it regularly. By practicing yoga systematically they have gained a lot. Moreover it is not costly and has no side effects. One the contrary, many of the allopathic medicines like strong antibiotics, pain killers are very costly and have innumerable side effects.
The best time for a yoga schedule and pranayam is early morning. One can enjoy the fresh air, full of oxygen during this period. The surroundings are conducive for yoga and mediation as it is generally quite and peaceful in the morning. Moreover, this is the time, when mind and the body feel fresh after a sound sleep. Even doctors suggest that the morning is the best time for exercise and brisk walking.
The yoga realizes that our body has a dignity of its own, as much as the mind. Asana or posture, is a physical help from concentration. We must settle ourselves down in a convenient posture before we begin to mediate. Patanjali mentions that the posture must be firm, pleasant and easy.
There are a large number of asanas in yoga. All of them require utmost dedication and discipline on the part of the practitioner. The advice of a yoga teacher or a guru should always be taken to practice the different asanas. Even diet should be controlled according to the practitioner’s age and ailment. One also has to give up bad habits, like, addiction to alcohol, drugs, smoking etc. It requires an optimum discipline in life to practice yoga. Each asana are Padmasana, Trilokasana, Shalabhasana, Bhujangasan, Dhanurasana, Halasana, Sarvangasana, Chakrasana, Vajrasana, Shavasana etc.
Mediation, when practiced along with yoga, enhances our concentration and relaxes the mind. Yoga mediation practices enable people to lift themselves to higher levels of consciousness. One of the most effective aids to spiritual progress is to hold one’s attention calmly at the point between the eyebrows. Modern neuroscience has revealed that when one’s energy and attention are strongly focused in the fore brain, it is impossible to be carried away by negative emotions. By controlling and relaxing the breath, we can influence the mind to become clam.
Meditation can be practiced any where. While meditating, one must sit straight or in a yogic posture. eh should always keep his eyes closed, so that along with the body and mind, the eyes also get some rest. All great philosophers like, Buddha, Mahavir, Ramakrishna Paramhansha emphasized on the practice of meditation for the purification of the mind and the should.
Different forms of yoga have been described over the ages. For instance, the ‘Hatha Yoga’ leads to reintegration of our soul through the control of the body and vital energies, especially the breath. This ‘Hatha Yoga’ is also used in performing traditional dance and music.
Yoga can be considered as a panacea for innumerable aliments. It can strengthen our body and provide immense metal power and stability. It can virtually awaken a new consciousness in a person and mould his entire personality. Yoga has no barriers of age, caste, religion or sex. However one must always ensure that all the yogic postures and the breathing exercises must be done correctly. By doing this, one will realize a striking and positive transformation in one’s mindset and life style.
A team of scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles said that meditation may slow the worsening of AIDS in just a few weeks, perhaps by affecting the immune system. They tested a stress-lowering programme called mindfulness meditation, defined as practicing an open and receptive awareness of the present moment, avoiding thinking of the past or worrying about the future. The CD4 counts were measured before and after the two months programme. This study provide the first indication that mindful meditation and stress-management training can have a direct impact on slowing HIV disease progression. This mindfulness programme is a group-based and low-cost treatment, and if this initial finding is replicated in larger samples, it is possible that such training can be used as a powerful complementary treatment for HIV disease, alongside medications.
Finally, Yoga is universal. The birth place of Yoga may be India, but it is for all, irrespective of religion, gender, nationality and language. It is meant to improve health and spread happiness.