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Desktop Yoga

Gentle exercise for workplace wellness and efficiency

According to the statistics, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) & Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI) have dramatically increased in the past years, since the evolution of the personal computer. In United States, more workers are injured using a computer keyboard than operating any other tool.

Checklist for Prevention
The most important thing to do is to take your eyes off, your computer screen and gaze into the far distance every half an hour. Drink a glass of water at a regular interval of time. Stay aware of your posture while you are sitting on your chair. During the lunch break involve yourself in physical exercises. Include full body stretch in your daily activity. Check that your workstation is set up correctly. Computer screen should be at eye level or below the eye level. Follow some exercise programmes that include upper body strength. The programme must also include exercise for flexibility, to stretch out the contracted muscles of the wrist, arm, shoulder, neck and upper back. Stretch your body before you go to bed at night. Observe your sleeping positions. Make sure that you have the right pillow height for sleeping. The neck should be supported, but too many pillows will create problems as well. The neck should be in line with the rest of the spine.

What are the solutions?
Easy Desktop Yoga is a series of exercises based on yoga and designed specifically for working people. Simple and easy modified yoga exercises help you to calm, invigorate and relax. Desktop Yoga is the perfect solution for those who want a simple, relaxing workout which they can perform while sitting at their desks. It is excellent for reducing stress during a long workday. This programme targets the muscles that are mostly affected while sitting for a long period of time. It is divided by body part, so you can choose how long you want to work out.

Recommended Yoga Exercises
Here are some desktop yoga-based exercises which can be done in the office during the course of the day to help prevent CTS and RSI. Hold the positions for a few breaths and let the stretch increase, but do not force it. The most important part of each exercise is to become aware of your body and breathe.

Full body stretch-Tad Asana (Tree Pose): Exhale and inhaling take both the arms up above the head from the sides and join the palms at the top. Lift the heels and stand on the toes and pull the whole body upward. Continue smooth breathing. Pull the hands upward as much as possible.

Internal Effects: In this asana all the muscles stretch in one direction at one time and then relaxed. This process helps to remove all the strains. The muscles get rest and relaxed.

Hand Exercise: Sit straight. Keep both your hands straight forward. Make strong fist & open it. Repeat it for 10 times with enough strength. Make strong fist and rotate clockwise 10 times and anti-clockwise 10 times. Pull your both hands with strength while inhaling and push your both hands forward while exhaling.

Shaking out Tension: Shake out your wrists and arms, letting them dangle from your shoulders. Rotate your shoulders forward and back.

Neck Exercises: Sit straight on your chair with feet firmly on the floor. Keep your hand straight on the seat back. Extend the torso and drop the chin into the chest.

First set: While inhaling turn your head to the left side and hold for 10 seconds. Exhaling turns your head to the right side and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat it twice. Come to the centre while inhaling. Tilt your head down to the right and hold for 10 seconds. Tilt your head left and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat it twice and come to the centre. While inhaling tilt your head back and hold for 10 seconds. Exhaling tilt your head down and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat it twice and come to the centre. While inhaling tilt your head back and rotate your head slowly clockwise and anticlockwise for 5 rounds. Come to the centre.

Second set: Place your right palm on your right side of the head and resist. Repeat from left side as well. Place both your palms on your forehead and resist. Interlock your fingers to place it in your back of the head and resist.

Release the Neck: Shrug the shoulders high up to the ears and then release and drop. Repeat at least 3 times.

Back Exercise (Forward Bending): Sit on a chair, spread the legs apart. Stretch both arms up and then bend forward, placing both palms on the floor. Hold on to the posture for 10-25 seconds and release. Repeat the same movement 5 times.

Opening the Chest: Interlock your fingers behind your back with the palms facing the torso. Roll the shoulders back, but keep the ribs from poking forward. Stretch your elbows and arms on the exhale and hold it for a few breaths. On the exhale, bend your elbows and bring your wrists to the right side waist, gently pressing the right elbow towards the left. Release and do the other side.

Opening the mid-back (Hug your body): Hug your body, placing the right hand on your left shoulder and left hand on your right shoulder. Breathe into the area between your shoulder blades. Exhaling brings the arms straight down, the palms facing each other. Stretch the fingers up, and on the next exhale, raise the elbows up to shoulder height. Hold for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Back Exercise (Side Stretching): Hold chair with one hand. Stretch the other arm up and bend sideways. Hold on to the posture for 10-25 seconds and release. Come back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Repeat it thrice.

Pawanmuktasana (Abdominal Massage): Sit straight on a chair, bend your right leg, interlock your fingers and hold your knee. While exhaling pull your knee up to the chest. Hold for 20 seconds, release it while inhaling. Repeat it with the left side as well.

Ardhamatsyasana (Twisting the Torso): With the feet planted firmly in the ground and the thigh bones pressing into your chair, inhale to take your right leg up and cross it to the left side. Place your right hand straight on the chair. Hold your knee with left hand and press on the abdomen while exhaling. Inhale to take it up and exhale to bring it down. Repeat it with the other leg as well. Remember to keep breathing slowly and deeply as you twist.

Leg Exercise: While standing place your one leg on chair and stretch your toes hamstring muscle by pulling your toes in. While inhaling takes both your legs up and exhaling bend forward keeping your back straight. Try to hold your toes with both the hands. Hold for 20 seconds. Inhaling come up. Repeat it with other side as well.

Relax the Eyes: Turn your head right and left, looking into the far distance with your eye gaze. Close your eyes and take some deep, slow breaths with your belly soft. You can do it without moving your head as well.

Sahaj Pranayama: Sit in a chair with a straight back. Close the eyes and relax, keeping the spine and body straight. Focus all attention on the navel region – the point of fire in the body. Inhale deeply; tilt your chin down to touch collar bone. Hold your breath for a count of 10. Raise your chin up and exhale through the mouth. Repeat the three stages of this cycle in a rhythmic fashion. Practice up to 5 rounds.

Don’ts: People with cervical spondylosis should not press the chin down. They can keep their chin up.

Kapalabhati: Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine. Take two or three deep inhales and exhales. Inhale deeply to exhale sharply and forcefully through the nostrils, drawing the belly in as you exhale and producing a puffing sound. Let the inhalation happen passively, and continue this cycle of forceful exhalation and passive inhalation at a fast pace, so that the belly is pumping continuously. At the same time, receive auto suggestion about increased flow of blood circulation, detoxification and vitalization of the vital organs viz. kidney, small intestine, large intestine, prostate gland, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen and lungs etc.
Practice the process for 2.5-15mins. You may take short breaks when you start out on this yogic breathing exercise.

Benefits: Kapalbhati means the exercise which makes the forehead luminous & lustrous. This Pranayama supplies pure life energy to the brain. It increases the blood circulation in the brain and removes blood clots, thereby improving the memory power. Other than this the toxins and foreign substances from the body are evacuated. It cures cold, sinusitis, allergy, tension and other diseases. It is very useful in case of phlegm, skin disease, asthma, heart diseases, low blood pressure, depression, tiredness, laziness, sleeplessness, migraine, joint pain, obesity, diabetes, constipation, indigestion, acidity, gastric problem and other diseases pertaining to the kidneys and prostate gland etc. are also cured. As a result, the whole body becomes healthy and disease free.

(Courtesy: Nisargopchar August’2015)

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Does the Mother’s Mind Bend the Baby before It is Born?

True maternity begins with the conscious creation of a being, with the willed shaping of a soul coming to develop and utilize a new body.

– THE MOTHER (of Sri Aurobindo Ashram)

According to a news item published today (The Times of India, 14 June 2017, p. 1)  the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN) has published a booklet ‘Mother and Child Care’ advising pregnant women to avoid bad company, bad feelings and non-vegetarian food. As expected, the advice has been ridiculed because it ‘lacks rationale’, forgetting that all scientific knowledge, which is based on reason, is tentative and therefore subject to revision. Leaving aside the debate on the place that reason should occupy in life, let us look at the issue with an open mind, which is a far more essential component of the scientific temper than rationality. An open mind is free of prejudice, preconceived notions, and is willing to unlearn, if necessary for going beyond what one already knows.

The intimate physical and physiological link that unites the mother and the baby during pregnancy is too obvious to need any elaboration. What is not so obvious is that the body and the mind are manifestations of something even more subtle than the mind, and that is consciousness. One mode of consciousness can affect another mode of consciousness. The mother’s mind and body, the growing child’s mind and body, and the food that the mother eats are, in the final analysis, different modes of the same Supreme Consciousness. In fact, there is an all-pervasive unified field of consciousness that can make thoughts and feelings at one place lead to physical changes on the other side of the globe. If this sounds strange, unbelievable, and irrational, ask a physicist well-versed in modern theoretical physics, and he will tell you that this phenomenon is consistent with physics as well as spirituality. If that is possible, why can’t we be open to the mother’s mind affecting the baby’s mind and body while it is in the mother’s womb? Ayurveda knew long ago that the effect exists; modern medicine is slowly coming to terms with it.

The Mother (of Sri Aurobindo Ashram) had once seen two beautiful little girls, twins, whose beauty had the perfection of a child in a painting by Reynolds. The girls resembled neither parent, but it so transpired that the girls’ mother had looked at consciously, throughout pregnancy, especially just before going to bed, and on getting up in the morning, a painting by Reynolds, and had prayed that she give birth to a child as beautiful as the child in the painting. The physical features offer much more resistance to any modifying influence than do thoughts and feelings. Therefore, if even the body of her child can be affected by the thoughts of a pregnant mother, it should be easier to influence the child’s mind during pregnancy. Hence the process of creating a new life through maternity can be a conscious process. The mother’s thoughts and feelings during pregnancy can shape the consciousness of the baby developing in her womb.

It seems a few doctors have also ‘rubbished’ the advice carried in the CCRYN booklet. The doctors do not necessarily have to learn theoretical physics or delve into spirituality to comment on the merits of the advice. Unfortunately, the doctors are not taught anything about the ‘latest’ developments in consciousness-based medicine, on which Larry Dossey, an American physician, has by now written several well-referenced paperbacks. Dossey calls consciousness-based medicine ‘non-local medicine’, perhaps to sound more scientific. The key discovery, or rather re-discovery, of these recent studies is that the healing intentions of a genuinely loving and compassionate person, even if he is not a doctor, can promote recovery from even a bodily illness. The positive effect is seen even if the patient is not aware of these healing intentions directed at him, and it can take place across long distances. If that can happen, why can’t the mother’s mind affect the growing baby in the womb? Baby steps in this direction were taken about twenty years ago in the Mecca of modern medicine in India, AIIMS, New Delhi, where it was demonstrated that music played to fertilized eggs could affect the development of the brain in chicks. About the food that the pregnant women should have, the doctors have said that the advice to avoid non-vegetarian food is ‘wrong’ because a pregnant woman needs more protein. It is an open secret that doctors are not taught much about nutrition during their training. A pregnant woman needs not only more protein, she also needs more energy. If the extra energy that a pregnant woman needs as compared to the non-pregnant state is supplied through a mixture of cereals and pulses, and some milk and milk products, the protein requirement will take care of itself. All that it needs to reach this conclusion is to sit down with the bible of nutritionists, ‘The Nutritive Value of Indian Foods’, published by the Indian Council of Medical Research, and do a few simple calculations (By the way, it is not a new book: the first edition of this book was published before India became independent).

Since children born today are the future of the world, women can contribute to a better future by treating maternity as a process of conscious creation. Therefore, the Mother advised women, and their partners, all the time, and especially during pregnancy, to be conscious of their thoughts, feelings and actions for their own sake, and even more for the sake of their children. We must be ready to change for the better if we want a better tomorrow. Thus, the advice contained in the CCRYN booklet is a small segment of all that we may do for a better future.  The language of the booklet may be simple, and even crude; its grammar may be faulty; its tone may be preachy; but let us not miss the grain of truth that it has. Let us not treat ‘scientific’, ‘rational’, and ‘true’ as synonyms; it is because they are not that we have all three of them in the dictionary. Truth is more important than being scientific and rational. Further, truth itself has many layers. When Will Durant wrote in a letter to his famous contemporaries in 1930 that “the greatest mistake in human history was the discovery of truth”, he was referring to scientific truths. Scientific truths are only part of the Truth, the One Truth that incorporates all truths, and remains essentially unknown although it may not be unknowable. But it is because scientific truths, which are at best partial, have hypnotized the modern mind that Will Durant considered the discovery of truth itself to be a great mistake.

The idea behind this blog is neither to tell what pregnant women should eat, think or feel, nor to say that everything in the CCRYN booklet, which I have not seen, is gospel truth. The purpose of writing this blog is only to highlight that rationality is not the final arbiter of Truth, and that something is not wrong just because a few doctors have rubbished it. That would be giving doctors an authority that they do not legitimately possess. Expertise in one area does not confer expertise in another area. Just as a typical yoga expert may not know how an antibiotic works, a typical medical doctor restricted in his knowledge to what he learnt in medical school may not understand the idea of mind over matter. Anybody who rejects what he does not understand is not only being ignorant, he is also being unscientific.

FOR FURTHER READING

The Mother: Words of Long Ago. ‘To the Women of Japan’. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, fourth edition, 1994, pp. 115-126.

Dossey, Larry. Healing Words. New York: HarperCollins, 1993.

Dossey, Larry. Reinventing Medicine: beyond mind-body to a new era of healing. New York: HarperSanFransisco (A Division of HarperCollins), 1999.

Dossey, Larry. Healing Beyond the Body: medicine and the infinite reach of the mind. Boston: Shambhala, 2001.

Some of the articles on the effect of music played to eggs on the developing chicks may be viewed by going to:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0067347

http://www.ias.ac.in/describe/article/jbsc/038/03/0605-0614

http://www.ias.ac.in/describe/article/jbsc/039/01/0107-0117

Will Durant’s letter to his contemporaries may be viewed by going to:

http://www.philosophicalsociety.com/Archives/Durant’s%20On%20The%20Meaning%20of%20Life.htm

 

 

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CCRYN & Art of Living begin one month training program on Common Yoga Protocol for Govt.Officers and Diplomats at Nehru Park, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi

New website of Ministry of AYUSH and web portal for IDY launched by Shri Shripad Yesso Naik

Minister of State for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik launched the new website of the Ministry of AYUSH and web portal for International Day of Yoga (IDY) in New Delhi. The website http://ayush.gov.in has been developed as part of digital India programme, using content management framework (CMF) approach.

The website is compliant to Government of India guidelines for Websites (GIGW) and it is developed on open source platform by NIC. This website is mobile friendly and CMF approach would adapt to all screen sizes across all platforms viz. Android, IOS and Windows.

Continue reading “New website of Ministry of AYUSH and web portal for IDY launched by Shri Shripad Yesso Naik”

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