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Yoga,the ancient Indian system of exercises is renowned worldwide.Yoga is an applied science of the mind and body. It comes from the Hindu Vedas.Practice and study of it help to bring about a natural balance of body and mind in which the state of health can manifest itself.Yoga awakens the latent powers of mind and body of the individual and helps him develop a focused, healthy and powerful personality.The yogis consider that we are all searching for happiness and that this is everybody's main goal. It's just that most people settle for the brief, watered-down version of temporary pleasures. The yogis state that at some stage in our spiritual evolution over many lives we will become dissatisfied with brief, temporary pleasures and start our quest for eternal bliss. Methods to achieve this were developed and perfected by the yogis 1000 of years ago
Yoga itself does not create health; rather, it creates an internal environment that allows the individual to come to his own state of dynamic balance, or health. Basically, yoga teaches that a healthy person is a harmoniously integrated unit of body, mind and spirit. Therefore, good health requires a simple, natural diet, exercise in fresh air, a serene and untroubled mind and the awareness that main's deepest and highest self is identical with the spirit of God. As a result, to many devotees, yoga becomes a philosophy that offers instruction and insight into every aspect of life: the spiritual, the mental and the physical. Of course, because it is all-encompassing, people who want to pick and choose from its smorgasbord can do so without being disappointed. Yoga is equally satisfying as a physical therapy alone.You can study the yoga techincs from efficient teachersThey consider that nature's laws are so designed that we must evolve. The main mechanism nature uses in the early stages is pain. When we find that relationships, money or alcohol, for example, do not produce happiness or a sense of purpose, we will start looking more deeply into life.
  Mind and Body Relation in Yoga    

Cheraihotel.com - Kadalkkara Lake ResortsOne basic assumption of the Yoga Sutras is that the body and the mind are part of one continuum of existence, the mind being more subtle than the body. This is the foundation of the yogic view of health. The interaction of body and mind is the central concern of the entire science. It is believed that as the body and mind are brought into balance and health, the individual will be able to perceive his true nature; this will allow life to be lived through him more freely and spontaneously

Yoga first attempts to reach the mind, where health begins, for mental choices strongly affect the health of the body. Choices of food, types of exercise, which thoughts to think, etc. all affect the body. As practiced traditionally in India, yoga includes a set of ethical imperatives and moral precepts, including diet, exercise, and meditative aspects. In the West, yoga focuses primarily on postures (gentle stretching exercises), breathing exercises, and meditation. Yoga is frequently used in Western medicine to enhance health and treat chronic disease as well as stress.

Yoga therapy begins with relaxation. Living in an age of anxiety, we are often unconscious of our tensions. We are often depressed, tired, and an easy victim of diseases. There are a number of reasons for our stressful life. Often it is lack of rest, anxiety, tension and fatigue. These are constantly draining our health energies continuously. Thus, the first priority is to get us into a relaxed state. Yoga employs asanas, pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation and/or visualization.

  Types Of Yoga    

One of the features of yoga, which can be confusing at first, is that a variety of forms of yoga are practiced. Together, they are called yoga. While these share common elements, some focus more on postures and breathing exercises, whereas others have a greater focus on spirituality. Each emphasizes a particular path that comprises a certain set of beliefs, practices, and rituals. Yoga forms constitute a ladder of sorts, from the "lowest" form of Hatha yoga, with its focus on physical postures and breathing techniques, to the "highest" form known as Raja, or "union by mental mastery."

Newer forms of hybrids of yoga are also proposed such as Power yoga or Acu-yoga. There are also variations of yoga depending on "the teacher that is being followed."

There are four paths of Yoga: 1) Jnana, the path of knowledge or wisdom; 2) Bhakti, the path of devotion; 3) Karma, the path of action; and 4) Raja, the path of self control. Laya, Tantra or Kundalini yoga Integral Yoga (Purna Yoga) Mantra yoga.
Hatha Yoga, which includes postures and breathing, and is the form most popular in the West, is actually part of Raja Yoga, the path of self control. The path most followed in India is thought to be Bhakti Yoga, the path of devotion. Within Hatha Yoga there are many styles, such as Iyengar, Astanga, Integral, Kripalu and Jiva Mukti, to name a few. These Yogas all share a common lineage back to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, a text outlining the basic philosophy and practices of Classical Yoga. It was written sometime between the second century B.C. and the first century A.D
  Asanas (postures):    

Postures are gentle stretching movements designed to help balance the mind and body. The yoga postures are designed to rejuvenate the brain, spine, glands and internal organs. They work by increasing the blood and prana supply to these areas and by stimulating them with a gentle squeezing action
The asana’s were designed with economy of time and effort in mind. Most of them work on more than one aspect of the body at the same time. For example, the twist asana benefits the spine, adrenal glands, liver, pancreas and kidneys.
The yoga asanas produce their beneficial effect on the organs and glands in three ways:
1. The position of the asana causes an increase in blood circulation to the specific target organ or gland.
2. The position of the asana often produces a slight squeezing of the organ or gland. This has the effect of massaging the organ or gland and stimulating it.
3. Deep breathing and visualizing the target area sends an extra supply of prana to the area.

  Healing Effects of Yoga:    
Studies show that people who practice yoga have allow people to control a wide range of body functions, including Blood pressure, Body temperature, Brain waves (as measured by EEG), Heart rate, Metabolic rate ,Respiratory function ,skin resistance, Reduced anxiety, And provide more resistant to stress, have lower blood pressure, More efficient heart function, Better respiratory function, and Improved physical fitness.
Yoga has been used for disorders such as: Acid Stomach Addictions, Asthma: Backache Bronchitis Cancer, Cold Constipation Depression Diabetes (not a cure!) Emphysema Eyestrain Flatulence Headache Heart Disorders, Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), Indigestion Insomnia Menstrual disorders Migraines, Neurasthenia Obesity Premenstrual Tension, Prostate troubles, Rheumatism ,Sciatica, Sexual debility, Sinus Skin diseases, Sore throat Stress And Tension , Wrinkles
  Anti-ageing Properties of Yoga: Remain Young Forever!

According to yoga philosophy, it's the flexibility of the spine, not the number of years, that determines a person's age. Yoga slows down the aging process by giving elasticity to the spine, firming up the skin, removing tension from the body, strengthening the abdominal muscles, eliminating the possibility of a double chin, improving the tone of flabby arm muscles, correcting poor posture, preventing dowager's hump and so on. Yoga lets you trade in characteristics of old age for characteristics of youth.

Yoga is dynamite to make you feel younger with heightened mental prow ness. Longer life often results from following yogic ways of health maintenance. When both external dangers and internal diseases and habits leading to degeneration have been removed, one naturally lives longer

The result of hatha yoga is simply to make men live long. Health is the chief idea, the one goal of hatha yoga. He is determined not to fall sick, and he never does. He lives long. A hundred years is nothing for him; but he is quite young and fresh when he is one hundred and fifty, without one hair turned gray."

The following are some of the anti-ageing effects of yoga,Live longer. Yoga affects all the important determinants of a long life: the brain, glands, spine and internal organs. Increased resistance to disease. Yoga produces a healthy strong body with increased immunity against disease. This increased resistance extends from the common cold to serious diseases like cancer. Increased vitality due to yoga's effect on the brain and glands.

Rejuvenation of the glands.

Yoga has a marked effect on the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal and sex glands. This produces a feeling of well-being, prevents premature ageing and extends sexual virility well into old age. Look and feelyounger. Yoga reduces facial wrinkles and produces a natural 'face-lift'. This is mainly due to the inverted ostures. By doing the inverted postures for a few minutes each day, we reverse the effect of gravity and use it to our advantage. The result is firmer facial muscles, which cause a reduction in wrinkles, and a natural face-lift. The inverted yoga postures often convert gray hair back to its natural color and they will certainly delay the onset of gray hair. This is due to the inverted postures causing an increase in blood supply to the hair follicles in the scalp. Also, the increased flexibility of the neck produced by the asanas removes pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the neck, causing an even greater blood supply to the scalp. The release of pressure on the nerves in the neck also causes the scalp muscles to relax, since the nerves in the neck supply the scalp muscles. This means that the hair follicles are better nourished and thicker healthier hair is the result.Yoga will take years from your face and add years to your life. As you get older, you will take on an ageless appearance.

  Yoga For Weight Reduction:

Does yoga help in weight management? Most definitely. There are a number of factors involved. Firstly, some of the asanas stimulate sluggish glands to increase their hormonal secretions. The thyroid gland, especially, has a big effect on our weight because it affects body metabolism. There are several asanas, such as the shoulder stand and the fish posture, which are specific for the thyroid gland. Fat metabolism is also increased, so fat is converted to muscle and energy. This means that, as well as losing fat, you will have better muscle tone and a higher vitality level.

Secondly, yoga deep breathing increases the oxygen intake to the body cells, including the fat cells. This causes increased oxidation or burning up of fat cells. ). Yogic exercises induce more continuous and deeper breathing which gradually burns, sometimes forcefully, many of the calories already ingested.

Thirdly, yogic practices that reduce anxiety tend to reduce anxious eating. When under nervous strain we tend to gulp our food without attaining much genuine satisfaction. We end up in eating more. If, on the other hand, we approach our meals with greater calmness of mood, whether produced by habits which have calmed our life or by yoga (like a pause for prayer before a meal), we tend to be less likely to overeat in a frantic effort to quiet our midday anxieties.

Lastly, yogic aids may be employed between meals whenever one becomes tempted to search for a snack. One may deliberately turn to yoga, rather than to the icebox or snack bar, when he feels the need for a lift or relief from restless nervousness. Practicing yoga may make you aware of your weight problem that may also act as a deterrent from overeating.

If you are not overweight, your weight will remain about the same. If you are underweight, you will gain weight. The weight you gain will be healthy firm tissue, not fat. That is, yoga will tend to produce the ideal weight for you. This is due to yoga's effect of 'normalizing' glandular activity.

An article that appeared in the San Francisco Examiner of October 13, 1959 shows that the weight reduction potential of yoga was recognized in the USA more than quarter of a century ago.

"Would you like to lose weight without resorting to the miseries of dieting? Well, try the miseries of Yoga exercises instead. One staunch advocate is Metropolitan Opera star Robert Merrill, who has been practicing these exercises for two years, and keeps trying to win converts. In those two years he has lost twenty pounds and now he's down to a trim, rhythmic-breathing one hundred and sixty, even though he continues to eat like a lumber jack. 'At one time I went on a lot of diets but just couldn't lose any weight,' he said. 'Then along came Yoga and look at me now.' He punched his hard flat stomach and started breathing through one nostril. And to further demonstrate what it's all about, he did a little flip and stood on his head. After that he showed the lotus position, legs scissored under the body. Was he still breathing through one nostril? Yes, the other one. 'If people weren't so lazy they wouldn't have to worry about diets,' he said."

For those whose eating habits, whether at meals or between meals, are believed to be due to feelings of weakness rather than anxieties, most yogic postures and breathing exercises are designed to increase one's strength. Hence, they may relieve feelings of weakness more effectively than additional eating. The exercises themselves, although consuming some energy, also store up energy which, when combined with oxidizing breathing, provide energy that is ready for use rather than for storage.

Yoga and Mental Health

Those practicing yoga experiences a number of factors that results in a profound effect on their mental health. These can be classified under: reduction of tension and restoration of pliability. "personal" and

1. Reduction Of Tension

Many people who practice yoga speak of "freeing the mind from mental disturbances," "calming the spirit," or "steadying the mind." Reduction of nervousness, irritability and confusion, depression and mental fatigue are some of the benefits experienced. One experiences a relief from the pressure of his "compulsions." His nervousness, especially any jitteriness, should subside or disappear.

The extent to which these benefits may be expected will depend in part upon whether or not one can approach and participate in them willingly and wholeheartedly; for one who tries to practice postures with anxiety cripples his chances for very much benefit.

2. Restoration Of Pliability

"The positive side of the benefits from a full round of yogic exercises may be described as renewal of mental agility. Both mood and capacity for alertness, attentiveness and willingness to tackle problems revive. One may not be able to rekindle boundless enthusiasm late in a working day; early morning, or even noonday, efforts to recharge mental energies can revive a full measure of willingness. Traditional phrases, such as restored "spiritual vitality," intend to convey the complex idea of mental spryness, agreeableness, resiliency, and feelings of confidence and self-sufficiency. Some even testify to attaining feelings of buoyancy and euphoria; these then provide a background or mood of well-being and assurance such that one naturally more fully enjoys both his ability and the worthiness of being more tolerant and generous." Archie Bahm, ‘Executive Yoga’ Personal Values

a. Avoidance of fear:

Yoga is said to result in the reduction of a variety of mental ills. These may range all the way from vague feelings of frustration, persecution, insecurity, on the one hand, to acute and specific types of insanity, on the other.

Yoga is not a cure all for all conditions. But its attack upon, and diminution of, some basic mental ills may indeed be just enough to pay dividends that grow in magnitude.

If, through use of yogic techniques, we can merely halt and reverse some mental cancer, some compulsive complex that keeps us chained to unrelenting, omnipresent and gradually increasing anxiety, we may reset a course which will bring us around to a healthier adjustment. We are all at times insane. We are all, in some degree, insane. Overwhelming waves of tension and stress, which may catch us in periods of physical and mental exhaustion, can produce a spiritual explosion which leaves us so helpless that we are at a loss to know how it all came about.

By recurrent, regular efforts to reduce tension through yogic exercises, we may stay and finally reverse our tendencies toward insanity.

Most of us succumbs to fears and anxieties – some valid and some purely imaginary. For example, as one gets older, he begins to fear that his life has not been sufficiently worth while, that he has fallen short of his goals, that he has failed to attain his proper ambition, that he has lost out in the race to keep up with the Joneses or in his attempt to measure up "in the sight of God"-however he happens to conceive his shortcoming.

Thus, when Ramacharaka, in his ‘Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath’, says one may, by controlled breathing, "practically do away with fear and worry and the baser emotions," he refers to the growing ability of a devoted practitioner to diminish the power which both momentary and permanent fears have over us. One seeks to develop habits of resistance to the disturbing effects of excitement, ambition, antagonism and frustration.

The long-range goal of yoga is not just momentary relaxation, but the living of a relaxed life.

b. Acceptance of Faith in Life. The goal of yoga is confident living. Its aim is to replace pessimism and its varieties such as cynicism with a "Yea-saying" appreciation of life, not only on any given day, but as a gracious, wonderful whole. When you achieve the yogic spirit, then you can say with the Stoics, "I accept the universe."

If you cannot accept all of it, because some problems remain unavoidably troublesome, then you will accept the troubles which you have as (1) yours and (2) enough for you, without wishing you had still more troubles.

Poise, serenity, contentedness, patience, assurance-all of these are positive mental values attainable by anyone who has achieved a willingness to be at peace with himself and the world. The confidence desired is not just enough to do the day's work but enough to live one's whole life and one can do his day's work more confidently if he has already predisposed himself to living his life with trustful serenity.Thus a person seeks through yoga not merely momentary mental agility, but an agile life; not just momentary pliability, but a continuingly pliable existence; not just momentary relief from disturbance, but a permanently peaceful perspective.

Although not everyone who undertakes to experiment with yoga can expect to achieve or maintain the goal described by Shri Yogendra, Yoga: Personal Hygiene, as "exuberant and exultant health, he should notice the sun more often when it shines. Swami Sivananda pictures the goal as "ecstatic joy" (Yoga Asanas).

Dechanet, a Roman Catholic monk who was led into yoga by his Catholic predecessors, gives a vivid account of how he uses yogic techniques as aids to worship. He describes a "euphoria that pervades the story of my experiment. I wish to make it clear that this euphoria is real and lasting and spreads through the various levels of my daily life, physical, Psychical and spiritual" (Christian Yoga). Even though few of us will achieve anything like perpetual exuberance, ecstatic joy or euphoria, attainment of a more trusting outlook on life provides a spiritual soil from which spiritual roses have a better chance to grow. The pragmatic experimentalist will say: "Try it and see."

  Cheraihotel.com - Kadalkkara Lake ResortsYoga and Sex

Yoga's view of sex is the same as of every other issue - moderation. Yoga considers sex to be a natural function, very beneficial in a loving relationship and, of course, essential for the continuation of the human race.

Yogis warn against overindulgence in sex since they consider this will deplete the life force. They state that the sexual secretions contain very concentrated life force and nutrients, since they contain the seeds of life. Depletion of life force results in a reduced vitality level and reduced resistance to disease. It also retards progress from the practice of yoga. A whole field of yoga called Tandric Yoga or Kundalini Yoga is concerned with harnessing the sexual power. Yoga enables one to get into meaningful relationships and enjoy the process, at the same time provides a path to use the powerful energy involved in sex.

The yogis consider that normal sexual function occurs when the reproductive system is in a state of optimum health. They have found that the most effective way of attaining this optimum health state is by doing yoga asanas and breathing exercises. Those who are physiologically weak and partially or wholly impotent may restore potency as they regain their physical health. Steadier practice of milder yogic exercises may yield results when more vigorous bodybuilding workouts end in undue exhaustion. Those who approach sexual matters nervously rather than relaxedly may profit from previous relaxing yogic exercises.

Marriage counselors suggest that a relaxed condition is one of the essentials for a harmonious sex relationship because when hurried and strained it leaves the couple (the woman especially) dissatisfied and irritated, adversely affecting her entire well being. Indra Devi, author of many books on yoga, remarked that "The wives of several of my students have often told me that since their husbands had taken up Yoga exercises, their marital relationships had undergone remarkable changes."

It's true that advanced yogis practice celibacy. They need every ounce of their life force for their quest for cosmic consciousness. They also know that the realization of their goal produces eternal bliss, besides which the brief pleasure of sex pales into insignificance. Their minds have progressed so far that they are not prepared to settle for a watered-down version of happiness.



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