10-17-10 Second Four Limbs of Raja Yoga: Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi; Forward Bends; and Sound Meditation at the Tourne Park in Boonton, NJ 2-5pm
3 OM's - Om Namah Shivaya Gurave - Saccidananda Murtaye - Nishprapanchaya Shantaya - Niralambaya Tejase (I offer myself to Lord Shiva, the Auspicious One who is the True Teacher within and without - Who assumes the forms of Reality, Consciousness, and Bliss - Who is never absent and is full of peace - Independent in existence, the vital essence of Illumination.)
I. Theory of Yoga
-Yoga chitta vritti nirodha: Yoga calms the mind-stuff. (Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.2)
-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. Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break, and with enthusiasm. (Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.14)
-Based on the Eight limbs of Raja Yoga (or Ashtanga Yoga), a holistic form of yoga, the limbs are described in Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutras. 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
“The Eight limbs are designed to encourage self knowledge, expand and transform consciousness and culminate in Self-realization.” -Guruji Reverend Jaganath Carrera
II. Definition of Yoga
-Yoga = yoke, union of individual 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.
III. Pratyahara - Withdrawal of the senses
-When the senses withdraw themselves from the objects and imitate, as it were, the nature of the mind-stuff, this is pratyahara. (Patanjali Yoga Sutra 2.54)
-Senses do not function independently of the mind. They are portals through which input reaches the mind. Perception occurs only when the mind is joined to the senses. Without the union of mind and senses, no perception takes place. For example, you are reading a novel and your mind is totally absorbed in the story that you hear no outside noises because your mind is one-pointed.
-Controlling the senses is not attained by pulling the mind away from a sense object, rather by redirecting the attention towards something elevating.
-Pratyahara requires and cultivates discipline, discrimination, memory and courage.
-Brings the attention within by withdrawing attention from ambient sounds, odors or other stimuli
-Gateway to a greater joy --- Prepares for meditation!
-Learn to master the mind through the senses. Discover to be happy without ________.
IV. Dharana - Concentration
-Dharana is the binding of the mind to one place, object or idea. (Patanjali Yoga Sutra 3.1)
-Concentration on a fixed point, so long as you like it and it is uplifting.
-Mind is not in the habit of attentively focusing on one point, it runs here and there, back and forth. For example, “what did I eat for breakfast? I love pancakes. My tummy hurts. If I ate pancakes my tummy wouldn’t hurt. Its been a long time since I had pancakes. What time is it? My skin itches…” Concentration eliminates this wandering of the mind and with practice we can master the mind.
-Dealing with distracting thoughts by ignoring or analyzing. Let the thoughts float by like clouds in the sky. Once you’ve wandered, let go of distracting thoughts and refocus on object of meditation.
-Letting go of distracting thoughts is a hallmark in many yoga practices.
V. Dhyana - Meditation
-Dhyana is the continuous flow of cognition toward that object. (Patanjali Yoga Sutra 3.2)
-Mind in meditation is clear, peaceful and one-pointed. Natural, easy and unbroken flow of attention for a minimum of two minutes.
-State of being completely present and the realization of truth. A deepened vision of the blending of individual consciousness into the stream of Divine energy.
-Take a dog playing fetch for example. The dog’s mind is one-pointed on the stick. Or a cat chasing a bug. Nothing can disturb this animal when fully focused.
-Four types of meditation techniques: sound, breath, visualization and introspection.
-Signs of a meditative state: change in perception of time and space, a mind that is peaceful - clear - one-pointed, effortlessness, intuitive insights flood the mind, discover what is already there - the Highest Self.
VI. Samadhi - Absorption
-Samadhi is the same meditation when the mind-stuff, as if devoid of its own form, reflects the object alone. (Patanjali Yoga Sutra 3.3)
-Enlightenment - Complete Mindfulness -We are all connected and to see this truth in everyone and everything, we are practicing Samadhi.
-Must give up the ego to be able to merge with an object. Samadhi is the tool to probe deeper.
-Contemplation, Absorption, Super-Conscious state
-Progressive transformation, every moment of stillness, focus and clarity creates impressions of nirodha. Transforms how we perceive the world and our Self identity.
-Just as naturally pure crystal assumes shapes and colors of objects places near it, so the yogi’s mind with its totally weakened modifications, becomes clear and balanced and attains a state devoid of differentiation between knower, knowable, and knowledge. This culmination of meditation is Samadhi. (Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.41)
VII. Helpful Hints
-A little bit, everyday, goes a long way. Try for two twenty minute sessions a day. Best times for meditation are before dawn and at dusk. Start slowly, if you can commit to one sitting that is great!
-Have a dedicated space in your home, a room or even a corner of a room. Create an alter to meditate in front of. The alter has the ability to store up positive energy and can help you come back.
-Shower (water absorbs negative energy and washes it away) and do not eat for two hours before a sitting.
-Wear comfortable clothing dedicated to meditation if possible, as they hold energy as well.
-Have a comfortable seat. Use a padded cushion that you only use for mediation, preferably wool, it is the best natural fiber because it blocks the body from cold and the downward pull of energy from the earth.
-Have your spine and head erect for the sitting. Make a resolve to be perfectly still for the duration. Every cell in our body is ready to obey your instructions if they are clear ad strong. A relaxed body will calm the mind. Sit in a posture that reflects strength, clarity, confidence and calmness.
Asana - Forward Bend Sequence:
Balasana (child's pose), table, cat/cow, table balance, Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog), Balasana > table > Adho Mukha Svanasana vinyasa for three rounds. Uttanasana (standing forward bend), Ardha Uttanasana (halfward forward bend), Tadasana (mountain pose). Surya Namasakara (sun salutations). Virabhadrasana II (warrior II) > revrerse warrior > Parsvakonasana (side angle pose). Parsarita Padottanasana (wide leg forward bend), Trikonasana (triangle pose), Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose). Lunge > high lunge > Parsvottonasana (legs in Vira I forward bend), Virabhadrasana I (warrior I). Dandasana (staff pose), Paschimottanasana (west back stretch), Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose), Upavista Konasana (wide leg angle pose), Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose), ankle to knee pose, Pavanamuktasana (knee to chest pose), Eka Padatonasana (one leg stretch), happy baby, Savasana (corpse pose) with guided relaxation.
Pranayama - Deergha Swaasam - three part breath. Breathe into the stomach, the ribs and the chest.
Meditation - Om Shanti - repeat out loud several rounds, then repeat silently to oneself.
Ending chant: Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu -- May all beings everywhere be free and happy.
May the entire universe be filled with peace and joy, love and light. Namaste.