Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Yoga, Meditation and Reincarnation

Recently I have been wondering about how yoga and meditation might tap into reincarnation. Being a spiritual person but not overly religious I've always had a very faint sense of a couple of my past lives. One was as a soldier in WWII and another as a young boy somewhere in the Arabian peninsula - Yemen, I think. I was never really sure if these memories, visions, dreams are really just a fantasy or part of some real threads of past memories.

I first became interested in yoga when my sister gave me a copy of Jess Stern's Yoga, Youth and Reincarnation. As an introduction to Hatha Yoga it really turned me on to the possibility of better health as well as greater mental and spiritual insight. As I started practicing some of the beginning and intermediate exercises I started to notice the physical changes. The benefits of yoga fitness were becoming very visible - however, I wanted to focus on meditation as well.

Now I am reading Many Lives, Many Masters and feeling a sense that using a combination of yoga, meditation and past life research might lead to a highly accelerated state of consciousness and inner peace. Time will tell but I am intrigued.

If any readers have experienced a combination of past life memories and yoga I would love to publish the comments here.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Meditation and Yoga ancient origins - Yogiraj Siddhanath

Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath is an illumined living master, seer, and helps sincere practitioners of yogic meditation awaken to higher levels of consciousness through chakra awakening/activation and esoteric practices of Himalayan yoga.

Yogiraj was born on May 10, 1944 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India. He has been meditating since the age of 3, and spent his early years in the Himalayas amongst the HamsaNath yogis, in whose presence he was transformed. The divine transformation deepened after his deep and personal experiences in 1961 and 1967 with the yogi-christ Mahavatar Shiv-Goraksha-Babaji, the same spiritual master described in Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi.

He has a wife of over 30 years, Gurumata Shivangani, with whom he built by hand the Hamsa Yoga Sangh Ashram (Spiritual Retreat) outside the city of Pune, near Bombay, India. They have two sons, and two grandchildren. Yogiraj teaches yogic meditation for the evolution of human consciousness.

These practices of yoga meditation and yoga fitness are the most ancient closely guarded sacred practices of the Himalayan yogis and masters from time immemorial. They help the practitioner gradually transform him/herself into the likeness of his/her own divinity. This ancient art and science has been a way of life for rare yogis and ascetics of India and abroad who have sacrificed everything in the search for their own inner Truth, their inner Godessence.

Today, Yogiraj demonstrates in his own life and livingness, that powerful spiritual practice can be integrated with family life and a career. By the blessings of Babaji, Yogiraj teaches these techniques, which he calls "The Alchemy of Total Transformation" to sincere seekers throughout the world, who wish to integrate these practices into their daily life, without the necessity of giving up worldly pursuits.

These techniques are called:
1. Mahavatar Babaji's Kriya Yoga (N.B., the exact same kundalini kriya originally given to Lahiri Mahasaya in the 19th century)
2. Siddhanath Surya Yoga - A dynamic osmosis of solar healing. Pranic healing with solar power.
3. Siddhanath Hamsa Yoga - The Way of the White Swan.

Hamsa Yoga Sangh

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Free Online Yoga

As you've probably guessed by now I'm always interested when I find a site devoted to free online yoga exercises and yoga fitness programs.

I just happened to stumbled across a site today that promotes animated Hatha Yoga lessons. It has 40 animated yoga postures, 10 animated yoga breathing techniques and 20 animated stress postures.

Take a look at Hatha Yoga Lesson when you have some time. I like this format for some quick tips and easy lessons.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What Makes Ashtanga Yoga Different?

Ashtanga Yoga is the type of yoga which was created and established by a master named K. Pattabhi Jois. Due to it's theory containing eight different limbs, or components, it is also known as "Eight-Limb Yoga". It doesn't imply that the practitioner has a double set of limbs, but master Pattabhi Jois showed that the optimum path of purification is made up of the eight spiritual practices.

The basic idea is that these limbs only can be kept in balance by the appropriate application of the Ashtanga Yoga method.

The first four limbs that symbolize Ashtanga Yoga, and are considered externally correctable are (original names within double quotes):
- Moral codes or "yama"
- Self-purification or "niyama"
- Posture or "asana"
- Breath control or "pranayama"

Then there is the other set of limbs which are the internal practices:
- Sense control or "pratyahara"
- Meditation or "dhyana"
- Concentration or "dharana"
- Contemplation or "samadhi"

K. Pattabhi Jois declared that practicing these Eight Limbs as well as its sub-limbs of the external practices which contain the niyama and yama is impossible. In doing so, the body should be strong so that it can technically perform the methods well enough. If the body is weak, and the sense organs are not functioning well, practicing will never be productive at all.

This is a primary philosophy that K. Pattabhi Jois has applied, it is of prime importance for the Asthanga practitioner to learn and understand this way of thinking. This will make you confident in that the body will significantly improve and become stronger and healthier.

Vinsaya and Tristhana are performed in Ashtanga Yoga.

The Vinsaya is a style that makes Ashtanga and its fundamental principles different from the others. Vinsaya basically means the movement and breathing which is used effectively together in order to cleanse the body. Each movement done is accompanied by only one breath. Sweat is the most important product of Vinsaya. When you produce sweat, it only indicates that you are successfully applying the method. When you perform the Asanas, or postures, the body produces heat which causes your blood to "boil" and excrete the toxins outside of your body. The contaminations are found in your sweat. So the more sweat you produce, the more toxins are released. This is the natural way for the body to get rid of unwanted substances.

The poses are used to fully develop the physical strength and health of the body. It is the sequence of practices that make this possible. There are three postures used in Ashtaga Yoga.

The three are grouped on different levels:

- The first is the Primary Series which aims on aligning the body and also detoxifying it.

- The second is the Intermediate Series opening and cleansing the energy channels which comes to the process of purifying the Nervous System.

- The last series would be the Advanced Series from A to D. In this set, the grace and strength are assessed.

The Tristhana is another yoga principle which symbolizes the close union of the three places of action and attention. First is the posture, second is the breathing technique ad last is the Dristhi of the Looking Place. All these three should work altogether to perform a function.

The breathing is always controlled and synchronized with the movements, in such a way that each movement is accompanied by breath. Ujjayi Breathing is the Yoga Breathing Technique used in the implementation of Ashtanga Yoga. Applying this ancient technique is something that you should work on gradually in your daily practise. What you need to master is holding your pose longer at the same time hold your breath. This is an amazing breathing exercise that will intensify your internal fire and will toughen the Nervous System.

Both Ashtanga and Tristhana deal with the series of Dristhi. The Dristhi is defined as the point on which you acquire your focus or concentration while doing the Asana. This allows your mind to be purified and stabilized clearly.

Clearing your mind (that is sometimes compared to an over active monkey) and cleansing it is the ultimate goal in the Eight-Limb Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga.

About The Author:

Michael Hawkins writes books and articles about Yoga, fitness and health. A beginners guide to Yoga ,that explores this exciting world of exercise and meditation, is available at his website



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