Saturday, November 1, 2008

Some good ways for a beginner to learn yoga

Buy a good book or find a trained teacher near by.It's advisable to learn Yoga under the guidance of a teacher and there after one may continue at his own.Once you are in to Yoga,rest assured that your life shall not never be the same but better and better.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Life of Swami Shivananda

Swami Sivananda, one of the greatest Yoga masters of the 20th century, is the inspiration behind the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers.

His Early Life

Born in 1887 in Pattamadai, Tamil Nadu, South India, Swami Sivananda whose name was then Kuppuswami, was a brilliant boy at studying as well as gymnastics and naturally inclined toward spiritual and religious practices.
His parents were very devoted to Lord Siva and Kuppuswami was eager to join them twice daily for worship (Puja) and Kirtan (Mantra chanting).
His natural selfless spirit lead him to a career in the medical field. His amazing eagerness and ability to learn and assimilate his studies earned him the respect of his professors who invited him to attend surgeries while still in his first year of medical school.

Dr. Kuppuswami

The young Dr. Kuppuswami felt a strong urge to go to Malaysia where he felt there was great need. In a short time he was given the responsibility of running a hospital. During these years Dr. Kuppuswami was renowned as being both an excellent doctor and a true humanitarian. Very often he waived consultation fees for patients too poor to afford his services and on many occasions provided medicine for free to his neediest patients.

One day Dr. Kuppuswami had the opportunity to cure a wandering Sannyasin (renunciate or Monk) who then gave the doctor instruction on Yoga and Vedanta. From that day on his life changed, and gradually Dr. Kuppuswami became more introspective and could not stop pondering the great questions of life. Now he felt the need to help people on a more profound level, not just healing their physical body, but helping them to find a cure for all suffering.

The Great Sannyasin Swami Sivananda

Filled with a tremendous desire for spiritual growth and enlightenment Kuppuswami went to North India in search of his Guru. After spending time in Varanasi (Banaras) he travelled north to the Himalayas. There in the holy town of Rishikesh (which means "the abode of the sages") Kuppuswami discovered his Guru who gave him Sannyas (a monk's vows of renunciation). After taking these vows, Swami Sivananda Saraswati, as he would be known henceforth, started an extremely intense daily Sadhana (spiritual practices) and Tapas (austerities) for the next 10 years or so. By the end of that period many co-Sadhus felt drawn to Swami Sivananda for his instruction and his spiritual inspiration.

Swami Sivananda, The World Teacher

From that time Swami Sivananda became one of the most prolific Yoga teachers who has ever existed. Although he rarely left the little town of Rishikesh (with only 2 India tours and no visits abroad) Swami Sivananda's teachings spread quickly throughout our entire planet. He personally wrote - by hand, no computers at the time :-) - more than 200 books on topics connected to Yoga and Philosophy. He wrote in a style that is very direct and bursting with dynamic, spiritual energy. As a result many who read his books felt their lives deeply touched and transformed and so came from all of India, all of the world, to learn from him directly, and to bask in his holy presence. The teachings of Master Sivananda are summarized in these 6 words:

    "Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize".

In 1957, Swami sivananda sent his devoted and industrious disciple, Swami Vishnu-devananda to the West where he then established the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers.

Why Should a Yogi Eat Right?

Well isn’t it obvious; for our wellbeing! First we need to discuss the importance of diet and nutrition. Swami Sivananda, a great guru from India, has said many times that “what we eat so we become.” This means that whatever enters our body is sure to become our body. And isn’t this obvious? If we eat a Big-Mac for McDonalds than our body will defiantly absorb the content of that Big-Mac during the digestive process, so that whatever went into the food has now gone into us. Now there is a lot of exchanges and relationships that occur when we eat a food, but I will just name a few to give you a better idea of how it works.

1. The density of the food will determine how much energy is required to break down the food structure and turn it into nutrients for our bodies;

2. The content of the food will determine how much benefit we can receive from the food;

3. The chemicals used to add flavor or preservation to the food will determine our bodies reaction to the food while our digestive system absorbs those same chemicals and releases them into our bodies;

4. The medicinal value of the food as it affects the organs and the biological structure of our entire bodies (and minds too). Specific food can be consumed to help improve our health, and this is part of the system known as Ayureveda (but we will not get into this right now).

So each of these points are quiet important to our understanding of how food directly impacts the state of our bodies. It is clear that we need to eat right and always keep the idea in the back of our minds that whatever food enters our bodies will eventually be used to support and maintain our bodies.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

6 Foods That Will Help Lower High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a serious problem here in the US and abroad. According to the website for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, “…1 in 3 adults in the US have HPB.” Read on and the truth is even scarier. “You can have it for years without knowing it. During this time, though, it can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of your body.”

Do we need to hear more? This is why it’s so important to have your blood pressure monitored frequently. Whether you are young or old, suffer from diabetes or not, understanding your blood pressure, what affects it and what steps to take, if necessary, to beat it, are crucial to a long and happy life.

Most of us know there are certain things we can do to help keep high blood pressure in check, such as frequent exercise, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, relaxation and less stress. But one of the most important factors in lowering HBP, and one that we have complete control over (but manage to ignore anyways), is our DIET.

Unfortunately, the price of food, especially the healthy stuff, continues to go up. The result being, it’s all too easy for us to skip the entrance to the grocery store and instead be lured by cheap and tasty food, served up quick, at your nearest fast-food restaurant. And there’s your first mistake to lowering high blood pressure.

Eating well isn’t necessarily that hard to do thankfully. What can be difficult though is having the understanding of which foods are healthy and WHY. What ingredients does the good stuff have that will actually help lower blood pressure?

Listed below are 6 easy choices you can make to control blood pressure by simply eating better:

  1. Monounsaturated Fats - Increasing consumption of products with monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, in your diet can greatly diminish your risk of high blood pressure and may even eliminate the need to take medication to control the situation.
  2. Potassium Intake - Decrease potassium intake to 2,400 milligrams or less on a daily basis.
  3. Vitamin C - Increase consumption of products containing Vitamin C. This may mean a daily vitamin supplement (make sure to buy quality supplements!) or be part of an increased consumption of fruits, such as oranges
  4. Fruits and Juices - Increase consumption of juices, fruits (especially bananas) and whole grain based cereals to counteract high levels of potassium found in other foods and in your body. Important note: juices are good in moderation. There are lots of juices on the shelves of your local grocery store that contain seriously high amounts of sugar. Walk right by these and instead look for ones that have no sugar added. (Also keep in mind that fruits contain natural amounts of sugar.)
  5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids that are commonly found in cold-water fish. These acids are proven to reduce high-blood pressure as well as lower your cholesterol.
  6. Whole Oats - Increase consumption of whole oats help to control your high blood pressure. Additionally, they also have positive affects on cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Yoga Poses for Heart

The concept of yoga for heart disease is in currency for long. Of late, it is getting better coinage following concerted studies which have shown how symptoms of coronary artery disease have been reduced.
Kapalabhati Breathing
Kapalabhati breathing is a pranayama technique. Kapalabhati requires that you breathe in rapid succession while consciously controlling the movements of the diaphragm (a membrane separating abdomen from chest.) This exercises the entire respiratory system forcing higher oxygen absorption in a short time. This ensures richer blood to reach cardiovascular muscles regardless of its quantity, thus removing the major complaint.
Yoga Mountain Pose
Tadasana, a completely balanced standing posture is the foundation for all asanas which start from standing. Touch your heels and big toes to each other with weight balanced evenly on metatarsals (bones in foot) and toes spread. Stiffen and pull-up calf muscles, knee caps, thighs and hips. Take stomach in; expand chest, neck and spine. Release fingers, drop hands straight and keep them stiff.

Warrior Pose
Begin from the mountain pose and jump change to fully stretched legs and arms (horizontal) sideways. Rotate outwards right foot by 900 and left foot by 700. Bend the right knee till thigh becomes parallel to ground keeping the plane of the body unaltered. Breathe in a few times and return to tadasana and repeat this for the next half of the body.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Biochemical Benefits of Yoga

* Glucose decreases
* Sodium decreases
* Total cholesterol decreases
* Triglycerides decrease
* HDL cholesterol increases
* LDL cholesterol decreases
* VLDL cholesterol decreases
* Cholinesterase increases
* Catecholamines decrease
* ATPase increases
* Hematocrit increases
* Hemoglobin increases
* Lymphocyte count increases
* Total white blood cell count decreases
* Thyroxin increases
* Vitamin C increases
* Total serum protein increases

Physiological Benefits of Yoga

  • Stable autonomic nervous system equilibrium
  • Pulse rate decreases
  • Respiratory rate decreases
  • Blood Pressure decreases (of special significance for hyporeactors)
  • Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) increases
  • EEG - alpha waves increase (theta, delta, and beta waves also increase during various stages of meditation)
  • EMG activity decreases
  • Cardiovascular efficiency increases
  • Respiratory efficiency increases
  • Gastrointestinal function normalizes
  • Endocrine function normalizes
  • Excretory functions improve
  • Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase
  • Breath-holding time increases
  • Joint range of motion increase
  • Grip strength increases
  • Eye-hand coordination improves
  • Dexterity skills improve
  • Reaction time improves
  • Posture improves
  • Strength and resiliency increase
  • Endurance increases
  • Energy level increases
  • Weight normalizes
  • Sleep improves
  • Immunity increases
  • Pain decreases
  • Steadiness improves
  • Depth perception improves
  • Balance improves
  • Integrated functioning of body parts improves