Benefits

Many people have weak anal muscles (sphincters). This is closely associated with such widespread ailments as constipation and piles (haemorrhoids). Ashwini mudra helps to stimulate intestinal peristalsis (the wavelike motion that propels the stool through the intestines to the anus for evacuation) and therefore is a great help in alleviating constipation and thus improving the general health and well-being of the practitioner. Piles are characterized by an accumulation ofblood in the region...

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...

Technique

For a few minutes practise stage 4. Then become aware only of chidakasha - the inner space of consciousness in front of the closed eyes. This is the screen of your psyche. Watch carefully. If any thought arises, immediately dispose of it. reject it. Be alert. Do not brood over any thought as soon as a thought, any thought, arises get rid of it. More than likely you will see thoughts in the form of visions weird and wonderful shapes will arise in the chidakasha....

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...

Position of object for outer trataka

This is important to gain the most from the practice, if the object is too far away then it is more difficult to hold the attention of the mind furthermore, it is far less likely to leave a clear and absorbing after-image during inner tra-taka. If the object is too low then there is a tendency to stoop forwards while sitting this is not conducive to a steady position and also produces discomfort and backache. If the object is too high then the neck will become stiff. We have found from...

The how of vegetarianism

Before even considering discarding meat from your diet, it is important to know what foods to eat in order to maintain the body's protein supply. It is often a surprise to many people to discover that there are numerous excellent vegetable sources of proteins, some of which contain, weight for weight, more protein than any meat. Soya bean for example, is a remarkable food that has been used by the Chinese and other Oriental people for centuries. Nearly forty percent of soya bean is pure...

Symbolism

There are many different ways of symbolizing the mooladhara chakra. The symbol in the diagram that we have adopted speaks for itself, though it is worthwhile explaining a few points. In the middle of the diagram is a lingam called the swayambhu lingam self-existent lingam . It is sometimes called the dhumra lingam smoky coloured lingam . A serpent is wrapped three-and-a-half times around the lingam this indicates the kundalini. The three coils have many meanings, the most obvious being the...

Advice for beginners

Beginners may find it difficult to sit on their feet without the support of the arms. A good method for loosening up the legs is to support your body weight with your arms and then slowly lower your buttocks towards the feet. Bear the discomfort for a second or so and then take support of your arms again to release the tension. Then again lower your buttocks and repeat the procedure. With practice you will find that the tension disappears and eventually you will be able to sit on the feet for 1...

Meditation Aum Chanting

The meditational practice we will now describe is Aum chanting. It is possible to write an encyclopaedia on this subject, but in accordance with the electrifying brevity of the mantra Aum, we will try to reduce verbose details to a minimum. If so much can be said and inferred in the short, simple sound ofAum, then we will also try not to cause mental constipation by giving overelaborate explanations. In fact, the only thing that needs to be said is A-A-A-A-A-A-U-U-U-U-U-U-M-M-M-M-M-M This...

More difficult variations

If you have strong back muscles and find the previous basic technique easy try the following more difficult variations. The methods are the same as already described but the positions of the arms are different as follows 1. Outstretch the arms on each side of the body as though they are wings. 2. Interlock the thumbs and hold the arms straight and on each side of the head, so that the legs, trunk and arms lie in one straight line. The arms are raised at the same time as the head and shoulders...

Kumbhaka

The breath is to be retained during jalandhara bandha. The retention can either be antar kumbhaka inner retention or bahir kum-bhaka outer retention or both, depending on the practice and integration with other techniques2. That is, one can either breathe in deeply, fully inflating the lungs and then do jalandhara bandha, or one can exhale deeply and then do jalandhara bandha. Both methods have their use in association with other practices. We have already emphasized that the duration of...

Maha Mudra

Press the perineum with the left heel while stretching the right leg forward on the ground and holding the right leg firmly with both hands. Perform jalandhara bandha at the throat, retaining the air upwards, even as a snake beaten with a stick becomes straight like a stick. The kundalini quickly straightens and then the breath ceases its function in both the nostrils. Exhalation should be slow and gradual. The wise call it maha mudra. This maha mudra is able to destroy all kinds of pain and...

Blood supply to the brain

The human brain requires an enormous amount of oxygen which is transported to the brain via the blood system. To continuously supply large amounts of oxygen the blood flow to the brain has to be correspondingly large. The brain weight is only 2 of the total body weight, yet it requires about 20 of the total blood supply coming from the heart to keep it in good condition. This also implies that 20 of the oxygen taken into the body by the lungs goes to the brain. This huge supply is necessary in...

Yoga nidra and mental illness

There are vast numbers of people in the world who are classified as being 'mentally sick'. That is, they suffer from ailments that are called schizophrenia, melancholia, neurosis, etc. Actually, it is a matter of degree, for we are all mentally sick, some less than others. Mental sickness, indicating disharmony in the mind no matter how small, only disappears with the onset of self-realization. The cause of mental sickness is disorder or derangement in the mind, perhaps in the form of fears,...

Magic

Magic occurs in the realm of the material universe maya . Everything that happens around us in the world, whether the birth of a child, the growth of a tree, a flying bird or the digestive process, it is really magic. What can be more magical than the incredible phenomena occurring around us every second of the day All that magic rites involve is the manipulation of the universal magic around and within us. Modern science, in a sense, does this through various energy manipulations electrical,...

Practice

Ardha Padma Paschimottanasana 4 Bhujangasana 3 Mayurasana, Hamasana or Bhastrika Pranayama 10 Kriya Yoga Kriya 1 Vipareeta Karani Mudra 10 Bhastrika Pranayama 6 Kriya Yoga Kriya 1 Vipareeta Karani Mudra 10 Program 3 duration 1 hour for general yoga Ardha Padma Paschimottanasana 4 Shavasana 2 Mayurasana, Hamasana or Bhastrika Pranayama 12 Antar Mouna Try to find the time to practise nauli. Also, ifyou find sirshasana too difficult then sarvangasana can be done as a substitute.

The Root Cause of Tension

In this and the previous lesson we have outlined simple but effective methods of inducing temporary states of relaxation1. Remember, these short-term relaxation practices are essential in order to rest and revitalize the entire body and mind. During these periods of calmness and clear-mindedness we are able to take a more realistic look at life. When we are relaxed we are able to laugh at situations that only half an hour before made our blood boil we realize that our neighbour, who only a...

Surrender

Who wants fame Who wants money Who wants beauty Who wants to be learned Who wants any of these things when one surrenders to the divine The only thing that is important is the surrender. Yet, and this is the strange thing, all these things come even if you don't want them. The bhakta becomes the happiest of people. He becomes the real king of the world. Few wealthy people or kings have known real happiness, but the bhakta knows supreme happiness whenever he thinks of the nature of everything,...

Asanas Meditative Asanas

The important feature of any meditative asana is that it should allow the practitioner to sit undisturbed in one position for extended periods of time without discomfort. Medita-tional practices aim to direct awareness inside the mind and this is totally impossible if the awareness is engrossed and entangled with external events, including the physical body. Introspection is impossible if one continually fidgets, scratches or experiences physical pain. Therefore the aim is to sit in a...

Asanas Practice

In an integrated asana practice program the back should be bent and stretched alternately backwards and forwards, and also given a twist in both directions. We have already introduced a number of asanas that adequately bend the spine backwards and forwards, but as yet we have only given one that twists the spine, namely meru vakrasana1. This is a reasonably good asana, especially for people who have very stiff backs. If you have been practising meru vakrasana regularly then you should now be...

Counting of rounds

In this kriya you are strongly advised to use a mala to record the number of rounds as you do them. You will find it difficult to record mentally or with your fingers. Tie a knot between the forty-ninth and fiftieth bead after the sumeru bead, in the same way as described for nada sanchalana1. As you complete each round rotate the mala through one bead. That is rotate the mala when your awareness returns to the mooladhara chakra. If you do not have a mala, then we suggest that you try to...

Comparison with basic sirshasana

Salamba sirshasana is less stable than basic sirshasana. This means that it is more difficult to stay in the final pose for protracted periods of time. Furthermore, the final pose of salamba sirshasana is not as comfortable as sirshasana. Therefore, those who want to invert the body for periods of greater than, say, two to three minutes should do sirshasana not salamba sirshasana. Salamba sirshasana, however, has the advantage that it is much easier to raise the body into the final position. It...

Purpose

The mind is full of negatively charged thoughts samskaras . Antar mouna stage 2 helps to release many of these mental tensions by allowing them to erupt without inhibition. However, many of these subconscious thoughts are deeply embedded in the normally inaccessible regions of the mind. They have been firmly fixed and rooted in the mind through habitual suppression. Therefore, they do not arise spontaneously. They have to be loosened from their hold on the mind by another method. One method is...

Attitude and effortlessness

While doing the kriya yoga practices one should have the attitude of trying, but without trying, doing without doing. This is not easy, but this attitude will bring the greatest results. One must not be too attached to the method, yet one must take care that the kriyas are done correctly. Kriya yoga should be done for the joy of doing the kriyas if it becomes too much of a burden and a chore, then it is difficult to practise and obtain the best results. Try to integrate the kriya practices into...

Outline of the course

The following skeleton list gives an idea of the practices which will be covered. Obviously it cannot include everything contained in the book, as this would take up too much space. Body cleansing various systems for purifying the body these will include practices such as neti, basti, kunjal, dhauti and shankhaprak-shalana, plus such techniques as amaroli, diet and other natural healing methods. Asanas-, large numbers of asanas are included from pawanmuktasana, pre-meditational, meditational,...

Stage rotation of awareness with

In this practice you have to feel each part of the body in turn. You have to rotate your awareness through the different parts of the body. As you become aware of each part you should mentally touch it with the mantra Aum. You should try to feel Aum vibrate once at each centre. At the same time try to visualize that part. Let us begin. Right hand thumb . . . Aum, second finger . . . Aum, third finger, fourth finger, fifth finger, palm, wrist, elbow, shoulder, armpit, right side of the waist,...

The Atomic Mind

The mind has also been conceived as being atomic. This seems an obvious contradiction to the infinite mind speculation but, as we will see, this is not so. It is only recently that scientists have begun to appreciate the wonder and complexity of each cell in our body. They have built a complicated model representing the structure of the so-called DNA molecule, known as the molecule of life. They believe this molecule to be the storehouse and transmitter of characteristics of a mother and father...

Meditation Ajapa Japa Stage

The main difference betweenjapa and ajapa is that japa generally functions on the conscious plane ofthe mind, whereas ajapa reaches down into the subconscious plane. At this present moment, while reading this book, you are conscious of the external world and of the surface levels of the mind. But the mind is also functioning at other levels below the level of conscious perception. The subconscious mind is a turmoil of fears, worries, tensions, desires, etc. We generally only experience the...

Nectar and bindu

It is said that a divine fluid flows and cascades downwards from a higher point called bindu to vishuddhi. This fluid is symbolic and represents satchidananda truth, consciousness and bliss which originates in the sahasrara, the source of all being, but manifests through bindu5. Bindu can be considered as a gateway between sahasrara and individual existence - the gateway between the infinite and finite. This divine fluid has many different names, tn English it can be called ambrosia - the food...

Choice of a symbol

There is a limitless number of psychic symbols. You can choose almost anything, but eventually you should use only one. This has been summed up very beautifully as follows All the visible universe is the Buddha consciousness so are all sounds. Hold on to one principle one symbol and all others are identical. Huang Po Anything can be used as a point of concentration a deity, a mantra, a yantra, chakra, saint, yogi, your guru, a flower . . . even your little finger. You can use absolutely...

Timing ratio

The ratio duration of inhalation, kumbhaka and exhalation is important and changes as one progressively develops the ability to hold the breath for longer periods of time. For the initial stages of practice keep the duration of inhalation and exhalation the same as practised in stage 2, maintaining the 1 2 ratio. During this time slowly increase the time of antar kumbhaka, starting with a few seconds and increasing by a second every few days according to circumstances. Don't progress too...

Sequence

The order in which sirshasana should be done in the daily practice program depends on various factors. If you only do asanas without pranayama and meditative techniques, then practise sirshasana at the beginning of the program. This will increase attentiveness so that you gain the most out of the other asanas. If your practice program includes pranavama and or meditative practices then you should do sionh asiwat emeweatelunafteh ethu ratten isfivgs. The reason is that the other asanas loosen up...

Slow and controlled movements and coordination with breath

These are necessary to induce calmness in the body and mind. Quick and sudden movements use up excessive energy, whereas the object of asanas is to conserve energy. For this reason they are done slowly. Asanas also aim at slowing down the breathing rate to improve the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs as well as to induce mental tranquillity. Muscular control is an essential feature and aim of asanas and is attained by slow movements, not by sudden jerks. The muscles are to be...

The path of darkness and the path of light

In the Indian scriptures, concern only with the ida, or concern only with the pingala, is called the dark path - the path of the pitaras ancestors . This is the path of delusion. Simultaneous awakening and balance of the ida and pingala is called the path of light - the path of the devas divine beings . This is the path where there is simultaneous expansion of inner awareness combined with corresponding action in the outside world. This is such an important topic that it is mentioned in many...

Bhakti Yoga Part

This is the concluding discussion on bhakti voga1. You may be wondering why we are spending so much time and space on this subject. Bhakti is the means to harmonize and channelize the turbulent emotions. Much is said about harmonizing the body and mind. Most books on yoga are written on this subject. This integration of mind and body, of action and thought, has been the main theme of this book so far. Yet very little is ever said about harmonizing the emotions and integrating them with one's...

Sushumna ida pingala and meditation

Why is this balance of ida and pingala so important in relation to meditational techniques The answer is simple so that one's being functions on the path of sushumna2. Ida and pingala both indicate the realm of time. That is, they represent the inner psychic realms and the outer world respectively, both of which are under the sway of time. Meditation is concerned with the timeless and therefore the ida and pingala should be balanced. In this way, the kundalini is able to flow up the sushumna...

Bindu vishuddhi chakra and amrit

When we described vishuddhi chakra we pointed out that nectar or amrit trickles down from bindu to vishuddhi2. This amrit is bliss and the bindu is the abode of uninterrupted bliss. This is symbolized in Indian mythology by the river Ganges nectar coming from tbe crescent moon bindu . This amrit or divine nectar Hows down through the sushumna passage from bindu'. In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika it says The nectar secreted from the bindu is indeed the consort Shakti of Shiva consciousness . It fills...

Turmeric root or finger

Traditionally, a turmeric root is recommended for this practice. This plant is widely available in India and has great medicinal value as an antiseptic, blood purifier and general cleanser of physical impurities. It has astringent properties and it is for this reason that it is used in moola shodhana. It tends to stimulate the nerves of the inside of the anus and rectum, which helps to encourage bowel movement peristalsis and a free flow of blood. Thus it physically removes waste material and...