As we all know Yoga and Meditation were originally hailed from ancient India, but gradually transported to the entire world. Today's world plagued by daily stress, fatigue, and pollution, more and more people are seeking that elusive sense of relaxation and inward awarenes through Yoga and Meditation. But what is there that everybody is striving for?

Here are some reasons why more and more people are practicing Yoga:

  • Yoga relaxes the body and the mind. Even in the midst of stressful environments, Yoga helps control breathing and clears the mind of cluttered thoughts, leaving only deep physical and mental refreshment.
  • Yoga can help normalize body weight. For people who are either overweight or underweight, Yoga Exercises can help achieve the desired weight. The principles of balance and moderation in physical activity and diet under Yoga can also lead to a healthier lifestyle.
  • Yoga improves your resistance to disease. The postures and movements in Yoga massage the internal organs, enhancing blood circulation and functionality, thus, lessening the risk of illness.
  • Yoga increases your energy level and productivity. For as quick as 20 minutes, Yoga can replenish the mind and body with precious energy needed to respond to daily tasks and challenges.
  • Yoga leads to genuine inner contentment and self-actualization. Meditation -one of the aspects of Yoga- focuses the mind, taking it away from the distractions of the highly-materialistic world and leading it to genuine happiness.

1. Sit still. Simply sit quietly in a comfortable position. Don’t answer the phone or make a list of things to do. It’s hard to sit for 10 minutes, and you will appreciate how restless the mind can be.

2. Tune in. While sitting still, pay attention to the sensations in your immediate environment, such as feelings of hot or cold, and the hardness or softness of the surface on which you are sitting.

3. Just breathe. Don’t try to control your breath, just pay attention to it, and note the quality of the inhales and exhales.

4. Repeat a mantra. Come up with a favorite word, phrase, prayer, or poem to repeat softly to yourself several times.

5. Listen up. Listen carefully to the sounds around you, wherever you happen to be taking time for meditation and stillness.

6. Send love. While sitting quietly in a meditation, think of someone who could benefit from a little extra TLC and send good thoughts to that person.

RETIRED high school teacher Hassan Ali, 63, of Lautoka (Fiji) has mastered the age-old vedic technique of Transcendental Meditation which has proven to be a unique method of creating a better person and society at large. ‘TM’, as it is commonly described by its Western followers was introduced to the world by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of India and a total of 600 scientific researches have since been carried out in 200 universities and research institutions around 32 countries to prove its authenticity. Maharishi Mahesh opened the gateway of enlightenment to millions of people and his influence is now bringing the untapped knowledge of Natural Law to the field of health to create a disease-free society.

SHALENDRA PRASAD of Fiji Daily Post west office talks to Master Hassan about TM and its benefits.

Full interview

IN THIS fast paced 24/7 lifestyle, most of us do not have time and are living under stress. Overweight, stress, and other related problems are resulting to cause major diseases. You might have not had the time to think about better life. This is particularly true for all those business executives who travel a lot, with little or no time for regular exercise. As a result of physical stress-demanding jobs and time constraints, there is an increase in lifestyle-induced illnesses. Millions of people are unwell, suffering from overstress, which has become a part of our lives. We all are are searching for solutions.

In order to perform to the maximum level, it is time now to revisit your daily schedule and adopt a scientifically sound, safe, and effective life-style change to say hello to a fitter you. It is often difficult to find a way to squeeze time for exercise in your busy schedule. However, coming to know that some of the most successful businessmen exercise regularly, might motivate you to find a way to work it into your routine. In order to manage your time, start early. This part of your morning routine has your greatest control over it. Therefore, get up 30 minutes earlier than your daily schedule.

Having set your goal, without any ’ifs’ and ’buts’, you must now allot a realistic time schedule to achieve successful lifestyle modifications in order to achieve healthful living through diet and exercise. You might have tried several times to lose weight, as it is not that simple to melt off extra pounds. In order to lose weight, you need to be resolute and jot down a personal action plan. Today, more and more people are turning to the practice of meditation and yoga to improve their physical and mental health.

You must also encourage your spouse to be involved in adapting new concepts and ideas by drawing a calorie-based menu card, making sure that you eat well and walk more. Eat small meals throughout the day that include a variety of healthy, low-fat, low-calorie foods.

There are many deeply spiritual, sacred meditation techniques that can help us sharpen our intellect. Our thoughts have enormous powers. Meditation opens the door to infinite reservoir of energy, creativity, and intelligence. All you need is absolute trust. When you live with such trust and surrender your mind, body, and senses to the entity you trust in, you are automatically enlightened.

Look ahead to greater awareness and start controlling your mind through meditation, bringing an overall change in your personality. Take a new plunge in life at whatever age you are now. As you go through these simple steps, you will have better appreciation of spiritualism, selflessness, humility, courage, faithfulness, and love for your country. Meditation is a focusing of mind on your beloved deity, creating the cessation of all thoughts. One meditates with one’s eyes closed. The person meditating, produces a meditation sound in his thoughts. This is to be done with ease and compassion and without strain. Thoughts, impressions, experiences, images, bodily sensations, and feelings come and go spontaneously and influence the repetition of the meditation sound.

Sit quietly in open with back upright, hands at your sides or in your lap and concentrate on the rhythm of your breath. Play some smooth music in the background, which will create a serene atmosphere. Keeping your eyes closed, follow your breath. It is beneficial to chant the mantra, OM aloud and repeat the same several times. As you inhale and exhale, keep a track on the movement of your breath and recite some sacred hymns or Hanuman Chalisa. Even recital of mantras of your favourite deity will be beneficial. This will calm your mind and make you fit for meditation. There are some great audio CD’s of Gayatri Mantra and other sacred hymns of Durga, Shiva and Ganesh that bring spiritual benefits and develop a new kind of vibration and energy in you. Relax and pray for two-to-five minutes, focusing, maintaining natural breathing, and a light smile on your lips. Imagine that you are sitting with your beloved deity, seeking blessings for a happier beginning of the day. This way, keep your prayers in your heart, leaving all your worries on the Almighty.

Meditation improves concentration, memory, will-power, tolerance, inner peace, and whole body well-being. India’s popular guru, Swami Ramdev with his unique yoga mix for health and well-being is presently holding long duration camps in USA and Canada.

Pranayama and Yogic breathing:
It is time now to change your lifestyle, adopting yoga to live more amply, accomplishing more, with more joy and less stress. Yoga strengthens your body and mind providing mental peace and physical power, help you generate untapped energy within you to fight disease and live a healthier life. Since yoga is a healing practice, it is safe to accept it as a health care system. Once you begin a dedicated practice, a curious thing happens - you start realizing yourself to be growing flexible and strong.

While a regular meditation practice provides you to reduce stress, sharpen your perception, and gives you power to enhance your creative expression, practising pranayama reduces stress, induces a peaceful state of mind, and improves overall health. There are a number of DVD’s featuring complete solution for various ailments.

Pranayama, as taught by Swami RamDevji Maharaj consists of the following four breathing exercises in sequence:
Kapal Bhati Pranayama
Anulom Vilom Pranayama
Bhramri Pranayama
Udeeth Pranayama

These exercises are excellent for the nervous system, lungs, heart, and are extremely useful for digestion, alleviates backache, keep the mind stable and relaxed. The tendency of development of allergies while travelling shall also decrease. In the day-to-day context, it is important to follow simple yogic exercises, leading you to a purpose of living. This way, sustained practice would be pulling you away from the outer world of commotion and reconnect you to your inner strengths.

Regular and systematic practice of pranayama will bring a glow on your face with a peculiar shine in your eyes. Your voice will become sweet and melodious.

Next thing that you will have to control is your diet. For leading a healthy life, the lifestyle can only be changed if you also try to control your diet.
By taking simple yogic exercises you can shed the extra pounds without much struggle. Change your diet, avoiding excessive alcohol and fatty food. Avoid fried and junk food. Bring your cholesterol level within the prescribed limits. Consume a protein-rich diet, supplemented by lots of green leafy vegetables. Regulate your weight as per the recommended standards. Continue to take your normal medicines as prescribed by your physician till your next check-up. You’ll find that the half-hour of meditation, Pranayama practice relaxes you, heighten mental abilities, and removes those dreaded diseases much before their surfacing. Renew your energy and be full of super-charged confidence and motivation. Change your lifestyle and live longer.

A novel research by Dr R Chattha of the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana in Bangalore indicates that yoga can lower hot flashes and night sweats among women going through menopause. It also meets the eye that it may sharpen mental function.
For the study, researchers affixed 120 menopausal women between 40 to 55 years old to practice yoga or regular stretching and strengthening exercises, five days a week for eight weeks. The exercises did not have any particular pattern. This enabled scientists to examine if yoga would really aid in physical and cognitive symptoms of menopause.
The researchers remarked, “The postures, breathing and meditation included in the yoga intervention were aimed at one common effect, i.e. to develop mastery over modifications of the mind… through slowing down the rate of flow of thoughts in the mind.”
They further commented, “The present study shows the superiority of yoga over physical activity in improving the cognitive functions that could be attributed to emphasis on correctness in breathing, synchronizing breathing with body movements, relaxation and mindful rest.”
The subjects were divided in two groups mainly a yoga group and a control group. Participants of the former group listened to lectures on the benefits of yoga in managing stress in addition to other yoga related topics. Those in the latter group on the other hand were given lectures on the physiology of menopause, exercise, stress and diet.
After a follow-up of eight weeks, the researchers discovered there was an eminent decrease in hot flashes, night sweats and sleep disturbances among the women in the yoga group. These changes were not observed in the control group. Additionally, both groups in an analysis of attention and concentration showed certain improvements. In the yoga group however, the improvement was much greater. Women in the yoga group refined in eight out of 10 components in a test of memory and intelligence in comparison to women in the control group who showed an improvement on only six.
With research to support it, yoga may be a great solution to soothe those frequent menopause symptoms. So what are you waiting for? Get going and practice some yoga.

Anyone embarking on the journey of yoga will face a series of obstacles, difficulties and detours. You will need to remove all of the following difficulties, noticed by yoga practitioners for a long time, in order to be able to fully benefit from the positive aspects of yoga. Here is a quick look at the nine major obstacles:
1. Vyadhi – This obstacle refers to physical or mental illness. Practicing yoga si even more difficult when you are not in great health. A balanced, healthy life style ensures victory on this obstacle, by preventing any form of sickness.
2. Styana – The second major difficulty related to yoga refers to an advanced state of apathy, which interferes with you willingness to commit to your responsibilities. We neglect and avoid practice by procrastinating and this, in turn, leads to coming up with excuses for not doing our work.
3. Sanshaya – One other major interference in the practice of yoga is related to the issue of doubting the benefits of practicing it. This problem also arises when faith in your own capabilities is low. This leads to a deviation from the original goals, making you more susceptible to outside interference.
4. Pramada – When lack of persistence and will is notices, the 4th yoga obstacle comes in place. Yoga requires a unique approach, as it is a combination of arts and sciences. If you practice yoga without the proper emotional and mental states, you may turn its positive aspects into negative ones.
5. Alasya – A lazy and inert state of mind and body will prevent you from receiving yoga’s full benefits. Most people have a hard time dealing with their own will power, creating the perfect conditions for this obstacle to appear. The road to success is hard most of the times and a strong will power can support your ascent. A passive approach, on the other hand, will almost certainly lead to a slow and ineffective advance.
6. Avirati – Physical objects hold a magnetic attraction to the majority of people. Yoga needs you to let go of these ropes that tie you to the material world and make progress in the realm of the spirit. Removing the weight of physical things is vital while practicing yoga.
7. Bhrantidarshan – Misunderstanding the path you are taking while practicing yoga can lead to disappointment. Avoid this by keeping your hopes in good contact with reality.
8. Alabdha-bhumikatva – We are often victims of our own discouragement. When a failure occurs we fall into a state of self-depreciation and low optimism levels. Failing to reach a step on your road to achieving your ideal can lead to aggravated forms of this obstacle.
9. Anawasthitatwa – Poor yoga practice may also lead to the incapability to reach and hold a higher level of consciousness. This can be frustrating and result in disappointment.Overcoming these obstacles is possible by helping your mind to focus on single elements a one time. Do not allow any of these obstacles to increase in power, as the others will soon follow. The passing of time and a strong will and commitment is usually very effective in dealing with the 9 yoga obstacles.

One of the worlds greatest Meditators, says Governments can’t eradicate poverty from the Earth. Neither can they bring peace. “To resolve problems through negotiation is a very childish approach,”
A few hundred meditators on either side of a conflict is all that’s needed to create an aura of peace. “We create world consciousness and coherence. Therefore, fighting will stop all over,” “Don’t fight darkness. Bring the light of Meditation, and darkness will disappear.”

• Eliminate poverty? End war and create world peace? The unifying field that Albert Einstein sought has been within us all the time, in the “unbounded consciousness” of the mind. “There is one unity, unified wholeness, total unified consciousness,”

• Tear down major structures and cities — the White House and the United Nations among them - Heal the energies and rebuild them according to energetic architectural plans that harmonize construction with nature.

• Send meditation groups to world hot spots as psychic shock troops whose combined positive energy will dispel negativity, reduce crime, ease conflict and promote world peace.

• Buy billions of acres in 100 developing countries for labor-intensive farming, providing employment and income for the world’s poorest people by feeding the First-World market for organic food.

Meditation is a 20-minute twice daily routine in which the meditator silently focuses on a sound, or mantra, to induce relaxation and “Dive Into A State Of Pure Consciousness And Tap Into The Deepest Resources Of The Brain And Intelligence.” With Meditation “Anger, Stress, Tension, Depression, Sorrow, Hate, Fear — these things start to retreat,” said American movie director David Lynch of “Twin Peaks” renown, who has practiced Meditation for 32 years. And for a filmmaker, having this negativity lift away is money in the bank. When you’re suffering you can’t create.

Most scientists agree Meditation can ease stress, high blood pressure, pain and insomnia. Meditation has gained legitimacy. The National Institutes of Health has had a Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine since 1998 to research these practices.

There are now over 600 published Scientific Studies on the Benefits of Meditation.
Here is the Recent News on Meditation.

Study: Meditation may boost brain activity
Regular meditation has been touted as a stress reducer for years, but a recent study says practitioners benefit from a brain boost as well.

Meditation embraced Meditation is being embraced within medical circles as a powerful healing tool.

Scientists to check Nepal Buddha boy
Scientists in Nepal are to examine a meditating teenager who is said to take no food or liquid

Director aims to boost meditation
Director David Lynch wants $7bn (£3.98bn) to introduce meditation to US schools in a bid for world peace.

Meditation to tackle depression
Psychologists appeal for volunteers to take part in a study using practices to prevent suicidal depression.

Meditation ‘brain training’ clues
Meditating monks are giving clues about how the brain’s basic responses can be overridden, researchers say.

Buddhists can move to centre
Claims that a new Buddhist meditation centre would be too ‘noisy’ for local residents is rejected by councilors.

School pupils learn to meditate
Pupils whose school burnt down have found a new home at a therapy centre which specializes in meditation.

Vicar opens Indian-style retreat
A clergyman opens a multi-faith retreat encouraging people of different religions to meet and meditate.

Seaside town greets Buddhist nun
A Westen Buddhist nun relocates to north Wales to begin meditation classes at a Colwyn Bay centre.

Buddhist’s battle to meditate
A Buddhist is forced to apply for planning consent to practice meditating in his own wood.

Meditation for ‘Christmas rage’
Buddhists offer shoppers an oasis of tranquility at the BBC Big Screen to calm those Christmas nerves.

Buddhist monk helps rugby club
A Buddhist monk is drafted in to teach Caerphilly rugby club how to improve their game through the art of meditation.

Helping patients to relax
Kidney patients are being given a new way of relaxing before their treatment - meditation CDs.

Meditating on a cinema first
A new venture offers groups of people the chance to meditate in the darkened comfort of the multiplex.

Meditation lessons for pupils
A Buddhist charity offers meditation lessons to high school pupils in Cardiff in a move to help them de-stress.

Meditation ‘good for brain’
Scientists say they have found evidence that meditation has a biological effect on the brain and immune system.

Caveman meditates to survive
A man who was picked to live like a hermit in a Staffordshire cave survives by meditating.

Thai prisoners reform through meditation
Thai authorities plan to expand a meditation course for prison inmates, after participants in a trial programme responded so positively.

India’s meditative model jail
Delhi’s Tihar jail, where staff and inmates have taken an holistic approach to reform and rehabilitation.

Meditate your way to success
Teachers are searching for ways to tackle classroom discipline. One experiment in California is having significant results.

Meditation mapped in monks
Snapshots of monks’ brains provide clues as to what goes on inside the head during meditation.

Pupils meditate before lessons
Schools in Portsmouth are hoping meditation sessions will help reduce bad behaviour in the classroom.

Yoga ‘can help asthmatics’
A type of meditation based on yoga may ease asthma

Harrison fans unite in meditation
Fans, friends and family of George Harrison take part in a minute’s meditation as a mark of respect to the former Beatle.

Innerspace meets cyberspace
Researchers say virtual reality meditation could deliver inner peace more effectively than the traditional yoga mat.

Meditating against pain
A stress reduction specialist is setting out to teach hospital patients to deal with cancer, HIV and depression.

Prisoners benefit from meditation
A form of meditation is being successfully used to improve the behaviour and well-being of prison inmates, says a study.

Another Chinese spiritual group ‘faces suppression’
A Hong Kong-based human rights group says the Chinese government is about to launch a campaign to suppress another another spiritual and meditation group similar to the Falungong movement.

China’s perplexing crackdown
Beijing correspondent Duncan Hewitt wonders why the Falun Gong meditation movement is seen by the authorities as such a grave threat to society.

Chief Minister wants more yoga
The chief minister in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Chandra Babu Naidu, has asked his ministers and officials to adopt yoga and meditation to improve performance and reduce stress.

China raps US in sect row
Beijing has told the United States to stay out of its affairs after China was criticised for planning to prosecute leading members of the meditation sect Falun Gong.

Beijing justifies sect clampdown
Chinese leaders say the recent crackdown on the Falun Gong meditation sect was vital to maintain social stability.

Meditation lowers blood pressure
Transcendental meditation may be one way to keep the heart healthy, say researchers who have discovered how it keeps blood pressure low.

‘Meditation could end Kosovo conflict’
The Natural Law Party in Wales has unveiled its campaign for the assembly elections by saying meditation could end the Kosovan conflict as well as problems of health and poverty in Wales.