Friday, March 14, 2008

Powerful Quotes For Kids !

"All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that. Do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. Stand up and express the divinity within you.

"Be not afraid, for all great power throughout the history of humanity has been with the people. From out of their ranks have come all the greatest geniuses of the world, and history can only repeat itself. Be not afraid of anything. You will do marvelous work.

"Be strong! Don’t talk of ghosts and devils. We are the living devils. The sign of life is strength and growth. The sign of death is weakness. Whatever is weak, avoid! It is death. If it is strength, go down into hell and get hold of it! There is salvation only for the brave.

"Do not go for glass beads leaving the mine of diamonds. This life is a great chance. What, seekest thou the pleasures of the world? He is the fountain of all bliss. See for the highest, aim at that highest, and you shall reach the highest.

"Fear is death, fear is sin, fear is hell, fear is unrighteousness, fear is wrong life. All the negative thoughts and ideas that are in the world have proceeded from this evil spirit of fear.

"God is not to be reached by the weak. Never be weak. You have infinite strength within you. How else will you conquer anything? How else will you come to God?

~Swami Vivekananda

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yoga For Spiritual Life !

Purification (shaucha) is a central aim of all the yogic practices, and is the first principle of self-discipline (niyama) in Patanjali’s eight-limbed approach. The yogis have discovered that impurities in our internal body adversely affect our state of mind, and prevent the attainment of real wisdom and spiritual liberation. Through the yogic practices of asana, pranayama, tapas and shatkarma, the body and the mind become cleansed and our spiritual development is accelerated. The physical postures of yoga purify the body through movements that increase and improve the flow of blood, oxygen and prana (life force energy) in the tissues, muscles and organs. The yoga poses squeeze and massage the muscles and organs to move out old stagnant blood and bring in fresh blood full of nutrients and oxygen. In the more dynamic postures, heat is created and sweat is produced to facilitate the release toxins through the pores of the skin.

The breathing techniques of pranayama purify the mind and body through the balance and cultivation of energy throughout the whole body. Different pranayamas have different actions on the body and thus different purifying effects. Kapalabhati (breath of fire) is warming and energizing, purifying the body through the creation of heat and the movement of energy. Nadi Sodhana (alternate nostril breath) is calming and cleansing, purifying the body through reducing stress and removing blockages in the nadis (energy channels).

The intensive self-discipline of Tapas purifies the mind and spirit through the “burning up” of the desires in our mind. Basically, Tapas is engaging the will to do some action you do not want to do or not doing some action you want to do. This creates a conflict between our will and the desire of our mind producing an internal “fire” which illuminates and burns up our mental and physical impurities.

The six cleansing practices of shatkarma purify the body by physically removing excesses of mucus or phlegm. These are primarily esoteric practices that must be learned and performed with the supervision of a qualified teacher. The shatkarmas are described as six groups of yogic cleansing techniques: Neti: nasal cleaning and irrigation, Dhauti: cleansing of the digestive tract, Nauli: abdominal massage, Basti: colon cleaning, Kapalbhati: purification and vitalization of the brain, and Trataka: blinkless gazing. The goal of these practices is to purge out excesses in order to bring the three doshas (physical constitutions) into balance. If the doshas are already in balance, then it is recommended to not practice these intense cleansing practices. There are easier, gentler and more accessible ways of balancing the doshas through the healing techniques of Ayurveda that can be utilized as an alternative of the shatkarmas.

When the mind, body and spirit have been purified through the various practices of yoga, the overall result is an increase in the flow of prana through the whole body, improving our capacity to work, think, digest, taste, feel, and experience life. And not only do these practices make us feel more alive, they also foster our spiritual development, inner awareness and equanimity.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Yoga for Inner Peace !

To go deeper into your practice of yoga, it is necessary to challenge your body-mind-spirit on occasion. Use these four powerful techniques in combination or by themselves to challenge yourself further.

Go to the Edge
When holding a yoga posture you want to go to your edge. The edge is the place where you feel a deep stretch in your body or you feel the body working hard, but not going past that to where you hurt yourself or over work the body.

The edge is a magical place, but a scary place too. Getting to know your edges is getting to know your body. Its a body thing, not a mind thing, so let go of any thoughts or distractions. Slow down and listen to the body, easing your way closer and closer. Find the place between pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, creation and destruction, openness and protection. Balance there, feeling both worlds, feeling everything, and breathe.

Incorporate Challenge Postures
Start off your practice with postures that make you feel strong and confident in your self, getting your whole body warmed and energized. Then add one or two postures to your flow that bring you to your edge, postures you feel you “can’t” do, postures you normally avoid. Move slowly into these challenge postures, focusing the mind on the breath and the body. Feel what is happening in the body without the temptation to react, judge, or criticize. Breathe, breathe, breathe, and let go of the “I can’t”. Take yourself right to your edge, breathe some more, and see if you can go just a tiny bit more. Give yourself permission to bail out at any time if the body (not the mind) is saying a big “no”. Challenge postures can bring up strong emotions, and it is important to be in a safe environment so these emotions can be fully expressed and released from the body.

The Power of Visualization
When approaching a challenging / difficult / strenuous yoga posture, you can harness the power of the mind to move the body into the pose. If you can see yourself in the yoga posture, you can do it.

Close your eyes, deepen the breath and see your body doing the yoga posture in your mind’s eye. See every detail, seeing your body’s alignment and how you are breathing. See yourself in the posture strong, confident, and graceful. See yourself holding the posture with ease. See a simile on your face! Keep this image clearly in your mind as you move your body into the posture. Simply allow your body to fill up this mental picture, without excess pushing, straining or effort. When your body is fully in the posture, keep your focus on the mental picture, and begin to feel your body inside this image, filling it up with your awareness.

Create Inner Focus with Pratyahara
Pratyahara is the pivotal point in the practice of yoga where the path leads from the exterior to the interior landscape of the body. Pratyahara translates directly as “sense withdrawal” and is the fifth limb or branch of an eight-staged yogic approach to the unification of body-mind-spirit. By withdrawing our attention from the external environment and by focusing inwards on the breath and sensations, we still the mind and increase our awareness of the body. With this awareness and focus we can move deeper into the practice of yoga, learning to move through our limitations, fears and expectations.

The key to practicing pratyahara is observing the body, breath and sensations as a detached witness, as if you were watching and feeling someone else’s body. Used with compassion and discipline, pratyahara enriches the practice of yoga and leads to deeper stages of concentration and meditation.