Yoga

Patanjali_Yoga

YOGA: Definition Yoga [1] a philosophy teaching the control of activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation. [Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary] [2] derived from Sanskrit root yuj: to control, to yoke, to unite; translations include joining, uniting, union, conjunction, means. [3] refers to traditional Indian physical and mental disciplines; associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Sufism, Jainism, and Buddhism (Mahayana, Tibetan, Zen). [4] one of six Indian philosophical schools expounded by sage Patanjali, who’s Raja Yoga is a system for control of the mind; branches include Raja, Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, and Hatha Yoga. [5] Hindu texts discussing Yoga include Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita. The Buddha’s sermons referred to absorptive meditative states. [Wikipedia]

“The state of yoga is when the mind is still”

“Yoga is a metaphor for life: finding your center in a pose encourages you to find your center during the rest of your life and follow the right path for you.”

“Yoga asanas are a controlled means of exposing yourself to a difficult situation.” Quotes from The Book of Yoga by Christina Brown…I love this book and find myself reading it, not just for techniques, but just plain release 🙂

Yoga of Synthesis By Sri Swami Sivananda

Yoga of Synthesis is suitable for the vast majority of persons. It is a unique Yoga. Man is a strange complex mixture of will, feeling and thought. He is a triune being. He is like a tricycle or a three-wheeled chariot. He wills to possess the objects of his desires.

He has emotion; and so he feels. He has reason and so he thinks and ratiocinates. In some the emotional element may preponderate, while in some others the rational element may dominate. Just as will, feelings and thought are not distinct and separate, so also, work, devotion and knowledge are not exclusive of one another.

He must, therefore develop his heart, intellect and hand. Then alone can he attain perfection. Many aspirants have lop-sided development. They do not possess an integral development, as they neglect one or the other of these aspects of their personality. One-sided development is not commendable.

Religion and Yoga must educate and develop the whole man – his heart, intellect and hand. Then only he will have integral development. In the mind there are three defects, viz., Mala or impurity, Vikshepa or tossing, and Avarana or veil.

The impurities of the mind should be removed by the practice of Karma Yoga, by selfless service. The tossing should be removed by worship or Upasana, by Japa and devotion. The veil should be torn down by the practice of Jnana Yoga, i.e., by study o Vedanti literature, enquiry, self-analysis, service to the Guru, and deep meditation. Only then Self-realization is possible.

If you want to see your face clearly in a mirror, you must remove the dirt in the mirror, keep it steady, and remove the covering also. You can see your face clearly in the bottom of a lake only if the turbidity is removed, if the water that is agitated by the wind is rendered still, and if the moss that is lying on the surface is removed. Even so is the case with Self-realization.

Action, emotion and intelligence are the three horses that are linked to this body-chariot. They should work in perfect harmony or unison. Then only the chariot will run smoothly. There must be integral development. You must have the head of Sankara, the heart o Buddha, and the hand of Janaka. The Yoga of Synthesis alone will develop the head, heart and hand, and lead one to perfection.

To become harmoniously balanced in all directions is the ideal of religion and of Yoga. This can be achieved by the practice of the Yoga of Synthesis. To behold the one Self in all beings is Jnana, wisdom; to love the Self is Bhakti, devotion; to serve the Self is Karma, action. When the Jnana Yogi attains wisdom, he is endowed with devotion and self less activity.

Karma Yoga is for him a spontaneous expression of his spiritual nature, as he sees the one Self in all. When the devotee attains perfection in devotion, he is possessed of wisdom and activity. For him also, Karma Yoga is a spontaneous expression of his divine nature, as he beholds the one Lord everywhere. The Karma Yogi attains wisdom and devotion when his actions are wholly selfless.

The three paths are, in fact, one in which the three different temperaments emphasize one or the other of its inseparable constituents. Yoga supplies the method by which the Self can be seen, loved and served.

Hence everyone should have one Yoga as the basic Yoga and combine other Yogas. You can combine Nishkama Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga Sankirtan Yoga, with Jnana Yoga as the basis. This is my Yoga of Synthesis, which will ensure rapid spiritual progress.

A little practice of Hatha Yoga (Asana an Pranayamas) will give you good health.

Raja Yoga will steady your mind. Upasana and Karma Yoga will purify your heart and prepare you for the practice of Vedanta.

Sankirtan will relax your mind and inspire you. Meditation will take you to liberation. Such a Yogi has all-round development.

The Yoga of Synthesis will help you to attain God-realization quickly. Upanishads, Gita and all other scriptures speak of this Yoga.

Therefore, O Mokshapriya, practice this unique Yoga of Synthesis and attain Self-realization quickly. Here is my little song of the Yoga of Synthesis, for your daily practice:

Eat a little, drink a little Talk a little, sleep a little Mix a little, move a little Serve a little, rest a little Work a little, relax a little Study a little, worship a little Do Asana a little, Pranayama a little Reflect a little, meditate a little Do Japa a little, do Kirtan a little Write Mantra a little, have Satsang a little Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize Be good, Do good; Be kind, Be compassionate Enquire ‘Who am I ?’,

Know the Self and be Free SOURCE

“That aspirant who has firm faith in the scriptures, who is courageous, devotional, humble, generously merciful, pure and dispassionate, can easily awaken the kundalini and attain success in samadhi (superconsciousness). He should also be equipped with right conduct and self-restraint. He should constantly engage himself in the service of his guru, and he should be free from lust, anger, delusion, greed and vanity.” Swami Sivananda Bhakti Yoga The Yoga of Devotion

“Devotion or Divine love is the second major path of Yoga. It consists of the worship of the Divine Beloved. This can be through various chosen deities (Ishta devatas) or incarnations of God (Avatars). Sometimes the teacher or guru may become the object of worship. This does not mean to worship their outer personality but to give reverence to the Divine teacher within them.

A personal form of the Divine is often used as an aid in devotion….But the form is a means to the formless, a symbol to aid in the concentration of the mind. As we move along the path of devotion, we begin to find the Beloved, our form of the Divine, everywhere and in all things….Eventually, we must come to realize our Beloved as the Divine presence in our own hearts, our own inner or true

Self. [Hindu] Devotional practices consist of rituals (puja), singing (kirtan), chanting the names of God (japa), and meditation on a form of the Divine (upasana)….Each one of us is entitled to worship the Divine in whatever form our heart seeks. Let it be a stone, a tree, a cloud, or let it be Christ or Krishna, male or female, the most ideal or great concept, that is not the issue. What is important is that we really give our hearts to the Divine. The form is an aid and a catalyst and in the end must be dissolved into the universal Godhead.

Bhakti Yoga is often related to Karma Yoga, as it usually involves service to the Divine or service to humanity. While devotion is the proper attitude of the soul towards the Divine, compassion is the proper attitude of the Divine and the awakened soul towards the rest of creation. True compassion is a Divine quality and can only come from an inner connection with the Divine. It is not to be

confused with pity which looks down on others. It is a force of unity which respects the Divine power and intelligence in each and seeks to aid in its unfoldment.

Christianity itself is primarily a teaching of the Yoga of Devotion. All the practices of the Yoga of Devotion can be adapted to Christ, the Madonna or to the various saints of the Christian tradition. Islam itself is primarily devotional, but it follows a strict formless devotion which prohibits all use of

images, though the Koran, like the Bible, uses many poetic metaphors, the images of the mind….Devotion also appeals to an artistic mentality. The muse is nothing but a lower form of the Divine beloved. The use of images, statues, rituals and chants is a subtle form of art and poetry directed toward the Divine through devotion. Art is, in its true form, a path of devotion. It directs

the mind and the senses toward appreciation of the eternal.

Great [Hindu] modern teachers of the Yoga of Devotion include Ramakrishna,

Paramahansa Yogananda, Anandamayi Ma, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

The list could be made much longer, as devotion is perhaps the essence

of Hinduism. The classical text is Narada’s Bhakti Sutras.” Frawley, David. From the River of Heaven. Hindu and Vedic Knowledge for the Modern Age. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1992. Karma Yoga: Selfless Service

What is the object of Karma Yoga, Seva, or selfless service? By doing service you purify your heart. Humility, pure love, sympathy, tolerance, and mercy will be developed. The sense of separateness will be annihilated. Selfishness will be eradicated. You will get a broad and liberal outlook on life and will begin to feel oneness and unity.

Service of humanity is nothing short of service of God. Service is worship. But one should serve with Bhava (feeling). Then alone one can have realization and purification of the heart. Karma Yoga purifies the mind for the reception of light or knowledge. It expands the heart and breaks all barriers that stand in the way of unity or oneness.

Work elevates, when done in the right spirit without attachment or egoism. If you are a Bhakta (devotee), feel you are an instrument in the hands of God. If you adopt the path of Jnana (knowledge), feel you are a silent Sakshi (witness) and that Prakritti (nature) does everything. All work is sacred. There must not be the least attachment to any kind of work. There may be a divine call upon

you for certain work. You will have to take it at once without grumbling. You will have to stop it also, if conditions and circumstances demand you to do so.

It is selfishness that has contracted the heart. Selfishness is the bane of human life and the root cause of human sufferings. Real spiritual progress starts with

selfless service. One should patiently work to destroy his old mind of

selfishness and build a new mind of selflessness. When you serve a

man, think God has given you an opportunity to improve, correct and

mould yourself by service. Be grateful to that man who gave you a

chance to serve.

A Karma Yogi should be able to move and mix with everybody without distinction. He should be sympathetic and tolerant. He should be able to adjust himself to the habits and ways of others. He should have an all-embracing and all-inclusive heart.

He should always have a cool and balanced mind. Thus he builds a noble

character. He is careful in his speech and speaks sweet loving words.

He never utters any harsh words that can affect the feelings of others. He develops patience, mercy, and universal love. He practices Ahimsa (non-harm) in thought, word, and deed. That noble soul who does good to the world and entertains sublime thoughts is a blessing to the world at large.

Keep the reason rooted in the Self. Have a poised mind amidst the changes

of the world. Work for the welfare of the world in unison with the

Divine Will. Allow the divine energy to work unhampered through your

instruments. The moment your egoism comes in, there will be blocking

of the free flow of the divine energy.

Expand. Purify your heart. Live in the true spirit of Karma Yoga. Keep before you the examples of the great ones who served mankind and thus radiated peace, bliss and wisdom unto all. May we all work unselfishly with perfect

harmony and co-operation for the well being and uplift of the world. Swami Sivananda. Practice of Karma Yoga.

Sensory Impressions

The mind is very sensitive to impressions. Our impressions feed our life-force and motivate our actions. Disturbed impressions cause disturbed expressions. Peaceful impressions cause peaceful expressions. Only if we have a great deal of inner awareness can we effectively ward off the negative impressions that we all must contact to some degree….

We do not automatically absorb sensory influences. We can discriminate them away through the proper function of intelligence. This requires discerning their truth and not getting caught in their glamour.

Positive and Negative Impressions

The main source of positive impressions is Mother Nature herself- the impressions gained from the sky, mountains, forests, gardens, rivers and oceans….A great deal of our modern psychological unrest is due to alienation from Nature….

Instead of taking in positive natural impressions, we fill the mind with artificial sensations from our artificial world. Just like ‘junk’ food affects the body, such ‘junk’ impressions must distort the mind….

Because there is no real life in mass media impressions, they give the illusion of life by portraying the most dramatic events in life.

Calming our Deeper Consciousness

Calming means eliminating all the negative conditionings lodged in the mind and heart….Our deeper consciousness holds the various emotional traumas and pains that disturb us, most of which lies hidden or repressed. These disturbances must be calmed and released. Peace must be brought to the core of the mind. This requires emptying the mind of its contents, its deep-seated habits, tendencies and attachments, surrendering fear, anger, and desire on all levels. However, the mind is naturally calm and pure. We need only allow the mind to return to its natural state, which is to keep it free from disturbing externa influences.

Detoxification for the Mind

For mental well-being, there must be first a prevention of wrong impressions and experiences from entering into our consciousness….Eliminating toxins from the consciousness involves stopping their intake, which requires control of the mind and senses.

Then it requires directing the light of intelligence within to burn up the wrong experiences we have already absorbed.

Just as fasting from food helps detoxify the body, so fasting from impressions detoxifies the mind. Once the intake of impressions ceases, consciousness, whose nature is space, will naturally empty itself out.

Its contents will come up to the level of the intelligence, which can then digest them properly. This requires deep thinking, inquiry and meditation.

When the outer mind and senses are calm and quiet, our inner thoughts arise. Deep-seated habits and memories float to the surface. If we learn to observe and understand them, we can let them go, but this requires that we are willing to be free from them.

Right Association

The mind is built up by the impressions taken in through the senses, most important of which are those that come from our social interactions…. Our deeper consciousness (chitta) itself is determined by the nature of our associations, which create the most powerful impulses (samskaras) that we have to deal with. If we go to the core of our heart, it is our closest relationships that most determine who we are….

We should seek the good and strive to be in the company of the wise. Such are spiritual teachers, true friends, the beauty of nature, great art, and wisdom teachings….In turn, we should strive to have a beneficial influence on others, projecting helpful attitudes and good thoughts toward the entire universe.

Ideally, our house should be a temple, but at least one portion of it should be kept as a place of healing and meditation where we can go to be renewed….In terms of our external environment, we must reestablish our communion with nature…[drawing] into our lives the energy of the sky, mountains, plains and waters. Our individual [and collective] life-force cannot heal if it becomes a closed system, apart from nature. Frawley, David. Aryuveda and the Mind. Integral Yoga

The Yoga of Devotion

“First, Arjuna asks: 1. Which devotees are better established in Yoga – those of steady devotion who worship you manifest in one form or another, or those who worship you as the formless and unmanifest one?

Lord Krishna answers: 2. Those devotees who continuously think of me with zeal, with sincerity, and [thus] steadily worship me manifest in one form or another are perfectly established in Yoga.

3. And what of those who worship me in the unmanifest condition – beyond name and form, infinite and indescribable, beyond the grasp of the mind, yet

everywhere present, unchanging, immovable and eternal?

4. [Through such worship] they quiet their senses, become even-minded, and

naturally think of the welfare of all other creatures. Certainly, such

devotees also come directly to me….

5. Such devotees, Arjuna, whose minds are thus fixed on me, very soon will experience me as their deliverer from samsara, the illusory drama of life and death.” Satchidananda, Sri Swami. The Living Gita

“Bhakti is the slender silken thread of Prema [love] that binds the heart of a devotee with the lotus-feet of the Lord. Bhakti is intense devotion and supreme love towards God. It is the spontaneous outpouring of Prema towards the Beloved. It is pure, unselfish, divine love for love’s sake. This higher feeling is indescribable in words. It needs to be sincerely felt by the devotee. Bhakti is sacred higher emotion with sublime sentiments, that unites the devotee with the Lord.

Bhakti softens the heart and removes jealousy, hatred, lust, anger, egoism, pride, arrogance, etc. It infuses joy, divine ecstasy, bliss and knowledge.

It helps the devotee to be always in communion with the Lord. All

cares, worries, fears, anxieties, mental torments and tribulations

entirely vanish….

A devotee has these characteristics. He has equal vision for all. He has no enmity for anybody. He has exemplary character. He has no attachment for anything. He has not got the idea of ‘mineness’. He has a balanced mind in pain and pleasure, heat and cold, praise and censure….He has always inner life or Antarmukha Vritti [internally liberated thought waves]. He is full of Shanti [peace] and bliss.”

Swami Sivananda, Practice of Yoga

Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. ~B.K.S. Iyengar~

Vision of Yoga

The history of mankind is going to change. Man has made many errors in the past by ignoring the science of life. He has sponsored political movements, social movements, religious movements and military movements, but during the past few centuries he has failed to sponsor a yogic lifestyle movement. The world is changing now and its destiny is taking a complete turn about.

I have only taught one yoga, that which leads to freedom, and I feel that the present concept and direction of yoga must change. Yoga must be unified, freed of all separate ideals and narrow concepts of spiritual attainment. Attitudes must change, barriers must come down so that a new vision of yoga can emerge. This will be the yoga of unity. As organs and parts of one body we must work together in one connected and concerted effort to serve humanity, to share our knowledge, our gifts, and our capacities for the common good, for a better world.

The yogas expounded in the twentieth century were suited to the needs and evolution of humanity for that period. Therefore, the form of yoga was limited to self-disciple, self-introspection and self-improvement.

Now yoga is taking another step forward. It is expanding beyond the personal, selfish and narrow confines of individual practice, teachings and ideals, to encompass a broad spectrum of devotion, dedication and integral participation in human emancipation. Every moment of your life must be dedicated to higher ideals. Transform every act of yours into an act of yoga. Freedom is infinite for those who walk in the light of this yoga.

“Yoga is the lifebread
Broken to sustain the spirit of all mankind,
For even a single taste transforms
Every meal into a feast of truth,
All of life into a celebration of awareness.”
Sri Swami Satyananda

Yoga is bodily gospel. ~Reaven Fields

~ Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are. ~Jason Crandell

~ Yoga is invigoration in relaxation. Freedom in routine. Confidence through self control. Energy within and energy without. ~Ymber Delecto
~ The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind. ~Rodney Yee

~ You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state. ~Sharon Gannon

~ Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it. Yoga is universal…. But don’t approach yoga with a business mind looking for worldly gain. ~Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

“ You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside. ” Mr. Yoga

“ Before you’ve practiced, the theory is useless. After you’ve practiced, the theory is obvious. ” David Williams

“ The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind. ” Rodney Yee

“ REAL Peace is always unshakable… ‘Bliss is unchanged by gain or loss’ ” Yogi Bhajan

“ Yoga has a sly, clever way of short circuiting the mental patterns that cause anxiety. ” Baxter Bell

“ Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. ” B.K.S. Iyengar

Yoga Pose Videos

~ Source

lexiyoga

Through the practices of yoga, we discover that concern for the happiness and well being of others, including animals, must be an essential part of our own quest for happiness and well being. The fork can be a powerful weapon of mass destruction or a tool to create peace on Earth. ” Sharon Gannon

“ You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state. ”Sharon Gannon

“ A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves. ” T. Guillemets

“ In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice they are not. ” Yogi Berra

Yoga Asanas defined

The Sanskrit word asana is derived from the root as which means to be present, to dwell in, to sit quietly, abide, to inhabit. Asana literally means to sit down or sit in a particular position. In the context of yoga, asana refers to the various postures or positions that are commonly identified with the practice of yoga such as the headstand (sirsha-asana), the lotus (padma-asana), etc.

Asana is one of the eight limbs of classical yoga. In the Yoga Sutra, the definitive text on yoga philosophy, Patañjali defines the essential meaning of asana in two words: sthira and sukham. Sthira means stability, steadiness, firmness and is derived from the root stha which means “to stand.” Sukham means ease, comfort, happiness. When the body-mind is in the opposite state of these two — unsteady, constricted, restless or distracted — we tend to experience life as continual struggle, conflict, stress, and unhappiness. The practice of yoga postures helps to cultivate a focused steadiness and an effortless ease that is experienced throughout the body-mind and benefits both meditation and everyday circumstances.

The practice of yoga posture differs radically from conventional exercise such as aerobics, weight-training, jogging, etc. The goal of asana practice is not to develop muscular strength or cardiovascular fitness (although both are possible) but to restore to the body-mind its fundamental state of well-being, ease, and vibrant alertness.

Yoga postures work on all dimensions of the body-mind — “physical” through healing, strengthening, stretching and relaxing the skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, digestive, glandular, and nervous systems; “mental” through the cultivation of a quiet and peaceful mind, alertness, and concentration; and “spiritual” by way of preparation for meditation and cultivation of inner strength.

In the Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika, a 14th century hatha-yoga text, it is written that asana “should be practiced for gaining steady posture, health and lightness of body.” (I.19) The curative and health-enhancing powers of yoga postures have long been recognized, even in the West. Despite the many scientific and medical advances enjoyed by Western civilization, it is obvious that we now face a crisis regarding physical, mental and emotional health. It is, therefore, no accident that the practice of yoga postures, meditation and other “inner” technologies have become so widespread in recent years.

Source:http://www.brooklineyogastudio.com/yoga-asana-and-yoga-sutra.html

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Backbends – Opening up in the spine and chest feels great and strengthens our connection to intuition.

Inversions – Good for balance and concentration, as well as circulation.

Core Poses – These poses will strengthen your core and get your abs beach ready!

Yoga Poses for Weight Loss – These poses will help you shed unwanted pounds!

Restorative Poses These yoga poses are great for winding down and connecting to our breath.

Yoga Poses for Back Pain – Whether the origins are some acute injury or long-term stress, there are a few simple poses that can help with back pain.

Yoga Sequences & Moving (Videos) – How we move and breathe is much more important than the exact shape of our poses, for clearing our bodies and minds and creating our own best health.

Backbends – Opening up in the spine and chest feels great and strengthens our connection to intuition.

Inversions – Good for balance and concentration, as well as circulation.

Core Poses – These poses will strengthen your core and get your abs beach ready!

Yoga Poses for Weight Loss – These poses will help you shed unwanted pounds!

Yoga Poses for Beginners: How-to, Tips, Benefits, Images, Videos

by Michael Taylor

Seated Yoga Poses – Grounding and calming, these poses provide some of our deepest muscle opening and twisting.

Standing Yoga Poses – Good for strength, balance and focus. These energetic poses provide a straight line to shaping our best body.

Arm Balances – These yoga poses are good for strength, body awareness and focus, providing some fun challenges for every body.

Restorative Poses These yoga poses are great for winding down and connecting to our breath.

Yoga Poses for Back Pain – Whether the origins are some acute injury or long-term stress, there are a few simple poses that can help with back pain.

Yoga Sequences & Moving (Videos) – How we move and breathe is much more important than the exact shape of our poses, for clearing our bodies and minds and creating our own best health.

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