Ashtanga Yoga

Before I start, I would like to declare that every blog on Yoga that follows is what I have learned from the many lectures and teachings of my Guru Swami Sri Dayananda Saraswati and his disciples.

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How to Gain Insight into Atman/Brahman

There are several ways that one can gain insight into Atman/Brahman.

Practice of Yoga, including Niyama and Yama
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras including Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Isvara Pranidhana
Shravanam, Mananam, Nididhyasanam
Bhakti
Other less effective ways that will be considered later.

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What is the Truth?

This is the definition of Truth. Any object that we define can be defined differently by another person. Thus there can be various definitions of any object. But when it comes to the Absolute Truth, we cannot negate it.

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Nature of the Mind

The Mind is the screen on which thoughts, ideas and concepts register. We are in contact with the environment through our senses, the senses pick up impressions from the environment around us, and then the impressions register in the mind as a thought or an experience.

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I am not this body!

In this physical body of mine, I have the “I” sense. In everything else other than the physical body, I have the “this” or “that” sense. It is clear that “I” am separate from “this” or “that”. Indeed, I never identify myself with any “this” or “that”, because I am the subject and anything which is “this” or “that” is an object.

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Yoga Q&A

Indeed, this is the whole purpose of practicing Yoga. We divide our lives into three separate entities: matters which are physical, those which are mental, and lastly those which belong to the Spiritual category.

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On Becoming

It appears that our entire life is one of becoming. From the time we are born, we are in an incessant pursuit of becoming something we are not.

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Maha Bandha (The Great Lock)

Maha means “Great”. This Bandha combines all the three preceding Bandhas. It is important to understand at the outset that the mastery of this Bandha comes after YEARS of practice. Holding this Bandha for several seconds results in enormous benefits to the body and mind. Practice of this for many years results in acquisition of some physical and mental powers such as levitation and clairvoyance.

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Bandha Pranayama

The Sanskrit word Bandha means to hold, lock or tighten. It is a physical action which locks the Prana, not allowing it to get dissipated but instead to be channeled along the appropriate path. Bandhas and Mudras, locks and gestures, are mentioned together in the ancient texts of Yoga. Bandhas are very important techniques to use during Yoga Asanas. They potentiate the action of the Asana, lock and redirect the flow of Prana into the Sushumna, thus facilitating spiritual awakening. They can be practiced individually or along with Mudras and Asanas. When done with Mudras, they are capable of opening higher levels of consciousness, leading to supernatural abilities. Four Bandha There are four Bandhas: Moola Bandha Jalandhara Bandha Uddiyana Bandha Maha Bandha Each of the first three bandhas act on the following three Granthis. Granthi is an impediment to the passage of Prana along the Sushumna Nadi, the central nadi in the back. The three Bandhas act on the corresponding three Granthis and release the obstruction, thus facilitating the flow of Prana. The Moola Bandha releases the Brahma Granthi, the Jalandhara bandha the Rudra Granthi and the Uddiyana Bandha the Vishnu Granthi. The Chakras and Granthis There is a relationship between the Chakras and the Granthis. The lower-most two Chakras, the Mooladhara and Svadhisthana Chakras are associated with the Brahma Granthi. We will talk about the Chakras in detail later, but the first two Chakras are primarily related to our desire for procreation. Unblocking of the Brahma Granthi results allows the energy to travel up the Sushumna, untethered by sexual urges. The second impediment, the Vishnu Granthi is associated with... read more

Moorchha Pranayama

“Moorchha” means dizziness or faintness. The reason for this is that this practice often creates a feeling of lightheadedness. This feeling comes from the effect the practice has on the CNS (central nervous system) secondary to stimulation of the sinus in the Carotid artery. This in turn stimulates the autonomic nervous system, the part of the brain which is responsible for regulating the heart and respiration.

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A few more word on Kapalbhati Pranayama

This type of breath is the reverse of normal breathing, where the inhalation is active and the exhalation is a passive recoil. In Kapalbhati, the exhalation is forceful and the inhalation is a passive recoil. It also differs from normal respiration in that it reducing the volume of air which is inhaled and exhaled.

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Kapalbhati Pranayama

The Sanskrit word “Kapal” means the frontal bones of the skull or forehead. The word “Bhati” means shining, knowledge, perception etc. This type of breath is supposed to bring clarity to the troubled mind, the light of knowledge to the ignorant mind.

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Ujjayi Pranayama

The Sanskrit word Ujjayi means “victorious”. The victory is from the bondage, the “ji” standing for conquer and “ud” being bondage. When “ud” and “Jayi” come together, it becomes Ujjayi.

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Bhramari Pranayama

The Sanskrit word Bhramari means “bee”. The sound which is produced in the practice of this Pranayama resembles the humming sound of the bee. The vibration produced by this sound involves the skull and the frontal sinuses.

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Sheetkari Pranayama

Last week we learned about Sheetali Pranayama, however, a small percentage of people are unable to roll their tongues into a tube to perform this pranayama. In that case, they can perform the Sheetkari Pranayama.

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