YOGA – “union” or “communion” – root: “yuj” – “to yoke or to harness” – The union of the individual will to the will of God. Hatha yoga: Ha= Sun, tha = Moon – yoking of sun/moon (male/female) energies in our body.
Yoga ASANAS = “to sit or rest in the seat of the self”– are series of postures done with breath that lead to inquiries into the body as it relates to our emotions, mind and Spirit. The practice of yoga helps the body release blockages so that body, emotions, mind, and spirit are One. Yoga strengthens the body for stillness and meditation. Yoga is not philosophical and has nothing to do with belief. It is more of a science of being – it is about experience. It is about being in the “now.” According to Don Stapleton’s Interdisciplinary Yoga Teacher Training™ Manual (Nosara Yoga Institute, www.nosarayoga.com , p 24)– it gives us the opportunity to experience and witness the body “AS IS” – “the Basic Skill of Awareness through Internal Scanning … accepting the moment as is, accepting yourself and your experience as it is manifesting.” This is done without trying to change yourself or others. Also see Stapleton’s book Self-Awakening Yoga,…Rochester: Healing Arts Press (2004), p. 124 “the possibility of witnessing our experience without being identified with it.” Similar to Jesus’ notion of “be in the world but not of the world.” Or at crucifixion “Father, into your hands, I place my Spirit” (Luke 23:46). Fr. Thomas Ryan equates yoga as the hardware to which we bring our own faith software (in New Yoga Classes, Poses and Prayer, The New York Times, Sept. 17, 2005, p. 10.).
MEDITATION – The spontaneous flow of the mind towards the Divine. Concentration to Oneness – Self Knowledge. Overcomes the fear of death – the root of all fears. Meditation frees us from the bondage of mind and body and lifts us up towards the Infinite Self. Per. St. Theresa Avilla – gets rid of the “fool in the house.” Meditation unloads the effects of stress. 10-20 minutes in the morning, to empty the subconscious from the night; 10-20 minutes before dinner or bed, to empty the conscious from the day. Sit in a position, with the torso erect but not rigid, that can be kept without moving for the duration. Focus on the breath and where you are at this moment. Set your intention to be connected with Spirit (as you define it). Close your eyelids and focus on your “third eye”. Repeat mantra and/or your breath or stare at candle without blinking for as long as possible. When the mind wonders – notice it and then detach by returning focus to mantra, breath or candle.
MANTRA – “instrument of thought”- a sacred word or phrase that is repeated to help quiet and focus the mind for meditation. Abba, Allah, Amma, Aramantha, Jesus, love, Om, Peace, Shalom
CHAKRAS – “nerves” or “wheels”of energy levels of consciousness within our bodies. Modern science explains them as chemical changes produced by the endocrine glands, ductless glands whose secretions, hormones, mix into the body’s bloodstream directly and instantaneously (Stapleton, training manual, ref. above, p. 433) Also, see: Ryan, Thomas (Fr – CSP) Prayer of Heart & Body- Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice, New York: Paulist Press, 1995, pp.169-178 Chapter on “Kundalini Energy, Chakras and Astral Bodies” for Christian interpretation. Additional source: Quincy Howe’s “Mystical Christianity – A Yogic View of Christ” in Yoga International, March 2005, #82, pp.78-85 in which he quotes John 14:1-2 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” and “ Let not your heart be troubled; ye who believe in God, believe in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you” and Luke 17:20 “The kingdom of God is within you.” Below is a brief description of: the colors, areas of the body and issues/attributes for each Chakra energy center taken from various sources listed in footnote:
RED –Earth -Lower part of the body and legs – basic needs and survival –elimination -the right to exist
“It is in pardoning that we are pardoned” –St. Francis of Assisi
ORANGE – Water -Reproductive organs – emotions and creativity – the right to feel
“To live a creative life, we must loose our fear of being wrong.” Joseph Chilton Pearce
YELLOW- Fire -Solar plexus – abdomen area – power center – the right to “be” distinct from others while open to others. “Once you know who you are, nothing can stop you.” Stedman Graham
GREEN – Air - Heart and arms – love for ourselves and others – the right to love and be loved
“God is love.” 1 John 4:8 “The best deed of a great man is to forgive and forget.” –Qur’an 64:14
BLUE – Sound -Throat and shoulders – the right to speak our truth – creativity –the gift of choice
“To see what is right and not to do it is to lack courage or principle” Confucius
INDIGO – Light -Space between the eyes “third eye” – the right to see truth – intuition –knowledge and wisdom. “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” Anais Nin
VIOLET-WHITE – Consciousness-Thought -crown of the head – self-realization – oneness with the Universe. “All things are possible to those who believe” – Mark 9:17-24
Your aura – field of energy that surrounds the body
“Your human talent of radiance is strongest and most vibrant when you are carrying out your soul’s mission on earth” Gurmukh
NAMASTE/NAMASKAR: “The Divine that is in you is the same Divine that is within me” (Hindu) Christian parallel: (John 20: 11-18) See Fr. Thomas Keating, The Mystery of Christ, The Liturgy as Spiritual Experience, Chapter 2 PartXIII, The Easter-Ascension Mystery Mary Magdalene Meets the Risen Christ, http://www.centeringprayer.com “OM: “ Om' is the primal sound or vibration from which the entire universe constantly emanates. It is the sound of creative departure and return. It is thus the essence of all Mantra. The sounding of 'Om' is the beginning of a transformative process which delivers us to a state of awareness enabling us to actually experience identity with the supreme Creative Principle. www.shantimandir.com/glossary/glossary.htm For a Christian perspective, see Prayer by Abhishiktānanda, ISPCK (Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge), 1999, p. 120, “Om introduces us to the mystery of the Spirit, the Person of God who is neither uttered nor begotten, yet the One who alone reveals the mystery of the Son, the Only begotten, the Word of God, and the One who murmurs in the sanctuary of the heart the Abba of divine sonship. …ABBA is the mystery of the Son, OM the mystery of the Spirit…. The Father is the last, or fourth, part of the OM, which is pure silence.” (John 1:1) “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” SAT-NAM: (Truth-I call upon) I am Truth (Hindu). Christian equivalent: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32) WAHE GURU : “The Almighty” – Ultimate Exctasy. Wahe, not really translatable; Guru – Master/Teacher
OM SHANTI -PEACE
Fahri, Donna. The Breathing Book, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996. Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, with Cathryn Michon. The 8 Human Talents- Restore the Balance and Serenity Within You with Kundalini Yoga. New York, HarperCollins, 2000. Myss, Caroline. Invisible Acts of Power – Personal Choices that Create Miracles. New York: Free Press, 2004. Stapleton, Don. Self-Awakening Yoga – The Expansion of Consciousness through the Body’s Own Wisdom. Rochester: Inner Traditions, 2004. Swami Adiswarananda, Meditation & Its Practices: A Definitive Guide to Techniques and Traditions of Meditation in Yoga and Vedanta. Woodstock, VT, 2003 in “Yoga International”, Nov. 2004, #80, pp 68-75 Chakra image above: http://fbha.net/services/chakra-healing/
Marie Fortini 937-608-8943 firstname.lastname@example.org - Dayton, OH area Instructor
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