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Tag Archives: health

Mudras For Good Health

We present some brilliant, very effective and simple mudras, which you can practice anytime and anywhere:

• GYAN MUDRA – This is one of the most important mudras. It is widely used in all yogic meditation practices. Join the tip of forefinger to the tip of the thumb. Hold together gently for at least 15-30 minutes.

Advantages

• Increases intelligence and wisdom
• Purifies the mind of the practitioner
• Cures many mental problems
• Makes one joyful
• Cures intoxication and addictive habits

• PURN GYAN MUDRA – This mudra is known as the mudra of Lord Buddha, since it was propagated by him. Sit cross-legged. Keep both hands in ‘Gyan Mudra’ Posture. Now keep right hand near chest region. Keep left hand near knee region.

Advantages

• Clears the aura in the subtle astral body
• Causes electrical changes in the electromagnetic activity of the brain leading to increased clarity and understanding
• Improves memory to a great extent
• Soothes irritable temperaments
• Improves intelligence and wisdom

• ABHAYA MUDRA – This is normally practiced after Gayatri Mantra recitation. Raise both your hands to the sides of your head. Touch the forefinger to tip of thumb (just as you do in Gyan Mudra). Hold the hand vertically straight by the sides.

Advantages

• Makes your mind fearless
• Gives you a feeling of courage and strength

• DHYAAN MUDRA – Sit cross-legged. Place hands in Gyan Mudra, on your lap. Right palm should rest above left palm in Gyan mudra

Advantages

• Makes you tremendously peaceful and tranquil
• Helps in increasing concentration powers
• Cures depression and other mental ailments
• Practitioner can experience the final state of eternal yogic bliss

• PRITHVI MUDRA – Touch the fore part of third finger (ring finger) to the tip of thumb.

Advantages

• Helps balance the earth element in the body
• Normalizes body equilibrium
• Makes you physically stronger
• Increases tolerance and patience
• Helps practitioners of spiritual meditation

• VARUN MUDRA – Touch the fore part of the smallest finger to the fore part of thumb.

Advantages

• Regular practice balances water element in body
• Improves physical appearance
• Decreases dryness in skin and body

• VAYU MUDRA – Fold the index finger (fore finger) on the base of thumb. Press the forefinger gently on the pad. Keep the other fingers away.

Advantages

• Helps in all nervous ailments
• Improves balance of air element in body
• Helpful in pains and aches
• Recommended for patients of Cerebral Palsy and Parkinson’s ailments.

• PRAN MUDRA – Touch fore part of third (ring) finger and tip of fourth (little) finger to fore part of thumb.

Advantages

• Reduces body fatigue and thus energizing the whole body
• Improves eyesight
• Optimizes the circulation of the life current throughout the body

• MRITSANJIVINI MUDRA – Fold the index finger (fore finger) on the base of thumb. Press the forefinger gently on the pad. Touch the fore part of third (biggest) finger and fore part of fourth (ring) finger to the fore part of thumb.

Advantages

• Makes the heart stronger
• Very useful for people with heart ailments
• Helps normalize blood pressure
• Increases self-confidence

• SURYA MUDRA – Touch the third (ring) finger to the base of thumb. Press the thumb gently over this third (ring) finger. Keep the other fingers away.

Advantages

• Decreases Earth element in body
• Cures mental heaviness
• Reduces body fat
• Enhances weight loss

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Category: Yoga Info
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Marjaraasana For Sound Physical And Mental Health

Yoga today is all the rage. It is a subject that excites people’s curiosity and enjoys much popularity. This is especially so since the asanas (exercises) and pranayamas (breathing techniques) that owe their origins to ancient Indian wisdom have proved beneficial in promoting holistic health and mental peace as also in developing personality. In this article we will discuss Marjaraasana – the cat pose.

Process: Sit on your haunches with the knees and toes on the ground. Keep the palms on the floor in such a way that the distance between them is about the same as that between the shoulders, i.e. equal to the width of the back. Keep the distance between the palms and the knees about the same as that between the shoulders and the hips, i.e. equal to the length of the torso. The distance between the knees should be the same as the width of the waist. Turn the toes back so that the soles face upward. The distance between the soles should be the same as that between the knees. Relax the muscles in the trunk region and let the trunk descend under gravity. At the same time, let the neck and head curve backward as far as possible. Relax the stomach and close the eyes. Direct your attention to the entire body and practise conscious differential relaxation. Keep the mind engaged in pranadharana (consciousness of breath). This is the final posture of marjaraasana –maintain it according to capacity.

An extension of the above posture can be attained in the following manner: staying in the final posture obtained above, open your eyes. Move the palms about 10-15 cms towards the knees. Curve the back upwards so that it shapes like an arch. Relax the neck and hang the head down. Draw the chin towards the chest and relax the abdomen, practice differential relaxation and then do prandharana. This is the final extension posture of marjaraasana- maintain it according to capacity.

Releasing the asana: Start by lowering the right leg by bending it at the knee, then rest the knee on the floor. Lower the head and make the back parallel to the ground, loosen it up and relax.

Benefits: The spine becomes flexible and supple; it helps to correct the functional defects of the back and spine. The health of the organs in the torso improves. You are relieved of backache and pain in the neck resulting from exertion. It also soothes the neck muscles and the lumbar region of the spine and invigorates the spinal nerves, improves blood circulation in the abdominal region thereby making digestive, respiratory and excretory processes. This asana is also useful in treating respiratory disorders.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautions before following any of the asanas from this article and the site. To avoid any problems while doing the asanas, it is advised that you consult a doctor and a yoga instructor. The responsibility lies solely with the reader and not with the site or the writer.

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Category: Yoga Info

Finding Balance And Health With Yoga

Have you heard about the Gunas? No, they are not Disney characters! According to yoga there are three basic qualities or energies that make up everything. They are, rajas, tamas and sattva.

Rajas is the energy of action, change and movement. Rajas is the fuel of passion and fire. Rajasic energy is also associated with the day light hours. We obviously need rajasic energy to create energy to move successfully throughout our world and lives. When we have too much rajasic energy we might appear to the outside world as extremely busy, go go go, do do do! Does this sound like you? Maintaining a high degree of rajasic energy leads to burn out! When rajas is out of balance the mind and body are overstimulated, the mind becomes restless and you experience a lot of uncontrollable thoughts.

Foods that are rajasic include: spicy food, fried foods, coffee / caffeinated beverages/ stimulants/ fish, eggs, chocolate, foods that are very bitter, sour, dry and salty. Eating in a hurry is also considered rajasic

Tamas can be thought of as the opposite of rajas. Tamasic energy is associated with a state of inactivity and inertia, heaviness and darkness. When tamas is out of balance your ability to reason becomes clouded and you might experience the darker emotions such as anger or greed. Just as there is more rajasic energy present in daylight hours, tamasic energy is present during nighttime. People who are very tamasic might be depressed or appear lazy. Generally speaking disease states are tamasic.

Examples of tamasic food include: meat, alcohol, tobacco, onions, fermented foods – vinegar or strong cheese, stale food or over ripe food, overly processed food or chemically treated. Overeating is considered tamasic.

Sattva is energy that is in a state of harmony and balance. Positive mental and emotional states of joy and intelligence are associated with sattva. A person who was experiencing a lot of sattvic energy would appear very happy. Sattvic energy also is consistent with healing states and in Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science) sattvic energy is actively cultivated. Sattvic energy is most present during the times between light and dark- in other words dusk and dawn. A person on the yogic path is focused on developing sattva and for this reason yoga asana and meditation are classically performed at these times.

Foods that are sattvic include: whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, pure fruit juice, legumes, milk, butter, nuts, seeds, sprouted seeds, honey and herb teas.

It is important to realize that we all have all three gunas within us. And while this is true we tend to have a predominant guna. Based on the descriptions above can you figure out what yours is? It is good to be aware of this because once you are aware of your predominant guna then you can predict how might react to certain life circumstances as well know your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll know when you will tend to be thrown out of balance and what you will need to do to bring yourself back into balance.

You also might have times in our lives when one guna is more active then another. Perhaps you have very active time and very productive (rajasic). Or a period when you have been depressed (tamasic). Or a time when we are very balanced and in tune with your spirituality (satvic).

Another way the gunas show up in our lives and directly effect us is through the food we eat. Consider for a minute the average American diet with overly processed and chemically treated foods which are very tamasic. Modern science now confirms that these food items are directly linked to major illnesses including cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. As mentioned above too much tamasic energy leads to disease states. We also know that foods in their whole form such as grains, fresh fruits and vegetables (sattvic foods) are life sustaining and bring health and energy.

Do you practice yoga postures (asana)? How do the gunas show up here? Is your asana practice fiery and passionate? Was your practice was slow and lazy? Or was it balanced?

It is probably becoming clear to you by now that to be healthy, happy, and live a balance life it is important to cultivate sattva in your life. This can be done by:

Reducing rajas and tamas
Becoming aware of when you are out of balance- which guna seems most present?
Increase activities and environments that produce positive thoughts
Eating a healthy, sattvic oriented diet
Certain herbs (subject for another article)
The practice of yoga: pranayama (breathing practices), asana (postures), meditation

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Category: Yoga Info
Confessions Of A Yoga Teacher

Confessions Of A Yoga Teacher

The following are questions that Yoga teachers still need to answer, despite overwhelming evidence that Yoga is “the mother of all health maintenance systems.” Mainstream thought is finally catching up, with the progress Yoga is making, but it has taken 5,000 years for us to get this far.

Seriously, How Can Yoga Make You Lose Weight?

Finally, some of the “Yoga and Weight Loss” studies have come in, and even, a little bit of Yoga is much better, than none, for weight control, but there are a number of reasons why. Yoga is a lifestyle change that includes a safe diet; exercise, adjusting posture, breathing, and a whole lot more. Most of the
Yoga practitioners, I know, consume more water, eat more moderately, and take more care of their bodies, in comparison to the many who don’t want to leave the couch.

Aren’t you supposed to jump up and down for at least a half-hour per day to exercise enough to lose weight?

Maybe the masses have been “brain washed” into thinking that you have to feel the pain, suffer, starve, and have a near death experience, to lose weight. Depending upon your size, the average person, in a moderate Hatha yoga class, is burning in the neighborhood of 200 calories per hour. There are Vinyasa Yoga classes, that will burn more calories, with much more flowing and active movement. Just remember, that your safety is top priority, and you will be fine.

There are also Yoga classes where you can feel the pain, heat, and suffer.
This is great for those who feel the need to “pay for their sins.” Maybe this is considered “penance,” for years of consuming excessive pizza, burgers, and buffets. If you feel you must suffer, you may even find a Yoga teacher who missed his or her calling as an interrogator.

If you search hard enough, you will find a Yoga class for every niche. More moderate Yoga classes look easy on the outside of the class, but I have seen many people find them to be a challenge, on the inside of the class. The real benefit of steady Yoga practice is training for longevity. Long-term practice will yield optimum health benefits in mind, body, and spirit.

Couldn’t you just invent a Yoga pill?

This has been the ultimate dream of “couch potatoes,” but every time a weight loss pill comes out, there is a down side. Just look at the health problems that resulted from fen phen and ephedra. This should wake people up, but someone will always put their life at risk, no matter how many warning labels are printed.

In summary, the benefits of Yoga practice have always existed, through steady and safe practice. Seek out a safe teacher and go from there. Never push yourself to the point of strain. Moderation is key, so it is wise to avoid extremes.

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Category: Yoga Info

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