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Educing the Relaxation Response through Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga


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Dr Ananda's presentation on Educing the Relaxation Response through Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga

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Educing the Relaxation Response through Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga

  1. 1. Educing the “Relaxation Response” through Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga Yogacharya Dr ANANDA BALAYOGI BHAVANANI MBBS, ADY, DPC, DSM, PGDFH, PGDY, FIAY, MD (Alt.Med), C-IAYT Chairman ICYER, Pondicherry and Director CYTER, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth.
  2. 2. Introduction • Charles Warner wittily said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” • In modern times, we all seem to talk so much about Yoga, but don’t do anything about experiencing it! • “Atha yoganushasanam” says Maharishi Patanjali in his very first verse. • Yoga is to be experienced through mindfulness. • We can never really ‘do’ Yoga, but we can prepare ourselves for the ‘experience’ of Yoga. • Vairagya is the key in developing objectivity towards subjective experiences obtained through Abhyasa.
  3. 3. Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga • We can experience states of expanded consciousness through Hatha /Jnana Yoga relaxation techniques as codified by Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri in the Rishiculture Ashtanga (Gitananda) Yoga tradition. • This wholesome system focuses on Yoga as a “Way of life” encompassing – cultivation of wholesome lifestyle, – adoption of health promoting diet, – development of unbiased attitudes with – bountiful practices for positive health.
  4. 4. THE GITANANDA TRADITION • Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri (1907-1993) • Union of Bengali Tantric tradition (Swami Kanakananda Brighu) & South Indian Shaiva Siddhanta (Srila Sri Kambaliswamigal)- Mantra, Yantra & Tantra. • Modern scientific expression of ancient Yogic wisdom • ICYER at Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry has a modern Gurukula environment where small numbers of select students live with their Guru and become family. • Present Acharya: AMMAJI, Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani and lineageholder: Yogacharya Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani
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  6. 6. SOME CORE CONCEPTS • Yoga as a 24*7 way of conscious living • Create Gurus not followers • Breath is life- great emphasis on Pranayama • Wholesome approach to Ashtanga Yoga of Maharihi Patanjali • Step-by-step approach • Love for Indian culture • Bountiful practices in a graded manner • Yantra, enabling one to evolve in tune with nature • Mudras, divine communication • Jnana, Raja and Laya Yoga techniques
  7. 7. “The Relaxation Response”
  8. 8. Four-fold relaxation A systematic and conscious adoption of attitudes resulting in deep experiential states of relaxation.
  9. 9. 1. LETTING GO • We need to let go of our prejudices and preconceived notions. • Let down our barriers to the much needed advice and help. • Let go of all false notions and materialistic idolatry built up in modern living. • In particular, to let go of the “God of Tension” which is virtually deified in “civilized” society.
  10. 10. 2. GIVING UP • We must develop a firm desire to give up the stresses and strains that beset us. • Does not mean surrender as popularly suggested by the English term “to give up”. • Conscious throwing off of weaknesses that build up tension, and to let off those foolish tensions that turn us into smoking volcanoes. • “Giving up” as used here is a conscious, positive, relaxing and evolutionary process.
  11. 11. 3. GIVING IN • This in the Yoga concept of relaxation, is to “give in” to the dictates of the Inner Mind, the Higher Consciousness. • Again, this is a positive process and is not the giving in of surrender. • There is no negation or abdication of positive actions or ideas. • Initially it is an intellectual process, highly exciting and satisfying, but must grow into an even more transcendental state.
  12. 12. 4. GIVING OVER • The highest stage of relaxation where control of mind is given over to the Highest Self. • Ishwara pranidhana and Bhakti Yoga in action • One thus merges into beautiful super- conscious states of Samadhi indescribable in mere human language. • “Giving over” represents the peak of fulfillment, a state of complete oneness, of Advaitham.
  13. 13. Hatha Yoga Relaxation Practices • SPANDHA – NISHPANDA: Practices are performed using the concept of tension and relaxation where we first tense different parts of the body to the maximum and then relax them to the maximum. • SHAVASANA WITH AWARENESS OF BREATH: In Shavasana the mind is focused on the breath and the process of deep and rhythmic respiration. The feeling of cool inspired air flowing into the nostrils and the warm expired air flowing out of them is experienced with awareness and consciousness.
  14. 14. MARMANASTHANAM KRIYA This is a ‘22 point’ relaxation practice performed from Shavasana. The body is relaxed consciously, part by part, starting from the toes and proceeding systematically to the top of the head.
  15. 15. KAYA KRIYA This is a three-part relaxation technique in which the lower, middle and upper body regions are relaxed with a movement-breath combination. On the in breath, the feet are moved inwards, the arms outwards and the head turned to the right. The reverse process is performed on the out breath.
  16. 16. Pranayama Practices • VIBHAGA PRANAYAMA: Sectional breathing in low, mid, and upper regions of the chest. This effect is enhanced by use of specific Hasta Mudras. • PRANAVA PRANAYAMA: Patanjali says that, Pranava is the vibration of the Supreme Self. The Pranava is also known as the “Maha Manta”, the Manta of all Mantas. Using specific Hasta Mudras, the vibrations of the Pranava A-U-M is resonated throughout the lower, middle and upper parts of the whole body.
  17. 17. Pranava Pranayama
  18. 18. • SAVITRI PRANAYAMA: Regenerative & rejuvenative breathing practice performed in ratio 2:1:2:1 and various Talas such as 2,3,4,5,6, etc. It can either be performed from Vajrasana or Shavasana. • NASARGA MUKHA BHASTRIKA: Nasarga Muka Bhastrika is forceful expulsion of breath through mouth that can accompany different movements to relieve pent up stress. • CHANDRA PRANAYAMA: Exclusive left nostril breathing in 1:1 or 1:2 ratio. Patients of stressful conditions can benefit by practising this Pranayama 27 rounds before breakfast, lunch, dinner and before going to bed.
  19. 19. JNANA YOGA PRACTICES • YOGA NIDRA: This can be either performed in Shavasana or any meditative posture. It can be used for relaxation and to harmonize the body-mind-spirit through powerful visualization. Various forms are taught but in the system taught by Swamiji Gitananda Giri, the energy is imagined to flow in clockwise concentric circles starting as a pin sized point at the solar plexus and slowly expanding to finally be 6 inches beyond the head and toes. Then the reverse process is performed. Savitri Pranayama is the breath sequence to be followed in this practice.
  20. 20. • ANULOMA VILOMA KRIYA: This Kriya affects the basic polarity of the body, regulating the electrical flow in the nervous system and the ionization of cellular energy. It also produces deep relaxation. In Shavasana, with Savitri Pranayama, the warm golden Prana is visualized to enter from the top of the head and flow out the feet on an incoming breath. On the outgoing breath, the cool silvery Apana flow is felt to enter the feet and flow through the body and out the top of the head. This is continued until a deep relaxation occurs.
  21. 21. Conclusion • Swamiji taught us that ‘we’ are the source of our problems. If we are to solve them, we need to change our attitude. • An egocentric perspective will never be able to change anything as all the ego wants to do is survive at any cost (abhinivesha). • The Yoga Drishti (perspective) offers a more elevated and conscious perspective of life that enables us to convert our seemingly insurmountable problems into mere molehills.
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