Archive for May 19, 2011

pd yoga

  Keep in mind that everyone is different and comparing yourself to anyone else is a pointless exercise. What’s most important is simply being true to yourself.

I read a book by Martha Beck called Finding Your Own North Star. In it, she tells the story of how she finished, finally, her dissertation. The enormity of the task had stopped her cold; her education had simply stalled there, just before the finish line. After months of inaction, she decided to break it down into manageable pieces; she vowed to write for six hours every day. It was less than she thought she should be doing, but she could tell right away that it was still too much. Her body and brain were resisting.

She cut it in half – 3 hours a day – but she could still feel it, the emphatic inner NO. Even at half an hour a day, she felt the resistance. It wasn’t until she got down to 15 minutes a day that she felt herself relax. It felt doable and, as it turned out, it was. It took her a year, but she did finish “the damn thing,” writing 15 minutes a day.

Honestly, I write more than 15 minutes a day now, but it’s usually for specific writing projects. I’ve been frustrated that I haven’t had more time to play, to just write wild and see what happens. With all that I have going on, writing like that never feels like an effective use of my time. Until now. I’m calling it an experiment (to encourage the kind of writing that term implies) and I’m committing here, to you, that I will make it happen for 15 minutes every day in February

Yoga means, “to yoke together” or “union”. In the yogic sense it is the merging together of the body, mind and our intuitive or emotional side.
The physical postures that many associate with “Yoga” are the “asana” practice, which is only one of eight limbs of Yoga.
Yoga is a state to be reached. It is a state of happiness and contentment reached when the body, mind, emotions are healthy and working in harmony. Yoga is not necessarily something one does, but rather something one experiences when one includes “yogic practices” into your daily routine and into life.

According to the sage Patanjali who lived hundreds of years ago ( 200 – 500 BC), Yoga is a personal journey into the workings of the mind and understanding how our thoughts and actions are linked with our bodies. There are eight categories of practice which when included into one’s daily life lead to a state of contentment and happiness. “Asana” or physical practice being one of these eight practices.

• Patanjali’s Eight Practices.

 The eight fold path described by Patanjali in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are not necessarily linear or progressive. One can adopt any of these practices at any time, in any order into ones life and still feel yoga happening. But to really achieve a full state of contentment and happiness it is recommended that all of the eight limbs be explored.

  1. Yamas  – Ethical Disciplines to adopt in ones life
  2. Niyamas – Principles to put into daily practice
  3. Asana – Physical Postures (What is referred to as “yoga” in the West)
  4. Pranayama – Control of the breath
  5. Pratyahara – Conscious withdrawal of the senses
  6. Dharana – Concentration
  7. Dhyana – Meditation
  8. Samadhi – Absolute absorption – Super Conscious State


Ahimsa – non-harming
Satya – a respect for the truth – truthfulness
Asteya – non stealing
Brahmacharya – temperance, self-control, desireless – ness. Being desire less.
Aparigraha – non-coveting, non greed


Saucha – purity, cleanliness, both internal and external. In thought in speech as well as body.
Santosha – conscious cultivation of contentment. Being aware of negative thought patterns and behaviour.
Tapas – willingness to sacrifice in order to learn more about oneself.
Svadyaya – self study rather than the study of others. Self-knowledge and self-understanding.
Isvara-pranidhana – acceptance and surrendering. Accepting what is and that which cannot be changed.


Various physical postures of which there are many, interpreted in many different ways by many teachers! Some are set sequences, some use flowing movements, others use heated studios, some are more precise in their positioning . . . in time one finds a style of physical practice to suit your personality and temperament.


Manipulating the breath! Yes, we all breathe, daily otherwise we would not be alive! But how often are we aware of our breath and how it is used by the body to maintain life!
In Eastern philosophy ones life force is called PRANA (energy). We have individual prana and the Universe has prana. There is prana in all living things By manipulating the breath we can manipulate our life force and work more effectively with our body and our minds.


Learning to withdraw our senses and to not be affected or influenced by them. By doing so we learn to control the activities of our mind and in turn our emotions and the way we interact with our environment. We can choose how we respond to other people or situations on our life path. We can do so in a healthy positive manner or an unhealthy negative manner. Practicing pratyahara gives us skills to do this


Learning to focus our attention and our mind activity through the practice of concentration. There are many tools for this. Memorising a song, concentrating on a puzzle, or a picture or a candle flame. In Eastern philosophy the use of a Mantra helps to discipline the mind.


Meditation. By creating the right environment, meditation happens. Sometimes described as a state of conscious deep sleep, other times the absolute stilling of the mind, or finding that deep state of peace and tranquility within. One cannot teach meditation any more than one can teach, “falling asleep”. One can only facilitate the right environment. But one needs to practice the preparation and provide the right circumstances for meditation to happen.


A state of one pointed absorption, the experience of unity with all.  Supreme happiness.

yoga class -same steps as taught in class at rkmath

The Twelve PosturesDownload Video Click Here...

1. Pranamasana (Salutation posture)

Stand erect with feet together. Join the palms together in front of the chest. Concentrate on standing straight, steady and in a prayerful attitude. This posture helps to induce a state of introversion, relaxation and calmness. It activates the anahata chakra. Exhale fully.

2. Hastauttanasana (Raised arm posture)

Inhaling stretch both arms above the head, palms facing upward. Arch the back and stretch the whole body. This posture stretches the chest and the abdomen and lifts the Prana (energy) upward to the upper parts of the body propelled by inhalation.

3. Padahastasana (Hand to foot posture)

Exhaling bend the body forward and down, keeping the spine straight. Avoid collapsing the chest or “over-rounding” the upper back. Keep the legs straight and perpendicular to the ground. The knees may be allowed to bend a little if needed. This posture massages the abdominal organs, especially the liver, kidneys, pancreas, adrenals, uterus and ovaries. The power of digestion increases and female disorders such as prolapse and menstrual irregularities are relieved. A healthy flow of blood is sent to the spinal nerves as they are stretched and toned. The hamstring muscles at the back of the thigh and calf muscles are stretched and toned. Inversion increases blood flow to the brain. The Prana is channeled to the lower regions of the body propelled by exhalation.

4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian posture)

On your next inhalation, extend the left leg back and drop the knee to the ground. The right knee is bent and kept between the hands and the right foot placed flat on the ground. Lift the spine and open the chest. Concentrate at the eyebrow center.

5. Parvatasana (Mountain posture)

On the exhalation bring the right leg back to join with the left leg. Simultaneously raise the buttocks and lower the head between the arms, so that the body forms a triangle with the floor. Try to place the heels flat on the ground. Focus awareness at the neck area. This posture strengthens the nerves and muscles in the arms and legs, stretches the calf muscles and Achilles’ tendons and makes the spine straight and taut. It relieves varicose veins and tones spinal nerves. Maintaining the posture take a deep inhalation.

6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Salutation with eight limbs)

Exhaling gently drop both knees to the ground and slowly slide the body down at an angle as you bring the chest and chin to the ground. All eight limbs – toes, knees, chest, hands and chin – touch the floor. The buttocks are kept up. Hold the breath. This posture develops the chest and strengthens arms. It sends additional blood to this area helping to rejuvenate the nerves.

7. Bhujangasana (Cobra posture)

On the inhalation, lower the hips while pushing the chest forward and upward with the hands, until the spine is fully arched and the head is facing up. The knees and lower abdomen remain above the floor. Focus the awareness at the base of spine and feel the tension from the forward pull. This pose gives dynamic expansion to the organs of the chest and abdomen, relieving many ailments such as asthma, constipation, indigestion, kidney and liver problems. It is very helpful in relieving tension in the back muscles and spinal nerves.

8. Parvatasana (Mountain posture)
Exhale and get back to posture 5.
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian posture)

Inhale and swing the right leg forward between the hands. The left leg remains back. Resume posture 4.

10. Padahastasana (Hand to foot posture)

Exhaling, bring the left foot forward. Join both legs and resume posture 3.

11. Hastauttanasana (Raised arm posture)

Inhale, raise the trunk up and bend backward. Resume posture 2.

12. Pranamasana (Salutation posture)

Straighten the body and bring the hands in front of the chest. Resume posture 1.

Note: Download Video Click Here...

The above constitutes one half of a round of Surya namaskara. To complete the other half the same movements are repeated except that the right leg is brought back in posture 4 and the left foot is brought forward in posture 9. So one full round consists of the exercises done twice. Practice up to 6 rounds in the morning and 6 rounds in the evening.

When the exercises are done a little quickly, the gain is more physical while if they are done slowly with breath awareness the gain is more mental and spiritual.

If for any reason, the above directions seem confusing, it is best to see the Surya Namaskar in visual flow. It will help you do the practice correctly without the risk of doing harm to your body.

If for any reason, the above directions seem confusing, it is best to see the Surya Namaskar in visual flow. It will help you do the practice correctly without the risk of doing harm to your body.

You can now download the video of Surya Namaskar at a nominal charge of $2 to cover our bandwidth costs. To download the video, Click here.

Incorporate the Surya Namaskar into your daily routine and make a positive difference to your life.