Reinvigorating Himalayan yoga

The Himalayas are, undoubtedly, the pride of our country. Nurturing hordes of nature’s secrets to goodness and wellbeing, the mountains preserve some of the most unknown secrets and mysteries to excite mankind for a lifetime.

The Himalayan range is considered to be a protective shield for our country. It is also the birthplace and eternal spiritual home to the most advanced Indian healing sciences like Ayurveda, yoga and much more. Several areas of the mountains, especially around Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, are known for their spiritual significance with several ancient Hindu temples and Tibetan monasteries dotting the stretch.

Some of the notable pilgrim destinations for Hindus on the Himalayas that brim with years of history include Kailash, Mansarovar, Amarnath, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Vaishno Devi temple and several others. 

The Himalayas form an integral part of not just the culture of India but also of other neighbouring countries like Nepal. From the time when the great epic Ramayana was penned, the therapeutic properties of the mountain range have been discussed extensively. Lord Lakshman’s life was known to be saved by the Mruthasanjeevani, the potion to battle death, brought from the Himalayas by Hanuman.

Holistic healing

The Himalayan yoga was developed by the sages on this mountain range. It is one of the ancient and holistic healing mechanisms for rebalancing the mind, the body and the spirit, and it also elevates the level of human consciousness. But quite in contradiction to this, today, most of us equate yoga with physical practice.

Yoga is one of the most advanced sciences which could do wonders to both the body and the mind, eventually proving to be a path of awakening. It could help transform the identity of someone who may be lost and confused in life towards becoming wise and strong enough to face all challenges.

To have a positive outlook towards life is the most important aspect of maintaining a healthy practice of yoga, whereby the individual is able to gain more strength and learns to channel calmness even in times of adversities.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking great interest in promoting yoga through his International Yoga Day initiative along with several other appreciable measures, yoga is picking up great interest in today’s modern society. As a result, new forms and techniques of yoga are quickly gaining popularity. However, caught in the wave of modern yoga, how do we ensure we are not losing out on authenticity?

Doing it right

Amid all the buzz surrounding yoga today, we forget that the roots of the practice lie in the holy mountains of Himalayas. Having completely neglected this aspect, our generation is hardly benefiting from the healing properties of yoga.

Yoga is way more complex and advanced than the mere fitness regime it appears to be nowadays. It is worth deliberation whether yoga today is being taught the way it should be as per our ancient scriptures.

While we know that yoga can do wonders to the body — like help improve cardiovascular health, curb chronic neck and back pain, sharpen brain, lower risk for cancer, controls diabetes etc — it is difficult for modern practitioners of the form to precisely illustrate through its practice how these results are actually achieved.

The Himalayas, which is the mother of these highly advanced and profound healing technique, is unfortunately not being completely explored by the modern yogi. The Himalayas serve to be that iconic link between ancient history and modern insight that symbolises the promise of yoga.

Though the step taken by the Union government to promote yoga through a separate ministry in the form of AYUSH is worth mentioning, more needs to be done to take the healing science to the public in a more meaningful and holistic way. It is imperative for the ministry to acknowledge the science of Himalayan yoga as the most original form of yoga and help regain its lost glory.

Let no government body exert complete authority over this ancient healing science at the cost of its originality and instead work towards retaining its charm and purity, unadulterated.

(The writer is founder, chairman and course director, Akshar Yoga)

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