"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." - Joseph Addison
In Hamsalife we believe in holistic health and wellness, hence our program pays attention to all important factors of an individual’s well being. One’s pursuit of happiness yields results when his body, mind and soul are well balanced. Swami Vishnudevananda condensed the essence of the yoga teachings into five principles for physical and mental health as well as spiritual growth. The goal is to harmonise our inner self so that we can effortlessly create the life that we want. Follow the simple steps to achieve contentment in our everyday lives.
- Treat ourselves and our bodies with love and respect
- Treat others with love and respect
- Experience joy in everything we do
- Have a sense of purpose and universal service
The body was created as a vehicle for the soul to achieve growth and enlightenment in the physical world. The body has an important purpose in the body, mind and soul equation. The body's magic formula for survival - sleep, diet, and exercise in addition to positive thinking will help us to live a happy, healthy and prolonged life. Our physical body is meant to move and exercise. If our lifestyle does not provide natural motion of muscles and joints, then disease and great discomfort will ensue with time. Proper exercise should be pleasant to the practitioner while beneficial to the body, mind and spiritual life.
Yoga regards the body as a vehicle for the soul on its journey towards perfection, Yogic physical exercises are designed to develop not only the body. They also broaden the mental faculties and the spiritual capacities. The Yogic physical exercises are called Asanas, a term which means steady pose. The body is as young as it is flexible. Yoga exercises focus on the health of the spine, its strength and flexibility. The spinal column houses the all-important nervous system, the telegraphic system of the body. By maintaining the spine's flexibility and strength through exercise, circulation is increased and the nerves are ensured their supply of nutrients and oxygen. The Asanas also affect the internal organs and the endocrine system (glands and hormones).
God has provided prana and the proper utilisation of this free source of energy can make remarkable changes to our health, vitality and self confidence. Control of the Prana leads to control of the mind. Breathing exercises are called Pranayamas, which means to control the Prana. As per yoga philosophy, longevity depends on your breathing rate. Lowering of breathing rate is likely to increase your life. For example, a tortoise takes four to five breaths in a minute and it lives up to 200 years or more.
Most people use only a fraction of their lung capacity for breathing as they breathe shallowly and, barely expanding the ribcage. To get the feel of proper diaphragmatic breathing, place the hand on the upper abdomen, where the diaphragm is located. Breathe in and out slowly. The abdomen should expand outward as you inhale and contract as you exhale. Yoga teaches us how to use the lungs to their maximum capacity and how to control the breath. Proper breathing should be deep, slow and rhythmical which increases vitality and mental clarity.
A full Yogic breath begins with a deep breath, continuing the inhalation through the intercostal and clavicular areas. Breathe in slowly, expand the abdomen, then the ribcage, and finally the upper portion of the lungs. Then, breathe out in the same manner, letting the abdomen cave in as you exhale. This is the full Yogic breath.
Ancient Indian Yogis devised very powerful techniques of deep relaxation. As a matter of fact, many modern stress-management and relaxation methods borrow heavily from this tradition. When the body and the mind are constantly overworked, their natural efficiency to perform work diminishes. Modern social life, food and work stress make it difficult for people to relax as many have even forgotten that rest and relaxation are nature's way of recharging.As a general rule, we should aim for 7 hours sleep at night during which, the body's cells are renewed, the body's digestive system is at rest and the brain is only partially active which is why we feel so refreshed after a good night's sleep. By relaxing deeply all the muscles the Yogi can thoroughly rejuvenate his nervous system and attain a deep sense of inner peace. In order to achieve perfect relaxation, three methods are used by yogis: "Physical", "Mental", and "Spiritual" relaxation.
For maximum body-mind efficiency and complete spiritual awareness, Yoga advocates a lacto-vegetarian diet. This is an integral part of the Yogic lifestyle. The yogic diet is a vegetarian one, consisting of pure, simple, natural foods which are easily digested and promote health. Simple meals aid the digestion and assimilation of foods. Eating foods first-hand from nature, grown in fertile soil (preferably organic, free from chemicals and pesticides) will help ensure a better supply of these nutritional needs. Processing, refining and overcooking destroy much food value.
A healthy motto is: "Eat to live, not live to eat". It is best if we understand that the purpose of eating is to supply our being with the life-force,or Prana, the vital life energy. The Yogic diet will help you attain a high standard of health, keen intellect and serenity of mind.
We become what we think. Thus we should exert to entertain positive and creative thoughts as these will contribute to vibrant health and a peaceful, joyful mind. A positive outlook on life can be developed by learning and practicing the teachings of the philosophy of Vedanta. The mind will be brought under perfect control by regular practice of meditation. When the surface of a lake is still, one can see to the bottom very clearly which is impossible when the surface is agitated by waves. In the same way, when the mind is still, with no thoughts or desires, you can see the "inner self".
All happiness achieved through the mind is temporary and fleeting; it is limited by nature. To achieve that state of lasting happiness and absolute peace, we must first know how to calm the mind, to concentrate and go beyond the mind. By turning the mind's concentration inward, upon the self, we can deepen that experience of perfect concentration. This is the state of Meditation". Meditation is an experience that cannot be described, just as colors cannot be described to a blind man. All ordinary experience is limited by Time, Space and Causation and our normal awareness and understanding do not transcend these bounds.
On the physical level, meditation helps to prolong the body's anabolic process of growth and repair, and to reduce the catabolic or decaying process. Ordinarily the anabolic process predominates until the age of 18. From 18 to 35 there is balance between the two, and after 35 the catabolic process dominates. Meditation can significantly reduce the catabolic decline. This is because of the innate receptivity of the body cells. When the positive thoughts are poured into the body, the cells are activated and it has been scientifically proven that positive thoughts bring positive result to cells. As meditation brings about a prolonged positive state of mind, it rejuvenates body cells and retards decay. Meditation is the most powerful mental and nerve tonic. Divine energy freely flows to the adept during meditation, and exerts a benign influence on the mind, nerves, sense organs and body. It opens the door to intuitive knowledge and realms of eternal bliss.
Yoga Asanas are essential in maintaining a balanced body and mind. It increases metabolisms, generates endorphins (neurological chemicals that make us feel happy), and helps us to gain a more balanced perspective by bringing us out of our minds and into our bodies. The body is like a vehicle that needs to be maintained and well-oiled and yoga helps you exercise different muscle groups. Try doing yoga outdoors; the sun and fresh air, especially in a relaxing, natural environment, are energising and will strengthen the body-mind connection which can have a profound impact on your overall state of well being.
1 - Physical Relaxion -
We know that every action is the result of thought. The physical relaxation is a mental process which begins with the toes and then moves upward to head. The autosuggestion passes through the muscles and reaches the eyes, skull and brain at the top. Then, slowly, messages are sent to the kidneys, liver and the other internal organs. This relaxation position is known as Savasana, or the Corpse Pose.
2 - Mental Relaxion -
When experiencing mental tension, it is advisable to breathe slowly and rhythmically for a few minutes. Soon the mind will become calm. You may experience a kind of floating sensation.
3 - Spiritual Relaxion -
Yogis know that unless a person can withdraw from the body/mind idea and separate himself from the ego-consciousness, there is no way of obtaining complete relaxation. The yogi identifies himself with the all pervading, all-powerful, all-peaceful and joyful self, or pure consciousness within. This identification with the self completes the process of relaxation.
The Golden Rule when it comes to diet is to ensure that you are feeling good within yourself when you eat. If you eat when you are angry or upset, your food will not digest as well and can turn acidic. Positive energy helps you to break down food, absorb the necessary nutrients and keep it moving through the body.
Try to eat as much live food as possible. Fruit and vegetables contain more vitamins and minerals when they are raw than when they are cooked.
Try to eat small portions regularly - every 2-3 hours if possible - to maintain your metabolism. Freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juice is a great snack and gentle on the body.
Conduct a detox regime of some sort on a regular basis (every 1-3 months is optimal) to allow your body to rest and reset and eliminate toxins from your system.
Drink plenty of water daily to cleanse and hydrate your system but Try not to drink any fluids with meals as it dilutes digestive enzymes in the stomach which inhibits the digestive process
Eat organic food; Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. The amount of saliva ingested when eating greatly assists your stomach in the digestion of food.
Always check the nutritional information before you buy food. Try to avoid foods with artificial ingredients.