Patanjali – 8 Limbs via the Yoga Journal Conference

Raja Yoga, Science of Yoga No Comments

At the Yoga Journal Conference, I attended The 8 Limbs of Yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, as an all day intensive.  (This is a super late, post, but here it is never the less.)

It was a phenomenal session, put on by some of the worlds finest yoga instructors:

I really enjoyed the session because the early portion of the day did well to stimulate my mental body with the concepts that are communicated in the Yoga Sutras, while the later part of the day facilitate an actual experience on what the Sutras communicate. This was beneficial for me because I had already put some thoughts down regarding my previous thinking along the lines of the Yoga Sutras. Since the session several of my definitions have been updated based on the information that Gary bestowed upon the class.

Gary is a lineage holder of sorts, as in he received a transmission. I fully believe in and appreciate his lineage, (though I need to learn more about it,) for in the room with us was a presence that enhanced Gary’s aura. After class I chatted with him briefly and he stated that a Swami once told him what the presence, or energy was, but that he wouldn’t say. (perhaps someday I’ll gain insight into that energy.)

In follow up posts I am going to post some yoga definitions that were presented by Gary in this session, so stay tuned as they each present excellent perspective on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

8 Limbs: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali lecture notes

Gary lectured on the Yamas all the way through Pranayama. Then lead the class scientifically through a yoga set to demonstrate some of the concepts taught. I really connected with how Gary presented the yoga set, because he focused on the Science of Yoga. The set was specifically applied due to the 2 hours worth of lecture and a few other factors in order to take us through asana and pranayama.

Gary has a wealth of knowledge that he pulled from, including the root meaning of many sanskrit terms. He also noted that terms that make up Patanjali:

Pat- to fall

Anjali- to make an offering

It is said that Patanjali fell into the hands of those who were praying. He fell in the form of a Naga (Dragon) or Divine Being. He was a Naga Raja, the highest Serpent. It is said that the Lord sits comfortably on his belly while the weight of the world lies upon his head.

Enough with the legend, on with the notes. If these seem some what jumbled it is because we jumped around the topics some, with questions being asked and I am also going to be following up with a series of posts.

Through discourse Gary mentioned that there are more or less 3 types of Karma that a human has:

  1. Fixed Karma, that is karma that will not change
  2. Karma that is unlikely to change
  3. And Karma that can change

One concept through yoga is to work on the karma that can be changed. I suspect that via a concentrated effort one can also get into releasing the karma that is not likely to be changed. How does it go, God grant me the Wisdom to change the things I can influence positively, to leave alone the things I cannot and the ability to know the difference, or something like that. Karma

Gary noted that each chapter of the Sutras is written for a disciple @ differing levels of development. (The more I study the more I find that there are indeed many differing levels of development, and that in fact understanding ones place upon the path is of key importance for helping yourSelf and then the group(s) which you are a part of.)

Here I have noted the insights I gained from the session, but for a true experience you really should sign up for a course with these teachers!

This is a scientific approach to becoming more in tuned with your Spirit.

May your Spirits Awaken

Krishan

Sadhana: Spiritual Healing Daily

Science of Yoga, Teacher Training, Yoga Glossary 3 Comments

Sadhana is defined as daily spiritual practice.

In my teacher training we are learning in depth about the importance of Sadhana.

There are 3 main components to the Aquarian Sadhana.

  1. Jabji Sahib- works to connect the Spirit within
  2. Yoga- provides exercise for the body
  3. Meditation with mantra- gives the mind regular balance

And thus our daily spiritual practice, or Sadhana, connects the Spirit, Body and Mind while bringing them into balance. It provides a means to clear the subconscious daily so that we may act from the center of our being throughout the day.

Time of day is another key component to the Aquarian Sadhana, it must be performed during the Amrit Vela, in order to achieve maximum effectiveness. The angle of the Sun creates an effect on the mind which allows for deep meditation and evolutionary processes to unfold.

There is a scientific reasoning that lies behind this timing as well. The Schumann Resonance actually relates the Sun and the electromagnetic field to a human brain.

Ideally Sadhana is to be performed for 2 and a half hours. We are committing one tenth of our day to God.

Taking a cold shower is also part of a daily spiritual practice, which works to keep the body young and healthy.

While not necessary, a group Sadhana is ideal. This joins together the collective energy, so that the sum of the whole may be greater than the individual parts. Those who are able to achieve higher levels of consciousness through their Sadhana work to uplift others while in a group.

Shiva Singh says that by performing Sadhana, we are committing time to consciousness, which states that it is an important aspect of our lives and is worth developing. We are giving

I found this video of Yogi Bhajan talking about Sadhana on Sikhnet. Enjoy.

Stress Reducers: Yoga and a Balanced Diet

Eat Healthy, Science of Yoga 5 Comments

I believe stress reducers are key to sanity in this day and age.

I recently wrote about Kundalini Yoga as a stress reducer. I can honestly say that without my regular practice I would be completely stressed out.

A few ways yoga reduces stress:

  1. Exercise, a physical workout is good for your body
  2. Breath control (pranayama) managing ones breath helps to control the flight or fight response mechanism, which has been necessary for a time for survival, but is a stress mechanism
  3. Stretching one of the best self massages available to us
  4. Meditation, the benefits of meditation are vast, to come under greater control over the thought forms within ones mind allows control over stress creators

It has become clear to me that people need more stress reducers in their lives, because it seems as though all throughout ones day things are adding to the stress levels. I decided to ask my friend Suzanne Monroe, who authors Online Nutrition Counseling about stress and eating.  I got back a great response packed with great info on how we can reduce stress through diet.

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Stress in the body comes from emotional stress or physical stress that we put on the body through our activity, our environment (toxins) or the food we eat.
With the food we are eating, if it is highly processed, full of sugar and artificial ingredients, etc. our body has to do a lot of work to process it.  Take sugar for example, our body has to pull on our own reserves to process it because it has been stripped of all of its fiber, minerals and nutrients.  So we pull from our own mineral reserves and this is taxing. Especially day after day when this is the bulk of what we eat.  By cutting out the sugar, including processed, refined grains (white pastas, baked goods, crackers etc.), you will experience an increase in energy that will allow you to more easily cope with other stressors, like emotional stress from work, relationships, being stuck in traffic.

Stress eating:  you eat to get through an emotional stressor like a bad day:   stress, anxiety, etc.  This is when we may eat and keep eating and end up in a food coma – its numbing.   I relate this to a storm,  you come into the kitchen and begin eating as much as you can, and then the storm dies down.  You are using food to cope with whatever is going on in your life at that moment.

To end stress eating, the first step is to recognize that you are not physically hungry, rather emotionally hungry.

Cravings are a signal to you.  They are your body’s way of talking to you.  They are sending you a message that something is out of balance, either with your food or your emotions.   And it’s not just what you are feeling intense emotions about when it comes to food, it’s what’s causing those intense emotions in you. 

So your emotional eating is really not about the food, its about what’s behind your cravings.    

The question then is “What is your food covering up?”

If we eat emotionally, whether it the stress eating, boredom eating, unconscious eating or fear eating, we have to shut down our present awareness, our consciousness, for a time period so that we can binge on what we are eating.   We do this so we don’t have to be conscious or present with our emotions. 

Stress Reducers
  1. Becoming present with your emotions:  Do not choose to just eat through them.   One way to start doing this is journaling.  Keep a journal and write in it in the morning or at night.  Find a quiet place for a few minutes and just write down whatever comes to mind.   If this activity is difficult for you, just start out by writing one thing that went well in the day and one thing that didn’t go well and how it could have been better.
  2. Eating for Energy:  Emotions that are stressful or full of anxiety, fear, worry cause stress in the body.  Stress depletes our energetic stores, so we go looking for more energy usually in the form of sugar and quick energy.  But what we want to do is begin eating for energy.
  3. Water: is going to keep us hydrated.  This is very important because the signal sent to the brain that tell us we are hungry is almost identical to the signal for dehydration.  We sometimes mix these signals up because we are too busy (stressed) to pay attention.  Staying hydrated will help reduce our cravings.
  4. Whole Grains: help balance our blood sugar, unlike refined sugary carbohydrates, which affect our mood.  They are also  high in magnesium which helps relax our muscles, (or reduce stress.)

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Suzanne, this is some great info!  I believe that a consistent yoga practice along side with a mindful diet can really pump up the volume on stress reduction.  Yoga supports the ability for one to get more in tune with themselves and as such I propose that they would be more likely to be able to identify that they are emotionally hungry, rather than physically hungry.  (Yogi Bhajan used to say…”hungry for love.”)  I am going to suggest another means to leverage drinking water to reduce stress.  Today a large proportion of individuals are hunched over a computer desk all day long and rarely get up for breaks.  This causes repetitive stress and is not good for the minds balance.  I suggest regularly drinking water, which reduces hunger er dehydration symptoms to the brain, and over time will cause you to need to get up a relieve yourself.  This mixes up the pattern you are plugged into and helps with sanity as well.

Another means of alleviating stress is with herbal remedies. Yogi Tea provides an excellent blend for stress reduction in their calming tea.

Do you have any suggestions on how to reduce stress?  Please share!

Yamas Definitions

1st Chakra- Root, 2nd Chakra- Creativity, 3rd Chakra- Power, 4th Chakra- Heart Center, 5th Chakra- Communication, 6th Chakra- Intuition, 7th Chakra- Divine, Raja Yoga, Science of Yoga, Yoga Glossary No Comments

The 5 Yamas are essentially restraints upon the Raja Yoga path.

I’ve been defining them here over the past several months, so I thought an overview post would be in order.  I shall also provide a little perspective on how the Yamas interact with our chakras, please note this perspective is generated by my intuition.  I welcome feedback.

Ahimsa- Non-violence.  I believe non violence works to properly balance our third chakra because we do not force power over another by practicing.  It also inhibits the creation of a certain type of karma that is typically viewed as negative karma.
Satya- speaking about what is true. My perspective is that this balances our 5th chakra, or communication center.  For when we speak about what is True, in the True sense of the matter, we are sending forth a powerful positive vibration.
Asteya- non stealing.  I believe this is another means of balancing our power centers.  Here we are only using the resources which are rightfully ours.  I suspect it is when the survival or 1st chakra is out of balance that the urge to steal comes to being.
Bramacharya- moving toward Brahma.  From a conservation of sexual energy perspective, I believe this balances the svadhisthana chakra.  From a moving towards God or Brahma perspective, I would say that the 7th or Divine Chakra is utilized.
Aparigraho- non grasping.  The center this focuses on is not obvious to me, I would say if one truly knows themselves they are centered in themselves, and perhaps this type of centering is the work of the heart chakra and perhaps ones mind stays within and does not attach itself to the external which would seem to be a function of the third eye.
These 5 together make up the Yamas.  The Yamas should be practiced as one of the steps of the 8 limbs of yoga.  We find within them very clean means to balance the chakras.
May the yamas server you well.

Aparigraha Definition

Science of Yoga, Yoga Glossary No Comments

Aparigraha is defined as non grasping.  It essentially is saying do not get distracted.  The opposite of aparigraha is when you are established in yourself you know very well who you are and no longer grasp at other things, or get distracted.

Bramacharya Definition

Science of Yoga, Yoga Glossary No Comments

The definition of bramacharya is to move towards Brahma.

Typically in yoga context it is expressed as meaning to be mindful of sexual activities, however, the word does indeed mean to move towards Brahma.

One of the means of moving towards Brahma is to live a balanced life and have more energy, which is why mindfulness of sexual activities is often emphasized.

Lemurian Scrolls, by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, defines bramacharya as the practice of celebacy accompanied by the performance of sadhana and adherence to dharma.

Yoga Provides Treatments for Depression, Anxiety and Epilepsy

Science of Yoga 6 Comments

That’s right, fight depression, anxiety and epilepsy simply by doin yoga!  As if we didn’t know this already ;-)
Gotta give a shout out to the Yoga Journal Buzz blog, for this post.

You can get the news release here.  Boston University and McLean hospital have been doin some research on the effects of yoga.

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Using magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, the researchers compared the GABA levels of eight subjects prior to and after one hour of yoga, with 11 subjects who did no yoga but instead read for one hour. The researchers found a twenty-seven percent increase in GABA levels in the yoga practitioner group after their session, but no change in the comparison subject group after their reading session….Our findings clearly demonstrate that in experienced yoga practitioners, brain GABA levels increase after a session of yoga,” said lead author Chris Streeter, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology at BUSM and a research associate at McLean Hospital.” 

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The press release also comments that mental health effects a large number of our current population.  (Perhaps the Carter Center will someday have a Mental Health yoga program!
So while these insights are like no brainers to many yogis, the science applied is what is actually important.

If anyone from the study happens upon this I have the following suggestion to add to the study.  Take another sample of folks that have been doing yoga for sometime, have them simply read about yoga and see what the effects are.  One’s mind creates their reality, if one reads about yoga and goes through yoga processes in the mind, I suspect similar results could be achieved.  And now we are gettin into the realm of continual meditation.

Gotta love Yoga

Yoga Journal Conference, Lake Geneva WI

Science of Yoga No Comments

Yoga Journal Conference

Event type: Conference

Date: 2007-05-06

Map

Rating: 5 out of 5

This was the most exciting conference I have ever been to, okay so it was my first Yoga Journal Conference, but never the less it was fantastic. The energy and positive vibration is still permeating throughout my being.

It’s always great to gather so many individuals that are committed to improving themselves and humanity as a whole for that matter. The benefits to be had through group practice are emense and beyond the comprehension of even some of those in attendance.

Here’s a run down of our agenda for the event:

- Kundalini Yoga Sadhana 4:30 am (That’s right, this will get ya up in the mornin.)
- Kundalini Yoga Class with Gurmukh (We had such a great class in LA we had to go back for more)
- Kundalini Yoga Class with Gurmukh (and more, she is a blessed, gifted teacher and guru)
- Is Yoga a Religion panel discussion (excellent panel)
- Detox Flow by Seane Corn (great class, and challenging as I rarely do Vinyasa, it capped off a one week cleanse diet nicely)
- Day off to rest and wow did my legs appreciate that
- All Day Intensive Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the 8 Limbs of Yoga presented by Gary Kraftsow and Gurmukh (I absolutely loved this all day class and highly recommend it for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of the Yoga Sutras, its really about deepening an understanding of how one can lead a more connected life)

I got to meet some great Kundalini Yoga Teachers, Siva Singh and Shabad Kaur Khalsa, from Spirits Rising Yoga in Chicago too! As well as bumped into my teacher, Lisa Lawrence, from Madison.

I was fortunate to have shared this experience with my almost bride Jamie. Yoga is ever present in a marriage, for Yoga is Union.

This was a great, life changing experience, one that I hope others can experience. If you get a chance to go to this yoga conference in your neck of the woods, by all means take it.

I’ll be following up with post info from some of the specific sessions I attended.

I plan on attending next time the conference comes to Lake Geneva

Stay tuned

Krishan Singh

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Kirtan with Ragani is a Great Experience

5th Chakra- Communication, Chakras, Science of Yoga No Comments

My family and I were very fortunate to attend a Kirtan with Ragani last night at Madison’s Overture Center.  It was my first Kirtan in this lifetime, and WOW what an experience.  It was like attending a rock concert, and jacking up the group energy ten times.

Kirtan is essentially yoga chanting.  That’s right, one session is just like having a group yoga practice.

Kirtan is an excellent 5th chakra workout.  But in reality it energizes the entire chakra energy system.  This is why people enjoy going to concerts and dancing so much, it allows the charka system to flow very nicely with the music.  The science behind Kirtan is deeper than I am able to explore at this time, but I shall soon enough.  The science of sound (nada yoga) is one of the most sacred and vast subjects, for Ragani and her band to take us through this spiritual journey together is truly amazing.
It is said that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God, or something along those lines.  And thus through sound the Universe came into manifestation.

In her bio Ragani notes that she trained under Swami Rama, a Yoga Master of the Himalayan tradition.  What’s that you say, right here in Wisconsin there is access to a Kirtan of this nature?  Yes, the heart land is, well, filled with heart and as such more and more people that ressonate with this energy are drawn to it.  This energy is also very much so why Madison Wisconsin is viewed as a Yoga Haven.

It was very special for me to be able to share this experience with my lovely future bride and my daughter.  My little one has a natural affinity for performing, and it is nice for her to have Ragani and this experience to look up to.

I am pumped to get to another Kirtan event!  I’ll be sure to post them from time to time here as a reference resource for ya.

Dalai Lama to visit Madison WI

Raja Yoga, Science of Yoga No Comments

Dalia Lama Public Lecture

Begins: Fri, 04 May 2007 at 2:30 PM

Ends: Fri, 04 May 2007 at 5:00 PM

Entry fee: $21 – $23

Location:

601 West Dayton

Madison, WI 53715

USA

Link: Public Lecture Information on the Dalai Lama’s visit to Madison

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is coming to give a public lecture at the Kohl Center in Madison Wisconsin!

It’s actually a coincidence of sorts, the public lectur is actually right before the Lake Geneva Yoga Conference. I get to pack in a whole weekend of spiritual activity.

The people of Madison, and Wisconsin for that matter, are fortunate to live in a spiritual hub such as this.

Tickets are limited to 4 per person. I am not actually certain of the ending time of the lecture it more than likely depends on the material to be covered.

I highly recommend coming to the lecture. His wisdom is absolutely remarkable. One of my favoriate books, which is authored by him, The Art of Happiness, has great life insights.

I am very pleased to have already purchased tickets, I will be attending with two close friends of mine, one is my future bride the other an old friend.

Buddhism deals well with the concept of non-attachment, and as such this is classified into the Raja Yoga and science of yoga sections of this website. Non-attachment is of key importance for Yoga.

I’ll be sure to update this site with some good tid bits from the lecture.

Sat Nam

PS: I studied the Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle way in college, thanks John Dunn, it was a facinating study that helped support my spiritual journey.

Tags: Dalia Lama, Madison WI, Buddhism

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