Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which means to
unite or to join. People generally think that yoga is a
series of exercises with twisted body poses, it is not so.
The main aim of Yoga is to help one connect with one’s
inner spirit, which is connected to the universal spirit or
God. Yoga creates a balance between the body and the
mind and to attain self-enlightenment.
Yoga brings stability to the body and the wavering mind.
In order to accomplish it, Yoga makes use of different
movements, breathing exercises, relaxation technique
and meditation. Yoga is associated with a healthy and
lively lifestyle with a balanced approach to life.
It is the union between the mind, body and spirit. It
involves the practice of physical postures and
poses, which is referred to as ‘Asana’ in Sanskrit.
Our modern day lifestyle is too hectic and puts a lot
of stress on us which in turn causes a lot of life
style problems like obesity, hypertension, high
cholesterol, diabetes etc. Yoga is the answer to all
these problems. It offers harmless solutions to
these problems in the form of relaxation. Studies in
the field of medicine suggest that Yoga is the only
form of physical activity that provides complete
exercise to the body as it incorporates different
aspects of science, philosophy and art.
It is one of the most effective and integrated systems for
gaining control and experiencing supreme joy in life. It
helps one achieve optimum physical and psychological
health. It is a system of physical, mental and spiritual
techniques and is a practical, lively approach to life. It is
the master key to open the realms of everlasting bliss
and deep-residing peace.
Major branches of Yoga in Hindu philosophy include
Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and
Hatha Yoga. Yoga has gained immense popularity
during the last few years and today over 30 million
people practice Yoga on regular basis. Yoga is the most
rapidly growing health movement of today, despite
having existed for thousands of years already.
Jnana Yoga: Jnana
Yoga is the path of
exploration of the nature
our being by
and setting aside false
Bhakti Yoga is the
path of devotion,
service to God and
others. All actions
are done in the
Karma Yoga: Karma Yoga
is the path of action,
service to others,
remembering the levels of
our being while fulfilling our
actions or karma in the
Raja Yoga: Raja Yoga is a
comprehensive method that
while encompassing the
whole of Yoga. It directly
deals with the encountering
and transcending thoughts
of the mind.
The origins of yoga are a matter of debate. It may have
pre-Vedic origins. Several seals discovered at Indus
Valley Civilization sites depict figures in positions
resembling a common yoga or meditation
pose. Ascetic practices, concentration and bodily
postures used by Vedic priests to conduct Vedic
ritual of fire sacrifice may have been precursors to
yoga. Pre-philosophical speculations of yoga begin
to emerge in the texts of c. 500–200 BCE. Between
200 BCE–500 CE philosophical schools
of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism were taking
form and a coherent philosophical system of yoga
began to emerge. The Middle Ages saw the
development of many satellite traditions of yoga.
Yoga came to the attention of an educated western
public in the mid 19th century along with other topics
of Indian philosophy.
The origins of yoga are a matter of
debate. According to Crangle, Indian researchers
have generally favoured a linear theory, which
attempts "to interpret the origin and early
development of Indian contemplative practices as a
sequential growth from an Aryan genesis", just like
traditional Hinduism regards the Vedas to be the
source of all spiritual knowledge. Other scholars
acknowledge the possibility of non-Aryan
components. Some argue that yoga originates in the
Indus Valley Civilization. According to Zimmer, Yoga
is part of the pre-Vedic heritage, which also includes
Jainism, Samkhya and Buddhism. Samuel argues
that yoga derives from the Śramana tradition. Gavin
Flood notes that such "dichotomization is too
2. Indus Valley Civilization
Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization sites, dating
to the mid 3rd millennium BCE, depict figures in positions
resembling a common yoga or meditation pose, showing "a form
of ritual discipline, suggesting a precursor of yoga," according to
archaeologist Gregory Possehl. Ramaprasad Chanda, who
supervised Indus Valley Civilization excavations, states that, not
only the seated deities on some of the Indus seals are in yoga
posture and bear witness to the prevalence of yoga in the Indus
Valley Civilization in that remote age, the standing deities on
the seals also show Kayotsarga (a standing posture of meditation)
position. It is a posture not of sitting but of standing.
(an Indian historian and
Some type of connection between the Indus Valley seals
and later yoga and meditation practices is speculated upon
by many scholars, though there is no conclusive
evidence. Many scholars associate the Pashupati seal with
Shiva. Prior to the end of the first millennium CE, detailed
descriptions of āsanas were nowhere to be found in the
Indian textual record. In the light of this, any claim that
sculpted images of cross-legged figures—including those
represented on the famous clay seals from third millennium
BCE Indus Valley archeological sites—represent yogic
postures are speculative at best.
Male figure in a crossed legs posture
on a mold of a seal from the Indus
3. Vedic period
According to White, the first use of the word "yoga" is in the Rig
Veda, where it denotes a yoke, but also a war chariot. Yoga is
discussed quite frequently in the Upanishads, many of which
predate Patanjali's Sutras. The actual term "yoga" first occurs in
the Katha Upanishad and later in the Shvetasvatara Upanishad.
An early reference to meditation is made in Brihadaranyaka
Upanishad, the earliest Upanishad (c. 900 BCE). In
the Mahabarata yoga comes to mean "a divine chariot that
carried him upward in a burst of light to and through the sun,
and on to the heaven of gods and heroes."
Ascetic practices (tapas), concentration and bodily postures
used by Vedic priests to conduct yajna (Vedic ritual of fire
sacrifice), might have been precursors to yoga. Vratya, a group
of ascetics mentioned in the Atharva veda, emphasized on
bodily postures which probably evolved into yogic asanas. Early
Vedic Samhitas also contain references to other group ascetics
such as, Munis, the Keśin, and Vratyas. Techniques for
controlling breath and vital energies are mentioned in
the Brahmanas (ritualistic texts of the Vedic corpus, c. 1000–
800 BCE) and the Atharvaveda. Nasadiya Sukta of the Rig
Veda suggests the presence of an early contemplative tradition.
The Vedic Samhitas contain references to ascetics, and ascetic
practices known as (tapas) are referenced in
the Brāhmaṇas (900 BCE and 500 BCE), early commentaries
on the Vedas. The Rig Veda, the earliest of the Hindu
scripture mentions the practice.Yoga asanas were first
prescribed by the ancient Vedic texts thousands of years ago
and are said to directly enliven the body's inner intelligence.
4. Pre-classical era
Diffused pre-philosophical speculations of yoga begin to emerge in
the texts of c. 500–200 BCE such as the middle Upanishads,
the Bhagavad Gita and Moksha-dharma of the Mahabharata.
The terms samkhya and yoga in these texts refer to spiritual
methodologies rather than the philosophical systems which
developed centuries later.
Alexander Wynne, author of The Origin of Buddhist Meditation,
observes that formless meditation and elemental meditation
might have originated in the Upanishadic tradition. The earliest
reference to meditation is in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad,
one of the oldest Upanishads. Chandogya Upanishad describes
the five kinds of vital energies (prana). Concepts used later in
many yoga traditions such as internal sound and veins (nadis)
are also described in the Upanishad. Taittiriya
Upanishad defines yoga as the mastery of body and senses.
The term "yoga" first appears in the Hindu
scripture Katha Upanishad (a primary Upanishad c.
400 BCE) where it is defined as the steady control of
the senses, which along with cessation of mental
activity, leads to the supreme state. Katha
Upanishad integrates the monism of early
Upanishads with concepts of samkhya and yoga. It
defines various levels of existence according to their
proximity to the innermost being Ātman. Yoga is
therefore seen as a process of interiorization or
ascent of consciousness. It is the earliest literary
work that highlights the fundamentals of
yoga. Shvetashvatara Upanishad (c. 400-200 BCE)
elaborates on the relationship between thought and
breath, control of mind, and the benefits of yoga.
Like the Katha Upanishad the transcendent Self is
seen as the goal of yoga. This text also
recommends meditation on Om as a path to
liberation. Maitrayaniya Upanishad(c. 300 BCE)
formalizes the six fold form of yoga. Physiological
theories of later yoga make an appearance in this
text. While breath channels (nāḍis) of yogic
practices had already been discussed in the
classical Upanishads, it was not until the eighth-
century Buddhist Hevajra Tantra and Caryāgiti,
that hierarchies of chakras were
introduced. Further systematization of yoga is
continued in the Yoga Upanishads of
the Atharvaveda (viz., Śāṇḍilya, Pāśupata,
The Bhagavad Gita ('Song of the Lord'),
uses the term "yoga" extensively in a
variety of ways. In addition to an entire
chapter (ch. 6) dedicated to traditional yoga
practice, including meditation, it introduces
three prominent types of yoga:
Karma yoga: The yoga of action.
Bhakti yoga: The yoga of devotion.
Jnana yoga: The yoga of knowledge.
In Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains to Arjuna about
the essence of yoga as practiced in daily lives:
योगस्थ: कु रु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्तत्वम धनंजय ।
ससद्ध्यससद्ध्यो: सर्ो भूत्वम सर्त्वं योग उच्यते ।।
(yoga-sthaḥ kuru karmani sanyugam tyaktvā dhananjay
siddhy-asiddhyoḥ samo bhutvā samatvam yoga ucyate)
- Bhagavad Gita 2.48
[A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada translates it as "Be steadfast
in yoga (yoga-sthaḥ), O Arjuna. Perform your duty (kuru karmani)
and abandon all attachment (sangam) to success or failure (siddhy-
asiddhyoḥ). Such evenness of mind (samatvam) is called yoga." ]
the Gita to Arjuna.
Description of an early form of yoga called nirodha–yoga (yoga
of cessation) is contained in the Mokshadharma section of the
12th chapter (Shanti Parva) of the Mahabharata epic. The
verses of the section are dated to c. 300–200 BCE. Nirodha–
yoga emphasizes progressive withdrawal from the contents of
empirical consciousness such as thoughts, sensations etc.
until purusha (Self) is realized. Terms like vichara (subtle
reflection), viveka (discrimination) and others which are similar
to Patanjali's terminology are mentioned, but not described.
There is no uniform goal of yoga mentioned in
the Mahabharata. Separation of self from matter,
perceiving Brahman everywhere, entering into Brahman etc.
are all described as goals of yoga. Samkhya and yoga are
conflated together and some verses describe them as being
identical. Moksha dharma also describes an early practice of
Mahabharata being narrated by
Vedvyas and written by Lord
5. Classical yoga
During the period between the Mauryan and the Gupta era (c. 200
BCE–500 CE) philosophical schools
of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism were taking form and a coherent
philosophical system of yoga began to emerge.
Early Buddhist texts
Werner notes that "only with Buddhism itself as expounded in the Pali
Canon" do we have the oldest preserved comprehensive yoga practice:
"But it is only with Buddhism itself as expounded in the Pali Canon that we
can speak about a systematic and comprehensive or even integral
school of Yoga practice, which is thus the first and oldest to have been
preserved for us in its entirety"
Another yoga system that predated the Buddhist school is Jain yoga. But
since Jain sources postdate Buddhist ones, it is difficult to distinguish
between the nature of the early Jain school and
elements derived from other schools.
Most of the other contemporary yoga systems alluded in
the Upanishads and some Pali canons are lost to time.
Collection of scriptures
The early Buddhist texts describe meditative practices and
states, some of which the Buddha borrowed from the ascetic
(shramana) tradition. One key innovative teaching of the
Buddha was that meditative absorption must be combined with
liberating cognition. Meditative states alone are not an end, for
according to the Buddha, even the highest meditative state is
not liberating. Instead of attaining a complete cessation of
thought, some sort of mental activity must take place: a
liberating cognition, based on the practice of mindful
awareness. The Buddha also departed from earlier yogic
thought in discarding the early Brahminic notion of liberation at
death. While the Upanishads thought liberation to be a
realization at death of a nondual meditative state where the
ontological duality between subject and object was abolished,
Buddha's theory of liberation depended upon this duality
because liberation to him was an insight into the subject's
The Pali canon contains three passages in which the Buddha
describes pressing the tongue against the palate for the
purposes of controlling hunger or the mind, depending on the
passage. However there is no mention of the tongue being
inserted into the nasopharynxas in true khecarī mudrā. The
Buddha used a posture where pressure is put on the perineum
with the heel, similar to even modern postures used to
Samkhya emerged in the first century CE. When
Patanjali systematized the conceptions of yoga, he set
them forth on the background of the metaphysics of
samkhya, which he assumed with slight variations. In
the early works, the yoga principles appear together
with the samkhya ideas. Vyasa's commentary on
the Yoga Sutras, also called the
Samkhyapravacanabhasya (Commentary on the
Exposition of the Sankhya Philosophy), brings out the
intimate relation between the two systems. Yoga
agrees with the essential metaphysics of samkhya, but
differs from it in that while samkhya holds that
knowledge is the means of liberation, yoga is a system
of active striving, mental discipline, and dutiful action.
Yoga also introduces the conception of god.
Sometimes Patanjali's system is referred to as
Seshvara Samkhya in contradistinction to
Kapila's Nirivara Samkhya.
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Pada (Chapter) English meaning Sutras
absorbed in spirit
immersed in spirit
abilities and gifts
In Hindu philosophy, yoga is the name of one of the six orthodox (which
accept the testimony of Vedas) philosophical schools. The yoga school
was founded by Patanjali. Karel Werner, author of Yoga And Indian
Philosophy, believes that the process of systematization of yoga which
began in the middle and Yoga Upanishads culminated with the Yoga
Sutras of Patanjali. Scholars also note the influence of Buddhist and
Samkhyan ideas on the Yoga Sutras.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras reminds us of Buddhist formulations from
the Pāli canon,Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma and Sautrāntika. The
yoga school accepts the samkhya psychology and metaphysics,
but is more theistic than the samkhya, as evidenced by the
addition of a divine entity to the samkhya's twenty-five elements
of reality. The parallels between yoga and samkhya were so
close that Max Müller says that "the two philosophies were in
popular parlance distinguished from each other as Samkhya
with and Samkhya without a Lord....”. The intimate relationship
between samkhya and yoga is explained by Heinrich Zimmer:
These two are regarded in India as twins, the two aspects of a
single discipline. Sāṅkhya provides a basic theoretical
exposition of human nature, enumerating and defining its
elements, analyzing their manner of co-operation in a state of
bondage ("bandha"), and describing their state of
disentanglement or separation in release ("mokṣa"), while yoga
treats specifically of the dynamics of the process for the
disentanglement, and outlines practical techniques for the
gaining of release, or "isolation-integration" ("kaivalya").
Traditional Hindu depiction of Patanjali as an avatar of the
divine serpent Shesha.
संयोगो योग इत्युक्ततो जीवमत्र्परर्मत्र्नोोः॥
saṁyogo yoga ityukto jīvātma-paramātmanoḥ॥
Union of the self (jivātma) with the Divine (paramātma) is
said to be yoga.
The Yoga Yajnavalkya is a classical treatise on yoga
attributed to the Vedic sage Yajnavalkya. It takes the form
of a dialogue between Yajnavalkya and his wife Gargi, a
renowned female philosopher. The text contains 12
chapters and its origin has been traced to the period
between the second century BCE and fourth century
CE. Many yoga texts like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika,
theYoga Kundalini and the Yoga Tattva Upanishads have
borrowed verses from or make frequent references to
theYoga Yajnavalkya. In the Yoga Yajnavalkya, yoga is
defined as jivatmaparamatmasamyogah, or the union
between the individual self (jivatma) and the Divine
"Goddess Saraswati appears before Yajnavalkya" (early 20th-century devotional
According to Tattvarthasutra, 2nd century CE Jain text,
yoga is the sum of all the activities of mind, speech and
body. Umasvati calls yoga the cause of "asrava" or karmic
influx as well as one of the essentials—samyak caritra—in
the path to liberation. In his Niyamasara,
Acarya Kundakunda, describes yoga bhakti—devotion to
the path to liberation—as the highest form of
devotion. Acarya Haribhadra and
Acarya Hemacandra mention the five major vows of
ascetics and 12 minor vows of laity under yoga. This has
led certain Indologists like Prof. Robert J. Zydenbos to call
Jainism, essentially, a system of yogic thinking that grew
into a full-fledged religion. The five yamas or the
constraints of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali bear a
resemblance to the five major vows of Jainism, indicating
a history of strong cross-fertilization between these
Mainstream Hinduism's influence on Jain yoga is noticed as
Haribhadra founded his eightfold yoga and aligned it with
Patanjali's eightfold yoga.
Tirthankara Parsva in Yogic meditation in the Kayotsarga posture.
In the late phase of Indian antiquity, on the
eve of the development of Classical
Hinduism, the Yogacara movement arises
during the Gupta period (4th to 5th
centuries). Yogacara received the name as
it provided a "yoga," a framework for
engaging in the practices that lead to the
path of the bodhisattva. The yogacara sect
teaches "yoga" as a way to reach
Maitreya Bodhisattva and
disciples. Gandhāra, 3rd
6. Middle Ages
Middle Ages saw the development of many satellite
traditions of yoga. Hatha yoga emerged as a dominant
practice of yoga in this period.
The Bhakti movement was a development in medieval
Hinduism which advocated the concept of a personal
God (or "Supreme Personality of Godhead"). The
movement was initiated by the Alvars of South India in the
6th to 9th centuries, and it started gaining influence
throughout India by the 12th to 15th centuries. Shaiva
and Vaishnava bhakti traditions integrated aspects
of Yoga Sutras, such as the practical meditative
exercises, with devotion. Bhagavata Purana elucidates
the practice of a form of yoga
called viraha(separation) bhakti. Viraha
bhakti emphasizes one pointed concentration on Krishna.
By the turn of the first millennium, hatha yoga emerged
from tantra. Tantrism is a practice that is supposed to alter
the relation of its practitioners to the ordinary social,
religious, and logical reality in which they live.
Through Tantric practice, an individual perceives reality
as maya, illusion, and the individual achieves liberation
from it. Both Tantra and yoga offer paths that relieve a
person from depending on the world. Where yoga relies
on progressive restriction of inputs from outside; Tantra
relies on transmutation of all external inputs so that one is
no longer dependent on them, but can take them or leave
them at will. They both make a person independent. This
particular path to salvation among the several offered
by Hinduism, links Tantrism to those practices of Indian
religions, such as yoga, meditation, and
social renunciation, which are based on temporary or
permanent withdrawal from social relationships and
During tantric practices and studies, the student is
instructed further in meditation technique,
particularly chakra meditation. This is often in a
limited form in comparison with the way this kind
of meditation is known and used by Tantric
practitioners and yogis elsewhere, but is more
elaborate than the initiate's previous meditation.
It is considered to be a kind of Kundalini
yoga for the purpose of moving the Goddess
into the chakra located in the "heart", for
meditation and worship.
While breath channels (nāḍis) of yogic
practices had already been discussed in
the classical Upanishads, it was not until
the eighth-century Buddhist Hevajra
Tantra and Caryāgiti, that hierarchies of
chakras were introduced. Nāḍi (tube,
pipe") are the channels through which, in
traditional Indian medicine and spiritual
science, the energies of the subtle
body are said to flow. They connect at
special points of intensity called chakras.
The earliest references to hatha yoga are in Buddhist works dating
from the eighth century. The earliest definition of hatha yoga is
found in the 11th century Buddhist text Vimalaprabha, which
defines it in relation to the center channel, bindu etc. The basic
tenets of Hatha yoga were formulated by Shaiva
ascetics Matsyendranath and Gorakshanathc. 900 CE. Hatha yoga
synthesizes elements of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras with posture and
breathing exercises. Hatha yoga, sometimes referred to as the
"psychophysical yoga", was further elaborated by Yogi
Swatmarama, compiler of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in 15th century
Students in a Hatha Yoga
class practicing the
reclining bound angle
pose, sometimes called
bound butterfly pose
. This yoga differs substantially from the Raja yoga of
Patanjali in that it focuses on shatkarma, the
purification of the physical body as leading to the
purification of the mind (ha), and prana, or vital
energy (tha). Compared to the seated asana, or
sitting meditation posture, of Patanjali's Raja yoga, it
marks the development of asanas (plural) into the full
body 'postures' now in popular usage and, along with
its many modern variations, is the style that many
people associate with the wordyoga today.
It is similar to a diving board – preparing the body
for purification, so that it may be ready to receive
higher techniques of meditation. The word "Hatha"
comes from "Ha" which means Sun, and "Tha" which
Various yogic groups had become prominent
in Punjab in the 15th and 16th century, when
Sikhism was in its nascent stage. Compositions
of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, describe
many dialogues he had with Yogis, a Hindu
community which practiced yoga. Guru Nanak
rejected the austerities, rites and rituals connected
with Hatha Yoga. He propounded the path of Sahaja
yoga or Nama yoga (meditation on the name)
instead. The Guru Granth Sahib states:
Listen "O Yogi, Nanak tells nothing but the truth. You
must discipline your mind. The devotee must
meditate on the Word Divine. It is His grace which
brings about the union. He understands, he also
sees. Good deeds help one merge into Divination."
Illuminated Guru Granth folio
with nisan (Mul Mantra)
of Guru Gobind Singh.
The position is like that of a lotus
Sit on the ground by spreading the legs forward. Place the right foot on the left
thigh and the left
foot on the right thigh. Place the hands on the knee joints. Keep the body,
back and head erect. Eyes should be closed. One can do Pranayama in this
# It helps in improving concentration.
# It helps to preserve vital fluids in the body.
# It prevents abdominal diseases and female disorders connected with the
# It brings peace, solitude and longevity to the practitioner.
Position like that of a frog
Take the legs backwards. Let the feet touch each other. Stretch the knees on both the sides. Rest the
hands as shown in the figure.
Keep the knees as apart as possible. Keep the trunk straight. Look straight and breathe normally.
Remain in this position for eight to twelve seconds. Perform this asana in the first week. Later, practice
this asana four times.
Abdominal organs are massaged in this yoga
Its controls your weight
It will cure the pain in knees, ankles and toes
Keep your blood pressure normal
Stretches the inner thighs, groins, and hips
Opens the chest and shoulders
Relieves stress, anxiety, and mild depression
Therapeutic for menstrual cramps
Keep all your gastric problems at bay
Exercises pancreas and cures diabetes
This asana provides good exercise for heart
Position like that of a crocodile.
In the prone position place your both hands crossed around head or rest your
forehead on it, relax all the muscles, continue normal breathing.
1. Bring the arms forward and fold them. Then place the forehead on the folded
elbows and relax the neck.
2. Spread the legs and keep them at a distance of a foot or so, with the heels inside
and the toes outside. Then relax the legs.
3. Keep the whole body relaxed. Try to touch as many parts of the body to the floor
as possible. Keep the breathing normal and the head in a positoin which is
As all the muscles are relaxed, they need less blood and oxygen supply.
heart beats and the breathing also slow down. Now as the whole basic operation
the body gets good rest.
The posture is like that of a butterfly
Sit down with your legs stretched forward.
Bend your legs to bring your feet towards you so that your
heels get closer to the body.
With the legs should be on the ground let your soles maintain
Hold your toes with your fingers and draw your feet closer to
Keep your spine erect throughout.
You may proceed to bring your body forward to place your
forehead on the floor.
Bhadrasana is a highly successful posture for incontinence. Lower
back and the abdominal organs receive good blood circulation and
hence it helps to address problems in the area. It helps to reduce
The pose is good for breathing disorders.
It helps to keep the mind focused and relaxed.
It strengthens the legs, tones the thighs and makes the hips flexible.
It activates the root chakra.
Pregnant women can practice this yoga regularly as this is the yoga
for easy birth. However, they should not attempt to bend forward. They
should sit straight with the heels closer to the body without applying
The pose helps with sciatic conditions and it is good for varicose vein.
Women can practice this yoga to get relieved from menstrual
The position is like that of a cow’s face ( go=cow mukh=face)
Place the heel of the left leg under the left part of the anus.
Bring the right leg in such a way that the right knee will be
above the left knee and the right sole along the side of the left
thigh in close contact. By gradual practice, you will have to bring
the right heel to touch the left buttock. Sit quite erect. Now you
will have to make a finger-lock of the two index-fingers at the
back dexterously, of course with a little difficulty in the
beginning. Take the left hand to the back, raise the left index-
finger upwards. Bring the right index-finger downwards and
catch hold of the left index-finger firmly. Make a finger-lock now.
If it slips, try again, and keep the lock for two minutes. Breathe
slowly. The Asana will now look like the face of a cow. When
you make the finger-lock, do not turn the body, do not bend the
heel and chest. Keep the trunk quite straight. Change the hands
and legs alternately. Fat people will find it difficult to do this
Asana, to adjust the heels and thighs and to make the finger-
lock. But continual practice will make them all right.
This Asana removes rheumatism in the legs,
sciatica, piles or haemorrhoids, neuralgia of the
legs and thighs, indigestion, dyspepsia,
muscular pain in the back, and sprain in the
forearms. This helps in maintaining
Brahmacharya and good health. Hence, this
Asana is suitable for the practice of Pranayama.
Ordinarily you can sit at all times in this Asana
for long meditation also. Lean persons with thin
thighs and legs will like this Asana very much. If
you find a little congestion (accumulation) of
blood in the thighs and legs, massage or
shampoo the legs and thighs with your hands as
soon as you release the Asana.
The position is like that of thunderbolt
If you sit in this Asana for about half an hour
immediately after food, the food will be digested
well. Dyspeptics will derive much benefit. The
nerves and muscles of the legs and thighs are
strengthened. Myalgia in the knees, legs, toes and
thighs disappears. Sciatica vanishes. Flatulence is
removed. The stomach works vigorously. The
practice of Vajrasana exercises a stimulating,
beneficial influence on Kanda, the most vital part,
and which is situated 12 inches above the anus
and from which 72,000 Nadis spring.
The position is like that of a crane
While in a squatting position on a yoga mat, maintain equal
distance between both the knees and keep the feet flat on
the mat. Then place the palms in between the knees and
flat on the ground while maintaining the knees and elbows
at the same level.
Bend the torso forward while lifting both the legs up so that
the whole body balances solely on the palms. While in
this posture, maintain a straight gaze so that the body
Finally to return to the original position, slowly bring the feet
down on the ground and go back into a Tadasana posture.
It helps in strengthening the wrists and
It stretches the upper back and increases
the flexibility and elasticity of the spine.
It strengthens and tones various muscles
and organs in the abdominal region.
It also opens up the groin region.
The sense of balance, concentration, and
co-ordination improves by practicing this
The position is like that of a cockerel.
Sit in padmasana. Release the Dhyanmudra and insert the left
arm between the thigh and calf of the left leg. Gradually, push the
arm through the legs up to the elbow. Similarly, insert the right
arm between the thigh and calf of the right leg, pushing the arm
through, up to the elbow. Spread the fingers and place both
hands on the floor, about 4 to 6 inches apart. With the hands on
the floor, raise the body from the floor, balancing only on the
hands. Gaze forward and breathe normally.
Strengthens the arms, shoulders, elbows and wrists. Strengthens
the abdominal muscles. Stretches the chest muscles. Stimulates
the mooladhara chakra.
The position is like that of a mountain
Take both the hands forward and lock the fingers of
both the hands together.
Take the hands over the head and turn the palms
downside up facing the roof. Stretch the body
upwards with the arms stretched towards the sky.
Stabilize the position and continue normal breathing.
Stretching the arm, back and abdominal muscles
improves the functioning of theses parts of the body.
This helps cure certain problems of spinal column &
The position is like that of a lion
Bend the right leg and place the foot under the left buttock. Bend the
left leg and cross the left ankle over the right ankle, placing the left
foot under the right buttock. Rest the hands onto the knees with the
fingers spread out. Lean the body to the front slightly, placing the
body weight onto the hands. The hands should be kept straight. Tilt
the head slightly downwards, open the mouth and stick the tongue
out, pointing the tip of the tongue down. Widen the eyes and tense
all facial muscles. Breathe normally. The gaze should either be at
the nosetip or eyebrow centre.
Facial, eye and tongue muscles are stretched, refreshing the blood
supply to these muscles, improving their efficiency. The folded legs
redirects the flow of prana from the lower chakras to the higher
The position is like that of ‘sleeping on a mattress.’
Lying on the back in a supine position bring the knees to the chest. Open them
and cross the feet over one and other. Hold the feet in the middle or beside
the toes so that you can get a little more leverage. Roll back a little and draw
the feet towards the top of the head. Try to bring them over the top of the
head so that the hook behind the head.
This is one of the few stretches that really stretches the deep muscles in the
spine. These muscles run along the vertebrae. (The bones in the spine)
Some of these are the multifidus which extend and laterally bend the trunk
and neck and rotate it. The erector spinae muscles that run the length of the
vertebral column. Little muscles and ligaments in the neck below the skull
are stretched. Some of these are the rotatores cervicis which are little
muscles that attach each bone in the neck and are involved with neck
rotation and spinalis capitis and semispinalis capitis and the rectus capitis
major and minor. Hip flexors are also stretched.
In this asana, the body is folded up tightly, resembling a
Sit in padmasana. Release the Dhyanmudra and insert the left
arm between the thigh and calf of the left leg. Gradually,
push the arm through the legs up to the elbow. Similarly,
insert the right arm between the thigh and calf of the right
leg, pushing the arm through, up to the elbow. Raise the legs
and fold the arms upwards and catch hold of the left earlobe
with the right hand and the right earlobe with the left hand.
You may have to stick your neck out so that the hands can
reach the ears.
Has a regulating effect on the adrenal glands and calms an
excited mind.2.Alleviates nervous disorders.3.Helps to
control anger.4.Massages and tones the abdominal
organs.5.Stimulates the digestive fire and increases the
appetite.6.Improves sense of balance.
The position is like GARUD (the king of birds).
Shifting the weight of the body onto the right leg and bending it slightly,
lift the left leg up by bending it slightly at the knee. The body is now
balanced entirely on the right leg. Cross the left leg over the right
leg and hook the top of the left foot behind the right calf. The toes of
the left leg should be showing from the left side of the right lower
leg. The right leg remains slightly bent at the knee. Bend both arms
at the elbows and raise them to chest level. Place the right upper
arm over the left upper arm, and continue to entwine the two arms.
Touch both hands together in a namaskar pose.
1.Strengthens the leg muscles.2.Increases the blood supply to and
loosens the joints in the legs and arms.
The position is like that of tree.
Sit in Vajrasana. >Inhale deeply. >Exhaling place the hands and
head on the floor so they form an equilateral triangle. Palms are
flat on the floor and elbows are brought in towards the body.
>Breathing normally lift the knees and place them on the upper
arms. The back should be as straight as possible. The body
weight is distributed over the head and hands. Slowly straighten
the legs upwards. >Hold the posture. >Exhaling bend the legs
again until the knees rest on the upper arms. Slowly return to
the starting position.
This exercise guides the body’s energy into the higher Chakras. It
strengthens the shoulder and back muscles as well as the neck
The position is like that of a chair and it is also known as powerful pose.
From Mountain pose / Tadasana. Inhale as you lift your arms up, keep your arms so you
can see them through the sides of your eyes and so you can keep the neck long and
Exhale as you bend the knees as if you’re about to sit down on a chair, bringing your
thighs as close to parallel to the floor, as possible. Most weight is in the front of the
heels. Keep the knees in line with the toes, not beyond.
Your back stays straight, but it leans forward over the thighs a bit, you're looking to form a
right angle between the thighs and the torso.
Pull your abdomen slightly in and up, this helps to extend the lower back.
Sitting bones point down.
Slide your shoulder blades down along your spine and firm them in to the back.
You can stay in Utkatasana between the 5-15 breaths
To come out of this pose, exhale, and press into the 4 corners of your feet straighten the
legs, lenghtening through the crown of your head to come back into Mountain pose,
lower your arms.
Strengthens the muscles of the legs.
Strengthens the pelvis.
Strengthens the lower back.
Stabilizes the knee joints.
Opens and stretches the abdomen,
diaphragm and heart.
The position is like that of a corpse (sav).
Lie flat on the back with arms resting comfortably along the sides of the body,
palms upward. Legs are extended and slightly turned outward; this
translates down to the ankles and feet.
Find your place of complete physical comfort by making slight adjustments.
Could your hips feel "more free" if you separated your ankles and feet a
tiny bit more? What is going on along your spine? Is support of a blanket
needed anywhere? Are your head and spine in a straight line? Be secure
in your foundation before proceeding.
Close your eyes. Gently guide them to the place between your eyebrows, the
Ajna or Sun Center. Relax the entire brow. Relax the jaw and let your chin
drop down. Become aware of your natural breath and its rhythm.
Focus upon your Sun Center and call forth a feeling of tranquility. Let this
sense of stillness and calm stream down into your whole body. Feel how
Earth supports the weight of your body in its entirety. Let Go.
Remain here for 2 to 15 minutes.
Relaxes the entire psycho-
Quiets heart and pulse rates.
Develops BodyMind awareness.
The position is like that of a cobra.
Lay face down with the palms flat on the floor next to the chest, and
the elbows close to the body. The heels and toes are together.
Place your forehead on the floor. If that is uncomfortable, begin
with placing the nose or chin on the floor.
Inhale and lengthen the entire body. Continue to lengthen the crown
of the head forward as you begin to lift the head up and expand
the chest forward. Soften the shoulder blades down the back.
Use the hands and arms as guides, while lifting mainly with the
back and the neck muscles. The pelvis remains grounded on the
Only come up as far as it is comfortable. Pay close attention to the
lower back. Look upward at about 45 degrees or to your comfort
Stay with the breath remaining relaxed in the pose. Breathe
evenly and deeply, lifting with the inhalation and settling
with the exhalation.
Hold for as long as it is comfortable. To release, exhale and
drop the forehead to the floor while relaxing your head to
one side or push back into Child's pose.
Helps relieve injured spines and displaced vertebrae
Opens the chest, allowing deeper breathing
Tones and strengthens abdominal muscles
May help people with diabetes
This yoga posture has been named after the shape it takes – that of a bow.
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) is part of the padma sadhana sequence.
This yoga posture is pronounced as DHUN-ur-AAHS-uh-nuh.
Lie on your stomach with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by the
side of your body.
Fold your knees and hold your ankles.
Breathing in, lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs up and back.
Look straight ahead with a smile on your face. Curve your lips to
match the curve of your body!
Keep the pose stable while paying attention to your breath. Your
body is now taut as a bow.
Continue to take long deep breaths as you relax in this pose. But
don’t get carried away! Do not overdo the stretch.
After 15 -20 seconds, as you exhale, gently bring your legs and
chest to the ground. Release the ankles and relax.
Strengthens the back and abdominal muscles
Stimulates the reproductive organs
Opens up the chest, neck and shoulders
Tones the leg and arm muscles
Adds greater flexibility to the back
Good stress and fatigue buster
Relieves menstrual discomfort and constipation
Helps people with renal (kidney) disorders
Chakra - Wheel; Asana – Pose
Lie on your back with arms horizontally stretched out in line with
Bend your knees and bring your feet close to your hips. The
soles of the feet are fully on the ground.
Swing the knees to the left until the left knee touches the ground
(the right knee and thigh are resting on the left knee and
thigh). Simultaneously, turn the head to the right and look at
your right palm.
Checkpoint: Shoulder blades must touch the ground. While the
body is twisted, there is a tendency for one of the shoulder
blades to get lifted off the ground. One must work against
this tendency for the stretch to be effective.
Feel the stretch in the thighs, groin, arms, neck, stomach and
back as you hold the pose. With each exhalation, relax
deeper into the pose.
After a few minutes, you may slowly turn the head back to the
center, and straighten the torso and legs.
Mirror the pose on the other side
Stretches the spine and quadriceps.
Brings deep relaxation to the body and mind
‘Vrishchika’ means a scorpion. In this asana, the body
assumes the pose of a scorpion. So it is called
Vrishchikasana. Those who can practise, Sheershasana or
Hastavrikshasana for a long time can practise this asana
with ease and comfort.
A beginner should practise this asana with the support
of a wall. Place the forearms and the elbows on the
floor. Push against the floor lightly with the legs.
Slowly move the legs five cms away from the wall
and try to balance the body on the forearms. Breathe
normally. Practise this for a few days. After achieving
proficiency, bend the legs at the knees and try to
place the soles on the head. Patient practice will in
time impart the necessary ability to balance the body
on the palms braced on the ground.
This asana strengthens the arms and
shoulders. It gives sufficient exercise to
the abdominal muscles. The spine is
turned backward in this asana which
brings flexibility and imparts radiance
and youth to the body. It has all the
advantages of Sheershasana,
Chakarasana and Dhanurasana.
The position is like that of a rabbit.
1. From Child pose, hold onto the heels with the hands
and pull the forehead in towards the knees with the top
of the head on the floor.
2. Holding tightly onto the heels, inhale and lift the hips up
towards the ceiling. Roll onto the crown of the head
and press the forehead as close to the knees as
3. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths.
4. To release: slowly exhale and lower the hips to the
heels and slide the forehead back to the floor into child
Rabbit pose lengthens the spine and
stretches the back, arms, and
shoulders while stimulating the
immune and endocrine systems.
The position is like that of a camel.
How to do Ustrasana (Camel pose)
Kneel on the yoga mat and place your hands on the hips.
Your knees should be in line with the shoulders and the sole of your feet
should be facing the ceiling.
As you inhale, draw in your tail-bone towards the pubis as if being pulled
from the navel.
Simultaneously, arch your back and slide your palms over your feet till the
arms are straight.
Do not strain or flex your neck but keep it in a neutral position.
Stay in this posture for a couple of breaths.
Breathe out and slowly come back to the initial pose. Withdraw your hands
and bring them back to your hips as you straighten up.
Stretches and opens the front of the body. It also
strengthens the back and shoulders
Relieves the body of lower back ache
Improves flexibility of the spine and also improves
Helps overcome menstrual discomfort
It is of a headstand pose.
Start by practicing against a wall. Kneel down in front of a
wall. Interlace your hands. Place your elbows a
shoulder width apart on the floor and then place the
outer edges of your interlaced hands on the floor,
touching the wall. Place the crown of your head on the
floor, inside your hands.
Raise your hips and straighten your legs. Pull your upper
back away from the wall, press your forearms down
and lift your shoulders away from the floor.
Come up, one leg at a time.
Like most inverted positions, the practice of sirsasana
may increase the flow of blood to the brain,
improve memory and other functions of the
cerebrum. Included in the physiological benefits
are the drainage of blood and lymph which are
held in reserve in the legs. Any inversion, when
the legs are held over the heart, helps to move
stored fluids into the core for oxygenation, filtration
and elimination of metabolic/cellular wastes.
"Pranayama is control of Breath". "Prana" is Breath or
vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana
represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life
force, and "ayama" means control. So Pranayama is
"Control of Breath". One can control the rhythms of
pranic energy with pranayama and achieve healthy body
Patanjali in his text of Yoga Sutras mentioned
pranayama as means of attaining higher states of
awareness, he mentions the holding of breath as
important practice of reaching Samadhi. Hatha Yoga
also talks about 8 types of pranayama which will make
the body and mind healthy.
Five types of prana are responsible for various pranic
activities in the body, they are Prana, Apana, Vyan,
Udana & Samana. Out of these Prana and Apana are
most important. Prana is upward flowing and Apana is
downward flowing. Practice of Pranayama achieves the
balance in the activities of these pranas, which results in
healthy body and mind.
The total capacity of our lungs is about 6000 c.c., but during normal
breathing we only breath about 600 c.c. air per breathe in to our
lungs. In deep breathing the practitioner can inhale up to the
total capacity of the lungs, which increases breathing efficiency
per breath. The normal breath rate is 15 to 18 breaths per
minute but in deep breathing this rate is reduced to about 4 to 8
breaths per minute.
The air is inhaled mostly using diaphragm or muscle of
respiration and expanding the chest. The movement of
abdomen helps the movement of diaphragm. The intercostal
muscles help the movement of chest. In this the diaphragm
movement requires less efforts than the rib movement and
more air can be inhaled as the diaphragm can be vertically
moved up and down to about 6 inches. So Deep breathing
involves efficient movement of abdomen.
Following are the benefits of Deep Breathing -
Due to slowing of respiration rate (15 breaths/min to 4 breaths/min), the heart rate /
pulse rate is reduced. The blood pressure is also reduced. So deep breathing is
very good for stress and related ailments.
More oxygen is made available per breath, making the breathing most efficient.
Conscious deep breathing greatly affects the cortical activities, relaxing the nervous
system, which calms the mind by removing thoughts and emotions.
Enhanced movement of the diaphragm gives good massage to the internal organs
as liver, pancreas, stomach, heart, lungs are attached to the diaphragm which is
moved up and down during the breathing.
It is observed that the animals who breath slowly have more life span, so reducing
the breath rate with deep breathing may help increase the life span of human
Right nostril is Pingala Nadi(Sun principle or body),
left nostril represents Ida nadi (moon principle or
mind). In alternate nostril breathing, one inhales
through right and exhales through left then inhales
through left and exhales through right nostrl. This
purifies the Ida and Pingala nadis. This purification
brings balance to body and mind. The metabolic
processes are balanced.
The purpose of the Alternate Nostril Breathing is to
balance the physical energy and mental energy. It is
recommended for all types of problems. As Hatha
Yoga principle says that the health conditions are
due to imbalance between this Ida and Pingala.
Alternate nostril breathing balances this two forces.
Following are the benefits of ANULOMA VILOMA
Proper supply of oxygen is ensured and carbon
dioxide is effectively removed.
More oxygen is made available per breath, making
the breathing most efficient.
Blood is purified of toxins.
Very effective for stress management.
Helps reducing the anxiety, depression and other
mental illnesses. Also it reduces hyperactive
disorders related to mind.
Balancing Ida and Pingala removes all the blockages
in the pranic energy channels, which may lead to
It gives all the benefits of Deep breathing as well.
The word "Bhramari" comes from the sanskrit name bhramar which is
Humming black bee. The practice of bhramari breathing calms the mind,
reduces the stress or fight - flight response. It reduces celebral tensions,
anger, anxiety, insomnia, The blood pressure is also lowered. This
pranayama is very effective in speeding up the healing of body tissues
and may be practiced after surgeries.
The purpose of the Bhramari breathing is to reduce throat ailments. This
may have positive effect on the endocrine glands specially thyroids and
nervous system. In ancient text of Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami
Swatmaram says that person becomes Lord of Yogis and mind gets
absorbed in the supreme bliss. It has a calming effect on entire nervous
system, especially it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system,
which induces muscular relaxation and is very effective in stress
management. So this pranayama is very effective for relaxation of body
In this pranayama one needs to create a sound while exhaling and
inhaling in the throat. The sound is similar to chanting of Om, especially
the long mmm.. in Omkar. The sound should be deep, steady and
The word Ujjayi means victorious in Sanskrit, it is difficult to
see why this pranayama is called victorious's breath. May
be practice of Ujjayi results in high energy state of mind.
But this is also called psychic breath. So this pranayama
can be very effectively used in therapy. Especially
psychosomatic diseases and stress related ailments can
be effectively treated with Ujjayi breath.
The purpose of the Ujjayi breathing is to increase the
psychic sensitivity, it also helps bring down blood pressure
& heart beats. Also it makes the mind calm and peaceful
by removing the stress. It has a calming effect on entire
nervous system, especially it stimulates the
parasympathetic nervous system. If you are stressed then
10 minutes of Ujjayi breath can reenergise you. So this
pranayama is very effective for relaxation of body and
Right nostril is Pingala Nadi, which
represents physical energy and body. The
breath through right nostril is important for
many important metabolic processes.
The purpose of the Right nostril breathing
is to increase the Pranic energy , the
physical energy, to revitalize the body. It
increases the efficiency of digestive
system, also boosts the nervous system,
especially the sympathetic nervous system.
Following are the benefits of Right Nostril
It increases the body temperature, which removes
the Kafa (mucus) imbalance. This is very effective
in obesity. Regular practice of Right nostril breath
is used for weight loss.
Prana increases in the body, increasing the vitality.
Very effective for depression, low energy.
Very effective for stress management.
Helps reducing the anxiety, depression and other
Balancing Ida and Pingala removes all the
blockages in the pranic energy channels, which
may lead to spiritual awakenings.
It gives all the benefits of Deep breathing as well.
(Bellow's Breathe) -
This literally means one has to operate lungs like the
bellow, fast inhalation and fast exhalation, followed by
inhaling through right nostril and performing kumbhaka
with bandhas and exhaling through left nostril, this is is
Bhastrika Pranayama. This is vitalizing type of
Pranayama. This rhythmic inhalation and exhalation
stimulates the circulation of cerebral fluid, creating
compression and decompression in the brain. Rhythmic
diaphragm movements stimulate heart & lung muscles
improving blood circulation. Accelerated blood circulation
and rate of gas exchange in each cell produces heat and
washes out gases.
(Floating Breathe) -
After inhalation the air is filled in to
stomach and kept inside for some time.
Swami Satyananda mentions that one can
inhale the air via mouth while practicing
this. Text of Hatha Yoga Pradipika mentions
that one can float easily on water with this
Pranayama. This Pranayama helps remove
most of the ailments of stomach or
(Swooning Breathe or Fainting) -
This type of Pranayama induces a state of "conscious
unconsciousness" (in the words of Swami Satyananda of
Bihar School of Yoga). One should inhale through both
the nostrils, the kumbhaka with Bandhas, but while
exhaling the Jalandhar Bandha (Chin Lock) is kept intact
and then exhalation is done with the Jalandhar bandha
(Chin lock). Excess pressure is exerted on carotid sinus
during exhalation with Jalandhar bandha, which further
reduces blood pressure and one can experience a state
of unconsciousness with practice.
This Pranayama involves high risks so should not be
practiced with out the Direct Guidance of Guru.
The word "sheetali" means cooling in Sanskrit,
it is taken from the original word "Sheetal"
which is soothing or cold. The practice of
sheetali breathing calms the mind, reduces the
stress or fight - flight response. It cools the
body and mind, The blood pressure is also
lowered. This pranayama is very effective in
hyperacidity or even ulcers.
The purpose of the Sheetali breathing is to reduce the body
temperature, this may have positive effect on the
endocrine glands and nervous system. In ancient text of
Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Swatmaram says that
person becomes young and attractive by practicing this
pranayama. Also he says that this pranayama removes
excess heat accumulated in the system, reduces the
excess biles, corrects the disorders of spleen, works on
fever. This pranayama gives control over hunger and
thirst. It has a calming effect on entire nervous system,
especially it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous
system, which induces muscular relaxation and is very
effective in stress management. If you are stressed then
10 minutes of Sheetali breath can calm you. So this
pranayama is very effective for relaxation of body and
In this pranayama the tongue is rolled in a specific
manner as shown in figure. But many people can not roll
their tongue in this fashion. For these people alternate
Sitkari Pranayama gives very similar effects.
A mudrā is a "seal", "mark", or "gesture"; Tibetan. ཕྱག་རྒྱ་,
chakgya) is a symbolic or ritual gesture
in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudrās
involve the entire body, most are performed with the
hands and fingers. A mudrā is a spiritual gesture
and an energetic seal of authenticity employed in
the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian
religions and traditions of Dharma and Taoism.
One hundred and eight mudras are used in
regular Tantric rituals.
In yoga, mudrās are used in conjunction
with pranayama (yogic breathing exercises),
generally while seated
in Padmasana, Sukhasana or Vajrasana pose, to
stimulate different parts of the body involved with
breathing and to affect the flow of prana in the body.
The musculoskeletal system
The musculoskeletal system consists of the bones,
muscles, ligaments and tendons.
The function of the musculoskeletal system is to:
protect and support the internal structures and organs of
give shape to the body
produce blood cells
store calcium and phosphorus
The skeletal system
The skeletal system is comprised of bones and joints and
provides the basic supporting structure of the body. It
consists of the joined framework of bones called the
skeleton. The human skeleton is made up of 206 bones.
Bone is a dry, dense tissue composed of a calcium-
phosphorus mineral and organic matter and water.
Bone is covered with a living membrane called the
periosteum. The periosteum contains bone-
forming cells, the osteoblasts.
The centre of bone contains marrow where blood
vessels, fat cells and tissue for manufacturing
blood cells are all found.
There are four main shapes of bones:
flat e.g. ribs
irregular e.g. vertebrae
short e.g. hand (carpals)
long e.g. upper arm (humerus)
A joint is an area where two or more bones are in
contact with each other. Joints allow movement.
The bones forming the joint are held together by
There are 3 types of joints:
fibrous or immovable e.g. skull
cartilaginous or slightly moveable e.g. vertebrae
synovial or freely movable:
ball and socket e.g. hip
hinge e.g. elbow.
gliding e.g. carpals at wrist
pivot e.g. radius and ulna
There are certain terms that are used to describe
the movement of bones:
abduction - movement away from the body
adduction - movement towards the body
flexion - bending a limb towards the body
extension - extending a limb away from the body
rotation - movement around a central point
You have learnt the names of the various joints of
the bods that describe the various directions in
which limbs move.
The muscular system
The muscular system allows us to move and you
will need to learn about the muscles of the body
in order to understand how this system
contributes to the overall design of the human
body. The human body is composed of over 500
muscles working together to facilitate
It is very important to understand the muscular
system and how it works in conjunction with the
skeletal system to allow us to move and
maintain our posture.
The major function of the muscular system is to
produce movements of the body, to maintain the
position of the body against the force of gravity
and to produce movements of structures inside
Tendons attach muscle to bone.
There are 3 types of muscles:
skeletal (voluntary) muscles are attached to bone by tendons
smooth (involuntary) muscles control the actions of our gut and
cardiac muscle in the heart
Muscles contract (shorten) and relax in response to chemicals
and the stimulation of a motor nerve. Some examples of
muscles are the triceps, deltoid and the biceps in the upper
arm and the gluteal muscle, the hamstrings and the
quadriceps in the buttocks and the top of the leg (Sorrentino
Movement occurs when muscles contract or shorten, pulling the
bones with them. Muscles work in pairs; when one shortens,
the corresponding muscle lengthens.
Yoga for the musculoskeletal system is extremely important for
overall good health. A weak musculoskeletal system results in
extreme pain and discomfort. Our bodies are composed of our
Skeletal System and Skeletal Muscles that are worked and
overworked and, very often, used in wrong ways. Since this is the
system that is fundamentally concerned with our mobility and the
protection of internal organs, we ought to be even more careful.
Stiff knees, tight joints and taut muscles, more often than not, tend to
be awfully painful. Then again, thank god for yoga. Yoga helps
release muscle tension that subsequently translates into ease of
movement in all physical activities, be they sedentary or dynamic.
The Skeletal System
For every movement – even standing, for that matter – your body
depends upon the complex framework of around 206 bones. The
numerous Yoga poses help free all your joints and throws them
open, thus helping to ease the pressure on cartilages. Yoga helps
realign the a number of physical disorders such as arthritis,
cervical spondylitis, hiatus hernia, rheumatism, slipped disc,
umbilical hernia and a host of others. The different Yogasanas
and exercises help deal with the problem every effectively. These
asanas place or alter the amount of stress and strain borne by the
different parts of the bones, ligaments, muscles and nerves.
The knees are the center of your legs and are used for to support as well
as motion. It follows, therefore, that our knees are extremely vital
organs of our body.
The Neck and Upper Back
The health of our upper backs highly affects the health of our necks. A
strong, supple upper back is imperative in keeping the neck safe free
of strain that could result in so much distress.
Our backs are supported and held in place by our Spinal Column. It is, in
fact, one of the fundamental and most crucial parts of our body.
Spinal injuries can be terribly painful and serious cases could even
result in paralysis. Fortunately, all these misfortunes can be
prevented with the help of Yogasanas and exercises that primarily
correct your posture.
Yoga practice thus helps improve the strength and flexibility of your
Musculoskeletal System. This, together with a yoga diet – which
includes lots of calcium as well as plenty of other nutrients, so
essential to healthy bones and muscles – keeps you fit right into old
age. Most Yogasanas are designed to loosen up, warm up and
stretch and expand your muscles, joints and bones with a view to
make them more flexible and strong.
(introducer of a new trend in yoga)
Baba Ramdev (born as Ramkrishna
Yadav in Haryana) is a spiritual leader
known for his contributions in yoga,
Ayurveda, politics and agriculture. He is
best known for popularising yoga among
health conscious Indians through his
mass yoga camps and TV shows. He
has been the inspiration and guide for
the Patanjali group of institutions
(including some firms). Ramdev has
more recently become a vocal advocate
on Indian political issues.
Baba Ramdev was born as Ramkrishna Yadav to Ram Nivas
Yadav and Gulabo Devi in the Alipur village
of Mahendragarh district in Haryana state of India. He
then studied Indianscripture, Yoga and Sanskrit in
various gurukuls. He became a sanyasi & eventually
came to be called with his popular name "Baba
Ramdev“. While living in Kalva Gurukul of Jind district in
Haryana, he offered free yoga training to villagers for
some time. Then he moved to Haridwar, Uttarakhand and
spent several years studying ancient Indian scriptures
at Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya. This included a rare
book of Aurobindo Ghosh, Yogik Sadhan, translated
from Bengali into Hindi by Ram Prasad Bismil. After
reading this small bookletयोगिक साधन (en. yaugika-
sadhana) he went to the caves of Himalaya and practised
intense self-discipline and meditation.
Patanjali yogpeeth and
research on yoga
Patanjali Yogpeeth is an Institute of Medical Science & Research in
Yoga & Ayurveda. It has two Indian campuses, Patanjali
Yogpeeth-I & Patanjali Yogpeeth-II, with locations in the UK, US,
Nepal, Canada, and Mauritius.
Ramdev established the Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK) Trust in 2006,
with the aim of promoting the ancient Indian science of yog and
thus spreading its benefits as widely as possible in the UK.
A view of Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar (Uttarakhand) India
Patanjali YogPeeth has acquired a Scottish island for about £2
million which was donated by Mr. Sam and Mrs. Sunita Poddar,
originally from India and living in Scotland for 25 years, who
have been running the UK branch of the Patanjali Yoga Peeth
Trust. The Little Cumbrae Island, off the fishing town of Largs
in Scotland, will also serve as the Patanjali Yog Peeth's base
overseas, whereyoga will be taught. This project will be run by
Patanjali Yogpeeth (UK) Trust. They have plans to set up a
wellness retreat there. People come to visit Patanjali Yogpeeth
in Haridwar as a tourist spot also.
A view of Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar
Beginning of public life
Ramdev was born in 1965.(But some where mentioned 11,Jan-1971 ->
what is correct) He entered prominence when he started the Divya Yog
Mandir Trust with the company of Acharya Nitin Soni. In 2003, Aastha
TV began featuring him in its morning yoga slot. Within a few years, he
had gathered a huge following. The New York Times called him "an
Indian, who built Yoga Empire, a product and symbol of the New India,
a yogic fusion of Richard Simmons, Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey,
irrepressible and bursting with Vedic wisdom."
A large number of people and many celebrities in India and abroad have
attended his yoga camps. He has taught yoga to many actors
including Amitabh Bachchan and Shilpa Shetty. He has also taught
yoga in the British Parliament, at the MD Anderson Cancer
Center affiliated to the University of Texas and at the seminary of
Muslim clerics at Deoband in Uttar Pradesh, becoming the first ever
non-Muslim to publicly address thedeobandi Muslim clerics.
Apart from making Yoga a household word in India, he has also taught
Yoga in Britain, USA and Japan among other countries. Soon after
getting popular outside India, he was invited byKofi Annan in 2006 to
deliver a lecture on poverty alleviation in a United Nations conference.