A Sure Result of Yoga -- Serenity of Mind...

Monday, August 4, 2014

The poet and grammarian Bhartrihari in about the 7th century A.D, pays tribute to Patanjali and the efficacy of Yoga through this line of a shloka (verse): 

Yogena cittasya padena vacam
Translation : Through Yoga, serenity of mind
When people start practicing Yoga , they have different expectations with it. Although, Yoga is a holistic science affecting Mind and Body, positively; but still one sure consequence of Yoga is Peace of Mind. And this consequence doesn't take much time to manifest itself. Within the first week of of your Yoga practice, you will feel serenity of Mind. A peace of mind which helps you see yourself and the World in a different Light.



God helps you tackle Unhappiness in a Better way...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Every Religion or Faith claims that its believers will have better quality of life. In simple, they claim that the belief itself will end the sorrows and bring happiness. Is this True?

Lets not debate this. As many Sorrows and Happiness are part of Life. And believer or not , everyone has to go through his/her share of the two.

According to ISKCon, the International Society of Krishna Consciousness : Even a believer of Krishna, will go through the same cycles of Life; that's the Cycles of Happiness and Sorrow. Thus Krishna doesn't make the Life of his believer, the bed of flowers. What the submission to Krishna, as Supreme Lord, does is: It help the believer tide over the Unhappiness , better than others. In simple the faith on God or believing in some religion or faith helps the individual to face the lows in a better way.

I think, this can be applied to any faith or religion across the planet. A recent study also proves os: Faith in God helps a person manage unhappiness in a better way.



Practicing yoga during pregnancy -- Some useful Tips for Prenatal yoga

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Creation of a new life inside a mother's womb is one of the greatest miracles. Yes I know, some religious preachers have used the miracle term so many times that the analogy has its own share of jokes. Keeping all those jokes aside, the very consciousness of a living being breathing and growing inside a woman is simply amazing.

The moment a life is conceived inside a mother , her entire consciousness and focus changes. The entire attention goes to the life within. This makes the months of carrying a child , also called pregnancy or Prenatal or antenatal phase (right from fertilization to the birth), precious in a woman's life.

Pregnancy is a time of big changes in a woman. These changes take place not only on the physical  level but emotional & mental level as well . Call it the great designs of the Supreme Consciousness , or God or absence of any such Entity, a woman is bestowed with or possesses great patience to endure all these difficult changes.

In all my years of Yoga teaching, I have found that Yoga or prenatal yoga helps a pregnant woman endure these difficult changes with more ease. I have found that prenatal yoga helps a pregnant woman have best possible pregnancy and delivery (parturition).

How Prenatal Yoga Helps ?

The anxiety and tension can lead to various problems during pregnancy.Yoga can be very beneficial to address these issues. Prenatal Yoga helps regulate breathing. Regulation of breathing relaxes the body and various body muscles , which in turn can help adjust to the physical demands of pregnancy, labor, birth, and motherhood. With the practice of regular yoga , pregnant woman can calm down her mind and body. This means less emotional and bodily stress. When Breathing exercises and specific low stress Yoga postures are incorporated to a Prenatal Yoga plan, feel good chemicals are released in the body and a state of deep relaxation is reached. This state of relaxation not only keeps at bay the depression, so common during pregnancy, but it also helps the expectant woman get over from anxiety and fear of birth. Prenatal Yoga is actually preparing the body for the birth, while benefiting from the positives during the pregnancy as well.

Other benefit of yoga during pregnancy are increase in stamina, strengthening of the muscles of abdominal wall, peritoneum,and the lumbar spine.

Some useful Tips and precautions while practising Prenatal yoga :

  1. Make sure to inform your yoga teacher about your health conditions. Every pregnancy is unique, hence it's important to stick to what your Doctor has advised you. That's why it's important for your Yoga teacher t know what your Doctor has prescribed you.
  2. Join Yoga classes which are meant for pregnant women. Remember not all Yoga poses are not meant for expectant mothers.
  3. Avoid deep back bending yoga postures (spine bending backwards). It can reduce blood flow to the uterus.
  4. During pregnancy body produces certain hormones to accommodate the baby. Avoid poses that stretch the muscles too much, particularly the abdominals.
  5. Kindly listen to your body. Understanding your body limitations is important. If you feel any discomfort, stop. Even those yoga poses which are advised during pregnancy must not be done under discomfort. 

In general, these poses are safe in pregnancy:

  • Butterfly stretch
  • Cat pose
  • Cobra (in the first trimester, if you feel comfortable doing this face-down pose)
  • Seated forward bend (with modifications )
  • Side angle pose
  • Standing forward bend (with support )
  • Triangle pose (with support )

Happy Pregnancy!


Meditation: For relaxation, Health and other Benefits...My Musings

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A common question is put by my Yoga Students. The Question is:  What they should expect from Yoga?

In order not to thrust my views on them, I put a counter question : As a Student and a Yoga enthusiast, what health benefits you want from Yoga and what body limitations (Health conditions) you consider as obstacles ?

In short, I try to probe my students' understanding of Yoga, and their expectation with yoga?

9 out of 10 of my students want relaxation and health from yoga. That apart, their basic understanding of Yoga limits at Asana practice only. That's when they say Yoga, they visualize themselves as doing some difficult Yoga asanas or Yoga Postures.

They are not very wrong. But they're not very correct either.

Yoga is not the union of mere body parts. It's much beyond that. Yoga is the science of bringing mind, intellect and Body in line with higher consciousness (What ever one wants to call it). And one way to achieve this is meditation.

There are various aspects of yoga. Meditation for instance, is taught to be for the mind. When the fact of the matter is, it's the science of bringing mind, body, awareness in line to the higher consciousness. When mind is peaceful and focussed , a visible result of meditation , the General Well being is enhanced as well. The ancient Indian yogis and sages knew this link between mind and matter for physical well being.

In recent years, an increasing number of people have started accepting that mind can influence the mechanical body functions and the chemical balance of the body. The vital indicators of a sound body. If the mind is not at peace, or is in negative state/disturbed the body can't be healthy. As a matter of fact, the body is reflecting the state of mind. An imbalance in the state of mind can cause the imbalance in the body. In Ayurveda this is known as sickness. The very definition of Sickness by Ayurveda may seem simple, but as a Yoga teacher for close to two decades, I can say that, this definition is complete. According to ayurveda, an alternative medicine system,  imbalance in dosha/energy is the  root cause of diseases. Don't worry, I can vouch for this definition!

Tension,worry,anxiety are mainly responsible for restricting the free flow of energy within our bodies. Any dis-ease to the body affects the mind and this affects the Energy cycles. In Ayurveda , this causes sickness as the free flow of prana(vital force) throughout body is restricted . Note that the sickness (nausea, stiffness,pain etc.) are just the physical manifestation of the restriction in Energy Cycles.

Meditation (a key component of yoga) has been found to be highly effective as a complementary therapy in balancing the body energy system. It helps to create balance between right and left hemispheres of the brain which relate to the emotional and intellectual processes respectively.

That apart the link of Mind to Energy Cycles with in body, also means that meditation also enhances Body's defence against pathogens, or Body's immune system. A heightened immune system means the body's ability to restore itself all by itself.

According to the Covers Story in Times magazine August 2003 issue,

“Not only do studies shows that meditation is boosting immune system, but brain scans suggest that it may be rewiring their brains to reduce stress...Meditation is being recommended by more and more physicians as a way to prevent, slow or at least control the pain of chronic diseases like heart conditions,aids,cancer,infertility...scientific studies are beginning to show its works ,particular for stress related conditions.”

Not so visible Benefits of Meditation 

The moment you start meditating, the right way, you will instantly feel a sense of peace and harmony. But if that much is not enough for you. And if you want some real benefits of meditation, the one's which are less visible in the initial days, then here are they. Meditation has various biological benefits including regulation of blood pressure, stimulation of blood circulation, reduction in pain, and release in muscles tension, and even regulation of hormonal levels in body and blood. No wonder, Meditation is often vouched as the way to health.

The other benefits of meditation are improved concentration ,self confidence, increased energy level, self discipline, improved personal performance in one's profession , be it some day job, sports, business, art etc. In addition, the entire outlook towards the Life changes. The approach towards life becomes positive.

Why You must meditate?

Meditation practice brings relaxation. But comparing meditation with any traditional form of relaxation is not right. Meditation brings far greater benefits than simple relaxation . That said, you must start meditating, as meditation can be your road to personal efficiency, productivity and Success. Success in life and Success in any endeavor you take on. Meditation is all about having the ability to channel one's energies in a focused manner on things one wants to accomplish.

Some myths about Meditation:

1. No need to renounce one's beliefs:

It's often believed that in order to meditate, one has to renounce his/her held beliefs. This is a myth. You do not need to renounce your own beliefs. If you can focus on something, you can meditate. Hence any one can start meditating and reap the benefits of meditation.

2. Meditation is Time Consuming 

Learning how to meditate properly takes time , and there are no doubts about it. But Meditation itself is not time consuming. If a person can take out 10 minutes of peace for himself/herself, he/she can meditate. Meditation needs cooperation of  body and mind.

In order to prepare your body and mind for meditation, one has always the option to include some Yoga asanas and pranayama practice (Breathing Asanas), in the meditation regimen. Regular practice of asanas and breathing exercise remove toxins from the body and this helps in having better focus during meditation. Remember, an often ignored health indicator, a clear non-constipated body can have a big difference in the quality of meditation.

3. You need an Expert or Yoga Teacher to start meditating. 

Although, learning meditation from an expert is always better; but that doesn't mean you can't start meditation on you own. Meditation is the art of teaching the brain to remain fully occupied or focussed on one thing. If you successfully learn this focus , even for 10 minutes a day, you will start seeing a heightened focus in any task you do. While meditating, you have to sit in a relaxed posture and focus on something, such as some word.

According to scriptures Dawn and dusk are the best times for meditation but if it is not possible you can meditate any time and stick to the schedule.

Meditation brings with it truck loads of benefits. It's offers you exactly what you want. As my students say : Relaxation and Health.


Symbolism and Practical Purpose of Tilaka (A mark worn on the forehead)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Symbolic meaning of Tilaka (Vermillion on Forehead or a mark worn on the forehead 

If you travel around India, you will notice many people sporting a round or a straight mark on their foreheads.This mark is known as a Tilaka. Broadly speaking , a Tilaka is a mark of auspiciousness in Hinduism. It is also a mark of religiosity for a devout Hindu.

A Tilaka is generally formed out of sandal wood paste , kumkum (a fragrant powder with cooling properties), or sacred ashes from a Yajna Kund (A place where sacred Fire is lit and oblations are made) or a colour made by processing lime and turmeric called Roli).

A Tilaka informs about the Deity

The devotees of Lord Shiva apply sacred ashes or bhasma. A devotee of Lord Vishnu applies sandal wood paste. Those who worship Kali/Shakti/Devi ( The Goddess of fertility) apply red kumkum on their foreheads.

Practical Purpose of Tilaka

A Tilaka is applied at Ajna Chakra or Aagyaan Chakra (Command Energy Circle). The space between the eyebrows (Refer to the Picture on the Left). The application has a cooling effect. It also has an effect which allows the applier feel his/her energies focused on positive pursuits of life.

A apart from spiritual significance , sandal wood paste and bhasma have great medicinal value as well. While meditating at the ajna chakra, sandal wood paste prevents the heating up of the point because of constant concentration.

In Hinduism, the application of a Tilaka is not a mere outer action. The Tilaka Application also involves chanting of sacred words called mantras. The reason behind the sacred words is to transfer positive energies to the tilaka as well. Thus there is always a mantra for applying tilaka.

There are various methods of Tilaka application as well. Shaivites apply three horizontal lines with sacred ashes. Vaishnavas in contrast, apply three vertical lines with sandal paste. These have scientific basis to them.

Science Behind Tilaka 

In Hinduism, people are applying Tilaka for thousands of years. Praying one's deity followed by the application of a Tilaka is a common ritual for a Hindu. Even a cab driver or a rickshaw puller in India can be seen sporting a Tilaka.

Recent researches have shown that the Tilaka in Hinduism is much more than just a ritual. A gland named Pineal Gland is seated on the brain, just behind the area where a Tilaka is applied. The pineal gland is believed to be the one which regulates the basic consciousness in human beings. The Consciousness is the basic self understanding of who we are are and what self image we have of ourselves. When a Tilaka or a mark is applied , the basic consciousness heightens and the person feels more focussed in any positive pursuit he/she undertakes.

More musings some other Day...


Pictures of my son's Namakaran samskara (Name giving ceremony)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dear Friends today i am sharing some of the pictures of My second child's  namakarana samskara Ceremony. It is one of the important ceremony among 16 samaskar in Hindu tradition . Namkaran samskara means Name giving ceremony.He was born on 27 february on the day of shiva ratri so we decided to call him Rudra. Thank you friends for your well wishes & kind presence at our residence . 
Rudra Pandey

Some Overseas students

Kids enjoying 

Add caption

barkha (child name) with her grand father

welcoming guests and friends

Indian lunch at home 

indian food

Rudra with her mother

Friends enjoying party

namaste see you again 

bacha party

swami ji 



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