Meditation and Yoga

Why is Yoga Called a Discipline?


Atha yoganushasanam – The disciplines of Yoga mentioned in Patanjali Yoga Sutra are Shasana and Anushasana. Shasana means rules someone imposes on you. Anushasana is the rule you impose upon yourself. Now, why is yoga called a discipline? Where is the need for discipline? When does the need for discipline arise?

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The Five Essentials for Practising Pranayama


sivananda-01

Five things are necessary for practising Pranayama. First a good place; second, a suitable time; third, moderate, substantial, light and nutritious food; fourth, patient and persistent practice with zeal, ease and earnestness and lastly the purification of Nadis (Nadi-Suddhi). When the Nadis are purified the aspirant enters the first stage in the practice of Yoga—‘Arambha’.

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Bhuta Shuddhi: Technique to Cleanse the Five Elements


bhuta shuddi1

Before you attempt anything that is considered as a mystical process, it is very important to stabilize the five fundamental elements within you. These are known as pancha bhutas or maha tatwas in the yogic science. The body, the very earth, the universe, and the cosmos, all are just a play of five elements. The body’s composition is such that most of it is water. Then there is earth, air, fire, and the rest is akash or etheric space.

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The Meaning of the Om Symbol


om-mantra

Before the beginning, the Brahman (absolute reality) was one and non-dual. It thought, “I am only one — may I become many.” This caused a vibration which eventually became sound, and this sound was Om. Creation itself was set in motion by the vibration of Om. The closest approach to Brahman is that first sound, Om. Thus, this sacred symbol has become emblematic of Brahman just as images are emblematic of material objects.

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Control Your Breathing to Control Your Mind


Breathing

Have you ever noticed that when you are surprised by incredible news you tend to hold your breath? It is a natural reaction. This can also work backwards, i.e., if you can control your breathing, you can control your mind. This is the basic principle behind “pranayama” – the technique of yogic breathing exercises. Though on a gross level you are trying to gain control over your breathing, in essence subconsciously you are trying to gain control over your very prana (the vital life force). Prana means “life force” and “yama” means “practice”. So, pranayama is the science of gaining control over vital life force beginning with gaining control over your breath.

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Advanced Instructions on Meditation


Meditation

Visualization of the Divine in the Heart Center:

The aspirant should assume his meditative posture, close his eyes gently, and allow the breath to flow smoothly and easily. One next draws upon his imagination to create an attractive image that symbolizes his highest spiritual ideal or concept. He places this image in his heart, where he surrounds the image with an ocean of light, and holds it there, mentally visualizing it. Any beautiful image may be visualized according to the imaginative capacity of the practitioner.

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