Five Steps to Mindfulness
In chapter 15 I described a set of meditations aimed at developing mindfulness of subtle inner changes. The method described in this chapter, the client speaking intimately to a sympathetic therapist, has a similar function. The client brings to light various hitherto unrealized patterns of emotions, beliefs, and habits of thought. With these deeper insights the client is now better prepared to be mindful of the subtle impulses and negative thoughts that occur in daily life. He or she is better able to work on the B&Y task of changing them.
This practice is intended to make you aware of your body. Your awareness will be directed to different parts. You have to feel the accompanying sensations and try to create a mental picture of that part of the body. Ifyou can't do this don't worry, only try. Remember, the aim is to be an observer, a spectator of the different parts of the body. Try not to lose yourself in the thinking process. Try to be aware. BODY AWARENESS Then after about a minute be aware of the skin sensations of the right foot. Be aware, though this will be difficult at first. Is your foot cold, warm, tight or whatever Feel it. Then slowly move your awareness to the calves and thighs, all the time being aware of skin sensations. Feel that they are affecting your body, not your perception. Try to feel these sensations in the body nowhere else. Then be aware of the fingertips of the right hand. Create a mental picture and at the same time feel the sensations. Again feel whether they are hot, cold or whatever....
Yoga with weights builds body awareness. You can think of yoga with weights as a dialogue between your mind and body. As you exercise, your brain sends a message to a part of your body telling it to move in a certain direction, and your body sends a signal back to your brain saying that the body part can make the desired motion or can't move any farther. When your brain receives its signal, it sends out another signal asking the part of the body to become For the past several years, Sherri has worked with an older man who had polio in his youth. Her experiences with this man have shown her just how beneficial yoga can be to body awareness. He can now bend over, sit up, and walk with more ease, confidence, and coordination. In general, his muscle strength, range of motion, and overall sense of well-being have improved. Through his commitment and practice, yoga has been supportive and helped him rewire some of what we call the nerve highways and pathways that polio had damaged.
For the serious Yoga practitioner, even deep sleep isn't a no-man's land. On the contrary, dreamless sleep is a great opportunity for breaking into higher levels of consciousness. After you're able to retain mindful awareness during the dream state, you can extend your awareness to those periods where the mind is devoid of contents. The great Yoga masters are continuously aware throughout the day and the night. They're never unconscious, because they have realized the spirit or Self, which is pure consciousness. If constant awareness sounds exhausting, consider the deep peacefulness that the Yoga masters are able to achieve. Pure consciousness is the simplest thing in the world. Hence, it's called the natural state, or sahaja-avastha (sah-hah-jah ah-vahst-hah). By comparison, the mind is vastly complicated. Just remember how thinking (especially when you're obsessing over something) can be incredibly exhausting.
Rotate your awareness throughout the different parts of your body. Then become aware of the whole body. There should be homogeneous awareness of the whole body sitting on the floor not awareness of one part of the body, but the entire body, which you can feel as a totality. Remain aware and feel the immobility of the body.
We'll begin with postures that have the main purpose of enlivening body awareness. The word for position in yoga is asana, which means seat. An asana is a position that you assume consciously. Yoga is the practice of consciously choosing the seat you assume. Although on one level, this means the physical position you place your body in, on another level, it implies that ultimately you choose every position in life in which you find yourself. Yoga then becomes a practice for making your choices more consciously so that the consequences of them are success and happiness. evaluate the choices you make in your life, which is by listening to the signals of comfort or discomfort that your body generates as you consider your options. This is the essence of the Law of Karma, which utilizes body awareness to make karmically correct choices. Learning to trust the feedback your body provides will enhance your ability to make karmically correct choices in life. Practitioners at all levels can...
How would mindfulness be important if you were trying to end a habit such as smoking or drinking Why, incidentally, would a Buddhist consider it important to end such habits 3. How would bodily mindfulness help you realize that you were becoming angry Why would this be important
Meditation is a mental process involving focused attention (also known as calm awareness or mindfulness). Many people confuse meditation with stopping all thoughts, but that's only one (rather advanced) type of meditation. In the beginning, meditation is simply noticing the endless stream of thoughts flickering on your mental screen consider your observations an important part of your overall effort to be mindful, or attentive. Many forms or styles of meditation exist, but two basic approaches stand out meditation with a specific focus and objectless meditation. The latter is pure mindfulness without narrowing attention to any particular sensation, idea, or other phenomenon. Most beginners find this kind of meditation very difficult, although some are drawn to it. We recommend that you start out with meditation on a specific focus. The following categories of objects are suitable for this exercise
Mindfulness Meditation Mindfulness requires concentration, but rather than concentrate on any one object, we concentrate on the moment and whatever Is present in that moment. To begin, take a comfortable seat. Bring attention to your breath by placing your awareness at your belly and feeling it rise and fall. This will help you tune in to the sensorial presence of the body. Once you feel settled, widen your awareness to include all the sensations in your body as well as any thoughts or feelings. Imagine yourself as a mountain. Some thoughts and feelings will be stormy, with thunder, lightning, and strong winds. Some will be like fog or dark, ominous clouds. Inhaling, note mountain. Exhaling, note stable. Use the breath to focus on the present moment can lead to lasting positive changes in the brain. For example, a recent study by Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University put 26 highly stressed adults through an eight-week mindfulness-based course in stress reduction that...
Mindfulness during ajapa is essential. You must be mindful of every activity, whether breathing, mantra or thoughts. Without this mindfulness you will slip into the state of drowsiness. This called tandra or laya in Sanskrit. It is a great obstacle that has to be overcome. It is the stumbling block, the greatest impediment, the greatest hazard that faces every person who tries to practise meditational techniques. How many times have you practised a meditative technique and found that your mind has been brooding over some problem for many minutes without your awareness During this period you were completely lost in your thoughts. It is only after the period of brooding that you realize you were brooding. This is in total opposition to the path of meditation. You must be aware of what you are doing. You must be awake. If you feel sleepy, go and take a cold bath or wash your face. Or practise a few rounds of surya namaskara. Without developing mindfulness you will never be successful in...
Yoga practice is so potent because, if you practice it correctly, it combines physical movement with awareness and proper breathing. Awareness and breath are Yoga's secret weapons. The sooner you catch on to this concept, the more quickly you can enjoy really satisfying results. Bringing awareness to your exercise routine also automatically strengthens your overall capacity for concentration and mindfulness (which we cover in Chapter 21). You're able to work more efficiently and better appreciate your leisure time. In particular, conscious breathing during the exercises greatly enhances the effects of your practice on your body and mind, equipping you with the vitality you need to meet the challenges of a busy life.
One group participated in an eight-week MBSR program that offered weekly instruction on mindfulness practices, including meditation techniques and a hatha yoga routine with poses such as Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Dandasana (Staff Pose), Baddha Kona-sana (Bound Angle Pose), and Savasana (Corpse Pose). They were also given audio CDs with instructions for practicing the meditation and yoga routine every day on their own. At the end of the study, group members also attended a daylong retreat that taught them how to apply mindful-ness techniques to daily stressors. The other group received a one-day mindfulness seminar in which participants were given cursory instruction in meditation techniques but not encouraged to practice on their own.
It's fine to read all about getting into the zone, but how do you actually get there By cultivating mindful awareness and focus. 2. After you've been sitting for a minute or two with your mind focused on your breath, move into a lying-down position on your stomach. But don't just move thoughtlessly. As you move, really pay attention. Keep your mind centered on how you feel, on how your body moves, on which parts are going where as you come down to the floor. Your body is all that matters right now, and a great yoga pose like this deserves all your concentration. With every step of this pose, keep pulling your focus back to your body the way the pose feels the way you move and breathe as you get into, hold, and get out of the pose. You are practicing mindfulness. You are in flow training.
The exercises we present here are designed to help prepare pregnant women for labor and condition them mentally and emotionally for giving birth. Even if you walk for only a few minutes every day and adopt the breathing and mindfulness techniques you find in this book (see Chapters 4 and 5), you'll feel and look your best during and after your pregnancy. The yoga-with-weights exercises in this chapter help strengthen your back, make you comfortable while you're pregnant, and prepare your pelvic floor for a healthy delivery when the time comes to give birth. Use the last exercise as an affirmation to plant the seeds of well-being and make yours a joyous childbirth.
Native of the province of Cholburi, he graduated from the Military Academy and served the Air Force up to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was married and had three children. He was interested in meditation and went to practice at Wat Maha Dhatu. After some training, he noticed that when he worked up to a certain degree of concentration, his body would be shaken. His teacher could not help him solve this problem. And he became quite annoyed by it, so he gave up the practice. Later he read a book on Mindfulness of Breathing (Anapanasati). He followed the method until he mentally perceived an image of a corpse with its loathsome aspects (Asubha). He became so much graven that he cried. Besides, there were also other images that appeared to his mental perception. One day he happened to meet Phra Acharn Thate at Wat Phra Sri Maha Dhatu, Bangkhen. Phra Acharn Thate had come from Phuket to spend a few days there. So he went to pay respect to Phra acharn and asked him some questions on...
Now bring your awareness to the point just below your nostrils. Focus on your breath. If possible, breathe in and out through your nose rather than your mouth Breathing through the nose helps to filter, purify, and moisten the breath before it is distributed throughout the body. On each inhalation, focus your awareness on the cool intake of air into your nostrils. Continue breathing in this manner for several minutes. As you inhale, be aware of the cool intake of air. As you exhale, be aware of the warm outflow of breath. Let the focus of your awareness be the breath. If your attention becomes distracted by other thoughts, just gently dismiss them and bring your awareness back to the breath. After a few minutes, slowly bring your awareness back to your body. Feel the energy flowing to your fingers and toes. With your eyes still closed, gently stretch your fingers and toes. Rub your hands together and cup the palms lightly over your eyes. Feel the warmth of your hands restoring and...
Our discussion of the autonomic nervous system in chapter 2 focused on its associations with breathing, but its main role is helping to regulate functions of internal organs in general, including non-somatic structures such as blood vessels throughout the body and sweat glands in the skin (figs. I0.4a-b). Even though these regulatory functions are mostly outside our conscious awareness, some of their effects are important to relaxation. If you lie down to relax and notice that your hands and feet are cold and sweaty or that you are dizzy and headachy or that your heart is beating too fast, autonomic functions are not being optimally managed. In such cases training in relaxation may help you diminish the symptoms. How this happens is not clear because the autonomic nervous system is not directly under the
Some of the above are easy to identify. We know when don't like our job and feel abused in our relationships. However, other problems in our psyche lie outside our conscious awareness. The result is that we think our problem is our depression. However, depression is a symptom of a deeper problem that we can't consciously identify. Our inability to connect with our own self-love and experience our connection with the Divine is the most fundamental of these unidentifiable problems. And even if we identify it consciously, as we are now doing, we cannot access the connection and thus the solution through our conscious rational mind.
Our personal relationship with our own energy is a vitally important aspect of our sensory system. In fact, the cultivation of our sensitivity to energy, in the many ways that this manifests, is the basis of our path to conscious awareness. You will notice this theme played out in many different ways in these lessons and in the New Millennium Being. As you identify the themes that resonate with you, use them to establish an energetic relationship with yourself. As you do so, you will actively embody the new energies and participate in the shift to the Aquarian Age. These are revolutionary times. It is my prayer that you enjoy the power, potential and the positive heart-centered energy that are available to all of those who choose to tune in and turn on with gratitude and grace.
More likelihood of maintaining your awareness on the object during trataka. To give you an idea, below is a list of commonly used objects4 There are many more possibilities. You can choose anything as your object, but once you decide, try not to change, for this will decrease the effectiveness of trataka. In other words, if you spend time developing your awareness of one particular object and then suddenly change, then you must in fact start from the beginning again to allow your mind to assimilate the new object. The mind has to mould itself around a particular object so that it is almost automatically attracted and drawn towards it. This takes time in general and it is really a waste of effort to suddenly start moulding the mind around another object. Choose carefully and then try to stick to your decision. If you feel that you want to change after a period of time, and this is a common temptation, seek expert advice before you actually do so.
At first you may find this difficult, but try. As soon as you become aware of a sound, any sound, try to fix your awareness on it to the exclusion of other sounds. Go on listening. Eventually you will hear another sound, a faint sound, in the background it will almost be obliterated by the main, louder sound that you are hearing, but you hear it nevertheless. You should now listen to the new faint sound, leaving the other louder sound and continue to listen to this new sound. It will become more and more distinct. This is the new, more subtle vehicle of your awareness. Eventually you will hear another faint sound emerging from behind this louder sound. Fix your awareness on this new sound, discarding the other sound. Continue in the same manner as already described allowing the sound to occupy your whole awareness. When it becomes loud try to perceive a more subtle underlying sound and fix your awareness on this sound.
Ences, which change moment to moment. Your environment changes, your friends change, your employment changes, your body changes, your feelings change, your thoughts change. The only constant in life is perpetual change. Dhyana is the cultivation of your awareness so that in the midst of this unending change, you do not lose your self in the objects of your experience. Although situations, circumstances, people, and things are ever changing in your life, the aspect of you that is witnessing these changes is the essence of your being your soul. The most direct way to cultivate this state of ever-present witnessing awareness is through meditation, during which you learn to observe the thoughts, feelings, sensations, and sounds that arise in your awareness without needing to react to them. As you develop this skill in meditation, you are able to apply it in your daily life. You learn to stay centered and awake to all possibilities whenever a challenge arises, so that you are able to...
In our description of pawan sanchalana we advised you to use a 108 bead mala and tie a knot after the forty-ninth bead. For this practice there is no need to tie another knot. After completing pawan sanchalana your fingers will be at the forty-ninth bead. Merely continue the process of rotating one bead at the end of each round of shabda sanchalana (when your awareness reaches mooladhara). When your fingers reach the sumeru bead then you will have completed 59 rounds (49 + 59 108).
Your awareness should move from one part of the body to the next according to the instructions given. You should be aware of the existence of each centre in turn, mentally touching each point. The rotation of awareness must be rhythmical and with minimum effort. Let your awareness 'flow' from one limb to the next. Or it should 'jump' from one centre to the next with the same rhythm as the ticking of a clock. Don't let your awareness dwell on any part of the body for longer than prescribed by the teacher's instructions. Even if you don't clearly perceive, for example, 'the right thumb' you should immediately proceed to the next limb without delay. Try to choose one circuit and stick to it when you practise yoga nidra. This will fix a pattern in your mind and your awareness will flow automatically from one centre to the next without effort. If you continually change the order of your circuit, this flow will not be spontaneous. Once you have settled on a specific sequence try...
We have described five stages of antar mouna over the last five lessons, if you have reached stage 5 inducing thoughtlessness, then you should begin to practise stage 6 the use of a psychic symbol1. This will act as a focal point for your awareness and will induce one-pointedness of mind. Without this symbol you will not progress further in antar mouna instead you will experience some calmness and a good sleep. You will not be able to contact deeper levels of your being.
In other words, you begin your practice and over time you achieve greater levels of self-mastery, expand your awareness, connect with deeper levels of who you and establish your relationship with universal forces. Practice or Sadhana is an on-going, evolutionary process with no fixed end goal. Of course, we are all going for eventual enlightenment, but there are even different levels of enlightenment before liberation.
As in all practices of yoga, awareness is essential. Complete awareness of both breath and mental counting must be maintained throughout the practice. This is a little difficult at first and one will find that after a few rounds or even less that one has lost track of the counting. This indicates loss of awareness of the practice in hand. Don't worry about this -there are very few people, especially beginners, who can do the complete practice from start to finish without losing count. One must merely start to count again. With practice you will make noticeable progress and be able to keep your awareness on the counting and breath.
Bring the spiritual law of the day into your awareness, committing to enlivening it by attending to the three activating intentions. As a result of the expanded awareness, flexibility, and balance you have generated in your practice, the law of the day will spontaneously support you in the fulfillment of your deepest desires. Practice present moment
Meditation is the mindful direction of your awareness. It can be active, passive, ecstatic, serious, quiet, loud, in retreat, or during daily activities. Not all meditations do the same thing. It is like climbing a mountain. All paths lead to the top, but some paths develop leg strength (straight up the north wall), some develop aesthetic sense (the gradual path along the fields of flowers), and some enhance interpersonal skills (the path that crosses all the way stations and camps). All meditations will develop self-mastery and will engage aspects of the mind so you can live from your soul and awareness. Each meditation has its own signature and distinct effects. That is the power and vastness of Kundalini Yoga in the Raja Yoga tradition of Guru Ram Das. There are entire schools of practice based on one or two meditations. Kundalini is the compilation of effective meditations from all authentic endeavors across many times and cultures. Its diversity is both challenging and useful....
The important thing is that you don't attempt stage 3 without being able to fix your awareness on a clear inner-image. If you have a vague inner-image or even no image and you attempt to do stage 3 then you will either fall asleep or become enveloped in the usual patterns of thought play. In either case you will gain nothing in fact you will lose, for you will waste your valuable time. So use your discretion and choose the practice that is most suitable for your degree of proficiency.
This breath awareness exercise helps you connect with the natural rhythm of your breath and thereby increase your awareness of your breath. Practicing this breath awareness exercise before you begin your yoga practice helps center your mind and prepare you for the practice.
First, notice what you can taste, then let it go. Take your mind away from your taste buds. Next, notice what you can smell, then release your sense of smell. Notice everything your body is touching, then imagine you are floating and can't feel anything. What can you hear Let it go. Turn off your ears and focus inward. Last of all, let go of your sight (even though your eyes should already be closed) by releasing all tension around your eyes. If you see light through your eyelids, gently push away your awareness of it.
Here are a few guidelines to use to practice being in your body. Add to the list as your experiences enrich your awareness. 5. When a sensation feels good, keep your awareness there and enjoy it. 6. When a sensation feels uncomfortable, keep your awareness there and allow it to express itself.
You can think about the real meaning of the poem at any time of the day. In fact if you really have a strong need to find the meaning, then the reflection, the enquiry will continue all the time below the level of everyday consciousness. It will continue without your awareness. However, the best time to consciously reflect on the meaning is when you
Eventually this problem will not arise, for your body will become sufficiently flexible and relaxed to prevent discomfort and your awareness will become increasingly fixed on performing the practice. Under these circumstances you will not be aware of pain, even if the body is uncomfortable, and there will be no tendency to move or fidget.
It is scientific research during the last few years that has thrown some light on this question. It has been found that a part of the brain called the reticular activating system, situated at the top of the spinal cord, performs this function. This system acts like a sluice gate allowing only a small percentage of the incoming data to the brain to reach conscious perception. How does it decide what should reach man's conscious attention and what should not It allows information to arise to our consciousness only if the data reinforces or fits in with the pattern of mental conditioning, or if the incoming information is particularly urgent. So perception is dependent on what a person's mental state will allow him to perceive. Other incoming data which doesn't fit in the mental program remains in the subconscious realms of the mind and so a person is unaware of it. We perceive the world around us in accordance with the dictates of our present mental apparatus. For example, if you meet...
Body and head to lower toward the floor. As you lower your upper body, press your arms and hands out in back from you and away from your body, keeping your arms as straight as possible. Rotating your arms from the shoulders, press your hands as far in back of you as you can, then up toward the ceiling, and, if possible, out over your back so that they are pointing in front and away from your body (see Fig. 14.3). Breathe several full, deep rhythmic breaths in this position. Feel your heart center opening and expanding as your chest, shoulders, and even armpits expand and widen. To come out of this pose, inhale as you gently raise your upper body back to a full standing position while releasing your arms down along the sides of your body. Come back to Mountain Pose. Take several deep breaths in Mountain Pose as you take the time to be aware of how you feel. In particular, bring your awareness to your heart and chest area. In Sanskrit, this posture is referred to as uttanasana, or...
Relaxation techniques start by taking your consciousness away from emotionally charged thoughts and directing it to activities that are emotionally neutral such as the awareness of your breath or different parts of your body. It is almost impossible for anyone to remain or to become tense and angry when their attention is directed towards their big toe. In this When you immobilize your whole body, as you do in relaxation practices, and systematically relax different parts of the body. what exactly happens Of course the muscles are relaxed, something they probably very much need to be. Since the muscles are not being used, both the sensory nerves, which send messages from the muscles to the brain and the motor nerves, which send messages of action from the brain to the muscles, cease to function. This cuts off your consciousness of the body. The more you are able to relax and not move the muscles, the less aware of your body you become. You feel light and euphoric because of this...
There is another method in which the different limbs of the body are tensed as much as possible one after the other. Lie flat on your back in shavasana2. Direct your awareness first of all to your right leg and tense it as much as possible for as long as you are able, without strain. Then release and relax. Then repeat with the left leg, the two arms, the fists, the abdomen, chest and shoulders, and finally the whole body. This should take about five minutes and is a rapid way of relaxing the body in preparation for meditational practice. Often we are overwhelmed by obsessive and persistent thoughts which have emotional overtones, such as jealousy, hatred, pride, fear and a multitude of others. These are not easy to remove. On no account should you suppress them, for they will only lie dormant in the subconscious mind. Let these lingering and exhausting thoughts arise but try to watch them with awareness. That is, look at the thoughts as though they are something Vehicle for awareness...
Rest your hands on your knees with your palms up or down. Sit with your spine straight, and remain silent, concentrating on the world around you. This will heighten your awareness and allow you to focus on your breathing. You can use your breath as a tool to calm your active mind and direct your consciousness into new and deeper levels of awareness and insight.
The aim of meditational practices is to direct our normally extroverted awareness into the domains of the mind. Consider the personal levels of the mind (i.e. the instinctive and the logical) as represented by the face of a wall. The bottom half depicts the instinctive mind and the upper half the rational mind. The area outside the wall stands for the suprapersonal mind, the superconscious realm being above and the collective unconscious below. It is night time, so you can not see the wall or the surroundings however, you have a torch and the light beam represents your awareness. The beam is small in diameter so that it does not light up the whole wall and surroundings, only a small area of the surface. During normal wakefulness the beam of our awareness only lights up the rational part of the mind or the upper part of the wall. Therefore, we operate on a predominantly logical level throughout life. Our awareness moves from one thought to the next but within the confines of the...
How does a person know the best actions to suit any given situation This can only be achieved gradually through practising yoga and increasing your awareness. At first it is difficult, in fact impossible. But eventually it becomes easier and easier, and one spontaneously makes perfect, egoless actions. At first when you try to perform karma yoga, merely aim to practise to the best of your ability. The most appropriate action and decision for a situation requires an awareness of all the factors involved. It needs detachment, understanding and desirelessness. Most people have so many preferences, personal desires, and mental problems that they can only see a limited portion of any situation. The mental apparatus, because of lack of harmony, causes inadequate and unsuitable responses. Thus the actions of most people are rarely appropriate for the given circumstances. You may have seen such obvious cases for yourself, especially perhaps when you were a disinterested onlooker of other...
It is a common misconception that consciousness is a function of the brain and is dependent on it. Many people think that the brain is the master and that if there is no brain then there will be no consciousness. Nothing could be more incorrect. However, verbally or rationally we cannot demonstrate this, nor do we really want to. If you develop your awareness you will definitely conclude this for yourself, for how can consciousness watch the activities of the mind or brain if the brain is the master or basic instrument. The consciousness must be beyond the brain in order to be able to watch the activities of the brain and mind. Usually consciousness is associated with and tied to the activities of the brain and sensory organs through our ignorance of its nature. We are never faced with its existence for it is disguised by our everyday activities. If we see a book we naturally assume that it is the eyes that have seen it. This is so obvious we never question the truth of this...
Training for the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living in Stockb ridge, Massachusetts, and the originator of the Flexibility for Athletes performance training program. Harrold recommends that athletes hold poses for 10 to 20 breaths at a time to develop body awareness. By doing so, hesays, you can learn how the body feels when uninjured and become much more aware of yellow lights (twinges of pain or discomfort that could signal the beginnings of an injury) when engaging in a sport. Increased body awareness also means learning how to isolate the muscles you need so that you can relax the ones you don't. In an endurance sport, you need to have the most efficient form you can, says Ruuntree. You don't want to be running with your elbows out by your shoulders or your shoulders hunched up to your ears. That's inefficient. You want to save that energy because you arc going to be out there for a long time. To practice this awareness, Rountree suggests standing in a iunge and scanning...
After you finish the Endurance Workout, take a moment to engage in meditation. Meditation isn't about sitting still or forcing yourself to be quiet it's about anchoring your consciousness into the present moment. You deepen your relationship to your breath in a calm and steady way. The common aim is to focus the scattered rays of your mind on a single point, like a laser beam of attention, in order to lead you to a state of self-realization. Chapter 6 describes several meditation techniques.
New research shows that meditation can help you improve your ability to concentrate in two ways. First, it can make you better at focusing on something specific while ignoring distractions. Second, it can make you more capable of noticing what is happening around you, giving you a fuller perspective on the present moment.
The object of this contract-and-release exercise is to release tension in your body and bring your mind into the present moment. You isolate different areas of your body one at a time, starting with your toes and working your way up to your head. In each body area, you contract your muscles hard and then gently relax them. The idea is to tense each muscle group hard, without straining, for about five to ten seconds, and then suddenly let go of the tension or contraction. When you release your muscles, you do so fully and
In hatha yoga, we grow our practice by becoming truly aware of where we are in the present moment. In each asana, we learn to progress by coming mindfully in touch with our limits and holding each pose carefully without causing strain. Similarly, to grow out of bad habits, we need to look deeply at what forces are compelling us and know clearly where we are, so that we can see what new step to take and take it with awareness and care. The 'just do it' approach that our culture impresses upon men amounts to forcing ourselves to change and rarely produces lasting results.
Spontaneously implement the theory of yoga into the experience of life. Meditation, regulating the life force, learning to hold and circulate energy, and moving with awareness are the fundamental technologies that need to be mastered for you to gain the full benefits of yoga on the level of your body, your mind, and your soul.
In most of the kriyas we have taught so far breathing is synchronized with awareness of the arohan and awarohan psychic passages. That is, with inhalation awareness ascends the frontal arohan passage and with exhalation awareness descends the spinal awarohan passage. The characteristic feature of chakra bhedan is that the breathing is not perfectly synchronized with the awareness of the two psychic pathways. Instead, the relationship is as follows
As such one should try to think of asanas not as physical poses but as states of being. Correct performance of asanas requires participation of one's whole being, with awareness of oneself in relation to the physical position and movement, the breath, relaxation of the muscles and so forth. If asanas were only physical exercises then it would be quite acceptable to think about work, breakfast or whatever while performing them. But this is not the case. The practice of asanas requires active involvement of one's entire being as fully as possible.
The best approach is to worship both in the outside and the inside worlds, but with awareness. One should act and worship in the outer world through detached work - karma yoga. At the same time one should try to introvert awareness through hatha yoga and raja yoga. This is the integral approach.
There is a tendency to think that work cannot possibly be yoga, and of course mere work is not yoga. Karma yoga implies something far greater and more profound than work. It implies selfless, concentrated actions, with awareness. The motto of karma yoga is to give - give -and give. The prevailing motto in the world is the opposite, namely to take - take - and take more. It is this latter attitude that prevents progress in spiritual life and the experience of meditation. All the great spiritual teachers throughout history preached that one should reduce and eventually eliminate all actions and thoughts that are motivated by personal gain. Of course this takes time and cannot be done overnight, yet it is absolutely necessary, if one is to eliminate the power of the ego, the obstacle or the veil which prevents the influx of higher consciousness.
In the physical sense, the passive, inward directed mode is ida in the form of the parasympathetic nervous system, the internalizing forces of the body this is counterbalanced by pingala in the form of the dynamic, outward looking aspect of the sympathetic nervous system. In the psychic realms, ida corresponds to the mind and mental forces of man, and pingala corresponds to the pranic or bioplasmic body. In a much wider and all embracing sense the pingala corresponds to universal prana, shakti or the energy of manifestation and the ida with awareness. This is clearly indicated in many scriptures such as the Upanishads and Tantras. The physical, pranic and mental aspects are included and encompassed by this higher definition. This universal prana is prakriti - the power behind all manifestation, force, energy and matter. Awareness is the witnessing principle, the actionless aspect that is associated with consciousness, Shiva or purusha. This wider, more...
We could go on giving so many other examples, but by now you should clearly see the pattern lack of self-acceptance leads to disease. Don't try to over discipline the mind, saying that it should be this or that it should act in accordance with a certain code, for this will only lead to suppression. Let the mind be free to do its own thing. But be aware. Don't suppress your thoughts for this will eventually lead to disease and unhappiness. Accept your thoughts, but with awareness. In time all disharmonious tendencies will slowly wither away through greater understanding. The aim of man should be to find his natural role in life and stick to it. This is the basis of the spiritual path. Most people are on the path of adharma (in opposition to their natural inclinations). But you can never find and tread the path of dharma if you are in conflict with yourself. Non-acceptance only leads to neurosis and suppression. Accept your faults, but with awareness. This is the way to find your...
The mere fact that you are conscious of the subconscious manifestations with a detached attitude is in itself a powerful weapon in eliminating the hold they have over your life. The mere recognition of them with awareness is sufficient to remove the underlying, mental disturbances from your mind. In fact you have almost no choice - the problems are automatically scrubbed from the mind. Many people practise meditational techniques and may have no overwhelming confrontation with fearful data, yet after some time they notice a great change in their attitude towards life. The cleaning has been occurring but in more subtle ways. Some people, on the other hand, are suddenly confronted with a great gush of their subconscious problems. They may even be unhappy for some time, but again the overall result will be greater contentment in life. The experiences that you will go through only you will know. But whatever 'garbage' you confront and exhaust will definitely be beneficial of this there is...
This story is symbolic and illustrates the path of nada yoga. The nada from the flute is heard at midnight, which is the best time to practise nada yoga. Krishna is higher consciousness. The sound of the flute is the nada that arises from the underlying consciousness. The gopis represent the aspirant and the senses, both of which are normally overwhelmed and distracted by day to day worldly life. But when the inner nada (sound of the flute) is heard then the awareness is directed inwards towards Krishna (pure consciousness). Eventually the gopis merge with Krishna -they tune in with pure consciousness. This is the path of nada yoga.
It means I am Shiva (pure consciousness) or I am He (pure consciousness) . It indicates the union of Shiva and Shakti, the merging of the individual with the cosmic or supreme consciousness. However, the reader should not worry too much about the meaning, unless he or she has had a deep transcendental experience. Any attempt to understand the meaning of Soham logically will lead to delusion. It can only be understood at an intuitive level. When a person understands its transcendental meaning, and only then, can it be used as a means of constant affirmation and remembrance. This will maintain a steady flow of dhyana.
The head-to-knee posture keeps your spine supple, stimulates the abdominal organs, and stretches your back, especially on the side of the extended leg. It also activates the central channel (sushumna-nadi). As we explain in Chapter 5, the central channel is the pathway for the awakened energy of pure consciousness (called kundalini-shakti), which leads to ecstasy and spiritual liberation.
It is this endeavour by Shiva and Shakti to melt into each other and become one that brings into being the second phase of this cosmic dance. Shiva and Shakti come closer to one another and Shiva is no longer pure consciousness, but shows himself as emotions like longing, fear, sadness, happiness and desire. Shakti is no longer pure form, becoming a changing, striving and reproductive substance. Soul reaches the plant kingdom - the emotional kingdom.
There are three things in life, which are very important - your consciousness, your caliber and your character. Trouble is like waves - they hit you. But there's nothing wrong. Trouble comes to everyone. At that time, what should you do You should go within your Self. Because minus you out of you, you are ugly.
If things do not happen, it is because your thoughts of manifestation lack force. You have to create forceful thoughts that stay longer in your consciousness. Continually think forceful thoughts. Think forceful thoughts over and over and over again for long periods of time. Then those thoughts will become very powerful, and the manifestation will occur sooner. We cannot wish that we could have a beach house. Why not Because the logic kicks in, No, no, there is no money. Money is not needed. What is needed is just the pure desire to have a beautiful beach house. Once the desire is there, then you can manifest it. This is the bottom line. How can you get that desire into your consciousness That is the key issue. There are spiritual techniques in this book that will change the very core of your consciousness so that you will be able to alter your negativity. Change your life through your own spirituality. Use spiritual principles to enhance your practical life on this earth plane....
The ultimate point of yoga and this book, however, is to expand your consciousness, to open your eyes to the vast number of things around you, of which at present you are unaware. It was Shakespeare who said There are more things in heaven and earth . . . than are dreamt of in your philosophy. We must keep our minds open to new possibilities. It is yoga that shows us a way.
Development, rather than the reverse. In the Meditation simply ignore all consideration of the respective qualities of others, and endeavor to realize the fact that YOU are a great Centre of Consciousness--a Centre of Power--a Centre of Influence--a Centre of Thought. And that like the planets circling around the sun, so does your world revolve around YOU who are its centre. It will not be necessary for you to argue out this matter, or to convince yourself of its truth by intellectual reasoning. The knowledge does not come in that way. It comes in the shape of a realization of the truth gradually dawning upon your consciousness through meditation and concentration. Carry this thought of yourself as a Centre of Consciousness--Influence--Power with you, for it is an occult truth, and in the proportion that you are able, to realize it so will be your ability to manifest the qualities named. The Candidate must meditate upon the I, and recognize it--feel it to be a Centre. This is his...
We have spoken of this matter in Science of Breath, under the title of Soul Consciousness, on page 70. In the same book, on page 61, under the title Forming an Aura, we have hinted at a plan whereby weak and fearful persons may protect themselves while they are building up a sure foundation of self-confidence and strength. The affirmation or mantram which has proven of more benefit than any other in these cases is the positive assertion of I AM, which expresses a truth and tends to a mental attitude which is taken up by the Instinctive Mind and renders it more positive to others, and less liable to be affected by suggestions, etc. The mental attitude expressed by I AM will surround you with a thought aura, which will act as a shield and a protection, until such time as you have fully acquired the higher consciousness, which carries with it a sense of self confidence and assurance of strength.
The prime aim of asanas is to help us tread the path to higher consciousness so we can begin to understand and know our relationship with existence. We cannot even consider attaining higher awareness if we are ill with disease, aches and pains or mental depression. Therefore, the initial purpose of practising asanas is to eliminate these afflictions and disturbances. Asanas loosen up the joints of the body, stretch and tone the muscles and remove poisons which tend to accumulate in various parts of the body. They also harmonize the nervous system and with a gentle massage they improve the functioning of all the internal organs such as the heart, lungs, abdominal organs, endocrinal glands, blood vessels and so on. This slowly but surely leads to the best possible physical health.
One can read or speak a million words and still find no change in one's consciousness. This is the mistake that verbose philosophers have been making throughout the ages. Although it is possible to devour great amounts of knowledge, this is not connected in any way with expanded awareness. It is merely mental accumulation of factual data. Our aim is to encourage you to become a suitable vessel to receive the influx of higher consciousness. Sri
The techniques in this book are for spiritual seekers of all faiths. I want to make these tools available to everyone, regardless of their faith. My desire is to help anyone who seeks Light and higher consciousness. This book is not about religion. It is about ancient spiritual practices that transcend religion. The true Universal Religion is the religion of love, and Enlightenment brings with it compassionate love for all of humanity.
The animal cannot shift its consciousness from the sensations of the outer world to the inner states of being. It is not able to know itself. The difference may be clumsily illustrated by the example of a man feeling, seeing or hearing something that gives him a pleasurable sensation, or the reverse. He is conscious of the feeling or sensation, and that it is pleasurable or otherwise. That is Physical Consciousness, and the animal may share it with him. But it stops right there with the animal. But the man may begin to wonder why the sensation is pleasurable and to associate it with other things and persons or speculate why he dislikes it, what will follow, and so on--that is Mental Consciousness, because he recognizes an inward self, and is turning his attention inward. He may see another man and experience a feeling or sensation of attraction or aversion-like or dislike. This is Physical Consciousness, and an animal also may experience the sensation. But the man goes further than...
Expand the caliber and capacity of the mental faculties to bring about an equilibrium to control the physical structure and to experience the Infinite Self. The techniques of Kundalini Yoga from the owner's manual for Human Consciousness. It explores your dimensions, depth, nature, and potential as a Human Being. In simple terms, that is all that yoga means.
How shall we approach this subject, which even the most advanced minds in the flesh today can but faintly comprehend How can the finite express or comprehend the infinite Spirit, man's Seventh Principle, is the Divine Spark - our most precious inheritance from the Divine Power - a ray from the Central Sun - the Real Self. Words cannot express it. Our minds fail to grasp it. It is the soul of the Soul. To understand it we must understand God, for Spirit is a drop from the Spirit Ocean - a grain of sand from the shores of the Infinite - a particle of the Sacred Flame. It is that something within us which is the cause of our evolution through all the weary ages. It was the first to be, and yet it will be the last to appear in full consciousness. When man arrives at a full consciousness of Spirit, he will be
It takes the tremendous strength of a warrior to conquer inner peace. The warrior pose, or virabhadrasana (pronounced vee-rab-hah-DRAH-sah-nah), fills the body with nobility and strength, calling upon the power and nourishment of the sun while firmly planting the feet upon the earth. Vira means hero and bhadra means auspicious, so virabhadrasana means heroic auspicious posture. Wow Didn't you always want to be part yogi and part Conan
I used to believe that I could just do Kundalini yoga and meditate and everything would be taken care of over time. Kundalini yoga and meditation does much to purge us of the emotional charges of past traumas. However, to achieve lasting empowerment and inner peace, we must look at and consciously resolve our inner wounds. Kundalini yoga and meditation help us become aware of our wounds and give us the strength and perspective to consciously deal with them.
In Chapter 8, Hatha Yoga May the Force Be with You, we briefly mentioned the five sheaths of existence, but they're worth touching on again here because they're intimately connected with the state of your health. The first sheath consists of your physical body. The second is the vital body, made of prana, the life force. The third sheath is your mind, including your emotions and thoughts. The fourth sheath is your higher intellect, and the fifth sheath is the bliss sheath, filled with positive energy and inner peace. Being human means we originally existed in the bliss sheath, and we have to work our way down into the physical body, then find our way back out to the bliss sheath again.
Here is a simple mindful meditation to practice for the next 40 days. Actually silent, mindful meditation is our first, last and on-going lesson. We will use this meditation as a touchstone overtime to review our progress and assess our goal of achieving inner peace, contentment and a richer, fuller life.
The bregma headstand has a more dynamic effect on your consciousness than the crown headstand. Its expression of energy seems to be related to the relaxed and arched lumbar region, which gives the bregma headstand the character of an inverted backbending posture. If you compare it to the crown headstand, which you can explore by moving your weight to the top of the head and flattening the back, the difference is obvious the crown headstand is calm and poised the bregma headstand is more dynamic.
In nada sanchalana you will be require d to move your awareness through the arohan and awarohan psychic passages. Arohan is the ascending frontal passage and awarohan the descending passage1. As you rotate your awareness through these psychic pathways try to feel that each chakra and kshetram is being pierced in turn by a powerful flow of prana. If you wish you can imagine that each of the centres is like a bead and that together they form a chakra-kshetram mala. Imagine that each bead is being pierced and threaded by a sharp needle of prana. This penetration should be more ofa feeling than a thought. Try not to bring in intellectual speculation.
Bindu implies dissolution or nullification of mental fluctuations. The mind becomes lucid, receptive and perfectly one-pointed. It becomes crystalline a perfect reflector of pure consciousness. Therefore, control of breath, concentration of mind and bindu are closely related. When the mind is concentrated on the bindu point, then one passes from the limited to the unlimited. One passes beyond the realms of the mind. This is the reason why concentration of mind is the essence of all yoga practices and spiritual life in general. It is by piercing the bindu that one passes into the realm of pure consciousness, into the realms of zero time -the timeless.
If your mind is not one-pointed it is quite difficult to visualize a clear picture. Therefore, we recommend that you first of all calm clown your mind and remove distracting thoughts by practising methods 1 and 2 described in the previous lesson1. When the mind becomes concentrated, then you can start to practise japa sahita dhyana. This is a more difficult practice, but it is also more powerful. Your awareness must flow towards the mantra, the symbol and the j apa rotation. If you find it difficult to maintain a fixed inner image, practise the method previously explained1.
Vrikshasana (pronounced vrik-SHAH-sah-nah) is one of the most basic balance poses. Vriksha means tree, and a tree is soundly rooted in the earth but grows upward with branches reaching out to the sun. Wind may move the branches, but the tree stands firm. Vrikshasana tones the legs, opens the hips, and promotes physical balance. It also develops concentration and mindfulness.
Overwhelming object of attention during inner trataka. If it is bright and clear enough it will, in a sense, fascinate your awareness so that you can be aware of nothing else. This is exactly what is required for it leads to concentration of mental forces and in turn meditation.
At first agochari mudra will seem a little strange and difficult, for it requires a fixed gaze at the nose tip. The eyes have to assume a position to which they are normally unaccustomed. But with practice the eye muscles will adapt themselves to their new role, strengthening the eyes and in turn improving the eyesight. Agochari mudra, if practised for some time with awareness, can induce high states of concentration and tranquillity of mind.
Remember that the sounds are psychic, therefore, you should not take this list too seriously - it is merely an indication. You must perceive the sounds for yourself. The sound that you hear will depend on the depth to which your awareness has penetrated the ocean of your being.
According to ancient Indian philosophy, consciousness expresses itself through nada (subtle vibration). Three concepts are worth mentioning kala, bindu and nada. Kala is the individuating principle mentioned under the heading 'Evolutionary Implications'. Bindu is the point through which consciousness expresses itself in the created universe. Nada is the flow of consciousness from the infinite through the bindu to the object of creation. This process can be compared to a funnel bindu and kala bring the consciousness into a concentrated flow and nada is the medium through which consciousness flows along the restricted orifice. When the nada moves upwards, then creation takes place. This is denoted by the pravritti marga and is called manifestation or material evolution. Nada is regarded as the link between pure consciousness and all created objects. This nada can also be utilized to proceed in the opposite direction - the nivritti marga. That is, nada can be used by aspirants as a means...
As in kriya number 3 you will be require d to rotate your awareness through the arohan and awarohan psychic pathways. You should mentally repeat the name of each chakra and kshetram in turn as your awareness passes through them. The process is as follows When your awareness reaches mooladhara you should mentally repeat three times 'mooladhara mooladhara . mooladhara'. Then mentally say the word 'arohan', immediately before ascending the arohan psychic passage. Then when your awareness reaches bindu you should mentally repeat three times 'bindu . . . bindu . . . bindu'.
In a negative parental environment like this, you can do very little to get up and running. Your consciousness is clouded and you have no energy. You can't go to a good school because you can't afford the tuition. Why is this happening to you and not to Prince William or the sons and daughters of a millionaire There is only one answer to the question You are born with bad money karma.
The act of folding over yourself in a pose like Paschimottanasana Seated Forward Bend) is like retreating into your own personal cave. Distractions recede from your awareness, making way for introspection. Paschimottanasana is also thought to improve digestive function, calm your mind and nerves, relieve headaches and menstrua cramps, and increase agility in your hips, legs, and lower hack.
Eventually you should be able to sit in a meditative asana for half an hour and more, without the slightest urge to move the body. This implies that the asana is comfortable and without the slightest physical pain. It is under these circumstances that you will start to gain the most from your meditational and prana-yama practices. Your awareness will more easily become one-pointed for it will not be disturbed by discomfort ofthe body.
The medieval mystic Eckhart similarly stated The eye with which I see the supreme is the same as that with which it sees me. This statement also has many implications. Ajna chakra is the bridge between the microcosm and the macrocosm, between the finite and the infinite, and between man and pure consciousness. Like a bridge over a river, it can be traversed from either side. Thus ajna chakra is the means by which consciousness manifests into individual man and activates man's actions and thoughts (pravritti path). Conversely, ajna is man's means of making the return journey (nivritti path) and communing with the source. Ajna is the door of subtle perception, and is what William Blake referred to when he said If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is infinite. This verse implies that when the mind becomes harmonized, one-pointed and a perfect instalment, then one can gaze through the window of ajna into the infinite.
Close the eyes and keep them closed throughout the entire practice. Do khechari mudra. Exhale deeply. Bend the head forwards. Fix the awareness at mooladhara chakra. The first round begins here. Mentally pronounce the mantra 'mooladhara - mooladhara - mooladhara'. Then inhale with ujjayi pranayama letting your awareness ascend the frontal (arohan) passage. You should be aware of each centre in turn as follows swadhisthana, manipura, anahata, vishuddhi. Allow your awareness to rotate in a continuous circle through the awarohan (spinal passage) and the arohan (frontal passage). Simultaneously try to visualize a thin green snake moving in the same closed loop. Continue to hold your breath. The snake should move downwards from bindu to mooladhara in the spinal passage and then upwards from mooladhara to bindu in the frontal passage. The movement of the snake should be integrated with the movement of your awareness. The snake should make a complete loop (figure 3). Fix your awareness on...
The hypothalamus and the wakefulness of an individual are all intimately connected with each other, directly or indirectly. Mental concentration of any type will tend to bring these systems into a high level of sensitivity. This, as we have already pointed out, allows the infiltration and flow of higher consciousness through the pineal gland.
According to the philosophy of the Kabbala, nine sephiroth evolved from the kether (bindu). Together they formed ten sephiroth on the mythical and symbolic tree of life. The nine sephiroth below the kether are chakras (levels of human consciousness). In yoga, only six main chakras are utilized and discussed, but there are others. Therefore, though there are different numbers of chakras in the two systems, yoga and the Kabbala, the light of consciousness and manifestation shines firstly through the kether, then progressively filters down to the other sephiroth (chakras) in turn. This is exactly the same as tantra-yoga, where consciousness shines firstly through bindu then down through the chakras. Only he who unites these two polarities can know the real meaning of yoga (union) through experience. In these verses we have only discussed the symbolic meaning of the bindu, but there are many more implications behind the previous verses in the practical use of sexual intercourse as a means...
Nada yoga is an important sadhana of many sects. These include Radha Soami Satsang, Kabirpanthis and many others. Nada is known by many different names. It is called shabda (sound), sural (sound), nam (name), akashvani (sound of the ether), dhun (tune), Nad-i-asmani (the heavenly harmony), vani (word), the word, holy spirit, the holy ghost, logos and many other names. In Zoroastrianism it is called sraosha. It is widely discussed and praised in the holy scriptures of the Sikhs, the Adi Cranth Sahib. It is also the 'music of the spheres' described by the Greek mystic Pythagorus. He conceived the whole universe and each individual as a monochord, with its single string connected at the lower end to gross matter and at the upper end to pure consciousness. In between were all the different layers of subtle energy or nada. This relates directly to nada yoga, for the aspirant first perceives gross sound at the lower end of the string and gradually moves along the string with perception of...
Archanam (ritualistic worship and offerings). This mode of expressing bhakti generally follows prescribed rules and formulas. It is a method of unfolding inner potential. These ritualistic forms of worship can be powerful when done with awareness and feeling. This is an integral part of most religions including tantra. When a person has this intensity of feeling, how is it possible not to remember And this is the express train to expanded awareness. The great bhakta Ramdas said The quickest and easiest way to the supreme is to remember him always by repeating his sweet and powerful name. This name is a mantra. Ifyou chant it verbally or mentally with awareness of its meaning, then it harmonizes the whole mind. One is less influenced by the ups and downs of the tumultuous world. One becomes more aware. The whole mind becomes concentrated
Is an impenetrable wall of blackness, so black that you cannot see anything in the cave. Then as you start to walk in the cave and your eyes slowly become accustomed to the murky darkness, you begin to see things. These things were there previously, but you were unable to perceive them. Now you begin to see them. You begin to see more and more things. The cave that before seemed to be only blackness, is seen to be full of so many objects rocks, stalactites and stalagmites, litter of all types and perhaps even a hermit meditating in the far corner As you become more familiar and accustomed to the darkness and nature of the cave, so you see things that you did not previously expect. It is the same with the mind-cave. At first when you look into the cave of the mind you will see nothing. You will most probably be tempted to think that there is nothing there to be seen. But as you look deeper into the depths of the mind-cave you will begin to see things that previously were inconceivable....
All that you need to do is to change the sounds of your consciousness at a very deep level. When the yogis talk about sounds, they don't talk about only the spoken sounds. Spoken sounds are only a very gross form of sounds. Spoken sounds emerge from unmanifest levels. If you try to change your consciousness at the mind level, the change will be very superficial because it cannot dispel the spell you are under. By clinging onto the mantra, you can go into a deeper level and The sound Thiru Neela Kantam was given to mankind by Lord Shiva at the beginning of creation. A mythological story describes the event of the demons and the gods churning the ocean of milk to extract the elixir of immortality. A snake was used as a rope for churning. When the elixir was emitted, the snake also vomited poison, which fell on the elixir. Shiva, the great and most compassionate being, came forward and swallowed the poison. The poison remained in his throat. Myths are the language of the Divine, and...
Just by looking at squares, so many things will correct themselves. If you don't have a house, if you don't have a good body, if you don't have a good car, then something has gone wrong. What has gone wrong is that you have an amorphous consciousness. Your consciousness is not supporting any form. So, we are going to create a form here for you to focus on because form is clarity. Understand this clarity and form are synonymous. You will get clarity just by looking at a square, which is a very structured form.
The definitions that we have given are wide. For the sake of tradition and simplicity, we will define a mandala more specifically as a centre or special place, possibly consecrated by special rites, which is used for tantric practices. This means, when you are doing your yoga practices, you are really creating a mandala, a magic circle. You are creating a centre and trying to tune in with, invoke and harmonize with higher consciousness. Do you realize this You are really performing a rite when you do asanas, pranayama and other practices. Of course, there is probably no worship involved as such, but it is nevertheless a form of rite. Remember this point if you have a tendency to scoff at rituals.
When performing the sun salutation, keep your awareness focused. If you go too fast, your mind may stray from attending to the body, breath, and devotion to the sun. You should go fast enough to keep the movements flowing and get your body warm, but not so fast that you don't feel in control of your movements or breath.
If you are the receiving partner, make sure you are drawing the buttock flesh away from the lower back as the chest is opening, being mindful of any sensation of compression in the lower back. Keep your weight on the ball of your big toe and keep your knees aligned with your hip sockets.
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