Yoga is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices. It is derived from sanskrit word. It is a kind of self-discipline. It is a life style which plays an important role in personality development. It is a kind of medical science that deals with both physical and mental diseases. It is a collection of spiritual knowledge that helps to recognize one’s own body and mind. Yoga is a kind of collective pattern aiming to keep body, mind and soul healthy. It plays important role to keep body, mind and soul fresh and pleasurable. Maharsi Patanjali is the first person to bring yoga into practice. Yoga can be practiced individually as well as in group. Regular practice of yoga strengthens internal and external body organs and systems. Similarly, it keeps the body free from diseases and weakness. Yoga plays a vital role in maintaining maximum physical and mental health as well as for developing maximum capacity on the part of students and players. Yoga is necessary to be safe from different accidents, keeping body and mind conscious and well-conditioned. There are eight part of yoga. They are:
- Dhyan and
Among these types, we are practicing some of the asanas and pranayams of yoga in this unit.
Surya Namaskar (Salutation to the Sun)
Surya refers to the sun and namaskar denotes bowing down. Surya Namaskar (Salutation to the Sun) means a salute to the sun. It helps to improve flexibility, strength, balance, concentration and focus. It also strengthens the abdominal muscles. It is a kind of training as well as a type of pranayam since it is related to respiration.
Steps of Surya Namaskar
Step 1: Start with standing position, as shown in figure. Keeping palms joined together, in prayer pose, we should exhale air.
Step 2: With a deep inhalation, raise both arms above your head and tilt slightly backward arching your back.
Step 3: With a deep exhalation, bend forward and touch the mat, both palms in line with your feet, and touch your knees with forehead.
Step 4: With a deep inhalation, take your right leg away from your body, in a big backward step. Both your hands should be firmly planted on your mat, your left foot between your hands and your head tilted towards the ceiling.
Step 5: With a deep exhalation, shove your hips and butt up towards the ceiling, forming an upward arch. Your arms should be straight and aligned with yourhead as shown in the figure.
Step 6: With a deep exhalation, lower your body down till your forehead, chest, knees, hands and feet touch the mat, your butt tilted up. Take a normal breath in this pose.
Step 7: With a deep inhalation, slowly snake forward till your head is up, your back arched concave as much as possible shown in the figure.
Step 8: Exhaling deeply, again push your butt and hips up towards the ceiling as in position 6 and your arms aligned straight with your head.
Step 9: Inhaling deeply, bring your right foot towards your body, in a big forward step. Both your hands should be planted firmly on your mat and the right foot between your hands. At the same time, head must be tilted towards the ceiling.
Step 10: Exhaling deeply, rise up and touch the mat, keeping both your palms in line with your feet and forehead touching your knees.
Step 11: Inhaling deeply, raise both your arms above your head and tilt slightly backward.
Steps 12: Return to standing position facing the sun, touch both feet, join palms together in the prayer pose.
The word asana is usually translated as "pose" or "posture,”. But it’s more literal meaning is "comfortable seat” for meditation and pranayama. It helps to make all organs and systems in our body active, healthy and flexible in our body. It is very useful in different conditions. Some of the Asanas are described below.
- Setu Bandhasan (Bridge Pose)
This pose is effective in reducing pain in waist and neck. It strengthens the abdominal muscle and helps to improve digestion.
Following are the steps to be practiced:
Step 1: Lie flat on your back on the ground.
Step 2: Keep your arms on your sides. Now lift your hips upwards pressing with your plam and as high as you can as shown in the figure (should not over-stretch).
Step 3: Straighten your feet, keeping waist in stable position. Stay in this position for 7-8 seconds.
Step 4: Now relax by touching your hips to the ground, i.e. your starting position.
Step 5: Relax for few seconds and repeat this cycle for 5-6 times.
This asana is done for relaxation of body. While performing different asanas, makarasan is done between those asana for relaxation. This asana is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, mental stress and insomnia. It cures stomach disorders as well.
Following steps are to be performed in this asana.
Step 1: Lay in prone position, fold the arms in front of the head and place the head either on the arms or on the floor, turning the head to the side if it is comfortable. Spread the legs apart so the heels touch the corners of your yoga mat, with the toes pointing outwards and heels in. Close your eyes while you maintain the asana.
Step 2: Stay relaxed and breathe normally. You should self-concentrate on theological thought. For example, ‘We came to this world empty handed, and have to go empty handed as well. So why to quarrel, I am a part of the god and so on’. Bring such thoughts in your mind and feel yourself being very close to the God and relax.
- Halasan (plough pose)
The posture that resembles the shape of a plough is known as Halasan. It makes the spine flexible. It keeps thyroid gland healthy and helps in physical and mental development of an individual. It is beneficial for the people having constipation, diabetes and heart diseases. People having problem of liver, uterus and spine must not perform this asana.
Following are the steps of halasan.
Step 1: Lie on your back, arms alongside, palms on the ground. Raise legs at 900(you may take help of hands on the hips) with deep inhalation, then lower them over your head with exhalation.
Step 2: Touch the ground by with feet as shown in the figure, keeping knees straight, ankles stretched and toes pointed. Remain in this position for 5/10 seconds. As you practice this time and again, you can stay in this position for 4/5 minutes.
Step 3: Come back to the initial stage following the steps in a reverse manner.
Respiration is the basis of life. Pranayam is the process of controlling the speed of respiration. The breathing process chiefly involves three activities: inhalation, holding and exhalation. Of these, the first is called "Puraka", the second is called “Kumbhak” and the third is called "Rechaka"' in pranayama. Pranayama helps to maintain healthy blood circulation and nervous system. Likewise it improves concentration and is helpful in increasing memory power as well. Pranayamas are of different types. Some of them are given below:
Bhastrika is process of inhaling and exhaling air rhythmically through the nose. Generally, inhalation and exhalation are done within two and half second in bhastrika. People of all ages can perform it. It is the excellent breathing exercise which we can practice slowly or fast at our convenience. But practising this exercise quickly by unhealthy people could be dangerous. It helps to make nervous system and circulatory system active. It refreshes our mind and improves concentration. It cures diseases such as common cold, cough, asthma, allergy, etc.
Steps for Bhastrika
Step 1: Sit comfortably on flat ground keeping your back straight.
Step 2: Close your eyes, take deep breath through both nostrils (two and half seconds) and fill the lungs with air and then exhale the air taking it at the same time. Generally, one cycle is completed within 5 seconds and 12 cycles are completed in 5 minutes. It is better to perform this exercise daily 2-5 minutes.
Step 3: In the beginning, it can be practiced 3/4 minutes in the morning and in the evening. When you become experienced, it can be practiced daily for 10/12 minutes.
Kapalbhati is a type of pranayama. Deoxygenated air is exhaled and oxygenated air is inhaled during this exercise. It improves the function of the lungs and other respiratory system. It removes toxins from the body and helps to clean the internal system. It improves the functioning of digestive system and is beneficial for gynecological diseases. It increases memory power too. People with heart diseases, hernia, asthma, dizziness and surgery of stomach and chest in the period of less than 6 months should not practice this exercise.
Steps for Kapalbhati
Step 1: Sit on the flat floor and fold your legs. Keep the trunk straight and close the eyes. Keep the right palm on right knee and left palm on left knee.
Step 2: Take deep breath and exhale with all your force so your stomach will go deep inside and again in hale. This process should be done in each second so that there will be 60 times in a minute. In the beginning, practice it for 2 minutes and then after it can be practiced for 5/10 minutes and can be prolonged up to 20 minutes daily.
Anulom Bilom is one of the best and easiest breathing exercises for entire purification of the body as well as the mind. It is a kind of rhythmic inhalation and exhalation exercise. In this breathing technique, inhale through one nostril in 5 seconds, hold the breath and exhale through the other nostril within 5 seconds. The left nostril is the path of Ida and the right nostril is the path of Pingala. The exercise of the Anulom Bilom produces optimum function to both sides of the brain. That is, optimum creativity and optimum logical verbal activity. This will make both sides of the brain function properly. For example, the left side is responsible for logical thinking and the right side is responsible for creative thinking. This will lead to a balance between a person's creative and logical thinking. It completely cures most of the internal body diseases. It reduces stress of body and mind. There are 4 steps in one cycle of Anulom Bilom. In one minute, we can complete three cycles of it. Generally it can be practiced 5-10 minutes daily. But, for particular diseases, it can be practiced according to the advice of a doctor. People of all ages can practice this pranayam.
Steps of Anulom Bilom
Step 1: Sitting in padamasan position, close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale slowly through the left nostril counting 1 to 5.
Step 2: Now close left nostril with middle and ring finger and exhale through the right nostril counting 1 to 5.
Step 3: Inhale again through the right nostril.
Step 4: Exhale again through the left nostril. It completes one cycle.