In our modern world, the pace of life is growing ever faster and we are losing touch with our true inner peace and power. When we no longer feel grounded, we can experience ourselves pushed and pulled in many different directions. It is at this point that we start to experience stress and a feeling of being trapped. Gradually, over time, this feeling leads to illness and disease, as our mental, emotional and physical health is thrown out of balance. Meditation is the journey inwards, a journey of self-discovery or, in fact, re-discovery. Meditation is time taken for quiet reflection and silence, away from the hustle and bustle of daily living. Taking time out enables us to come back to a centred place of being.Imagine yourself as a capable, empowered, successful and happy soul.Imagine being aware of each thought and reaction that comes to mind - and then ruling it. Within a nanosecond, you claim the power to act on the idea or ditch it.

Consider the negative traits in your personality that you wish would not play out: the thoughts of self-doubt, sabotage, low self-regard, guilt, worry etc. At your will, they will never again be spoken by you or affect your relationships at home, at work or on the sports field. Some might baulk at being so ‘in control' of themselves. But if you really ‘get' soul, you can ‘get in control' of yourself. Just yourself. Other people's lives and games are their own. You are only responsible for yourself. Our mums and dads did what they did - sometimes well, sometimes not - but that time has passed, and you are now the independent soul, who can choose how to live. With Yoga &meditation you can throw off the old patterns of influence and recreate yourself to be how you want to be. That is the power of meditation & Yoga.

This ancient practice harnesses your natural powers and trains your mind to be your friend. You are not your mind; you are not your body. You have a mind and you have a body. These ‘tools' sometimes work well and at other times may need calm and exercise to get back to a healthy path. We all make mistakes. We all waste resources. We waste our words, our energy and our time until we pause and think deeply about what matters in our life. When we hold on tight to our views, the mind shrinks and smothers any power to love. In that state, the soul can't breathe new energy into a situation - and everyone loses. But when we sit quietly, cancelling all mind-sets, and allow ourselves to know the deep peace of the soul, miraculous changes can happen for the better. People will understand you clearly, new doors will open, friends will call and that stiff neck will relax. Meditation teaches us to step back and observe life, take a calm breath, cool our reactions, and step forward in the way we choose - independent of others urging us to think or act as they wish. sets you free. Meditation releases the power to respond with love.

Meditation Posture

First Point of Posture: Sitting Down

For those of us who are accustomed to sitting in a chair, you might be a bit intimidated by the notion of sitting on the ground in a cross-legged fashion. This is a good time to give it a try. If you find that it is difficult, you can assume one of the simpler cross-legged postures I mention below.

6 Ways to Sit for Meditation:-
  1. The Quarter Lotus :- Here one can sit on meditation seat with legs loosely crossed and both feet resting below the opposite thigh or knee.
  2. The Half Lotus :- This is a variation of the above. The legs are crossed with one foot resting on the opposite thigh. The other foot can fold underneath the top leg and rest below the knee or thigh.
  3. The Full Lotus :- The legs are crossed with both feet resting on top of your opposite thighs as inpadmasana.
  4. The Burmese Position :- If one cannot sit with legs crossed, that’s fine. Just sit with both feet laying on the floor in this relaxed position as in Sukhasana.
  5. Seiza :- Instead of sitting with legs crossed one can also kneel and place a cushion or yoga props between legs. This traditional meditation posture is essentially a propped-upVajrasana.
  6. Chair :- Finally, yes, one can use a chair if one needs to. No shame in it. Just be sure to sit away from the back of the chair and place your feet firmly on the floor, aligned with your hips and knees.

Sometimes people ask if they can meditate lying down. One can, but one is more likely to fall asleep. If you’re going to do that you could place your feet on the ground with your knees up in order to maintain a sense of wakefulness.

Second Point of Posture: Elongate the Spine

Having established this firm foundation, it is important to lift yourself up through your spine. Traditional analogies say that your spine should be like an arrow or a stack of coins, one on top of the other. It is as if a rod could go through the top of your head and down through your bottom. You want to feel uplifted when you sit down to meditate.

Third Point of Posture: Resting Your Hands

The simplest thing to do with your hands is to rest them on your lap. You can drop your hands at your sides and pick them up at the elbow then drop them palms down on your thighs. This is a natural axis point on which to rest them, providing better support for your upright spine. Alternatively, you can place your right hand on top of your left with your thumbs very lightly touching, resting them on your lap at your navel. This creates more heat and energy in the body, which can be useful if you are feeling sleepy. Symbolically, the left hand represents wisdom and the right compassion. In this gesture you are bringing the two together.

Fourth Point of Posture: Relaxing the Shoulders

Let the muscles in your shoulder and back relax. Your shoulders can be pushed slightly back. This establishes a strong back while opening up the front body. There is a touch of vulnerability in this point of posture as we expose our tender heart.

Fifth Point of Posture: Tucking in the Chin

Slightly tuck in your chin. You don’t want to go so far that you are looking directly down at your lap but you don’t want your head held so far upwards that it may tire you out.

Sixth Point of Posture: Opening the Jaw

Bring a sense of relaxation to the muscles in your face so that your jaw hangs open. Place the tongue up against the roof of your mouth to allow for clear breathing and slow down the swallowing process, which can at times be distracting.

Seventh Point of Posture: Resting the Gaze

Relax your gaze two to four feet ahead of you on the ground in an unfocused manner. Don’t pick out patterns in the rug in front of you. Just maintain a loose gaze. Rest your eyes. Sometimes people do not understand why they should open their eyes during meditation. For one, we are always gazing at our world—why should we treat our meditation practice as a time to hide from our life? It is instead a time to look directly at who we are. So our eyes can be open as a gesture toward that intention. On a practical level, you are less likely to fall asleep with your eyes open. If you are unable to meditate with the eyes open, you can close them. It is important to make a conscious decision before beginning to meditate on which you will do or you will fidget back and forth the entire meditation session between those options. It has been said that closed eye meditation leads to more thoughts, daydreams, and distraction. But if this is not the case for you, you can certainly meditate with your eyes closed. If you take the time to establish your meditation posture correctly, you will find it is much easier to rest your mind and connect with the object of your meditation.

Benefits of Meditation

What are the benefits of meditation?
  1. A calm mind
  2. Better clarity
  3. Improved communication
  4. Relaxation and rejuvenation of the mind and body
  5. Good concentration
5 Health benefits of meditation

With meditation, the physiology undergoes a change and every cell in the body is filled with more prana (energy). This results in joy, peace, enthusiasm as the level of prana in the body increases.On a physical level, meditation:

  1. Lowers high blood pressure, lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks.
  2. Decreases any tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems.
  3. Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behaviour.
  4. Improves the immune system.
  5. Increases the energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy.
11 Mental Benefits of Meditation

Meditation brings the brainwave pattern into an alpha state that promotes healing. The mind becomes fresh, delicate and beautiful. It cleanses and nourishes you from within and calms you, whenever you feel overwhelmed, unstable, or emotionally shut down. With regular practice of meditation:

  1. Anxiety decreases.
  2. Emotional stability improves.
  3. Creativity increases.
  4. Happiness increases.
  5. Intuition develops.
  6. Gain clarity and peace of mind.
  7. Problems become smaller.
  8. Meditation sharpens the mind by gaining focus and expands through relaxation.
  9. A sharp mind without expansion causes tension, anger and frustration.
  10. An expanded consciousness without sharpness can lead to lack of action/progress.
  11. The balance of a sharp mind and an expanded consciousness brings perfection. Meditation makes you aware - that your inner attitude determines your happiness.
3 Spiritual benefits of meditation

Meditation doesn’t have a religion and can be practiced by anybody regardless of the faith they follow.

  1. Effortless transition from being something to merging with the infinite and recognizing yourself as an inseparable part of the whole cosmos.
  2. In a meditative state, you are in a space of vastness, calmness and joy and this is what you emit into the environment, bringing harmony to the Creation/planet.
  3. Meditation can bring about a true personal transformation. As you learn more about yourself, you’ll naturally start discovering more about yourself.

How to get meditation benefits?

To experience the benefits of meditation, regular practice is necessary. It takes only a few minutes every day. Once imbibed into the daily routine, meditation becomes the best part of your day! Meditation is like a seed. When you cultivate a seed with love, the more it blossoms. Busy people from all backgrounds are grateful to pause and enjoy a refreshing few minutes of meditation each day. Dive deep into yourself and enrich your life.

5 Benefits of meditation for students

  1. Greater confidence.
  2. Increased focus and clarity.
  3. Better health.
  4. More mental strength and energy.
  5. Greater dynamism.

Surya Namaskar means to bow down to the sun in the morning. The sun is the life source for this planet. In everything that you eat, drink and breathe, there is an element of the sun. Only if you learn how to better “digest” the sun, internalize it, and make it a part of your system, do you truly benefit from this process.

The physical body is a fantastic stepping stone for higher possibilities, but for most people it functions like a road block. The compulsions of the body do not allow them to go forward. Being in sync with the solar cycle is an important part of balance and receptivity, a means of taking the body to the point where it is no longer a hurdle.

Surya Namaskar, which is known as “Sun Salutation” in English, is essentially about building a dimension within you where your physical cycles are in sync with the sun’s cycles, which run at about twelve-and-a-quarter years. It is not by accident but by intent that it has been structured with twelve postures or twelve asanas in it. If your system is in a certain level of vibrancy and readiness, and in a good state of receptivity, then naturally your cycle will be in sync with the solar cycle.

Young women have an advantage in that they are also in sync with the lunar cycles. It is a fantastic possibility that your body is both connected to the solar cycle and to the lunar cycle. Nature has granted this advantage to a woman because she has been entrusted with the extra responsibility of propagating the human race. So she has been given some extra privileges. But many people don’t know how to handle the extra energy that is generated by that relationship and so they treat it as a curse and even a kind of madness, as evidenced by the word “lunar” turning into “loony.” The repetitive nature of cyclical movements or systems, which we traditionally refer to as samsara, is the necessary stability for the making of life. If it was all at random, it would not be possible to house a steady life-making machine. So, for the solar system and for the individual person, being rooted in cyclic nature is the firmness and steadiness of life.

Maximizing the Benefits of Surya Namaskar –

There are a few simple things you can do to prepare your body and get the most out of your practice.

  1. Bathe in cool water to charge the cellular structure - Before starting your practice, take a shower or a bath using water that is a little cooler than room temperature. If a certain volume of water flows over your body, or your body is immersed in water that is cooler than room temperature, the epithelial cells will contract and the intercellular spaces will expand. If you use warm or hot water, the pores of the cells will open up and absorb water – that is not what we want. For the practice of yoga, it is important that the cells contract and the intercellular spaces open up, because we want the cellular structure of the body to be charged with a different dimension of energy. If the cells contract and allow space in between, practicing yoga will charge the cellular structure. Why some people seem to be far more alive than others is essentially because their cellular structure is more charged. When it is charged with energy, it will remain youthful for a very long time. Hatha yoga is a way to do that. In South India, tap water is generally just a little cooler than room temperature. If you are in a temperate climate, the regular tap water may be too cold. Three to five degrees centigrade below room temperature would be ideal. A maximum of ten degrees centigrade below room temperature would be acceptable – the water should not be colder than that.
  2. Rub sweat into the skin to retain energy - Whether you practice asanas orSurya Namaskar– if you start sweating, do not wipe off the sweat with a towel – always rub it back, at least into the exposed parts of your skin. If you wipe off the sweat, you drain the energy that you have generated with the practice. Water has the capability to carry memory and energy. That is why you should not wipe off sweat with a towel, drink water, or go to the bathroom during practice time, unless there is a special situation that makes it absolutely necessary. And, after practicing yoga, wait a minimum of 1.5 hours before taking a shower – three hours would be even better. Sweating and not showering for two to three hours could be a bit of an olfactory challenge – so just stay away from others!.
  3. Learn to consume the right amount of water.

Top 5 Benefits of Surya Namaskar

  1. Improves Blood Circulation of the Body :- Due to the active process of inhalation and exhalation, the lungs are constantly ventilated and the blood remains oxygenated. It's a great way of detoxing your body and helping it get rid of excess carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.
  2. Your Mantra to Weight loss :- When done at a fast pace, it is a great cardiovascular workout that stretches the abdominal muscles while simultaneously helping you reduce excess weight around your stomach. The asanas also result in toning your arms, abs and giving great flexibility to your spine. Moreover, It helps to strengthen your entire skeletal system including your ligaments.
  3. Promotes a Regular Menstrual Cycle :- If you're facing the problem of an irregular menstrual cycle, these asanas will help you suppress this irregularity and if practiced daily, it ensures an easy childbirth.
  4. Benefits your Skin and Hair :- By incorporating it in your routine it will keep you youthful and healthy even in old age. It improves your blood circulation that aids in bringing back the glow on your face; preventing the onset of wrinkles, making your skin look ageless and radiant. It also prevents hair loss and the ageing of hair.
  5. Anti-anxiety and Calming Properties :- Surya Namaskar helps to improve memory and the nervous system. Moreover, its stabilizes the activity of the endocrine and thyroid glands, thereby reducing anxiety and inducing the sensation of complete calmness and tranquillity.

How To Do The Surya Namaskaras?

  1. Step 1 – The Pranamasana Or The Prayer Pose

    To Do This Pose :- Start the Surya Namaskaras by standing at the edge of your mat. Keep your feet together, and make sure your weight is equally balanced on both the feet. You must now relax your shoulders and expand your chest. Inhale and lift both your arms up. Then, exhale, and bring your palms in front of your chest in a prayer position.

  2. Step 2 – Hasta Uttanasana Or The Raised Arms Pose

    To Do This Pose :- Inhale. Lift your arms up and back, making sure your biceps are close to your ears. Your effort through this pose must be to stretch your whole body, right from the heels to the tips of the fingers.

  3. Step 3 – Pada Hastasana Or Hand To Foot Pose

    To Do This Pose :- Exhale. and bend forward from the waist. You must ensure your spine is erect. As you inhale, bring your hands down on the floor and beside the feet.

  4. Step 4 – Ashwa Sanchalanasana Or The Equestrian Pose

    To Do This Pose :- Inhale. Lift your arms up and back, making sure your biceps are close to your ears. Your effort through this pose must be to stretch your whole body, right from the heels to the tips of the fingers.

  5. Step 5 – Parvatasana Or Mountain Pose

    To Do This Pose :- Exhale, and lift up your hips and tailbone. Your chest must face downwards to form an inverted V.

  6. Step 6 – Ashtanga Namaskara Or The Salute With Eight Parts

    To Do This Pose :- Gently bring your knees down to the floor, and Exhale. Take your hips back, and slide forward, such that your chin and chest rest on the floor. Raise your buttocks slightly. You will notice that the hands, feet, knees, chest, and chin touch the floor. Eight parts in total.

  7. Step 7 – Bhujangasana Or The Cobra Pose

    To Do This Pose :- Now, slide your body forward. Raise your chest up in the Cobra Pose. Your elbows must be bent, and your shoulders must be placed away from the ears. Turn your gaze upwards.

  8. Step 8 – Parvatasana Or The Mountain Pose

    To Do This Pose :- Exhale, and lift up your hips and tailbone. Your chest must face downwards to form an inverted V.

  9. Step 9 – Ashwa Sanchalanasana Or The Equestrian Pose

    To Do This Pose :- Inhale, and push your Right Leg back, as far as you possibly can. Bend your Left Knee, and place your arms next to your feet. Turn your gaze forward.

  10. Step 10 – Pada Hastasana Or Hand To Foot Pose

    To Do This Pose :- Exhale, and bend forward from the waist. You must ensure your spine is erect. As you Inhale, bring your hands down on the floor and beside the feet. Exhale.

  11. Step 11 – Hasta Uttanasana Or The Raised Arms Pose

    To Do This Pose :- Inhale, and lift your arms up and back, making sure your biceps are close to your ears. Your effort through this pose must be to stretch your whole body, right from the heels to the tips of the fingers.

  12. Step 12 – The Pranamasana Or The Prayer Pose

    To Do This Pose :- Keep your feet together, and make sure your weight is equally balanced on both the feet. You must now relax your shoulders and expand your chest. Inhale and lift both your arms up. Then, exhale and bring your palms in front of your chest in a prayer position.

While most complex machines which we use today have a complete operating manual which explains how to get the best use out of that machine, our human body, which is in some ways like a machine, does not have such a definitive operating manual. As a consequence, we often treat our body in ways which are harmful to the proper functioning of this structure. Although medical and scientific knowledge has become an important feature of modern life, many of the physical and mental diseases which plague humanity today can be prevented or cured simply by adopting a way of life which is in harmony with the true needs of our physical body.

Yoga is an ancient science of physical, mental and spiritual development which originated in India more than 7000 years ago. Many people have misconceptions about yoga and think that it is mainly a set of strenuous postures which only circus acrobats can perform, or associate it with mystic or esoteric ideas which are far removed from the daily life of the masses of humanity. Rather, yoga has much to offer to contemporary humans and it contains clear ideas and practices which can be implemented by many people who wish to live a healthy, happy and meaningful life. ln short, the ideas and practice of yoga are the “missing” operating manuals for the successful functioning of the human structure. While most humans live longer today than they did in the past, during the last years of their life (and often even in middle age) they are often troubled with many different physical problems and become incapacitated to a certain degree. Yoga says that if humans observe certain rules, they can easily live an active life to the age of 80.

According to yoga there are six “secrets” of longevity. They are as follows:
  1. Proper Physical Labour - In the past people had to use their physical bodies in the course of their normal work. But today someone may get up, go to work in a car, then sit down, get up to go home in the car and when arriving at home, sit down again for the rest of the day. In such a life there is no physical labour. This physical inactivity is one of the main reasons for a host of diseases. Sport, running. walking and other things must be added to our life if our normal work does not require us to exert ourselves physically. In yoga there are some special exercises which are also prescribed and we will discuss them more fully below.
  2. Going to sleep when one feels sleepy - This may sound simple, but many people stay up late even when their body is telling them that it is time to sleep. Yoga and Ayurvedic doctors also say that it is better to sleep in the night and be active during the day. However, people such as students will take coffee and stimulants to study late into the night. Others develop the habit of remaining active at night and sleeping during the day. While we can do this, it eventually takes a toll on health. Yoga says that this kind of unnatural living is one of the contributing factors in the causation of cancer.
  3. Eating when one feels hungry - This is also a simple idea, but once again we often go against the messages of the body. If one eats out of habit or due to social pressure at certain time of the day, even when one has no real appetite, then there will not be proper digestion of food. Acidity and indigestion begin and this contributes to the likelihood of other more complex diseases taking root. Having an appetite is actually a sign of good health, but if there is no appetite one should wait a bit and then eat. (If one has no appetite even after awaiting a reasonable amount of time, then a doctor should be consulted because something is wrong.)
  4. Regular fasting - If would ask any person to work 365 days per year without any rest, they would complain and say that they must have some rest or else they will break down. But we have never bothered to ask or to think about our digestive organs which we compel to work day after day without a rest. They cannot protest the way a person would to his boss, but they do give us signals that they cannot work non-stop. When we ignore those signals and still compel them to work, those organs break down. That is why yoga is say that on a periodic basis it is good to refrain from eating for one complete day. This gives a rest to the digestive organs and also help in the elimination of wastes from the body. Regular fasting allows a person to use the fasting days for intellectual or spiritual pursuits. Fasting is not for hermits in a cave, but is a sensible practice that anyone can practice.
  5. Ablution before sleep - As mentioned above, proper sleep is essential for the maintenance of health. If one washes important motor and sensory organs (hands, arms, eyes, legs, mouth, genitals) before sleep using cool water this relaxes the body and prepares it for deep sleep.
  6. Regular performance of meditation - The body is linked to the mind. Many of the diseases of this era are psychosomatic. Stress and anxiety take their toll on our physical health. Meditation is a mental exercise which, among other things, allows a person to detach him or herself from the worries of life. Just as we take vacations and go to the mountains or the sea to “get away from it all” and to get mental peace. Meditation enables a person to do this on a daily basis without expensive travel costs. It is important to remember that meditation has a direct influence on our physical body and helps for example to lower blood pressure. Thus, meditation is one of the keys to a long and productive life.

Additional tips for good health

There are three more prescriptions for maintaining a healthy body.

  1. Eat raw foods as much as possible - Raw foods (salads, fruits and vegetables) almost always have an alkaline effect on the body. That is, the digestion of these foods contributes to a flow of blood in the body which is alkaline. Most starches and carbohydrates (bread, grains, etc.) as well as meat products are acid-forming. If one consumes more alkaline foods than acidic foods, many diseases such as rheumatism, skin diseases, cancer and others can be prevented or even cured. Conversely, if one consumes a very high proportion of acidic of foods, it is an invitation for diseases.
  2. Eat yoghurt - Yoghurt is nutritious and easy to digest. It contains microorganisms which are helpful for our digestive systems.
  3. Follow an overall system of physical, mental and spiritual practice - That is, if one follows a complete system, combining proper exercise, food, fasting and meditation, that person’s life will indeed be blissful.

Yoga Postures

The postures are called “asanas,” which means a position which is easily held and brings a feeling of composure in the person. Although some of the postures are complex and require exceptional agility, many of the mare simple and can be practiced by anyone.

Physical exercise is a key to achieving a long life. Most physical exercises develop the muscles or aid in the circulation of blood. Yoga asanas are “inner sizes” in that, in addition to working on the muscles and circulation, they also have a profound effect on endocrine glands and nerves. Yoga asanas were developed over a period of thousands of years. At first yogis watched the postures of different animals and then imitated them. For example, the peacock is a bird with a powerful digestive system; it can digest a poisonous snake. Similarly there is a posture in which the yogi imitates the position of the peacock. The posture helps develop the glands and organs responsible for digestion and can prevent or cure many diseases that originate in this area of the body.

The endocrine glands are ductless glands which distribute hormones directly into the blood. They have a profound effect on many physical and mental activities of a human being. The thyroid gland (located in the throat) regulates metabolism; that is, the conversion of foods into energy. If this gland under-secretes (gives less hormone into the bloodstream), then a person may become very fat even without consuming much food. An over-secretion of the same gland can make a person too thin even though he or she is consuming large amounts of food. The shoulder stand posture of yoga, regulates this gland. It puts pressure on the thyroid gland. When the posture is released the flow of blood rushing into the throat “massages” the gland and helps it to achieve the right amount of secretion. The other yoga postures work in a similar fashion, maintaining the optimum glandular secretion.Yoga postures also help maintain the flexibility of the spine. As we age the spine has a tendency to grow rigid. Regular performance of yoga, postures stops this process. The posture known as the spinal twist is an example of such a posture.

Finally, there is another aspect of yoga asanas which makes them different from other kinds of exercise. One of the important discoveries of the ancients ages is that there is a system of energy centres or chakras (pronounced chakra) in the body. These centres located along the spine are primarily psycho-spiritual realities (rather than anatomical features) but they are associated with physical glands as well as nerves. Each of these centres regulates different mental propensities. The yogis in their meditation, visualized these chakras and described them as flowers having different petals. Each petal represents a particular mental propensity. For example, the chakra located at the height of the navel area is pictured as having10 petals representing different mental propensities. One of these propensities is “anger”. Thus it is often true that those people who have ulcers, constipation or other aggravations in this region also suffer from an irritable or angry personality. Yogis thus prescribe asanas for weakened regions of the body which will directly affect the chakras, helping to physical disease as well as psychic imbalances.

One further word about yoga postures. Every person is unique. Our physical bodies are not the same. The yoga postures of a 60-year-old woman suffering from rheumatism are quite different from those of young man in good health. Thus yoga postures cannot just be taken out of a book. Rather the best way is to learn the exact postures which are best for your condition. A qualified teacher can help you to learn which postures are the right ones for you.In summary, these asanas can be helpful to many people They are easily learned and can be practiced conveniently at home. When the yoga asanas are combined with the other points outlined above they become an important part of a way of life which will bring physical, mental and spiritual fulfilment.