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Yoga and Exercise

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Rural Technology


What is Yoga?

Ashtang Yog


Essentials of Yoga Practice


Benefits of Pranayama

Essentials of Pranayam

Types of Pranayam


Man is the most intelligent and technologically advance living thing on earth. We have known about our gross body for centuries. Now, in this lesson we will understand how it looks from inside and how it performs its functions. The basic knowledge of structure, size, shape, location and functioning of various organs of the human body is provided by two important subjects-Human Anatomy and Physiology which one must study first to understand our body.


After reading this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Get the knowledge of structure and function of a healthy human body.
  • Understand the meaning of Anatomy and Physiology.
  • Know the important systems of human body.
  • Explain the functions and contribution of each system.


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6.1 Introduction

Exercise is necessary for the body since it strengthen the bones and slowdown the progress of many diseases. Yogic exercise promotes inner health and harmony; their regular practice helps prevent and cure many common ailments. In this lesson we will discuss the actual meaning and importance of yoga in our daily life.

6.2 Objectives

After reading this lesson you will be able to:

  • Understand the meaning and importance of the yoga.
  • Explain the precautions and rules of doing yoga.

6.3 What is Yoga?

Exercise can be of different types, but yogasans are the foremost amongst exercises for the muscles and joints. “Yoga is the union of Pran and Apan.” “Yoga is the union of Jivatma and Parmatma.” Yoga is the method by which the restless mind is calmed and energy is directed into constructive channels. Men develop fully- physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually by means of yoga.

6.4 Ashtang Yog

According to Patanjali, there are 8 stages of yoga. These are :-
1) YAM - Universal moral commandments or ethical discipline.
It consists of : –
1. Ahinsa (Non violence)
2. Satya (Truth)
3. Asteya (Non-stealing)
4. Brahamyacharya (Celibacy)
5. Aparigraha (non hording)
2) NIYAM -
1. Shaucha (Internal cleanliness of body)
2. Santosha (Contentment)
3. Tap
4. Svadhyaya (Study of the self)
5. Ishvara Pranidhana (Dedication to the lord)
4) PRANAYAM (rhythmic control of breath)
6) DHARANA (Concentration)
7) DHYAN (Meditation)
8) SAMADHI Note: The first 4 steps of Ashtang Yog can be practiced by all worldly persons. But the last 4 components can be practiced by Rishi, Munis and Yogis.

. What is Yoga?

2. What are the different stages of Ashtang Yog, according the Patanjali?

6.5 Asans

Before we start the practice of yogasans, it is absolutely necessary to follow the principles of YAM and NIYAM and we have to purify our mind and body by regulating our conduct and behavior, also our thoughts and emotions. If we will just keep on doing Asans or simply keep or twisting and turning our body, then we cannot hope much. It will give you only 8-10% benefit. But if we follow YAM and NIYAM and change our habits, way of life, our thoughts and emotions and purify ourselves inside out and then starts doing the Asans, then we can hope for at least 80-90% benefits of the yoga. As many as 84 lakh asans or postures are mentioned in the classics of yoga, however only few asans are commonly used in the day to day practice. Some of them are:-

6.6 Essentials of the Yoga Practice

In order to get full benefit of yoga, it is necessary to understand the following requirements and rules related to its practice:
1) Morning time, before breakfast is regarded best for practicing yoga but one can also do it in the evening during the empty stomach.
2) In general yogasans should be practiced before taking meals.
3) The body and mind should be in a restful and normal condition at the time of practicing yoga.
4) One should do yoga at the same time every day.
5) The place of practice should be neat, clean, airy and well ventilated.
6) One should practice yoga on the floor, avoid bed.
7) Use a carpet or mat on the floor.
8) Wear light, loose and cotton cloths.
9) Maintain silence while doing yoga, any conversation and listening of music should be avoided.
10) Always breathe through the nose while doing asans.
11) Do Yagasans according to the limits of your body.

6.7 Pranayam

Pranayam is the yogic art of breathing. It consists of long, sustained inhalation (puraka), exhalation (rechaka) and retention of breath (Kumbhak). Purak stimulates the system. Rechaka throws out the toxins and bad air from the body. Kumbhaka distributes the vital energy throughout the body. Thus the purpose of pranayam is to inspire, motivate, regulate and balance the vital force or prana inside the body. That is why pranayama is called the soul of yoga. As bathing is necessary for purifying the body, similarly pranayam is essential for purifying the mind.

6.8 Benefits of pranayama

Regular practice of pranayam has following benefits:
1. Pranayam leads to control of the emotions which in turn brings stability, concentration and mental peace.
2. Pranayam keeps the lungs pure by increasing the flow of fresh oxygenated blood.
3. Pranayam purifies nadis and remove sluggishness from the body.

4. It increases vigor, vitality, memory and perception. 5. Pranayam is a divine method which clean the organs, senses mind, intellect and ego.

6.9 Essentials of Pranayam

Following factors are important will doing pranayam:-

  • The best position to practice pranayam is padmasan.If for some reason that position is difficult to adopt, it can be done while sitting in any comfortable position like Sukhasan.
  • One should keep the back, neck and head in a straight line.
  • The body and mind should be in its natural relaxed condition.
  • Use your right finger and thumb on either side of the nose to control the right and left nostril during inhalation and


  • One should inhale and exhale slowly and rhythmically.
  • The beginner of pranayam should practice inhaling and exhaling only, for a few days, in the ratio of 1:2. For example if inhalation takes 5 seconds, exhalation should be for 10 seconds.
  • While practicing Pranayam maintain the ratio of 1:4:2 for inhaling, retention of breath and exhale respectively.

6.10 Types of Pranayam

According to yogshastra following types of pranayam are beneficial in the treatment of some common disease. These are:-
1. Nadishodhan Pranayam
2. Suryabhedhi Pranayam
3. Ujjayi Pranayam 4. Shitkari Pranayam 5. Shitali Pranayam 6. Brahmari Pranayam 7. Bhastrika Pranayam 8. Kapalbhati Pranayam INTEXT QUESTIONs 6.2 (A) State True or false:- 1. Pranayam is the yogic art of breathing. ( ) 2. While doing pranayam one should keep the back, neck and head in a straight line. ( ) . While practicing Pranayam maintain the ratio of 1:2:3 for inhaling, retention of breath and exhaling respectively. ( ) (B) Fill in the Blanks 1. The best position to practice pranayam is . 2. keeps the lungs pure by increasing the flow of fresh blood. 3. The practice, which is used to achieve the powers of your mind is known as .

6.11 Meditation

Meditation and Dhyan sadhna is a scientific aspect of Indian spiritual culture, which helps the practitioner to visualize or gain knowledge of minute secrets present inside them. This can be achieved with the power of your mind and subconscious mind. The practice, which is used to achieve the powers of your mind is known as Dhyan Sadhna. Dhayan is a pure and free stage of our inner soul. Meditation helps in strengthening the powers and keeps disturbed mind in peaceful condition. It increases the concentration power. Meditation is equally important for everybody.

6.12 Terminal Questions

1. Name few commonly used asans in day-to-day life.
2. What do you mean by Pranayam? List the Pranayam.
3. Write the names of any five Asanas.

6.13 Answer to Intext questions

Ans.1. Yoga is the method by which the restless mind is calmed and energy is directed into constructive channels.
Ans.2. According to patanjli 8 stages of Yog are:-
1) YAM
1. True
2. True
3. False
Fill in the blanks:-
1 Padmasan
2 Pranayam
3 Dhyan Sadhna
Suggested Activity
Visit any yoga centre of your locality and observe various asans and pranayam.