Yoga World Record… another testimony to ancient Indian wisdom

The feat of Yogaraj CP, is another testimony to the fact that Yoga helps build stamina and endurance by working on the physical, vital and mental domains, unlike other forms of exercise that work only on one aspect – the physical body.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought Yoga into greater focus by taking efforts to put an international official stamp on yoga through the declaration of 21st June as World Yoga Day. This is Raja Dharma and he should be commended for that achievement. CP Yogaraj, as a yoga practitioner did just that, commended Modi by dedicating this achievement to him.

Modern science and western world should be commended for helping us understand and appreciate through empirical evidences and experiments, various facts stated in Yogic and other ancient Indian scriptures. Several practices which were hitherto thought to be blind beliefs and ritualistic practices were proved to have sound scientific basis in the recent years. (The video in this link is only a representative sample.)

Just because we do not understand today the rationale and logic behind a cultural practice, should we shun that?

If we shun and not put that into practice how can that be preserved?

How can science, as it evolves tomorrow try to understand a non-existing practice?)

After Independence, while the Indian Scientific Community fell prey to the “pseudo-secular” dogma, and Indian community shunned various practices, western world started exploring various statements and claims of Indian scriptural truths through a sincere quest and open mind. This is true expression of scientific temper – trying to know and understand the unknown through the known with a spirit of inquiry. A facet that has to be developed by the Indian Scientific Community. The symposium on “Ancient Sciences through Sanskrit” at the recently concluded Indian Science Congress seems to be a ray of hope, a positive step in this direction.

Over centuries, as human civilization and modern man evolved, man’s understanding of the world and right ways of interacting with it is expressed, preserved and transmitted to future generations in the form of various cultures and their practices. Reasoning and science behind these practices may or may not have been stored in the scriptures of the world community at large. Isn’t it the responsibility of modern societies and scientific communities to try, explore and unravel the hidden truths behind the scriptural claims and cultural practices. One of the responsibilities of science is thus to help explore and understand one’s own culture and civilization better.

That probably is the right tribute, respect and gratitude one can express to the learned wise men of our ancient past.

Have you wondered how our ancient sages and seers understood not only the body, but also mind, energy, psyche and other aspects of our personality when the so-called ‘science’ and ‘scientific temper’ (as described in this article) did not even exist !?!?

And, when none of the modern gadgets and technological advancements existed, What was the technology, science or tool they possessed which help them make these advancements?

Would like to conclude this post with the following fact…

“It was generally believed that the earth was stationary and was the centre of the universe and all heavenly bodies revolved round the earth. But, Aryabhatta-1 held the view that the earth rotates about its axis and the stars are relatively fixed in space. The period of one rotation of earth around its axis according to Aryabhatta is 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds. The corresponding modern value is 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.091 seconds.

– Aryabhatta – Aryabhatiya, Gitika Pada”

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The ‘So-Called-Secular’ myths surrounding Yoga

It is commendable that Rajasthan Government has made Suryanamaskar compulsory in Rajasthan Schools. Way to go for holistic development of our children. Suryanamaskar made compulsory in Rajasthan Schools.

Media and political outfits may compete with each other to woo their customer base through non-factual statements and controversial-sensational news. However, it is in the interest of the average person to make a sound judgement in accepting or rejecting such statements.

175 countries (highest in the history of UN) supported the motion to declare 21st June as World Yoga Day. What more proof is required to show that Yoga is beneficial to all irrespective of faith, caste, creed, colour, gender, etc.,? Is it not proof enough that Yoga is a secular discipline.

Surya Namaskar is literally translated as Sun Salutation. Ancient Indian way of life – termed Hinduism by British, has integrated reverence to nature into everyday life-style. I guess people will agree that Sun is secular. Science agrees that Sun is the source of life and energy on this planet. In the name of showing reverence to this life-giving source, our ancestors has developed certain body movements to energise the body as well as making it fit and flexible. Numerous experiments conducted across the world has proven that Surya Namaskar results in comprehensive benefits to the body-energy-mind-intellect complex. Anyone having all the above and wants them function at optimal levels can do surya namaskar. You need not consider sun as god to do surya namaskar.

And it is a myth that Surya Namaskar cannot be done without chanting. One may try doing, daily 6 rounds of Suryanamaskar without chanting, for four weeks and observe for themselves changes in their body-energy-mind complex.

(Shh….. it is a secret. Even without chantings, Suryanamaskar and all aspects of yoga like asanas, pranayama, meditation, etc., are beneficial to us.)

To conclude, I repeat…

Anyone who has body-mind-intellect complex and has life-force in that has the option to do yoga daily and reap its benefits.

Celebrating Matribhasha Divas – 21st Feb in Schools

In a country as diverse as India with more than two dozen commonly spoken languages and hundreds of local languages and dialects; with people spread and settled across the country where their mother tongue need not necessarily be the official language, celebrating international mothers language day in schools – Matribhasha diwas on 21st Feb is a welcome initiative.

http://cbseacademic.in/web_material/Circulars/2015/13_Matribhasha%20Diwas.pdf

This initiative if well received and implemented by the schools will provide opportunity for children to deepen their connect with their mother tongue. Mother tongue is the best way one can relate to one’s culture. It provides the most convenient medium of communication with the outer world. It also provides for uninhibited and free expression of self.

Celebrating the festival as envisaged in the circular also helps children develop respect and regard to the diverse cultures and traditions of various language speaking people in the country. This festival will also motivate children and provide an opportunity for parents to educate their children about their mother tongue.

Looking forward for the event to be well received by schools across the country. Laud the initiative by CBSE. Hope other educational boards in the country also emulate the example.

WISH YOU ALL

‘HAPPY MATRIBHASHA DIWAS’

‘INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY’

Sankranti – Dawn of a new Beginning

Pongal / Sankranti is more than new clothes, mouth-watering sweets, TV, latest movies, etc., that go with any festival. It is even more than signifying harvest or harvest festival, as it is popularly known. It marks the dawn of a new beginning…

We need to understand this in light of

  1. The concept of time as understood in this part of the world and
  2. The month-long Thiruppavai / Margazhi / Ayyappa festivals which precedes Pongal/Sankranti

First about the concept of time…

As a day is roughly divided into 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night, a year is divided into six months of day and six months of night.

Roughly coinciding with summer and winter solstices, the period between Jan 15 and Jul 15 is called Uttarayanam or ‘day’ part of the year. The period from Jul 15 to Jan 15 is called Dakshinayanam or ‘night’ part of the year. Considering this the month ‘Margazhi’ falling between Dec 15 to Jan 15 is the pre-dawn hours of the year.

For ages Indians considered the pre-dawn period very auspicious and suitable for meditation and contemplation. Science has now understood and affirms this with predominance of alpha-rays in the environment, changes in ozone layer and other conducive changes in physical, physiological and psychological nature of our body. The same holds true for the month of ‘Margazhi’ which is the pre-dawn period of the year. This is a period marked with lots of festivals and celebrated world over as the divine period of the year.

Significance of the month of ‘Margazhi’ and Thiruppavai…

What is so special about this month? What should one do in this month? Is this month all about rituals and festivals?

As one meditates, rejuvenates and plans for the day during the pre-dawn hours, one need to reflect, ponder, meditate, rejuvenate and plan for the year ahead during this month.

The way to do this is symbolised through the 30 pasurams (stanzas) of Thiruppavai, which are rendered and pondered upon, one on each day. The 30 pasurams of Thiruppavai are but 30 steps to develop the quality of ‘Sattwa’ guna in us. Sattwa guna is signified by the highest qualities – love, care, compassion, empathy, intuition, creativity, planning, all-inclusiveness, etc., one should strive to attain to lead a happy life. In nutshell, it talks about

  • the need to approach a mentor/guru
  • qualities of a good mentee/student
  • qualities of a good mentor/guru
  • right way of approaching a mentor/guru
  • what should one learn from his/her mentor/guru

The goals may be spiritual / material, but the essence of this learning is equally relevant to both. Based on one’s goal, one can reflect upon and plan for the year ahead.

In Tamil it is said ‘Thai pirandal vazhi pirakkum’. It is translated as the birth of ‘Thai’ (the month after Pongal), will open the way forward. As the new harvest also comes home during this period, it is looked forward to with lots of hopes to solve problems. Problems are solved not by following the rituals, but by understanding the significance behind and integrating it into our daily lives.

One need to use this month of festivities and prayers to relax, reflect, ponder, seek necessary guidance, plan and prepare to face the year ahead with rejuvenated vigour and confidence. It is probably for this reason, no personal celebrations like marriages, house-warming ceremonies, naming and cradling ceremonies, etc., are planned during this month. One is provided with enough time to consolidate on the experiences in the year that has gone by, invoke blessings of the divine and start anew with arrival of Pongal or Sankranti.

Another important festival of this month is Ayyappa vratham which also culminates with makara jyothi on the day of makara sankranti / pongal. Having a darshan of makara jyothi is symbolic of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after a month-long penance.

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2014 – The Year That Was – A recap…

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2014 started with a wonderful ten-day trip to Bihar School of Yoga and Rikhiapeeth with 60+ children from 7 schools who participated in Children Yoga Festival 2013 commemorating Golden Jubilee of Bihar School of Yoga.

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This was followed by a grand finale of Children Yoga Festival 2013 and release of Ankur Katha 2013 – a collection of stories by children for children in presence of His Excellency Rosaiah ji, Governor of Tamilnadu.

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Principal’s conclave one each at Chennai and Cuddalore to reach the message of Jiva Vigyan (LIFE-SKILLS education) to the schools with a combined participation from around 60 schools.

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Inauguration of Ankur Kshetra to reach our yoga and life skills programs to common public during later part of the year.

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Inauguration of SSM lecture series by H.H. Tridandi Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji at Satyananda Yoga Centre, Triplicane in December 2014.

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New business associations and collaborations, more schools, educational institutions and bodies in Tamilnadu and neighbouring states evincing interest in our Satyananda Yoga and Jiva Vigyan programs, 2014 has been an overall positive year bringing more hopes for a promising year 2015 ahead.

We at Ankur and BLISS Group are thankful to each one of you, especially Satyananda Yoga family, who made this possible for a bootstrap start-up which was established two years ago to make the future of our upcoming generation happily successful, significantly contributing to the skill force of resurgent India.

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Looking forward to your continued support and patronage in the journey ahead.

Anti-stress methodology in adults and children

Right understanding or Right knowledge is the perfect antidote to master stress. With the right understanding of prevailing stressful situation one has to explore and evolve alternate modes of handling it to come out of stress.

An adult empowered with various experiences, is more mature and is better placed to take appropriate decision even under stressful situations. Anti-stress measures in adults progresses through the stages of relaxation, acceptance and understanding based on the situation one is in. Intervention can be through yogic tools and techniques for relaxation; counselling; SWAN method to prioritize and solve problems; satsang – right company of friends, mentors and guides; and medication where stress has manifested at the physical level as disease.

SmileInStress

Smile-In-Stress

A child is dependent and has to abide by the decisions and instructions from parents at home and teachers at school. He/she has neither the requisite experience, skill, maturity nor bandwidth to take decisions. The responsibility for eliminating stress from a child’s life lies in its perpetrators – family, teachers and the education system.

They have to be provided a stress-free environment with appropriate tools and techniques.

  • The tools for providing right inputs and counsel could be bedtime stories, parents playing with them, friendly discussions, etc., Remember “the best gift parents can give to their child is, their time”.
  • Appropriate asana practices, pranayama, yoga nidra and other relaxation practices are yogic tools available to alleviate stress through relaxation both in adults and children.
  • Keep the negative environmental factors at bay or provide the right inputs about negatively influencing elements around them. For this a parent has to give some time to the child, be aware and observant about their environment, inputs, movements, changes in behaviour, etc.,
  • Diet – when, what, how much, prepared by whom, etc. also plays a role on influencing stress.

To do the above efficiently, parents and teachers need to be in a relaxed, energised and empowered state.

In situations where parents and teachers have a little role to play appropriate inputs through counselling may help. For example, education system may put pressure on the child. This is beyond the scope of parents and teachers to correct. However, they can take the effort to represent to the appropriate authorities with suggestions for improvisation. This effort could be in addition to counselling the child and keeping them in a relaxed state.

Hence, stress mastery through right understanding is the route for adults. Stress alleviation through relaxation is the best option available for children. During late-adolescence or early adulthood one can explore counselling along with relaxation techniques to handle stress.

As a person moves from a dependent (child) stage to independent (adult) stage one progresses from managing stress to mastering stress.

That was Wonderful

I was surrounded by darkness. I couldn’t see a thing.   “Where am I?”, I could feel someone near me, but who was it? A small light was beaming miles away. Suddenly someone caught my hand and said, “Ankur, can you see it?” Oh!! That was a relief, it was Ankitha, my twin sister.

We both walked fast to reach it.Just one step and then one more. I stretched my hand to touch the light, Ankitha was still holding my hand tightly. “No!!!”, we both yelled.

Suddenly there was light all over. I turned my head to see Ankitha who was staring at the meadow with her jaw dropping. Suddenly she noticed feathers below her feet.   Ankitha picked it up to examine it. We wondered about its texture and colour. We followed the trial in silence.  Suddenly a lovely cry of a bird startled us. “Wow!!”, it was a bird with majestic blue eyes, long golden red feathers and it gave out a musical cry. “It is a PHOENIX”, she whispered in surprise. It was sitting on a rock. “I am Fawkes, I have been told that the first human to enter this magical world will be the only one who can help me”, she said.

“But what should we do?”,Ankitha asked. “I had a  magical feather with me, that made me special. I lost it and I am getting old. You have to complete your task of getting it. Take right and remember it must be done by sunset”, it said with a twinkle in it’s eyes.

Without another word we took right and Ankitha lead the way. I raised my eyes to see a black door. We ran to the door and pushed it. “Are you nuts Ankur!! Turn left”, she said. There was another door. Putting my head down, I looked at her. She had a scroll of parchment. She read it out aloud,“One will lead you to Heaven and One to Hell. Solve me if you can and that will lead the way. I am so fragile that you can break me by saying my name. And I can help you win the game”

Abinaya-Agastyaa-Shofia

“This is not gonna work!! I am off, that Fawkes is a freak. She must be kidding,” I said. “Ssh! be silent. Ahh!! that is it, it’s SILENCE”, Ankitha said jumping up and down. The door opened and it was dark. A suit of armour was standing on the other side. As I went near it, it took out it’s sword, facing me. “Oh!! My God, am I to fight him?” And there was another sword which came out of thin air. I caught it and the fight began. He swung his sword towards me, but missed me by inches. Far away Ankitha covered her mouth with her hand. The next moment the sword cut me deep in my hand making me bleed. Horror struck me. I just raised my sword and pierced it through his chest. He fell down with a ‘clunk’. It was over, and the door he guarded was open.

We went through the door and to our surprise we saw the feather, but it was about 50 miles away and was floating in mid-air. “How are we to get it ?” she said. And suddenly it struck me, “Maintain Silence”, I said. And the feather slowly settled on my out stretched hand. The next moment we were near Fawkes. “Oh!! Thank you so much dears”, she said. She flew and sat on my hand, got the feather and something like a pearl of tear touched my hand. I winced but the wound in my hand was gone. “You have got to go home, if not now, then you can never”. And with a goodbye, I just opened my eyes to see my house and Ankitha sleeping on her bed.

“That was wonderful!!!”

Story by Y.Abinaya, P.Agastyaa, M.Shofia, Class XI,

Mahatma School, Madurai,

Published in Ankur Katha 2013

The Tallest Tower

Everybody is running towards the ten-acre large playground at the heart of the town.  All educational institutions and business establishments have also declared the day off so that everyone can witness the event.  The event actually started a week ago but no one was able to witness what was going on inside because of the huge 100 feet screens erected around the ground blocking the visibility to passers-by.  This has been the talk of the town since two weeks when the screens were first raised.

Rishi is the organiser and invited all the schools and college students as special invitees for the event.  Ankur and Ankita are busy running around overseeing the arrangements.

At 10 am, the scheduled time the screens were dropped down.  The whole ground was filled with students, their parents and other curious audience from the town and around.

One could see a huge tower made of sticks running about 100 feet high.  By the side of that lay a huge brick tower 110 feet high.  There were two more empty sites next to these, probably allocated for two more towers.  In front of these huge towers was a podium from where Rishi started addressing the audience.

“Dear friends, I know you are all curious about the happening here?  One huge tower made of bricks and one made of sticks are to my right.  The place towards my left is allocated for two more towers to be built in front of you.  Let me introduce you the background. What started as a casual conversation between me, Ankur and our respected Mayor a couple of months ago about who is more powerful, humans or animals or inanimate objects has culminated into this wonderful event.

It was decided to conduct a competition and we summoned the best architects to build the tallest towers made of sticks and bricks.  The effort started a week ago and the result lies in front of you towards my right.  These towers are completed.  The brick tower is higher of the two.

More interesting part of the event will unveil in front of your eyes. We have also requested the best dog trainer and gymnast trainer to train dogs and men to form a dog tower and human tower respectively.  They have one hour to complete the task.”

Rishi turned towards the dog trainer and the gymnast trainer and asked, “Friends are you ready?”

The excitement was obvious in their faces as they nodded.

Rishi turned towards the Mayor and requested, “Sir, may I please request you to start the timer inaugurating the second part of the competition.”

Mayor then switched on the high digital timer with a remote, inaugurating the competition.  Whistles blew.  From behind came running a huge chain of dogs and trained gymnasts.

5…10…15…30…45…50…55.  As the time passed the size of the tower started growing higher and higher.

It was surprising to see dogs scaling up the backs of their friends in such an organized manner.  Everyone was awestruck and was in full of admiration of the dog trainer for the wonderful work he has put in.

It was 58 minutes.  The dog tower was 98 feet high.  The human tower is now 135 feet high and still going strong and fast.

human tower1

59 minutes and Ooops… the human tower collapsed. Huge casualty.  All the people above the third level of the structure came down with a thud.  There was absolute silence for a second.  People were shocked.  The doctors and ambulance were rushed immediately to attend to the injured.

Mayor ordered an enquiry. The human tower trainer was surprised at the sudden turn of events. Each gymnast in the human tower is an expert. He believed that the feat though difficult did not deserve this kind of ending given the ability of each participant in the structure. The enquiry report pointed to one gymnast in the third level of the human tower.

Ankur is in conversation with Rishi at his backyard. “I agree with you Rishi that humans are the most capable and strong species on this world but their biggest strength is also their weakness. No doubt they are also the weakest species”.

Ankita flew in just then and was surprised by the statement. “Why do you think so Ankur?”

“As I was flying around helping the victims of last week’s crash, I observed a glee joy in the face of the culprit. I was taken aback and silently followed him. I was surprised as he shared this as his success with his friends. This guy at the third level of the human tower was slighted by the guy at the second level from the top during the practice session.  He wanted to teach him a lesson.  He also had a score to be settled with the trainer. He used his expertise for hurting and causing injury to his fellow team mates.” explained Ankur

There was silence for a couple of minutes.

Rishi broke the silence. “The power of sticks, bricks and dogs were all guided by humans.  It was possible because of their capability.  No other creature could have done this feat.  Humans are no doubt ablest and strongest creatures on this planet.  Humans have the freedom of choice and the power of Will.  They are bestowed with intelligence and creative ability.  They can use it either in a creative and constructive manner as they had exhibited in other towers or for destructive purposes affecting harmony and peace as seen in the human tower.”

“The best of talents, skills and human capabilities are of use, only when applied in a constructive, harmonious and all-inclusive manner”, Rishi concluded.

SSM Lecture Series Inauguration – Photo Feature

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It’s Now Official – 21st June – World Yoga Day

175 Countries endorsing

June 21 as World Yoga Day

in an international forum

is a testimony to the below facts.

  • Yoga is a science.
  • It’s beneficial for all irrespective of the caste, creed, gender, faith, nationality, etc.,
  • Every individual in the global community need to adapt and integrate it into their lifestyle.
Yoga - Reaching The Heights

Yoga – Reaching The Heights

We Welcome The World Community to embrace Yoga and Be Happy

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