International Yoga Day

To honor International Yoga Day, we’re going to dive into its rich history and unveil how this sacred practice came to be the worldwide phenomenon that it is today.  Although researchers aren’t totally certain when Yoga was born, we know that the first written documents (more like inscriptions on palm leaves), date back to about 5,000 years ago in Northern India.  These texts were part of a greater book called the Rig Veda, which contained songs, mantras, and rituals practiced by the Brahmans (priests).  Over the centuries, Yoga developed from a collection of ideas that could be practiced to achieve enlightenment into physical actions that could be practiced to achieve enlightenment.

Today, Yoga has reached a mainstream presence.  It is such an integral part of our culture that pants are made just for the practice, and yoga terms, like karma and Namaste, are used on the regular.  All different types of people practice all different types of Yoga.  Some focus more on the breath, while others focus more on the mechanics of movement.  Luckily, there is truly something for everyone.  Let’s celebrate this day with a throwback to our favorite Yoga posts from our blog.

International Yoga Day
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Scientific validations of Yoga-Asanas

The anatomy of the body, the weight and size of the brain are almost the same in all humans. God has been uniformly kind to everybody in this respect. The white and the black, the tall and the short, the savage and the sage all have brains of similar size and shape with same anatomical structure. In spite of that, we find startling diversity and difference in the emotional, intellectual and mental faculties, talents and skills in individual human beings.

Some people are wise and exceptionally brilliant, while others, despite living under same socioeconomic conditions and having similar physical health and appearance, find it difficult to efficiently perform even the ordinary tasks and essential duties of life. Some are altruists, generous, affectionate and kind, while others are apathetic, selfish and cruel. Some have cheerful temperament and enthusiastic fervor to perform their duties and daily chores; some enjoy playing and have special talents in sports; still there are many who are not interested in any game, they live a lethargic, dull and aimless life…., and life is a burden for them. Why this contrast? How the mental, emotional and intellectual levels of people vary so drastically? These questions have always motivated research in the areas of behavioral psychology and neurochemistry. The quest for scientifically probing the magical world of human-brain has been going on ever since the advent of human civilization.

The scientists of yore had adopted the approach of subtle science of spirituality to gain knowledge about human mind and to creatively control the functioning of the brain. Modern scientists have adopted an approach beginning from the gross analysis of the physicochemical reactions and study of their effects manifested in behavioral changes. Progress of this research is now opening newer dimensions of the subtle aspects of human brain. The study of hormones has offered amazing information to the researchers who consider physiological and biochemical processing to be the basic cause of different functions of the brain. The front-line researchers now believe that the root cause of secretion of the enormous varieties of hormones are yet unknown because of the subtle nature of different levels of consciousness affecting the mind.

Even a single drop of some hormones secreted within the brain is found to bring about drastic changes in the body-functions.
The temperament and the emotional manifestations too are found to vary because of the fluctuations in specific hormonal levels. Many hormones and neurochemicals contained in the tiny neurons, have now been identified and analyzed in the laboratories. These include; those found to be associated with fatigued or energetic state of the body and the alacrity of mind, and those which can stimulate or suppress the expressions of love, compassion, cheerfulness etc.
The hormone-secreting glands seem to offer even newer wonders before the endocrinologists to further accelerate research in the related areas of neuroscience.

It is a surprising coincidence that the existence of the mysterious neuro-chemicals came into light through the study of some diseases like aboulia and amnesia in which the mind goes into depression or becomes dull and dormant by losing memory and intellectual sharpness. Some scientists at the American National Institute of Mental Health had found that the activity or inhibition of an enzyme called MAO (Mono Amine Oxidase) is largely responsible for the changes in peoples temperaments.
The normal as well as the unusual emotional expressions of different persons – cheerfulness and irritation, alacrity and accede etc. – are found to depend on the inhibition or activation by other enzymes and chemicals of the neurohormonal secretions of MAO.

According to Dr. Andrew Baptist, a behavioral psychologist by profession, there are two major classes of neuro-chemicals: one, the group of MAO-enzymes and the other, that of different neurotransmitters such as, epinephrine, dopamine, serotonine, etc. The MAOs suppress the functions of the neurotransmitters. A third group of neurotransmitters has also been discovered which preserves the activity and blood-level of the neurotransmitters. This helper group mainly consists of the enzymes of endorphin category. The research findings of Dr. Andrew and others indicate that excessive secretion of MAO often triggers lethargy, dullness, mental restlessness and tension. The activation of the second group can suppress the effects of MAO and induce alacrity, enthusiasm, relaxation and cheerfulness. The enzymes like encephalon etc of the endorphin group further enhance the activity of the neurotransmitters and accelerate positive effects on mental and emotional conditions. People are found to show greater mental concentration and efficiency in their tasks-in-hand when the secretion and activities of the neurotransmitters and hormones of the latter groups are on.

Dr. Kraftsman and Dr. John Crookschank of Baltimore University have carried out intensive research on human psychology and psychosomatic diseases. The results of their studies suggest that whenever the activity of MAO increases, it inhibits the normal secretion of the neurotransmitters in the brain. This gives rise to mental restlessness, gloom and distress. Similar effects are induced by the rising toxicity in the environment. In view of the analysis of positive effects of some anti-depression drugs, these scientists prescribe the hormones of endorphin family as the inhibitors of the negative effects of MAO. Persons having substantial levels of active endorphins enjoy an open, happy and healthy mentality free from emotional complexes and stresses. Such temperamental traits can be triggered to some extent by balanced doses of anti-depressant medicines and steroids, which stimulate the secretion of different neurotransmitters.

Apart from the medications, some behavioral psychologists also found use of autosuggestion, hypnotism and biofeedback techniques as effective. They opine that the steroids, though useful in inducing positive effects by activating the secretion of the corresponding hormones, are not harmless. The side effects of steroids are often so severe that they create other serious physiological and mental problems that require further stronger drug medication.In order to avoid this vicious cycle, these and many other researchers are now investigating the alternative techniques of autosuggestive biofeedback based counseling etc to maintain healthy functioning of neurotransmitters in a natural manner. Considering the fast increasing pollution in physical, mental and emotional spheres of life and the associated rise in the occurrence of mental stress, hypertension, depression and other psychosomatic disorders, investigations of this kind appear all the more important and necessary.

Stanford Research Centre in USA has a separate department for studies on oriental meditation-based psychotherapies.
The scientists of this centre have found that the above mentioned three major types of hormones/ neuro-chemicals responsible for inducing gloom and despair or energy and joy etc, express the reactions of internal emotions through the medium of the secretions of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in the brain. Their experiments show that these neurohormonal secretions can be regulated by the practices of dhyan, dhara, yoganidra and other sadhanas of mental and emotional control.

The results of initial research on a few hormones whose secretion in the blood manifests remarkable reactions and effects had excited the scientific community towards further research on these astonishing biomolecules. Hormonal effects on physical structure of the body, complexion and beauty, youthfulness and aging, puberty, concupiscence etc, and the fight or flight type reactions against mental stress and strain, etc have been the focus of research in neurochemistry and endocrinology.

Growing research in the fields of brain-chemistry or neurohormonal secretions has offered deeper insight into many aspects of behavioral psychology and personality- development, which were unknown to the modern scientists until recently. Although, the science of spirituality and associated yoga-sadhana had detailed mentions of the subtle aspects of human mind-body relationships, the modern scientists were not attracted to study them owing to the lack of visible evidences.
The laboratory research on the micro world of hormones and recognition of the tremendous effects of mental and emotional levels on neurohormonal secretions has now opened up new frontiers of collaborative research in associated fields of the ancient and modern sciences.

According to the experts of neurochemistry and neurohistopathology, the chemistry of brain is quite peculiar and arcane. Several hormones that were believed as secreted by the glands in the digestive system and were found present in the corresponding portions of the body have now been discovered to be present in the brain as well. The group of such hormones includes ACTH (acetylcholine) and epinephrine. Significant amount of cholesystiqunine responsible for controlling acidic secretions in the stomach and glucoverticoides, secreted by the adrenal gland, is detected in the brain too. Scientific studies suggest the possibilities that these hormones might also be reacting as neuro-spinal transmitters whose excess in the brain may cause different psychosomatic disorders.

The psychosomatic diseases which manifest as peptic ulcer, cardiac arrest, mental instability, irritation, Bowels syndrome, ulcerative colitis, etc, are believed to be caused by the imbalance in the concentrations of above hormones. It should be noted that the occurrences of these types of diseases are increasing at a rapid rate and at present almost three-fourths of the world population especially in the developed and developing countries – is suffering from such abnormalities.

Little perturbation in the normal secretion pattern of the hormones such as the dopamine, gawa, serotonine etc, causes deformation in very sensitive centers of the brain and the nervous system and gives rise to amnesia, mental instability, Parkinsons disease, etc.
A healthy, well-educated, multi-talented scholar might also lose his memory and intelligence during the transition period of aging when such hormonal disorders are more likely to occur. Those who remain cheerful and keep themselves active in creative tasks and thus naturally restrain the secretion and negative effects of the MAOs and inhibitors, do not risk such hormonal problems in old age.

Neurochemists have found that the hormones secreted by the pineal and pituitary glands not only control the sex related activities, but, more importantly, they also affect and regulate ones decision making capabilities, thinking and sense of time and space etc. Thus, the hormonal secretions associated with puberty serve multiple purposes. Scientific studies have shown that the level of androgen sex hormone in males that is responsible for manhood and body-characteristics including the shape of testicle etc and the ability of time and space recognition and grasping power of men are interrelated. Lesser the level of androgen more would be the possibility of impotency and mental dullness. Similar interrelationships between mental sharpness, sex related functions of the body and mind, and specific hormonal secretions are found to exist in the females too.

The complexity of neurohormonal chemistry is so high that only a small fraction of the related reactions and functions has so far been analyzed in the laboratories. Collaborative research in psychology, endocrinology and neurology has become essential for identifying some of the latent activity and sensory centers in the human brain. The collective efforts of researchers at the Michael Ridge Hospital, Chicago, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Stanford Research Center are progressing well in this direction. Let us hope that deeper investigations in this regard would one day provide the knowledge of the subtle centers like sahastrara, brahmrandhras, anandmayakosha, agya chakra, etc, described in the ancient science of yoga, in a manner comprehensible to the modern scientists.

Findings of the above kinds of research would explain, in new scientific light, the mechanisms of rousing or suppressing the development of personality and transforming human behavior with the help of activation or inhibition of these subtle centers of consciousness in human brain.
Elucidation of psychosomatic disorders and knowledge of controlling related mental complexities would be the other benefits of these developments.

The now available knowledge of the sensitivity and multiplicity of neurochemical reactions gives us a glimpse of how the disciplined experiments of different sadhanas could awaken the internal powers of the brain. Practicing of many spiritual sadhanas is easy, harmless and inexpensive. Everybody can benefit from them in a natural way. Adopting them in day-to-day life can bestow manifold benefits on human society. The sincere practices of specific sadhana can transmute an ailing human life into one of immense peace and creative bliss.

—- The Article has been taken with due permission from All World Gyatri Pariwar. One can refer to the original Article here.

Scientific validations of Yoga-Asanas
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Dreams – Linkage between the visible and the invisible worlds

As most of us might have experienced, dreams appear to be arbitrary reflections of memory and abrupt creations of the agility of mind. We can hardly find any truth and logical basis or purpose in the broken sequence of what we usually dream in sleep. Interestingly though, when we are watching a dream, every scene appears real! We experience every bit of it as if we are living in it. Many a time dreams appear to be quite amusing and entertaining. Quite often they are frightening nightmares too.
The imaginary world of dreams may sometimes be supernatural and soothing fairylike “dream land”. Some dreams are scary and they stress our mind with unprecedented fear and worries. Usually, these diversified experiences occur because of the influence of the semi-conscious state of mind.
Desires, apprehensions and inquisitions of the conscious (external) mind, and the perceptions and conditioning of the sense organs induce corresponding influences in the subconscious state of sleep. For example, concupiscence at the time of sleep would generally result in vulgar scenes of sexual indulgence in the dreams. Active dreams of this kind might even stimulate the genitals and cause night-discharge. The heaviness of stomach, indigestion, headache, anger, mental stress tension etc. also bear associated negative effects on dreams.
Bites of mosquitoes, bedbugs, lice, etc. may be depicted in the dreams as the incidents involving experiences of injuries, pains, irritation, etc. Unfulfilled desires, suppressed emotions and psychosomatic complexes, are also reflected in the variegated experiences of dreams, which would normally be beyond the imaginations of the conscious mind. Most of the above kinds of the active (subconscious) dreams are hazy, haphazard, and difficult to be remembered. Often the dreams of this category do not bear any meaning or purpose. Such dreams cannot be analyzed or interpreted scientifically and these hardly have any connection with the hidden messages of the unconscious mind. However, frequent occurrence of the dreams of similar kinds may have roots in some psychosomatic disorder or disease.
Analysis of whatever is remembered from repeated experiences of same sort of dream during sleep might be useful in diagnosis and cure in such cases. Correlation of mental tendencies and response of active dreams sometimes becomes apparent from the specific reactions of the semi-conscious (sub-conscious) mind during active sleep. For instance, look at the following experiments conducted in the Dream Research division of the California University. As part of the studies of the effects of surrounding environment on dreams, a candle was lit and kept for some time in front of the closed eyes of a sleeping person, who happened to be a sportsman. The latter felt in his dream at that moment that a white bat and a golden shining ball are kept in front of him which he is about to pick up for a play.
When the same experiment was repeated with a coward clerk, he dreamt as if some unknown enemy is coming towards him with a thick stick and a lamp to beat him in the darkness of night. Napoleon Klettman and Eugene Aserensky of the Chicago University had attempted to investigate and identify the part or state of the body or brain responsible for experience of dreams. Despite long-term dedicated research they could not find any clue to proceed further. Their unperturbed motivation however brought fruits one day when they saw rapid movement of the eyeballs and variation in the face expressions of a sleeping child. This observation gave rise to rather focused hypothesis that the rapid movement of the eyeballs makes watching a dream possible.
This had set the direction of modern research on dreams, which has come a long way since then. Dreams appear to be the mode of transmitting subtle messages of the mind through a rhetorically coded language.
Whatever one sees in the dreams is a reflection of the subconscious or unconscious mind. The active dreams of the kind illustrated above are expressions of the thoughts, sentimental currents and bodily functions in general. The implicit nature of these reflections mingled with multiple flashes of memory makes it almost impossible to decode the meanings of dreams in general. Most often there may not be anything substantial in a dream.
The extrovert ambitions and agile mind of people frequently present them with abrupt dreams that are no better than a child’s play or congregation of delusions and arbitrary imaginations. Stationary dreams and dreams with intuitive messages are rare and are experienced by people whose mind is pure, serene, and stable.
Dreams of spiritually enlightened minds carry premonition, afflatus, or messages of great importance. Some people are born with spiritually charged mind because of their dedicated spiritual endeavors in the past lives.
Some develop these by disciplined control and purification of their mind and character. The dreams seen by such people in yoga-nidra, trance or deep sleeps are of significant importance. Spiritual dreams are expressions of afflatus and the subliminal voice of the inner self. Ample examples are available in the annals of history where great discoveries, divine illumination of the intellect, emergence of intuitive ideas, resolution of mysteries, realization of latent powers, etc. amazingly became possible because of dreams.
Sometimes, the divine inspirations educed by such dreams lead to sublime transformation of ordinary mortal beings into saints, mahatmas or great personalities of supernatural talents. Young prince Siddharth once dreamt that a divine soul had taken him to a graveyard. Pointing to a dead body the latter warned “look this is your body, realize the perishable nature of the body and the transient nature of life and hence make the best use of the moments of life available to you now”. Siddharth was truly awakened after this dream. He renounced all luxuries and attachments and attained ultimate knowledge thereafter through ascetic disciplines and sadhana of the highest order. Thus, a dream sparked the transmutation of Siddharth into The Buddha.
Joan of Arc the crowning glory of the French Revolution was born in an ordinary farmers family. In her dream one night, an angel reminded her to remember the great purpose of life, listen to the call of the times and kindle the torch of liberation. This message became the source of light and courage in her life and triggered her immortal participation in the French freedom movement with superhuman bravery.
Some of the dreams of Tipu Sultan, the intrepid king of Mysore also have significant place in history. He often used to be amazed by the intimations of future events given by his dreams. It became his habit to note down his experiences in a diary.
The modern trends of psychology were largely inspired by the theory of Freud. Sigmund Freud neglected the role of dreams as possible linkages between the subliminal and the gross domains of consciousness.
He rather affirmed dreams as reactions of suppressed and unfulfilled desires. In his view unsatisfied concupiscence or sexual instincts are predominant in stimulating disturbance of mind and generating psychological tides, which are expressed via dreams. Despite receiving significant support for a long time, Freuds hypothesis was criticized and proven to be incomplete by the eminent thinkers and psychologists
like Carl Gustav Jung.
Jung opined that, although the aspirations, emotions and the reactions of the ups and downs of daily life bear substantial impact on dreams, the latter couldn’t be confined to such reflections alone. He defines dreams as expressions of the “communications” of the individual consciousness with one or more of the infinitely many impulses of the cosmic consciousness. In his view, deciphering of dreams may give us some, though indirect, idea of the linkage of the individual consciousness with the omnipresent para-consciousness.
It should be noted here that the nature of dreams of an individual would depend upon his intrinsic character and tendencies. Dreams cannot generally depict those activities or aspects which are altogether different from his inclinations or which do not intersect with the domains of his interactions or are contrary to his habitual tendencies.
For example, it would be rare that a blacksmith dreams something associated with painting unless fine arts or painting happens to be of relevance or interest to him in some respect. However, this may be true only for the dreams seen by most people in general.
The dreams of divine or spiritual category do not depend upon the worldly activities or occupation of a person. The piety of one’s character, serenity of his mind and spiritual elevation of inner self happen to be the principal factors in experiences of such dreams.
Carl Jung has elucidated the power of the subconscious (and unconscious) mind in his highly recognized book “Memories, Dreams and Reflections”. He writes that the resources of knowledge available to the subconscious mind are enormous and stronger as compared to those of the conscious (external) mind. The latter relies on perceptions by the sense organs or acquisition of information and knowledge. But the subconscious mind, being a component of the unconscious or subtle (inner) mind, may acquire infinite ways of continuous enlightenment through the linkage of the latter with the eternal cosmic consciousness. The unconscious mind can receive subliminal impulses of ever-new experiences via the cosmic signals of omnipresent consciousness.
Some of the Modern psychologists like Dr. Haffner M. Roberts describe dreams as nothing more than the shadows and responses of the worldly horizons of life. Several other contemporary scholars of psychology have, however, contradicted such views. Prof. Fitz attributes dreams to be “the means of transmission of the inner expressions of mind in an esoteric language” which can also indicate the internal condition of the body and mind of the dreamer.
Dr. Strumpel deciphers subtler roles of the dreams and states that dreams depict the subliminal domains of life beyond the barriers of the conscious or the visible world. Prof. Berdek warns that the study of dreams should not be neglected by treating them as mere reflections or shadows of the day-to-day activities and hidden ambitions. Many times dreams prove to be rich sources of immense information of unique importance. Dreams are like layers of water on the surface of an ocean that might bring valuable substances along with the deeper currents and convey what lies beneath in the core.
The pearls of inner power and knowledge can be fetched with the help of these clues. Sometimes dreams help resolve a mystery or difficult problems, which were intractable by the logical thinking, reasoning and trenchancy of the conscious mind. This becomes possible because the conscious mind is overtaken by the unconscious mind during the moments of deep sleep.
The extrasensory potentials of the latter thus get a chance to transmit transcendental knowledge. Gaston Ugdiyani of Florence (Italy) had seen a distinct dream when he was seven years old. He saw himself as a priest in a temple in India. The dream was so clear and impressive that the image of the temple building remained alive in his memory for many years. It also educed an attraction in his mind. He visited India as a young man and was stunned to find, after a long search, that one of the temples in Mahabalipuram was exactly what he had seen in that dream!
He analyzed the dream and attributed this to be a reflection of the memory of a past life. Supernatural experiences of clairvoyance, vision of the invisible, premonition and intuition are also associated with the dreams of divine (or spiritual) category. Deciphering the realities and mechanisms of such dreams elucidates the possibility that individual consciousness can be connected to the vibrations of the subtle world via the medium of dreams.
The dormant state of the conscious mind and the active intellect during deep sleep coupled with the charged state of the subconscious and unconscious layers of mind may be likened with the state of mind during deep meditation (dhyana, dharna), yoga nidra and trance. It is in this state that the inspirations of the inner self can be received by our mind without any obstruction and fluctuation.
The spiritual realizations experienced by the yogis in the higher states of trance may be described the most real and vivid kinds of dreams. Mr. Tom Feature of Sidney had aroused his inner powers and trained his mind for understanding the implications of the rarely occurring transcendental dreams. He had also undergone spiritual practices (sadhanas) to elevate his intuition and willpower to find clues via dreams to meet the needs of the time. He had successfully used this supernormal ability to solve many intractable problems and mysteries posed before him.
Sir Oliver Lodge accepts such possibilities in his book “Survival of Man” (pg 112). He affirms the existence of a subtle linkage, which offers the glimpse of transcendental knowledge to the human mind. He also cites (pg 106/7) an interesting incident in this regard.
“Priest E. K. Eliot was on a voyage across the Atlantic. On the night of 14th January 1887, he received his uncle’s letter in dream informing the sad demise of his younger brother. The priest had narrated this dream in his diary the next day, stating that he can’t believe this dream because his brother had no problem except mild fever when he had left home in Switzerland. No one could imagine that he would die. But he got confirmed news of his brother’s death when he reached England. What else the above dream would be designated other than premonition or an experience of clairvoyance.”
Roman emperor Caesar was once requested by his wife Cornelia not to visit the senate because she had seen a horrifying dream the previous night. She had seen herself with untied hair, holding the bloodstained body of her husband in this dream. However, the king saw no reason to believe her dream or suspect any possibility of a scandal that time. What an ill fate, his friend Brutus assassinated him the same day in a narrow passage of the senate hall moments after he reached there.
Charles Fillmore of America was an ordinary citizen, living a dutiful, austere married life. He often used to see sacred scenes in his dreams. One night he dreamt that a stranger had taken him to a strange city. He read the name of the city as Kansas. Following the stranger, he arrived at a new place, which also was new to him because he had not visited this city before. There he was given a newspaper to read, he could hardly read the first letter “U” in it when many newspapers began to fall in his hands. Suddenly he was awake. The dream was broken. Somehow it had left a deep mark in his memory.
Charles was a deeply religious man and he used to teach people the need for and benefits of prayer, meditation and ascetic disciplines. Because of his simplicity and piety of conduct, even the nonbelievers respected his words. He also inspired many rich and socially active people. Some of them requested him one day to form an organization to spread the noble message of righteous faith and human values. In 1890 the “Society of Silent Unity” was formed. Surprisingly, the members proposed the city of Kansas as the headquarters of the society.
The place selected for housing the society’s office was indeed what Charles had seen in his dream. The society also launched a magazine from this office, which was named “Unity”. Now Charles Fillmore knew the secret of the letter “U” read by him in that divine dream. Later, along with his wife Myrtle Fillmore he founded world-renowned Unity School of Christianity. At present Unity school has an unequalled global outreach through its prayer ministry (Silent Unity), its books, magazines, audio and video material, conveying the message of human unity, love, peace and understanding. And all this started with a dream!
The Red Rock gold mines are second largest in the world. Mr. Winfield S. Stratton, the founder and owner of this estate has described in his memoirs how a miraculous dream made his fortunes. It happened when Stratton was facing bankruptcy in his business and used to rove around in search of solace and hope.
During this phase of misery, he slept under the sky on an open ground in Colorado on 4th July, 1811. An angel appeared in his dream and showed him the path to climb the mountains of Betil. The angel marked a particular spot there and uttered “here lie a great source of gold, which will enrich your fortunes for ages”. Stratton was awake the next moment with a feeling of hope and surprise. As he did not have money to invest in the new venture, Stratton narrated his dream to some friends with a request for help. They laughed and ridiculed his dream as mere delusion of his desperate mind.
Their conclusions were logical because the geological survey of that region of Colorado, conducted about eighteen years back, had shown no possibility of any valuable mineral ore there. All doors were closed for poor Stratton but his hopes and enthusiasm remained alive. A few days passed. Finally he climbed the hills as per the directions shown in the dream and also identified the right spot. He dug out some portion and found a stone of gold at a depth of few feet. Then he borrowed some money against the surety of his remaining property and purchased that golden land of Colorado. Soon he became a billionaire. Stratton considered the dream as a blessing of the almighty as a reward for his pious deeds in a past life.
As a mark of his inexplicable gratitude, he established a Church on the grounds where he saw the divine dream. He also founded a charitable trust for free education of poor and helpless children. The above examples show that if we maintain sincerity, piety and natural peace of mind, and thus, minimize the hindrances in the expression of its unconscious impulses, we too may sometime be bestowed with the miraculous knowledge and experience in dreams that we could have never imagined to attain in our wildest dreams!
The source of all knowledge, all activities and manifestations of the visible world  as we experience it, lie in the subtle, unseen world, which is beyond the reach of our perception. The gross body of a tree is seen but its roots lie beneath the surface of earth. The strength, greenery and fructification of the tree depend upon how strong and deep are its roots. The same may be true of the trees of our lives too. Usually our mind remains engrossed within the peripheries of selfish interests and passions. It therefore experiences only the dreams driven by the tamoguna. That is why our dreams are most often vague and abrupt or haphazard expressions of suppressed desires.
When the condition of our body and mind is dominated by the rajoguna, one would experience active dreams, and the things and persons encountered in the awakened state would appear in the dreams with slightly rhetoric transformations. The subconscious reflections of the bodily conditions including those caused by internal disorders (disease) are also experienced in such dreams. The divine or supernormal dreams reflecting the transcendental realities are experienced in the turiyavastha, when the aroused influence of satoguna overcomes the raja and tama. In this state the human mind gets an opportunity of direct linkage with the soul-spirit. Precognitive dreams, the dreams offering extrasensory knowledge and clairvoyance, fall in this category of higher-level dreams. A distinct class of such dreams is the tejas swapna (enlightened dreams), which, as described in the Paramhansa Parivrajak Upanishad, are perfect reflections of truth. These are exactly materialized in the future.
The gross or the visible world we live in acquires its energy and life from the subliminal world. Understanding this fact helps towards orientation of our mental and bodily activities in harmony with Nature and the omnipresent consciousness. This helps arousing the deeper potentials of our mind and heralds the possibility of attaining vibrant health and super normal talents.
The refinement and spiritual enlightenment of the inner self with the help of sincere endeavors of yoga sadhanas can establish a harmonious linkage between the subliminal and the gross worlds of life. Gnostic dreams serve this purpose, to some extent, from time to time.
Dreams – Linkage between the visible and the invisible worlds
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Miley Cyrus – Do Yoga or Go Crazy

Miley Cyrus is not just a pop star, but also a dedicated yoga practitioner. She regularly practices Ashtanga Yoga, a physically demanding yoga style that helps with core strength. Through practice and dedication, her strength and flexibility have impressively increased. The yogi often shares photos and videos of herself doing poses on her Instagram.

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In March 2016, she wrote, “Gotta do yoga not for my body but for my mind! DO YOGA or GO CRAZY!”

She claims that she does yoga not for her body but for her mind.

Yoga is a practice that will test the practitioner both physically and mentally. True to Miley’s testament, most practitioners believe that the real surrender in yoga is a mental, rather than physical, obstacle.

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Cyrus’ latest snap of her practicing yoga is pretty inspiring. Sporting her new, fully bleached blonde ‘do, Cyrus nails Kukkutasana pose. It’s part of the Ashtanga yoga series, and it’s a pretty tough pose. It requires lots of arm and core strength to lift your legs off the ground, as Cyrus demonstrates. She makes it look easy.

 

—–Read About Inspiration Series of Iron Man and Yoga.

Miley Cyrus – Do Yoga or Go Crazy
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Yoga made me Iron Man – By Robert Downey Jr. Aka – Iron Man

Iron Man? More like Yoga Man!

Robert Downey, Jr. was arrested in 2001 on drug charges, but amazingly managed to kick his addiction and has stayed clean ever since. The actor credits a combination of 12-step programs, yoga, meditation and therapy with keeping him sober.

From there, Downey started working steadily, appearing in films such as Gothika, A Scanner Darkly, Zodiac and Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang.

Downey’s star-power rose in 2008 when he starred in the summer blockbusters Iron Man and Tropic Thunder, earning his second Oscar nomination for the latter. Downey then starred in The Avengers and subsequent Iron Man movies, making him a critical player for Marvel.

The fact that Robert Downey Jr.’s career seems to improve by Yoga Meditation and Therapies he took to stay sober makes his comeback one of the most impressive and inspiring stories.

We’re proud of you, Iron Man, and you look even cooler than we previously thought you could when you carry around a yoga mat.

Yoga made me Iron Man – By Robert Downey Jr. Aka – Iron Man
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Kapha, Pitta, Vata – What is your Dosha?

Ayurveda is a holistic science of health, focusing on maintaining a physically and emotionally balanced state. Ayurveda began about 5,000 – 6,000 years ago when Indian monks were looking for new ways to be healthy. Revering their bodies like temples, the monks believed that preserving their health would help them meditate and develop spiritually. Over thousands of years of observations, they gathered all their conclusions and advice and preserved it for future generations. This collection of knowledge came to be known as the “science or knowledge of life” — Ayurveda.

How is Ayurveda different from modern medicine?

In Ayurveda, every individual is unique and there is no diet or lifestyle routine that works for everyone.

Prevention is key. Ayurveda focuses on providing specific advice and guidance on how to maintain physical and emotional health.

Food and lifestyle routines are considered the most important medicine. If you come to an Ayurvedic doctor with a complaint, you are more likely to leave with a recipe than with a prescription for pills.

How does Ayurveda work?

Ayurveda is based on the principles of three doshas. Doshas are the energies that make up every individual, which perform different physiological functions in the body:

The 3 Dosha types:

  1. Vata Dosha — Energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and your heartbeat.

In balance: There is creativity and vitality.

Out of balance: Can produce fear and anxiety.

vata body dosha

  1. Pitta Dosha — Energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and your body’s temperature.

In balance: Leads to contentment and intelligence.

Out of balance: Can cause ulcers and anger.

pitta body dosha

  1. Kapha Dosha — Energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system.

In balance: Expressed as love and forgiveness.

Out of balance: Can lead to insecurity and envy.

Kapha body dosha

Each person has all three Doshas, but usually one or two dominate. Various Dosha proportions determine one’s physiological and personality traits, as well as general likes and dislikes. For example Vata types will prefer hot weather to cold and Kapha types are more likely to crave spicy foods than other types.

Characteristics Of Each Mind/Body Type

Vata Predominant Types: Creative; Quick to learn and grasp new knowledge, but also quick to forget, Slender; Tall and a fast-walker; Tendency toward cold hands and feet, discomfort in cold climates; Excitable, lively, fun personality; Changeable moods; Irregular daily routine; High energy in short bursts; Tendency to tire easily and to overexert; Full of joy and enthusiasm when in balance; Responds to stress with fear, worry, and anxiety, especially when out of balance; Tendency to act on impulse; Often have racing, disjointed thoughts; Generally have dry skin and dry hair and don’t perspire much.

Pitta Predominant Types: Medium physique, strong, well-built; Sharp mind, good concentration powers; Orderly, focused; Assertive, self-confident, and entrepreneurial at their best; Aggressive, demanding, pushy when out of balance; Competitive, enjoy challenges; Passionate and romantic; Strong digestion, strong appetite, get irritated if they have to miss or wait for a meal; When under stress, Pittas become irritated and angry; Skin fair or reddish, often with freckles; sunburns easily; Uncomfortable in sun or hot weather, heat makes them very tired; Perspire a lot; Good public speakers; Generally good management and leadership ability, but can become authoritarian; Subject to temper tantrums, impatience, and anger; Typical physical problems include rashes or inflammations of the skin, acne, boils, skin cancer, ulcers, heartburn, acid stomach, insomnia, dry or burning eyes.

Kapha Predominant Types: Easygoing, relaxed, slow-paced; Affectionate and loving; Forgiving, compassionate, nonjudgmental nature; Stable and reliable; faithful; Physically strong and with a sturdy, heavier build; Have the most energy of all constitutions, but it is steady and enduring; Slow speech, reflecting a deliberate thought process; Slower to learn, but outstanding long-term memory; Soft hair and skin; tendency to have large “soft” eyes and a low, soft voice; Tend toward being overweight; may also suffer from sluggish digestion; Prone to depression; More self-sufficient; Gentle, and essentially undemanding approach to life; Excellent health, good immune system; Very calm; strive to maintain harmony and peace in their surroundings; Not easily upset and can be a point of stability for others; Tend to be possessive and hold on to things. Don’t like cold, damp weather; Physical problems include colds and congestion, sinus headaches, respiratory problems including asthma, allergies, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

How do I determine my type?

Most books and websites on Ayurveda will offer questionnaires that can be used to determine your mind/body constitution. My favorite one is offered by Holistic Online, which is very detailed and thorough. Most questionnaires are very similar and will provide similar results. Please keep in mind that shorter questionnaires will give a more generalized and approximate result. Also, your body changes with age, seasons, and life situations so the results will change as well. Taking a few different questionnaires will give you a more definite result for your Dosha type.

I know my Dosha type, now what?

Now you should try to follow the diet and lifestyle routine that fits your mind/body constitution. For example, if you are predominantly Vata, you should include more cooked, warm foods, stay away from icy drinks, and add more warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to your food. This will prevent any digestion issues that Vata types tend to get, as well, as anxiety, dry skin, or insomnia. Here are some general guidelines for each type:

General Health Tips for Vata Types: Maintain regular habits, try to eat and sleep at the same time every night. Get enough rest and choose foods that are warm, cooked, nourishing, and easy to digest. Sweet berries, fruits, small beans, rice, and all nuts and dairy products are good choices for Vata types. Exercise intensity should be moderate. A more meditative yoga, Tai chi, walking, and swimming are all good. Avoid strenuous and frantic activities. General Health Tips for Pitta Types: It’s important for Pittas to keep cool by avoiding overexposure to direct sunlight and fried and spicy foods. Avoid alcohol and tobacco, overworking, and overheating. When aggravated, susceptible to feeling negative emotions like hostility, hatred, intolerance, and jealousy. Choose fresh vegetables and fruits that are watery and sweet, especially cherries, mangoes, cucumbers, water melon, and avocado. Have lots of salads with dark greens such as arugula, dandelions, and kale. Avoid conflicts. Cultivate the virtues of honesty, morality, kindness, generosity, and self-control.

General Health Tips For Kapha Types

It’s important to be active on a daily basis as Kapha types are prone to sluggishness, depression, and being overweight. Getting out of the house and actively seeking new experiences is also recommended. Be receptive to useful change, be intentional in implementing life-enhancing actions. Choose foods that are light, warm, and spicy. Tea with dried ginger and lemon is a great pick-me-up for Kaphas. Avoid heavy oily and processed sugars, which are detrimental to Kaphas. Use lots of spices such as black pepper, ginger, cumin, chili and lots of bitter dark greens.

vata pitta kapha body dosha

Kapha, Pitta, Vata – What is your Dosha?
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Five Things You Did Not Know About Teaching Yoga

A Yoga Teacher is a learner as well, an educator who is always striving for more knowledge and gaining new skills to bring improvements in his curriculum and impart better lessons. He goes beyond the conventional ways to add versatility to his existing format and bring something new and refreshing in his lesson. He is not only an educationist but also a guide and a counselor who can nurture his student’s inherent capabilities to make them capable enough to become a good teacher and a better human being.

However following are the few tips that can help the teacher to add value to an existing format of teaching:

Start the Class with Savasana

Generally, Savasana is done towards the middle or the end of the session, but if it is performed in the beginning, it can be very beneficial for the students who come to attend the session after their hectic schedule, so they are tired. Few minutes of Savasana can be very relaxing and can mentally prepare them to perform the poses.

Give Time for Meditation

Avoid starting the session with heavy poses. If you see students are drained, motivate them to sit with their eyes closed and meditate for few minutes. Teach them some meditation techniques, which would cool their mind and make them more at ease and then start the session but with lighter poses.

Modify the Poses

Many students attends yoga with a history of illness or a physical injury, or they might be currently suffering from any illness or pain, so it is highly suggested to modify the poses that suit their physical needs. The main skill lies in making space for them so that they feel comfortable in performing poses. If you feel breaking down the sequences will be more beneficial for the students, do it.

Teach Variations in Poses

If a student finds difficulty in performing a pose, provide a variation and teach how to perform it well. Demonstrate the variation and show how easy it would be if it is performed in a slightly modified way. The customized variation technique would make students feel comfortable in performing the asana.

Show Positive Attitude

Start your class with a positive note, an anecdote or a small story. These few words can fill the students with enthusiasm to perform their best.

The true skill of Yoga Master lies in on how well they teach the poses through modifications and necessary adjustments. Besides, Yoga teacher always tries to create an emotional connection with the students to understand them well. And a feeling of happiness and satisfaction, which they get after the class, cannot be described in words.

Five Things You Did Not Know About Teaching Yoga
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