How Yoga affects your Health

how yoga can transform your body and how yoga works | pdf free download
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LavanaThomson,United Kingdom,Professional
Published Date:15-07-2017
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Unit 1 IntroductIon Overview Yoga is a healthy way of life, originated in India. Now, it is believed to be a form of science accepted all over the world. The western culture is also accepting it as a healthy form of scientific exercise. Although the origin of yoga is obscure, it has a long tradition. Yoga for a common person contains the practices of yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, kriya and meditation, which are helpful to keep oneself physically fit, mentally alert and emotionally balanced. This ultimately prepares ground for the spiritual development of an individual. The main emphasis of the present yoga curriculum for school-going children is to develop their physical fitness, mental development and emotional stability. Posture or asana form an important basis of this curriculum. These have, therefore, been given more weightage. Though other yogic activities have also been included in the curriculum. w hat is YOga ? The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from Sanskrit root yuj which means ‘join’ or ‘unite’. This may be taken as the union of body, mind and soul, and is used in the literature both as an end as well as means. As an end, yoga signifies ‘integration of personality’ at the highest level. As means, yoga includes various practices and techniques which are employed to achieve the development of such integration. Yoga : A Healthy Way of Living 2 These practices and techniques are means in the yogic literature and are also referred collectively as ‘Yoga’. i O mp rtance Of YOga Good health is the right of every human being. But this right depends on individual, social and environmental factors. Along with environmental or social factors to a large extent, we can develop a better immune system and a better perception of oneself so that other conditions do not affect us adversely and we can achieve good health. Health is a positive concept. Positive health does not mean merely freedom from disease, but it also include a jubilant and energetic feeling of well-being with an amount of general resistance and capacity to easily cultivate immunity against specific offending agents. Yoga is one of the most powerful drugless system of treatment. It is having its own concept of wellness which has been scientifically understood and presented by many. Yoga can be adopted as lifestyle for promoting our physical and mental health. Yoga, if introduced at the school level, would help to inculcate healthy habits and lifestyle to achieve good health. The aim of yoga thus, at the school level, is to encourage a positive and healthy lifestyle for physical, mental and emotional health of children. Yoga helps in the development of strength, stamina, endurance and high energy at physical level. It also empowers oneself with increased concentration, calm, peace and contentment at mental level leading to inner and outer harmony. YOga – i ts h O ist Y r Yoga has its origin thousands of years ago in India. It has originated from a universal desire to attaining happiness and getting rid of sufferings. According to yogic lore, Shiva Introduction 3 is considered the founder of yoga. A number of seals and fossil remains of Indus Valley Civilisation, dating back to 2700 BC indicates that yoga was prevalent in ancient India. However, systematic reference of yoga is found in Patanjali's Yogadarshana. Maharishi Patanjali systematised the yogic practices. After Patanjali, many sages/yogis contributed to its development and as a result yoga has now spread all over the world. In this sequence, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with 193 members approved the proposal to celebrate ‘June 21’ as the ‘International Yoga Day’. Objectives Of YOgic p ractices • To develop a understanding of yogic practices and apply this understanding accordingly in one’s life and living. • To develop healthy habits and lifestyle in children. • To develop humane values in children. • To develop physical, emotional and mental health through yogic activities. General Guidelines for Yogic Practices Yoga may be introduced from the primary level onwards in informal ways, but formal introduction of yogic exercises should begin only from Class VI. The yoga curriculum must address itself to the children and there should be some hints to them to take up a study of this subject on their own in addition to what is being taught in the class. Yogic activities can be done by all children including children with special needs. However, children with special needs should perform these activities in consultation with yoga experts/yoga teacher as per their capacity. • The yogic practices should start with a quiet mood which could be attained by reciting a short prayer. Yoga : A Healthy Way of Living 4 • It is essential that body should be prepared by activities such as ankle bending, knee bending, finger movements, hand clenching, wrist bending, wrist rotation, elbow bending, shoulder rotation and eye movement. After this, Surya Namaskara can be practised. • Regularity of practice is essential both in the physical and mental aspects of yoga. • Patience is an important requirement for yoga. Do not despair if you do not succeed today in doing a certain asana or in following a right principle of conduct. Perseverence in your efforts is needed. Success will come with time. • Do not compete but cooperate. A spirit of competition is a definite hindrance on the path of yoga. Competitions feed our ego while yoga helps us to rise above our ego. • Yogic practices should be learnt under the guidance of experienced teacher. • Most of the asanas, pranayamas and kriyas should be practised on an empty or on a very light stomach. Bladders should be emptied and bowels should be evacuated before starting these practices. • Early morning is the ideal time for yoga practice but it can also be practised in the evening with empty stomach about three hours after lunch. • Yoga should not be practised in hurry or when you are exhausted. • Select a well-ventilated, clean and non-disturbing place for your practice. • Yogic practices should not be performed on hard surface. A durry, a mat or a blanket can be used for this purpose. • Bath before the practice is good. Use cold or warm water as per the requirement of the individual and season. • Clothes should be loose and comfortable while performing the yogic practices.Introduction 5 • Breathing should be as normal/natural as possible. It is not to be manipulated unless instructed specifically to do so. • There are limitations of yogic practices. If you are suffering from any problem or chronic disease, inform your teacher before starting yogic practices. • Yogic practices should be adopted on the basis of the principle of progress. At initial stage, easy practices should be adopted. Later on more difficult ones can be practised. Therefore, start with simple yogic practices and gradually proceed to do advanced practices. • Yogic practices should not be combined with other physical activities in same session. These are two different types of activities and could be separately practised. • Yogic practices can be carried on at home once they are properly learnt in the school. • Yoga has a broader meaning. Therefore, apart from asana and pranayama, one should practise moral and ethical values in life. c OmmOn YOgic p ractices Yoga propound several practices such as yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, shatkarma (cleansing practices), mudra, bandha, dharana, dhyana (meditation). Here, we will discuss those practices which are commonly used. Yama and Niyama These are initial sets of principles that are concerned with our conduct in personal and social life. These are related to ethics and values.Yoga : A Healthy Way of Living 6 Asana The term asana means sitting in a particular posture, which is comfortable and which could be maintained steadily for long time. Asana gives stability and comfort, both at physical and mental level. Guidelines for the Practice of Asanas • Generally, the asanas are practised in the sequence of standing, sitting, prone-lying and supine-lying position. Though there is other version which follow different sequence. • Asanas must not be practised in haste or by applying any sort of undue force. Jerks should be avoided. • Asanas should be performed with body and breath awareness. There should be coordination between breath and movement of body parts. • As a general rule, inhale while raising any part of the body and exhale while bending down. • The practitioner has to follow instructions sincerely and practise them with an optimal attention. • Final position should be attained slowly step by step and should be maintained with closed eyes for an inward awareness within the body. • Final position of asanas must be maintained for as long as one is comfortable. • One should maintain the final posture according to one’s own limitations and should not go beyond one's capacity. • During maintenance phase of asana, there should ideally be no tremors or any type of discomfort. • An utmost care must be taken in increasing the time for maintaining the asanas.Introduction 7 • Regular practice is essential. Body starts listening to your command only after a regular and diligent training for a sufficient period of time. If regularity is disturbed due to some reasons, then one should resume the practice as soon as possible. • In the initial phase, yogic practices involve de- conditioning and re-conditioning processes. Therefore, initially, one may feel little fatigued after the practice but after few days’ practice, body and mind get adjusted and one starts experiencing a feeling of well-being and happiness again. Pranayama Pranayama consists of the breathing techniques which are related to the control of breath or respiratory process. Pranayama popularly known as yogic breathing, involves a conscious manipulation of our breathing pattern. The health of the respiratory system depends upon the quality as well as the quantity of air inhaled by the person. It also depends on the rhythm and completeness of the breathing. Through pranayama, a practitioner advantageously works with her/his respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems which bring about emotional stability and peace of mind. Pranayama has three phases known as puraka, rechaka and kumbhaka. Puraka is the controlled inhalation; rechaka is controlled exhalation and kumbhaka is controlled retention of breath. Initially, the exhalation (rechaka) may be only a little more prolonged in comparison with inhalation. Insistence on 1:2 ratio in the beginning may prove counterproductive. As we practice, 1:2 ratio is reached in natural manner. Yoga : A Healthy Way of Living 8 Guidelines for the Practice of Pranayama • Pranayama should be done preferably after the practice of asanas. • Breathing in pranayama should be done through the nose only except sheetali and sheetkari. • During pranayama, there should not be strain in facial muscles, eyes, ears, neck, shoulders or any other part of the body. • During pranayama, eyes should remain closed. • In the beginning, one should be aware about the natural flow of the breathing. Make inhalation and exhalation prolonged in a gradual manner. • While observing breathing, attend to your abdominal movement which bulges a bit during inhalation and goes in a bit during exhalation. • In the beginning stage one should gradually learn to maintain the 1:2 ratio of breathing which means exhalation time should be double the inhalation. However, while practising pranayama, do not make haste in resorting to any of the above mentioned ideal ratio. Pratyahara Yogic practice of Pratyahara means withdrawal of senses from sense organs in order to control mind. In pratyahara the awareness about the external surrounding is withdrawn and is taken to inside. Introspection, studying good books are some practices which can help in pratyahara. Bandha and Mudra Bandha and Mudra are the practices involving manipulation of certain semi-voluntary and involuntary muscles in the body. These practices bring about voluntary control and tone up the internal organs. Introduction 9 Shatkarma/Kriya (Cleansing Process) Shatkarma means six karmas or kriyas. The karma/kriya means ‘action’. Shatkarma are purificatory process which cleanse the specific organs of the body by detoxifying them. The purification helps to keep the body and mind healthy. There are six cleansing processes described in hatha- yogic texts. These are Neti, Dhauti, Basti, Trataka, Nauli and Kapalabhati. These are beneficially used to clean the internal organs or systems by using water, air or manipulation of certain organs of the body. Guidelines for the Practice of Kriyas • Kriyas should be done with an empty stomach. Therefore, they should be done preferably in the morning. • Kriyas should be performed under the supervision of an expert. • Each kriya has specific process which should be strictly adhered to. • Different things like water, salt, air, manipulation are used for each kriya. Meditation Meditation is a relaxation practice which induces relaxation in body and mind. In meditation, concentration is focussed for a long time on a single object like, breath, tip of the nose, etc. Meditation is a relaxing practice; it develops a sense of well-being in the person. Guidelines for the Practice of Meditation • Practice of asanas and pranayama will help in developing ability to sit in one position for a considerable period of time in meditation.Yoga : A Healthy Way of Living 10 • Select a peaceful calm and quiet place for the practice of meditation. • Allow your eyes to get closed gently to enter into an inner awareness. • A meditative practice invites many thoughts, memories and emotions on the surface of mind. Remain non- reactive to them. • As you continue with this process for some time, you may feel an abstract and a non-specific awareness of the whole body. Now continue with the whole body awareness. In case of any difficulty, go back to the breathing awareness. • In the beginning, it is generally difficult to observe the breath. If mind wanders, do not feel guilty. Slowly but firmly bring your attention to your breath.Unit 2 Yoga for HH ealt Overview Yoga has become very popular not only in our country but also in many other parts of the world. Yogic practices lead to the development of holistic health. As said in the introduction, Yoga specifically means a connection of body and mind. It contributes to the promotion and maintenance of healthy body and sound mind. We can develop abilities like agility, balance, coordination, strength and flexibility by performing yogic practices. These also improve physical, mental and emotional health. It also helps in better functioning of all the systems of the body. Yoga thus helps in overall well-being of a person. You have seen people of different age groups, performing various yogic practices such as asanas and pranayamas. Yogic practices are beneficial for the health of people of all age groups including children. In this context, you need to know the following important points as students. Points to remember: • As informed in the introduction, regularity of practices is essential. We should follow the practices with sincerity and faith. • Yoga is primarily used as a preventive measure. It can also be used for better management of physical and mental disorders. • We should not expect miracles and have patience.Yoga : A Healthy Way of Living 12 • Due to any reason, if practices are discontinued, we can start again with the basic practices and gradually move ahead. • The duration and time of yogic practices depend on your availability. • Along with yogic practices, it is important to take nutritious and healthy food. We should take atleast eight hours of sound sleep. In order to bring more flexibility, Surya Namaskara should be practised. Surya Namaskara Surya means Sun and Namaskara means salutation. It is basically salutating the Sun through postures. Surya Namaskara is a series of 12 physical postures. These postures stretch various muscles and spinal column and give flexibility to the whole body. Let us perform Surya Namaskara by following the steps given below: 1. Stand erect with feet together. Join the palms together in front of the chest in a namaskara mudra. Remain in this posture for a few seconds. 2. Inhaling, raise both arms above the head and slightly bend trunk backward. Remain in this posture for a few seconds.Yoga for Health 13 3. Exhaling, bend forward from the waist keeping the arms by the side of the ears until palms touches the floor on both sides of the feet and the forehead touches the knees. Remain in this posture for a few seconds. 4. Extend the right leg behind as far as possible. Bend the left knee and keep the left foot on ground between the palms. Remain in this posture for a few seconds. 5. Exhaling, bring the left leg back to join with the right leg. Simultaneously, raise the buttocks and lower the head between the arms so that the body forms a triangle with the floor. Try to place the heels flat on the ground. Remain in this posture for a few seconds.Yoga : A Healthy Way of Living 14 6. Gently lower knees, chest and chin to the ground with normal breathing. Toes, knees, chest, hands and chin should touch the floor. The buttocks are kept up. Remain in this posture for a few seconds. 7. Lower the hips while pushing the chest forward, and raise the trunk upward until the spine is fully arched and the head is facing up. The legs and lower abdomen remain on the floor. Inhale while raising torso. Remain in this posture for a few seconds. 8. Exhaling, lower the trunk keeping the palms flat on the floor. Place both feet flat on the ground. Raise the buttocks and lower the head between the arms. Remain in this posture for a few seconds.Yoga for Health 15 9. Inhaling, extend the left leg behind as far as possible. Bend the right knee and keep the right foot on the ground between the palms. Remain in this posture for a few seconds. 10. Exhaling, bring the stretched left foot forward. Join both legs, straighten the knees and bend forward. Bring the head near the knees. Palms should be placed on floor beside the feet. Remain in this posture for a few seconds. 11. Inhaling raise both arms and the trunk slowly. Bend backwards with arms stretched up. Stay in the posture for a few seconds.Yoga : A Healthy Way of Living 16 12. Breathing out, come to an erect and straight position. Bring the hands in front of the chest and join the palms together in namaskara posture. Breathe normally in this position. Remain in this posture for a few seconds. Remember the following points: Do’s Don’ts • Synchronise • Do not practice breathing with the beyond your movements of the capacity. body. • The person having • Inhale during upward spinal cord injury bending and exhale should not practise during forward surya namaskara. bending. Benefits • It helps to increase strength, endurance and flexibility. • It improves concentration. • It removes excess fat. • It gives energy to the body. • It helps in increasing the height of growing children and tones up their body. • It warms up the body. • It improves blood circulation all over the body. • It provides flexibility to the whole body.Yoga for Health 17 Let us now perform the following asana for health. Tadasana (Palm Tree Posture) Tada in Sanskrit means ‘Palm tree’. This is called Tadasana because in it the body imitates a ‘Palm tree’. This tree is known for its height and also for being vertically straight. Hence, it has been named tadasana. Let us perform Tadasana by following the steps given below: Starting position: Stand erect, legs together, hands by the side of the thighs. Keep the back straight and gaze in front. 1. Stretch the arms upward, over the head and parallel with each other, with the palms facing each other. 2. Slowly raise the heels and stand on toes. Raise heels as much as you can. Stretch body up as much as possible. Stay for a few seconds in this final position. Releasing position: 3. While returning to the original position, bring the heels on the floor first. 4. Slowly bring down the hands by the side of the thighs and relax.Yoga : A Healthy Way of Living 18 Remember the following points: Do’s Don’ts • The inner arms should touch • Do not bend forward the respective ears and hands or backward. parallel to each other. • Stretch the arms and fingers fully. • Keep the head, neck and the body in one line. Benefits • It gives vertical stretch to whole body muscles. • It strengthens thighs, knees and ankles. • It helps in improving height of growing children. • It helps to remove laziness and lethargy. Limitations • Those having complaints of reeling sensation should not practise it. • Avoid performing this asana if knee joints and ankle joints are having pain and stiffness. Vrikshasana (Tree Posture) This is a balancing asana. The Sanskrit word vriksha means ‘tree’, thus, this is the ‘ Tree Posture’. In the imagination of the tree, foot seems as a roots, leg is the trunk, arms as the branches and leaves, head as top of the tree, all make the posture in the shape of a tree. Yoga for Health 19 Let us perform the Vrikshasana by following the steps given below: Starting position: Stand with the feet together and the arms by the sides and gaze in front. 1. Bend the right leg at the knee. Keep the sole of the right foot as high as possible in the inside of the left leg thigh (heel upwards and toes downwards). 2. Balancing on the left foot, raise both the arms over the head and joining the palms together or may bring both the arms in the front of the chest with palms joined together (Namaskara posture). Hold the position for 10–15 seconds. Releasing position: 3. Take both the arms down by the side of the body. 4. Bring down the right leg on the floor and stand erect. 5. Repeat the procedure from left leg. Remember the following points: Do’s Don’ts • Attention should be focused • Do not bend the body in the on any fix point, in front. final posture. • Try maintaining the balance of the body on one leg. Benefits • Regular practice of this posture will help in developing concentration among students. • Regular practice of the Vrikshasana improves balance and coordination of body. • It improves blood circulation. • It tones up muscles of the legs.

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