More about Yoga
More about Yoga looks at some answers about Yoga and health, Women and yoga, Men’s health, The four aims of life, Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga Yoga and Health.
Health is not a commodity to be bargained for. It has to be earned through sweat.
Yoga’s system of healing is based on the premise that the body be allowed to function as naturally as possible. The natural process operates at its own rhythm and pace can sometimes be slow. Yoga aims to target the cause. The practice of recommended asanas will first rejuvenate the body, then one can tackle the cause of the ailment.
Because asanas are based on the principles of stretching, extending, bending, rotating and relaxing, the body is moved either to stimulate or seal off specific parts of the body.
Yoga The Path to Holistic Health’ BKS Iyengar
The practice of yoga asanas benefits those with chronic ailments such as:
Skeleton-muscular disorders: arthritis of knees and shoulders, back pain – lower, middle, upper, slipped disc, physical fatigue, muscular cramps, osteoarthritis
Heart and Circulation: varicose veins, high blood pressure, circulatory problems in the legs, cold extremities.
Digestive disorders: constipation, indigestion, acidity, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, duodenal ulcers, flatulence, colitis, hiatus hernia
Respiratory disorders: breathlessness, asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis, nervous disorders
Urinary Disorders: incontinence
Skin: acne, eczema, psoriasis
Brain and Nervous system: headache and eye strain, stress related headache, memory impairment, migraine, sciatica
Mind and Emotions: Irritability, mental fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, alcholism, bulimia, anorexia, drug addiction
Mens’ Health: impotence, prostrate problems, umbilical hernia
Women and Yoga
Yoga asanas help with Womens’ Health: menstruation regulation, menstrual pain, premenstrual syndrome, menopause, metrorrhagia, leukorrhoea, menorrhagia, absent periods, prolapsed uterus, infertility
Women can practice yoga even when menstruating, pregnant or menopausal, but practice needs to be modified and restricted during these times.
Certain asanas are extremely beneficial for a woman’s physiology especially helping to contend with menstrual disorders and the physiological and emotional changes accompanying menopause.
When pregnant yoga practice benefits both mother and the growing foetus helping with easy delivery. Advisable to practice under guidance and advise from an experienced teacher.
Men and Yoga
What is yoga?
Yoga is one of 6 systems of Indian philosophy.
The word yoga is derived from the sanskrit word ‘yuj’ meaning union. On a spiritual level it is the union of the soul with eternal truth arising from the conquest of dualities.
Yoga places emphasis on practice, helping to cultivate good habits and a healthy lifestyle that brings about strength and conquest of the body, mind, emotions and intellect.
To enable one to attain a clear mind and so reflect the soul, the fluctuations of the mind must be removed.
Sage Patanjali penned this subject in his work known as ‘The Yoga Sutras’ of Patanjali.
What is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras?
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras have 4 chapters which relate to the 4 aims and 4 stages of life. The epitome is his 8 Limbs of Yoga.
The 4 aims and 4 stages of life:
Samadhi pada encompasses universal principles, contemplation and study. Dhama is duty of ethical, social and moral obligations that are learnt in the first stages of life. It is a time to accumulate energy, to study, to make mistakes, to experience life and to gain strength for the the next phase.
Sadhana pada is about practice; it explains the means to achieve yoga to earn physical health and contentment. Artha is the acquisition of worldly goods. It is a time to earn a living, to marry and have children while maintaining good health, both physically and mentally. In this stage of life you learn to love, to know companionship, to develop compassion, to be responsible and to indulge a little.
Vibhuti pada is about accomplishments, properties and power of yoga. It is beginning to learn non-attachment. Kama is to enjoy life as you start to relinquish the family responsibilities, although you still provide guidance for your children. It is a time of moving away from the material acquisitions of life and moving towards self-realization.
It is a phase of renunciation.
Kaiualya pada deals with spiritual liberation, emancipation (the release from oppression or bonds) and freedom. It deals with absolution. Moska is the freedom of the illusions of the world, from materialistic pleasures of riches and power. It is a time when you have finished with the dualities (e.g. happiness and unhappiness), the games and the futility of it.
It is when the journey of bliss starts. In old age comes serenity, coolness and mental peace. It means that youthful desires do not continue to move and harass you.
Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga:
Yama are the universal morals (non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, moderation, non-attachment).
Niyama is personal discipline (cleanliness, contentment, disciplined use of energy, self study, celebration of spirituality).
Asana is the physical practice that maintains the strength and health of the body, without which little progress can be made.
Pranayama is learning to appreciate breath and learning to appreciate life.
Pratyahara is withdrawing our senses to quieten the mind which teaches us to concentrate.
Dharana is true concentration which is an unbroken thread of awareness.
Dhyana is meditation; the unpremeditated retention of breath after exhalation opens the gap in the curtain of time. No past, no future, no sense of passing presence.
Samadhi is freedom from the worries of the physical world and the merging of body, mind and soul as one.
To be healthy Yoga teaches that asanas need to be practiced with ‘Tapas‘ to maximise energy flow. We can all incorporate Tapas in our practice at whatever level we are at.
Tapas translates as heat, warmth, fire. It refers to practicing with effort, focus and awareness. It is about understanding the form and shape of a pose, how to extend, to exact stretches and counter stretches and resistance in order to align our body in each pose.
Tapas means having total concentration on what we are doing.
How To Become an Iyengar Yoga Teacher
Iyengar certification is recognised world wide through this certification mark.
The Iyengar Yoga system of Teacher Training has the highest standard of excellence, requiring 5 years of training, study and a 1200+ hours of personal practice to become eligible for assessment at an Introductory level. 3 years being an Iyengar yoga student and 2 years either as an apprentice or studying a course format under a senior teacher.
Assessment has 3 components:
- Theory – questions about asana and pranayama, anatomy and physiology and yoga
- Demonstration of asana and pranayama
- Demonstration of teaching skills
The teacher can then apply for higher levels (junior intermediate, senior intermediate and senior advanced) after a minimum gap of 1.5 years between each level.
To maintain annual registration teachers must comply with ongoing studies and be a member of the Iyengar Association.