What is Ayurveda:

Ayurveda is not only treatment with ancient medicines, but it is a lifestyle formed for the best of the human body. It not only treats the organs but rejuvenates the mind, body, and soul by penetrating into the deepest shelves of the physical and conscious system thereby establishing well-being and maintaining equilibrium between mental, physical and spiritual health. According to the principles of Ayurveda health is synonymous with the harmony of life, mind, and spirit and based on natural principles that govern every aspect of human life. Ayurveda’s pharmacy is Mother Nature herself, and all the oils, potions and lotions are prepared exclusively from herbs, roots and plant extracts which makes the treatment free from distressing side effects.

Origin Of Ayurveda:

The origins of Ayurveda are found in the ‘Atharvaveda’ that contains 114 hymns and incantations described as magical cures for any kind of disease. Made from a combination of two Sanskrit Words viz. Ayu and Veda, wherein Ayu defines the vital source or life whereas Veda being the very first Indic text dealing with medical science. This knowledge has been derived from the Indus Valley Civilization and stills reigns supreme as nothing has come above finer than this.

Fundamentals of Ayurveda

Just as science explains the body with chromosomes to define the genetic coding or the body constitution, Ayurveda revolves around the concept of body type. The knowledge of Ayurveda enables everyone to recognize and come across their own body type depending on the various dietary preferences, behavioral patterns, skin type, performance abilities, temperament.

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22 Days Ayurveda & Yoga Course Daily Schedule at Rishikesh & Goa, India

► 5:30 AM: Morning Tulsi Tea

► 6:00 AM to 6:30 AM : Shatkarma (Twice a Week) / Silent Meditation / Mantra Chanting

“Shatkarma” also known as Yogic Cleansing, refers to the Yogic practices involving purification of the body.These practices are outlined in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika as kriya, are:

  • Neti: nasal cleaning, including jala neti and sutra neti.
  • Dhauti: the cleansing of the digestive tract.
  • Nauli: abdominal massage.
  • Basti: colon cleaning.
  • Kapalbhati: purification and vitalisation of the frontal lobes.
  • Trataka: blinkless gazing.

“Mantra Chanting” The sacred chanting of Sanskrit Mantras give us the power to reach our goals and uplift ourselves from the ordinary to the superior level of consciousness. Mantras give us the power to cure diseases, ward off evil, acquire supernatural powers, worship a deity for uplifting communion and for reaching blissful state and liberating our self.

► 6:30 AM to 8:00 AM: Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

Ashtanga Vinyasa

Ashtanga means eight limbs or branches, of which asana or physical yoga posture is merely one branch, breath or pranayama is another.Vinyasa means breathing system. Without vinyasa, don’t do asana. When vinyasa is perfect, the mind is under control.
The Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a style of yoga codified and popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois during the 20th century which is often promoted as a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga.Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Jois, his grandson, encourage the practice of Ashtanga Yoga – all eight limbs. The first two limbs – Yamas and Niyamas – are given special emphasis to be practiced in conjunction with the 3rd and 4th limbs (asana and pranayama).

Usually, an Ashtanga practice begins with five repetitions of Surya Namaskara A and five repetitions of Surya Namaskara B, followed by a standing sequence.

Following this, the practitioner begins one of six series, followed by what is called the closing sequence. The six series are:

  • Primary series: Yoga Chikitsa, Yoga for Health or Yoga Therapy
  • Intermediate series: Nadi Shodhana, The Nerve Purifier
  • Advanced series: Sthira Bhaga, Centering of Strength.
    • Advanced A, or Third series
    • Advanced B, or Fourth series
    • Advanced C, or Fifth series
    • Advanced D, or Sixth series

Teaching Ashtanga in a much less linear style, with a greater emphasis on alignment and breathing.


Tristhana means the three places of attention or action: breathing system (pranayama), posture (asana), and looking place (dristhi). These three are very important for yoga practice and cover the three levels of purification: the body, nervous system and the mind. “They are always performed in conjunction with each other”.


Bandhas are one of the three key principles in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, alongside breath and drishti. There are three principal bandhas which are considered internal body locks:

  • Mula Bandha or root lock at the pelvic floor (drawing in the perineum)
  • Udiyana Bandha drawing back the abdomen, 2 inches below the navel
  • Jalandhara Bandha throat lock, achieved by lowering the chin slightly while raising the sternum

Dristhi is where you focus your eyes while in the asana. In the ashtanga yoga method, there is a prescribed point of focus for every asana. There are nine dristhis: the nose, between the eyebrows, navel, thumb, hands, feet, up, right side and left side.The purpose of vinyasa is for internal cleansing. Breathing and moving together while performing asanas makes the blood hot, Thick blood is dirty and causes disease in the body. The heat created from yoga cleans the blood and makes it thin, so that it may circulate freely, heated blood removing toxins, impurities, and disease from the organs through sweat produced during the practice, it is only through sweat that disease leaves the body and purification occurs.


The Ashtanga practice is traditionally started with the following Sanskrit mantra:

  • vande gurunam caranaravinde samdarsita svatma sukhavabodhe
  • nihsreyase jangalikayamane samsara halahala mohasantyai
  • abahu purusakaram sankhacakrasi dharinam
  • sahasra sirasam svetam pranamami patanjalim

Which is roughly translated into English as:

  • I bow to the lotus feet of the gurus,
  • The awakening happiness of ones own self-revealed,
  • Beyond better, acting like the jungle physician,
  • Pacifying delusion, the poison of Samsara.
  • Taking the form of a man to the shoulders,
  • Holding a conch, a discus, and a sword,
  • One thousand heads white,
  • To Patanjali, I salute.

And closes with the Mangala mantra:

  • svastiprajabhyah paripalayantam nyayena margena mahim mahisah
  • gobrahmanebhya subhamastu nityam lokah samastah sukhinobhavantu

Which is roughly translated into English as:

  • May all be well with mankind,
  • May the leaders of the Earth protect in every way by keeping to the right path,
  • May there be goodness for those who know the Earth to be sacred,
  • May all the worlds be happy.

► 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM: Pranayama


A Sanskrit word alternatively translated as an extension of the prana (breath or life force) or breath control.The word is composed from two Sanskrit words: prana meaning life force (noted particularly as the breath), and either yama (to restrain or control the prana, implying a set of breathing techniques where the breath is intentionally altered in order to produce specific results) or the negative form ayama, meaning to extend or draw out (as in extension of the life force). It is a yogic discipline with origins in ancient India.

In “Bhagavad Gita” Pranayama is mentioned in verse 4.29 of the Bhagavad Gita.

According to Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, pranayama is translated to trance induced by stopping all breathing, also being made from the two separate Sanskrit words, prana and ayam.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Pranayama is the fourth limb of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga mentioned in verse 2.29 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.Patanjali, a Hindu Rishi, discusses his specific approach to pranayama in verses 2.49 through 2.51 and devotes verses 2.52 and 2.53 to explaining the benefits of the practice.Patanjali does not fully elucidate the nature of prana, and the theory and practice of pranayama seem to have undergone significant development after him.He presents pranayama as essentially an exercise that is preliminary to concentration, as do the earlier Buddhist texts.
Many yoga teachers advise that pranayama should be part of an overall practice that includes the other limbs of Patanjalis Raja Yoga teachings, especially Yama, Niyama, and Asana.

Pranayama techniques and forms include:
  • Agni-prasana or Agni Prana (Breath of Fire) like kapalabhati.
  • Agnisar Pranayama – an abdominal breath.
  • Anuloma pranayama – a form of alternate nostril breath (distinct from nadi shodhana).
  • Bhastrika pranayama (bellows breath) – fast and forceful inhales and exhales driven by diaphragmatic breathing. Bhastrika is a cleansing kriya to clear the nadis, nostrils, and sinuses for pranayama.
  • Bhramari pranayama (bee breath) – making a humming sound while breathing.
  • Chandra Bhastrika pranayama.
  • Chandra bheden pranayama.
  • Kapalabhati pranayama (Skull shining breath) – similar to bhastrika, but with a passive inhale and a forceful exhale, powered mainly by the diaphragm and the external and internal obliques.
  • Kumbhaka Pranayama (Breath retention) – controlling both Antara (holding in) and bahya (holding out).
  • Lom Anulom Vilom pranayama.
  • Murchha pranayama.
  • Nadi Shodan pranayama.
  • Pratiloma pranayama – the inverse of anuloma: the inhale is drawn through one nostril (alternating sides each time) and the exhale is released through both nostrils.
  • Sama vrtti pranayama (Even breathing) – the inhale and exhale are of equal size and duration. The opposite of visama vrtti.
  • Shitali pranayama (Cooling breath) – Inhalation is drawn over the curled and extended tongue.
  • Shitkari pranayama – Similar to shitali but the tongue is held between the teeth.
  • Surya Bhastrika pranayama.
  • Surya bhedana pranayama and Chandra bhedana pranayama – Channeling breath in one side and out the other without alternating, meant to energize ida or pingala Nadi. The right nostril is associated with the sun (Surya) and left nostril with the moon (ida).
  • Surya Chandra Bhastrika pranayama.
  • Udgeeth pranayama (Chanting pranayama) – often done with the chanting of the Om mantra.
  • Ujjayi pranayama – also known as victorious or conquering breath is breathing with the glottis slightly engaged, producing a soft sound. Considered to be the only pranayama one can safely practice while walking or engaged in other activities (e.g. during asana practice. Some older versions require digital pranayama (the fingers controlling the nostrils). The slightly closed airway creates a Valsalva maneuver and typically results in a parasympathetic response (lowered heart rate, lowered blood pressure, increased digestive activity, stimulation of the vagus nerve, and much more)
  • Viloma Pranayama – the air is inhaled with pauses and exhaled as one breath or vice-versa, usually with added kumbhaka.
  • Visama vrtti – Uneven breathing where specific ratios (e.g. 1:4:2) are maintained between inhale, retention, and exhale. The opposite of sama vrtti.

Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress-related disorders. A Cochrane systematic review on the symptomatic relief of asthma by breathing exercises did not find a statistically significant improvement but did find that there was a statistically significant increase in the dose of histamine needed to provoke a 20% reduction in FEV1 (PD20) during pranayama breathing but not with the placebo device. This is just one of the example.


Authoritative texts on Yoga state that, in order to avoid injuries and unwanted side effects, pranayama should only be undertaken when one has a firmly established yoga practice and then only under the guidance of an experienced Guru.

► 9:00 AM: Organic Ayurvedic Breakfast

► 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM: Anatomy and Physiology in Ayurveda

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology in Ayurveda are based on the body’s function rather than structure. Eventually, both are of equal importance. Nevertheless, this fundamental difference is primary in understanding the logic of Ayurvedic medicine as a whole. Sarira Vicaya is the ayurvedic term that represents both Anatomy and Physiology. Vicaya means the special or detailed knowledge. As per Caraka, the detailed knowledge of normal human body is helpful to understand the factors influencing health and therefore such knowledge is widely appreciated by Ayurveda experts.

Human Physiology

The study of functional aspects of human body, is designated by the term ‘Sarira Vicaya’ in Ayurvedic literature. The word ‘Vicaya’ means the special or detailed knowledge. Detailed knowledge of normal human body i.e.,‘Sarira’, is considered helpful in understanding the factors influencing the health. Though most of the basic concepts of human physiology explained in Ayurveda are strikingly similar to the concepts of modern physiology, some concepts like ‘Atma’, ‘Manas’ and ‘Prakrti’are unique to Ayurveda. Understanding of Physiology in Ayurveda should start with the understanding of innumerable minute individual living units called ‘Sarira Paramanus’ or ‘Anu Srotamsi’. These units are now known as cells. A group of such functionally and structurally similar units is called a ‘Dhatu’. These ‘Dhatus’ are almost equivalent to the tissues. Seven such ‘Dhatus’ have been enumerated. Similarly, the individual systems in the body have been designated by the term ‘Sthula Srotamsi’ and thirteen such ‘Srotamsi’ have been described by Caraka. ‘Annavaha Stotas’, for example, stands equivalent to the digestive system and ‘Rasavaha Srotas’ to the cardio vascular system. Apart from these, the functioning of individual systems has also been described in a considerably detailed manner. Cardiovascular system as a closed circuit, role of liver in the functioning of hemopoietic system, functional significance of brain in the neural mechanisms, basics of digestion and metabolism and basics of immunity ‐ are some such topics worth mentioning. Theory of ‘Tridosa’ is another important theory of physiology. This represents the various reciprocally functioning homeostatic mechanisms at various levels of organization. The state of equilibrium among these ‘Dosas’ is responsible for maintenance of health. Three ‘Dosas’ – i.e., ‘Vata’, ‘Pitta’ and ‘Kapha’ in general, represent neural, endocrine and immune mechanisms respectively and form the basis of neuro‐immuno‐endocrinology.

► 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM: Yoga Philosophy / Yoga Psychology / Ayurveda

Yoga Philosophy

Yoga Philosophy is one of the six major orthodox schools of Hinduism. Ancient, medieval and most modern literature often refers to the Yoga school of Hinduism simply as Yoga. It is closely related to the Samkhya school of Hinduism. The Yoga school’s systematic studies to better oneself physically, mentally and spiritually has influenced all other schools of Indian philosophy. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a key text of the Yoga school of Hinduism.

The epistemology of the Yoga school of Hinduism, like the Samkhya school, relies on three of six Pramanas as the means of gaining reliable knowledge. These include Pratyaksa (perception), Anumana (inference) and Sabda (Aptavacana, word/testimony of reliable sources). The metaphysics of Yoga is built on the same dualist foundation as the samkhya school. The universe is conceptualized as composed of two realities in the Samhkya – Yoga schools: Purusa (consciousness) and prakriti (matter). Jiva (a living being) is considered as a state in which purusa is bonded to prakriti in some form, in various permutations and combinations of various elements, senses, feelings, activity and mind. During the state of imbalance or ignorance, one of more constituents overwhelm the others, creating a form of bondage. The end of this bondage is called liberation, or moksha, by both the Yoga and Samkhya schools of Hinduism.

Yoga philosophy says that this is an unnatural condition, that this is not your natural condition. You are not a creature subject to such afflictions. You are not a being who has any one of these distressing experiences and symptoms. You are above them, you are beyond them, you are really free from them. They do not really form a part of your actual, true nature. This is very fine for Yoga philosophy to say! But this is not your experience.

  • Your experience contradicts the possible validity or truth of this fine philosophy. Your experience is directly the contrary of what Yoga philosophy says about you. Every day you are in a state of distress only. Every day you suffer. The afflictions of hunger, thirst and discomfort, heat and cold, pain and pleasure are your daily experience. If a little attention is not paid to you when you ask something, your mind is thrown into a state of distress, agitation, and turmoil; and it brings about physical changes also. Your blood pressure goes up, your face is flushed, you feel hot and uncomfortable all over, and you want to blurt out something. You want to express your feeling of displeasure and distress and give vent to it so that you can relieve yourself of this inner buildup. You are altogether in an upset condition if someone somehow fails to pay due attention to what you try to bring to his notice if your request is not regarded, if your presence is not recognized, or if something which you put forward is not properly attended to. So, your experience is an ever-fluctuating, ever-changing experience of constant contraries and constant opposites swinging between hope and despair, joy and sorrow, elation and depression—not only depression, but also a great deal of agitation caused by unfulfilled desires and cravings for things, agitation caused by irritability, annoyance, anger, fear, worry, anxiety and jealousy.
  • Yoga philosophy says, “No. You are really free from all these things. You have no afflictions. You have no hunger, no thirst, no sleep, no fatigue. You have no pain, no pleasure. You have no distress, no agitation, no worry, no anxiety. You are a being full of perfection, complete in yourself, lacking nothing, full of joy, full of peace, full of bliss”. Then, if that is the fact, how come that your entire life, your entire experience from morning till night, contradicts this fact? What is the explanation? What is the reason for this? Why is this complication there? Whence has this problem arisen?
  • Yoga philosophy offers the analogy of a perfectly clear crystal which is transparent and pure, but becomes filled as it were with some colour if some coloured object is brought forth near it. The object thus brought forth may be a green-coloured ball or a little red-coloured flower or a blue-coloured cork and the whole crystal becomes green or red or blue. This proximity of something having some characteristic brings about a seeming transference of that characteristic from that something into the pure, transparent, clear crystal. So, it is the proximity to something that is the cause for the apparent change in the otherwise attributeless crystal ball. Now, Yoga philosophy says that you are also in a similar state of proximity to something, you have become involved with something, and therefore, states and conditions that exist in that factor seem as though they have come and taken possession of you. In the ease of the crystal, if you want it to become clear once again, what is the method to bring it about? You have to bring about once again a separation between the crystal and its proximate object. You have to bring about a cessation of the proximity that is there between the crystal and the object by separating the two. If the proximate object is taken away and the crystal is once again isolated from that object which has been superimposing all its qualities upon it, then, once again the crystal is pure, clear and transparent. Once again it stands in its own nature; it regains its own nature. It is no more modified and qualified by the something else which is not part of its essential being. This is the analogy that you have to consider and keep in mind.
Yoga Psychology

Yoga Psychology offers the solution for spiritual reality of man and the psychological situation in which he is caught up, that is what the science of Yoga is concerned about. How to give back to you your independence, how to give back to you once again that pristine state in which you are always there—that is the subject-matter of the science of Yoga. The imperfect-experience condition which is distressing, going up and down, has arisen due to your association with Prakriti or Nature that is ever unsteady.

This association has to be broken if you are to regain your independent status of everlasting joy. So, the solution is provided for you by the philosophy of Yoga and the working out of the solution is gradually elaborated in a systematic manner in the practice of Yoga. But, this practice has to recognize the present reality. The present reality is that you are a very much harassed being subject to a great deal of distress, of limitations. Whatever the truth of your identity may be, you have lost the awareness of your identity. Now you are not in that state of identity. So, we have to start from where you are. We cannot start from the other end, whatever you might be. That seems to have no relevance at all because that experience is lost. It is no longer there. You may be told theoretically about it; you may believe it. But now you find yourself in a totally different position, and so we have to start from the position in which you are, where you are completely involved in thought, in mind, in the mental process, in sentiments, emotions—in short, involved in all the variations of all the physical as well as the psychological factors which make up Prakriti.

Prakriti is made up of many things—the five elements, the Prana, the senses, and the mind in its different modes, each mode having its own variations. One single mode of the mind has got so many variations—Vasanas, Samskaras, imaginations, anger, passion, greed, hatred, envy, jealousy, worry, selfishness, attachment. The intellect has its own variations—clear perception, unclear perception and wrong perception. So, it is a complicated maze in which your consciousness is caught at present. And, in any practice that has to bring about the liberation of your Self, you must take count of the actual present position and start from there, and hence the need to get a clear idea of the psychology of Yoga.

The practice of Yoga rests upon the present situation of the individual being and the present situation of the individual being is the psychological situation. The spiritual reality of the individual being is totally hidden and overcome by his psychological situation, like the sun or the moon overcome by an eclipse or a big piece of cloud.

The practice of Yoga is thus based upon the realistic recognition of the present psychological position of the individual. As such, a clear knowledge of the present psychological situation of the individual is very essential. Herein comes the necessity of knowing about the psychology of Yoga. Based upon the psychology of Yoga, we have formulated a certain set of practices which form the practice of Yoga.

The philosophy of Yoga and the psychology behind its practice—the two are bound up together in such a way that any consideration of the one inevitably has to simultaneously take into account the other because the practice of Yoga is laid upon the basis of a psycho-philosophical background. The philosophy of Yoga and the psychology of Yoga are present not only as a background to this science of Yoga but also as the basis for the practice of the Yogic processes. It is upon this basis that the different practices have been formulated and presented and this point should be borne in mind always, not only when we make a study of Yoga, but also when we actually practice the different Angas of Yoga. Only then will the practice become more meaningful to us and only then can the practice itself be done in a right way and in a rational way.

If this Yoga practice is to be effective, you must know why you are engaging in this practice, what this practice is supposed to achieve for you, what you are expected to gain out of this practice, and what the effect of this practice is supposed to be upon your own nature, upon your own spiritual state. Otherwise, there would be no terms of reference by which you can ascertain whether the practice is actually proceeding in the right direction or not, whether it is bearing fruits step by step or not. Upon what hypothesis, upon what thesis will you judge whether your Yoga practice is progressive or stagnant, whether it is fruitful or sterile? How can you make out?

It is only when you have a certain frame of reference with which you can tally your practice from time to time that you will be in a position to engage in your practice meaningfully, in an effective and satisfactory manner. And that is why it is necessary to bear in mind the psycho-philosophical basis of these Yoga practices even while you are engaged in them.


Sanskrit: आयुर्वेद , “life-knowledge” or Ayurveda medicine, is a system of medicine with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. Globalized and modernized practices derived from Ayurveda traditions are a type of complementary or alternative medicine. In the Western world, Ayurveda therapies and practices (which are manifold) have been integrated into general wellness applications and as well in some cases in medical use.The main classical Ayurveda treatises begin with legendary accounts of the transmission of medical knowledge from the Gods to Sages, and then to human physicians. Thus, the Sushruta Samhita narrates how Dhanvantari, “greatest of the mighty Celestial”, incarnated himself as Divodasa, a mythical king of Varanasi, who then taught medicine to a group of wise physicians, including Sushruta himself. Ayurveda therapies have varied and evolved over more than two millennia. Therapies are typically based on complex herbal compounds, while treatises introduced mineral and metal substances (perhaps under the influence of early Indian alchemy or rasasastra). Ancient Ayurveda treatises also taught surgical techniques, including rhinoplasty, perineal lithotomy, the suturing of wounds, and the extraction of foreign objects.

Some scholars assert that Ayurveda originated in prehistoric times and that some of the concepts of Ayurveda have existed from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization or even earlier. Ayurveda developed significantly during the Vedic period and later some of the non-Vedic systems such as Buddhism and Jainism also developed medical concepts and practices that appear in the classical Ayurveda treatises. Humoral balance is emphasized, and the suppressing of natural urges is considered unhealthy and claimed to lead to illness. Ayurveda names three elemental substances, the doshas (called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), and states that a balance of the doshas results in health, while imbalance results in disease. Ayurveda has eight canonical components, which are derived from classical Sanskrit literature. Some of the oldest known Ayurvedic texts include the Susrutha Samhita and Charaka Samhita, which are written in Sanskrit. Ayurveda practitioners had developed various medicinal preparations and surgical procedures by the medieval period.

  • Eight components: The earliest classical Sanskrit works on Ayurveda describe medical science as being divided into eight components (Sanskrit. anga). This characterization of the physician’s art as the teaching found in “the medicine that has eight components” (Sanskrit. cikitsayam astangayam चिकित्सायामष्टाङ्गायाम्) is first found in the Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata. The components are:
  • Kayacikitsa: general medicine, medicine of the body
  • Kaumara-bhrtya: the treatment of children, pediatrics
  • Salyatantra: surgical techniques and the extraction of foreign objects
  • Salakyatantra: treatment of ailments affecting ears, eyes, nose, mouth, etc.
  • Bhutavidya: pacification of possessing spirits, and the people whose minds are affected by such possession
  • Agadatantra: toxicology
  • Rasayanatantra: rejuvenation and tonics for increasing lifespan, intellect and strength
  • Vajikaranatantra: aphrodisiacs and treatments for increasing the volume and viability of semen and sexual pleasure

Although laboratory experiments suggest it is possible that some substances in Ayurveda might be developed into effective treatments, there is no evidence that any are effective as currently proffered. Ayurveda medicine is considered pseudoscientific. Other researchers consider it a protoscience, or trans-science system instead. Close to 21% of Ayurveda U.S.A and Indian-manufactured patent medicines sold through the Internet were found to contain toxic levels of heavy metals, specifically lead, mercury, and arsenic. The public health implications of such metallic contaminants in India are unknown.

► 1:00 PM: Organic Ayurvedic Lunch

► 3:00 PM: Panchkarma / Shirodhara / Ksheerdhra / Shiroabhayangam / Mukhlepam / Shirobasti / Pizzhichilli / Pindasveda / Patrapotali / Hridbasti / katibasti / Netratarpanam (one procedure a day)

► 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM: Classical Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga

It runs in the line of Hindu yoga and is dedicated to Sri (Lord) adi natha (Adinatha), a name for Lord Shiva (the Hindu god of destruction and renewal), who is believed to have imparted the secret of hatha yoga to his divine consort Parvati.

Sanskrit Hatha yoga, also called Hathavidya , is a branch of yoga. The word Hatha (lit. “force”) denotes a system of physical techniques supplementary to a broad conception of yoga.

Hatha yoga is associated with the Dashanami Sampradaya and the mystical figure of Dattatreya.

In the 20th century, hatha yoga, particularly asanas (the physical postures), became popular throughout the world as a form of physical exercise and is now colloquially termed as simply yoga.

Classical Hatha Yoga
  • Hathapradipika:
    The Hathapradipika was composed by Svatmarama in the 15th century CE as a compilation of the earlier hatha yoga texts.
    The Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Gheranda Samhita are derived from older Sanskrit texts. In Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swatmarama introduces his system as the preparatory stage for physical purification that the body practices for higher meditation or Yoga. It is based on asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques).
  • Hatha Yoga Pradipika lists 35 great Hatha Yoga Siddhas or masters; Adi Natha, Matsyendranath, and Gorakshanath. It includes information about shatkarma (purification), asana (postures), pranayama (subtle energy control), chakras (centers of energy), kundalini (instinct), bandhas (muscle force), kriyas (techniques; manifestations of kundalini), shakti (sacred force), nadis (channels), and mudras (symbolic gestures) among other topics.
  • Modern popularization: 
    Many modern schools of hatha yoga in the West derive from the school of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who taught from 1924 until his death in 1989. Among his students prominent in popularizing yoga in the West were K. Pattabhi Jois famous for popularizing the vigorous Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga style, B. K. S. Iyengar who emphasized alignment and the use of props, Indra Devi and Krishnamacharyas son T. K. V. Desikachar.
    Another major stream of influence within and outside India has been Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh (1887–1963) and his many disciples including, among others, Swami Vishnu-devananda – founder of International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres, Swami Satyananda – of the Bihar School of Yoga, and Swami Satchidananda of Integral Yoga. In India, Baba Ramdev of Haridwar has popularized yoga among the masses in the 21st century. In Sierra Leone, the Yoga Strength organization headed by Tamba Fayia, a former child soldier who has become the country’s first qualified yoga teacher, focuses on taking yoga to the people who need it on the streets, in the slums, in the schools.
  • False association with the Nath:
    According to British Indologist James Mallinson, some scholars have been falsely associating hatha yoga with the Nath, Matsyendranath, and Gorakshanath. In actuality, hatha yoga is associated with the Dashanami Sampradaya and the mystical figure of Dattatreya.
  • Practice:
    Hatha yoga has some important principles and practices that are shared with other methods of yoga, such as subtle physiology, dharana (fixation of the elements), and nadanusandhana (concentration on the internal sound).
  • Eight limbs:
    Hatha Yoga consists of eight limbs focused on attaining samadhi. In this scheme, the six limbs of hatha yoga are defined as asana, pranayama, pratyahara, Dharana, dhyana and samadhi. It includes disciplines, postures (asanas), purification procedures (shatkriya), gestures (mudras), breathing (pranayama), and meditation. The hatha yoga predominantly practiced in the West consists of mostly asanas understood as physical exercises. It is also recognized as a stress-reducing practice.
  • Preservation of life force:
    In its earliest formulations, hatha was used to raise and conserve the physical essence of life, identified in men as bindu (semen), which is otherwise constantly dripping downward from a store in the head and being expended. The female equivalent, mentioned only occasionally in our sources, is rajas, menstrual fluid. The preservation and sublimation of semen was associated with tapas (asceticism) from at least the time of the epics, and some of the techniques of early Hatha Yoga are likely to have developed as part of ascetic practice. The techniques of early Hatha Yoga work in two ways: mechanically, in practices such as viparitakarani, the reverser, in which by standing on one’s head one uses gravity to keep bindu in the head, or by making the breath enter the central channel of the body (Sushumna), which runs from the base of the spine to the top of the head, thereby forcing bindu upward.
  • Kundalini:
    In later formulations of Hatha Yoga, the Kaula system of the visualization of the serpent goddess Kundalini rising as kundalini energy through a system of chakras, usually seven thou there are 114, is overlaid onto the bindu-oriented system. The same techniques, together with some specifically kundalini-oriented ones, are said to effect kundalini’s rise up the central channel (which is called the Sushumna in these traditions) to a store of amrita (the nectar of immortality) situated in the head, with which kundalini then floods the body, rejuvenating it and rendering it immortal.
  • Siddhis:
    The aims and results of Hatha Yoga are the same as those of other varieties of yoga practice: siddhis (both mundane benefits and magical powers) and moksha, the latter often understood as being attained in a body immortalized by Hatha Yoga practices. In keeping with the physical orientation of Hatha Yoga practices, its siddhis are predominantly physical, ranging from the loss of wrinkles and gray hair to divine sight or the ability to levitate. In common with earlier formulations of yoga, in particular, Kaula ones, the techniques of Hatha Yoga can be used to effect kalavancana (cheating death), utkranti (yogic suicide), or parakayapravesa (entering another body). As in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, siddhis are usually said to be a hindrance to or distraction from Hatha Yoga’s ultimate aim – liberation – but in some Kaula-influenced texts, the pursuit of specific siddhis through specific techniques is taught.
Health benefits ascribed to hatha yoga asana practice

Yoga’s combined focus on mindfulness, breathing, and physical movements brings health benefits with regular participation. Yoga participants report better sleep, increased energy levels and muscle tone, relief from muscle pain and stiffness, improved circulation and overall better general health. The breathing aspect of yoga can benefit heart rate and blood pressure. The 2012 Yoga in America survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Yoga Journal, shows that the number of adult practitioners in the US is 20.4 million, or 8.7 percent. The survey reported that 44 percent of those not practicing yoga said they are interested in trying it.

► 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM: Meditation Philosophy and Meditation Practice / Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra

Nidra is a Sanskrit word meaning sleep or yogic sleep is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, like the going-to-sleep stage. It is a state in which the body is completely relaxed, and the practitioner becomes systematically and increasingly aware of the inner world by following a set of verbal instructions. This state of consciousness (Yoga Nidra) is different from meditation in which concentration on a single focus is required. In Yoga Nidra the practitioner remains in a state of light pratyahara with four of his senses internalized, that is, withdrawn, and only the hearing still connects to the instructions. The yogic goal of both paths, deep relaxation (Yoga Nidra) and meditation are the same, a state called samadhi.

Yoga Nidra is among the deepest possible states of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness. In lucid dreaming, one is only, or mainly, cognizant of the dream environment, and has little or no awareness of ones actual environment.

The practice of yoga relaxation or nidra has been found to reduce tension and anxiety. The autonomic symptoms of high anxiety such as headache, giddiness, chest pain, palpitations, sweating and abdominal pain respond well. It has been used to help soldiers from war cope with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Yoga Nidra refers to the conscious awareness of the deep sleep state, referred to as prajna in Mandukya Upanishad.

The concept of Yoga nidra is very ancient in Indian traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. “Krishna” is often associated with yoga Nidra in the epic Mahabharata. Similarly, many yogis and rishis are supposed to have experienced Yoga Nidra throughout their life.

In modern times, yoga Nidra was experienced by Satyananda Saraswati when he was living with his guru Sivananda Saraswati in “Rishikesh”. He began studying the tantric scriptures and, after practice, constructed a system of relaxation, which he began popularizing in the mid-20th century. He explained Yoga nidra as a state of mind between wakefulness and sleep that opened deep phases of the mind, suggesting a connection with the ancient tantric practice called Nyasa, whereby Sanskrit mantras are mentally placed within specific body parts while meditating on each part (of the bodymind). The form of practice taught by Satyananda includes eight stages (internalization, Sankalpa, rotation of consciousness, breath awareness, manifestation of opposites, creative visualization, Sankalpa and externalisation).

Satyananda used this technique, along with the suggestion, on the child who was to become his successor, Niranjanananda Saraswati, from the age of four. He claims to have taught him several languages by this method.

Anandmurti Gurumaa defines Yoga Nidra as a state of conscious deep sleep. One appears to be sleeping but the unconscious mind is functioning at a deeper level: it is sleep with a trace of deep awareness. In normal sleep, we lose track of our self but in yoga nidra, while consciousness of the world is dim and relaxation is deep, there remains an inward lucidity and experiences may be absorbed to be recalled later. Since yoga nidra involves an aimless and effortless relaxation it is often held to be best practiced with an experienced yoga teacher who verbally delivers instructions.Anandmurti Gurumaa taught two techniques based on creative visualization. Yoga Nidra as Yoga of Clear Light is proposed as a spiritual path (sadhana) in its own right, held to prepare and refine a seeker (sadhaka) spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically for consciousness and awareness. The yogi may work through the consequences of deeds (karma), cleansing the store consciousness and purifying the unconscious mind. The state may lead to realization (samadhi) and being-awareness-bliss (satchitananda). The yogi is held to be in communion with the divine. A tantrika engaged in this sadhana may become aware of past or future lives (refer bhumi) or experience the astral planes.

Scientific Evaluation

Experimental evidence of the existence of a fourth state of unified, transcendental consciousness, which lies in the Yoga nidra state at the transition between sensory and sleep consciousness, was first recorded at the Menninger Foundation in Kansas, United States in 1971. Under the direction of Dr. Elmer Green, researchers used an electroencephalograph to record the brainwave activity of an Indian yogi, Swami Rama, while he progressively relaxed his entire physical, mental and emotional structure through the practice of yoga Nidra. What they recorded was a revelation to the scientific community. The Swami demonstrated the capacity to enter the various states of consciousness at will, as evidenced by remarkable changes in the electrical activity of his brain. Upon relaxing himself in the laboratory, he first entered the Yoga nidra state, producing 70% alpha wave discharge for a predetermined 5 minute period, simply by imagining an empty blue sky with occasional drifting clouds.

Next, Swami Rama entered a state of dreaming sleep which was accompanied by slower theta waves for 75% of the subsequent 5 minute test period. This state, which he later described as being noisy and unpleasant, was attained by stilling the conscious mind and bringing forth the subconscious. In this state, he had the internal experience of desires, ambitions, memories and past images in archetypal form rising sequentially from the subconscious and unconscious with a rush, each archetype occupying his whole awareness.

Finally, the swami entered the state of (usually unconscious) deep sleep, as verified by the emergence of the characteristic pattern of slow rhythm delta waves. However, he remained perfectly aware throughout the entire experimental period. He later recalled the various events which had occurred in the laboratory during the experiment, including all the questions that one of the scientists had asked him during the period of deep delta wave sleep, while his body lay snoring quietly.

Such remarkable mastery over the fluctuating patterns of consciousness had not previously been demonstrated under strict laboratory conditions. The capacity to remain consciously aware while producing delta waves and experiencing deep sleep is one of the indications of the third state (prajna) out of the total of four states of consciousness described in the Mandukya Upanishad. This is the ultimate state of yoga Nidra in which there are no dreams, but only the deep sleep state with retained consciousness or awareness. The result is a single, semi-enlightened state of consciousness and a perfectly integrated and relaxed personality.

In 2006, Kamakhya Kumar was awarded a Ph.D. by Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (ex-president of India) for his work Psycho-physiological Changes as Related to Yoga Nidra. He observed six months of effects of yoga Nidra on some physiological, hematological and some psychological parameters on the practitioners and he found a significant change on above-mentioned parameters. One of the pieces of research published, was entitled “A study on the impact of stress and anxiety through yoga nidra” Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol. 7 No 3 (Published through NISCAIR).
Indian clinical psychologist Sachin Kumar Dwivedi (2009) found in his research that yoga nidra decreases levels of anxiety. S. Dwivedi, S. Awasthi and B.B. Pandey (2011) found in Yoga Nidra increased the a-eeg on a-eeg biofeedback, that it is an open secret that yoga nidra is a type of deep meditation. M. Nikhra and S.K. Dwivedi (2010) found in a study Yoga Nidra Reduces the Level of Stress.

► 7:00 PM: Organic Ayurvedic Dinner

► 9:30 PM: Lights Out

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