Yoga – A Way of Life

Nandini SoodA new series on healthy living — KEEKLI brings you an introduction to Yoga and the right way of living. We should pace our lives according to our own individual needs and not by what others are following. The upcoming series on Yoga will cover Pranayam, Asanas and Mudras with showcase of images and right postures by an ardent yogic follower Nandini Sood, Yog Sadhan Ashram, Parwanoo. Taught and trained under her guru by Sri Chaman Lal Kapoor, Yog Sadhan Ashram, Hoshiarpur, she has over 20 years of experience in teaching Yoga, free of cost, at schools in and around the city and the Ashram, where daily classes are held for young and the elderly.

Yoga — Part I

“नास्ति योगात परम बालम” — means that there is nothing more powerful than Yoga. Yoga consists of combined physical, mental and spiritual practices. It helps in connecting the mind to the soul. Yoga includes breathing exercises, i.e., Pranayam, physical exercises i.e., Asanas, and Mudras for glands, which help in meditation and relaxation of the mind. The word Yoga has been derived from the word ‘Yuj’, which means union of soul with the mind and supreme consciousness.

Yoga is a scientific and spiritual education. The Asanas help in maintaining a good physical health by strengthening and toning the muscles, improving the posture and thereby making the body look beautiful and healthy. A disease-free body has a happy heart and a happy heart has a happy mind and soul. And if the soul is happy then the person has a calm mind. So Yoga helps in achieving stability of mind, increased concentration, positive thinking, patience and thus makes a person a better human being. In short, Yoga is the only way to bring peace and harmony on this planet.

Due to increasing aggression, depression and impatience among the youth, Yoga should be made an important part of the school curriculum. Regular practice of Yogic techniques can help the youth in attaining increased concentration, a positive attitude towards life and maintaining better relationships and decreasing the level of stress and depression so that they can have a more fulfilling life and make this world a better place to live.

Yoga — Part II

The twentieth century is known as the renaissance period of Yoga.  Due to decades of slavery the Indian Culture and practice of Yoga were looked down upon. The age old practice of Yoga became extinct and were confined only to the jungles.

In the beginning of twentieth century, there were few Yog asharams that were teaching Yogic practices. In the year 1888 shri Prabhu Ram Lal Ji Maharaj was born in Amritsar. At a very early age he went away from home in search of a ‘Yogi Guru’ in the hills of Nepal. He met his ‘Puran Guru’ Lord Shiva in the disguise of an old Yogi known as Maha Prabhu on the ‘Sumeru Parvat.’ Prabhu Ram Lal took his complete Yogic Shiksha from him and came down to Amritsar and opened his first ashram there and started teaching Yoga to the ailing mankind. Thereafter many Yog ashrams were founded in India and in many foreign countries which are preaching Yoga free of cost to the world.

Sadd Guru Chaman Lal ji took diksha from his Guru Swami Mulakh Raj ji Maharaj who was Prabhu Ram Lal ji’s disciple. Sadd Guru Chaman Lal ji was a sanskrit lecturer and Principal B.Ed College Dharamshala. After years of practice he dedicate his own house in Hoshiarpur to servve mankind, where thousand of people come and learn Yoga free of cost.

In this section, we will learn about Yogic ‘Shat Karmas’, a book written by Sadd Guru Chaman Kapoor ji. According to him the book deals with the  ailments caused by accumulation of ‘mal’ (impurities/secretions) inside the body and  various cleansing practices which help in eradicating common ailments by using simple, inexpensive and sure methods of acquiring immunity.

Yoga results in the ‘efficiency of actions’ as endorsed by ‘Shrimad Bhagwat Gita’. This is achieved by practise to develop and control the both mind and the body. In the science of Yoga, these are separately dealt under two principal branches — 1. Hath Yoga; 2. Raj Yoga.

  1. Hath Yoga – involves the seven practices or sadhanas for mental and physico-mental perfect.

The seven fold practices of Hath Yoga are:

  1. Shat Karma – for purification
  2. Asanas – for physical strength
  3. Mudras – for steadiness
  4. Pratiahar – for firmness, fortitude and calmness
  5. Pranayam – for lightness
  6. Dhyan – for clear perception of self
  7. Samadhi – for kaivalya, sinlessness and isolation

Shat Karma is the most important of these seven elements for a sound body and mind. Shat karma comprises of six practices — 1. Dhauti; 2. Neti; 3. Nauli; 4. Basti; 5. Trataka; 6. Kapal bharti.

These six practices aim at cleansing the body from inside from top to toe. Practically all diseases are the result of accumulation of impurities or ‘mal’ produced by different organs. Hence Shat Karm practices if done regularly make us immune from diseases due to their cleansing effect. The dhauti would clean the throat, the food canal, the stomach and the rectum. Basti for colon; Neti for the parts above the neck; nauli for the intestine; trataka for eyes and kapal bharti for the head, lungs and blood. All these practices will be discussed in details in our next edition.

So till then stay healthy and be happy!