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Concept of Guna in Yoga

To understand the philosophy of mind management in yoga; it’s highly important to know the dynamics of samkhya; one of the oldest philosophical systems.

Meaning and Theory of Guna

The core dynamics of samkhya psychology is based on the theory of the gunas. The sanskrit word guna means qualities. There are three gunas each representing the qualities which govern the nature on macro as well as micro dimensions. Three gunas sattva (quality of effulgence, balance), rajas (quality of transformation/movement/dynamism) and tamas (quality of maintaining status quo/staticity/passivity), are the essential principles which are the constituents of nature and are instrumental in differentiation. The entire theory of gunas is very relevant. One can relate it to day to day experiences every moment without failure. On the mental plane these three gunas create various tendencies which can be classified into positive and negative categories. And most importantly the permutations of gunas which constitute nature; can be harmonized; there come yogic practices, tools and principles. The various yogic tools physical and non physical help the individual to harness these subtle essential potencies of nature. All three gunas are contrary and yet complementary to each other.

Transient reality as function of Guna

The nature known as prakriti refers to the state of absolute potential before any differentiation starts.  Gunas are the substance and the forces of nature. When they are in a state of equilibrium there is absoluteness and state of non creation. Equilibrium means sattva transforms into sattva; rajas into rajas and tamas into tamas. Once the equilibrium is broken the process of differentiation is nature (prakriti; the creatrix) starts. Then the mutual permutations of the gunas start which starts evolution and differentiation in nature. These three principles of nature keep nature or manifest phenomenal reality always in flux. But despite these changes and transmutations and permutations the consciousness principle remains unchanged and immutable.

Influence of Guna on Human Behaviour

According to Samkhya, human psyche is immensely affected and influenced by interplay of gunas. As one guna becomes predominant we observe corresponding qualities of that specific guna in the personality of the individual.

The human being and its nature, relies heavily on the combination and inter-permutation of three gunas. These gunas are the basic essences of one’s personality and because of the different combinations of these gunas, we are shaped into a specific personality type. The three gunas are the causal sources of the various tendencies, qualities or psychological temperaments in human personality. A specific combination of gunas can give rise to a particular personality type. In Samkhya Yoga and Gita as mentioned repeatedly that gunas influence the human behaviour and personality; and with the transformation of gunas, transformation of personality is possible. The study of the gunas is of immense importance from the view point of understanding the dynamics of human behaviour. If we see through Samkhya perspective we find that the different typologies of personality found in any part of the world could easily be reduced to the presence of a definite combination of gunas. We have seen that there are basically three types of personality found in the world according to Gita and Samkhya. These personality types are determined because of the presence of one predominant guna. Here predominance of one guna does not indicate that the other two gunas are eliminated from the personality rather it indicates that the two other gunas are present in subdued state, but in that state also they may be available in different proportions in personality which ultimately can result in shaping the individual into a specific personality type.

Each personality type shows a range of personality traits, the clustering of these traits together mould the personality in a particular type. Gunas in Indian Psychology are the basic sources of all the traits known to psychology. Hence these three are considered the forces determine the personality types. In one personality type the traits of sattva, Rajas and Tamas might be found in varying proportion, depending on the nature of their combinations.

Types of Personality based on Guna

Sattva predominant personality

Sattva guna is the quality of effulgence, knowledge and wisdom. A person with Sattva predominant has mental clarity, mind is not deluded by any confusions, has clear intention and focused attention all the time. Such a person performs every action diligently, steadily and with relaxed alertness. In behaviour of such a person one may see lots of patience and moderation. Samyam (inner restraint) and Viveka (ability of discrimination) are the predominant qualities in such a person. According to Yoga Psychology, a Sattva dominant person has Ekagrata mind (one-pointed). This indicates that a Sattvik person has lots of control over one’s lower mental tendencies and desires which are required in spiritual sadhana.

Rajas predominant personality

Chief characteristic of Rajas guna is dynamism and potential to transform/change. One who has rajas guna predominantly active in their nature are very dynamic, passionate and energetic on the positive side. But predominance of rajas often leads one into spirals of varied emotional upheavals. Due to the quality of Rajas guna one becomes highly competitive, ambitious and at time stubborn and authoritative as well. Guided by intense desires to achieve something in life also at times becomes cause of frustration, disappointments, jealousy and anger once one fails to achieve. Person with Rajas predominance always in alert mode and often they find it very difficult to relax. They are very susceptible to heart conditions, hypertension and digestion related issues in life. In Yogic term mental state of a typical Rajas predominant person is of vikshipta (oscillating) mind. These people enjoy physical activities but find sitting still and meditating very challenging.

Tamas predominant personality

Tamas is the quality of ignorance, inertia, status quo or staticity. This is one quality which holds one down from taking any initiative in life. Tamas is predominantly coloured by the characteristics of lethargy and languor. Mind is always clouded by confusion and indecisiveness. There is complete lack of control over one’s speech, thought and actions. There is absence of Viveka as a result such a person is mostly guided by impulsive and instinctive tendencies. In Yoga, such a state of mind is defined as Mudha avastha (indolent state).

While studying the characteristics of personalities we should always understand that we all have these gunas in us. It is predominance of a particular guna defines a specific set of personality traits.  

The post The Concept of Three Gunas in Yoga – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas appeared first on .

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A lot of you must be quite familiar with the famous style of yoga known as ‘Bikram yoga’. To help you recall – it is a style of yoga that is practiced under hot and humid conditions where in the temperature of the room is keep somewhere between 37 degrees – 55 degrees and the humidity is maintained at 40%. This style of yoga happens within 90 minutes of time frame and, consists of 29 different yoga asanas coupled with two Pranayama exercises. Hot! Isn’t it?

A body experiences wilder activity when it is subjected to this sauna-like environment. However, with this heat-oriented energetic experience comes a set of woes which can be quite discomforting and need proper management.

Here are the most important pros and cons of Bikram yoga that you must know in order to prepare yourself for the new and upcoming hot yoga class:

Pros:

Strength

One of the most interesting Bikram yoga benefits is the fact that it utilizes, as well as, inculcates amazing strength and endurance in a yogi’s body. An ideal Bikram yoga class requires constant effort and focus, as staying within the respective yoga pose under the heat can be quite challenging to accomplish.

Breath

The core essence of yoga is breath management while performing the various asanas. Due to the constant flow in Bikram yoga poses practiced under hot and humid conditions, a yogi learns how to control and regulate their breath in order to achieve the poses correctly. This requires focus and strength. Hence, mastering Bikram yoga style contributes greatly to a yogi’s ability to manage his breathing practice.

Cardio

Practicing yoga in a heated room leads to a heftier degree of cardiovascular activity. The entire Bikram yoga session is constantly active which keeps the heart rate prevailing at all times. Hence, a person aiming to lose weight (especially, water weight) can benefit highly from a Bikram yoga class.

Detoxify

The most prominent benefit of Bikram yoga is its capability to make a person’s body continuously perspire so they can sweat out all the toxins and cleanse their body completely.

Healing

Healing is the next most vital aim of a Bikram yoga class.  The heat produced in a yogi’s body lubricates muscles and joints while the exercise continues to trigger these. Such activity works better than hot water massage equipment and instantly helps heal the soreness, or persistent aches in the practitioner’s body.

Cons:

Dehydration

With extensive heat, a person’s body immediately begins to sweat. This persistent sweat (without a doubt) detoxifies your body. However, under its persisting effect the body loses a lot of electrolyte, magnesium and potassium which may lead the person to dehydrate and, possibly faint under its effect.

How to Manage: Hydration is the key. Place a water bottle ready by the corner of your yoga mat and keep consuming mini-sips from it on the go. If you continue to feel dizzy, seek a break and get some fresh air.

Handle the Heat:

It is possible that your body might not be able to adjust itself to the heat of a bikram yoga class. The symptoms of which include headache, arrhythmia, minimal sweat with high body temperature. Continuing practice while ignoring these signs may result in a heat stroke.

How to Manage: It is advised that you reach a Bikram Hot Yoga classes a few minutes early and let your body adjust to the heat before the session commences. If the body temperature still does not regulate itself and you continue to show these symptoms, then go for a cold shower immediately.

Persistent Nausea

Due to overexertion of the cardiac muscles coupled with the heat, you may experience symptoms of nausea, headache, asphyxiation, which can be physically overwhelming.

How to Manage: Stop the practice and let your body relax in shavasana or the corpse pose for some time. If you continue to feel the same, then step out to get some fresh air. Consumption of Vitamin C oriented beverage can also help you feel instantly better.

The ‘slippage’

Since the body sweats profusely while performing Bikram Yoga poses, some of the sweat can fall onto your yoga mat and making it really slippery. As the skin comes in regular contact with sweaty yoga mat, performing Bikram yoga poses perfectly can be quite challenging.

How to Manage: Keep a body length towel handy that you can spread underneath your body in order to absorb the sweat before it comes in contact with the mat.

A Bikram Hot Yoga class is quite challenging, yet fun at the same time. In order to reap maximum benefits from it, you are advised to remain focused throughout the session so you enjoy its profit and carefully manage its cons at the same time.  

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Pranayama is known as a Hatha Yoga practice to control and expand the vital energy (prana). In traditional texts such as Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Gherand Samhita, there are many different types of pranayama and their benefits are immensed. Each technique of pranayama is used specifically to bring about a specific change and benefits in the body-mind complex.

Broadly speaking all the different pranayama techniques are categorized under four different categories-

Types of Pranayama and their Benefits
  1. Balancing Pranayama: (Nadi Shodhana)

According to the science of Hatha Yoga, the flow of breath in each nostril is intimately connected with various opposite and dual functions such as right and left hemisphere activities, sympathetic and Para sympathetic dominance, action and relaxation in the body. It can be said that we are dominated by cyclic fluctuations, and that these fluctuations are reflected in the breath. Most notably in the breath in each nostril.

The science of Hatha Yoga, more specifically named as Swara Yoga also observes that the predominance of breath in the right and left nostrils alternates on an average of ninety minute cycles. Between the changes in dominance, there exist a state of balanced flow which is the period when all systems operate at optimum level and capacity and the spiritual energy (Atma Shakti awakened).

According to Swara Yoga and Hatha Yoga tradition, predominance air flow in one specific nostril signifies predominant state of one of the specific nadis (energy flow) in the body. For an example predominance of right nostril signifies dominance of Pingala Nadi (Solar energy or vital energy current) whereas predominance of left nostril represents predominance of Ida Nadi or the psychic or mental pranic force. Once these two are in the state of balance and harmony then the third energy force is active which is Sushumna Nadi or uplifting spiritual energy.

Literally Nadi Shodhana means purification of Nadi (energy channels). This is one of the most significant pranayama practices in Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga tradition.

Technique

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

To perform Nadi Shodhana pranayama one may sit in any one comfortable position with the spine erect. Then bring right hand in front of the face in Nasagra mudra (hand gesture) with first two fingers resting on at the eyebrow centre and placing the thumb on the right nostril and ring finger on the left to close and open the nostrils.

Now to start the first stage of the practice start inhaling from the left nostril with slow, deep and rhythmic breath while keeping the right closed with the thumb. At the end of inhalation close the left nostril and open the right and breathe slowly and deeply.

After exhalation through the right nostril now inhale through the right and exhale through the left. This completes one round of the practice. This stage of Nadi Shodhana pranayama is also called alternate nostrils breathing. As this basic stage of the pranayama is mastered then gradually one is graduated to other stages of the technique which incorporates different breathing ratios.

Benefits

  1. Slow, deep, rhythmic breathing as practiced in Nadi Shodhana has far reaching effects on the entire system. It results in enhancing the vital capacity of our lungs and helps to relax the rhythms of the heart and nervous system. Inhalation is active process and exhalation is relatively passive in nature. These two stages of breathing are also associated with sympathetic and para-sympathetic systems. During inhalation sympathetic system is active whereas during exhalation parasympathetic system is predominant. In Nadi shodhana one has to be able to control respiration and expiration, which balances out the whole respiratory cycle.
  2. From the physiological point of view, Nadi shodhana is the perfect balancing practice. Alternate nostril breathing stimulates the left and right sides of the brain equally and there by the left and right sides of the body. Energetically, it directly balances the two major nadis Ida and Pingala, which play a major role in determining our thinking and behaviour, deciding whether we are internalized or externalized. Furthermore, it is stated in the yogic texts that when ida and pingala are balanced and purified. Sushumna Nadi which is responsible for spiritual experience begins to flow. This leads to heightened awareness and spontaneous meditative states.
  3. When we follow the ration of 1:2 it imposes a smooth and even rhythm on the normal rhythm of the brain. By using the ratio of 1:2 which means keeping the length of exhalation double that of inhalation helps to provide ample time for brain and heart to relax. It also activates the functions of parasympathetic response in the body.
  1. Tranquilizing Pranayama (Ujjayi)

Technique

This process of Ujjayi breathing works on extending the breath with complete comfort, awareness and relaxation. Ujjayi pranayama involves a very gentle contraction of glottis in the throat while breathing in and out. This gentle contraction of the throat helps controlling and regulating the flow of each inhalation and exhalation. As a result each breath becomes very smooth, conscious and deep.

Benefits

  1. Normal respiration is very weak and only uses a very small percentage of the lung capacity. Ujjayi uses the complete respiration capacity & has very powerful effect. There is proper gaseous exchange happening during the process in the blood.
  2. This process of Ujjayi pranayama imposes a conscious control over the process of inspiration and expiration. Otherwise breath is controlled by unconscious areas of the brain. This conscious control over the breath helps resetting the autonomic functioning of the brain.
  3. The smooth and the relaxing rhythm of conscious breath initiated by Ujjayi helps in de-emotionalize the breath. It is one of those pranayama techniques which is highly beneficial for people suffering from anxiety or panic attack. This practice of Ujjayi leaves a profoundly relaxing effect at the psychic level the deeper level of our being. For this reason Ujjayi is one of the most useful of all the Pranayama practices in Yoga therapy.
  4. Practice of Ujjayi also has an effect on Carotid Sinuses in the region of throat. Carotid sinuses regulate blood pressure in the arteries. These sinuses control the blood pressure through feedback mechanisms. Once Ujjayi pranayama is performed is exerts a mild pressure on these sinuses which in turn send message to the brain to lower the blood pressure. Therefore it is highly recommended practice for people suffering from high blood pressure, stress and anxiety.
3.     Heating Pranayama (Kapalbhati and Bhastrika)

There are number of heating pranayama techniques in Hatha Yoga which activate, vitalize and distribute prana in the body. By nature this activating group of pranayama techniques are highly vitalizing and energizing.

Kapalbhati Pranayama (Frontal brain cleansing pranayama)

Technique

The technique of Kapalbhati pranayama is performed by reversing the normal breathing cycle. By making inhalation passive and exhalation active. It initiates action by activating the vertical movements of diaphragm in the body. During the practice exhalation is forced out of the body by contraction of abdominal muscles and upward movement of the diaphragm followed by subsequent passive inhalation and relaxation of abdominal muscles. Normally Kapalbhati pranayama is performed at the rhythm of each contraction per second. But later on with practice rhythm of the breath can also be increased.

Benefits

  1. This dynamic and activation pranayama alters the level of carbon dioxide and other chemicals, acids and alkalis in the blood. This is an excellent technique to mobilize stagnant air in the lungs and expels high quality of carbon dioxide. Kapalbhati pranayama is also part of six cleansing techniques (shatkarma) in traditional Hatha Yoga. The intention of the pranayama is to cleanse the body, the nervous system and removing accumulated gases that build up in the upper part of the lungs.
  2. On the pranic level, the constant abdominal movements in the body activates Samana Vayu which is responsible for better exchange of energy. This activation of Samana Vayu and upward movement of prana stimulates the higher centers of the brain.
  3. On the physical plane constant contraction and relaxation of the abdominal muscles result in improved distribution of blood and other digestive fluids in the abdominal region. Hence helps in improving the functioning of the system.
Bhastrika (Bellow breath)

Bhastrika belongs to the same category of heating or activating pranayama. Effect wise, Bhastrika pranayama is physically and energetically more intense and demanding than Kapalbhati pranayama. It is called bellows breath because it activates metabolic and pranic fire (agni) by initiating movements in the abdomen as similar as that of bellows.

Technique

Technically it is quite similar as Kapalbhati pranayama. Only difference is here is that in Bhastrika both inhalation and exhalation are active and forceful whereas in Kapalbhati pranayama only exhalation is active. In Bhastrika pranayama one requires a control over the diaphragm. During this practice it is very common that one may start feeling dizzy and feel hyperventilated. Therefore to do this pranayama effectively one has to gradually develop control over inhalation and needs to regulate it consciously to avoid dizziness. This entire practice should be performed in relaxed state of body and mind.

Benefits

  1. Practice of Bhastrika pranayama fans the digestive fire and massages all the internal organs of the body. During the process there is intense activity of the diaphragm and the lungs which results in better oxygenated supply of the blood to all the different areas of the body and brain especially.
  2. In Bhastrika most of the carbon dioxide is expelled out of the system as a result one is prepared to hold retention of the breath (kumbhaka) for a long period of time. In traditional Hatha and Kundalini Yoga, Bhastrika is often used to prepare one for a longer Kumbhaka experiences.
  3. Bhastrika is an excellent practice for those who live a very sedentary life. It helps activating the metabolic fire and purifying all the different Dhatus (7 different bodily constituents according to Ayurveda).
  4. According to the Yogic texts and Ayuveda, formation of the three Doshas or humors known as Vata (air), Pitta (bile) and Kapha (phlegm) can be managed and balanced by the practice of Bhastrika. One of the major causes of diseases according to both Hatha Yoga and Ayurveda is blocking of Agni (fire). Through Bhastrika pranayama this blocking is removed and Manipura chakra is vitalized.
  5. Unblocking pranic flow from Manipura Chakra (solar plexus or Navel chakra) help activating and piecing of the Granthis (psychic knots) and awakening the Brahma nadi, according to Kundalini Yoga.
  1. Cooling Pranayama (Sheetali or Sheetkari)

There are number of pranayama techniques which leave a cooling effects on the body. These cooling pranayamas have effects on the mouth and all the blood vessels located there. There are many blood vessels in the mouth and the tongue, these techniques of cooling pranayama directly cool down the body because blood carries heat in the body. Once mouth and tongue are cooled down then the circulation of cooler blood result in cooling down the rest of the body and especially the brain.

Sheetali Pranayama

Technique

Sheetali Pranayama

Literally Sheetali means cooling. In this technique of Sheetali pranayama breathing take place through the mouth by rolling the tongue from the sides. With the rolling of the tongue a tube like structure is created through which one inhales deeply and then at the end of inhalation one closes the mouth and exhales through the nose. This entire process is repeated a number of times with long, slow and deep full yogic breathing (incorporating three stages of breathing- abdominal, chest and clavicular breathing). For a better cooling effect one should perform it for 10-15 times with relaxed body, breath and mind.

Sheetkari Pranayama

Technique

Sheetkari Pranayama

Sheetkari also means cooling breath, it is another variation of cooling category of pranayamas. It is more convenient for people who cannot roll the tongue from the side. In the practice, lips are opened and teeth are exposed and then a long, slow and deep breath is taken through the mouth and at the end of inhalation lips are closed and exhalation happens through the nose. Once one inhales through the teeth, breath creates a hissing sound and results in cooling effects in the entire mouth region. Like Sheetali pranayama, Sheetkari can also be repeated for 10-15 times.

Benefits

  1. Through these techniques a control is developed over temperature controlling mechanisms in the brain. These techniques are performed in Yoga Sadhana to cool down the excessive heat generated during the practices.
  2. This is excellent practice for those who have excessive Pitta activities. Regarding the benefits of this technique, it has been mentioned that one again control over sleep, lethargy, thirst and hunger. These effects are possible because of cooling or lowering the body temperature which automatically activates ida. With Ida activation there is natural effect on the mind to get internalized. And with the cooling of the body, there is a tendency to relax more deep and fall asleep.
  3. These practices which cool down the physical systems and activate Ida Nadi, are recommended for anger management, excessive anxiety and insomnia.

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Concept and Meaning of Pranayama

It should be noted that Pranayama is not deep breathing similarly retaining the breath once only as long as one can do so is not the way of Pranayama. Prana Means the vital force, ayama is the lengthening or widening through control. When breathing is controlled so as to retain the prana, it is Pranayama.
The ultimate aim of Pranayama is to be able to retain the breath. There are three types of Pranayama, namely, Puraka (inhalation), Rechaka (exhalation) and Kumbhaka (retention) is of two types, antaranga (internal) and bahiranga (external).

Tatah Ksiyate prakashavaranam
Thereby the covering of light disappears.

It is said in Patanjali Yoga Sutra that by the practice of Pranayama the psychic centres are activated and as a result of that, the covering of knowledge is removed. Prakasha here means the psychic centres. The psychic centres are usually covered or veiled due to sense experiences. The luminosity of these subtler vehicles is limited or covered by the physical matter of the brain.

Removal of psychic or pranic blockages

In pranayama practices breath is considered as the vehicle which harmonizes, activates and liberates psychic and vital energies in the body.
Removal of covering by Pranayama means removal of the covering physical matter over the psychic faculty. It means that when you have practiced Pranayama something happens in you by which the psychic energies are released from the veil or control or obstruction of the physical mechanisms of the brain. Energy is released even when you switch on the light or switch on the fan. Pranayama creates a similar condition in the brain by which the inherent psychic faculties are released.

Concept of Pranayama as per Hatha Yoga Bhramari Pranayama

In the tradition of Hatha Yoga, practices of pranayama should only be started once body is released from dross and energy channels are free from blockages through the practices of Shatkarma (cleansing techniques), Asana (Hatha yoga pose) and Yogic diet. Pranayama is more than simple breathing exercises and it must be practiced systematically and under the proper guidance.
The word Prana is a combination of two syllables. Pra and Na. Prana denotes constancy it is a force in constant motion. Prana is the vital life force and Pranayama is the process by which internal pranic store is increased. Pranayama is comprised of two words Prana & ayama. Which means Pranic capacity or length: It is not merely breath control but a technique through which quantity of Prana in the body is activated in a higher frequency.
In yogic terminology it is said that whatever is manifest is the sthoola rupa or gross form of the subtle, cosmic energy, known as prana. In yoga and tantra there is an eternal truth: the basis of existence depends on the two forces, Shiva & Shakti, consciousness and energy, ultimately they are not two forces but one; Shakti or prana is the creative and dynamic aspect of consciousness or shiva. The purpose of hatha yoga is the realize Shiva or consciousness by means of Shakti or Prana.
Pranayama is practiced in order to understand and control pranic process in the body. Breathing is a direct means of absorbing Prana and the manner in which we breathe sets off Pranic Vibration which influence our entire being.

Effects of Pranayama on Prana and Mind

When prana moves, chitta (the mental force) moves. When Prana is without movement, Chitta is without movement. By this (steadiness of Prana) the yogi attains steadiness and should thus restrain the vayu (Air)’. II/2 Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Prana and mind are intricately linked. Fluctuation of one means fluctuation of other. When either the mind or the prana becomes balanced the other is steadied. Hatha yoga says, control the Prana and the mind is automatically controlled, whereas Raja Yoga says, control the mind Prana gets controlled. These are two approached of yoga. The mind is equated with a wild monkey, jumping here and there. Because of this inborn tendency it is very difficult to hold it still. Hatha yoga says let the mind be concentrate on the automatic body functions and vital energy and mind will become quite by itself.

When the nervous impulses steady and rhythmic, the brain functions are regulated and the brain waves become rhythmic. The breathing process is directly connected to the brain and central nervous system. It also has some connection with the Hypothalamus, the brain centre, which control emotional responses. The Hypothalamus is responsible for translating perception into cognitive experience. Erratic breathing sends erratic impulses to this centre and thus creates disturbed responses.

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

There are also certain areas of nasal mucous membrane which are connected to the visceral organs. When impulses coming from the nose are rhythmic the visceral organs, particularly those connected to the coccygeal plexus, respond in the same manner, rhythmically. Being disturbed, these organ again send irregular impulses to the brain and cause more disharmony and imbalance. This cycle is continuous.

By becoming aware of the nature of breath and by restraining it, the whole system is controlled. When you retain the breath you are stopping nervous impulses in different parts of the body & harmonizing the brain wave patterns. In Pranayama, it is the duration of breath retention which has to be increased. The longer the breath is held the greater the gap between nervous impulses and their responses in the brain. When retention is held for a prolonged period mental agitation is curtailed.

Pranayama as per Patanjali Yoga Sutra

Actually Patanjali defines Pranayama as the gap between inhalation and exhalation. Pranayama is usually considered to be the controlled inhalation and exhalation combined with retention. However, technically speaking it is only retention. Inhalation/exhalation are methods of inducing retention. Retention is most important because it allows a longer period for as it allows more time for the exchange of gases in the cells. I.e. oxygen and carbon-dioxide.

Patanjali further says that retention of breath after expiration removes the hindrance to yoga. In Hatha Yoga, Yoga is the union of the two poles of energy with in us, known as Ida (the mental or psychic force) and Pingala (the vial force). In mundane awareness these poles are separate from each other. In transcendental awareness these poles come closest together and during retention the poles come closest together. Breath retention must be developed in order to stop the fluctuation of the brain and mind so that a more expansive types of experience can develop.
When you go further into yoga, there comes a time when you must have some control of the mind so you can dive deeper within yourself. When you try to practice mantra or meditation, the fluctuating mental waves create a barrier between you and the object you are trying to focus your awareness on.

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As we know yoga is a generic term and more accurately it is a path which leads to self-evolvement, upliftment and refinement of qualities in practitioners. But most of the times yoga is mistaken as a set of physical techniques, which reduces the scope of this discipline of self transformation to merely some sort of sports and physical endeavor.

Approaching yoga ‘Yogic way’

When we practice in yoga class our approach in the session guide our whole endeavor in right direction provided it is based on yogic principles. Following are a few principles for practitioners of yoga which will help them to be on right track:

Principle of “Here and Now”

One of the main ingredients of yogic journey is to ground our awareness in ‘here and now’. If your awareness is not grounded in the moment while practicing asana or any other techniques then you are not doing yoga. Advancement of practices does not imply that one should do difficult asana or become more flexible but doing it with awareness. Asanas help us to enhance and deepen our awareness of the body no matter how easy or difficult posture is. A beginner will practice even difficult poses with scattered awareness and whereas someone who is established in yoga will do practices with focus and un-dissipated awareness. Asanas (Yoga poses), pranayama (Yogic breathing) or meditations are the various tools of yoga to sharpen our awareness and discipline the mind-body complex. When your awareness is scattered then your mental energies are dissipated most of the time and you end up devitalizing yourself. To be focused and aware is the first and the foremost training in yoga class. And this is the meaning of ’being grounded’ in true sense.

Non-competitive; letting go

Yogic process has always been an individualized process. It is all about the individual who has embarked on the path of self transformation. The focus in the sessions is to withdraw the awareness and to capture the experience in here and now moment. Philosophy of yogic teaching is ‘’to be who you are’’.

Therefore any distraction in the classes should be avoided and one needs to be more accepting to one’s own self. Respecting one’s own limitations and proceeding from there is one important element of yogic path. The present state of one’s body and mind is the result of various events, issues as well as experiences of past which are to be resolved at individual level. Therefore comparison of two practitioners should not be done in session as each one carries unique set of experiences, limitations as well as strengths within one self. This is the path you tread alone. A non-competitive awareness helps one to let go the same set of mentality which one carries all day long which creates frustration, tensions, anger, restlessness and dissatisfaction in life.

Any transformation taking place in the moment is more important than ‘’what you were’’ or ‘’what you will become’’. If yogic practices are done with this awareness than the whole process becomes more immersive and transformative.

Ahimsa (Non-Violence)

In every yoga class there should be an element of mindfulness and practitioners should be aware of the effects of yoga techniques on the body-mind complex. We should always be in touch with the body and listen to it while practicing. One of the important codes of yoga journey is to follow Ahimsa (non-violence). Ahimsa is not always for others but it starts with one’s own self. Honoring the pain and having attitude of compassion with non-competitive attitude should go hand in hand. This requires lots of self-reflection and self-acceptance during the practice. The ultimate purpose of practicing yoga is not to satisfy just one’s ego and performing under peer pressure in the class. Rather yoga is a journey of self-transformation, self-awareness and inner growth.

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Yoga Teacher Training Blogs by Rishikesh Yogis - 4M ago

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart”. – Helen Keller

I feel yoga is one of the most beautiful thing that I have experienced in my life till now.

Yoga is a term that has been understood differently by many all around the world. With this diverse experiences yoga has come out as one of the main source to keep the body in its healthiest form.

When I started yoga my mindset was different, I started it because many others were doing it and I had time. I never realized that in next few months my life will change. I firmly believe that changes happen when you are ready for it.

In all these years of yoga practice I have become completely different. I feel myself more stronger, more calmer and more stable. I have learned so much from yoga that now I don’t do yoga but feel yoga. Yoga is not about doing postures and pranayama or to meditate but yoga is our lifestyle. What we do, what we eat, what we think, talk etc…So basically its our exposure to our lifestyle.

Yoga is one of those things that have taught me to aware. Awareness of the self that is usually difficult to control. Because in our everyday life we are aware of everything else around us except our own self. Paying focus to your own self is so difficult initially because for mind it’s so unusual thing to do. But as soon as we start training our awareness there comes so many experiences and realization.

With yoga we develop inner harmony between body and mind. It’s a holistic science that has a power to relax and to improve the body and mind status through different traditional techniques.

With growing popularity people are adapting yoga to cure different health disorders.

Yoga changes our relation with our own inner self. It develops ones confidence, determination, concentration and patience. With regular practice of yoga range of experiences increases.

Not only physical body is affected but mental and spiritual growth as well happens with yoga practices. Yoga is not any religion but an art that every individual should learn so that the society as a whole grows . One should understand that it is a journey of Self Discovery.

“When the restlessness of the mind, intellect and self is stilled through the practice of Yoga, the yogi by the grace of The Spirit within himself finds fulfilment” – B.K.S Iyenger

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Recognized by Yoga Alliance, USA, Rishikesh Yogis Yogshala is the most authentic and traditional yoga center in Rishikesh, India. It is a recognized center for Yoga & Meditation. At our yoga center in Rishikesh, Students come from various countries like USA, UK, Australia, Spain, Russia and many countries to learn Yoga and become authorized. Yoga trainees attend our Yoga Teacher Training program, live here and have practical experience at our yoga center.

Rishikesh Yogis Yogashala offers 200 hours Yoga Teacher training in Rishikesh India. This training includes following things :

  1. Morning Guided meditation
  2. Pranayama
  3. Asana Learning Hatha Style
  4. Learning Ashtanga Vinyasa Style
  5. Yoga Anatomy
  6. Yoga Philosophy
  7. Mantra theory Class & Teaching methodology
  8. Yoga Therapy & Ayurveda

Classical Meditation techniques such as Yoga Nidra, Hridyakasha Dharana, Chidakasha Dharana, Ajapa Japa, Antar Mouna, Chakra shuddhi, Chakra dharana and many more.
During the session, you will learn deep concepts of yoga & its various positions, subtle nuances of meditation techniques and get explanation about following :

  1. How to enter into a specific position and how to come out from that position.
  2. Perfect posture of the position.
  3. Absolute usage of props (including benefits of using props)
  4. How to assist others and correct various faults.
  5. Other advantages of Yoga in human life.
  6. Sequencing
  7. Ways to present meditation classes
  8. Nuances of teaching meditation in group
  9. Customization of meditation techniques and programs

During our training program, we focus on developing good Yoga posturing skills and meditation teaching in every students along with the conceptual knowledge of each Asana and meditation techniques. The class is a combination of conceptual knowledge of traditional Hatha, Iyengar style of Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and traditional meditation techniques. It will improve your practices and gets internal benefit of the Yoga.

Our 200 hour Yoga teacher training course has following specific features :

  1. It is suitable for every level of student – beginner, intermediate, and advance level of students.
  2. It includes a detailed explanation of asanas, its methods, correct posturing, alignments, and how to assist other learners and use of props – including ropes, blocks, straps.
  3. Learning lifestyle of a Yogi in a Ashram along with yoga which helps to gain health, happiness and freedom from stress, anxiety, anger and other disorder of brains.
  4. It includes conceptual knowledge of yoga and its practices in form of Asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing), meditation (dhyana), Yoga positions – mudras, bandhas, kriyas.
  5. It includes teaching methodology, yogic anatomy and physiology and yogic philosophy.
  6. Detailed and insightful focus on meditation techniques chosen from Raja Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Kriya Yoga and various Upanishads.

Our Yoga center is situated in a peaceful environment at hills area of Himalayan mountains range and very near to River Ganga. Check out our Yoga teachers training program for more details – Click here

Feel free to contact Rishikesh Yogis Yogashala if you have any query.

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