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Archive for January, 2016

The 3rd Dimension: The Mind

Posted on January 28th, 2016 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

The Third Dimension: The Intellectual Mind

hands

By Gary Kraftsow

The ancients recognized the inherent power of the mind and the tremendous influence that it has over the entire human system. They knew that it is through the mind that we are able to perceive, understand, and choose. They also knew that part of our problem in life is the fact that we do not perceive, understand, or choose correctly and that part of this is due to the nature of the mind itself. Thus they stressed the importance of educating and developing the mind in terms of its full capacity to learn, acquire knowledge, remember, and imagine.

As the basis for this education and development, the ancients identified the four great Vedic scriptures and the oral instruction of the teachers as the primary source and the teacher-student relationship as the primary mode. And, as pointed out above, both the texts of the scriptures and the commentaries of the teachers were traditionally transmitted through chanting. In other words, the method was to learn “by heart,” that is, to memorize the texts and to be able to repeat them exactly.

In our modern secular world, certain subjects are a required part of all elementary and secondary education, and beyond that, education proceeds by choice and in accordance with our individual interests. In ancient times , while some Vedic teachings were given to all students, others were given according to family tradition, so that even the traditional models lack uniformity. Yet two things remained constant: in order to preserve these sacred texts without corruption through time , precise and detailed rules for chanting were always followed; and chanting itself was used as the primary tool for training and developing the mind. For example, the exacting process of repeating the chants without mistakes developed the students’ ability to listen. Listening required and developed their ability to direct and maintain attention. And it also required the mind to remain open to receive instruction.

Excerpt from: Yoga for Transformation: Ancient Teachings and Practices for Healing the Body, Mind,and Heart by Gary Kraftsow.

 

KraftsowGary Kraftsow

Gary Kraftsow, the leading proponent of viniyoga therapy in the US, has been a pioneer in the transmission of yoga for health, healing, and personal transformation for 30 years. After studying in India with T.K.V. Desikachar and his father T. Krishnamacharya, Gary received a special diploma from Viniyoga International in Paris. In 1999 he founded the American Viniyoga Institute where he is currently director and senior teacher of the Institute’s teacher and therapist trainings.

To learn more about Gary Kraftsow, check out his DVDs here at Pranamaya.

Use the PROMO SACREDCOW for 10% off at checkout at www.pranamaya.com

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Yoga Therapy Tip of the Day

Posted on January 26th, 2016 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Vimanasana

Yoga Therapy Tip of the Day

Vimanasana: Chariot or Airplane Pose

The fact is that we are all human and we all get moody at times. Dependent perhaps on the weather, the circumstances throughout our day or weeks even, the score of a game, the outcome of a movie, the unfulfilled ending to a novel, the results of any experience we attribute value to can and does occasionally get the best of it. Once we identify the swing in our persona, we oftentimes try to get back on track through reflection, positive actions, affirmations, reminders of all we have to be grateful for, mediation and our yoga practice. Akin to our emotional well being, our physical well being is also recognized for undergoing turbulence and feeling disconnected to its natural tendency. In particular, our sacrum becomes quite moody as well. Especially in our asana practices, many asymmetrical asanas akin to virabhadrasana II, utthita parsvakonasana and/or trikonasana when not balanced with neutral poses such as virabhadrasana I, crescent pose and paschimottanasana can start to bothers our sacrum and generate a sense of discomfort. Practicing a symmetrical backward bend like vimanasana: chariot or airplane pose, is ideal to neutralize the hip joints: therefore, offsetting and reducing if not relieving any built up discomfort in our lower spinal vertebrate column.

To Get Into Vimanasana

To physically achieve vimanasana, begin by lying supine on the stomach with the legs together or slightly apart. To better understand which leg positioning is best and appropriate for your body consider in the direction of the legs in relation to pelvis when eventually lifted. The outward movement of the legs encourages the sit bones to move outwards as well and the pelvic rims ultimately move toward each other. By moving the legs closer towards each other so that the toes touch when lifted, the sit bones also move inwards and the pelvic rims move outwards. When ultimately lifting the upper body, with legs lifted together or farther apart continues to support a grounded sensation throughout the pelvis.

While laying on your stomach, the legs engaged and reaching long behind you, the arms are either down the sides of your torso, palms reaching up or if it is causing too much strain on the lower thoracic region and upper lumbar region of the spine to have your arms lifted at chest height, feel free to lower the forearms onto the mat. The elbows are bent directly underneath the shoulders and the forearms shoulder-distance apart.

To reiterate, vimanasana begins while laying on your stomach, the forehead rest gently on the mat or it if is more comfortable for your neck, turn your head to one side and place the cheek on the mat, your arms are down by your sides or elbows bent underneath your shoulder. Exhale completely and on your next inhalation, tighten the abdominal muscles while rolling shoulders back and down the spine and leading with the breath, pull the chest forward and up, the legs lift (feet together or legs wider a part) and if the arms are by your side they lift up and can spread out line airplane wings. While continuing to inhale, the head extends away from the shoulders and chin gently lifts up while still parallel to the floor beneath you. On a cleansing exhalation, lower the chest, legs and arms (if lifted rather than bent) beside your torso while relaxing the abdomen muscles and lowering the forehead or cheek (now in the opposite direction) onto the mat.

When inhaling to repeat vimanasana, keep in mind that the legs should not be lifting higher than the height of your chest to reduce any chance of strain on the lower back. Ease into and out of the pose, allowing the breath to guide your rather the physicality of the asana. Master Teacher, Gary Kraftsow guides you through this grounding, relieving, yet spine-strengthening pose in his Low Back, Hips and Sacrum Viniyoga Therapy practice.

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The Second Dimension: The Vital Body and Pranamaya

Posted on January 20th, 2016 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Beautiful sporty fit yogini woman practices pranayama breath control exercise in yoga asana Padmasana - lotus pose with Vishnu mudra in studio

By Gary Kraftsow

According to the ancients, the vital body consists of five identifiable aspects: prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, ākāśa, and pṛthivī. 1 All five of these aspects represent some manifestation of energy, and, although not equivalent, all may be understood in relation to the vital metabolic functions of the physical body.

Today we tend to think of health and vitality in terms of standards of measurement— the ratio of LDL to HDL in our blood serum cholesterol , the level of our PSA, the strength of our bones, for example. These measurements require professional medical tests. At best, most of us have a physical once a year, and many of us avoid doctors altogether.

According to the ancients, however, from the moment of our birth it is prāṇa that organizes, activates, and animates our physical bodies. By paying close attention to certain characteristics that reflect the balanced flow of prāṇa through our physical bodies, we can have a relatively accurate picture of our own health and vitality on a daily basis. These characteristics include how we fall asleep; the quality of our sleep, dreams, and morning energy; the nature of our digestion and bowel movements; and the regularity of our menstrual cycles, to name only a few examples. We can gain an even deeper understanding based on the quality of our respiratory rhythms, once we understand and can apply the science of the breath, called prāṇāyāma.

As with āsana practice, the ancients also suggested that the purpose and methods of prāṇāyāma practice should complement each other and that they should change as we grow. By becoming familiar with our threshold capacity for inhale and exhale, we can better assess our own physiological and emotional stress levels as a basis for improving the general quality of our lives.

Excerpt from: Yoga for Transformation: Ancient Teachings and Practices for Healing the Body, Mind,and Heart by Gary Kraftsow.

 

Kraftsow

Gary Kraftsow, the leading proponent of viniyoga therapy in the US, has been a pioneer in the transmission of yoga for health, healing, and personal transformation for 30 years. After studying in India with T.K.V. Desikachar and his father T. Krishnamacharya, Gary received a special diploma from Viniyoga International in Paris. In 1999 he founded the American Viniyoga Institute where he is currently director and senior teacher of the Institute’s teacher and therapist trainings.

To learn more about Gary Kraftsow, check out his DVDs here at Pranamaya.

Use the PROMO SACREDCOW for 10% off at checkout at www.pranamaya.com

 

 

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What is a Chakra? by Paul Grilley

Posted on January 19th, 2016 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

chakraman

Chakras are spiritual centers in the brain and spinal cord where the physical, astral, and causal bodies are knit together and influence one another. There are several chakras: some are considered major, some minor. Some traditions focus on five chakras, others focus on nine . In this text we will focus on the seven major chakras.

The chakras are located within a special meridian that lies inside the spine. This meridian is called sushumna. The chakras are strung along sushumna like beads on a string. Sushumna is said to start from the coccyx and reach all the way up to an opening in the top of the skull. The opening in the top of the skull is called the fontanel. It is quite soft in infants and remains that way until the bones of the skull grow together some months after birth. This opening is called Brahman’s Gate. Brahman is the name for the Absolute, the source of all creation.

When trying to describe where a chakra “is,” one finds oneself in a dilemma. Common language suggests chakras are physically located in the spine, but the reader should bear in mind that this is both true and false. A “broken heart” is a real experience that indeed seems centered in the heart, but that is not where the feelings actually reside. The chakras have a physical correspondence, but they are more than physical. Bear this in mind when reading about “where” a chakra “is.” Don’t be limited by only physical conceptions.

Dr. Motoyama writes that chakras might be described as having a root and flower. The roots of a chakra are in sushumna within the spine, but the flower of a chakra opens out from the spine and into the body in a significantly larger but less defined region. Some people are more sensitive to the sensations in the flower region of a chakra, while others are more immediately drawn into sushumna. It is best to focus where you are most sensitive, but don’t forget that our experience of a chakra will deepen and change as we progress. Meditating on the root or flower of a chakra is only a starting point.

Excerpts from: Yin Yoga: Principles and Practice — 10th Anniversary Edition by Paul Grilley.

 

To learn more about Paul Grilley check out his DVD’s and online courses here at Pranamaya.
USE THE CODE SACREDCOW for 10% OFF at checkout

 

Paul Grilley:  A well-known master of yin yoga, Paul brings a thorough grounding in Hatha and Ashtanga yoga as well as anatomy and kinesiology to his teaching, which integrates the Taoist yoga of martial arts master Paulie Zink and the Chinese meridian and acupuncture theories of Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama. Paul’s book, Yin Yoga: Principles and Practice, explains how yin yoga can teach us to relax, be patient, be quiet, and focus on the skeleton and its joints—a necessary counterpoint to today’s more ubiquitous muscular yoga.

paul-grilley

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