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Six Central Universities to introduce Yoga Departments in India, says Smriti Irani

Union HRD Minister said that in view of significant role of Yoga to develop all faculties of life, the HRD ministry has taken steps to popularize yoga from school to University level

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Bengaluru : Yoga enthusiasts performs yoga at Art of Living Center in Bengaluru on Saturday. Image source: PTI / Shailendra Bhojak
  • Smriti Irani announced the establishment of yoga departments in six central universities 
  • A panel suggested that certificate courses be offered to Master’s and Bachelor’s in yogic sciences
  • AICTE has held yoga workshops under the pretext of Yoga Day

Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of Human Resource Development addressing a National Seminar on Yoga has announced that Yoga departments will be opened up in six universities in the academic calendar 2016-17, eventually expanding to 20 universities.

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The universities that will currently feature a department for yoga are Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Uttarakhand (North), Visva Bharati, West Bengal (East), Central University of Rajasthan (West), Central University of Kerala (South), Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh,(Central) and Manipur University (North East), said the hinduismtoday.com report.

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Smriti Irani. Image source: indiatoday.intoday.in
Smriti Irani. Image source: indiatoday.intoday.in

The seminar was attended by vice chancellors of the universities concerned. Irani urged academicians to set scientific importance of yogic sciences. In IIT Kharagpur, this has been achieved through empirical evidences. Efforts by AICTE for conducting various workshops throughout the country were well appreciated.

A panel headed by Prof H.R. Nagendra has suggested that certificate courses to Bachelor’s and Master’s would be offered in yogic sciences, says pib.nic.in.

-The report is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram. 

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Yoga: A Sacred Gift, with Love from Hinduism and India to the World

Yoga as a means of exercise for the body and mind is a deeply rooted concept of Hinduism for centuries, it is a gift from India to the world

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Yoga
Yoga as a means of exercise for the body and mind is a deeply rooted concept of Hinduism in India. Pixabay

BY Varuni Trivedi

Lord Krishna said to Arjun in the Geeta, “Restless senses, O Arjuna, forcibly carry away the mind of even a wise person striving for perfection.” Patanjali’s description of the practice of yoga after the yamas and niyamas, directs towards the pratyahara, meaning turning inward of the senses. In simple terms when one is unable to restrain the senses, they become powerless to direct their minds. No matter how well-read or wise they sound while talking, it carries little importance without the practice discipline. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ (“to yoke”) which is more literally translated as “union of the individual’s Atma or soul with Paramatma or god (the universal soul). This is often understood as a union with the divine power by the integration of body, mind, and spirit. Thus, Yoga is what imparts an internal discipline, not only to the body but also to the mind and spirit. 

 

History of the art of Yoga

Bhagavad Gita, the holy scripture of Hindus also states the importance of yoga, “Yoga is the journey of the self, to the self, through the self” it beautifully quotes. The history of Yoga is accurately is difficult to trace its has many places of obscurity and uncertainty. In those ages, texts and teaching were passed down orally. Not only was the oral transmission of sacred texts is a common occurrence but the secretive nature of its teachings was also a recurring phenomenon. Furthermore, earlier writings on yoga were transcribed on fragile palm leaves that were easily damaged, destroyed, or even lost making it difficult to trace the exact time of its inception. However, experts claim that the development of yoga can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago, some researchers even think that yoga may be up to 10,000 years old old. 

The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred known to mankind, the Rig Veda. These Vedas are sacred Hindu texts and were a collection of songs, mantras, and rituals to be used by Brahmans and Vedic priests. Later on, Yoga was slowly refined and developed by the Brahmans and Rishi munis who documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads, which contains 200 scriptures. However, to date, the most renowned Yogic scriptures where Yoga and its benefits are mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gita which was composed in around 500 B.C.E. 

Yoga’s long rich history can be divided into four main periods of innovation, practice, and development or the pre-classic, classical, post-classical, and the modern period. Yoga as a means of exercise for the body and mind is a deeply rooted concept of Hinduism in India for centuries.  Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Raja Yoga are considered the four main yogas, but with time and development now there are many other types. 

Yoga and meditation
Yoga is more of a spiritual act and it remains a vibrant living tradition. Pixabay

 

Yoga in the modern period

Yoga is more of a spiritual act and it remains a vibrant living tradition. It is seen all across the world as a means to enlightenment for the mind and soul. In the 1800s and 1900s, yogic gurus traveled to the West, gaining attention, and followers and making Yoga more and more famous. Essentially this spread can be traced back to, 1893 when in the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Swami Vivekananda left the attendees spellbound with his speech. His lectures on yoga and wellbeing were a great catalyst in spreading the word about this art. Late, in the 1920s and 30s, Hatha Yoga was strongly promoted in India as the work of T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda, and other yogis became popular.

Krishnamacharya was the first to open a Hatha Yoga school in Mysore in 1924. Sometime later in 1936 Sivananda founded the Divine Life Society on the banks of the holy river Ganges, he aroused three students that continued his legacy and increased the popularity of Hatha Yoga. They were B.K.S. Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikachar, and Pattabhi Jois. Sivananda himself wrote over 200 books on yoga and established nine ashrams and many yoga centers across the world, making yoga popular worldwide. In the western world, the importance of yoga and its popularity soared when Indra Devi opened her yoga studio in Hollywood in 1947. 

Yoga is popular in many parts of the world. Especially in the United States, yoga has become associated with the asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga, which have gained immense popularity as fitness exercises. Even though Yoga is central to Hinduism, other religions like Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, have also been greatly influenced by it throughout the world. Some of the most important Hindu texts which have laid the ground for yoga worldwide include the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

 

Yoga
The practice of Yoga asanas and meditation provides natural support to the immune system. Pixabay

Yoga and Modi

PM Modi has been a patron of yoga, practicing and propagating the idea of yoga and its importance worldwide. Recently at a yoga event called “Yoga for Peace” in Argentina’s capital Mr. Modi addressed the participants saying that the practice of Yoga connects everyone to happiness. The Prime Minister further said that if the mind is at peace, there would be peace in family, society, country, and the world as well. He went on to say that “Yoga is India’s gift to the world for health, wellness, and peace.” Yoga can be credited to connects us with wellness and happiness and bring peace of mind to many across the globe.  PM Modi further said that Yoga is bridging the vast distance between India and Argentina. It is connecting people worldwide and binding them in a positive light. PM Modi has on other occasions termed yoga as the “unifying force of the world”

Also Read: Paatal Lok and its Objectionable Motives

Yoga In the Times of Pandemic

The multiple benefits that the practice of yoga has on a person’s wellbeing are accepted all across the world. In these tough times when people are locked inside their houses as anxiety and worklessness eat them up, Yoga can be a great support. It would not only help to bring the mind at peace but also help with the body at such times when physical activity is low. Yoga could help deal with anxiety and stress which commonly surround people in a lockdown. In fact, recent studies have said that Yoga even helps in quitting smoking and other tobacco products. This can be a great time for people to quit their bad habits and turn to a path of spirituality. Yoga in every sense of the world is excellent support in these stressful times or literally every time. It brings harmony and peace not only to the mind but also to the body. 

 

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Here Are Some Interesting Facts About Ayurveda

Ayurveda is an ancient health care tradition that has been practiced for at least 5000 years

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Ayurveda
The word “Ayurveda” comes from the Sanskrit terms Ayur (life) and Veda (knowledge). Pixabay

Ayurveda is an ancient health care tradition that has been practiced in the Indian subcontinent for at least 5000 years. The word “Ayurveda” comes from the Sanskrit terms Ayur (life) and Veda (knowledge). Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine was documented in Vedas thousands of years ago. It has evolved over the years and is now integrated with other traditional practices, including yoga.

Suśruta Samhita

Suśruta Samhita is an important book in Ayurveda. Originally written in the Sanskrit language by Sushruta about 5000 years ago. Sushruta (Suśruta) is regarded to be the Father of Surgery for inventing and developing surgical procedures in ancient India. According to legend,  Lord Dhanvantari passed the medical insight to his follower Divodasa, who then instructed Sushruta.

Charak Samhita

During 300 BCE, Charaka, an Ayurveda Physician compiled his knowledge of medicine and called it Agnivesa Samhita, later re-named it as Charak Samhita. This consists of eight books and one hundred twenty chapters. Charak Samhita describes the facts of diseases, diagnosis, treatments, and medicines which are necessary for the well being of human. It also includes sections on the importance of diet, hygiene, prevention, medical education, the teamwork of a physician, nurse, and patient necessary for recovery to health. Charaka Samhita mentions 84 types of alcoholic preparations and their medicinal value. Cannabis (Bhang) and Papaver somniferum (Afu) were used as potential pain relievers due to unavailability of analgesics. Use of cannabis is also mentioned in texts for sedation and anesthetization during surgeries.

Interesting Ayurveda Facts
Ayurveda is one of the earliest sciences known to many. Vedicfeed

 

Appearances of people

According to Ayurvedic principles, everyone has a specific constitution or prakruti that determines his/her character and disease vulnerability. Health care is highly individualized practice under Ayurvedic principles. Appearances of people are categorized into 3 groups VataPitta, and Kapha.

  1. Vata – Thin and slim figured persons – It is associated with air and space. Vata energy is liked to a bodily movement that includes blood circulation and breathing. People who are creative and thinkers are of this category.
  2. Pitta – People of medium build and sharp features – Pitta energy is linked to fire and is thought to control the digestive and endocrine systems. People of this category are fiery in temperament and intelligent.
  3. Kapha – People with a stout figure and well-developed body and calm in Nature – Kapha energy is linked to earth and water. It is believed to control strength and growth and is associated with the back, torso, and chest.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines are prepared according to the Prakruthi of a person and the therapeutic effect needed. Milk, ghee, honey, molasses, ashes of pearls or diamonds, rock salts, several types of herbs- these are ingredients of Ayurvedic medicines.

In Ayurvedic preparations, the part of an herb is chosen and used depending on where its medicinal value lies and its curative effects on the body. Some examples are listed below:

  • Turmeric, Ginger, Velvet Leaf, Rhubarb: Roots
  • Chaste Tree, Coriander, Aloe Vera: Leaves
  • Black Pepper, Gooseberry, Indian Gall Nut: Fruit
  • Neem Tree, Ashoka Tree, Sandalwood: Bark
  • Cardamom, Coriander, Cowhage Plant: Seeds

Different herbs have different healing powers.

  • Aloe Vera, Sandalwood, Turmeric, Shatavari- Antiseptic (Protects against infections)
  • Turmeric, Echinacea – Antibiotic (Fights against viral and bacterial infections)
  • Cinnamon, Yarrow, Jasmine, Sandalwood – Astringent (heals tissues)
  • Cardamom, Coriander – Appetizer (Induces appetite)
  • Chamomile, Chrysanthemum, Basil, Ginger – Carminative (Helps in proper digestion)
Ayurveda
Health care is highly individualized practice under Ayurvedic principles. Pixabay

Bhasma

Bhasma literally means ashes. The medicated ashes of various metals and non-metals are administered as medicines. The effect of this bhasma is so instantaneous that it seems no less than a miracle. There are various researches on where the properties of these bhasmas are being evaluated. Bhasma is nothing but nanoparticles it is said.

Ayurveda for Animals

There is a specific branch in Ayurveda named as Pashu Ayurveda, where treatment protocols for diseases occurring to horses, elephants, and dogs are also mentioned.

Also Read: Why Violence In USA – No Basic Flaw

God of Ayurveda

Dhanvantari is a celebrated figure amongst the practitioners of Ayurveda. He is the progenitor of Ayurveda, and he stands on the top in the hierarchy of medicine in India. They celebrate Dhanvantari’s birthday on Dhanteras every year too. In Srimad Bhagavata Purana, there is a story about Bhagavan Dhanvatari when he revealed Ayurveda to the world. He is worshiped today as the pioneer of medical science in Hindu dharma. (VedicFeed)

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Google Maps Allows Android Users to Share Locations Using Plus Codes

The update aims at easy sharing of locations using Plus Codes

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Plus Codes
Android users can now share their location using Plus Codes in Google Maps. Pixabay

Google Maps app for Android has received a new update where users can share their locations using Plus Codes.

Google Maps has the option to show Plus Codes since August 2015. The new change, however, is aimed to expand Plus Codes usage by allowing users to easily share their locations.

A Plus Code is essentially a digital address and it’s derived from latitude and longitude coordinates. It can be generated for any location.

“The technology to generate Plus Codes is also open source, which means the technology is easy and free to use, so anyone can see how the technology works and develop their own applications for any use case,” David Martin, Director of Program Management, Google Maps, said in a statement on Friday.

Users will be able to tap on the blue dot representing their current location and get a Plus Code for it.

Plus Code
Users will be able to tap on the blue dot representing their current location and get a Plus Code for it. Wikimedia Commons

Alternatively, they can long tap on a spot to put a pin on it and get a code for that.

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Alongside the Plus Code, the application will also show other options including options to see nearby places, share your location and save your parking.

Once the app shows the Plus Code on the screen, one will be able to copy it just by tapping on it. Now, one will be able to share it among contacts by pasting it on apps like WhatsApp, Messages and more. (IANS)