Showing posts with label Hatha Yoga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hatha Yoga. Show all posts

Ethics is a Means to Yoga

1. All aspirants commit mistakes now in jumping to Samadhi and Dhyana all at once as soon as they leave their houses without caring a bit for ethical perfection. The mind remains in the same condition although they have practiced meditation for fifteen years. They have the same jealousy, hatred, idea of superiority, pride, egoism, etc. Meditation and Samadhi come by themselves when one has the ethical perfection.

2. Sadachara or right conduct is the foundation of Yoga. Yoga is rooted in virtue. Ethical discipline is very necessary for success in Yoga. Ethical discipline is the practice of right conduct in life. One should be well established in Sadachara to begin with. Sadachara is the practice of Yama-Niyama. Yama and Niyama are the two moral backbones of Yoga, which the aspirant must practice in his daily life. These correspond roughly to the ten commandments of Jesus or to the noble eight fold path of Lord Buddha. Practice of Yama-Niyama will eradicate all impurities of the mind.

3. Yama is the very foundation of Yoga, without which the superstructure of Yoga cannot be built. Yama is the practice of Ahimsa (abstinence from injury and killing), Satyam (truthfulness), Asteya (abstinence from theft or falsehood), Brahmacharya (continence) and Aparigraha (abstinence from avariciousness or greed). Patanjali Maharshi mentions the above five chief items for practice in Yama. In every religion you will find this to be the foremost. Great emphasis is given in every chapter of the Gita on the practice of Yama.

4. Niyama is the observance of the five canons, viz., Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya and Isvara Pranidhana. According to Sandilya Rishi, the practice of Saucha, Daya, Arjava, Dhriti and Mitahara is included in Yama. Saucha is external and internal purity. Washing the hands, taking baths, etc., are for external purity. Filling the mind with pure divine thoughts is internal purity.

5. “The mind becomes pure by cultivating habits of friendliness, compassion, complacency and indifference towards happiness, misery, virtue and vice.” Whosoever shows friendliness towards all those who are found in the enjoyments of pleasures, the dirt of envy leaves him. When the mind shows compassion towards those who are suffering from pain and the wish to remove the miseries of others as if they were his own, the dirt of the desire to do evil to others is removed. Whoever shows complacency towards those who are virtuously inclined beings, the dirt of envy is removed from his mind. Whoever shows indifference towards the vicious and taking to the middle path and not taking sides, towards the viciously inclined, the dirt of the impatience is removed from his mind.

6. By this removal of the characteristics of the qualities of disturbing energy (Rajas) and inertia (Tamas), the characteristic of essential purity (Sattva) manifests itself. He becomes possessed of a very high manifestation of essential purity. His mind becomes inclined to the side of the restraint of mental modifications, because this enlightenment is natural to that state. When the mind becomes pure it attains the state of steadiness and becomes one-pointed. If these moral qualities are not cultivated, the means cannot lead to steadiness. Therefore, one should be well established in Sadachara if he wants to attain perfection in yoga. When one is established in it perfectly, then Samadhi or Nishtha will come by itself.

Eating Disorders And The Use Of Yoga In Prevention And Treatment

It was not so long ago that eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia, were thought to be purely the result of mental conditions. More recently, though, some physical factors have been attributed to these conditions. It is now thought that eating disorders can be triggered by a multitude of factors, in combination, including those of a psychological, behavioural, social, or biological nature.

How Can Yoga Help With Eating Disorders:

As with many conditions, eating orders can better be dealt with through a calm and focused mind. Depression and low self esteem are problems often associated with eating disorders, and Yoga can help with both.

It has been proven that Yoga can reduce depression, restoring a state of balance and well being in the individual. Also, there are different yoga practices which encourage heightened levels of self esteem, and promote a positive view of your own body. These are crucial factors with eatingdisorders , and it has been shown that the application of yoga can significantly increase recuperation and healing. Through the elimination of self judgment, yoga establishes a strong connection between mind and body. This, of course, is the natural state of wellness. By re-establishing this strong connection, mind and body will work in harmony to repair the damage.

Regular yoga practice will increase the overall fitness level of the human body, improving the immune system and giving it a good chance of fighting illnesses. This is helpful withAnorexia, for example, because the sufferer's body will experience lower energy levels, and the condition reduces bone density.

In dealing with eating disorders, the yogic system identifies them as a problem related to the first chakra. There are different yoga poses that can be used to balance it: eg. staff, crab, full wind, and pigeon. By using grounding postures (eg mountain, goddess, standing squat and prayer squat) strength and courage can be increased. What these postures do is to re-establish the strong mind-body connections, and through that connection help overcome many physical obstacles. Foranorexia sufferers, most of the yoga back bending poses help reduce depression, while forward bends can calm the spirit and reduce anorexia's effects.

Because the mental state has an important role in eating disorders, meditation can be used successfully to reduce negative and harmful thoughts and feelings. An active, well targeted, meditation practice should prove to be very effective. The yoga poses work best when external factors are shut out, and concentration is allowed to focus on your inner self. Giving special attention to breathing, and also to inner sensations, will transport you to a state of greater awareness and calmness. This new state will allow you to go on further to explore new concepts, and hopefully pursue new goals that may have been impossible before.

As with many medical conditions, being aware of the bulimia or anorexia problem, and showing a constant and strong desire to defeat it, is a great method to reduce their effect. It is likely that an early adoption of yoga practices would make the patient more aware of the problem, thus making a positive contribution to an early cure. However, these yoga techniques are more usually used in the recuperative stages of the illness. That is a pity because, as with all illnesses in which it can be beneficial, yoga works best in the prevention stage, when the negative effects are still low and easier to over come.

Hatha Yoga Practice Lessens Fear Of Falling In Older Adults, Study Suggests

Indiana University researchers found promising results in an exploratory study involving yoga practice by older adults who expressed a fear of falling. After a 12-week, twice weekly hatha yoga class, taught by a professional yoga therapist, study participants reported a reduced fear of falling, increased lower body flexibility and a reduction in their leisure constraints.

Fear of falling is an important public health concern because it can cause older adults -- even those who have not fallen -- to limit their social and physical activity. This effort to avoid falls can create a harmful cycle that can diminish health and quality of life.

"Our study found that yoga was a feasible intervention with older adults and that they perceived great benefit from it," said Marieke Van Puymbroeck, assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies in IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

Van Puymbroeck discussed some of her findings this month at the International Association of Yoga Therapists' Symposium for Yoga Therapy and Research in Los Angeles and will discuss her findings further at conferences hosted by the American Geriatrics Society and the American Therapeutic Recreation Association. More about the study:

The study involved 14 men and women with an average age of 78. Five participants had fallen previously.

1. Van Puymbroeck said the 90 percent weekly attendance rate was notable, as was the 6 percent dropout rate, which she said was much lower than most physical activity and yoga studies. The participants took a class in hatha yoga, which is a gentle form of yoga that easily can be adapted for individual needs and can be performed from a seated position. The twice weekly classes each lasted 60 minutes.

2. After the 12-week class, participants reported a 6 percent reduction in their fear of falling, a 34 percent increase in lower body flexibility, and a statistically significant reduction in leisure constraints.

3. Van Puymbroeck said participants reported "tremendous benefits," with emerging themes that included the ability to generalize principals of posture to other situations, increased range of motion, increased flexibility and improved balance.

Co-investigators include David Koceja, Department of Kinesiology in IU Bloomington's School of HPER; and Arlene Schmid, Department of Occupational Therapy and Department of Veterans Affairs, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.