The various types of yoga are,
- Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga.
- Jnana Yoga.
- Hatha Yoga.
- Bhakti Yoga.
- Karma Yoga.
- Kundalini Yoga.
- Kriya Yoga.
- Raja Yoga.
The object of all the yoga is enlightment.
The path is eight fold (limbs) as mentioned in Ashanga Yoga are,
- Asana (Exercise) – To keep the body fit.
- Pranayam – Control the energy.
- Yama, Niyama, pratyahara – Disciplines.
- Dharana, Dhyan – Concentration and Meditation.
- Samadhi – Salvation.
- Means ” Seat”.
- There are different sets of exercises prescribed in yoga and are called Asanas.
- The aim of these exercises is to make the body fit and enable us to sit in a comfortable position for meditation.
- There are so many Asanas; people are generally confused as to which one to choose.
- If your objective is meditation and if you are able to sit in the lotus position for 10 minutes then Asanas can be skipped.
- These are the steps prescribed in yoga. But they are all not compulsory.
- Even if you perform the asanas there is no guarantee that you will be able to sit in the lotus pose comfortably for a long time.
- What is the solution?
- The solution is to remove all the chairs in your house.
- Sit on the floor with the support of the spine. Do not lean and take the side support.
- The back problem will automatically vanish.
- In the beginning what I did was – One afternoon I just decided and removed all the chairs in my entertainment room and called a carpenter and cut the legs of my computer table. Started sitting only on the floor.
- If you are serious you have to do this.
- One problem may be – when both your legs are one on top of the other it might pain. The solution is to spread the legs wide and fold. Automatically the spine will be straight.
- Then in two to three months you will be able to sit straight only with the spine support.
- The Asana is ready.
- But if you have any specific problem like knee or joints then take a treatment and do the respective Asanas and then try.
- Some force is required to sit down but don’t force yourself too much in case you have pains.
- Of all the exercise programmes – Asana is the best to keep the body fit.
- To keep the body healthy-do a general yoga. I recommend this yoga CD. I am not into any advertising. The intention is to help others.
- This is a very well designed yoga programme.
- We need to be flexible to sit down.
- As a beginner it is advisable to start with some simple yoga and then sit on the floor.
- This will help in quick results.
- Don’t get struck in Asanas for a long time. Take efforts to progress.
- Asanas definetly help in curing many diseases,improves the breath and flexibility, stabilizes the mind.
- Stabilising the mind can also be done with better understanding of concepts.
- If the mind is clear then body automatically becomes flexible.
- I feel these asanas are for people who cannot understand the concepts and change their thinking. Then they need to work with their body to control mind. This is for less intelligent people.
- Means breathing exercises to control the prana or the energy.
- This is also an optional step.
- Again I am giving my example.
- I was generally very good with Asanas. But some how could not do even the simple pranayam exercises.
- I was a very sincere student. I used to do the exercises with lots of enthusiasm (as I was too good) but when my sir says it is pranayam time. I used to feel “oh my god! How will I mange this 15 minutes.
- One day I really nagged my teacher as to why I am not able to catch up with pranayam. I was also doubting whether he was teaching properly. He said in the end – you have certain fears that is why your breathing is not deep so remove your fears, it will happen.
- I really started to think and decided to remove all the fears. This not only deepend my breath but also removed my hunching. People who hunch have some fears. This is definitively umasvedantam. I have not seen any reference anywhere. But I have noticed this with many.
- The point is if we clear the concepts the breath will calm down and be stabilised.
- 2 pranayam which I recommend are,
- 1.Alternative nostril breathing – This will open both nostrils. Normally one nostril is more active. Which means one side of the brain is only active. Left side of the brain is lunar and the right is solar. The left brain controls human characters and the right brain controls the logical and analytical side.If we balance both the brain;the mind will be quiet. This is important for meditation.
- Naturally during sun rise and sun set both our nostrils are open. This is the best time for meditation. If we progress on meditation for some time then this balancing of the mind will naturally happen. [ Fact 1: Breath changes from one nostril to another every 1 and half hours which relates to the 15 position of the moon. It is good to eat when the right nostril is open as the digestion will be good and sleep when the left nostril is open]. [Fact 2 : Never sleep just after food. The apana is the prana which is less impure is used for evacuvation. If we sleep after eating this apana will move up and will disturb the digestion.It is good to walk after eating.]
- So this pranayam can also be avoided by meditating during sunset and sunrise. But it is a important exercise.
- 2. Inhalation, retention and exhalation. Say for one om recitation inhale and with 3 om recitation retain the breath and with two om recitation exhale (1:3:2). The breathe when retained does not know where to go and while exhaling it gets converted to ojas. The exhalation has to be slow. This is the best exercise of all pranayam.
- The disciplines specified in Ashtanga yoga are,
- We should speak truth to find the truth.
- Non – violance. etc.
- But according to me – they are,
- As said in Bhagavad gita – Do your duties happily.
- The first step before doing any yoga is to do your duties happily.
- If you are a women managing the family happily is the first and foremost yoga step.
- To remove the clutter in the mind;the house need to be cleaned.
- We cannot think clearly in a clutter.
- Keep a simple and clean house. Keep some little plants and flowers to make the mind feel good.
- Live with the nature i.e wake up in dawn when the intellect is at its peak and sleep before 10 pm. See my sleep article.
- Have a bath in the morning as this will clean the energy and make us feel good.
- Eat healthy. Fresh cooking as it will increase the intake of prana.
- Always have an object in mind. This will improve concentration.
- In yoga it is said that in the mind we should always think about god even when we are doing some work. This will keep the mind focused and the productivity will unconsciously increase. We can also recite the mantra.
- Exercise daily. Simple asanas, 2 pranayam suggested and walking.
- Daily reading. This will clear the concepts.
- Then sit for meditation.
- With asana and pranyam the body and the energy is balanced.
- Mind is a monkey. It is like a baby. Needs some system and control. If we follow some system and disciplined the mind will be controlled.
- But the ego will be controlled by clearing the concepts and this will improve the vijnanamaya khosha.
- This is more concerned about the control of the energies or pranayam.
- This is best suited for kapha body type.
- In this ego is surrended for the God and only devotion.
- The Hanuman is the best example of the devote of Rama.
- This is best suited for the pitta body type.
- They may not believe in Bhakti but will like to help the universe. So they will surrender the ego in service for others.
- Example : Mother Terasa.
- This is more suited for the vata people – thinkers.
- They will keep asking questions.
- So they can find the truth by asking who am I?
- More knowledge will make vata people ask more questions.
- Beyond a level they will think it is worthless thinking about the truth, let me search it within me.
Kundalini and Kriya yoga
- More about energy body. See my chakra article.
To conclude :
- Make your combination of yoga.
- Say you are are a fat person then more asana and better eating habits.
- If you are a hyper active person then more pranayam is required.
- If you feel unhappy or negative thinking or nature to find problems or mistakes or feeling in-secured or messy in managing things or no determination – reading and clearing the concepts is the best solution. Have faith it will happen.
- So yoga is different for each person. Make your own combination.
Be healthy and happy…………………