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INDIA FROM NEWS
Sunday, June 21, 2015
Day of Celebrations on 21 June 2015: 'Summer Solstice', 'Father's Day' and the 'International Yoga Day'
'Summer Solstice', 'Father's Day' and the 'International Yoga Day' make it more Auspicious in 2015!
'Father's Day' is celebrated on this day in the UK, the US and Canada! I think of my father on this day and each second of every other day, and pray for all fathers including the dear departed souls around the globe! One must remember that the 'Living' need our love and care more than those who left us and it is paramount that each one of us makes a conscious effort to be there for our parents, not just on this day, but every day! My father was my best friend and my all time hero! I get a lump in my throat and my eyes brim with tears every time I listen to these most poignant words -- "Suryanaay thazhukiyunarthumen Acheneyaanenikkishtam...", (Biju Narayanan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIz-U3fBFFc; KS Chitra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p1NXnqSWQM, from the film 'Sathyam Shivam Sundaram': Kaithapram and Vidyasagar)
It is also the day the 'Summer Solstice' starts, and the UN has declared this day, 21 June 2015 as the 'International Day for Yoga' – 177 countries around the world is practicing Yoga and meditation for a healthy living, and hopefully, it would herald a whole lot of 'Lifestyle changes' for a better future! Yoga is away of living, a union of 'Mind and Body', and it should not be mixed up with religion or politics! Though there were many teachers of Yoga in the past, it was Swami Ramdev, who brought Pranayama to the forefront and to the common man and he believes in 75% Pranayama and 25% Asanas to remain healthy and get rid of diseases, quite different to the earlier concept of Asanas being the main component and thereby giving Pranayama a subsidiary role! Though Pranayama was known to be an essential part of Yoga practice, it was seldom given the pride of place it deserved – Bastrika, Kapal-bhati, Anulom Vilom, Bahya Pranayama, Omkar japa, Bhramari. Agnisaar. As Summer solstice is a time for meditation, reinvention and purification, it is very apt that the UN declared today as 'he 'International Day of Yoga' and surely a recognition of India's ancient practice!
Summer Solstice on 21 June is the longest day for people in the northern hemisphere -- the sun appears to stand still at the same height because of the Earth's tilt -- the sun shines directly on the Tropic of Cancer, the 'Summer Solstice' and the opposite happens in December when the Solstice is in the southern hemisphere with the sun shining on the Tropic of Capricorn, while the northern hemisphere has the 'Winter Solstice'! The sun is at the highest point in the sky at noon during the summer solstice, making it the longest day, and the sun is at its lowest in winter, making it the shortest day! The Sun starts its 'Southern journey' the day after the Summer solstice, the 'Dakshinayan', time for meditation, reinvention and purification for us, and the Sun's 'Southern journey', starts the day after the 'Winter solstice' in December, the 'Utharayan', time of enlightenment. According to the Hindu Belief, Utharayan is Daytime for the gods and Dakshinyan is night, as our one year is one day for the gods, six months of day and six months of night! If one dies during Utharayan, it is considered auspicious, as he/she is believed to be granted final salvation – Bhishma chose to make his transition during Utharayan, in spite of having to lie on the deathbed of arrows for weeks!
Thousands of people would gather in places like the Stonehenge to witness the first glimpse of the sunrise! It is time to enjoy the sun and the garden, summer clearing up of clutter in one's life, physical, personal and at consciousness level! And a time to start working out, doing yoga and meditation for a healthy living and to have positive thoughts, throwing out the negative energy, which includes staying away from things that give you negative energy! Enjoy the Summer and Yoga!
“Happy Father's Day”!
FEATURED ARTICLE FROM THE ARCHIVES
Yog, according to Swami Ramdev
|by Elizabeth Menon
Swami Ramdev can solely take the credit for changing the image of yoga and its practice. In other words, this is Yoga, according to Swami Ramdev! He is neither the front man of a Rock 'N' Roll band nor he is a magician or an actor, but he has the looks, charisma, the body, movement and the capacity to alight an entire stadium with his presence. He doesn't stalk the stage like a panther, but mostly he sits in Padmasana or Vajrasana, except when he is worshipping the sun or walking on his hands! He does magical things with his abdomen, but only with the use of fresh air and a bit of muscle power.
© E Menon 2007
He is a celestial being completely detached from worldly pleasures and committed to serving the humanity; he has this great desire to change the world into a 'Healthy world' with no illness. And how does he plan to do this? Just with the aid of controlled breathing and fresh air, otherwise known as 'Pranayama'. Swami Ramdev, who brought Pranayam to the forefront, believes in 75%of Pranayama and 25% Asanas to remain healthy and get rid of diseases, quite different to the earlier concept of Asanas being the main component and thereby giving Pranayam a subsidiary role! Though Pranayama was known to be an essential part of Yoga practice, it was seldom given the pride of place it deserved.
He does not preach religion, but the divine power surrounds him like a halo and anyone who comes near him feels that power and draws on that infinite energy. In spite of all these attributes, this saint of a man, almost celestial is very humble but has the power to hold an audience in the palm of his hands by doing just a little Nouli! (For the un-initiated few, Nouli is the magical massaging movement of one's 'Intestines'). If anyone is wondering if such a person exists, 'The saintly golden wonder from India', His Holiness Swami Ramdev who has transformed India to wake up to a healthy tomorrow, is the answer! Swami Ramdev was initiated in the ascetic order on the banks of the sacred River Ganga. He established Divya Yog Mandir Trust in 1995 with the help of Muktanand Maharaj and Acharya Balkrishen. His kindness, loving nature and dedication to serve humanity have won him an enormous following in India and all over the globe, just within a short span of 6-7 years! He is highly proficient in Ayurveda and Vedic philosophy, Sanskrit and yog practice.
Yoga is an ancient Indian art that has been in practice for over 5000 years. But it was Saint Patanjali who compiled it so that the common man could understand it and called it the Ashtanga yoga, the eight yogic practices, that brings about the positive way of thinking. Swami Ramdev follows in the footsteps of Maharshi Patanjali and he brought it to the masses, in the form of simple Pranayam and Asanas. One must understand that 'Yoga' is not a religion and the word 'Om' is not part of only the Hindu religion, but the Buddhists and Gregorian Monks used it as the sacred sound for chanting; Yog is oneness with the divine, a holistic approach to the art of living through commitment and understanding.
Manipulation of breathing pattern will improve transmission of impulses resulting in functional changes leading to an increase in immunity and finally an evolved state of eternal bliss -- various systems in the body improve maintaining good health, treatment of various ailments to those who are in poor health, and also help to get rid of habits such as smoking and alcoholism. The benefits are endless to those who complete these chosen exercises. Diseases like asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, Tinitis,obesity, allergy and Hay fever, migraine, diseases pertaining to lungs, heart and brain are cured by doing Pranayam, at least 5 to 15 minutes, twice daily; improvement in Parkinsons disease, eye sight and memory also are noted; hair loss and premature greying are relieved by rubbing ones nails -- impulses are sent through the pressure points -- there were quite a few at the workshop in London whose hair turned black just by following this technique, and they had the photos to prove it, but one needs to have determination and the perseverance to do it every day!
There were many patients in the audience at each venue who were completely cured of various ailments such as asthma, hypertension, migraine, diabetes, high cholesterol, hay fever, fibroid uterus, crohn's disease, skin conditions such as leucoderma, psoriasis, eczema, ovarian cysts, and improvement in nervous disorders. I was amazed at the revelations at the workshop I attended; there were even consultant physicians, surgeons and GPs who were disclosing details of cure among their relatives and patients. The unmistakable improvement in spinal ailments, paralysis and especially in Parkinson's was reassuring to many of the sufferers who attended the venue.
It was overwhelming to witness the benefits of Pranayam in fibroid uterus, ovarian cysts, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, fibrosis of lungs, rheumatoid arthritis, frozen shoulder, migraine not responding to any treatment, various malignancies. etc, narrated by the patients themselves in most instances, showing benefits within 4-9-12 months. (Graves disease, carcinoma of prostate and bladder were among the cases disclosed) These patients had the test results with them taken prior to starting Pranayama and during, at regular intervals. (Anulom Vilom, Kapal bhati and Basthrika are most beneficial). Obesity showed remarkable improvement, loosing from 5- 11 kilograms and even up to 40 kilograms in a few, in 4-12 months! These revelations are quite difficult to believe until one has witnessed it and even I was sceptical in the beginning. His desire to meet all doctors attending the workshop was highly commendable; the conference was arranged where medico-legal points were discussed and the need for evidence-based medicine was stressed. Most doctors were of the opinion that publication of data from Swami Ramdev's clinical trials is of paramount importance.
It is important that everyone understands the real meaning of yog and the practice of its various techniques to correct the imbalance of Prana (Life force) and physique, which will then be reflected in the body, mind and intellect. Therefore, the presence of Swami Ramdev and his yog workshops in the UK was a blessing in deed. These workshops were of colossal magnitude, attended by people of multinational origin. Language was no barrier as Swami Ramdev is beyond any language; his presence was enough motivation for the adoring crowd and they followed his every single word and magical move!
Swami Ramdev was in total control of what went on at each session and he conducted it with such grandeur that, three hours of asanas, Pranayama, teaching of philosophy and Ayurved felt like only a few minutes! His wonderful sense of humour kept the audience captivated and the seven Pranayama: Bastrika, Kapal-bhati, Anulom Vilom, Bahya Pranayama, Omkar japa, Udgeethu Bhramari and asanas were conducted like a well choreographed works of art. Though there are various methods of Pranayama and Asanas, Swami had selected seven methods of Pranayama that can be completed in about 20 minutes and a few highly useful Asanas, which would give maximum benefit. His unique wonderful sense of humour was evident at every session through the week.
The benefits and the real meaning of Kapal Bhati (Glow on the fore head/ healthy glow) were quite evident on Swami Ramdev! I could not help thinking that one does not need to go to a gym to get a perfect body, just one look at the 'Treasure chest of India' was enough to convince anyone that he is a living advertisement for Pranayama, to achieve the 'Perfect triangle' and the tummy to die for! (No disrespect to Swami, of course). Swami Ramdev believes that spinal and joint injuries with the careless use of weights at a gym could be avoided among youngsters, by practicing Asanas and Pranayama. His kindness and empathy with each person at the venue was unmistakable and the blessing he bestowed on each of those who were suffering was ecstatic to witness. His captivating mannerisms, his charisma and the way his arm goes up in the air when he wants to stress a point, almost a 'Mercurial gesture', reminded me of the Rock 'N' Roll legend with an inimitable voice! Swami's extensive and thorough knowledge of allopathic medicine, acupressure and Ayurved only add to his greatness as a Yogic Master. Yoga is the new way of living and that should be the first to add on when one makes 'Lifestyle changes' for a healthy and peaceful life!
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