YogaCentral - lesson one

Breath is life! Stretching keeps you young! Working out keeps you strong! Relaxation allows your body to heal! Chanting nourishes the soul! Interaction is sharing the joy!! Om! The fundamental frequency of reality.

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Breathe - Pranayam

Breathe! Breath is life! Breath is O2. Exchange of electrons. Flow of energy. Air is the primary nutrient. Survival without it is measured in minutes.

It is so important that you do it without thinking.

Your breathing is the voice of your spirit. It's depth, smoothness, sound, and rate reflect your mood.

If you become aware of your breath and breathe the way you do when you are calm you will become calm.

Breathing is the gateway to your unconscious autonomic mechanisms (spirit). When your attention slips, your spirit speaks of your body's state, but no one's home to notice. Off browsing the great cosmic cobweb probably. When you take notice, your breathing changes. Your conscious mind is talking in spirit to your body. You are brought into the here and now. And healing begins...

Yogic breathing techniques are a vocabulary for communicating between the higher cerebrocortical (mind) brain, and the lower limbic and hind-brian autonomic structures. Conscious breathing initiates autonomic healing mechanisms.

When you slow your breathing you calm down. When you speed up your breathing you become energized! CO2 levels in your blood drop. Your system becomes less acidic. And your muscles become less tense so you can...

Stretch - Asana

Assess the gravity of your situation. Your body is essentially designed to constantly be moving around in the canopy. It does not recognize the ground (or shoes) as the proper place for your feet. And it certainly does not recognize chairs as proper places for your derrière. Integral to the functional design (and health) of your body is to have a constantly changing orientation to gravity.

Asanas (yoga postures) are designed to provide your body with this necessary changing orientation to gravity. In order to perfect the postures extreme stretching is employed. Regular practice at approximating the asanas and using breath and gravity to allow you to relax further into the pose is (hatha) yoga.

Workout - Kriya

Many different types of yoga workouts have been devised. But often in the quest for fitness and a hard body, At some point it becomes just a workout and not yoga. If you come to this path with fitness in mind beware. Yoga is extremely powerful stuff! If you try to rush it, you will only slow yourself down. Yoga is not mind over body. It is harmony between them. In yoga the mind is used to perceive (diagnose) and guide (heal) the body. Not to "control" it and never to force it.

The big lesson is that yoga takes time. Time for muscles to coordinate. Time for tissues to grow. Time for breath and circulation (spirit, energy, O2) to flow. But rest assured. The time you invest in yoga comes back with interest in greater vitality, presence of mind, reduced need for sleep, and longer life. Wouldn't be much point to all of this otherwise!

Yoga is conscious action not "learning routines." The skill, grace, and poise develop naturally as an inevitable result of regular practice. No major effort is required or even effective. Trying hard will make your practice painful, even injurious, and will actually slow your progress!

Forcing it only gives your body more to heal! Yoga is extremely powerful stuff! If you try too hard you can easily do serious damage. Do yoga in the sprit of love not regimentation.

The therapeutic effect of yoga comes from involving your mind totally in inspiring (breathing) your body to evolve. Cortical Upper Motor Neurons interacting directly with Lower Motor Neurons (spinal column). Not mediated by cerebellar ingrams. Conscious action. Not habit. Not routine. Not robotic.

Are we clear on this point!? If so, then try a workout so you'll really be able to...

Relax - Ananda

Relaxation is happening! The thing associated with yoga that people most often characterize as "what was always missing from my life," or, "what I was always searching for," has got to be relaxation. Or "the Relaxation Response," as physiologists call it. You will hear that the purpose of relaxation in yoga is to "prepare" you for "meditation."

Allow me to suggest that quite the opposite is true. Meditation is a set of widely disparate techniques from various places whose ultimate purpose is to get you to relax deeply. If you set meditation as a goal and "try" to "get there," all you'll get is a headache. If you learn how to let yourself relax (which is a learnable skill) then you will naturally and effortlessly slip into very deep "meditative" states.

Think of it as the human corallary to bear hibernation. In this state, the parasympathetics are in full swing repairing your body. And the sympathetics are shut completely off, freeing you from their abraision. The brain's output frequency drops and it's power output increases as neuronal activity finds greater coherence. Thoughts become vivid. Imagination soars. Creativity is accessed.

Chant - Mantra

Vibration is a characteristic of all creation. And all creatures have song. Therapeutic value of chanting comes from the vibration resonating through your body, especially the nervous system. Also significant is that chanting is a special form of controlled breathing. Air pressure created to vibrate the vocal cords, increases in the lungs pushing added oxygen into the bloodstream.

Chanting soothes so powerfully that it induces deep relaxation. Sanskrit mantras are designed primarily for their various vibrational effects. The devotional meanings are intended to induce a sense of safety and belonging which also help trigger the "Relaxation Response." Don't let youself be stifled by worrying which is the right mantra or if you pronounce it correctly. -Or even if the words aren't Sanskrit, or even words.

Your body is your guru. Sing or chant in whatever manner feels best. Experiment. Have fun with it. If you take it too seriously it will hinder the benefit. The greatest mantra Om represents the primary fundamental from which all creation springs in philharmonic splendor. Tune in to THAT, and tap the source of all healing.

Om (or aum) begins in the belly as the lowest note you can make. Ahhh... Then the sound rises to your throat as the pitch rises changing to ooooh... Then it moves up into the head as a hummm. Mmmmmmm... Aaaaoooooommmmmmm!

As any singer will tell you, exercising the voice is essential for maintaining optimal performance. So if yoga exercises ALL the muscles in the body, and you want to be a yogi, then don't be shy, sing your song out loud!

Interact - Ashram

Welcome to land's end.
When all tribes meet
on the shrinking ground of their beliefs,
to decide the future.
Now is where the sky begins....
So it's nice to have peaceful wings.

Enter the Ashram!


OR! go to page 3 and BREATHE!

Interact - Ashram

Chant - Mantra

Relax - Ananda

Workout - Kriya

Stretch - Asana

Breathe - Pranayam

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You don't have to be a saint to do yoga.
You just have to go through the motions.