You are on page 1of 43

Introduction to Yoga –

Eight-fold path &

Yoga postures

Presented by:
Didi Ananda Krpa
Revised by:
What is Yoga?
™ It comes from root word ‘yunj’
- which means to unify, to unite.

™ It is not like the union of sand

and sugar; but is like the union of
sugar dissolved in water, which,
once merged, cannot be
Yoga as Science

™ Yoga is a system of practices that

encourages the harmony and union
of body, mind, & spirit - and gives a
sense of Oneness.

™ Yoga is really a spiritual science.

Shiva – the Father of Tantra

™ Shiva lived as a great spiritual

master on this planet more than
7,000 years ago.
™ He systematized all the practices
of yoga.
™ He systematized and taught the
science of meditation, which is
the greatest treasure that anyone
can ever give.
Raja Yoga
™ In the West, yoga has often been
associated with body contortions,
youth, beauty, and long life.
Actually this is only related to one
type of yoga – HATHA YOGA.

™ Broadly, YOGA is an intuitional


™ Raja Yoga is known as Astaunga

Yoga, or 8-fold yoga, a systematic
approach to mastery of ourselves.
8-limbed System of Yoga
™ Yama - external moral /
ethical discipline.
™ Niyama - internal moral /
ethical strength.
™ Asana - yogic postures.

™ Pranayama - proper
breathing for vital energy.
8-limbed System of Yoga (con’t)
™ Pratyahara - withdrawal of
senses from the external world to
internalize your consciousness for
™ Dharana - concentration, or
extended mental focusing,
fundamental to yogic meditation.
™ Dhyana - process of meditation,
the principal practice of bringing
your mind to ideate on Oneness.
8-limbed System of Yoga (con’t)

™ Samadhi - experience of
unitive consciousness, so as
to feel inwardly one with the
feeling of Infinite Peace /
Cosmic Consciousness.
™ What is Tantra?
™ It is the basis of intuitional science.
™ Root words:
– Tan - which means darkness; and
– Tra - which means liberation from.
™ Origin of all branches of yoga
™ Examples:
bhakti yoga jinana yoga karma yoga
dhyana yoga kriya yoga hatha yoga

raja yoga astaunga mantra yoga

Important Aspects of Yoga

™ Bhakti Yoga - discipline of love and


™ Jinana Yoga - discipline of cultivating

highest intellectual understanding

™ Karma Yoga - discipline of self-

transcending action and service
Hatha Yoga
™ Places special emphasis on physical
postures integrated with harmonized
™ Allows for control over bodily
functions which influence the mind.

™ Hatha yoga is the science of yoga

that deals with the practice of
asanas (yoga postures).
How Yoga Postures Began

™ Yoga poses were developed thousand of

years ago by yogis who observed different
animals in the jungles – how they moved,
how they rested, how they instinctively
cured themselves when sick.
™ The yogis experimented with different
animal postures on their own bodies and
felt the subtle effects of these movements
on their own organs and glands.
™ After centuries of experimentation, these
postures were refined into a scientific
system of thousands of exercises called
What are Asanas?
™ The root meaning of the word
‘asana’ is a position in which one
feels comfortable.

™ They are yoga postures which when

practiced regularly, the body stays
healthy, flexible, strong and hardy.

™ They also help in preventing and

curing diseases.
Asanas – Stationery Poses
™ Asanas are practiced as stationary
poses in which the body & mind are
relaxed and composed.
™ They are accompanied by gentle
movements, deep breathing and
pointed concentration.
™ They give the same benefits as
vigorous exercises, of stimulating
circulation and increasing the
supply of oxygen to the cells.
Asanas vs Exercises

™ However, with vigorous exercise

this extra supply of oxygen is used
up during the exercises.
™ Whereas during the practice of
asanas, energy is accumulated
rather than spent.

™ The main difference between

asanas and forms of vigorous
exercises is that asanas affect the
internal organs and are not just like
skeletal or muscular exercises.
The Endocrine Glands
™ Yoga postures, when properly done, affect
mainly the glands and internal organs.

™ The endocrine glands secrete chemical

substances called hormones into the blood
stream which affect both body and mind.
- For instance, sometimes at ovulation
when estrogen and progesterone hormonal
levels are high, women are optimistic.
- Whereas, sometimes women can be
unfriendly when estrogen levels are lowest
during the premenstrual time.
Over or Under-secretion of Glands
™ Over or under-secretion of the
endocrine glands, in people, may cause
not only sickness but various mental
and emotional disturbances.
™ Can also cause negative emotions such
as anxiety, fear, anger & hatred, which
destroy our health and mental peace.
™ The yogic asanas exert a subtle
pressure on the different glands,
restoring a balanced secretion of
hormones, and bring about emotional
equilibrium and mental peace.
™ They also develop spiritual sentiment.
Importance of Asanas
™ Balance the endocrine
glands & control the
™ Revitalize the nervous
™ Improve blood
™ Relax any tensions in
the muscles.
™ Can correct defective
™ Calm the mind.
Overall Benefits of Asanas
™ Improves muscle ™ Is cleansing
tone, flexibility, ™ Improves breathing
strength and stamina ™ Reduces stress and
™ Easy movement of the tension
body ™ Improves
™ Tones the organs concentration and
™ Aids in blood
™ Creates sense of well-
circulation being and calmness
™ Stimulates immune ™ Boosts self-esteem
system ™ Elevates the mind
™ Lowers blood ™ Creates spiritual
pressure and sentiment
™ Reduces fat
Postures and Meridians
™ Asanas affect the energy
flow of the body.
™ There are 12 major
meridians of chi or energy
in the body.
™ Most of these are related
to a particular internal
organ with which it
™ Yoga asanas directly put
pressure on these key
points, strengthening the
meridians, and if
necessary redirecting the
Yoga postures as ‘self–acupuncture’
circulation of vital energy stimulate the meridians of vital energy.
within them.
Chakras – Psychic Centers
™ Chakras are subtle
energy centers along
the spinal column.
™ These psychic centers
are also related to the
endocrine glands.
™ They find a psycho-
physical manifestation
in conjunction with the
™ Asanas affect the
Chakras – Main List
™ There are seven conventional chakras:

– 1st chakra = Muladhara - terranean

– 2nd chakra = Svadhisthana - fluidal
– 3rd chakra = Manipura - igneous
– 4th chakra = Anahata - solar
– 5th chakra = Visuddha - sidereal
– 6th chakra = Ajina - lunar
– 7th chakra = Sahasrara - 1000 petals
Concentration Points for Chakras

1) Mu'la'dha'ra - base of the spine,

above the perineum;
2) Sva'dhis't'ha'na - base of the genital
3) Man'ipura - navel;

4) Ana'hata - midpoint of the chest;

5) Vishuddha - throat;

6) A'jina‘ - between the eyebrows;

7) Sahasra'ra - crown of the head.

Asana Practice – for Maximum Effect

™ Must be comfortable to the yogi, as

effect on glands and chakras is very

™ Best practiced in the early morning

before meals and in the late afternoon
or early evening before meals.

™ Do 2 - 3 hours after eating;

™ On finishing, leave 20 - 30 minutes
before eating.
Things to Remember

™ Breathing control.

™ Conscious stretching:
- no pain should be felt.

™ Counter positions or balance:

- must treat the body equally by
stretching each side of body equally
and in opposite directions.
Asanas – the Proper Flow
Important aspects:

™ Moving into the pose

™ Maintaining the pose

™ Coming out of the pose

Some basic asanas
- Yoga mudra A good warm-up
Some basic asanas Counter-balance
the first
- Cobra warm-up
Some basic asanas
- Hare Good for memory
and intellect
Some basic asanas Good for navel
which is the
- Boat controlling
point of the
Some basic asanas
- Shoulder stand

Helps increase
longevity, invigorates
all the lower chakras,
cures many diseases.
High blood pressure
patients should not do
this asana.
Some basic asanas
- Fish to shoulder
Fish posture
Activates all
Some basic asanas the chakras,
helps in all
- Spinal twist diseases, helps
in longevity
(must do both sides)
Asanas for Spiritual Development
™ Asanas are not like exercises;
™ They should be learnt from a
competent acarya (meditation and
yoga teacher).

™ Need to:

– Know the asana

– Know the person
– Fit the asana to the person
Stress at Different Levels
Yoga and Stress
™ As part of the evolution of mind, the
crude mind is converted into subtler
™ As the mental scope goes on
increasing, mind undergoes a psychic
dilation / expansion.
™ The operative forces of this psychic
dilation are 3 in number:
(1) physical force, created out of physical
(2) psychic force, created as a result of
clashes in the psychic sphere;
(3) spiritual force emanated from longing
for the Great.
Multilateral Mind
™ As a result of mental dilation, ie increase in
volume and mass of the psychic body, the mind
acquires more and more potentiality for
multilateral activities.

™ According to the mental dilation, the physical

body as well gets metamorphosed, and as the
longing for the Great increases, the physical
body develops certain complexities for an
adjustment with the higher psychic demands.
™ Hence we find that in creatures having
developed sentiments, the physical body is a
composite structure of a large number of
glands with their peculiar activities. The
developed glandular complexity is an
essentiality for facing the psychic clashes in
subtler spheres.
Dealing with Life Arenas
For expansion in life and for mental and
spiritual development, individual human
beings need to deal with the:
™ physical

™ physico-psychic

™ psychic

™ psycho-spiritual

™ spiritual

They also need to deal with the social

Yoga and Balance

There needs to be a proper balance

™ physical
™ mental / psychic
™ spiritual

This is done for and while the unit

being moves and experiences spiritual
Spirituality – the Subtlest Pursuit

™ The realization of the universality of

one Infinite Consciousness and the
experience of Bliss.
™ The opportunity to realize and become
conscious of a Supreme Reality.
™ One's spiritual ‘fitness’ is determined
by the feeling of Oneness, the desire
to be with the Divine all the time and
the strength of one's will power.
™ You've got to live it!
Spirituality and Yoga
™ Yoga is Self-conquest =
merger of unit mind into

™ Since the Divine is

universal, there is no
dogma in yoga.

™ Practices are scientific, so a

system should be followed
to gain the benefits.

™ That system is the 8 fold

path and all the practical
steps associated with it.
It feels so much better
when you transcend the
- its not hard to do.