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24 April, 2014

In Indian Culture Why do we do Rangoli?

In Indian Culture
Why do we do Rangoli? - Ushering in Auspiciousness

       Traditionally done by woman on the forecourt of a house, courtyard, in the corner of a room, or before the image of a deity, Rangoli is a colourful pattern of lines, flowers and sacred motifs prevalent in Indian tradition.  It is the Indian way of ushering in auspiciousness  signifying an attitude of welcome to a house.  It is a symbol of purifying and sanctifying the place of one's living, warding off all evil influences.  Rangoli is also used to indicate that the lady of the house is ready to receive visitors.

Rangoli - Different Name in different provinces of India

       Rangoli has different names in different provinces of India such as Chowkpurna or Purna in Uttar Pradesh, Alikhthap in Kumaon, Mandana in Rajasthan, Aripan in Bihar, Alpana in Bengal, Rangavallie in Maharashtra, Kolam in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Muggu in Andhra Pradesh and Saathiya in Gujarat.

      In many places it is a daily morning practice to draw a Rangoli, while in some it is mostly done on social gatherings, religious events or festivals.  It is considered a part of the 'spirit of festivity' (utsav-dharmita), adding a sense of celebration and refinement to life.

How Rangoli patterns are created?

       The patterns are created using the rice powder, coloured rice, dry flour, coloured sand, sindoor (vermilion), haldi (turmeric) or flower petals.  Chalk powder, stone powder or chemical colours are modern variations of the material used for Rangoli.

Rangoli Designs

       Rangoli designs are done using simple geometrical shapes, outlines of the form or symbol of a deity, or flower and petal shapes.  An expression of bringing good luck, Rangoli designs reflect traditions  folklore and practices that are unique to each area.  Swastika, lotus flower, leaves, circles, steps of Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth and auspiciousness) and other similar auspicious motifs and symbols are used in Rangoli patterns.  A Rangoli may be done using wet or dry colour powder.

     Preparing a Rangoli is an ancient art practice rooted in religious lore and a spiritual world-view to life. Rangoli finds mention in traditions related to Ramayana, Mahabharata and lives of saints.  It is a visible manifestation of man's desire to spiritualize the daily activities and sanctify the ambience in which he lives.  

10 April, 2014

In Indian Culture Why do we do super brain yoga?

In Indian Culture
Why do we do super brain yoga or thoppukaranam?

       It has been Indian tradition to start our day by praying Lord Ganesha, doing our regular practice of super brain yoga or thoppukaranam in Tamil.  What we do for thousands of years is now rediscovered in the name of  "Super Brain Yoga" by the West.

      Super Brain Yoga helps to balance the left and right brain of a human being.  As we know the left brain is for Logical reasoning and the right brain takes decision based on emotions / intuitions.  For a healthy balanced life the working of both sides of the brain should be balanced and this is exactly achieved by super brain yoga or thoppukaranam.

Why do it for Lord Ganesha?

      As per Indian tradition, Lord Ganesha is the First God we pray to start any activity and to start anything better, you need to have the balanced approach.  We obtain it by doing this simple exercise called super brain yoga or thoppukaranam.

      Remember, super brain yoga or thoppukaranam used to be the punishment in school days.  It is a thoughtful punishment, I would not call it a punishment rather correction after knowing the meaning and effect of super brain yoga.  Any mistake is done by improper functioning of brain, either it is not active or we make it inactive.  Thus super brain yoga or thoppukaranam was made a punishment in olden days to reactivate the brain.

      It is interesting to know Master Choa Kok Sui's Institute for Inner Studies at Manila has the patent for this.  He is the modern founder of Pranic healing.  For what we Indian know for generations after generations there is someone else who can claim a patent.
      In today's world, lack of concentration is very common challenge, not only among children, but also among adults.  There is an ancient technique, which has been incorporated as a ritual, as a part of daily worship by a section of people in our nation, which will go a long way in answering this challenge.  This simple technique, which can also be classified under pranic healing, can be learnt very easily and practiced by anyone, anywhere.  

       Educationalists and psychologists teach this technique to children for improving academic performance.  Health professionals use this technique to enhance the activity of the brain.  Sports professionals and artistes also find this technique effective in improving general brain activity, motor skills and reaction time.  This simple sit up exercises is called as thoppukaranam in Tamil.  Performing thoppukaranam is easy.


       Stand facing east, preferably in the morning (at the time of sunrise).  Hold your right ear lobe with your left index finger and thumb.  Hold your left ear lobe with your right index finger and thumb.  Ensure that your thumbs touch the backside of the  earlobes.  While you continue to hold the ear lobes, press your tongue to the palate of your mouth.  Inhale through your nose and slowly go down into a squatting position.  Hold your breath.  Do not exhale until you start making your way back up to the standing position.  Continue holding your lobes and sticking your tongue to the palate of your mouth.

       Perform this technique 14 to 21 times; i.e., in multiples of 7.  One may not see the difference immediately.  But after the regular practice for a few weeks one can notice improvement in concentration levels.


       Holding the ear lobes is actually an  acupressure  technique which will activate both the hemispheres of the brain. Pressing the palate of the mouth will complete the cycle of energy flow.  The squatting position, along with breathing will activate both the basic and sex chakras and also allow upward flow of life energy, especially to both the hemisphere of the brain.

       In the West this is called as super brain yoga and several doctors suggest that this simple technique energises brain cells and neurons. It is also reported that Dr. Eugenius Ang, a neurobiologist at Yale has been widely endorsing this technique and prescribed for patients with Alzheimer's and children with autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

       Make your children perform this technique on a daily basis.  In fact you too can join them.  Regular practice of thoppukaranam or super brain yoga will definitely make a significant difference in concentration.

Source: An article published in "Infinitheism" Magazine written by J.Vijayalakshmi