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HIMALAYA YOGA

Transform your Life with Yoga, Meditation and Loving-Kindness

HIMALAYA YOGA

LEVEL ONE ­ Raising Vitality, Strength and Awareness Complied with love by Dave West

Himalaya Yoga 2007

The yoga tradition of the world is centred on the quest for enlightenment. This is when the veils of delusion are peeled away and the true majestic nature of our inner most Self is revealed, in all its glory. Love, compassion, generosity, dispassion, caring, friendliness and happiness all naturally blossom in everyday life. Yoga is mind, body and spirit flowing in perfect harmony with nature and the all creation. It represents awareness and silence, the stillness that can come in the mind. This is when the mind naturally begins to cease its constant vacillation between worry of the future or regrets of the past, when the whole awareness comes to the present moment. Such beauty and fullness is found there! Also termed by athletes and `being in the zone', this natural state of awareness accompanies peak performance in all fields of human endeavour. That Presence is stillness inside, alertness, clarity of mind and peace, even in the midst of dynamic activity. Thus the human nervous system is far more effective, responsive, and action far more powerful. The information in this book is compiled directly from the Himalayas, from all my teachers, past and present, and from my own understanding of that wisdom. I pray that this new compilation reaches you with the blessings from God and all the holy beings, and assists you towards perfect health, inner peace and happiness. Take time from the hectic pace of modern living to experience the harmony of yoga through this book, combined with regular yoga and meditation classes from an experienced instructor and your own personal practice at home. Play relaxing music, burn natural incense and let the light of love shine clear in your heart. Dave West Bali 2007

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HIMALAYA YOGA

LEVEL ONE ­ Raising Vitality, Strength and Awareness Complied with love by Dave West

Himalaya Yoga aims is to provide authentic Himalayan wisdom and yoga training For your health and happiness, and for the spiritual evolution of mankind.

Contents

COURSE OVERVIEW ORIGINS OF YOGA DEVELOPMENT OF HIMALAYA YOGA INTRODUCTION TO YOGA TEN PRINCIPLES OF YOGA PRANA AND CHAKRAS KUNDALINI SALUTATIONS TO THE SUN RELAXATION ASANA YOGA FOR BEGINNERS ­ 30 MINUTES PRANAYAMA MEDITATION MANTRA YOGA CLASSES PROFILE REFERENCES

Himalaya Yoga

Website: www.himalaya-yoga.com Email: [email protected] Phone: +62 81 338 290 562

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Himalaya Yoga Course Overview

LEVEL 1 - BEGINNERS - raising vitality, strength and awareness. Holistic lifestyle - lifestyle re-evaluation, ten principles of yoga, developing patience and gentleness. Pawanmuktasana - removing simple energy blockages in the mind and body. Asana - basic mobility and flexibility. Yoga Nidra - physical, mental and emotional relaxation Pranayama - proper breathing and equanimity. Meditation - developing awareness, stillness, acceptance, loving-kindness.

Origins of Yoga

A long, long time ago in the Himalayan kingdom of Tibet, legend has it that the goddess Parvati was so distressed by all the human suffering in the world that she climbed to the top of Mount Kailash, to the abode of the snows, where Lord Shiva was seated in deep meditation. She pleaded with him to teach her the divine science of self-realization, so that she could then teach and help the suffering, ignorant and evil people of the world. Thus Lord Shiva gave Parvati the first teachings of yoga - the path to enlightenment and liberation. This ancient wisdom was recorded in the Tantric and Yogic Shastras, sacred text of the Vedas, giving guidance for peaceful, holistic and spiritual living. It was passed down from guru to student for thousands of years and on to our present day teachers. Yoga is the oldest personal development system in the world, encompassing mind, body and soul.

Development of Himalaya Yoga

Himalaya Yoga is inspired by the great yogi masters of India, Nepal and Tibet and is a gentle blend of Sivananda Yoga, Tibetan Yoga, Bihar School of Yoga and Kundalini Yoga. This results in a comprehensive guide to the classical yoga techniques and philosophies from the Himalayas. Himalaya Yoga allows you to learn about your own body and mind, your potential and limitation. This assists you in developing a personal practice and holistic lifestyle, providing a strong foundation for advanced practice. Himalaya Yoga brings health, happiness and inner peace to your mind, body and spirit and illuminates the path of self-discovery and enlightenment. Himalaya Yoga covers a range of Himalayan techniques and philosophies. By exercising every part of the body, toning the muscles and joints, the spine, the entire skeletal system, the internal organs, glands and nerves, all systems are restored to radiant health. Powerful breathing techniques recharge the whole system with prana - life force energy. Relaxation and meditation techniques bring inner peace to the mind allowing you to explore higher realms of consciousness. Regular practice of these techniques will revitalize the body and mind by removing energy blockages and improving circulation. It releases tension and stress, promoting strength and vitality, weight loss, resistance to disease. They develop love, wisdom and compassion inspiring self-discipline and spiritual living. After travelling extensively in the Himalayan Mountains yoga instructor Dave West discovered and compiled many of these ancient yoga techniques. He used this knowledge to develop what he calls Himalaya Yoga. By combing traditional yoga techniques with a transforming spiritual philosophy from the heart, he formed a powerful healing system for 21st century mankind. The yoga masters of the Himalayas taught Dave that to live harmoniously the mind, body and spirit must develop in a balanced way. They recognized that every human being evolves in a different way according to temperament and capacity. They advocated everyone to emphasize the practice of certain yogas over others, depending on individual requirements, by combining Hatha Yoga with other forms of yoga. This all helps to make the purification process deep-rooted and ensure success. Dave was warned about ego and attachment to the body, money, sex, food and sleep. He was taught to focus on health, loving-kindness, compassion, morality, wisdom and meditation.

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Introduction to Yoga

Yoga is a practical system and universal philosophy designed to help you return you body and mind to radiant health, promoting peace and harmony in your daily life. This is achieved by regularly practicing yogic techniques in a systematic and progressive way. Under the guidance of an experienced yoga instructor you can develop a personal discipline that trains the mind and body to become healthy and live in balance and harmony. Most of the yoga styles taught today throughout the western world are variations of Hatha Yoga which involves stretching, breathing and relaxation techniques. This purifies the mind and body in preparation for meditation, which can lead to enlightenment. Modern yoga was influenced by the great yogi masters Sri Tirumalai Krisnamacharya and Swami Sivananda Saraswati. Born in Mysore, India in 1888, Krisnamacharya is considered the father of modern yoga and is responsible for pioneering the refinement of postures sequences combined with breath control. B.K.S. Iyengar and K. Pattabhi Jois both studied with Krisnamacharya as well as his own son T.K.V. Desikachar, going on to develop their own famous styles. Swami Sivananda was born in Tamil Nadu, India in 1887. He became a medical doctor and served in Malay. After receiving yogic instruction from a wandering monk he set up hospitals for the sick and needy in Rishikesh, as well as ashrams for the study of yoga and Vedanta. Two of his most famous students Swami Vishnu-Devananda and Swami Satyananda Saraswati later went on to expand the philosophy of Sivananda Yoga forming their own yoga centres and universities around the world. Although popular belief is that the Sanskrit word yoga refers to union between body, mind and spirit, the traditional acceptance is union between the jivatman and paramatman, that is between one's individual consciousness and the Universal Consciousness. Therefore, yoga refers to a certain state of consciousness as well as to methods that help one reach that goal or state of union with the divine. The true meaning of yoga is to bring about this change using systematic purification of the mind and body through moral, spiritual physical and mental discipline. There are many techniques that can help you to attain this goal (read Bhagavad Gita, Dhammapada, Upanishads, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Bible, Koran, etc) and therefore as many different yogas, e.g. Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Raj Yoga which includes Tantra, Hatha, Asthanga, and Kundalini. Swami Sivananda recognized that every human being possesses and identifies with each of the following elements in different ways: Intellect, heart, body and mind. He therefore advocated everyone to emphasize the practice of certain yogas over others, combining Hatha Yoga other forms of yoga such as Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga, in accordance with individual temperament and taste. T.K.V. Desikachar states that each of us has a different starting point depending on temperament, constitution and capacity. We begin where we are and how we are, and whatever happens, happens. We should not compare or compete with others. We should celebrate our individuality and accept our personal starting point. The actual practice of yoga takes each person in a different direction. Each of us is required to pay careful attention to the direction we are taking, so that we know were we are going and how we are going to get there. This careful observation will allow us to discover something new about ourselves. When we gain more understanding of ourselves and reach a point we have personally never been before, that is yoga. The more we progress, the more we become aware of the holistic nature of our being, realizing that we are made of body, breath, mind, and more. If we are to become complete human beings we must incorporate all aspects of ourselves, emphasizing all aspects of human life, including our relationships with others, our behavior, our health, our breathing, and our meditation. Progress on the path of Yoga depends on various physical and mental qualifications in an individual that have to be gradually cultivated and awakened. All these qualifications are listed in a yogic text called the Gherand Samita. They are; body purification, steadiness of the body, determination, patience, lightness of the body and mind, direct perception, detachment, and to be unaffected by the woes of the world and life. These practices and experiences are the means to achieve perfection. Yoga helps to develop these required qualifications in the aspirant, enabling him or her to progress along the path to perfection, allowing men, women and children of all ages to reach their full potential. This may objective may only be achieved if there is balance and harmony between mind and body. Swami Sivananda taught that to live harmoniously the mind, body and spirit must develop in a balanced way according to individual temperament and capacity. This all helps to make the purification process deep-rooted and ensure success. Swami Vishnu-Devananda summarized the vast science of yoga into five points: proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet and proper thinking and meditation. Following these simple points will make a positive change in all areas of your life. Yoga is an evolutionary process and, like nature, if you study it long enough, you will come to understand that change is not a choice, it happens, and over time you are different. With patience, gentleness and determination yoga can make this change a positive one. Yoga introduces us to ways of seeing that create opportunities for us to recognize ourselves better. Yoga helps each of us to attain what was previously unobtainable. Therefore practice yoga everyday, if possible under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor. Yoga is a journey of self-realization and self-discovery that cannot be bought by the hour. It must be earned through diligent selfpractice. It cannot be given in a book or lecture; you must experience it for yourself.

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Ten Principles of Yoga

DISCIPLINE To succeed in yoga one must have discipline. Regular, systematic practice is essential. Discipline also means yama and niyama - restraints on behaviour through universal moral commandments and self-purification through spiritual discipline. Swami Sivananda says "To achieve the goal of yoga one must have constant spiritualization of all activities and cultivation of virtues such as non-violence, truthfulness and celibacy." If you are not religious try to maintain mindfulness and constantly be in the present moment aware of all actions and thoughts. FOOD Eat a nourishing and well balanced diet, based on natural foods. Avoid over-eating. Avoid fasting too much. Avoid over-processed foods. Eat only foods that are easily digestible. This keeps the body light and supple and the mind calm, giving a high resistance to disease. It is essential to drink plenty of water between meals, especially during periods of intense practice. Take natural remedies for illness, avoiding pharmaceuticals and synthetic medicines except in emergencies. Advanced students should consider a purely vegetarian diet to enhance spiritual progress. SEX Hatha Yoga teaches that sexual energy should be conserved and used for spiritual progress. Complete sexual suppression is not necessary, but it should be reduced and controlled as much as possible. This will save huge amounts of energy and considerably decelerate the aging process. It will also help in reducing the great attachment that people have with sex and the material world. Hatha Yoga does not utilize the transcendental experience of sexual union for the path to spiritual awareness. Hatha Yoga advises celibacy - reduced sexual activity and thoughts. SLEEP Too much sleep makes the body lazy and weak and reduces the amount of waking time. It is only necessary to have about 5 to 6 hours sleep per night but most people have 8 to 10 hours. Try to go to sleep at 9 or 10 P.M. and get up around 5 or 6 A.M. This is ample time to get a good night's sleep and gives you enough time in the morning for yoga practice. RELAXATION The technique of yoga nidra {deep relaxation} releases tension and stress in the mind and body and rests the whole system, leaving you as refreshed as after a good night's sleep. It carries over into all your activities and teaches you to conserve energy and let go of all worries and fears. Deep relaxation leads into pratyahara ­ withdrawal of the senses ­ leading to inner awareness and greater concentration. However, in yoga nidra you are not allowed to sleep. EXERCISE Try to exercise regularly for a healthy heart, muscles and circulation with jogging, swimming and asanas. In Hatha Yoga proper exercise is given by the salutations to the sun and the asana, which work systematically on all parts of the body, stretching and toning the muscles and ligaments, keeping the spine and joints flexible. and improving circulation and the flow of prana. This brings steadiness and lightness to the body and mind. Never exert un-due force, as pain is signal to stop the practice. BREATHING This means breathing fully and rhythmically through the nose, making use of all not just part of your lungs to increase your intake of oxygen. Pranayama - yogic breathing techniques - teaches how to recharge the body and control our mental state by increasing and regulating the flow of prana - vital energy - conserved in the chakras - energy centres. CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION Being in the present moment, with continuous mindfulness and awareness of every present moment, is the key to spiritual evolution. Concentration techniques help improve mental stability and awareness. This helps to still the mind, reducing stress and tension in preparation for meditation. Meditation helps us to find inner peace and teaches how to become aware of the inner self, ultimately transcending all thought, leading to complete absorption with the Divine. POSITIVE THINKING AND DETERMINATION There are many obstacles on the path of yoga. It is extremely important to have a strong determination to succeed while maintaining a positive mental attitude. Positive thinking promotes mental health and helps to remove negative thoughts, avoiding anxiety and depression through life's ups and downs. This includes awareness of all thoughts, speech and actions, and maintaining a high standard of morality. PATIENCE AND GENTLENESS Do not try to rush your progress. Hatha Yoga takes many years of discipline to achieve safe results, and in time you will understand the need for patience and gentleness. Rushing this process may result from not understanding basic concepts and theories and may cause many problems including physical and mental injury, ego inflation and exhaustion. Relax. Take your time, advancing slowly but surely, day by day.

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Prana and Chakra

The healing process of yoga not only operates on the physical and mental levels, but also on the subtle or astral energy level. Central to Hatha Yoga is the cleansing and purifying of these subtle energy channels and awakening of the charkas through the movement of prana. Prana is the vital life-force energy that pervades the universe. Prana travels through the human body along thousands of subtle channels called nadis, which correspond to nerves in the physical body. The nadis cross at thousands of junctions in the body called charkas. Chakra is the ancient Indian Sanskrit word for wheel or vortex. Chakras are vortices of pranic energy at specific areas in the body, which control the circulation of prana permeating the entire human structure. These chakras contain our physical, mental, psychic and karmic history. On a physical level charkas correspond to the major nerve plexuses and endocrine glands in the body. In most people these chakras lie dormant or inactive. It is with the practice of yoga that these centres of energy may be awakened and cleansed, thus purifying and unblocking each chakras, allowing free movement of prana throughout the body. The chakras are then able to absorb and store greater quantities of prana, promoting vitality and strength. Below is a list of the grand chakra system and their positions along the spine. Sahasrara and bindu are not strictly chakras but have been included here for simplicity.

Thought - SAHASRARA

On top of the head

Nectar - BINDU

At the top back portion of the head

Light - AJNA

In the midbrain behind the eyebrow centre

Sound - VISHUDHA

In the spine at the back of the throat near the thyroid gland

Air - ANAHATA

In the spine in region of the heart

Fire - MANIPURA

In the spine behind the navel

Water - SWADISHTHANA

In the spine approximately two fingers width above the mooladhara chakra

Earth - MOOLADHARA

At the perineum in the base of the spine between the anus and the genitals

Grand Chakra System

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The most important nadi in the body is the sushumna which joins the mooladhara chakra at the base of the spine, to the ajna chakra in the mid- brain, behind the centre of the eyebrows. It is along this channel that the major chakras of the body are located and is the main highway for prana in the body. Either side of the sushumna nadi are two nadis, pingala and ida, which are equal and opposite forces within the body. It is these two nadis that give Hatha Yoga its name. Pingala is represented by `ham', the Sun, or solar force, having a warming effect and relating to the right nostril. Pingala coincides with the sympathetic nerves, speeding up the heart rate, dilating the blood vessels and increasing respiration. Pingala is active, extrovert and masculine. If pingala is dominant then the body will be restless. Ida is represented by `tham', the moon, or lunar force, kras to sahasrara having a cooling effect and relating to the left nostril. Ida coincides with the parasympathetic nerves, reducing the heart rate, constricting the blood vessels and decreasing respiration. Ida is passive, introvert and feminine. If Ida is dominant then the mind will be overactive. It is these two forces that must work in harmony and balance for the mind and body to be healthy and for the sushumna nadi to flow. Sushumna nadi must be flowing for success in meditation. However, the flow of prana in pingala and ida is completely involuntary until yogic techniques control it. Together with each asana, pranayama and Meditation technique a particular point in the body is recommended for concentration. It may be the breath, or a physical part of the body, or sometimes it is one of the Chakras. By directing the mind to specific regions of the body the effect of the particular practice is greatly increased. By concentrating on one of the chakras while doing asana or other practices, prana is stimulated to flow through the chakras. The prime aim of Hatha Yoga is to bring about this balance in the flow of prana in the pingala and ida nadis, so that neither the mental or physical faculties are dominant. This is combined with unblocking the chakras, so that the flow of prana through the sushumna nadi becomes open giving balance and health throughout. At this point Kundalini Yoga training may begin. Hatha Yoga is therefore a system of purification of all the energy channels in the body and mind. However it takes many years of dedicated practice and patience to purify the nadis and awaken the chakras. Yoga may be practised simply to bring health and peace into daily life, or as preparation for advanced Yogic techniques. Do not expect overnight results. Hatha Yoga is designed as a gentle and scientific path to perfect health of mind, body and spirit. With proper guidance and regular practice your health should slowly improve as you systematically progress through the techniques of yoga.

Kundalini

Latent cosmic energy known as Kundalini rests in the mooladhara chakra at the base of the spine, and is symbolised by a sleeping snake. When all the nadis are purified, when all the chakras are open, and when prana is flowing freely up along the sushumna nadi and throughout the body, this latent cosmic energy, also known as Shakti ­ primordial creative energy, may be awakened with specific advanced yogic techniques. It rises through the other cha on top of the head and joins with Shiva ­ the seat of pure consciousness. When Shakti is permanently united with Shiva in sahasrara, it stimulates the dormant areas of the brain, resulting in the experience of higher planes of consciousness which is normally unobtainable. But the path of Kundalini does not stop here. However, Kundalini Yoga is beyond the scope of this handbook. It has only been necessary to include this additional information in order for the student to fully understand the ultimate goal of all yogas, which is selfrealisation and union with the Divine. After several years of practising Hatha Yoga serious spiritual students may wish to work towards the awakening of Kundalini and spiritual enlightenment. This is a very difficult process, requiring extreme discipline and proper guidance from an experienced teacher. It could take several lifetimes to achieve. Kundalini Yoga is for advanced students only and should never be attempted without guidance from a qualified instructor.

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Suray Namaskar ­ Salutations to the Sun

The Sanskrit word surya means sun, and the word namaskar means salutations or worship. Therefore this practice is known as salutations to the sun. It is first mentioned in the Riga Veda and Yajur Veda, the ancient scriptures of India. Surya namaskar is a dynamic sequence of twelve rhythmical and symmetrical positions that are synchronized with the breathing. It is neither an asana nor a part of traditional Yoga. But because it is such a wonderful practice it has been adopted into the techniques of Hatha Yoga by many teachers and gurus. The sun has been adored since time immemorial. Ancient people worshipped the sun with awe, knowing that the sun generates the heat and light necessary to sustain life. They new that without it there would be no life. But the sun was not only worshipped because of its material nature and power. The sun itself is a symbol. It symbolizes spiritual illumination, wisdom and knowledge, the light in the darkness of ignorance. It represents the essence, the spirituality which exists in all material things. The sun is a symbol of rebirth into spiritual consciousness and immortality, just as the sun dies each evening so it is reborn each morning. The twelve cyclic positions of surya namaskar represent the twelve phases of the sun each year as it passes through each of the signs of the zodiac. Recognising the symbolism of the sun is a stepping stone to spiritual awareness and peace. It is recommended for practitioners to include surya namaskar as an essential and integral part of their Yoga program. This is because it revitalizes the whole body, removes all signs of sleep and is excellent for preparing the body and mind so that maximum benefits can be derived from the subsequent asana, pranayama and meditation practices. It loosens all the joints, flexes all the muscles of the body, massages the internal organs, activates the respiratory and circulatory systems, as well as helping to tone all the other systems of the body, harmonizing the whole mind-body complex.

Surya namaskar consists of five essential aspects which must be performed correctly to gain optimum results from the practice: PHYSICAL POSTURES There are twelve physical positions. Although these positions can vary from school to school, the basic structure of surya namaskar is the same. These twelve positions flow gracefully and rhythmically into one another. Each position is an asana in its own right, counteracting the preceding position. The twelve positions systematically stretch and massage all the muscles and joints, as well as all the internal organs in the body. BREATHING The whole movement of surya namaskar from start to finish is synchronized with the breathing. Breathing in rhythm with the twelve positions is an important part of this practice, and extra time should be spent perfecting this coordination. Each position is associated with either inhalation, exhalation or retention of breath. Nothing is forced or unnatural, for the breathing naturally corresponds to the pattern one would normally do in relation to the physical movement. AWARENESS This is an essential element of surya namaskar. Awareness of the body, mind, breathing and mantras must be maintained throughout the practice. Without awareness the many beneficial results are reduced. MANTRA There are specific mantras (mystical words or sounds of power) for each of the twelve positions. These will be taught to you when your Yoga instructor feels you have perfected the positions, breathing, synchronicity, rhythm and awareness. The mantras are evocative sounds and through their power of vibration have subtle, yet powerful and penetrating effects on the mind and body. The mantra may be repeated silently or aloud, but with full awareness. RELAXATION This is not strictly part of surya namaskar. However, it is a necessary supplementary practice that should be done without fail on completing surya namaskar. Any relaxation technique can be adopted, but the best is shavasana.

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Surya namaskar is a panacea for those people who live in cities and towns and who find insufficient time and opportunity to take adequate exercise. People in the country automatically exercise their bodies and relax their minds, as well as feel an intimate relationship with everything around them. It is urban people who suffer from the majority of diseases. The main reason is lack of peace of mind and exercise. Surya namaskar is the answer especially if performed in conjunction with other yogic practices. There is no other exercise that surpasses it. Running, walking and swimming are excellent exercise, but they do not exercise the body as effectively as surya namaskar. It is highly recommended that surya namaskar is incorporated into your daily Yogic program. The following advice and precautions should be carefully observed before beginning. TIME OF PRACTICE Although surya namaskar is traditionally practiced at sunrise facing east and at sunset facing west it can be practiced at almost any time of day and in any place. No special preparations are necessary except that the stomach, bowels and bladder should be empty. If you feel tired during the day, a few rounds of surya namaskar will quickly restore the lost vitality, both mentally and physically, helping to remove emotional disturbances. ONE COMPLETE ROUND The twelve positions constitute half a complete round. One full round consists of twenty-four positions. This is because the first twelve positions are repeated except that in the second half of the round the left leg is extended backwards instead of the right leg. The breathing and mantras remain unchanged. SEQUENCE You should first familiarize yourself with the twelve positions, concerning yourself with only mastering the sequence of physical movement. Only when all the movements are performed automatically are you ready to begin synchronizing them with the breathing. Later the mantras can be learned and synchronized with each position. In the final form, surya namaskar consists of awareness on physical movement, breathing and the mantras, all welded together in an integrated whole. Surya namaskar is ideally practiced before doing other asana, as it helps to remove any sleepiness and loosen up the body in preparation for your asana practice. NUMBER OF ROUNDS This depends on the health of the individual and the time available. Beginners should start with two or three rounds, increasing by one round every week., gradually becoming adjusted to the increased exercise. Twelve is a healthy number to do, but this depends entirely on the health of the individual. At the slightest signs of exhaustion stop the practice and relax the body. TEMPO You may do surya namaskar as fast or as slow as you choose, as long as you can remain aware of the positions, breathing and mantras. Shallow breathing and incorrect mantras should be avoided and these may be signs of going too fast. Eventually you will find a natural tempo that will come automatically after several months of practice. SLEEP It is not advisable to do surya namaskar before sleeping because it activates the entire body which is the opposite of the desired effect for sleeping. PLACE It is best to practice in the open air, on a mat or blanket. Face the sun at sunrise or sunset to absorb the healing energy of the sun. LIMITATIONS There are no sex or age limitations. However, ladies should not practice surya namaskar after their fourth month of pregnancy, but it can be continued after childbirth. Ladies are also advised not to practice it during menstruation as a precautionary measure. ILLNESS Do not practice surya namaskar if you are ill because at this time all the energy in the body needs to be internalized to heal and remove the ailment. PURIFICATION Surya namaskar is a powerful method for removing toxins from the body. This process must be done slowly to avoid any symptoms that may result from rapid elimination. If fever or boils occur, reduce the number of rounds. PAIN Do not strain yourself by doing more rounds than your body will comfortably handle. Pain should never be endured with the practice of yoga. Pain is treated by the yogi as a stop signal. It is equally relevant to surya namaskar. RESTRICTIONS People suffering from sciatica, slipped disc, high blood pressure, coronary ailments and any other serious illness should seek professional medical advice before commencing surya namaskar.

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Asana

According to Maharishi Patanjali, asana is the third limb of Raja Yoga. In his famous work, The Yoga Sutras, Patanjali gives a concise definition of asana: `Sthiram sukham aasanam', meaning `that position which is comfortable and steady'. In this context, asanas are practised to develop the ability to sit comfortably in one position for an extended period of time, an ability necessary for mediation. Therefore in Raja Yoga, Patanjali equates asana to the stable sitting position for meditation. However, in Hatha Yoga it means something more. The hatha yogis found that specific body positions open the energy channels and psychic centres. They found that developing control of the body through these practices enabled them to control the mind and energy. In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Swatmarama states that asanas are tools to higher awareness, providing the stable foundation necessary for the exploration of the body, breath, mind and higher states and should therefore be practiced first on the path towards spiritual progress. Asana are basically a series of physical stretches and steady postures that have been inspired by meditation and the close examination of nature. Asanas work on all levels; physical, mental and spiritual. The body, mind and spirit can all become steady with the practice of asana. When held for sufficient periods of time, with deep concentration and awareness, they help to direct prana (vital life-force energy) to different parts of the body depending on which asana is being practiced. If practised regularly the whole system can be toned and revitalised, resulting in radiant health. Asanas exercise every part of the body, stretching and toning the muscles and joints, the spine and the entire skeletal system, working, not only on the body's frame, but also on the internal organs, glands and nerves, restoring all systems to radiant health. This also allows the student to sit comfortably and relaxed for extended periods of time, promoting deeper meditation. Although many people practice asana only for physical health, they are primarily intended to prepare the body to sit in meditation, so that you can sit quietly and comfortably without pain or discomfort from the body. This allows you to focus the mind with one-pointed concentration. A large part of the art and skill of asana, and your yoga practice in general, lies in sensing just how far to move into a stretch. If you don't go far enough there is no challenge to the muscles, no intensity, no stretch, and little possibility for opening. Going too far, however, is an obvious violation of the body, increasing the possibility of both physical pain and injury. Somewhere in between these two points is a degree of stretch that is in balance: intensity without pain, use without abuse, strenuous without strain. You can experience this balance in every asana you do. This place in the stretch is called your "edge." The body's edge in yoga is the place just before pain, but not pain itself. Pain tells you where the limits of your physical conditioning lie. Edges are marked by pain and define your limits. How far you can fold forward, for example, is limited by your flexibility edge, to go any further hurts and is actually counterproductive. The length of your stay in an asana is determined by your endurance edge. Your interest in an asana is a function of your attention edge. The ideal state for practicing asana is to be as willing and relaxed as possible, as non-resisting as possible, so that one part of you is not in opposition to another. You can then comfortably press you edges open. This practice becomes one of being relaxed and willing at your deeper edges, and this isn't necessarily easy. It's difficult to stay relaxed in the midst of a high-intensity stretch. Erich Shiffmann suggests that sensing where your edges are and learning to hold the body there with awareness, moving with its soft subtle shifts, can be called "playing the edge." This is a large part of what you will be doing in your practice. Your skill in yoga has little to do with your degree of flexibility or where your edges happen to be. It about how sensitively you play your edges, no matter where they are. This is a very freeing idea. Normally we have an idea of how the asana should be. We have a rough idea of how deep we should be able to go into a stretch, what we should look like while we are there, and how long we should be able to stay. We are often more aware of where we aren't than of we where we are. This gap produces a feeling of conflict and frustration, that where you are and who you are is insufficient, and that if you were truly doing yoga properly and were a good and evolved person, then you would be somewhere other than where you are. If this is the case, your yoga practice will be permeated with the effort of going somewhere else. It will be future orientated, the present being only a stepping stone to the future. And you will miss being present. The main thing to understand is that there is no such thing as a completed or ideal position. Each posture is an ever evolving, constantly moving energy phenomenon that is different form day to day, moment to moment, and person to person. The process of sensitively flirting with your edges and achieving perfect energy flow is not merely the means to achieve the pose, it is the pose. This is what the physical aspect of yoga is fundamentally all about. Your body is limited in its movement not only through its genetic makeup, but also through the conditionings that have accrued through the years. Yoga is a way of exploring these limits. Your edges and limits will change as a by-product of this exploration, you will change.

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The following advice and precautions should be carefully observed before practising asana. IMPORTANT Take it really slowly at first. Do not to attempt advanced asanas without proper preliminary exercises and warm-ups over several years. Though any person may start to practice asanas, they only become truly effective and beneficial when performed in the proper manor after correct preparation. Asana should be performed slowly with complete awareness of the body, breathing and mind. For best results asana should be practiced everyday with patience, gentleness and determination. Asana should never be attempted without proper guidance from a qualified instructor. BEFORE STARTING Take a cold shower. This will greatly enhance the effect of your yoga practice. EMPTYING THE BOWELS Before starting yoga the bowels, bladder and intestines should be emptied. EMPTY STOMACH The stomach should be empty. Do not begin yoga until at least 4 hours after a heavy meal. Early morning practice is recommended. Drink plenty of water after yoga. USE A YOGA MAT Do not use a mattress which is spongy or filled with air. Blankets are also good. CLOTHES During Yoga it is best to wear loose, light and comfortable clothing. Before commencing remove spectacles, wristwatches and jewellery from your body. PLACE OF PRACTICE Should be in a well-ventilated room, where it is clean, calm and quiet. Practice in the shade, but never after sunbathing. The ground should be clean and flat, preferably outside in a beautiful garden or natural environment. WARM-UPS Always do 10 to 20 minutes of simple warm-ups before starting asana. This can be done by practicing the pawanmuktasana series ­ basic flexibility and removal of minor energy blocks, or 5 to 10 rounds of surya namaskar ­ salutations to the sun. This will ensures that all the joints are open and loose, and the muscles are warm and relaxed. BREATHING Always breathe slowly and deeply through the nose, co-ordinating the breathing with the stretch. AWARENESS Asana should be performed slowly with full awareness of the body, mind, breathing or spiritual centres. RELAXATON Relax the mind and body before, during and after asanas. After asanas practice savasana for at least 10 minutes. COUNTER-POSE Every stretch should be followed by an equivalent counter-pose, i.e. forward bending followed by backward bending, INVERTED STRETCHES Do not do inverted stretches if you have eye problems or head and neck injuries. Women should not practice inverted stretches during menstruation or pregnancy. PAIN Never exert undue force or strain. Pain is treated by the yogi as a stop signal. If you experience pain in any part of the body, the stretch should be immediately terminated. Seek medical advice. Beginners may find their muscles stiff at first, but after several weeks of regular practice they will become surprisingly suppler. RESTRICTIONS People who have fractured bones and those who are suffering from any chronic disease like ulcers, tuberculosis or hernia, or any mental or physical condition or restriction, should seek professional medical advice before commencing yoga. If there is any reason why you feel you should not practice yoga, you should first seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner.

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Himalaya Yoga

Yoga For Beginners - 30 minutes

Ref: The Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desikachar

6 times keep legs straight

6 times

5.

6 times

7.

6 times

6 times

Pranayama 2 Alternate Nostril Breathing 12 times

Himalaya Yoga 2007

Website: www.himalaya-yoga.com E-mail: [email protected] Phone: 081 338 290 562

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Relaxation

Proper relaxation and release from stress and tension is one of the chief concerns of Hatha Yoga. If the mind is tense, the stomach will also be tense. And if the stomach is tense, the whole circulatory system will also be tense. It is a vicious circle of events resulting in sickness and ill health. MUSCULAR TENSIONS These are related to the body itself, the nervous system and endocrine imbalances. These are easily removed by the deep physical relaxation attained in the state of yoga nidra. EMOTIONAL TENSIONS These stem from various dualities such as love/hate, profit/loss, success/failure, happiness/unhappiness and are more difficult to erase. This is because we are unable to express our emotions freely and openly. Often we refuse to recognise them, so they are repressed, and the resulting tensions become more and more deeply rooted. It is not possible to relax these tensions through ordinary sleep or relaxation, but a method such as yoga nidra can tranquillise the entire emotional structure of the mind. MENTAL TENSIONS These are the result of excessive mental activity. The mind is a whirlpool of fantasies, confusions and oscillations. Throughout our life, the experiences registered by our consciousness are accumulated in the mental body. From time to time these explode, affecting our body, mind, behaviour and reactions. When we are sad, angry or irritated, we often attribute that condition of the mind to some superficial cause. But the underlying cause behind man's abnormal behaviour lies in the accumulated tensions on the mental plane. Yoga nidra is the science of relaxation which enables each of us to dive deep down into the realms of the subconscious mind, thereby releasing and relaxing mental tensions, and establishing harmony in all facets of our being. Sleep is not regarded as relaxation. Most people do not know how to sleep. They fall asleep thinking over some problem or anxiety. In sleep their mind runs on and their body is tense. They wake up feeling lethargic, unrested and doze on for half an hour longer. We should learn the scientific way of sleeping, i.e. practice yoga nidra just before sleeping; it will relax the whole body and mind. The sleep will be deep; fewer hours will be needed, and upon waking up you will feel refreshed and energetic.

Relax in Savasana ­ corpse pose

Yoga nidra is a powerful technique in which you learn to relax consciously. People feel they are relaxing when they collapse in an easy chair with a cup of coffee, a beer or a cigarette, and read a newspaper or switch on the television. These are only sensory diversions. True relaxation is actually an experience far beyond all this. For absolute relaxation you must remain aware. This is yoga nidra, the state of dynamic sleep. It is a state of sleepless sleep where one is on the borderline between sleep and wakefulness. It is a systematic method of inducing complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation. During yoga nidra one appears to be asleep, but the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level of awareness and is often described as psychic sleep or deep relaxation with inner awareness. In this threshold state between sleep and wakefulness, contact with the conscious and unconscious dimensions occur spontaneously. In yoga nidra the physical centres of the body become introverted. This is pratyahara. When the mind is fixed on a centre, blood and energy are drawn to it and this causes withdrawal of the senses at that centre. In the deep state of relaxation that results, tension is released, the mind becomes clear and thoughts are more powerful. In psychic sleep we contact our inner personality to change our attitude towards others and ourselves. It is a method of introspection that has been used by yogis since time immemorial to bring them face to face with the inner self. Pain, stiffness and general tension in the body are great obstacles to the practice of yoga nidra. Therefore, yoga nidra should be ideally performed after asanas. The technique of yoga nidra begins in savasana and should last about twenty minutes. Instructions will be given from a tape or teacher to become aware of the breath. The mind should be totally taken up in following all the instructions. It is not necessary to concentrate, just keep your mind moving from point to point and be aware of every experience. If you try to concentrate you will obstruct the natural flow of awareness which takes the mind deeper into the Self. It is not necessary to listen to all the instructions, in fact it is natural to miss some of them. Even

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if you are dreaming of something else, the instructions of the teacher will still work on the subconscious mind as the conscious mind withdraws. Then whatever is being spoken will be imprinted on it. It does not matter if you are disturbed, restless, anxious or stressed. You will be instructed for your awareness to travel throughout the body, systematically relaxing all parts. At first it will take a long time to completely relax, but with regular practice you will find it easier. Then return your awareness to simply watching the breath. Next comes relaxation on the plane of feelings and emotions, followed by a visualisation of healing images. This helps release mental tensions. At this point the mind is very receptive to positive thoughts and suggestion. The teacher's voice will then give you a resolve that will change you at a deep level i.e. "I will achieve total health" or "I will awaken my spiritual potential". When the voice of the teacher brings you out of yoga nidra do not attempt to make any sudden movements. Allow yourself to gently readjust to the outside world with slow movements of the body. In yoga nidra the important thing is to expose your self to the instructions of the teacher and to view any experiences that arise with total awareness and detachment. It is at this point that profound changes can be made to our inner personality. Because yoga nidra brings about a state of sensory withdrawal, many people think it is a form of hypnosis. But they are totally different sciences, although they have the same starting point. In hypnosis you are led into a state of deep sleep where the brain becomes completely shut down and the capacity of consciousness is limited. In Yoga Nidra you must not sleep but remain relaxed. In yoga nidra you must disconnect the sensory channels and still maintain awareness. You are then able to transcend the barriers of your personality and go to any depth or height. The consciousness can go as far as you can lead it. This is the aim of yoga nidra. In this way the technique of yoga nidra can be used to train the body and mind to completely relax and awaken divine faculties. It is one of the ways of entering the state of pratyahara - withdrawal of the sensory channels, allowing deeper concentration and meditation.

Pranayama

The Sanskrit word pranayama literally means `control and regulation of the life force'. Prana or vital life-force is found in all forms, from the lowest to the highest, from the ant to the elephant, from an amoeba to a man, from the elementary form of plant life to the developed form of animal life. It is prana that shines in your eyes. It is through the power of prana that the ears hear, the eyes see, the skin feels, the tongue tastes, the nose smells, the mind thinks. In the smile on the face of a child, in the radiance of a fire, and in the fragrance of a flower, from the digestion of food to the melody in music, all these and many more have their origins in prana. Prana is supplied to human beings by food, water, air, solar energy, etc. The supply of prana to the body and mind is particularly abundant in the breath and is received by the nervous system and nadis. The excess of prana is stored in the brain, chakras and nerve centres and is supplied to the body as required. prana is expended by thinking, talking, moving, writing, loss of semen, and so on. prana is the link between the physical and astral bodies. When prana is cut off or absent, the astral body separates from the physical body resulting in death. The prime purpose of pranayama is to absorb and store up as much prana as possible by the regular practice of specific pranayama techniques, just as the storage battery stores up electricity by regular charging. The man who has in his store an amazingly large supply of prana radiates vitality and strength all around. By pranayama you can also increase mental energy and develop thought control and thought-culture. It is therefore extremely important to learn and perfect the techniques of controlling prana. This is achieved by the control of the breath with specific breathing exercises. If you can control the breath you can control the prana. If you can control the prana you can easily control the mind. This is because there is an intimate connection between the breath, the mind and prana. If the breath is unsteady, the mind is unsteady. If the breath is steady and calm, the mind is steady and calm. A steady mind is the prerequisite for concentration, meditation and spiritual evolution. However, just as it takes a long time, patience and perseverance to tame a lion, tiger or elephant, so to will you have to tame this prana gradually. It is recommended that when visualizing the flow of prana, to feeling it as a stream of silver liquid, cool and smooth. Feel its life-giving energy revitalizing and strengthening your mind, body and spirit as it travels around your entire being. Patanjali Maharishi defines pranayama as follows: "Regulation of breath or the control of prana is the stoppage of inhalation and exhalation, which follows after securing the steadiness of posture or seat." But you do not have to wait for complete mastery of asana before practising pranayama. You can practice pranayama and asana side by side. Each pranayama exercise consists of three distinct processes; PURAKA KUMBHAKA RECHAKA Inhalation of the breath Retention of the breath Exhalation of the breath

The ratio of puraka, kumbhaka and rechaka varies according to the strength and capacity of the practitioner. Beginners should start very slowly increasing gradually over periods of months and years.

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Swami Sivananda says "There is neither rhythm or harmony in the breathing of worldly-minded persons. A Yogi practices regulation of breath to establish harmony. When the breath is regulated, when there is harmony, the breath will be moving within the nostrils. The fruit of regulation of breath is kumbhaka. The breath stops by itself when kevala kumbhaka {absolute and pure retention of breath} follows. The mind becomes quite steady. Then Samadhi {super conscious state} supervenes. Regulation of breath and kumbhaka are of tremendous help in the practice of concentration and meditation. The following advice and precautions should be carefully observed before commencing pranayama. PLACE OF PRACTICE Should be in a well-ventilated room, where it is calm and quiet. The air in the room should be fresh so that you may freely breathe oxygen. If outside, choose pleasant surroundings like flowers and trees. Do not practice in a strong wind, in the cold, or in air that is dirty, smoky or smells bad. EXTERNAL DISTURBANCES Cover the body with a blanket or comfortable garment so that external disturbances such as insects or cold may be avoided. PRELIMINARY EXCERCISES All techniques and exercises will have an easy variation for beginners. It is very important that these preliminary exercises are successfully performed and understood before the advanced exercise is attempted. You may injure yourself if you do not follow this advice. STOMACH Bowls, bladder and intestines should all be empty. Early morning practice is recommended. SEQUENCE Pranayama should be practised after asana and yoga nidra, and before meditation. STEADY POSTURE Sit in a comfortable, steady posture, with spine and neck held erect but not tense. A cross-legged position provides a firm base for the body and makes a triangular path for the flow of energy. If this is not possible try sitting on a chair. Do not jerk the body during the exercises. BREATHING Each pranayama technique has specific instructions on exactly how to breathe. For maximum benefit try to follow each technique carefully and accurately. Breathing should be through the nose unless specific contradictions are given. RELAXATION Throughout the practice the body should be as relaxed and calm as possible. Keep the body still without jerking. Remember to keep the spine, neck and head erect and centred to assist the flow of prana along the susumna nadi. STRAIN Strain should be avoided. The breath should not be retained for longer that is comfortable. This is very important as the lungs are very delicate and any misuse may easily cause them injury. If you feel dizzy, faint or chest pains at any time, stop practising and rest for at least 10 minutes and seek proper guidance. Do not twist the face muscles while practicing kumbhaka. Relax the face as much as possible throughout the practice. PAIN Pain should never be endured with the practice of Yoga. Pain is treated by the yogi as a stop signal. It is equally relevant to asana. SHOWER Do not take a bath or shower for at least half an hour after finishing pranayama exercises. WARNING Panayama should never be attempted without guidance from a qualified instructor. It is extremely dangerous to practice pranayama during illness, or while smoking cannabis, tobacco or any other material. RESTRICTIONS People suffering from heart disease, respiratory disorders, blood pressure disorders, arteriolosclerosis or any other serious illness should seek medical advice before commencing pranayama.

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Meditation

Yoga is a practical system for personal development that helps you return you body and mind to health, and promote harmony in your daily life. This is achieved by developing a personal discipline so sure and a spirit so true that one can afford to be utterly spontaneous. By reaching such a state of deliberateness without effort, one can permanently be in the present moment, completely mindful of all thought, speech and action. The philosophy of yoga teaches that with this profound awareness and devotion to the goal of enlightenment and nirvana, we can release ourselves from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth and transcend to the higher levels of existence. Meditation is an important part of this process and should always be practiced at the end of your yoga session. Meditation is awareness. The main difference between the different meditation philosophies and therapies around today is the object of concentration that allows us to develop this awareness. A yogi may use Om or a candle, a Buddhist may use the breath, Zen uses contemplations on nature and emptiness to discover the ultimate truth. These basic concentration and awareness techniques allow us to notice the qualities of the mind and how it works. We discover for ourselves the subtleties and impermanence of this mind, this body, this life, this universe. We realize that the mind is made up of wants, desires, judgements, plannings, measurings, etc. Seeing the scope of our wanting shows us how deeply and subtly dissatisfaction has created our personal world, and this seeing frees us from much grasping, from thinking that all our wants have to be satisfied, that we have to compulsively respond to everything that arises in our mind. We see that things can be a certain way without needing to be acted upon or judged or even pushed aside. They can simply be observed. When there is wanting in the mind, that moment feels incomplete. Wanting is seeking elsewhere. Completeness is being right here, right now. When we experience the depth of wanting in the mind there follows a great joy. This is because we see how wanting obscures the present, with its reaching and desiring for that which we do not have now. When we let go of this wanting we realize that there doesn't need to be anything to grasp for, or hold on to. We can simply be. To realize that there is nothing to hold onto that brings lasting satisfaction shows us there is nowhere to go and nothing to have and nothing to be ­ and that's freedom! Allowing us to strive towards our goals and dreams with wisdom and love, without expectation or attachment to the outcome. When you are hurrying around too quickly, there is a part of the world you can not see. If for example, you are taking the wrong direction in life, it is only when you stop and look at things clearly that you can revise your direction and take a more proper course. In order to find ourselves, we've got to learn to stop. This is meditation. Training the mind to liberate itself from wanting and desire, to be content in the moment, with non-attachment, accepting the ever changing universe as it is. This is inner peace. Being mindful in the present moment, experiencing each and every moment with full awareness. This is true happiness. This is true health. And this you can not buy with all the money in the world. This you must experience for yourself, with regular training and the daily practice of techniques such as yoga and meditation. Traditionally, Hatha Yoga is based on the principle that one can become aware of higher states of mind by manipulating the different forces and systems in the physical body. Any stimulation or manipulation of the nervous system will surely have an effect on the mind, for all the nerves in the body are directly or indirectly connected to the brain. The concentration techniques of Hatha Yoga are aimed at purifying and preparing the mind for the higher stages of meditation attainted through other forms of yoga. In yoga, the aim of practicing meditation is to awaken the dormant areas of the brain. Initially meditation brings peace and calm to your life. But perseverance and dedicated practice will lead to a deep sense of selfawareness, super-conscious and a super-human state of illumination and enlightenment. You have within yourself tremendous powers and latent faculties of which you have never really had any conception. If want to you awaken these dormant powers and faculties you must practice Hatha Yoga for many years, in order for sushumna nadi to flow. You must develop your will and control your senses and mind. You must purify your whole being and practice regular meditation. Meditation begins with the withdrawal and emancipation of the mind from the control of the senses. This is known as pratyahara - withdrawal of the senses. The next stage is concentration exercises known as dharana. Concentration is holding the mind on to a particular object for a defined length of time. Concentration merges into meditation. This stage is called dhyana. Meditation is the unbroken flow of thought of the object. During meditation all worldly thoughts are shut out from the mind. With regular practice the layers of the mind are peeled away, allowing you to discover for yourself deeper realms of consciousness, transcending the mental and physical worlds. These techniques take you to the inner most recesses of the soul. The fruit of meditation is pure consciousness and complete absorption with the Divine. This state is known as Samadhi, where there is no separation, no duality between You - the individual human spirit, and the Supreme Universal Spirit, known as God. You are One with the Universe.

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For advanced students on the path of spiritual evolution it is suggested that you give less importance to the physical world, i.e. materialism, desires and pleasures of the senses, thus cultivating a more spiritual life. It is recommended that you to eat less food, reduce sexual activity and reduce the hours of sleep. However, do not neglect your obligations to family or employer. Remember, the purpose of yoga is not in running away from the world, but in coming back. It is not just a matter of gaining enlightenment; it is a matter of acting in the world with love and compassion. Before beginning meditation it is best to have a proper attitude and environment and to have sufficiently prepared yourself through asana and pranayama. It is far easier to practice meditation when the body can sit quietly and is fully charged with vitality and strength. It is therefore recommended to practice asana, pranayama and concentration exercises prior to meditation. The place of meditation and mental state should all reflect a readiness to turn inward. There are many techniques for meditation. It will be up to you to choose the one that suits you most. The following are certain practical points regarding the basic techniques of meditation. RESTRICTIONS People suffering from mental problems should seek professional medical advice before practising meditation. REGULARITY Regularity of time, place and practice are very important. Regularity conditions the mind to slow down its activities with the minimum of delay. It is difficult to focus the mind when it wants to jump about as soon as you sit down for concentration. The mind will settle down more quickly when time and place are established. The most effective times are sunrise, midday and sunset. MEDITATON ROOM Try to have a separate room for meditation. If this is not possible designate an area especially for meditation only. As meditation is repeated the powerful vibrations set up will be lodged in the room. In six months the peace and purity of the atmosphere will be felt. If you chose to have an alter or focus point, keep it clean and furnished with fresh offerings like flowers and natural incense. STEADY POSTURE Sit in a comfortable, steady posture, with spine and neck held erect but not tense. Relax as much as possible. Do not move the body unless it is absolutely necessary. This helps to steady the mind and encourage concentration. Any comfortable position will do. A cross-legged position provides a firm base for the body and makes a triangular path for the flow of energy. If this is not possible try sitting on a chair. Metabolism, brain waves and breathing will slow down as concentration deepens due to a steady posture. Place your hands in a specific mudra to control the subtle energies in the pranic body. With regular practice your body will become adjusted and more comfortable. BEFORE BEGINNING Command the mind to be quiet. At first the mind will wander and jump around, but will eventually become concentrated, along with the concentration of prana. If the mind persists in wandering do not force it to be still. Simply disassociate from it, and watch it as though you are watching a movie. It will gradually slow down. Throughout the practice the body should be as calm as possible. MANTRA Mantra is a Sanskrit word meaning `the thought that liberates and protects'. A mantra is a word or group of words form any philosophy or religion that contain powerful healing vibrations within the syllables of the words. The chanting of a mantra is used to focus and concentrate the mind, and to invoke the deity of the mantra to bring physical, mental and spiritual healing. A mantra may be repeated out loud or mentally, co-ordinating the repetitions with the breathing. If you chose to use a mantra speak to your yoga teacher, or Om may be used. DURATION Begin practising meditation with ten-minute periods and increase by five minutes per week. It is recommended to practice meditation for one hour, twice per day, at sunrise and at sunset. At first you may become frustrated by your lack of progress. Be determined. Be aware of every thought and physical sensation but do not be attached to them. Concentration develops with regular practice. When the state of tranquillity prevails during meditation, do not disturb the mind. Do not try to get up from your seat. Try to prolong the meditation for as long as possible. WARNING After you have been regularly practising meditation for several months or years considerable changes begin take place in the mind, brain and the nervous system. New nerve-currents, new cells, new vibrations, new avenues and new channels are formed. The whole mind and nervous system are remodelled. You will have a new mind, a new heart, new sensations, new feelings, new mode of thinking and acting and a new view of the universe. This is truly man's greatest adventure. Do not attempt deep meditation with out proper preparation and guidance from a qualified instructor

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Mantra

Many cultures and religions make use of mantras. One does not need to be a Hindu or a Buddhist to make use of a particular mantra. Devotees of Christ may use the name Jesus or Hail Mary, or Mother of Jesus. Parsis, Sikhs and Muslims may select a name or mantra from the Zend Avesta, Granth Sahib, or Koran respectively. Their importance is to focus and concentrate the mind and to invoke the deity or healing power within the mantra. Mantra is a Sanskrit word meaning `the thought that liberates and protects'. Mantras are mystical combinations of sound that were realised by sages and rishis during stages of deep meditation. A mantra is a word or group of words that contain powerful healing vibrations within the syllables of the words. It is usually in the sacred language of ancient India, Sanskrit, but may also be in any language. The chanting of mantras activates and accelerates the creative spiritual force, promoting harmony in all parts of the human being. The devotee is gradually converted into a living centre of spiritual vibration, which may be directed for the benefit of the one who uses it and for that of others. During the early stages of Yogic practice, the chosen mantra has to be repeated over and over again with effort of will and full awareness. This awareness and concentration prevents the mind from thinking of other things. Eventually after continuous and dedicated practice, the mantra is repeated automatically without strain or effort. The mantra spontaneously manifests itself and becomes an integral part of the mind. The mind vibrates with the sound of the mantra. It becomes an integral part of the individual's being and needs absolutely no conscious effort. It repeats itself spontaneously with every breath, day and night. This is a very powerful way of approaching meditation states, for the mind is rendered calm and concentrated. The mantra acts as a pathway between normal states of consciousness and super consciousness. When using a mantra, repeat it mentally and co-ordinate the repetition with the breathing. If you do not have a personal mantra, speak to your Yoga instructor, or Om may be used. Although mental repetition is stronger, the mantra may be repeated aloud if you become drowsy. Never change the mantra unless instructed to do so. Repetition will lead to pure thought, in which sound vibration joins with thought vibration and there is no awareness of meaning. The following is a small selection of mantras commonly used in the Himalayas: Om - Creator of the universe, this individual human spirit is one with the universal supreme consciousness. Om Ah Hum - From the hearts of all the holy beings, may we receive thy blessings on our body, speech and mind. Om Mani Padme Hum - We pray for love, wisdom and compassion and may we all reach self-realization like the jewel in the lotus. Om Namah Shivaya - Salutations to Lord God Shiva, the seat of pure consciousness. Namu Myoho Renge Kyo Glory to the Lotus Sutra. Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum - Salutatons to great guru Padmasambhava, by your blessings and gifts may we reach perfection and enlightenment. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Ram, Hare Ram, Ram, Ram, Hare Hare Through my deepest devotion to the Lord God Krishna, may I be free from karma and reach enlightenment. Om Bhur Bhuvah Swha, Tat Savitur Varenyam, Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi, Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat Creator of the universe, we meditate upon thy splendour. May thy radiant power illuminate our intellects, destroy our sins, and guide us in the right direction. Himalaya Yoga 2007

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Yoga Classes

Many commercial yoga classes, especially in the west, have taken the original teachings of yoga out of context, focusing manly on asana, the stretching techniques of Hatha Yoga. However, the essence of yoga is much more than just stretching. Yoga is regarded as the divine science of life, revealed to enlightened sages of India through self-exploration and the study of nature. It is considered even older than the Vedas, the ancient Indian texts, over 5000 years old, where the combination of physical, mental and spiritual techniques are extensively documented. It states that the goal of yoga is to control the mind and body in order to achieve a state of absolute peace where there is neither imagination nor thought. Thus, yoga can bestow divine powers and super-intuitional knowledge resulting in enlightenment and liberation. Hatha Yoga was first documented in the fifteenth century by Yogi Svatmarama. Hatha Yoga and its many variations, has become the most popular and accessible form of yoga available today. This is mainly due to our attachment to the body. Most beginners come to yoga classes wanting physical health and relaxation. Without proper guidance this results in attachment to the desire of having the perfect body, competition and ego inflation. With proper guidance, advanced students can go on to the spiritual science of yoga, practicing meditation and higher consciousness lifestyles. Many yoga instructors do not prioritize the true spiritual goal of yoga. The branch of Yoga known as `Ha-tha' deals mainly with strengthening and purifying the body and mind. `Ha' and `Tham', sun and moon. It signifies that these techniques are designed to purify and balance the solar and lunar energies in the chakra body, in order to awaken the main energy channel in the spine known as sushumna nadi. Initially this is achieved by exercising every part of the body, toning and revitalizing the muscles and joints, the spine and the entire skeletal system, working, not only on the body's frame, but also on the internal organs, glands and nerves, restoring all systems to radiant health, resulting in purification of the mind and body. Hatha Yoga is therefore the perfect starting point for all forms of yoga, as a healthy mind and body is the absolute prerequisite for all human endeavours, whether physical or intellectual. In a yoga class we should be learning the science of human evolution, and not just a few painful stretches. Yoga classes should bring hope and self-confidence to all those who are disappointed with their materialistic life, or are inextricably bound up in all sorts of problems. Yoga classes should teach us how to live a balanced life and avoid uselessly squandering our energy. We should be learning how to exercise self-control and preserve a positive attitude towards life. It is in this way that yoga leads us to universal love, for it is by love alone that we may create a brotherhood of man between the various nations of the world. In a yoga class we are not only healing our self and the world around us, but also practicing being in harmony and balance, so that we can know what its like to be in harmony. When the class is over, it is important to maintain this feeling of equanimity and mindfulness throughout our day, so that our whole life becomes harmonious and healthy. Eventually, with regular practice, this becomes our permanent and spontaneous state of being.

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Profile

Dave West ­ Himalaya Yoga Instructor "I lived in the Himalayan Mountains with the great yogi masters for 3 years and studied Sivananda Yoga and Bihar School of Yoga for over 12 years, becoming a yoga instructor in 1998. I have since returned to India and Nepal several times to advance my personal practice studying Kundalini Yoga, Indian philosophy, Tibetan Buddhism and meditation. I have taught yoga in England, Australia, America, Thailand and Indonesia. I have recently returned from Japan where I studied Zen Meditation and Japanese language. I am currently teaching at several resorts in Bali and head of the sports department at Sunrise International School." "I see myself as a down-to-earth practitioner carrying the light of yoga around the world for all those who are interested in benefiting from the healing powers of this ancient art. In India my guru taught me that each of us has our own starting point and it is here that we begin our personal journey to health, happiness and beyond..."

References

Sadhana by Swami Sivananda Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati The Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desicachar Yoganjalisaram by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translated by B.K.S. Iyengar The Joyful Path of Good Fortune by G.K. Gyasto The Ancient Secrets of the Fountain of Youth by Peter Kelder The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness by Erich Schiffmann

Himalaya Yoga Website: www.himalaya-yoga.com Email: [email protected] Phone: +62 81 338 290 562

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