What is Yoga?
It comes from root word ‘ yunj’
- which means to unify, to
It is not like the union of sand
and sugar; but is like the union
of sugar dissolved in water,
which, once merged, cannot be
Yoga as Science
Yoga is a system of practices that
encourages the harmony and
union of body, mind, & spirit - and
gives a sense of Oneness.
Yoga is really a spiritual science.
Shiva – the Father of Tantra
Shiva lived as a great spiritual
master on this planet more than
7,000 years ago.
He systematized all the
practices of yoga.
He systematized and taught the
science of meditation, which is
the greatest treasure that
anyone can ever give.
In the West, yoga has often been
associated with body contortions,
youth, beauty, and long life.
Actually this is only related to one
type of yoga – HATHA YOGA.
Broadly, YOGA is an intuitional
Raja Yoga is known as Astaunga
Yoga, or 8-fold yoga, a systematic
approach to mastery of ourselves.
8-limbed System of Yoga
Yama - external moral /
Niyama - internal moral /
Asana - yogic postures.
Pranayama - proper
breathing for vital energy.
8-limbed System of Yoga (con’t)
Pratyahara - withdrawal of
senses from the external world
to internalize your
consciousness for meditation.
Dharana - concentration, or
extended mental focusing,
fundamental to yogic meditation.
Dhyana - process of meditation,
the principal practice of bringing
your mind to ideate on Oneness.
8-limbed System of Yoga (con’t)
- experience of
unitive consciousness, so as
to feel inwardly one with the
feeling of Infinite Peace /
What is Tantra?
It is the basis of intuitional science.
– Tan - which means ‘expand’; and
– Tra - which means ‘liberator’.
Origin of all branches of yoga
dhyana yoga kriya yoga
Important Aspects of Yoga
Bhakti Yoga - discipline of love and
Jinana Yoga - discipline of cultivating
highest intellectual understanding
Karma Yoga - discipline of selftranscending action and service
Places special emphasis on physical
postures integrated with harmonized
Allows for control over bodily
functions which influence the mind.
Hatha yoga is the science of yoga
that deals with the practice of
asanas (yoga postures).
How Yoga Postures Began
Yoga poses were developed thousand of
years ago by yogis who observed
different animals in the jungles – how
they moved, how they rested, how they
instinctively cured themselves when sick.
The yogis experimented with different
animal postures on their own bodies and
felt the subtle effects of these movements
on their own organs and glands.
After centuries of experimentation, these
postures were refined into a scientific
system of thousands of exercises called
What are Asanas?
The root meaning of the word
‘asana’ is a position in which one
They are yoga postures which
when practiced regularly, the body
stays healthy, flexible, strong and
They also help in preventing and
Asanas – Stationery Poses
Asanas are practiced as stationary
poses in which the body & mind
are relaxed and composed.
They are accompanied by gentle
movements, deep breathing and
They give the same benefits as
vigorous exercises, of stimulating
circulation and increasing the
supply of oxygen to the cells.
Asanas vs Exercises
However, with vigorous exercise
this extra supply of oxygen is
used up during the exercises.
Whereas during the practice of
asanas, energy is accumulated
rather than spent.
The main difference between
asanas and forms of vigorous
exercises is that asanas affect the
internal organs and are not just
like skeletal or muscular
The Endocrine Glands
Yoga postures, when properly done,
affect mainly the glands and internal
The endocrine glands secrete chemical
substances called hormones into the
blood stream which affect both body and
- For instance, sometimes at ovulation
when estrogen and progesterone
hormonal levels are high, women are
- Whereas, sometimes women can be
unfriendly when estrogen levels are
lowest during the premenstrual time.
Over or Under-secretion of Glands
Over or under-secretion of the
endocrine glands, in people, may
cause not only sickness but various
mental and emotional disturbances.
Can also cause negative emotions
such as anxiety, fear, anger & hatred,
which destroy our health and mental
The yogic asanas exert a subtle
pressure on the different glands,
restoring a balanced secretion of
hormones, and bring about emotional
equilibrium and mental peace.
They also develop spiritual sentiment.
Importance of Asanas
Balance the endocrine
glands & control the
Revitalize the nervous
Relax any tensions in
Can correct defective
Calm the mind.
Overall Benefits of Asanas
strength and stamina
Easy movement of
Tones the organs
Aids in blood
Reduces stress and
Creates sense of
Elevates the mind
Postures and Meridians
Asanas affect the energy
flow of the body.
There are 12 major
meridians of chi or
energy in the body.
Most of these are related
to a particular internal
organ with which it
Yoga asanas directly put
pressure on these key
points, strengthening the
meridians, and if
necessary redirecting the
circulation of vital energy
Yoga postures as ‘self–acupuncture’
stimulate the meridians of vital energy.
Chakras – Psychic Centers
Chakras are subtle
energy centers along
the spinal column.
These psychic centers
are also related to the
They find a psychophysical manifestation
in conjunction with the
Asanas affect the
Chakras – Main List
There are seven conventional
– 1st chakra
– 2nd chakra = Svadhisthana
– 3rd chakra
– 4th chakra
– 5th chakra
– 6th chakra
Concentration Points for Chakras
- base of the spine,
above the perineum;
2) Sva'dhis't'ha'na - base of the genital
3) Man'ipura - navel;
4) Ana'hata - midpoint of the chest;
5) Vishuddha - throat;
6) A'jina‘ - between the eyebrows;
7) Sahasra'ra - crown of the head.
Asana Practice – for Maximum Effect
Must be comfortable to the yogi, as
effect on glands and chakras is very
Best practiced in the early morning
before meals and in the late
afternoon or early evening before
Do 2 - 3 hours after eating;
On finishing, leave 20 - 30 minutes
Things to Remember
- no pain should be felt.
Counter positions or balance:
- must treat the body equally by
stretching each side of body equally
and in opposite directions.
Asanas – the Proper Flow
Moving into the pose
Maintaining the pose
Coming out of the pose
Some basic asanas
- Spinal twist
(must do both sides)
helps in all
Asanas for Spiritual Development
Asanas are not like exercises;
They should be learnt from a
competent acarya (meditation and
– Know the asana
– Know the person
– Fit the asana to the person
Yoga and Stress
As part of the evolution of mind, the
crude mind is converted into subtler
As the mental scope goes on
increasing, mind undergoes a
psychic dilation / expansion.
The operative forces of this psychic
dilation are 3 in number:
(1) physical force, created out of physical
(2) psychic force, created as a result of
clashes in the psychic sphere;
(3) spiritual force emanated from longing
for the Great.
As a result of mental dilation, ie increase in
volume and mass of the psychic body, the
mind acquires more and more potentiality for
According to the mental dilation, the physical
body as well gets metamorphosed, and as the
longing for the Great increases, the physical
body develops certain complexities for an
adjustment with the higher psychic demands.
Hence we find that in creatures having
developed sentiments, the physical body is a
composite structure of a large number of
glands with their peculiar activities. The
developed glandular complexity is an
essentiality for facing the psychic clashes in
Dealing with Life Arenas
For expansion in life and for mental and
spiritual development, individual human beings
need to deal with the:
They also need to deal with the social sphere.
Yoga and Balance
There needs to be a proper balance
mental / psychic
This is done for and while the unit
being moves and experiences
Spirituality – the Subtlest Pursuit
The realization of the universality of
one Infinite Consciousness and the
experience of Bliss.
The opportunity to realize and
become conscious of a Supreme
One's spiritual ‘fitness’ is determined
by the feeling of Oneness, the desire
to be with the Divine all the time and
the strength of one's will power.
You've got to live it!
Spirituality and Yoga
Yoga is Self-conquest =
merger of unit mind into
Since the Divine is
universal, there is no
dogma in yoga.
Practices are scientific, so
a system should be
followed to gain the
That system is the 8 fold
path and all the practical
steps associated with it.
It feels so much better
when you transcend the
- its not hard to do.