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The story of OM, AUM, oooohhhhmmmmm.  :))))

Aug 20, 2010 - 0 comments
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The Power of Om

Aum, Om, Ohm…no matter how you spell it, is a powerful intonation. Calling it a word does not do justice to it.  Om is a sacred word symbol in many faiths.  It is a symbol of the all-pervading divine force. Why Om you might ask? There has to be a reason, right? Music, good music, has the power to transcend barriers of language, cultures and even species. This is because of an intangible quality that appeals to the listener. Aum, too, has that quality.

Om is a sound that encompasses all the sounds that can be made by a human being. The sound Om is a triad of three basic sounds ‘a’, ‘u’ and ‘m’. The ‘a’ sound is a guttural sound produced in the throat by the vocal chords. The sound ‘u’ originates from the navel region and can be felt in the mouth. The sound ‘m’ is heard when the mouth closes after saying the ‘u’.

If Om is pronounced correctly, the vibrations produced should be felt in three different parts of the body. Vibrations produced by the sound of ‘a’ should be felt in the abdomen near the navel, those by ‘u’ should be felt in the chest and ‘m’ should be felt reverberating in the cranium.
The ancient Indian science of yoga – a set of mental and physical disciplines – uses Om extensively, harnessing the benefits of the vibrations produced by Om.

In the physical disciplines prescribed by yoga, Om is used as part of breathing exercises. Controlled breathing exercises done while chanting Om truly rejuvenate. When Om is pronounced loudly, the sound is believed to produce positive vibrations. These vibrations have a healing effect on your body and mind, and on your surroundings too.

Yoga also prescribes the mental discipline of meditation. The process of meditation involves the silent chanting of a ‘mantra’ (a sacred sound) while sitting in a cross legged posture. The mantra often chosen for meditation is Om.  A silent chant is believed to produce subtle vibrations that benefit the mind. Maybe this is why people of faith always seem tranquil and at peace. After all, Om does exist in some form in all faiths.

Buddhists use Om extensively in prayers and meditation. “Om mani padme hum”, one of the most important mantras used in Buddhism, originated in India, the land of Om. Jains use a five-syllable Aum for meditation. Sikhs chant the Omkar regularly, while all Christian prayers end with an ‘Amen’, Islam uses ‘Amin’ and there is the ‘Shalom’ in Judaism.

Want to type out Om on your computer? Choose the Wingdings font in MS Word and type in the backslash. And there you have your Aum.

Today Om is found everywhere... on T-shirts, coffee mugs, artifacts and even in tattoos and body art. The movie ‘The origin of Om,’ might have had a hand in all the Om merchandise. But Om has been around much, much longer than that. Ancient scriptures tell us that this primordial sound existed before creation, exists now and will continue to exist when the world as we know it ceases to exist. Omnipresent and omnipotent may well describe Om – these words have Om in them too!

http://www.ometc.com/content/Power_of_Om.htm

Patanjali's Yoga Sutra  info (brief)

Aug 19, 2010 - 0 comments

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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This is an article about the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. For general information on sutras, see Sutra. For a list of Hindu sutras, see List of sutras.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a Hindu scripture and foundational text of Yoga. It forms part of the corpus of Sutra literature dating to India's Mauryan period.
In Hindu philosophy, Yoga (also Raja Yoga to distinguish it from later schools) is the name of one of the six orthodox philosophical schools.[1][2] Though brief, the Yoga Sutras are an enormously influential work on yoga philosophy and practice, held by principal proponents of yoga such as B.K.S. Iyengar as being of principal importance:
Patañjali fills each sutra with his experiential intelligence, stretching it like a thread (sūtra), and weaving it into a garland of pearls of wisdom to flavour and savour by those who love and live in yoga....[3]
"The Yoga-sutras acknowledge the Personality of Godhead in an oblique way, but only as a helper whom the advancing yogi can utilize. Isvara-pranidhanad va: "Devotional meditation on God is yet another means of achieving concentration." (Yoga-sutra 1.23) In contrast, Badarayana Vedavyasa's philosophy of Vedanta emphasizes devotional service not only as the primary means to liberation but also as identical with liberation itself. A-prayanat tatrapi hi drstam: "Worship of the Lord continues up to the point of liberation, and indeed goes on in the liberated state also, as the Vedas reveal." (Vedanta-sutra 4.1.12)"
Contents [show]
[edit]Compilation and dating

Radhakrishnan and Moore attribute the text to Patanjali, dating it as 2nd century BCE.[4] Scholars such as S.N. Dasgupta[5], claim this is the same Patanjali who authored the Mahabhasya, a treatise on Sanskrit grammar[6].
Indologist Axel Michaels disagrees that the work was written by Patanjali, characterizing it instead as a collection of fragments and traditions of texts stemming from the second or third century.[7] Gavin Flood cites a wider period of uncertainty for the composition, between 100 BCE and 500 CE.[8]
[edit]Philosophical roots and influences

The Sutras are built on a foundation of Samkhya philosophy and also exhibit the influence of Upanishadic, Buddhist and Jain thought. Karel Werner writes that "Patanjali's system is unthinkable without Buddhism. As far as its terminology goes there is much in the Yoga Sutras that reminds us of Buddhist formulations from the Pāli Canon and even more so from the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma and from Sautrāntika."[9] Robert Thurman writes that Patanjali was influenced by the success of the Buddhist monastic system to formulate his own matrix for the version of thought he considered orthodox.[10] The five yamas or the constraints of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali bear an uncanny resemblance to the five major vows of Jainism, indicating influence of Jainism.[11][12] This mutual influence between the Yoga philosophy and Jainism is admitted by the author Vivian Worthington who writes: "Yoga fully acknowledges its debt to Jainism, and Jainism reciprocates by making the practice of yoga part and parcel of life." [13] Christopher Chappel also notes that three teachings closely associated with Jainism appear in Yoga: the doctrine of karma described as colourful in both traditions (see concept of lesya); the telos of isolation (kevala in Jainism and Kaivalyam in Yoga); and the practice of non-violence (ahimsa). He also notes that the entire list of five yamas (II:30) is identical with the ethical precepts (Mahavratas) taught by Mahavira who predated Patanjali by a few centuries.[14]
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali prescribes adherence to eight "limbs" or steps (the sum of which constitute "Ashtanga Yoga", the title of the second chapter) to quiet one's mind and achieve kaivalya. The Yoga Sutras form the theoretical and philosophical basis of Raja Yoga, and are considered to be the most organized and complete definition of that discipline. The division into the Eight Limbs (Sanskrit Ashtanga) of Yoga is reminiscent of Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path; inclusion of Brahmaviharas (Yoga Sutra 1:33) also shows Buddhism's influence on parts of the Sutras.[15]
The samadhi techniques are identical to the jhanas found in the Pali Canon. In Vyasa's commentary to the Yogasutras, (Yogabhashya) and Vacaspati Misra's subcommentary it is openly admitted that the samadhi techniques are directly borrowed from the Buddhists (Jhana) with just the inclusion of the mystical and divine interpretations of mental absorption.[16]
The Sutras not only provide yoga with a thorough and consistent philosophical basis, they also clarify many important esoteric concepts which are common to all traditions of Indian thought, such as karma.
[edit]Usage

Although Patanjali's work does not cover the many types of Yogic practices that have become prevalent, its succinct form and availability caused it to be pressed into service by a variety of schools of Yogic thought.[17]
The Sutras, with commentaries, have been published by a number of successful teachers of Yoga, as well as by academicians seeking to clarify issues of textual variation. There are also other versions from a variety of sources available on the Internet. The many versions display a wide variation, particularly in translation. The text has not been submitted in its entirety to any rigorous textual analysis, and the contextual meaning of many of the Sanskrit words and phrases remains a matter of some dispute.[18]
[edit]Text

Patanjali divided his Yoga Sutras into 4 chapters or books (Sanskrit pada), containing in all 196 aphorisms, divided as follows:
Samadhi Pada (51 sutras)
Samadhi refers to a blissful state where the yogi is absorbed into the One. The author describes yoga and then the nature and the means to attaining samādhi. This chapter contains the famous definitional verse: "Yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ" ("Yoga is the restraint of mental modifications"[19]).
Sadhana Pada (55 sutras)
Sadhana is the Sanskrit word for "practice" or "discipline". Here the author outlines two forms of Yoga: Kriya Yoga (Action Yoga) and Ashtanga Yoga (Eightfold or Eightlimbed Yoga).
Kriya yoga, sometimes called Karma Yoga, is also expounded in Chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna is encouraged by Krishna to act without attachment to the results or fruit of action and activity. It is the yoga of selfless action and service.
Ashtanga Yoga describes the eight limbs that together constitute Raja Yoga.
Vibhuti Pada (56 sutras)
Vibhuti is the Sanskrit word for "power" or "manifestation". 'Supra-normal powers' (Sanskrit: siddhi) are acquired by the practice of yoga. The temptation of these powers should be avoided and the attention should be fixed only on liberation.
Kaivalya Pada (34 sutras)
Kaivalya literally means "isolation", but as used in the Sutras stands for emancipation, liberation and used interchangeably with moksha (liberation), which is the goal of Yoga. The Kaivalya Pada describes the nature of liberation and the reality of the transcendental self.
[edit]The eight limbs (ashtanga) of Raja Yoga
The eight "limbs" or steps prescribed in the second pada of the Yoga Sutras are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
Ashtanga yoga consists of the following steps: The first five are called external aids to Yoga (bahiranga sadhana)
Yama refers to the five abstentions. These are the same as the five vows of Jainism.
Ahimsa: non-violence, inflicting no injury or harm to others or even to one's ownself, it goes as far as nonviolence in thought, word and deed.
Satya: truth in word & thought.
Asteya: non-covetousness, to the extent that one should not even desire something that is not his own.
Brahmacharya: abstain from sexual intercourse; celibacy in case of unmarried people and monogamy in case of married people. Even this to the extent that one should not possess any sexual thoughts towards any other man or woman except one's own spouse. It's common to associate Brahmacharya with celibacy.
Aparigraha: non-possessiveness
Niyama refers to the five observances
Shaucha: cleanliness of body & mind.
Santosha: satisfaction; satisfied with what one has.
Tapas: austerity and associated observances for body discipline & thereby mental control.
Svadhyaya: study of the Vedic scriptures to know about God and the soul, which leads to introspection on a greater awakening to the soul and God within,
Ishvarapranidhana: surrender to (or worship of) God.
Asana: Discipline of the body: rules and postures to keep it disease-free and for preserving vital energy. Correct postures are a physical aid to meditation, for they control the limbs and nervous system and prevent them from producing disturbances.
Pranayama: control of breath. Beneficial to health, steadies the body and is highly conducive to the concentration of the mind.
Pratyahara: withdrawal of senses from their external objects.
The last three levels are called internal aids to Yoga (antaranga sadhana)
Dharana: concentration of the citta upon a physical object, such as a flame of a lamp, the mid point of the eyebrows, or the image of a deity.
Dhyana: steadfast meditation. Undisturbed flow of thought around the object of meditation (pratyayaikatanata). The act of meditation and the object of meditation remain distinct and separate.
Samadhi: oneness with the object of meditation. There is no distinction between act of meditation and the object of meditation. Samadhi is of two kinds:
Samprajnata Samadhi conscious samadhi. The mind remains concentrated (ekagra) on the object of meditation, therefore the consciousness of the object of meditation persists. Mental modifications arise only in respect of this object of meditation.
This state is of four kinds:
Savitarka: the Citta is concentrated upon a gross object of meditation such as a flame of a lamp, the tip of the nose, or the image of a deity.
Savichara: the Citta is concentrated upon a subtle object of meditation , such as the tanmatras
Sananda: the Citta is concentrated upon a still subtler object of meditation, like the senses.
Sasmita: the Citta is concentrated upon the ego-substance with which the self is generally identified.
Asamprajnata Samadhi supraconscious. The citta and the object of meditation are fused together. The consciousness of the object of meditation is transcended. All mental modifications are checked (niruddha), although latent impressions may continue.
Combined simultaneous practice of Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna & Samādhi is referred to as Samyama and is considered a tool of achieving various perfections, or Siddhis.
[edit]See also

Abhyasa
Pranava yoga
Swara yoga

From Wiki

Yoga and Ayurveda

Aug 18, 2010 - 0 comments
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Yoga and Ayurveda for Holistic Health

The mention of yoga brings to mind a set of physical exercises with a flavor of India.  And yes, there is meditation involved too. But there is more to yoga than this. Yoga involves both physical and mental disciplines; however, the purpose is to help those who practice yoga to achieve their spiritual goal. The physical fitness and mental calm gained in the process are incidental.

Ayurveda is the ancient Indian science of health that deals with both physical and mental health – absolute necessities on the spiritual path.


Cultural significance

The purpose of a human existence according to Hinduism is to achieve oneness with the Supreme Reality. Ill health can be a major deterrent to this goal. Therefore, ancient Hindu seers amassed a wealth of knowledge for both physical and mental well being. We know them as yoga and ayurveda, a combination of which results in physical, mental and emotional health, rendering a person holistically fit.


Origin

Hindu Vedic philosophy has six main systems, with the system referring to yoga called Yoga Darshana. This was compiled by Sage Patanjali; the compilation was based upon ancient yogic teachings of several other sages before him.  Sage Charaka is considered the Father of Ayurveda, with the Charaka Samhita being the source of all the ayurveda that is currently practiced, with the root source being the Vedas – ancient Hindu texts of wisdom.


Basic principles  

Ayurveda is a system that makes use of certain inherent principles of nature to ensure good health.  The basic surmise is that all human beings contain the same five elements that the universe is made of – air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are evident in the human body in the form of life-forces or doshas, classified as vata, pitta and kapha. The body remains healthy as long as the three remain in balance. Ill health of any kind is caused by an imbalance in these doshas and the treatment aims to correct the balance.    

The science of yoga is based on five basic principles. These are:
•    Proper relaxation
•    Proper exercise
•    Proper breathing
•    Suitable diet
•    Positive thinking  

Ayurveda and yoga go hand in hand. Exercise, breathing and diet can affect the life-forces or dosha that impact overall health. Similarly, depending upon the age and physical condition of a person, the dosha or life-force balance varies. Appropriate exercises or asana as they are called in yoga, suitable pranayama –breathing exercises, and a proper diet differ according to the dosha balance in a person. It is possible that an asana or breathing technique that benefits someone else might actually cause you discomfort.


Yoga and ayurveda in the West

Yoga has been around in the West since the twentieth century. However, the West’s introduction to ayurveda happened much later – only in the mid-1980s. The health benefits of yoga were acknowledged, but its full healing potential in combination with modern allopathic medicine was never realized. In the 1970s alternative medicine became popular in the West and yoga practitioners tried associating yoga with naturopathy, herbal remedies and even Chinese medicine. By the time ayurveda reached Western shores, yoga had its own existence without the influence of ayurveda. However, now there are many centers in the West that combine yoga and ayurveda and offer personalized advice to address specific needs.

Yoga therapy, with ayurveda as a key component, as well as ayurvedic treatment that prescribes yoga, is now recognized as a complete system of medicine.


http://www.ometc.com/content/Yoga.htm

Woot! 15ish minutesof yoga, 20 minutes meditations!

Aug 16, 2010 - 0 comments
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Wow! I am so proud of myself!  I did both yoga and the breath meditations, along with non-breath based meditation.!  I didn't beat myself up if i couldn't do as many reps as the video, or do it for as long, I just skipped to the next exercise.  Did I do a whole workout video like I used to be ab le to? No, but did I do some awesome ohysical activity that made me feel good, and meditations that made me feel even better!  And I am going to take that as a good day! :)