June 21 is the International Day of Yoga :
Honored to be part of 5K run organized by Sewa International celebrating International Day of Yoga . Honored to give a talk on benefits of Exercise, Yoga and Meditation.
Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root “yuj” that means “union, to unite or to connect “ It is the union of your mind body and spirit. Yoga is a philosophy of life and a state of mind . Yoga is learning to come back to yourself, finding your limits, and then expanding your horizons and truly be able to relax into who your are and realize your inner self.
It helps you feel harmonious, integrated and complete. The author Patanjali wrote Yoga sutra , the first text on Yoga 2500 years ago. In it he defined Yoga as Chitta - Vrtti- Nirodhah which means a state where the mind ceases to exist . If one can control the rising of the mind into ripples and stop thought waves , there by stilling your mind , you will experience Yoga.
According to Patanjali , there are eight limbs of Yoga to achieve this union.
They are as follows :
1. Yama: Five yamas ( Ahimsa ( non-violence), Satya ( truth) , Asteya( non-stealing) , Brahmacharya ( celibacy) , Aparigraha( non-greediness) which are moral injunctions liberating ourselves.
2. Niyama: Saucha( cleanliness) Santosha( contentment) ,Tapas( discipline/ self control/ enthusiasm), Swadhyaya ( self reflection/ self study ) Ishvarapranidhana ( God is in you and with you and this knowledge brings meaning to life ).
3. Pranayama: Control of the breath at cultivating the vital force of (prana) breath within .
4. Asanas: physical posture of Hatha Yoga. Aim is to strengthen the body using different postures ultimately to purify the body for long hours of meditation.
5. Pratyahara : directing the five senses inwards for more profound understanding of self , as mind gains control over senses
6. Dharana : practice of concentration and focusing mental and intellectual energy on one still thing .
7. Dhyana : State of pure thought and meditation, one pointed focus .
8. Samadhi: The state of ultimate bliss, trans like state , the highest state of consciousness where Yogi is one with Self and God.
All the eight principles are essential for rejuvenating and revitalizing mind body and spirit
There are seven schools/forms of yoga that have been recognized in India:
1. Raja Yoga: The Yoga of Meditation
2. Karam Yoga: The practice of selfless service leading to righteous living
3. Gyaan Yoga: quest of knowledge and wisdom leading to intellectual growth
4. Hatha Yoga: performance of various asanas / postures leading to physical well-being
5. Laya Yoga: The practice of awakening the seven chakras and the kundalini energy by using sounds visualization and body
6. Bhakti Yoga: The practice of love and devotion leading to emotional development
7. Mantra yoga : Use of mantra / cosmic sound and vibrations for healing, transformation and inner awakening.
Yoga is a Wonderful practice of finding harmony of Mind , Body and Spirit . It helps one to a healthier physical body , strengthens your mind with greater emotional and mental strength, ultimately leads to greater wisdom and finally to Happiness and Spiritual Bliss from where we access sense of oneness and transcendence.