A new perspective of experiencing Nepal’s Himalayas
Nepal offers splendid trekking opportunities with some of the best trekking trails in and around towering Himalayan peaks. Yoga and trekking together in and around this mighty Himalayas is another beautiful experience to gain.
█ By Dipak Bastakoti
“Everybody has good and bad qualities. By getting linked to yoga,
bad qualities are eliminated, and good qualities are enhanced.”
– Swami Ramadev
Believed to be originated and developed from ancient India (pre-Vedic era) , Yoga literally means “ to join ” , “ to unite ” , “ to attach ” or “ to add ” from the root of Sanskrit language “ yuj”. Broadly, it is known as a physical, spiritual and mental discipline. It is somewhere expressed as to unite or attach Jeevatma (Soul) to Paramatma (Universal Soul) or to detach with meaningless lifestyle and connect with new and meaningful lifestyle. Yoga can be taken as a way of enhancing happiness through healthy mind and body. As a term for a system of abstract meditation or mental abstraction, yoga was introduced systematically and elaborated by Patanjali in the 2nd century BC. He defined yoga as “elimination of thoughts (Chitta Vritti Nirodhah ) and modification of mind.” He introduced Asthanga Yoga (the eight-fold path : Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi). In Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, the word Yoga is associated with meditative practices.
The major goal of yoga is to attain the state of perfect spiritual insight and peacefulness in self. It helps to maintain balance between our body and mind. According to the scientists, it is essential to keep our mind healthy and peaceful for our healthy body. Yoga teaches us an art of living a meaningful life by maintaining essential balances between our body and mind.
It is very difficult to pinpoint the beginning of yoga. Some seals were found with common yoga and meditative poses from the Indus valley civilizations from mid 3rd millennium B.C. (Archeologist Gregory Posseh). As mentioned earlier, Patanjali in the 2nd century BC presented yoga more systematically and since then yoga and meditation has been constantly being popular not only in Indian sub-continent but all over the world.
Yoga gained momentum in the west from late 19th century after Swami Vivekananda and other gurus travelled to the west (during 1890s). German were the first people to explore the beauty of Sanskrit language and Vedic mystery. Indian philosophy was made popular in west by the scholars like Max Muller (1823-1900). Dr. Dean Ornish a physician and cardiologist as a follower of Swami Satchidananda in 1980’s connected yoga with heart health, legitimizing yoga as a physical system of health exercise rather only a religious matter helped to flourish yoga in the west (in the USA). Its huge popularity can be seen by increasing the number of yoga practitioners in the USA by 20 million in 2011 from only 4 million in 2001.
Yoga as Nature’s Blessings:
Yoga does not resemble only a low impact exercise but also has a healing power and assigned as a natural treatment of various ailments as alternative therapies. Yoga can provide relief for back pain with the help of certain Asanas, asthma patient can benefit from practicing breathing or pranayama exercises which strengthen the lungs and increase the capacity, those under treatment of cancer can sleep better and relaxed with practicing yoga, can reduce the risk of breast cancer, helps to improve immune system etc. More than this, yoga has been proven to reduce stress and detoxify the body which is the major problem of our life today. Proper exercise and practice can impact on entire state of mind and ability to relax will be increased. Yoga indeed stimulates muscle tissues, organs, and blood flow so as to strengthen the physical state of the body and bring sense of state of mind and peace in self.
Yoga can not be a magic, anyway. So, only proper exercised and practices along with the subordinates such as proper diet, adequate rest, and cultivation of healthy and balanced lifestyle, management of stress can provide the best result. Yoga and Meditation are the best blessings of nature to human beings to live happily and healthily.
Types of Yoga:
There are different types of yoga and practiced with different styles worldwide. There are major seven branches of yoga namely; Hatha yoga, Raja yoga, Jnana yoga, Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, Tantra yoga and Mantra yoga. When we talk of yoga we generally refer to the Hatha yoga which is the combination of Asanas (positions) and Pranayama (breath control). Hatha yoga (from Sanskrit word means “ha” – sun and “tha” – moon) is about balance of two opposite energies so that the practitioner can achieve greater health and self-discipline. Aspiring yogis can move to Raja (King) yoga, which is more advanced technique, focuses on mastering the mind through meditation, postures and breathing. Jnana yoga, refers to self-knowledge whereas Bhakti yoga refers to love, kindness and devotion to a personal form of God. “Bhakti” is a selfless love based on sacrifice and acts of generosity. Karma yoga is a path of action and requires divorce from selfish motivations. The aim of Tantra yoga is to expand consciousness whether in awaking state, dreaming state or in sleeping state.
Yoga Trek in the Himalayas:
The entire Himalayas, including Nepal, are very popular for trekking and walking. Each year, a large number of adventure lovers trek in this pristine and beautiful part of the world. Nepal offers splendid trekking opportunities with some of the best trekking trails in and around towering Himalayan peaks. Yoga and trekking together in and around this mighty Himalayas is another beautiful experience to gain.
You can take part in the yoga practice session in the morning before you start your walking. You will sit in the open air ground for the practice with chirping sounds of birds, waterfalls, river as background music in the early morning. The environment is fresh and tranquil. You will behold beautiful Himalayan peaks towering all around you. After completing one or two hours of yoga, you will have breakfast and start walking to the next destination. Evening session is for meditation. You will meditate for half an hour to an hour depends and you will go for bed relaxed and rejuvenated.
The trekking in the Himalayas with yoga together is the best way of enjoying the Himalayas – the most serene, beautiful and yes, closest to the paradise and GOD if you believe.
Different forms of Yoga
Often described as Iyengar yoga and created by John Friend in 1997 is adopted from Hatha yoga. This form of yoga is taken as a new form of yoga as well. It is good for beginners where many of its poses allow the use of props for extra support for playful spirit.
Asthanga referred to six established and strenuous pose sequences i.e. the primary, second, third and so on. Each series of poses is linked by breath and called a Vinyasa. It is popularly known as power yoga as well and requires constant movement and demanding physical condition.
Bikram yoga is also known as “Hot yoga” in which yoga is practiced in a sauna – like room with heat of about 105 degrees F (+/- 40.6 degrees C) and 40 percent of humidity. Named after the inventor Bikram Choudhary, it has 26 basic yoga postures and each performed twice.
Founded by David Life and Sharon Ganon in 1984, this yoga is developed from school of Vinyasa yoga and focuses on “liberation while living”. This type of yoga is a physical and edge pushing practice which integrates yoga’s traditional spiritual elements in an educational way for western practitioners.
Surrounding at the base of spine, there is root chakra (energy) and this is called Kundalini. With constantly moving and invigorating poses and practices, it aims to release Kundalini ( serpent) energy in our body. It believes that the energy is just coiled like snake at the base of our spine and the practice just focused to tap the same energy supply.
A carefully adapted posture for expectant mothers is prenatal yoga and it is generally designed to help women in all stages of pregnancy. “When you keep your muscles strong through your term, they will still have the strength and energy to return to normal”, says Nicole De Avilla who developed this form of yoga in California.
Less work, more relaxation. So, you don’t have to worry that yoga is just an exercise and hard. Spend just 20 minutes in just four or five simple (often modified asana of standard one to ease practitioners) asana with the help of strategically placed props like blankets, bolsters so you can relax as much as you want. Beat for stress and injury rehab, relaxation after long and hectic workday, quieting mind or simply chill out.
Proper breathing, relaxation, diet, exercises and positive thinking together can form a healthy yogic life is main inspiration behind this form of yoga. One of the most popular and largest school of yoga now days, was brought to the west by Swami Vishnu – Devananda in 1957. This is also taken as unhurried yoga practice typically of 12 basic asanas or their variations bookended by Sun salutations and Savasana (corpse pose).
Quiet yoga and meditation practice which is also known as Taoist yoga is Yin yoga. It focuses on lengthening connective tissues and is meant to complement yang yoga. It is best for preparing body and mind for meditation practice.
Besides these forms other many forms and styles are popular in the world now due to popularity and extensive practice of yoga. Some other popular forms of yoga are Ananda yoga, Integral yoga, ISHTA (Integral Science of Hatha and Tantric Arts), Kali Ray Tri yoga, Kripalu yoga, Svaroopa yoga, Viniyoga, White lotus yoga and others.
“The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind.”
(Mr. Bastakoti is the Managing Director of DJ’s Tourism Services.)