Abhyangam and its Ayurvedic Importance

Abhyangam is a popular body massage in ayurveda. The word abhyanga itself means to massage.

In Ayurveda, the Abhyangam massage has become popular because of its effective way of conditioning the body. Abhyangam can be used therapeutically. The massage is designed around each individual, to suit his or her disease or condition. An ayurvedic physician can assess this and will then decide on the appropriate oils and the exact way of massage.

Abhyangam can increase the production of white blood corpuscles and antibodies, which provide more resistance against viruses and diseases. This helps the defense mechanism in the body and increases immunity towards environmental changes. In this way abhyangam massage is a protector, preserver and a rejuvenator, increasing self-confidence and will power. To massage is to exercise the nervous system.

A briefer description of abhyangam can be found at the ayurvedic treatments page.

In Ayurveda the Abhyangam massage is described as:

1. Jarahar (anti aging) – If done daily to the spine, feet and head with sesame oil, mustard oil or almond oil massage increases vitality. The body is made up of seven tissue ingredients that are called as Dhatu. Because massage is one practice, which provides energy, vitality, and nourishment to all seven Dhatus and old age approaches late, one remains young and energetic for longer duration. In this way, massage is anti aging.

2. Shram Har (fatigue reliever) – Fatigue is actually caused by physical and mental strain. It affects the muscles and causes tensions. Rubbing, patting and squeezing muscles gently removes fatigue.

3. Vata Har (pacifies the Vata) – Constant strain on the nervous system from Vata producing foods and anxieties disturb the Vata and one starts having pain in the muscle and joints. Regular abhyangam massage with Mahanarayana oil or oils prepared by burning garlic in heated oil, or adding fenugreek seeds to boiling oil, mint oil and wintergreen oil all help the troubles created by Vata.

4. Drishti Prasad Kar (Improve sight) – Daily practice of abhyangam massage can improve sight and reduces the risk of blindness. Those who have weak sight or who suffers from diseases of the eyes should massage the feet, especially under the big toe. They should also massage the spine, neck and head regularly. This will remove eye troubles and improve vision.

5. Pushti Kar (make one strong) – By increasing the circulation of vital life fluids, and because of rubbing, pressing and kneading massage makes the body strong, increases stamina, vitality and virility.

6. Ayu Kar (provides longevity) – By creating an electrochemical balance, massage helps in achieving longevity.

7. Swapna Kar (induces sleep) – Massage relaxes the body and removes tensions. Those suffering from sleeplessness, insomnia or those who are unable to enjoy sound sleep should massage the body (especially the head and feet) before sleeping. The use of oil in this case, especially oil from pumpkin seeds, massaged on the head is very helpful. Brahmi oil is also advised.

8. Twak Dridh Kar (strengthens the skin) – Dryness of the skin is caused due to dry climate, excess mental work, anxieties and constant worrying. People who live in cold climates get dry skin by constantly facing the chilled air, which creates dryness. Vata, by nature, is cold and dry and its cold property is more active when there is a cold wave or cold wind. The skin directly comes into contact with the external atmosphere, and the skin also reflects like a mirror to the inner state of the physical body. There are so many other factors that make skin unhealthy like cosmetics of chemical origin, pollution etc. Massage with oil remove dryness, which is first sign of disturbed Vata in the body. Massage also makes the skin smooth and makes it shine. Regular rubbing makes it strong.

9. Klesh Sahatwa (provides resistance against disease and disharmony) – Massage strengthens the seven ingredients of which the body is made up. These antibodies provide more resistance to disease, and the strength, which comes from the seven Dhatus, gives tolerance, forbearance, and patience. This saves one from sorrows, agonies and anxieties.

10. Abhighat Sahatwa (resistance to injuries & power to recover quickly) – Those who massage the body regularly recover from physical injury more quickly than other person who do not massage. Those who massage regularly experience the healing process from within immediately and they experience comparatively less pain and fewer problems.

11. Kapha Vata Nirodhak – Subsides ailments caused by Vata and Kapha.

12. Mrija Varna Bala Prad – It maintains body strength, skin health and also improves the color and texture of the skin.

Thus in Ayurveda, abhyangam massage is highly praised and much emphasis is placed on the use of oils in massage. However, you must note the above are only guidelines for abhyangam and you should consult with a qualified ayurvedic physician. In the UK, a qualified physician should have the initials BRCP (British Register of Complementary Practitioners), and must have BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) or a suitable equivalent. The abhyangam massage itself should be ideally done by the physician or an experienced therapist.

All the above articles / blog posts are not the original contribution from author, please consider a opinion of qualified doctor, if you considering this. If you need a advice please contact Dr. Anil Joy email: aniljoy23@gmail.com

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Ayurveda Treatment for Allergies

Allergies refers to an exaggerated reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. These foreign substances are usually harmless. But, in a person whose body is prone to allergies, these foreign substances are recognized by the body and one part of the immune system is turned on. Allergy-producing substances are called as ’allergens’. Examples include pollens, dust mite, molds, danders, and certain foods.

Any substance, whatever its origin, is a possible allergen. Allergens cause the production of immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody that all of us have in small amounts. Allergic persons, however, produce IgE in abnormally quantities. Normally, this antibody is important in protecting us from parasites, but not from other allergens.

As per Ayurveda, foods are just aliens when we ingest them. These aliens are treated by the Agni (fire) of the body to change into compatible foods for the body. When the Agni doesn’t work properly, toxins get produced and accumulation of these toxins reduces the immunity of the body and gives rise to the immunity related diseases. Allergies occur when a hypersensitive immune system reacts to a common or unusual substance.

The word allergy is derived from the Greek words "allos," meaning different or changed and "ergos," meaning work or action. People prone to allergies are said to be allergic or atopic. Although allergies can develop at any age, the risk of developing it is genetic. It is related to ones family history of allergy. Ayurvedic medicine has also found that eliminating allergens from the body will help alleviate symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. If an individual suffers from allergies all year long, he/she might want to consider visiting an ayurvedic practitioner. Ayurvedic medicine works on increasing the sensitivity & nervine strength of immunity of the respiratory system .

Following ayurvedic medicines, under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner, could be used by an individual who is prone to allergies:

-Medicated oil specially prepared for Nasya ’Anu tail’ is very effective.

-For Vata & Kapha – Trikatu, basil, cloves, camphor, and coriander may be used.

-To ease Kapha aggravation, guduchi tablets may be taken along with basil, cloves, and camphor.

-For skin allergy – Neem Capsule, Neem Oil, Khadiraristam, Nimbasavam,Nimbadi choornm,Haridrakhandam, Agasthya rasayan,Padoladi kashayam etc….

-For Allergy of the Respiratory System – Agasthya rasayan, Nimbarajanyadi tablet, Spetilin Tablet, Septilin syrup, Kanchanar guggulu, Anu Oil.

-For healthy resistance to all airborne allergens – Agasthya rasayan, Nimbarajanyadi tablet, Spetilin Tablet, Septilin syrup, Kanchanar guggulu, Anu Oil-Cutis Oil (Vasu Pharmaceuticals), Haridra Capsules (Himalaya).

– Anti-allergy herbs include: turmeric, Picrorhiza kurroa, Tinospora Cordifolia, and Triphala.

All the above articles / blog posts are not the original contribution from author, please consider a opinion of qualified doctor, if you considering this. If you need a advice please contact Dr. Anil Joy email: aniljoy23@gmail.com

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Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga

Hatha literally means “violence” or “force” in Sanskrit. Hatha yoga is frequently referred to as the “forceful yoga.” It generally refers to the practice of the physical postures, or asanas, of yoga. To many people, yoga is synonymous with the practice of these physical postures. A variety of approaches to executing these postures has developed over time; consequently, various approaches to hatha yoga have developed. The following chapters will help you better understand the most important approaches to hatha yoga.

Hatha yoga means literally the “forceful yoga.” As its name implies, this approach to yoga emphasizes the vitality and life force of the physical body. Hatha yoga is undoubtedly the most well known, popular, and frequently practiced style of yoga in the West. It places great emphasis on purifying the body through a variety of means that include physical exercise, cleansing rites, and specific breathing techniques. These practices not only strengthen the body through the force of exercise, they can also help you to expand your own personal force, or store of energy, through their vitalizing effects. One of the most influential and widely read texts on hatha yoga is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, written in the 14th century C.E. In this seminal manual, the author describes 16 physical postures as well as a variety of cleansing and breathing practices and what are known as locks and seals to control the flow of energy within the body.1 In its emphasis on physical postures, or asanas, hatha yoga is often considered one of the steps on the eight-limbed path of yoga, which forms an important part of classical, or raja, yoga. However, it is important to bear in mind that emphasis is placed on making the body as whole and complete as possible in order to achieve the ultimate goal of liberation. Practitioners of hatha yoga believe that in order to achieve the fullest unfoldment of our minds and spirits, we must do our utmost to have a body that is at ease and free of disease. Hatha yoga is thus a way of balancing or harmonizing body and mind. This intent is highlighted in the esoteric interpretation sometimes accorded to the word hatha. According to some practitioners, the word hatha is comprised of two syllables that stand for the sun (ha) and the moon (tha), implying a deep union of the body and the mind and of the mmasculine and feminine energies within each individual—man and woman alike. Thus, the word hatha reminds us that at heart, yoga is a search for underlying unity and wholeness. Hatha yoga practitioners see the body as a wonderful vehicle for self-realization. For without a body, we would not be alive today, and thus incapable of seeking the path of transformation. Hatha yoga urges a man to respect his body as a temple of the divine spirit of the universe. The practice of hatha yoga is thus an opportunity of honoring your own inner divinity. Hatha yoga has become so popular, particularly in the last few decades, that there are now many styles for practicing it. Surprisingly, however, most of the styles of hatha yoga that are practiced today trace their roots to a handful of yoga teachers, who traveled from India to the West in the 1960s and 1970s to train practitioners here in their particular approach to yoga; or to a small number of Westerners who traveled to India during the same time period to train as teachers with a few celebrated masters. The teachers of the 60s and 70s differed in their approach to presenting yoga from the gurus who had preceded them. The earliest teachers of yoga who traveled to the West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries emphasized the traditional sacred texts and metaphysical aspects of yoga. The newer generation of teachers, while revering all aspects of the yoga tradition, also incorporated much more of the physical exercise aspect of yoga into their teaching. Their approaches to yoga appealed to Western practitioners, and, consequently, much of the yoga that has developed in the United States has focused on the physical postures of hatha yoga. The following chapters will introduce you to the main approaches to hatha yoga that have helped to define hatha practice in the West. Because there are now so many styles of yoga available, the choice of a practice can seem overwhelming. These chapters will introduce you to the main styles of hatha yoga so that you can be better informed as you undertake your own practice of yoga.

Each of the main styles of hatha yoga is generally named after the individual who first introduced or was influential in the teachings of that style, such as Iyengar Yoga and Sivananda Yoga; the institute that was founded based on their teachings, such as yoga taught at the Himalayan Institute and Integral Yoga; or for a prominent element or focal point of the approach, such as Ashtanga Yoga and kundalini yoga. Nearly all the various styles of hatha yoga have as their base a common repertoire of physical postures and practices, which have evolved over the centuries. The emphasis on how to perform these practices can differ widely from one style of yoga to another, however. Understanding the differences among these styles can help you choose the style of hatha yoga that is right for you. The following chapters describe the major styles of hatha yoga that you are likely to encounter in your exploration of yoga today. As you read these chapters, please bear in mind that the approaches to yoga presented are grouped together under hatha yoga for convenience. In addition to instruction in the physical postures of yoga, most of these approaches can also help you incorporate a full range of yogic practices into your life.

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The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Raja yoga is frequently described as the scientific path to yoga. This is because it lays
out in a very clear, simple, and systematic way a series of steps that a practitioner of yoga
can follow to achieve enlightenment. These steps, which are detailed in Patanjali’s Yoga
Sutras, form a sort of ladder, each practice building sequentially on the practice that precedes
it. The eight limbs, or rungs, of raja yoga, presented from the first to the eighth are as

1. Yama. Yama means “self-restraint” or “self-control” in Sanskrit. The yamas are
a set of ethical practices, somewhat like the commandments of the Old Testament,
which form the basis for spiritual development. In order to be liberated,
the yoga aspirant first must abstain from engaging in behavior that will
be detrimental to his well-being and that of others. Patanjali prescribes five
yamas that are to be observed: nonviolence (ahimsa); not telling lies, or being
truthful (satya); not stealing (asteya); not wasting one’s sexual energy, or literally,
demonstrating “brahmic conduct” (brahmacarya); and not being greedy
(aparigraha). By practicing these five yamas, one develops the self-control
necessary for the pursuit of the highest goals of yoga.
2. Niyama. Niyama means restraint in the sense of “discipline” or “moral observance”
in Sanskrit. The niyamas are a set of ethical principles by which the
practitioner of yoga is advised to conduct his life. Patanjali details five niyamas
that are to be practiced: purity (saucha), contentment (santohsa), asceticism
(tapas), study (svadhyaya), and surrender to a higher power (Isvara-pranidhana).
Taken together, the niyamas provide a prescription for right living.
3. Asana. Asana means “seat” or “posture” in Sanskrit. The asanas are a prescribed
set of physical postures, or poses, that are meant to purify and steady
both the body and mind. For many people, yoga is synonymous with these
postures, which form the basis of what is known as hatha yoga, which is
derived from the system of raja yoga. The asanas play such an important role
in yoga that they have given rise to many approaches to practicing them.
Much of the confusion as to what yoga is in the West is caused by these
various approaches to executing the physical postures of yoga. Because of the
importance that these poses play in yoga and the diversity of ways in which
they can be practiced, the first few sections of Yoga for Men are devoted to a
description of the various styles of yoga that have developed in response to the
practice of raja and hatha yoga.
4. Pranayama. Pranayama means “control (or extension) of the breath” in Sanskrit.
The breath (prana) is more than just the air we take in and exhale,
however. Breath is also synonymous with vital energy, or the life force. Without
breath there is no life. Practitioners of yoga believe that it is essential to
learn to control the breath in order to still the mind. Consequently, detailed
practices have been developed to enhance the flow of breath, or vital life force.
These practices include various ways of inhaling, retaining, and expelling the
breath. The practice of pranayama is so vital to yoga that you will find a
separate section detailing the most frequently practiced of these breathing
techniques in Chapter 16.
5. Pratyahara. Pratyahara means “withdrawal” or “starving the senses” in Sanskrit.
The practice of pratyahara entails withdrawing the senses from sensory
objects, as in sleep.
6. Dharana. Dharana means “concentration” in Sanskrit. Once the practitioner
of yoga has withdrawn the senses from external objects, he practices concentration, for instance, by focusing single-pointedly on an object of
awareness, such as a mental image or a sound.
7. Dhyana. Dhyana means “meditation” in Sanskrit. As the practitioner’s concentration
develops, it deepens into meditation.
8. Samadhi. Samadhi means “bliss” or “ecstasy” in Sanskrit. Once the aspirant
has perfected the preceding steps on the ladder of yoga, he enters into a state
sometimes referred to as superconsciousness, in which the individual self merges
with the infinite consciousness of the universe. This state of bliss is the ultimate
goal of raja yoga.
These eight practices comprise the eight-runged ladder referred to as ashtanga yoga.
Taken together, they form a kind of guide to developing self-control. The first two sets of
practices prescribe how to establish self-discipline over one’s conduct and behavior toward
others through a system of do’s and don’ts of ethical behavior. The next two practices teach
how to achieve self-discipline of the physical body. The last four practices provide detailed
instruction on how to gain mastery of the senses and mind, leading to self-realization.

All the above articles / blog posts are not the original contribution from author, please consider a opinion of qualified doctor, if you considering this. If you need a advice please contact Dr. Anil Joy email: aniljoy23@gmail.com

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Other Major Branches of Yoga

Other Major Branches of Yoga

There are many paths to choose from, and all the paths are equally valid.2 —Swami Rama While most authorities on yoga generally agree that bhakti, jnana, karma, and raja are the four major branches of yoga, there are several yoga practices, or traditional approaches to yoga, that have gained prominence, and which might be considered offshoots of the major branches of yoga. You may, or may have already, come across the names of some of these offshoots. Being familiar with the following popular terms will help round out your understanding of yoga.

Tantra Yoga

Tantra means “loom” in Sanskrit. Tantric yoga uses a variety of practices such as external rituals celebrating the divine feminine principle as well as more internal practices such as meditation and mantra recitation to weave the way to enlightenment. Many scholars believe that the practices of tantra are very ancient. According to some, tantra developed as a reaction to classical yoga practices, which traditionally had been reserved exclusively for certain castes of practitioners, especially men. Tantra is particularly appealing to men who enjoy communing with others. Rather than withdrawing into himself alone, a man can engage with others in order to achieve liberation. This union can entail sexual union. As a result of this fact, tantric yoga is sometimes mistakenly understood to apply only to sexual practices. Tantra, however, involves a much wider range of rituals that are practiced in a sacred, ceremonial way to imbue them with the power of transformation and self-realization. When tantric practices include sexual acts, these acts are engaged in as a means of achieving self-realization. Kundalini yoga draws on some of the practices that form part of tantra yoga.

Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga is an approach to yoga developed by Bellur Kirshnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, known more commonly as B.K.S. Iyengar (1918–). It aims to integrate body, mind, and soul. Iyengar Yoga is known for the dynamic precision that its practitioners exemplify in their execution of the physical asanas. It is a complete system of yoga that aims to liberate the soul by integrating the mind and the body through the practice of asanas. In Iyengar Yoga, asana practice becomes meditation in motion, and yoga itself becomes “the perfect art in action.”

All the above articles / blog posts are not the original contribution from author, please consider a opinion of qualified doctor, if you considering this. If you need a advice please contact Dr. Anil Joy email: aniljoy23@gmail.com

Thank You,

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