The 3 days yoga conference seemed a good opportunity to visit Puducherry. Train tickets booked, accommodation arranged, my five friends and I reached the White town in good spirit.
Initially, sharing the dormitory with ten women seemed impossible, I immediately rushed to the concierge to ask for a private room for smaller group of my three close friends, but the place was full, and hunting an alternate accommodation in another hotel seemed a difficult task after our long train journey.
Comfortably settled, we settled on attending the festival
Two days were spent attending lectures and workshops on yoga techniques, during evenings there were cultural shows. More that two thousand delegates attended this festival. There were competitions held for children of different age groups in different postures of yoga and prizes were given to the best performers.
I was not in very good health, therefore, I did not attend all the sessions. I feel bad at having missed SuryaNamaskar, an event where two thousand children participated at the beach road at 5:30am. My friends, who attended, told me it was a spectacular show.
But the other events were equally interesting. Some of the exercises were demonstrated on the stage and the audience did participate. “Stand firmly on the ground with equal balance on both feet” they said. We don’t realize that we tend to shift the weigh of our body on one leg more than on other.
During the cultural show in the evening, there were great control of the dance steps and flexibility of the dancers. The dances were performed with great skill, the eye-expressions distinct, movement in coordination with the music, an amazing performance that requires concentration and controlled breathing.
2014 proved a significant year for yoga in India, with the United Nations declaring June21 as the International Day of Yoga, following a proposal made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Yoga is not just breathing techniques or meditation; it is actually a discipline of mind and soul. Different speakers spoke about different diseases and how they can be cured by simple exercises.
Points to bring home:
In five stages of yoga, the mind and body can be brought to a perfect balance.
First - We need to relax our body. Lie or sit still, relaxing each muscle of the body. Part by part, starting from foot, relaxing of the body, gradually bringing attention from foot to head. This helps to bring down the stress.
Second- Follow a proper diet of fresh vegetables and fruits. One must never overeat, because that brings imbalance in the body. The most effective way for food consumption is to fill the tummy with fifty percent solid food, twenty five percent water and the remaining to be left for air to circulate and help in digestion.
Thirdly- Body requires exercises like walking, swimming or yoga. In yoga there are many stretching exercises that release the toxins from the body, makes body flexible and makes one active.
Fourth_ It’s the pranayama, the controlled breathing. The inhalation and exhalation that purifies the blood stream, improves energy in the body and activates the cells.
Fifth - To calm the mind, meditation helps. Sit with yourself, watch your thoughts and concentrate on your breath.
Hundreds of thoughts come into our mind when we sit with self. The trick is to bring the mind back to focus, concentrating on sound of mantra that one can chant with eyes closed. After chanting repeatedly for several times, body gets tuned and mind comes to stillness and then there are no thoughts playing games.
Stress is normal, only dead bodies have no stress. But to minimize the stress, there should be control over discipline and attitude, our reaction to the outer stimulus, to the society, to accept other’s behavior as the part of their nature.
Yoga is stopping the thought process, concentrating on mantra and to bring peace of mind.
When the mind is relaxed, the diseases automatically exit from our horizon……and good health sets in.