A BRIEF ABOUT YOGA AND ITS BENEFITS

The word “YOGA” gets derived from the Sanskrit word Yuj, meaning “union”. It is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices or disciplines. The origin of yoga goes back to ancient India. It dates back to pre-Vedic Indian tradition. Its traces can be found in the record of the Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 BCE. The first mention of the word “yoga” was seen in the Katha Upanishads.


Yoga is an ancient practice that brings together the mind and the soul. Yoga consists of breathing exercises, meditation and poses designed to relax and reduce stress.

According to the traditional approach of yoga, its ultimate goal is to achieve “moksha” (liberation). The first Hindu teacher of yoga who actively advocated yoga in the western world was Swami Vivekanand. He travelled to Europe and the United States and encouraged people to learn about the benefits of yoga and practice it.

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Yoga largely consists of asanas connected by flowing sequences known as vinyasas, accompanied by breathing exercises of pranayama. It usually ends with a period of relaxation and meditation.


Yoga has proven to be very beneficial for the entire body. People who practice yoga daily have noticed an immense change in their body and their lifestyle. It also helps in delaying ageing if the body parts, keeps you healthy and keeps unnecessary diseases away
Some of the benefits of yoga are:

  1. Helps relax:

Yoga relaxes your body and decreases stress. Studies have shown that it decreases the secretion of cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress. A three-month yoga program can lower the levels of stress, anxiety and depression. It helps you slow down breathing and focus your shift on the present. Yoga shifts your balance from the sympathetic nervous system to parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is calming and restorative.


2. Improves flexibility:


Most people practice yoga to improve their flexibility and balance. If you practice yoga regularly, you will notice an increase in your flexibility. You’ll be able to bend your body more easily. You’ll also notice that the pains and aches in joints start to disappear. Your body becomes muscles become loose. This enhances your flexibility, balance and posture


3. Improves heart health:


Yoga helps lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the main reason behind heart attacks and stroke. It also helps slow the progression of heart diseases. Yoga lowers the resting heart rate, increases endurance and improve oxygen intake.


4. Improves sleep:


Practising yoga helps improve sleep quality. It relieves you from the hustle and chaos of life and sleeps soundly. You’ll be less tired, less stressed and less likely to have accidents. Studies have shown that yoga increases the secretion of melatonin. It is a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness.

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5. Promotes a healthy lifestyle:


It is advisable to move more and eat less. Yoga helps you do both. It helps you burn calories and the spiritual dimension helps you focus and become a conscious eater. It helps induce mindfulness which further helps in encouraging healthy eating behaviours.


6. Gives peace of mind:


With today’s lifestyle, many people suffer from stress. Stress can also cause many other health problems. Like migraines, insomnia, high blood pressure and heart attack. Yoga helps you quiet your mind. It will reduce your stress and also keep you safe from all the other diseases related to stress.

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There are several other benefits of yoga. It has both mental and physical benefits. Some of the benefits are scientifically proven but some are.
Some other benefits of yoga are:
Encourages self-care
Improves immune system
Reduces inflammation
Builds awareness for transformation.


Inculcating the habit of practising yoga for one hour daily can significantly change the way you live. You’ll be happier, less stressed and peaceful.
But don’t do more than your body can accept. You’ll improve slowly but don’t rush into learning everything in one go. It can be risky and cause injury. Your body will learn and adapt with time.

Ganymede – Largest Moon in Solar System

Jupiter has 79 moons, 53 named and 26 unnamed, still waiting for their official name. Among them is a moon named Ganymede, is the largest satellite in our Solar System. It has it’s own magnetic field. It has a diameter of 5,268 km which is larger than Mercury and Pluto, and slightly smaller than Mars. It would be easily classified as a planet if it were orbiting around the sun rather than jupiter.  It is the ninth-largest object in the Solar System. It orbits around the Jupiter at a distance of 1070400 km.

Ganymede was discovered by Galileo Galilei on January 7, 1610. The discovery, along with three other Jovian moons, was the first time a moon was discovered orbiting a planet other than Earth. Galileo called this moon Jupiter III. Its name was abandoned in mid-1800s and a new name was given as suggested by astronomer Simon Marius, after the mythological Ganymede, a Trojan prince desired by Zeus (the Greek counterpart of Jupiter), who carried him off to be the cupbearer of the gods.

Several spacecraft have flown by Jupiter and its moons. The first spacecraft explored Ganymede was Pioneer 10 in 1973 followed by Pioneer 11 in 1974. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 returned striking photos during their flybys. The Galileo spacecraft passed as low as 162 miles (261 km) over the surfaces of the Galilean moons and produced detailed images and discovered Ganymede’s underground ocean and magnetic field.

The next planned mission to the Jovian system is the European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE), due to launch in 2022 for arrival at Jupiter in 2030. While the mission will look at Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. Ganymede will be the focus and scientists will try to figure out more about its ocean and icy crust, map its surface in detail, learn about the interior, probe the atmosphere and study the magnetic field.

In February 2014, NASA and the United States Geological Survey unveiled the first detailed map of Ganymede in images and a video animation created using observations from NASA’s Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft, as well as the dedicated Jupiter-orbiting Galileo spacecraft.

Ganymede has three main layers. A sphere of metallic iron at the center (the core, which generates a magnetic field) above which is a spherical shell of rock (mantle) and then the spherical shell of mostly ice surrounding the rock shell and the core. According to scientists the ice shell on the outside is very thick, maybe 800 km (497 miles) thick. The surface is the very top of the ice shell. Though it is mostly ice, the ice shell might contain some rock mixed in. Scientists believe there must be a fair amount of rock in the ice near the surface. Ganymede’s magnetic field is embedded inside Jupiter’s massive magnetosphere.


40 percent of the surface of Ganymede is covered by highly dark cratered dark regions and the remaining 60 percent is covered by a light grooved terrain, which forms intricate patterns across Ganymede. The grooved terrain is probably formed by tensional faulting or the release of water from beneath the surface. Groove ridges as high as 700m and runs for thousands of kilometres across Ganymede’s surface. The grooves have relatively few craters and probably developed at the expense of the darker crust. The dark regions on Ganymede are old and rough and the dark cratered terrain is believed to be the original crust of the satellite. Lighter regions are young and smooth.The largest area on Ganymede is called Galileo Region.

Scientists believe that Ganymede has a saltwater ocean below its surface. In 2015, a study by the Hubble Space Telescope looked at Ganymede’s auroras and how they change between Ganymede’s and Jupiter’s magnetic fields. The “rocking” seen by the auroras gives evidence that the probable ocean underneath is salty, more salty than oceans of Earth, scientists said at the time.

Some scientists believe that life may start in Ganymede. However there is so high pressure at the base of the ocean that any water down there would turn to ice. This would make it difficult for any hot-water vents to bring nutrients into the ocean. Because of which scientists believe extraterrestrial life would occur. This would be so fascinating to know about extraterrestrial life if it would exist in our own Solar System.

FESTIVALS OF INDIA

INDIAN FESTIVALS:

Festivals fill our lives with colors and enthusiasm. India is a beautiful land of festivals and fairs. India celebrates the most number of cultural and religious festivals than any other country in the world. There are more festivals celebrated in India than anywhere else in the world. Various festivals are celebrated across India. From small villages to big cities celebrate festivals with great excitement and joyfulness. People visit each other’s houses to celebrate and offer the best wishes for the festivals. Special arrangements are made for the celebration of various festivals each year. Indians celebrate both religious and National festivals with great enthusiasm.

IMPORTANCE OF FESTIVALS:

Festivals are a great part of human life as they bring in a lot of happiness and break the monotonous schedule of our lives. Festival keeps the people united. Festivals are a wonderful way to express joy, culture, and heritage. Festivals also give a sense of enjoyment, joy, fun, relaxation, and offer the time needed to bond with family members.

SOME OF THE INDIAN FESTIVALS ARE:

There are various festivals celebrated in India. Some of the festivals celebrated in India are,

  • Holi:

                Holi is a Hindu spring festival celebrated in February or March. The Holi Festival is celebrated as a way to welcome in spring, and also is seen as a new beginning where people can release all their inhibitions and start fresh. During the Holi Festival, people dance through the streets and throw colored dye on each other.

  • Diwali:

                Diwali is a festival celebrated with Lights. It is held from October to November. Diwali marks the biggest celebration of the year. During Diwali, people wear their finest clothes, illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with Diya and rangoli, perform worship ceremonies of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth, light fireworks, and partake in family feasts, where mithai (sweets) and gifts are shared.

  • Dussehra:

                Dussehra is the tenth and final day of the Hindu festival of Navaratri, usually in October. Dussehra, also called Dasara or Vijayadashami, in Hinduism, holiday marking the triumph of Rama, an avatar of Vishnu, over the 10-headed demon king Ravana, who abducted Rama’s wife, Sita. Many people of the Hindu faith observe Dussehra through special prayer meetings and food offerings to the gods at home or in temples throughout India. They also hold outdoor fairs (mela) and large parades with effigies of Ravana (a mythical king of ancient Sri Lanka). The effigies are burnt on bonfires in the evening.

  • Eid al-Fitr:

                   Eid al-Fitr is the Muslim festival marking the end of the fast of Ramadan. Eid in Arabic means “feast, festival, holiday.” Eid al-Fitr features two to three days of celebrations that include special morning prayers. People greet each other with “Eid Mubarak,” meaning “Blessed Eid” and with formal embraces. Sweet dishes are prepared at home and gifts are given to children and those in need.

  • Christmas:

                    The day known as Christmas Day is celebrated on the 25th day of December. Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Some Christians start Christmas Day with a midnight service, called Midnight Mass. Christians often celebrate Christmas by giving and receiving presents and cards. This reminds them of the gift of Jesus, beginning his earthly life.

A huge asteroid and three small NEOs will shoot past Earth in early Jan, NASA warns

NASA has warned that a monstrous 220-meter asteroid is headed Earth’s way early in the new year.

Year 2020’s final asteroid, 2020 YB4, measuring just 36 metres in diameter or roughly half the wingspan of a 747,

passed by the Earth shortly after 6 am UTC at a distance of 6.1 million kilometres.

Keeping up with the trend, in the first days of January, three additional, small Near Earth Objects (NEOs) will grace

the Earth with their presence. 

The 15-metre asteroid 2019 YB4 will fly by at a safe distance of 6.4 million kilometres. It will be followed up by two

more chunks of cosmic debris in the form of the 15-meter 2020 YA1 and the 21-meter 2020 YP4, which will pass by at

1.5 and 2.1 million kilometers respectively, the next day.

A bigger asteroid will shoot past Earth on January 3, as the relatively mountainous 2003 AF23, measuring an

impressive 220m in diameter or about as wide as the Golden Gate Bridge is tall, at 6.9 million kilometers.  

How Did Education Help Women in India?

In India, women were not always allowed to read and write. But this changed when the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was launched. Now, women are learning, working and collaborating in all fields and making our nation proud.

What is Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan?

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) was launched by the former prime minister of India, Shree Atal Bihari Vajpayee which aimed at compulsory education of every child  between the ages of 6 – 14 years.This programme is also an attempt to provide an opportunity for improving human capabilities to all children through provision of community owned quality education in a mission mode. It started in 2002 and SSA has been operational since 2000-2001. However, its roots go back to 1993-1994, when the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) was launched, with an aim of achieving the objective of universal primary education. In 2018, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan along with Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan was launched to form Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan. This Abhiyan has also assisted all children, especially a girl child to realise her true potential.

Education’s role in a women’s life

The development rate of any country depends highly on the education of all its citizens. The education of both men and women is equally important as they are the two sides of a coin. We can never develop, if we think that women do not deserve a right to education. Due to education, reforms started in many girls and women’s lives. These reforms are described below.

Women started getting equal respect by everyone. Traditionally, the women’s work in a household was only limited to washing, cooking and taking care of the family. After education, women could participate in the financial discussion of the family, they could now give advice to all the family members. Because of this men of the family have started to consider them as their equals.

The stereotypes and prejudices related to women are slowly disappearing from our society. The tradition of sati has stopped completely because now women know that their life still has a meaning without their husbands. Dowry has also stopped in India. Women are no longer considered a weight on fathers shoulders. 

Women also became aware of the laws, rights and their duty towards the nation. They also raise their voice against many issues and fight for their rights. They learn about various schemes introduced by the government. They also participate in elections and generally win by a large percentage of votes. 

They no longer stay at home. Due to a good education, many companies and offices are willingly giving them jobs. They are becoming financially independent. Women do not depend on husbands to provide them. This also has helped to increase the overall income of a poor family. The country’s defence forces have also opened up for women and they have become the pride of the family by joining the defence forces. 

The woman who started it all – Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule was an Indian social reformer, educationalist, and poet from Maharashtra. She established the first women school in India and became the first woman teacher of our country. She is regarded as the mother of Indian feminism.

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She worked to abolish the discrimination and unfair treatment of people based on caste and gender. She is regarded as an important figure of the social reform movement in Maharashtra.  Savitribai’s birthdate, 3 January, is celebrated as Balika Din in the whole of Maharashtra, especially in Girl’s Schools. She is an inspiration for all the women of India.