Its been a long journey for me thus far, learning Yoga since Haridwar, Phoolchatti Ashram, Jan 2014. Not really a beginner in Yoga anymore after more than 5 years I guess, but we learn throughout our lives. I am still learning and will continue to do so till my last day.
It will be wrong to say I am passionate about Yoga- actually Yoga has kept me alive all these years after my health issues hit me hard.
“Yoga” has been defined simply by Swami Sivananda Saraswati as a combination of the activities of the hands, head and heart….. the 3 Hs (i.e. body, mind and soul ). In this regard, he moved away from the definition of Yoga being an uniting factor of Man with Divine- that’s good for the textbooks, but for practical purposes, it’s the utility of Yoga that matters the most. This intensely practical aspect of Yoga was carried further forward by his disciple, Swami Satyanand Saraswati, who founded the renowned Bihar School of Yoga at Munger, where I went this year for the Yogic Lifestyle course. His successor Swami Niranjananda has crystallized Yoga to a practical, relevant , contemporary format for the common man.
And needless to say, Narendra Modiji has done his bit, as have Baba Ramdev and other Yoga gurus.
Yoga- for the common man. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna “Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam,” which means that performing your work with excellence and sincerity is yoga. Needless to say, if you work with the right intentions, you reach the Divine- its not really so much about rituals, austerities or even do-goodism. Do your work and divine excellence will be within your reach- that’s the message of Yoga. For that matter, my Guru Bhagavan Ramana with his clear focus on the Jnanayoga (knowledge) tradition, was a Yogi of the highest order without haven’t done any asanas or pranayama in his lifetime.
I would suffice to say that Yoga is not about poses- it’s about a holistic lifestyle. Hatha Yoga, which we commonly call Yoga in the common parlance, involves asanas, pranayamas, mudra and bandh (more about these terms some day later, but suffice that this is essentially physical and mental yoga). Hatha Yoga is only one aspect of Yoga, but definitely an ideal foundation block for the beginner.The natural progression for most of us human beings (as validated in the Bhagavad Gita) would be Karma (work) Yoga (of which Hatha Yoga is a part) , then Bhakti (devotion yoga), further Jnana (knowledge) yoga, and highest up the order, Raja ( meditation) Yoga. We cannot reach the top (Raja yoga) in a day or even several years- we have to progress in a sequence. Which means, we start somewhere, and Hatha yoga is perfect for that.
I would look forward to posting on the different aspects of Yoga on my FB page and blog. Feel free to discuss, and use the information to improve your own health if inspired. Do keep in mind that information is useful only when put into practice. Please keep the discussions, if any- relevant, civil and useful.
Hari Om Namah Shivaya. Sarve bhavantu sukhinah, sarve santu niramayah
Vrikshasana (tree pose) , one of my favourites.
This is an ancient asana, one of the few standing asanas from the medieval ages.It is good for the body and mind. It strengthens the lower limbs, increases mental alertness and concentration, strengthens the core , improves balance and posture.
See it here:
Note: It is always advisable to learn Yoga from a teacher, before practicing. There is no substitute for on-hands learning, believe me !! Take a short-term course if needed- there are plenty available. Good and credible information can be found from- https://www.yogajournal.com