I was in my doctor’s office this week, patiently waiting for my appointment. After a while, I became somewhat restless and then I picked a magazine from the table next to me. Most of the material was how to cope with the terminal illness or loss of any loved ones. Then I flipped through another magazine only to discover some tips on how to die a healthy death.
All this information may have a great and very important message, but it all felt very depressing and little scary to me while waiting in doctor’s office for a routine visit. I would rather read about the ways of living a healthy and happy life instead. I closed my eyes to bring back some memories of happy moments from my life.
Surprisingly, one of the recent memories was about the silent retreat I attended last year. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the most fulfilling moments came from the time when we practiced Karma yoga, selfless actions performed for the benefit of others. (https://community.thriveglobal.com/stories/silence-is-golden/)
Yoga and meditation, both are quite powerful techniques and they go together in maintaining physical as well as mental balance. Not only these are proven to work as sources of alternative medicines, but there is good science to support this hypothesis.
When we talk about yoga these days, we focus only on Hatha yoga that is currently practiced with some varieties. This is centered around physical exercise. But apart from Hatha yoga and Karma yoga, there are some other types of yoga. One of them is Jnana yoga which relates to our journey towards wisdom and knowledge. The other is Bhakti yoga which is often related to devotion, but the ultimate goal is always self-realization.
In Sanskrit, there is a mantra that says – So’ham or Sah Aham if broken into two words. The simple meaning is – I am the universal self. Yoga and meditation could lead us to this self-realization.
I have tried Hatha yoga and probably many of you may have practiced it unknowingly. It is all about controlling your breathing in coordination with body movements. Not only it makes your wandering thoughts to stay focused, but it also serves as a good cardio exercise.
Reciting or chanting Sanskrit verses also work as pranayama (yogic breathing practices). Pronunciation of these simple words require deep breathing and makes one learn how to hold the breath.
The simple mantra – Om Namah Shivaya includes all three steps; breathe in, breath out and holding your breath. One can even modify it and sing it with a different tune. Amma, the renowned humanitarian explains meditation as an art and how it can be achieved even by singing from heart. Not only music soothes your heart, but it can be uplifting and energizing at the same time.
Many of the fitness clubs have started conducting yoga classes these days due to high demand and interest. These classes come at different difficulty level, but honestly one can break down basic yoga poses that are most beneficial and practice whichever they feel most appealing.
One of the easy yoga practices is basic Surya-namaskar or Sun salutations. It consists of twelve yoga poses while chanting twelve different Sanskrit mantras.
After all, yoga and meditation is a journey of mind and body together to self-realization. Ultimately it is the decision of individuals on which style suits them and their willingness to live a healthy and happy life! Choice is your yours..!!