Transformation of the Body through Yoga

Yoga transforms the physical body. Forbearance (Yama), which includes veracity and chastity; religious observance, which includes internal and external purity; posture and pranayama play an important role in this transformation. Regular practice of Yoga keeps the physical and mental organs active and maintains their natural condition. Needless to say that natural functioning of organs is the main mantra for a healthy living. The life dependent on artificial organs cannot be stable. Over medication, especially allopathic medicines finish the chances of rejuvenation of physical organs in their natural form leaving aside their sensitivity. A medicine taken to cure a particular disease, gives rise to a new disease. These physical diseases finally give birth to mental diseases.

Different yogic processes like posture, pranayama, devotion, mudras, bandhas, Shatkarma etc. are used in order to purify the blood, vital life energy, nerves, glands etc. All the diseases and disorders are removed from the body totally. The life including proper diet, sleep, celibacy is always enjoyable and healthy. The philosophers of Yoga have included forbearance and religious observance as the two primary branches of Ashtanga Yoga, and are actually the basis of a healthy society and people. Forbearance, which includes not doing injury to living things, not veracity, avoidance of theft, chastity and non-acceptance of gifts is helpful in all round development and building a good civilized society.

Religious observance which includes external and internal purity, cheerfulness or contentment, austerity, chanting Vedic hymns, devoted reliance on the lord are determinants of personal progress. It should not be understood that non-violence and other acts of forbearance have no purpose in personal progress. Ultimately, acceptance of people’s disciplined and civilized life is acceptance and discipline of the society. Non-violence and other forbearance except celibacy are with reference to the society whereas, religious observance are with reference to individual. Saint Patanjali has called forbearance as the greatest religious vow on the basis of this aspect. The meaning is very clear that the people inquisitive of learning Yoga should not be impatient in following non-violence and other acts of forbearance in the name of place, period and condition. However, the suitable place, period and condition could be necessary with respect to external and internal purity, austerity and chanting Vedic hymns etc. The word ‘austerity’ used with respect to religious observances has been elaborated in great detail in Indian literature.

Saint Patanjali has given a very brief note on the form of yoga in the form of Kriya yoga. Austerity is also an important part of this Kriya Yoga along with chanting of Vedic hymns and devoted reliance on the lord. It has been mentioned clearly that austerity is the developed form of physical and mental energy and consciousness not just exploitation of physical organs. According to Patanjali, tolerating confusion is austerity, energy at physical level and logical thinking at mental level give a person the ability to tolerate confusion. Indian sages have recognized these confusions at physical and mental levels in the form of hunger-thirst, cold-hot, happiness- unhappiness, loss-gain, fame-defame, victory-defeat etc. The continuous widening of the ability of tolerating confusion is patience, which is known as the basis quality of personal, family, social, political, religious and spiritual life of the individual. Lord Krishna further elaborates austerity. He included the factors of forbearance and religious observances under austerity and declared it as physical, verbal and mental. Actually, luxurious life full of pretense deteriorates the moral values of a person. A person habituated to leading a comfortable life cannot imagine leading a life without these comforts. The person feels handicapped in the absence of comforts even if he is a fully able person. This attitude makes a person diseased. At this point the nature appears like an enemy. Austerity is an invitation to forbid luxurious and comfortable life style and live in proximity with nature.

Posture or asana is a popular branch of Yoga to maintain the physical balance. Saint Patanjali is very generous and simple while defining asana. According to him, stable and comfortable position is asana. Different writers have different opinions with respect to number of asana and the most interesting is the one given in Dhyanbindupanishadkar. According to it, the number of postures is equal to the number of species of life. It is necessary to strengthen the muscles and nerves in order to keep the body healthy. Posture and exercise strengthen the muscles and nerves. Exercise plays a very important role in supplying the nourishment to different parts of the body obtained through food. Absence of exercise gives rise to imbalanced body. Posture and light exercises strengthen our respiratory system. The therapists are using different yogasana in the successful treatment of various diseases. Different diseases occurring in stomach, neck, spine and knees are cured with popular asanas. Yoga is fully capable of transforming the physical body.

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Meditation: Study claims it boosts our minds and immune systems

Meditation can boost our immune system and improve our mental health  according to scientists.

Researchers from Harvard University and Justuc Liebig Univeristy discovered that the ancient religious tradition has various health benefits and can be used as an effective clinical treatment.

Key findings, published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, revealed that meditation can lead to an improved immune function, reduced blood pressure and enhanced cognitive function.

Experts have discovered that meditation has various health benefits and can be used as an effective clinical treatmentExperts have discovered that meditation has various health benefits and can be used as an effective clinical treatment

The practice – an essential part of Buddhist and Indian Yoga life – has become increasingly popular around the world as a way of combating stress.

But now experts say that the research, based on existing scientific literature, proves it is more than a vague remedy and has important health implications.

Lead researcher Dr Britta Hazel,said that the aim of the study, was to ‘unveil the conceptual and mechanistic complexity of mindfulness.’

They concluded that there are four key components of the practice that could attribute for its beneficial affects including attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation, and sense of self.

Dr Hazel added: ‘Understanding the relationships between these components, and the brain mechanisms that underlie them, will allow clinicians to better tailor mindfulness interventions for their patients.’

The team now hope further research on the topic will enable patients to utilize mindfulness meditation as ‘a versatile tool to facilitate change both in psychotherapy and in everyday life’.

 

Yoga can improve your bad back

Its fans claim it helps the body fight aches and pains through a range of stretches.

But it would seem that the ancient practice of yoga really does work – and it could be even better than going to the doctor.

Patients with a common form of lower back pain who did three months of classes in the therapeutic discipline were able to do daily chores they previously would have found impossible, say scientists.

And some claimed the effects continued for a year after they had finished  the sessions.

The extent to which yoga helps the body and mind remains highly contested however and only last week researchers from the U.S. claimed it brought no improvement to well-being.

But a team from the University of York have looked at its effects on around 300 patients with chronic lower back pain, a  common condition which affects one in five adults in any given year.

Half followed a 12-week course of yoga, with specific exercises focusing on their back. The remainder carried on visiting their GP and were given painkillers, exercises to follow and in some cases physiotherapy.

The findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, show that after three months patients who had been to the yoga classes were able to do 30 per cent more daily activities than those who had carried on seeing their family doctor.

However, yoga did not seem to relieve patients’ pain. It only enabled them to carry out more household chores, such  as gardening.

And 12 patients who had completed the yoga reported suffering episodes of severe pain, which may have been caused by their stretches.

Nonetheless the researchers claimed yoga helped patients feel more confident in carrying out chores despite their pain.

Chief investigator Professor David Torgerson said: ‘Back pain is an extremely common and costly condition. Exercise treatment, although widely used and recommended, has only a small effect on back pain.

‘We therefore set out to investigate an alternative approach using a specially-developed weekly yoga programme  for back pain sufferers to see if this  allowed them to manage their back pain more successfully.’

Professor Alan Silman, Medical Director of Arthritis Research UK, which funded the study said: ‘We’re delighted that our trial has shown that yoga provides such positive benefits for people with chronic low back pain.

‘This extremely common condition cannot be managed with painkillers alone and there is an urgent need to have non-drug therapies that sufferers can utilise in their own home.’

Around 80 per cent of Britons will suffer chronic lower back pain at some point in their lives.

Painkillers are often ineffective and many patients try alternative forms of therapy such as acupuncture, exercise or massages to relieve symptoms.

2 how-to yoga videos: Moves to relieve back pain3 yoga tips for back pain

YOGA FOR BACK PAIN PART 1 OF 1

YOGA FOR BACK PAIN PART 2 OF 2

Here are three yoga tips to help you unlock your tight back and return to your strong, supple and stable self:

1. Back off to move forward

If you rush into a stretch too quickly, you could trigger the stretch reflex, which can cause the muscle to contract defensively and get tighter or even strain.

Instead, to target back muscles in, say, a seated or standing forward bend, bend the knees so your spine can lengthen into its natural curves. Then, maintain a long spine as you begin to stretch the legs back. When you first meet the edge of a stretch, stop, breathe and soften there. Then go a little farther into your next edge.

Easing off the extreme stretch and instead seducing the body to open by going on a gentle, yet insistent journey through layers of flexibility will help you circumvent your body’s protective reflexes and allow it to release.

2. Vive la resistance!

To signal your central nervous system to release tension in the lower back, or anywhere, you can try the PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) technique, or in simpler terms, resist and release.

It’s used by physical and sports therapists, and by modifying your back-stretching poses to include it, you’ll also gain the benefits of increased muscle flexibility. To make PNF work for you, you’ll need to maintain a balance of three things: muscle action, muscle stretch and proper alignment. These are not passive stretches only.

In my video, you’ll be both using a muscle at the same time you’re stretching it, a technique called resistance stretching, and alternating resistance and release. These moves are part of the reason my students get more flexible, fast, while remaining pain-free. It tells your central nervous system that you’re protected, and it seems to cause a greater release than just passive stretching alone.

Whenever you’re trying to move past chronically tight areas, maintaining proper alignment means that every move you make should serve one area to remain open, strong and free: the spine. If students jam the legs straight but compromise the spine, the pose has crossed the line into unhealthy territory.

Instead, as we resist and release, resist and stretch, back off, gain traction or anything else we do to increase our range of motion, we should only go as far as we’re able while preserving the integrity of the all-important spine. The stretch will come from there, in time.

3. Gain traction

Once you’re warmed up, you’ve done your yoga and you’re ready to rest, try a restorative pose first that will gently pull your lower back spine into traction or a slight opening.

When you’re in a supported pose, like the sacral reset with a block you’ll see in the video, you can release muscular action and allow gravity to take over. As your body rests, your muscles also cool down and reset into new alignment. So the position you’re in while you re-form the mold of your body is very important. First rest in a back traction pose like this one, and then take full savasana to allow your legs to retain their optimal length.

All in all, remember that it took a while to get your back to this point, and it’s a journey back out again. As you move through the stages of your flexibility and re-strengthening, instead of hitting your edge and letting your inner voice say “I’m soooo tight,” try this perspective: “I’m really opening up here — little by little, but it’s going to make a huge difference.”

Pranayama helps in the physical, mental and spiritual development

Pranayama is extremely beneficial for children, young, middle aged and old people. Other exercises are not recommended for weak and patients’ suffering from tuberculosis, heart disease, epilepsy, intestinal problems etc. the patients of bone disorder, swelling, cirrhosis, paralysis and handicapped people should also not do exercises. But everybody can practice pranayama irrespective of the age and problems. The diseases are cured and provide good health. Tough asanas cannot be done but pranayama can be practiced easily. Generally, tough exercises makes the person dull headed but pranayama increases the intelligence. It has been seen the wrestlers generally have low IQ. It makes the person intelligent; the person becomes capable of grasping minute things and improves the reflexes. It arouses the intuitive power hence pranayama is useful in all ways, Pranayama is simple and easy to practice. It also does not require much time and gives more benefits.

Regular practice of pranayama helps in the physical, mental and spiritual development. It makes the person self-controlled, with good thoughts, talent and attractive personality. It relieves the person from diseases and vices, the person becomes strong willed and strong hearted. The person develops the art of foresight, foretelling and communicating without using the sensory organs and other sources. Pranayama makes the mind sharp, which is beneficial for professions like teaching, lecturer, poet, writers etc. the social reformers, social workers, leaders, singers, film actors and actresses also improve skills with the regular practice of pranayama. They become capable of leaving a lasting impression over listeners and viewers.

Practicing pranayama develops the power of dedication, hard work and enthusiasm between the industrialist and businessmen. Understanding the customer’s requirements, getting the pulse of their needs is very important in case of business. They develop their business with the help of this, hence pranayama is also important for these people.

Yogasanas and pranayama are also suitable for women looking at their anatomy. They become beautiful, delicate, and healthy with a good figure. Their vitality also increases many times. The pregnant ladies get good benefits from pranayama. The ladies who practice asana-pranayama after conceiving, their womb develops in a healthy manner and gives proper nutrition to the child. The physical and mental pain caused during pregnancy is relieved easily. The child also remains healthy. The reproductive organs become healthy and capable to an extent that caesarian method is not required for delivering the child but a healthy child is born through normal delivery and the child inculcates good values.

The parents can also remove the negative feelings and habits like mischievousness, hyper activity, speaking lies, stealing, gambling and drinking alcohol and other vices by making the child practice pranayama. In this way pranayama is useful for all age groups. It is especially beneficial for spiritual devotees. It is beyond religion, caste and community. The chanting of mantras, meditation, worship, prayers and singing of devotional songs along with pranayama give instant energy. Pranayama provides strength to the person’s determination. This helps him to lead an enthusiastic life without bothering about obstacle and hindrances and resolve his worldly problems. The worship and prayers become emotional with pranayama. It gets rid of the playfulness of the mind and improves the concentration. The age-old bad habits and sins are also washed off. It inculcates good values and emotions and increases the self-confidence and self-independence. The person gets the intelligences to resolve different types of problems.

Pranayama is also capable of relieving the person from problems like heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, incurable diseases and those, which are caused due to the modern life style. Not only that pranayama is the main medium to meet the supreme soul. Though it is a deep and wide study but it is not impossible. It can be made possible with devotion, austerity and controlling the sensory organs. Purity and disciplined life is the background, which takes the person on the path of accomplishment with regular practice. Regular practitioner of pranayama is able to synchronize the breathing with the arousal of Sushmana nerve, the oxygen is circulated and has an affect on every function of the brain, it gives divine powers. In this way the devotee gets internal light and experiences Gods blessings. His temple like mind becomes pure. He has no bonds, everybody is his relative, he has the feeling of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’. He lives with following feeling:

sarve bhavantu sukhinah sarve santu niramayah
sarvebhadrani pashyantu ma kascid duhkha bhag bhaveta

Caution: Pranayama should be practiced in a sequence and slowly. Unnecessary haste is not recommended. It can be harmful instead of doing well. The practice should be regular otherwise there will be not be any benefits. Patanjali saint says:

yatha simho gajo vyaghrobhavedavashyah shnaihshnaih
tathaivam sevito vayuranyatha hanti sadhakama
-Hathayoga Pradipika 2.15

As the wild animals like lion, elephant, tiger and other animals do not come into the control easily similarly the life energy comes into control with practice. Haste can be harmful for the person. Therefore the practice should be increased gradually.

Improve your Digestion with Yoga and Ayurveda

Indigestion is a common problem these days. We hear people often complaining about digestion related problems. The food does not get digested easily and the body becomes weaker and weaker. The person also suffers from various other diseases.

They complain of discomfort frequently especially on eating oily and fried food. They drink a lot of water and it has also been noticed that excessive intake of tea, coffee, alcohol, and tobacco affects the digestion process. Similarly, sour food, pickles affect the digestive system and the person feels angry, jealous, fearful at the time of eating food.

If you have poor appetite, sour belches, and heaviness in head, giddiness, swelling in stomach, fast heartbeats, and excessive saliva formation then it is indication for poor digestive system.

Nature Cure Treatement to Improve Digestion

Take mint chutney or ginger marmalade before meals.

Eat raw coconut kernel, drink coconut water, eat chapatti made with whole-wheat flour, and eat old rice and raw papaya vegetable.

Take sufficient amount of ripe fruits, green vegetables, dry fruits, and milk.

Avoid fear, anxiety, and sorrow, worries, etc. Do not eat anything if you feel heaviness in stomach.

Go for morning and evening walks.

Take hip bath and pour water on the back for three minutes.

Keep fast and take enema in the morning. Take orange, sweet grapes or pomegranate juice (100 gm).

Add juice of half lemon in hot water and drink regularly.

Yogic Cure to Improve Digestion

Yoga is ideal for this problem. Regular practice overcomes digestion related problems and cures it permanently.

Practice kunjal for one week with salted water and without salt for two to three months with hot water.

Practice shankha prakshalana once for benefit. Eat kichdi for two to three days after this practice. Add cumin seeds, black pepper and black salt in diluted curd or thick curd and eat for two weeks. Drink pomegranate or wood apple juice (bilva).

After gaining strength practice yogasanas regularly.

Katichakrasana strengthens the digestive system.
Janushirasana is also beneficial for patients. It increases digestive fire, contracts the stomach muscles and improves the overall health. It also strengthens the muscles of back and hip.
Ardhamatysendrasana overcomes stomach diseases and strengthens the intestines. It is beneficial to control sugar level and overcome backache. It helps in proper blood circulation in the nerves of back and hip.
Vajrasana should be practiced for overcoming playfulness of the mind. It is the only asana that can be practiced after meals. It overcomes gastric trouble, acidity and helps in proper digestion. It increases appetite and food is digested properly.
Bhujangasana overcomes all the stomach diseases. It increases appetite and strengthens the spine. It also gives relief in case of backache.
Makarasana should be practiced to improve the stomach condition. It overcomes asthma and lung disorders, knee pain, improves appetite and makes the spine flexible.

Practice of Pavanmuktasana removes excessive gas from stomach, overcomes acidity and helps in digestion. It reduces extra fat on the stomach, cures gynecological problems in women and is also beneficial in case of heart disease and gout.

Regular practice of the above-mentioned asanas are beneficial and later other asanas can also be added.

Pranayam cures digestion related problems completely. Practice yogasana, but practicing pranayam is compulsory.

Agnisar pranayama should be practiced regularly – it improves digestion and overcomes gastric trouble, constipation, sour belches, and ulcers and other stomach related problems. It improves appetite, reduces sugar level, and cures urinary problems. It relieves burning sensation while passing urine, and stops excessive urination. Kapalbhati pranayam should also be practiced, as it is the best for the stomach. It overcomes all the diseases related to digestive system and strengthens the weak intestines. It is the best pranayam and improves the health of the body.

Uddiyan bandha is also beneficial to overcome stomach related problems, improves appetite and arouses the prana and purifies manipura chakra.

Diet and Regimen to Improve Digestion

Diet control is the best way to overcome this problem. Keep fast for a few days and drink hot water with lemon juice depending on the season and drink apple juice twice or thrice daily.

Take juice of raw vegetable with honey. Raw vegetable juice improves digestion and increases appetite.

Start eating chapatti, salad, vegetable, curd, fruit, milk, vegetable juice, and soup after fasting period. In crease the food intake, as you get relieved from this problem.

Eat slightly less than hunger. Drink hot water if you feel thirsty at the time of eating food. Drink lemon water half an hour before meals to reduce hunger and improve digestion.

Sleep turning to the left hand side after meals. It will be helpful in digesting food.

Eat two and a half hours before going to bed at night and keep a cold bandage on stomach, cover it with a shawl and remove it after two hours or in the morning.

Natural Medicines to Improve Digestion

Grate one to three grams of ginger pieces and add a pinch of rock salt. Take it one hour before meals once daily for eight days. It overcomes digestion problems, clears the stomach and increases appetite.

Take three grams of coriander powder and three grams of dry ginger powder with 100 grams of hot water.

Grind equal quantities of cinnamon, dry ginger and red cardamom. Take two grams of this before meals.

Roast small harad in clarified butter and grind it with black salt. Take little quantities with water twice daily.

Mix a little bit of black salt in two spoons of onion juice and drink in the morning.

Mix half spoon each of radish juice and lemon juice, a pinch of rock salt, four black pepper seeds, two pinches of ajowan churna and take this after meals.

Grind three black pepper seeds, three cloves and 30 neem buds, add a little bit of sugar and take twice daily for a fortnight.

Add a little bit of sugar in papaya juice and drink.

Mix a little bit of lemon juice in a spoonful of ginger juice and drink.

Add a little bit of black salt in half a cup of pineapple juice and drink.

Drink juice of ripe wood apple (bilva) for 20 days for relief.