Meditation: Why & How !

Before going into any discussions on meditation, we should try to understand the basic terminology which will be helpful in grasping the fundamentals. We often come across the word Consciousness, in varying contexts. Being conscious can be an attribute of being alive or life. Consciousness as a word can also be used in terms of our wakeful states when we are engaged in a sensory connection with our outside world. Consciousness on a more spiritual level is used to denote a very fine quality of all beings and that of God.

To define consciousness is a complex task as in the process we will come across various levels and planes of the same. There is human consciousness, animal consciousness, individual consciousness, universal consciousness and so on. So we try to understand it with the analogy of Sunlight. Light from the sun spreads all around the earth giving illumination to every corner. It is in a way omnipresent. Consciousness is like that light. Present everywhere. Although the light coming from the sun is singular in nature, one form, yet when it spreads over the shapes and forms on earth, it takes different forms. When it enters a house through a small window, it appears to be restricted in form of small beams of light giving a totally different view. When it rinses down through huge trees in a forest, it appears to be like a lightning effect with shades of versatility in it. When it falls down on a reservoir of crystal clear water, it gives a reflection just that of diamond. When it passes through clouds it forms a rainbow. Same sunlight appears in vivid forms and colours. Similar is with consciousness. It is expressed on individual levels through minds. Mind is just like that sunlight which enters a house through a window. This window is called Antahkaran in yoga. Antahakaran (inner structure) is like a blueprint of a being. It is a box with four compartments of ego, mind, intellect and chitta. This blueprint is associated and responsible for the manifestation of consciousness in different species, in different life forms on different planes. And as the lines of evolution, it is developed in certain degrees on each plane. The antahkaran of animals is different from that of humans. And in animals themselves, there are several classifications as well in humans.

When this structure gets associated with Gyan Indriyas or the organs of Senses and with Karmendriyas or the organs of actions, the world comes into existence. Every individual has its own world based on the design of the instruments of anatahkaran. It comprises of all our ideas, thoughts, convictions, memories, associations and other acquired impressions. Based on these, the actions and reactions are decided by every individual giving rise to its own perception of world or Samsar.

Meditation is a process of gaining an insight and knowledge of this instrument. It gives us an opportunity to become clear about who we are. The practice of meditation opens doors towards an inner quest of rediscovering our selves. This process starts with the initial task of acquiring relaxation. Relaxation of the most outwardly unit of the instrument called Mind or Manas. Mind is that part which directly comes into contact with the objects around and shows patterns. It is like a relay station which connects outside and inside. And in the course it takes the toll. All the signals and commands which are routed through the mind, leaves repercussions on its surface and according to its composition, mind handles them differently. That is why we see some people more fragile than others while some shows more composure and balance. And this is the cause of disturbances in our lives. We feel shackled and shaked. We feel annoying and exhilarated. We feel enthusiast and depressed. Because of this unique sensitivity of mind.

So the first step towards meditation is achieving calmness on the surface of mind. This is made possible through the basic techniques of trying to limit the wavering and transfer of signals. When we start meditating, we need to work upon our body and breathe as these two are directly related to the states of mind. Once the body is comparatively comfortable and breath is stable, mind is prepared to revert its forces from being fragmented externally, thinking about several objects at the same time, to a more consolidated state where its power can be used to reflect onto itself. Dharana or concentration is this stage, where a person learns to control these tendencies of mind. This stage gives so much of relaxation and so much of mental clarity, that a person starts realizing its importance. A feeling of contentment arises and the petty issues don’t bother anymore. A depth in perceptions and broadening in acceptability is one of the outcomes.

Moving further, concentration starts turning into dhyan or meditation, which is the state of an unwavering and undisturbed flow of mind while it disconnects from the acquired tendencies, and getting closer to its natural attributes. At this stage, we closely experience the dimensions in which our ego and intellect operates and with a structural line of practice, we can manage to purify these two components from contaminations so that they are purified and their natural states can be experienced. The natural state of ego is the notion of existence that is ‘AM’ and the natural state of intellect is called VIVEK, or the ability to discern without a prejudice. This is infact the true state of being just with the self and others.

As we go deep into this journey, our purpose of being alive starts getting clear and we are led on a path of fulfilling that purpose, rather than wandering aimlessly into the objects of temporary enjoyments and wasting our energies. Meditation is a gift given to mankind for actually realizing what we are, not what we are being told we are, but out true existence. May all be guided to this path and realize.

In the service of Guru
Acharya Vinay

International Yoga Festival 2016: Rishikesh, India

Join Us For the International yoga festival at Rishikesh India!

International Yoga festival is held every year in scenically located Rishikesh where the Holy Ganges River comes down from the Himalayas. This annual festival is jointly organized by the Uttrakhand Tourism Development Board, GMVN and Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh India.

During the 1 week long festival from 1 march to 7 March participants will get a chance to attend 60 hours of Yoga classes. Classes will be conducted by world renowned Yoga gurus who have excelled in multiple styles of Yoga including Power Vinyasa Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Kriya Yoga.

Besides yoga sessions there will be speeches and spiritual discourses for participants by spiritual masters from within India and international prominent saints, including H.H. Pujya Shankaracharya Swami Divyanand Teerthji, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and others prominent Yogacharyas and spiritual gurus.

The international Yoga festival is about getting to know Eight Limbs of Yoga. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called ashtanga, which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life.

International yoga festival 2016 schedule

  • Morning class followed by breakfast
  • Post breakfast classes
  • Divine and inspiring lectures
  • traditional Indian lunch
  • Instructional classes
  • Yogasana classes
  • Special light ceremony, Aarti, on the banks of the river Ganga.
  • Dinner followed by cultural events

Come Celebrate the Joy of Yoga at the 17th Annual IYF

Please note that the information provided in this article is based on detailed published on official website. We strongly recommend reviewing official site http://www.internationalyogafestival.com/ to get exact and updated information on International Yoga Festival 2016 in India.

Healthy routine to keep your day full of energy and prosperous!!

Wondering about what a holistic daily routine should be like? Well we may not have the answers but for certain there is a to-do list mentioned below which can be easily adopted to get more out of your day!! Just remember, this routine is deeply connected with the subtle psychic characteristics influencing the outer somatic personality. Thus it involves certain methods which not only stimulate your physical energies, but also boost you up in pranic and mental regimes.

  1. Wake up at Brahmmuhrat (dawn) to avoid laziness during the rest of the day. A healthy individual needs only 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
  2. Chant the below mantra immediately after waking up while sitting in bed and keeping your palms together in front of your face:

“Karagre Vasate Laxmi , karmadhye Saraswati |
Karmule Sthitaa Gauri, Prabhate kardarshanam ||”

  1. Drink a whole pot (approx. 1 Ltr) of water kept in a copper vessel over night to retain a smooth bowel motion and cleansing of the intestines. Avoid taking Bed Tea or Coffee at the early hour after waking up as this is not a very healthy habit to have.
  2. Finish your daily regimen before going out to any kind of work. Clean your bowels, teeth, take a bath. Practice Yoga and sit for a light meditation contemplating on you. Eat a light and rejuvenating breakfast and then go ahead for your daily chores.
  3. For lunch the best time is around 12 noon to 1:30 pm. This is the time of pitta which helps in digesting and absorbing whatever has been eaten. Walk 100 steps after the meals and do not sleep at any cost. One who sleeps after food becomes lazy and lethargic and sick. Do not run or do strenuous work immediately after meals. This brings old age and other disorders.
  4. Dinner should be taken around 7 to 8 pm and there must be a gap of atleast 2 to 3 hours between dinner and sleep. Dinner must include more liquids and no dry foods like excessive salads as it can prevent you from falling asleep. There must be a moderate combination of liquids and semi solid food in your diet at night.

To conclude, its SIMPLE. Try it and see the change yourself.

hariomtatsat

Halasana: The Plough pose, Steps and Benefits

Halasana: The Plough pose, Steps and Benefits

Hala= Plough ; Asana= Posture

In an agrarian indian society, plough is considered to be a very sacred instrument as it helps in preparing the land for new farming. Plough is pointed at the bottom end attached to a long shaft. The vertical section which is pointed at the bottom has to be grounded in order for the shaft to pull it allowing the soil to be shuffled nicely. Similarly in Halasana, grounding of torso and extension of legs gives the body the shape of a plough. It works on extension of the entire spinal column giving it length and aligning the deeper component of this complex structure. The torso has to be grounded and legs necessarily to be stretched. There are two methods in which Halasana is performed along with several variations. Here we will explain the asana performed individually. In the other method it is performed as a flow sequence with Sarvangasana (shoulder stand).

 

How to do it?

1. The base position for Halasana is supine. Lie down in a relaxed manner with legs and hands attached to the body.

2. Inhale deeply, hold the breath inside and raise the legs to a vertical position. Continue breathing normally hereafter. Don’t forget to acknowledge the engagement and utilisation of abdominal muscles in this action.

3. As you get comfortable here, inhale, hold the breath and contracting the abdomen further, lift the torso off the floor, while bringing the legs parellel to the floor. Try to reach a to a vertical alignment of the entire torso from neck to pelvis from the floor. For those its difficult to engage the abdomen, they can support the base of sacrum with their hands at the back.

4. Breath in deeply, give full extension to the spine, and try to touch the feet to the floor with toes tucked in towards the head, while exhaling. You will need a very strong contraction in your quadriceps to do this as the legs has to kept fully straight and stiff in this position. An initial training in contracting and bracing up the kneecaps would be helpful for this.

5. As a supportive measure, extend the elbows, stretching the arms away from the body after the step 4 has been completed. This will give the required extension for the asana to be effective. Breathe naturally deeper, feeling your ribcage expanding and contracting. This will help in ensuring the adequate blood flow to the deeper corners of the spinal column and related muscles. Also its helps in massaging the organs of the digestive system.

6. Stay in the pose for minimum 30 seconds. While coming out, support the hands on the back and slowly release the tension of the legs, gently bringing the spinal column back to the floor. You will need to use your abdominal control to achieve a smooth transition out of the asana. Once you are in supine position, relax the entire body and Breathe. !!

Practise Note: Beginners will find it difficult initially to touch the feet to the floor. As a variation of the asana, they may find a chair useful to put it behind the head. Place it at a proper distance so that the feet can reach easily on the seat of hte chair.

halasana practise and benefits

Benefits:

  1. Halasana is considered one of the most effective posture in maintaining spinal health and flexibility. A flexible spinal column gives us more freedom in our movements and functioning. Halasana helps achieve that.
  2. In Spinal compression and disc diseases Halasana is used therapeutically but with precaution and extreme care. Best under expert supervision.
  3. Regular practice Halasana helps eradicating the problems of reproductive system and relieves menstrual discomforts.
  4. Stretches all muscles and ligament in your calves and thighs, resulting in greater leg flexibility
  5. Therapeutic for leg cramps
  6. Stimulates your thyroid, parathyroid, throat, lungs and abdominal organs
  7. Helps relieve gas and upper/lower back pain or discomfort
  8. Promotes good digestion
  9. Stretches your shoulders and spine
  10. Therapeutic for menopause, infertility, insomnia, headache and sinusitis
  11. Relieves stress and fatigue

Please remember that this blog post is for informative purpose. You must practise all the techniques of yoga under an expert guidance all the time to reap out the maximum benefits.

Dhanurasana: Procedure and Benefits

Dhanur=Bow; Asana= posturePracticing Urdhva Dhanurasana (Backward Bends) is a deep backbend that need  dedication and some real effort to practice. If you  do regular practice you will feel more alive and strong. Dhanurasana comes from dhanu which means a bow. As the bow is fully arched when shooting the arrow, same is the condition in which the body is taken while doing this posture. The rear muscles of the body are contracted to their capacity so as to get maximum lengthening in the front. The chest is expanded fully and thus breathing capacity improves.

How to do ?

1. Dhanurasana is a prone posture so the base position is prone, lying down on abdomen with hands to the sides and forehead on the floor.

2. Take a deep breath in and out and listen to your heartbeat. Relax

3. Flex the knees and try to get hold of your ankles with your hands from outside. Press the feet gently down to the hips in order to prepare knees for this position.

4. With a deep inhalation, hold your breath inside and start contracting the muscles in the shoulder blades, middle and lower back, hips and hamstrings as you lift the whole body up while balancing on the abdomen.

5. The reverse force of the arms and legs will keep the body in a proportion. In simple language, pull the legs with your arms upwards and towards you while gently resisting with the legs. This will generate a engage the extensors in the rear portion of the body and helps in toning them as well.

6. As you reach up to final position, exhale and continue to breath naturally. The breath is definetly going to be short and fast. Let it be like this for the first few instances as the body adapts to the posture. Gradually with the time work on relaxing the breath and making it deeper. It will require some time and dedicated efforts to achieve that. The diaphragm will be under tension as it is expanded and its extensive use in the initial stages of practise will imbalance the asana. So let the breath be natural without intending to breath in the diaphragm forcefully.

7. Stay in the engaged position for minimum 15 seconds. As you start coming out, take a deep inhalation and with a prolonged and controlled exhalation (preferably ujjayi) start releasing the contraction in the muscles, coming down in the base position. Check your breath and heartbeat again. Relax

8. Do 3 repetitions with a break of 15 seconds each time.

Benefits:

Facet joints in the spinal column are supplied with fresh blood supply and they are nourished. The muscles of back specially errector spinae, trapezius, rhomboids are all worked out nicely in order to reaffirm their role in maintenance of posture. Dhanurasana reestablishes the connections of brain with the rest of the body by toning and stimulating the nerves than passes through each vertebral section and thus taking away lethargy and Tamas guna from the system. Overall its a highly energizing and nourishing asana.
People with severe disc and spinal conditions should try to do the basic version of the posture. It is helpful in back conditions but given the fact that it is introduced after a nice preparatory work.

  1. Effective in weight loss.
  2. Improves digestion and appetite.
  3. Gives flexibility to the back.
  4. Strengthens back muscles.
  5. Helps to cure dyspepsia (obesity), rheumatism and gastrointestinal problems.
  6. Cures constipation.
  7. Helpful is stimulating reproductive organs.
  8. Improve function of the pancreas and it is beneficial in diabetes.
  9. Improves blood circulation.
  10. Improve function of kidney and liver.
  11. It improves posture.
  12. Releases back pain.
  13. Improve the function of liver, pancreas, small intestine and big intestine.
  14. Act as a stress reliever.
  15. Strengthens ankles, thighs, groins, chest, and abdominal organs.
  16. Cure menstruation disorder.
  17. Cures respiratory disorder like asthama.

Note: Those having cardiac issues and chronic high blood pressure should avoid the asana altogether.