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WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF ASHTANGA YOG PRACTICE IN HATHYOG?THE FOUR PATHS OF YOGA-17


THE ESSENCE ARE ------

1-YOGA ASANAS

2-THREE BANDHAS

3-THE SIX POISONS

4-THE SHATKARMAS

5-VINYASA

6-TRISTHANA

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF YOGA ASANAS ?--

1-Our mind is like a pendulum; swinging from past to future, regret and anger to anxiety and fear, happiness to sorrow. It is ‘Yoga asana’ that enables us to maintain equanimity.

2-Yoga asana is not a mere workout or exercise. Yoga asana increases our physical flexibility and expands our mind. 3-In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali defines "asana" as "to be seated in a position that is firm, but relaxed". 4-Yoga has to be done with the breath, and with awareness. When we lift our hands for yoga, first we become aware of the arm and then we slowly lift it, synchronized with the breath. It is as graceful as a dance, gliding into one posture from another. The key is to stretch a little more, in each asana, than what we are comfortable and then relax and let go. This little effort to take the body beyond its agreeable limit expands our mind.Here we are discussing about Sitting yoga asanas (important for meditation)-- THE SITTING YOGA ASANAS-- English Name-------------------------- Sanskrit Name 1-One-Legged Forward Bend---- Janu Shirasasana 2-Two-Legged Forward Bend----- Paschimottanasana 3-Upward Plank Pose---------------- Poorvottanasana 4-Sitting Half Spinal Twist---------- Ardha Matsyendrasana 5-Butterfly Pose------------------------ Badhakonasana 6-Lotus Pose------------------------------- Padmasana Padmasana 7-One-Legged Pigeon Pose------------ Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 8-Camel Pose---------------------------------- Ustrasana 9-Child Pose------------------------------------ Shishuasana 10-Mill Churning Pose----------------------- Chakki Chalanasana WHAT IS PADMASANA?-----

1-Padmasana or Lotus position is a cross-legged yoga posture which helps deepen meditation by calming the mind and alleviating various physical ailments. A regular practice of this posture aids in overall blossoming of the practitioner, just like a lotus; and hence the name Padmasana.

2-In Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism, the Lotus pose is also known as Vajra position. In yoga, refers both to the place in which a practitioner (yogi if male, yogini if female) sits and the posture in which he or she sits. HOW TO DO PADMASANA? (Lotus Position)----- 1-Sit on the floor or on a mat with legs stretched out in front of you while keeping the spine erect. 2-Bend the right knee and place it on the left thigh. Make sure that the sole of the feet point upward and the heel is close to the abdomen. 3-Now, repeat the same step with the other leg. 4-With both the legs crossed and feet placed on opposite thighs, place your hands on the knees in mudra position. 5-Keep the head straight and spine erect. 6-Hold and continue with gentle long breaths in and out. 7-Mudras for Padmasana (Lotus Position) 8-Mudras stimulate the flow of energy in body and can have amazing effects when practiced with Padmasana. Every mudra differs from each other and so do their benefits. When sitting in Padmasana, you can deepen your meditation .

PADMASANA (Lotus Position)for Beginners If you have problem overlapping both your legs and sitting in Padmasana, you may also sit in Ardha – Padmasana (Half – Lotus pose) by placing any one leg on the opposite thigh. Continue doing so till you feel flexible enough to progress to Padmasana.

05 BENEFITS OF PADMASANA ----- 1-Improves digestion 2-Reduces muscular tension and brings blood pressure under control 3-Relaxes the mind 4-Helps pregnant ladies during childbirth 5-Reduces menstrual discomfort Contraindications OF PADMASANA (Lotus Position)---- Ankle or knee injury: Perform this pose only with the supervision of an experienced teacher. WHAT IS THE PREPARATORY POSES BEFORE PADMASANA ? -------- Padmasana can be followed by doing the following poses:-----

1-Ardha Matsyendrasana,

2-Badhakonasana,

3-Janu Shirasasana. WHAT IS THE FOLLOW UP POSES AFTER PADMASANA ?--- Padmasana can be followed up with Adho-Mukho Svanasana.

NOTE-- -Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained i Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor . WHAT ARE THE THREE BANDHAS?--- When the Yogi has perfected his Asanas he should practice Pranayama according to the instructions of his master. With controlled senses he should nourish himself with moderation. ACCORDING TO Hatha Yoga Pradipika .-

MEANING OF BANDHAS--

05 POINTS-- 1-Bandha means catching hold of, control. It can mean a posture where certain organs or parts of the body are contracted and controlled. There are three main Bandhas which are important to Pranayama;----

1-Mula Bandha,

2-Uddiyana Bandha

3-Jalandhara Bandha. 2-Breath can be retained with the lungs full or empty. When breath is restrained it is call Kumbhaka (breath retention). The Bandhas are used with Kumbhaka to channel Kundalini in the Sushumna Nadi and to further the process of becoming one with the absolute.

3-The breath can be held to different stages of practice.

3-1, till you feel like you want to breathe.

3-2, until the need for breath is strong.

3-3, till there is a primal fear that you must breathe or die. 4, till you perspire and tremble. 4-The breath should always be under your control and you should be able to exhale or inhale smoothly after Kumbhaka. Some benefits of Kumbhaka include the stimulating of "internal cellular" breathing which happens in the cells when there is no new oxygen coming into the lungs. It creates a state of emergency in the body which forces the cells to speed up their metabolic activity in order to maintain equilibrium. They become more efficient in their use of oxygen and more efficient in the release of carbon dioxide as well as other toxins.

5-Reserves of prana and oxygen are drawn out from regions of the body otherwise not accessed. During Kumbhaka one experienced a deep sense of introversion. Contraindications for Kumbhaka can include high blood pressure and other heart conditions, heavy menstruation and recent surgery. DESCRIPTION OF THE BANDHAS---- 1-MULA BANDHA-- Mula means root, source, origin or cause, base or foundation. Its location is at the base of the spine (perineum). This Banda is used to lock the energy, to keep it from going downward. It seals the foundation so that the energy can rise upward. When mastered this Bandha should be used in asana practice whenever possible (standing, backbends and first chakra poses). This Bandha can be practiced with Puraka (internal) or Rechaka (external) Kumbhaka. Especially good for the organs of reproduction. TECHNIQUE-- from a standing or sitting position, contract the anal sphincter or use the Kegel exercise to feel the core being drawn upward from within. With continued practice work toward using less muscle for the same lifted feeling. Practice until you can feel the area being drawn upward energetically without (or minimally) using the muscles. It is easier to first practice this by inhaling and holding the breath, and then contract the area. Practice contracting and releasing several times on one Puraka (held inhalation) then release and breath normally. You can try this Bandha in the table position, exhale into cat (chin and tailbone curling down and back arching). This draws the Mula in naturally. 2-UDDIYANA BANDHA - - Uddiyana means flying up. This Bandha is used to continue the upward flow of energy (Kundalini) through the Sushumna Nadi. The abdomen is drawn in and up; to lift the diaphragm and internal organs up into or toward the chest (thorax). Tones and strengthens the abdominal muscles and improve the function of the organs of digestion and elimination. This Bandha is only practiced on Rechaka (external) Kumbhaka. TECHNIQUE-- after exhaling completely and holding the breath out, the abdomen is drawn in as far as possible and then drawn upward. Uddiyana is never practiced holding the breath in (Antara Kumbhaka). Hint: try exhaling completely and closing the mouth and nose attempt to breathe in abruptly. This suction will allow you to feel the contraction required to perform the Uddiyana Bandha. Or use your hand on your belly and help lift the inners as you contract and lift eventually being able to do this naturally. 3-JALANDHARA BANDHA - means a net, a web, a lattice or a mesh. In Jalandhara Bandha the neck and throat are contracted, the back of the neck lengthened and the chin is lowered toward the chest. This position contains prana within the container (prana body) If performed incorrectly one feels pressure on the heart, eyes, ears and brain and even cause headaches. This Bandha can be practiced with Puraka (internal) or Rechaka (external) Kumbhaka. TECHNIQUE-- This is the position of the neck in Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). From a sitting position, lengthen the back of the neck, lower the chin toward the chest and attempt to swallow to complete the seal in the throat. IMPORTANCE OF BANDHAS ---- 1-Bandha means to lock, close-off, to stop. In the practice of a Bandha, the energy flow to a particular area of the body is blocked. When the Bandha is released, this causes the energy to flood more strongly through the body with an increased pressure. 2-There are four types of Bandhas: 1-Mula Bandha - Anal Lock 2-Uddiyana Bandha - Lifting of the Diaphragm 3-Jalandhara Bandha - Chin Lock 4-MAHA BANDHA - Practice of all three Bandhas at the same time. Generally, the breath is held during practice of the Bandhas. Mula Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha can be performed after the inhalation as well as after the exhalation. Uddiyana Bandha and Maha Bandha are only performed after the exhalation. BENEFITS-- As the Bandhas momentarily stop the flow of blood, there is an increased flow of fresh blood with the release of the Bandha, which flushes away old, dead cells. In this way all the organs are strengthened, renewed and rejuvenated and circulation is improved. Bandhas are also beneficial for the brain centres, the Nadis and the Chakras. The energy channels are purified, blockages released and the exchange of energy is improved. Bandhas alleviate stress and mental restlessness and bring about inner harmony and balance. Caution: Before attempting to perform the Bandhas, the breathing techniques of the previous levels must have been practiced regularly for a long period of time. Before proceeding with the breath exercise in this and the following levels, first read and study the explanation given for the relevant Bandhas and Mudras as they are incorporated into the breathing techniques. WHAT ARE THE SIX POISONS?-- In the yoga shastra it is said that God dwells in our heart in the form of light, but this light is covered by six poisons: kama, krodha, moha, lobha, matsarya, and mada. These are desire, anger, delusion, greed, envy and sloth. When yoga practice is sustained with great diligence and dedication over a long period of time, the heat generated from it burns away these poisons, and the light of our inner nature shines forth. WHAT ARE THE SHATKARMAS?---- The Six Purification Methods in Hatha Yoga The Shatkarmas are the six purification techniques mentioned in Hatha Yoga Pradeepika. Shatkarma makes the body clean, strong, free of diseases. It removes toxins and improves concentration. It improves the flow of prana into the organs. The six techniques are –

1-Dhauti

2-Bhasti

3-Neti

4-Trataka

5-Nauli

6-Kapalabhati

Some of the techniques have more than one variation. Shatkarma techniques should be learned from an experienced yoga master. NOTE---IN sahaj yog ,there is no need of these 5 techniques- only TRATAKA can be made . WHAT IS VINYASA?---

05 POINTS-- 1-Vinyasa means breathing and movement system. For each movement, there is one breath. 2-The purpose of vinyasa is for internal cleansing. Breathing and moving together while performing asanas makes the blood hot, or as Pattabhi Jois says, boils the blood. Thick blood is dirty and causes disease in the body. The heat created from yoga cleans the blood and makes it thin, so that it may circulate freely.

3-The combination of the asanas with movement and breath make the blood circulate freely around all the joints, taking away body pains. When there is a lack of circulation, pain occurs. The heated blood also moves through all the internal organs removing impurities and disease, which are brought out of the body by the sweat that occurs during practice. 4-Sweat is an important by product of vinyasa, because it is only through sweat that disease leaves the body and purification occurs. In the same way that gold is melted in a pot to remove its impurities, by the virtue of the dirt rising to the surface as the gold boils, and the dirt then being removed, yoga boils the blood and brings all our toxins to the surface, which are removed through sweat. If the method of vinyasa is followed, the body becomes healthy and strong, and pure like gold. 5-After the body is purified, it is possible to purify the nervous system, and then the sense organs. These first steps are very difficult and require many years of practice. The sense organs are always looking outside, and the body is always giving into laziness. However, through determination and diligent practice, these can be controlled. After this is accomplished, mind control comes automatically. Vinyasa creates the foundation for this to occur. WHAT ARE TRISTHANA?--- --

12 POINTS--- 1-This means the three places of attention or action:--

1-Posture,

2-Breathing system and

3-Looking place/ Dristhi

2-These three are very important for yoga practice, and cover three levels of purification. They are always performed in conjunction with each other. 3-Asanas purify, strengthen and give flexibility to the body. Breathing is rechaka and puraka, that means inhale and exhale. Both the inhale and exhale should be steady and even, the length of the inhale should be the same length as the exhale. Breathing in this manner purifies the nervous system. 4-Dristhi is the place where you look while in the asana. There are nine Dristhis:--------

1-The nose,

2-Between the eyebrows,

3-Navel,

4-Thumb,

5-Hands,

6-Feet,

7-Up,

8-Right side

9-Left side

Dristhi purifies and stabilizes the functioning of the mind. 5-For cleaning the body internally two factors are necessary, air and fire. The place of fire in our bodies is four inches below the navel. This is the standing place of our life force.

6-In order for fire to burn, air is necessary, hence the necessity of the breath. If you stoke a fire with a blower, evenness is required so that the flame is not smothered out, or blown out of control. 7-Tristhana is the Sanskrit term that describes the 3 places of attention and action:---- 1-POSTURES 2-BREATH 3-FOCUS 8-They relate to 3 of the 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, outlined by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras:---- 1-ASANA 2-PRANAYAMA 3-PRATYAHARA 9-When performed in conjunction with each other, these form the essential elements of yoga practice and cover the 3 levels of purification: 1-BODY 2-NERVOUS SYSTEM 3-MIND 10-The 3 places of attention and action (Tristhana) can turn a physical exercise into a spiritual practice. The senses are brought under control, and a deep self awareness arises.

12-These subtle techniques are the invisible part of yoga practice and are of greater importance than the powerful body workout. Steadiness of mind and body results. This is the essence of Ashtanga and all Vinyasa yoga practice. Yoga practiced in this way, with intent and purpose, ensures a profound strengthening, rejuvenating, healing and revitalizing effect on the entire physiology.-----SHIVOHAM......