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Intro to Yoga


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An introduction to the practice and philosophy of yoga

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Intro to Yoga

  1. 1. Subhash Mittal Integral Yoga Studio 919-926-9717 1
  2. 2. | || | || yogena chittasya padena vAchAM | malaM sharIrasya cha vaidyakena || yo.apAkarottaM pravaraM munInAM | pata~njaliM prA~njalirAnato.asmi || quot;I respectfully bow down with folded hands and offer my salutations to Sage Patanjali, the highest among the Munis (sages), who has presented the remedies for removing the impurities of the body through his treatise on Ayurveda, of language through his treatise on grammar (Patanjala Mahabhashya) and the impurities of the Chitta (mind field) through his treatise on Yoga (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali).quot; 2
  3. 3.  Centering (observing the breath)  Simple stretching exercises (students will participate)  Introduction to Patanjali Yoga Sutra  More stretching and breathing exercises  Introduction to Yama and Niyama (as part of the eight limbs of yoga)  Breathing and deep relaxation  Imagery and meditation  Q&A 3
  4. 4.  Stretching (relieve stress at physical level) – relieves muscle tension, increases flexibility, builds endurance, keeps the spine supple, massages internal organs etc. 4
  5. 5. Here now is the exposition/discipline of Yoga (1.1) • Here, now (Atha): Authority of teacher, Qualification of student, Auspicious Commencement of subject • ‘Yoga’: derived from root ‘yuj’ meaning either ‘samadhi’ (natural state of the spiritual self) or ‘union’ depending upon context • Five states of the mind: disturbed (scattered), somnolent/dull, partially distracted, one-pointed, fully controlled • Disturbed mind = disequilibrium of the three gunas 5
  6. 6. Yoga is the control of the modifications (vrittis) of the mind- field (chitta) (1.2)  Mind-field: cognitive mind + intellect + ego + storage (memories, impressions, unfulfilled desires)  Modifications (vrittis) caused by the three gunas – sattva (purity), rajas (activity), tamas (stagnation)  Vritti: when the intellect takes on the same form as the object perceived, it is called a vritti  Control: dissolution of the gunas into their source, leading to final stage of ‘samadhi’ 6
  7. 7. Then the seer rests in its own true nature (1.3) • Then: when the mind’s fluctuations are controlled • Sankhya philosophy: Purusha (pure consciousness), prakriti (matter) • Seer = purusha/soul/atma/self: ever-pure, ever-free, unblemished, untouched, without regard to time, space or association with matter • Own true nature: total isolation (kaivalya) – ‘seer’ is totally detached from the intellect 7
  8. 8. Otherwise, one remains identified with the modifications of the mind-field (1.4)  Otherwise: when the fluctuations of the mind are not controlled  Identification with the mind-body complex makes the self appear to be limited  Ego, the main cause of this identification  Patanjali’s warning: control the mind and remain ever peaceful, joyful; or allow the mind to control you which results in suffering 8
  9. 9.  Breathing practice (vital level) – calms the nerves, rejuvenates, brings in fresh energy (prana) and vitality, brings about a balance within us and brings us into the NOW 9
  10. 10.  Deep relaxation (mental level) – systematically teaching the body to stay in touch with our core steadiness and calm 10
  11. 11.  Yama (restraint)  Niyama (observance)  Asana (physical posture)  Pranayama (regulation of breath)  Pratyahara (Sense withdrawal)  Dharana (focus/concentration)  Dhyana (meditation)  Samadhi (total absorption) -- Sutra 2.29 11
  12. 12.  Ahimsa (non-injury)  Satya (truthfulness)  Asteya (non-stealing)  Brahmacharya (continence)  Aparigraha (non-hoarding) -- Sutra 2.30 12
  13. 13.  Saucha (cleanliness)  Santosha (contentment)  Tapas (austerity)  Svadhyaya (self-study)  Ishvara-pranidhana (surrender to God) - Sutra 2.32 13
  14. 14.  Bring thoughts opposite to disturbing thoughts (2.33)  Ex: love for hatred; compassion for injury  Opposing thoughts are triggered by realizing that evil actions, physical or mental, (such as violence)  Done by oneself, by another or approved by oneself  Performed through anger, greed or delusion  whether mild, moderate or intense are the cause of infinite misery and unending ignorance - 2.34 14
  15. 15.  Posture must be steady and comfortable (2.46)  Asana implies a seated posture suitable for meditation, e.g., lotus Steady = no shaking or trembling, firm  Comfortable posture needed for steadiness of breath and  stillness of the mind In Hatha Yoga, asana practiced to develop a strong and  flexible body resulting in comfortable and steady seated posture Asanas help remove the nine impediments (1.30) 
  16. 16.  By relaxation of effort and meditation on the ‘Endless’ (posture is mastered) (2.47)  Relaxation – mind free from body awareness  Meditation of endless – ‘ananta’ also translated as the snake that upholds the earth –symbolizing strength and steadiness, also the kundalini shakti  Practice of ‘yoga nidra’ helps to relax
  17. 17.  From that no assaults from the pairs of opposites (2.48)  Opposites – heat/cold, pleasure/pain, good/bad etc., all causing mental conflict  Necessary for the other limbs like pranayama, and pratyahara (sense withdrawal)  Develops will-power necessary for undertaking long periods of meditation
  18. 18.  Asana having been accomplished, Pranayama is cessation of inspiration and expiration (2.49)  Breath is the gross manifestation of prana – the cosmic life force  Link between the body (matter) and the mind (consciousness)  The vehicle for prana is the pranamaya kosha with all its channels (nadis) of subtle energy
  19. 19.  (Pranayama is) external, internal or suppressed modification; is regulated by place, time and number, (and becomes progressively) prolonged and subtle (2.50)  Different ratios of inhale, retention and exhale are recommended by various authors, most common being 1,2,2 or 1,4,2  With practice, over a period of time, one can prolong each breath and make it subtle
  20. 20.  The fourth pranayama is the one that goes beyond the internal and external (2.51)  From that is dissolved the covering of light (2.52)  And the fitness of the mind for concentration is established (2.53)  All the activities of the mind are controlled by prana, and if prana is controlled, we can control the mind.
  21. 21.  In Pratyahara, by withdrawing themselves from their objects, the senses seem to imitate the mind (2.54); supreme mastery over the senses then follows (2.55)  Content of mind at any time determined by:  Sensory input  Memories from the past  Anticipation of the future  Pratyahara is to eliminate all sensory input
  22. 22.  Confining the mind within a limited mental area (object of concentration) (3.1)  When the mind strays, bringing it back to the object of meditation  Mental images are sharpened and alertness and power of attention are increased.
  23. 23.  Uninterrupted flow (of the mind) towards the object (chosen for meditation) is meditation (3.2)  Narrowing the field of focus compared to dharana  Holding that focus for longer durations
  24. 24.  When there is consciousness only of the object of meditation and not of itself (the mind), that is Samadhi (3.3)  The three (dharana, dhyana, samadhi) taken together constitute Samyama (3.4)  Extremely narrow focus with no distractions  Consciousness of the mind too is lost, only the object of meditation shines
  25. 25.  Establish a daily routine for maximum benefits  20 minutes a day is much better than one hour once a week  If needed, divide into morning and evening sessions  Include all elements – stretching, relaxation, breathing and mindfulness  Take 2-5 minute “stressbuster” breaks during the day 25
  26. 26. Upgrade demands to preferences  “my son must clean his room” vs. “I prefer that he clean his room” “my boss MUST be more understanding” vs. “it would be nice if he were more understanding” Learn to distinguish between “wants” and “needs” Make your desires/actions selfless  “a good action is one that does no harm to anyone, but does some good to at least someone” “I did my best – result is not under my control anyway; I can try better/something different the next time” 26
  27. 27. See life as an adventure  “enjoy the journey rather than worrying about the destination all the time” Live in the golden present  “appreciate all that we have been given, and not worry about what does not exist” “handle situations as they arise, and not worry about future now” 27
  28. 28.  In the classical definition, yoga is the ability to control the mind An understanding of the eight limbs of yoga puts yoga  practice in proper perspective A regular practice of hatha yoga can help develop a  healthy body, an alert and pure mind In your daily yoga routine, include asana, pranayama,  relaxation and meditation My contact info: (919-926-  9717) 28