Thoughts and Expert Advice on Yoga & Meditation
If you have tried the original breathing exercises of hatha yoga, chances are that you have had an uncomfortable experience. The bliss-inducing breathing you expected might instead have felt like a near suffocation experience. The truth is that pranayama is both challenging and subtle and that you can easily miss the target. To avoid frustration, you need the right guidance. Let me share my take on the best way to learn pranayama, how to bypass the traps and benefit from it from day one.
You might have heard that the best way to learn yoga is with a master. But what if you don’t have access to a one and want to start yoga on your own? Is learning yoga alone at home a lesser way of learning as many yoga teachers will have it? What are the obstacles and disadvantages? Could there even be advantages?
Bhramari pranayama is a breathing exercise where the practitioner closes his ears. While slowly exhaling the yogi then makes a deep humming sound that vibrates in the head. With a bit of imagination, this sound resembles that of a flying bumblebee. Through the calm that it establishes, bhramari pranayama allows you to reduce stress and anxiety.
I keep getting surprised when I come across yoga teachers who teach pranayama before yoga poses. There are several good reasons why you should place pranayama at the end of a yoga session. If you do them right, pranayama takes your yoga practice to another level. You don’t want to miss out on that by misplacing them.
Hatha yoga is a term that people use to describe the yoga from which modern postural yoga is derived. When a yoga class is called “hatha” that generally means that it will be slow and gentle. Yet, modern postural yoga is confusingly different from the methods from the medieval hatha yoga manuals. Let’s have a look at what hatha yoga was to the yogis who invented it. It is quite different from that which is taught in modern studios.
In a threatening situation, the nervous system reacts to make us capable to take action. However, psychological pressure and the normal frictions of modern life can trigger the same physical reactions. When stress is long-lasting, the nervous system loses its capacity to reestablish balance. Meditation can set off the relaxation response which can be the way to stay healthy.
The Source of Energy or Vishuddhi Shuddhi is a meditation we teach a lot within the Janakanada branch of the Satyananda tradition. It is a rare technique that has its roots in the secret practices of hatha yoga. It is a meditation based on the understanding of psychic anatomy as has been preserved within the yoga tradition.
The Pawanmuktasana series is the first sequence of yoga poses in the Satyananda tradition. It is an easy but efficient programme, beneficial for all regardless of one’s physical condition or level of experience. This programme was devised by Swami Satyananda but teachers of other styles have embraced it as well. It is a great programme for beginners because it is so easy to learn.
Yoga Nidra was devised by Swami Satyananda Saraswati in the early sixties and it is now one of the major meditation techniques within his tradition. Today this deep relaxation has become a mainstay practice used across many contemporary yoga styles. But in spite of its popularity, there is both confusion and controversy around the origins of Yoga Nidra.
For more than a decade, Mindfulness meditation has become a trendy style of meditation. But what is it really? Where does the term come from and how does it distinguish itself from other forms of meditation? As you will see in this article, the defining boundaries are blurred.
Sankalpa is a formulation of an intention that will allow you to achieve a defined goal. It is a way of converging all your resources, conscious and unconscious and make your whole being work in one and the same direction. It is a seed idea that you plant within you, a notion that will germinate, and become the reality that shapes your life.