Importance of Guru

English dictionary describes a guru as a person to whom we go to seek counsel. Hinduism holds a much deeper meaning of the word guru. Guru means the one who removes the darkness of life and encourages a person to move forward towards enlightenment and a better life. In Sanskrit, ‘gu’ means darkness and ‘ru’ means elevation of darkness. Guru is the one who guides a person towards his higher good. According to Hindu mythology, it is a quote that says –“ if there are God and Guru standing in front of you, you first bow down to Guru and then God” because it is the Guru who showed you the way to God. Such is the place of guru in a social structure according to Hindu traditions.

The main goal of human in this life is to attain nirvana and get out of the bondage of birth and death. But the mind misleads us often and keeps us engaged in Maya – the illusion of life and things around us. Forgetting liberation from the shackles of birth and death – to attain supreme nirvana and emancipation from this world one should first find a suitable guru and follow him/her.

The Guru will be able to remove pitfalls and obstacles and lead you along the right path. He will tell you: “This road leads you to Nirvana (enlightenment) and that one leads to the bondage.” The aspirant who is under the guidance of guru will not ever lead astray life.

Guru possesses the knowledge of all the worldly and non-worldly things. He helps a human by removing obstacles in the path of their enlightenment. A guru is the most learned man with deep knowledge of ancient scripts and scriptures. The Guru-shishya tradition in India is the transfer of teachings from a guru to a “shishya” (disciple). In this tradition, all kind of knowledge – simple knowledge and advanced knowledge is conveyed and received through the student with respect, commitment, devotion, and obedience. The student eventually masters the knowledge that the guru embodies. Upanishads are said to be formed on such bases.

It doesn’t matter how old a person is or in what stage of life he is in, he needs to make a decision on a day to day bases and also make bigger and more important decisions in life. For that, a person needs to see things just the way they are without any judgment or assumptions. This is called clarity and it is one of the many things that a person learns while following a learned guru.

A real and authentic guru is happy with even just one disciple.It is a shame to say this but nowadays many people learn a few sacred chants and pretend to be guru wanting to have many followers as their sole aim is to earn as much money as they can. These are not authentic gurus. So, a person should be very careful before putting his whole trust into someone he calls a guru. If you want to find a guru for yourself, then find someone in whose presence you find peace and inspiration to walk on the right path. Find a guru who is free from any kind of negative trait and is always leading you on the path of positivity. Find one who encourages you to do good karma. Once you choose your guru, follow him implicitly. It is said that God will guide you through your guru.

One of the famous mantras which talk about the greatness of guru is by Adi Shankara who begins his “Gurustotram” (Verses to the Guru) with the following Sanskrit Sloka:
Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshwara. Guru Sakshath Parambrahma, Tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha
It translates that Guru is the creator, Brahma, Guru is the preserver, Vishnu, Guru is the destroyer, Shiva. Guru is directly the Supreme Spirit and I offer my salutations to Guru.

Know More About Pranayama

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The literal meaning of the word pranayama as suggested by Patanjali is –
cessation of breath i.e. ‘Prana’ + ‘Yama’. It can also be called as the
modification of inhales and exhales of the breathing. In simple language, we call
it breathing exercises.

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Different schools of yoga suggest different times to do pranayama. Some says
that it’s better before doing your regular yogic practice of asanas to open up the
channels of the body for a more effective practice while the others say that
pranayama should be done after the yoga asana practice so as to calm and
rejuvenate the mind. In any case, we will recommend you to do pranayama
according to your requirements.

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Pranayama is very effective in improving the physical and mental health of
human beings. Along with it, it also helps in spiritual growth. First, let’s talk
about the aspect of physical health – There are about 72000 channels in the
body and by doing pranayama, a person can regulate a good flow of energy in
them. It also makes sure that the flow of oxygen to heart and brain is maintained
in the right proportions. It cures the diseases like common cold (phlegm), tonsils
etc. Overall, for a good physical health it is advisable to continue the practice of
pranayama along with the yoga postures.

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For mental health, pranayama is
equally important. When the oxygen gets to the brain, it helps to relieve the
muscles in the brain and the body which helps to prevent stress and anxiety
symptoms. Along with it, mild pranayama helps to cure depression. Before
going for a vigorous pranayama practice, you should always consult your yoga teacher.

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It is said that no spiritual progress can be made without the pranayama. Many
people find it difficult to agree that how can physical exercise lead to the
spiritual growth (most of them who would rather make it a point to believe
scientific researches). However, there are many Yogic experts who have made a
point to justify the spiritual values of Pranayama.

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The first stage of spiritual progress is, of course, the purification of the body and that
happens through pranayama and yoga. The second stage is mental clutter
clearance. Pranayama makes the mind fresh, improves concentration and clears
the clutter from mind. Third stage comes after the first two stages and in this
stage purification of the soul takes place. Continuous use of pranayama balances
the flow of life forces in our body. It clears the Ida Nadi and Pingala Nadi which
run alongside the Sushumna Nadi or say the backbone.

Once these two nadi are balanced, it helps to awaken the sushumna nadi which leads to kundalini rising.
It is the ultimate spiritual growth. While the sushumna is rising, it passes through
the energy vortexes in the body called chakras. There are seven chakras in the
body namely as follows:

1. Muladhara Chakra: This Chakra is also called as Root Chakra. It relates to a
being with the ground. The qualities associated with this chakra are to
balance emotional and financial securities.
2. Swadhistana Chakra – This chakra is called as the Sacral Chakra. It
represents our relationship with other people in the physical world. The
second chakra is located below the belly button.
3. Manipura Chakra – This chakra is also called the Solar Plexus Chakra.
The element of this chakra is fire. This Chakra is related to the power of
change.
4. Anahata Chakra – This chakra is also called as Heart Chakra. It includes
the love for us and the love for others.
5. Vishuddha Chakra- This chakra is also known as the Throat Chakra. This
chakra is related to the words we choose to speak, the truth and clarity of
voice.
6. Ajna Chakra – This is also called as the Third Eye Chakra. This chakra
when activated opens you up to the senses beyond our 5 senses. It also
strengthens the intuitions.
7. Sahaswara Chakra- This chakra is known as the Crown Chakra. It is said
that our consciousness is located in this chakra.
So, all of these chakras are awakened when the sushumna nadi rises through
them. It is said that the individual power of every chakra is awakened when the
sushumna nadi passes through them and when it reaches the crown chakra, it leads to enlightenment.

How the consistency of yoga practice can help us in daily life

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Yoga: – The word yoga in itself is a representation of a complete lifestyle. With its roots in India, the ancient Indian sages discovered the techniques to live in a way that would be best for human beings. From living healthy to reaching enlightenment, yoga has it all. To study Yoga, Patanjali has the most extensive collection of resources that define and accurately describe the yogic way of life. Patanjali’s ‘Yoga Sutra’ is still a popular book among people who want to learn about yoga.yoga teacher training in dahramsala, Yogic lifestyle includes the meditation, the diet, the pranayama (breathing exercises), the mindfulness, the asanas (postures and poses) and many more aspects that when followed in day to day life can make life a better experience to live. We shall be mostly talking about the benefits of asanas and pranayama here and how the consistent practice of both can help us live a well-rejuvenated life.yoga teacher training in dharamsala Asanas are the postures that help to maintain the overall proper functioning of the body. Most of the ailments have a cure in yoga and that too without any side effect. The chronicle diseases like asthma, arthritis, diabetes, back pain, migraine, hypertension, indigestion, liver problem, depression, PCOs have the easy cures in yogic sciences.

According to studies, if you practice 30 minutes of yoga 3 times a week as a beginner it helps to boost the immunity of the body and keeps you active and fit. Along with it, following are few of the many benefits of practicing yoga every day.yoga teacher training in dharamsala,yoga teacher training in india Helps to rejuvenate the body- While working on asanas, the body moves in certain postures and that helps to refresh and rejuvenate the body.
• Helps to relax the mind- There are proven studies that yoga releases day to day anxiety and stress that people have from work and their surroundings. Yoga helps to become the mind calmer.
• Increases flexibility of the body- Sometimes, stiffness in body is the first stage of beginning of a disease. So, a regular practice of yoga keeps the person’s body flexible and the hormones in proper proportion.
• Massage of the internal organs – While doing the postures, the movement of the body is also helpful to move the internal organs. This provides sort of massage to the internal organs of the body. This is very crucial to keep liver, pancreas, and kidneys in a good health.
• Cures depression – With the movement of the body and the right breathing techniques, yoga can cure mental illnesses like depression, anxiety etc.
• Increases the core strength of body- We realize the importance of strength in day to day life when we have to do some hard and hectic work. At such times, the core strength is very important which can be developed by practicing yoga.
• Mindfulness – When you do yoga and focus your attention on breath and body, you become aware of what is going on with your body and mind. Regular yoga practice helps to increase the awareness and mindfulness of your surroundings too.
• Better blood and oxygen circulation in the body- With the right body movements, the flow of blood is regulated in the body. Along with it, the right type of breathing exercises regulates the flow of oxygen to the heart and body.
• Exercise of spine- Spine is the most important part of the body and it rarely gets any chance to move in a way that would keep it healthy. By doing yoga, the spinal cord gets the proper movement that it requires.
• Better concentration- During yoga, all the concentration is on the postures and this expands to work in our day to day life. With regular practice, we can increase the amount of time we spend on day to work.
• Connecting with our inner self- While doing yoga, we connect to our inner self by moving our attention from one body part to another.
• A healthy lifestyle- Yoga overall initiates a healthy way of living for a person. Someone who practices yoga will automatically start taking care of their health by in taking proper diet and including pranayama in their yoga practice.