Jan 172015
 
Hand Postures

Yoga Science of Hand Gestures – Hasta Mudra Vigyan

Hand PosturesMudra‘ means a seal! In Yoga, one can make mudras with hands, eyes, whole body etc. All these mudras work in harmony with other healing methods and, done regularly, can have wonderful healing effects. Therapy with mudras offers very effective results. It works through the energy system of the body – nadis, chakras, marmas. Hasta Mudras are the gestures made with hands.

 

Our hands gestures express our inner feelings and deeper consciousness.We see mudra used, though in a crude form of common hand gestures, every day: we make an ‘o’ when things are OK, or give a ‘thumbs up’ sign, and we express peace by raising the index and middle fingers, which can express the opposite if the hand is reversed! This is one of the greatest secrets in yoga, right at the tips of your fingers! You can take your yoga practice and even your health to a completely new level by touching your finger-tips in some particular way. These particular finger positions are called ‘hasta mudras’, or hand gestures, or energy seals.

Hasta Mudras or hand  gestures allow you to direct the developed awareness of the vital energy (prana) within your body. By using mudras in your yoga and meditation practice, you can facilitate healing, balance your energy levels, focus your mind, and deepen your meditation. Holding a mudra, or hand position, during an asana practice brings a powerful and profound steadiness and focus to your practice. You can even control your breath through mudras. Mudras can generate a strong psychic effect upon the inner being and facilitate spiritual advancement.

The hand and finger positions of mudras or hand gestures make important connections in the nervous system and stimulate specific energy pathways (nadis). It is also said that mudras increase energy and blood circulation to different parts of the brain, to important nerve junctions and glands.

Early yogis mapped out the hand areas and their associated reflexes which relate to the different areas of the body and brain. These areas of the hands and fingers also affect emotions and behaviors. By curling, stretching, crossing and touching fingers to other fingers and areas of the hand we can effectively communicate with the body and mind.

Certain mudras in yoga control the involuntary physiological processes and the breathing. Mudras accomplish this by uniting various marma points in the fingers that in turn activate different areas of the brain as well as the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

One example is when you join your hands together palm-to-palm in Namaste or Anjali mudra; this brings marmas together and nerve circuits in the head and the upper part of the body in the vagus nerve system are united together. This produces a physiological response that induces calmness and a deeper breath.

Your hands are essentially an energy map of consciousness. Each finger has a quality that it represents and stimulates. In traditional yoga,

  • the little finger represents tamas (inertia)
  • the fourth or ring finger represents rajas (activity, action, passion);
  • the middle finger represents satva (purity, peace)
  • the index finger represents the atma or individual soul; and
  • the thumb represents the Parmatama or Supreme soul.

The fingers also affect the elements of the body, the chakras, the major organs, and even planetary energies.

Perhaps the most basic mudra in yoga is accomplished by touching the thumb and the index finger together to form Gyan Mudra, or the seal of wisdom. You can also say that this mudra symbolizes the union of the individual soul (index finger) with the Supreme soul (thumb).

There are hundreds of mudras in yoga, yet mudras are rarely taught extensively in yoga classes. You can facilitate healing, expand your consciousness, relax your mind, and improve psychological conditions by simply touching your fingers and hands together. Mudras are easy to perform at any time, although sitting in the lotus position and focusing on the healing is desirable. Although mudras can be used for healing certain ailments, regular practise of mudras will contribute to your overall good health and can be used as a preventive measure. Continuous practice of the mudras will produce changes in your body using pulse centres on parts of your hands, which trigger certain healing processes.

Mudras are performed with both hands at the same time, unless otherwise specified. ingers should remain comfortable during the procedure and not held stiffly or tight.

The science of Mudra Vigyan is amazing. Mudras can be quite effective in some illnesses like: Shunya Mudra for ear ache, Apan Mudra for urinary infections, Mritsanjiveni Mudra for heart attack are some of the examples.

Basis

Our body is composed of five elements – earth, water, air, fire and ether (space). These five elements also form cosmos. These five elements have assigned functions in our body to keep it healthy. After intensive research, Indian sages found that Hastamudras (hand gestures) are very important, for keeping a balance in the energy the flow among the five elements. All five fingers regulate the five elements of body.

 Hasta mudras

These are as follows–

(a) Thumb – Fire element

(b) Index finger – Air element

(c) Middle finger – Space or ether element

(d) Ring finger – Earth element

(e) Little finger – Water element

Fingers in Vedic Astrology

According to Vedic Astrology, the Jupiter (index) finger, when long, indicates a love of power and command over others; when short, it denotes a dislike of responsibility and lack of ambition.

The Saturn (middle) finger, when long, indicates prudence, love of solitude and a reserved, studious disposition; when short, it denotes frivolousness and a general lack of seriousness in all things.

The Sun (ring) finger, when long, indicates a love of the beautiful, a desire for celebrity status and fame; when excessively long, the tendency towards notoriety, speculative risk-taking, the love of money and gambling; when short, it denotes a dislike for all these things.

The Mercury (little) finger, when long, indicates mental power, a grasp of languages, and the power of expression, especially in speech; when short, it denotes difficulty in speaking and expression of thoughts; when crooked, with an irregular Head Line, it denotes a handicapped mentality.

Hasta mudras are helpful in maintaining good health and getting relief from diseases. Joining the tips of the fingers or pressing by thumb, regulate and balance respective elements in the body. Its daily practice can keep oneself healthy for life. It has tremendous healing power and if practiced properly, even major diseases can be cured. It also offers happiness and spiritual attainments.

How to perform hand mudras

Mudras in general are actions of hands and fingers that can be performed at any time in any way, like sitting, standing, walking or travelling though maximum benefit can be derived by doing them in sitting posture: especially in sukhasana (easy pose), vajrasana, or padmasana. If you have time constraints, you can even perform them in installments.

Timing and duration for mudras

Initially, mudras should be performed for at least 10 minutes and then can be extended to 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Here are some guidelines for performing Mudras:

  1. Balance, Decrease, Increase :
    • Touching the Tip of the Finger and Thumb Balances the Element represented by the Finger.
    • Touching the Finger Tip at the base of the Thumb Decreases the Element.
    • Touching the Thumb Tip to the base of the Finger Increases the Element.
  2. A light contact between the tips of the thumb and the fingers is sufficient, you need not apply pressure.
  3. Fingers not actively involved in the Mudra should be straight.
  4. Whenever possible, perform the Mudra with both hands. Mudra can be performed with one hand when there is problem on opposite side.
  5. Mudras can be Practised anytime, anywhere.
  6. Mudras can be performed by anybody, facing any Direction. Mudras are universal.
  7. Chanting of Mantras [eg: Aum, Gayatri, Om Namah Shivaya] with Mudras gives better results.
  8. Suitable dietary advice can reinforce the benefits of Mudras.
  9. For therapy, the specific Mudras are to be practised for 50 minutes, followed by Prana Mudra.
  10. Prana , Apana , Prithvi and Gyana Mudra can be practised for unlimted time . Other Mudras must be practised till the problem persists.

 

Here are some representative Hasta Mudras or Yogic Hand Gestures:

Gyan Mudra or Mudra of Knowledge

Gyan Mudra

Method:

Join tips of index fingers and thumb and keep three fingers straight. Keep your hand at your folded knee, remember to keep palm facing up. Put a little pressure on joined tips and rest of the hand would be in relaxed position.

Effect:

Mudra of knowledge – it connects you with universal knowledge. The tip of thumb correlates to the pituitary and endocrine glands. When you press these centers with the index finger the two glands work actively.

Time duration:

Practice it for 20-30 minutes every day.

Benefits:

Enhances memory, sharpens intellect, enhances concentration and prevents insomnia. When practiced regularly, it will relieve psychological disorders like hysteria, anger, depression etc. It also prevents headache, loss of sleep, tension, anxiety, depression and fears. It helps in spiritual attainments.

 

Prithvi Mudra or Mudra of Earth

Prithvi Mudra

Method:

Tip of the ring finger touches the tip of the thumb with the other three fingers stretched out.

Specialty:

Reduces all physical weaknesses.

Time duration:

Has no particular time duration. You can practice it any time you want.

Benefits:

  • Helps to increase weight for weak life-force people
  • Improves the complexion of skin and makes the skin glow
  • Promotes body functionality

 

Varuna Mudra or Mudra of Water

Varuna Mudra

Method:

Tip of little finger touches the tip of thumb with the other three fingers stretched out.

Specialty:

Balances the water content and prevents all diseases which come due to lack of water.

Time duration:

Has no specific time duration. Can be practiced according to convenience.

Benefits:

  • Retains clarity in blood by balancing water content in the body
  • Prevents the pain of Gastroenteritis and Muscle Shrinkage

Vayu Mudra or Mudra of Air

Vayu Mudra

Method:

Keep the index finger on the base of the thumb and press with the thumb keeping the other three fingers straight.

Specialty:

Prevents diseases that occur due to imbalances in the air.

Time duration:

The practice of this mudra for 45 minutes reduces the severity of disease in 12 to 24 hours. For better results practice for 40-60 days.

Benefits:

  • Relieves Rheumatism, Arthritis, Gout, Parkinson’s disease and paralysis without any medicine
  • Useful for Cervical Spondilytis, paralysis of the face, and pressure on nerves in neck
  • Relieves gas pressure in the stomach

Shunya Mudra or Mudra of Emptiness

Shunya Mudra

Method:

Keep the middle finger at the mount of Venus and press with the thumb.

Specialty:

Reduces the dullness in the body.

Time duration:

One can practice this for 40 to 60 minutes daily until relieved.

Benefits:

  • Relieves an earache within 4 or 5 minutes

Useful for the deaf and mentally challenged

 

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p style=”text-align: center;”>Learn more about Mudras with specialized course of Mudra Vigyan:

MUDRA VIGYAN

 

 

Note : You should check with your health care professional before starting this or any new exercise program or breathing routine. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, migraines or heart or lung ailments. Women who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant should consult their physician before performing any of the breathing or physical exercises.

The information contained in the program is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional medical advice. Any use of the information in these programs/ workshops is at the reader’s discretion, risk and responsibility. The studio, author and the publisher specifically disclaim any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use or application of any information contained herein. A health care professional should be consulted regarding your specific situation.

Jan 162015
 
Vipashyana or Vipassana

Vipashyana or Vipassana or Breath Awareness Meditation

A part of Dr Sahdev’s ‘Breathe and Heal’ Therapy (DSBH Therapy)

Vipashyana or Vipassana

Vipashyana, or Vipassana, or Breath Awareness Meditation, comes from the source of Yoga, the Vedas – the books of knowledge.

Rig Veda, handed over for thousands of years from generation to generation through shruti, and written in 1700 BC (?), mentions the technique of Vipashyana and is full of praise for Vipashyana in Mandala 10, Sukta 187, Rik 4 :

यो विश्वा॒भि वि॒पश्य॑ति॒ भुव॑ना॒ सं च॒ पश्य॑ति ।

स नः॑ पर्ष॒दति॒ द्विषः॑ ॥

yaḥ ǀ viśvā ǀ abhi ǀ vi-paśyati ǀ bhuvanā ǀ sam ǀ ca ǀ paśyati ǀ

saḥ ǀ naḥ ǀ parṣat ǀ ati ǀ dviṣaḥ ǁ

Yo vishvabhih vipashyati bhuvanah sam cha pashyati

sa nah parshadati dvishah.

One who practices Vipashyana in a perfect way, comes out of all aversion and anger – the mind becomes pure.

Vipashyana is a Sanskrit word. ‘Vi’ in Sanskrit is equivalent to the Latin ‘dis’.” ‘Pashya’ in Sanskrit means ‘to see’. The ‘vi’ in vipashyana may then mean to look into, look through or to see in a special way.’ The ‘vi’ can also function as an intensive, and thus vipashyana may mean ‘seeing deeply’. 

In Budhism, a synonym for ‘Vipassana’ is paccakkha (Pāli); this is a deformed sound of ‘pratyakṣha’ in Sanskrit,  which means ‘right in front of your eyes’, or, ‘what is very obvious’, refers to direct experiential perception. Thus, the type of seeing denoted by vipashyana is that of direct perception, as opposed to the knowledge derived from reasoning or argument. Its nature is a clarity of mind.

Mahatma Budha, a well-known exponent of this Yogic technique of Vipashyana, popularized this technique through his teachings. Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, a Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist monk defined Vipassanā as:

Looking into something with clarity and precision, seeing each component as distinct and separate, and piercing all the way through so as to perceive the most fundamental reality of that thing”

Pranapanasmriti, or prAnapanasmriti (Sanskrit) , or Anapanasati (Pali) is mindfulness of breath. This is a core meditation practice which is simpler than, and a stepping stone to, Vipashyana. Pranapanasmriti or Anapanasmriti comes from Sanskrit word roots Prana (upward breath) + Apana (downward breath) + Smriti (memory, or to remember, or to be mindful of). So, this reminds one to focus on, and remember, or be mindful of, the breath! This is a part of most mindfulness programs based on breath awareness. But one has to practice these to derive the benefits; mere knowledge of the techniques is not enough!

More references to breath awareness meditation in Vedic literature and the importance of breath can be found here.

The Practice of Vipashyana or Vipassana or Breath Awareness Meditation

We humans are subject to innumerable limitations. We are imprisoned in the body and the stratosphere of the earth itself. We are slaves to the inevitability of sickness, age, and death – we have to face it at one or the other time. There is no-one who really controls his life fully, attains all his goals, and knows no setbacks of any kind! Meditation shows the way to self-awakening, the way to freedom from suffering and limitation.

We have lost awareness of our true Self through awareness of external objects, and become habituated, even addicted, to objective consciousness. Meditation shows us the way to remembrance and restoration. Meditation is the process of re-centering our awareness in the principle of pure consciousness which is our essential being. By focusing on breath – the meeting place of body, mind, and spirit, we can reverse our consciousness.

The breath is connected with body, emotions and mind – breath is calm when the body, emotions and mind are calm, and agitated or labored when these are agitated or labored. That is why we exhale heavily when we feel exhausted and inhale enthusiastically when feeling energized or exhilarated.

Breath exists on all planes of manifestation. Breath is external manifestation of Prana, the vital force. Breath is gross Prana. Breath is Sthula (gross), Prana is Sukshma (subtle). By exercising control over this breathing you can control the subtle Prana inside. Control of Prana means control of mind. Mind cannot operate without the help of Prana. The vibrations of Prana produce thoughts in the mind. Mind works because of Prana – it is Prana that sets the mind in motion. It is the Sukshma Prana that is intimately connected with the mind. Prana is the connecting link between annamaya kosha on one hand and manomaya kosha, vigyanamaya kosha and anandamaya kosha on the other hand, or, matter and energy on the one hand and consciousness and super consciousness on the other.

Koshas

By sitting with closed eyes and letting the mind become easily absorbed in observing and experiencing the movements of the breath, we expand our consciousness to meet the eternal Super Consciousness. We start with awareness of the ordinary physical breath, but that awareness, cultivated correctly, leads us into higher awareness which enables us to perceive the subtle movement behind the breath. Perception moves from subtle to subtler, to the subtlest.

From Consciousness to Super Consciousness

According to Yoga philosophy, all that is manifest came into being consequent to imbalance in sattwa, rajas and tamas, and Prana is the essence of all that is manifest. Prana is present all over the universe both in macrocosm and microcosm. Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe, the sum total of all the forces in nature, the sum total of all latent forces and powers which are hidden in men and which lie everywhere around us. Proper flow of Prana in our bodies assures their healthy state.

Prana is a subtle energy arising from rajo guna. It works as an interface between gross and subtle body, enabling all the psychophysical functions. This sometimes leads to confusion of prana with jiva. Though closely connected, prana is witnessed by the jiva which is floating in prana in the heart cavity. Prana’s movement leads to jiva’s identification with the gross body. Mundaka Upanishad says (3.1.9):

esho anur atma cetasa veditavya yasmin pranah pancadha samvivesha
pranais cittamsattvam otam prajanam yasmin vishuddhe vibhavatyesha atma

“The atomic soul can be perceived by perfect intelligence as floating in the five kinds of life airs (prana, apana, vyana, samana and udana). When the consciousness (that pervades from the soul through the entire body) is purified from the contamination of the five kinds of material airs, its spiritual influence is exhibited.”

The breath is the evolutionary force which causes us to enter into relative existence and manifest therein until we evolve to the point where we are ready to return to our original status, purified. To turn back from the multiplicity of relativity and return to our original unity we must center our awareness in that primal impulse to duality which is manifesting most objectively as the process of our physical inhaling and exhaling. These seemingly two movements are in reality one, inseparable from one another, and together are capable of leading us back to the Super Consciousness. Through our full attention focused on the entire process of inhalation and exhalation, we become immersed in the subtler levels of that alternating cycle, moving into deeper and deeper levels until we reach the originating point.

Mindfulness and Breathing-Based Healing – Vipashyana, or Vipasana, or Breath Awareness Meditation (BAM)

MBH breath awareness from Jitender K Sahdev

Simple and easy

Breath Awareness Meditation is simple and easy because it goes directly to the root – loss of awareness. The root cause of suffering lies in the memories of the past, or the plans of the future. Awareness of breath brings us back to the moment. Also, Breath Awareness Meditation is so natural and spontaneous that it teaches us about itself–the actual practice, its meaning, purpose and effect. The more we practice, the more our spiritual intuition comes to the fore and becomes our instructor. Breath is your teacher!

Stages of Development

  1. Bring your awareness to the upper lip or below the nostrils. 
  2. Observe the breathing in and breathing out in the fixed area of the upper lip or below the nostrils. 
  3. Maintain your attention in this area and gently bring your awareness back to this area if you are distracted. 
  4. Be a neutral observer.  Notice the temperature of the breaths, sensations below the nostrils or upper lip, and the rhythm while simply observing them.
  5. If you are not able to maintain your awareness in the fixed area, then:
    1. In the first stage, you can use counting to stay focused on the breath. After the exhale you count one, then you breathe in and out and count two, and so on up to ten, and then you start again at one.
    2. In the second stage, you subtly shift where you breathe, counting before the inhale, anticipating the breath that is coming, but still counting from one to ten, and then starting again at one.
    3. In the third stage you drop the counting and just watch the breath as it comes in and goes out.
    4. In the final stage the focus of concentration narrows and sharpens, so you pay attention to the subtle sensation on the tip of the nose where the breath first enters and last leaves the body.

The practice of Breath Meditation

  1. Sit comfortably, relaxed, with back and neck straight. 
  2. If you wear glasses, take them off.
  3. Place your left hand with palm facing up on your lap and place your right hand (palm up) on top of your left palm. Or, place your hands on your knees or thighs, palms up or down, or resting, one on the other, in your lap. 
  4. No background music – silence is the utmost important.
  5. Turn your eyes slightly downward and close them gently. Just closing your eyes reduces your brain-wave activity by about 75%, thus helping to calm the mind.
  6. Your mouth should be closed so all breathing is done through the nose. This, too, aids in quieting the mind. Mouth closed, jaw relaxed, so the upper and lower teeth are not clenched or touching one another, but parted a little.
  7. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply three or four times, feeling the inhaling and exhaling breath moving in and out through your nostrils.
  8. Now breathe naturally and easy, keeping your awareness at the fixed spot, or on counting, as the case may be, feeling the breath as it flows in and out of your nostrils. Do not follow the breath in and out of your body, but just be aware of the breath movement sensation at the fixed spot.
  9. Keeping your awareness at the one spot, breathe naturally and calmly, observing the sensation of the breath moving there throughout all your inhalations and exhalations. This enables you to enter effortlessly into witnessing your breath.
  10. Do this for the rest of the meditation, letting your awareness rest gently on the breath at the chosen spot, and feeling the sensations of the breath moving there. After a while it may feel as though the breath is flowing in and out the spot more than the actual nostrils, or you may not feel the spot at all – just the breath moving at the location of the point. That is perfectly alright, but the focus of your attention should be only at that point–not somewhere else either outside or inside the body.
  11. Let the breath be. If the breath is naturally long, let it be so. If it is short, let it be so. If the inhalations and exhalations are of unequal length, that is just fine. Let the breath be natural and unforced, and just observe and experience it. In time, your breath will become more subtle and refined, and slow down. Sometimes your breath can become so light that it almost seems as though you are not breathing at all. At such times you may perceive that your inhaling and exhaling are more like a magnetic pull or flow in and out instead of actual breath movements. This occurs as the subtle life force (prana) that produces the breath switches back and forth in polarity from positive to negative. It is also normal for your breath awareness to move back and forth from more objective to more subtle and back to more objective.
  12. Sometimes the subtle breath is silent, but at other times you will inwardly “hear” the breath making sounds as it moves in and out. These will not be actual physical sounds, but very subtle mental sounds. They may be like the sounds made by forceful or heavy inhalation and exhalation; whatever they may be, just be calmly aware of them while staying centered on the breath.
  13. The breath is a kind of barometer of the subtle energies of body and mind. Sometimes it is very smooth, light and easy, and at other times it feels heavy, even constricted, or clogged, sticky, ragged, uneven, and generally uncomfortable and somehow feels ‘not right’. When this occurs, do not try to interfere with it or ‘make it better’. Rather, just relax and be calmly aware and let it be as it is. If you do this, the problem in the subtle energy levels which the breath is reflecting will correct itself and the breath will become easy and pleasant.
  14. In Breath Meditation we only focus our awareness on the breath at fixed spot, and not on any other point of the body. However, as you meditate you may become aware of one or more areas of your body at different times. Stay centered on your breath.
  15. Thoughts, impressions, memories, inner sensations, and the like may arise during meditation. Be calmly aware of all these things in a detached and objective manner. Let them come and go as they will, but keep your attention centered on the tip of the nose and your breath moving there. Be indifferent to any inner or outer phenomena. Breath Meditation produces peace, awareness and quiet joy in your mind as well as soothing radiations of energy in the physical and subtle bodies. Be calmly aware of all these things in a detached and objective manner–they are part of the transforming effect of meditation, and are perfectly alright, but keep your attention centered on your breath. Even though something feels very right or good when it occurs, it should not be forced or hung on to. It is not the experience we are after, but the effect.
  16. If you find yourself getting restless, distracted, fuzzy, anxious or tense, just inhale and exhale slowly and deeply a few times, feeling the inhaling and exhaling breath moving in and out through your nostrils, at the same time feeling that you are releasing and breathing out all tensions. Then resume meditation as before. Relaxation is the key to successful meditation practice.
  17. Keep in mind that Breath Meditation basically consists of being aware in a relaxed and easy manner of your breath as it moves in and out at the fixed spot.

At the end of your meditation, keep on being calmly aware of your breath moving in and out of your nose as you go about your various routine activities. In this way you can continue in the calm and clear state of meditation.

In between, in your meditation, it is good to check three things:

  1. Am I aware of the chosen spot?
  2. Am I continuously experiencing the movement or energy-flow of the breath at or in the chosen spot?
  3. Am I aware of the breath movement throughout the entire duration of each inhalation and exhalation?

These are the essential points of Breath Meditation.

Recommended Frequency and Duration:

  1. Week 1: 10 minute meditation – 2 times a day (morning and evening)
  2. Week 2: 20 minute meditation -2 times a day (morning and evening)
  3. Week 3: 30 minute meditation – 2 times a day (morning and evening)

 

Certification Test:

For Certificate (for CEU’s or DBE), you can apply for online Certification Test. Please contact office for the Certification Test Request Form. Completed form is to be submitted along with,

  • Certification Test Fee ($120, plus HST), and,
  • Log sheets with one week practice record.

Please download Log sheets by clicking at the links:

 

Please click here to go to Free Mindfulness and Breathing – Based Healing E-Course (A part of DSBH Therapy) Post

 

Primordial Sound Meditation

Please click here to visit Primordial Sound Meditation post.

Got a problem? – Just GROW*!

Click here to check this program.

 

To learn more about mindfulness and breathing based free e-course and the science behind it, and to attend live workshop, please contact us.

 

Note : You should check with your health care professional before starting this or any new exercise program or breathing routine. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, migraines or heart or lung ailments. Women who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant should consult their physician before performing any of the breathing or physical exercises.

The information contained in the program is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional medical advice. Any use of the information in these programs/ workshops is at the reader’s discretion, risk and responsibility. The studio, author and the publisher specifically disclaim any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use or application of any information contained herein. A health care professional should be consulted regarding your specific situation.

Jan 132015
 
Primordial Sound Meditation

Primordial Sound Meditation

A part of Dr Sahdev’s ‘Breathe and Heal’ Therapy (DSBH Therapy)

Primordial Sound Meditation

AUM and Primordial Vibration

OM or AUM is the most important and significant Mantra. It is considered as the root mantra of all mantras. In fact, all mantras start with OM. OM is the most often chanted sound among all the sacred sounds on earth. The one mantra you start your yoga class with and end with, is the mantra OM or AUM. It is the most important mantra of Yoga. This mantra has been handed down to us by sages; Maharishi Vishwamitra discovered this sound during meditation.

It is believed traditionally that every ‘thing’ that we see or feel, comes from Primordial Vibration, which is symbolised by AUM. This sound is considered as the sound of the existence. It is believed that the whole universe, in its most fundamental form, is made up of vibrating, pulsating energy. Vibration produces sound and AUM is considered the humming sound of this cosmic energy. AUM is said to be the primordial creative sound from which the entire universe has manifested. It is also known as the ‘Anahat Nada‘, the “Unstruck Sound“, meaning, the sound that is not made by striking of two things together. If you observe the nature of sound you’ll find that all ordinary audible sounds are produced by the striking of two objects. All sounds within our range of listening are produces by things visible or invisible, striking each other or vibrating together, resulting in pulsating waves of air molecules which we interpret as sound.

In contrast to this, AUM is the sound which is not the result of the striking of two objects. It rather emanates on its own. It is the primal sound of the universe that contains all sounds in itself. All material objects, all living beings, including each of us, all spiritual teachings, including Yoga, all languages, including Vedic language, all scriptures, including the Vedas, everything has emanated from this primordial vibration!

Human system is capable of producing only three fundamental soundsA, U and M. All other sounds are produced by permutation and combination of these three sounds. AUM is the marriage of these three fundamental sounds – A, U and M. Let’s do an experiment: Keep your tongue still – hold it with your hand. Then try producing different sounds. You’ll be able to produce only three sounds – A, U and M. Tongue is that ingenious instrument, with the help of other parts of oral cavity, which helps you produce all different types of sounds. That is why these three are called the root sounds.

Let’s do another experiment: sit down straight and chant A…, U…, and M… one by one. Do you feel any vibration anywhere when you chant them separately? A vibrates Manipura chakra (lower abdomen) to chest, U vibrates upper chest to throat, and M vibrates the whole head. This one sound AUM vibrates your whole body from inside! There are 72,000 nadis in the body and they meet 3/4th of an inch below naval. The sound of AUM produces vibration in this Manipura chakra. Each one of these sounds activates certain nadis and produces effect in certain dimension of your energy system. Vibration produces sound and sound produces creation…! Sound can create, maintain or annihilate.

Science tells us that all matter is formed of molecules, which are further made up of the smallest indivisible particles called atoms. Atoms are further made up of sub-atomic particles – electrons, neutrons, protons, pi-ons, mesons etc. Each one of these sub-atomic structures is particulate as well as wave in nature. Each sub-atomic particle is further divisible into quarks which are only wave in nature, a form of energy. So, all of us are, in the true essence, made up of energy. We are just condensed energy forms! Einstein formulated his famous equation that E = mc², where E stands for energy, m stands for mass, and c is a constant. So, this equation shows that energy is directly proportional to the mass, meaning that mass cannot be destroyed or created; it can just change from one form into another. OM or AUM symbolises that everything in any macrocosm or microcosm, is a state of energy originated from that primordial vibration.

But unlike all other mantra, there is no meaning of OM. It is actually not a word, it is a sound. As per Hindu tradition, OM is the purest name of God. It is the sound of the supreme consciousness. So when you repeat OM, you actually take the name of God. Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati was founder of the ‘Arya Samaj’. He used to write ‘ Ao3m' instead of 'Aom ‘. The ‘3 ‘ (Devanagari digit 3) between O and M is called ‘ploot’. Swami Dayanand used ‘ploot’ to emphasize long pronunciation of ‘O’. Only followers of Swami Dayanand Saraswati (members of ‘Arya Samaj’) write ‘ Ao3m' instead of 'ॐ'. The syllable that is prior to a ploot is pronounced for a longer time/period (more than double). So ' Ao3m ‘ is to be pronounced as OOOm (o…m).

Om in Sanatan Dharma. Sanatan means old. Indian mystical and philosophical thinking is impregnated with Om, mentioned widely n the Upanishads, Tantras, Puranas, Samkhyas and Yoga Vashishta. It symbolises the essence of Sanatan Dharma (the Eternal Way), commonly known as Hinduism – the tolerant and profound conglomeration of spiritual thinking and practice from which Yoga has come. Om is widely known as the ‘Mahat Mantra’ – ‘the great mantra’. Om is not directly mentioned in Rig Veda, probably because it was considered too sacred to utter or even write down. Om is first mentioned, albeit indirectly, in the Yajur Veda in verse 1:1 where it is known as the ‘pranava’ – ‘the humming sound’- or ‘udgitha’ – ‘the elevating chant’. Interestingly, no graphic representation of Om has yet been found in the extensive excavations of the so called Indus Valley civilization (circa 3000 BC, though probably much older). The reason may be either that Om was considered too sacred to be graphically represented, or that it had not yet been realised and brought into mainstream spiritual practice. The oldest direct references and descriptions of Om are to be found in the Upanishads which are considered to contain the essential teachings of the Vedas.

Om in the Mandukya Upanishad. The Mandukya Upanishad is the shortest of the Upanishads – the scriptures of Hindu Vedanta. It is in prose, consisting of twelve verses expounding the mystic syllable Aum, the three psychological states of waking, dreaming and sleeping, and the transcendent fourth state of illumination (Atyanta shunyata). This Upanishad has been greatly extolled. Muktikopanishad, says that the Mandukya Upanishad alone is enough for salvation. According to Dr Radhakrishnan, it contains the fundamental approach to reality.

The Mandukya Upanishad is exclusively dedicated to explaining the significance of Om. It says that Om symbolises everything manifest and yet it has its origin in the Unmanifest. In its analysis it writes Om as Aum with each of the three syllables having specific significance.

There are three mātrās (“letters”, syllabic instants in prosody) in the word aum: ‘a’, ‘u’ and ‘m’.

The ‘a’ stands for the state of wakefulness, where we experience externally through our mind and sense organs. The ‘u’ stands for the dream state, in which inward experiences are available. In the state of deep sleep, represented by the sound ‘m’, there is no desire and consciousness is gathered in upon itself.

But there is a fourth, transcendent state, that of one “who is neither inwardly nor outwardly aware, nor both inward and outward, nor with consciousness infolded on itself, who is unseen and ineffable, ungraspable, featureless, unthinkable and unnameable.” The fourth state (turīya avasthā) corresponds to silence as the other three correspond to AUM. It is the substratum of the other three states. It is referred to as atyanta-shunyata (absolute emptiness).

Om in Indian Classical Music.

The phonemes of the Vedic hymns and the seven fundamental nodes – Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni of the Indian classical music have originated (distinctly recognized by the Rishis) from the vibrations of the sublime sound of Om in the Nature. The Vedic quote – ‘Ekoham Bahusyami’ implies that all the sounds, all the energies, all the motions and everything existing in the universe have originated from the vibrations of this single anahata nada. This is the source of the manifestation of the Shabda-Brahm and the Nada Brahm.

 

Om in the Bhagavad Gita. Om is widely mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita where the mantra Om is an essential part of its teachings and practice. Krishna tells Arjuna:

‘O Arjuna, I am the taste of pure water, and the light of the moon and the sun.

I am the essential nature of the mantra Om mentioned in the holy scriptures,

the sound in ether, as well as the courage and virility of human beings.’

verse 7.8

Krishna, who symbolises underlying Intelligence or Consciousness, is the essence of Om. Om, as sound vibration, is an expression of this underlying Consciousness. Therefore, by practising Mantra or Gyana Yoga (or even Bhakti Yoga) we can trace Om back to its source. In this way, we are enabled to realise the nature of Consciousness.

Krishna talks of death and the importance of chanting Om at the time of death:

‘The mantra Om symbolises Reality. At the time of death, repeat Om and you will go forth from the body and attain the Supreme Goal.’

verse 8.13

From the Yogic viewpoint, death is not just the time of disintegration of the physical body, but also a golden opportunity of directly realising our Immortal or Deathless Essence. Chanting Om at the point of death can be a valuable part of this process.

Krishna also says that all spiritual practices should be initiated with Om:

‘Before starting sacrifices, holy practices and austerities (as prescribed by the scriptures), serious spiritual seekers should chant Om.’

verse 17.24

Indeed, this is what we often do before starting Yoga practice or Meditation – we chant Om a few time, either aloud or mentally, whether alone or in a group. Try it! It works wonders.

 

Symbolism of the Syllables of Aum. A, U and M, both as syllables and as sounds, as well as the silence after chanting Aum, symbolise a number of different things as follows:

Aum can be chanted by feeling the resonance of ‘A’ in the abdomen, then allowing the ‘U’ to resonate in the chest and finally, feeling the ‘M’ vibration in the head.

A = abdomen

U = chest/throat

M = head

After the sound of Aum there is silence; this symbolises that which is ‘above’ the head (i.e. beyond thinking), the ineffable: Spirit, or Consciousness.

According to the Mandukya Upanishad, the syllables of Aum represent the following realms of experience:

A = jagrat (waking state)

U = swapna (dreaming state)

M = sushupti (deep sleep state)

After chanting Aum there is silence; this symbolises the spiritually awakened state, which transcends the previous three states.

The three syllables of Aum symbolise the three levels of mind as follows:

A = conscious

U = subconscious

M = unconscious

After chanting Aum there is silence; this represents the Super-consciousness state which transcends the previous three states.

According to Yoga, Tantra, Samkhya and Vedanta, the whole of nature, including the human mind and body, is made up of the three gunas (Sanskrit, ‘guna’, qualities):

  • sattwa (harmony, clarity and light);
  • rajas (passion and dynamism); and
  • tamas (ignorance, darkness and inertia).

The three syllables of Aum symbolise these three gunas as follows:

A = tamas

U = rajas

M = sattwa

After chanting Aum there is silence; this symbolises the state of trigunatita (Sanskrit, tri, three; atita, beyond) – that which transcends the three gunas, i.e. Pure Consciousness.

The three syllables of AUM symbolise the three principles of existence symbolised by Brahma, the creative; Vishnu, the sustaining; and Shiva, the destructive:

A = Brahma

U = Vishnu

M = Shiva

After chanting Aum there is silence; this symbolises underlying Reality which is the substratum behind, and beyond, creation (Brahma), sustenance (Vishnu) and destruction (Shiva).

The three syllables of AUM symbolise the three realms of time: past, present and future:

A = Present

U = Past

M = Future

After chanting Aum there is silence; this symbolises underlying Reality which underlies and yet is beyond past, present and future; the Timeless out of which time emerges.

Beyond Aum-the Transcendental. According to the Mandukya Upanishad, the Transcendental State is called turiya (Sanskrit, the fourth) – that which is beyond and yet encompasses the three states symbolised by A, U and M. Hence, in order to discourage us from putting a concept on something which is beyond concept, it is simply and succinctly called ‘the fourth.’

Turiya can be symbolised as follows:

The circle symbolises Turiya, underlying Reality. It includes jagrat, the conscious waking state (A); it includes swapna, the dream, or subconscious state (U); and it includes and yet is beyond shushupti, the causal, unconscious state (M). Though not necessarily visible to eyes, the first three states exist in, and are part of, the manifest universe.

Turiya includes all of these three states or levels of manifest reality, and yet it is beyond them. It encompasses them and yet transcends them.

It is the unseen substratum which can only be realised when our mind dissolves into Consciousness – when, to use an expression attributed to the sage Ramakrishna, the ‘salt doll dissolves in the ocean.’

Plunging through the Centre of Infinity. There is a well-known and ancient hermetic statement:

‘Reality is a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is no-where.’

There are many levels of interpretation, one of which was pointed out by Giordano Bruno. He said that whereas finite space, no matter how large it is, can have only one centre, infinite space has its centre everywhere. Mathematically, infinite space has an infinite number of centres.

One hundred years later, Leibnitz, the German mathematician, inspired by Bruno’s thinking, tried to explain the same thing with his theory of the Monad (‘monas’ is ancient Greek for ‘unit.’). Leibnitz described each centre of infinity as a ‘monad.’

Each single monad contains the reflection of the entire universe – which is in agreement with modern Quantum theory as well as many mystical systems including Yoga and Tantra.

The Hua Yen (or Kegon) School of Chinese Buddhism has tried to explain this even further with the image of Indra’s Jewel Net where there are an infinite number of jewels in each of which is reflected all the other jewels together. Also, each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel also reflects all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process going on. This gives an idea of infinitely repeated interrelationship among everything in the universe.

In Yoga, each centre of infinity is called bindu. Each monad, each particle of existence, is impregnated with energy and Consciousness. Each bindu is in intimate contact with every other bindu. Each bindu shares with the Totality and the Totality shares with each bindu. The Primordial Vibration, symbolized by Om, resonates through each of these infinite number of centres. By chanting Om (or any other mantra), we move from a state of extroversion and dissipation to a more introspective, harmonious state.

Centring ourselves in Meditation, we are able to ‘touch’ the bindu (the Transcendental Point, symbolised by the dot in the top of the Om symbol Å). Plunging through this Bindu (which exists everywhere), we can realise the nature of Reality.

The Bindu of the Human Personality. Each and every embodied being is an expression of Shiva (Consciousness; underlying Reality) acting through the medium of Shakti (Energy; the Quantum Vacuum). As we have already said, each bindu (particle) of existence acts as a conduit for the flow of creative energy represented by the raif.

But the bindu of the human personality is known as the Anandamaya Kosha, the Blissful Sheath or Causal Body. This is the nucleus of our existence as an embodied being. In Meditation, we are in contact with this level of our being, and we can be catapulted into osmotic contact and realisation of underlying Consciousness. As Eckhart, the medieval German mystic, said:

“The eye with which I see God is the same as that with which He sees me.”

That is, Reality ‘sees’ us (i.e. is in constant and intimate contact with us) through the bindu, but we can also reciprocate by ‘tuning’ into Reality through the bindu (by ‘seeing’ through the same ‘eye’). The bindu, here the Anandamaya Kosha, allows us to realise Reality. Or, more correctly, we should say that the bindu is the point through which the Cosmic Consciousness realises itself through the individual consciousness.

When we chant Om we focus on the resonance which is the raif. Our being gets absorbed in this vibration and this has the power to lead us back, via the bindu, to realise the underlying nature or Consciousness which is beyond the bindu.

All this is indicated by the symbol of Å: it is a symbol of the process of manifestation or creation, the means by which we exist as embodied beings. But, at the same time, Aum also symbolises the process of return, where through practice (Sanskrit, sadhana) we can realise our essential Roots.

The Analogy of the Lotus. The lotus flower is an archetypal symbol of the evolutionary potential and development of each human being.

The lotus has three stages of growth and can be related to A-U-M as follows:

The roots that sink deep in the mud correspond to ‘A’; the stem, as it grows through the water, corresponds to ‘U’; and the bud and the flower above the water facing the Sun is ‘M’. We are born in the womb, the matrix of matter (the roots in the mud); we grow up, developing the intellect, learning about our emotions and the ways of the world (the stem in the water of life); finally, we can blossom like the beautiful lotus flower when we realise our eternal connection with Spirit (our petals unfurl in the Sun).

Put in other terms, we can say that the lotus symbolises our growth in life as we pass through the three gunas: where we start in the mud of tamas (ignorance; identification with our physical form), pass through the waters of rajas (emotions, passion, ambition and furious activity) and finally, through refinement of our understanding (perhaps having practised Yoga or some related system), we arrive in the fresh air and clear sky of sattwa (harmony, joy and clarity). Then we are enabled to realise the Reality (the sun) which far transcends our individuality (symbolised by the lotus).

A-U-M and the lotus symbolise this whole process to supreme fulfilment of our lives.

From the Circle to the Point. During chanting, the sound of Om starts with a circle and ends with a point. During pronunciation, the lips are slightly apart with ‘A’, slowly starting to close with ‘U’ until they are completely closed with ‘M’.

There is, at first, expansion outwards and then contraction inwards. Try it for yourself.

This indicates the path of Yoga: starting from a more or less (mentally and emotionally) dissipated state (represented by the circle), where we search for meaning externally, in the world at large, we start Yoga and progressively move to a more unified state where we are centred in Being (represented by the point). Every time we chant Om we are symbolising the path towards Unity.

Om in other Mantras. Om is an integral part of most other mantras used in Yoga (Om Namah Shivaya, Gayatri Mantra, Mrityunjaya Mantra etc.). Om precedes other mantras since it symbolises Consciousness and without Consciousness, nothing can exist. Without the presence of underlying Intelligence, the mantra has no value and no power to transform; indeed it cannot even exist! Om is the very core, the bed-rock, of all sounds and all other mantras. Without that which is symbolised by Om nothing can exist, including each of us.

Om takes us Home. Our essential nature, our original home, is Consciousness. H-O-M-E is composed of OM encompassed by HE; Therefore, OM is the essence of HE (Underlying Intelligence). Chanting Om helps us to realise the roots of our Being, and in the deepest sense takes us homeward.

Om Symbolises:

  • The vibration of God.
  • Truth, the Absolute.
  • The ‘hum’ of the universe.
  • Liberation and the means to it.

 

Om Symbolises and Encourages:

  • The descent of Universality into the human heart.
  • The descent of the Infinite into the finite.
  • The expression of the Unconditioned into the conditioned.
  • The descent of the Formless into form.

 

How to chant AUM

AUM can be chanted slowly or quickly. Each method is as good as the other and you must experiment yourself to find out your own preference.

Benefits of chanting AUM

  • AUM, pronounced correctly, arouses and transforms every atom in the physical body, setting up new vibrations and conditions, and awakening the sleeping power of the body.
  • The chanting of AUM drives away all worldly thoughts and removes distractions.
  • If you are depressed, chant AUM for 10 minutes, you will be filled with new vigour and strength.
  • Chanting of AUM gives energy.
  • Continuous practice of AUM helps in improving the brain capacity and memory. Our capacity to grasp any knowledge increases. Our mind becomes more active and we are able to take decisions quickly. Chanting of AUM stimulates sleeping brain centres.
  • Just 5 minutes of AUM chanting gives calmness and relaxation to our body and mind. Chanting of AUM improves confidence level and prepares us to face the adverse circumstances of life.
  • AUM removes nervousness and fears from the mind.
  • Chanting of AUM before bed gives sound sleep. The problems of Insomnia and scary dreams are addressed by AUM chanting.

 

The Science behind Pranav Jaap, or Udgitha, or Primordial Sound Meditation, or AUM Chanting

How to do Pranav Jaap or Primordial Sound Meditation

Open this presentation and follow instructions. There is a practice-along video inside.

 

The chanting of Om and reflection on its meaning helps to bring about a transformation in our perception so that we can start to realise the meaning of the above.

 

► OM – AUM – AMEN – AMIN – OGHAM…….

 

Please click here to go to Free Mindfulness and Breathing – Based Healing E-Course (A part of DSBH Therapy) Post

To go to Vipashyana, or Vipassana, or Breath Awareness Meditation post, please click here.

To learn more about mindfulness and breathing based free e-course and the science behind it, and for certification, please go to the link and register.

 

 

 

Note : You should check with your health care professional before starting this or any new exercise program or breathing routine. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, migraines or heart or lung ailments. Women who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant should consult their physician before performing any of the breathing or physical exercises.

The information contained in the program is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional medical advice. Any use of the information in these programs/ workshops is at the reader’s discretion, risk and responsibility. The studio, author and the publisher specifically disclaim any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use or application of any information contained herein. A health care professional should be consulted regarding your specific situation.

Jul 132014
 
BREATHING EXERCISES

Free Information Talks on Breathing Exercises for Therapy

 

SAVY INTERNATIONAL

Hi there!

Modern Science is validating amazing results of breathing exercises! Usefulness of Yoga Therapy programs in treatment is being documented through various studies.  recent medical study concluded that Yoga breathing (Pranayama) was a feasible intervention among patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy; pranayama may improve sleep disturbance, anxiety, and mental quality of life and a dose-response relationship was found between pranayama use and improvements in chemotherapy-associated symptoms and quality of life. 

It gives me immense pleasure to introduce Yoga services at SAVY International Inc. An ISLAND OF EXCELLENCE for Yoga, SAVY International Inc., in operation since 2011,  is an incorporated Canadian business and is a registered yoga school accredited RYS-200 and RYS-300 levels by Yoga Alliance, USA. We offer our services under one of the most qualified & experienced faculty in the world. Please check out SAVY Storyline to know about our journey so far.

DSBH Therapy, or Dr Sahdev’s ‘Breathe and Heal’ Therapy is the First Canadian Yogic  Breathing Exercises program designed for therapy, which helps achieve freedom from diseases and to attain positive health. This is also one of the very few breathing exercises programs in the world which offer training in yogic breathing exercises in a well-structured, stepped and safe way. Based on time-tested yoga techniques, including some very potent and effective breathing exercises validated by the stringent test of time, and a fruit of over three decades of laborious and painstaking clinical research and refinement in India, this program is one of the safest, most scientific and the most effective breathing exercises programs based on qualified medical and yoga expertise! It is the first, and so far the only, program in the world, to offer the benefits of Breathing Exercises, Surya-Yoga and other lesser known elements of yoga together for asthma, breathing problems, heart problems, cancer care and other major and minor diseases. 

We also launched DSBH Breathing Educator program, again, the First Canadian Breathing Educator program, to prepare DSBH Breathing Educators who’ll impart the knowledge about breathing exercises throughout Canada and the world in a safe and effective way.

Some of the recent studies have proved the following benefits of Pranayama, the science of breathing:

    •  Brain Growth and increase in grey matter
    • Improve concentration and mental focus
    • Prevent Heart Attack
    • Lower Stress
    • Get rid of Negative Emotions
    • Alleviate anxiety & depression
    • Effectively reduced performance anxiety
    • Reduce Examination/ Stage Phobia
    • Lower Blood Pressure
    • Favourable Gene Expression
    • Enhanced body immunity
    • Healthy Aging
    • Improve health
    • Amazing role in healing diseases
    • Bestow joy, peace and happiness
    • Awaken, balance and heal the chakras
    • Increase energy, vitality and awareness
    • Help break bad habits
    • Help manifest desires and intentions, with better focus
    • And many more benefits to be documented!

You can find links to some of these studies on Dr Sahdev’s’ Breathe and Heal’ Therapy page.

We offer interactive Free Information Talks which provide background on DSBH Therapy based on  clinically-proven breathing exercises, how to recognize symptoms of poor breathing, what healthy breathing looks like and how to improve breathing immediately. This talk can be tailored to the needs of various support groups and adjusted for time limitations from 15 minutes to 1 hour.

We also offer training in breathing exercises in a safe and stepped manner in Private sessions, small groups or workshops. From time to time, we hold workshops on different diseases based on breathing exercises.

These talks can be held at a physical location or on-line.

If you would like a free talk for your group,  or would be interested in attending a workshop, please contact us.

We look forward to serve you with the best of our abilities.

 Have a great day!

Dr Jitender K Sahdev

 

 

 

 

Dr Jitender K Sahdev

 

 

 

 

May 282014
 
SAVY Healing Yoga Classes

Thursday Yoga Classes London ON

South London SAVY Studio

South London Yoga Classes schedule

At 119 Exeter Road London ON N6L 1A4

(Free Parking, Wheel Chair Accessible)

SAVY Healer (Sign up for package) – 6 am to 7.30 am
Mantra (AUM) Meditation (Sign up for package) –  7.30 am to 8.30 am
SAVY Vinyasa- 9.30 am to 10.30 am
Yoga for Chakra/ Kundalini Awakening (Sign up for package) – 10.30 am to 12 MD
Yoga for Office-goers- 12 to 1 pm
Yoga for Neck, Back and Arthritis (Sign up for package) – 1 to 2 pm
Sense Withdrawal (Sign up for package) – 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm
Pre-natal Yoga – 3rd Trimester – 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm
SAVY Inferno Yoga – 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm

Kick start your Yoga Journey with Thrifty Thursday Gift Certificate!

Here are some yoga poses to keep you active on Thursdays.

Utthitta Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank): This pose will give you a toned belly, reduced back pain, flexibility, will improve your mood and gives you an improved balance and posture. Start from 30 seconds and build up.

Utthitta Chaturanga Dandasana

 Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose): Use the strength of your whole body to do this pose. This is much more than a push-up. It strengthens arm, shoulder, and leg muscles, develops core stability and prepares body for inversions and arm balances.

Chaturanga Dandasana

Tripada Chakrasana (Three-legged Wheel Pose): Need an energy boost? Do this pose. It stretches the chest and expands lungs, strengthens the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen, and spine, stimulates the thyroid and pituitary, increases energy and counteracts depression, and is therapeutic for asthma, back pain, infertility, and osteoporosis.

Tripada Urdhva Dhanurasana

Halasana (Plow Pose): This pose strengthens and opens up the neck, shoulders, abs and back muscles, calms the nervous system, reduces stress and fatigue, tones the legs, stimulates the thyroid gland, strengthens the immune system and also helps women during menopause.

Halasana

Bakasana (Crow/ Crane Pose): Bakasana helps in strengthening the wrists and arms, stretches the upper back and increases the flexibility and elasticity of the spine, strengthens and tones various muscles and organs in the abdominal region, opens up the groin region, and improves the sense of balance, concentration, and co-ordination.

Bakasana

 

Ashtavakrasana (Eight-Angle Pose): This pose is dedicated to the sage Ashtavakra, the spiritual guru of King Janaka. This difficult lateral movement tones the spine by supplying the spinal nerves with a copious supply of blood. It increases gastric activity, helps to digest food and eliminate toxins. The spine is given the maximum lateral twist.

20140925_113756a

 

Thursday – Relevance and History

Thursday is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Brihaspati, the Guru of gods. Hence, this day is called Brihaspativar. Thursday is also popularly known as Guruvar. Devotees listen to devotional songs dedicated to Lord Vishnu on this day.

Ritual:

Devotees adorn yellow colored clothes and offer yellow flowers to appease god Vishnu and Vrihaspati.

Fasting:

Devotees fast throughout the day and consume food only once which consists of ‘chana daal’ (Bengal Gram) and ‘ghee’ (clarified butter). The food color used is yellow. Many offer banana or plantain to god. In Bengal, they worship goddess Lakshmi and elsewhere, people also visit Hanuman temples on Thursdays. Through ‘pujas’ (worship) and ‘vrats’ (fast) on Thursdays, it is believed, devotees are blessed with wealth, success, fame, and happiness.

Folklore:

The popular myth is that Lord Vishnu once appears before a devout Hindu disguised as a beggar to test the devotee on a Thursday. Some believe it was Lord Vrihaspati. At first the devotee neglects his duties towards the holy man and denies him alms and is lethargic but later when he realizes his mistake, he observes a ritual fast on Thursdays and appeases the gods.

Color & Gem:

Yellow is the color of the day and the preferred gems are Sapphire and Pukhraj.

Celestial Body:

The planet Jupiter (Vrihaspati) rules Thursday.

 

 To see the full schedule, please click here and check schedule of classes.

The salient features of London Yoga Classes at SAVY are:

  • Comprehensive, authentic, world class teaching and knowledge-base in all aspects of Classical Yoga
  • Authentic Ashtanaga and Vinyasa Yoga training based on true, traditional Classical Yoga from India
  • Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dhyana, Kriyas. Chakras, Kundalini Awakening, Shatkarma, Marma, Mantra etc
  • Clear, concise, to-the-point instruction and individualized care
  • One of the most qualified, experienced, international faculty, well-trained in India with excellent teaching skills
  • Yoga School with highest ranking of RYS 200, RYS 300 – we train yoga teachers up to the highest rank
  • Yoga Therapy services for all diseases available
  • Wonderful, knowledgeable, stable, regular, supportive, warm, welcoming yoga community
  • Unique, specialized yoga classes – Sukshma Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Deep Stretch Yoga, Yoga for Face, Meditation Classes, Sun and Moon Salutations, Pranayama etc
  • Workshops on interesting Yoga topics from time to time
  • Delve deep into the field of Yoga – Keep learning and sharing knowledge
  • Suitable time of classes
  • Small size of even group classes
  • Small Class Yoga for smaller groups
  • Private sessions also available
  • Decent studio setting – enjoy the calm, serene surroundings
  • Plenty of Free Parking
  • Most affordable Yoga Classes

Choose your class today! Please book your spot in advance to avoid inconvenience.

Pre-registration at least one day in advance is mandatory.

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p style=”text-align: center;”>Please check details with the Studio.

Oct 092013
 
Sep 222013
 

Pashchimottanasana – The West Stretch or Seated Forward Bend

 Meditation, Partner Yoga, Yoga, Yoga Posture -Asana, Yoga Therapy  Comments Off on Pashchimottanasana – The West Stretch or Seated Forward Bend
Jul 212013
 
Paschimottanasana

Pashchimottanasana – The West Stretch or Seated Forward Bend

DSC_0040a

Pashchimottanasana

Paschimottanasana stretches the length of the spine, and allows the life-force to flow to every part of the body.

परसार्य पादौ भुवि दण्डरूपौ दोर्भ्यां पदाग्रदवितयं गॄहीत्वा |
जानूपरिन्यस्तललाटदेशो वसेदिदं पश्छिमतानमाहुः || ३० ||

prasārya pādau bhuvi daṇḍa-rūpau
dorbhyāṃ padāghra-dvitayaṃ ghṝhītvā |
jānūparinyasta-lalāṭa-deśo
vasedidaṃ paśchimatānamāhuḥ || 28 ||

Having stretched the feet on the ground, like a stick, and having grasped the toes of both the feet with both the hands, when one sits with his forehead resting on the thighs, it is called Paśchima Tâna.

इति पश्छिमतानमासनाग्र्यं पवनं पश्छिमवाहिनं करोति |
उदयं जठरानलस्य कुर्याद उदरे कार्श्यमरोगतां पुंसाम || 29 ||

 

iti paśchimatānamāsanāghryaṃ
pavanaṃ paśchima-vāhinaṃ karoti |
udayaṃ jaṭharānalasya kuryād
udare kārśyamaroghatāṃ cha puṃsām || 29 ||

This most excellent of all asanas, Pashchimottanasana, makes the breath flow through the Sushumna, rouses the gastric fire, makes the loins lean, and removes all diseases.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Chapter 1, verse 29

Pashchimottanasana (Sanskrit: पश्चिमोत्तानासन; IAST: paścimottānāsana), Seated Forward Bend, or Intense Dorsal Stretch, is a yoga posture.

(PASH-chee-moh-tan-AHS-anna)

pashchimottana = intense stretch of the west (pashima = west, uttana = intense stretch)

Together with Padmasana (lotus), Siddhasana (half-lotus) and Vajrasana (lightning-bolt pose), this pose is an accomplished pose according to the Shiva Samhita. It was advocated by 11th century yogi Gorakshanath.

Etymology

The name comes from the Sanskrit word paschima (पश्चिम, paścima) meaning “west” and uttana (उत्तान, uttāna) meaning “intense stretch” or “straight – asana  (आसन) meaning “posture”.

  • Paschima (पश्चिम, Paścima) = Back, West, Back of Body
  • ud (उद्, ud) =Prefix for Verbs or Nouns which indicates superiority in Location, Rank, Power, Intensity.
  • Tana (तान, Tāna) = stretched
  • Uttana (उत्तान, Uttāna) = intense stretch, straight, straightened
  • Asana (आसन, āsana) = Posture, seat

Pashchimottanasana (पश्चिमोत्तानासन, Paścimottānāsana) = Intense-Stretch-of-back-of-body

Classification and Level: Basic seated forward bend

Concentration: On the back and the Manipura Chakra

Step by Step:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. You may support your buttocks on a folded blanket. Press actively through your heels. Rock slightly onto your left buttock, and pull your right sitting bone away from the heel with your right hand. Repeat on the other side. Turn the top thighs in slightly and press them down into the floor. Press through your palms or finger tips on the floor beside your hips and lift the top of the sternum toward the ceiling as the top thighs descend.
  1. Draw the inner groins deep into the pelvis. Inhale, and keeping the front torso long, lean forward from the hip joints, not the waist. Keep the back and neck straight. Lengthen the tailbone away from the back of your pelvis. If possible hold the big toes or take the sides of the feet with your hands, thumbs on the soles, elbows fully extended. Be sure your elbows are straight, not bent.
  1. When you are ready to go further, don’t forcefully pull yourself into the forward bend, even if your hands are on the feet. Always lengthen the front torso into the pose, keeping your head raised. If you are holding the feet, bend the elbows out to the sides and lift them away from the floor. The lower belly should touch the thighs first, and then the upper belly, the ribs, and the head last.
  1. With each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly; with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. In this way the torso oscillates and lengthens almost imperceptibly with the breath. Eventually you may be able to stretch the arms out beyond the feet on the floor.
  1. Stay in the pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes initially. To come up, first lift the torso away from the thighs and straighten the elbows again if they are bent. Then inhale and lift the torso up by pulling the tailbone down and into the pelvis.

Anatomy of the Pose

Focus on extending the spine towards head with each inhalation, and try to bend down with each exhalation.

Joint Actions: Spinal flexion (moving towards extension); sacrum nutation; hip flexion, adduction, internal rotation; knee extension; ankle slight dorsiflexion; scapula abduction, upward rotation; glenohumoral joint flexion, slight external rotation, adduction; elbow extension; forearm slight pronation.

Working

Gravity acts to pull the torso towards the top of the thighs.

Spine: Extensors can act to deepen action in the hip joints.

Legs : Vastii and articularis genus to extend knees.

Lengthening

Spine: Spinal extensors (if releasing into pose), latissimus dorsi.

Legs : Hamstrings, gluteus maximus, piriformis, obturator internus and gemelli, gluteus medius and minimus, gastrocnemius and soleus; popliteus works at length (eccentrically) to prevent hyperextension of the knees.

Arms : Rhomboids, lower trapezius, latissimus dorsi.

Breathing

Breathing can be very helpful while moving into this pose. Emphasizing the action of the exhalation deepens the flexion at the pelvis, whereas emphasizing the action of the inhalation assists in extending the upper spine. This will only occur if the exhalation is initiated with the lower abdominal muscles and the inhalation is directed towards the rib cage.

 

Therapeutic Applications

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings
  • Stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort
  • Soothes headache and anxiety and reduces fatigue
  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis
  • Traditional texts say that Paschimottanasana increases appetite, reduces obesity, and cures diseases.

 

Basic Benefits:

  • Stimulates the Manipura Chakra and life energy.
  • Increases blood supply in the back.
  • Stretches the muscles of the back and along the back of the legs.
  • Activates kidney and pancreas function and aids in achieving a slim figure.

Contradictions and Cautions

Those having the following problems should observe caution:

  • Asthma
  • Diarrhea
  • Back injury: Only perform this pose under the supervision of an experienced teacher.

Beginner’s Tip

Never force yourself into a forward bend, especially when sitting on the floor. Coming forward, as soon as you feel the space between your pubis and navel shortening, stop, lift up slightly, and lengthen again. Often, because of tightness in the backs of the legs, a beginner’s forward bend doesn’t go very far forward and might look more like sitting up straight.

Variations

Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana (urdhva = upward; mukha = face)

Lie on your back, exhale, and bend your knees into your torso. Then inhale and extend the heels toward the ceiling. Slowly, on an exhalation, swing your feet toward the floor above your head. You may or may not be able to reach all the way to the floor. Try not to let the back of the pelvis lift very far from the floor—this is an upside-down version of Paschimottanasana, not Salamba Sarvangasana or Halasana.

 

Modifications

Most students may sit up on a folded blanket in this pose. Extremely stiff students can place a rolled up blanket under their knees.

Partnering

A partner can help you release your lower back in this pose. There are various ways partners can help each other:

  1. Have your partner stand behind you facing your back. Perform the pose – then have your partner press his/her hands against your lower back and pelvis. The hands should be turned so the fingers point towards your tailbone. Remember though that the pressure isn’t to push you deeper into the forward bend; rather, gentle pressure (parallel to the line of the back) encourages the back spine and tailbone to lengthen away from the torso. Extend the front torso against this downward action.
  2. Have your partner sit behind you, tailbone to tailbone, back to back. As you deepen your pose, your partner may extend arms up, staying in close contact all the time and release his/ her weight on to your back slowly, almost lying down on your back as you complete the pose. You can do the same for your partner later on.
  3. Another way to get help from a partner is sitting in front of each other, feet apposed, holding hands while getting into the pose and keep holding hands while gravity acts to deepen the pose. You can walk your hands up your partner’s arms to get deeper, while directing your weight down towards thighs.

Preparatory Poses

  • Balasana
  • Janu Sirasana
  • Uttanasana

Follow-Up Poses

  • Ardha Matsyendrasana

 

Tips for Your Practice

Improvement with this pose is a lengthy process! The changes may take years, and you may encounter many roadblocks where your resistance temporarily slows you down.

Focus your mind on relaxing into the pose instead of pushing into it with force and meeting resistance. Relax and let gravity act. Where and how you use your weight depends on how deep your existing forward bend already is. If you are only a few inches from your legs, let the weight of your chest take you down towards thighs. If you can’t get so close to your legs, hold your feet or big toes and gently ease into more depth.

Here again, the mind can intrude, resisting the surrender that is required to fully benefit from this manoeuvre. Explore the mental patterns you’re bringing to the asana—an urge to push or a tendency to give up and space out—and redirect your attention to the sensations of letting go. As you deepen your pose by doing less, you will recognize how emotions stored in the body can tighten the muscles and hold you back. Surrender mentally and you will just ease into greater depth.

Here is another technique to help free your spine. Cup the back of your head in your hands. Drop your elbows toward the floor and let your upper back spread. Then keep your shoulder blades wide as you inhale and raise your elbows, stretching them away from your sides. Press the back of your head into your hands as you open your chest and lengthen your torso forward. Expand this motion for several breaths and then release your elbows, chest, and head down again. You may find your forward bend to be both deeper and more extended.

As you progressively surrender, stop resisting mentally and start easing into the pose, your pose grows quieter, supported by your legs, stay in touch with the form of the pose by sending delicate physical reminders to yourself whenever you feel the discomfort of misalignment disturbing your inner focus. Keep your heels, legs, thighs and tailbone in contact with the earth and active and your hip joints flexed. Continue to deepen the sensation that your torso is at rest on your legs, allowing your belly to stay on your thighs, feeling it as liquid and cool. Let distractions diminish and blur into the background and immerse yourself completely into the inner terrain of the pose.

Sustaining this inner focus is always a challenge. At some point, it becomes meditation. You will become aware of the struggle as you oscillate between effort and surrender, distraction and attention. Slowly, the influence of your mind becomes more and more obvious. You may be surprised by your resistance to prolonging the pose, particularly if you are quite flexible but not accustomed to holding the pose for long. At this point, whatever your tendencies, the mental challenges you encounter are the most likely threats to deepening your practice. A host of emotions will play upon your mind, and you thought this was a mere hamstring stretch! As you deepen your pose, you’ll encounter struggles that create agitation and sabotage a balanced, sattvic experience. You are determined to stay, no matter what, even though your whole being is begging for relief!

Shift your focus to the inner rhythm of your breath. It will be your guide. You can benefit from each insight that accompanies the process. With time and practice, Paschimottanasana will become a prolonged, body-oriented meditation.

Paschimottanasana forces you to deal with your resistance, attachments and habits. It teaches you what to hold on to and strengthen and what to leave. Introspection tells you that the mind does constantly influence your yoga. You learn that asana is a way to develop the psychological hardiness that comes from meditation and enlightenment.

Thrifty Thursday Half Price Gift Certificates

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Jun 202013
 
Thrifty Thursday

Thrifty Thursday Half Price Gift Certificates

Thrifty Thursday

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