Practice Meditation

Meditation is the most important practice for calming the mind. A calm mind can lead to a healthy, happy and successful life. It can cure diseases and speed up healing processes. We describe the simple technique below called prana-dharana. Prana in Sanskrit stands for the air that we breathe. It is the most basic act of life which starts from birth and goes on till death. But generally, we are not aware of the breath till our attention is drawn close to it. Dharana means its awareness. Prana-dharana means applying the mind to the flow of air when we breathe. The method is as described below:

Sit in a posture suitable for meditation. The common postures are Siddhasana, Padmasana and Swastikasana. But if you cannot do this, just sit cross-legged. Your back should be straight and eyes closed. Your knees should be placed well on the ground. Do not stoop your shoulders back. The whole body should be relaxed and the whole frame steady without exerting any pull or pressure on the thighs, feet, knees, spine or neck. There should be no stretch on tension along the abdominal wall. Let the abdominal wall sway gently back and forth very smoothly and effortlessly with each respiration. Facial muscles should be relaxed and mouth closed with a small gap between the two jaws such that the upper and lower teeth do not exert pressure on each other. Your tongue should touch the palate with tip touching the back of the upper front teeth. Ensure that the lips, tongue or the lower jaws do not move. Your eyeballs and eyelids should be steady and the muscles of the forehead relaxed.

Your entire posture should be comfortable, steady and relaxed. You should not feel strain on any part of the body. Now start developing the awareness of breathing. The flow of air should be uniform, slow and smooth. Do not make any effort or exercise any control. Never hold breath. Do not utter any word or see any image. This will calm your mind and help you achieve peace.

find the right Yoga teacher

I am often asked by beginners about how to evaluate a Yoga Teacher?

The following is the “CALM check list.” These factors are basic criteria that your Yoga Instructor should meet before you continue on to a second Yoga class.

CALM gets it name from four main factors: Communication, Assist, Listen, and Modification. For the right Yoga teacher, you should be answering with a “yes” to all questions.

• Communication: Does your Yoga teacher talk to you, and other students, in a manner of mutual respect? Can you ask a question during class time?

Does your teacher show compassion for you and other students? Does your Yoga teacher take the time to lead you through a guided meditation or relaxation? Meditation and relaxation are major aspects of Yoga practice.

There are Yoga teachers who just want to get “their workout” done. Beware of Yoga teachers, who are so important, they don’t have time for you.

Some students love this air of superiority and, unfortunately, some people love abuse. If you want to learn Yoga, you need an open line of communication with your Yoga teacher.

• Assist: Does your teacher care about your form? Will your teacher give you a verbal or physical assist during your Yoga class? Are props encouraged in your Yoga classes?

Some students never have major problems with alignment and some do, but if your teacher doesn’t give verbal cues, what does that tell you?

• Listen: Does your Yoga teacher take the time to listen to your feedback? Is your teacher “in the moment” with the class?

Once in a while, there is a Yoga instructor who runs, “The-it’s-all-about-me-show.” You are not going to learn anything from this type of teaching. Beginners will be put at risk, trying to keep up with a seasoned Yoga teacher who doesn’t explain anything.

• Modification: Does your Yoga teacher allow modifications and props? If your teacher discourages props, you are in the wrong place.

Some students will need props for life depending upon their range of motion. Just because a teacher can do a posture without props, doesn’t mean every student can.

Summary: Stay away from abusive Yoga teachers, and if you are attracted to abuse, there is always professional help. Some students crave “the stern, but loving parent” types. They will push you harder, but how much pushing do you really need?

Respect is a two way street, and you deserve as much respect as your Yoga teacher does. Let common sense be your guide. You should feel good after a Yoga class, and you might even feel muscle soreness days after a vigorous class.

Make sure your Yoga teacher meets the above criteria before making a commitment.

Mind and Spirit By Practicing Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is a 5000 year old system that is used to improve the health of your body, mind and spirit. Hatha yoga combines the stretching exercises of the asanas. Breathing techniques and mental concentration are included in hatha yoga.

The lotus position of the asanas is used in hatha yoga. The goal of hatha yoga remains the same as that of the other types of yoga. The goal of hatha yoga is to blend the spirit of the universe with that of the human spirit. The spiritual, mental and physical health aspects are improved amazingly with the practice of the Hatha yoga. It also gives you peace of mind and improves your concentration. Concentration is the root ingredient of any yoga and its success.

In some ways all the types of yoga are related. Preparing the body to give in is the main goal of hatha yoga. If the mind is relaxed and the spirit within you is enlightened you won’t feel the pain and the stress that you are experiencing. This is achieved with the practice of hatha yoga. You need to understand the relation between your body and the spirit. If you do not understand the relation between them you might get confused. You spirit is responsible to accomplish any task.

If your body is not fit then your spirit may not accomplish what is wants. Hatha yoga helps you to maintain your body and the hence the spirit positively. This positive attitude keeps your mind healthy with good concentration. Hatha yoga comes to the mind of the people when they hear Yoga, since it is the popular branch of yoga. The other types of yoga that gave rise from hatha yoga are the Kundalini, Ashtanga, Bikram, and power yoga.

Hatha yoga is considered and known as the vehicle of the soul. Hatha yoga is so relaxing that it drives both you body and spirit into the universe. This feeling can be compared to a person floating with no gravity at all. Many people are easily distracted by the outward forces and may not be able to focus on a particular task. Such people can get benefited with the hatha yoga. By constantly practicing hatha yoga you can find the divinity in yourself. This helps you to become stronger, relaxed and flexible apart from enlightening you.

With harmony between your mind, body and spirit the spiritual energy will flow through the open energy channels. This is achieved only with Hatha yoga. A healthy body is necessary for you mind and spirit to be strong. This is done by the practice of hatha yoga. It is easy to handle stress and get relieved of your pain and passion with the constant practice of hatha yoga. If you are exhausted with your work, hatha yoga makes you relax.

Got a Few MinutesHigh Blood Pressure

For controlling your hypertension, there are two effective yoga exercises that helps lower the blood pressure:

Inverted Yoga

Inverted yoga reverses the action of gravity on the body. The most profound changes brought about by Inverted Yoga is in circulation. In inverted poses, legs and abdomen are placed higher than the heart.

Lengthening up through the legs and keep them very active so your spine opens and the entire body actively involved in the pose.

One of the reasons for this is simply because the force of gravity is reversed and venous return becomes significantly greater.

Normally, the muscles of the calf and other skeletal muscles in the lower extremities must contract in order to pump unoxygenated blood and waste back to the heart through the veins.

In inverted poses, gravity causes the blood to flow easily back through the veins and this brings the blood pressure in the feet to a minimum. This in effect gives skeletal muscles a chance to rest.

In Inverted poses, drainage of blood and waste from the lower body back to the heart is increased and disorders such as varicose veins and swollen ankles are relieved.

Rhythmic Breathing

It’s time to learn about breathing, because inhaling and exhaling has the power to nourish the body and calm the mind.

Not just any old breathing will do. If you’re like most people, you take shallow breaths, pull in your stomach when you inhale and never empty your lungs of carbon dioxide when you exhale.

Here’s the physiological explanation: Long, slow breaths are more efficient than short, fast ones.

To take in a good breath, your lungs must first be basically empty. Thus the key to efficient breathing lies in exhaling completely. A full exhalation begins with the upper chest, proceeds to the middle chest and finishes with tightening the abdominal muscles.

Only after a good exhalation can you draw in a good lungful of the oxygen-rich air your blood needs for nourishing cells.

Perform Yogic Exercises

When you have decided to start with your yoga practice, it is imperative for you to learn how to perform a pose properly. Thus it is advisable for you to find a right teacher who will guide you in the correct manner of performing these poses. Since yogic exercises involve the static and isometric contraction of the muscles, where the muscles are held in a state of tension without causing the corresponding body part to move; it is important to note that the stretching or contraction of the muscles should not be done abruptly or suddenly. You should endeavour to reach the final pose as slowly as you can, so that there is a steady rise in the tension of the muscles. Always reach the final posture slowly through the intermediate postures. Master all these postures slowly one by one.

The movement of each body part should be done under complete control of the muscles exercised. This is achieved only after practicing for a certain period of time. There should be no jerks or violent movements. Each step should be executed easily, smoothly and gracefully. Initially, when you start learning the yoga, there is a tendency to use muscles not concerned with the specified movement. But over a period of time with due practice, you can eliminate the unproductive muscular activity. As you progress, you’ll learn to use only the specified muscles for contraction or stretching while the other muscles are kept relaxed.

Avoid rushing into the final position of any posture, unless you have thoroughly mastered the intermediate stages. Always proceed as far as you comfortably can and hold this pose for some time. This will train the required muscles in a few days and thus you can get smoothness and grace. Take caution not to overwork any muscles. Do not control or restrict your breathing. If you are sick or absent from your practice for a long time, start slowly and reach the previous level only after some time. At the end of the session, you should feel fresh and relaxed. You must experience the lightness and exhilaration at the end of every session.

You can adjust the duration of various techniques according to your capacity and there should be no exhaustion or tension.

Following all these practices will ensure you get a correct yoga session.

Hypnosis-The Relationship between Yoga

Though no one knows the exact origin of yoga, meditation and self-hypnosis, one thing is certain, that they are more than thousands of years old. Eminent scholars are of the opinion that the origins and practice of yoga and meditation can be traced to the Indus Valley civilization. In spite of the fact that these practices give the practitioner a sense of well being and peace it was not in vogue until recently.

Though yoga and meditation are often linked together they are also different. Meditation is thought to have been practiced all over the world for a very long time. Self-hypnosis is also thought to have existed in the world for a long time.

These alternate methods of healing and self-healing have existed for hundreds of year’s in spite of efforts to discourage them by various vested interests for example fundamentalists and dogmatists. Doesn’t it make you wonder why some people would want to discourage something as wonderful as self-hypnosis, meditation and yoga? Well the answer is simple. Most people who against these methods were people in control- control of other people. And they were under no circumstances willing to relinquish the control they had over the masses, because these methodologies thought one how to have control over one’s well being( physical, mental & spiritual).

In many societies of the world these practices were forbidden. People in countries under dictatorship, communism were forbidden to practice yoga meditation, and self-hypnosis. Why? Because communism didn’t allow people to question and receive answers about any thing other than what they wanted the people to know. They wanted people who were not in touch with their spirituality, whose consciousness was not awakened. They wanted their masses to be like robots and just obey commands. And we all know that yoga takes us to a higher plane and a higher level of consciousness. So people who practice yoga cannot be manipulated according to the whims and fancies of certain people. Because of this kind of oppression many people in the former Soviet union practiced Yoga in secret.

As a person who has lived in a free country all his life I find this difficult to comprehend, as will all of you who live in a free society. All we can conclude is that if people were willing to risk their lives for the well being offered by yoga there must be something to it. Think of all the sages who realized self and more through yoga.

In the present day of gadgets, where we have some gadget or other to do almost any thing we want, we still have no time for ourselves-no time to take real good care of our well being, our spirituality, of self awakening. Who is holding you back from yoga? No one But you yourself. Take a few moments to yourself, put your feet up and relax. Think of all the benefits that you will gain by practicing yoga or meditation or self-hypnosis. Think of the well being that is the fruits of practicing these self- improvement methods. Don’t you want to feel good about your self, be relaxed and calm and be able to deal with the vagaries of life confidently and calmly.