The knowledge of anatomy and physiology forms the basis for the study of biological sciences. Even for a common man, to understand the health problems and their solutions, preliminary knowledge of this subject is helpful.
The physiology of yogic practices differs greatly from that of exercise physiology. The nature of every yogic practice is psycho-physiological and if this conceptual background is not clearly understood, the whole outlook towards yogic practices will be distorted. The rationale of yogic practices in terms of anatomy and physiology would remove many misconceptions about them.
Dr. Makarand Gore has been teaching this subject to the students of G.S. College of Yoga and Cultural Synthesis for quite some years. This book is written out of a long felt need of the students of yoga. It gives an adequate idea about the subject and will be found useful for the students of yoga as well as for the common man interested to know the scientific basis of various yoga practices.
I am very happy to welcome a new and timely addition of this book on the technical subject. I give my compliments to Dr. M.M. Gore for bringing out this book for the benefit of the students of yoga, and recommend it to the readers.
I am very happy to present the fourth edition of this book, which is revised thoroughly in every sense. All the editions were very much appreciated by the readers through their letters and personal communication. Additional chapters on Sitkari, Shitali, Bhastrika and Suryabhedan pranayama, based on the recent scientific research, special chapter on the science of Aum and the complete modification of the whole text are the main features of this edition. The book is also available in Italian, German, Hindi and Marathi. The book is a National Award winner. Hon. President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, a great scientist, has appreciated the book in his letter (November 23, 2003) addressed to me. He liked the chapter on deep breathing and pranayama the most. I thank him for his appreciation.
I express my gratitude to Dr. M.L. Gharote, ex-principal, G.S. College of Yoga and Cultural Synthesis, who guided and encouraged me to write the book. I am deeply indebted to my institution, Kaivalyadhama, which has been the main source of my knowledge and understanding of yoga. I sincerely thank Dr. Dhananjay Gunde (orthopaedic surgeon), a renowned yoga therapist, for writing the foreword for the second edition.
The blessings of my mother Dr. Vimla Gore are always with me. I thank my wife Bharati for publishing the third edition of this book. I am sure, the readers would welcome this edition too.
Yoga is a traditional and cultural science of India. Apart from yoga, India has contributed other sciences like Sanskrit grammar, mathematics, kamashashtra, and ayurveda to the humankind. Ayurveda includes yoga as a part of an ideal lifestyle and maintenance of health (swastha vritta). Lord Shrikrishna has explained in the Bhagwad Geeta various faculties of yoga. Yoga is further explored in the great treatise, Dnyaneshwari written by Saint Dnyaneshwar. Yoga literally means ‘union’ or ‘to join’. i.e., union with the divine consciousness. Hatha yoga, ashtang yoga, bhakti yoga, mantra yoga, dnyan yoga, karma yoga, raj yoga appear like different types of yoga due to their different methods and techniques but the main objective of all of them is liberation, salvation or to attain Samadhi, the highest state of chitta (consciousness) by controlling its vrittis (tendencies, desires) arising in it, out of attachment with the materialistic world, so as to merge into the divine principle (absolute consciousness). Yoga is one of the six great philosophies of India. It is an experiential science.
YOGA AND LIFESTYLE
Yoga is a part of the Indian lifestyle. Real comfort lies in good health. Disease-free condition and contentment at the level of mind are essential components of happiness. Those who practise yoga as daily ritual would experience great deal of peace of mind and joy Such people always think in positive way and lead a very happy life. Yoga has got the potential to bring prosperity and happiness to anybody from any profession. Since yoga brings about suitable changes in the behavioral pattern and the attitude of a person, the personal relationship at home and in the society are also improved. This is the reason why western countries are now following Indian lifestyle which includes yoga. They have understood that yoga is a ‘means’ to manage stress and to lead a healthy and happy life.
YOGA AS A THERAPY
‘Stress’ is an outcome of the modern lifestyle. It is produced out of dissatisfaction, frustration and dejection when there is negative interaction between the self-projection and the adverse internal as well as the external environmental conditions. At present, the human existence is challenged by the stress disorders or the psychosomatic diseases such as hypertension, hyperacidity, insomnia, heart diseases, diabetes, asthma, etc. Although the system of yoga is not developed for the purpose of treatment, it has been observed through the applied research that the regular practice of yoga not only controls these diseases but also promotes and maintains the healthy condition of body and mind and prevents the disease process. Yoga is not an alternative to any conventional therapy but it definitely supports the healing process. Today, the popularity of yoga is mostly because of its therapeutic value. Yoga has a potential to tranquilize and balance the mind, which is the key in the management of stress disorders.
Kriyas, asanas, pranayamas, bandha, mudra, and nadanusandhan are to be practiced in this sequence. All these practices are from hatha yoga. Hathapradipika, Gherand Samhita, Vshishtha Samhita, Hatharatnavali are important ancient hathayogic texts. Practice of hatha yoga promotes health and prepares an individual for spiritual aspects of yoga like awakening of the kundalini, dhyan and Samadhi. It works on two principles, i.e., Ha (Sun) and Tha (Moon) and brings about the balance in between the two. Hatha yoga is aware of the fact that,
Meaning: without the practice of hatha yoga, the practice of Raj yoga will not be successful and without raj yoga no perfection is attained in hatha yoga. Hence one should practice both simultaneously.
Back of the Book
The first part of the book deals with only that part of the basic anatomy and physiology, which is important in understanding the mechanism of yoga practices. This time a special note, in the form of tips ‘from yoga point of view’, has been added so as to understand various concepts and aphorisms of yoga clearly.
The second part of the book describes the traditional technique of asanas, pranayamas, bandhas, mudras, kriyas (cleansing practices), their possible mechanism…This book would help the reader:
1. To learn the basic structure and various functions of the body.
2. To understand the yogic concepts, the correct technique and the mechanism of the yogic practices as well as their physiological effects on the human body.
3. To know whether we can modify the techniques of these yoga practices with the help of the scientific information about them for better application.
4. To understand the principles of yogic therapy, its application, contra-indication and limitations.
5. To know the scientific aspect of the Aum chanting.
Dr. Makarand Madhukar Gore received his initial education in Yoga from his Guru Swami Janardan of Nagpur. After completing his post-graduation, he acquired education in Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy. Since 1975 he has been working in the field of scientific research in Yoga, at Kaivalyadham, Lonavla. He has taught this subject at G.S. College of Yoga, Kaivalyadham, for 10 years.
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