Yoga is an integrated mind–body practice, originating about 5000 years BC in ancient India. Since then, it has been employed to promote health and well-being across various conditions. The word ‘yoga’ is derived from Sanskrit and may be translated as ‘union’ or ‘conjunction’, entailing the idea of uniting body, mind, and spirit. Though yoga is in the Western world predominantly used as a recreational practice, it is increasingly gaining attention as a clinical intervention.
‘Bear in Mind’ Blog
A selection of thoughts, opinions and ideas by our faculty.
The Significance of Ramananda in the Evolution of Bhakti Movement
Ramananda occupies a pivotal position in the Bhakti Movement of Medieval India. He was a Vaishnava saint. He was mainly instrumental in ushering in the new epoch of Medieval Mysticism. He is considered to be the reviver of Ramanandi sect. The religious reforms were brought back to North India by Ramananda. Tarachand declares that, “he was the bridge between the Bhakti Movement of South and North”. He would also indicate the working of Bhakti ideas in the North. He further lays stress on the concept of equality borrowed from Islam which made Ramananda embrace disciples from all walks of life. He was known for communicating in vernacular Hindi. He accepted his disciples from all castes.
When emotion is led by devotion it is called ecstasy. The greatest things in the world have been done by people in ecstacy. This is work of emotion not the mind. Creativity and discovery lie beyond the mind. Emotion is the bridge between conscious and creative thought. Therefore you should learn to use the power of emotion to go beyond the limitations of thought. Among the various functions of the mind, the intellect seems the finest – but without the help of emotional power the intellect is like a lame man who is not capable of reaching his destiny.
Sai Baba of Shirdi holds a unique place in the rich tradition of saints in India. Much is unknown about his origins and life, but he is revered by both Hindu and Mulsim devotees as an embodiment of self-realization and perfection. Although in his personal practice Sai Baba observed Muslim prayer and practices, he was openly disdainful of a strictly orthodox practice of any religion. Instead, he believed in the awakening of mankind through messages of love, righteousness, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God and guru, wherever they came from.
The saint-poet Kabir is one of the most interesting personalities in the history of Indian mysticism. Born near Benaras, or Varanasi, of Muslim parents in 15th century, he became in early life a disciple of the celebrated Hindu ascetic, Ramananda, a great religious reformer and founder of a movement to which millions of Hindus still belong.
Dementia is the progressive decline of cognitive function and this decline leads to a person’s inability to do routine daily activities. Yearly, 7.7 million people are diagnosed with dementia, and there is no direct cure for it. Dementia rates are expected to triple to reach 135.5 million people living with dementia in 2050 worldwide.
Pranayama is Sanskrit प्राणायाम (prāṇāyāma) and means ‘control of energy’ or ‘expansion of energy’. Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga which were systemically compiled by Patanjali (circa 200 B.C). Prana is the bridge between body, mind and consciousness. The inner movement of prana is the movement of consciousness, thinking, feeling and emotions. Ayurveda says that breathing is the physical part of thinking and that thinking is the physical part of breathing. Every thought changes breathing rhythm and every breath changes thinking rhythm. Scientific research in the West confirms the yoga teaching that the relationship between breathing and emotion is reciprocal. When someone is happy, joyful and quiet the breath is rhythmical. When someone is worried, afraid or nervous his/her breath is irregular and interrupted. Old vedic seers (rishi’s) discovered the intricate relationship between breath and mental activity and unveiled the art of pranayama. By controlling our breath, we can control our mental activity.
In the past two decades, mind–body interventions (MBIs) have been gaining empirical support and recognition by mental health professionals. Some MBIs, such as Tai Chi, and Qigong, have a strong physical component, others like yoga/meditation and mindfulness, breathregulation techniques, and the relaxation response (RR) are mainly sedentary. Despite the variability in these techniques, they all seem to produce various psychological benefits on healthy and clinical populations, such as the reduction of perceived stress, the alleviation of depression, decreases in anxiety or to help in coping with a chronic medical disease.
Kundalini is derived from Kunda which means ‘coiled’. In the kunda the primal fire called kundalini resides. The image of a serpent-like fire resting at the root of the spinal column conveys the idea of kundalini. The ultimate success of all yoga practices depends upon the awakening of kundalini. The object of yoga practice is to awaken and lead the primal force, kundalini, upward through sushumna.
The effects of stress on the immune responses result in alterations in the number of immune cells and cytokine dysregulation. Various stress management strategies such as meditation, yoga, hypnosis, and muscle relaxation have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological effects of stress in cancers and HIV infection.