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Golden Space and the Impact of Three Body Purification

By Kathy Gravereaux, RN

Our teacher Sri Shyamji has just returned from Europe after another landmark three body purification (3BP).

He gave me the honor of masterminding the 9 day event, along with Dirk and John, in a beautifully wooded village, Barchem, in the Netherlands.  Seventy one participants from all over Europe and the USA, gathered under one roof for 9 days to experience the cleansing of a lifetime. They made new friends and shared deep feelings with old friends while basking under the soft sun and cool air, just perfect weather.

After 5 days of cleansing, the group was ready for the next 4 days to absorb soorya aakaasha (GOLDEN SPACE ) in their newly  opened  microchakras.  Shyamji’s advanced sounds gave us this opportunity.  In some participants deep quiet and peace settled, while in others old negative feelings came out and they experienced their inner beauty and joy after crying. Shyamji’s voice was really remarkable and penetrating.  Some participants deeply meditated for the first time, even though, they had been practicing meditation for a long time. When Shyamji chants, while playing the tambura, one is transported within to some other worldly state, and we aspire to sustain it.

People enjoyed our famous delicious protein shakes for dinner, thanks to Marina and her special touch.  Also, I was told the kitchare, our famous rice and bean dish, was the best that one long-time participant ever had.  Thanks to Elanie for her culinary skills.

I am a Registered Nurse and for 30 years have been observing remarkable changes that have occurred to great numbers of people at the 3 Body Purifications. My heart is deeply touched, and I want to come back next year to help him conduct this purifying event again.

Now, our teacher is back at the chakra institute in New Hope, PA, where I will help him conduct another 3BP for 5 days starting on the 7th of August.  This is followed by a FACIAL INNERTUNING professional training course for another 5 days ending on August 17, 2014.  This is an experience not to be missed.

On the 18th of this month Shyamji goes to BOGOTA, COLOMBIA for 3 weeks of scheduled private innertuning sessions and weekend workshops.  He will return on Sept.10 to do a mantra meditation concert in his new chakra institute space in New York City.  (See details on chakrainstitute.com.)

He is nearly 80 years old and he continues to dedicate his life to the service of mankind.  We are so fortunate to have his guidance and teachings.

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Microchakra Q&A

“There is nothing more practical than a good theory.” – Kurt Lewin

Q: How many bodies does a human being possess?

A: Three. The well-known physical body and two much lesser known non-material bodies. These are the subtle body, the source of our feelings and the causal body which is the source of our thoughts. Just as radio waves pervade the “solid” walls of a room, so  do the nonmaterial bodies pervade each other and the material body. They were first mentioned in Indian scriptures several thousand years ago. Recently, they have been described by Jay Alfed “Our Invisible Bodies” and related to quantum theory.

Q: What is “eight-fold nature?”

A: Eight-fold nature refers to the building blocks of all existence—just as the periodic table of elements forms the building blocks of the material world only. Eight-fold nature consists of five elements and three qualities. The five elements are earthwaterfireair and aakaasha.  These terms are italicized to distinguish them from similar terms referring to the physical world only. The term aakaasha cannot be translated into English. The closest approximation would be “space” or “ether.”

The three qualities are tamas (e.g. inertia, darkness, ignorance); rajas (e.g. high energy, activity, impulsivity, restlessness) and sattva (e.g. light, purity, truth).

Q: What are the main energy channels of the subtle body?

A: In the Indian classical literature, according to a common view, the subtle body contains over 72,000 channels. There are three main channels: a solar right channel, a lunar left channel and fiery central channel.

These parallel channels run along the spine throughout its length. It is stated that together they occupy a diameter no greater than 1/10,000 the thickness of a human hair.

Our personality is based on activity in the right and left channels. The central channel is the seat of parapsychological abilities and is dormant in most people.

Q: Where are the chakras located?

A: The chakras are located within the subtle body. There are seven main chakras (spinning vortices of energy). These chakras, are adjacent to the three channels and are distributed along the spinal column from the sacrum to the crown of the head. Like the channels, their existence has been known for thousands of years.

Q: What is a microchakra?

A: A microchakra is a ray which emanates from a chakra.It connects the chakra to the physical body as it terminates at a space in the spine.  Each chakra contains 7 microchakras within each of its 3 channels for a total of 21 microchakras.

The microchakras were discovered by Sri Shyamji Bhatnagar in 1967. Before then, there is no known reference to them.
Each microchakra represents the element of its main chakra. Hence, the first microchakra in all chakras contains the earth  element; the second microchakras contain the water element, etc.

Q: Why are chakras said to be perfect?

A: Like the sun, chakras are in their original state. Rays from chakras are transmitted to the human spine by open microchakras. Blocked microchakras make the chakra appear imperfect.

Q: What are the goals of each chakra?

A: Each chakra (with its microchakras) functions as a mind (information processor) seeking to fulfill its own sub-goals and find contentment–the ultimate goal.

 

  • First Chakra goals
    • physical security
    • food
    • shelter
  • Second Chakra goals
    • gender identity
    • family
    • sensual pleasure
    • honest exchange (including sexual and business exchange)
    • conditional love
  • Third Chakra Goals
    • leadership
    • rationality
    • competitiveness
    • career success
  • Fourth Chakra goals
    • compassion
    • compassionate society
    • selfless service
    • unconditional love
  • Fifth Chakra Goals
    • self-expression
    • creativity
    • spiritual practice
    • silence
    • awakening of Inner Guru which points to the world of the Gunas
  • Sixth Chakra goals
    • utilize intuition
    • experience daily the 3 parts of the brain
    • balance the three qualities
    • utilize the Witness to meditate
    • discriminate between the Real and the Unreal
  • Seventh Chakra goals
    • transcend 8-fold nature
    • immerse in contentment leading to bliss
    • become One with Consciousness

Q: How does Microchakra Psychology use the concept of the ego?

A: The third microchakra in each chakra functions as the ego of its  mind and attempts to achieve its goals.  Hence, we have seven egos. We also have one Self which lies beyond 8-fold nature.

Q: What are the three desire principles?

A: All human motivation derives from three desire principles: a) primary desires, b) subtle desires and c) causal desires.

Primary desires are based on the energies and goals of the first three chakras. Many people spend their entire lives rarely using their minds above the third chakra.

Subtle desires are based on the energies and goals of the fourth and fifth chakras. A large minority draw upon the fourth chakra through their sincere love for someone or something. People who discover their unique talents are tapping into the fifth chakra mind.

Cosmic-oriented desires are based on the sixth and seventh chakras. They function beyond the five elements and employ more abstract qualities. The sixth chakra is the source of refined intuition; the seventh, of contentment and bliss.  For millenia, saints have pondered the question, “Who am I?” Socrates advised “Know thyself!” It is in the sixth chakra that one passes beyond the elemental minds and can confront these matters seriously.

Q: How does Microchakra Psychology represent memory?

A: Memory is represented in two ways: The first way recognizes the existence of pods connected to the microchakras. There are two types of pods: praanic and apaanic. The former  contain positive memories of events  where the vital life force of praana had been flowing freely (such as experiences of happiness and joy). The praanic pods contribute to the opening of the microchakras. Apaanic pods, on the other hand, contain memories of unpleasant or tamas filled events. They contribute to microchakra blockage.

The second way of representing memory utilizes the concept of “schema” which was introduced to psychology by Jean Piaget in the 1920s. It is modified to fit the overall system of Microchakra Psychology. Memories of specific events are stored in both the pods and in the cerebral cortex. In both cases, schemas are used to describe them.

Any change in our personality involves changing both a pattern of openings or blocks and their related schemas.

Q: How are affects (emotions and feelings) formed?

A:  Affects are formed whenever an ego encounters an object. An object may be a physical object, a person, a thought or other affects.

Examples: First chakra Joy when a new home is purchased. Second chakra joy in findiing a new mate. Fourth chakra Joy when helping another. Third chakra Fear when threatened with dismissal by an employer. Third chakra Gratitude shown by offering service to a civic group.

Q: What is the position of Microchakra Psychology on rebirth?

A: Rebirth is a basic assumption of Microchakra Psychology. It was part of early Judaism and Christianity, though often ignored or repudiated today. It has always been part of the Tantric-Vedic tradition of India.

Q: What is the position of Microchakra Psychology on random causation?

A: The law of cosmic causality (karma) states that there are no random events. Apparently random events are due to causes more complex and/or subtle than we can comprehend.

Q: What is the relationship between spiritual evolution and eternal law?

A: The law of cosmic duty (dharma) states that we should make decisions that support eternal duty (sanatana dharma).

These are the moral laws of the universe. If we make decisions in accordance with eternal duty, we will evolve spiritually and higher microchakras will open. On the other hand, if we make decisions contrary to eternal law, some microchakras will become blocked and we will devolve.

Different cultures have placed differing but often overlapping items on their lists of eternal moral laws. The Ten Commandments is one example; the Eight-fold path of Buddhism is another.

Q: What are the three main functions of the human brain?

 A: The three main functions of the human brain are intuition, feeling and reason.

In the physical body, intuition is expressed primarily through the subcortical brain; feeling through the right cerebral hemisphere and reason through the left cerebral hemisphere. These three functions become more and more integrated as an individual grows spiritually. The integration of these three functions is closely related to the integration and harmonization of the three bodies.

Q: How can sound help in the integration of the three bodies?

A: Pure sound and mantras, when chanted properly (with pure praana breathed through the nose) create soorya aakaasha. As it deposits in seventh chakra, integration begins.

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Dharma

by Sri Shyamji Bhatnagar

If you are a black hole, expel the universe (Uni-Verse, One Song). If you are a Uni-verse, sing and expand to your maximum capacity, just as the baby in the womb once expanded. Then contract to the smallest unit and return to the Source—the black hole. This is universal dharma. If you are dharma then uphold it which is your dharma, your duty, your religion, your law. Be conscious, be who you are. Everything in the universe is conscious, animate or inanimate. If you are a planet, keep evolving. Expand until you evolve into a being who is not only conscious but is self-conscious.

Human beings are self-conscious. The rest of the forms, from minerals to animals, are conscious. Until self-consciousness is realized, you remain bound by the laws of karma. By changing your form evolving as if changing clothes over the body of self-consciousness. This is your dharma, your religion, your law.

Accumulate good karma to find thoughtful and feelingful parents who are prepared to have your divine presence in the womb and will allow you to be born naturally— in the same bed in which you were conceived. You will be best helped by an experienced midwife who is sensitive with a kind and firm touch. Your birth should take place in a quiet environment with dim light. Drums should be beating outside in the courtyard reminding everyone that the universe is alive with its heart beating in countless forms.

Another divine form has appeared and just after birth is laid on the solar plexus of the mother in contact with the solar plexus of the baby. The mouth of the baby reaching the nipple of the full breast of the mother, oozing the life supporting nectar for not only one baby but for many more. Baby’s dharma is to cling to the bosom; mother’s dharma is to allow it. Father’s dharma is to provide everything for both the baby and the mother’s need.

If you are a mother, realize that the new life Divine depends on you. Baby’s survival, security, cleanliness, food, shelter, happiness and contentment are your dharma, your religion, the law supreme. It is your lifetime opportunity to feel that you are a selfless, Goddess providing all and realizing your unconditional loving nature—you are the Mother Universe. You learn this from your own nectar filled bosom that oozes with the first cry of the baby. You are a miracle and you take joy in the miracle growing under your shadow.
Bondage is to nature. You are in nature not of nature. Realization of this is your dharma, your goal. This is the real you, free of bondage from the nature. This is the real you, desireless, full of peace and contentment. This is truly you—the Divine. Destiny of each person is a result of the total karma from previous lives. In the final life one can be fully realized by putting an end to creating future karma and living in harmony as a fixed point around which a circle of cosmic energies swirl.

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Nature’s Medicine and It’s Free!

By Richard Matusow

 

Discussing my upcoming journey to India with a friend the other day, he asked me how people who don’t have the time for spiritual practice or the resources to go on a journey access these teachings and experiences?  It’s amazing how busy we make ourselves and how we constantly find ways to distract ourselves from the peace and bliss that is always there.  Facebook, countless TV channels, Instagram, and other instant communication with text/phone/email/twitter/skype/the list goes on keep us in constant external mode.

 

 Yet, each day in deep sleep nature brings us back to our true inner nature where none of these external stimuli or the multiplicity of identities that we attach to in the waking state matter.  When you break it down, the one thing that all living beings from all epochs have in common is they experience an indescribable, transcendent bliss in deep sleep.   Yogis recognized this thousands of years before Christ (before all religions) and they developed techniques that help us gain more proximity to the bliss of our true nature in the waking state.

 

The best definition I’ve ever heard for yoga is “the cessation of identifying with the fluctuations of the mind”.  The key to all yoga techniques is to relax the breath and body, calm the mind, and internalize the senses (pratyhara) in order to access the stillness in the 6th chakra (above the 5 elemental minds).  This stillness between the eyebrows is similar to a router that connects a computer to the internet since it links our material mind, body, and thoughts to the pure consciousness (subtle energy) that is omnipresent in the universe.  Through the gateway of stillness we are able to find space and abide in a non-judgmental, blissful state similar to deep sleep.

 

Regular practice of meditation and other yoga techniques increases our awareness of this reality and gives us more access to the ever present bliss that we usually only tap into in deep sleep.  A master yogi sums this up so clearly and concisely, “when we are asleep to the world, we are awake to ourself and when we are awake to the world, we are asleep to ourself”.  And to answer my friend’s question, we access these experiences every night so we don’t need any more time or money.All we need is to increase our awareness and adjust some of our priorities.

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Purifications and Cleanses: More Than Just The Physical Body

By Richard Matusow

In my yoga practice I have found that inversions like shoulder stand are poses that can, if done properly and held for 5-10 minutes, effectively bring prana or life force to higher chakras.  On a recent trip to Salt Lake City to visit one of my best friends from first grade, I was introduced to another kind of inversion.  When there’s a deviation in atmospheric pressure, a meterological inversion can occur in places that are surrounded by mountains like Salt Lake City.  This results in air being trapped in the valley and toxic smog buildups in industrial and densely populated areas.  These inversions trap particulate matter and lead to respiratory difficulties and reportedly higher cases of depression and mental illness.

When I started practicing and studying Shyamji Bhatnagar’s Microchakra Psychology and Innertuning Systems, I learned two quick lessons.  First, to never let the morning sun catch you asleep since the sun is the source of life and by honoring it we remain in sync with nature.  Sunrise is the most sattvic or pure time of the day and the best time for meditation and other yoga practices.  Secondly, he taught me about apana, the downward moving life force in the body.  Apana is supposed to remain in the first and second chakras and its main function is to facilitate elimination of toxins and waste through urine (2nd chakra water) and bowel movements (1st chakra earth/matter).  When apana is grounded in the first chakra and moves freely as needed to the 2nd, our foundation is solid and we gain the most benefits from yoga practices.  On the other hand, if apana is not grounded, yoga practices like inversions and pranayama (breathing) techniques that pull energy upward can inadvertently raise apana to higher chakras and cause adverse effects like headaches or nausea.  Apana also rises when we disregard nature’s rhythm and as we accumulate toxins through polluted air, processed or toxic foods and liquids, and negative emotions and thoughts.  As apana rises to higher chakras, it creates blockages that lead to susceptibility to illnesses in the organs of the respective chakras and feeling stuck in the dramas of those chakra minds.  As Shyamji says, “apana is the tonic of our saboteurs”.  Our bad habits feed off apana and the higher it rises the more we feel stuck and struggle.  If it rises to the 6th chakra and invades the integrity of the brain, it results in severe mental illnesses like bi-polarity and schizophrenia.  In short, apana is similar to the inversion cloud in the photo holding all the toxicity and negativity in the valley.  As the cloud rises it contains more contamination and effects a greater surface area.

The tangibility of meterological inversions, smog, hurricanes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters are making even the most skeptical people realize that we have to take immediate measures to reduce toxins in the environment.  Ironically, few people make the same realization about their most intimate possession, their physical body.  Most of us take better care of our cars and electronics than our vital organs.  We change the oil in our cars regularly; yet, we don’t think twice about filling our intestines with difficult to digest foods (day after day after day), over-stressing our bodies and minds, and getting stuck in negative habits.  The good news is that by cleansing our physical body 3-4 times per year (ideally at the beginning of each season) we can lower apana and weaken those saboteurs.  In fact, this is the first step for any spiritual aspirant since we need to ground the apana before we can safely and efficiently raise prana, the upward life force that nourishes our cells, feeds our good habits, and increases our awareness.  However, physical body cleanses and purifications are not holistic since they do not sufficiently address the astral/subtle body (emotions) or causal (thinking) body.

Three body purifications (physical, subtle, and causal) at the Chakra Institute provide a holistic solution since in addition to proper protocols for physical cleansing, Sri Shyamji uses sounds, mantras, music, and spiritual teachings to cleanse the subtle and causal bodies.  Over the past few years, I have attended several 3 body purifications at the Chakra Insititute and each time more negative habits, emotions, and thoughts are released enabling me to go beyond preconceived limitations.  On many occasions during these purifications, I have felt blockages or apanic pockets burst open releasing energy and opening circulation and awareness in deprived parts of all 3 bodies.  As a result, I have been able to let go of some things that I do not need physically, emotionally, or mentally.  Accordingly, from the inside-out 3 body purifications have helped me gravitate more towards the foods, activities, careers, people, thoughts, and emotions that are beneficial while more easily detecting and avoiding the unnecessary or harmful ones.

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Life and Death

By Sri Shyamji Bhatnagar

Man the world over has sought to discover the purpose and meaning of life and death. In pursuit of knowing, he has created mythology, astrology, philosophy, religion, god, worship, Tantra, Samadhi and liberation. The yogis desire to know the nature of the Self led them to experience the Divine within themselves. The experience of Divinity caused their behavior to be ethical by nature.

They realized we have not just one lifetime, but many in a continuing chain of evolution. Each lifetime we take birth in order to satisfy particular desires and to resolve certain chakra drives.

It has been said that the cause of life is ignorance, the purpose of life is to be free, the tool of life is knowledge, the method of life is perseverance, the joy of life is bliss and the height of life is in stillness.

We can briefly discuss these concepts. The cause of life is ignorance; ignorance of one’s past, of the karmic seeds that are resulting in our present experience; ignorance of the forces that are operating at this present moment on earth and throughout the universe; ignorance of what makes us feel the emotions the way we do, what makes us feel the pains we do, what gives us the loved ones we have and then takes them away; ignorance of how to live in a human body and survive, love, accomplish, give and evolve spiritually in an often times difficult world.

The purpose of life is to be free. Not the pseudo freedom to simply be able to act out one’s desires as they bubble up in the mind one after another, but the genuine and lasting freedom of being able to transcend personal wants and desires. Mother Earth produces enough for her sons and daughters but fails to provide all one human being can desire.

To achieve an objective awareness to witness how the forces push and pull ourselves as they push and pull those around us; to be free to accept and tolerate the passing waves of emotions and energies and fix one’s mind on the absolute, to be free to let go of attachments to youth, to pleasures, to the body, to life itself. For the ancient yogis, the highest of all human virtues was the virtue of absolute un-attachment.

If a man be thoroughly un-attached, all other virtues will necessarily find a place in him. He will, thus by nature, be truthful, honest, just, upright, generous and charitable, for there is nothing to which he is attached. There is no interest uppermost in his mind, he will naturally be thoroughly selfless and absolutely disinterested in his action and conduct towards others. No joy can elate him, no sorrow can depress him, no suffering or despair can overwhelm. He is above all earthly joys and sufferings above all attachments to worldly things. Nothing can swerve him from the path of uprightness and virtue; no interest can distract his mind. He is thus far above all others. The great god Shiva is the highest personification of the virtue of unattachment. He is the highest ideal of all yogins and sannyasins.

To be free is to also be free of the fear of dying, not struggling to survive just a few moments longer. Rather than dying in a state of fear of what is beyond, or dying while regretting all the things one was not able to accomplish, one may die in a peaceful, accepting way. One is able to experience faith in the divine and full awareness of the transition process as it occurs out of the body into subtler realms of consciousness.

The tool of life is knowledge. Knowledge of what is required at each age and stage in life. Knowledge of what is the dharmic role for which one is best suited in this life. Knowledge of what kind of food should be eaten for health and clarity of awareness. How to use sex, how to relate to people, how to rear children, how to do Sadhana (spiritual work), to experience higher states of awareness.

The method of how to attain this knowledge is perseverance; following daily disciplines for retraining, developing and reconditioning old habit patterns of the mind and body to sensitize it and allow unfoldment of its vast potentials.

And what is the result of such spiritual perseverance—the joy of life. It is a feeling of deeper contentment and bliss than can be attained through any victory, achievement, vacation, sex or drug. Everyone seeks that state of inner peace and harmony whether consciously or not. The most pleasurable things are done again and again to get a brief glimpse or experience of that feeling of “Ahh! Hhaa!.” In that wonderful instant one feels satisfied and content. But quickly it passes and the next desire wells up—and we are off again to satisfy it.

Microchakra Psychology™ does not encourage renunciation from the world. In fact, the opposite is true. It is one of the most sophisticated and elaborately detailed systems for explaining how to optimize and enrich living in the world, in order to fulfill all of one’s duties to parents, to children, to friends, to society and to the planet as a whole.

Working in the world but maintaining a nonattached attitude and following a regular spiritual discipline brings contentment. When one reaches old age, the remaining years of life can be a very extraordinary experience. Instead of ending one’s life in loneliness and senility and fear of the approaching death, one is able to elevate and expand one’s awareness to planes of bliss detached from physical and emotional suffering. In India such persons are not uncommon and are sought out with the greatest respect and reverence for guidance and advice. By fulfilling all of one’s worldly responsibilities and duties while young, one has a clear conscience to sustain the highest awareness possible for the remainder of one’s years. For the height of life lies in the stillness of meditation, returning to the source within.

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How many minds do we really have?

By Richard Matusow

Naada Yoga Master Shyamji Bhatnagar presents a clear explanation of what is really going on with our minds and egos in the chakras or subtle energy fields.  All 7 chakras have separate minds and egos.  When energy is in the respective chakras we are concerned with that chakra’s agenda and as it moves between them we “change our mind”.  The first chakra (earth element) deals with survival/grounding issues such as financial independence, shelter, possessions, and food.  The second (water element) is the center of all fluidity in relationships and sexuality.  The third (fire element) is focused on power, competition, identity, social roles, status, reputation, appearances, and self-esteem.  The fourth (air element) is the heart chakra concerned with unconditional love, joy, and inner peace.  The fifth (space element) is the throat chakra where we communicate and develop creativity.  The sixth, above all the elemental minds, is our spiritual center where we access right brain intuition and find stillness that serves as the gateway to universal wisdom, knowledge, mahat.  The sixth chakra is analagous to the commander-in-chief since it watches over and, when open and strong, disciplines the 5 lower chakras’ elemental minds.  When we bring energy to the sixth chakra we cultivate the ability to balance the gunas (the 3 qualities of energy–tamas, rajas, and sattva) and to tranquilly abide in higher awareness as the observer or witness.  Ultimately, through sadhana or spiritual practice, advanced yogis can maintain energy in the 6th chakra all the time and use the lower minds for practical purposes without being pulled into their respective dramas.  The seventh chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually and it’s the indescribable, transcendental pure bliss that we experience in the deep sleep state.  In short, we have 7 different minds with separate agendas or egos and, as energy moves or stagnates, our attention focuses accordingly.  

The goal is to be in control of all 7 minds and to be able to move fluidly between them as needed.  Shyamji uses a poignant analogy of 7 horses that typically drag us around aimlessly.  Sadhana or spiritual practice is the way we start to gain awareness and control of each of these horses or minds.  Eventually we take the reins and are in complete control of them all.  Otherwise, our energy will tend to be concentrated in certain chakras and our awareness will go in circles (without finding lasting contentment) between the concerns of those minds.  Most commonly we get trapped in the concerns of the first linga or lower 3 chakra minds: food, money, appearances, possessions, competition, relationships, sex, power, identity, and reputation.  The other extreme is when people try to supercede or prematurely renounce the lower chakra minds without attending to them adequately (typically under religious pretenses) and then due to imbalances, they break their oaths and sometimes resort to extreme behavior.

The more I practice asanas (especially inversions), pranayama, and meditations, the more energy progressively moves to the higher chakras and it becomes easier to observe, understand, and discipline all these different minds and to compartmentalize thoughts, emotions, and desires in their respective chakras.  In his teachings Shyamji often states that the path to enlightenment requires us to register contentment and fulfillment in all aspects of each chakra and we should mindfully engage in activities for each of them everyday.  To me this is a powerful reminder that doing even the most mundane task or dealing with the most difficult situation presents an opportunity for spiritual progress and it behooves us to seek satisfaction and contentment in everything.

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Ten Benefits of Gratitude

Source: Daily Cup of Yoga

Rick Foster and Greg Hicks set out on a three-year journey to study extremely happy people. In their book How We Choose to Be Happy, they found that there are nine choices happy people make. One of those nine is to practice Appreciation.  The other of the nine choices includes: Intention, Accountability, Identification, Centrality, Recasting, Options, Giving, Truthfulness, and Synergy.

Happy people actively exercise gratitude and choose to live with an attitude of gratitude. They don’t buy into what geneticists say, that we have an unmovable “happiness set-point.”

The happiest people, according to behaviorists, can move beyond that biological set point through practices such as Yoga and gratitude meditation. In fact, many studies suggest that gratitude can be learned by anyone to transform our lives. This means that by actively practicing gratitude, we can actually raise our “happiness set-point,” regardless of the situation, and no matter the circumstance.

Appreciation makes us aware of the blessings present in our life moment to moment. There is always something to be grateful for if you are fully engaged in what’s happening right now instead of replaying the past or worrying about the future. Besides a higher happiness set point, other benefits of gratitude include:

  1. Feeling more connected (less lonely)
  2. Stronger immune system
  3. Improved emotional equilibrium
  4. Better sleep
  5. Increased energy
  6. More confidence in ourselves
  7. Deeper relaxation
  8. We are more attractive
  9. Increased creativity
  10. Easier bounce back from difficulty

 

Read more…

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Yogic Breathing and Bandhas

Original source: SVÀR YOGA
Prana comes from the ancient Sanskrit language and means the “breath”, the life-giving force in all living creatures. Prana nourishes and energizes our internal organs, our cells and our muscles for health and vitality. In yoga the pranic body is the energy force which enables our nervous system, our organs and our muscles to work in balance with our mind.

Pranayama translated from Sanskrit means the extension and retention of the breath. Pranayama breathing is a sequence of exercises practiced through the manipulation of the natural breathing process. A possible outcome of pranayama breathing is that it cleanses the lungs and clears the airways helping bronchial problems.

Ujjayi translated from Sanskrit means “victorious” breathing which focuses on inhaling fully through the nose with the belly, chest and collarbone rising and exhaling completely through the nose with the collarbone, chest and belly falling creating a gentle ‘hissing’ sound in the back of the throat. This pranayama breathing technique can be good for pregnancy but should be avoided if you are prone to overheating.

Kapalabhati in Sanskrit means “kapal” forehead and ‘bhati’ means ‘radiant’ and focuses on deep inhalations and forceful exhalations in a steady rhythm. Kapalabhati breathing is good for clearing the mind but should not be practiced if pregnant.

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Naada Yoga: Superhighway to Stillness

By Richard Matusow

Over the years I have explored many different styles of yoga and found Naada Yoga, the yoga of sound, to be the superhighway to stillness.  Naada yoga is based on the premise that everything that exists in the cosmos, including human beings, consists of sound vibrations called naadas.  If chanted properly, these sounds become a medium to experience deeper inner and outer unity or stillness.  Accordingly, naada yoga’s use of sound vibrations and resonances or tones can open pathways for energy to rise to higher chakras and can provide healing benefits.

Sound is the element of the 5th chakra or throat chakra.  Since the throat is the most narrow part of the body, sounds need to be highly refined to raise energy to the 6th and 7th chakras where we internalize the senses and experience stillness.  In his teachings, Master Naada Yogi Shyamji Bhatnagar explains the science of sound refinement.  Since the Sanskrit alphabet is composed of all 52 chakra sounds that correspond to each lotus petal from the 7 chakras, mantras can be selected and chanted in Sanskrit to target specific chakras.  This alchemy of sound positively impacts the body parts, emotions, and thoughts that correlate to the targeted chakra.  Ordinarily we are only exposed to the range of sounds in our native language and music.  The English alphabet, for example, is only comprised of 26 of the 52 chakra sounds and most western music consists of a limited range of instruments and rhythms.  This restricts our exposure to certain vibrations which limits the energy flow in the respective chakras and creates physical, emotional, and mental blockages.  As we get exposed to a more expansive range of sounds and rhythms, some of the dormant energy, or wilted lotus petals, activates and flows to higher chakras and our awareness grows accordingly.

When these sounds or mantras are chanted in the proper tones, with pure prana (inhaling through the nose), and with precise pronunciation, they create golden space or surya akasha.  In this refined space we gain distance between the true subject “I” and all the commotion of our lower 5 chakra minds.  This distance helps us become more of a non-judgmental witness or mirror to all our thoughts, feelings, and actions and less enveloped in the melodramas.  As Sri Shyamji states, “Surya akasha is the secret nutrient on the path to spiritual growth”.  When we absorb surya akasha both during these chants and in the silence after, it creates openings that circulate energy to the highest chakras (in the head) and activate dormant neurons in the brain.  By definition, the pinnacle of spiritual growth or enlightenment is when all the neurons in the brain are firing.

Practicing naada yoga with Sri Shyamji over the past few years, I have been amazed by both my experiences and those of my peers.  Short chants, even just a minute or two, have brought me to deeper stillness than years of asanas and pranayama practices.  Sometimes, since these chants provide shortcuts to such profound experiences, I feel like I’m cheating.  Then again, why take a side road if the autobahn is available.