Spiritual Hatha/Vinyasa/Meditation and ChakraYoga
The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali are 196 Indian sūtras (aphorisms) that constitute the foundational text of Ashtanga Yoga, also called Raja Yoga.. The Yoga Sutras were compiled around 400 BCE by Patañjali. Yoga is a journey of self-discovery, bringing inner strength, clarity of mind, and transformation.
The Nadis in the Etheric Body
The etheric body is the energetic blueprint of the physical body. It is the body that distributes the vital force throughout the physical form. It is like the battery of the physical body. The etheric body contains an etheric nerve system consisting of thousands of channels which interpenetrated both the physical and the etheric forms.
Indian literature suggests that we have seventy-two thousand meridians, or nerve channels, that pervade the etheric body. Three of these nerve channels are of particular importance in understanding the kundalini: the sushumna, the ida and the pingala.
The Sushumna and the Sutratma, or Silver Cord
The sushumna is the central nerve channel within the spinal cord. It flows from the base of the spine all the way up to the third eye area and then emerges into an even more powerful Light ray called the sutratma, or silver cord. The sutratma extends threough the crown, up through the soul and all the way to the monad. The chakras also reside in the etheric body, so the sushumna runs through and connects the seven third-dimensional chakras.
The ida is the feminine channel. It extends from the base of the spine and ends in the left nasal passage. It flows principally along the left side of the spinal column. It travels in a curving, crisscross pathway through the seven chakras.
The Pingala is the masculine nerve channel. It extends upward from the base of the spine and ends in the right nasal passage. It flows principally on the right side of the spinal column. It travels in a similar curving, crisscross pathway along the spine and through the chakras. The Ida and Pingala represent two opposite poles of the same energy.
While the pingala controls the right half of the body, and the ida controls the left half of the body, the sushumna is more neutral. The ideal is to balance the energy to the ida and pingala. The Sushumna ( Central channel, Nervous system) is most active at sunrise and sunset and between four a.m. and sunrise.
This is why Eastern cultures suggest meditating at dawn.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOGA WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga means yoke. The word yoke has its root in Sanskrit: yoga to yog, to yoke. Literally yoga means any kind of connection. It evolved to mean spiritual connection – connection of our mind/body with our own soul, connection with other’s soul, or connection with Universe, etc.
People who are less familiar with yoga use it to mean the posture practice. People who are more familiar with yoga take it as spiritual connection. Considering yoga means yoke or connection, the phrase, “yoga connection” is really redundant. Love is yoga, giving is yoga, caring for someone is yoga, compassion is yoga and even a hand shake is yoga.
HISTORY OF INDIAN SPIRITUAL CIVILIZATION
Yoga was part of the Indian spiritual civilization that has its roots in the ancient Indus valley civilization. (The British referred to the ancient Sindhu river valley civilization as Indus valley civilization: Sindhu to Indus to India.) This encompasses today’s North West part of India, parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, etc. This civilization was highly developed for their time in many respects and is said to be about 5000 years old (Mohanjedaro and Harappa: Bronze Age.) They meditated and worshipped Higher Self/Universe/Unmanifest as Shiva in both male and female (Divine mother) forms. (The archeologists have excavated figures sitting in lotus posture. Meditation is the most important aspect of Yoga.)
When the Aryan tribes arrived 3500 years ago from central Asia (Persia,) they brought with them the social order of priesthood: Brahmins. This is the origin of the four caste system of India: Priests, Warriors, Business people, and workers. VEDAS. Vedas evolved in that Sindhu river valley civilization. In Sanskrit, Veda means source of knowledge or source of wisdom. Vedas are said to have been heard by the Seers (revelations, in deep meditation, or as echoes from above – (Shruti)
The sages of the time started to teach their Vedas to their students. The expansion and interpretation of Vedas are generally called Upanishads (sitting at the Guru’s feet).
People of the Indus valley area are generally referred to as Hindu. Considering there was no organized religion at that time; everybody was Hindu in that area.
MOVING EASTWARD TOWARD TIBET
With the arrival of the Aryans, there was disagreements and confusion. Some of the peace loving Indus Valley puritans moved toward South India. Most of them spread eastward (toward the Ganges (Ganga) valley. That area is today’s main spiritual center of the Yoga/Hindu culture. Here are the few famous town names: Rishikesh, Haridwar, Gangotri, Varanasi. Buddha was born in a small kingdom (kapilavastu) in that area.
Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, the founder of today’s Buddhism, was a Hindu. However, he was not a Brahmin (he was a prince, thus belong to warrior caste (kshatriya.) He was a Shraman (a non-Hindu Brahmin who practiced spirituality.)
Even though Buddha is one of the most famous Gurus from the area, it was very common those days to practice meditation. And, some of those Gurus came back to the towns and villages from the forest and taught the people their wisdom.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HINDUISM & BUDDHISM
- Even though the numerous Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism are the different aspect of our own Self, traditional Buddhism does not differentiate as such. It just recognizes self as Self or Buddha.
- There is no caste system in Buddhism. Everybody can practice and teach spirituality, not just Brahmins.
- The Core of Buddhism is its eight precepts. They are comprised of three aspects:
- Right Wisdom (Prajna): Right Understanding or knowledge about life that everything in this world is impermanent and generally unsatisfactory. To bring in true satisfaction of the soul, one should have the Right Intention or Decision making. One should be free from selfishness and full of compassion and benevolence to others.
- Right Moral Habits (Sila) Right speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood.
- Right Meditation (Samadhi): Right effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
Hinduism has many such precepts. It seems many Gurus who practiced spiritually at that time have their own sets or rules.
Buddhism and classical Yoga originated about the same time. The term Yoga became popular when Sage Patanjali organized many practices and common knowledge of the sages of that day as Yoga Sutras. Classical Yoga advocated a dualistic philosophy (Spirit and Matter are separate, or body/mind are separate from the Spirit, and that one has to practice to bring in the connection.) The classical Yoga has many paths. The main four paths are:
- Jnana Yoga (Yoga through wisdom)
- Bhakti Yoga (Yoga through devotion.)
- Karma Yoga (Yoga through action.)
- Hatha Yoga (Yoga through Energy)
As per Swami Svatmarama, Hatha Yoga, also has four main paths:
- Posture Practice
- Breathing Practice
- Locks and Seals
Hatha Flow (also known as Power Yoga or Vinyasa) is a dynamic form of Hatha that uses movement and Ujjayi breath, creating an internal and external purification together to produce a “flow” of postures that lead naturally from one to the next. Experienced students especially enjoy Vinyasa Yoga as they practice familiar postures in a new way through a variety of sequences that build upon each previous posture. (Intermediate to Advanced students).
Hatha Raja Yoga A unique blend of Hatha Ha – effort THA ease, regaining inner strength, perfect health, gaining flexibility, inner peace, expanding and clearing energy through the Chakras.
The Chakras, first mentioned in the ancient Vedas, the Hindu books of knowledge, is the name given to the seven main energy centers of our body. These swirling vortexes of energy regulate the energy flow throughout our bodies. These centres open and shut depending on what we are feeling and thinking.Chakras are not physical objects that can be seen, but they are an integral part of our life force keeping our whole mind and body working together. They are located at different points throughout the physical body and are associated with particular parts of the body.
Every sense, feeling and experience is connected to a specific chakra. When you are stressed about something, the chakra itself can become unbalancingd and this manifests itself as illness in your physical body. For your mind, emotions and physical body to be working together in total harmony, the chakras need to be spinning at the correct frequency. To become healthy again, or to maintain a healthy balance or your chakra energy, the individual chakras need to be balanced from time to time.
Mantra : OM NAMAH SHIVAAYA
I bow to Shiva the Supreme Reality. The Inner Self, Shiva is the consciousness that dwells in all.
The science of mantra: Mantra is the ladder by which we reach the formless consciousness.
According to the mantra scriptures, speech manifests within the human being on four levels; most people associate the level of speech with the gross level Known as VAIKHARI. The truth that the tong does not speak by itself.
The gross sound arises from the subtle Level,MADHYAMA WHICH EXPERIENCED IN THE THROAT CENTER.
Beneath the subtlest levels, there is still a deeper level, called PASHYANTI THE CASUAL LEVEL OF SPEECH, WHICH IS EXPERIENCED IN THE HEART.
But the origin of all sounds still goes deeper into transcendental level of speech, which is experienced at the navel CALLED PARAVANI.
Practice repeating; Om Namah Shivaya
Begin; tip of the tong, experience deeper level move to the throat level, then descend to the heart and to the naval, you will be intoxicated at the state of super conscious,with each time we descend the vibration of the mantra will be equal to a 1000 repetitions in each center.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
I BOW TO SHIVA. THE SUPREME REALITY, THE INNER SELF. SHIVA IS THE CONCIOUSNESS THAT DWELL IN ALL.
We worship the three eyed one (Lord Shiva) who is fragrant and who nourishes well all beings. May he liberate us from death for the sake of immortality.
References; Swami Muktananda,Book; Were you going.
Prenatal Yoga provide a safe and supportive environment for expectant mothers. Help ease pregnancy, delivery and the after effects of birth by creating flexibility, focus and strength through a gentle yoga practice. A wonderful way to connect with other expectant mothers.