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Yoga

The Art and Science Known as Yoga

The great sage Agusteya Muni who introduced yoga and the art of living known as Sanatana Dharma to India

A system or a methodology for maintaining the health and fitness of the body and the mind. The practice of yoga is about initially connecting and understanding relationship between oneself as a human being and the body which is the vehicle for being human.

atha yoganushasanam— ‘We now commence the discipline of seeking the essence of ourselves’

For many the process of yoga begins with training the body to keep it healthy and strong, but also to understand it as a vehicle for life, cultivating and inner peace and knowing. In training the

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Dharma

The art and science of living while supporting life

Published on: 23 Jun 2016 updated June 8 2018

Dharma is described as a noun meaning to live by the eternal law of the cosmos that is inherent in the very nature of things. For many people, this may be too much of a stretch of the imagination, but it can be redefined as living in accord or in harmony with nature.

The idea of Dharma arises from Yoga and Hinduism because the ancient yogis were able to identify and relate with nature. Unfortunately this is beyond any people’s ability today because we live in such a consumer driven world where personal identity and happiness is dependent on external phenomena.

But

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Enlightenment

Entering the light

Published on: 30 Aug 2016, Updated May 30 2018

Enlightenment is a term especially common within Buddhism, Hinduism, Yoga and Tantra, but the idea of ‘seeing the light’ is a common expression in most cultures implying that the seer has realised something of importance.

What enlightenment means in an ultimate sense is to know the nature of existence or the meaning of life. This may sound far fetched and even irrelevant in terms of day to day living, work, paying bills, keeping up with people, gossip and struggling to survive.

This survival struggle is punctuated by moments of learning, pleasure and perhaps real joy. But so often these moments are the result of external things happening. For

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Yoga Preparation

Yoga Asana Series

Standing Warmups

These are some of the standing warm-ups that help to prepare the muscles for exercise. They can be done as a prelude to yoga or any physical activity as they help to release tightness form the body, warm the muscles helping to maintain flexibility and function of the body. As such, they can be done every day for general well-being and maintaining a clear mind. They are also good for those with respiratory problems.

Remember; no stretch should be uncomfortable. If you experience discomfort, please get help.

Foot flexion: Combines an exercise in balance and maintaining ankle mobility.

From Tadasana, extend one foot forward and consciously try to: stretch the ball of

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Sankalpa or Resolution

Developing conscious intent

Sankalpa (संकल्प) is a conception, idea or notion formed in the heart or mind that leads to a resolve or vow to act, a determination to perform, a definite intention, volition or will. In relation to yoga, it is a chosen resolution made during the practice of Yoga Nidra.

It is a process of training the mind to develop trust and faith in yourself and provide a direction for your whole life – if you use it wisely. Its effect is to awaken the willpower within, by uniting the conscious awareness with the unconscious forces, lying dormant. It takes the form of a short phrase or sentence, clearly and concisely expressed – using the same wording each

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Monkey Mind

Taming the beast within

Patanjali says you have something permanent within you and that is called “The Monkey Mind.” It is compared to a monkey drunk with the wine of desire, stung by the scorpion of jealousy, and possessed with the demon of pride. Lust, greed, jealousy, anger, ego, tensions, reactions, grudges, depression, stress, and strain are the symptoms of this mind. We suffer from these because we gave all the powers to the mind and made it our master. We are happy when the mind is cheerful. We are depressed when the mind is gloomy. We are at the mercy of the mind that waxes and wanes. We consider ourselves nothing but mind.

WHAT

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Dandasana

Yoga Asana Series

Seated Staff Pose

BKS Iyengar in Dandasana

Like all poses, Dandasana has a foundation; that is the sitting bones on the floor (or cushion) the legs extended and ideally having the inner ankle bones together, the back lifts up and the pelvis will tilt forward so the spine will balance vertically.

One of the purposes of this pose is to provide an anatomical perspective while lengthening through the back for the legs and extending upwards through the spine. To achieve this the front leg muscles and abdominal muscles are also exercised.

How to:

Sit on the floor with legs together and extended in front of you as with your feet flat as if against a

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Yoga Essentials

Cautions – Health and Safety in Yoga

As with any exercise, one must be physically capable of performing it without risk of injury. This means that if you have any physical problem, you should seek medical advise before commencing any yoga exercise.

Some exercises may cause a little discomfort if you overstretch. A good way to avoid over stretching is to have a scale on 1 to 10 where 1 is no feeling and 10 is pain. So in practice stretch in the 3 – 7 range on your comfort scale.

Any pain experienced doing yoga is an indication you are doing the pose incorrectly or that you have some ailment. You must ease back from the pose and get

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Surya Namaskar

Yoga Asana Series

Classical exercise routine

Surya Namaskar or sun salutations are an ideal everyday warm up or stand alone workout; the classic series of exercises can be done in a few minutes to get your energy flowing, or can be repeated as a comprehensive workout. These Youtube videos are examples that you can follow with allowance for your level of health and fitness.

If you think about it, if the heat and light from our son were extinguished, life on earth as we know it would terminate within about 18 hours. Our ancestors regarded the sun is the source and sustainer of life, and as such it was a deserving of appreciation and veneration. So the first

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Ustrasana

Yoga Asana Series

Camel pose or extending backwards

Ustrasana is a beginner level back extension which is not to be confused with simply bending backwards as the name often implies. The whole idea is to extend and lengthen one’s spine upwards so that it can freely flex without creating any compression or discomfort in the spine.

The ease of performing this asana comes with the softening or lengthening of one’s front thigh muscles. As you go into the posture, avoid pushing the pelvis forwards. Before attempting this exercise, please read the page on bending backwards.

Instruction

Place the feet and knees hip width apart with toes under as in the right image Place the hands

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Utkatasana

Yoga Asana Series

Not for feint hearts

Caution, anyone who has heart problems risks over-straining the heart in this pose and should avoid it.

This asana is often referred to as the chair pose because it resembles the action of sitting. However utkatasana as well as working the legs, also works all the internal structures of the torso and pushes the heart to work more strongly. There are several levels to this exercise, the first is with the feet apart and parallel to each other, the knees bend and the hips drop back but unlike many descriptions, the idea is to hold the arms and torso as upright as possible.

As one sinks into the pose, one’s weight will

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