In this section we examine practices through those expressions of spirituality that influence everyday life. Much of the discussion in Expressions of Faith revolves around Hindu culture, an important vehicle for nurturing and transmitting the Vedic Ideals.
The second section, Lifestyles, particularly examines Hindu lifestyles and their relationships to social phenomena.Daily Activities, SooryaNamaskar,Yoga,Meditation, Food
In addition to the normal activities associated with one's profession (varna dharma) and stage in life (shrama dharma), the daily routine of a devout Hindu is to perform pacha mah yagas (five daily duties) and pacha nitya karmas (five constant duties). These are the minimal practices which guide a person in everyday life and ensure peace, material and spiritual prosperity.
Worship God (Deva Yaga) in the form of a family deity (Ishta Devat) in the home shrine through prayers and meditations. This practice helps one to become God-conscious in all daily activities. Additionally, this practice arouses a sense of togetherness in the family, since the family members worship together and participate in the rituals, chants, singing, and study of scriptures. Tradition says that "a family that prays together stays together." Study Vedas and other scriptures (Brahma Yaga).
This practice refreshes one's mind with sacred knowledge and also helps to preserve and enrich such knowledge. Contemplate on the teachings of the sages, saints, holy men and women, and one's forefathers (Pitri Yaga). This practice is intended to serve as a reminder to preserve, enrich and continue one's cultural heritage and family values. Provide food for those who are in need (Bhuta Yaga).
This practice is intended to create the spirit of sharing with others. Serve guests with love, respect, and reverence (Nara Yaga). This practice is the basis for the traditional hospitality of Hindu households This is description on how to perform SooryaNamaskar (Surya Namaskar)
Standing errect, without a bend anywhere near knees or spinal cord, close your hands in Namaskar posture. Press the hands against each other tightly. The thumbs are together and are made to press into the chest.Widen the shoulders and the lower part of the hands are parallel to the ground. A Mantra is useful in achieving concentration. It is for the same reason, a mantra is uttered before a Sooryanamaskar.
Hands in a namaskar posture, wi th thumbs of hands essing hard into the chest . The lower part of the hands should be parallel to the earth. This is a good exercise to practice how to stand properly. The weight of the body is equally distributed to both the feet. The sagging stomach muscles are pulled in and supported by the upper body. Hence a good exercise for the stomach muscles.
In this section, we describe twelve basic yoga exercises (yogasanas). These yoga exercises do not benifit your body alone, but body and mind. A pictorial guide describing how to perform the yogasana along with the benifit are described. As part of your daily activities as a Hindu, you will benifit greatly if these exercises are added along with prayers and pujas.
1. Ardha-Matsyendrasan - ardha-matsyendrasan
Time: 2 minutes each side.
Method: Bend left knee, place left foot under right hip. Bend right knee, place right foot on left side of left knee.
Hold left knee or right foot with the left hand - keep right knee on the left of left arm.
Turn tunk to right, look back over right shoulder, right hand on ground or on waist as close to left thigh as possible.
Repeat with left knee bent and trunk turning to left.
Note: You may also hold hold hands through the gap below the raised knee.
Benefits: Increase the elasticity of the spine, and massage the abdomen and internal organs.
2. Basic Yogasanas
Ardha-Matsyendrasan, Sarvangasan, Halasan, Pavan-Muktasan, Matsyasan, Bhujangasan, Dhanurasan, Chakrasan, Bhadrasan, Mayurasan, Vajrasan, Paad Pashchimottanasan
Meditation provides the ability to silence the mind and experience the inner self. Meditation restores natural power to the mind just as charging restores power to a worn out battery. Meditation destroys worries, fear, and stress that people experience in the "cut-throat" competitive environment of modern societies. When the mind becomes quiet, the body becomes quiet too and knows how to repair itself.
The following simple technique may be used to meditate daily: Sit in a cross-legged pose on the floor or on a chair with feet flat on the ground. Keep the spine straight and fully relax the body and mind. Your overall feeling should be as if you are sitting on the beach of a calm ocean, on a starry cool night of the summer.
Close the eyes and gently focus attention at the center between the eyebrows (ajna chakra). Breathe normally (don't force breathing in any way) and say mentally R ( as in father) while inhaling and M ( as in father) while exhaling. Practice this meditation technique 20 to 30 minutes twice daily, in the mornings and evenings, before meals.
At the end of the meditation, with the eyes closed and attention focused at the center between the eyebrows, say the following prayer, as recommended by Paramahansa Yognanda "I will reason, I will create, I will do everything I set my mind to do, but Oh Lord, guide my creative abilities to do the right thing that I should do.
" Food Though there's so much variety in India when it comes to food, the Hindu philosophy of living has been - Simple Living & High Thinking. As part of the philosphy the food that is recommended is one that is good for the mind & body and just not about taste.