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Yoga

“Health is wealth. Peace of mind is happiness. Yoga shows the way”
– Swami Vishnu-devanand
The word Yoga originated from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which essentially means to join or unite. Yoga is the harmony between the body and the soul. Yoga is a journey to eternal power and peace. It is very useful for achieving and maintaining the physical, mental and moral health.Yoga is an art as well as a science. It is a science, because it offers practical methods for controlling body and mind, thereby making deep meditation possible. And it is an art, for unless it is practiced intuitively and sensitively it will yield only superficial results.There are several branches of Yoga :

1. Karma Yoga – Yoga of Service
2. Bhakti Yoga – Yoga of Devotion
3. Jnana Yoga – Yoga of Mind
4. Raja Yoga – Yoga of Self-Control
5. Tantra Yoga – Yoga of Rituals
6. Hatha Yoga – Yoga of Postures. This branch of Yoga is most commonly used and includes physical poses or Asana, Breathing Techniques or Pranayama, and Meditation to achieve better health, as well as spirituality. There are many styles within this path – Iyengar, Integral, Ashtanga, Kripalu, and Jiva Mukti to name a few.

Maharshi Patanjali in Yogasutra has recommended eight stages for the purification of body, mind and breath. This is called ‘Ashtanga Yoga’. This includes self control, postures, regulation of breath, religious observance, steadiness of the mind, meditation, restraint of senses and profound contemplation:

1. Yama – Yama is the first limb of Ashtanga Yoga and comprises of the behavioral norms that need to be followed, to attain tranquility of the mind.

2. Niyama – Niyama is the second limb of Yoga, which means laws or rules. It contains the internal practices/rules that need to be observed by individuals, at the personal level.

3. Asanas – Asanas means postural exercises. There are many postures developed for Yoga. Asana or posture is a means to attain integration of mind and body, by means of physical activity.

4. Pranayama – These are breathing exercises along with scientific restraint, constraint and release of breath after purification of joints, ligaments etc. with help of Asanas. Pranayama is a way by which one can attain life force energy control, through breathing.

5. Pratyahar – It is practice of inner watching by all the senses, organs and mind. This leads to cleanliness of mind, senses and emotions. Pratyahara literally means “to withdraw oneself from that which nourishes the senses.” In yoga, the term pratyahara implies withdrawal of the senses from getting attached to external objects.

6. Dharana – It identifies the goal and direction of life. The main idea underlying Dharana, is the ability to focus on something (uninterrupted both by external or internal distractions).

7. Dhyana – It is state of oneness to wholeness – meditation. While practicing Dhyana Yoga, we meditate on a single flow of idea. The purpose is to withdraw all senses from various objects of interest. The focus is laid upon on one object.

8. Samadhi – With this you are able to merge with totality and you are omnipresent. Samadhi is a physical and mental state of body which denotes higher levels of concentrated meditation, or dhyana. When one becomes absorbed in it, personal identity vanishes. In the moment of Samadhi nothing mundane exists.

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For the purposes of our further discussions we would limit ourselves to the Yogasanas, Pranayamas and Kriyas used for the treatment of various diseases in Naturopathy.

 
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