The Physical Body
Students are taken through various forms of physical exercise which with regular practice and endurance help develop strength, stamina, power, speed and flexibility to mention but a few attributes over a period of time.
Physical training includes various forms of cardiovascular, aerobic, anaerobic workouts and stretches along with other forms of movements derived from basic Gatka techniques. In various akharas in the east horse riding is also encouraged to help develop the physical form. The nihangs of various dhals still adhere to the customs of riding along side the daily practice of gatka.
In particular the combined movements of the empty hands and feet in correlation with the body.
This technique is referred to as the movements of the Pantra - (to give space) which aid the student to develop certain reflex motions along with controlled and graceful movements of the whole body for application of offence and defence, ( Vaar and Rok - Roknaa ) with or without the use of weapons.
It is not uncommon (especially in the West) to see some Schools (Akhara's) incorporating ancient body postures (Aasan) and movements derived from various styles and practices of Yoga.
Many aasan's are applied and trained to develop and strengthen both the inner and outer balances of the body. Below are just a few of the many types of body Aasans which are and can be adapted in daily training.
The Surya Nanaskar - the sun salutation,
The Akarna Dhanurasan - the shooting bow
The Bhujang asana - the Cobra
The Chakr asana - The Wheel
The Natara asana
The Pada Hasth asana - The standing forward bend
The Trikon asana - the triangle
We may argue that Yoga is not a kin to the practice of Gatka, but we must understand that (yog abyias) practice of Yoga is not a religion in itself but a form practiced for thousands of years in India which is primarily a life style of self-discipline based on the tenets of simple living and high thinking. (Very similar to that of the Khalsa way of life)
For the practitioners of Yoga - the body is seen as a vehicle for the soul, as is true for the warrior.
Proper exercise along with streching - Asana, breathing - Pranayama, positive thinking ,meditation and a well balanced diet are the
Elements which are vital for any fighting tradition and disciplined student.
How ever for the Saint soldier, his yog abyas is based not living the way of a hermit, but to live with his family, work hard, share his earnings, and to meditate on God with every breath at all times.
It is important to mention here that the true form of yoga is the Yog union of the mind with God.
"O man , Practice renunciation in this manner,
Regard your House as a forest (retreat) and live as a hermit in your heart. Pause
Make continence your matted hair, communion with God your bath, and performance of religious duties the growing of long nails.
Make divine knowledge your religious preceptor, enlighten your own soul and smear your body with the ashes of God's Name.
Eat little and sleep little;
Love the practice of compassion and forbearance.
Be calm and contented and thus you will gain freedom from the Three States
(Rajs, Tamas and Satva )
Keep your mind away from lust, anger, pride, greed, obstinacy and worldly love.
Thus you will see the essence of your own soul and also realize the Supreme Lord. "
Guru Gobind Singh Ji
" Shabad Hazare Ramkali Patshai 10 "Ray man aiso kar sanyaasaa"