Kurukshetra June 2019 - Drinking Water for Rural India (Part 4) (Download PDF)


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Yoga: - Art & Science for Healthy Living: Yoga is a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science which focuses on bringing harmony between mind & body. One who experiences this oneness of existence is said to be “in Yoga” & is termed as a yogi who has attained a state of freedom, referred to as mukti, nirvana, Kaivalya or moksha.

  • ” Yoga” refers to an inner science comprising of a variety of methods thru which human beings can achieve union between body & mind to attain self realization.
  • Aim of Yoga practice (sadhana) is to overcome all kinds of sufferings that lead to a sense of freedom in every walk of life w/holistic health, happiness & harmony.

Brief History & Development of Yoga

  • Seers & sages carried this powerful yogic science to diff. parts of world including Asia, Middle East, Northern Africa & South America. Agastya, saptarishi who travelled across Indian subcontinent, crafted this culture around a core Yogic way of life.
  • Yoga is considered as an “immortal cultural outcome” of Indus Valley Civilization dating back to 2700 BC- & spiritual uplift of humanity.
  • Seals & idol of mother Goddess are suggestive of Tantra Yoga. Presence of Yoga is available in folk traditions, Vedic & Upanishadic heritage, Buddhist & Jain, tradition
  • Darshanas, epics of Mahabharata including Bhagavad-Gita & Ramayana, theistic traditions of Shivas, Vishnavas & Tantric traditions.
  • Yoga was being practiced in pre- Vedic period great sage Maharishi Pranjali systematized & codified then existing Yogic practices, its meaning & its related knowledge thru Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

Yoga in East & west

  • Yoga is not widely practiced or popularized in East. Many people in East practice yoga in comfort of their own home.
  • Western world has picked up yoga asana which is being mainly viewed as good fitness regime for common man.
  • Real Yoga is not in public domain & cannot be is in private or secret domain i. e. secret between Guru & disciple. Secret Yoga leads to realization of all- Pervasive self & gives yogic access to every nook & corner of this creation by sitting at asana.
  • It is Kriyayaga which is real yoga or secret yoga practice for soul realization or salvation.
  • Yoga is a comprehensive practice that includes each & every aspect of life it’s a way of life. This type of Yoga involves moral aspects (such as not harming another living creature, & being truthful), relationship based instructions (such as kindness & generosity) evolvement of one’s consciousness (meditation & enlightenment) &
  • Finally, physical practice (meant to purify body & mind) Yoga in Western society is synonymous w/practice of asana (posture), & such asana Centred Yoga sessions are easily accessible in almost every city in West.
  • Yoga can be described a psycho-spiritual discipline which integrates both mental & physical practices w/integrated goal being spiritual enlightenment.
  • This ancient Indian practice was first conceived by rishis (sages) who were in search of a blissful state; this become know as “Yoga”, embodying concept of unity between body, mind & spirit.
  • Ancient Indian philosophy that is Yoga is deeply rooted in spirituality promoting components, including Niyama (self-discipline), Pratyahara (detachment from senses) & dhyana (meditation).
  • Yoga is made of eight essential elements Pranayama, essentially controlling breathing; Dhyana; Pratyahara which means not letting external factors influence oneself; Dhaarna or retention, Samaadhi or trance; Yama or control; Niyama or self-restraint, & Aasana or posture.
  • Knowledge aspect of Yoga Sadhana is being extensively researched w/advantage to Yoga practitioners. Psychological, Anatomic- Physiological, Bio-chemical & philosophical phenomena underlying Yoga Sadhana is commendably understood us today.
  • w/automation & changes in lifestyles physical fitness is now considered a measure
  • Of body’s ability to function efficiently & effectively in work & leisure activities to be healthy to resist hypokinetic diseases, & to meet emergency situations.
  • Modern definition of fitness describes either a person or machine’s ability to perform a specific function or a holistic definition of human adaptability to cope w/various situations.
  • Important part of overall fitness. Often presented in textbooks as a triangle made up of three points which represent physical, emotional, & mental fitness.
  • Physical fitness can prevent or treat many chronic health conditions brought on by unhealthy lifestyle or aging.
  • Yoga is reported to reduce stress & anxiety, improves autonomic functions by triggering of sympathetic activity, & even, now-a-days, several reports suggest Yoga is beneficial for physical health of cancer patients.
  • Yoga as practiced & taught in India, entered Western world in 19th century w/translation of basic Yogic texts. Following attendance at World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, Swami Vivekananda introduced Yoga to USA. in 20th century numerous versions of Yoga were developed & taught.
  • Holistic science of Yoga is best method for prevention as well as mgmt. of stress & induced disorders.

Yoga as Therapy

  • Yogic principles of wellness help to strengthen & develop positive health enabling us to withstand stress better.
  • Yogic “health insurance” has achieved by normalizing perception of stress, optimizing reaction to it & by releasing pent up stress effectively thru practice of various Yogic practices.
  • Yoga may be useful in reducing medication requirements in patients w/diabetes, hypertension & could help prevent & mange cardiovascular complications.

Mechanism of Action how Yoga Works

  • Cleanses accumulated toxins thru various shuddikriyas & generates a sense of relaxed lightness thru Yogic sukshmvyayama (simple micro movements for all joints & ligaments of body). Free flow in all bodily passages prevents many infections that may occur when pathogens stagnate therein.
  • Adoption of a Yogic lifestyle w/proper nourishing diet, creates positive antioxidant enhancement thus neutralizing free radicals while enabling a rejuvenate storehouse of nutrients packed w/life energy to work on anabolic, reparative & healing processes.
  • Integrates body movements w/breath creates psychosomatic harmony. In Yoga physical body is related to annamayakosha & mind to manomayakosha (our physiological existence sustained by energy of breath) lies in b/w them breath is key to psychosomatic harmony.
  • Focuses mind positively on activities being done, enhances energy flow & results in health circulation to diff. body parts & internal organs. Where mind goes there prana flows.
  • Enhances self-confidence & internal healing capacities thru cultivation of right attitudes towards life & moral ethical living thru Yama-Niyama & various Yogic psychological principles. Faith self confidence & inner strength are most essential for healing, repair, rejuvenation & reinvigoration.
  • Yoga works towards restoration of normalcy in all systems of human body w/special emphasis on psycho-neuro-immuno-endocrine axis. In addition to its preventive & restorative capabilities, Yoga aims at promoting positive health that will help us to tide over health challenges that occur during our lifetime.

Promoting Yoga: Features & Benefits

  • ” Yoga is journey of self, thru self, to self. “- Bhagavad Gita
  • Awareness about yoga techniques have amplified after announcement of holding International Day of Yoga (IDY) every year on 21th June. IDY was suggested by India at 69th session of United National General Assembly on September 27,2014 by Prime minister of India.
  • Adiyogi lord Shiva is regarded as father of yoga who transmitted knowledge about mechanism of human system to Saptarishis & saints.
  • Maharishi Patanjali, as father of Modern yoga, brought concept of Ashtanga yoga which provides yoga sutras: Yama (those things which should not be done, i. e. , self-restraints in life covering non-violence, truthfulness, etc. ) Asana (physical exercise to discipline body), Pranayama (regulation of breath to conserve life force), Pratyahara (limiting use of senses) Dharana (introspection), Dhyana (contemplation, meditation) & Samadhi (union w/our higher self or universal energy).

Yoga as Science of Linking Mind Body Soul

  • Literal meaning of Sanskrit word Yoga/Yuj is ‘Yoke’ which is joining of individual’s soul energy w/that of God’s (supreme soul).
  • Benefits include reduce reduction of stress, weight mgmt. , resolving psychosomatic Diseases, strengthen immune system etc.

Moving thru Paths of yoga

  • Bhakti Yoga is mainly to help highly emotional people so that they remain unaffected by dualities prevalent in society.
  • Yoga of devotion has practices like prayers & worship to connect person w/divine, which is seen as epitome of love.
  • This contains Japa Mantra Yoga as integral part. It is case when one puts his/her mind on reciting name of God or chant mantras like Om, Rama, Vahe Guru, etc. Jnana/Gyana Yoga is highly beneficial where lessons are taken from Vedanta philosophy which teachers how to do self enquiry & surpass identification w/thru & ego.
  • Karma Yoga is more really valuable for people w/active outlook. Under this valuable for people w/full dedication but w/o any expectation of outcome (selflessly) as everything is observed as service to divine power.
  • Opens heart for pure meditation & kills ego. Raja/Ashtanga Yoga scientifically controls both mind & body, combining features of Hatha yoga (asanas, pranayama) & silent meditation, to gain spiritual energy.
  • Pranayama which regulates breath/prana shakti in body. Controlling of breath directly controls mind.
  • Pranayama involves various practices relating to inhalation (Puraka) & exhalation (Rechaka) as well as retention of breath (Kumbhaka), such as, Nadi- Shodhan/Anulom- Vilom, Bhastrika, Shitali, etc.
  • Even practicing pranayama for few minutes a day can radically relax mind, strengthen nerves, removes lethargy & stimulate digestive fire for better food absorption.
  • Pranayama yoga leads to purification of Nadis which ultimately helps to awaken Kundalini. Kundalini is elementary energy lying dormant at base of spine.
  • This is energy of breath which flows in intersections along spinal column called Chakras. Kundalini Yoga can be done by using higher level of pranayama, asanas, mudras & concentration in case of Hatha/Raja Yoga, higher level of devotion & surrender practiced in Bhakti Yoga, Mantra Jaap in Bhakti Yoga, etc.

Yoga Improves Mental & Physical Health

  • Health benefits of doing yoga are immense for our physical body. For instance this gradually loosens up our tight hamstrings, hips, etc. & makes them flexible enough.
  • Yoga is most reliable & cheapest source to strengthen our muscles & bones which averts chances of continuous injuries, arthritis, neck pains, etc
  • Many backward, forward & twist asanas such as Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog), Ardha Matsyendrasana (half Lord of Fishes Pose), respectively, are blessings to lengthen & strengthen spine.
  • Yoga particularly improves body’s blood circulation which further assists in normalizing blood pressure & hypertension.
  • Vitamin D rises & digestion improves when solar plexus is balanced thru kriyas like Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskara). Illustratively, inverted asanas namely Headstand (Shirshasna) & Shoulder stand (Sarvangasana) helps by bringing blood flow towards heart & then to lings.
  • Thru yoga immune system is strengthened thereby enabling our lymphatic system to fight cancerous cells & let go of infections.
  • This is very useful in curing diabetes as kapalbatti, Bow Pose, etc. stimulate proper functioning of pancreas to naturally secrete insulin.
  • Yoga nidra as ultimate relaxation helps to ease discomfort & build inner strength. Yoga helps to remove toxins from our mind & body in from of sweating, carbon dioxide, etc.
  • Pranayama & meditation (Vipassana, mindfulness, etc) increase concentration power by silencing mind, teach us ways to cope w/worries/stressful situations & make us more optimistic.
  • Yoga helps to overcome addiction (including drugs), temptations & higher Expectation levels. Yoga empowers us to see this fact & prevent us from getting caught in vicious cycle of guilt, anger, jealousy, etc

Connecting to Real Meaning of Yoga

  • Forward bending asanas such as balasana (child’s pose), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold) etc. not only heal chakras & resolve number of physical ailments, but in reality advocates to stay in present & past, accept changes, develop faith, & finally surrender to flow of life w/lot of strength.
  • Balancing postures namely Tasasana (Mountain Pose), Vrksasana (Tree Pose), etc. guide us on how much to hold in life & how much to let go for gaining balance & confidence.
  • Full yoga class signifies movement w/nature: first we warm up to put new seeds, then grow into flower during practice to express, then we are able to look inward by attaining coolness & finally we relax/still ourselves thru Savasana (Corpse Pose).
  • Aim of yoga is living life ethically based on certain rules of eating, sleeping & performing duties w/o fear & attachments.

World Environment Day June 5,2019

  • WED was established in 1972 during Untied Nations Conference on human Environment which led to creation of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • Its aim is “encouraging world wide awareness & action for protection of our environment”. World Environment Day is ‘people’s day’ for ding something take care of Earth.
  • In 2018, India was host for World environment Day & theme was focused on Plastic Pollution, in 2019 China is host for World environment Day celebrations on theme, ‘Air Pollution’,
  • Air Pollution in Asia & Pacific: Science-based Solutions, is first comprehensive scientific assessment of air pollution outlook in Asia & Pacific. It details 25 policy that will deliver benefits across sectors.
  • Strengthen emission standards for road vehicles
  • Regularly maintain & inspect vehicles
  • Mainstream electric vehicle
  • Provide better mobility options
  • Control dust from construction & roads
  • Reduce emissions from international shipping
  • Improve post combustion control
  • Strengthen industrial process emissions standards
  • Introduce efficient brick kilns technology
  • Control methane from oil & gas production
  • Improve solvent use & refinery controls
  • Use environmentally friendly refrigerants
  • Provide clean cooking & heating options
  • Strictly enforce bans on househols waste burning
  • Provide incentives for improved energy efficiency in households
  • Increase renewable electricity generation
  • Improve energy efficiency for industry
  • Recover coal mining gas
  • Improve livestock manure mgmt.
  • Strengthen mgmt. of nitrogen fertilizer application
  • Better mgmt. of agricultural crop residues
  • Prevent forest & peatland fires
  • Promote more efficient rice production practices
  • Stop biogas leakage from wastewater treatment improve solid waste mgmt.

Community Water Management thru Special Purpose Vehicle –A success story

  • WASMO an autonomous entity aimed at facilitating community managed drinking water facilities in rural areas of Gujarat.
  • WASMO which believed in building partnerships & working w/communities, marched towards attaining sustainability by adopting a demand driven community led cost sharing service approach to assure safe drinking water availability at doorstep.
  • WASMO focuses on bulk transfer of water from water surplus south Gujarat to water deficient north Gujarat, Saurashtra & Kutch thru canal & pipeline systems to supplement local sources.

- Published/Last Modified on: July 10, 2019


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