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Life Style Management

Lesson 1
What is Yoga?

It is an ancient Indian spiritual science meant for total self-improvement. The

word YOGA is derived from Sanskrit verb 'YUJ' which means 'TO JOIN'. Yoga
means the joining of two things. What are these things? It denotes joining of body
and mind at basic level and then joining of individual being with the Supreme
Reality at higher level. During the process of yoga practice physical and mental
health comes first and the spiritual development comes later. We are restricting
our focus on physical and mental health and creating grounds for spiritual

Why Yoga for Modern Age?

Examinations, competitions, making and maintaining friends, obeying rules and

being disciplined in life can result in stress or tension for a common student, but
not for a student practicing Yoga. The practice of yogic techniques can prepare
him to face life with relative ease.

Yoga is not just doing various asanas at the physical level. It is more to do with
the mind. Yoga is Awareness, Concentration and Excellence. You can put it into
practice in all your activities and experience joy and satisfaction. Yoga leads you
to Perfection.
By yogic techniques one learns to handle different situations and people with
tact. One learns to rid him self of malice and be pure at heart and enjoy more
peace, happiness and success.

Through Yoga one discovers the New Himself-both in body and mind.

Maharshi Patanjali and Hatha Yoga

Maharshi Patanjali was a great scholar of ancient India (prior to 200B.C.) was the
first person to organize study of human mind, its potential capacities, its
afflictions and ways to impart discipline on it. He wrote "PATANJALI YOGA
DARSHANA ", a small book containing 195 sutras (sentences in poetry form),
which forms the fundamentals of Yoga.

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Yoga contains eight steps (Ashtangas) and they are-

1. Yama

2. Niyam
3. Asanas

4. Pranayamas
5. Pratyahara

6. Dharana
7. Dhyna

8. Samadhi.

What is Hatha Yoga?

Hatha Yoga is the most commonly practiced form of Yoga. Hatha Yoga is not
forcible body bending. Ha and Tha are two symbols representing the SUN and
the MOON respectively. The Sun and the Moon are the indicators of the dualities
of the world and Hatha Yoga teaches us to bring balance in the life, which is full
of dualities.

Some Misconceptions
Though many of the renowned doctors prescribed Yoga as prevention and cure
of psychosomatic disorders, some people even today consider Yoga as a
mystical discipline. They think that Yoga is something not meant for common
people but, it can only be practiced by a few Sadhus and Babas doing Tapa
Sadhana in mountain caves. In fact Yoga can safely be practiced by one and all.

There is yet another misconception about Yoga is that Yoga is only to be

practiced by old and sick people. The fact is that Yoga education is made
compulsory in all sports training centers, armed forces, police dept. etc. Yoga
makes the man perfect in any walk of life. Only little care should be taken to
select the yogic practices for different segment of society depending upon the
nature of work they do.

By practicing regular yoga, one can excel in his career may he be an office
executive, a steno, an accountant, a professor, a student, a singer, a dancer, a
sportsman or practically any body.

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Points to Remember

1. Seat: Perform your practices on a carpet covered with a clean towel/dari.

2. Clothing: Should be clean, minimum, loose and light, e.g. Track suit, T-
shirt, kurta pajama, or salwar kameez.

3. Food: At least four and a half hours should lapse between a heavy meal
and yogic practices. Two and half hours after snacks or tea, one hour after
fruits, half an hour after fruit juice, yoga can be practiced. Little water may
be taken at any time. In other words yogic practices must begin with a light
stomach. A moderate quantity of food can be had half an hour after

4. Time: Morning or evening time is preferable for the practices. However,

yoga can be practiced at any convenient time provided the above criteria
are fulfilled.

5. "It is better to remain a bit hungry than to be a bit full" is an excellent rule
for health.

6. Bath: If the yogic practices are performed in the morning, it is desirable

that full bath should precede them. As there is no sweating involved during
the yogic practices, because they are exclusively relaxing, the bath turns
joints flexible and one feels fresher.

7. Do not indulge in yogic practices indiscriminately. Follow only those

practices, which have been outlined for you.

8. Do the practices while you are in a calm and pleasant mood. If you are
upset physically or mentally, try to come to normal state by sitting quietly
or going into Shavasana before you start the practices.

9. Breathe normally through the nose while performing Asana.

10. Minimize your efforts to attain the pose.

11. Parts of the body which are not involved in the pose should be relaxed i.e.
practice Differential Relaxation.

12. Try to attain the patterns according to your capacity. Avoid competitive
spirit. Strain of any kind should be avoided.

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13. Perform all the practices slowly and smoothly. Any kind of violent action
should be avoided during the practices.

14. While maintaining any Asana, take your mind away from it and engage it
in Pranadharana, i.e. count the breath or feel the touch of the breath at the
walls of the nose/or be aware of the inward and outward flow of the air.

15. Do not practice to the point of fatigue. If you feel tired, stop and practice
Shavasana and be fresh again before you restart.

16. The suggested course is useful for maintaining positive health through
releasing mental stress and strain. Hence useful in preventing as well as
curing most of the modem psychosomatic disorders such as BP, diabetes,
heart problems, spinal disorders, asthma, insomnia, constipation
indigestion etc.

17. There is no harm in performing the yogic practices and other physical
exercises successively. However, both should not be mixed up or
practiced immediately one after another. At least half an hour should be
allowed to pass in between.

18. Adopt yogic practices as a way of life and gain happiness in life by
practicing regularly to become more steady, healthy and flexible.

Human Body Parts and Systems

Everyone knows about the visible body parts viz Head, Neck, Trunk and Limbs.
Inside these parts dwell various Body Systems viz

 Muscular system
 Circulatory system (Cardiovascular system)
 Respiratory system
 Digestive system
 Nervous system
 Endocrine system
 Excretory system
 Reproductive system

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Each system is a group of organs working in relationship and perfect harmony

with each other and fulfilling any common important function. Out of all the
systems Endocrine System is unique because the secretion produced by glands
directly go into the blood. The glands are called Ductless Glands and they
secrete HORMONES.
The Glands are Pituitary Gland, Thyroid Gland, Thymus Gland, Suprarenal
Glands, Pancreas, Ovary, Testis.

Omkar Meditation

Omkar is a symbolic representation of ORIGIN. It is a mystical syllable having

intrinsic capacity of generating certain thoughts and feelings. It is written as AUM
also. There are two sounds involved in OM. The first is '0' to be pronounced by
opening the lips and the sound produced at throat. The second sound 'M' is
produced by closing the lips. It is a nasal sound. The 0 and M are to be
pronounced in the ratio 1:2 i.e. sound 0 is half of the sound of M.

Contra - Indications: -Nil-

Benefits: On expression of
Omkar, positive vibrations are
created in the body, one
becomes introspective and
divine consciousness is
generated. By continuous
utterances of Omkar the
agitated, tensed, thought-
polluted mind is absorbed in
melodious, sonorous, singing
sound. Repetition of Omkar
helps one to gain mental and
emotional calmness, to
overcome obstacles, to gain
clarity and clear

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To perform Shavasana one has to lie supine, face upwards and to attain a
corpse like posture. The body and mind both should be made motionless by
initially fixing the mind on breathing process and later on merging the mind in the
absolute nothingness. The aim of Shavasana is not to induce sleep but to
develop a corpse like feeling and separate the mind from the body so as to free it
from dormant and active tensions existing at conscious and sub-conscious level.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Persons having severe cervical defects should not

practice Shavasana.

1) The body and mind become fresh and efficient. The nervous system, the
glandular system, the circulatory system are invigorated.
2) It rehabilitates heart patients. Lower down high blood pressure.
3) Eye defects resulting from strain are cured.
4) It is a powerful remedy against insomnia.

5) It quietens the mind, makes concentration easy and brings peace of mind.

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Life Style Management