‘Bear in Mind’ Blog

A selection of thoughts, opinions and ideas by our faculty.

 

Four Paths Of Yoga: Karma, Bhakti, Jnana and Raja Yoga

There are four paths of yoga to achieve self-realisation. Detachment is key in all four paths of yoga.

Karma Yoga
Karma Yoga is the path of actions/deeds. Karma is derived from the Sanskrit word Kri – to do. Every deed is karma. In philosophy karma means the result of actions. But, in Karma Yoga, karma means work. Nobody gets what he does not deserve, this is the eternal law of karma. The law of karma means cause and consequence. According to the Sankhya philosophy nature is composed of three forces denominated in Sanskrit by Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. In our world this is manifested as balance, activity and slowness. Tamas is characterised by darkness and inaction, Rajas in activity expressed by attraction and rejection and Sattva is the balance between action and inactivity. Karma Yoga, in particular, has to do with these three forces. To study Karma Yoga we have to know what duty is. We have to help others without asking anything. What is Karma Yoga? The Knowledge of the Secret of the work. Whole universe works, for salvation, for freedom. Karma Yoga is the Science of Work.

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Olive Oil And Effects On Ageing

Ageing
Ageing is a time-dependent progressive decline in physiological function of an organism that goes along with decreased fertility and increased susceptibility to endogenous and external threats, leading to a wide variety of related diseases like degenerative and neoplastic disorders. Currently it is well-appreciated that ageing-related alterations are multifactorial and tissue-specific at the organismal level, and involve diverse processes designated “hallmarks of ageing”. These hallmarks include genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion and altered intracellular communication.

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Science Of Yoga And Why Yoga Is So Beneficial For Our Health

The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word Yug which means to join. Yoga enhances joining of body and mind, and also of Atman (soul) and Brahman (supersoul), which is the ultimate aim of Ashtanga Yoga (eightfold path of Yoga)/Raja Yoga (Royal Yoga).

Scientific studies have proven many beneficial effects of yoga on the brain, central nervous system, lungs, heart, muscles, bones, blood pressure, quality of sleep, lipid profile and immune system.

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Exercise And Health

Exercise has many beneficial effects on health.

Benefits on Mental Health
Not only does exercise decrease stress and prevent depression and improve/maintain a good mood and mental function by affecting hormones involved in mood like serotonin and endorphin. It also improves the quality of sleep by affecting melatonin production.

Benefits on Physical Health
Exercise boosts the immune system, reduces tendency for blood clotting. Further effects include reduction of blood pressure, prevention of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. Very interestingly exercise can prevent serious diseases like diabetes and cancers, particularly breast and colon cancer. Importantly, it slows down bone loss and ageing and improves sex life. 15 minutes of exercise on a daily basis already slows down ageing.

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Sugar And The Detrimental Effects On Our Health

Sugar belongs to the group of carbohydrates and can have several detrimental effects on our health. Sugars are relatively small molecules, which give a short energy boost but they leave the bloodstream quickly due to their small size quickly bringing down our energy. Excess intake of sugars leads to conversion into free fatty acids in the liver which contributes to the development of obesitas.

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Science Of Sleep And How To Cope With Insomnia

Biology of Sleep
Light is of key importance in regulating sleep and the production of sleep hormone melatonin. The circadian clock coordinates biology and behaviour of humans with daily environmental changes in the day-night cycle. During daytime light inhibits photosensitive cells in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus (part of the brain) preventing signalling to the pineal gland, thereby preventing production of melatonin which is the key substance in induction of sleep. When light in the environment starts to decrease, the photosensitive cells in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus are activated and signal via the superior cervical ganglion to the pineal gland, which produces melatonin. Melatonin is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid i.e. an amino acid that cannot be synthesized de novo, but is solely derived from nutrition. Tryptophan is also the source for synthesis of serotonin and from serotonin, melatonin is eventually made. To ensure a good mood and sleep, it is important to include sufficient amounts of tryptophan in your diet, which is present in high amounts in protein-rich food: oat, bananas, dried prunes, milk, tuna, cheese, poultry, bread and some seeds. The recommended daily intake of tryptophan ranges from 250 to 425 mg.

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Factors Influencing Skin And Hair Ageing

Factors influencing skin ageing
Factors affecting skin ageing include sun exposure, stress, inflammation, sugars, smoking and alcohol. The effects of these factors include dehydration, lower blood supply to the skin and hence decrease of nutrients to the skin, decreased collagen production, increased collagenase production and induction of an inflammatory response.

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Free Radicals, Antioxidants And Ageing

Free radicals
Free radicals are reactive chemical species having a single unpaired electron. This is an unstable conformation leading to reactions with adjacent molecules: proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. Oxygen radicals are the predominant radicals formed in nature which are generated by UV irradiation, metal catalysed reactions, immune cells and mitochondria (power plants of a cell). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) damage is implicated in ageing & age-dependent diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington disease).

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