Yoga is believed to be originated in ancient India. India till date maintains its pride in traditional yoga education that leads to one's spiritual enlightenment. In fact, no one knows when Yoga originated but for sure, it was originated when people were not divided by country maps. According to Hindu mythological texts, Yoga was originated in ancient India, the abode of lord Shiva, and was demonstrated by the lord himself for the good of human being. Hindu holy text Bhagawata Geeta discusses on different types of Yoga and the importance of becoming a yogi. Until a few years back, yoga education was limited to a few individuals who wanted to leave their family for eternal peace. Point to be noted here, families were worried when their children or family members decided to leave their home and become a saint. A paradigm shift in concept of people, yoga education has become a practical professional field of studies like many other fields that attract thousands of students each year.
Today, Rishikesh in India alone welcomes thousands of yoga enthusiasts each month. Other popular yoga spots are Goa and Dharamshala. Goa offers best weather for yogic activities in winter and Dharamshala is pleasing during summer. Rishikesh is occupied throughout the year besides extreme heat of summer and terrifying rain and mud of monsoon.
Once I inquired a lady about possibilities of tourist activities in Kerala, she was a friend of friend and been in touch through facebook. Her response was – “There are more yoga schools than the coconut trees.” My first impression of Rishikesh was similar, every other hotel is yoga centre. Gradually I realized that most foreign faces and many Indian tourists in Rishikesh are involved in yoga in one way or the other. Recently, I did one week yoga retreat in Vishwa Shanti Yoga School, I don’t have words to explain but I booked a seat for yoga teacher training in September. Those childhood inclination towards God and the feeling that we should be fully devoted to the almighty still exists somewhere, they say this is Bhakti Yoga. At the same time, I have been working continuously for 13 years now and what I have been today is the result of my tireless effort to make some difference, they call it Karma Yoga. Let me now dive into the sea of Yoga and meditation and let it find what path I should follow.
- Brenda A.
Bhakti Yoga opens us emotionally. When our every actions and activities are fully devoted towards the God, we do all good and none bad; all our negative actions and activities slid away and we start looking at the world with love and empathy. Bhakti yoga practice is comprised of chanting, study of religious and spiritual texts, respect towards all living and nonliving beings, acceptance of differences and promotion of positive unification among the beings. Those who follow Bhakti Yoga do not evaluate people and situations with their qualification, income and status but prioritize emotional stability, peace and unification with the God. They promote love and happiness in the world.
Karma Yoga emphasizes on achieving perfection on our actions and activities. In the battlefield (Kurukshetra) of Mahabharata, when the third Pandav Arjuna decided to give up[since this was a family war and enemies that Arjuna had to fight were his own cousins, grandfather, teacher and more; he had decided to give up]. This was when lord Krishna described about all forms of Yoga and convinced Arjuna why he must fight in the war against his enemies. Lord Krishna states, You have the right to perform your prescribed duty; you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the case of the result of your activities and never be attached to not doing your duty. [Geeta, 2.47] This line best explains Karma Yoga – we are the performers, the one who examines our performance and sets our result is someone else. We cannot skip from our duties. Thus, we must perform good so we will be entitled to good result. The Newton’s first law of action – Every action has equal and opposite reaction makes sense here – what we sow, that we ripe.
June 21, 2015 marked the first International Yoga Day with more than 35,000 people from eighty four countries participating in the program. With recent development and declarations, now it shows sign that the Indian government yoga education will be internationalized. With growing passion for yoga practice and learning of philosophy, peace and harmony in the world seem possible. Major yoga schools
Hatha Yoga: Hatha yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures), and sequences of asanas, designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones. The postures are also designed to open the many channels of the body—especially the main channel, the spine—so that energy can flow freely.
Astanga Yoga: Ashtanga Yoga gets its name from these eight limbs of yoga mentioned in Patanjali’s Yog Sutra - yama (moral codes), niyama (self-purification and study), asana (posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawing of the mind from the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (deep meditation) and samadhi (union with the object of meditation). 'Power yoga' and 'vinyasa yoga' refer to any type of vigorous yoga exercise derived from Ashtanga yoga.
Kundalini Yoga: Kundalini energy is awakened through regular practice of meditation, pranayama, chanting mantra and yoga asana. Kundalini Yoga adopts practice of kriya and meditation to raise complete body awareness to prepare the body, nervous system, and mind to handle the energy of Kundalini rising.
Bikram/hot Yoga: Hot yoga refers to yoga exercises performed under hot and humid conditions. Iyangar Yoga: Iyengar is a form of hatha yoga that focuses on the structural alignment. It can be said that Iyengar differs from the other styles of yoga by three key elements: technique, sequence and timing. Iyengar Yoga focuses on body alignment. With use of "props" such as cushions, benches, blocks, straps and sand bags, which function as aids allowing beginners, elderly, injured or ill people to experience asanas more easily and fully. An Iyengar Yoga class is highly verbal and precise, with misalignments and errors actively corrected. Iyengar teachers complete at least two years of rigorous training for the introductory certificate. They may complete subsequent intermediate levels and senior levels of certification, potentially entailing a decade or more of training.
Jala Neti (Cleansing nostrils with water) A student is teaching her counterparts the Jala Neti method in her Yoga Teacher Training Class. She explains and practically shows them how to adjust the Jala Neti pot in nostril and take breath through mouth, how to tilt forward to allow the water pass through one nostril and leaves through the next. This process is repeated on the other side and finally the nose dried. During the process, mucus gets a chance to dissolve and exit cleansing the air passageways.
Jala Neti, a method of irrigating the sinuses, is considered good for the treatment of sinus infections, allergies, headaches and stress. Neti has beneficial effects on body, mind and personality.
How to do Jala Neti? Prepare a bowl of lukewarm water; mix cooking salt/pickling salt/kosher salt/macrobiotic salt (Japan) and stir it. Taste the water for the amount of salt and the heat of water. Fill the Jala Neti pot with the prepared water. Fix the Jala Neti pot nose cone into the right nostril, open your mouth, and gently breath through the mouth. Now the water starts flowing through your right nostril to the left. Remember, you should not sniff, swallow, laugh, talk or have any movement of air through the nose while the water is flowing. Slowly bend forward from the waist so as that tip of your nose is the lowest point of the head. Tilt/roll the head so that your left nostril is the lowest point of the nose. Now, water starts running out the left nostril. Keep breathing slowly and gently through the mouth. After around 20-30 seconds, or when the half a pot water flow right to left, remove the pot and stand up. Clear water and mucus from the nose by blowing gently through both nostrils. Again fix the Jala Neti in left nostril and follow the same instruction. If you feel you need to repeat it again to clear the nostril, you can do it.
Drying the Nose after Jala Neti