Yoga means togetherness of awareness and body. It is a practical science aiming at the realization of the ultimate-moksha.
The purpose of this book is to remove the misconception that yoga is for the elderly and the sick. The practice of yoga should ideally be commended in early childhood when the body is, by nature, loose and flexible. Beginning early brings truth to the old adage ‘prevention is better than cure’. Though yoga does help in the treatment of disease, this is not its only goal.
Ancient masters like Patanjali have made mankind aware of the fact that yoga is a science which is pratical and usable with guaranteed scope of growth at all levels of human existence-physical, mental, emotional, of human existence-physical, mental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Its sole principle is to progress from a state of doing to that an empty mind is God’s workshop.
With the passage of time, medical sciences have made tremendous progress. So have metaphysics, physics, chemistry, human physiology, and sports medicine. Yoga, which is a practical science, however, has fallen into the hands of those who don’t really understand its depth and use it for superficial purposes such as figure-correction, weight loss, and stress management.
You may wonder: ‘I know a few asanas (postures), bandhas (neuromuscular locks), mudras (gestures), and kriyas (purification techniques). When I practice them, all I feel is relaxed and light.’
It is your inability to get involved at deeper levels that blocks yoga’s ability to take you beyond relaxation and a feeling of lightness. The mad materialistic race for earning more than what you need, the latest cars and cellphones has made you so busy, that you forget that with every breath, you are closer to death.
Yoga is not only a science that can be used as a curative to relax and distress you, but one that aids in understanding life, and can be used by a logical mind to go beyond logic. It allows a person who has given in to lust, greed, and desire to gain freedom from the senses. To some, this could mean death. However, the first lesson of yoga is withdrawal from the senses-pratyahaar.
Yoga is a systematic growth ladder that begins with yama and niyama (the basic ethical codes of life), asana to master the body and pranayama to go beyond the body. These constitute bahirang (external) yoga and the antarang yoga (inward journey) that begins by experimenting with the senses (pratyahaar), which helps achieve tranquility; and a new world begins. External yoga has the effect of a mother’s lullaby. It helps soothe the child to sleep. While sleep helps the practitioner achieve a tranquil state, the song makes him unafraid, stable, and comfortable with his eyes closed. From here the new world begins.
The practitioner continues by experimenting with the second step-dharana (thought and absence of thought). Success in this is a state of bliss-relaxed, awakened and a genuine sense of freedom from all attachment, pain and joy, a shift from ego to egolessness, from skepticism to suffender, and from falling in love to happiness within. This is dhyana (profound meditation), the third step in the internal journey. After this, he starts experimenting with happiness. Then the last door opens. The untold, unheard, unsaid and unknown reveals its own presence. He embarks with his awakened consciousness on a journey leading to the ultimate conquest of the fear of death.
Yoga for the Family is my effort for you. I would like you to start enjoying the drugged-like effect of stretching and the addictive practice of external yoga which may lead you someday to the last door of knowledge.
The body is an amazing machine-the only machine in the universe that converts bread to blood. The five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and ether) that make up the universe are combined in the human body. Light is the source of energy, just as heat is the source of human energy. The man who knows the secrets of his own body will surely know the secrets of the universal consciousness.
Scientists have researched our bodies and developed equipment to measure different parameters of the output of their experiments. The ancient Indian yogis studied the human body and have came with the amazing knowledge of the nadi system. Nadis are a network of electrical pathways inside the human body and the yogis discovered that if there is any pause or ‘short circuit’, the body becomes sick or experiences loss of movement in that joint in the form of edema, pain, and so on. Yogis classified the air present in the body as prana, apana, samana, vyana, and so on. They developed ways to remove unwanted air and improve the condition of the body. They called it pranayama.
Yogis differentiated areas of the body and named them khandas or lokas. They developed a system called asana to balance and optimize strength, mobility, and fluidity of the limbs.
To cleanse the interiors of the body on a daily basis, they developed shatkarmas or kriyas that begins with the eyes, nasal passage, and alimentary canal. Yogis also developed asanas to remove blockages in the blood vessels; by inverting their body and standing on their heads, yogis used the gravitational pull to enhance blood circulation in the upper section of the body-the mastishk (head).
The practice of yoga enhances the body’s strength, resilience, and general health, without aggressive interference in its natural internal processes. Thus, yoga can be described as the ultimate medicine for ailments of the human body because it helps one to make the shift from dependence on the physical attributes to a mental or intellectual state of existence.
Yoga is simply the synthesis of an awakened spirit and a healthy body. The practice of yoga increases the body's strength, resilience, and improves its overall well-being without aggressively interfering with its natural functioning. It makes one shift from dependence on physical attributes to a more intellectual plane of being. It is a practical science aimed at the ultimate realization - moksha.
Yoga for the Family is an effort to introduce the whole family to the introduce the whole family to the enjoyment of the effects of yoga which leads to the last door of knowledge. The purpose of the book is to remove the misconception that yoga is only for the elderly and the sick. The book is divided into separate sections such as yoga for couples, yoga for pregnant women and yoga for children.
Yoga for the Family also offers a 41-day transformation process - Kayakalp - which aims at reversing the ageing process, in the tradition of the ancient masters and scholars. This book is a holistic approach that aims to foster growth at all levels: physical, mental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual.
Bharat Thakur is a Himalayan master with an extraordinary background. He was chosen by his master, Sukhdev Brahmachari, at the age of four and taken to the Himalayas where he lived for 14 years. He studied yoga and related subjects such as ayurveda, tantra, and mantra. He also studied Sufism, Jainism and Buddhism, and then returned from the Himalayas to step into normal education. He finished his graduation and subsequently his post-graduation in Exercise Physiology and Yoga from the Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, Gwalior.
Bharat Thakur lives in Mumbai and Delhi, and travels throughout the world teaching people ancient yogic meditation techniques that have improved and changed their lives in powerful, subtle and unexpected ways. He has also authored numerous books on yoga including Yoga for All, published by Roli Books.
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