The Great Himalayan Yoga

Worldwide, a large number of people practise yoga. But not everyone can pull it off in the most extreme temperatures. Only ‘Yogis’ who engage in yogic sadhana are immune to any weather conditions

As the video of the Yogi, seated in Padmasana, immersed in deep meditation in the snow-clad mountains of Himachal Pradesh, went viral, it astonished many. Is it really possible? They wondered.

Some even went to the extent of saying that it was an AI-generated video, which eventually proved wrong.

The man in the video was side-tidied as Satyendra Nath, also known as Ishputra, who is seen practicing yoga in Seraj Valley in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.

The right attitude for the Himalayan altitude

Varun Vashisthaa, co-founder and CEO of Doc0Sage ((AI)-powered health platform), says, “Meditation in the snow encapsulates a peaceful and highly aware practice that is considered powerful due to its unique setting. Snow offers stillness with its blanket of silence, purity and clarity with its pristine white look, and the presence of crisp air, allowing practitioners to be present in the moment, increase awareness of sensations, thoughts, and emotions, and create inner resilience. Ishanath, the guru of Mahayogi Satyendra Nath, practiced the Himalayan ‘Siddha’. As a result, he was given the nickname Ishaputra (after his guru) and became well-known as the Himalayan yogi,” says Varun. As a fellow yogi, who has harnessed the power of practice for healing and personal transformation, he is deeply inspired by Ishputra’s meditation. “Meditating in snow is done using an ancient method known as Shwet Meru Kalpa, which allows a yogi discover stillness on the top of a mountain or in the snow. One needs to work on awakening his/her kundalini energy employing years of Sadhna and harnessing the attributes of snow such as purity, tranquilly, mindfulness, and transformation,” says Varun.

Ishputra’s practice serves as a beacon, reminding us that yoga is more than postures; it’s a transformative journey accessible to all, regardless of location or circumstance.

Years of rigorous practice

Yoga isn’t just about physical prowess; it’s about cultivating inner resilience and peace. Kamal Maliramani, Energizer Yoga, says many such Siddhis are listed in the third chapter of the “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,” and all these possibilities can manifest in the last three stages of the eight stages of the yoga journey listed in the Yoga Sutras. There are eight stages in yoga in which the last three stages are Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.

“These three stages are all about meditation. The first five stages are the foundation for the final three to happen. Many such stories of siddhas are also referred to in the book Autobiography of a Yogi, where a Yogi can appear at the same time in one or more places: Yogis who have conquered sleep, Yogis who survive only on sunlight, and many more,” explains Kamal.

“It certainly involves years of rigorous practice and belief. However, one should not get attached to any of these siddhis but let go of them and move towards samadhi,” feels Kamal.

More than postures

What does it take to practice yoga in mind-numbing temperatures?

“Practicing yoga in such challenging conditions demands not only physical strength but also inner focus and resilience,” says Rina Hindocha, a certified yoga expert, who says she resonated deeply with the viral video. As a yoga practitioner and trainer, she says nature’s serene beauty, especially amidst snow-capped peaks, provides an ideal backdrop for connecting with one’s inner self through yoga and meditation. “When I first explored yoga amidst nature, I was humbled by its transformative power. The crisp mountain air, the sound of snow crunching beneath my feet, and the breathtaking vistas elevated my practice,” she says.


Incorporating pranayama, or breath control techniques, becomes crucial in such environments. “The cold, thin air can challenge breathing, but pranayama helps regulate it, ensuring a steady flow of oxygen to the body and mind,” smiles the yoga expert.

Personally, Rina says she found pranayama like Anulom Vilom (alternate nostril breathing) and Kapalbhati (skull-shining breath) incredibly effective in maintaining vitality and focus, even amidst the harshest conditions. “Moreover, amidst such pristine surroundings, meditation takes on a new depth. Delving into meditation amidst snowfall or the crisp mountain air effortlessly transcends worldly concerns, fostering a profound sense of inner peace and unity with the universe,” she says.

Here are two detailed pranayama techniques that can help stay resilient in extremely chilly weather conditions in snow-capped mountains.

Kapalabhati Pranayama (Skull Shining Breath):

• Sit comfortably with a straight spine, cross-legged or in a chair.

• Take a deep inhalation via your nose, expanding your abdomen.

• Exhale forcefully through your nose, squeezing your abdominal muscles.

• Inhale passively, and exhale actively and forcefully. • Begin at a gentle pace and progressively increase it, aiming for 60-120 breaths per minute.

• Begin by practicing for 1-3 minutes, gradually increasing the duration as your stamina improves.

Kapalabhati boosts metabolic rate, creates heat within the body, and improves lung capacity, all of which serve to keep the body warm during cold weather.

Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows Breath):

• Sit comfortably, with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed.

• Take a deep intake through your nose to fill your lungs with air.

• Forcefully exhale via your nose while clenching your abdomen.

• After exhaling, inhale forcefully to extend your abdomen.

• Maintain the rhythmic breathing pattern, alternating between powerful inhales and exhales.

• Begin at a gentle pace and progressively increase it, aiming for roughly 30 breaths/minute.

• Begin by practicing for 1-3 minutes, gradually increasing the time as you gain confidence.

• Bhastrika pranayama improves circulation, energises the body, and generates internal heat, making it ideal for remaining warm in cold weather.

pranayama serves as a powerful tool, not only for yogis but also for mountain climbers, helping them stay strong and centred in chilly weather.” — Rina hindocha, a certified yoga expert

Yoga decreases sympathetic tone (which is for fright and flight) as well as increases parasympathetic tone, which calms us down. It controls heart rate variability and blood pressure and eventually decreases the oxygen and nutrient demands of the system. So are the principles of a lot of current scientific procedures like transplant, cryo, and thawing.” — Dr. Jagadeesh Kumar V, Sr Consultant Physician, KIMS Hospitals

yoga isn’t just about physical prowess; it’s about cultivating inner resilience and peace. Ishputra’s practice embodies this beautifully, and I hope it inspires others to explore the transformative potential of yoga in their own lives.” — Varun Vashisthaa, yoga expert and co-founder and CEO of Doc0Sage ((AI)-powered health platform)

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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