yoga and meditation for holistic health

yoga and meditation for holistic health

Indian knowledge system has solutions to the problems faced in contemporary times

It is a well-known fact today that mindfulness is an essential survival mechanism. Mindfulness prevents stress, and anxiety and helps boost mental and thereby physical health. In an article titled “Mindfulness Matters: Can Living in the Moment Improve Your Health?” published in NIH News in Health (January 2022); it is stated that: mindfulness practices may help people manage stress, cope better with serious illness and reduce anxiety and depression. Many people who practice mindfulness report an increased ability to relax, a greater enthusiasm for life and improved self-esteem.After Yogasans and Pranayama (to strengthen the body and organs & systems), our next goal is to proceed inwards to strengthen our mind. To bring calmness and to remove restlessness. Therefore, we need to control our sensory organs so that contact with the outside world is minimised and our energies are channelled within.

Dhaarna: this is the stage where we gradually concentrate, detach our mind from the outside noise and tend to focus within. This is the beginning of the Dhayaan or Meditation. Here slowly, our breathing becomes deeper and slower and we start feeling light in our body and mind both.There are many ways to focus and concentrate, one can focus on a picture of a Deity, or a flame of a diya or on the forehead. There is nothing wrong in any of these, everything is good and well. Moreover, down the ages, our saints have found more effective measures for maintaining a healthy mind, body and soul. These are Lotus and Chakra Meditation.Lotus & Chakra +Dharma & Dhyan (2 stages of Meditation):  The Lotus is an important symbol in Meditation. The lotus can be seen as a form whose power originates at the centre and radiates outwards symmetrically. Both the inner concentrated centre and the outward radiating petals are versions of the same powerful energy. This image can be helpful in approaching our practice of meditation.We can see a parallel process in the growth of the lotus: Its seed starts in the mud (which represents our routine, external existence). With the help of the stem, the lotus rises higher and higher, leaving the mud behind, just as the spiritual aspirant turns the attention away from external factors and seeks the pure inner self.This inward seeking is the ‘Dharna’ stage of Yoga. When it reaches the zenith of its blossoming, the perfectly formed petals and fragrances of the lotus have no trace of mud at all. This perfect attainment of the blossom is representative of the ‘Dhyan’ stage of Yoga when the aspirant has withdrawn completely from the scattered perceptions of the outside world and united all thought with the One Creator. This oneness of thought fixed on the Creator is Meditation or DHYAN.

Chakra Meditation: As per yogic science, there are seven Chakras: five on the spinal cord, one where the spinal cord meets the brain, and the seventh one nearer to the top of the brain. Significantly, these Chakras are situated near the major glands and the nerve junctions (plexuses/plexus). Starting from the tip of the tailbone, these are: Root or Mooladhar Chakra (pelvic plexus), Swadhishthan Chakra (sacral plexus), Manipur Chakra (solar plexus), Anahat Chakra (Cardiac Plexus – Thymus Gland), Vishuddhi Chakra (Carotid Plexus), Agya Chakra (Pituitary Gland), and Sahasrar Chakra (Pineal Gland).

The objective of Chakra Meditation is to focus inwards on a specific Chakra. This energises the energy centres situated there, resulting in enhanced energy flow to the organs and systems served by that Chakra. Therefore, with regular practice of Chakra Meditation (covering each Chakra for 7 days each and repeating the cycle), all the negative energies and forces from within our body and mind go away and we are filled with positive energy and calmness. It is, therefore, only appropriate to practice these time-tested remedies; viz.; Ashtanga, Chakra and Dhaarna; for a healthy mind, body and soul.

(The writer is a Yoga exponent; views are personal)