YOGA FOR WOMAN Mother Sitadevi

Mother Sitadevi
Application of Yoga
Though fostered in an atmosphere of sex prejudice, Yoga with its
universal outlook refused admission to none. Yoga may therefore be
practiced both by males as well as females. The yoga authorities go so
far as to state that even a prostitute can attain the highest objective
of life by following the course of practical Yoga. Thus, Practical Yoga
removed the bar against women. Though the yogic authorities are clear on
this issue, many asramas and institutions expected to teach yoga, refuse
admission to females and married men. That this should have happened in
the twentieth century is really surprising!
Again, since Yoga claims to be a positive science, it is foregone
conclusion that its various methods and exercises are undoubtedly
equally useful to both man and woman. As such it makes no distinction
between either caste, creed, nationality or, above all, between the two
sexes. I have already observed that practical Yoga does not close its
doors to women.
But as there are certain constitutional differences, both physiological
and psychological, between man and woman, it is essential that
preference be given to those yogic practices which fulfill her special
requirements. There are certain yogic exercises which are more suited to
physical and mental needs of a woman than other practices. From my own
experience of the past eight years, I have been able to select and
formulate a graduated course of practical training which is applicable
particularly to the growing needs of the modern woman.
What I have already observed in my previous statements may be
re-emphasized with advantage for the purpose of guiding the fair sex in
their study of Yoga. It is this: that the physical and mental training
of the two sexes must differ radically in order to harmonize it with
their special needs, to perfect what is best in each, and thus to fit
each for its own future life and environment.
While the culture of Yoga recognizes no difference between the sexes, it
is essential, however, in the interest and progress of Yoga, that a new
scheme of physical training for women be evolved in the light of our
modern knowledge upon this subject. One thing is certain that the yogic
physical training for women must not follow slavishly the scheme planned
for men. What is best for men may not be the best for women just because
it is the same. Those with fair knowledge of the physiology and
psychology of the weaker sex may easily realize how impossible a yogic
physical course on the same lines for both sexes.
Its aspect must differ for a woman’s training should develop the
characteristics of beauty, growth, symmetry, poise, elasticity, besides
proper carriage and curves peculiar to her. If practical Yoga is to be
useful, it cannot with impunity ignore the psychological and
physiological differences between the boy and the girl and between man
and woman.
My experience is that the yogic exercises, since they are non-violent
and non-fatiguing are particularly suited to a woman and make her more
beautiful for real beauty is not confined merely to physical appearance
but in the perfect health symmetry both of the body and mind.
Need of Physical Education for Woman
Our body needs daily care, if good health is to be maintained. Modern
physical environments have made this doubly imperative for bodily
illness is becoming common while good health is rare. Over-activity and
inactivity are the two modern curses of civilization and, especially, in
countries with orthodox ideals, a woman gets the worst of it. Among the
poor, woman is overworked and needs more rest than exercise with better
facilities of sanitation, hygiene and other auxiliary means to healthful
living, while among the middle and well-to-do classes, usually the
educated-blessed with fair circumstances – she suffers from inactivity
and superfluity.
In all that concerns health, the modern educated woman labors under many
disadvantages. First, she is taught to value her education more than her
health. Secondly, with her progress in education she regards physical
work as degrading and believes that mental pursuits reflect refinement
and culture.
Thirdly, false notions of beauty and social etiquette make her more
unnatural and hypersensitive. Fourthly the strain of modern living adds
to the increasing demand on her nervous system. Thus, carelessness,
inactivity, restrain of emotions and natural calls added to nervous
irritation added to nervous irritation make good health virtually
impossible for her.
Advantages of the Yogic Exercises
Many women refrain from exercise because of the fear that they may
acquire bulky and muscular development. This again is erroneous because
of the fear that they may acquire bulky and rugged muscular development.
This again is erroneous because it is a well-known physiological fact
that there are fewer fatty globules in the tissues of a man than in a
woman, which offer her shape and symmetry by rounding into harmonious
curves every part of her body. Thus the fair sex does not develop like
that of the sterner sex.
But above all the yogic exercises differ fundamentally from the
hard-type muscular gymnastics. Through physical and mental poise, proper
carriage and movements of gentle stretching and exercising, the yogic
postures help to maintain normal elasticity of the muscles, uniformity
in circulation and thus to contributes to the health of all the
important internal organs and the nervous system. Yogic physical culture
keeps the body supple, slim, clean within and without. In short, yoga
beautifies the body by perfect symmetry and poise, besides promoting
physical well-being.

Published in the April 2010 edition of Yoga & Total Health Magazine.

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