Category Archives: Yoga Concepts

Dharana – Concentration in Yoga

Dharana - Concentration in Ashtanga Yoga

Dharana or Concentration in yoga is the sixth stage or step in the eight-limbed Ashtanga Yoga. Dharana is explained in the Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali as focusing the mind at a point or a centre. It has to be practiced after internalizing the mind through the process of Pratyahara (fifth stage in Ashtanga Yoga). Dharana leads to Dhyana or meditation (the 7th Stage of Ashtanga Yoga).

Pancha Prana Vayu – The Five Energy Flows

Pancha Prana Vayu - The Five Vital Energies

Pancha Prana Vayu or the five energy flows, enables the body and its organs to function. Essentially, the Pancha Prana Vayus are responsible for the entire physiology of the human system.

Pratyahara – Internalizing the Mind in Yoga

PRATYAHARA - INTERNALIZING THE MIND

Pratyahara or the method of internalizing the mind is the 5th step in the 8-step Ashtanga Yoga of Maharishi Patanjali. Yoga Sutras talk of Asana or postures for steadying the body and Pranayama for stabilizing and controlling the breath, mind and senses. These practices lead to a state of withdrawal of senses also known as Pratyahara which prepares the mind for practice of meditation.

Yoga Asanas are not mere Exercises

Yoga and exercise are not the same. Today, most fitness programs teach exercises, Yoga asanas, pranayama, Tai Chi, aerobics, martial arts, etc or a combination of these. Though all of these are aimed at maintaining and improving health, few understand the difference between Yoga asanas and other forms of fitness methods.

Asana – Yoga Postures

ASANA - Yogic Postures

Asana or Yoga Postures form the third step in Ashtanga Yoga. Maharishi Patanjali describes asana in Yoga Sutras as “Sthiram Sukham Asanam”, which means that asana is to stay in position or pose with ease. The purpose of yoga asana is to develop strength, balance and steadiness of the body which eventually leads to mastery over the mind.

Yoga and its Benefits

Yoga benefits people of all age groups. The benefits range from mental peace, fitness, health, improved physiological functioning of the body and spiritual evolution.

The benefits of Yoga Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Shatkarma and Meditation reach all the levels of our being. To understand this, we need to know more about the different levels of our own individual existence.

Yoga as a Lifestyle

Yoga as a Lifestyle

Yoga as a lifestyle or the ‘yogic way’ has a huge following. It is amazing that a tradition which is more than 5000 years old has today become a popular way of life. The power of yoga lies in its simplicity, flexibility and diversity.

The Guru Disciple Tradition

Guru Disciple Tradition

        Role of the Guru in spiritual life is indisputable. The spiritual path is an esoteric path. Everything cannot be learned from scriptures and talks. Even if we understand a subject intellectually, it is not easy to put it to practice. One needs to undergo an inner shift to grasp the subtle truths about life and the creation. An external agent is required to help us through this change, which can be painful at times. When a larva wants to become a beautiful butterfly, it has to undergo various stages of transformation. That is a challenge. When we are ready for this challenge, the role of the Guru begins.

Shatkarma – Purification Techniques in Hatha Yoga

The Shatkarma or the six purification techniques in Hatha Yoga are designed to make the body strong and healthy. ‘Shat’ means six and ‘Karma’ here means a method or technique. Shatkarmas are considered preparatory steps towards higher practices of pranayama and meditation.

Tribute to the Ancient Yogi Shiva

Tribute to Ancient Yogi Shiva

Prayer to Adi Yogi, Lord Shiva

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat

This is the Mrityunjaya mantra of Lord Shiva which translates as:

“OM, We worship the three-eyed Lord Shiva, who is the fragrance of Life and nourishes our health. O Lord, just as a cucumber when ripe is freed from the vine, release us from attachment and death; and grant us the nectar of immortality.”