The ultimate goal of a yoga practice and the eighth limb of the eight limbs of yoga is Samadhi, often described as a complete meditative state of oneness. But what does this mean? It is often thought of as a state of a thought-free mind connected with the body, but this would make it a goal of the separate individual. On the contrary, the oneness of Samadhi is a oneness with All: (more…)
This is Part III of three articles on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Yoga Sutras form a definitive understanding of how consciousness works and can be seen as the result of research through deep meditation by generations of sages down through time. I was inspired by the Yoga Sutras some 22 years ago to embark on the journey of living their wisdom and to reflect on my practical experiences in light of these powerful aphorisms.
Please see the Introduction for more about the Yoga Sutras.
First of the Yamas: Ahimsa – Life Free of Violence
“Ahimsa really denotes an attitude and a mode of behavior towards all living creatures based on the recognition of the underlying unity of life.” (1)
This is Part II of three articles on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Yoga Sutras form a definitive understanding of how consciousness works and can be seen as the result of research through deep meditation by generations of sages down through time. I was inspired by the Yoga Sutras some 22 years ago to embark on the journey of living their wisdom and to reflect on my practical experiences in light of these powerful aphorisms.
Please see the Introduction for more about the Yoga Sutras.
After being introduced to the exploration of consciousness in the Yoga Sutras by my teacher, Sri S. Rajagopalan (Rajo), in 1979, I began to experiment in various ways.
It is a new year and that means time for change. One of the most dynamic experiences I have had in the past year, other than falling in love and travelling to Peru and Bolivia, was my immersion into hot yoga in the beginning of the summer.
The healing power of Bikram Yoga cannot be overstated. I am speaking from personal experience, all the various legal controversy aside. My life has changed drastically since I began practicing it in June last year. (more…)
This is a short introduction to tell you a bit about the Yoga Sutras and Patanjali.
“In (the) basic literature of Yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali stand out as the most authoritative and useful book. In its 196 Sutras the author has condensed the essential philosophy and technique of Yoga in a manner which is a marvel of condensed and systematic exposition.” I.K. Taimni, The Science of Yoga viii
Patanjali, who is thought to have lived in the third and second centuries BCE, wrote the Yoga Sutras as a compilation of teachings that had been passed down over thousands of years.
Feeling tired, stiff or just a bit lack lustre? No experience needed. So even if you’re a seasoned yogi or stepping up to it for the first time… welcome the dog pose; if offers it’s user an overall balance of strength and flexibility and a capacity to see things from a different perspective. Of course, check with your physician if you have any medical conditions. (more…)
Chakra comes from the Sanskrit word, चक्रम् cakram, which means wheel. The chakras are energy centers or wheels where energy, also known as prana, chi, or qi, rotates and flows. Anatomically, the chakras correspond to the locations of major plexuses of the nervous and circulatory systems. Though some of you may recognize this from chanting mantra in your yoga practice, here I will introduce a chakra vibration meditation practice for the 7 main chakras that run from the base of the spine up to the top of the head.
There is peace to be found through quiet and lately there’s been a lot of noise about silence. There are many books on the subject including Susan Cain’s 2012 best-seller Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that cant stop talking. In her very theatrical TED talk with over 3 million views on line she says “Solitude matters, and for some people it is the air that they breathe.” There has also been an Oscar-winning film ‘The Artist’, a silent motion picture! We live in a culture that celebrates the extrovert and is impressed by the loudest achiever but the truth is that solitude is a crucial ingredient to creativity. (more…)
Aum isn’t just a chant that yoga instructors use to open and close a yoga class. It is the “sound” of the divine energy, a song that reverberates throughout the cosmos singing in celestial harmony. It is also the universal prana, the vital energy or breath of life, that is represented by the sun. Interestingly, scientists have discovered that ripples on the surface of the sun are vibrations of energy – sound waves! (more…)
Living green and sustainably can often be challenging especially for those of us whose schedules are packed and modern conveniences help to make life…convenient. Whether on a small scale or a grand scale, we can head down the road to living green and sustainably by practicing yoga.
Self-Reflection and Self-Awareness
The meditation and physical practices of yoga, such as Asana, Pranayama, and Pratyahara, are practices to teach us that we are not our egos, but that we are interconnected spiritual beings having a human experience. (more…)
In the days gone by folks would turn to their parish or to their elders for a response to such an ambiguous question. Today, we’re but a click away from asking the greatest poobah of all; hail google, for every seeker there is a plethora of advice and guidance to satisfy even the fussiest of scholars. And answer they do, with a staggering 468,000 searches. I scroll down the first page and my eye is immediately drawn to coca-cola. What could the sappy nectar have to do with happiness? (more…)
Yoga has become a very popular way to get a good workout in. Many go to stretch, sweat, and strengthen their muscles to burn off some calories and look good, especially in those tight-fitting yoga clothes. However, that is not what yoga is truly about. Practicing yoga is practicing a philosophy for life. Although the physical practice of yoga, the Asana practice, is the most popular and well-known, it is really just a very small part of yoga. (more…)
Well, not formerly as such, but it does involve a train. Millions of us travel via rail daily, gripped by demanding schedules and lengthy work hours. I’d like to stretch your imagination for a moment and open your mind to an empowering way to use your travel time. A huge majority of people sink themselves deep into their ‘I’ gadgets, books or just tuck into a few extra winks. Is that you? Being in transit can be a time of liberation and in that space there is some opportunity to connect inwardly in a simple but profound way. (more…)
Several years ago I had decided to enroll in an intensive Iyengar Yoga class. Iyengar Yoga places a very strong emphasis on proper body alignment and positioning from the exact placement of the head and focus point of the eyes (also called drishti) all the way down to the pinky toe. Little did I know that it would also turn my mind upside down!
Making Life More Complicated and Difficult Than It Has to Be
If you’re anything like me, in your quest to become a better person, improve the circumstances within which you find yourself, and prepare for the unexpected, your life is far more complicated and difficult than it needs to be. This became very obvious to me yesterday when I was (more…)