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YOGA
What is Yoga- History & Tradition
Practice, Benefits and Diet
Types of Yoga
Yoga Postures
Cleansing Processes
Pranayama
ESSENTIALS OF PRACTICING YOGA
 

Yoga is a Scientific System of physical and mental excellence which requires obedience to certain rules, principle and methodology in order to acquire satisfactory results. If these rules and principles are not followed it may cause reverse results, i.e. harm and injury to the body. 

  1. There is no specific time for doing yoga. In the point of view of convenience, morning is always better as you will be free for the rest of the day. 
    Whatever time you have chosen, stick to the same time of practice every day. 
    Practice yoga regularly and continuously. Irregular practice will not bring good results. 
    Practice only once within twenty four hours. 
    Practice at least 15 minutes a day, for 5 days a week. 15 minutes can be gradually increased to a maximum of 1 hour. 
  2. The place of yoga practice should be neat, clean and airy. 
    Try to practice at the same place regularly. 
    Practice alone, if possible. 
  3. Yoga should be practiced on an empty stomach. 
    If you have taken food, wait for two or more hours before practicing. 
    Practitioner must avoid hot food or excessive spices and try to eat a balanced diet. 
  4. Relax in between asanas for 6 to 8 seconds. Take 2 or 3 normal breaths between asanas. 
    Rest at the end of the asana session. The general principle is to rest 1/4th of the time of actual practice. For example if you practice asanas for 30 minutes, your rest time is 71/2 minutes.
  5. Your body should  be neat and clean nor it should be tired or under any excessive physical pain. 
    Wear clean and light cloth while practicing.  
    Avoid excessive intake of coffee, tea, alcohol and drugs. 
  6. Try to keep the mind free from anxiety, worries and any strenuous involvement while you are practicing.
  7. Women should not practice yoga during their menstrual periods. Pregnant women should take care to practice moderately.

BENEFITS OF YOGA

The benefits of yoga are extensive. Not only does yoga affect the physical aspect of the body, it addresses the mind and spirit as well. Daily exercises are a great way to help relieve the stress of your day and can bring a sense of well-being to your life. Here are the top ten benefits of yoga.

 

1. Stress Relief
Yoga can help reduce the effects of stress on your body. One of the benefits of yoga is that it encourages relaxation and can lower the amount of cortisol in your body.

2. Pain Relief
Daily exercises of yoga can help ease the aches and pains of the body. Many people with very serious diseases have reported less pain after these daily exercises, such as asanas or meditation.

3. Better Breathing
You will learn to take deeper, slower breaths with daily exercises of yoga. It will help to increase your lung function and set off the body''s relaxation response. This can be one of the most powerful benefits of yoga.

4. Flexibility
You will notice your level of flexibility will increase, which will help with your range of motion. Sometimes in the yoga daily exercises, people cannot even touch their toes. The benefits of yoga will include lengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your body to help you become more flexible.

5. Increased Strength
Yoga poses use all the muscles in your body and help you increase your strength level from head to toe. The benefits of yoga and daily exercises will help you strengthen your muscles close to the bones, which increase the support of your skeletal system as well.

6. Weight Management
You will see the benefits of yoga begin to affect your scale. Daily exercises are always recommended, but yoga helps reduce the level of cortisol in your body. This aids in weight loss and fat burning.

7. Improved Circulation
Yoga will help improve your body''s circulation. In turn, with daily exercises, you will see the benefits of yoga with lowered blood pressure and pulse rates.

8. Cardiovascular Conditioning
Even the most gentle style of yoga will help to lower your resting heart reate and increase your overall endurance. This is one of the important benefits of yoga to help improve the amount of oxygen taken in during the daily exercises.

9. Focus on the Present
You can have greater coordination, memory skills, reaction times, and improved concentration skills by utilizing yoga for daily exercises. These benefits of yoga will extend far out of the yoga center.

10. Inner Peace
What more could you want. This is one of the primary reasons that people do daily exercises of yoga. This is one of the most important benefits of yoga and is also one of the more easy ones to attain.

The benefits of yoga are very far reaching indeed. There is no one other exercise avenue you can take that will address all of these issues in one simple session.


Why the Yogic way for Food?

Yoga is the only science that has laid great emphasis on food over centuries. In fact, there is a whole branch – called Anna Yoga – devoted to food for health and happiness.

Yoga over centuries has developed a concept of a balanced whole foods diet and an eating philosophy. These principles of good eating use powerful techniques which help in maintaining a strong and health body, a stress-free mind and a positive spirituality within this mixed up world.

Never has this yogic philosophy of a balanced whole foods diet been felt more than today when 97% of all health disorders can be traced to a faulty nutrition and diet.

It has been observed that (East) Indian civilizations suffer least from bowel problems, constipation, indigestion and other food related disorders such as obesity. Do you know why? Because the Indian philosophy of cooking and eating draws heavily from the yogic philosophy of eating!

Yoga does not dissect food into vitamins, minerals, protein etc. The yogic philosophy is that the true benefits of these ingredients can be had only when they are NOT isolated but as much in their natural form as possible.

The key to true health is to have a balanced whole foods diet. A balanced diet ensures that all the faculties of digestion work smoothly – absorption, assimilation and elimination. A balanced whole foods diet ensures a healthy you!!

It is extremely important that all these 3 aspects work well together. If all these aspects work in harmony it is extremely unlikely that you’ll suffer from health disorders and even obesity. Often “synthetic” or “processed” foods create conditions that disrupt this balance. This leads to several physical and psychological problems. Over years, this can have dangerous consequences.

 
Yogic Diet

·         Food for the Body That's Good for the Soul
A real yogi eats to live, rather than living to eat. This doesn't mean your food has to be tasteless, though. So what do yogis eat? A vegetarian yoga diet, of course, consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and grains, nuts and seeds, and a moderate amount of dairy products. You can prepare countless dishes using various combinations of these nutritious foods. Fry up some spices and turn a plain vegetable dish into a savory Indian curry. Add herbs for a Mediterranean flavor or ginger and coconut milk for a delightful Thai entree. With scrumptious and satisfying dishes, even the die-hard meat-eaters in your family won't miss the meat.

·         A Spiritual Diet
You don't have to be a vegetarian to do yoga, but as you become more aware of your body, you'll find that eating meat makes you feel heavy. A vegetarian diet, on the other hand, helps you maintain the light and energized feeling you get from practicing yoga. Just go easy on the fried spring rolls and cheese dishes—they can put on the pounds. The yoga diet is especially important if we want to elevate our consciousness to the stage where we're feeling love and compassion for all living beings—including animals. Eating them, rather than respecting and caring about them, simply hardens our hearts, moving this goal beyond our reach.

 
YOGIC EATING

Unlike modern scientists, yogis are not interested in the chemical content (protein, vitamins, etc...) of the food. Instead, food is traditionally classified according to its effect on the body and mind, using the the three Gunas: Sattva (the quality of love, light and life), Raja (the quality of activity and passion, lacking stability) and Tamas (the quality of darkness and inertia, dragging us into ignorance and attachment) :

  1. Sattvic food promotes clarity and calmness of mind and is favourable for spiritual growth. It is "sweet, fresh and agreeable" and includes most fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables, whole grains, honey, pure water and  milk (with the reservation that commercially produced milk may not nowadays be so sattvic...). Given the amount of pesticides and chemical fertilisers used on commercial crops, only organic products still qualify as Sattvic, and tinned or frozen food certainly don't.
     
  2. Rajasic food feeds the body, but promotes activity and therefore induces restlessness of mind. It disturbs the equilibrium of the mind and is generally to be avoided by yoga practionners. Rajasic foods include most spicy foods, stimulants like coffee and tea, eggs, garlic, onion, meat, fish and chocolate, as well as most processed food. Eating too fast or with a disturbed mind is also considered rajasic. Rajasic food should be avoided by those whose aim is peace of mind, but will benefit people with an active lifestyle. A little rajasic food can be sattvic, for example, hot spices can help digestion, and therefore help create peace of mind!
     
  3. Tamasic food (to be avoided)  induces heaviness of the body and dullness of the mind, and ultimately benefits neither. It  includes alcohol, as well as food that is stale or overripe.  Overeating is also tamasic. The traditional advice is to fill the stomach half with food, one quarter with water, leaving the last quarter empty.

The nature of food can change. Cooking is the most obvious way to change the nature of food. Grains become sattvic only after cooking. Honey becomes tamasic (poisonous) with cooking. The nature of  a food also change by being in combination with other foods and spices, or if it is stored for periods of time. Generally grains should be aged a bit (they become more sattvic) but of course, fruits shouldn't (they rot and become tamasic).
 


 
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