Shaktiananda Yoga for Body, Mind and Soul Yogic Teachings in the Ashtanga Tradition of Raja Yoga, Tantra Yoga, & Kundalini Yoga

Journey of Health, Knowing and Joy

Yogic Practices

 

"Yoga brings balance and harmony through a life of self-discipline.
  Yoga is a path of wholeness that purifies and strengthens
the body, mind and soul for Self-realization."
 
 ~Gurudevi, Satguru Shri Mahashaktiananda 
 

 

 

Five Requirements of Yogic Practices

1.)  Gas or fuel for the body comes from the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and a small amount from the radiation of the sun’s rays. Most of the energy for the body we get is from the air we breathe, and not as is commonly assumed from food and water.

2.)  Electric current, pranic energy, is supplied from the solar plexus, which is the storage battery for the body. Lack of energy will put the whole system out of order.

3.)  Cooling system for the body is provided through relaxation.

4.)  Lubrication of the joints is achieved by various bodily movements. The nerve currents carry electricity in human beings.

5.)  Directing Intelligence, or the mind, should be properly controlled. Prayer, devotion to the one Supreme Being, love, courage, discrimination between the real and the unreal, will train the mind as an intelligent driver.

 

Formula of Yogic Exercises

Yogic exercises are all based on the formula of stretching, relaxation, deep breathing, and increasing circulation and concentration. Modern physical exercises require more energy than Yogic exercises. Every violent movement burns up lots of energy and more lactic acids are formed in the muscle fibers by such quick movements which is more tiresome to the muscles. The slow gentle movements of the joints during Yoga practice waste no energy. Deep breathing with mild retention during the practice allows for more oxygen absorption. Less lactic acid is produced and, as this is easily neutralized by the alkali, it avoids muscle fatigue.

 

When twisting and other movements of various joints occur the blood vessels are pulled and stretched and blood is equally distributed to every part of the body. The stretched muscles and ligaments during the Yogic practice are immediately relaxed, carrying more energy to the muscle fibers. Energy flows into the relaxed muscles, just as water flows through an open vessel.

 

The Eight Parts of Yogic Culture

There are 840,000 poses according to the Yoga Shastras of which 84 are important. Shaktiananda Yoga teaches all of the main poses with their variations. The meditative poses in the Yogic culture is divided into eight parts:

 

  1. Yama, ethics
  2. Niyama, religious observances, reflection
  3. Asanas, postures
  4. Pranayama, breathing exercises
  5. Pratyahara, withdrawal of senses from objects
  6. Dhyana, meditation
  7. Dhyana, meditation
  8. Samadhi, superconsciousness 

The Two Groups of Yogic Practices

             Cultural Postures

The Cultural Postures are the asanas that imitate various aspects of God in the form of animals and divine states of being. Shaktiananda Yoga postures include the 12 Basic Asanas and more advanced variations of these and more.

 

Meditative Postures

  1. Lotus pose (Padmasan)
  2. Adept’s pose (Siddhasan)
  3. Ankle lock pose (Swastikasan)
  4. Easy pose (Sukasan)
  5. Kneeling pose (Vajrasan)
  6. Sitting upright in a chair.



The Meditative Postures are very important when practicing the breathing exercises and meditation.  One should strive to sit in any one of the four top positions for one to two hours at a stretch without moving.  


First of all, an erect position of the spine will keep it in its natural curve. Keep the head, neck, and trunk in one straight line.  Secondly, training the body to sit for long periods without movements reduces its metabolic processes to a minimum.  When the body is kept in a steady position for a long time, the mind becomes free from all physiologic disturbances caused by physical activities of the body.
   

 

A straight spine helps the students to concentrate because in the straight position there is a steady flow of nerve energy through the body which can be felt through the spine.  This nerve energy (prana) can be increased for spiritually awakening through breathing exercises (pranayama) and concentration on the pranic flow in the spine which leads to the initiation and practice of the ancient technique known as Shakti Kriya.  


The Himalayan Master Mahavatar Babaji gave this technique through the line of Gurus.   

 

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