Yoga is all about health and spirituality. Each aspect of yoga helps us grow healthier and more spiritual. Shatkarma is also one such yogic practice that is practiced for internal cleansing of the body.
Shatkarma is composed of two words Shat means six and Karma means process. So basically there are six groups of cleansing processes for body purification. In yoga these cleansing processes are considered equally important as asanas and pranayama. It is believed that without cleansing internal system one can’t gain maximum benefit from yoga.
Shatkarma, the six yogic cleansing techniques outlined by swami Swatmarama in Hatha Yoga Pradipika are:
1. Neti: It involves cleansing of nasal passages. It is of two types Sutra neti and Jala neti.
2. Nauli: It churns the stomach and massages abdominal organs.
3. Dhauti: It involves cleansing of digestive tract.
4. Basti: It is a colon cleansing practice.
5. Kapalabhati: It cleanses and tones the lungs.
6. Trataka: It improves concentration and cleanses the eyes.
Asana is a physical yoga posture that is practiced in yoga along with pranayama, meditation and other yoga practices. There are number of asanas in yoga that we practice today. Some are as simple as lying on the floor like Shavasana (Corpse pose) and some can be more challenging like Sirsasana (Headstand pose). Some asanas require us to balance our body and some require us to twist our body. Each asana is unique in itself and has positive influence on our body and mind. Some are good for heart, some for lungs and some for digestive system. In yoga there is asana for each muscle and organ of the body. So Asanas are not only meant to manage stress but also to prevent and treat various illnesses. Beginners should start with basic sitting yoga postures and slowly progress towards intermediate and advanced level yoga asanas. It helps build strong foundation in yoga.
Breakfast is the first meal of the day that we consume before starting our day. A wholesome breakfast enables one to spend the entire day with full energy and positive mindset. According to yoga philosophy an ideal breakfast should be vegetarian and based on only seasonal fruits and vegetables. A yogic breakfast that we offer our students is an accomplished meal to start the day. It is based on Ayurveda and Yogic diet so is totally based on fresh fruits, vegetables, celery, grains, spices and dairy products except eggs. Day starts with herbal tea, warm lemon water or fruit juices then hot cereals, green smoothies, protein rich porridge, cooked fruits and vegetables are served in the breakfast. Breakfast menu changes every day as we use all seasonal fruits and vegetables to add maximum variety in the breakfast menu. All recipes are prepared by professional chefs under the supervision of our dieticians.
The word Yoga is derived from Sanskrit word YUJA which means union or to unite. It helps us understand the philosophy of yoga that is to create harmony between body, mind and soul and eventually realizing inner self and establish a union with the supreme power. So it is more of a spiritual practice that is associated with various physical and mental health benefits. The yoga philosophy was first written down by the great sage Patanjali as Yoga Sutras of Patanjali around three thousand years ago. The sutras describe the nature of human mind and provide techniques to control or calm the restless mind so that union with lord could be established through self realization. The yoga philosophy described by Patanjali comprises eight-fold or eight-limbed path. These eight steps are the base of yoga philosophy that ensures continuous spiritual growth as well a life of physical and mental well being. These eight paths are; Yamas, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharna, Dhyana and Samadhi.
We offer a wholesome vegetarian lunch that is based on yoga principles; purity, nonviolence and balanced living. It means it is pure vegetarian, based on seasonal fruits, vegetables and grains that are delicious and have therapeutic effect. In our researches on yogic diet and Ayurveda diet we have found that it is believed that digestive system is very active at noon. So accordingly we have designed our lunch menu for the students. We have included the food items that are easy to digest and full of proteins, fibers and nutrients. Fat comes from nourishing cooking oils like olive, flax and hemp oil that we use to prepare the meal. Lunch menu is designed by our dieticians after rigorous research and analysis of yoga philosophy, Ayurveda and food habits of renowned Indian yogis. Menu changes every day. You will taste variety of cooked root vegetables, curries, pulses, basmati rice and whole wheat based Indian breads with vegetable raita and fruit salads.
Yoga Anatomy is the study of anatomy of human body with emphasis on important muscles, bones and joints that are involved in yoga poses. Different muscles and joints of our body participate in different yoga poses. There are around six hundred and forty muscles, two hundred and six bones and three hundred and sixty joints in our body. Yoga anatomy tells how a joint moves and muscle stretches when we attain a yoga pose. It makes us more confident about our moves as we know how much a joint can be rotated and a muscle can be stretched to attain a perfect alignment. We can guide our moves in a right direction if we understand yoga anatomy. Yoga Anatomy is an important part of our yoga courses. Before teaching an asana its anatomy and physiology are described through theory as well as practical classes. It helps students quickly understand their limitations and strengths related to particular asana, accordingly, they are given the required tips and suggestions to improve their practice.
Self Study is called Svadhyaya in Sanskrit. Svadhyaya is composed of two words sva means self and adhyaya means study. So in yoga it is the study of self through yoga. Svadhyaya is an important part of yoga practice. As yoga is the union of our inner self with the cosmos and svadhyaya is to know our inner self or our true nature. Once we know our true nature beyond our body, personality, thoughts and emotions we can feel the union with the supreme power. So the spiritual aspects of yoga give emphasis on svadhyaya. When you practice yoga you not only get physical and mental health benefits but also engage yourself in svadhyaya. Svadhyaya is also one of the five Niyamas of yoga that are described by Patanjali in yoga sutras. Along with yoga reading religious classical texts like Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita that provide insight into our inner self are very helpful for deeper self-understanding.
In yoga it takes time to attain perfect alignments in poses. Regular yoga practice slowly shapes our body muscles, bones and joints that enable us to achieve correct yoga postures gradually. And, if you are aware of physical adjustments the yoga learning becomes more comfortable and fruitful. Mindful physical adjustments are very useful for yoga beginners. These adjustments help one slowly progress towards right alignments. It eases unnecessary tension in certain areas that helps stretch deeply in a pose. Adjustments are an important part of our yoga teacher training programs. It not only improves alignments but also boosts confidence of students that increases awareness of yoga poses. Yoga anatomy is very important for both yoga masters and yoga students. The yoga masters with deep understanding of yoga anatomy can teach correct adjustments. And the students who studied yoga anatomy can understand and execute adjustments correctly. Through yoga anatomy you know about important muscles and joints of your body that helps you stretch muscles or move joints without getting injured.
Mmeditation is the art of focusing the mind, restraining the thoughts and looking deep into yourself. Practicing meditation can give you a better understanding of your purpose in life and of the universe, as well as provide you with certain physical and mental health benefits.