What follows are notes from my Yoga Teacher Training Program that I completed a few years ago…
Open Gate
• Depending on what is most comfortable to you place your feet together or place them hips distance apart.
• Gradually place your feet down spreading your toes.
• The inner sides of your feet should be parallel, make sure your feet are not pointing inwards or outwards.
• Your three centers, your head heart and pelvis should be stacked.
• Center of forehead and chin are in a straight line with your treasure chest, bhaga marma.
• Your chin should be parallel to the floor.
• Tuck your sacrum under so there is a bit of open space between the lombar and sacrum.
• Roll your shoulders up to your ears and spread them down and outwards and make sure your shoulder blades are spread.
• You fingers should be gently touching each other, don’t separate them and don’t strain them together to hard.
• Lift up through your sternum…(demonstrate by using hand to pull) you should be lifting from the crown as if being pulled up by a string.
• At the same time create a space between each vertebrae as you elongate your spine, try and take the arch out of your spine.
• Your heels should be connected to the earth.
• Make sure there is a space between your inner arm and the sides of your body to allow for radial breathing.
• Your gaze should be soft and straight ahead.
• Breathe deeply through your nostrils and feel the sensations in your body.
• (After a few minutes) Check your palms to see if there are purple blotches, this signals that your channels are open and oxygen is flowing through your body.

Tiryaka Tadasana (Swaying Palm Tree Pose)
• Stand in Open Gate
• Your feet can either be together or apart. If you want more balance keep them apart.
• Clasp your hand in front of you interlocking your fingers, make sure your thumbs don’t stick.
• Look down at your palms.
• Inhale and move your hands up with your breath, keeping your gaze focused on your hands.
• At eye level flip your hands and then your gaze should be forward.
• Drop your shoulders into your sockets.
• Make sure your pinky’s are still interlocked and push your hands toward the ceiling.
• Your arms should be straight.
• As you pull up and reach towards the ceiling make sure your tailbone and feet reach towards the ground.
• You want to feel an upwards and downward stretch.
• Check your three centers to make sure they are aligned.
• Inhale deeply and exhale to your right.
• You want to feel your left side channel open.
• As you turn to the right push the weight down into your left foot and feel the stretch from your fingers to your toes including your armpit and hip.
• REACH for the wall, don’t bend.
• Do not arch your back as if you are in between two panes of glass.
• Your right side should be supporting your left. You are not collapsing into your right.
• Be careful to keep your head back and in between your shoulders.
• Keep your arms straight and work on keeping them in line with your ears.
• Inhale deeply. Don’t forget to breathe.
• A subtle rotation of your hip and torso will allow you to go further into the pose but do not push yourself.
• Inhale up slowly
• Your right leg should be active as you come up.
• Come back to your center and exhale as you bring your hands down.
• Check your sensations.
• *For beginners try this posture against the wall and keep BOTH shoulders against the wall to bring awareness to spine rotation.
BENEFITS: massages and loosens and exercises sides of the waist. It balances the left and right groups of postural muscles.

Virabhadrasana II (auspicious hero pose)

• From open gate spread your legs about a legs length apart.
• Inhale, lift your toe and pivot your right foot.
• Exhale, bring your foot down spreading your toes.
• Pick up your back foot and turn it slightly inward.
• Make sure you roll your back foot in to make sure you do not strain your knee.
• Align your three centers.
• Inhale your arms up.
• Make sure your fingers are together and straight. (effort not exertion)
• Drop your shoulders down or away from your ears.
• Make sure your shoulders are spread, don’t pinch back.
• You should feel a sensation from the tips of your fingers through your heart all the way across.
• Align your centers
• Exhale and turn your head to the right.
• The weight in your back foot needs to be on the outer edge of that foot so you do not collapse into your ankle.
• Your back leg is strong from your hip to your toe as if a spear has been placed in the earth. Make sure it is not locked it should be a few degrees off lock.
• Engage your thighs, legs should be active as if you could pull apart your mat with your feet.
• Exhale as you slide your pelvis down (sink pelvis down from the crown) and your knee glides towards the wall.
• Tuck your tailbone.
• If your back foot starts lifting up then you need to shorten your stance.
• Your knee should be in line with your foot and reaching for the wall.
• Look down at your feet. You should only see your big toe, if you see your other toes then you are putting stress on your knee.
• You should feel a weight pulling down from the pelvis like a sack of potatoes.
• Your core should stay upright, don’t slant forward or back.
• Invoke a 6 way stretch. Feel as though pressing against resistance which is coming from the front, back, sides, top and bottom.
• Breathe deeply and feel the sensations. Feel the prana in your body.
• Inhale up from the crown, not from the knee. Pull yourself up from your crown.
• Exhale as you bring your hands down and place your right foot forward.
• Check your sensations.
EFFECTS: though this pose the leg muscles become shapely and stronger. It relieves cramps in the calf and thigh muscles, brings elasticity to the leg and back muscles and also tones the abdominal organs. Mastery of the standing poses prepares the pupil for the advanced poses in forward bending which can be acquired with ease.

Virabhadrasana I (auspicious hero pose)
• From open gate spread your legs about a legs length apart.
• Inhale, lift your toe and pivot your right foot.
• Exhale, bring your foot down spreading your toes.
• Pick up your back leg and spiral your hips forward.
• The hips should be even and if not move your back foot so that it turns more towards the front.
• Your hips and shoulders should be squared and your three centers should be aligned.
• Inhale as you lift your arms up, palms facing up.
• Lift elbows to the ceiling feeling the sensations from your fingertips through your heart all the way across. This opens up the heart nadi which can relieve stress and helps prevent heart attacks.
• Inhale your arms up alongside your ears. Keep your arms straights but drop your shoulders and make sure they are relaxed.
• If there is strength in your arms to keep them up and straight then you can bring your palms together without any pressure.
• Your hands can be together or apart in this posture as long as there is no arch in your lower back.
• Your gaze should be at the joined palms or at the ceiling if your hands are not joined.
• Sink your pelvis down as your knee glides towards the wall.
• Don’t let your back knee collapse and do not lock your knees either.
• Inhale up from the crown, not from the knee. Pull yourself up from your crown.
• Exhale as you bring your hands down and place your right foot forward.
• Check your sensations.
EFFECTS: In this pose the chest is fully expanded and this helps deep breathing. It relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back, tones up the ankles and knees and cures stiffness of the neck. It also reduces fat around the hips.

Samokanasana (Same angle asana)
• Stand in Open Gate (reminder that your centers should be aligned) with your feet together or keep feet apart if your back and hamstrings are weak.
• Inhale and raise your hands straight above the head with your palms facing each other.
• Drop your shoulders down and spread your shoulder blades.
• Arch your back slightly pushing your buttocks out a little.
• Exhale and slowly bend forward at the hips until your torso is parallel to the floor.
• As you bend forward rotate your groin area back in order to open your sit bones to avoid lower back pain. Feel your sitbones opening as you come down and spread them open so that you can let the pelvis sink down.
• Keep your legs and buttocks active/engaged. Don’t lock your knees, engage your thighs.
• Push weight into backs of heels
• Make sure your head, neck and spine are in a straight line.
• Elongate your neck
• Don’t kick your elbows out, make sure your arms are straight.
• Your head should be lifted up a bit.
• When your torso is completely parallel to the earth and your legs are engaged drop your hands at the wrists (limp)
• Your gaze should be on the ground, breathe between your ribs.
• Stay connected to the earth
• Inhale, slowly return to the upright position with your arms, head and back in a straight line.
• Exhale, lower your arms and bring your hands into your heart center in anjala mudra.
• Check for sensations.
AWARENESS: Physical, on the movement, keeping the spine straight and maintaining balance. Spiritual on anahata chakra. BENEFITS: This asana works specifically on the upper back directly behind the chest. It rectifies spinal curvature tension and poor posture.
– To help student experience the asana place your hand underneath their forehead.

Uttanasana (Deliberate intense stretch, lengthening in pose, Ut is a particle indicating deliberation, intensity. The verb tan means to stretch, extend, lengthen out. In this asana the spine is given a deliberate and intense stretch.)
• Stand in Open Gate (reminder that your centers should be aligned) with your feet together
• Inhale and raise your hands straight above the head with your palms facing each other.
• Arch your back slightly pushing your buttocks out a little.
• Tuck your tailbone
• Exhale and slowly bend forward at the hips until your torso is parallel to the floor.
• Keep your legs and buttocks active/engaged.
• Push weight forward into your toes.
• Make sure your head, neck and spine are in a straight line.
• Elongate your neck
• Don’t kick your elbows out, make sure your arms are straight.
• Your head should be lifted up a bit.
• When your torso is completely parallel to the earth inhale.
• Make sure your legs are engaged check your alignment, your 3 centers should be stacked upon each other
• After you are aligned well inhale as you keep reaching forward while you bend from the pelvis
• The crown of your head should move towards the floor as your tailbone reaches up towards the sky.
• Bring your stomach over your thigh. Exhale.
• Lift your ribs, you should feel as if you are lessening the space between your belly button and spine.
• Place your hands close to your feet, whatever feels most comfortable for you. Do not push yourself. Breathe
• Your gaze should be on the ground.
• Stay connected to the earth
• Inhale, slowly return to the upright position with your arms, head and back in a straight line. (Easier option, hands on sit bones as you come up).
• Exhale, lower your arms and bring your hands into your heart center in anjala mudra.
• Check for sensations.
EFFECTS: This asana cures stomach pains and tones the liver, the spleen and the kidneys. It also relives stomach pain during menstrual periods. The heart beats are slowed down and the spinal nerves rejuvenated. Any depression felt in the mind is removed if one holds this pose for more than two minutes. The posture is a boon to people who get excited quickly as it soothes the brain cells. After finishing the asana one feels calm and cool, the eyes start to glow and the mind feels at peace.

Uttihita Trikonasana (Uttihita means extended, stretched. Trikona, tri = three; kona = angle)
• Stand in Open Gate
• Inhale deeply as you spread apart your legs sideways about a legs length. Do what feels comfortable for you. Exhale.
• Inhale raise your arms sideways in line with your shoulders, palms facing down. Keep the arms parallel to the floor.
• Turn the right foot sideways about 90 degrees to the right.
• Pick up your left foot slightly inward
• Check your alignment, make sure your three centers, head, heart and pelvis are stacked on top of each other.
• Turn your head to right and gaze at your middle finger. Feel the connection through your heart from hand to hand.
• Push your hip out towards the left
• Exhale and bend your torso sideways to the right, bringing the right palm near the right ankle.
• Bring the back arm towards the ceiling and reach up.
• Reach arms away from each other, spread the shoulder blades.
• Imagine you are one-dimensional as if you are stuck in between two panes of glass.
• The left arm should be in line with the right shoulder as you extend your torso.
• The back of the legs, the back of the chest and the hips should be in a line.
• The left side of your torso should be flat. Do not collapse into the pose.
• Make sure you legs active, press into the outer edge of the back foot.
• Gaze at the thumb of the outstretched left hand.
• Exhale, slowly come up.
• Lower your hands, bring your feet together into open gate, check for sensations.
EFFECTS: This asana tones up the leg muscles, removed stiffness in the legs and hips, and corrects any minor deformity in the legs and allows them to develop evenly. It relieves backaches and neck sprains strengthens the ankles and develops the chest.

Utkatasana (Fierce Pose)
• Stand in Open Gate. Move your feet together or sit bone with apart, depending on balance.
• The inside of your feet should be parallel to each other, weight should be evenly distributed on both feet. If feet are apart put weight on outer edges of feet to engage inner thighs
• Inhale bring your arms up.
• Exhale, bend your knees and tilt forward.
• Push your butt back, then bring your butt under and tuck your tailbone down further.
• Lift your upper torso from the middle of your spine.
• The inside of your legs are parallel and your feet are pressing into the ground. Your legs are active.
• Do not shrug your shoulders.
• Lift up the ribs, breathe
• Your tailbone should drop down, sit bones are spread wide
• Lift up your heart
• Your gaze should be straight ahead as if you are burning a hole in the wall.
• Invoke the feeling of a warrior. Your face should be concentratred.
• Inhale as you slowly come up, do not lose your connection.
• Raise your arms and bring them back to anjali mudra.
EFFECTS: The pose removes stiffness in the shoulders and corrects any minor deformities in the legs. The ankles become strong and the leg muscles develop evenly. The diaphragm is lifted up and this gives a gentle massage to the heart. The abdominal organs

Padangusthasana (pada means foot, angustha is the big toe)
• Stand in Open Gate. Spread your feet sit bone width apart. The inside of your feet should be parallel to each other. Check your alignment.
• Inhale and raise your hands straight above the head with your palms facing each other.
• Arch your back slightly pushing your buttocks out a little.
• Tuck your tailbone
• Consciously bring your upper body down. Keep reaching the crown of your head toward the floor.
• Elongate your spine, tuck your chin.
• Stomach should be hollow.
• Your shoulders should be away from your ear.
• Hold the big toes in between the thumbs and the first two fingers, making a mudra, so that the palms face each other.
• Knees can be bent in order to grab toes.
• Hold them tight. Inhale and look up with your gaze towards the tip of your nose.
• Keep your head up and stretch the diaphragm towards the chest and make the back as concave as possible.
• Lift from the heart, pull the heart forward.
• Your elbows should be spread out as you hands pull on your toes.
• As the same time your feet is pressing into the ground. Feel these opposing forces.
• Make sure your head, neck and spine are in a straight line.
• Elongate your neck. Breathe and feel your sit bones spreading.
• Lift up your ribs as if the space in between your belly button and spine is lessening.
• Stay connected to the earth
• Inhale, slowly return to the upright position with your arms, head and back in a straight line. (Easier option, hands on sit bone)
• Exhale, lower your arms and bring your hands into your heart center in anjala mudra.
• Check for sensations.
EFFECTS: abdominal organs are toned and digestive juices increase while the liver and spleen are activated. Persons suffering from a bloating sensation in the abdomen or from gastric troubles will benefit by practicing these two asanas. (padahastasana, hand variation)

Prasarita Padottanasana (Prasarita means expanded, spread, extended. Pada means foot)
• Inhale, place hands on waist and spread the legs apart.
• Your legs should be at least a legs length apart or wider if you have a shorter torso.
• Check your alignment.
• Activate your legs but do not put pressure on your knees. Bring inner thighs up, engage the front of your thighs.
• The insides of your feet should be parallel or slightly pigeon toed.
• Inhale, bring your arms up or hands on your hips, or arms out to the sides.
• Exhale, bring your torso forward you head reaching to the front of the room.
• Come down with a flat back.
• Kick your but out as you extend forward.
• When your torso is parallel to the floor check your alignment, do not lose your connection.
• Pause when you are parallel to the floor for a few breaths.
• Bring your hands in between your feet.
• Elbows should be parallel with shoulders and wrists
• Your wrists should be directly underneath your shoulder.
• Inhale and raise the head up, keeping the back concave.
• Exhale, bend the elbows and reach the crown of your head to the floor. Do not put stress on any part of your body.
• Both feet and both palms should be in a straight line.
• Breathe deeply and evenly.
• Inhale, raise the head from the floor put your hands on your waist.
• Exhale and slowly come up. Check for sensations.

Eka Pada Pranamasana (Eka = 1, Pranam – salutation)
• Stand in Open gate
• Shift your weight slightly off the left foot, keeping the right foot very firm to the floor.
• Bend your right knee and slowly raise your foot with the assistance of your right hand.
• Your right heel should be placed close to your groin.
• The right sole of your foot is pressing firmly into the left thigh and toes should be pointing downwards.
• The right knee should be to the side and your hips should be squared.
• Your foot should be pressing into your inner thigh and your knee should be pointing outwards simultaneously in order to open the hips.
• Your spine in straight.
• Once you maintain balance place your hands in Anjali Mudra. Breathe.
• Fix your gaze straight ahead, not very intense. This is a peaceful posture.
• Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Breathe
• Slowly release your leg and check for sensations.

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)
• Stand in Open gate
• Shift your weight slightly off the left foot, keeping the right foot very firm to the floor.
• Bend your right knee and slowly raise your foot with the assistance of your right hand.
• Your right heel should be placed close to your groin.
• The right sole of your foot is pressing firmly into the left thigh and toes should be pointing downwards.
• The right knee should be to the side and your hips should be squared.
• Your foot should be pressing into your inner thigh and your knee should be pointing outwards simultaneously in order to open the hips.
• Your spine in straight.
• Once you maintain balance place your hands in Anjali Mudra. Breathe.
• Slowly raise your hands up over your head. Do not lose your connection. Breathe deeply
• Fix your gaze straight ahead, not very intense. This is a peaceful posture.
• Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Breathe
• Lower your arms and slowly release your leg and check for sensations.

Tadasana (Palm Tree)
• Stand in Open Gate
• Your feet can either be together or apart. If you want more balance keep them apart.
• If you are balance challenged you may stagger your feet, one in front of the other or try this pose against a wall
• Clasp your hand in front of you interlocking your fingers, make sure your thumbs don’t stick.
• Look down at your palms.
• Inhale and move your hands up with your breath, keeping your gaze focused on your hands.
• Once your hands pass your navel start to shift the weight onto your toes.
• At eye level flip your hands and raise them as high as you can without letting go of the clasp.
• Your weight should be on the balls of your feet, and put more pressure onto your big toes, don’t roll onto outer toes.
• Push into the ground. Use inner thighs to help balance, bring inner thighs into each other
• Drop your shoulders into your sockets.
• Make sure your pinky’s are still interlocked and push your hands toward the ceiling.
• Your arms should be straight.
• Check your three centers to make sure they are aligned.
• Stretch the whole body from top to bottom without losing balance or moving your feet.
• You should be looking at your hands as you breathe. The eyes should remain fixed on your hands throughout the asana.
• Exhale and slowly lower your hands as you shift the weight back onto your feet. Try and look at your hands as you release from the pose.
• Check your sensations.

Utthita Hasta Padangustasana (Utthita = extended, Hasta = Hands, Padangustha – big toes)
• Stand in Open Gate
• Root your left leg into the ground
• Place your left hand on your hip
• Bend you right leg up
• Try not to tilt forward, keep your alignment as you slide your right foot up.
• Use your index finger, middle finger and thumb to grab your big toe. If this is difficult grab the outside of the right foot
• Straighten the leg as best you can
• Put your shoulders back and to assist in pushing your shoulders back lift your leg higher, this will help you straighten your torso
• Make sure your pelvis is squared.
• (For beginners, just bring the knee up, hug your knee next to your chest, next step take hands away)
• Bring your leg back and gently bring it down
• Check sensations

Virabhadrasana III (Eka Padasana)
• Come to Open Gate Posture
• Inhale and raise your arms
• Drop your shoulders
• Shift the weight to your left leg, your inner foot is pressing firmly to the floor.
• Slowly brush your right leg off the floor as your torso comes forward, reaching for the wall.
• Teetor-totter (See-saw) down
• You should aim to have your entire torso and right leg in one straight line.
• Your hips should be parallel to the floor
• Toes should point downwards
• Stay in this posture long enough to be able to use your strength to come back up

Gaurudasana (Eagle Pose) Gauruda is a vehicle for Vishnu. Imitation of Pingala and Ida nadis merging at the third eye point.
• Open Gate
• Sit down
• Bend your right leg and twist it around your left leg.
• Do not force the twist at the cost of your knees.
• The right thigh should be in front of the left thigh and the top of the right foot should rest on the calf of the left leg.
• Bend the elbows and bring them in front of the chest.
• Twist the forearms around each other with the left elbow remaining below.
• Place the palms together to resemble an eagle’s beak.
• Slowly bend the left knee and lower the body until the tip of the right big toe touches the floor.
• Make sure you lift your torso up. And lift your elbows up
• Keep the eyes focused on a fixed point.
• Hold the final position for as long as possible.
• Raise the body and release the legs and arms.
• Look at the junction of the hands.
• Lift elbows off the heart, arms should not collapse into the chest.
• Concentrate on opening your shoulder blades.
• Gaze at your palms holding shambavi mudra
• Straighten up to release arms and legs from the pose
BENEFITS: strengthens muscles, tones the nerves and loosens the joints of the legs and arms. It relieves rheumatism.

Natarajasana (Lord Shiva’s dance)
• Stand upright with the feet slightly apart.
• Pivot your right foot at a 45 degree angle
• Lift up your left leg and bring it over so your left knee is facing right
• Bring your left hand across your chest leaving your hand lose with the palm and fingers facing down
• Your elbow should be just behind your left wrist and place your right hand into gynana mudra.
• Release out of the pose

Santolasana
• Sit in Vajrasana
• Stand up on the knees and place the palms of the hand on the floor beneath the shoulders
• Raise the buttocks and straighten the knees
• Move the shoulders forward and drop the buttocks until the body is straight, the arms should be vertical
• Focus the gaze on a fixed point in front at eye level
• Bring your right hand into the center
• Roll onto the right side so your chest is facing forward and you really want to squeeze your legs together
• Lift your pelvis up and bring your shoulders back
• You should be balancing on the outer edge of your right leg
• Either leave your hand on the side of your body or raise it up and gaze at your left fingertips

SURYA NAMASKAR
The Sanskrit name Surya (Sun) here refers to the Sun and Namaskara means ‘Salutations’. Surya Namaskara has been handed down from the enlightened sages of the Vedic Age. The sun symbolizes spiritual consciousness and, in ancient times, was worshipped on a daily basis. In Yoga the sun is represented by a channel of energy, the channel which carries the vital life-giving force. This dynamic group of Asanas is not regarded as being a traditional part of Hatha Yoga practices as it was added to the original Asana group at a later time. However, it is an effective way of loosening up, stretching, massaging and toning all the joints, muscles and internal organs of the body. It’s versatility and application make it one of the most useful methods of inducing a healthy, vigorous and active life while, at the same time, preparing for spiritual awakening and the resulting expansion of awareness.

Surya Namaskara is a complete Sadhana, spiritual practice, in itself for it includes Asana, Pranayama, Mantra and Meditation techniques. It is an excellent group of Asanas with which to start morning practice. Surya Namaskara has a direct vitalizing effect on the solar energy of the body which flows through important part of your body. Surya Namaskara is composed of three elements which are Form, Energy and Rhythm. The twelve Asanas are the physical matrix around which the form of the practice. These Asanas generate Prana, the subtle energy which activates the psychic body. Their performance, in a steady, rhythmic sequence, reflects the rhythms of the universe; the twenty-four hours of the day, the twelve zodiac phases of the year and the biorhythms of the body. The application of this form and rhythm to the body/mind complex generates the transforming force which produces a fuller and more dynamic life

The ideal time to practice Surya Namaskara is at sunrise, the most peaceful time of day. Whenever possible, practice in the open air, facing the rising sun. Sunset is also a good time to practice as it stimulates the digestive fire. Surya Namaskara, however, may be practiced at any time provided the stomach is empty .

Before commencing the practice, stand with the feet together or slightly apart, and the arms hanging loosely by the side of the body. Close the eyes gently and become aware of the whole physical body as one homogeneous unit. In this position the body may sway from side to side or backward and forward. Try to minimize this oscillation and balance the body weight equally on both feet. Bring the awareness inside the body and mentally begin to relax it. Starting from the top of the head, take the awareness systematically through all the parts, releasing any tension. Intensify , once more, the awareness of the whole physical body and feel in harmony with it. Take the awareness to the soles of the feet in contact with the floor. Feel that the whole body is being pulled downwards by gravity and that any tensions are being pulled down, through the body and into the ground. At the same time, experience the vital force surging up from the earth and flooding the whole being.

The practice of Surya Namaskara as a whole gives a great number of benefits. It stimulates and balances all the systems of the body, including the endocrine, circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems. Its influence on the pineal gland and the hypothalamus helps to prevent pineal degeneration and calcification. This balances the transition period between childhood and adolescence in growing children. Synchronizing the breath with the physical movements of Surya Namaskara ensures that the practitioner, at least for a few minutes daily, breathes as deeply and rhythmically as possible. This removes carbon dioxide from the lungs and replaces it with fresh oxygen, increasing mental clarity by bringing fresh, oxygenated blood to the brain. Surya Namaskara is the ideal practice to increase awareness and bestow good health and well being.

Dharmanidhi’s comments:
Surya Namaskar open us up to greater cosmology. It is a scientifically produced, efficient way of harmonizing on a cosmic energy level (ashtanga surya namaskar loses cosmic intent) It is a body prayer, most ancient form of yoga, the asana makes a mudra of the sun through this cycle, we can experience death and rebirth every time we perform it
We are enacting a cosmological cycle in space and can actively run off karma when we perform Surya Namaskar (when we say we burn karma that signifies we are still attached to it) 12 constellations go with 12 zodiac signs, right and left represents full cycle (light and dark) We must focus on the 2nd and 3rd chakra when we perform this. Signifies water coming under fire, symbolizes alchemy, which is how we can transform ourselves
We are all energy manifestations
DO NOT CONSTUCT AIRFLOW IN THE THROAT! You destroy the fruition of the poses when you perform ujay, it changes the flow of the energy channels
MOVEMENT FROM EACH POSTURE ORIGINATES FROM THE HIP/PELVIS
Position One: Pranamasana (prayer pose with elements of Open Gate)
– Remain standing upright with the feet together
– Slowly bend the elbows and place the palms together in front of the chest in namaskara mudra, mentally offering homage to the sun, the source of all life.
– Relax the whole body
Gaze: Eyes should be open without dualistic engagement (not taking in stimuli). If you are feeling heavy or dull look up. If you feel too active look down. When you are balanced look straight ahead.
Breathing: breathe normally
Awareness: Physical – on chest area, Spiritual – on anahata chakra
Mantra: Om Mitraya Namaha – Salutations to the friend of all
Beeja: Hram
Benefits: This pose establishes a state of concentration and calmness in preparation for the practice to be performed.

Position 2: Hasta Uttahanasana
– Raise and stretch both arms above the head
– Keep the arms separated, shoulder width apart
– Bend the head, arms and upper trunk backward
– Tuck the tailbone in
Gaze: Follow your thumbs ups invoking shambavi mudra
Breathing: Inhale while raising the arms.
Awareness: Physical – on the stretch of the abdomen and expansion of the lungs, Spiritual – on vishuddhi chakra
Mantra: Om Ravaye Namaha = saluations to the shining one
Beeja: Hraim
Benefits: This pose stretches all the abdominal organs and improves digestion. It exercises the arm and shoulder muscles, tones the spinal nerves, opens the lungs and removes excess weight.

Position 3: Padahastasana (hand to foot pose)
– Bend forward until the fingers or palms of the hands touch the floor on either side of the feet
– Try to touch the knees with the forehead
– Do not strain
– Keep the knees straight
Gaze: Groin/Navel
Breathing: Exhale while bending forward. Try to contract the abdomen in the final position to expel the maximum amount of air from the lungs.
Awareness: Physical – on pelvic region, Spiritual – on swadhistana chakra
Mantra: Om Suryaya Namaha = salutations to he who induces activity
Beeja: Hrum
Contra-indications: People with back conditions should not bend forward fully. Bend from the hips, keeping the spine straight, until the bend forms a ninety degree angle with the legs, or bend only as far as comfortable
Benefits: This pose is useful in eliminating or preventing stomach or abdominal ailments. It reduces excess weight in the abdominal region, improves digestion and helps to remove constipation. It improves blood circulation, makes the spine supple and tones the spinal nerves.

Position 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (equestrian pose)
– Place the palms of the hands flat on the floor beside the feet.
– Stretch the right leg back as far as possible, rest the knee on the ground
– At the same time, bend the left knee, keeping the left foot on the floor in the same position. Keep the arms straight. In the final position, the weight of the body should be supported on both hands, the left foot, right knee and toes of the right foot. The head should be tilted backward, the back arched and the inner gaze directed upward to the eyebrow center.
– Movement should be fluid
Gaze: Shambavi, look at the tips of your nose
Breathing: Inhale while stretching the right leg back.
Awareness: Physical – on the stretch from the thigh to the chest or on the eyebrow center. Spiritual – on the ajna chakra
Mantra: Om Bhanave Namaha = salutations to he who illumines
Beeja: Hraim
Benefits: This pose massages the abdominal organs and improves their functioning, strengthening the leg muscles and induces balance in the nervous system.
Practice note: In the final pose the palms of the hands should be flat on the floor initially. Later on, more advanced practitioners can come up on their fingertips.

Position 5: Parvatasana (mountain pose)
– Take the left foot back beside the right foot
– Simultaneously, raise the buttocks and lower the head between the arms, so that the back and legs form two sides of a triangle
– The legs and arms should be straight in the final position
– Try to keep the heels on the floor in the final pose and bring the head towards the knees.
– Do not strain.
Gaze: Navel
Breathing: Exhale while taking the left leg back
Awareness: Physical – on relaxing the hips or on the throat region, Spiritual – on vishuddhi chakra
Mantra: Om Khagaya Namaha = salutations to he who moves quickly in the sky
Beeja: Hraum
Benefits: This pose strengthens the nerves and muscles in the arms and legs. The spinal nerves are toned and circulation is stimulated especially in the upper spine, between the shoulder blades.

Position 6: Ashtanga Namaskara (salute with eight parts or points)
– Turn elbows inwards as you come down
– Lower knees, chest and chin to the floor
– In the final position only the toes, knees, hand and chin touch the floor simultaneously. If this is not possible, first lower the knees, then the chest, and finally the chin.
– The buttocks, hips and abdomen should be raised.
– (At the more advanced level you want to float into this pose)
Gaze: Shambavi or tips of your nose
Breathing: The breath is held outside in this pose. There is no respiration.
Awareness: Physical – on abdominal region. Spiritual – on manipura chakra
Mantra: Om Pushne Namaha = saluations to the giver of strength.
Beeja: Hraha
Benefits: This pose strengthens the leg and arm muscles, develops the chest and exercises the region of the spine between the shoulder blades.

Position 7: Bhujangasana
Float up from position 7 to 8, you want to tuck your stomach up and keep your groin on the floor
– You need to lower the buttocks and hips to the floor, Straightening the elbows, arch your back and push your chest forward into the cobra pose.
– Bend the head back and direct the gaze upward to the eyebrow center.
– The thighs and hips remain on the floor and the arm support the trunk.
– Unless the spine is very flexible the arms will remain slightly bent.
– Inhale while raising the torso and arching the back.
Gaze: Shambavi or up
Breathing: Inhale
Mantra: Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha
Beeja: Hram
Benefits: This pose keeps the spine supple, improving circulation in the back region and toning the spinal nerves. It tones the reproductive organs, stimulates digestion an relieves constipation. It also tones the liver and massage the kidneys and adrenal glands.

Position 8: Parvatasana (mountain pose)
Breathing: Exhale
Mantra: Om Marichaye Namaha
Beeja: Hrim

Position 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (equestrian pose)
Breathing: Inhale
Mantra: Om Adityaya Namaha
Beeja: Hrum

Position 10: Padahastasana (hand to foot pose)
Breathing: Exhale
Mantra: Om Savitre Namaha
Beeja: Hraim

Position 11: Hasta Utthanasana (raised arms pose)
Breathing: Inhale
Mantra: Om Arkaya Namaha
Beeja: Hraum

Position 12: Pranamasana (prayer pose)
Breathing: Exhale
Mantra: Om Bhaskaraya Namaha
Beeja: Hraha

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt)
• Make sure you should Kneel on the floor.
• Bring your big toes together and separate the heels.
• Lower the buttocks onto the inside surface of the feet with the heels touching the sides of the hips.
• Make sure to place your both hands on the knees, palms facing down.
• Your back and head should be straight but not tense.
• Avoid excessive backward arching of the spine.
• Close the eyes, relax the arms and the whole body and make sure that you are breathing normally.
Practice Vajrasana as much as possible, especially directly after meals, for at least five to ten minutes to enhance the digestive function. To really help with digestion, roll shoulders back, bring arms back, wrap right hand middle finger and thumb of right hand wrapping around left wrist.
Benefits: Vajrasana alters the flow of blood and nervous impulses in the pelvic region and strengthens the pelvic muscles. It is a preventative measure against Hernia and also helps to relieve piles. It increases the efficiency of the entire digestive system, relieving stomach ailments such as hyperacidity and peptic ulcer. It reduces the blood flow to the genitals and massages the nerve fibers which feed them, making it useful in the treatment of dilated testicles and hydrocele in men. It assists women in labor and helps alleviate menstrual disorders. Vajrasana is a very important meditation posture because the body becomes upright and straight with no effort. It is the best meditation Asana for people suffering from Sciatica and Sacral infections. It stimulates the Vajra Nadi, activates Prana in Sushumna and redirects sexual energy to the brain for spiritual purposes.

If there is pain in the thighs, the knees may be separated slightly while maintaining the posture. Beginners may find that their ankles ache after a short time in Vajrasana. To remedy this, release the posture, sit with the legs stretched forward and shake the feet vigorously one after the other until the stiffness disappears. Then resume the posture. A folded blanket or small cushion may be placed between the buttocks and the heels for added comfort.

Note: Vajrasana is used by other religious people like Muslims and Zen Buddhists as a position for prayer a meditation.

Check the flow of breath through the nostrils. If the air flow through the left nostril is predominant, then place the left big toe on top of the right big toe; if the right flow is predominant, place the right big toe on top. Sit in Vajrasana as described, This will help to balance the flow of the breath in the left and right nostrils. Separate the feet (not the knees) so that the big toes are about 30cm apart. Sit in Vajrasana with the buttocks flat on the floor. This stimulates Mooladhara chakra. Place a rolled up blanket on the floor between the legs. Separate the feet about Thirty centimeters.

Shashankasana (Moon Pose or Rabbit Pose)
• Sit in Vajrasana, placing the palms on the thighs just above the knees.
• Close the eyes and relax, keeping the spine and head straight.
• While inhaling, raise the arms above the head, keeping them straight and your shoulder width should apart.
• Exhale while bending the torso forward from the hips, keeping the arms and head straight and in line with the torso.
• Once sit bones come off your feet, engage your abdominals and soften your ribs and keep coming down and pushing your sit bones down to your heels and feet
• At the end of the movement, the hands and forehead should rest on the floor in front of the knees.
• Motion should come from the hip

This asana opens up the channels so if possible it should be done at the start of the practice. If possible, the arms and forehead should touch the floor at the same time. Bend the arms slightly so that they are fully relaxed and let the elbows rest on the floor. Hold the breath for up to seven seconds in the final position. Then, simultaneously inhale and slowly raise the arms and trunk to the vertical position. Keep the arms and head in line with the trunk. Breathe out while lowering the arms to the knees. This completes the round one of practice five to seven rounds more.

Beginners should slowly increase the length of time in the final position until they are able to hold it comfortably for at least four minutes. Those who wish to calm anger and frayed nerves should further increase the time to twelve minutes, breathing normally.

Not to be performed by people with very high blood pressure and slipped disc. This asana stretches the back muscles and separates the individual vertebrae from each other, releasing pressure on the discs. Often nerve connections emanating from the spinal cord are squeezed by these discs, giving rise to various forms of backache.

This posture helps to relieve this problem and encourages the discs to resume their correct position. It also regulates the functioning of the adrenal glands. It tones the pelvic muscles and the sciatic nerves and is beneficial for women who have an underdeveloped pelvis. It helps to alleviate disorders of both the male and female reproductive organs. Regular practice relieves constipation. When practiced with Ujjayi Pranayama in the final position, it helps to eliminate anger and is very cooling for the brain.

Note: The Sanskrit word Shashank means ‘Moon’. It is derived from two words: Shash meaning ‘Hare’ and Ank also meaning ‘Lap’. Furthermore, the moon symbolizes peace and calm,’ it emits soothing and tranquillizing vibrations. More simply, it is the position frequently adopted by hares and rabbits.

Supta Vajrasana (Sleeping Thunderbolt Pose)
• Sit in Vajrasana and close the eyes.
• Hold the right wrist with the left hand behind the back.
• Relax the whole body and close the eyes.
• Inhale and then, while exhaling, slowly bend the trunk forward from the hips so that the forehead rests on the floor.
• Remain in the final position for a comfortable length of time while breathing normally or deeply or in Ujjayi.
• Return to the starting position while inhaling.
• Sit in Vajrasana. Place the fists in front of the lower abdomen.
• Inhale and then, while exhaling, slowly bend forward until the forehead touches the floor.
• The fists will exert pressure on the lower abdominal organs.
• Retain the breath in the final position for as long as is comfortable. Inhale while raising the trunk and head.
• Practice three to four rounds.
• This variation massages and improves the efficiency of the intestines and digestive organs, relieving ailments such as constipation and excessive wind in addition to the benefits derived from the basic form of the practice.
• Sit in Vajrasana.
• Interlock the fingers of both hands behind the back.
• Breathe in deeply.
• Then, breathing out, move the head and trunk forward and rest the head on the floor.
• Simultaneously, raise the arms up and bring them as far forward as possible.
• Hold the breath out and slowly move the arms from side to side four times.
• Do not strain.
• Breathe in, raising the head and trunk and lowering the arms.
• This completes round one, practice three to six rounds.
• This variation releases tension in the upper back and neck muscles, bringing great relief to those who experience stiffness in this area.
• It also gives the benefits of the basic practice.

BADDHAKONASANA (FULL BUTTERFLY)
• Sit in the Base position.
• Bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together, keeping the heels as close to the body as possible.
• Make sure to relax the inner thigh muscles completely.
• Engage your butt muscle to bring your knees down.

Stage 1:
Clasp the feet with both hands. Gently bounce the knees up and down, using the elbows as levers to press the legs down. Try to touch the knees to the ground on the downward stroke. Please do not use any force. Practice up and down movements for forty to fifty times.
Stage 2:
Keep the soles of the feet together. Place the hands on the knees. Using the palms, gently push the knees down towards the floor, allowing them to spring up or coming back again. Please do not force this movement. Repeat this process forty to fifty times. Straighten the legs and relax.

Normal breathing, unrelated to the practice. On mental counting, movement and relaxation. People with sciatica and sacral conditions should avoid this asana.

Both stages prepare the legs for mastery of Padmasana and other meditative Asanas. The inner thigh muscles hold a lot of tension which is relieved by these Asanas. They also remove tiredness from long hours of standing and walking.

VARIATION FORE PEOPLE WITH TIGHT HIPS, OR BEGINNERS
• Sit against the wall (place whole back against the wall)
• Place a block in between your feet (change the placement of the block from narrow to widest) and push the soles of your feet together
• Once you place the block in between your feet push back against the wall and make sure your but is as close to the wall as possible. Straighten your spine.
• Lift pelvis, you made need a blanket under your but if your knees are too high but your hips do not want to be higher than your knees.
(If you want to assist in this asana push down on their hips)

EASY POSE (SUKHASANA)
• Sit with the legs straight in front of the body.
• Bend the right leg and place the foot under the left thigh.
• Bend the left leg and place the foot under the right thigh.
• Place the hands on the knees and make sure that the head, neck and back upright and straight, but without strain.
• Close the eyes and relax the whole body.
• The arms should be relaxed and not held straight.
• Sukhasana is the easiest and most comfortable of the meditation postures and it can be utilized without ill effect by persons who are unable to sit in the more difficult meditation postures.
• It facilitates mental and physical balance without causing strain or pain.
• Sukhasana is a relaxing posture which may be used after extended periods of sitting in Siddhasana or Padmasana.
• Although Sukhasana is said to be the simplest meditation posture, it is difficult to sustain for long periods of time unless the knees are close to the ground or on the ground.
• Otherwise most of the body weight is supported by the buttocks and backache develops.

For those who are extremely stiff, Sukhasana may be performed sitting cross-legged with a belt or around the knees and lower back. Hold the spine upright. Concentrate on the physical balance and equal weight on the right and left side of the body spacey feeling may be experienced.

HALF LOTUS POSE (ARDHA PADMASANA)
• Sit with the legs straight in front of the body.
• Bend one leg and place the sole of the foot on the inside of the opposite thigh.
• Bend the other leg and place the foot on top of the opposite thigh.
• Without straining, try to place the upper heel as near as possible to the abdomen.
• Adjust the position so that it is comfortable.
• Place the hands on the knees in either Chin mudra.
• Keep the back, neck and head upright and straight.
• Close the eyes and relax the whole body.

Those who suffer from Sciatica or Sacral ailments should not perform this Asana. Benefits of this Asana is same as for PadmAsana but at a reduced level.

LOTUS POSE (PADMASANA)
• Sit with the legs straight in front of the body.
• Slowly and carefully bend one leg and place the foot on the top of the opposite thigh.
• The sole of the foot should face upward and the heel should be close to the pubic bone.
• When this feels comfortable, bend the other leg and place the other foot on top of the opposite thigh.
• Both knees should ideally touch the ground in the final position.
• The head and spine should be held upright and your shoulders relaxed.
• Place the hands on the knees in chin and relax the arms with the elbows slightly bent and check that the shoulders are not raised or hunched.
• Close the eyes and relax your whole body and observe the total posture of the body.
• Make the necessary adjustments by moving forward or backward until balance and alignment are experienced.
• Perfect alignment indicates the correct posture of Padmasana.

Those who suffer from sciatica infections or weak or injured knees should not perform this asana. This asana should not be attempted until flexibility of the knees has been developed through practice of the pre-meditation Asanas. Padmasana allows the body to be held completely steady for long periods of time. It holds the trunk and head like a pillar with the legs as the firm foundation the body is steadied the mind becomes calm. This steadiness and calmness is the first step towards real meditation.

Padmasana directs the flow of prana from Mooladhara chakra in the perineum, to Sahasrara chakra in the head heightening the experience of meditation.
This posture applies pressure to the lower spine which has a relaxing effect on the nervous system. The breath becomes slow, muscular tension is decreased and blood pressure is reduced. This activity stimulates the digestive process.

ACCOMPLISH POSE FOR MEN (SIDDHASANA)
• Sit with the legs straight in front of the body.
• Bend the right leg and place the sole of the foot flat against the inner left thigh with the heel pressing the area midway between the genitals and the anus, sitting on top of the right heel.
• This is an important aspect of Siddhasana, Adjust the body until it is comfortable and the pressure of the heel is firmly applied.
• Bend the left leg and place the left ankle directly over the right ankle so that the ankle bones are touching and the heels are one above the other,
• Press the pubis with the left heel directly above the genitals, the genitals will, therefore, lie between the two heels.
• If this last position is too difficult, simply place the left heel as near as possible to the pubis,
• Push the toes and the outer edge of the left foot into the space between the right calf and thigh muscles.
• If necessary, this space may be enlarged slightly by using the hands or temporarily adjusting the position of the right leg.
• Grasp the right toes and pull them up into the between the left calf and thigh.
• Again adjust the body so that it is comfortable.
• The legs should now be locked, with the knees touching the ground and the left heel directly above the right heel.
• Make the spine erect and feel as though the body is fixed on the floor. Place the hands on the knees in Gyana or Chinmaya Mudra.
• Close the eyes and relax the whole body.
SiddhAsana should not be practiced by those with sciatica or sacral infections. SiddhAsana directs the energy from the lower psychic centers upward through the spine, stimulating the brain and calming the entire nervous system. The position of the lower foot at the perineum presses Mooladhara chakara, stimulating Moolabandha, and the pressure applied the pubic bone presses the trigger point for Swadhisthana automatically activating Vajroli/Sahajoli Mudra. These two, psycho-muscular locks redirect sexual nervous impulses back up the spinal cord to the brain, establishing control over the reproductive hormones which is necessary in order to maintain Brahmacharya for spiritual purposes.

Prolonged periods in Siddhasana result in noticeable tingling sensations in the Mooladhara region which may last for fifteen to twenty minutes. This is caused by a reduction in the blood supply to the area and by a rebalancing of the pranic flow in the lower Chakras. This posture redirects blood circulation to the lower spine and abdomen, toning the lumbar region of the spine the, pelvis and the abdominal organs, and balancing the reproductive system and the blood pressure.

Siddhasana may be performed with either leg uppermost. Many people experience discomfort due to the pressure applied where the ankles cross each other. If necessary, place a folded cloth or piece of sponge between the legs at this point. At first the pressure at the perineum may be uncomfortable to maintain but with practice this will be eased.

Note: The Sanskrit word Siddha means “Power” and “perfection”. The word Siddhi is derived from Siddha and refers to a Psychic Power or faculty developed through Yogic practice.

ACCOMPLISH POSE FOR WOMEN (SIDDHA YONI ASANA)
• Sit with the legs straight in front of the body.
• Bend the right leg and place the sole of the foot flat against the inner left thigh.
• Place this heel firmly against or inside the Labia Majora of the vagina.
• Adjust the body position so that it is comfortable while simultaneously feeling the pressure of the right heel.
• Bend the left leg and place the left heel directly on top of he right heel so it presses the clitoris, and wedge the left toes down into the space between the calf and thigh so they touch, or almost touch, the floor.
• Grasp the toes of the right foot and pull them up into space between the left calf and thigh.
• Again, adjust the position so that it is comfortable.
• Ensure that the knees are firmly on the ground and Make the spine fully erect and straight as though it were planted solidly in the earth.
• Place both the hands on the knees.

Note: The sanskrit word Yoni means ‘Womb” or “Source”

AUSPICIOUS POSE (SWASTIKASANA)
• Sit with the legs straight in front of the body.
• Bend the left knee and place the sole of the left foot against the inside of the right thigh, so there is no contact between the heel and the perineum.
• Bend the right knee and place the right foot in the space between the left thigh and calf muscle, so there is no contact between the heel and the pubis.
• Grasp the toes of the left foot and pull them up into the space between the right calf and thigh.
• Adjust the position so that it is comfortable.
• The knees should be firmly on the floor.
• Straighten the spine. Place the hands on the knees in chin.
• Sit with the legs straight in front of the body.
• Bend the left leg, place the sole against the inside of right thigh.
• Similarly bend the right leg and place the heel of the right foot on the floor in front of the left foot with the sole resting against the left shin.
• The heels will now be one in front of the other.
• The hands may be placed on the knees or they may be placed on the lap.
• Close the eyes and relax the whole body.

SwastikAsana should not be performed by people with sciatica or sacral infections. SwastikAsana is a healthy position to sit in especially for those suffering from varicose veins, tired and aching muscles or fluid retention in the legs. This is the easiest classical meditation Asana and is a simplified version of Siddhasana.

Note: Here the symbol of the Swastika represents the different corners of the earth and universe, the spokes, and their meeting point and common center of consciousness. This asana may be regarded as the one most favorable for realizing the unity of existence.

SALUTATIONS TO THE MOON
The word Chandra means Moon. Just as the Moon, having no light of its own, reflects the light of the sun, so the practice of Chandra Namaskara reflects that of Surya Namaskara. The sequence of Asanas is the same as Surya Namaskara except that Half Moon pose is performed after Equestrian pose. This posture develops balance and concentration which adds another dimension to the practice. Whereas the different positions of Surya Namaskara relate to the twelve zodiac or solar phases of the year, the fourteen positions of Chandra Namaskara relate to the fourteen lunar phases. In the lunar calendar the fourteen days before the full moon are known as Shukla Paksha, the bright fortnight, and the fourteen days after the full moon are known as Krishna Paksha, the dark fortnight. The name of each day introduces each asana and is used as a basis for learning the days of the lunar cycle. The lunar energy flows within and it has cool, relaxing and creative qualities. Similarly, the lunar mantras ascribed to this practice are those which glorify Devi, the female or lunar aspect of divinity.
It is advisable to learn Surya Namaskara before attempting Chandra Namaskara as the postures are the same for both, except for one extra pose. Chandra Namaskara is best practiced a night, especially when the moon is visible, or at dawn at the time of the full moon. Be aware of the different experience given by the changing aspects of the moon. When practicing at night ensure the stomach is empty. Before beginning Chandra Namaskara, a few moments should be allowed to prepare the body and mind.

Stand in the upright position with the feet together, the eyes closed and the arms at the sides. The weight of the body should be evenly distributed on both feet. Adjust the position if necessary. Try to observe any spontaneous movement of the body as it relaxes. Gradually become more aware of the natural flow of the breath with each inhalation and exhalation. Then include awareness of the movement in the body with the rhythm of the breath. Retain this awareness for a few moments. Slowly withdraw the awareness from the breath and become aware of the space between the eyebrows. Within this space, visualize the full moon in a clear night sky, shin in brightly upon the waves of the ocean. The full reflection of the moon penetrates the deep waters and the cool shade of moonlight catches the tops of the waves as they dance. See the image clearly and develop awareness of any feelings or sensations that are created in the mind and body.

The physical practice of the asana sequence is similar to Surya Namaskara. However, there is one extra Asana Half Moon Pose, which emphasize the link with the lunar energies set up by the preparatory visualizations. Also, in Chandra Namaskara the force of each Asana is changed subtly by the repetition of mantras related to the lunar energies.

You need to maintain the balance, raise your both the hands and bring your both of the palms together in front of your chest, forming Namaskara Mudra. Stretch both arms over the head, keeping the palms together. Arch the back and look up, raising the chin as high as possible.

There should be a gentle curve from the tips of the fingers to the tips of the toes, resembling a crescent moon. Hold the pose for a short time. Lower the hands to the chest in Namaskara Mudra, then, separating them, place the hands on each side of the left foot as in shown in Equestrian pose.

Inhale deeply while raising the arms, arching the back and bending the head back. Retain the breath inside while lowering the arms or start exhalation while lowering the arms. This practice develops a sense of balance and gives a good stretch through the front of the body.

TWISTING COBRA POSE (TIRYAKA BHUJANGASANA)
• First assume the final position of Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) with the legs separated about little.
• The toes should be tucked under and the heels raised, so that the foot rests on the ball of the foot.
• The head should be facing forward instead of bending backward as in Bhujangasana.
• Twist the head and upper portion of the trunk, and look over the left shoulder and try to see your heel of the right foot.
• Make sure that in the final position, the arms remain straight or slightly bent as the shoulders and trunk are twisted.
• In this position you will try to feel a diagonal stretch of the abdomen.
• Relax the back and keep the navel as close to the floor as possible and stay in the final position for a few seconds.
• Face forward again and repeat the twist on the other side without lowering the trunk.
• Return to the center and lower the body to the floor and this completes the practice round one.
• Make sure to inhale while raising your body.
• Retain the breath inside while twisting to both sides.
• Exhale while lowering to the floor.
• Make sure to at least complete four to five rounds at a stretch.
• As for Bhujangasana, with increased influence on the intestines.

The word Tiryaka means ‘Diagonal’ or ‘Triangular’ and is used because the gaze is directed over the shoulder diagonally across the back of the body to the opposite heel. The direction of the gaze also forms two sides of a triangle, while the width between the shoulders forms the base or third side. In this asana, when performed the breath is exhaled when twisting to the side.

FULL COBRA POSE (POORNA BHUJANGASANA))
• You should assume Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana).
• Holding the position, breathe in and out normally a few times.
• Bend the knees and raise the feet. Stretch the head, neck and shoulders back a little further and try to touch the back of the head with the toes or with the soles of your feet.
• This is the final position in which you have to be for some time.
• Hold yourself in this final position for as long as is comfortable.
• To return to the starting position, lower the feet and relax in Bhujangasana for a few moments.
• Release the pose and relax with the arms by the side of the body and the head turned to one side.
• Inhale while assuming Bhujangasana and Exhale while raising the feet to touch the head with the toes.
• Breathe normally in the final position.
• Exhale while returning to Bhujangasana and while returning to the prone position.
• One should at least do three to four rounds, gradually extending the duration in the pose.
• After completing each round, allow the respiration and heart beat to return to normal.
• This asana gives maximum benefits if preceded or followed by a forward bending asana.
• This variation is only suitable for adepts or children over the age of 12 with very supple backs.
• Benefits of this Asana are similar to Bhujangasana with increased levels.

SNAKE POSE (SARPASANA)
• You need to lie flat on the stomach with the legs straight and the feet together.
• Interlock the fingers and place the hands on top the buttocks and then place your chin on the floor, this is the starting position.
• Using the lower back muscles, raise the chest as far as possible from the floor.
• Push both of your hands further back and raise the arms as high as possible and
• Imagine that the arms are being pulled from behind.
• Try to raise the body as high as possible without straining.
• Squeeze your shoulder blades together and look forward, hold yourself in this position as long as is comfortable and then slowly return to the starting position and relax the whole body.
• Release the hands and relax the arms by the sides of the body and then turn your head to one side.
• Inhale deeply and slowly in the starting position prior to raising your body and then Exhale while lowering your body.

One needs to practice at least five to six rounds. People with heart conditions and high blood pressure should take care not to strain while performing this asana. Benefits of this Asana are basically the same as for Bhujangasana with increased influence on the chest.

In the final position the body weight is supported on the abdomen, pushing the diaphragm towards the chest. This, in turn, pressurizes the air within the lungs and helps to open out inactive alveoli, improving both the removal of carbon dioxide and the intake of oxygen. The heart is toned and strengthened by the massage it receives due to the increased pressure within the chest cavity. Snake pose is very useful for asthmatics. It also helps to release blocked emotions.

VARIATION
• Arms out in front like Superman, lift up
• Elbows come to the side in a right angle, arms are parallel to the ground with palms facing down
• Straighten arms back to the sides of the body
• Roll shoulders back and clasp hands, reach hands back and up

HALF LOCUST POSE (ARDHA SHALABHASANA)
• You should Lie flat on the stomach with the hands under the thighs, palms downwards or hands clenched.
• Keep both the legs straight throughout the practice and place the chin on the floor, slightly stretched forward, to give the best possible stretch to the neck muscles and nerves.
• Using the back muscles, raise the left leg as high as possible, keeping the other leg straight, relaxed and in contact with the floor.
• Retain the position for as long as is possible without strain and make sure not tilt or twist the pelvis. Lower the leg to the floor.
• Repeat the same movement with the right leg. This completes the first round process.
• Inhale in the starting position and retain the breath inside while raising the leg, and in the final position.
• Exhale while lowering the leg to the starting position.
• Make sure to do at least three to five rounds p to 5.
• This asana is recommended in yoga therapy for the management of sciatica and slipped disc if it can be performed without pain. It also alleviates constipation.

Now the left leg should be raised first so that pressure is applied on the right side of the abdomen to massage the ascending colon of the large intestine, following the direction of intestinal peristalsis. Lie on the stomach with the legs and feet together and the forehead touching the floor. Stretch both arms above the head in Advasana. Place the chin on the floor. Keep the arms and legs straight throughout the practice. Simultaneously, raise the left leg, the head and right arm as high as possible. The left leg should be stretched backwards and the right arm stretched forward as they are raised. Retain the position for as long as possible without straining. Lower the leg, head and arm to the starting position. Relax in Advasana, allowing the respiration to return to normal. Repeat the same movement with the right leg and left arm.

Inhale while raising the leg, arm and head. Retain while holding the position. Exhale while lowering the leg, arm and head to the starting position. Make sure to do at least four to five rounds. This asana is beneficial for beginners with weak and stiff backs as it helps to tone the back muscles and stimulate the nerves, particularly in the lower back, while simultaneously giving a strong diagonal stretch to the body. It develops concentration through awareness of coordination of movement with breath.

LOCUST POSE (SHALABHASANA)
• You should lie flat on the stomach with the legs and feet together and the soles of the feet uppermost.
• The arms may be placed either under the body or by the sides, with the palms downward or the hands clenched (fingers interlaced with index finger and thumbs extended).
• Roll shoulders under, shoulders should stay on the ground
• Stretch your chin slightly forward and rest it on the floor throughout the practice.
• Close the eyes and relax the body.
• This is the starting position and now slowly raise the legs as high as possible, keeping them straight and together.
• The elevation of the legs is produced by applying pressure with the arms against the floor and contracting the lower back muscles.
• Reach the leg back to the wall, the other leg is still active
• Hold yourself in this final position for as long as is comfortable without strain and then slowly tower the legs to the floor.
• This is the completion of the first round process.
• Return to the starting position and relax the body with the head turned to one side. Allow the respiration and heart-beat to return to normal.
• Inhale deeply in the starting position.
• Retain the breath inside while raising the legs and holding the position.
• Exhale while lowering the legs.
• Beginners may find it helpful to inhale while raising the legs.
• Advanced practitioners may exhale after returning to the starting position.
• Make sure to practice at least five to six rounds.
• This Asana requires a great deal of physical effort, so it should not be practiced by people with a weak heart, coronary thrombosis or high blood pressure.
• Those suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia, intestinal tuberculosis and other such conditions are also advised not to practice this asana.
• The parasympathetic nerves are particularly prominent in the regions of the neck and pelvis.
• This Asana (Shalabhasana) stimulates the whole autonomic nervous system.
• It strengthens the lower back and pelvic organs, and tones the sciatic nerves, providing relief for those with conditions such as backache, mild sciatica and slipped disc as long as the condition is not serious.
• It tones and balances the functioning of the liver and other abdominal organs, alleviates diseases of the stomach and bowels, and stimulates the appetite.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Having the mouth upwards dog, resembles dog stretching itself with head up in the air)
• From downward dog slide forward and roll your toes under so your hands and the tops of your feet are the only things touching the floor
• Make sure your legs are not collapsing on the floor, push your feet into the floor to help keep your legs up
• Lower the pelvis
• Tuck the tailbone down
• Roll shoulders up and down to bring them back in the sockets
• Bring awareness to the upper portion of the spine to alleviate lower back pressure
• Look up and lift up through your heart
• Push into the tops of your feet to help balance the pose and ensure that too much pressure is not being placed on your wrists
• The longer your arms are the more forward you can place them.
• To release slide back into downward dog

Bhujangasana
• Lie flat on the stomach with the legs straight, feet and arms together, forehead on the floor
• Place the palms of the hand flat on the floor, below and slightly to the side of the shoulders, in line with your chest.
• Fingers should be together and pointing forward
• The arms should be positioned so the elbows point backwards and are close to the sides of the body
• Rest the forehead on the floor and close the eyes
• Relax the whole body especially the lower back
• Slowly raise the head, neck and shoulders straightening the elbows raise the torso as high as possible, use your back muscles more than your arm muscles
• Be aware of using your back muscles first while starting to raise up then use your arm muscles to raise the torso further and arch the back
• Gently tilt the head backwards so that the chin points forward and the back of the neck is compressed
• Keep the pelvis on the floor and your naval should not raise higher than 2 inches (if you raise more than two inches then the bend is more in the knees than the back)
• The arms may or may not be straight, this will depend on the flexibility of your back
• Heart should reach forward, roll shoulders up, back and down
• Shambavi mudra
• Flare your ribs, breathe deeply, this helps tonify the kidneys
• To release slowly bring the head forward, release the upper back by bending the arms, lower the chest, shoulders and forehead to the floor, relax the lower back muscles

Bhujangasana (small muscle engagement)
• Lay flat on the ground on your stomach with your heels flopping outwards and relaxed.
• Your forehead is on the floor and your arms are alongside your body with your palms facing up.
• Relax your butt
• Slowly begin to lift your nose of the ground, then your chin and then gradually lift upper body.
• When your shoulders begin to lift up bring your hands alongside your chest.
• Almost no weight in your hands.
• Focus on using the small muscles between your vertebraes to lift
• As soon as you feel your but is getting tight consciously let it go

DHANURASANA (Bow Pose)
• You need to Lie flat on the stomach, move ribs out of the way, with the legs and feet together, and the arms and hands beside the body.
• Bend the knees and bring the heels close to buttocks, grab your ankles with your hands keeping the thumb and fingers together
• Place your chin on the floor, push the pelvis into the ground and lengthen the knees back.
• Tense the leg muscles and push the feet away from the body and then arch the back, lifting the thighs, chest and head together, keep toes together as you go up to help keep your knees together.
• Roll your shoulders back and push your feet into your hands and up to the ceiling
• Make sure to keep your arms straight. In the final position the head is tilted back and the abdomen supports the entire body on the floor.
• The only muscular contraction is in the legs; the back and arms remain relaxed.
• Hold yourself in the final position for as long as is comfortable and then, slowly relaxing the leg muscles, lower the legs, chest and head to the starting position.
• Release the pose and relax in the prone position until the respiration returns to normal.
• This is the completion of the first round practice.
• Inhale deeply in the starting position.
• Retain the breath while raising the body.
• Retain the breath inside in the final position or practice slow, deep breathing so that the body rocks gently in unison with the breath.
• Exhale while returning to the prone position.
• Practice at least four to five rounds.

Dhanurasana is ideally practiced after Bhujangasana and Shalabhasana and should be followed by a forward bending posture. It should not be practiced until at least three or four hours after a meal. People who suffer from a weak heart, high blood pressure, hernia, colitis, peptic or duodenal ulcers should not attempt this practice. This asana should not be practiced before sleep at night as it stimulates the adrenal glands and the sympathetic nervous system.

The entire alimentary canal is reconditioned by this asana. The liver, abdominal organs and muscles are massaged. The pancreas and adrenal glands are toned, balancing their secretions. The kidneys are massaged and excess weight is reduced around the abdominal area. This leads to be improved functioning of the digestive, eliminative and reproductive organs and helps to remove gastrointestinal disorders, dyspepsia, chronic constipation and sluggishness of the liver. It is recommended in yoga therapy for the management of diabetes, incontinence, colitis, menstrual disorders and, under special guidance, cervical spondylitis. It improves blood circulation generally. The spinal column is realigned and the ligaments, muscles and nerves are given a good stretch, removing stiffness. It helps correct hunching of the thoracic area of the spine. Dhanurasana is useful for relieving various chest ailments, including asthma, and for freeing nervous energy in the .cervical and thoracic sympathetic nerves, generally improving respiration.

HALF SPINAL TWIST POSE (ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA)
• You should sit with the legs stretched out in front of the body.
• Bend the right leg and place the right foot flat on the floor on the outside of the left knee.
• The toes of the right foot should face forward.
• Bend the left leg and bring the foot around to the right buttock.
• The outside edge of the foot should be in contact with the floor.
• Hug your right knee into your left armpit and move your belly out of the wayNow hold the right foot or ankle with the left hand, so that the right knee is dose to the left armpit.
• Sit up as straight as possible. Raise the right arm in front of the body and gaze at the fingertips.
• Slowly twist to the right, simultaneously moving the arm, trunk and head.
• Take short breaths in the upper chest
• Use the left arm as a lever against the right leg to twist the torso as far as possible without using the back muscles.
• Follow the tips of the fingers of the right hand with the gaze and look over the right shoulder and make sure not to strain the back.
• Bend the right elbow and place the arm around the back of the waist.
• The back of the right hand should wrap around the left side of the waist.
• Alternatively, it can be placed as high as possible between the shoulder blades with the fingers pointing up.
• This arm position enforces the straightness of the spine.
• Reverse the movements to come out of the posture and repeat on the other side.
• Inhale in the forward position.
• Exhale while twisting the torso.
• Breathe deeply and slowly without strain in the final position.
• Inhale while returning to the starting position.
• Practice once on each side, gradually increasing the holding time to one to two minutes on each side of the body or up to thirty five breaths.

This Asana should be performed after completing a series of forward and backward bending Asanas. It should be done towards the end of a practice because it can bring up the kundalini. Women more than two or three months pregnant should avoid this practice. People suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia or hyperthyroidism should only practice this pose under expert guidance. People with sciatica or slipped disc may benefit from this Asana, but great care should be taken.

This Asana simultaneously stretches the muscles on one side of the back and abdomen while contracting the muscles on the other side. It tones the nerves of the spine, makes the back muscles supple, relieves lumbago and muscular spasms, and reduces the tendency of adjoining vertebrae to develop Osteophytes. When practiced with care, it has proved beneficial for mild cases of slipped disc. Half Spinal Twist massages the abdominal organs, alleviating digestive ailments. It regulates the secretion of adrenaline and bile and is recommended in the yogic, management of diabetes. Under special guidance it is used for the yogic management of sinusitis, hay fever, bronchitis, constipation, colitis, menstrual disorders, urinary tract disorders and cervical sodalities, as long as it can be performed without any discomfort.

For beginners and those with stiff bodies the following adjustments to the position may be made. The leg that is placed by the side of the buttock should remain straight and the hand holding the ankle may be wrapped around the opposite thigh, hugging the knee to the chest.

Matsyendra Natha is the most famous an important of the gurus belonging to the sampradaya natha or Kampata yoga, he was born in Bengal at the end dwapara yuga (the third of the four cosmic ages (eras)). The legend says that as soon as he was born, he was thrown into the sea by his parents, because he was born under the influence of an extremely unfortunate nakshatra. Matsyendra was swallowed by a big fish that, while swimming nearby the shore, cane closer to the place where Siva was imparting the most secret teachings about yoga to Parvati. The child from the inside of the fish listened to the precious words of Siva, who, when noticed his presence, was very pleased by his devotion and initiated him to the mysteries of yoga.

MERU VAKRASANA
• You should sit with both of your legs outstretched.
• Turn the torso slightly to the right and place the right hand behind the body, close to the left buttock, with the fingers pointing backward.
• Now place the left hand behind and slightly to the side of the right buttock, as close as possible to the right hand.
• Bend the left knee and place the foot outside the right knee.
• Twist the head and trunk as far to the right as is comfortable, using the arms as levers, while keeping the spine upright and straight.
• The buttocks should remain on the floor.
• The right elbow may bend a little.
• Hold yourself in the final position, relaxing the back.
• Look over the right shoulder as far as possible.
• Re-center the trunk, relax for a few seconds and then twist again.
• Practice up to six times and then repeat on the other side.
• Inhale before twisting. Retain the breath inside while twisting.
• Exhale hale while re-centering.
Use a folded blanket if your hands do not reach the floor. This is an isolated spinal twist, good for people with tight hips. Spinal Twist is a preparatory Asana for Ardha Matsyendrasana and may be practiced after forward and backward bending Asanas and before inverted Asanas. People with severe back conditions, ulcers, hernias or other complaints of this nature, should not perform this Aasana. Spinal Twist stretches the spine, loosening the vertebrae and toning the nerves. It alleviates backache, neck pain, lumbago and mild forms of sciatica. It is a good Asana for beginners, preparing the back for the more difficult spinal twists.

Dandasana (Staff Pose)
• Sit on the floor with legs stretched straight in front of you.
• Place palms on the floor by your hips with fingers pointing towards the feet
• Keep back erect
• Press your hands into the floor but do not lift up
• Push chest forward and roll your shoulders back

Navasana (Boat)
• Sit in dandasana
• Bend your knees
• Recline your torso slightly back
• Lift heart up
• Stretch arms forward keeping them parallel to the floor and near the thighs
• Straighten legs
• Balance on your butt
• Engage inner thighs, squeeze them together
• Feet should be higher than your head

Navasana (variation, engages nadis appropriately)
• Lie flat on your back, raise your arms back above your head
• Lift your arms and legs at the same time, and contract your abdominals

Janu Shirsasana (Head to Knee Pose)
• Sit with legs stretched out in front of you
• Bend your left knee, move it to the left keeping your outer thigh and calf on the floor
• Have your left heel against your right inner thigh, try not to have both legs at a right angle push the bent leg back

Yoga Teacher Training
4/2/05
Why are you doing this training program?
Yoga is my passion. I really want to deepen my practice and make it not just an integral part of my life but my life. It is the only thing that intuitively makes sense to me. Yoga has changed my life and I want to spread and share that love and this life changing experience with others. I believe that I will eventually dedicate my life to yoga.
I want to learn everything I possibly can. I know that what I put into it is what I will get out of it and I intend to put my all into it. Deep down I know this is my destiny, it is what feels right in my heart. Yoga is about strengthening my relationship with the source. It is not just asana but a way of living. It is my life. It shows me how I can be truly compassionate, giving and always loving. I am willing to give EVERYTHING to this training program. I want to transform my life. I will be incredibly disciplined. This is it for me. Yoga is my calling. Yoga is the answer.

Class Notes
*Before class always ask about injuries
Yoga is everywhere, hatha yoga maintained in India probably because there were no invading cultures. Yoga seeded to planet by various celestial beings, maha siddhas, great deities. Ancient India consisted of Iran, Tajikastan, Kashmir, Tibet, all of the current Subcontinent, SE Asia, Southern China. Shamans used nature for healing. Cycles in nature are energetic patterns. Animate world, fire and water have consciousness. Yogis contact with cycles/patterns of energy. Asanas express cyclic energies of nature. Movement reflects nature’s energy, this is how yoga developed. The body was used by shamans as an antenna. Body harmonizes itself with nature through the postures. Oral tradition, certain postures activates certain energies, a blueprint for cosmology. Bhimpa→pratibimba = source →reflection, positions were refined over thousands of years. Consciousness changes when you change positions. Yogis show we are one consciousness duped by the senses. Shiva is the progenitor of yoga, represents forces of nature. Siddha = complete and accomplished
Siva = human being, compassionate benefactor
Sun salutation – align ourselves with the energy of the sun, 12 positions, 12 months, revolving around the sun
Enlightenment = unity with heaven and earth

The purpose of yoga is to realize your true nature. When yoga deviates from principles it is not yoga. If yoga is not to help you realize your true nature then it is not yoga. Yoga must be adaptable but retain its purpose.

In the 1800s it was exported to the UK and USA and Europe. Rama Krishna Paramahamsa aka Swami Vivekandana, world congress of religions. Yogananda Paramahamsa, Self Realization Fellowship (self realization attributed to Ramana Maharshi). Walter Baptiste 50’s and 60’s. Swami Satchinanda, Yogaville, Virginia

All beings get it when you get it

Krishnamacarya lived for 7 years near Mt. Kailasa. He was the guru of BKS Iyengar and Pattabi Jois.

It is about deepening our experience of the self. Advanced asanas not goal! Excellent practitioners who they are as yogis. Rishis = poor materially, rich spiritually. Realize your true self beyond body, beyond mind. No one has been successful with planting enlightenment based yoga in the west.

Tantra – expand or liberate energy
Kriya – meditation w/breathe and inner channels

4/6/05 – Dharmaniddhi’s Class Observation Notes
traditional mantras playing, smell of incense. Some students are meditating. D lowers music. Some students have placards with chants. D talks about blocks and says he will be in the middle so everyone can see him. Tells students to center themselves before they start chanting. Visualize white blue and red tear drops of essence. Chant 3 om;s ganapathy chant, d tells significance, sarasvati chant and then guru shakti call and response teacher student prayer om sahana…after chants silence. Erath mudra. D talks about history of yoga before asana and talks disparagingly about gym yoga. Impt of home practice, get into a mentality. Education based studio, take it home, take it with you. Sequencing normal, class emphasis on neck. Fierce posture – uttkatasana. Feet parallel judging by inside line much more than squat, asana for the whole body. D breaks down the pose, core channels straight, reminds students about alignment, talks while demonstrating, pull up ribs while you breathe deeply. D makes adjustments, reminds students to watch their knees and feet. Anjali mudra, breaks down meaning of dhristi, external and internal eye. Uttkatasan is fierce because it is a concentration so powerful it cuts through everything and brings the mind into one pointedness. Tadasana – side chanls, talks intricacies about posture. Press with right foot talks as he goes through the posture. Tirayaka tadasana. Sounds of Sanskrit relate to charkas and nadis. Change grip. Fwd bend, extending and reaching to the wall, deep breathing. D makes adjustments. Chaturanga – using blocks. Yoga from wrestling pits. Engage legs and back. D talks about our disrelationship with time. We are frustrated with always pushing the clock. Animal asanas – drain our frustration from our 3rd eye in child’s pose. Breathe and hold. Alignment.

Yoga is about what you can feel not what you can do.

Adi yoga, primordial yoga. Neck strengthening exercises, talks about danger of doing asanas before you have the proper strength ready to do the asana. Use corner of blanket for support, after neck exercises backbends. Savasana – zero effort, no effort whatsoever, breathe, lips should be slightly parted if you are really relaxed. Facial features should unwind. D checks attendance, let eyes unwind, prana harmonize. Surrender, reset is very impt. He chants while students are in savasana with mudras. Shantipat mantra chanted as a class.

Sanskrit Class 4/6/05 – Notes
Devanagiri – abode of gods, city of gods
Deva = gods, shining ones
Nagiri = city
Sanskrit was consciously developed, refined by human seers, magical language
Ritual Class 4/6/05 – Notes
Two ways to perform ritual – 1. Water (compassion, passive) 2. Fire (powerful, masculine it is the element not just an expression of it)
Using elements – express water element in ritual
Connections – be one of a connecter and harmonizer, balance between nature and unseen forces.
Shift our understanding – refining and harmonizing our relationships, we have lost our role as communicators between heaven and earth
Ritual – understanding time, proper relationship to time, body rejuvenates
Express our unity of body, speech and mind, ritual is not about us, it is about how we fit in.
Yoga is a body prayer synchronizing yourself with the universe. Invoking your inner feeling that connects to animals and nature. The practice is not about you, it is a universal experience.

For a good ritual there should be at least 3 priests fulfilling body, speech and mind, each function of BMS

Body – Activity. Samskara – psychic impression, deep impression. Alignment, motive, impeccability, concentration and focus, 3 centers aligned each movement, efficient. Sisposition = bhava
Speech – mantra = seal, protect mind, expand energy man means mind. State of energy, patterning biophysical name and form go together, how the energy body forms at every moment.
Mind – imagining, visualizing not in disorganized fantasy. Svasti = welfare sanatanasharma = ever the way, was to harmonize ourself with the essence of things. We are nothing but time itself. Manifestation itself is time, sunya – sakti maya = to measure and understand it correctly, understand the illusion through ritual we harmonize with time, time experienced directly cannot be controlled or understood.

When you want nothing you gain everything.

Week One Asana Review
– Open Gate, Tadasana, Samasthiti: feet should be grounded, 3 centers aligned, shrug shoulders up and then down to get correct alignment, breathe deep, focus

– Tiryaka Tadasana (swaying palm tree pose) – subtle rotation of the hip and torso allows you to go further. Do not arch back, stance varies depending on balance and stability. “fix gaze on a point directly in front. Interlock fingers and turn palms outward. Inhale and raise the arms over the head. While exhaling bend to the left side from the waist. Do not bend forward or backward or twist the trunk. Hold the position for a few seconds while retaining the breathe outside. Inhale and slowly come to an upright position. Repeat on the right side. From the upright position exhale while bringing the arms down to the sides. AWARENESS in this pose should be on the breathe synchronized with the movement, the stretch along the side of the body, keeping balance, and keeping the head and body facing forward without twisting. BENEFITS of this pose massages and loosens and exercises sides of the waist. It balances the left and right groups of postural muscles. VARIATION can include balancing on the toes in this practice. The fingers may be interlocked with the palms facing downward or turned upward.

-Virabhadrasana II (auspicious hero pose, vira means hero and bhadra means auspicious) – concentrated and directed gaze. Sensation from hand to hand through the heart. Gaze over fingers, knee should not turn in our out, back leg pushes into the earth. Core straight up and down. Sink pelvis toward the floor and let the knee glide forward to accommodate. Pull like feet will tear apart the mat, about a legs length apart. Roll hip to shorten stance. Notes from LOY: Stand in Tadasana, take a deep inhalation, and with a jump spread the legs apart sideways in line with the shoulders, palms facing down. Turn the right foot sideways 90 degrees to the right and the left foot slightly to the right keeping the left leg stretched out and tightened at the knee. Stretch the hamstring muscles of the left leg. Exhale and bend the right knee till the right thigh is parallel to the floor keeping the right shin perpendicular to the floor, thus forming a right angle between the right thigh and the right calf. The bent knee should not extend beyond the ankle, but should be in line with the heel. Stretch out the hands sideways as though two persons are pulling you from opposite ends. Turn the face to the right and gaze at the right inner palm. Stretch the back muscles of the left leg fully. The back of the legs, the dorsal region and the hips should be in one line. Stay in this pose from 20 seconds to half a minute with deep breathing. Turn the left foot sideways 90 degrees to the left and the right foot slightly to the left, flex the left knee and continue on the left, reverse process. EFFECTS: though this pose the leg muscles become shapely and stronger. It relieves cramps in the calf and thigh muscles, brings elasticity to the leg and back muscles and also tones the abdominal organs. Mastery of the standing poses prepares the pupil for the advanced poses in forward bending which can be acquired with ease.

– Virabhadrasana I – notes from LOY: stand in tadasana. Raise both arms above the head; stretch up and join the palms. Take a deep inhalation and with a jump spread the legs apart. Exhale and turn to the right, simultaneously turn the right foot 90 degrees to the right and the left foot slightly to the right. Flex the right knee till the right thigh is parallel to the floor and the right shin is perpendicular to the floor, forming a right angle between the right thigh and the right calf. The bent knee should not extend beyond the ankle, but should be in line with the heel. Stretch out the left leg and tighten at the knee. The face, chest and right knee should face the same way as the right foot. Throw the head up, stretch the spine from the coccyx and gaze at the joined palms. Hold pose for 20 seconds to half a minute with normal breathing. Repeat on left side reversing all processes. EFFECTS: In this pose the chest is fully expanded and this helps deep breathing. It relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back, tones up the ankles and knees and cures stiffness of the neck. It also reduces fat around the hips.

– Uttanasana (Deliberate intense stretch, lengthening in pose) – LOY notes: Ut is a particle indicating deliberation, intensity. Ther verb tan means to stretch, extend, lengthen out. In this asana the spine is given a deliberate and intense stretch. Stand in tadasana, keeping the knees tight. Exhale, bend fwd and place the fingers on the floor. Then place the palms on the floor by the side of the feet, behind the heels. Do not bend the legs at the knees. Try to hold the head up and stretch the spine. Move the hips a little forward towards the head so as to bring the legs perpendicular to the floor. Remain in this position and take two breathes. Exhale move the trunk closer to the legs and rest the head on the knees. Do not slacken the grip at the knees but pull the knee-caps well up. Hold this position for a minute with deep and even breathing. Inhale and raise the head from the knees but without lifting palms from the floor. After two breathes take a deep inhalation, lift hands from the floor and come back to Tadasana. EFFECTS: This asana cures stomach pains and tones the liver, the spleen and the kidneys. It also relives stomach pain during menstrual periods. The heart beats are slowed down and the spinal nerves rejuvenated. Any depression felt in the mind is removed if one holds this pose for more than two minutes. The posture is a boon to people who get excited quickly as it soothes the brain cells. After finishing the asana one feels calm and cool, the eyes start to glow and the mind feels at peace.
– Ardha Uttanasana (arda means half) similar to Samokasana (same angle pose/right angle pose) – stand with the feet together and the arms by the sides. Raise the arms straight above the head. Bend the wrists so that the fingers are pointing fwd. allow the hands to hang limp. Arch the back slightly pushing the buttocks out a little. Slowly bend fwd at the hips, keeping the legs straight until the back is horizontal and forms a right angle with the legs. Keep the head, neck and spine in a straight line. Look fwd. hold the final position up to five seconds. Slowly return to upright position with the arms, head and back in a straight line. Lower the arms. BREATHING: Inhale while raising the arms above the head. Exhale while bending forward. Hold the breathe in the final position. Inhale while raising the trunk. Exhale while lowering the arms. AWARENESS: Physical, on the movement, keeping the spine straight and maintaining balance. Spiritual on anahata chakra. BENEFITS: This asana works specifically on the upper back directly behind the chest. It rectifies spinal curvature tension and poor posture. come fwd and hold to make sure thighs and but are engaged. To experience the asana place your hand underneath their forehead. Don’t kick elbows out, elongate check. Head should be lifted up a bit.

4/9/05 Class Notes
– Uttihita Trikonasana (Uttihita means extended, stretched. Trikona, tri = three; kona = angle) Stand in Tadasana. Inhale deeply with a jump spread apart the legs sideways 3-3 ½ feet. Raise arms sideways in line with the shoulders, palms facing down. Keep the arms parallel to the floor. Turn the right foot sideways 90 degrees to the right, turn the left foot slightly to the right keeping the left leg stretched from the inside and tightened at the knee. Exhale and bend the trunk sideways to the right, bringing the right palm near the right ankle. If possible the right palm should rest completely on the floor. Stretch the left arm bringing it in line with the right shoulder and extend the trunk. The back of the legs, the back of the chest and the hips should be in a line. Gaze at the thumb of the outstretched left hand. Keep the right knee locked tight by pulling up the knee cap and keep the right knee facing the toes. Remain in this position from half a minute to a minute breathing deeply and evenly. Then lift the right palm from the floor. Inhale and return to original position and repeat on left. EFFECTS: This asana tones up the leg muscles, removed stiffness in the legs and hips, and corrects any minor deformity in the legs and allows them to develop evenly. It relieves backaches and neck sprains strengthens the ankles and develops the chest.

– Utkatasana (Fierce Pose) – stand in tadasana, stretch the arms straight over the head and join the palms. Exhale, bend the knees and lower the trunk till the thighs are parallel to the floor. Do not stoop fwd but keep the chest as far back as possible and breathe normally. Stay in the pose for a few seconds. EFFECTS: The pose removes stiffness in the shoulders and corrects any minor deformities in the legs. The ankles become strong and the leg muscles develop evenly. The diaphragm is lifted up and this gives a gentle massage to the heart. The abdominal organs and the back are toned and the chest is developed by being fully expanded.

– Padagusthasana (pada means foot, angustha is the big toe) Stand in tadasana . spread legs a foot apart. Exhale, bend fwd and hold the big toes in between the thumbs and the first two fingers so that the palms face each other. Hold them tight. Keep the head up, stretch the diaphragm towards the chest and make the back as concave as possible. Instead of stretching down from the shoulders bend fwd from the pelvic region to get the concave shape of the back from the coccyx. Keep the legs stiff and do not slacken the grip at the knees and toes. Stretch the shoulder-blades also. Take one or two breathes in this position. Now exhale and bring the head in between the knees by tightening the knees and pulling the toes without lifting them off the floor. EFFECTS: abdominal organs are toned and digestive juices increase while the liver and spleen are activated. Persons suffering from a bloating sensation in the abdomen or from gastric troubles will benefit by practicing these two asanas. (padahastasana, hand variation)

– Prasarita Padottanasan (Prasarita means expanded, spread, extended. Pada means foot) inhale, place hands on waist and spread the legs apart. Tighten the legs by drawing up the knee caps, exhale and place the palms on the floor in line with the shoulders between the feet. Inhale and raise the head up, keeping the back concave. Exhale, bend the elbows and rest the crown of the head on the floor keeping the weight of the body on the legs. Do not throw the body weight on the head. Both feet, both palms should be in a straight line. Stay in pose for half a minute breathing deeply and evenly. Inhale, raise the head from the floor and straighten the arms at the elbows. Keep the head well up by making the back concave.

Notes 4/9/05 (Abhimanyu)
Vritis (mind) dictate how we breathe. Breathe pattern dictated by mental and emotional bodies. Benefits of breathing: increased oxygen, rehydrates tissue, detoxes other bodies, inhalation is only as good as your exhalation. Balancing left and right channels. Build better digestive systems through breathing practices. Re-patterning helps with respitory illness. Prana is found everywhere.

Notes 4/16/05 (Dharmanidhi)
1. sravana – listening
2. mananan – think on it, why?
3. niddhyasana – apply it to life?
4. prasna – questions
if you follow the first 3 steps you should have questions

bhija (seed) pithy, condensed. One syllable reps something greater (bhija mantras) male reproductive cell, retas – male sexual potency

You should first teach natural breathing, then yogic breathing, (whole body breathes), then nadi shodhana, finally ujayi. You should make an effort to inhale but never to exhale. Pranayama uses a different part of the brain. We are always infused with prana. Other beings live on our excretory prana, you must be attuned to the energy prana carries. Conscious involvement in breathe to awaken pranic body (ananda kaya).

IF YOU PRACTICE YOGA BUT FAIL TO AWAKEN THE ENERGY BODY YOU’VE MISSED THE BOAT!!!

Between asanas you must check energy and mechanics. To awaken the energy body you first must teach the proper mechanics.

Krishnamacarya, used ujai to remember to breathe. Ujayi over activates the right nadi. Ujai should be used for cleansing the body and should not be heard by the neighbor. Toungue should be on the roof of mouth and it should be very subtle. Yoga should only heal.

Pingala nadi is the right nadi/channel: solar, warm, extroverted, dynamic, physical activity, masculine, pitta. Ida nadi is the left nadi: lunar, cool, introverted, mental intuitive, feminine. Nostrils are gateways into the nadis.

Dhara – to fix in one place. Prana from the uiniverse, emanates from the muladhara chakra which is the root chakra. Ajna is the commander, controller, inner guru.

Whole game changes when you initiate awareness. When the frontal cortex takes over from the medulla oblongata and makes you aware.

Diff things happen to diff channels when we inhale and exhale. The lengths of our inhale and exhale must correspond. Prana runs our body and mind. When you practice incorrectly with breathe you are directly damaging the prana body. Dangerous forms of exercise we call yoga damage the body.

No duality with breathe.

Five elements: earth, water, fire, space, wind. Modern from classical. No props pre-iyengar. If you don’t get into a pose then it doesn’t matter. Anywhere you are in the posture is the posture, speaks to our western nature of rushing to try and get into a posture before we are ready.

Rather than you getting into the asana, the asana opens you up.

MUST ROTATE THROUGH METAL CUES WHILE KEEPING BREATH CONSTANT

Standing postures create an up and down energy where all nadis are used and savasana uses all the nadis through total relaxation.

In open gate you must line up all of your centers and be relaxed, energy should flow and create blissfulness. Think of planting a nadi when you plant your foot. In open gate you are marrying heaven and earth with your heart. Form of concentration when we lose our balance it has to deal with fear. If you breathe deeply then you lessen your fear and get better balance.

ADJUSTMENTS
Your student will miss subtleties if you adjust them, they need to gain self knowledge. And have intelligence in each posture, you could potentially take away their intelligence. The difference between yoga and exercise is MOTIVE. First postures are the most impt, revealed system of knowledge, heart is the real mind.

Medulla oblongata is the instinctive part of the brain that controls breathing, shifts to frontal cortex when we practice awareness.

CUING –

OPEN GATE, TADASANA, SAMASTHITI: 3 centers are in line stacked on top of each other. Center of forehead and chin are in a straight line with your treasure chest, bhaga marma. From the side you are lined up. Opens energy. Don’t strain yourself, grow into the posture. Tuck your sacrum under so there is a bit of open space between the lombar and sacrum. Remember to breathe fully through your lips and practice radial breathing.

TIRAYAKA TADASANA – in open gate clasp your hands and breathe in as you raise your hands. Breathe as you raise up and reach from your bhaga marma. Exhale whichever way you go and turn your palsm outward at your eye level. This is an elongation exercise. Reach to the wall, not down, do not collapse on your right side. Move consciously bending forward through your backside until you reach the wall. Push up, place your legs apart if you need to develop balance. Make sure your shoulders do not pinch back. Stay in one place as if you are placed between two panes of glass.

VIRA II – breathe up as you raise your hands, exhale as you turn your head. 3 centers, involve pulling together legs, be active! Exhale knee stretching out towards feet, use hamstrings to come up. Pick up foot, roll open and place it down. Now your hip is open. Keep things in engaged and spiral in. ALWAYS keep 3 centers aligned.

UTTKATASANA – lift ribs, gives grace.

PADAGUSTASANA – Bring upper body down, crown towards floor sacrum towards ceiling. Shoulders away from ears, elbows spun out.

BHAVASAN – evokes a feeling in the asana.

Mudras and bandhas redirect the flow of energy through the body through subtle means.
Meena Srinivasan
YTT – Module #3 Study Questions

1. List the contraindications for the surya namaskar series:

The practice of Surya Namaskar should be immediately discontinued if a fever, acute inflammation, boils or rashes occur. These may develop due to excess toxins in the body. When toxins have been eliminated, the practice should be resumed. Surya namaskara should not be practiced by people suffering from high blood pressure, coronary artery diseases, or by those having a stroke, as it may over stimulate or damage a weak heart or blood vessel system. It should be avoided in cases of hernia or intestinal tuberculosis. People with back conditions should consult a medical expert before commencing this practice. Although some back conditions may be alleviated by this practice, conditions such as slipped disc and sciatica will be better managed through an alternative asana program. During the onset of menstruation, this practice should be avoided. If there are no adverse effects, the practice may be resumed after the initial flow or towards the end of the period. During pregnancy it may be practiced with care until the beginning of the twelfth week. Following childbirth, it may be commenced approximately forty days after delivery for re-toning the uterine muscles.

2. List the specific contraindications for:
a. Shashankasana – Should not be performed by people with high blood pressure, slipped disc or those who suffer from vertigo
b. Supta Vajrasana – Should not be performed by people suffering from sciatica, slipped disc, sacral ailments, or knee complaints.
c. Baddha Konasana –
d. Tiryaka Bhujangasana – People suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia, intestinal tuberculosis or hyper thyroidism should not practice this asana without expert guidance.
e. Dhanurasana – weak heart, high blood pressure, hernia, colitis, peptic ulcers, do not do this asana at night because it stimulates adrenal glands

3. List 3 methods of sapeksha dhyanam:

Meditation with form and attribute.
– Trataka, meditate on any object

4. When we perform the opening chants to Ganesha, Sarasvati and the Gurus, are we worshipping them? Yes or No

Yes and No, we are invoking their energies and also paying our respect.

5. What does “sida sadanam” from the Ganesha chant mean?

Do listen to our prayers, come with your blessings and assurances of protection into our home, and be seated.

6. Why do we always perform the teacher-student prayer before class?

To set the tone for our practice, to harmonize relationship between student and teacher and provide a good space. “Om. May He protect us both. May He help us both to enjoy the fruits of scriptural study. May we both exert together to find the true meaning of the sacred text. May our studies be fruitful. May we never quarrel with each other. Om Peace! Peace! Peace!”

7. Why do we chant the Shanti Path mantras after class?

To share the fruits of our practice with all beings.

8. What does “shanti” mean, and what is the significance of chanting it 3 times at the end of the teacher-student prayer and Shanti Path mantras?

Shanti means peace, we chant bit 3 times to invoke peace in all of the 3 realms.

9. In general, how do twisting asana affect us:
a. Physically: The twist imposed on the spine and the whole trunk exercises the muscles, makes the spinal column more flexible and stimulates the spinal nerves. It also has a strong influence on the abdominal muscles, alternately stretching and compressing them as the body twists from one direction to the other. Beginners must be careful not to twist the trunk more than flexibility will allow. Most of the spinal twist Asanas enhance the Pranic flow in the Samana region, around the navel. This nourishes organs such as the pancreas, kidneys, stomach, small intestines, liver and gall bladder and also relieves associated disorders and rejuvenates the tissues generally. These Asanas, therefore, have a strong effect on total health and vitality.
b. Energetically: On the emotional and psychic levels, controlled twisting represents a means of managing the knots and problems of life. For many people, life seems complicated and their problems appear too difficult to solve. These Asanas give an insight and inspire a systematic approach to untying the tangled knots of life.

10. What does the phrase “nishesha jadya paha” from the sarasvati chant mean?

Remove the heaviness and dullness from my consciousness

11. What muscle groups can limit back bending postures via their shortness?

Abdominals

12. Which hip flexor muscle crosses both the knee joint and the hip joint?

Sartorius

13. If you are in deep hip flexion such as in ashwa sanchalanasana and you attempt to raise the back foot to your buttocks, (flexion of the knee joint) without lifting the pelvis or bending the torso forwards:
a. Which muscle group is being stretched directly via the bending of the knee?
Quadriceps
b. Which muscle group is being stretched indirectly? And how?
Hamstrings, buttocks

14. In ashwa sanchalanasana with the left foot forward, what happens if I allow myself to use poor form letting my right hip go backwards (no longer square with the shoulders) and my right knee and leg rotate externally? (circle one)
a. The gupta nadi becomes more active than the nadi running over the front of the thigh which helps regulate metabolism and the descent of celestial energy down the front of the body.
b. The stretch of the hip flexors is relaxed and the adductors (muscles that move the femur toward the mid-line of the body) are stretched.
c. The tensor fascia late (ITB) does not receive stretch
d. All of the above

15. The two main functions of testosterone are to increase libido and aggression. What practice is important for the transition from boys to men to regulate and integrate increased levels of testosterone and sexual differentiation? Why?

Surya Namaskara influences the pineal gland and the hypothalamus to prevent pineal degeneration and calcification. This balances the transition period between childhood and adolescence in growing children.

16. What practice should girls practice on the cusp of becoming women? Why?

17. Hatha Yoga can be practiced either as a normal part of daily health and hygiene cultivator or as an enlightenment path.

18. Enlightenment in non-dual Tantra is not achieved but expressed. Following the path of Hatha Yoga to express our enlightenment results in a bodily transformation known as the VAJRA DEHA which means immutable or adamantine body.

19. The Prakasha kaya is the end result of alchemical Hatha and Kriya Yoga. All the mahasiddhas attained the Prakasha kaya via their inner alchemy of charkas, channels and kundalini. What is the Prakasha Kaya? What occurs during its expression?

Prakasha Kaya occurs when one light bodies and attains immortality. Rainbows, smell changes, only initiates hear this sound.

20. The Hatha Yoga practitioner is on the Path of “Embodying Enlightenment” what does this mean?

They seek to represent in bodily form enlightenment through all aspects of their self and their actions, releasing their true nature by activating ones energy body.

21. What does “ashwa sanchalanasana” mean, what is it, and where is it used? How would you use “ashwa sanchalanasana” to stimulate ida nadi?

It means “equestrian pose” and is used in surya namaskar, pose number four. If you start on your left side then you stimulate the ida nadi.

22. List the types of props or assistance used with the following asanas, then describe the benefits that the use of props or assistance created:
a. Sarpasana: use a bolster under ankles to help engage our thighs
b. Dhanurasana: bolster under chest to help focus on the lower body muscles
c. Navasana: someone can kneel between a students leg and student squeezes the inner thighs and try to lift the heart at the same time
d. Baddha Konasana: use a block in between soles of feet and the wall
e. Parvatasana: strap can be wrapped around the sit bones and the thighs to open the sit bones up and rotate the thighs

23. What is the difference between the full mantras of Surya Namaskar and the bija mantras?

As an alternative to the 12 names of the sun there is a series of beeja mantras or seed syllables. Beeja mantras do not have any literal meaning but set up powerful vibrations of energy within the mind and body. The beeja mantras are six in number and are repeated consecutively four times in a round of surya namaskara. The full mantras have meaning.

24. What does Yoga Nidra mean?

Many people in the East and the West are attracted to Yoga Practices, for they think they can find solution to every problem therein; be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual! Much importance is attached to relaxation techniques that one thinks might help a person in easing the tension caused due to chronic stressful life style. Yoga Nidra is one such wonderful technique, not only for physical or mental relaxation but also for preparing the mind for spiritual discipline. It concerns mainly with pratyahara (withdrawing senses form sense-objects) and dharana (concentration).

It is to be understood that ordinary sleep is not relaxation, for tensions cannot always be resolved completely in ordinary sleep. Yoga Nidra is qualitatively different relaxation. It is a ‘sleep’ where all the burdens are thrown off to attain more blissful state of awareness, a relaxation much more intense than ordinary sleep.

As Swami Satyananda Saraswati (Preface to “Yoga Nidra”, 1982, Bihar School of Yoga, Monghyr, Bihar, India) says:

‘When awareness is separate and distinct from vrittis – mental modifications, when waking, dream, and deep sleep pass like clouds, yet awareness of Atman remains, that is the experience of total relaxation. That is why, in Tantra, Yoga Nidra is said to be the doorway to samadhi!’

Neuro-physiologic Basis

There is no question about the close relation between the body and the brain. Various centers in the brain control, modify, and affect our bodily functions. In fact, there is a center in the brain for every act, whether willful or reflex, physical or mental. Experimental data have identified many such specific centers. Stimulation of these centers leads to appropriate actions, be they motor or sensory, secretary or emotive, affective or cognitive. Thus we have a holographic representation of the body on the brain.

To put the thing more concretely, it is proved that the left half of the body is represented in right half of the brain and vice-a-versa. As far as the muscular actions are concerned, the representation is in an ‘upside down manner’ in motor area of pre-central gurus. Thus, at the top of this part of brain the lowest portion of our body -foot- is represented. Then comes ankle, leg (calf), knee, thigh, hip, trunk, shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, palm, fingers, thumb, then neck, jaw, face, eyes, ears, tongue, taste, swallowing, etc. The same thing is applicable for sensations. Stimulation of brain centers of sensory cortex evokes sensations on the opposite half of the body.

Yoga Nidra Practice

In Yoga Nidra exactly opposite process is used to make the brain centers active by focusing awareness on the parts of the body in a definite sequence. Thus, the person tries to stimulate various parts of the brain by focusing the awareness on the corresponding parts of the body. By awareness is meant ‘attitude of witness’ towards physical or mental actions of the body.

The Technique

Usually it takes from twenty to forty minutes to complete one Yoga Nidra session. The procedure is carried out by first doing a few asanas -practicing a few postures. Then the person lies on his or her back in totally relaxed posture (shavasana -posture simulating dead body). Eyes are lightly closed, arms are kept with palms facing upwards and fingers are half lifted from the ground, breathing is natural and quiet.

Resolve or sankalpa

Before the rotation of awareness the aspirant should make a positive resolve about the aim in life. The wordings should be clear and precise. It is not expected that the sadhaka makes minor resolves like, ‘I will give up smoking, or alcohol, or tobacco, but he or she should think something higher. A few resolves can be:

a) I will awaken my spiritual potential,
b) I will be successful in my all undertakings,
c) I will achieve total health, or
d) I will be a positive help in spiritual progress of others, etc.

1. Rotation of Awareness

Then the rotation of awareness begins. The person has to just visualize the part of the body mentioned by the instructor; it can be a teacher or a tape-recorder. The student must not move any part of his body. Quickly corresponding with the instructions, he or she has to shift his or her awareness from one part to the next. The aspirant should not imagine the next part before the instructor mentions it. The whole process should be a pleasure and not a burden. There should not be any anxiety or expectation.

The usual pattern is to start focusing awareness in the following sequence:

First on the right side:

The thumb, fingers (one by one), palm of the hand, then the wrist, the forearm, the elbow, arm, shoulder, right side of the back, hip, thigh, knee, leg, ankle, foot, great toe, other toes of the right foot.

The same sequence is repeated for the left side.

Then awareness is focused on the proximity of the body with the carpet (ground). Back of the head, shoulders, back and spine, thighs, heel. Next the front of the body-surface is brought in to awareness. Face, brow, eyes, nose, lips, mouth, ears, chin, neck, chest, abdomen.

2. Awareness of the breath

After rotation of the consciousness in such a sequence, focusing the attention on the act of breathing completes physical relaxation. One simply maintains awareness of breath, either at the nostril or of its passage through the navel and throat. It is claimed that the process, in addition to concentration of mind, assists in “pratyahara” – withdrawing the sense centers from their objects of sensations.

3. Feelings and Emotions

Next comes relaxation at the level of feelings and emotions. Attempt is made to bring to memory the intense physical and emotional feelings; they are re-experienced or re-lived and then effaced. Usually this is practiced with pairs of two opposite feelings like hot and cold, lightness and heaviness, pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow, etc. Relaxation at the emotional level and building up of strong will-power are the two major outcome of this procedure.

4. Visualization

The final stage of yoga nidra relates to mental relaxation. The aspirant tries to visualize the objects as described by the instructor. Usually such images and symbols are chosen that have universal significance. To quote a few: the mountain, river, ocean, temple, church, cross, saint, flower etc.

The practice helps to develop self-awareness and helps in concentration – dharana. Rarely, even meditation -dhyanaa- may be the natural outcome.

5. Ending the practice

Once again the resolve or sankalpa is intently thought of or even visualized. Thus, consciously one tries to direct the unconscious mind about the goal in life. This time the unconscious is very receptive and therefore may accept the suggestion from the conscious mind with more intensity. It is claimed that in due course of time, depending upon the sincerity and regularity of the sadhana, the resolve bears fruit in sadhaka’s life.

Utility

Yoga nidra helps in restoring mental, emotional, and physical health by way of relaxation, and makes the mind more conducive to pratyahara -withdrawing senses from their objects, dharana -concentration, and meditation. Such a practice helps harmonize two hemispheres of the brain and the two aspects of autonomous nervous system viz. sympathetic and parasympathetic. The impressions in the subconscious are brought to surface, experienced and removed. Thus, the fixation of awareness to the body is replaced with the awareness linked to subtler aspects of prana and spiritual dimensions.
*
C S Shah

25. What are the 3 types of Sankalpas used during Yoga Nidra?

See above.
ASANAS Module 3
If you warm up the neck everything gets warmed up. We have 33 marmas (marmas open up our channels) in our neck and the nerves on the back of our neck tell us where we are in time and space (ligamentum nuchae).

Types of Pranayama
Apana – keeps you on earth, keeps you grounded. Makes you poop, pee, orgasm and it goes down
Samana – middle of the body, allows us to assimilate our food and all of our experiences. Movement of food through system. Maintains equilibrium
Udana – upward rising, carries kundalini to sahasra, controlos speech and memory
Prana – (chest and head)

Stages of Yoga
1. Hatha
2. Marma
3. Kriya – sit in yogic postures and conduct conscious energy of visualization though nadis
4. Nadi – put it all together in vigorous movement and integrate with the world

Utthana Pristhasana (Lizard Pose)
• You need to lie on the stomach with the arms crossed under the chest and the hands holding the upper arms.
• Separate the legs slightly and keep the feet flat and make sure that your head faces forward. This is the starting position. You need to make sure that the elbows should not move during the practice.
• Raise the trunk and buttocks so that the body is supported by the knees and elbows.
• Stretch the torso back, placing the chin and chest on, or as close as possible to, the floor behind the forearms.
• Return to the raised position and then to the starting position. This is the completion of the first round process.
• Inhale while raising the buttocks (twice during each round). Exhale while lowering the buttocks (twice during each round).
One should do at least ten to twelve rounds every day. After you are done with this asana make sure to perform after a forward bending asana. This asana exercises and strengthens the diaphragm. It tones the entire back, and is excellent for relieving tightness between the shoulder blades.

Pranamasana (Bowing Pose)
• Sit in Vajrasana.
• Grasp the lower calves just above the ankles, keeping the thumbs uppermost. Slowly bend forward and place the crown of the head on the floor in front of the knees. In case you need, you can place a small folded blanket under the head.
• Raise the buttocks as high as possible, allowing the chin to press against the chest, until the thighs are as vertical as comfortable.
• Make sure to remain in this position for seven to twenty seconds.
• Lower the buttocks and come back into ShashankAsana for a short time before returning to Vajrasana. Practice this Asana seven times.
• Inhale in Vajrasana and while raising the buttocks.
• Exhale while lowering the head to the floor. Hold the breath in the final position or breathe normally if remaining in the position for more than a few seconds.
This Asana should not be performed by people with vertigo, weak neck or high blood pressure. This asana increases the blood supply to the head. As a preparatory practice for Sirshasana, the headstand pose, it allows the brain to gradually adapt to the extra blood flow and pressure in the head when the body is inverted. It gives many of the benefits of Sirshasana but to a lesser degree. PranamAsana is especially beneficial for the management of Asthma. It promotes drainage of the lungs and chest and helps to open the air passages. It also decompresses the lower cervical and upper thoracic vertebrae and nerve roots which are often the seat of psycho-emotional tension in an asthma attack. It should be performed at the immediate onset of an asthma attack to obtain full benefits.

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Lying on your back with the arms along side your body and the legs a few inches apart, slide the hands palms down under the tops of the thighs, just below the buttocks. Have the elbows slightly bent, next to the sides of your torso.
• Pressing into the elbows, use the arms to lift the chest up, arching the spine, and rolling on to the crown of the head. Do not use the head or neck to support the posture, use the arms, torso, buttocks and legs to continue to lift the chest towards the ceiling. Little or no weight should be on the head.
• Breathe and hold for 3-8 breaths.
• To release: slowly remove all of the weight off of the head and gently lower the back of the head, the neck and then the spine back down to the floor. Remove the hands from under the legs.
The fish deeply opens the chest and increases flexibility of the spine. Fish also stimulates the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems.
Restorative fish: place 2-3 folded blankets under the upper back to support the posture without using any effort. Make sure the head is supported on the floor or the neck is resting on the blankets. Relax into the blankets and breathe deeply.
Recent or chronic arm, shoulder, neck or back injury or inflammation.

Bhumi padaa mastakasana (Half Head Stand Pose)
• Assume yourself in Marjari Asana (Cat Stretch Pose).
• Turn the toes under.
• Place the crown of the head on the floor between the hands. Straighten the knees and raise the buttocks, balancing on the head and feet. Now bring the heels together and separate the toes.
• Raise your arms and clasp the hands or take hold of one wrist behind the back.
• Come up onto the toes as high as possible.
• Hold yourself in this final position as long as it is comfortable.
• Now lower the arms and place the hands beside the head.
• Slowly return to Marjari Asana and then lower into ShashankAsana for a few moments.
After completing the practice, lie in ShavAsana before continuing. Make sure to breath normally. Practice up to two to four rounds, gradually extending the period in the asana. Tadasana should follow this Asana.
People with high blood pressure, heart conditions, inflammation of the ear, weak eye capillaries, severe near-sightedness, organically defective pituitary or thyroid glands, arteriosclerosis, cerebral or other thrombosis, severe asthma, tuberculosis, cold or sinusitis, excessively impure blood, slipped disc, weak spine or vertigo should not practice this Asana. This Asana helps in cases of low blood pressure. It balances the nervous system, strengthens the neck and head muscles and brings a rich supply of blood to the brain. As a preliminary pose to SirshAsana it accustoms the brain to the increased influx of blood and the crown to supporting the weight of the body.

Vrischikasana (Scorpion Pose)
• Keep the hands and elbows on the ground.
• The entire weight of the body will fall on the hands.
• Raise the hips, slowly bend the legs at the knees and take the hips towards the back and place the soles or toes on your head.
• Raise the head as high as possible when you place the soles on the head, the pose is complete.
• In the beginning practice this asana by the side of a wall or take help from someone.
• Before starting the practice of this asana, learn Shirshasana and Utthit Shirshasana properly.
The position of the body when this asana is performed resembles a scorpion, hence the name Vrischikasana. Benefits: Makes the muscles and bones of hands strong and capable of doing difficult jobs. Makes the hold of wrists and palms stronger. Beneficial for all disorders of the abdomen. Stops enlargement of liver and spleen, and makes them healthy and strong. Helps cure disorders of the urinary tract. Helps make the spine elastic, healthy and strong. Increases intellectual power and banishes all feeling of laziness. Makes the hips and chest well formed. This is also a difficult asana. Be patient and increase the duration gradually. Then you are bound to be successful. The practice of Chakrasana also helps perfect this asana. Perform for half a minute to begin with. Increase the duration to five minutes or so.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Lie fiat on the back with the arms about twenty centimeters away from the body, palms facing upward. A thin pillow or folded cloth may be placed behind the head to prevent discomfort, Let the fingers of both hands curl up slightly.
• Move both the feet slightly apart to a comfortable position and close the eyes. Make sure that the head and spine should be in a straight line and also be sure the head does not fall to one side or the other.
• Relax the whole body and stop all physical movement. Breathe naturally and allow it to become rhythmic and relaxed. Begin to count the breaths from number thirty backward to zero.
• Inside your mind, Please repeat, “I am breathing in thirty, I am breathing out thirty, I am breathing in twenty nine, I am breathing out twenty nine”, and so on, until you have reached back to zero. If the mind wanders and the next number is forgotten, bring it back to the counting and start again at thirty. If the mind can be kept on the breath for a few minutes the body will relax.
• In general the Asana should be done for the longer time although a minute or two is sufficient between Asana practices. This Asana will help first on relaxing the whole body, then on the breath and counting. This Asana relaxes the whole psycho-physiological system. It should ideally be practiced before sleep. During and after asana practice, particularly after dynamic exercises such as Surya Namaskara, and when the practitioner feels physically and mentally tired. It develops body awareness.
• Try not to move the body at all during the practice as even the slightest movement will create muscular contraction. A personal mantra may be repeated with every inhalation and exhalation. While lying in ShavAsana, become aware of the right hand and relax it. Slowly become aware of the right wrist, elbow, armpit, right side of the waist, right buttock, right thigh, right knee, calf, heel, sole of the foot, and relax them one by one. Repeat this process with the left side of the body and all the parts of the head and trunk. Make sure that each part of the body is relaxed, feel each part merging into the floor. Repeat this process a few times and all the tensions will be removed.
For maximum benefit, this technique should be performed after a hard day’s work or just before sleep. This Asana is also known as MritAsana, the dead Man’s pose.

Grivasana
• Lie flat on back
• Bend the knees and bring the heels up to touch the buttocks
• The knees and feet should be slightly separated
• Place the palms on the ground on either side of the head level with the temples
• Push down on the hands and feet and raise the trunk, placing the crown of the head on the floor
• Balance on the head and feet
• Raise the arms and cross them on the chest
• Inhale deeply in the starting position
• Retain the breathe inside while raising
• In the final position retain the breathe or breathe normally, exhale while lowering the trunk.
• Keep you awareness on the neck, thyroid gland or pelvic region and also on vishuddhi or manipura chakra
People with neck conditions, arthritis high blood pressure or absence of menstrual period should not practice this asana. Grivasana aligns the upper vertebrae, strengthens the neck and tones the cervical, dorsal, lumbar and sacral regions of the spine. It is used in yoga therapy for genealogical disorders and for thyroid problems.

Yogamudra
Mudra is better understood as a reflection rather than seal. Keep a soft mulabhanda before you go down. Combine motion with movement of energy, breathe and consciousness. This should be performed after asana.
• Sit in Padmasana. Take hold of one wrist behind the back.
• Close the eyes and relax the whole body. Bring the awareness to Mooladhara Chakra. Inhale slowly and feel the breath gradually rising from Mooladhara to Ajna Chakra. Retain the breath for a few seconds and concentrate on Ajna Chakra. Exhale slowly while bending forward, synchronizing the movement with the breath so that the forehead just touches the floor as the air is fully expelled from the lungs. Make sure you put yourself in the final position of Yogamudrasana.
• Simultaneously, feel the breath gradually move downward from Ajna to Mooladhara Chakra.
• Retain the breath outside for a few seconds while concentrating on Mooladhara Chakra. Inhale, raise the trunk to the vertical position and be aware of the breath moving upward from Mooladhara to Ajna Chakra.
• All these movements should be performed in a harmo­nious, smooth and synchronized manner.
• Remaining in the upright position, hold the breath for a few seconds while concentrating on Ajna Chakra.
• Exhale slowly, moving the awareness back down the spine with the breath to Mooladhara Chakra. This completes the round one.
• Immediately start another round performing slight Moola Bandha with the breath still held out and the awareness at Mooladhara Chakra.
• Beginners may rest by taking a few normal breaths before starting another round. Make sure to perform four to ten rounds.
• The respiration should be as slow as possible without the slightest strain. This practice may be followed by any backward, bending asana such as Bhujangasana or Ushtrasana.
People suffering from sciatica, high blood pressure, pelvic inflammatory disease or any other serious abdominal ailment should avoid this practice. This practice gives all the benefits of Yogamudrasana. In addition it is an excellent preparatory practice for meditation. The pressure along the abdomen and chest created by the legs and heels calms the adrenal system, engendering a sense of relaxation. It relieves anger and tension, inducing tranquility, and develops awareness and control of psychic energy.
The position of the hands may also be placed on the heels of the feet, with the elbows pointing out to the sides, Placed palms down on the soles of the feet, and Placed palm to palm with the fingers pointing upward in the middle of the back. People with stiff backs and those unable to sit in Padmasana comfortably may perform the practice from Sukhasana or Vajrasana. If adopting the latter, bend forward into Shashankasana with the hands clasped behind the back. If Vajrasana is still uncomfortable, the knees may be separated slightly, allowing the chest to come closer to the floor.
Note: Yoga mudra is so called because it unites the individual consciousness with the supreme consciousness, or the outer nature with the inner nature.

Pranamudra
Dharmanidhi’s comments: This mudra is the most important mudra practice for harmonizing prana. Practicing it for 5 minutes if you connect to the pranayamic energy equals one hour of sleep rejuvenation. This mudra distributes prana through your entire being and it is a compassion practice. You inhale up and exhale down using full yogic breath. You should aim to spread your ribs radially. Your breathe should be full at the throat chakra and at the top of your head your energy comes out like a fountain. Your awareness should be in the spinal channel and the energy should come out at the top of your head like golden streaks of prana, rays shoot out like an aura. This energy goes to all beings in the universe (compassion aspect). You are cultivating energy but you don’t define yourself by it. When your exhale is full you squeeze mulbandha fully. The bhava for this position is sweet. It is a good idea to check and stop at each chakra. Your tongue is on the roof of your mouth (just touching). Don’t become dull and listless in this practice, if this happens do some vigorous twists.

• Sit in any comfortable meditation posture, preferably Padmasana with the hands in Bhairava Mudra. Close the eyes and relax the whole body especially the abdomen, arms and hands.
• Keeping the eyes closed, inhale and exhale as deeply as possible, contracting the abdominal muscles to expel the maximum amount of air from the lungs. With the breath held outside perform Moola Bandha while concentrating on Mooladhara chakra in the perineum. Retain the breath outside for as long as is comfortable.
• Release Moola Bandha. Inhale slowly and deeply, expanding the abdomen fully to draw as much air into the lungs as possible. Simultaneously, raise the hands until they are in front of the navel. The hands should be open with the fingers pointing towards each other but not touching, and the palms facing the trunk of the body.
• The movement of the hands should be coordinated with the abdominal inhalation. The arms and hands should be relaxed. While inhaling from the abdomen, try to feel the Prana or vital energy being drawn from Mooladhara Chakra to Manipura Chakra in the spinal column.
• Continue the inhalation by expanding the chest and raising the hands until they are directly in front of the heart center. Try to feel the Pranic energy being drawn up from Manipura to Anahata Chakra while inhaling.
• Draw even more air into the lungs by slightly raising the shoulders, and feel the Prana being drawn up to vishuddhi. Raise the hands to the front of the throat in coordination with the breath.
• Retain the breath inside while spreading the arms out to the sides.
• In the final position the hands must be level with the ears, the arms outstretched but not straight, and the palms turned upward.
• Feel the Prana spreading like a wave to Ajna, Bindu and Sahasrara Chakras. Concentrate on Sahasrara Chakra and try to visualize an aura of pure light emanating from the head.
• Feel that the whole being is radiating vibrations of peace to all beings. Retain this position for as long as possible without straining the lungs in any way.
• Repeat Practices 4, 3, 2, 1, and slowly return to the starting position while exhaling. During exhalation, feel the Prana progressively descending through each of the Chakras until it reaches Mooladhara.
• At the end of exhalation perform Moola Badha and concentrate on Moladhara Chakra. Then relax the whole body and breathe normally.
• When the practice has been perfected, visualize the breath as a stream of white light ascending and descending within Sushumna Nadi.
• Increase the duration of inhalation, retention and exhalation slowly. Be careful not to strain the lungs. The awareness should move in a smooth and continuous flow from Mooladhara to Sahasrara and back to Mooladhara, in coordination with the breath and the raising and lowering of the hands. Prana Mudra is best practiced after asana and Pranayama and before meditation, but it may also be performed at any time.
• Prana Mudra is ideally practiced at sunrise, while facing the sun. Prana mudra awakens the dormant Prana Shakti, vital energy, and distributes it throughout the body, increasing strength, health and confidence.
• It develops awareness of the Pranic system, the Nadis and Chakras, and the subtle flow of Prana in the body.
• It instills an inner attitude of peace and equanimity by adopting an external attitude of offering and receiving energy to and from the cosmic source. Prana Mudra is also considered to be a Pranayama practice which raises Prana by encouraging correct breathing.
• Remember to return the Prana to Mooladhara at the end of the practice.
Anatomy Workshop – Notes

MES – minimal energy state, learned and mechanically produced
Effort in each asana – not struggle, minimal strength needed to engage experience. If you do more than you block the flow of prana.

We are nothing but expressions of energy and proper alignment is key.

Static structures

Bone – alive, porous, marrow (fat nerves, blood),
Everyone has different bone density
In Eastern medicine marrow is the most impt and the spinal chord is the center of the body.
Eastern – process
Western – static and concrete

Muscle – moves bones, attaches bone to bone with tendons
Muscles can only contract.

Ligament – attaches bone to bone with no muscle in between
When a ligament exceeds its normal limit it is called a sprain

Cartiledge – cushion/padding transmitor of forces, in between bone to bone

Fascia – protective layering all over the body made of connective tissue, strongest canvas ever made. Sheaths all over body, deep breathing in postures opens up the fascia. It can thicken and lengthen as muscles can strengthen and lengthen. Fascia holds stuff together and compartmentalizes

– joint capsule/joint shape: strong connective tissue around a joint, shape of joint dictates movement.
– Bursa – sacks of fluid that cushion joints
Ayurveda Notes

Ahamkara – knowledge of self, ego

World comes from the inside and projects out.

Ayurveda is a life science which has been transmitted, not created through conjecture

Time and space = jyotish

What happens in time and space is ayurveda, ayurveda is a branch of tantra

Agni is the most impt, first word of the Vedas. Fire of digestion, ability to digest emotion. Rg veda, agni is the most impt, fire is life and luminosity

Jatharagni = stomach bhutagni – liver (5 elements)

We approach life to daily conduct. 3 pillars of life: food, sleep, sex (relationships), if your conduct is healthy you will live long. 3 pillars is yogic conduct. Karmic momentum→ decay or rejuvenation. Live out your allotted years. Life is while you are still digesting experiences, as long as you digest experiences you live. When you stop digesting experiences you die.

Ego, ahamkara = organizes the 5 elements

Agni transforms food → life

Prakrti = first action of mother nature, gives us our unique constitution.

If you can get the prana out of air you don’t need air. Time and place = gives us our specific constitution. Conception, gestation and birth

Constitution is a permutation of the 5 elements

Doshas = 5 elements

Kapha builds us, pitta is always transforming, vatta breaks down

Our conduct yields our bhavana, gunas = qualities

Vata = bitter astringent, cold, wet, dry, light, mobile, dry, rough, clear, subtle, weakest agni

Two most impt things: “for whom and when?” and “like increases like”

Pitta = bitter, sweet, astringent, has strongest agni
Kapha = moderate agni

You need sleep for integration!

Saying everybody should is using the human intellect

Dharmic conduct→ immortality, adharmic – brings you closer to death, altering your fate

Dharma = proper way for you to function in society

Samprapti = path of disease
Stage 1 = accumulation
Stage 2 = provoked
Stage 3 = spread
Stage 4 = creates a home (when western medicine recognizes the problem)
Stage 5 = manifestation of disease
Stage 6 = tissue differentiation

Ojas (refined experience of water and earth), tejas (fire and water), and prana (smooth flow of life force energy) are refined essences of the doshas

Maintaining ojas is key, replenish it by following our dharma

Guru Notes

Mula (source), sat guru, vajra guru, root guru
– real guru is the person that first introduces you to your true nature and you have self recognition in a way you never had before, via transmission. Embodied awakening of this is true, impt understanding in essence nature

base enlightenment – everyone has the inherent capacity to recognize their shiva nature which is dormant
path enlightenment – on a path, actualizing enlightenment through dharmic activity and teachings
fruit enlightenment – recognizing true nature and permanently abiding in it

recognition becomes permanent and unshakable and no return – fruit enlightenment

vajra guru (first points you to your nature)
upaya (methods) guru
stream entering = recognized wisdom nature not abiding in it but I want to
kula – trantric family, trantrika initiates into the world

RESPONSIBILITY, RESPECT, GRATITUDE, RESOURCEFULNESS

Balancing Asanas develop the cerebellum, the brain center that controls how the body works in motion. Most people are uncoordinated in their movements so their bodies constantly have to compensate for their lack of balance in order to avoid falling or knocking things over. This inefficient method of proceeding expends maximum effort and energy for the minimum results, creating considerable additional strain on the body. These Asanas induce physical balance, stilling unconscious movement. As the moving body attains balance it becomes increasingly free to rely on other forces, such as gravity, to support and propel it. This way it conserves its own energy and achieves grace and fluidity of motion.

As well as inducing physical balance, this group of practices develops a balanced mind and a more mature outlook on life. The focus required to perform them with steadiness develops concentration and balance at the emotional, mental and psychic levels. These Asanas are especially noted for balancing the nervous system and removing stress and anxiety. For relief of excessive tension these practices should be held for as long as possible.

Balancing Asanas may be difficult to perform at first if one’s sense of balance has not been developed in normal life. However, the body is very adaptable and progress will quickly be made with a few weeks of regular practice. When practicing these Asanas it is most important to steady the mind through concentration on one point. Gazing at a black spot or a mark on the wall while balancing allows the body to maintain seemingly difficult positions for long periods of time.

Class Notes
*Before class always ask about injuries
Yoga is everywhere, hatha yoga maintained in India probably because there were no invading cultures. Yoga seeded to planet by various celestial beings, maha siddhas, great deities. Ancient India consisted of Iran, Tajikastan, Kashmir, Tibet, all of the current Subcontinent, SE Asia, Southern China. Shamans used nature for healing. Cycles in nature are energetic patterns. Animate world, fire and water have consciousness. Yogis contact with cycles/patterns of energy. Asanas express cyclic energies of nature. Movement reflects nature’s energy, this is how yoga developed. The body was used by shamans as an antenna. Body harmonizes itself with nature through the postures. Oral tradition, certain postures activates certain energies, a blueprint for cosmology. Bhimpa→pratibimba = source →reflection, positions were refined over thousands of years. Consciousness changes when you change positions. Yogis show we are one consciousness duped by the senses. Shiva is the progenitor of yoga, represents forces of nature. Siddha = complete and accomplished
Siva = human being, compassionate benefactor
Sun salutation – align ourselves with the energy of the sun, 12 positions, 12 months, revolving around the sun
Enlightenment = unity with heaven and earth

The purpose of yoga is to realize your true nature. When yoga deviates from principles it is not yoga. If yoga is not to help you realize your true nature then it is not yoga. Yoga must be adaptable but retain its purpose.

In the 1800s it was exported to the UK and USA and Europe. Rama Krishna Paramahamsa aka Swami Vivekandana, world congress of religions. Yogananda Paramahamsa, Self Realization Fellowship (self realization attributed to Ramana Maharshi). Walter Baptiste 50’s and 60’s. Swami Satchinanda, Yogaville, Virginia

All beings get it when you get it

Krishnamacarya lived for 7 years near Mt. Kailasa. He was the guru of BKS Iyengar and Pattabi Jois.

It is about deepening our experience of the self. Advanced asanas not goal! Excellent practitioners who they are as yogis. Rishis = poor materially, rich spiritually. Realize your true self beyond body, beyond mind. No one has been successful with planting enlightenment based yoga in the west.

Tantra – expand or liberate energy
Kriya – meditation w/breathe and inner channels

4/6/05 – Dharmaniddhi’s Class Observation Notes
traditional mantras playing, smell of incense. Some students are meditating. D lowers music. Some students have placards with chants. D talks about blocks and says he will be in the middle so everyone can see him. Tells students to center themselves before they start chanting. Visualize white blue and red tear drops of essence. Chant 3 om;s ganapathy chant, d tells significance, sarasvati chant and then guru shakti call and response teacher student prayer om sahana…after chants silence. Erath mudra. D talks about history of yoga before asana and talks disparagingly about gym yoga. Impt of home practice, get into a mentality. Education based studio, take it home, take it with you. Sequencing normal, class emphasis on neck. Fierce posture – uttkatasana. Feet parallel judging by inside line much more than squat, asana for the whole body. D breaks down the pose, core channels straight, reminds students about alignment, talks while demonstrating, pull up ribs while you breathe deeply. D makes adjustments, reminds students to watch their knees and feet. Anjali mudra, breaks down meaning of dhristi, external and internal eye. Uttkatasan is fierce because it is a concentration so powerful it cuts through everything and brings the mind into one pointedness. Tadasana – side chanls, talks intricacies about posture. Press with right foot talks as he goes through the posture. Tirayaka tadasana. Sounds of Sanskrit relate to charkas and nadis. Change grip. Fwd bend, extending and reaching to the wall, deep breathing. D makes adjustments. Chaturanga – using blocks. Yoga from wrestling pits. Engage legs and back. D talks about our disrelationship with time. We are frustrated with always pushing the clock. Animal asanas – drain our frustration from our 3rd eye in child’s pose. Breathe and hold. Alignment.

Yoga is about what you can feel not what you can do.

Adi yoga, primordial yoga. Neck strengthening exercises, talks about danger of doing asanas before you have the proper strength ready to do the asana. Use corner of blanket for support, after neck exercises backbends. Savasana – zero effort, no effort whatsoever, breathe, lips should be slightly parted if you are really relaxed. Facial features should unwind. D checks attendance, let eyes unwind, prana harmonize. Surrender, reset is very impt. He chants while students are in savasana with mudras. Shantipat mantra chanted as a class.

Sanskrit Class 4/6/05 – Notes
Devanagiri – abode of gods, city of gods
Deva = gods, shining ones
Nagiri = city
Sanskrit was consciously developed, refined by human seers, magical language
Ritual Class 4/6/05 – Notes
Two ways to perform ritual – 1. Water (compassion, passive) 2. Fire (powerful, masculine it is the element not just an expression of it)
Using elements – express water element in ritual
Connections – be one of a connecter and harmonizer, balance between nature and unseen forces.
Shift our understanding – refining and harmonizing our relationships, we have lost our role as communicators between heaven and earth
Ritual – understanding time, proper relationship to time, body rejuvenates
Express our unity of body, speech and mind, ritual is not about us, it is about how we fit in.
Yoga is a body prayer synchronizing yourself with the universe. Invoking your inner feeling that connects to animals and nature. The practice is not about you, it is a universal experience.

For a good ritual there should be at least 3 priests fulfilling body, speech and mind, each function of BMS

Body – Activity. Samskara – psychic impression, deep impression. Alignment, motive, impeccability, concentration and focus, 3 centers aligned each movement, efficient. Sisposition = bhava
Speech – mantra = seal, protect mind, expand energy man means mind. State of energy, patterning biophysical name and form go together, how the energy body forms at every moment.
Mind – imagining, visualizing not in disorganized fantasy. Svasti = welfare sanatanasharma = ever the way, was to harmonize ourself with the essence of things. We are nothing but time itself. Manifestation itself is time, sunya – sakti maya = to measure and understand it correctly, understand the illusion through ritual we harmonize with time, time experienced directly cannot be controlled or understood.

When you want nothing you gain everything.

Week One Asana Review
– Open Gate, Tadasana, Samasthiti: feet should be grounded, 3 centers aligned, shrug shoulders up and then down to get correct alignment, breathe deep, focus

– Tiryaka Tadasana (swaying palm tree pose) – subtle rotation of the hip and torso allows you to go further. Do not arch back, stance varies depending on balance and stability. “fix gaze on a point directly in front. Interlock fingers and turn palms outward. Inhale and raise the arms over the head. While exhaling bend to the left side from the waist. Do not bend forward or backward or twist the trunk. Hold the position for a few seconds while retaining the breathe outside. Inhale and slowly come to an upright position. Repeat on the right side. From the upright position exhale while bringing the arms down to the sides. AWARENESS in this pose should be on the breathe synchronized with the movement, the stretch along the side of the body, keeping balance, and keeping the head and body facing forward without twisting. BENEFITS of this pose massages and loosens and exercises sides of the waist. It balances the left and right groups of postural muscles. VARIATION can include balancing on the toes in this practice. The fingers may be interlocked with the palms facing downward or turned upward.

-Virabhadrasana II (auspicious hero pose, vira means hero and bhadra means auspicious) – concentrated and directed gaze. Sensation from hand to hand through the heart. Gaze over fingers, knee should not turn in our out, back leg pushes into the earth. Core straight up and down. Sink pelvis toward the floor and let the knee glide forward to accommodate. Pull like feet will tear apart the mat, about a legs length apart. Roll hip to shorten stance. Notes from LOY: Stand in Tadasana, take a deep inhalation, and with a jump spread the legs apart sideways in line with the shoulders, palms facing down. Turn the right foot sideways 90 degrees to the right and the left foot slightly to the right keeping the left leg stretched out and tightened at the knee. Stretch the hamstring muscles of the left leg. Exhale and bend the right knee till the right thigh is parallel to the floor keeping the right shin perpendicular to the floor, thus forming a right angle between the right thigh and the right calf. The bent knee should not extend beyond the ankle, but should be in line with the heel. Stretch out the hands sideways as though two persons are pulling you from opposite ends. Turn the face to the right and gaze at the right inner palm. Stretch the back muscles of the left leg fully. The back of the legs, the dorsal region and the hips should be in one line. Stay in this pose from 20 seconds to half a minute with deep breathing. Turn the left foot sideways 90 degrees to the left and the right foot slightly to the left, flex the left knee and continue on the left, reverse process. EFFECTS: though this pose the leg muscles become shapely and stronger. It relieves cramps in the calf and thigh muscles, brings elasticity to the leg and back muscles and also tones the abdominal organs. Mastery of the standing poses prepares the pupil for the advanced poses in forward bending which can be acquired with ease.

– Virabhadrasana I – notes from LOY: stand in tadasana. Raise both arms above the head; stretch up and join the palms. Take a deep inhalation and with a jump spread the legs apart. Exhale and turn to the right, simultaneously turn the right foot 90 degrees to the right and the left foot slightly to the right. Flex the right knee till the right thigh is parallel to the floor and the right shin is perpendicular to the floor, forming a right angle between the right thigh and the right calf. The bent knee should not extend beyond the ankle, but should be in line with the heel. Stretch out the left leg and tighten at the knee. The face, chest and right knee should face the same way as the right foot. Throw the head up, stretch the spine from the coccyx and gaze at the joined palms. Hold pose for 20 seconds to half a minute with normal breathing. Repeat on left side reversing all processes. EFFECTS: In this pose the chest is fully expanded and this helps deep breathing. It relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back, tones up the ankles and knees and cures stiffness of the neck. It also reduces fat around the hips.

– Uttanasana (Deliberate intense stretch, lengthening in pose) – LOY notes: Ut is a particle indicating deliberation, intensity. Ther verb tan means to stretch, extend, lengthen out. In this asana the spine is given a deliberate and intense stretch. Stand in tadasana, keeping the knees tight. Exhale, bend fwd and place the fingers on the floor. Then place the palms on the floor by the side of the feet, behind the heels. Do not bend the legs at the knees. Try to hold the head up and stretch the spine. Move the hips a little forward towards the head so as to bring the legs perpendicular to the floor. Remain in this position and take two breathes. Exhale move the trunk closer to the legs and rest the head on the knees. Do not slacken the grip at the knees but pull the knee-caps well up. Hold this position for a minute with deep and even breathing. Inhale and raise the head from the knees but without lifting palms from the floor. After two breathes take a deep inhalation, lift hands from the floor and come back to Tadasana. EFFECTS: This asana cures stomach pains and tones the liver, the spleen and the kidneys. It also relives stomach pain during menstrual periods. The heart beats are slowed down and the spinal nerves rejuvenated. Any depression felt in the mind is removed if one holds this pose for more than two minutes. The posture is a boon to people who get excited quickly as it soothes the brain cells. After finishing the asana one feels calm and cool, the eyes start to glow and the mind feels at peace.
– Ardha Uttanasana (arda means half) similar to Samokasana (same angle pose/right angle pose) – stand with the feet together and the arms by the sides. Raise the arms straight above the head. Bend the wrists so that the fingers are pointing fwd. allow the hands to hang limp. Arch the back slightly pushing the buttocks out a little. Slowly bend fwd at the hips, keeping the legs straight until the back is horizontal and forms a right angle with the legs. Keep the head, neck and spine in a straight line. Look fwd. hold the final position up to five seconds. Slowly return to upright position with the arms, head and back in a straight line. Lower the arms. BREATHING: Inhale while raising the arms above the head. Exhale while bending forward. Hold the breathe in the final position. Inhale while raising the trunk. Exhale while lowering the arms. AWARENESS: Physical, on the movement, keeping the spine straight and maintaining balance. Spiritual on anahata chakra. BENEFITS: This asana works specifically on the upper back directly behind the chest. It rectifies spinal curvature tension and poor posture. come fwd and hold to make sure thighs and but are engaged. To experience the asana place your hand underneath their forehead. Don’t kick elbows out, elongate check. Head should be lifted up a bit.

4/9/05 Class Notes
– Uttihita Trikonasana (Uttihita means extended, stretched. Trikona, tri = three; kona = angle) Stand in Tadasana. Inhale deeply with a jump spread apart the legs sideways 3-3 ½ feet. Raise arms sideways in line with the shoulders, palms facing down. Keep the arms parallel to the floor. Turn the right foot sideways 90 degrees to the right, turn the left foot slightly to the right keeping the left leg stretched from the inside and tightened at the knee. Exhale and bend the trunk sideways to the right, bringing the right palm near the right ankle. If possible the right palm should rest completely on the floor. Stretch the left arm bringing it in line with the right shoulder and extend the trunk. The back of the legs, the back of the chest and the hips should be in a line. Gaze at the thumb of the outstretched left hand. Keep the right knee locked tight by pulling up the knee cap and keep the right knee facing the toes. Remain in this position from half a minute to a minute breathing deeply and evenly. Then lift the right palm from the floor. Inhale and return to original position and repeat on left. EFFECTS: This asana tones up the leg muscles, removed stiffness in the legs and hips, and corrects any minor deformity in the legs and allows them to develop evenly. It relieves backaches and neck sprains strengthens the ankles and develops the chest.

– Utkatasana (Fierce Pose) – stand in tadasana, stretch the arms straight over the head and join the palms. Exhale, bend the knees and lower the trunk till the thighs are parallel to the floor. Do not stoop fwd but keep the chest as far back as possible and breathe normally. Stay in the pose for a few seconds. EFFECTS: The pose removes stiffness in the shoulders and corrects any minor deformities in the legs. The ankles become strong and the leg muscles develop evenly. The diaphragm is lifted up and this gives a gentle massage to the heart. The abdominal organs and the back are toned and the chest is developed by being fully expanded.

– Padagusthasana (pada means foot, angustha is the big toe) Stand in tadasana . spread legs a foot apart. Exhale, bend fwd and hold the big toes in between the thumbs and the first two fingers so that the palms face each other. Hold them tight. Keep the head up, stretch the diaphragm towards the chest and make the back as concave as possible. Instead of stretching down from the shoulders bend fwd from the pelvic region to get the concave shape of the back from the coccyx. Keep the legs stiff and do not slacken the grip at the knees and toes. Stretch the shoulder-blades also. Take one or two breathes in this position. Now exhale and bring the head in between the knees by tightening the knees and pulling the toes without lifting them off the floor. EFFECTS: abdominal organs are toned and digestive juices increase while the liver and spleen are activated. Persons suffering from a bloating sensation in the abdomen or from gastric troubles will benefit by practicing these two asanas. (padahastasana, hand variation)

– Prasarita Padottanasan (Prasarita means expanded, spread, extended. Pada means foot) inhale, place hands on waist and spread the legs apart. Tighten the legs by drawing up the knee caps, exhale and place the palms on the floor in line with the shoulders between the feet. Inhale and raise the head up, keeping the back concave. Exhale, bend the elbows and rest the crown of the head on the floor keeping the weight of the body on the legs. Do not throw the body weight on the head. Both feet, both palms should be in a straight line. Stay in pose for half a minute breathing deeply and evenly. Inhale, raise the head from the floor and straighten the arms at the elbows. Keep the head well up by making the back concave.

Notes 4/9/05 (Abhimanyu)
Vritis (mind) dictate how we breathe. Breathe pattern dictated by mental and emotional bodies. Benefits of breathing: increased oxygen, rehydrates tissue, detoxes other bodies, inhalation is only as good as your exhalation. Balancing left and right channels. Build better digestive systems through breathing practices. Re-patterning helps with respitory illness. Prana is found everywhere.

Notes 4/16/05 (Dharmanidhi)
1. sravana – listening
2. mananan – think on it, why?
3. niddhyasana – apply it to life?
4. prasna – questions
if you follow the first 3 steps you should have questions

bhija (seed) pithy, condensed. One syllable reps something greater (bhija mantras) male reproductive cell, retas – male sexual potency

You should first teach natural breathing, then yogic breathing, (whole body breathes), then nadi shodhana, finally ujayi. You should make an effort to inhale but never to exhale. Pranayama uses a different part of the brain. We are always infused with prana. Other beings live on our excretory prana, you must be attuned to the energy prana carries. Conscious involvement in breathe to awaken pranic body (ananda kaya).

IF YOU PRACTICE YOGA BUT FAIL TO AWAKEN THE ENERGY BODY YOU’VE MISSED THE BOAT!!!

Between asanas you must check energy and mechanics. To awaken the energy body you first must teach the proper mechanics.

Krishnamacarya, used ujai to remember to breathe. Ujayi over activates the right nadi. Ujai should be used for cleansing the body and should not be heard by the neighbor. Toungue should be on the roof of mouth and it should be very subtle. Yoga should only heal.

Pingala nadi is the right nadi/channel: solar, warm, extroverted, dynamic, physical activity, masculine, pitta. Ida nadi is the left nadi: lunar, cool, introverted, mental intuitive, feminine. Nostrils are gateways into the nadis.

Dhara – to fix in one place. Prana from the uiniverse, emanates from the muladhara chakra which is the root chakra. Ajna is the commander, controller, inner guru.

Whole game changes when you initiate awareness. When the frontal cortex takes over from the medulla oblongata and makes you aware.

Diff things happen to diff channels when we inhale and exhale. The lengths of our inhale and exhale must correspond. Prana runs our body and mind. When you practice incorrectly with breathe you are directly damaging the prana body. Dangerous forms of exercise we call yoga damage the body.

No duality with breathe.

Five elements: earth, water, fire, space, wind. Modern from classical. No props pre-iyengar. If you don’t get into a pose then it doesn’t matter. Anywhere you are in the posture is the posture, speaks to our western nature of rushing to try and get into a posture before we are ready.

Rather than you getting into the asana, the asana opens you up.

MUST ROTATE THROUGH METAL CUES WHILE KEEPING BREATH CONSTANT

Standing postures create an up and down energy where all nadis are used and savasana uses all the nadis through total relaxation.

In open gate you must line up all of your centers and be relaxed, energy should flow and create blissfulness. Think of planting a nadi when you plant your foot. In open gate you are marrying heaven and earth with your heart. Form of concentration when we lose our balance it has to deal with fear. If you breathe deeply then you lessen your fear and get better balance.

ADJUSTMENTS
Your student will miss subtleties if you adjust them, they need to gain self knowledge. And have intelligence in each posture, you could potentially take away their intelligence. The difference between yoga and exercise is MOTIVE. First postures are the most impt, revealed system of knowledge, heart is the real mind.

Medulla oblongata is the instinctive part of the brain that controls breathing, shifts to frontal cortex when we practice awareness.

CUING –

OPEN GATE, TADASANA, SAMASTHITI: 3 centers are in line stacked on top of each other. Center of forehead and chin are in a straight line with your treasure chest, bhaga marma. From the side you are lined up. Opens energy. Don’t strain yourself, grow into the posture. Tuck your sacrum under so there is a bit of open space between the lombar and sacrum. Remember to breathe fully through your lips and practice radial breathing.

TIRAYAKA TADASANA – in open gate clasp your hands and breathe in as you raise your hands. Breathe as you raise up and reach from your bhaga marma. Exhale whichever way you go and turn your palsm outward at your eye level. This is an elongation exercise. Reach to the wall, not down, do not collapse on your right side. Move consciously bending forward through your backside until you reach the wall. Push up, place your legs apart if you need to develop balance. Make sure your shoulders do not pinch back. Stay in one place as if you are placed between two panes of glass.

VIRA II – breathe up as you raise your hands, exhale as you turn your head. 3 centers, involve pulling together legs, be active! Exhale knee stretching out towards feet, use hamstrings to come up. Pick up foot, roll open and place it down. Now your hip is open. Keep things in engaged and spiral in. ALWAYS keep 3 centers aligned.

UTTKATASANA – lift ribs, gives grace.

PADAGUSTASANA – Bring upper body down, crown towards floor sacrum towards ceiling. Shoulders away from ears, elbows spun out.

BHAVASAN – evokes a feeling in the asana.

Mudras and bandhas redirect the flow of energy through the body through subtle means.
Are we reactive or responsive?
Reactive – more karma based
Responsiveness – what comes out of our thought, bhava process that does not come out of karma, appropriate
Response not based on conditioning, natural response fitting situation and environment
If we have good self reflection through meditation – only meditation can give us that
Cultivate meditation practice, deeper self reflection to ascertain, what is reactivity and what is response?
Speech and feeling tied to energy package of human being
6 realms flavor of how we miss open state
open state = parama siva, raw potential
from paramsiva → paraksakti→ form (sense of individuation) aravamala, impulse to be mini me, then ahamkara and karma is picked up, parents played parallel part in our creation, they did not make us
each individual broadcast 5 elements, till you are liberated projection of elements outward, our experience created from running off of karmic bank
experience being projected form core outwards
our karmas broadcasted outward
the way we are reactive is the way for our liberation
start to understand world broadcast out from our cakras beyond our control at this point
we can use reactive energy to fuel our practice, doesn’t have to hold us down
reactivity is a great marker of how we are progressing spiritually
energy of reactivity wasted if its going out in reactivity all thhe time, it could refresh
every time you draw back reactivity dissolve world around you a little (the projection)
how?
At some point you try to make a real change, death
Real change, real growth
First stages of spiritual growth psychological for most
Sakti is everywhere, we are in a sea of sakti
The way we drain ourselves is trying ourselves up in knots
When we tie up energy we lose it
At some point very CLEAR, POWERFUL decision to change, this is foundational
Only siva w/ out sakti
Not possible to get enlightened if you do not engage
What causes us to react? An environment created threatening someway to self image formation or supports self image formation, forward projecting
2nd attention keeps wedge w/ attachment
notice energies arising before chucked out if you are good at 2nd attention
reactivity is just conditioning, no evil tongue
3 ways to transform reactive energies, shelves
1.antidote = sorry, I can’t believe I just said that, antidote immediately and it starts set karmic pattern, just say no or just engage, remove yourself from situation
2.transform energy = mantra transforms energy, not a race, practice, kriya, puja
3.direct realization = catch as arises and watch it dissipate
Meena Srinivasan
Yoga Mandala Teacher Training
Module One Homework Questions

1.What does Hatha mean?

(1) Hatha yoga is a branch of Tantrik Kundalini Yoga. The practice of Hatha Yoga is a Tantrik practice designed to reveal the inherent divinity in our humanity; cultivating the body and its energies as a path of enlightenment. (Dharmanidhi’s Module Notes)

(2) Hatha literally means forceful. According to Feurstein Hatha Yoga is the yoga of force which is the physical discipline aimed at awakening the serpent power (kundalini shakti) and the creation of an indestructible divine body (divya-deha). Harsh discipline, strong effort.

(3) The main aim of hatha yoga is to bring about a balanced flow of prana in ida and pingala nadis. The word hatha is comprised of two beeja mantras, ham representing the sun or solar force, and tham, representing the moon or lunar force. To bring about a balance between these two forces the body must be purified by the shatkarmas. The aim of hatha yoga is to balance these two flows so that neither the mental nor physical faculties are dominant. During the 24 hour period of the day, the flow of ida should predominate for about 12 hours and the flow of pingala for the other tweleve. Integration between the two sides of the brain. The pingala (right) extroverted and the ida (left) introverted. (APMB)

2.What does Yoga mean?

Union, Path, Always together (non dualism), Technique

(1) The word yoga means unity or oneness and is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj which means to join. This unity or joining is described in spiritual terms as the union of the individual consciousness with universal consciousness. (SSS, APMB)

(2) On a more practical level, yoga is a means of balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions. This is done through the practice of asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha, shatkarma (yogic cleansing techniques) and meditation and must be achieved before union can take place with higher reality. (SSS, APMB)

(3) Citta Vriti Nirodhah – stopping the mind from mental oscillations. From the Bhagavad Gita: Arjuna asks Krishna, “ Krishna, you have told me of Yoga as a communion with Brahman (the universal spirit) which is ever one. But how can this be permanent, since the mind is so restless and inconsistent? The mind is impetous and stubborn, strong and willful, as difficult to harness as the wind.” Krishna replies, “ Undoubtedly, the mind is restless and hard to control. But it can be trained by constant practice (abhyasa) and by freedom from desire (vairagya). A man who cannot control his mind will find it difficult to attain this divine communion; but the self-controlled man can attain it if he tried hard and directs his energy by the right means.” (BKS, LOY)

(4) Yoga is the technology of ecstasy or self-transcendence. How this ecstatic condition if interpreted and by what means are employed for its realization differ from school to school. (Feurstein) Yoga is difficult to define but what all braches and schools have in common is that they are concerned with a state of being or consciousness that is truly extraordinary. One ancient yoga scripture, Vyasa’s Yoga-Bhashya captures this essential orientation in the following equation: Yoga is ecstasy. In Sanskrit the word for ecstasy is Samadhi and Vysa’s definition has caused his commentators and scholars difficulties because how can Samadhi be a stable quality of citta when consciousness seems to change constantly? We can understand this only when we understand that purusha, the transcendental Self is forever in the condition of ecstasy and this condition remains the same regardless of the changing moods and qualities of the human mind. Samadhi is composed of the prefixes, sam, a, flowed by dhi. Literal meaning of the term is “placing, putting together. What is put together or unified is the conscious subject and its mental object or objects. Samadhi is the technique of unifying consciousness and the resulting state of ecstatic union with the object of contemplation. We can only abide in and as the Self (atman or purusha) when we transcend the ego-self (ahamkara). (TYT, Feurstein)

3. Who is the Adi-Guru? What is his or her role in yoga?

Shiva is the essence transmittor, Shakti is the energy body (guru maintaining the transmission). Shiva is the primordial guru, Adi-guru, Adi-natha, the originator and transmitter of the Hatha yoga tradition. (Dharmanidhi’s Module One notes)

Guru means the lamp of knowledge that dispels darkness. Often people translate guru as the remover of darkness; this is a metaphysical meaning coming from the break down of the aksharas (letters) in the word. ‘Ga’ stands for darkness and everything that gets in your way, ‘U’ stands for suppression and removal. Together ‘GU’ means removal of the darkness. ‘Ra’ is the fire bija (seed sound), and represents the good and bad of fire: anger and insight. ‘Ru’ is the suppression of the negative aspects of fire that disturb your pure vision. So the vibrational meaning of ‘guru’ is one who removes darkness and obstacles to our understanding.

The literal meaning of guru is teacher. This can be relative to spirituality or other sciences as well. In yoga and other Vedic sciences there is an understanding of three levels of guru.
1. The siksa guru teaches you the basics and tells you where to search for information. They basically teach you how to tie your shoes. On a material level this is your primary educators. On a spiritual level it is your local yoga teacher or on a religious level it is the Sunday school teachers. The siksha guru can be the same spiritual level as you but just know things you haven’t found yet.
2. The diksa guru is a teacher who gives you initiation into a mantra or meditation or some kind of sadhana (spiritual practice). They pass on a certain live energy or understanding to you. They must have a high level of accomplishment in the path you wish to learn from them. On a material level this is the mentor you have for a particular field of work who teaches you the final application of your learning. On a spiritual level this is someone who has mastered a spiritual practice and is passing on the teaching. On a religious level it is the priest or rabbi that performs religious rites and initiations.
3. The Sat Guru is one who has achieved the final goal of the particular path and is a guiding light to the student walking the path. On a material level this is someone like Michael Angelo for an artist. On a spiritual level this is someone like Amachi, or Ramana Maharishi, or the Saints, Mohammad, or the Baal Shem Tov. On a religious level this is divine beings like Jesus, Krsna, or Rama (at this level religious and spiritual levels are similar or vary depending on religious philosophy). The important aspect of the Sat Guru is that they have completely attained the final goal. They can affect you whether they are embodied or not. Thinking of them or mediating on them guides your consciousness and lets you know your goal.

We have many siksha gurus (the more the better), few diksa gurus and one or two Sat gurus. Siksha gurus are easy to find, Sat gurus are transcended and we don’t even need to meet them to connect into their guidance. But good diksa gurus are hard to come by and you only get them when you are ready.

*Then there is the transcendental aspect of Guru that is very important in Yoga. According to Yogic philosophy the universe and everything in it is made of the five elements. Akash (space), air, fire, water and earth, with akash being the most subtle permeating everything yet containing everything within it (just like god). The planet Jupiter relates to the akash (space element) and in Sanskrit the word for Jupiter is ‘Guru’. So Jupiter (Guru) is the planet ruling akash, that which contains everything and permeates everything. Astrologically, the position of Jupiter shows the relationship with the Guru, and how gurus in your life manifest. (Yoga Living November/December 2004 Vol VI Issue II.)

Then there is the Supreme level of Guru called ‘Adi Guru’, which means the original Guru. Patanjali said in pada 1 verses 25-27 that Aum is a word denoting Iswara (god). In him (Iswara/Aum) is the seed of all knowledge. Not being limited by time, Aum is the Guru of the earliest teachers. Patanjali, then advises constant repetition of Aum. In this way, the Guru tattva (essence of the Teacher) is brought into our lives. The Guru tattva starts at the level of the Adi Guru, then is seen in the transcendental Guru astrologically, then manifests in our lives as the various levels of gurus we encounter. Knowledge comes through the Guru, whether directly from the highest level or through the physical manifestation of guru in our teacher-student relationships. The yoga texts teach that there is no knowledge without guru, without the removal of darkness/ignorance.

By paying respect to the Supreme Guru we improve and strengthen our guru karma and open the way for more knowledge and understanding to enter our lives. This is often done by chanting Aum before a yoga class. Having teachers’ pictures around exalts the teacher/Guru and shows respect. Yoga teaches that the types of gurus we attract to ourselves in our life is a reflection our own guru karma. Thursday has been set as the best day to show appreciation to the Guru and your gurus.

4. What is the principle of bhimba-pratibimba?

Bhimba-pratibimba means the source of radiance and its reflection. The ancient rishis or seers/visionaries of the yoga tradition realized that the Absolute, non-dual source of this universe (bhimba) is completely reflected in each being. By attuning ourselves to this source we can spontaneously response to the never-ending pulsations of its radiance. Yoga practice and philosophy arose within these sages due to which they as pratibimba or the reflected became one with the source (bimba) of their reflection.

5. Who are the Rishis? What sex were they?

The word Rishi means a Seer, from dris, to see. He is the Mantra-Drashta, seer of Mantra or thought. The thought was not his own. The Rishis saw the truths or heard them, seers of thought which existed already. The Rishi is only a medium or an agent to transmit to people the intuitional experiences which he received. Lord Brahma, the Creator, imparted the divine knowledge to the Rishis or Seers. The Rishis disseminated the knowledge. The Vedic Rishis were greatly realized persons who had direct intuitive perception of Brahman or the Truth. They were men and women (householders).

6. Is there a such thing as a pure lineage of yoga (one which rose independently of all other traditions and was not influenced by any others?

The very precise Hatha yoga traditions which abound today had very imnprecise origins and have been cross pollinated by each other and edited over and over again through the millennia. Therefore, for a research scientist to piece together with any great certainty, EXACTLY how, where, and by whom yoga developed is not possible. This is precisely why most practicing yogis will lean upon oral/mythological tradition. The orally transmitted view of yoga actually informs its practice and fruition better than an archeological or anthropological understanding.

7. What practices come under the heading “Tantra”?

Ayurveda, Hatha yoga, Jyotisha, Vatsu Shasta, Hasta Samudika. Tantrik practice makes use of mantra (sacred sounds), yantra (sacred diagrams), tantra (here the word means sacred text), guru (teacher who empowers the students with practice), diksha (initiation), and puja (ritual) with the aim of awakening the pure energy of consciousness called kundalini. Tantra also lays heavy emphasis on the body and its energies and capacities as mediums of realization.

8. Is Hatha Yoga a branch of Tantra?

Yes. (See answer to question one)

9. Do the concepts of kundalini and kundalini yoga come under the category of Hatha yoga?

Yes. Chapter Three of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika on Mudras states:
1. As the chief of the snakes is the support of the earth with all the mountains and forests on it, so all the Tantras (Yoga practices) rest on the Kundalini. (The Vertebral column.)

2. When the sleeping Kundalini awakens by favor of a guru, then all the lotuses (in the six chakras or centers) and all the knots are pierced through.

3. Susumna (Sunya Padavi) becomes a main road for the passage of Prana, and the mind then becomes free from all connections (with its objects of enjoyments) and Death is then evaded.

4. Susumna, Sunya, Padavi, Brahma Randhra, Maha Patha, Smasana, Sambhavi, Madhya Marga, are names of one and the same thing.

5. In order, therefore, to awaken this goddess, who is sleeping at the entrance of Brahma Dwara (the great door), mudras should be practiced well.

And Chapter 4 on Samadhi states:

10. By means of various postures and different Kumbhakas, when the great power (Kundali) awakens, then the Prana becomes absorbed in Sunya (Samadhi).

10. What are the essential elements of Tantra?

Tantra comes from two words which mean to stretch, expand, and release. What is being released is our energy and conceptions which are under a self limiting state of tension. The release of tension and subsequent merger with our essence, the essence of the universe is what a Tanrika calls enlightenment.

11. Wheat is a Mahasiddha? Could you be one?

A Tantrika yogin experiences a very profound and radiant state of this accomplishment they are known as a mahasiddha (light body). There are many wonderful teachings embedded in the tales of the lives of the 84 mahasiddhas who are claimed by Buddhist and Hindu traditions alike.

12. Sticky Mat

13. guru

14. What is the traditional length of time a disciple trains under a master?

12 years .

15. Which of the two alignment principles must we master to have a solid foundation in hatha yoga?

physical and structural alignment and breath

16. Which alignment principle has the most influence on our yoga practice?

Motive “The first and most important alignment to check is our motive for practice. Our practice should be aligned with our motive. For example: If I’m practicing Hatha Yoga to heal my liver, my practice should contain movements and breathing necessary to perform that function. On the other hand, if my motive for practice is to deepen my meditation, the asana and pranayama should reflect that motive and be focused on strength. Once my motive and actual practice are aligned, I can ask myself, “Am I aligned with this practice?” In other words, have I left behind my other concerns of my life while I perform my practice? Am I naturally focused on my practice and really engaged in it in an open way so that it can actually re-pattern me? This is the way we should meet our practice each day.

17. When did yoga classes become the norm over the tradition of specific one-on-one instruction?

1940s, Sivananda and Krishnmacarya.

18. In yogic breathing 2 components exists: the mechanics and the energy (sensation/quality). Briefly describe what is meant by this. How does one awaken energy/sensation of breath?

One must first understand the proper mechanics of administering the breath and then only can they awaken the appropriate energies. This also goes for each “asana.” When performing yogic breathing you are getting the whole body to breathe.

19. Define puruka:

To inhale.

20. List 5 physical benefits of pranayama:

1. 9 out of 10 adults in the U.S. are chest breathers – shallow breathing into the chest, not reaching deep in the lungs at all. Children are born as belly breathers because it is HEALTHIER and more NATURAL breathing for the body. Stress and environmental conditioning change us into chest breathers as we mature. We can regain our ability to breath in a slow, deep, and healthy manner through pranayama – breathing from the belly button on up.

2. In most people, the top 1/3 of our lungs is “dead space.” We breathe so shallowly, we hardly use this 1/3 at all. For individuals with respiratory concerns, learning to breath into the healthy, undamaged top 1/3 of the lungs, where there is pink healthy tissue to absorb oxygen, can be beneficial.

3. increases the rate of metabolism (to aid with weight loss) – also Agni, the digestive fire, is extremely important in Ayurveda (Eastern Medicinal Branch of Yoga) – having a healthy digestion will improve your entire state of health – body and mind

4. Strengthen the immune system

5. calms and steadies the mind

6. improves focus and concentration

7. can raise or lower blood pressure, depending upon the technique chosen and the desired result

8. body uses oxygen more efficiently, increasing our health

9. provide sufficient oxygen for the functioning of every cell in our body. Without sufficient oxygen, we cannot metabolize food properly, and nutrients are wasted (take time to breath deeply between your bites of food during mealtimes – aids digestion in many ways)

10. for those suffering from lung damage (emphyzema, etc.), can learn to draw air more deeply into the lungs, reaching undamaged lung tissue and allowing easier breathing.

11. reduce stress – when encountering stress, one of our first responses is to hold the breath, or breath very shallowly. This is a “fight or flight”, primitive response that may have served us at one point in our evolutionary development. However, now, we respond this way to even slight stimuli – while driving in traffic, buzzer on a microwave going off, etc. We spend a great deal of our day actually holding our breath. Learning to consciously focus on deep breathing relaxes the body and calms the mind, and keeps the oxygen flowing, improving our health!

12. better emotional control and equilibrium – As a common remedy for stress, we use the expression ” take a deep breath.” Breathing actually allows us to respond to events more clearly, rationally, and calmly by supplying the brain with ample oxygen. A lack of oxygen can cause lack of concentration and emotional unbalance.

13. improved physical control of the body

14. remove waste products such as Carbon Dioxide and other toxic gases from the body, so they do not remain in the blood stream – this exchange in done through the alvioli in the lungs

15. spiritual benefits of breathing – healthy body, calm mind, and inner serenity. These take you on the road to spiritual discovery.

16. Nasal passages have many nerve endings, and breathing techniques can stimulate calming centers of the brain.

17. Open the Nadis and remove blockages to energy flow in the body

18. Strengthen and gain control of the diaphragm – improving abdominal tone, singing capacity, and health.

19. Learning healthy breathing techniques benefits the following conditions: asthma, allergies, high or low blood pressure, stress-related heart conditions, hyperactivity, insomnia, chronic pain, some psychological conditions, metabolic and endocrine imbalances. This is not intended as a substitute for proper medical care.

20. Men average 12 to 14 breaths per minute. Women average 13 to 15 breaths per minute. Children average 15 to 18 breaths per minute. This is natural for each group. Breathing more rapidly (hyperventilating) depletes the body of carbon dioxide. Your body needs a certain amount of Carbon Dioxide to maintain the appropriate Acidity/Alkalinity levels for your blood. Learning to breath deeply and smoothly can ensure that you maintain appropriate levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.
build better digestive system, helps with respiratory illness,

21. Describe the differences between natural breathing and full yogic breath.

Natural breathing is the first pranayama taught and yogic breathing is the second. Natural breathing introduces practitioners to their own respiratory system and breathing patterns while full yogic breath is used to maximize inhalation and exhalation it’s purpose is to gain control of the breath, correct poor breathing habits and increase oxygen intake.

22. Describe ujayi pranayama and its main benefits.

Ujjayi pranayama is a cooling when it is performed in a subtle fashion, internalizing, purifying and transforming breath. It is formed by placing the tip of the tongue lightly on the roof of the mouth or slightly further back if that is uncomfortable for you. The back of the throat is contracted gently and air is drawn through the nose across the contracted opening at back of the throat making a slight noise. The noise is similar to the soft snoring made by infants while they are sleeping. It is classified as a tranquilizing pranayama and it also has a heating effect on the body. This practice is used in yoga therapy to soothe the nervous system and calm the mind. It has a profoundly relaxing effect at the psychic level. It helps relieve insomnia and may be practiced in shavasana just before sleep. The basic form without breath retention or bandhas slows down the heart rate and is useful for people suffering from high blood pressure. Ujjayi also relieves fluid retention.

23. In prasarita padottanasana the elbows are placed over ___________________once the hands are on the floor. How are the knee joints protected in the posture?

Elbows over our writss and feet parallel or slightly pigeon toed, engage the thighs to protect the knees!

24. Define prasarita?

Extra spread.

25. Which element is strongly activated in utkatasana? What is the correct bhava for this asana?

One must remember to lift their ribs in this asana, it gives grace. The correct bhava is “fierce, courageous.” The fire element is strongly activated. Your gaze should burn a whole in whatever you are looking at.

26. Using the wall in trikonasana helps in what ways?

Using the wall helps our 3 centers stay aligned and also allows for our hips not to turn out.

27. To what degree is the back foot rotated in trikonasana?

Between 45 and 60 degrees. Slight inward rotation, never over 90 degrees.

28. Define nadi shodhana? How many nadi are there in the energy body?

There are 72,000 nadis in our body. Nadi means channel and shodhana means cleansing or opening. Nadi shodhana is a simple form of alternate nostril breathing.

29. How many of the pranayama techniques from module one are heating?

None.

30. To correctly feel the standing open gate posture and have the correct alignment in the posture what mental cues should you rotate through while holding the posture?

The three centers should be aligned, stacked on top of each other. Center of the forehead, chine and bhaga marma should be in a straight line. From the side you should also be lined up and to see if your energy has opened up check to see if there are purplish dots on your hands. You should not strain yourself but grow into the posture and tuck your sacrum under. There should be an open space between your lombar and sacrum. You should practice radial breathing.

31. Does pranayama mean control of breath?

Pranayama actually means the expansion of the life force. It refers to the hundreds of breath control practices used by various schools of hatha yoga.

32. Are there any contra-indications to the practice of the nadi shodhana pranayama?

Different things happen to different channels when we inhale and exhale. When you practice with breath incorrectly you are directly damaging the prana body. The inhale should be the same length as the exhale.

33. What are the 3 definitions of mudra?
(1) seal (mimic the greater cosmological experience) (2) gesture, (3) that which is beautiful or pleasing to the gods.

34. What does mudra accomplish in yoga?

In yoga mudras are used to activate and direct the flow or concentration of energy in the charkas and nadis.

35. Shambavi mudra creates concentration, kundalini awakening and rejuvenation of the pineal gland which is responsible for longetivity.

The Pineal Gland is about the size of a pea, and is in the center of the brain in a tiny cave behind and above the pituitary gland which lies a little behind the root of the nose. It is located directly behind the eyes, attached to the third ventricle.

The true function of this mysterious gland has long been contemplated by philosophers and Spiritual Adepts. Ancient Greeks believed the pineal gland to be our connection to the Realms of Thought. Descartes called it the Seat of the Soul. This gland is activated by Light, and it controls the various biorhythms of the body. It works in harmony with the hypothalamus gland which directs the body’s thirst, hunger, sexual desire and the biological clock that determines our aging process.

When the pineal gland awakens one feels a pressure at the base of the brain. This pressure will often be experienced when connecting to higher frequency. A head injury can also activate the Third Eye – Pineal Gland.

While the physiological function of the pineal gland has been unknown until recent times, mystical traditions and esoteric schools have long known this area in the middle of the brain to be the connecting link between the physical and spiritual worlds. Considered the most powerful and highest source of ethereal energy available to humans, the pineal gland has always been important in initiating supernatural powers. Development of psychic talents has been closely associated with this organ of higher vision.

36. Who are Ganesha and Sarasvati?

(From about Hindiusm.com)
Ganesha is the elephant-deity that rides a mouse. He is the son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. Ganesha’s head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha’s left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties. The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. And he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse. The story of the birth of this zoomorphic deity, as depicted in the Shiva Purana, goes like this: Once goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy’s head in rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad (gana) to fetch the head of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops. Hence his name ‘Ganapati’. Shiva also bestowed a boon that people would worship him and invoke his name before undertaking any venture.

However, there’s another less popular story of his origin, found in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana: Shiva asked Parvati to observe the punyaka vrata for a year to appease Vishnu in order to have a son. When a son was born to her, all the gods and goddesses assembled to rejoice on its birth. Lord Shani, the son of Surya (Sun-God), was also present but he refused to look at the infant. Perturbed at this behaviour, Parvati asked him the reason, and Shani replied that his looking at baby would harm the newborn. However, on Parvati’s insistence when Shani eyed the baby, the child’s head was severed instantly. All the gods started to bemoan, whereupon Vishnu hurried to the bank of river Pushpabhadra and brought back the head of a young elephant, and joined it to the baby’s body, thus reviving it.

Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent manifestations. “All Hindus worship Ganesha regardless of their sectarian belief,” says D N Singh in A Study of Hinduism. “He is both the beginning of the religion and the meeting ground for all Hindus.”

Sarasvati is the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, science, speech, and all arts– music, painting, dance and literature. In India today, Hindus still revere Sarasvati as a goddess who is a reflection of the greater Mother, or Devi, and female dynamic energy, or Shakti. Since she is the goddess of knowledge, students often present her their books and supplies before they begin classes and her image sometimes appears on school gates. She is also the central deity of Indian Classical Musicians. Her consort is Brahma.

Sarasvatī can be found in Vedic texts, such as Rig Veda, and in Puranic texts, such as Ramayana. She likely originated as a Vedic river goddess; the river which once shared her name no longer exists, but where the banks of these rivers are believed to have once been, the earliest writing in India has been found. As a water goddess, she symbolises fertility, and prosperity. In the Rig-Veda(6,61,7) Sarasvati is credited with killing the asura (demon) Vritra, who represents drought, darkness, and chaos. She is often seen as equivalent to the other Vedic goddesses like Vāk (divine word, also romanised as Vac), Savitri (Illumination) and Gayatri. In the Shakta tradition (worship of Shakti or Devī, the female aspect of the divinity), Sarasvati represents intelligence, consciousness and cosmic knowledge. In later Puranic literature Saraswati (Brahmī) becomes the consort of the creator god Brahma. Some texts place her as a foil to Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth.

In India today, Hindus still revere Saraswati as the Goddess of Knowledge. On special days in the Hindu calendar special pujas are arranged for, and she is present in representation in many educational centers. In Indian Classical Music Saraswati is the patron Goddess, Mother of Music, of some of the world’s greatest instrumentalists, Hindu or Muslim, among them Ravi Shankar and Ustad Bismillah Khan. She is the consort of Brahma.

She is traditionally depicted in art as a beautiful woman with four arms in which she plays an ancient Indian stringed-instrument called a veena. She holds prayer beads and the Vedas and often a water pot, symbolizing plentitude. Generally she is shown wearing a white sari. Sometimes Sarasvati is seated on a lotus blossom, other times she is seated on or accompanied by a swan or a peacock.

The lotus represents Purity. The hands playing the Veena represent Talent and Dedication. Her other hands offer Knowledge (the book or scroll) and Wisdom (the pearls). She is accompanied by Beauty (the peacock) and Grace (the swan). Her book is usually shown as a scroll, or as a stack of rectangular sheets of old-type Indian writing paper cut from dried palm leaves.

37. What is the gist of the teacher student prayer chanted at the start of class?

Om. May He protect us both. May He help us both to enjoy the fruits of scriptural study. May we both exert together to find the true meaning of the sacred text. May our studies be fruitful. May we never quarrel with each other. Om Peace! Peace! Peace!

Krishna Yajur Vedataittiriya Upanishad 2.2.2

38. Is chanting part of the yoga tradition? If so why should it be included at the beginning and end of yoga class?

Chanting is a part of the yoga tradition. Sound is a form of vibration and it was known as such to the yogins of both ancient and medieval India. According to the dominant theory of the science of sacred sound, mantra-vidya, mantra-shastra the universe is in a state of vibration. You also chant to purify the space, it is the first pranayama. If you do not chant then you are not activating all of the energies. It is also a way of sharing the benefit of the practice and setting your mind for the practice and sealing it with an expression of gratitude.

39. What is a cakra?

The word cakra literally means wheel or circle but in the yogic context a better translation is vortex.

40. What is its function?

Tha cakras are vortices of pranic energy at specific areas in the body that control circulation of prana permeating the entire human structure. Each cakra is a switch which turns on or opens up specific parts of the brain. In most people these psychic centers lie dormant and inactive. Concentration on the cakras while performing yogic practices stimulates the flow of energy through the cakras and helps to activate them. This in turn awakens the dormant areas in the brain and the corresponding faculties in the psychic and mental bodies, allowing one to experience higher levels of consciousness which are normally inaccessible.

41. How many cakras are there in the energy body? How many main ones?

There are 7 major cakras.

42. Can people (healers, sorcerers, etc. open, close, balance, purify, align, increase or decrease the energy of your cakras?

No.

43. What is the relationship between our thought and feelings and the cakras?

Each cakra corresponds to something different:

Cakra Seven (Sahasrara):
Thought, Universal identity, oriented to self-knowledge
This is the crown cakra that relates to consciousness as pure awareness. It is our connection to the greater world beyond, to a timeless, spaceless place of all-knowing. When developed, this cakra brings us knowledge, wisdom, understanding, spiritual connection, and bliss.
Cakra Six (Ajna):
Light, Archetypal identity, oriented to self-reflection
This cakra is known as the brow cakra or third eye center. It is related to the act of seeing, both physically and intuitively. As such it opens our psychic faculties and our understanding of archetypal levels. When healthy it allows us to see clearly, in effect, letting us “see the big picture.”
Cakra Five (Vishuddhi):
Sound, Creative identity, oriented to self-expression
This is the cakra located in the throat and is thus related to communication and creativity. Here we experience the world symbolically through vibration, such as the vibration of sound representing language.
Cakra Four (Anahata):
Air, Social identity, oriented to self-acceptance
This cakra is called the heart chakra and is the middle cakra in a system of seven. It is related to love and is the integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity. A healthy fourth cakra allows us to love deeply, feel compassion, have a deep sense of peace and centeredness
Cakra Three (Manipura):
Fire, Ego identity, oriented to self-definition
This cakra is known as the power chakra, located in the solar plexus. It rules our personal power, will, and autonomy, as well as our metabolism. When healthy, this cakra brings us energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power.
Cakra Two (Swadhisthana):
Water, Emotional identity, oriented to self-gratification
The second chakra, located in the abdomen, lower back, and sexual organs, is related to the element water, and to emotions and sexuality. It connects us to others through feeling, desire, sensation, and movement. Ideally this cakra brings us fluidity and grace, depth of feeling, sexual fulfillment, and the ability to accept change.
Cakra One (Mooladhara):
Earth, Physical identity, oriented to self-preservation
Located at the base of the spine, this cakra forms our foundation. It represents the element earth, and is therefore related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane. Ideally this cakra brings us health, prosperity, security, and dynamic presence.

44. What is sushumna nadi?

The spiritual channel located at the center of the spinal cord. It originates from the mooladhara at the perineum and terminates at the sahasrara at the crown of the head.

45. Describe pingala nadi?

Pingala nadi is the right nadi/channel: solar, warm, extroverted, dynamic, physical activity, masculine, pitta.

46. Describe ida nadi?

Ida nadi is the left nadi: lunar, cool, introverted, mental intuitive, feminine. Nostrils are gateways into the nadis.

47. As we begin our hatha yoga practice for the day, which nadi should predominate? How do we check? How do we change it?

Our right nadi should predominate. We can use nadi shodhana to check it and change it.

48. At the end of a complete practice session of hatha yoga (which includes asana, pranayama, bandha, mudra, meditation) which nadi should be flowing freely?

The Sushumna nadi.

49. What in your consciousness and emotions would confirm this? What in your breath?

When ida and pingala nadis are purified and balanced and the mind is controlled then sushumna the most important nadi begins to flow. Sushumna must be flowing for success in meditation. If pingala flows the body will be restless; if ida flows then the mind will be overactive. When sushumna flows, kundalini awakens and rises through the charkas.

50. Define dualism.
51. Define non dualism.
52. Are there yoga traditions related to each?
53. Are Sankhya yoga and Patanjali yoga dualistic or non dualistic in View.

(Adapted from Dualism and Non-Dualism by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati and Linda Johnsen’s article about Tantra and Classical Yoga )
When we want food or sex, or feel threatened, we automatically respond from Dualism, not Non-Dualism. If we watch a person die, or look at a corpse, are we not all struck by the mystery of apparent matter and consciousness? The higher truth quickly goes out the window in such moments and we find we are faced squarely with the Dualistic, conditioned response of the stuff of our mind.

There is something between us and Truth, the Absolute Reality, and that is called the mind. Training the mind is the starting point for Patanjali, in the Yoga Sutras. For example, one of the first things he talks about is observing which of our thoughts are useful or not useful, positive or negative. Then he directs us to learn to make choices in life on the basis of what is positive and helpful in our growth, choosing to do that which we know leads towards a stable, inner state of tranquility. Such self-observation, self-examination, and self-training are necessary in preparation for the deeper practices.

The Dualism of the Yoga Sutra gives us detailed instructions on how to clear away the clutter so we can find the door. Non-Dualistic Vedanta philosophy gives us a sound contemplative base for deeper understanding of the nature of the door and that which is beyond. Tantra shows us how to open the door, as well as how and where to knock.

To view these as contradictory leads to confusion. To view them as complementary leads to freedom. We can apply the Dualistic and Non-Dualistic philosophies as different aspects of the same one journey within, which eventually leads to the direct experience of the center of consciousness, wherein all these questions are resolved and dissolved.

In sum: Sankhya and Patanjali yoga are dualistic and Vedanta and Tantra are non dualistic.

54. In Patanjali’s yoga is the ultimate goal to merge with the One universal consciousness?

No! The last line asserts that in the liberated state the soul abides in its own unique essence not in union with any supreme being beyond one’s own Self. What remains is the purusha.

55. In the Hatha yoga tradition passed down by the Tantrik Mahasiddhas is the goal to realize our non-dual Nature?

Yes but supreme reality can be characterized not only by satchitananda but also by will, knowledge and action.

56. Is Patanjali’s yoga the original root philosophy of Hatha yoga? If not what is?

No! According to Dr. Jonn Mumford (Swami Anandakapila Saraswati) Hatha Yoga has absolutely no place, as understood in contemporary practice, within the context of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Patanjali only comments on four sitting postures and the sole purpose of these asanas is to provide steadiness for the body, so that the mind is not disturbed by imbalances. Yoga Sutras are the quintessence of Raja Yoga and really have no connection with body culture as exemplified by contemporary practices and Western attitudes to Hatha Yoga. One of the difficulties is to understand that an immense time span, in terms of cultural development, exists between the Yoga Sutras and Gherand Samhita. Patanjali wrote his terse commentary sometime between two hundred BCE and 200 CE while Gherand Samhita is a late 17th Century text. The origins of Hatha Yoga probably begin with early Tantric Texts and the characteristic pragmatic approach of Tantrics to graspable and palpable methods for piercing the veil of body and mind.

Gherand Samhita (along with the Hatha Yoga Pradapika and the Shiva Samhita texts) represent an evolution of approach through the body in contrast to Patanjali’s purely mental ‘Raja Yoga’. Both systems are equally valid and it is a matter of temperament as to which doctrine an individual pursues.

The aim of ultimate Moksha or Jivan Moksha (freedom while incarnated) is a common goal for both schools. Much of Patanjali’s vocabulary is still to be found in the classical Hatha Yoga texts as 8-limbed delineation of Yoga Sutras has withstood the test of time as a foundation for all Yoga.

He believes that Gherand Samhita eliminates the Yamas and Niyamas because they are so intrinsic that they do not require mention and are implied in Stanza nine by his 7 preliminary requirements for the practice of Ghatastha Yoga:

1: Body Purification (Shodanum)

2: Strength of Mind (Dridhata)

3: Steadfastness (Sthairyam)

4: Patience (Dhairyam)

5: Lightness of body (Laghawam)

6: Direct perception (Pratyaksham)

7: Unaffectedness (Nirliptam)

Also be aware that the approach of Gherand Samhita focuses upon the Shat Kriyas or internal body cleansing (Ghatastha Yoga).

“Ghatastha” carries the implication of ‘a cooking pot’ suggesting that just as cooking utensils must be scoured after use, so the human body must be strongly internally scoured. These practices are remarkable and I have studied them intensely.

You will notice by the end of the Gherand Samhita that the closing stanzas deal with Samadhi and although the methods taught are different the theme replicates Patanjali’s final branch, that is, Samadhi.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is cc 14th century C.E. while the Shiva Samhita was an early 17th century C.E. product so, along with Gherand Samhita, these three texts form a triad of the first consolidation of what we now call Hatha Yoga and which is the most popular form of Yoga amongst Westerners.

Hatha Yoga is now based upon the body culture of South Indian starting in the 19th century so that by the end of the 20th century the most well know schools came out of the Madras center of Krishnamacharya. His son, Desikachar, and his disciples B.K.S. Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois (‘Ashtanga Yoga) have all stamped their own influence and developed the most prominent schools in contemporary society.

The famous Surya Namaskar, and the variations out of the South Indian Schools of Hatha, never existed before the 20th century. In 1937 the Raja of Aundh was studying Law in London and attracted much attention by teaching a family system of exercises. This resulted in a London Journalist publishing articles and ultimately a book. From this the rapid spread of Surya Namaskar throughout the world and India so that many, East and West, believe this to be a traditional practice – it is not – no Brahman Hindu, reciting the sacred Gayatri, while facing the sun, has ever been taught to do Surya Namaskar. Surya Namaskar is a very modern innovation or invention in a long history of evolving Yoga practices.

57. Is yoga teaching a lucrative profession?

If an individual approaches teaching yoga with the idea that it is a lucrative profession than they have it COMPLETELY wrong. I don’t intend to become a yoga teacher. This course is for me to deepen my practice. Those who think yoga is a lucrative profession are not teaching yoga, they might as well teach pilates in a gym.

58. Do you believe it is possible to have your spiritual path be your profession/career without causing you to compromise any of the values of guiding principles of the path?

Yes. I am a school teacher and this career path really complements my spiritual/life path. I just go through all of my daily duties with complete understanding that I am not the doer, trying my best to detach from the fruits of my actions
Puja Course
Notes 8/6/05

Saha nau bavatu…may our truth that we are pursuing protect us
Tantra – tamayate, jnanam anena iti tantra = that whereby knowledge is disseminated, methodology of spreading knowledge

Sravana – listening, manana – reflection using logic, nididhyasana – application

God’s don’t accept offerings without understanding, introjection of teachings
Knowledge without application is a waste of time
Epistemology = theory of knowledge

How we know:
1.pratyaksha – direct observation
2.anumana – reasoning
3.agama – testimony

prama = valid knowledge, aprama = invalid knowledge

1.satyam (truth) reveal as it truly is
2.applicable

subjective conditioning
– svabhava (disposition)
– bhumika (level of attainment)
– adhikara (capacity)
samskara = subliminal activator
vasana – habitual pattern formation
markata matsya nyaya = monkey fish axiom
different paths: jnana sakti = path of knowledge, karma/kriya sakti = path of action, bhakti/iccha sakti = emotional component
objective conditioning
– desa = space
– kala = time
– patra = circumstances

Abrahamic Coalition
– Judaism, Christianity, Islam, earthly beings having a spiritual experience

Dharma Coalition
– Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Daoism, spiritual beings having an earthly experience. No soul, atman is self

Star of David symbol – non duality, interconnectedness of masculine and feminine energies

Amityam = impermanent, vikaryam = changeable, everything is always changing

Sambandhitam = bound together interconnectedness

Pada’s of Tantra are all sambandhitam
Jnana = wisdom
Yoga = application of systematic methodology
Kriya = action, ritual
Carya = lifestyle practices, temple building, creation of vessels etc.

Atman = mind/body

Bhagavad Gita
Yoga = samatvan = balance
Yoga = karma sukusalam = still in action

Yatha brahmanda tatha pindanda= external/internal, macrocosm/microcosm

Atma vasam sukhan = self control → happiness
Pava vasam dukham = anything depending on other → suffering

Change is inevitable, transformation is intentional change
Acarya = person who you gain spiritual knowledge from
Guru = any teacher, remover of darkness, heavy knowledge

Teacher must embody teachings
Test acarya
1.knowledge
2.teaching method
3.compassion
4.associates
5.feeling

sun (light), fire (cooks), moon (nurtures) = guru

upadesha = instruction
no division between sacred and profane, EVERYTHING is part of spiritual practice. In tantra we spiritualize EVERY aspect of our life

Sadari (6 enemies of afflicted emotions)
Kama (selfish desire) krodha (reaction when desires are not met) mokha (false view, delusion) mada (pride), lobha (greed), matsarya (jealousy)

Bhaya = fear, gurna = repulsion, lajja = shame

Two major Paths

1.Pravrtti (extrovert) householder, dharma, artha, karma
2.Nivrtti (introvert) monk, moksa
sexuality vs. non sexuality

brahmacarya = living and engaging with awareness of the divine
grihastha = discharging debt to society, looking after everyone
vanaprastha, sanyasa don’t exist in tantra

Maha Nirvana Tantra

Upanisad = sitting close to teacher
Upasana = personal practice
Pujari/pujarini = low level priest
Arcaka = worship, temple priest
Sastri = teacher of sastras, vedic law
Srotriya = persona qualified in the Vedas
Ganapthi = knows how to chant Vedas entirely fwd and back in 8 different combinations
Pandit/pandita = scholar
Brahmana = one who knows Brahmin, studies spirituality and realized truth
Varna = color, jati = bird
Varna = aquired, jati = by birth
Everyone is born a sudra
Vadhyar = teacher, one who performs ceremonies
Rtvk = initiated and invited to perform vedic sacrifice
Svami = sanyasin/sanyasini is the profession, title is swami
Bhatta = consecrated temple priest, usually vaisnava aka bhattaraka

Brahman = the absolute reality, nirakala, niskala
Brahma = creator god
Brahmana = one who has realized Brahman

Purohita = domestic priest, acarka does not leave temple

Auspicious ceremony, purva prayoga, before death
Inauspicious, apara yoga, post death ceremony

*Satyam is made up of vyavaharita which is the practical level of truth, paramarthika is the ultimate level

agama = tantric, vedic, no temples
mantra protects one from thinking, protection mantras protect you from yourself

aim of hindu tantric practice is to create harmony

murti = concrete form, thought becoming concrete
vigraha = object/form, specifically grasped by the mind, form of the deity you choose
pratima = image
bimba = reflection of your consciousness
rupa = form
arca = object of adoration or worship
bera = locus of consecration

there is no difference between us and the deity but we have not yet realized that there is no difference

santa deities (hanuman, ganesha) sattvic
vira deities (durga, usually more than 2 arms) rajasic
ugra deities tamasic, always more than 2 arms never installed in place of habitation
bhoga (pleasure) yoga (picture of deity in meditation)
householders never worship yoga deities
what you contemplate you become
uttama (best) madhayama (middle) ahama (low)
ranganatha = lord of the stage (visnu)

svatva hanana iti svaha
svaha = selfness destruction, destructing myself

108, 100 for your own sadhana 8 for benefit of all other beings
0 is shunya, the void, non dual supreme reality, total potential of total manifestation
1 + or – represents the individual, total possibilities of manifestation
8 = destruction, death, sex, procreation, death = CHANGE!
9 is the only number that repeats itself in an endless sequence

mandira = pauranic
alaya = agama, flag pole (yantra underneath statue)
mantra = rainbow
yantra = astral
bimba = physical

right hand, masculine, sun, unseen, spiritual
left hand, feminine, mortal world

paropatara punyaya = virtue, anything bringing benefit to others
papaya para-pidanam = sine, any act intentionally causing suffering to other beings

sankalpah

sam (together, same focus) +kalpa (imagination) = framing of your mind

jagat = born, gone = world is eternally changing
prapanca = that which is presented through the 5 senses

siva = white, tamas
visnu = black sattvas
brahma, rajas

gotra = cow shed, clan, one of 7 rishis

do guru puja on the birth day of the guru, nakshatra
nakshatra at dawn is the ruler of the day

8/10 Puja Notes
Deities are friends that help you achieve deeper realization of your true nature
– externalized projection of an inner quality of pure unformed essential nature
– these cosmological forces are deities, these rays come from our essence they don’t exist as separate entities, we don’t exist as separate entities
– even the sage who recognizes one taste acknowledges relativism
– manifestation as a being (awareness)
– deities have a special function to help as us
– they die too
– enlightened beings help us

srsti → pralaya
to relseas→ to reabsorb

religion aides the path. It gives cultural context for spiritual practice, take techniques out of our culture we lose the broader, more expansive energetic view of our essential non dual self, held on path by a greater energy

unconditioned pure potentiality in heart→ form of murti

prayer affirmation of what is

GRATITUDE, undemonstrated gratitude is NOT gratitude

LIFE IS MOVEMENT, NOT STILLNESS, THIS IS WHY WE DO PUJA TO SAY, “I AM BACK IN THE GAME FULLY!”

Non dual does not negate relative

PUJA TEST NOTES
– Svartha: ritual performed by anyone for oneself. Initiation not needed
– parartha: ritual performed by a priest for the sake of another, initiation essential.

Nitya karmas – must be performed. Performance does not produce merit, failure to perform demerits: daily bathing, morning salute of the sun and reciting gayatri mantra (sandhya-vandanam), japa, panca-maha-yajna (performance of 5 great sacrifices which are obligatory, discharge debts, five debts are to parents, god, sages, humans, elements)

Kamya = rituals done in order to gain merit (build hospitals)
Niskamya = unmotivated rituals

Offences against the deity (deva apacara)
Touching icon in the dark without having lit a lamp, interrupting puja to answer calls of nature, performing puja in angry mood, engaging in puja with upset stomach, tasting food or smelling flowers before offered, wearing an upper garment while saluting the deity, offering incense without offering flowers

Times of practice: full moon, new moon, 8th and 14th day of lunar fortnight

Locations of ritual practices: places of pilgrimage, river-banks, confluence of rivers, sea-shore, mountain tops, shade of banyan tree, cattle shed, puja room, guru’s home

Orientation: deity faces east, pujari to deity’s right, deity faces west pujari to deity’s left facing north

Purification (suddhi) = purificatory mantras, bath, ashes, dust raised by cows, sun bathing/rain bathing, natural ponds, thinking of the divine. space for worship, seat for worship, vessels must all be clean, items for puja must of the best possible. Direction: face east during the day, north at night, south when worshiping ancestors. Mouth must be clean before chanting mantras, icon purified by mudras (biumba), elements of body purified, purity of mind.

Develop right mental state,

Sacraments, samskaras: marriage, consummation, simanta (consecration of womb), rite for securing a male child, birth ceremony, naming ceremony, weaning ceremony, first outing, beginning of schooling, tonsure, initiation, final rites

Use of sacred spaces: (devices) icon, sand altar, water pot, fire, special fossil, natural lingam, mandala, yantra, lotus of ones own heart

Pranyama = reguilation of breath, purifying nadis

Trapana = libations
Two types, nismaya, done with pure water and sakamya done with herbs

Japa: recited aloud, whispered and audible only to oneself, mental repitition

Pranam = outward demonstration of an inner feeling of humility

Asana = one cannot sit on bare ground
Deer skin, tiger skin, kusa grass, silk cloth

Yantra = geometrical designs which rep basic energy forces of the universe, visual equivalent of mantras or thought forms of deities, astral body

Mantra = protect the mind (man = mind, tra = protect) device protects mind from negative forces and transforms it into the means for enlightenment and self-realisation

10 karmas of mantras:
1.santi = peaceful
2.paralyzing, used to stop movement of any living being
3.attraction, used to attract man, woman or animal
4.agitation, used to disturb mental equilibrium of another
5.controlling, used to enslave someone
6.attractions, used to attract someone living in a distant place
7.modification, used to change behavioral pattern
8.conflict = used to create opposition between two people
9.death, used to kill someone
10.empowerment, used to increase one’s or another’s wealth

Mudra = seal, imprint, passport, gives pleasure to the god’s.

DEVO BHUTVA DEVAM YAJET = One can only worship God after becoming god like

Nyasa = placement of fingers and palm of hand on various parts of body, purpose is to prepare the physical body for the reception of the divine presence of the deity

ARADHANA = worships, puja, upasana, arcana

Bahya – external
Manasika – mental

9 standards: uttama, madhayama, adhama

Sankalpa = statement of spacio-temporal factors which confine the ritual activity, the type of ritual, purpose or expected results of the ritual (brahmanjali)

8 Stages of Aradhana
1. nyasa, locating bija of deity upon various parts of the body
2.dhyana, visualization of the deity
3.avahanam, invocation
4.manasika
5.upacara
6.japa, silent recitation of matras
7.stotra, chanting of hymns in praise of deity
8.visarjanam, valideiction formal request of deity to forgive imperfections of the worship and bidding deity to depart and return to heart chakra of deity

Upacara

Flowers, incense, water

Flowers, incense, lamps, victuals, waving of camphor

Libation, water for washing feet, water for sipping, bathing, clothing, sandal paste, flowers, incense, light, food

Invocation, enthronement, scented water, washing of feet, sipping water, lustration, clothing, sacred thread, adornment, sandal paste, flowers, incense, light, food offering, betel leaf, camphor flame
SALUTATIONS TO THE MOON

The word Chandra means Moon. Just as the Moon, having no light of its own, reflects the light of the sun, so the practice of Chandra Namaskara reflects that of Surya Namaskara. The sequence of Asanas is the same as Surya Namaskara except that Half Moon pose is performed after Equestrian pose. This posture develops balance and concentration which adds another dimension to the practice. Whereas the different positions of Surya Namaskara relate to the twelve zodiac or solar phases of the year, the fourteen positions of Chandra Namaskara relate to the fourteen lunar phases. In the lunar calendar the fourteen days before the full moon are known as Shukla Paksha, the bright fortnight, and the fourteen days after the full moon are known as Krishna Paksha, the dark fortnight. The name of each day introduces each asana and is used as a basis for learning the days of the lunar cycle. The lunar energy flows within and it has cool, relaxing and creative qualities. Similarly, the lunar mantras ascribed to this practice are those which glorify Devi, the female or lunar aspect of divinity.
It is advisable to learn Surya Namaskara before attempting Chandra Namaskara as the postures are the same for both, except for one extra pose. Chandra Namaskara is best practiced a night, especially when the moon is visible, or at dawn at the time of the full moon. Be aware of the different experience given by the changing aspects of the moon. When practicing at night ensure the stomach is empty. Before beginning Chandra Namaskara, a few moments should be allowed to prepare the body and mind.

Stand in the upright position with the feet together, the eyes closed and the arms at the sides. The weight of the body should be evenly distributed on both feet. Adjust the position if necessary. Try to observe any spontaneous movement of the body as it relaxes. Gradually become more aware of the natural flow of the breath with each inhalation and exhalation. Then include awareness of the movement in the body with the rhythm of the breath. Retain this awareness for a few moments. Slowly withdraw the awareness from the breath and become aware of the space between the eyebrows. Within this space, visualize the full moon in a clear night sky, shin in brightly upon the waves of the ocean. The full reflection of the moon penetrates the deep waters and the cool shade of moonlight catches the tops of the waves as they dance. See the image clearly and develop awareness of any feelings or sensations that are created in the mind and body.

The physical practice of the asana sequence is similar to Surya Namaskara. However, there is one extra Asana Half Moon Pose, which emphasize the link with the lunar energies set up by the preparatory visualizations. Also, in Chandra Namaskara the force of each Asana is changed subtly by the repetition of mantras related to the lunar energies.

You need to maintain the balance, raise your both the hands and bring your both of the palms together in front of your chest, forming Namaskara Mudra. Stretch both arms over the head, keeping the palms together. Arch the back and look up, raising the chin as high as possible.

There should be a gentle curve from the tips of the fingers to the tips of the toes, resembling a crescent moon. Hold the pose for a short time. Lower the hands to the chest in Namaskara Mudra, then, separating them, place the hands on each side of the left foot as in shown in Equestrian pose.

Inhale deeply while raising the arms, arching the back and bending the head back. Retain the breath inside while lowering the arms or start exhalation while lowering the arms. This practice develops a sense of balance and gives a good stretch through the front of the body.

Sandhi – junction points, auspicious, easeful time to realize our shiva nature
– shows duality does not exist
– in tantra we go by nature to find our true nature
– great points of sandhi: waking up and going to sleep, sunrise and sunset (1/2 hr before and 20 minutes after), full mooon or new moon, solstices, equinoxes and lunar nodes in between, eclipses, in between breaths, when channels switch from right to left or left to right, birth and death (most impt sandhi), in between thoughts, sneezing or orgasm,
– cosmologically, the light body beings are the openings at equinoxes
– you are either eating or being eaten,
– be humble, have good conduct
SURYA NAMASKAR
Surya Namaskar open us up to greater cosmology. It is a scientifically produced, efficient way of harmonizing on a cosmic energy level (ashtanga surya namaskar loses cosmic intent) It is a body prayer, most ancient form of yoga, the asana makes a mudra of the sun through this cycle, we can experience death and rebirth every time we perform it
We are enacting a cosmological cycle in space and can actively run off karma when we perform Surya Namaskar (when we say we burn karma that signifies we are still attached to it) 12 constellations go with 12 zodiac signs, right and left represents full cycle (light and dark) We must focus on the 2nd and 3rd chakra when we perform this. Signifies water coming under fire, symbolizes alchemy, which is how we can transform ourselves
We are all energy manifestations
DO NOT CONSTUCT AIRFLOW IN THE THROAT! You destroy the fruition of the poses when you perform ujay pranayama; it changes the flow of the energy channels
MOVEMENT FROM EACH POSTURE ORIGINATES FROM THE HIP/PELVIS

Position One: Pranamasana (prayer pose with elements of Open Gate)
– Remain standing upright with the feet together
– Slowly bend the elbows and place the palms together in front of the chest in namaskara mudra, mentally offering homage to the sun, the source of all life.
– Relax the whole body
Gaze: Eyes should be open without dualistic engagement (not taking in stimuli). If you are feeling heavy or dull look up. If you feel too active look down. When you are balanced look straight ahead.
Breathing: breathe normally
Awareness: Physical – on chest area, Spiritual – on anahata chakra
Mantra: Om Mitraya Namaha – Salutations to the friend of all
Beeja: Hram
Benefits: This pose establishes a state of concentration and calmness in preparation for the practice to be performed.

Position 2: Hasta Uttahanasana
– Raise and stretch both arms above the head
– Keep the arms separated, shoulder width apart
– Bend the head, arms and upper trunk backward
– Tuck the tailbone in
Gaze: Follow your thumbs ups invoking shambavi mudra
Breathing: Inhale while raising the arms.
Awareness: Physical – on the stretch of the abdomen and expansion of the lungs, Spiritual – on vishuddhi chakra
Mantra: Om Ravaye Namaha = saluations to the shining one
Beeja: Hraim
Benefits: This pose stretches all the abdominal organs and improves digestion. It exercises the arm and shoulder muscles, tones the spinal nerves, opens the lungs and removes excess weight.

Position 3: Padahastasana (hand to foot pose)
– Bend forward until the fingers or palms of the hands touch the floor on either side of the feet
– Try to touch the knees with the forehead
– Do not strain
– Keep the knees straight
Gaze: Groin/Navel
Breathing: Exhale while bending forward. Try to contract the abdomen in the final position to expel the maximum amount of air from the lungs.
Awareness: Physical – on pelvic region, Spiritual – on swadhistana chakra
Mantra: Om Suryaya Namaha = salutations to he who induces activity
Beeja: Hrum
Contra-indications: People with back conditions should not bend forward fully. Bend from the hips, keeping the spine straight, until the bend forms a ninety degree angle with the legs, or bend only as far as comfortable
Benefits: This pose is useful in eliminating or preventing stomach or abdominal ailments. It reduces excess weight in the abdominal region, improves digestion and helps to remove constipation. It improves blood circulation, makes the spine supple and tones the spinal nerves.

Position 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (equestrian pose)
– Place the palms of the hands flat on the floor beside the feet.
– Stretch the right leg back as far as possible, rest the knee on the ground
– At the same time, bend the left knee, keeping the left foot on the floor in the same position. Keep the arms straight. In the final position, the weight of the body should be supported on both hands, the left foot, right knee and toes of the right foot. The head should be tilted backward, the back arched and the inner gaze directed upward to the eyebrow center.
– Movement should be fluid
Gaze: Shambavi, look at the tips of your nose
Breathing: Inhale while stretching the right leg back.
Awareness: Physical – on the stretch from the thigh to the chest or on the eyebrow center. Spiritual – on the ajna chakra
Mantra: Om Bhanave Namaha = salutations to he who illumines
Beeja: Hraim
Benefits: This pose massages the abdominal organs and improves their functioning, strengthening the leg muscles and induces balance in the nervous system.
Practice note: In the final pose the palms of the hands should be flat on the floor initially. Later on, more advanced practitioners can come up on their fingertips.

Position 5: Parvatasana (mountain pose)
– Take the left foot back beside the right foot
– Simultaneously, raise the buttocks and lower the head between the arms, so that the back and legs form two sides of a triangle
– The legs and arms should be straight in the final position
– Try to keep the heels on the floor in the final pose and bring the head towards the knees.
– Do not strain.
Gaze: Navel
Breathing: Exhale while taking the left leg back
Awareness: Physical – on relaxing the hips or on the throat region, Spiritual – on vishuddhi chakra
Mantra: Om Khagaya Namaha = salutations to he who moves quickly in the sky
Beeja: Hraum
Benefits: This pose strengthens the nerves and muscles in the arms and legs. The spinal nerves are toned and circulation is stimulated especially in the upper spine, between the shoulder blades.

Position 6: Ashtanga Namaskara (salute with eight parts or points)
– Turn elbows inwards as you come down
– Lower knees, chest and chin to the floor
– In the final position only the toes, knees, hand and chin touch the floor simultaneously. If this is not possible, first lower the knees, then the chest, and finally the chin.
– The buttocks, hips and abdomen should be raised.
– (At the more advanced level you want to float into this pose)
Gaze: Shambavi or tips of your nose
Breathing: The breath is held outside in this pose. There is no respiration.
Awareness: Physical – on abdominal region. Spiritual – on manipura chakra
Mantra: Om Pushne Namaha = saluations to the giver of strength.
Beeja: Hraha
Benefits: This pose strengthens the leg and arm muscles, develops the chest and exercises the region of the spine between the shoulder blades.

Position 7: Bhujangasana
Float up from position 7 to 8, you want to tuck your stomach up and keep your groin on the floor
– You need to lower the buttocks and hips to the floor, Straightening the elbows, arch your back and push your chest forward into the cobra pose.
– Bend the head back and direct the gaze upward to the eyebrow center.
– The thighs and hips remain on the floor and the arm support the trunk.
– Unless the spine is very flexible the arms will remain slightly bent.
– Inhale while raising the torso and arching the back.
Gaze: Shambavi or up
Breathing: Inhale
Mantra: Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha
Beeja: Hram
Benefits: This pose keeps the spine supple, improving circulation in the back region and toning the spinal nerves. It tones the reproductive organs, stimulates digestion an relieves constipation. It also tones the liver and massage the kidneys and adrenal glands.

Position 8: Parvatasana (mountain pose)
Breathing: Exhale
Mantra: Om Marichaye Namaha
Beeja: Hrim

Position 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (equestrian pose)
Breathing: Inhale
Mantra: Om Adityaya Namaha
Beeja: Hrum

Position 10: Padahastasana (hand to foot pose)
Breathing: Exhale
Mantra: Om Savitre Namaha
Beeja: Hraim

Position 11: Hasta Utthanasana (raised arms pose)
Breathing: Inhale
Mantra: Om Arkaya Namaha
Beeja: Hraum

Position 12: Pranamasana (prayer pose)
Breathing: Exhale
Mantra: Om Bhaskaraya Namaha
Beeja: Hraha

The Sanskrit name Surya (Sun) here refers to the Sun and Namaskara means ‘Salutations’. Surya Namaskara has been handed down from the enlightened sages of the Vedic Age. The sun symbolizes spiritual consciousness and, in ancient times, was worshipped on a daily basis. In Yoga the sun is represented by a channel of energy, the channel which carries the vital life-giving force. This dynamic group of Asanas is not regarded as being a traditional part of Hatha Yoga practices as it was added to the original Asana group at a later time. However, it is an effective way of loosening up, stretching, massaging and toning all the joints, muscles and internal organs of the body. It’s versatility and application make it one of the most useful methods of inducing a healthy, vigorous and active life while, at the same time, preparing for spiritual awakening and the resulting expansion of awareness.

Surya Namaskara is a complete Sadhana, spiritual practice, in itself for it includes Asana, Pranayama, Mantra and Meditation techniques. It is an excellent group of Asanas with which to start morning practice. Surya Namaskara has a direct vitalizing effect on the solar energy of the body which flows through important part of your body. Surya Namaskara is composed of three elements which are Form, Energy and Rhythm. The twelve Asanas are the physical matrix around which the form of the practice. These Asanas generate Prana, the subtle energy which activates the psychic body. Their performance, in a steady, rhythmic sequence, reflects the rhythms of the universe; the twenty-four hours of the day, the twelve zodiac phases of the year and the biorhythms of the body. The application of this form and rhythm to the body/mind complex generates the transforming force which produces a fuller and more dynamic life

The ideal time to practice Surya Namaskara is at sunrise, the most peaceful time of day. Whenever possible, practice in the open air, facing the rising sun. Sunset is also a good time to practice as it stimulates the digestive fire. Surya Namaskara, however, may be practiced at any time provided the stomach is empty.

Before commencing the practice, stand with the feet together or slightly apart, and the arms hanging loosely by the side of the body. Close the eyes gently and become aware of the whole physical body as one homogeneous unit. In this position the body may sway from side to side or backward and forward. Try to minimize this oscillation and balance the body weight equally on both feet. Bring the awareness inside the body and mentally begin to relax it. Starting from the top of the head, take the awareness systematically through all the parts, releasing any tension. Intensify, once more, the awareness of the whole physical body and feel in harmony with it. Take the awareness to the soles of the feet in contact with the floor. Feel that the whole body is being pulled downwards by gravity and that any tensions are being pulled down, through the body and into the ground. At the same time, experience the vital force surging up from the earth and flooding the whole being.

The practice of Surya Namaskara as a whole gives a great number of benefits. It stimulates and balances all the systems of the body, including the endocrine, circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems. Its influence on the pineal gland and the hypothalamus helps to prevent pineal degeneration and calcification. This balances the transition period between childhood and adolescence in growing children. Synchronizing the breath with the physical movements of Surya Namaskara ensures that the practitioner, at least for a few minutes daily, breathes as deeply and rhythmically as possible. This removes carbon dioxide from the lungs and replaces it with fresh oxygen, increasing mental clarity by bringing fresh, oxygenated blood to the brain. Surya Namaskara is the ideal practice to increase awareness and bestow good health and well being.

Sva Kundalini
– kundalini of the self is only 1/3 of the process
– kunda = vessel, container, kund for fire ceremony, female genitalia,
– susushmna channel (kundalini said to be coiled up down) associated with spinal channel
– everything is essence experience undescribable which splits into 2 siva is no form, sakti is form, siva is spacious hosting sakti is raw potential for manifestation/form, these 2 polarities interact vibrationaly then you get 5 elements, everything is ultimately one
– universal kundalini = ma sakti = kriya sakti = ananda sakti
– sva kundalini seems to be individual but
– ultimate freedom of individual nature allows for individuation
– kundalini appears to be dormant but it is always connected to the oneness, you don’t make small energy join big energy
– illusion of separateness
– the one nature is sitting energetically in our base
– the idea that we have partial knowledge, apurna jnanam
– seeing siva and parvati together, revealing full knowledge partially together, oneness is blue siva
– before that we have experience of sva kundalini, sense of separteness from everything, fundamental condition, you separate from whole
– every act of body speech and mind, more energy packed down with karma
– more karma when its based on the individual
– so much energy it seems like monumental task to let energy out and uncork it, it feels like you die to who you are
– sakti is waiting for siva to reside in heart space – pure open consciousness
– until you spiritualize you will always be stuck at partial knowledge
– just adoring each other is just affirming yourself spiritually
– process of kundalini yoga trying to liberate energy which is universal energy
– in tantra it is all in partial knowledge, state of sleep is pattern of repressed kundalini energy
– conditioning of pattern is below conscious will and mind
– put more energy into it and pop it open = tantri sadhana
– getting too involved in spiritual materialism , you have to esacpe, when its about you it only becomes more powerful
– have to be very sincere
– hatha yoga designed to make kundalini awakening easy
– sanchita run off during diksa and prarabhda run off by conscious choice of sadhana
– kundalini is related to your whole life
– baseless happiness, everything is open and flowing
– quasi spirituality feeds those karmas
TYSG 9/10/05

Gurukula – in guru’s family, nature of the pwr comes from commitment

Anugraha, kripa = to be grabbed and seized

Ghost shut day, live by lunar calendar.

Sat = extant, what is, cid = (self)AWARENESS, no subject, no object yet it is aware of itself beyond subject and object, tat vam asi. (sat and cid are siva)
Ananda = eternal serendipitous pleasure without opposite, kriya = not caused, no result, no action, spontaneous activity from Siva, unmotivated activity keaving no trace (ananda and kriya are sakti)
Sat, cid, ananda, kriya is the experience of god → being. Has self awareness, realize yourself as a supreme being.
WHEN YOU MEDITATE YOU DON’T TRY TO GET THIS YOU EXPRESS IT
We deal w/ 3 levels of beings, humans, mahadevas, gurus
Deity – ray of essence
Blue deities are the ultimate essence, black means everything and nopthing
Samba, nataraj is the energy body, thanka = essence body, guru = physical body
Durga = she who takes you across the ocean of samsara
Hanuman is pure wrathful and compassion at the same time
Wantan = chaos
2nd attention drives a wedge between normal identification process and state of presence
3 types of enlightenment: base, path and fruit
base = born enlightened, we are siva, sat cid ananda kriya
path = practices and teachings, because we don’t know our base enlightenment
fruit = realization of very end of wholeness of experience w/you from very start
VIEW is the fruit expressing the base, view teachings point you from fruit to base
2 categories of practice, sadhana and integration
experience of our essence nature in every waking moment, sleep, dream, waking, sive essence is 4th stage
individual awareness to be aware of another process
bhairava = chaos
spaciness vs. spaciousness is whether we can digest it or not
you are everybody yet you are all alone
not ever in present experience
3 hallmarks of practice
1.primacy of body, cultivating health
2.work exactly where you are
3.be aware of your energy state
white noise, holding to the center

VIEW TRAINING NOTES – 6/4 TO 6/5 2005
(See handout made by Dharmanidhi to supplement these notes)

Stage 1
– stems from ignorant stage, life is characterized by seeking comfort
– you experience yourself as an individual, no other possibility exists, no sense that another possibility is out there
– strong self identification as the individual, nothing else exists and you take comfort in anything that feeds your self identification
– desires are so strong that they drive all of our behaviors of body, speech and mind
– no way to even connect to the idea of compassion, wisdom
– attachments so strong
– aversion and attachment
– no pause between stimulus and response
– YOU SHOULD CARE FOR ALL BEINGS THE WAY YOU CARE FOR YOURSELF
– Grace (anugraha or kripa) helps us wake from stage one
– Our energy is out of control in this stage
– Desire = pure energy
– To cover up our shiva nature we are like a pac man out of control
– Bigger and bigger until you can’t be fulfilled, the road traveled more will always be a dead end
– Things are painful only because of our conditioning
– Ego identity is based on desires
– Desire for enlightenment for yourself and others, only desire which will include all beings.
– Core energy of the universe is desire (half step back), urge to create
– Not desire for something but just desire is shakti
Stage 2
– desire has to be there, it is a dynamic state of presence
– don’t try to meditate away problems, don’t try and fix it, desire is in the mind
– sexuality is the core energy of the universe and you need to be in touch with it in yourself
– don’t control it, it is what makes you alive
– vipassana (exercise) is a technique not a path. Nature of distraction is shakti, stage 2 tries to control shakti but you can’t control it, it is always arising, the counting represents shiva and the breath represents shakti (not smooth, variegated landscape)
– in this exercise we do not want to control shakti, we should notice that distractions occur, we should hear noise and still hear breathe
– notice your desires but don’t judge them
– stage 2 also has to do with binging and purging
– controlling or repressing is a failure, it cuts off your sensitivity, we want to purify a lot in stage 2, shamanic model of good and evil
– it is not possible to live by externally imposed laws until your channels are harmonized and you must do this naturally
– harmonizing energies through practice, not fixing but understanding
– you cannot get rid of the desire, it is the primal force of the universe
– tantrics can’t get rid of it then it is what is, teaches us about ourselves and the universe
– you must accept that you are going to chase after your desires
– there is no good or bad and trying to control it is limiting
– when asking whether you should act you should ask yourself, “how many beings are going to be helped by this.”
– Vegetarianism = small compassion
– Don’t know what is wrong or what is right, just live
– Society is based on what is
– Tantric community in west Bengal called baul
– If you make vipassana a path you freeze on the path
– Anything that rigid cracks learn that this energy can teach you something
– Buddha’s story, energetic clarity
– The dance of energy and consciousness
– Health is the basis for the rest of the path, we must cultivate health to sense
– Very focused on clarity, obsessed with fixing
– Infatuation with energy is not love, love = commitment
– You don’t create your reality
Stage 3
– stage 2 turns into stage 3 with self acceptance
– energy and consciousness dance together
– but now lets explore
– channels relaxing and harmonizing
– anytime you feel conflict you are at odds with your path
– zen = 7 seconds decision rule
– no sense of good or bad, just the one that you make
– stages are always in flux
– explore desires
– self acceptance, tolerance
– less distraction
– combine consciousness and energy
– merge experiences of energy and consciousness, that they are the same, fantastic amount of energy when they come together
– feeling good, become more in tune with our body and situation
– YOU AREN’T CONTROLLING ENERGY, ENERGY CONTROLS YOU
– Relax rigidly imposed conditions
– More energy comes more distraction
– FOLLOW YOUR NATURAL APPETITE
– Mind in tantra is nothing but an expression of the body, body = mind
– Cultivate health so you are sensitive enough to know what you feel
– Primacy of the body
– In the essence state it is impossible to harm, if you are one with everything then you harm nothing
– You can kill without murder (violent intent) no karma
– Lenses of perception
– Understand the primacy of the body and work where you are at
– Pranothanana = stretching of energy, psyche moves through channels
– Stage 3 is blissful, but still a lot of “you” and “me”
– You don’t stop doing bad but you don’t see them as bad, these energies are really a part of you, still not in non duality
– accept yourself accept others
– judging reflects our own lack of self acceptance
– vital energy is who we are, karma cannot change so we must accept it but we can change our experience of it
Stage 4
– desire into connecting with everything in the universe
– open up to every moment
– fundamental that you realize that the spiritual path is EVERY moment
– work where you are at the moment
– characteristics of this stage include knowledge and innocence, real insights, base of wisdom opens
– clarifies motives, motives are self absorbed until stage 4
– fixing problems doesn’t make us enlightened, the problems just stop being problematic
– seva, seva, save yourself first
– greatest way to contribute is to take care of yourself
– compassion to yourself first, once you understand compassion you will live completely for others because you are not separate from others

Day 2
– you do not create your reality in stages 1-5
– it is very pragmatic to see stages as sequential and linear, it can help us find our orientation
– stages are aspects of our being, no saying how long a stage should last but there are general ideas
– stages 1-2 are rich with energy and patterning and so deep in our radar that it just keeps going
– we like to stay in 1 and 2 because of the idea there is safety in numbers
– shades of these first two stages keep showing up in later stages, ex. Echoes of right and wrong

12 stages
1.vishayanuruga – doubting desire fulfillment, this energy is your vitality, living a fulfillment based life, stage one is exhaustive
2.vikshepa-drashta
3.samatva-bhava
4.satvyavahara
5.viveka-buddhi
6.pranidhana
7.shunya
8.avyakta-karma
9.padhana-karma
10.karma-kshaya
11.siddha
12.prakasha-kaya

– valmiki transformed his life, milarepa too, all is not lost. If you are ever doubtful on the path remember this
stage 2: vikshepa drashta (to see clearly, experience) vikshepa refers to false perceptions
– starting for the first time to see who you are not
– you must never try to control your shakti, you must work with it
– 1st stage is exhaustive, 2nd stage is destructive
– compassion is ALL the way or nothing, compassion is your inherent shiva nature
– shakti is compassion
– WE ARE JUST A PRODUCT OF TIME AND SPACE
– Energy has wisdom, the energy we are is beautiful and pleasurable
Stage 3: samatva-bhava = equanimity, same feeling
– Energy, vitality, sexuality is NOT the enemy
– Austere yogi’s make sexuality the enemy, they are afraid of sexuality, afraid of desires
– With this energy you get more awareness and clarity
– In this stage we make friends with our dark sides and psychology ends
– When you “attract” things into your life you are using natural focus on the path
– Each stage has a natural appetite
– You can kill while you love
Stage 4: sat-vyavahara (the real deal)
– path as life, set out on the journey
– exploring our context
– getting real
– be with what is
– you realize a HUGE world exists for you, digesting each moment
– life shows up when you learn in context
– context shows us our limitations
– moment to moment experience with out false projections
– limits teach us, dealing with what is in the moment
– being with them in the present is the path at that stage
– this is a working stage, not easy like stage 3
– there is great power here
– spiritual materialism: you cannot make something concrete out of non concrete trying to do this is spiritual materialism
– everything is digesting, we are all eating and time eats us all
– if you cannot digest it, it will digest you
– insights feels like purpose of the path,
– trying to make a lot of meaning will get you stuck
– purpose NOT revelation and insight
– to get to stage 5 you must let go of spiritual materialism
– appropriate action, meeting it where it is at
– stage 4 is about the integrating process, it produces deeper work and you can really feel your fate here, the path is coming out of you so you do not see the path yet, your trajectory opens and you can feel before you can see
– prakriti is caring, nurturing and responsive
– we come out to meet reality and it is coming to us, the universe is a motherly force
– ma sakti provides you with what you want
– mirror reflective energy which is beyond good and bad and completely free
– freedom = siva
– trusting the universe as a caring, responsive force
– goal IS the path
– yogi practices can show us the new world
– sincerity makes us realize the need to choose a path and you must choose wisely
– when choosing you must take into account, aptitude, competencies and needs
– transcendental not concerned with the body where is ttantra deals with what is: the body
– most yogic traditions are based on stages 4 and 5, tantric view is that you work where you are at by stage 4 you know yourself well enough to choose a path by stage 5
Stage 5
– how we choose our path and why
– develop a type of individuality in this stage, develop our individual path, that which cultivates universality before
– choose specificity
– great power can be revealed here
– accept individuality within nonduality
– specific needs, appropriate things to do in each moment
– unanticipated forces
– BIG karmas, don’t make meaning
– “only have the right to do your practice not to think about them.”
– You have options here: orthodox vs. unorthodox
– Make it to 5 then 6-7 path of no return, linear time is real but time is also beyond being linear
– Viveka-Buddhi – discrimination intelligence
– A teacher is a transmitter of essence state, not an embodiment of purity no one is perfect
– Understanding viveka is the key to the 5th stage it can tell us whether or not we need a guru
– Here you see the goals and get what enlightenment means, very grounded in your spirituality here, able to get through all difficulties
– It depends on physical health and vitality
– Nothing is unfair, it is what it
– Here yogis can feel the presence of great ones
– Enlightenment is beyond our mind, very subtle
– Beware of teacher who are stuck in the energy gymnastics phase
– The correct position in yoga is where you are as long as you are consciously working
– You need a stable crucible for clarity
– An aspect of ourselves and the world not in harmony with dharma are obstacles
– Unfinished business in stage 5 can suck you dry and can possibly allow you to create more karma
– Neglected and unknown karmas resurface at stage 5
– These have to be dealt with and come up with HUGE force and you can sidestep them
– In stage 5 you can discriminate about what your responsibilities are
– YOU WILL NEVER KNOW YOUR SHIVA NATURE IF YOU FOLLOW SOMEONE ELSE’S IDEAS OF WRONG OR RIGHT
– Recognize that you do not have to be involved with karma any more
– Invisibility and sincerity of purpose is the strategy for going through stage 5
– Doesn’t mean being a hermit, lay low (sidestep, drop, transform, wrestle = ways to deal with karma)
– BE TRUE TO THE PATH. Stick through the commitment and stay the course, work hard, be VERY vigilant
– See beyond dogmas and priorities then 6 appears
Stage 6: Pramidnana = surrender
– be open beyond conditioning, save yourself, who you are is open
– trusting capacity beyond mind and conditioning
– reflects, nothing sticks, this is your true nature
– *in tantra you are in the world so deeply that your conditioning is no longer there to give you reality
– you go into reality as it is
– what you think about a person is just that, what you think, it is not that person or that thing
– transcendentalists try to escape
– in 6 you let go of everything you have learned
– in stages 1-4 you use the conscious, subconscious a little in 3-4 and in 5 your unconscious is blown apart.
– Our conditioning is so deep, so close you cannot see it
– This surrender is caused by and causes abstract contemplation
– Siva and sakti are one
– What you thought got you here
– You did not accumulate this experience through practices, you were that
– Space of loving presence, big cosmic law of compassion
– Padmasandava (big picture of compassion from stage 6 upwards)
– Things work the way they should
– No I or me
– Self centered orientation of love and compassion is dissolving, more complete understanding beyond mere concept
– You can’t get here and have a sense of yourself
– You as your egos cannot go through stages 6-7, fearlessness comes from surrender
– Experiences come with you, you become karma less and feel a sense of suicide going from stages 5 to 6 and 6 to 7
– No logic will help you at 6 or 7, complete trust in 6 and then 7 is revealed
– If you are too technique oriented you can become imbalanced
Stage 7: shunya which means zero or emptiness, pure openness
– ground of situation is that you become one with open space
– this is where effortlessness comes to fruitition
– the first half of shunya is passive
– the tranquility of stage 7 is that it is self limited
– here we realize goals are funny, no beginning or end
– when you are in 7 you realize what happens in 1-6 is irrelevant
– openness is empty, base of everything
– in 7 normal desires pale
– you drop all meaningful definitions, souls, beings etc. body and soul are meaningless
– motive dies at 5
– 7 cuts through any remaining ideas of improvement
– you as shiva must recognize yourself as shiva
– not a reward for effort
– clarifying actual situation
– shunya is a negation of everything we have experienced
– stage 7 negates until it negates itself
– the view is so complete it meets you where you are at
– you seek to empty the hells and destroy the heavens
– uterus is open space to create similar to shunya
Stage 8 – re-engages as in the world
– show you can be active in the world in a non dual way
– inspire all living beings
– engage in a relationship
– compassion becomes REAL here
– here we are so one with everyone that everyones suffering is our suffering, everyone’s joy is our joy
– erase the ideas of vacuous and empty
– there is both activity and stillness
– austerity is a joke at stage 8,
– everything goes just as it should
– here you understand why destruction is impt
– ayakta-karma = unmanifested karma, ex. Karma of a bell
– yogic channels become clear, ma sakti takes form as yoru desire
Stage 9 –
– channels obstructed by smaller view
– real participation in the world
Stage 10
– karma ksaya, losing karma forever
– immortality
– every vestige of individuality is gone
Stage 11 – Siddha
– operating in the world without karma, were not made at all
Stage 12 – prakasha-kaya
Eleven uses a body to get to 12, dramatic and visual display guaranteed prep for 11-12 transition takes years beneath 7 gives rise to future births
*all stages are a play of 12, you are ALWAYS 12, let the view give you a deeper appreciation of your life.
Your mind can lie but the energy state doesn’t

Let’s begin in Vajrasana, thunder bolt pose
• So you want to kneel on the floor
• Sitting in this asana directly after meals, for at least five to ten minutes to enhance the digestive function.
• Your big toes should be together and you want to separate your heels.
• Lower the buttocks Lower the buttocks onto the inside surface of the feet with the heels touching the sides of the hips.
• Make sure to place your both hands on the knees, palms facing down.
• Your back and head should be straight but not tense.
• Avoid excessive backward arching of the spine.
• Close the eyes, relax the arms and the whole body
• Take 3 deep breaths at your own pace.
Neck warm up
• Now lift your chest and roll your shoulders back
• We are going to warm up the neck,
• Slowly and mindfully move your chin to your chest (5)
• Ear to shoulder, Nose to shoulder (right side then left 5 times each)
• Sweep your head in a circle towards your left, don’t close your eyes
• Circle your head towards your right

Tadasana
• Depending on what is most comfortable to you place your feet together or place them hips distance apart.
• Gradually place your feet down spreading your toes.
• The inner sides of your feet should be parallel, make sure your feet are not pointing inwards or outwards.
• Your three centers, your head heart and pelvis should be stacked.
• Center of forehead and chin are in a straight line with your treasure chest, bhaga marma.
• Your chin should be parallel to the floor.
• Tuck your sacrum under so there is a bit of open space between the lombar and sacrum.
• Roll your shoulders up to your ears and spread them down and outwards and make sure your shoulder blades are spread.
• You fingers should be gently touching each other, don’t separate them and don’t strain them together to hard.
• Lift up through your sternum…(demonstrate by using hand to pull) you should be lifting from the crown as if being pulled up by a string.
• At the same time create a space between each vertebrae as you elongate your spine, try and take the arch out of your spine.
• Your heels should be connected to the earth.
• Make sure there is a space between your inner arm and the sides of your body to allow for radial breathing.
• Your gaze should be soft and straight ahead.
• Breathe deeply through your nostrils and feel the sensations in your body.
• (After a few minutes) Check your palms to see if there are purple blotches, this signals that your channels are open and oxygen is flowing through your body.

Tiryaka Tadasana (Swaying Palm Tree Pose)
• Stand in Open Gate
• Your feet can either be together or apart. If you want more balance keep them apart.
• Clasp your hand in front of you interlocking your fingers, make sure your thumbs don’t stick.
• Look down at your palms.
• Inhale and move your hands up with your breath, keeping your gaze focused on your hands.
• At eye level flip your hands and then your gaze should be forward.
• Drop your shoulders into your sockets.
• Make sure your pinky’s are still interlocked and push your hands toward the ceiling.
• Your arms should be straight.
• As you pull up and reach towards the ceiling make sure your tailbone and feet reach towards the ground.
• You want to feel an upwards and downward stretch.
• Check your three centers to make sure they are aligned.
• Inhale deeply and exhale to your right.
• You want to feel your left side channel open.
• As you turn to the right push the weight down into your left foot and feel the stretch from your fingers to your toes including your armpit and hip.
• REACH for the wall, don’t bend.
• Do not arch your back as if you are in between two panes of glass.
• Your right side should be supporting your left. You are not collapsing into your right.
• Be careful to keep your head back and in between your shoulders.
• Keep your arms straight and work on keeping them in line with your ears.
• Inhale deeply. Don’t forget to breathe.
• A subtle rotation of your hip and torso will allow you to go further into the pose but do not push yourself.
• Inhale up slowly
• Your right leg should be active as you come up.
• Come back to your center and exhale as you bring your hands down.
• Check your sensations.
• *For beginners try this posture against the wall and keep BOTH shoulders against the wall to bring awareness to spine rotation.
BENEFITS: massages and loosens and exercises sides of the waist. It balances the left and right groups of postural muscles.
Virabhadrasana II (auspicious hero pose)

• From open gate spread your legs about a legs length apart.
• Inhale, lift your toe and pivot your right foot.
• Exhale, bring your foot down spreading your toes.
• Pick up your back foot and turn it slightly inward.
• Make sure you roll your back foot in to make sure you do not strain your knee.
• Align your three centers.
• Inhale your arms up.
• Make sure your fingers are together and straight. (effort not exertion)
• Drop your shoulders down or away from your ears.
• Make sure your shoulders are spread, don’t pinch back.
• You should feel a sensation from the tips of your fingers through your heart all the way across.
• Align your centers
• Exhale and turn your head to the right.
• The weight in your back foot needs to be on the outer edge of that foot so you do not collapse into your ankle.
• Your back leg is strong from your hip to your toe as if a spear has been placed in the earth. Make sure it is not locked it should be a few degrees off lock.
• Engage your thighs, legs should be active as if you could pull apart your mat with your feet.
• Exhale as you slide your pelvis down (sink pelvis down from the crown) and your knee glides towards the wall.
• Tuck your tailbone.
• If your back foot starts lifting up then you need to shorten your stance.
• Your knee should be in line with your foot and reaching for the wall.
• Look down at your feet. You should only see your big toe, if you see your other toes then you are putting stress on your knee.
• You should feel a weight pulling down from the pelvis like a sack of potatoes.
• Your core should stay upright, don’t slant forward or back.
• Invoke a 6 way stretch. Feel as though pressing against resistance which is coming from the front, back, sides, top and bottom.
• Breathe deeply and feel the sensations. Feel the prana in your body.
• Inhale up from the crown, not from the knee. Pull yourself up from your crown.
• Exhale as you bring your hands down and place your right foot forward.
• Check your sensations.
EFFECTS: though this pose the leg muscles become shapely and stronger. It relieves cramps in the calf and thigh muscles, brings elasticity to the leg and back muscles and also tones the abdominal organs. Mastery of the standing poses prepares the pupil for the advanced poses in forward bending which can be acquired with ease.

Virabhadrasana I (auspicious hero pose)
• From open gate spread your legs about a legs length apart.
• Inhale, lift your toe and pivot your right foot.
• Exhale, bring your foot down spreading your toes.
• Pick up your back leg and spiral your hips forward.
• The hips should be even and if not move your back foot so that it turns more towards the front.
• Your hips and shoulders should be squared and your three centers should be aligned.
• Inhale as you lift your arms up, palms facing up.
• Lift elbows to the ceiling feeling the sensations from your fingertips through your heart all the way across. This opens up the heart nadi which can relieve stress and helps prevent heart attacks.
• Inhale your arms up alongside your ears. Keep your arms straights but drop your shoulders and make sure they are relaxed.
• If there is strength in your arms to keep them up and straight then you can bring your palms together without any pressure.
• Your hands can be together or apart in this posture as long as there is no arch in your lower back.
• Your gaze should be at the joined palms or at the ceiling if your hands are not joined.
• Sink your pelvis down as your knee glides towards the wall.
• Don’t let your back knee collapse and do not lock your knees either.
• Inhale up from the crown, not from the knee. Pull yourself up from your crown.
• Exhale as you bring your hands down and place your right foot forward.
• Check your sensations.
EFFECTS: In this pose the chest is fully expanded and this helps deep breathing. It relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back, tones up the ankles and knees and cures stiffness of the neck. It also reduces fat around the hips.

Samokanasana (Same angle asana)
• Stand in Open Gate (reminder that your centers should be aligned) with your feet together or keep feet apart if your back and hamstrings are weak.
• Inhale and raise your hands straight above the head with your palms facing each other.
• Drop your shoulders down and spread your shoulder blades.
• Arch your back slightly pushing your buttocks out a little.
• Exhale and slowly bend forward at the hips until your torso is parallel to the floor.
• As you bend forward rotate your groin area back in order to open your sit bones to avoid lower back pain. Feel your sitbones opening as you come down and spread them open so that you can let the pelvis sink down.
• Keep your legs and buttocks active/engaged. Don’t lock your knees, engage your thighs.
• Push weight into backs of heels
• Make sure your head, neck and spine are in a straight line.
• Elongate your neck
• Don’t kick your elbows out, make sure your arms are straight.
• Your head should be lifted up a bit.
• When your torso is completely parallel to the earth and your legs are engaged drop your hands at the wrists (limp)
• Your gaze should be on the ground, breathe between your ribs.
• Stay connected to the earth
• Inhale, slowly return to the upright position with your arms, head and back in a straight line.
• Exhale, lower your arms and bring your hands into your heart center in anjala mudra.
• Check for sensations.
AWARENESS: Physical, on the movement, keeping the spine straight and maintaining balance. Spiritual on anahata chakra. BENEFITS: This asana works specifically on the upper back directly behind the chest. It rectifies spinal curvature tension and poor posture.
Uttanasana (Deliberate intense stretch, lengthening in pose, Ut is a particle indicating deliberation, intensity. The verb tan means to stretch, extend, lengthen out. In this asana the spine is given a deliberate and intense stretch.)
• Stand in Open Gate (reminder that your centers should be aligned) with your feet together
• Inhale and raise your hands straight above the head with your palms facing each other.
• Arch your back slightly pushing your buttocks out a little.
• Tuck your tailbone
• Exhale and slowly bend forward at the hips until your torso is parallel to the floor.
• Keep your legs and buttocks active/engaged.
• Push weight forward into your toes.
• Make sure your head, neck and spine are in a straight line.
• Elongate your neck
• Don’t kick your elbows out, make sure your arms are straight.
• Your head should be lifted up a bit.
• When your torso is completely parallel to the earth inhale.
• Make sure your legs are engaged check your alignment, your 3 centers should be stacked upon each other
• After you are aligned well inhale as you keep reaching forward while you bend from the pelvis
• The crown of your head should move towards the floor as your tailbone reaches up towards the sky.
• Bring your stomach over your thigh. Exhale.
• Lift your ribs, you should feel as if you are lessening the space between your belly button and spine.
• Place your hands close to your feet, whatever feels most comfortable for you. Do not push yourself. Breathe
• Your gaze should be on the ground.
• Stay connected to the earth
• Inhale, slowly return to the upright position with your arms, head and back in a straight line. (Easier option, hands on sit bones as you come up).
• Exhale, lower your arms and bring your hands into your heart center in anjala mudra.
• Check for sensations.
EFFECTS: This asana cures stomach pains and tones the liver, the spleen and the kidneys. It also relives stomach pain during menstrual periods. The heart beats are slowed down and the spinal nerves rejuvenated. Any depression felt in the mind is removed if one holds this pose for more than two minutes. The posture is a boon to people who get excited quickly as it soothes the brain cells. After finishing the asana one feels calm and cool, the eyes start to glow and the mind feels at peace.
Padangusthasana (pada means foot, angustha is the big toe)
• Stand in Open Gate. Spread your feet sit bone width apart. The inside of your feet should be parallel to each other. Check your alignment.
• Inhale and raise your hands straight above the head with your palms facing each other.
• Arch your back slightly pushing your buttocks out a little.
• Tuck your tailbone
• Consciously bring your upper body down. Keep reaching the crown of your head toward the floor.
• Elongate your spine, tuck your chin.
• Stomach should be hollow.
• Your shoulders should be away from your ear.
• Hold the big toes in between the thumbs and the first two fingers, making a mudra, so that the palms face each other.
• Knees can be bent in order to grab toes.
• Hold them tight. Inhale and look up with your gaze towards the tip of your nose.
• Keep your head up and stretch the diaphragm towards the chest and make the back as concave as possible.
• Lift from the heart, pull the heart forward.
• Your elbows should be spread out as you hands pull on your toes.
• As the same time your feet is pressing into the ground. Feel these opposing forces.
• Make sure your head, neck and spine are in a straight line.
• Elongate your neck. Breathe and feel your sit bones spreading.
• Lift up your ribs as if the space in between your belly button and spine is lessening.
• Stay connected to the earth
• Inhale, slowly return to the upright position with your arms, head and back in a straight line. (Easier option, hands on sit bone)
• Exhale, lower your arms and bring your hands into your heart center in anjala mudra.
• Check for sensations.
EFFECTS: abdominal organs are toned and digestive juices increase while the liver and spleen are activated. Persons suffering from a bloating sensation in the abdomen or from gastric troubles will benefit by practicing these two asanas. (padahastasana, hand variation)
Utkatasana (Fierce Pose)
• Stand in Open Gate. Move your feet together or sit bone with apart, depending on balance.
• The inside of your feet should be parallel to each other, weight should be evenly distributed on both feet. If feet are apart put weight on outer edges of feet to engage inner thighs
• Inhale bring your arms up.
• Exhale, bend your knees and tilt forward.
• Push your butt back, then bring your butt under and tuck your tailbone down further.
• Lift your upper torso from the middle of your spine.
• The inside of your legs are parallel and your feet are pressing into the ground. Your legs are active.
• Do not shrug your shoulders.
• Lift up the ribs, breathe
• Your tailbone should drop down, sit bones are spread wide
• Lift up your heart
• Your gaze should be straight ahead as if you are burning a hole in the wall.
• Invoke the feeling of a warrior. Your face should be concentratred.
• Inhale as you slowly come up, do not lose your connection.
• Raise your arms and bring them back to anjali mudra.
EFFECTS: The pose removes stiffness in the shoulders and corrects any minor deformities in the legs. The ankles become strong and the leg muscles develop evenly. The diaphragm is lifted up and this gives a gentle massage to the heart. The abdominal organs
Uttihita Trikonasana (Uttihita means extended, stretched. Trikona, tri = three; kona = angle)
• Stand in Open Gate
• Inhale deeply as you spread apart your legs sideways about a legs length. Do what feels comfortable for you. Exhale.
• Inhale raise your arms sideways in line with your shoulders, palms facing down. Keep the arms parallel to the floor.
• Turn the right foot sideways about 90 degrees to the right.
• Pick up your left foot slightly inward
• Check your alignment, make sure your three centers, head, heart and pelvis are stacked on top of each other.
• Turn your head to right and gaze at your middle finger. Feel the connection through your heart from hand to hand.
• Push your hip out towards the left
• Exhale and bend your torso sideways to the right, bringing the right palm near the right ankle.
• Bring the back arm towards the ceiling and reach up.
• Reach arms away from each other, spread the shoulder blades.
• Imagine you are one-dimensional as if you are stuck in between two panes of glass.
• The left arm should be in line with the right shoulder as you extend your torso.
• The back of the legs, the back of the chest and the hips should be in a line.
• The left side of your torso should be flat. Do not collapse into the pose.
• Make sure you legs active, press into the outer edge of the back foot.
• Gaze at the thumb of the outstretched left hand.
• Exhale, slowly come up.
• Lower your hands, bring your feet together into open gate, check for sensations.
EFFECTS: This asana tones up the leg muscles, removed stiffness in the legs and hips, and corrects any minor deformity in the legs and allows them to develop evenly. It relieves backaches and neck sprains strengthens the ankles and develops the chest.

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)
• Stand in Open gate
• Shift your weight slightly off the left foot, keeping the right foot very firm to the floor.
• Bend your right knee and slowly raise your foot with the assistance of your right hand.
• Your right heel should be placed close to your groin.
• The right sole of your foot is pressing firmly into the left thigh and toes should be pointing downwards.
• The right knee should be to the side and your hips should be squared.
• Your foot should be pressing into your inner thigh and your knee should be pointing outwards simultaneously in order to open the hips.
• Your spine in straight.
• Once you maintain balance place your hands in Anjali Mudra. Breathe.
• Slowly raise your hands up over your head. Do not lose your connection. Breathe deeply
• Fix your gaze straight ahead, not very intense. This is a peaceful posture.
• Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Breathe
• Lower your arms and slowly release your leg and check for sensations.
Gaurudasana (Eagle Pose) Gauruda is a vehicle for Vishnu. Imitation of Pingala and Ida nadis merging at the third eye point.
• Open Gate
• Sit down
• Bend your right leg and twist it around your left leg.
• Do not force the twist at the cost of your knees.
• The right thigh should be in front of the left thigh and the top of the right foot should rest on the calf of the left leg.
• Bend the elbows and bring them in front of the chest.
• Twist the forearms around each other with the left elbow remaining below.
• Place the palms together to resemble an eagle’s beak.
• Slowly bend the left knee and lower the body until the tip of the right big toe touches the floor.
• Make sure you lift your torso up. And lift your elbows up
• Keep the eyes focused on a fixed point.
• Hold the final position for as long as possible.
• Raise the body and release the legs and arms.
• Look at the junction of the hands.
• Lift elbows off the heart, arms should not collapse into the chest.
• Concentrate on opening your shoulder blades.
• Gaze at your palms holding shambavi mudra
• Straighten up to release arms and legs from the pose
BENEFITS: strengthens muscles, tones the nerves and loosens the joints of the legs and arms. It relieves rheumatism.

Natarajasana (Lord Shiva’s dance)
• Stand upright with the feet slightly apart.
• Pivot your right foot at a 45 degree angle
• Lift up your left leg and bring it over so your left knee is facing right
• Bring your left hand across your chest leaving your hand lose with the palm and fingers facing down
• Your elbow should be just behind your left wrist and place your right hand into gynana mudra.
• Release out of the pose

SURYA NAMASKAR (3 rounds)
SURYA NAMASKAR
The Sanskrit name Surya (Sun) here refers to the Sun and Namaskara means ‘Salutations’. Surya Namaskara has been handed down from the enlightened sages of the Vedic Age. The sun symbolizes spiritual consciousness and, in ancient times, was worshipped on a daily basis. In Yoga the sun is represented by a channel of energy, the channel which carries the vital life-giving force. This dynamic group of Asanas is not regarded as being a traditional part of Hatha Yoga practices as it was added to the original Asana group at a later time. However, it is an effective way of loosening up, stretching, massaging and toning all the joints, muscles and internal organs of the body. It’s versatility and application make it one of the most useful methods of inducing a healthy, vigorous and active life while, at the same time, preparing for spiritual awakening and the resulting expansion of awareness.

Surya Namaskara is a complete Sadhana, spiritual practice, in itself for it includes Asana, Pranayama, Mantra and Meditation techniques. It is an excellent group of Asanas with which to start morning practice. Surya Namaskara has a direct vitalizing effect on the solar energy of the body which flows through important part of your body. Surya Namaskara is composed of three elements which are Form, Energy and Rhythm. The twelve Asanas are the physical matrix around which the form of the practice. These Asanas generate Prana, the subtle energy which activates the psychic body. Their performance, in a steady, rhythmic sequence, reflects the rhythms of the universe; the twenty-four hours of the day, the twelve zodiac phases of the year and the biorhythms of the body. The application of this form and rhythm to the body/mind complex generates the transforming force which produces a fuller and more dynamic life

The ideal time to practice Surya Namaskara is at sunrise, the most peaceful time of day. Whenever possible, practice in the open air, facing the rising sun. Sunset is also a good time to practice as it stimulates the digestive fire. Surya Namaskara, however, may be practiced at any time provided the stomach is empty .

Before commencing the practice, stand with the feet together or slightly apart, and the arms hanging loosely by the side of the body. Close the eyes gently and become aware of the whole physical body as one homogeneous unit. In this position the body may sway from side to side or backward and forward. Try to minimize this oscillation and balance the body weight equally on both feet. Bring the awareness inside the body and mentally begin to relax it. Starting from the top of the head, take the awareness systematically through all the parts, releasing any tension. Intensify , once more, the awareness of the whole physical body and feel in harmony with it. Take the awareness to the soles of the feet in contact with the floor. Feel that the whole body is being pulled downwards by gravity and that any tensions are being pulled down, through the body and into the ground. At the same time, experience the vital force surging up from the earth and flooding the whole being.

The practice of Surya Namaskara as a whole gives a great number of benefits. It stimulates and balances all the systems of the body, including the endocrine, circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems. Its influence on the pineal gland and the hypothalamus helps to prevent pineal degeneration and calcification. This balances the transition period between childhood and adolescence in growing children. Synchronizing the breath with the physical movements of Surya Namaskara ensures that the practitioner, at least for a few minutes daily, breathes as deeply and rhythmically as possible. This removes carbon dioxide from the lungs and replaces it with fresh oxygen, increasing mental clarity by bringing fresh, oxygenated blood to the brain. Surya Namaskara is the ideal practice to increase awareness and bestow good health and well being.

Dharmanidhi’s comments:
Surya Namaskar open us up to greater cosmology. It is a scientifically produced, efficient way of harmonizing on a cosmic energy level (ashtanga surya namaskar loses cosmic intent) It is a body prayer, most ancient form of yoga, the asana makes a mudra of the sun through this cycle, we can experience death and rebirth every time we perform it
We are enacting a cosmological cycle in space and can actively run off karma when we perform Surya Namaskar (when we say we burn karma that signifies we are still attached to it) 12 constellations go with 12 zodiac signs, right and left represents full cycle (light and dark) We must focus on the 2nd and 3rd chakra when we perform this. Signifies water coming under fire, symbolizes alchemy, which is how we can transform ourselves
We are all energy manifestations
DO NOT CONSTUCT AIRFLOW IN THE THROAT! You destroy the fruition of the poses when you perform ujay, it changes the flow of the energy channels
MOVEMENT FROM EACH POSTURE ORIGINATES FROM THE HIP/PELVIS
Position One: Pranamasana (prayer pose with elements of Open Gate)
– Remain standing upright with the feet together
– Slowly bend the elbows and place the palms together in front of the chest in namaskara mudra, mentally offering homage to the sun, the source of all life.
– Relax the whole body
Gaze: Eyes should be open without dualistic engagement (not taking in stimuli). If you are feeling heavy or dull look up. If you feel too active look down. When you are balanced look straight ahead.
Breathing: breathe normally
Awareness: Physical – on chest area, Spiritual – on anahata chakra
Mantra: Om Mitraya Namaha – Salutations to the friend of all
Beeja: Hram
Benefits: This pose establishes a state of concentration and calmness in preparation for the practice to be performed.

Position 2: Hasta Uttahanasana
– Raise and stretch both arms above the head
– Keep the arms separated, shoulder width apart
– Bend the head, arms and upper trunk backward
– Tuck the tailbone in
Gaze: Follow your thumbs ups invoking shambavi mudra
Breathing: Inhale while raising the arms.
Awareness: Physical – on the stretch of the abdomen and expansion of the lungs, Spiritual – on vishuddhi chakra
Mantra: Om Ravaye Namaha = saluations to the shining one
Beeja: Hraim
Benefits: This pose stretches all the abdominal organs and improves digestion. It exercises the arm and shoulder muscles, tones the spinal nerves, opens the lungs and removes excess weight.

Position 3: Padahastasana (hand to foot pose)
– Bend forward until the fingers or palms of the hands touch the floor on either side of the feet
– Try to touch the knees with the forehead
– Do not strain
– Keep the knees straight
Gaze: Groin/Navel
Breathing: Exhale while bending forward. Try to contract the abdomen in the final position to expel the maximum amount of air from the lungs.
Awareness: Physical – on pelvic region, Spiritual – on swadhistana chakra
Mantra: Om Suryaya Namaha = salutations to he who induces activity
Beeja: Hrum
Contra-indications: People with back conditions should not bend forward fully. Bend from the hips, keeping the spine straight, until the bend forms a ninety degree angle with the legs, or bend only as far as comfortable
Benefits: This pose is useful in eliminating or preventing stomach or abdominal ailments. It reduces excess weight in the abdominal region, improves digestion and helps to remove constipation. It improves blood circulation, makes the spine supple and tones the spinal nerves.

Position 4: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (equestrian pose)
– Place the palms of the hands flat on the floor beside the feet.
– Stretch the right leg back as far as possible, rest the knee on the ground
– At the same time, bend the left knee, keeping the left foot on the floor in the same position. Keep the arms straight. In the final position, the weight of the body should be supported on both hands, the left foot, right knee and toes of the right foot. The head should be tilted backward, the back arched and the inner gaze directed upward to the eyebrow center.
– Movement should be fluid
Gaze: Shambavi, look at the tips of your nose
Breathing: Inhale while stretching the right leg back.
Awareness: Physical – on the stretch from the thigh to the chest or on the eyebrow center. Spiritual – on the ajna chakra
Mantra: Om Bhanave Namaha = salutations to he who illumines
Beeja: Hraim
Benefits: This pose massages the abdominal organs and improves their functioning, strengthening the leg muscles and induces balance in the nervous system.
Practice note: In the final pose the palms of the hands should be flat on the floor initially. Later on, more advanced practitioners can come up on their fingertips.

Position 5: Parvatasana (mountain pose)
– Take the left foot back beside the right foot
– Simultaneously, raise the buttocks and lower the head between the arms, so that the back and legs form two sides of a triangle
– The legs and arms should be straight in the final position
– Try to keep the heels on the floor in the final pose and bring the head towards the knees.
– Do not strain.
Gaze: Navel
Breathing: Exhale while taking the left leg back
Awareness: Physical – on relaxing the hips or on the throat region, Spiritual – on vishuddhi chakra
Mantra: Om Khagaya Namaha = salutations to he who moves quickly in the sky
Beeja: Hraum
Benefits: This pose strengthens the nerves and muscles in the arms and legs. The spinal nerves are toned and circulation is stimulated especially in the upper spine, between the shoulder blades.

Position 6: Ashtanga Namaskara (salute with eight parts or points)
– Turn elbows inwards as you come down
– Lower knees, chest and chin to the floor
– In the final position only the toes, knees, hand and chin touch the floor simultaneously. If this is not possible, first lower the knees, then the chest, and finally the chin.
– The buttocks, hips and abdomen should be raised.
– (At the more advanced level you want to float into this pose)
Gaze: Shambavi or tips of your nose
Breathing: The breath is held outside in this pose. There is no respiration.
Awareness: Physical – on abdominal region. Spiritual – on manipura chakra
Mantra: Om Pushne Namaha = saluations to the giver of strength.
Beeja: Hraha
Benefits: This pose strengthens the leg and arm muscles, develops the chest and exercises the region of the spine between the shoulder blades.

Position 7: Bhujangasana
Float up from position 7 to 8, you want to tuck your stomach up and keep your groin on the floor
– You need to lower the buttocks and hips to the floor, Straightening the elbows, arch your back and push your chest forward into the cobra pose.
– Bend the head back and direct the gaze upward to the eyebrow center.
– The thighs and hips remain on the floor and the arm support the trunk.
– Unless the spine is very flexible the arms will remain slightly bent.
– Inhale while raising the torso and arching the back.
Gaze: Shambavi or up
Breathing: Inhale
Mantra: Om Hiranya Garbhaya Namaha
Beeja: Hram
Benefits: This pose keeps the spine supple, improving circulation in the back region and toning the spinal nerves. It tones the reproductive organs, stimulates digestion an relieves constipation. It also tones the liver and massage the kidneys and adrenal glands.

Position 8: Parvatasana (mountain pose)
Breathing: Exhale
Mantra: Om Marichaye Namaha
Beeja: Hrim

Position 9: Ashwa Sanchalanasana (equestrian pose)
Breathing: Inhale
Mantra: Om Adityaya Namaha
Beeja: Hrum

Position 10: Padahastasana (hand to foot pose)
Breathing: Exhale
Mantra: Om Savitre Namaha
Beeja: Hraim

Position 11: Hasta Utthanasana (raised arms pose)
Breathing: Inhale
Mantra: Om Arkaya Namaha
Beeja: Hraum

Position 12: Pranamasana (prayer pose)
Breathing: Exhale
Mantra: Om Bhaskaraya Namaha
Beeja: Hraha

Santolasana
• Sit in Vajrasana
• Stand up on the knees and place the palms of the hand on the floor beneath the shoulders
• Raise the buttocks and straighten the knees
• Move the shoulders forward and drop the buttocks until the body is straight, the arms should be vertical
• Focus the gaze on a fixed point in front at eye level
• Bring your right hand into the center
• Roll onto the right side so your chest is facing forward and you really want to squeeze your legs together
• Lift your pelvis up and bring your shoulders back
• You should be balancing on the outer edge of your right leg
• Either leave your hand on the side of your body or raise it up and gaze at your left fingertips

Bhujangasana (small muscle engagement)
• Lay flat on the ground on your stomach with your heels flopping outwards and relaxed.
• Your forehead is on the floor and your arms are alongside your body with your palms facing up.
• Relax your butt
• Slowly begin to lift your nose of the ground, then your chin and then gradually lift upper body.
• When your shoulders begin to lift up bring your hands alongside your chest.
• Almost no weight in your hands.
• Focus on using the small muscles between your vertebraes to lift
• As soon as you feel your but is getting tight consciously let it go

TWISTING COBRA POSE (TIRYAKA BHUJANGASANA)
• First assume the final position of Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) with the legs separated about little.
• The toes should be tucked under and the heels raised, so that the foot rests on the ball of the foot.
• The head should be facing forward instead of bending backward as in Bhujangasana.
• Twist the head and upper portion of the trunk, and look over the left shoulder and try to see your heel of the right foot.
• Make sure that in the final position, the arms remain straight or slightly bent as the shoulders and trunk are twisted.
• In this position you will try to feel a diagonal stretch of the abdomen.
• Relax the back and keep the navel as close to the floor as possible and stay in the final position for a few seconds.
• Face forward again and repeat the twist on the other side without lowering the trunk.
• Return to the center and lower the body to the floor and this completes the practice round one.
• Make sure to inhale while raising your body.
• Retain the breath inside while twisting to both sides.
• Exhale while lowering to the floor.
• Make sure to at least complete four to five rounds at a stretch.
• As for Bhujangasana, with increased influence on the intestines.

The word Tiryaka means ‘Diagonal’ or ‘Triangular’ and is used because the gaze is directed over the shoulder diagonally across the back of the body to the opposite heel. The direction of the gaze also forms two sides of a triangle, while the width between the shoulders forms the base or third side. In this asana, when performed the breath is exhaled when twisting to the side.

Dandasana (Staff Pose)
• Sit on the floor with legs stretched straight in front of you.
• Place palms on the floor by your hips with fingers pointing towards the feet
• Keep back erect
• Press your hands into the floor but do not lift up
• Push chest forward and roll your shoulders back
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
• Sit on the floor with your buttocks supported on a folded blanket and your legs straight in front of you. Press actively through your heels. Rock slightly onto your left buttock, and pull your right sitting bone away from the heel with your right hand. Repeat on the other side. Turn the top thighs in slightly and press them down into the floor. Press through your palms or finger tips on the floor beside your hips and lift the top of the sternum toward the ceiling as the top thighs descend.
• Draw the inner groins deep into the pelvis. Inhale, and keeping the front torso long, lean forward from the hip joints, not the waist. Lengthen the tailbone away from the back of your pelvis. If possible take the sides of the feet with your hands, thumbs on the soles, elbows fully extended; if this isn’t possible, loop a strap around the foot soles, and hold the strap firmly. Be sure your elbows are straight, not bent.
• When you are ready to go further, don’t forcefully pull yourself into the forward bend, whether your hands are on the feet or holding the strap. Always lengthen the front torso into the pose, keeping your head raised. If you are holding the feet, bend the elbows out to the sides and lift them away from the floor; if holding the strap, lighten your grip and walk the hands forward, keeping the arms long. The lower belly should touch the thighs first, then the upper belly, then the ribs, and the head last.
• With each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly; with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. In this way the torso oscillates and lengthens almost imperceptibly with the breath. Eventually you may be able to stretch the arms out beyond the feet on the floor.

Mountain to Piegon?
HALF SPINAL TWIST POSE (ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA)
• You should sit with the legs stretched out in front of the body.
• Bend the right leg and place the right foot flat on the floor on the outside of the left knee.
• The toes of the right foot should face forward.
• Bend the left leg and bring the foot around to the right buttock.
• The outside edge of the foot should be in contact with the floor.
• Hug your right knee into your left armpit and move your belly out of the wayNow hold the right foot or ankle with the left hand, so that the right knee is dose to the left armpit.
• Sit up as straight as possible. Raise the right arm in front of the body and gaze at the fingertips.
• Slowly twist to the right, simultaneously moving the arm, trunk and head.
• Take short breaths in the upper chest
• Use the left arm as a lever against the right leg to twist the torso as far as possible without using the back muscles.
• Follow the tips of the fingers of the right hand with the gaze and look over the right shoulder and make sure not to strain the back.
• Bend the right elbow and place the arm around the back of the waist.
• The back of the right hand should wrap around the left side of the waist.
• Alternatively, it can be placed as high as possible between the shoulder blades with the fingers pointing up.
• This arm position enforces the straightness of the spine.
• Reverse the movements to come out of the posture and repeat on the other side.
• Inhale in the forward position.
• Exhale while twisting the torso.
• Breathe deeply and slowly without strain in the final position.
• Inhale while returning to the starting position.
• Practice once on each side, gradually increasing the holding time to one to two minutes on each side of the body or up to thirty five breaths.

This Asana should be performed after completing a series of forward and backward bending Asanas. It should be done towards the end of a practice because it can bring up the kundalini. Women more than two or three months pregnant should avoid this practice. People suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia or hyperthyroidism should only practice this pose under expert guidance. People with sciatica or slipped disc may benefit from this Asana, but great care should be taken.

This Asana simultaneously stretches the muscles on one side of the back and abdomen while contracting the muscles on the other side. It tones the nerves of the spine, makes the back muscles supple, relieves lumbago and muscular spasms, and reduces the tendency of adjoining vertebrae to develop Osteophytes. When practiced with care, it has proved beneficial for mild cases of slipped disc. Half Spinal Twist massages the abdominal organs, alleviating digestive ailments. It regulates the secretion of adrenaline and bile and is recommended in the yogic, management of diabetes. Under special guidance it is used for the yogic management of sinusitis, hay fever, bronchitis, constipation, colitis, menstrual disorders, urinary tract disorders and cervical sodalities, as long as it can be performed without any discomfort.

For beginners and those with stiff bodies the following adjustments to the position may be made. The leg that is placed by the side of the buttock should remain straight and the hand holding the ankle may be wrapped around the opposite thigh, hugging the knee to the chest.

Matsyendra Natha is the most famous an important of the gurus belonging to the sampradaya natha or Kampata yoga, he was born in Bengal at the end dwapara yuga (the third of the four cosmic ages (eras)). The legend says that as soon as he was born, he was thrown into the sea by his parents, because he was born under the influence of an extremely unfortunate nakshatra. Matsyendra was swallowed by a big fish that, while swimming nearby the shore, cane closer to the place where Siva was imparting the most secret teachings about yoga to Parvati. The child from the inside of the fish listened to the precious words of Siva, who, when noticed his presence, was very pleased by his devotion and initiated him to the mysteries of yoga.

MERU VAKRASANA
• You should sit with both of your legs outstretched.
• Turn the torso slightly to the right and place the right hand behind the body, close to the left buttock, with the fingers pointing backward.
• Now place the left hand behind and slightly to the side of the right buttock, as close as possible to the right hand.
• Bend the left knee and place the foot outside the right knee.
• Twist the head and trunk as far to the right as is comfortable, using the arms as levers, while keeping the spine upright and straight.
• The buttocks should remain on the floor.
• The right elbow may bend a little.
• Hold yourself in the final position, relaxing the back.
• Look over the right shoulder as far as possible.
• Re-center the trunk, relax for a few seconds and then twist again.
• Practice up to six times and then repeat on the other side.
• Inhale before twisting. Retain the breath inside while twisting.
• Exhale hale while re-centering.
Use a folded blanket if your hands do not reach the floor. This is an isolated spinal twist, good for people with tight hips. Spinal Twist is a preparatory Asana for Ardha Matsyendrasana and may be practiced after forward and backward bending Asanas and before inverted Asanas. People with severe back conditions, ulcers, hernias or other complaints of this nature, should not perform this Aasana. Spinal Twist stretches the spine, loosening the vertebrae and toning the nerves. It alleviates backache, neck pain, lumbago and mild forms of sciatica. It is a good Asana for beginners, preparing the back for the more difficult spinal twists.

Pranamasana (Bowing Pose)
• Sit in Vajrasana.
• Grasp the lower calves just above the ankles, keeping the thumbs uppermost. Slowly bend forward and place the crown of the head on the floor in front of the knees. In case you need, you can place a small folded blanket under the head.
• Raise the buttocks as high as possible, allowing the chin to press against the chest, until the thighs are as vertical as comfortable.
• Make sure to remain in this position for seven to twenty seconds.
• Lower the buttocks and come back into ShashankAsana for a short time before returning to Vajrasana. Practice this Asana seven times.
• Inhale in Vajrasana and while raising the buttocks.
• Exhale while lowering the head to the floor. Hold the breath in the final position or breathe normally if remaining in the position for more than a few seconds.
This Asana should not be performed by people with vertigo, weak neck or high blood pressure. This asana increases the blood supply to the head. As a preparatory practice for Sirshasana, the headstand pose, it allows the brain to gradually adapt to the extra blood flow and pressure in the head when the body is inverted. It gives many of the benefits of Sirshasana but to a lesser degree. PranamAsana is especially beneficial for the management of Asthma. It promotes drainage of the lungs and chest and helps to open the air passages. It also decompresses the lower cervical and upper thoracic vertebrae and nerve roots which are often the seat of psycho-emotional tension in an asthma attack. It should be performed at the immediate onset of an asthma attack to obtain full benefits.

Bhumi padaa mastakasana (Half Head Stand Pose)
• Assume yourself in Marjari Asana (Cat Stretch Pose).
• Turn the toes under.
• Place the crown of the head on the floor between the hands. Straighten the knees and raise the buttocks, balancing on the head and feet. Now bring the heels together and separate the toes.
• Raise your arms and clasp the hands or take hold of one wrist behind the back.
• Come up onto the toes as high as possible.
• Hold yourself in this final position as long as it is comfortable.
• Now lower the arms and place the hands beside the head.
• Slowly return to Marjari Asana and then lower into ShashankAsana for a few moments.
After completing the practice, lie in ShavAsana before continuing. Make sure to breath normally. Practice up to two to four rounds, gradually extending the period in the asana. Tadasana should follow this Asana.
People with high blood pressure, heart conditions, inflammation of the ear, weak eye capillaries, severe near-sightedness, organically defective pituitary or thyroid glands, arteriosclerosis, cerebral or other thrombosis, severe asthma, tuberculosis, cold or sinusitis, excessively impure blood, slipped disc, weak spine or vertigo should not practice this Asana. This Asana helps in cases of low blood pressure. It balances the nervous system, strengthens the neck and head muscles and brings a rich supply of blood to the brain. As a preliminary pose to SirshAsana it accustoms the brain to the increased influx of blood and the crown to supporting the weight of the body.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Lie fiat on the back with the arms about twenty centimeters away from the body, palms facing upward. A thin pillow or folded cloth may be placed behind the head to prevent discomfort, Let the fingers of both hands curl up slightly.
• Move both the feet slightly apart to a comfortable position and close the eyes. Make sure that the head and spine should be in a straight line and also be sure the head does not fall to one side or the other.
• Relax the whole body and stop all physical movement. Breathe naturally and allow it to become rhythmic and relaxed. Begin to count the breaths from number thirty backward to zero.
• Inside your mind, Please repeat, “I am breathing in thirty, I am breathing out thirty, I am breathing in twenty nine, I am breathing out twenty nine”, and so on, until you have reached back to zero. If the mind wanders and the next number is forgotten, bring it back to the counting and start again at thirty. If the mind can be kept on the breath for a few minutes the body will relax.
• In general the Asana should be done for the longer time although a minute or two is sufficient between Asana practices. This Asana will help first on relaxing the whole body, then on the breath and counting. This Asana relaxes the whole psycho-physiological system. It should ideally be practiced before sleep. During and after asana practice, particularly after dynamic exercises such as Surya Namaskara, and when the practitioner feels physically and mentally tired. It develops body awareness.
• Try not to move the body at all during the practice as even the slightest movement will create muscular contraction. A personal mantra may be repeated with every inhalation and exhalation. While lying in ShavAsana, become aware of the right hand and relax it. Slowly become aware of the right wrist, elbow, armpit, right side of the waist, right buttock, right thigh, right knee, calf, heel, sole of the foot, and relax them one by one. Repeat this process with the left side of the body and all the parts of the head and trunk. Make sure that each part of the body is relaxed, feel each part merging into the floor. Repeat this process a few times and all the tensions will be removed.
For maximum benefit, this technique should be performed after a hard day’s work or just before sleep. This Asana is also known as MritAsana, the dead Man’s pose.

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