Shri Ambika Yogashram
How is Yoga more beneficial than other exercises?

In almost all other exercises body’s internal energy is spent to maintain muscle tone, body’s shape and strength etc. Yoga gives all these benefits and more, without spending internal energy. No extra load is therefore imposed on internal organs. Other exercises may require specific equipments like a tank is required for swimming. In case of Yoga however, no equipment is required. Yoga can be performed at home. There is no need to spend time and money in going anywhere. Other exercises entail age limit. Yoga can be performed in old age too.

Does Yoga cure diseases?

Breathing exercises of Yoga raise oxygen level in the body. As a result all the internal systems start working excellently. We all know that in emergency cases oxygen is supplied to patients in hospitals. Yoga strengthens not only our body but the mind as well. It has been proved that many diseases are of psychosomatic nature.

What is the effect of Yoga on chronic and incurable diseases?

The deep breathing techniques help to regulate respiration. Daily practice of Yoga gives exercise to lungs and improves their efficiency. An hour of practice results in synchronized deep breathing throughout the day. Asanas bring about stretching, contracting, and relaxing of all the muscles thereby making them strong. Even the muscles and tissues of internal organs like intestine etc. are strengthened, which helps in curing almost all diseases.

Does Yoga help in reducing weight? If yes, will stopping the practice result in gaining weight again, like in case of other exercises?

Yoga is the definite and permanent means of reducing weight. Yoga not only melts down the excess fats but also utilizes it. The increased efficiency of circulatory, respiratory, digestive and excretory systems conserves energy thereby reducing intake of food. Yoga also strengthens the mind and therefore those who eat excessively out of stress are relieved of the habit. In other weight reducing exercises fats are burnt but internal systems are not empowered, so they result in gaining weight again.

What is the right age to start / stop doing Yoga ?

Generally the development of hormones in the body is adequately accomplished by the age of twelve. After that one can perform all the yogic Kriyas. Surya Namaskar and Omkar are two such Kriyas that can be done before the age of twelve. However children below twelve, if suffering from particular ailments are made to do certain remedial Kriyas. There is no upper limit and one can do Yoga right till his/her last breath.

How much time per day should be dedicated to the practice of Yoga?

After completing the preliminary course one may devote 45 to 50 minutes daily for breathing exercises and 15 to 20 minutes for the Asanas. Further it is beneficial to devote an hour and fifteen to thirty minutes for practice of Pranayamas. There are advanced studies like Dharana and Dhyan for spiritual progress, which call for daily two to three hours of practice.

What is the right time of the day to practice Yoga?

After a night’s rest all the organs of the body are relaxed. The early morning atmosphere is cheerful and sunrays at this time are specially beneficial. Therefore this is the ideal time for Yoga. For Asanas the evening time is more favorable. However if it is not possible to follow these timings one can practice yoga anytime of the day when stomach is empty for about four hours rather than not practicing at all.

Is it necessary to become a vegetarian for practicing Yoga?

It is not necessary to become a vegetarian for the preliminary and higher study of yoga. One who is pursuing Yoga for physical benefits may not become a vegetarian. However habitual excessive non vegetarian intake surely produces disorders in the body. Those aspirants of superior spiritual goals must become vegetarians. Needless to say, consistent practice of Yoga produces an inclination towards vegetarianism. It is desirable to become a vegetarian at this stage.

Is the Yoga program different for men and women?

There is no discrimination. Both men and women can equally perform and have expertise alike in all the yogic breathing exercises, Asanas and Pranayamas.

I would like to do meditation. What is the technique?

Meditation (Dhyan) is the second last stage i.e. seventh of the eight staged Ashtang Yoga. It is illusive and unfortunate to assume the state of meditation merely by closing the eyes and sitting still. One has to wipe off body’s accumulated toxic wastes and disorders first, by performing the Shuddhi Kriyas (cleansing processes). Then the body’s indolence and flatulence should be overcome by practice of Asanas. After that the study of Pranayamas should be undertaken to have control on breathing. Once the breathing is harmonized, thoughts get streamlined and consequently the mind becomes calm and composed. Only then it becomes possible to do meditation. In other words, daily practice of Pranayamas over a period of time prepares one for meditation.

Is there a dress code for practicing Yoga?

Yoga should not be practiced wearing tightly fitting clothes. Loose top and pyjama ( Jhabba-Lehenga for men and Kurta-Pyjama for women ) is the ideal dress for Yoga. It is essential to have the waist tied around in order to have a restrain on the naadis of the waist. Therefore a Langoti and a Katchha should be worn by men and women respectively.

I am not confident that my body is suitable for practicing Yoga. Can you guide me?

The preliminary objective of Yoga is to make the body fit and supple. Steady and purposeful practice of Yoga makes the body start responding positively. One’s age, physical capacity, ailments if any, are taken in to consideration while training Yoga. Therefore it is essential to learn Yoga under personal attention. Such guidance is being imparted at Shree Ambika Yogashram. Therefore however difficult it may seem to you today, it is possible to make the body supple and shapely by simple techniques of Yoga.

Is it necessary to perform Yoga regularly?

In the context of physical fitness it can be said that the more you practice Yoga, the healthier you will be. Even in today’s busy routine it is essential to do Yoga at least 5 to 6 times in a week. By and large Yoga is a lifestyle rather than a ritual. Therefore it should be practiced daily to reap excellent mental and spiritual benefits. The gain is directly proportional to the pains you take.

Is it advisable to learn Yoga by watching the TV programmes / Video clips on YOU TUBE etc.?

Body’s structure and constitution varies from person to person. Age, diseases, body’s inherent deficiencies etc. make each case different from the other. Therefore a single package cannot be effective for all. On the contrary such a generalized training often proves harmful for some. There is no one to observe you and tell whether you are doing it correctly or not. Doing faulty exercises repeatedly leads to certain ailments in the long run. Therefore the science of Yoga is to be taught and learnt face to face. The genuine objective of media is to create awareness but it is being misused for fame and money by producing TV programmes and CDs on Yoga.

Is it possible to maintain fitness by merely practicing Yoga, or any other supplementary exercise like walking etc. needs to be done?

The three months Yoga training course formulated by Hathayogi Shri Nikam Guruji is sufficient for keeping one physically fit. In this course cleansing techniques, breathing exercise, Asanas, Surya namaskara, rolling exercise, techniques of reducing the stomach and waist etc are taught. It is okay to go for walking if time permits, though it is not essential.

Is there any restriction for women for practicing yoga, for example in pregnancy etc.?

Surely some restrictions should be followed while practicing Yoga in pregnancy. There are some special Kriyas and Asanas to ascertain sound health during pregnancy, easy delivery, excellent growth of the foetus as also postnatal recovery etc. Other than that there is no difference whatsoever in the practice for men and women. Both can perform all Kriyas and Asanas.

What is Pranayam? Can anyone perform it?

Pranayama is the technique of gaining control over inhaling and exhaling. Pranayama aims towards building up “Pran–tattva” (vital force) in the body by developing the sources of generating the same internally by means of controlled breathing. Body cleansing processes, Shatkarmas and to some extent Asanas make the body ready and able to perform Pranayamas. Any individual above the age of twelve can learn and do Pranayamas, however those suffering from serious sickness like heart trouble, kidney trouble etc. should seek expert’s guidance.

Will practicing Yoga help to improve concentration in children?

Not just concentration, but to enhance the grasping power and memory too of children, Yoga is doubtlessly the most effective instrument as compared to any other means. Controlled breathing has the potential to control and focus the mind and Yoga helps to achieve the same. In case of children Yoga steadies minds as well as their hyper active bodies.