Yoga for your health

 
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The first priority in life is good health. Good health is a determining factor for both material and spiritual satisfaction. Yoga is an integral system bringing good health to body and mind as well as spiritual union or contentment with one´s own self.

The origins of Yoga are in the Vedas, the 6000 year old scriptures of India. ´Yoga´ comes from the root word yuj, ‘to yoke’/’to connect’. Merging oneself with the universal soul is Yoga. An unripe individual has ego, jealousy, anger, etc. By overcoming these negative qualities, the individual soul (microcosm) becomes purified and can unite with the universal soul (macrocosm).

Yoga can also be defined as steadiness of the mind or perfection in life. Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

In the 1980s, yoga became popular as a system of physical exercises across the Western world. Yoga in Indian traditions, however, is more than physical exercise, it has a meditative and spiritual core with the ultimate goal is ‘moksha’ or liberation

 

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There are four main types of Yoga:

Jnana Yoga (intellectual approach): Listening to the scriptures, contemplating on the true and deep meaning of those scriptures and meditating on that very essence (Brahman) of the scriptures are the three classical practices of Jnana Yoga. 

Raja Yoga (mastery of the mind): It is the Royal Path of controlling the thought waves, which leads one to self-realization, or Samadhi. According to the great sage Patanjali Maharshi (Raja Yoga Sutras, 200 BC), regulating the thought waves leads to steadiness of the mind/Samadhi, which is the final stage of spiritual discipline. Raja Yoga is also called Ashtanga Yoga because of its eight ‘limbs’ or steps, which are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

Bhakti Yoga (the path of love and devotion): Practice of pure Bhakti (devotion) melts away the individual ego and brings God-realization. Bhakti Yoga is suitable for any temperament, but it is especially good for those with an emotional nature.

Karma Yoga (the path of selfless action): In Karma Yoga one dedicates himself/ herself to the universe. All actions are done whole-heartedly and without expectation of the fruit/reward of the action.

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Hatha Yoga - the Yoga of skill and perfection

Hatha Yoga is the practical aspect of Raja Yoga. The five methods used in Hatha Yoga to attain perfection of body and mind are practice of Asanas (postures), Pranayama (breathing exercises), Kriyas (cleansing techniques), Bandhas (energy locks) and Mudras (certain postures or gestures).

Since 2001, the popularity of yoga worldwide has expanded and in fact no other than Barak Obama stated, "Yoga has become a universal language of spiritual exercise, crossing many lines of religion and cultures.”

Yoga has proved effective for relaxation, to reduce stress and improve some medical conditions. Many studies have tried to determine the effectiveness of yoga as a remedy for cancer, schizophrenia, asthma, and heart disease.  

Says Annie Wyatt of Namaste Retreats India: "As a 'low-impact activity' Yoga can actually provide the same benefits as any well-designed exercise programme, increasing general health and stamina, reducing stress, and to strengthen and balance all parts of the body. I teach yogic cleansing techniques as part of our transformational, detox and cleansing retreats. Along with raw juices or an Ayurvedic diet, these really clean up the body and the mind, flush out the toxins and reset a person's health completely in a short space of time."

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Four years ago June 21 was proclaimed as the International Day of Yoga and is being celebrated by millions of Yoga practitioners – yogis and yoginis - worldwide. On December 1, 2016, Yoga was even listed by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage.

Join us on a retreat to practice Yoga under the expert guidance of Annie Wyatt and Veechi Shahi in India this September or October. More on our website and social media pages.

 
Annie Wyatt