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Viva Yoga

Monday, November 17, 2014
By Dr. Shernaz Baji Avari

It's a dynamic internal experience which integrates (‘yug’ means to bind) the body, the mind, the senses, the spirit and intellignece with the self says yoga practitioner Dr. Shernaz B. Avari

This article is a tribute to the legendary Yoga Guru Padma Vibhushan B.K.S. Iyengar who was fraught with many physical ailments at a young age but who with the help of Yoga and his own determination conquered his afflictions to emerge triumphant and live upto a ripe old age of 95, performing 'Shirshasana' (headstand) at 90! A genius, a scholar in his field, he sparked a global yoga movement and created a growing awareness in the field which is today practiced by millions around the world for optimum good health and balance into our lives at all levels. This 'balance' that I refer to is the 'inner' and 'outer' balance which is termed as 'alignment'. It is not only of our physical body but is achieved when the inner mind reaches every cell of our body. Surprising as it may seem to you, every cell in our body vibrates at its own natural frequency in a healthy state. When the cells are diseased or ill-at-ease there comes a change in their vibratory frequency. Every cell in our body has the capacity to think, to act, to react, to reach out, to help other cells in need, to grow, to love or otherwise. Therefore, if you want your cells to remain young and healthy, nourish them with good thoughts (HUMATA) and good mind (VOHU MANO) along with healthy foods, fresh air and exercise. Next time when you tell your loved one, "I love you with all my hart:", just think awhile and ponder... wouldn't it be better if you change it to" I love you with all my trillion cells!" Ofcourse with a chuckle and a twinkle in your eyes! Yes, the connection between the mind and the body is very intimate and very immediate and both are in a state of constant interaction.

Back then, to our yoga. It is as much for the young and the old, the ailing and the aged as it is for the young and healthy. It's regular practice strengthens our vital force and builds up the body's strength and natural resistance to bear as well as alleviate pain and tackle the root of the problem. It can heal parts of our body which are diseased or ill-at-ease, ignored or neglected. It restores the mind to simplicity and peace freeing it from confusion and distress. A sense of calm comes from practicing yogic asanas or poses which increases the circulation of fresh blood through the body, purging it of toxins which are mainly the consequences of a fast-paced, irregular, push-button lifestyles full of turmoil and upheavals, unhealthy habits accompanied by poor posture while standing, sitting, walking or sleeping. Regular practice of yogic asanas not only restores strength, stamina and flexibility to the physical body and the internal organs and the difference systems of our body like the bony and muscular system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, digestive system, excretory and reproductive system but it  actually influences the chemical balance of the brain which in turn improves the mental state of being as fresh blood is supplied to the brain making it alert but at the same time also relaxed and calm. In sum, it balances the neuro-muscular, psycho-physical and nervous-systematic co-ordination. Along with asanas, PRANAYAMAS, which is control of the breath with right breathing techniques rectifies physical, physiological and psychological disorders having a positive impact on  stress related diseases.

Along with the mind, the body ad the intellect, it also deals with the 'atma' or the spiritual self bringing in spiritual unity with the divine. It creates spiritual awareness which is sadly missing in today's complex materialistic world causing stress and strain mostly due to our own actions and reactions with the result that at times we undergo a spiritual void in our lives, devoid of purpose or meaning. This lack of spiritual dimension into our lives and relationships makes us realise that solace and inspiration, peace, happiness and contentment has to come from within and not from external factors.

Let's take a sneak peak into Yoga's eight strong limbs - YAMA or general ethical principles to be followed in day to day life. NIYAM or self-restraint which moulds our morality and behaviour ASANA or yogic poses, PRANAYAMS or breath control conducive to physical, physiological, psychological and mental health, PRATYAHAR or detachment, DHARNA or concentration, DHYAN or meditation, and SAMADHI or self-realisation.

"Why Yoga?" asked a portly 40 year old to me suffering from high B.P. and diabetes as well. "To remove your 'roga' (disease)", I replied, with a smile and twinkle in my eye. Try yoga and if you do it sincerely and regularly, you will feel refreshed and recharged to carry on the day's task ahead. Besides, it will illuminate your life and reflect on your wisage. IT will help you to introspect at yourself, your goals, remove obstacles to sound health and stable emotions. You will, after years of practice achieve emancipation and self realisation which should be your ultimate goal. Yoga will slowly and surely transform you from 'the effort of becoming' to the 'discovery of being'. Before I end this article let me echo what yoga maestro and icon B.K.S. Iyengar said, "What I learned through yoga, I found out through yoga"! Viva Yoga!

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