Cold wash

It is very easy to lapse into a state of drowsiness during your practice in fact, if your mind is not accustomed to early rising, then you may easily fall asleep during the practice. You may have pleasant dreams but it will not lead you anywhere on the yogic path. One good method of reducing the likelihood of falling asleep is to take a cold shower before beginning your practice. If it is too cold, then you should at least wash your face with cold water. Ifyou feel sleepy during your practice,...

Movement

Stand erect with your feet about 1 metre apart. Raise your arms sideways to shoulder height that is, your arms and shoulders should form Slowly lean to the right and bring the right During this movement you may bend your right leg slightly. Your arms should remain in one straight line, with your head facing forwards. Don't bend forwards. This is important you should bend as much as possible to the side. To do this, you may push the left side of your pelvis slightly forwards. Your arms, legs and...

Bhakti and music

Thoughts are the language of the mind. But music is the language of the heart. Wherever there is bhakti there must also be music. They are inseparable. There is no more exhilarating way of expressing bhakti than through music. Music implies rhythm and harmony. And in this sense everything in the universe can be considered to be music. The sun and the moon rise and set according to fixed rhythms. This is music. The birds sing beautiful melodies. This is music. In fact, the birds are so anxious...

Time and duration

This practice should be performed preferably before breakfast. This is important for one might otherwise tend to retch as the fingers are pushed into the back of the throat. Try to practise at least once every day, if not as often as time available will permit. Two minutes rubbing the back of tongue and two minutes milking the upper and lower surfaces is sufficient. Kapal randhra is the upper hollowed region of the head, which can be clearly seen on a newly born baby. Therefore, this practice...

The kundalini defined

The progressive awakening of the chakras is called the raising of the kundalini (sometimes called the kundali) and is symbolized by a snake or serpent. The word kundalini is derived from the two Sanskrit words 1. we have given a very brief and explanation of their implications. Kundala, which means 'coiled', indicating that the kundalini power is symbolized as a coiled snake residing in mooladhara chakra. 2. Kunda, which means 'a pit', 'depression' or 'deeper place', indicating that kundalini...

Karma Yoga Part

Karma yoga is the yoga of action or work. Its aim is to bring about integration, harmony and union through action. It is a yogic path that is open to everyone, for we all have to work and perform various activities, whether physical or mental. In fact, it is most suitable for the modern, activity oriented world and is ideal for those of us who find it easier to do something than nothing, which is everyone, for there is nobody who can do absolutely nothing. It is impossible. There must always be...

Stage thoughtlessness

At this stage the mind should be reasonably calm and peaceful. Thoughts will still arise, but they will not be very strong or cause any great emotional upheaval. At this stage, it is therefore justified to suppress all thoughts completely. This should lead to a state of thoughtlessness. Perfection of this stage implies the attainment of pratyahara. This is the gateway to dharana. At this stage one should adopt a psychic symbol as a focal point for concentration. Without this symbol one will...

General advice

The biggest hurdle to overcome with this practice is the disgust we attach to the idea of vomiting. When you try it for the first time and even on the second and third occasion you will have to use a little willpower to actually carry it out to the full. It is very easy to drink only one glass and persuade oneself that the stomach is now full or to make plans to do the practice and then postpone it at the last moment until another day under the guise of some suitable excuse. But once you become...

Time of practice

Do not practise agnisar kriya with a full stomach. Wait until three or four hours have elapsed after a meal. The best time to practise is early in the morning before breakfast, preferably after going to the toilet. However, if you wish you can do this practice before going to the toilet to help induce a good bowel movement. possible functioning of these organs. It promotes the correct secretion of digestive juices and thereby allows optimum assimilation of nutrients from the food that we eat....

The mind as a perfect reflector

The aim of cleaning out the personal mind of its accumulated dross and removing inner turmoil is to transform it into a perfect instrument of perception and also to make it a perfect analyzer of data and a perfect instrument for translating thoughts into action. This of course takes time, but the following descrip tion is intended to give you an idea, though inadequate and incomplete, of how the personal mind should work if it is not clogged with defects. One will be in a continual state of...

Daily Practice Program

If you have been practising surya namaskara regularly you should be able to perform the whole movement without the slightest hesi-tation1. To this dynamic exercise you can now add the associated mantras, if you have not already done so. These will transform the entire practice and make it far more powerful. Try moola shodhana. Overcome your trepidation and test it. If we did not think that it is a useful practice then we would not have discussed it at such length. It is a practice that everyone...

Balancing the air flows in the nostrils

The ideal condition for meditative practice occurs when the flow of air in each nostril is the same. This balance arises when the predominance of flow in the left nostril changes over to predominance in the right nostril or vice versa. This changeover occurs periodically in accordance with the ultradian rhythm that we discussed briefly. This cycle is said to repeat itself every 90 minutes, but in fact there are many other factors involved which tend to greatly modify it, making it shorter or...

Benefits

Siddha yoni asana is an excellent pose and the equal of padmasana. It is utilized with many other practices which aim at awakening mool-adhara chakra. This asana is necessary for women because the position of the mooladhara chakra is slightly different to that of men. It has a direct influence on the nerve plexuses of the female reproductive system. It helps one to gain control over the neuropsychic impulses which are concerned with the mool-adhara chakra and the associated physical sexual...

Technique

Keep your eyes closed. Become aware of your physical body . . . nothing else. Let there be total, uninterrupted perception Be aware of your body . . . and stillness. Be aware of your whole body . . . and stillness. Feel the steadiness of the body and stillness. Simultaneously become aware of your natural Your breath moves inwards . . . and outwards. Watch the constant, rhythmical flow of your breath and feel the steadiness of your whole body. Gradually your body will become...

Bhakti Yoga Part

The seed of bhakti lies in the heart of every person. It is something that is hidden away deep within each one ofus. It has been planted in the fertile soil of individual being and waits to be germinated and to grow, but first it must be watered with aspiration. In time it will sprout and arise spontaneously. Nothing needs to be added. Everything is already inherent within the seed. It needs only the chance to grow. Each person is potentially a bhakta. Generally, however, this bhakti is not...

Modern science and prana

Knowledge of prana is not a new thing to scientific circles. It has been known and recorded by scientifically inclined persons throughout the ages. Unfortunately their discoveries have generally been shunned and ridiculed and their ideas not taken seriously. For example, Mesmer, who was one of the people who introduced modern man to hypnotism, called the psychic field enveloping the physical body animal magnetism. Reichenbach, an eminent industrialist and inventor of creosote did a lot of...

Rotation of awareness

An important part of the practice of yoga nidra is the rotation of awareness through different parts of the physical body. It is specifically designed to withdraw perception from the outside world, induce introspection and also deep relaxation of the mind and body. According to yogic scriptures there are seventy-six physical centres in the body. Technically, they are called angasthana (limb or organ locations) and adhara (physical bases or centres). The latter are mentioned in the Yoga...

Tantra and yoga

How is tantra related to yoga Yoga is well known, yet tantra is surrounded and veiled in an aura of superstition and mystery. This in a way is very strange, for in fact yoga and tantra are in essence the same system. They are intimately related. To be more specific yoga is a part of the more encompassing, wider system of tantra. All practices such as asanas, prana-yama, all yogic paths such as karma yoga, bhakti yoga, kundalini yoga, hatha yoga, mantra yoga, kriya yoga and so on, are all an...

Technique executive Yoga Nidra

This is a simplified form ofyoga nidra that can be practised while sitting in a chair. It is ideal for those who want to relax the mind and body during the day, but find it inconvenient to lie down. It is ideal for office workers, executives, people who work in factories and so on. It takes between 5 and 15 minutes according to the time that you have available. Sit comfortably with your back upright. Loosen your tie and if possible remove your Place your hands on your lap or your knees. Close...

Psychic passage awareness

As you breathe in with So your awareness should ascend the frontal arohan passage. After leaving mooladhara chakra you should feel the mantra and breath piercing swadhisth-ana, manipura, anahata and vishuddhi kshetrams and then finally bindu. As you breathe out with Ham your awareness should descend the spinal awarohan passage. After leaving bindu, feel the mantra and breath progressively piercing ajna, vishuddhi, anahata, manipura, swadhisthana and finally, the mooladhara chakra. There should...

Meditation Practices for Visualization

Everyone has the ability to mentally create and visualize any chosen object. However, most people lose this ability through lack of practice and a tendency to overload the mind with verbal concepts. The capacity to visualize internally remains, but it is dormant. It is only the artist or so-called primitive people who retain this ability to think in terms of pictures as opposed to words. Many anthropologists who have studied aboriginal and seemingly uncivilized people in different parts of the...

Sitting position

For most kriyas, the ideal asanas are padm-asana and siddhasana (siddha yoni asana for females)6. If you cannot sit in either of these asanas, you can adopt alternative sitting asanas which we will describe as we introduce each individual kriya in turn. You should try to adopt the habit ofkeeping the back as straight as possible, but without strain. In this erect position it is far easier to locate the chakra and kshetram trigger points and to maintain awareness of rotation through these...

Manipura Chakra

Manipura chakra is the third of the ascending chakras, mooladhara being the first and swadhisthana the second1. The manipura is a most important centre and is widely mentioned in traditional scriptures. In Buddhism, it is regarded as the seat of the kundalini, although in reality the kundalini can be regarded as residing in all chakras. Tantra yoga regards spiritual life, or expansion of awareness, as starting at the level of the mooladhara chakra, for it is here that man begins to become aware...

Chakra locations

The accompanying diagram indicates the physical locations of the trigger points of the chakras. Don't take these positions too literally, but rather take them as physical switches for the more subtle chakras. You should note that most of the chakras lie within the spine mooladhara is outside the bottom of the spine and ajna is at the top of the spine bindu, which is not strictly a chakra, is at the back of the head. We have shown sahasrara in the centre of the crown of the head. This is...

The infinite mind

Large numbers of mystics, yogis and other wise men throughout history have conceived and emphatically declared that the mind transcends the limitations of the physical brain. In modern psychology this possibility was clearly put forward by Jung when he postulated that an enormous part of the mind was the unconscious, or collective aspect. He suggested that within the collective unconscious part of the mind there are an infinite number of mental contents common to all of us. He suggested that...

Application of the right system

For specific ailments some systems are better than others. It is important to choose the correct healing system for the treatment of a given disease. Some systems act more directly others act more subtly. Gem therapy, perfume therapy healing methods act slowly. The important and colour therapy, for example, have a very thing is the final result . . . abundant good subtle influence on the mind and body. Thehyealth. are not very useful in the treatment of...

Concentration willpower and mental problems

Most people have a mind that can be compared to a river with a large number of eddy currents. These currents continually react, clash and oppose the mainstream flow. The result is incessant disturbance, turmoil, friction and loss of energy. If engineers want to tap the power of the river for electrical distribution, they have to channel the water flow into one powerful and unified current with as few eddy currents as possible. Then they have to build and install a turbogenerator, which actually...

Shivalingam

The shivalingam can be used as an object of concentration. It can be used as a focus of your awareness, to draw you into the deeper realms of your being. It can be used as a vehicle to higher experience. The shivalingam is a widely venerated symbol in India. It is a tantric symbol, as well as being an integral part of Hinduism. But the veneration of the lingam is not confined to India. It has been revered throughout every part of the world, especially in bygone ages. It is a symbol which is...

Steadiness of gaze

As we have already mentioned, it is important that one tries not to blink or flicker the eyes while doing outer trataka. This is necessary to produce a clear after-image for inner trataka. Without a steady gaze it is difficult to discern a clear inner image and this is the main reason why beginners often fail to perceive an inner image. Furthermore, steadiness of the gaze is directly related to steadiness and concentration of mind. There is an intimate connection between these two. Cheat sages...

Stage left nostril respiration

Raise your right hand in front of your face and do nasagra mudra. The other hand should rest in your lap or on your knee. Close the right nostril with the thumb. Breathe forcefully and quickly through the left nostril 10 times. The pumping action should be done by the expansion and contraction of the abdomen try not to use your chest. Forceful exhalation is induced by firmly and quickly contracting the abdominal muscles. Forceful inhalation is induced by fully expand The whole process of...

Yoga and Kriya

Yoga Publications Trust, Munger, Bihar, India All rights reserved. No part ofthis publication may be reproduced, transmitted or stored in a retrieval system, in any form or by any means, without permission in writing from Yoga Publications Trust. Published by Bihar School of Yoga First edition 1981 Reprinted 1989 Published by Yoga Publications Trust Reprinted 2004 Inscribed by Swami Nishchalananda Saraswati Emendated by Swami Mangalmurti Saraswati Price Indian rupees one thousand only Publisher...

Harmonization of pranic flows

Classical yogic texts such as the Yoga Chuda-mani Upanishad and Yajnavalkya Samhita explain that there are 72,000 nadis (bioplasmic pathways) in the human pranic framework. Other texts say that there are more actually the exact number is unimportant. These nadis act as the controlling medium and base for the physical body. Pranic flows have recently been photographed with Kirlian photography and the profound functions of the pranic body are slowly becoming obvious to modern science. Yoga nidra...

Posture

.Ashwini mudra can be done in almost any asana, including any of the meditational asanas previously described2. You can integrate it with any asana that you do in your asana program. However, since we have introduced sarvang-asana3 in this lesson, we suggest that you definitely perform it in the final pose of sarvangasana. Not only does this mean that you can do two practices at the same time, but this combination happens to be very beneficial, as we will explain later.

Terminology

The practice is known by various names. When the vomiting is induced by tickling the back of the throat it is called kunjal kriya or vaman dhauti. Both kunjal and vaman mean 'vomiting' kriya means 'practice' and dhauti means 'wash'. When the water is expelled by muscular contraction ofthe abdomen, it is called kunjara kriya or gaja karma. Both the words kunjara and gaja mean 'elephant'. The word karma in this context means the same as kriya, namely practice or action. Therefore, in English this...

Step looking into the image

Now leave ujjayi pranayama, khechari mudra, together with awareness of the breath and the accompanying sound. Now you have to investigate the nature of the image. You must tiy to pierce through the exterior reality of the inner-image. Look intently at the image and try to probe its shape and nature. Gaze into the candle flame as though you are looking for something. See the wick in the middle of the flame. Try to gaze into the depths of the flame. Feel and see the aura of the flame penetrating...

Yoga nidra as a healing method

We feel that yoga nidra is a method that should be adopted more widely in hospitals. It can be used to calm patients and aid recovery from various types of diseases by encouraging activation of the self-curative functions of the body. It can be used, for example to treat the following ailments asthma, diabetes, headache, migraine, stuttering, neuro-physical disturbances such as neurasthenia, peptic and duodenal ulcers, hypertension, rheumatism, cancer, hormonal imbalance and related ailments,...

Mahatma Gandhi karma yogi

All great yogis, saints and sages are karma yogis, for they perform perfect actions, without the slightest hint of egoism. It is not necessary to do large amounts of work to practise karma yoga. It is the attitude and state of awareness that is important. Even a hermit in his cave can be a karma yogi, even though he does little work. Yet at the same time, there are or have been certain people who are renowned as karma yogis, for they most clearly and obviously illustrate and epitomize the...

Difference between sleep and yoga nidra

Though we have recommended yoga nidra as a method of inducing sleep, you should remember that there is a vast difference between the state of sleep and the state of yoga nidra. In Sanskrit sleep is called nidra. In nidra there is loss of awareness in both the inner and outer world. In yoga nidra there is loss of awareness of the outer world, but awareness of the inner world is retained. This is a profound difference. Nidra is unconscious sleep and yoga nidra is conscious sleep. There is also a...

Scriptural references

Kumbhaka is widely mentioned in the ancient yogic texts for it is a very important practice. The ancient text called the Hatha Yoga Pradi-pika in particular, discusses it at great length. The following are a few extracted quotations He who can do kumbhaka for some time will increase digestive fire and hear the internal cosmic sound (nada). The body will become purified and free of disease. During kumbhaka the mind becomes steady and one experiences timelessness. One is able to concentrate...

Water and bath

For air basti no water or bath is required. For water basti you will have to sit or stand in a bath of water. The water level should be such that it is just above the level of the anus. The depth of water required will depend on the sitting position. That is, if you sit in paschimottan-asana then five to ten centimetres is sufficient. On the other hand, if you stand in utkatasana the water will need to be much deeper. The water should be neither excessively cold or hot. Ifyou have sufficient...

Pranayama Kapalbhati

Kapalbhati is a technique of pranayama, although some yogic scriptures regard it as one ofthe shatkarmas1. It is similar to bhastrika pranayama2. However, it has distinct differences in both method and benefits. It is an excellent practice that purifies the frontal portion of the brain, massages the abdominal organs and improves respiration. It is also a powerful method of waking up the mind. After ten rounds of kapalbhati it is impossible to sleep. Try it Therefore, it can be use d to energize...

Desensitization

Many people have problems that they know with certainty, yet still the problems cannot be removed. That is, even though the problems are consciously known, they still continue to assert a negative influence on an individual's life. An example, common with many people, is fear of insects such as spiders. They are fully aware of this fear for whenever they see an insect they immediately suffer an emotional upset, sometimes great, sometimes small, depending on the nature of the confrontation. That...

Basic anatomy of the brain

A volume could easily be written on the different parts and functions of the brain. In fact, in our library we have a book on human neuroanatomy which amounts to nearly one thousand pages of solid facts and figures about the brain. Here we are only interested in briefly describing the basic functions so that you can appreciate the importance of perfect functional efficiency of the brain. Ifyou are interested in studying the subject further then you should read a suitable textbook. The brain can...

Different methods of regulating prana

There are various methods of manipulating and influencing the flow of prana throughout the whole psychic body. The Chinese developed the two systems of acupuncture and tai chi chu'an to bring the pranic system into balance1. In the system of tai chi chu'an a series of dynamic movements are utilized. There are various systems in vogue today, though it is said to have been originated by San Fung Chang. The movements are so designed to bring the negative and positive forces (yin and yang) of the...

The Chakras Part

The chakras are pranic centres within the human framework. In each person, there are myriad of chakras. However, only a few principal ones are utilized in yogic practice. These few are the ones which span the full spectrum of man's being from the gross to the subtle. These main chakras are Though we have included sahasrara in this list, it is not really a chakra it transcends them all and includes all of the chakras and sahasrara together because they are the basic centres common to many mind...

Renunciation

It is very easy to totally misunderstand yogic ideas and to become bewildered by apparent contradictions. A good example is the idea of renunciation. One is often told to renounce the world and take up a life of contemplation. On the other hand, one hears that they should not discard objects and duties, but live fully in the world, while practising karma yoga. There seems to be an obvious and irreconcilable contradiction between these two viewpoints. But actually there is no contradiction -...

Alternative technique

Uddiyana bandha can also be done in a standing position. This is generally easier for beginners. The technique is as follows Stand with your feet about half a meter apart. Bend forwards and bend the legs slightly at the knees. Place your palms on the knees. Exhale deeply tiy to empty the lungs as much as possible. Then bend your head downwards and press the chin against your chest in jalandhara bandha. Make sure your arms are straight. Then make a false inhalation (expand the chest as though...

Sushumna

In spiritual life all mutual opposites must be balanced as one progressively expands awareness. This is symbolized by the crossing of ida and pingala at the chakras. The chakras The threeepartehearle h Ipogreasigwlya higher levels of (ida), yamuna (pingala) and saraswati (sush-umna) after rivers in India, the last being a mythological junction where the two other rivers actually join in Prayag, Allahabad. The ida and pingala indicate time, while the sushumna is the devourer of time, since it...

Disorders of Digestion

Digestive ailments are extremely common throughout the world. There are very few of us who have not suffered from a stomach or abdominal problem at least once in our lives. Yoga has much to offer in preventing or removing these types of ailments. Therefore this entire topic is devoted to the most common digestive ailments and how one can gain relief through yoga practices. Many writers insist that the digestive system is the source of nearly all other diseases. Their reasoning is that many of...

Necessity of a good sleep

Any machine which works continuously throughout the day without rest becomes heated. The body is also a machine. Sleep is a cooling device. It recharges the batteries of the body which have been discharging energy during the whole waking state. Energy expended in one's daily work is recouped. A good sleep is necessary for the whole organism. The metabolic functions are revitalized, energy levels are restored and the mind-body is allowed to rest. Sleep is essential for optimum health. A good...

The influence of asanas on ones mental outlook

The stepping stone to higher awareness and a happy life is an optimistic attitude. Asanas help to change and reorientate a person's mental outlook. How There are various answers, which we will discuss in turn. Firstly, asanas greatly influence the functioning ofthe endocrine system. This system exerts vast control over our lives. It carries out an uncountable number of indispensable functions within the body and it influences our physical appearance, emotional outlook and in fact much of our...

Stage inner trataka

Gaze at the after-image. Gaze at the inner-image in the same way as you did the outer object. Be aware of both the internal candle flame and the breath. If the image is not clear, don't worry merely As you breathe in, feel the breath moving backwards from the flame in front of the closed Try to feel that you are drawing the image As you breathe out, imagine that the breath is being pushed forwards to the closed eyes. Carry on in this way. Inhale and almost pull the image and...

Spinal psychic passage

Between the trigger points of the ajna and mooladhara chakras lies the spinal psychic passage. It is called sushumna. It connects all the chakras together and is located within the centre of the spine. In stage 5 of ajapa you must feel the breath moving up and down within this psychic passage, piercing all the chakras in turn. You will have to use a little imagination. At first you may find this difficult, but with regular practice you will find it becomes natural. You will feel the breath...

Chanting of

You should chant the mantra Aum as your awareness descends through the awarohan passage. The sound must be loud and explosive as it starts from bindu. Then as your awareness moves through the chakras in the spine the sound should become a humming sound. Try to feel the sound piercing the chakras in turn. In fact, you should identify the sound with the flow of prana. The sound should end when your awareness reaches the mooladhara chakra. We can summarize the process as follows bindu to ajna -...

The mechanics of breathing

Do you know how air is drawn into your lungs You know that it happens, but do you know why This is important, because if you understand how you breathe, then you will know how to correct improper breathing habits. The breathing process functions briefly as follows. Consider the lungs to be two very flexible and strong bags which can be inflated or deflated as air flows in or out of them during inhalation and exhalation respectively. The lungs have the ability to expand greatly and also can be...

Mental contraction of mooladhara

For the first few months of practice you should physically contract the muscles of the perineum surrounding the mooladhara chakra. When you can locate the exact position of mool-adhara and your perception becomes more subtle, then you can merely 'touch' mool-adhara with awareness there is no nee d to contract the muscles. Also, if the mind is wandering here and there, you should physically contract mooladhara. When it becomes more one-pointed then mere awareness is sufficient or even a slight...

Gravity feed method

The most common method of using an enema is gravity feed. Water or whatever is being used as enema is kept in a container above the level of the anus. A thin tube feeds the water from the container directly into the anus. The water flows directly into the colon under the force of gravity no effort is necessary. Special tubes and containers can be obtained from a chemist shop. The gravity feed method is very similar to basti and is certainly much easier. Basti requires some degree of muscular...

The tools of kriya yoga

Each individual kriya is comprised of a number of subsidiary techniques. These are the basic tools of kriya yoga. Many of these subsidiary techniques are widely known and practised individually. They can be classified into the following groups 2. Mudra (external expression of an inner attitude) 3. Bandha (physio-psychic locks) 4. Mantra (special sound pattern which can produce subtle impact and change) 5. Pranayama (manipulation of breath to control prana) 6. Psvchic passage awareness These six...

Frequency

This is quite a long and complex practice. Therefore, normally, you should not practise more than twice a year. That is, you should allow six months to elapse before doing shankhaprakshalana for a second time. Under special circumstances however, it may be necessary to repeat the practice after a short time has elapsed, perhaps in the case of a person who has chronic constipation. But don't do it without seeking expert guidance. Those people who feel healthy can also do the practice, for they...

Internal therapy

There are some people who praise and worship amaroli, claiming urine to be the divine nectar of life. Ardent supporters give a long list of diseases which can be treated with urine, including diabetes, kidney diseases, heart ailments, high blood pressure, oedema, malaria, general fevers, colds, asthma, menstrual disorders, piles, intestinal diseases, cancer and many more. If you suffer from any of these diseases then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying amaroli. If...

Fasting

This is a very powerful cleansing technique but should be used with care. A fast can extend anywhere from one day to about six weeks. The most powerful, but also the most difficult, is the water fast. Next in strength is the juice fast and then the so-called, mono-diet. Fasting relies on the body having sufficient vitality to initiate its own cleansing process once the digestive load is removed, for digestion is a process which requires considerable energy. The larger or more indigestible the...

The granthis

The Sanskrit word granthi means 'knot'. In the context of the chakras, the word granthi is translated as 'psychic knot'. They are three in number, called the brahma, vishnu and rudra granthis. They represent levels of awareness chakra domains) where the power of maya illusion), ignorance and attachment to material things is especially strong. 1. Brahma granthi. This psychic knot functions in the region of the mooladhara chakra. It implies attachment to physical pleasures and material objects,...

Definition

The Sanskrit word kriya means 'action' or 'movement'. Kriya yoga is so called because it is a system where one intentionally rotates one's attention along fixed pathways. This movement of awareness is done, however, with control. Also, kriya yoga is so called because one moves the body into specified mudras, bandhas and asanas according to a fixed scheme of practice. The word kriya is often translated as meaning 'practical'. This is indeed a good definition, for kriya yoga is indeed practical....

The basic features of meditation asanas

In the ancient text, the Yoga Sutras, Rishi Patanjali has tersely summed up the essence of meditative asanas in the following manner The posture should be steady and comfortable. The posture is mastered by relaxing effort (not trying too hard) and by thinking about the Ananta (this is a mythological serpent symbolizing equilibrium - in particular the stability and the correct orbit of the earth around the sun). The first sentence requires no explanation. If we try too hard without relaxing...

Digestive system how it works

The food we eat cannot be absorbed directly into the body. It must first undergo a process of conversion into substances which can be directly conveyed into the bloodstream - the carrier and distributor of our foods throughout the body. This process is called digestion. (For a full understanding ofthe following text, refer to the diagram of the digestive system included overleaf.) Digestion begins when food enters the mouth. The role the mouth plays in digestion is twofold it physically breaks...

Meditation Trataka Stage

All meditational practices aim initially at establishing concentration of mind as a prelude to meditation. To attain this state, various different methods are adopted. One of the most direct, simple and yet at the same time effective, is the technique of trataka. The mechanics of the practice are easy to learn and understand. It can be practised by everyone and the benefits are enormous. Even beginners, with a little effort and persistence, can gain much from it in a short period of time with...

Fundamentals of karma yoga

The path of karma yoga accepts the material world around us. It accepts that we must function in the world, but its aim is to utilize the objects, thoughts and actions that now bind each individual, in a constructive manner, to eventually transcend them, break the bondage and attain freedom and knowledge. It is done progressively by acting in everyday life, with hill awareness, to the best of one's ability. The aim is to become perfectly free in the fullest sense of the word to become liberated...

Pleasant and unpleasant experiences

Be prepared to notice vast ups and downs in your emotions sometimes you may feel jubilant, other times depressed. This will occur in your daily life and is a necessary process in the purging of mental problems. Kriya yoga will induce it. Try not to wony, just flow with these moods, accept them and be aware. Only if the emotions are excessively explosive and negative (because of deep-rooted problems) should you reduce or even stop your kriya practices for some time. If necessary consult an...

Stage Uddiyana Bandha

Those who have been practising the prana-yama lessons regularly according to the instructions that we have given will be fully familiar with this bandha2. For the purposes of locating the manipura chakra and kshetram the technique is as follows Sit in a comfortable position, preferably one of the traditional meditative asanas, with the knees flat on the ground3. Perform uddiyana bandha. Be aware of the navel. Practise a number of rounds for about 5 minutes. Fix your attention on the blood pulse...

Pranayama Practice

Continue to regularly practise nadi shodhana pranayama in the manner previously describ-ed1. We consider nadi shodhana a most important yogic technique. It is for this reason that we are devoting so much time to it. We could easily have described all the stages in one lesson, but this would not have encouraged you to practise it for yourself. It is when we slowly progress stage by stage as part of a sadhana, that there is more likelihood of actual practice on the part of the reader. And it is...

Mistakes to avoid

This asana gives many benefits if it is done correctly. Make sure you avoid the following common mistakes Bending the knee of the straight leg upwards during the practice. If you do this then the asana becomes very easy so easy that even a person with the stiffest back will be able to touch his head to his knee. But the benefits will be almost nil. Keep the leg straight so that the muscles at the rear of the legs (hamstring muscles) and the spinal muscles are stretched and become flexible...

The thyroid

Sarvangasana has a profound and characteristic influence on the thyroid gland. Because of the importance of this small gland, it is worthwhile giving a brief description of its anatomy, functions and relationship with various types of disease. The thyroid gland is an important part of the endocrinal system. It is a small butterfly-shaped organ located just below the voice-box (larynx) in the front part of the neck. It has two lobes, each of which is about 4 cms long and weighing 10 grams. These...

Variation Pranam asana bowing pose

Grasp the lower part of the calves just above the ankles with your hands. Bend forwards and place the crown of your head on the floor in front of your knees. Your head should rest on a folded blanket. Raise your buttocks until the thighs are as vertical as is comfortable. Breathe normally with awareness. This is the final pose. Remain in this position for a comfortable length of time. Note This variation particularly directs an extra supply of blood to the brain. As such it is...

The chakras of acupuncture

The widely practised system of healing called acupuncture is actually based on the control and manipulation of the chakras. The chakras utilized, however, are not confined to the principal ones used in yogic practices, but include about seven hundred chakras located throughout the entire body. These chakra points are stimulated by needles on specific areas of the skin surface. This physical stimulation induces changes in the more subtle chakras, which in turn...

Modes of pranayama practices

While controlling the breath in pranayama practices there are four important activities. These are 3. Antar or antaranga kumbhaka (retention of breath after inhalation i.e. with lungs full of air) 4. Bahir or bahiranga kumbhaka (retention of breath after exhalation i.e. with lungs emptied as much as possible). The different practices of pranayama involve various techniques but they all basically utilize the four listed above. There is also another mode of pranayama which is called kevala...

Yoga nidra and sleep

We generally advise you not to sleep in yoga nidra. If, however, you have trouble sleeping, there is no reason why you should not practise yoga nidra before sleep as a means of inducing sleep. If you cannot sleep then any method of inducing sleep is justified. And there is no better method than yoga nidra, even though this breaks its basic rule that is, no sleep. The rules can be broken in this case. But there is a catch do not practise yoga nidra thinking to yourself Ah, now I will have a good...

Usefulness of practice

Under normal circumstances burping brings a wonderful and immediate sense of relief. It is a normal response which none of us can avoid, for we all tend to swallow air while we eat. This is trapped in each mouthful of food and accumulates in the stomach. The amount of air swallowed, of course, varies greatly with eating habits, but it may be as high as half a litre. A little of this passes into the intestinal tract but most of it is expelled by means of the simple expedient of burping. Vatsara...

Technique Yoga Nidra for sleep

Lie flat on the bed, face upwards, legs straight and slightly apart, and the arms beside the body with the palms facing upwards. It is best to lie on a reasonably thin mattress on a firm bed. Try to avoid practising on a 12 inch thick mattress supported by a luxurious spring bed. Don't lie on the bed with the specific intention of sleeping. Instead, think to yourself that 'I will practise yoga nidra just to relax the body and mind.' Ifyou anticipate sleep then it is less likely to come. Then...

Guidelines to be observed during asana practice

The place of practice should be clean, quiet and well ventilated. There should be no bad smells, dampness or cold draughts. The area should be uncluttered with furniture and other objects. Try to use the same place every day to build up an atmosphere of peace. Take a wash or bath and go to the toilet before the practice if possible. Wait for at least three hours after food before doing asanas. You can take food after your asana program if you wish. If possible do neti bef ore commencing your...

Advice to beginners

Beginners will probably have difficulty touching the toe's to the floor behind the head in the final pose. Under no circumstances should one use force or sudden jerks in order to touch the floor, for this is the quickest way to strain the spine and be out of action for a week or so. Let the feet suspend above the floor, keeping the legs straight. Regular practice over a period of weeks will make the back more supple, and the toes will gradually move nearer to the ground. The aim is to stretch...

Technique postures and breathing

The following pages describe step by step the twelve different positions of surya namaskara together with the associated breathing sequence. The palms should face forwards. The movement should be executed in one smooth motion with awareness. Breathing Inhale while raising the arms. POSITION 1 PRANAMASANA (PRAYER POSE) Stand erect with the feet together. Face the sun or the direction of the sun. Place the two palms together in front of the chest in an attitude of prayer, the namaskara mudra....

Duration

You should practise until you feel the prana that enters the top of the spine pierce the mooladhara. If you are very sensitive to this current then the practice may take only 1 minute. If you are less sensitive then you may have to spend a little longer. But do not spend more than 3 minutes on the practice, whether you feel the prana current piercing the spine and mooladhara or not. Pass on to the next kriya. KRIYA 17 UTTHAN (RAISING THE KUNDALINI) The word utthan means 'ascent', 'rising'. In...

Number of beatings

You have to hold your breath while beating the buttocks. Beginners should beat their buttocks only 3 times. Add 1 more beating every few days to a maximum of 11 full beatings. The practice takes about 1 minute per round. Therefore, the complete duration is about 7 minutes. Tadan kriya should be done after manduki mudra and before naumukhi7.

Constipation

This abnormal functioning of the bowels can manifest in three distinct ways 1. The defecation may occur with insufficient frequency 2. Stool may be insufficient in quantity 3. Stool may be abnormally hard and dry. Any of these definitions could be classified as constipation. However, we must emphasize that each person is different, so that one healthy person empties his bowels after each meal while another will do so once a day. There are also some people who defecate only once a week yet are...

Code

Normally we shape our lives so that we interact with people we dislike as little as possible. We continually try to associate ourselves with people and situations which tune in with our emotional programming. As such we continue to live in a way that reinforces and satisfies our individual prejudices. Treat difficult situations and enemies as the greatest teachers. It is they who can show us most clearly the way in which our mental program works. It is our...

Composite chakra chart

To develop the capacity to internally visualize the chakras, it is worthwhile making a chart with all the chakra diagrams together. We suggest the following. Take all the chakra diagrams from the previous lessons, removing the white back-ground5. Carefully fix or glue them all on a long sheet of vivid yellow background paper, one above the other in the listed order, mooladhara at the bottom and sahasrara at the top. The size of the yellow sheet should be such that there is a thin border on all...

Christianity

Christianity and Judaism are mainly bhakti religions, though there is much esoteric data hidden in the Bible and other texts, and in various sects, japa is widely practised by various groups. An important mantra is Kyrie Eleison. Constant chanting, verbal or mental, with remembrance throughout the day and night, can lead to one-pointedness of mind and transcendence. Such is the power of mantra combined with devotion. Prayer is an important part of Christianity, as it is with most other...

Biorhythms

Women and men follow a monthly rhythm. With women it is associated with the menstrual cycle and changes of mood. With men it is associated mainly with a fluctuation of mood. There is also a twenty-four hour rhythm which induces changes in hormone secretion, blood pressure, body heat and so forth. Modern scientists have now begun to realize that there is also a 90-minute rhythm. They have called it the ultradian rhythm and it relates to periodic swings of mood, mental alertness, stomach...

Relaxation

Like all other meditational techniques, relaxation ofthe body and mind is essential. Without this prerequisite you will not gain meaningful and profound experiences. If the mind is disturbed or incessantly thinking about work, family problems or perhaps anticipating the delights of breakfast, then you will achieve little or nothing. It is for this reason the technique of chidakasha dharana that we have described has been combined with other meditational practices. The preliminary techniques of...

Summary

Many people will find some of these practices a little difficult at first. Do not become discouraged, only do your best. With regular practice these six exercises will definitely loosen up your legs, especially when supplemented with other asanas. Practise these exercises whenever you have the time. They can be done at any time (except directly after meals) and in any place. Aim to do all six, for they each have a part to play in making your legs more supple. The more you practise them the more...

The fundamental mechanics of meditation practice

The techniques of meditational practices are reasonably easy to learn. Yet they will never bring results unless they are practised regularly and with dedication. Sad to say, many people believe that to experience meditation it is necessary to fill the mind with numerous different techniques, none of which they practise seriously. As a result they gain nothing. This is an easy pitfall, for we are all habituated to believing that results come through learning. That is, we believe that the more...

Selfishness and selflessness

Selfishness and selflessness are mutually exclusive. Where there is one, there cannot be the other. If a person is selfish in an action or thought, then he cannot also be selfless. One leads to awakening of human potential while the other prevents it. Selfishness is an obstacle, while selflessness is a necessity. But of course, selfishness cannot be wiped out instantaneously it takes time. This is the purpose of yoga practices (sadhana). As you expand awareness and change your attitudes...

Mental problems and illness

The relationship between mental problems and mental and physical ailments need not be dealt with in great detail here, for most people fully accept that almost all illnesses are a result of some kind of mental disturbance. We merely want to emphasize this point. The mind, on a personal level, is in a continual state of activity at all stratas. Ideally these processes should occur spontaneously and naturally, without the slightest hindrance. In the mind of most people, however, there is...

Disidentification

Simultaneous with the removal of mental problems, the mind must be made stronger and less vulnerable to outside impressions and crises. It must be strengthened so that adverse, outside events no longer disturb its functioning. Of course, as the mind becomes progressively emptied of its problems, then automatically it will become more resistant to external influences. However, there is another excellent method of bringing this about called detachment. It does not mean that one becomes like a...

Rest immediately after completing practice

When you have completed shankhaprak-shalana and the two supplementary practices then you should take complete rest for forty-five minutes. Don't sleep merely sit quietly. If you wish you may lie down, but we emphasize that you take care not to fall asleep. If you do sleep you may get a thumping headache. This short period of time is important for your whole digestive system to take a well-earned rest. Rarely does your digestive system take total rest, for it is almost continually digesting...

Hatha Yoga Shankhaprakshalana

Shankhaprakshalana is a method ofevacuating and cleansing the entire alimentary canal, from mouth to anus. In fact, this is the meaning of the word shankhaprakshalana. It is such a wonderful technique that it is surprising that it has not been adopted more widely throughout the world. To the best of our knowledge, it is the only systematic, sure and gentle method of thoroughly cleaning the entire digestive system. Though laxatives empty the system, they do so forcibly and cause excessive...

Unity of Shiva and Shakti

In the following discussion we are specifically talking about the shakta and shaivite sects, with the emphasis on the shaktas. Shiva represents the unmanifest and Shakti the manifest. Shiva is the formless and Shakti is the formed. Shiva is consciousness and Shakti is energy, not only in the cosmos as a whole, but in each and every individual. Shiva is the supreme consciousness pervading each individual and Shakti is the power that manifests the potential contained within the consciousness in...

Asanas Sirshasana Part

The most well known asana must be the headstand pose - sirshasana. Even those people who have no contact with yogic aims and practices have heard of this asana. They have the prevalent concept of a yogi in a loincloth standing on his head for many hours everyday, with his bed of nails beside him on which to relax afterwards. This concept usually comes from the favourite cartoon portrayal of the yogi in this position. Recently, in fact, we saw a cartoon in which a most unlikely looking man was...

Tantra the universal system

Tantra is in the widest sense a universal system. It has been and still is a way of life for various diverse groups of people throughout the world. Though there may be local differences, the basic premise is fundamentally the same that for the sake of understanding, worship and spiritual practices, existence is divided into two aspects - the unmanifested and the manifested. In fact, the real nature of the world and existence is way beyond even this concept, but this must be realized in higher...

Subtlety of perception

All the systems of yoga are intended to develop subtle and direct perception. Jnana yoga does this through concentrated effort to answer an overwhelming enquiry. Bhakti yoga does it by making the emotional forces one-pointed. Mantra yoga does it by constant awareness of a mantra. Kriya yoga brings about subtle perception by harmonizing the forces of the entire body and mind, which leads directly to refinement of perception. Through the practice of kriya yoga one starts to perceive the deeper...