The Monday to Saturday yoga guide

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For yoga therapy to be fully effective, the initial treatment should ideally be done outside the home at a yoga ashram. At home, you may not be able to relax deeply, and tension slows healing. Also, at home, the conditions that created the health problems in the first place still exist and may counteract the effects of yoga. The peaceful atmosphere of the ashram automatically relaxes the inhabitants.

Healing will be enhanced if the yogashram is located in the mountains, surrounded by greenery. In such a place, not only will relaxation and oxygenation of body tissues be better, the concentration of prana will be maximum. It has been observed that 300 cubic feet of mountain air contains 5,000 units of prana versus 50 units of this energy in a city office. Seashores and river banks are the next best alternative.

At home, you can not devote much time to yogic practices. Basically, people spend about an hour on yoga, and then also doing only hatha yoga, i.e. asanas, pranayamas and occasionally satkarma. But hatha yoga does not include the entire practice of yoga; it’s just part of that system. Hatha yoga is meant to correct the shortcomings of the gross physical body only. But we are much more than just a body.

According to yoga and psychology, in addition to the physical body, we have a conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind. Health problems can start with any of these three. However, this manifests itself in the physical body, as this is the only aspect that can be seen. Thus, if the root cause is not eliminated, the disease caused cannot be cured.

The liberation of the mind from a deeply rooted error cannot be achieved by yoga alone. The ancient yogis understood this and developed other types of yoga, mainly Bhakti yoga (the yoga of devotion), raja yoga (the yoga of concentration and meditation), karma yoga (the yoga of action, when a person engages in physical labor without expecting any material benefits ) and Gyana yoga (yoga research) for that. Therefore, it is necessary to practice them all, at least in the beginning. People without any ailments also benefit from them, as they cleanse their psyche of all unwanted past impressions that can later lead to illness.

According to Swami Satyananda Saraswati, all four yogas must be practiced. He says that if you don’t practice “Karma Yoga” you will experience disappointment and disappointment and subsequent reactions in life; if you do not practice bhakti-yoga, passions will kindle; if you don’t practice raja yoga your mind will jump like a drunken monkey; if you do not practice Gina yoga, you will not know why you are practicing all these things; and if you don’t practice hatha yoga, you won’t be able to practice any of them.”

At the yoga ashram, the whole day is filled with various other yogas besides the four main ones. They are Nada Yoga, Mantra Yoga and Tantra Yoga. Each yoga caters to one aspect of the human nature and together they take care of the whole personality, making the practitioner feel uniquely calm, uplifted, healed and invigorated. It is as if you have received a fresh body and mind. Everyone should experience life in the ashram to understand how wonderful the effect of real yoga is. The feeling cannot be described in words. You have to experience it to believe it.

The ancient sages of India knew the price of combined yoga and established such rules that people practiced them from childhood. At the tender age of seven or eight, each child was sent to gurukul, that is, to the abode of the guru. There, during the training of future professional skills, children were forced to practice yoga. For Gyana yoga they studied scriptures; for raja yoga they meditated and practiced asanas and pranayamas; for bhakti yoga, they performed religious rituals such as yajnas, and for karma yoga, it was hard physical labor. Whether he was a prince or a pauper, he was forced to perform various duties such as gardening, chopping firewood, drawing water from wells, caring for livestock, etc. All these yogis, along with a strict disciplined life, went a long way in shaping their health and character. According to the Vedas, the life span of a Vedic person was at least one hundred years, and they spent the second half of their lives alone in the forest, catering to their various needs. This way of life testifies to their physical and mental strength. This is a far cry from modern times when, after a certain age, we cannot do without drugs, hospitals, doctors, nurses and attendants.

Ideally, all yogas should be performed every day, albeit in shorter versions. But if this is not possible, one should periodically go to yogashram. Those who do this find it useful to remain in the best state of their health and face life’s difficulties with equanimity. In the words of my Guruji, it is like recharging an internal battery to withstand the vagaries of life in a complex society.

IDEAL YOGIC WORK MONDAY TO SATURDAY

◾ Cycling

◾ Leg lock

◾ Side rolling

◾ Shavasana for 10 breaths

◾Eka pada pranamasana

◾ Natawara

◾ Shavasana for 10 breaths

◾Surya Namaskara

◾ Savasana (20 breaths per round)

◾Bhujangasana

◾ Shashankasana

◾ Matsyasana

◾ Paschimottanasana

◾ Ardha Matsyendrasana

◾ Shavasana for 10 breaths

◾ Nadi Sodhana Pranayama

◾ Bhramari

◾ Kapalabhati

◾ Sambhavi

◾ Jalandhara bandha

◾ Mula bandha

◾ Meditation 15-20 minutes

AFTER MEAL

Vajrasana for at least 10 minutes

IN THE EVENING

kirtan

TIME TO SLEEP

yoga nidra

SUNDAY MORNING

Satkarma

THE IDEAL NUTRITION PLAN AS A PART OF YOGIC PRACTICE

(Breakfast)

◾ Yellow fruits like papaya

◾ Almond

◾ Walnuts

◾ Sprouts

◾ Seeds

(Dinner)

◾ Rice or millet

◾ Mung dal or fish or both

◾ One leafy green vegetable

◾ One yellow vegetable

◾ One water vegetable (pumpkin or squash)

◾ Buttermilk

◾ Mouth freshener (saunf, ajwan, laung or cardamom)

◾ Half an hour after dinner, eat some fruit

(Dinner)

◾ Rice or millet

◾ Mung dal or fish or both in smaller quantities

◾ Dessert

◾ Milk, banana, honey, nutmeg, angiers, sultanas or dates

◾ Mouth freshener

YOGA RULES

1. Yoga should be practiced on an empty stomach. You can eat 10 minutes after the procedure is completed.

2. Use a rolled up blanket or yoga mat. Do not use a soft foam mattress or mat as they do not provide adequate back support.

3. Facing east. Even when you lie down, your head should be in that direction.

4. Wear loose cotton clothing. Dense or synthetic restrict proper oxygenation of the system.

5. Avoid plastic neti pots and non-stick pans for heating water.

6. No microwave to warm up. Vitamins may remain intact, but prana will disappear.

7. Follow the correct sequence of activities.

(Bijoilaxmi Hota is a renowned integrated yoga therapist whose books are sold worldwide. This is taken from her latest book, Yoga for Super Immunity.)

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