10-2-10 Basic Yogic Principles, Yama/Niyama, Standing Poses, and Visualization Meditation
OM Hari OM call and response chant to open
I. Theory of Yoga
Yoga chitta vritti nirodha: Yoga calms the mind-stuff. Yoga = goal of union, chitta = individual mind, vritti = whirlpool of mental modifications or shaking of the mind, nirodha = change direction of the mind to a state that is clear, peaceful and one-pointed.
Yoga at its core is meditation, the stilling of the mind.
Through practice and non-attachment we overcome vrittis. Firmly grounded practice is attended to for a long time, without break, and with enthusiasm.
Based on the Eight limbs of Raja Yoga (or Ashtanga Yoga), a holistic form of yoga. The eight limbs are:
1. Yama - Abstinence
2. Niyama - Observance
3. Asana - Posture
4. Pranayama - Breath control
5. Pratyahara - Sensory withdrawal
6. Dharana - Concentration
7. Dhyana - Meditation
8. Samadhi - Absorption or super-consciousness
II. Definition of Yoga
Yoga = yoke, union of consciousness to Divine Consciousness which is the essential and ever-present union of individual with the Self or Spirit.
Stilling the mind is the heart of yoga based on the following four yogic principles:
1. The ultimate goal of all people is to be happy.
2. The peace and happiness that we seek is within us as our True Nature.
3. Ignorance of our True Nature is the cause of all suffering.
4. Ignorance is overcome and liberation is attained by mastering the mind.
A mind that is peaceful, clear, and one-pointed brings knowledge, wisdom and peace.
“All practices of yoga - postures, breathing techniques, deep relaxation, meditation, self analysis, study, devotion, and selfless service - are designed to bring the mind to a stillness so clear and steady that it transforms individual consciousness.” -Guruji Reverend Jaganath Carrera
III. Yama - Universal Abstinences
1. Ahimsa - non-violence, harmlessness, the supreme of all yama. Applies to word, thought and deed, intention and action with all human beings, animals, and inanimate objects.
“Over time, compassion gives birth to a love and understanding so pure that it lifts the mind to a place of peace beyond any tranquility we had imagined.” -Guruji Reverend Jaganath Carrera
2. Satya - truthfulness in word, thought, and deed. Become united with truth and test against non-violence - what are your motives?
3. Asteya - non-stealing, including improperly benefiting from others thoughts or ideas.
4. Brahmacharya - continence or abstinence. “Be efficient.” -Sri Swami Satchidananda
Moderation, the middle way, not too much nor too little (eating, sleeping, working, etc.) Conserve energy in thought, word, and deed.
5. Aparigraha - non-greed. Greed comes from cravings, and unsatisfied state of mind. Free from greed we can see how our desires affect our life.
IV. Niyama - Govern Spiritual Growth
1. Saucha - purity of physical and mental levels, regulating what comes in and out of our body and mind and to clean any present toxins in the body. Looking beyond the flesh to “see” the spirit, Cosmic beauty, not cosmetic beauty.
2. Santosha - contentment. The ability to live in the present absent of cravings. Joy is the outcome of cultivating a vision of life that sees the unity of Self behind all names and forms.
3. Tapas - accepting but not causing pain. Accept pain as a teacher, showing our limitations.
4. Svadhaya - study for a complete and harmonious development of an individual. Scriptural study, mantras, and study of nature - human, animal and plant.
5. Ishwara Pranidhana - self-surrender. Dedicated and selfless service for the welfare of others without selfish expecations. Transcend the limitations of the ego and join in the Divine energy.
V. Asana - Seat, Postures
“The pose should be steady and comfortable.” -Patanjali Yoga Sutras 2.46
SEQUENCE: Sukhasana "rip the belt" shoulder opener, Baddhangulyiasana, shoulder rolls, table, cat/cow, table balance, Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog), Balasana (child's pose), Vinyasa of Balasana > Table > Adho Mukha Svanasana, lunge, high lunge, Uttanasana (standing forward bend), Ardha (halfway) Uttanasana, Tadasana (mountain pose), Surya Namaskar with Balasana (sun salutations), Virabhadrasana II (warrior II), Reverse Vira, Parsvokonasana (side angle pose), Trikonasana (triangle pose), Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose), Vrksasana (tree pose), Dandasana (staff pose), Paschimottonasana (west back pose), Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose), Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose), Ardha Matsyendrasana (half lord of the fishes pose), ankle to knee pose, happy baby, reclined twist, Savasana (corpse pose) with guided relaxation.
VI. Pranayama - Breath Control
Prana = life force, breath, Ayama = regulate, control. Regulating the life force in the body and mind so that it pulsates rhythmically and strong throughout your entire system.
Breath is the link between the mind and body. Smooth even breath shows a focused and still mind.
Pranayama awakens the mind - where the mind goes, prana follows.
Pranayama eliminates toxins, improves circulation, calms the Central Nervous System.
Deergha Swaasam - Three Part Breath introduction and practice. Abdomen, Ribs, and Chest expand.
(i.e. pitcher of water fills bottom to top)
VII. Meditation Techniques and Hints
Meditation is the blending into the stream of Divine Consciousness.
It is a deepened vision that is peaceful, clear, and one-pointed. A sustained flow of attention to one object or idea.
Choose an object for meditation that you like and find uplifting. It should be meaningful and inspire confidence. A source of strength, stability, and comfort.
Four categories of meditation: Visualization, Sound, Self-Inquiry, Body Centered.
When you have distracting thoughts, ignore or analyze them. It is natural for your mind to wander. Let your thoughts float by like clouds in the sky. Tell your mind you will come back to that thought after meditation.
Regular practice = SUCCESS!!! Firmly grounded practice is attended to for a long time, without break and with enthusiasm. Start a journal to track and inspire your practice.
Visualization meditation of Golden or White light surrounding the body. Feel it nurture and heal you.
Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu -- May all beings everywhere be free and happy. May they be filled with peace and joy, love and light. Namaste.