UPDATED:  May 31, 2007 0:16 AM
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Yoga: For Beauty of Life

By: Krishna Sharma

As part of its ongoing yoga awareness campaign across America, Life in Yoga Foundation (LYF), a non-profit organization dedicated to health of body and mind, successfully conducted a three-day yoga course for the community members of Northern Virginia from May 18 at Durga Temple in Lorton, Virginia.

Nearly 250 people of all ages belonging to various ethnic backgrounds benefitted from the free yoga course that helped them find peace within oneself and realize the nature of existence and spiritual reality. On the occasion, yoga teacher Dr. C. Rajan Narayanan not only helped them rightly practice yoga but also explained the participating members about the link between the body, mind and soul and their relation to good health.

Deepa Janakiraman, an LYF volunteer, said regular yoga practice helped balance the functioning of her body and mind. “I used to be in mentally stressed and physically tired upon returning home from work and would lose my temper over tiny things. I knew I was not like that before hectic life began upon my taking up of the job. But when I joined the yoga free course, I learnt my limitations of knowledge and acknowledged the beauty of life. It changed my way of thinking. I am so impressed that I now feel I should tell this to people, so I joined the foundation as a volunteer.”

With ten teaching volunteers like Deepa on the floor, teacher Narayanan taught and demonstrated the new practitioners of yoga about how daily practice of this learning at home could promote physical and mental health of an individual.

Yoga, essentially an oriental method of exercise which has a lot to do with both physical and mental growth as well, is getting very much popular in the western world these days. “Because it can be done at any time at home without the noise of any instrument or drugs, I felt it is one of the best ways to improve the habit of our daily lives, said Penny Milton of Springfield.

As to how the LYF has been able to conduct such programs in different places from Seattle to Chicago to Northern California to Northern Virginia without taking any service fee from the benefactors, Deepa said it has been running with the help of personal donations and the public places like this temple which has provided the hall for free.

Yoga is a spiritual science of self-realization. This self disciplinary approach to living comes from India after the observation of years of physical theories and principles about the mind and body connection. The history of yoga goes back to over five hundred years. The Indian sage Patanjali, who is regarded as the founding father of the yoga, has to say that it encompasses the entire discipline of our existence, from physical, emotional and mental to the spiritual. Its methods include ethical disciplines, physical postures, breath control as well as meditation.

Although there are eight different stages of yoga, Hatha Yoga is common among the western civilizations. Hatha yoga seeks to promote health and well-being through physical exercise. “The regular practice of postures and breathing exercises makes the body strong, supple and healthy,” says Ram Chhetri of Burke who always does yoga in the morning before setting out to work.

Formerly a physical education teacher back home in Nepal, Mr. Chhetri has to say from his experiences of doing yoga that it has a profound effect on the circulation and on the smooth functioning of the inner organs, glands and nerves, keeping all systems in radiant health and leading to greater energy, better concentration and a happier and more fulfilling life.

Another yoga practitioner Mr. Chiranjibi Sapkota says that many common physical ailments can also be improved through the regular practice of yoga.

Explaining the scientifically proven benefits of yoga to life, the teacher says, “Deepa says it can have all the physiological, psychological and biochemical benefits in a person’s life if he/she regularly practices this oriental method of exercising.”

“The best thing about it is that it teaches people to love their body and mind, it teaches to self-trust, realize the flexibility of the body and mind thereby helping him/her experience the real beauty of life,” Narayanan told the crowd before the yoga sessions started.

Founded in 1998 with the active initiation of the likeminded yoga practitioners in Lanham, Maryland, the organization was very small in size and informal in manners in the beginning. Handful of yoga lovers used to meet at the premises of Shiva Vishnu Temple in Lanham then. Later Dr. Narayanan was invited to teach breathing and meditation techniques at the University of Maryland by the student association group. It was then realized that young generation was also attracted towards this practice. Over the years it spread significantly and in 2005 the foundation decided to produce yoga teachers with formal licensing. It has now silently and saliently spread from east to west and from north to south of America and has won the hearts and minds of many people who are tired of the noises of the machines and are in search of peace for both the body and mind.

The finding of an internet study that there are over thousand yoga related organizations in the USA alone speaks for its growing popularity.

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