1. What is
The word yoga has originated from Sanskrit language and
means union or merger.
Yoga is the union of physical, mental and spiritual self. It
is the realization of the union of the self and ultimately,
the union of self with the divine.
It is an art,
a science and a philosophy
that originated, perfected and practiced in India thousands
of years ago. Yoga is a way of life aims at the attainment
of the physical, mental and spiritual health. To achieve
this, yoga uses movement, breath, posture, relaxation and
meditation in order to establish a healthy, lively and
balanced approach to life. The benefits of Yoga have
rediscovered in modern world and it has become “the new age
fitness mantra” but
these days the focus is more on the down-to-earth benefits
of Yoga, including improved physical fitness, mental
clarity, greater self-understanding, stress control and
general well being.
2. What was the History and origin of
The history of Yoga can be divided into four main periods
which are the Vedic period, pre-classical period, classical
period and post-classical period.
Vedic Period – The word "Yoga" was mentioned first of
all in the Rig Veda, the oldest sacred texts. The yoga
practices in this period were focused on rituals, sacrifices,
and ceremonies as people believed in a ritualistic way of
life. Vedic masters were blessed with a vision of the supreme
reality and their hymns speak of their marvelous intuitions.
Pre Classic Period -
pre-classical period, the Yoga was developed by the Indus-Sarasvati
civilization in the northern India. During this period the old
practices of vedic period were studied and refined by yogis
and collected in the form of Upanishadas. There are about two
hundred texts that speak in detail about the self and ultimate
reality. One of the most remarkable scriptures of the period
is Bhagavad Gita which was composed around 500 B.C.
During the classical period, the
first systematic presentation of yoga was made in the Patanjali's yoga sutras. Yoga Sutras are composed of 195
aphorisms and describes the Raja Yoga or the eight-fold path,
which is known as "classical yoga". Patanjali is often
considered as the father of yoga and his yoga-sutras still
strongly influence all styles of modern yoga. The eight-fold
path of Patanjali contains the steps to obtain the
Post Classical Period -
During the post-classical
period, the teachers of yoga started to probe into the hidden
powers of the body. In the earlier periods the yoga practices
was centered on meditation and contemplation but in this
period the emphasis shifted to the practices that would
rejuvenate the body and prolong its life. The yogis of the
period rejected the teachings of the ancient Vedas and
developed the Tantra Yoga, with various techniques to cleanse
the body and mind. These practices further led to the creation
of Hatha Yoga, which is presently practiced throughout the
What is Hatha Yoga?
Hatha Yoga is a type of yoga that emphasis on rejuvenation
and health of body. There are various yoga postures that
come under the definition of Hatha Yoga. It broadly consists
of asanas (body postures), pranayama (body techniques)
relaxation and cleansing techniques. Hatha yoga is the most
commonly practiced form of yoga today. Hatha yoga refers to
a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures)
and sequences of asanas, designed to align the skin, muscles
4. What are the benefits of yoga?
Yoga is a complete science and art that not only emphasis on
physical health but also ensures mental and spiritual health
of an individual. Some of the general benefits of Yoga
*It Improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina
*It helps reducing excessive body fat
*It Improves circulation and stimulates the immune system
*It keeps one young and healthy
*It helps to lower the levels of lactate, cholesterol etc
*It maintains blood pressure
*It reduces stress and tension, anxiety, depression,
irritability and moodiness
*It enhances self esteem and improves concentration and
*It helps to heal old traumas and enhances emotional
*It increases brain wave coherence and improves
comprehensive ability and memory
*It encourages interdependence between mind, body, and
spirit and helps an individual to attain the union between a person's own consciousness and the
5. How is
Yoga helpful in our day-to-day life?
According to Yogic believe life is combination of the things
that bring us peace, joy, contentment and open, loving
awareness. But in modern days our day to day life is
undergoing through different kinds of Stress. Stress can be
summed up in the things that cause us to act against our
basic human nature or that disturb the natural state of mind
and body. We have job stress, family or relationship stress,
health stress, money stress and many more. Along with this
the changes in lifestyle and eating habits also disturbs the
natural calm state of body. In such conditions we need some
activity that tuned our mind and body and give us a real joy
and contentment. Yoga helps us to achieve these things as it
controls the working of mind and helps to improve many
physical and mental disorders.
6. What are
the preparatory steps which one should follow before
starting the Yoga practice?
Like any other physical exercise or routine, it is required
to follow some preparatory steps before starting with the
*One should study each asana properly before practicing it.
*You need to put emphasis on breathing and should follow the
breathing instructions carefully.
*Try to follow the instructions as much as you can, do not
work beyond your comfort level as this
could led to injuries.
*Do not practice asana if your muscles are overloaded or you
will suffer from severe pain anywhere in
the body later on.
*Maintain the full control over the movements of your limbs
while performing asana otherwise you can
*Any time during your yoga session, you feel tired, practice
Shavasana for few minutes to relax. *Release the asana
posture if the steadiness is lost and your muscle starts
*Before starting any yoga regimen do consult your doctor and
Yoga help me to lose weight?
Yes, yoga can help you to shed that extra fat you always
want to get rid of. The yoga practices like Yogasana and
Pranayama improve the digestion capacity of the body and
helps to reduce excessive fat consumption of the body. Yoga
assists you in two ways, it helps you to burn calories and
also tones your muscles and improve your posture. The
complete yoga regimen includes healthy diet also. That means
you need to be conscious of the foods you eat, sticking with
natural, fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, etc. as much
as possible while limiting your intake of junk food and
foods high in fat, like red meat. In order to reduce fat you
need to practice the yoga daily (or at least 4-5 days a
week). It is better if you do yoga under the supervision of
a learned trainer but you can also take help from books and
videos and websites. Ultimately Yoga makes you look and feel
better and promises complete health.
the advantage of Yoga over the other Exercises?
In many aspects Yoga is better than other methods of
exercise. Most of the physical exercises increase the
strength and stamina of the muscles but Yoga works on
complete body mind complex. It is perhaps the only form of
physical activity that massages each and every gland and
organ of the body. Unlike other forms yoga does not require
expensive equipments or playgrounds etc. you can practice
yoga asana at your home with a simple mat or blanket. It
offers you complete health solution right at your doorstep.
Apart from the physical benefits yoga helps to sooth your
mind and spirits also. Thus it provides you complete
physical, mental ,spiritual health.
9. Are there
any special instructions for the women while practicing
Yoga is equally beneficial for men and women. But there are
certain asanas that should not be practiced by women. Women
also need to have some precautions in yoga practices during
the menstrual period and pregnancy. During menstruation any
kind of inverting asana should not be practiced as they
reverses blood flow. You must ensure that the stomach's
muscles are not stretched if you practice some form of asana
Women practice Yoga during Pregnancy?
Yes you can practice yoga during pregnancy. Infact there are
certain asana that help to ease pregnancy. But you need to
consult a doctor before starting yoga after you get pregnant
or want to practice yoga. You will need to take a few
precautions during this period. Do not try to practice any
asana on your own, always consult learned trainer and do
yoga under experet instructions. You must also avoid certain
exercises which can cause damage to your baby. This may
spoil the chances of your pregnancy. The most important
thing is to listen to your body.
many times per week should one practice Yoga?
Yoga is wonderful exercise that yields results even if you
only practice for one hour a week. The frequency of yoga
sessions depends on the cause for which you are practicing
it. Technically one should do it everyday as part of daily
routine but usually it is not achievable. Initially start
with two or three times a week, for an hour or an hour and a
half each time. If you only practice for 2 times a week or
20 minutes daily you will certainly experience the desired
benefits. But for maximum results you need to be regular.
Always keep in mind that some yoga is always better than no
12. Which is
the best time to perform Yoga?
Ideally yoga should be practiced early in the morning. But
if it is not feasible, you can practice Yoga in the evening
also. But remember that there should be at least four hours
difference between your lunch and yoga session. Always
practice yoga asana with empty stomach.
13. Why are
you supposed to refrain from eating two to three hours
before Yoga session?
It is always said that yoga should be practiced with empty
stomach. The reason behind it that in yoga there are
different asanas where you need to twist from side to side,
turn upside down, and bend forward and backward. If you have
not fully digested your last meal, you will find it
difficult to practice such asana. You might experience
cramps, nausea, or vomiting also. If you are a person with a
fast-acting digestive system and are afraid you might get
hungry or feel weak during yoga class, you can have a light
snack such as yogurt, a few nuts, or juice about 30 minutes
to an hour before the session.
Is there any age limit for performing Yoga?
Ideally, Yoga can be practiced by anybody who is between the
age of 12 years to 60 years. But it can also be practiced at
the age of 80 years if your body permits you. Similarly
there are some specila yogas for children also. The only
thing one need to consider is the that choose asanas that
are suitable to your physical conditions.
15.What are Do’s and Don'ts while practicing Yoga?
Time for practice
Yoga can be practiced anytime when your stomach is empty.
But ideally the early morning time is most suitable. The
evening time about 4 hours after lunch is also suitable for
practice, provided no additional food is taken in between.
Practice the sessions continuously, it means that do not
split your yoga session in the morning and evening. Choose
any suitable time and practice yoga at the same time daily.
Yoga should be practiced in a clean, airy, spacious,
pollution free, warm place with not so bright lights.
Yoga is performed on plain floor that is leveled. You can
spread carpet or mat on floor while performing asanas. You
can also use folded blanket or towel during practice.
It means the direction, according to the ancient texts, one
should face either east or north while practicing yoga
You should wear comfortable loose clothes, particularily
around the waist so that you can breath and stretch freely.
Tight clothes may restrict the circulation to some areas of
the body and would beat one of the purposes of the asanas,
that of increasing the circulation to various parts of the
*Never practice yoga asanas on a full stomach.
*Don't start practicing asanas immediately after getting out
of bed, since your body will be
*Don’t practice the asanas before bed, as the stimulating
effect of asanas may prevent you from getting to sleep
*Don't take a hot shower or bath immediately after
practicing yoga, since this draws blood away from
the internal organs and glands to go to the skin.
*Concentrate on your own pose and never ignore the
indications of your body.
Light physical exercises, followed by yogasana, pranayama
and meditation is the ideal sequence.
16.What is Pranayama?
The term Pranayama has been coined from two Sanskrit words -
Prana means life force and Ayama means control. Hence, in
its broadest description, Prananyama would mean the control
of the flow of life force. It is both the science and art of
breath control and nadi purification. There are different
breathing techniques that essentially work on three main
things: regulation of breath, control of vital force and
chanalisation of the Pranas (vital body force) in the right
directions. Pranayama purifies the channels along which the
life stream of ‘prana’ flows and helps to prevent and even
cure a variety of physical and mental ailments. It also
increases one’s overall immunity and resistance to disease.
17.What is Asana?
The literal meaning of the term Asana is seat in Sanskrit,
but in yoga it refers to a steady and comfortable physical
posture or pose.
of Healing and Meditation ||