Yoga And Pranayama
In the present times, Yoga has increasingly been accepted as a way of life the world over. Based on an ancient philosophy of uniting the human spirit or consciousness with the Divine, Yoga today has become more prevalent as a form of exercise based on specific postures, or asanas.
In Preksha Meditation, yogasanas or yogic exercises, are an essential component which assist the individual in attaining the deeper levels of meditation. Through yogasanas, the physical body is brought to a state of complete relaxation (Kayotsarga), from where the journey to realizing one’s true self begins.
While it is a proven and accepted fact that the regular practice of yoga can bring about physical transformation, the aim and objective of yoga is more holistic. Yoga helps the practitioner attain mental, physical and spiritual well-being, curing from within. At the same time, it prepares the body and mind for deep meditation and helps in the attainment of mental strength and enhances intuitive powers.
Yogasana is a crucial aspect of Preksha Meditation’s base philosophy of providing holistic cure from within, bringing about a positive transformation in the individual. The physical exercises of yoga go hand in hand with meditation in Preksha. For instance, yogic exercises, when performed along with meditation, can neutralize the digestive system and enhance its functioning. Similarly, meditation and yoga together can help regulate our emotions by awakening the various psychic centres or chakras and regulate the neuroendocrine system, which in turn keeps the negative emotions away and fosters positive thoughts and actions.
In Jain meditation, yoga practices and exercises are first practiced in lying down position which consumes less energy. Subsequently, as the body becomes accustomed to the practice, asanas in sitting or standing position may be taken up with higher levels of energy consumption.
Benefits of Yoga
The regular practice of yoga along with meditation offers several ling-term benefits to the practitioner:
- Improved physical and mental health
- Stronger immune system
- Regulates the functioning of vital body organs
- Enhances self-esteem and alertness of the brain and mind
- Imparts discipline
While a certain discipline must be maintained in the practice of yoga, it is perfectly safe to be practiced by any individual for attaining physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. However, for beginners, it is advisable to begin the practice of yoga only under the guidance and supervision of a trained guru.
At the Kendra, yoga healing is conducted in the following sessions:
- Yoga therapy classes
- General fitness classes
- Individual yogic healing
A crucial form of yogasana is the practice of Pranayama. Prana or breath is the very life force of the human body which keeps the energy flowing through it in a regulated manner. Commonly understood as breathing exercises, Pranayama is in fact instrumental in regulating our entire energy levels, and consequently, our health. This is precisely why in almost all systems of meditation tremendous emphasis has been laid on regulating or watching the breath. Therefore, in different exercises of Pranayama, breathing is regulated. The principal tenet behind this is that if we just learn to take deep and rhythmic breaths, we will be able to improve our holistic health significantly. The objective of Pranayama is to create a link between the physical body and consciousness and bring about harmony between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems of the body.
The technique of Pranayama consists of four stages, which are as follows:
- Purak (Inhalation)
- Rechak (Exhalation)
- Antrika Kumbhak (Holding the breath inside after inhalation)
- Bahya Kumbhak (Holding the breath outside after exhalation)
Depending on the manner in which exhalation and inhalation of breath are practices, there are several types of Pranayama. Some of the more popular ones among these include the Surya Bhedi, Chandra Bhedi, Anuloma-Viloma, Bhastrika, Kapaalbhaati, Sheetali and Ujjai.
Benefits of Pranayam
Pranayama offers several benefits to its practitioners, the most significant being the regulation of the uninterrupted flow of vital energy through the nerves throughout the body. The deep breathing techniques of inhalation and exhalation provide energy to the body and cure abdominal ailments respectively. Some form so Pranayama such as Chandra-bhedi, cool the body, purify the blood and re-energize the body. Similarly, Sheetali pranayam quenches the thirst, regulates the blood pressure and enhances the glow of the face. Pranayama, by controlling the rate and rhythm of breathing also improves mental concentration and intuitive powers.
At Adhyatm Sadhna Kendra, Pranayama is an important component of the Preksha Meditation Camps to help participants achieve better physical health and cure disorders while attaining overall holistic wellness. It is conducted under the expert supervision of qualified Yoga instructors and trainers. To give participants in-depth knowledge about the correct practice and benefits of Pranayama, both theoretical and practical aspects of Pranayama are explained in the camps.