The practice of physical yogic postures (asanas) and control of the breath (pranayama) free the mind and restore it to a state of peace and simplicity. When practiced regularly, asanas make our bones and muscles strong as well as improving breathing and energy levels. It appears that yoga deals only with the physical body. However, the asanas influence various parts of the body, activating vital organs. As a result, fresh blood influences the brain, calming the nerves and relaxing the mind. Thus we see that yoga improves both our mental and physical well-being.
Hatha yoga is one part of the eight-fold yogic path to Self-realization and, for this reason, Swamiji encouraged us to practise this ancient art. Yoga destroys impurities in the body and mind helping us to turn our focus within. Further, yoga relaxes and tones the body. It corrects our posture making it easier to sit comfortably for longer periods in meditation.
Pranayama is an important part of yoga. Prana is the life force in the body and all around it. Prana enters you when you breathe. Swamiji says that pranayama is a kind of meditation. When doing it, we observe the breath whilst retaining it and inhaling and exhaling deeply. Swamiji advises that observation plays a vital role in stilling the mind and experiencing deep peace. Further, pranayama helps to control the movement of the mind and is said to aid in the cure of various diseases.
Simple pranayama and calming yoga asanas are taught during Prema Dhyanam meditation courses.
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