Category: Yoga


David Welch: How is Yoga generally, and Kundalini Yoga specifically, a means and a method to awakening?

Donna Quesada: Because Kundalini Yoga offers specifically, a technology whereby we set up the physical conditions for awakening. So, as an analogy, just off the top of my head…say, it’s time to go to bed. You want to set up the conditions to better get a good night’s rest. So, you’re more likely to fall asleep if you lie yourself down and set the temperature the way you like it…close the blinds and make it dark and that sends the right kind of message to your brain…your brain starts to produce melatonin when it gets dark. And when this is habituated, your body starts to behave accordingly. You’re more likely to fall asleep. As opposed to getting on a tread-mill…you’re less likely to get to sleep.

What we are doing in Kundalini is akin to that. We are setting up the physical conditions for Awakening. Because as I explain in my video which you just posted on Awaken…there is really an energetic component to what we are doing in yoga. There’s the visible stuff where we see people in poses and people doing funny breathing exercises. But what is happening is…we are unblocking energetic blocks which allows the energy to move in such a way that it facilitates the experience that we call “Awakening.

In this video, professor, author, healer and Yogini, Dhanpal/Donna Quesada, speaking from her home, discusses advanced Yogic philosophy in a straightforward way. She makes clear how the spiritual practice of Yoga—culminating in the Kundalini awakening—relates to living and to dealing with stress. In other words, why do we want to raise the kundalini?

http://www.donnaquesada.com
http://www.presenceyoga.org

Or, we have other fancy names for it like, Self-Realization. Or, Samadhi, which means, the state of no separation. Non-distracted awareness. Presence. Samadhi. God Realization. Wholeness. Oneness. We have so many names for this experience. But that is the key—it has to be experienced. We can read all the books on our bookshelves and we can have Ph.Ds, proclaim ourselves masters of writing and intellectual understanding, and we’ll be no better off. And so, there is an energetic component to that experience…or, what facilitates that experience. And when the energy rises—what we call Kundalini rising—we set up the conditions for the experience of oneness. So, Yoga is a tool for that. All forms of Yoga.

David: A brief description of Hatha Yoga?

Donna: Hatha Yoga. The sun and the moon. Where we are balancing those opposites. You’re getting into that energetic component. Where you are balancing the yin and the yang. The sun and the moon. The heat and the coolness. So, within our bodies…within our spiritual vessels, we are creating balance. And in that state of balance, we experience a kind of harmony. A kind of Awakening.

David: And Bhakti?

Donna: Bhakti is devotion. That’s the Yoga that is closest to my heart. To me, this is what appears at first to be so elementary, but what is, in fact, the most difficult and sophisticated form, in my opinion. Because to truly surrender—and that is what Bhakti requires—to truly surrender the self, is what all spiritual practices challenge us to do. Whether your Yoga is Zen or service. Whatever it is. If you can surrender yourself…what the Buddhists call the ego… you are really practicing a kind of Bhakti…a kind of devotion…where everything is surrendered to the divine. The work that you do, for example, is surrendered. Your sense of control is surrendered and that’s bhakti. Through prayer…through chanting….the giving up of yourself…bowing…that is really at the heart of why we bow.

David: That’s what Namaste means?

Donna: Exactly. I bow to the divine in you and you bow to the divine in me. I can’t resist a funny story. I had a student once at the college, who said, “Oh, is that what they say at the end of Yoga class?…I thought they were saying ‘have a nice day.’”

David: Well, just slightly similar.

Donna: And that’s why we say, “Sat Nam,” too. Acknowledging the divine light within you. Which is no different than the true divine light within me.

David: What is a Kriya?

Donna: A Kriya is an action. It’s related to the word Karma, which just means action, or if you prefer, cause and effect. And so, in the context of Kundalini Yoga, a Kriya is a self-contained action which takes the form of a series of exercises or sometimes even one single self-contained exercise, like Sat Kriya, which is just one thing done in a very specific way, to facilitate a specific and predictable result. Cause and effect.

David: And a Kriya contains within it both a posture (asana) and breathing and sound.

Donna: In the context of Sat Kriya, that’s kind of the wowie zonkers of Kriyas. It’s got mantra…actually there is not much movement…there’s breathing, there’s mantra, there’s mudra. It’s not always action in terms of dynamic movement. But you are moving energy. So, there is that unseen element. Like…we were talking about trees…the roots are just as dynamic and expansive as the branches and leaves. There is this unseen component, which constitutes the active part.

David: Talk a little bit about mantra and why that is necessary and beneficial.

Donna: Yes, we use mantra a lot in Kundalini Yoga. Mantra is a sacred sound. And the wise ones, the seers in ancient India—they were called the rishis. They were the ones who had a longing to know God. They were the seekers. And in their enlightened state, they received these sacred sounds that we call mantra.

And so, when we repeat those sacred sounds we are using the vibrational component of the sound to experience what they experienced. So, we think of the sacred sound more as a vibration than as a sound in the ordinary sense. It’s a vibration like Om. Or…Aum. And we are vibrating that sacred sound again so as to facilitate the vibration within our body and the awakening within our soul. And to experience the state of samadhi as those ancient seers experienced.

David: Is there a difference between chanting and mantra?

Donna: Well, when you chant, you are chanting the sacred sound and you are giving your body a chance to resonate. And when we chant we are using three components. Projection. So, we project from our belly with intention, and through our heart with devotion.

The second component is pronunciation. Om . Bouncing the tongue off the roof of our mouth where we have all those acu-points, so as to send signals to the hypothalamus. So, there is the projection, there is the pronunciation and then, there is the repetition.

And so, when we chant mantra over and over again, we are using that third part, the repetition, so as to set up those conditions, to create a steady rhythm and vibrate that sacred sound.

David: How does chanting or mantra help to quiet the mind?

Donna: Yes. I’ll use another analogy. Have you seen those ice sculptures at events, like wedding receptions or something like that? Imagine putting a warm knife through it—it would slice right through that ice sculpture, so easily and without effort. And that is sort of what a mantra does to our bothered minds. Our mind gets to ruminating and into non-stop chatter and we drive ourselves crazy sometimes, with worried thoughts or anxious thoughts…repeated conversations or things we have to do, or just repeating the past. A lot of it is nonsense or judgment thoughts. Sometimes there just is no quieting the mind. Sometimes it keeps you up at night.

But imagine…like the ice sculpture…imagine a warm blade. It cuts right through that chatter in a way that nothing else can. It’s effortless and you can’t use brawn or might or muscle. You can’t will yourself to stop thinking. But if you can surrender and chant with your heart…and do nothing else but sing the sacred song, it cuts right through it. None of it appears relevant anymore. You don’t have to try anymore—it’s effortless. And the mind comes to that still point…samadhi.

David: How has Yoga transformed and changed your life?

Donna: Not as you might think. Again, for me—and everybody’s experience is different and that is what is so beautiful because Yoga is so all inclusive in that all paths are celebrated…your path might be different than my path, yet we are both yogis.

My path came to life when I was chanting at the foot of my teacher. It sounds almost poetic, so as to be corny. And when I gave myself over to chanting…chanting actually is my path…and when I chanted with all my heart, everything kind of crystalized and I knew at that moment what I was supposed to be doing. And my purpose became clear. And all of my worries faded away. All of my fears became less potent. They lost their grip on me. It’s not that they disappeared but they lost their emotional charge. And through a single tear that fell from my left eye…I surrendered and I just chanted the sacred mantra with my teacher. And a kind of joy and a kind of expansiveness and a kind of surrender came over me. And that is all there was to it. And since then, I have known that my form of Yoga is bhakti…prayer. Chanting. And that is how it changed my life. I surrender now. I trust. I’m more willing to get out of my own way. And to let go of my artificial state of control.

David:
What does Awakening have to do with the present moment?

Donna: Because the present moment is the gateway, or the portal to what we call Awakening. It’s where we find the door.

David: To me, it’s the portal or the gateway to the infinite.

Donna
: Yes.

David: To the oneness.

Donna:
That’s right.

David: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our Awaken Community?

Donna: That it’s not about perfection. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other. That is why we call it a practice. Because we never master putting one foot in front of the other and that’s never been the goal. It’s not about perfection. Celebrate your quirks and celebrate the practice. And that happens right here and now. Wherever you are. However you are. All the quirks and the funny things about you. Celebrate those, too. It’s not about perfection.

David: Is diet important for you?

Donna: It is, but not obsessively so. This physical vessel is here to serve us, so we tend to it and care for it like we would our garden. Not to the point of rigidity. Because anytime we become rigid, then we squeeze the joy out of life. And we don’t want to do that.

David: What kind of diet do you usually have?

Donna: One that doesn’t cause harm to living creatures—to my friends.

David: And I would assume that means animals.

Donna: That means animals—my dearest friends here on earth.

David: We’re animals too.

Donna: We are. Sometimes we are the scary ones. And it’s up to us to be good stewards for the beautiful little creatures that depend on us. And I’m a fierce protector of those creatures.

David: As we all should be. What would you say your life purpose is? Just generally, what do you think the purpose of life is? And specifically, what do you think your life purpose is?

Donna: It’s like my spiritual name Dhanpal, which means, one who shares her spiritual wealth. It’s up to me to share my experiences and the lessons I’ve learned, and am learning, along the way. I’m not perfect but I share what I’ve learned. We are all kind of hiking up together and reaching out and pulling each other along.

David: Can you talk a little bit about the ups and downs of your own awakening? I know through my own experiences that it’s not all up.

Donna
: Oh god, it’s two steps back and one step forward. To see it all as God’s play. Or as one of my beloved teachers, Carolyn Myss puts it, “to be able to step into the chaos” and not assume that the chaos is contrary to God’s plan. It’s all part of it. Embrace it all.

David: Any last words?

Donna: I think that’s about all.

David
: Thank you so much.

David Welch: is the founder and CEO of Awaken Global Media and Chief Editor of AWAKEN.com. He is the Producer of the award-winning movie “Peaceful Warrior” and a member of the Directors Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild. David is a master practitioner of Neuro-linguistic programming, a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor and has a continuous, committed and daily yoga, meditation and Qi gong practice.

Source: AWAKEN

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In the extensive sweep of Indian thought which attempted to convert the whole field of life into an occasion for religious living…

In the extensive sweep of Indian thought which attempted to convert the whole field of life into an occasion for religious living, a novel procedure was ordained for implementing this great purpose, the introducing of the religious spirit into the down-to-Earth realities of practical existence.

The concept of God reigned supreme in the religious mind of India, without which the meaning of religion is no meaning at all. The soul of religion is the element of God or the principle of God which enlivens and activates the adventures of human life on Earth, and this became the principle occupation of the ancient masters who devoted their lives to putting into practice the essentials of spiritual lore by bringing God down to the Earth in their conceptual meditations and day-to-day activities.

It is common and usual for the mind of the human being to contemplate the spirit of religion as a God transcending creation, and most of the religious doctrines of the world have not found it possible to escape the inevitable conclusion drawn by the common mind of man that a Creator of the world cannot be in the world. This is a simple logic of pure common sense. The created cannot contain the Creator, for various reasons. Hence, God was conceived as para, Supreme Being above and beyond all beings conceivable in this world. Living beings or non-living beings, beyond them is a transcendent being. The Creator transcends the created universe. The producer is not the same as the product. This is easy to understand, and the idea is quickly assimilated. The tendency of a religious submission to God Almighty as a transcendent Creator impelled movements which looked upon the high heavens as the ruling principles of the destinies of mankind, and we pray looking up to the skies.

Paramatman is the Supreme Self. God is so designated. Paramatman is God, Creator Supreme. In the theology of the specialised fields of devotion, God is principally conceived as para. But investigative as the human mind is, it has to seek God in the very field in which it is working, in the very world in which it is living, in the very processes it is undergoing, and in fact, in the very vicissitudes of the cosmical process. The Creator of this universe, transcendent beyond the universe though He might be and has to be, cannot be regarded as unconcerned with His creation. The concern of God in respect of what He has created has to interpret life in the world as an ordnance of God’s will itself. Transcendent God is not an unconcerned God because any sort of such an attitude that we may attribute to God would make us perhaps unrelated to Him in our vital and internal life.

The world is seen to pass through the processes known as creation, preservation and destruction. Among the many conditions through which the world passes and everything endeavours, these three are pre-eminent: the coming into being of things, the sustenance for some time, and the ending of all things. These processes – creation, preservation, transformation of things – have to be regarded as willed by God only. The religious interpretation of human life and the world as a whole has to connect God’s supernal existence with these three processes – creation, preservation and destruction – because God is intensely concerned with His creation. Perhaps the very purpose of creation is for God to manifest this great concern He has for what He has created. The evolutionary processes of the world and the activities of all living beings seem to be a kind of response evoked from the very hearts of all things to the call of God, the transcendent Supreme Being. Our business of life, crudest and most prosaic as it can be, is nevertheless an answer to the call of God. We are replying to His summons by our daily duties, activities and intense engagements and occupations.

Thus the concept of the creative principle, the Supreme Being as para, had to be further envisaged as something which, notwithstanding its transcendent character, is also the ruling principle behind the processes of creation, preservation and destruction. The word vyuha is particularly used in Vaishnava theology, suggesting the immanence of God in the processes of creation – God, not standing apart from His created world, but actively concerning Himself with its moment-to-moment processes. As the processes are multifaceted, variegated and manifest umpteen characters in the process of their evolution, God had to be conceived apart from His being a para or Supreme, as in involved immanence – Creator, Preserver, Destroyer; Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha; or in a more sophisticated Vedantic parlance, Ishwara, Hiranyagarbha, Virat; Brahma, Vishnu Siva. God is Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, which means to say that He rules even the processes of the coming, the maintenance, and the return of all things to their causes.

Yes, the mind of the human being cannot live without God. There is a necessity for a protective power which one feels as an inevitable and unavoidable necessity in life. We require protection from moment to moment. We ask for security in every conceivable way. We cannot regard ourselves as infinitely powerful. Our foibles are of such a nature that we seem to be incapable of even guarding our own selves at crucial moments. Let alone protecting property and other appurtenances, we cannot protect even our own body under conditions which could be expected in life.

So there is a need felt for a permanent protective power, and God is summoned into action into the daily life of man for filling this vacuum which ones feels in the absence of a means to guard and protect one’s own self. Whatever be one’s strength, physical or otherwise, they have to fail one day because the world is larger than what man can imagine himself to be. Secretly man knows his own weakness in spite of the paraded arrogance which he projects oftentimes in his daily life as if he is all in all. But this ego subsides when the might of the universe threatens him with the rule of law – which it can do any day, any moment. Even the strongest man knows his deepest weaknesses, and so secretly he requires protection. He seeks this protection in his religious life. He asks God to take care of him, and he prays to Him not as a transcendent, unconcerned creator but a Mahavishnu who is immanent in all things, a Narayana who sees with infinite eyes all the things that are taking place in the world, and a Trimurti, a three-faced single being – God in His faces of Brahma, Vishnu, Siva; God involved in creation; God come down to the level of what He has manufactured in the form of this world.

Hence, in the theology of the doctrine of devotion, para, the Supreme Transcendent Being, is also adored as the multiply involved protector and object of direct adoration by the soul of man in His manifestations as the ruler, the sustainer, the guide, the friend and philosopher of man.

But man can never be satisfied by assurances which are abstract in their nature. Man is a concrete egocentric individuality, and all that he seeks is concrete substance. Any abstraction – a power that is merely promised in the future, or a satisfaction that is invisible to the eyes – is no consolation to the crying soul of the human being. He expects God to visibly guard him and answer his calls in times of distress, crisis and need. God is not merely the transcendent, invisible, super-universal being, He is not just the para or the Paratman, He is not also the vyuha or the involved Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, or the Vasudeva, Sankarshana, etc., because they are universal abstractions, at least from the point of view of the so-called concrete ways of human thinking. A direct, visible and sensible protective power, a friend in a human sense, is required.

God takes incarnations, and His incarnations come to the level of even the human being, though in a way the supernal manifestations as the vyuhas mentioned – Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, etc. – are also the descent of God and, therefore, they can be called Incarnations. The human notion of incarnation is different. Incarnation is a coming-down of God down to His own level of sense perception.

The glory of God is not restricted merely to the far and remote heavens of Satyaloka or the Garden of Eden. It is a perennial and perpetual activity taking place under the orders of an unwinking eye which never sleeps, which is eternally vigilant. Eternal vigilance is the character of God. God can never sleep in the sense of not knowing something on some occasion. God will not say, “Oh, I did not see.” “Oh, I did not know.” There is nothing that He cannot see, and does not see. There is nothing that He does not know. The omniscience God follows from His all-pervading presence.

The incarnation of God is a direct response from God to the heartfelt cries of the soul of man, so He is a glory that is visible even here on Earth. He is a majesty, a splendour, which aspect of God’s manifestation is amply detailed for us in the tenth chapter of the Bhagavadgita, called Vibhuti Yoga. All excellences in life are God’s incarnations. Anything that is superior beyond a certain limit, unexcellably great, is God’s pre-eminence. Forces which are superhuman are to be considered as God’s incarnations, and everyone knows how many powers operate in this world which are beyond even human comprehension, let alone human operation.

It is impossible for us to state these majesties, magnificences and splendours which God reveals daily before our eyes, and we can see these glories with these very naked eyes of ours. Let those who have eyes see, and those who have ears hear. But if you have no eyes to see, you cannot see. If you have no ears, you cannot hear. What are these things that you see before you, except glories of God’s majesty? What wonder, what splendour, what grandeur, what perfection, and what incomparable beauty is manifest even in the littlest flower in the wild forest! In the neglected wing of a butterfly, in the spotted deer of the jungles, in the mighty movements of the planets, in the fierce energy of the sun, in the cyclic motion of the seasons, in the very act of the beating of the heart of man, in the very process of the breathing by which we are living, in the mystery involved in the very act of our standing up on our two legs and the lifting of our fingers, do we not see majesty, miracle, mystery and incomprehensible mathematical precision? Are these not Manifestations? Are they not Incarnations? Yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā, tat tad evāvagaccha tvaṁ mama tejoṁśasaṁbhavam (Gita 10.41): Wherever these inscrutable majesties operate in excellence far beyond human comprehension, understand that as My glory. So God is transcendence supreme, incomprehensive grandeur no doubt, but He is also involved in creation. He is an Avatara; He is manifest here, just before our eyes.

The necessity felt by the mind of man to adore God in his attempt to convert the whole of life into religion fills a need to visibly recognise God even in the sensory objects. The objects of sense perception, the things which we come in contact with, are veritably objects of worship. Is not God present here in these things that He has created, in the very things we call inanimate? Is there not life creeping subtly, invisibly, unknowingly? God is, therefore, transcendent no doubt, involved in the process of creation, destruction and preservation. Yes, He is also manifest in all this visible panorama of nature. Thus, prostrate thyself before each and every visible thing in the world.

The world is an image of God. Every article that you touch with your fingers becomes a sanctified symbol by which you can show your gratitude to God by your adoration. Here is the philosophy behind idol worship. The images that you worship in your temples or in your holy of holies in your own house, these little images, these murtis are not fancies of idiotic brains. They are veritable symbols of your recognition of God’s omnipresence even on this very Earth. You can touch a pencil and see God there, not merely in the high heavens. So God is also an archa; He is a murti, a symbol, a vehicle in the form of an image, and you can visibly worship God, not invisibly conceive God merely in your inward mood of meditation. Why? Because God is antaryamin, He is present inwardly as the heart of all things. Īśvaraḥ sarvabhūtānāṁ hṛddeśerjuna tiṣṭhati (Gita 18.61): In the heart of hearts throbs the vital force of the centre of the cosmos. The most remote God, the para, is also the nearest friend, nearer than our own necks and noses.

So in this wondrous concept of religious devotion, this miraculous introducing process of religion into the daily life of man, the ancient masters conceived God as para, vyuha, vibhava, archa and antaryamin. These words are well-known phrases, particularly in Vaishnava Schools of divine devotion, but they are scientifically conceived notions of God for the purpose of adoration at every level of our encounter with the miracle of creation. God has to be worshipped at every level of our encounter with the world. This is the prerogative, the speciality, the novel discovery of the ancient seers of this country. The whole of life is religion manifest. It is not a temple’s affair, the church’s affair or the affair of a monk. It is nothing but religion that we see before our eyes.

The crudest materialistic powers and the remotest natural occurrences are spiritual powers operating secretly for a purpose beyond themselves. Even the most ungodly movement in the world is a movement towards God. Nothing else can take place in this world which is ruled by God. An unGod cannot exist in the kingdom of God. Hence, even the unGod or the Satan is a condemned process which is struggling to revert its attention to that from where it has fallen and attempting to move back to that centre to which it has to gravitate. The worst of things is a movement towards the best of all things.

Such is the glorious concept of the religion of this country. It has little to do with these parochial notions later on developed by the sectarians of religion. Religion is not a sectional operation of the human mind. It is an all-comprehensive absorbing of the spirit of man into the totality of life’s occupation. Such was the grandeur with which religion was conceived, faced, and brought into daily action. Thus, God lives; God is not dead. God cannot die as long as the universe lives.

Thus, in these little analogies of the principles of adoration, namely para, vyuha, vibhava, archa and antaryamin, I have tried to place before you a few suggestions which require deep reflection by everyone. The power of the instincts, the strength of emotions and the call of material comfort blow us off from our very feet sometimes, and the best of people cannot be safe in this world because of the force of these instincts. The reason is that the world is large, wider than the little brain of man. The powers of nature are twofold, one aspect of it being an impulse towards the centre we call the para prakriti, the other aspect being the lower, the apara prakriti. The apara prakriti is the power operating in nature which impels everything and everyone to rush outward in the direction of sense objects. The other is the impulse towards the centre, a Godward movement. These are what are called the daivi sampat and the asura sampat in the Bhagavadgita. The daivi sampat is that glorious heritage of human life which also has within itself the capacity to move inwardly towards the centre of the cosmos. But there is also the asura sampat. The world of the senses, in which we are, is the glory of sense operations.

Hence, even the intellect gets tarnished many a time with the impetuous calls of the senses and the insistence of the eyes that the beauties of the sense world are the total reality of the world. We trust our eyes, and we cannot trust anything else. Only what we see can be believed. Unfortunately, we also think in terms of what we see. Our intellection, ratiocination, is also mostly sensory. It is a justification of sense activity and a confirmation of the sensory demands of human life. Intellect is thus not always a safe guide, though unfortunately we do not have a better guide. There is something in the intellect which scintillates, sparks forth a radiance which comes from a realm that is beyond the world of sense. Though this is true, it also walks dimly in the twilight of sensory longings. We live in a double world, and have a dual existence in which we are partaking. We live on Earth and also in heaven at the same time. Man’s life is supposed to be a blessing because the human individuality, while it is strongly planted on the Earth and is stuck to the ground of sensory longings and cravings, has also the capacity to look above in terms of the light that is descending from the heavens.

Thus, man is a glorious creation of God Almighty, notwithstanding the difficulties in which he finds himself, the weaknesses to which he is subject, and the blunders that he is capable of committing. With all these unwanted traits that are abundantly visible in human nature, there is the little voice of the heavens which sweetly speaks in moments of leisure and tells us, “My dear friend, your Father is calling you.” That indomitable call, that irresistible summons, that sweet message is what keeps us alive in this world even by breathing this dry air as if sweet nectar is flowing through our nostrils.

“Who could be living in this world if nectar were not to be spread in space?” says the Taittiriya Upanishad. How could you exist here, breathing this air as if it is ambrosia flowing from the heavens? Is it not nectar that you are breathing? Are you not happy and overjoyed by a breath that you breathe? How could it be possible if ananda is not to be seen spread out through the entire space? If the whole space is not a repository of the bliss of God, who could be happy by breathing the air? Such a mighty protective friend is with us. May we not be in a state of despair. May we summon this power and may we be blessed with an unforgettable remembrance of this great force that is within us and is everywhere.

Source: Swami Krishnananda

Every person is an immortal spiritual being expressing their life through a material body, mind and senses. We are in this world to learn effectively and to eventually awaken to complete awareness and knowledge of our true spiritual nature and ultimate Reality. Spiritual life begins when you accept the necessity to aspire to know and realise directly the highest Truth. Your sincere and earnest desire to want to know Truth, will keep you open to the inflow of the nature of Truth in your own Self. On your spiritual path to inner freedom and Self- and God-realisation, this book will be a useful guide and source of inspiration towards understanding your mind and knowing your true Divine nature.

Look Inside

Stephen Sturgess: Yoga, the Soul and Consciousness

tephen Sturgess is a London­based yoga and meditation teacher, and the author of The Yoga Book, a recommended text of the British Wheel of Yoga. Since 1969 Stephen has studied and practised yoga and meditation in India and UK under the expertise of well-
known gurus.

Practised authentically, yoga provides us with a starting­point for meditation, which awakens us to our oneness with true reality. This book demonstrates how to use a wide range of yoga postures, purification practices, breathing exercises and meditation practices as a portal to a higher consciousness – with all the everyday benefits implied in that phrase: an enhanced sense of peace, love, joy, happiness, harmony and personal fulfilment. Drawing upon the tradition of Kriya Yoga – the goal of which is to attune one’s individual consciousness with the Divine, or Universal, Consciousness – Stephen Sturgess shows us how to progress beyond the supple body to the vital, contented mind.


Published on Jan 1, 2017

Also see https://batgap.com/shunyamurti/

Shunyamurti is the founder of the Sat Yoga Ashram, located in the misty mountains of southern Costa Rica. The ashram includes a wisdom school (Sat Yoga Institute), a research and teaching division on creating self-sustaining spiritual communities (Premaculture), a new approach to healing and transformation (Atmanology), and a meditative retreat center open to people from all over the world. Its mission is to accelerate the transfiguration of human consciousness and contribute to the spiritual renaissance that is fermenting now on our planet.

Shunya became aware of yoga at an early age and was immediately drawn to it. He also wrote poetry, which became a meditative process of discovering from where words and thoughts arose in consciousness. He studied many forms of yoga, including classical Ashtanga Yoga (guided by Baba Hari Dass), spent ten years in a formal Raja Yoga monastic order, as well as intense practice of Buddhist and Taoist yoga, Kashmir Shaivite tantra, Sufi and Christian contemplative prayer, and Kabbalah. He integrated quantum physics, systems and complexity theory, and the non-physical dimension of martial arts into his approach. He underwent initiation into shamanism, including the use of entheogens. Shunya has practiced law, was an investigative journalist and foreign correspondent, a political scientist, earned degrees in philosophy, drama, and psychology, practiced hypnotherapy (and all its permutations, including past life regression), Jungian dreamwork and Lacanian psychoanalysis.

Shunyamurti’s life-long quest for truth and the power of healing and transformation has brought about a deep understanding of the structure and dynamics of the ego, the latent capacities of the soul, and the radiant healing power of the Supreme Real, the One Self. He now functions as spiritual guide, retreat leader, and yogic research director of the Sat Yoga Ashram.


How to be detached in a relationship? Beautiful perspective on attachments and relationships by Sri Sri

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founded The Art of Living as an international, non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization in 1982. Its educational and self-development programs offer powerful tools to eliminate stress and foster a sense of well-being through powerful breathing techniques such as Sudarshan Kriya and Yoga. Appealing not only to a specific population, these practices have proven effective globally at all levels of society.

What is Yoga?
The secret to health and happiness lies deep within every human. Yoga is the science of discovering one’s own self – the very source of pure consciousness, peace and bliss. Everyone knows that we don’t feel good and we get stressed when there is disharmony in our lives, when our bodies are tired and our busy minds constantly chatter and judge. Through the discipline of Yoga we become more aware of ourselves by doing simple postures, breathing techniques, meditation, and relaxation to rejuvenate the body and quite the mind. It is in this manner that we cultivate harmony in ourselves.

What is Meditation?
Settling the surface mind is meditation. Living in the present is meditation. Relaxing deeply is meditation. When you are really happy, reposing in love, you are meditating. Meditation is that space when the thoughts have subsided, and the mind is in complete rest.

What is Sudarshan Kriya?
Sudarshan Kriya incorporates specific natural rhythms of the breath which harmonize the body, mind and emotions. This unique breathing technique eliminates stress, fatigue and negative emotions such as anger, frustration and depression, leaving you calm yet energized, focused & yet relaxed. It increases energy, improves intuition and makes you innovative. Millions around the world have done this unique practice and have reported better quality of life.


Estimated release date: 4/15/2014

A handbook for unlocking the soul’s purpose and manifesting a fulfilling life

• Reinterprets the traditional Dharma system of ancient India as a map for revealing one’s true purpose

• Provides tests for determining one’s Dharma type

• Explains the benefits, challenges, and social, interpersonal, and health dynamics associated with each of the 5 Dharma types

Have you ever wondered why, despite great obstacles, some people achieve success, while others, though given everything, seem to squander it away? Or why some people, despite having very little, radiate joy, while others appear miserable though surrounded by opulence? The answer is Dharma: knowing your soul’s purpose and living it is the key to creating a fulfilling life.

Built on a deep body of Vedic knowledge, the ancient system of social structure and spiritual duty known as Dharma has modern applications for people seeking their life’s purpose. Author Simon Chokoisky explains the five Dharma archetypes–Warrior, Educator, Merchant, Laborer, and Outsider–and how your life’s purpose goes hand-in-hand with your Dharma type. Providing tests to determine your type, he outlines the benefits, challenges, emotional and learning styles, and social, interpersonal, and health dynamics associated with each type.

Chokoisky reveals how the Dharma types function as an operating system for your identity, helping you map your life and play to your innate strengths, whether in choosing a prosperous career or field of study or in facing health challenges and meeting fitness goals. By accepting and understanding the nature of your type, you begin to align with your true purpose and, regardless of fate, find joy and meaning in life.

Simon Chokoisky teaches Sanskrit and Medical Astrology at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He also runs a private consulting business based on his trainings in Vedic life mapping and Vedic astrology. The creator of the Decoding Your Life Map with Vedic Astrology DVD series, he travels widely giving seminars. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


In this talk Simon reveals the five levels of dharma, and why they are crucial to feeling at one with your body, your environment, your purpose, the cosmos, and with your divine source. The five levels are:
1. The Physical
2. The Environmental
3. The Social
4. The Cosmic
5. The Spiritual
The key to getting the most from these is understanding the technology of how they work together. In this talk, Simon focuses on the first two

The 5 Dharma Types – Simon Chokoisky

This is an extended explanation of the origin of the book The 5 Dharma Types, by Simon Chokoisky


Published on Sep 25, 2016

A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for more than 40 years, Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. He is a guide, community builder, activist, and acclaimed author. Rooted in his study of ancient India’s mystic devotional tradition, Radhanath Swami’s message is as profound as it is simple: by cultivating a rich inner life of self-awareness and a genuine practice of service, we can become instruments of compassion and agents of sustainable change in the world.

Today, Radhanath Swami is the founder and coordinator of multiple spiritual communities throughout the world, the most prominent of which is the Radha Gopinath Ashram located in Mumbai, India. Under his inspiration and guidance, the project has grown to include missionary hospitals, orphanages, eco-friendly farms, schools, temples, emergency relief programs, and a food distribution program that feeds more than 250,000 indigent children in downtown Mumbai every day. In spite of his many responsibilities, he also travels widely, teaching Eastern philosophy and spiritually throughout Europe, Asia, and America.

Books: The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami, The Journey Within: Exploring the Path of Bhakti

Website: http://radhanathswami.com

Sparks of Divinity is a collection of the teachings of yoga master B. K. S. Iyengar first published in a French-English bilingual edition in 1976. The material for this book was gathered and compiled by Noëlle Perez-Christiaens from class notes and correspondence during the formative years of Iyengar’s international career. The entries cover the period from the late 1950s, when Iyengar was invited by Yehudi Menuin to teach in Gstaad, Switzerland, to the year following the death of Iyengar’s wife and the opening of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India.

When Noëlle first studied with Iyengar in Pune in 1959, Iyengar was still teaching his pupils one-on-one at his home. During her stay in India, Noëlle was regarded virtually as one of the household, and this intimacy continued in their subsequent letters, where Iyengar wrote to her more as a colleague and friend than as a teacher. We are fortunate to include Noëlle’s Indian Journal for 1959 and her Early Life of B. K. S. Iyengar, translated into English especially for this edition, for the intimate glimpses they give of Iyengar’s personal life and family.

Sparks of Divinity is also a testament to the deep bond between teacher and student. In an afterword about Noëlle, we learn how an early suggestion from Iyengar moved her in a completely new direction, and how she attributes her discoveries about Aplomb (natural balance) to Iyengar’s ongoing inspiration.


Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar (14 December 1918 – 20 August 2014), better known as B.K.S. Iyengar, was the founder of the style of yoga known as “Iyengar Yoga” and was considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world. He was the author of many books on yoga practice and philosophy including Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and Light on Life. Iyengar was one of the earliest students of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who is often referred to as “the father of modern yoga”. He has been credited with popularizing yoga, first in India and then around the world.

The Indian government awarded Iyengar the Padma Shri in 1991, the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2014. In 2004, Iyengar was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.

LOOK INSIDE

Watch the CNN Interview with B.K.S. Iyengar Part 1

Watch the CNN Interview with B.K.S. Iyengar part 2

With his expert teachings, philosophical insights, and pragmatic imagery, world-class yoga instructor Tias Little turns the anatomy of the physical body into a tool for navigating the subtle body.

If you spend considerable time doing yoga, you begin to see that it is about much more than just the body—the practice of yoga in fact reveals that the body is in no way separate from the pyschospiritual forces that animate it. Tias Little here provides a way to understand these forces as they relate to an integrated yoga of body, mind, and spirit. He unites somatic concepts and wisdom teachings in this practical guide to the anatomy of the physical, mental, emotional, and subtle (or energetic) body. Little is a master teacher who offers us a guided tour of the body’s structure and physical anatomy, then uses this new structural awareness as the basis for exploring the subtle body. In a meaningful and pragmatic way, the book maps the connection between the body and the rich symbolism that pervades the yogic imagination, including the chakras, nadis, and koshas. Further, Little offers readers clear, insightful yoga, pranayama, and meditation exercises that apply these body-mind principles.

TIAS LITTLE’s unique and skillful approach enables students to find greater depth of understanding and awareness in their practice, both on and off the mat. His approach to the practice is inter-disciplinary, passionate, intelligent, innovative and full of insight. Tias synthesizes years of study in classical yoga, Sanskrit, Buddhist studies, anatomy, massage and trauma healing. Tias began studying the work of B.K.S Iyengar in 1984 and lived in Mysore, India in 1989 studying Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga with Pattabhi Jois. Thus his teaching brings together precision of alignment, anatomical detail and a profound meditative experience.

Tias is a licensed massage therapist and his somatic studies include in-depth training in cranial-sacral therapy. His practice and teaching is influenced by the work of Ida Rolf, Moshe Feldenkrais and Thomas Hanna. Tias is a long time student of the meditative arts and Buddhist studies beginning with Vipassana and continuing in Tibetan Buddhism and Zen. His teaching style is unique in being able to weave together poetic metaphor with clear instruction filled with compassion and humor. Tias earned a Master’s degree in Eastern Philosophy from St. John’s College Santa Fe in 1998. Tias is the author of three books, The Thread of Breath, Meditations on a Dewdrop and Yoga of the Subtle Body.

LOOK INSIDE

Beyond Language: Tias Little on Yoga

Tias Little shares how the wisdom teachings of yoga have helped him move from a rigorous focus on the physical practice to noticing the subtle edges of the yoga practice. These subtle edges have been a very personal journey – a journey beyond language – which help enrich his life in many ways whether its managing anxieties and fears or fully examining his own thinking thinking patterns.

This deep exploration has higlighted a truth for Tias that applies to us all: there is no perfection (in asana or in life). Perfection is our own construct and trying to be perfect is an obstacle in our path. When we can go deeper into the wisdom teachings of yoga, we naturally desire a shedding of things, beliefs, constructs and we begin to feel less confined. We are free in our thinking patterns. This freedom makes doing the difficult work of understanding the wisdom teachings worthwhile.

Feeling inspired? Start practicing with Tias today: http://bit.ly/1THFvlR

Music provided in partnership with FirstCom: http://www.firstcom.com
Song Name: Sundown
Artist: Chris Green


Published on Jul 18, 2016

Also see https://batgap.com/richard-miller/

Richard C. Miller, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, author, researcher, yogic scholar and spiritual teacher who, for the past 46 years has devoted his life to integrating western psychology and neuroscience with the ancient nondual wisdom teachings of Yoga, Tantra, Advaita, Taoism, and Buddhism. Richard is the founding president of the Integrative Restoration Institute, co-founder of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, founding editor of the peer reviewed International Journal of Yoga Therapy, and a founding member and past president of the Institute for Spirituality and Psychology.

Author of iRest Meditation: Restorative Practices for Health, Healing and Well Being, The iRest Program for Healing PTSD, and Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga, Richard also serves as a research consultant studying the meditation protocol he’s developed (Integrative Restoration ~ iRest Meditation), a modern adaptation of an ancient yogic form of meditation, researching its efficacy on health, healing, and well-being with diverse populations that include active-duty soldiers, veterans, women rescued from human trafficking, youth and college students, seniors, the homeless, and the incarcerated, with issues such as sleep disorders, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, chemical dependency, and anxiety, as well as research on iRest’s efficacy for enhancing resiliency, well-being and compassion. Richard leads international trainings and meditation retreats on the integration of enlightened living into daily life.
VIEW HERE

Essential Practices for Resilient Well-Being

Based on a modern evolution of the ancient practice of Yoga Nidra, the easy-to-learn iRest program provides a flexible toolbox of meditation practices that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to carry you through adversity. In these six audio sessions, Dr. Miller takes you step by step through a progressive series of guided exercises for managing stress utilizing the breath and body, decoding and balancing your emotional state and connecting you with deep inner resources that replenish your vital energy and sustain you regardless of your circumstances.

“The practices in this program teach you how to respond rather than react to challenging situations and emotions,” says Dr. Miller, “allowing you to experience all of life with unshakeable inner peace, mental clarity, and a harmonious relationship with the world around you.”

i Rest Yoga Nidra Developed by Richard Miller Ph.D.

Published on Mar 15, 2016

this is an iRest yoga Nidra session developed by Richard Miller Ph.D. one of the foremost leaders on yoga Nidra and Prana yama

As Self Falls Away When Self Falls Away – Richard Miller

Published on Mar 7, 2016

There are distinct phases that arise as our belief of being a separate ego-I-self falls away, and when it has fallen away. As self falls away, three subtle but distinct aspects of identification with being a separate ego-I-self are be revealed, which need to be understood and, in turn, set free. Then, the realization of what lies beyond all sense of self, mind and separation can be recognized, and its fragrance integrated into all aspects of daily life.

Richard Miller Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist Richard Miller is a clinical psychologist, researcher, yogic scholar, and contemporary spiritual teacher in the tradition of nondual selfinquiry and meditation. Richard is founding president of the Integrative Restoration Institute, co-founder of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, past president of the Institute for Spirituality and Psychology, and a senior advisor to the Baumann Institute. Richard serves as a consultant researching the secular form of nondual meditation that he’s developed (Integrative Restoration – iRest). Author of Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga, iRest Meditation: Restorative Practices for Health, Resiliency and Well-Being, and The iRest Program for Healing PTSD, Richard leads retreats worldwide. irest.us

~ Namasté ~

Interview conducted by Premananda in Tamil Nadu, India

Available: October 2016

While many people engage in asana, or posture practice, yoga’s true magic lies in its spiritual and psychological transformation. Yoga Beyond the Mat shows you how to develop a personal, holistic yoga lifestyle so you can achieve lasting and permanent transformation.

Join Alanna Kaivalya as she explores a complete range of yoga practices, including:

  • removing obstacles
  • appreciating the present moment
  • balancing the chakras
  • healing childhood wounds
  • creating your own rituals
  • working with the hero’s journey
  • transforming your archetypal energy

Through ritual, Eastern meditation techniques, journaling, and other spiritual practices, this book provides techniques for allowing the ego to rest, giving modern day yogis what they have been missing—the realization of personal bliss.

Alanna Kaivalya (New York City) believes yoga is for everyone and each student can develop the self-empowerment needed to embark on a personal journey to meaningful transformation. She founded The Kaivalya Yoga Method, a fresh take on yoga emphasizing the individual path while honoring tradition. She has taught students and teachers since 2001 and has developed teacher trainings for top studios worldwide. In January, Alanna debuted a comprehensive online teacher training program with YogaDownload. She has written the Myths of the Asanas (Mandala, 2010) and Sacred Sound (New World Library, 2014), and holds a Ph.D. in mythological studies, with an emphasis in depth psychology, from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her third book, Yoga Beyond the Mat, releases October 2016.

Yoga Beyond The Mat: How To Make Yoga Your Spiritual Practice

The journey of your lifetime begins Oct. 8th with the release of Alanna Kaivalya’s highly anticipated, brand NEW book – the answer to your questions lies within it’s pages!
CLICK HERE http://www.BeyondTheMat.Yoga
to sign up for a FREE excerpt of the book. You will get a practice for the root chakra, to help you resolve this area of consciousness, and help you stand firmly on your own two feet. Stay tuned here for more special announcements on the book as Alanna finally brings this work to you and the world. Like yoga, this book won’t make your life better, instead, it makes you better at your life.

The Yoga Sutra is the living source wisdom of the yoga tradition. Using it as a guide, we can unlock the hidden power of yoga, and experience the promise of yoga in our life. The Yoga Sutra is as fresh today as it was 2200 years ago when it was discovered by the sage Patanjali. It is the first practitioner-oriented commentary which is fully grounded in a living tradition. By applying its living wisdom in our practice, we can achieve the purpose of life: lasting fulfillment and ultimate freedom.

Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD, is a modern-day master and living link to the unbroken Himalayan Tradition. He embodies the yogic and tantric wisdom which the Himalayan Tradition has safeguarded for thousands of years. Pandit Tigunait is the successor of Sri Swami Rama of the Himalayas and the spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA. As a young man he committed himself to arduous spiritual practice and studied with renowned adepts of India, before being initiated into the lineage of the Himalayan Tradition by his master, Sri Swami Rama, in 1976.

Q: So what exactly is the Yoga Sutra?
PRT: The Yoga Sutra is a book of yoga philosophy. It is a book of practice. And it is a book of self-realization. It was written 2,200 years ago, when a great master named Patanjali gathered the best aspects of yoga and delineated, in a step-by-step fashion, exactly what yoga is and how to practice it.

Q: What can modern students learn from the Yoga Sutra?
PRT: When you practice the kind of yoga described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, you will experience what it’s like to be healthy, happy, peaceful, confident, and energetic. The literal meaning of “yoga” is “union,” “integration,” “reconnection.” But in the context of practice, yoga is a way of gaining access to your own inner luminosity and becoming established in your essential self.
By studying the Yoga Sutra, you will learn how to cultivate a clear, calm, and tranquil mind; how to expand the immense power of your mind; and how to begin unveiling, layer after layer, the mysteries of the universe within you and outside you.
Q: Why are its teachings so crucial today?
PRT: Because the human mind is scattered. We have become negligent about our distractions, inertia, confusion, doubt, fear, and anger. But humans have been riding a roller coaster of ups and downs for thousands of years. The yoga tradition, which started at least 5,000 years ago and has continued without interruption, has recorded all of the problems that humans face, and the methods and techniques to overcome those problems. The Yoga Sutra contains the solutions.
Q: What role does asana play in yoga practice?
PRT: Asana is a very important part of life. It keeps you healthy, strong, and energetic. And it enables you to discover and reclaim the innate wisdom of your body. But it is only after you rediscover the self-luminous nature of your own mind that you will begin to experience the true power of asana. That discovery comes from the meditative aspect of yoga.
Q: What inspired you to publish a commentary on the Yoga Sutra after 35 years of teaching in the West?
PRT: The Yoga Sutra is a compendium of a vast field of knowledge and wisdom, techniques and methodologies for discovering our multi-dimensional life. It is the source wisdom for all schools and traditions of yoga. We need to bring the spiritual dimension back into yoga and encourage students to look for teachings and practices that will take them to the next level. That’s why I have realized that I should share whatever I have learned in the last 35 years through this commentary, The Secret of the Yoga Sutra, and by teaching and interacting with students.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish through your Secret of The Yoga Sutra book tour and courses?
PRT: My wish is that the Yoga Sutra brings the same level of transformation to other people as it did to me. In order to make that wish become a reality, my vision is to bring the Yoga Sutra to people’s doorsteps, making this knowledge available to them on many levels and from many perspectives [through a summer lecture & book tour, online study groups, and a four-part master course on the Yoga Sutra that students can take in person or online].

My vision is that the yoga community, the scientific community, the medical community, and the health community take from the Yoga Sutra what is useful for them, conduct more research, assimilate the knowledge into their existing practice, and take their own field of knowledge to the next level. My interest is to demonstrate and support how you can embrace the teachings of the Yoga Sutra in your own personal practice for self-improvement and self-empowerment; how you can accelerate your quest for total well-being and spiritual unfoldment.

Source: http://sedonayogafestival.com/


The Yoga of Love is an important text that addresses the many erroneous notions of devotion and liberation floating around in the spiritual world need to be properly contextualized to help devotees, East and West, achieve non-dual love.

It is also important because seekers need to know the benefit of self-inquiry: how Vedanta will transform them and their lives. This text provides an an excellent picture of a self-actualized person, someone who enjoys complete freedom and non-dual love.

Finally, these days we see many self-proclaimed “enlightened” people professing to be free. Generally, this freedom is left undefined or amounts to freedom from social constraints and/or one’s conditioning, which, depending on how you look at it, is not necessarily the kiss of death. However, I am not aware of any modern teaching that conflates liberation with non-dual (unconditional) love, which might fairly be said to be the next step after enlightenment. If Vedanta’s definition of liberation (moksa) were adhered to, the number of “enlightened beings” would shrink to imperceptibility and the many abuses visited on seek- ers by modern teachers would virtually disappear. In any case, these sutras are the last word on freedom and non-dual love.


Published on Nov 14, 2015

This short video is part of the video set “The Yoga of Love ~ Narada Bhakti Sutras” which is now available in the shop on the shiningworld website.

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