Swami Saradananda's Posts (32)

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One final teaching

Loving greetings from Westerwald
Today at the "graduation" of 59 advanced yoga teachers I told the following story that I'd like to share:

Three students, upon completing their studies went to sit with their teacher for one final teaching before they left the ashram. They asked him to tell them how to continue their studies and yoga practice while living in the world.

The teacher responded by simply saying the Sanskrit letter “da”, then he asked: “Do you understand?”

“Yes" said the first student "Da" stands for 'damyata'. You want us to live life of self-control.”

The second student interjected, "do you mean 'datta' (give)? Are you telling us to be generous and to take joy in sharing?"

The third student suggested, "perhaps you mean daya (compassionate)".

"Yes", said the teacher, "you all understand the teachings".

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For me, the new year began with a determined effort to engage in an intensive study of the spiritual teachings of yoga. If you feel that you are ready to take the next step in your inner work, please join me. I will be posting exerpts from my series of talks. And you may feel inspired to take my e-course: www.flyingmountainyoga.org/text/e-course.shtml

"From self-study, you are able to connect with higher Truths".
- Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2.44

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Bring the tip of your index finger to the root of the thumb. Join the tips of your middle and ring fingers with the tip of the thumb. The little finger remains straight. Place your hands on your knees with the palms upward. Close your eyes and relax your body, keeping it motionless for 25-30 minutes.The middle and ring fingers relate directly to the meridians connected with the heart. The thumb closes the circuit.Hridaya mudra may prove very helpful to release pent-up emotion and unburden your heart. It is an excellent mudra to practice during times of emotional conflict and crisis.
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Join the tips of your middle and ring fingers to the tip of your thumb. This mudra may help you to eliminate impurities from your body: excreta, urine, sweat. It particularly works with your kidneys, problems with gas in the digestive system, constipation and piles, and diseases related to your mouth, nose, ears and eyes. There are indications that can enhance the health of your teeth, and perhaps help you to control diabetes.

Practice Apana Mudra 9078786885?profile=originalfor 45 minutes daily
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Bring the tip of your little and ring fingers to tip of thumb; relax the other two fingers. Bringing these three fingers together creates a special flow of prana that rejuvenates your body and mind.
Prana is basic vital energy within the body. This mudra can increase vitality if practiced regularly. It may help to strengthen both your immune system and weakened muscles
Many people find it helpful to practice when they are suffering from eye defects or diseases.
For healthier eyes: practice at least 5 min daily
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Dhyana mudra

Rest your hands in your lap with the right hand on top of your left with both palms upward. Bring the tips of the two thumbs together gently.

This mudra brings increased power to your meditation and you in attaining self-realization. 9078788288?profile=originalExtensive practice is said to create a powerful aura around your face, which is noticed by and has a positive effect on everybody who comes into contact with you. Dhyana mudra aids concentration, gives you mental relief and stops your mind from wandering.
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Bhairava mudra

Rest your hands in your lap. Place your right hand on top of the left with both palms facing upward.In Indian mythology, Bhairava is fierce form of Siva.The joined hands represent the union of the ida and pingala nadis (meridians) – or the equalization of the two hemispheres of the brain.
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Mudra (cont)

The most common mudras for meditation is Chin mudra (palms upward) and Jnana mudra (palms down). The fingers may be joined in one of two ways:1) Touch the tip of your thumb to the tip of the index finger to form a circle, indicating that the individual ego is joined with universal Self. Using this mudra for meditation invites calmness and helps you to tune in to a new awareness and knowledge.OR2) Bring the tip of your index finger to the first joint of the thumb, indicating that the individual ego bows to the Supreme Consciousness, acknowledging unsurpassed power.The effect of both Chin and Jnana mudras your consciousness is very subtle. But, with practice, your mind becomes conditioned. When you bring your hand into the mudra, it acts as a signal to for you to enter a meditative state.These mudras have been found to increase the flow of blood to the brain. Thus they increase brain power and memory retention. They generate feelings of harmony, peace and communion with Universe, similar to the experience you have when you are walking in Nature. They also counteract insomnia.
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In Indian philosophy, your body is made up of five elements, with each of your five fingers representing one of these elements:Thumb: fire, sun, radiant matter, heat, light – the energy that drives all other matterIndex finger: air, wind, matter in gaseous formMiddle finger: sky, space, akasha etherRing finger: earth, matter in solid formLittle finger: water, matter in liquid formMost mudras are formed by using your thumb (fire) to lightly stimulate one or more of the other elements by touching its finger tip, knuckle or base.
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Your body is a subtle and powerful antenna that is continually receiving energy and also transmitting it. Mudras are hand positions that seal psychic energies into specific channels; they powerful spiritual tools that assist you in purifying your physical, mental and psychic bodies. They can enable you to receive, transmit and utilize energy more efficiently. With regular practice, mudras can sharpen and expand your inner awareness. They help you to restore balance within your physical body, the microcosm, and bring it into harmony with the macrocosm. They can support you in your meditation practice and aid you in finding inner peace and improved well-being..
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Spring cleaning - Saucha

Many people misunderstand yoga to be a “cult of the body”. However, whilst yoga does not see the body as evil, neither does it intend to glorify your physical body. Even hatha yoga practices are designed to remind you that your body is the vehicle of your soul. It is an instrument that works best when you keep it clean and strong. If your body breaks down, you won’t reach your goal.
As the first of the niyamas, saucha represents purification on all levels. It includes the physical cleanliness of washing your body, maintaining an orderly home, eating healthy food and drinking clean water. It is also mental clarity, as well as speech that refrains from emotionally-charged obsessions and addictions. Saucha enables you to find balance in your life; it is a pre-condition for experiencing the fullness of yoga and attaining enlightenment.
I'm starting some discussions on this - please have a look at: http://my.yoga-vidya.org/forum/topics/spring-cleaning-saucha
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Sivaratri in Uttarkashi


This year, I had the blessing to celebrate Sivaratri (the holy night of Siva) in Uttarkashi, high in the Himalayas. Traditionally, this auspicious night is is marked by four pujas that span from dusk to dawn. I participated in the ones at Sivananda Ashram, Uttarkashi.Swami Gambiranandaji (successor of Swami Chaitanyanandaji), as head of the ashram, suggested that all participants make the sankalpa (spiritual intention) of "Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu" - May the whole world be happy and peaceful.

The Sivalingam was worshipped with milk, curds (yogourt), ghee and honey. Bathing was done with pure Ganges water, as we were sitting on the bank of the Ganga Herself.

One interesting thing that I've noticed about Sivaratri is that it always comes the same week as the Christian holy day of Ash Wednesday. Siva is said to dance in the cremation ground - and is covered with ashes. I have also noticed that this particular dark night of the moon, in the Indian tradition, is the new moon that preceeds the full moon of Holi (the beginning of Spring).

Holi is usually seen to celebrate the play of Krishna with Radha and other gopis. However, in South India both Sivaratri and Holi are sometimes connected to the story of Siva and Kāmadeva.

Kāmadeva was deputed by the gods to aid Pārvatī in her attempts to marry Siva. Their union was of utmost importance, as only their son could defeat the demon Taraka, who was terrorizing the world. However, drawing Siva out of his meditation was no simple task; the god was too deeply immersed in it to notice Pārvatī. So the gods sent Kama to stimulate Siva's lust and disrupt his practice.

When Kāma shot his arrows-of-desire at Siva, the ploy backfired with severe consequences. Angered by the distraction, Siva opened his dreadful third eye and reduced Kāma to a pile of ash with a fiery glance. The annihilation of Kāma left the earth barren and infertile.

Eventually, the marriage of Siva and Pārvatī took place. They conceived the child Kartikeya (Subramanya), who defeated the demon Taraka and saved the world.

then, at the behest of Kāma's lamenting wife Rati (Spring), Siva resurected Kāma from the ashes. He brought him back to life not as a physical being but as a bodyless mental concept.
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Arati at sunset at Ganga


Loving greetings from Rishikesh. The "Ayurveda & Yoga" conference started here this evening with beautiful chanting and arati (waving of lights). We were sitting just next to Ganga as the sunset turned the clouds a very special pink.

Soon after finishing, the rains began. Even thought it is not the rainy season here in North India, we have been having heavy rains for the past few weeks - and cold (for India) weather. But itmis peaceful in the Parmath Niketan ashram, and the conference promises to be an exciting one!
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New Year's Eve in Tiruvannamalai

OMEnlightenment is not an "experience". Really, it is the ability to assimilate and understand your actions. If your True Self is the "Light", how can you become enlightened? Understanding your actions helps you to transform yourself.My best wishes for the new year. May it be a year that is filled with enough suffering to make you want to change your life and your negative thought patterns.
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Loving greetings from Auroville

OMAll London airports were closed last weekend, and I worried about flying on Monday. But then my flight left "only" 3 hours late - just as the snow began again.I was happy to spend a few days in Chennai and even happier to arrive in Auroville yesterday. This morning we had a beautiful meditation in the Matri Mandir, followed by lunch at the solar kitchen. Unfortunately, we can't stay very long - so off to Tiruvannamalai tomorrow.
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Anger as a result of meditataion


I had an interesting question today, so I thought I'd share the answer:

Ques: twice after meditation I found myself very angry and Itried to express it in a safe way but did bite my husband's head off. Any thoughts on the matter. (from Judy in New Zealand)

S.S. ans:
Yes, I do have very definite thoughts on the matter.Anger seems to be a VERY common reaction to meditation. People are usually confused by it, as you expect medtation to make you more peaceful and hence, less angry.
Meditation works to purify your mind. We all have thoughts that we don't want to have - emotions that we don't want to express, etc. No yogi wants to be an angry person. So, in the past, when this type of thought started to form, we suppressed it - much like sweeping dirt under the carpet. But, meditation is like an intense spring cleaning - you pick up the carpets and give them a good shake. All of the hidden 'dirt" come out. I think it is a necessary part of the purification process. However, it doesn't mean that you're supposed to bite your husband's head off - learn to witness your own thoughts (and emotions) in a detached manner. Observe the negative thoughts, but do not act on them.

Yoga Sutra, verse
1.12 abhyasa-vairagyabhyam tannirodhah

"vrittis may be controlled by abhyasa (regular steady practice) and vairagya (detachment)".

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Relationships and Cooperation between Chakras


I'm working on a chapter for my book that looks at how the chakras inter-relate and work with each other. Actually, the independent actions and particular characteristics of the various chakras can only be separated intellectually. The function of each chakra intricately blends with the workings of the others.

Tounderstanding the working of each chakra, it is important for you to see the bigger picture. In addition to taking in energy and acting as a transmitter for your thoughts and feelings, each chakra must function and interact with the others. To understand a chakra’s functions and mis-functions out of context would be a big mistake!
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