Saturday, December 02, 2006

Yoga part I : An integrated solution

It’s been almost a year since I have started performing yoga. My journey of yoga started off with taking up the ‘Sri Sri Yoga’ course thought by ‘Art of living’ foundation. Also I got some theoretical knowledge by reading the book ‘yoga and prayanama for health’. Performing Yoga has become part of my life now. Even though benefits need to be experienced rather than writing it, I thought of share my personal thoughts about yoga in a series of blogs.

I am not going to give a ‘spiritual’ explanation of yoga but more of ‘common sense’ approach in this blog. Human system can be classified into three parts namely body, mind and subconscious mind and it is important to understand these things before getting into understanding of yoga. The mind is the ‘active’ entity which helps us to think day to day activities. The subconscious mind is a ‘passive’ and responsible for ‘non-rational’ behavior of human beings. It is always active and keeps recording the happenings around. This recording methodology (which can be also called as ‘perceiving’) varies from one human being to another. Different people form different perception towards the same thing and that’s the very reason why human begins are so different from each other. And finally the body is the engine which executes the command given by the mind.

The Yoga is a methodology invented by ancient Indians for leading healthy and happy life. The old traces say ‘pathanjali yoga sutra’ is one of the ancient texts found in this area which traces back to 4000 years. According to yoga, being healthy is all about having a strong mind, body and subconscious mind. So yogic techniques are mainly based on exercising all these three aspects of humans and that’s why I call yoga as an ‘integrated solution’. Other techniques like aerobics, gym exercises and weight lifting only focus on the body portion. Now the next question comes our mind is how yoga techniques achieve this integrated solution? How all three aspects are taken care of? Read on!

At physical level, yoga has got various postures called ‘asanas’. When these asanas are performed, appropriate body portion gets strengthened in a natural way. The natural way is all about placing a particular portion of the body in a posture for a specified number of times in a relaxed way. When a particular asana is performed, focus on the breath is a must. By taking deep, concentrated breath we indirectly achieve a ‘stillness’ by keeping the body and subconscious mind active. The mental portion gets turned because of this and this is the major difference between yoga and other exercise methods. This is the very reason why I call yoga as an ‘integrated solution’. Even in meditation only the mental portion gets conditioned as it is performed quietly sitting in a place. But in yoga along with mental conditioning, body also gets conditioned.

Since the conditioning happens at all three levels, yoga retains the energy in the body. It solves problems of stress, pain, restlessness in a natural, relaxed way. I have personally seen yoga has done wonders for me in the past one year and it has really changed my life. I am planning to write multiple blogs on yoga and I will share my personal experiences in latter blogs.

4 comments:

Shanmuga said...

Good blog Anna..
It is very intuitive one.
I have one doubt. In general, Yoga can be classified into Karma Yoga, Gnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Dyaana Yoga etc as far as I know.. In these which type of yoga does Art of Living propagate?
They are organizing a festival called Yuvaratri in Mumbai this month.

Jayakumar Balasubramanian said...

Jambu, The method what these people teach would come under Dhayana (Raja) yoga. Basically by controlling the breath one can invoke various chakras There are totally 7 chakras at human body starting from spinal chord to brain. They believe by performing these yogas one can raise his consciousness starting from the bottom-most to the top one to attain 'samadhi' or 'salvation' state. In fact in Gita itself references are there.

Pen Pal said...

Jayakumar, Have you practiced any other yoga techniques..like Bikram Yoga or Hatha Yoga or Iyengar Yoga (by BKS Iyengar). I have heard these too are very effective, but never learnt any. Any sugesstions which is better to learn. And what is the difference between Sri Yoga and others. Please share your experience.

Jayakumar Balasubramanian said...

Dear Pen pal,

I have been practicing Sri Sri Yoga for the past two years, which is completely base on asanas and pranayama techniques. I have also heard about other yogas you have mentioned but I think they all come under the 'raja yoga'. As long as you are able to do any one of them it should be fine.

Hope this helps.