What are the health benefits of meditation and yoga? How do they help in relieving stress in today’s world? Chat with Expert on meditation and yoga, Swami Ram Swarup, conducted at at 12 pm (IST) on February 10, 2004

Swami Ram Swarup
Spiritual Guru
“Yoga philosophy is always learnt personally”


ravi> Which asanas do you recommend we do before doing meditation and for how long?

Swami Ram Swarup> Every asan must be done at least thrice within one minute or more, and sequence is Vajrasan, Pashimotaan asan, Halasan, Gauasan, Uttanpaadasan, Padmasan and then Siddhasan – these are are 8 asans. Before Padmasan or Siddhasan, if anyone can do, include Bhramcharyasan, Sarpasan, and Halasan – otherwise eight are enough. And meditation must be on first Siddhasan, or Padmasan, but Siddhasan is the best.

Love> How can we help our neck pains through yoga?
Swami Ram Swarup> Pranayaam must be done on Siddhasan or Padmasan. Otherwise, for pranayaam, padmasan is the best. Because one time yogi takes jump while doing pranayaam, but yogi will leave the earth for taking jump in padmasan only.

Shalinisethi> I am suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and I am completely pain free, I do yoga on and off, but the real help came from medicines. I have never seen anyone completely cured by yoga. What do you say to that?
Swami Ram Swarup> Sarpasan, Halasan and Tiddiasan, will help you. And Yog Mudra, including exercise by turning neck right to left, and left to right, front and back, if possible. But it must be learnt in presence of spiritual master.

Lalaisa> I was wondering well I don’t do much yoga etc and what would be the simplest forms just to get started…just through meditating…I find my back starts hurting easily…also i had a question for a elderly friend who has arthritis and is overweight what do you think is best to do.
Swami Ram Swarup> Yoga philosophy is always learnt personally but you can start first some asans and try to go to a spiritual master to learn. Yoga means samadhi and it is the eighth stage of ashtang yoga. Yoga realises God, that is why it is called samadhi. And we start yoga, right from beginning, that is yam, niyam, asan, pranayaam, pratyahaar, dharanaa, dhyaan, and at last, samadhi, then achieving this stage of samadhi, the eighth position, we automatically become free from bodily, mentally diseases and illusion. So yoga is not called asan, pranyaam or meditation, and even real yoga is not only meant for getting off from any kind of disease. But yoga philosophy mentioned in the Vedas is meant for getting salvation, that is samadhi (yoga).

Ganesh> I am 74 years old, Which are the asanas that you suggest for me? I have undergone by-pass surgery two years back
Swami Ram Swarup> Vajrasan, Bhujangasan, Siddhasan, Uttanpaadasan, Pashimotaanasan and especially Gaumukh asan are especially beneficial for you, if the interval of the surgery is above 6 months. Pranayaam will also suit you, starting from lom and vilom kriya. Please learn it personally. If possible, you must also do havan from gayatri mantra, daily, which purify the atmosphere, even of your inside, using the wood of mango tree only because mango tree has antibiotic meditation in it.

Shalinisethi> How often and how long should one do yoga in rheumatoid arthritis?
Swami Ram Swarup> Yoga, in the shape of asan, pranyaam, etc. must be of one hour minimum duration, both times with light physical exercise and daily walk must be done. It can be extended for another one hour, if possible, which will give you extra benefit.

Monikagaur> How can yoga help me to come out from depression?
Swami Ram Swarup> Depression is due to over-thinking mostly and weakness, etc. Yoga concentrates our thinking on one point. Yoga means Samadhi that is realisation of God. Yoga is not called asan, pranyaam, or meditation. These are actually part of yoga. So when we start yoga practice, from yam, niyam, and reach the eighth stage, then we find our body totally purified, and duly concentrated our mind, where, then God realises in our heart. So, yoga when concentrate our all mind, so automatically depression is out. Yoga gives us mental and physical strength, because yoga philosophy teaches us about maintaining our character by bhramcharya, purification, non-violence, to maintain truth, not to take burden about unwanted materialistic articles, satisfaction at all level, tapasya – means to hear vedic preach, yajna, donation etc. to a right path – so these are the basic principles of starting yoga, which are called yam, niyama. Then we reach to asan and pranyaam, pratyahaar and dharna, and then meditation – the seventh stage. So full yoga must be learnt, starting from yam and niyama. Atharveda says that if a rat cuts your clothes and takes the cut-piece, and similarly you take the cut-piece of the knowledge of the Vedas or yoga, so this is a great sin. If your shirt is cut off by a rat, then it is useless. So if the yoga philosophy is cut off, then it is made useless. It must not be made professional. It is spiritual, and a great yogi, who knows full Vedas, or full yoga, is only authenticated to preach the yoga philosophy, as said in Atharveda mantra – Atharvan pitaram, that is mantra number 7/2/1.

Lalaisa> Also, I was wondering do you think its best to do yoga such as cardio yoga outside your home or is it best to do yoga inside your home?
Swami Ram Swarup> Outside the home is the best because you will get there fresh air. And the timing of the yoga is in early morning and evening too. Because your lungs require fresh air in the open air atmosphere. But if you have good room where fresh air is coming then it may serve you also. Otherwise, the best place is outside the home. The 3/4 path of life was being used by our forefathers in the jungle in the shape of bhramcharya, vaanprasath, and sanyaas ashram and only 1/4 of their life they used for family life in city only. That’s why they got the long ill-free life of more than 300 years say Valmiki Ramayan and Mahabharat and Yajurveda mantra 3/62 – Trayusham jamadagne pashya… Therefore open air is the best for doing yoga practice.

Signoff Message> To be strong again, and to be called World Guru and Golden Bird again, we will have to follow the Vedic philosophy, which is eternal, again as followed in the previous three periods, that is satyug, treta and dwapar. The old and youth, everybody must come forward, then again our India will generate the warrior like Bhisma, Yudhisthar, Arjun and Abhimanyu and knowledge’s like Vyas Muni, Kapil Muni, Guru Vashist, Pantanjali Rishi, Atri Rishi, Agast Rishi, Balbhramcharini Gargi (who was the Guru of King Janak and she did the Shastrath with Rishi Yagvalk even) – the philosopher of Vedas and Yoga, who are not taking birth nowadays in the absence of eternal knowledge of four Vedas. The yoga is also being preached in a cut form, and a short-cut form, which is a sin. It must not be made professional. We must make our country strong, and we must make our future bright by following again the path of eternal Vedic philosophy. Unfortunately most of the present Guru are telling people that everybody must make Guru. Giving the example of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna, who did Guru but their Guru knew full Vedas and Yoga but present Gurus do not. Then why they are giving the Rishis’ example? Why they are encashing their name baselessly?