Call it something else!

“What I teach isn’t yoga. I just call it yoga, because then more people will come,” said a gymnastics teacher in a Danish town. On a larger scale something similar has happened first in fitness centres in the USA, and now also in Europe, where a few so called “yoga” trends have cropped up. Common to these movements is that they limit themselves to a few physical exercises, which are performed in an extremely fast or strenuous manner - a manner which was never a part of the yogic tradition. Through use of proper yoga, you keep the body healthy and supple, and the mind sound - without letting yourself be dominated by the physical or the mental. The exercises, or the way you perform the exercises in these new movements, may give a brief kick. But this is a case of an amputated yoga, where the deepgoing effects are lacking. Nor do you find the finer breathing exercises here, or the deep relaxation - not to mention meditation - and therefore you do not get the benefits of these methods either, such as balance and a general view. One participant relates that relaxation is avoided between the exercises during the hectic “yoga” session - “so as not to lose concentration!” But then you miss training an essential ability. It is not only while doing the exercises that concentration should be present and also grow. And if you get “cold” between the exercises, or “bored”, then you should find a school with better facilities and teachers with a thorough training.

The yogis are turning in their graves

Editorial by Swami Janakananda

Through the use of genuine yoga, apart from the feeling of well being you go home with, you get an ongoing effect, which builds up over time through practice.

Gene-manipulated yoga

In our school we have something we call weeds in our teaching. This is when the instructions we give as teachers suddenly, or gradually, depart from the original. This can happen consciously or unconsciously. You get ideas, you start changing the way

of performing the postures, the breathing exercises, the concentration techniques, the relaxations or the meditations. When we discover that weeds have crept in, we consider it in relation to what we have learnt from the tradition, especially from Swami Sivananda and Swami Satyananda. A yoga that by oral tradition goes back thousands of years, and which is also expressed in the classical scriptures Gheranda Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika (both between


500 and 600 years old) and Yoga Sutra (probably 2300 years old). It is this tradition of yoga that is the basis of a large part of the medical research done on yoga in the 20th century. As regards the Yoga Sutras, one of the “yoga” movements makes use of this scripture in a totally distorted manner, among other ways with their name. If we happen to tamper with yoga’s “genes”, structure or design, we ask ourselves whether we are improving on thousands of years of experience. A material that we as individuals and teachers have tested thoroughly in every way, thereby achieving the effects intended from yoga. Can yoga be made easier? Hardly. If you follow a harmonious course of teaching, without haste, then the exercises are always easy enough, because you move forward by degrees. Yoga has a style of its own, a mood and a rhythm of its own which aims at giving both energy and a greater ability to go deep, and it is this that makes it effective.

cultural tradition which often expresses itself, for instance in the USA, unfortunately breeds a we-know-better attitude and a lack of respect for the knowledge achieved over generations. That we have a common human heritage here on this earth is unknown. Time is not taken to go deep and discover what yoga really is and what it can do. Ignorance combined with an exaggerated fascination with acrobatics and manic “fitness” exercises, make people believe that they can improve yoga. Is there no understanding that self-knowledge, peace, and resting in yourself is timeless, that it has been attained by those gone before, and that you can learn from them? You may pretend to know everything, but all you do is change yoga according to your limited knowledge. Well, then you end up going round in the circles of your own illusions and expectations. “Thousand year old experience!?” - “So what!” “It’s become a bit old fashioned and dusty, let’s pep it up a bit and sell it under the same name!” What is happening to yoga now, happened fifteen or twenty years ago to the term Chakra. It was also taken out of the original yoga with its experience, exercises, and guidance, and broadcasted by people who claimed to possess a deeper knowledge. The main part of this “knowledge” is based mostly on their own fantasy and imagination.

I stand on my head for health 5
Chris has not had a day sick for 36 years.

Why hold your breath? Plenty of oxygen

The yogic breathing exercises have a thorough and precise effect. The doctor was nervous: Is there a lack of oxygen when I do breathing exercises and hold the breath? So he investigated the matter.

6 8

Breathe through your nose!

This provides more oxygen to the blood, strengthens the immune system, and is also beneficial for the heart. An improved balance in the brain makes you clear, optimistic and extrovert. How does the yogi handle an expanded awareness - a discussion with the residents of Håå Course Center - based on a text by Swami Satyananda.


An EEG study of the brain during Nadi Shodana 11 On the path to a greater 14 awareness by Swami Janakananda

A culture without roots...

Contemporary Western culture is to a great extent without wisdom. It suffers from a foolishness, which brings the individual up to be dependent, and does everything to seduce in particular children and young people, turning them into consumers. Every culture ends in disintegration sooner or later, history shows us this, but our so-called civilisation runs the risk of destroying itself before its time. Restlessness, superficiality and the search for slick or oversimplified methods dominate the spirit of today - and that is not exactly what you are looking for in yoga. The culture, or rather the lack of

Swami Janakananda Han-shan

30 years as Swami - 60 years in life. - poems from Cold Mountain.

32 36 38 42 43

Swami Janakananda
in Europe and Australia

About breathing

The precise effect of each exercise in yoga is so well established, that you may well marvel at the knowledge that those who “invented” yoga possessed of humankind. This is true especially of the breathing during the exercises. Still, some people have tried to “improve” yoga in this area

Yoga shop Intensive courses

in the south of Sweden Håå Course Center provides ideal conditions for you to get to know yourself - an opportunity to explore your potential through our unique way of teaching.


also. By suggesting, for example, that you should breathe through the mouth instead of through the nose during certain exercises. This should be sufficiently refuted by the studies done at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm (see p. 9). Also with regard to the breathing exercises in yoga, it is best to keep to the original guidance, to ensure a stable cleansing, distribution and strengthening of the energy. In this issue of Bindu we have chosen to relate some of the more fundamental effects of the breathing exercises in yoga, seen through the eyes of science and of the yogi.

Danish weekly magazine Familie Journalen (see next page). Of course you can stand on your head, even if you don’t call it yoga - it is said that the French comedy writer Molière did, “because it did him good”. It may be assumed that the yoga tradition was not known in France in those days, but maybe he learned it from the theatre, from Comedia del’ Arte. Who knows? Not everybody wants to practise yoga, but those who are looking for what yoga has to offer, shouldn’t be conned by a false trade description. Those of us who know the effects of yoga may not need to read the growing amount of data from scientific research now available on yoga and meditation. However, it might be good to have a mirror so as to see yoga from the outside, and here science is a great help. But if science is to be credible in the future, it should not only describe the effects of a yoga exercise, but also exactly how it is performed, and what background both the teacher and the person doing the exercise have. “If you do yoga only for the sake of outer beauty, maybe you should go to a beauty parlour instead. Yoga gives you more than this.” (Swami Satyananda, some time in the seventies) I wonder whether Swami Satyananda could have imagined the following advert from somewhere in Sweden 1999.

Yoga is catching

From time to time our culture has let itself be influenced by yoga, and its exercises have been used also in other contexts. This is of course positive. One example of this is shoulderstand, which is used, or at least was used when I went to school, in the gymnastics classes. In this instance it is good that the exercise be performed in a fairly brief manner together with other gymnastic exercises, not as in yoga where you stand quite still in it for a lengthy period of time. It is actually one of the few yoga poses that children should not do (in a “yogic” manner) before their glands are fully developed. A recent, not so successful example is so-called stretching, where you certainly stretch some muscles, but in comparison to yoga, in a superficial and hasty manner. This therefore gives quite different, and even in some cases unwanted effects, if certain recent studies are to be taken into account. A positive example of how to use an exercise, even though it’s not quite the way it “should” be done, we find in the article about headstand, which we have been permitted to publish from the

Anita Parlour Hairdresser Body Therapy Courses in Meditation

When it comes down to it, the physical yoga, when used correctly so the desired effects are achieved, is only a stepping stone towards a higher yoga and what is meant by this, see the article beginning on page 14.q


I stand on my head for my health
Chris has not had a day sick for 36 years
For some it is a case of what you lack in your head, you must have in your legs. This does not apply to Hundested’s Chris Sylvest. He is supposedly Denmark’s best 92 year old at standing on the head. And Chris does not do it to boast of his gymnastic abilities, but to keep himself healthy!
- In the middle of the fifties I emigrated, together with my wife and two sons, to the USA. My wealthy sister had a place to live and work for us in California. And by and large it went very well. But in 1958 I was affected by something in my head. I still don’t know what it was. It was incredibly unpleasant though. My brain was affected and I got worse and worse - I was actually about to die. We were at our wit’s end. But then something happened that I would call a miracle. We were in the USA for 14 years. During that time we read neither Danish newspapers nor magazines. But when I became ill in 1958, an old edition of Familie Journalen (The Family Journal) fell into our laps. I still don’t know where it came from. In the magazine there was an article about a watchmaker from Ålborg (a town in the north of Denmark), who had cured a violent migraine by standing on his head for 10 minutes every day. I took to the idea at once. A month and a half later I was completely cured. Since then I have stood on my head for 10 minutes every morning – and I haven’t had a day sick for 36 years. Isn’t that incredible? Chris Sylvest gesticulates with the whole of his slender body, while telling about his health and his long, long, life.

by Benny Pedersen

Healthy as a 25 year old

- A few months ago I was examined from top to toe by two doctors – quite independent of each other. And they both reached the same conclusion: “Your body functions completely normally – for a man of 25!” My own doctor, after having examined me, declared: - Tomorrow I will begin standing on my head for 10 minutes. And I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. - I don’t know what happens. But it obviously has something to do with a lot of blood and oxygen reaching the brain. Chris Sylvest was left a widower 14 years ago when his wife died, after a long and beautiful life: - My two sons, who have both been residents of the USA for many years, invited me to live with them. So I sold our large house here in Hundested and travelled over there. But it wasn’t a success. I was regarded as an old man by those around me. They wanted me to sit down and relax all the time with a rug over my legs. After 14 months I went back home to Hundested again. With only two suitcases as baggage. Everything else I left with my sons and their families.

Photo: © Karl Ravn

Chris Sylvest was born on a large farm near Frederikssund in 1902, under quite dramatic circumstances: I shouldn’t even be here. The orifice of my stomach wouldn’t open, and the doctor gave me eight days to live. But my mother wanted it otherwise. She poured some buttermilk inside me, and I got better. As an adult I earned my living as a trader in fruit and vegetables. I had a wholesale business delivering goods to military barracks and hospitals. We made a living from this till we emigrated in 1954. It seemed inevitable that my life was going to end in 1958. But luckily Familie Journalen landed in our laps, with a recipe for a long and healthy life. Come rain or shine, Christmas or Easter, I start the day by standing on my head. Hopefully for many years to come, says Hundested’s Chris Sylvest.q
(From Familie Journalen no. 6 1995. Thank you for letting us print the article.)


- a report from a yoga teacher class, edited by Mira

Why hold your breath?
They did not block in the brain
In the beginning of the eighties, the school’s yoga teachers took part in a research project, led by the German doctor Dr. Thomas Schmidt at the University of Cologne. They studied the effects of the yogic breathing exercises; among other things, the pulse, the blood pressure and the activity of the brain (EEG) were measured. While the yoga teachers did the Psychic Breath (Ujjayi Pranayama, read Bindu no.4) their EEG showed alpha waves, which signifies a relaxed state. But the researchers also wanted to examine how they reacted to disturbances. Hamsananda, who took part in the experiment, recounts: “I sat in the lotus pose and did Ujjayi, when, without warning, one of the researchers struck the metal table hard. It made a loud crash. But it didn’t affect me.” The researchers were accustomed to the subjects easily reacting and coming out of the relaxed state, but to their surprise the yoga teachers’ EEG did not change. While measuring another teacher, the researchers sounded very excited. They discussed among themselves that there was something wrong with the subject’s EEG, but even then the alpha activity was not broken. The researchers concluded, “when the yoga teachers held their breath, the alpha activity could not be blocked.”

“When the breath is irregular, the mind is unsteady, but when the breath is still, so is the mind still and the Yogin obtains the power of stillness. Therefore the breath should be restrained.” (Hatha Yoga Pradipika)

The nervous system and the breathing

“Professor Dr. Thomas Schmidt has conducted research into the different relationships between thinking and emotional activity of the mind and the way the body reacts to this activity (psychosomatic medicine). He has confirmed to me that every change in the breathing, its rhythm and speed has a direct influence on the nervous system. Before learning of the breathing exercises in yoga, Professor Schmidt concluded that, if one could influence the breath consciously, one could create a very efficient therapeutic system. Today he knows that such a system already exists, and that it has been tested for thousands of years in yoga. It has evolved into a set of different breathing exercises, each one with specific effects.” (From Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life by Swami Janakananda)

to thoughts and impressions. We can observe it all with new eyes and see through the filters, through which life is normally experienced. You could call this a direct experience. When you do breathing exercises or meditate regularly, these automatic reactions and habits in the nervous system are weakened. The mind becomes more creative and flexible – it becomes easier to see things from a new perspective. You communicate clearer and you are better at co-operating with others. We call the alpha state “the open state.”

Holding the breath

Habits in the nervous system

When we are in the normal waking state, we react to a large extent automatically to what we experience around us. Our habitual picture of the environment dominates, and we expect that everything will remain the way we already know it. On the other hand, when we are in the meditative or relaxed state, characterised by alpha waves in the EEG, then this picture of reality is much weaker. Now we no longer react automatically

The breathing exercises in yoga are called Pranayama in Sanskrit. Prana means the body’s vital or psychic energy, and yama to control or master it. What is unique about the breathing exercises in yoga, whether you breathe slowly and deeply or fast and forcefully, is that you also hold the breath. In the yoga scriptures, Pranayama is described as various ways of holding the breath. In one of the most wellknown scriptures, Yoga Sutra by Patanjali, it says: “Pranayama is cessation of the movement of inhalation and exhalation” and “thus the covering of the light is dissolved and the mind is fit for concentration.” In certain exercises you inhale completely and hold the breath and in others you exhale completely and hold the breath.


In deep meditation or relaxation, the breath can become gradually fainter and eventually stop by itself – for a while. This is described as the highest form of pranayama.


Yoga or not, it works

In England a Russian doctor has recently aroused some attention. He has discovered that it is possible to help asthma patients by instructing them to hold the breath after exhaling for prolonged periods of time, and otherwise to breathe through the nose as much as possible. Unfortunately he hastens to add that it is not yoga he is doing. How else could he exploit his fellow human beings in need of help with the prices he asks for a method that he tried to keep secret at first, but which is an old well-known yoga method? Also, in yoga there is an experience that does not just rely upon fast effects. Importance is placed on the long-term effects on the nervous system. Therefore the conditions to be observed before, during and after the exercises are described exactly. On page ten we have chosen one example of many that gives this effect just by holding the breath after inhalation. The example should be seen in connection with the article on nitric oxide (page 9). Furthermore, yoga contains various other exercises that can be used against asthma.

Here we will quote from another book, “The Holy Science” which Sri Yukteswar wrote towards the end of his life. What is interesting is that he maintains that holding the breath creates such a calm in the autonomic nervous system that the inner organs get a rest, which they otherwise never do, neither during sleep nor during the waking state!

“Value of Pranayama

Sri Yukteswar

Quite another contribution to why one should hold ones breath comes from the yogi Swami Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936). He had his ashram in Puri, India. The first time he was mentioned in the West was by the author Evans Wentz - and later by his disciple Swami Yogananda, who at the request of Sri Yukteswar travelled to the USA in the thirties. Yogananda became particularly well known there for his book “An Autobiography of a Yogi”, which among other things is about Kriya Yoga.

Man can put the voluntary nerves into action whenever he likes, and can give them rest when fatigued. When all of these voluntary nerves require rest he sleeps naturally, and by this sleep the voluntary nerves, being refreshed, can work again with full vigour. Man’s involuntary nerves, however, irrespective of his will, are working continuously of themselves from his birth. As he has no control over them, he cannot interfere with their action in the least. When these nerves become fatigued they also want rest and naturally fall asleep. This sleep of the involuntary nerves is called Mahanidra, the great sleep, or death. When this takes place, the circulation, respiration, and other vital functions being stopped, the material body naturally begins to decay. After a while, when this great sleep Mahanidra is over, man awakes, with all his desires, and is reborn in a new physical body for the accomplishment of his various yearnings. In this way man binds himself to life and death and fails to achieve final salvation. Control over death. But if man can control these involuntary nerves by the aforesaid Pranayama, he can stop the natural decay of the material body and put the involuntary nerves (of the heart, lungs and other vital organs) to rest

periodically, as he does with his voluntary nerves in sleep. After such rest by Pranayama the involuntary nerves become refreshed and work with newly replenished life. As after sleep, when rest has been taken by the voluntary nerves, man requires no help to awaken naturally; so after death also, when man has enjoyed a full rest, he awakens naturally to life in a new body on earth. If man can “die”, that is, consciously put his entire nervous system, voluntary and involuntary, to rest each day by practice of Pranayama, his whole physical system works with great vigour.” (Sri Yukteswar)

Alternate nostril breathing

The following articles in this issue of Bindu concern the breathing exercise Nadi Shodana Pranayama, also called the alternate nostril breathing. We will look at some of its effects, which we can benefit from, in our daily life. In the tradition, Nadi Shodana is described as the exercise which cleanses the energy current (Nadi means current, Prana vital energy and Shodana to cleanse), so that it can flow without blockages. By a regular practise of this the yogi is able to master and control his energy, and waken and raise it at will. When the dormant energy is awoken, all human potentials are expressed. Symbolically it is said in Tantra that Shakti or Kundalini rises up through all the chakras of the spine, which are roused on the way, to unite with Siva at Sahasrara Chakra at the top of the head.

“By this, mind becomes full of bliss; verily the practitioner of Pranayama is happy.” (Gheranda Samhita)q


Plenty of oxygen during Nadi Shodana
a pilot study
Occasionally when we do Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing) or other exercises where you hold the breath, it feels as though the need to breathe disappears. It’s as if you could continue holding the breath indefinitely. When this happens to me, I usually get a disturbing thought as to how long it is possible to hold the breath without a harmful lack of oxygen arising. The only sure way of answering this question is to measure the content of oxygen in the arteries while holding the breath, and that is what we have done.
During the autumn of 1998, I carried out a series of interesting tests at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm. One of these was done on the alternate nostril breathing Nadi Shodana and is described in this article. The subject was a male of normal build in his forties, with twenty years experience of yoga’s breathing exercises. During the test he did five rounds of Nadi Shodana, where you inhale, hold the breath, and exhale, to the ratio of 1:4:2. That is to say10 breaths in 15 minutes, which is relatively slow (a person at rest has approximately 16 breaths per minute). If you want to take measurements of the blood that supplies the brain and other organs, an ordinary blood sample from a vein isn’t good enough. You must have access to the blood of an artery, an artery that leads the blood out to the organs of the body – the blood that has just been oxidised by passing through the lungs. An anaesthetist placed a thin plastic catheter in the subject’s left radial artery, and repeated blood samples were taken from it during the time the subject was doing Nadi Shodana.

- by Per Lange, Doctor Spec. Internal Medicine
and for a while afterwards. Before the breathing exercise the percentage of oxygen in the blood was 97% which is normal at rest. During the experiment the lowest percentage of oxygen measured was 88%, which is a reassuring oxygen content. The oxygen percentage returned in a few seconds to 97% after the exercise was completed.

during Nadi Shodana

after Nadi Shodana

during Nadi Shodana

after Nadi Shodana

CO2: There was a clear increase of P carbon dioxide in the blood during the exercise, which quickly normalised afterwards. It is the increase in carbon dioxide that gives the feeling of wanting more air.

SPO2: The percentage of oxygen in the blood is normally 90-98%. The subjects oxygen percent fell during the exercise to 88% at its lowest, a value which is similar to those measured in sportsmen at maximum performance.


Blood samples were taken regularly during the whole of Nadi Shodana

As a comparison it can be mentioned that in quite different medical trials, the percentage of oxygen in the blood of healthy subjects has been lowered to 75% without negative side effects. During the test carbon dioxide and pH values were measured and these showed the same pronounced changes and rapid return to normal.


during Nadi Shodana

after Nadi Shodana

Breathe through the nose!

Modern research confirms the wisdom of the yoga tradition by Eddie Weitzberg, M.D. Ph.D., Karolinska Institute
Nitric Oxide (NO) is a gas previously regarded as an environmental pollutant. The gas is formed by combustion and is present in high concentrations in, among other things, cigarette smoke and car exhaust fumes. It was therefore quite sensational when it became apparent that NO is also generated in the human body.
In 1998 the Nobel Prize for medicine went to three American researchers for this discovery. They were able to show that NO is important in the regulation of the tone of the blood vessels. A continuous generation of NO takes place in the walls of the blood vessels and this tiny gas molecule dilates the blood vessels, facilitating the flow of blood. Recent studies have also shown that NO is involved in the function of the nervous system, and is able to kill bacteria and virus. Our research group at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm has studied the significance of NO in the respiratory system. We have shown that a lot of NO is normally formed in the sinuses of humans. It is worth mentioning, that in many people the concentration of NO in the sinuses exceeds the safety limit established by the authorities. The sinuses are in contact with the nostrils via small openings and this means that the level of NO in the air of the nose is relatively high. What is the significance of this? On inhalation, NO follows the air into the lungs, that is, when breathing through the nose. As NO is a blood-vessel dilator, the blood vessels coming in contact with the pulmonary vesicles (alveoli) are expanded. This means that a greater amount of the blood that passes through the vesicles can be oxidised.


H: The pH value fell during the exercise from an average 7.4 to slightly below average, 7.26 at its lowest. It quickly returned to normal again after the exercise.

More oxygen in the blood


Even a fairly slow Nadi Shodana does not cause any lack of oxygen, or even come close to alarming values concerning oxygen percentage, carbon dioxide content or pH value. The physiological reason for the effect of increased clarity and energy that we feel after breathing exercises is not yet known. Other tests with holding the breath where we have taken a quick series of pictures of the brain with an MRC (magnetic resonance camera) during breath retention, indicates that considerable activation of the brain takes place. First in those areas of the brain that are working with a certain task, and after that, when the breath is held repeatedly, it seems as if the activation spreads over the entire brain. I hope to be able to return to this in a future article when we have performed more tests.q

We compared breathing through the nose with breathing through the mouth to see if it was possible to show whether there was a difference in the oxidation of the blood. Quite rightly it revealed that breathing through the nose led to a 10 - 15% higher oxidation of the blood. As a verification, breathing through the mouth with added NO from a gas bottle gave a similar effect, which corroborates that the NO in the nasal air has these positive effects. We have also looked at the importance of the nasal air for patients lying in a respirator. These patients are intubated, that is to say they have a tube from the respirator directly into the respiratory passage. This means that their nasal air is never part of the breathing. We connected a simple pump system, which sucked nasal air from one of the nostrils, and this air was given as a supplement in the respirator. This relatively simple procedure increased the patient’s oxidation of the blood by 10 - 20 %. These findings demonstrate a new principle where an effective substance from the body itself, NO, is generated in the sinuses and carried with


the inhaling air to produce an effect in another part of the body, the lungs. In this way, NO works as an airborne mediator in the human respiratory passages. If one looks at the animal kingdom, then only monkeys and possibly elephants have NO in their nose. The other species seem to be lacking this system. One might imagine that monkeys and humans require this system to optimise oxidation because we have risen up from walking on all fours.

Known in many places

The knowledge that it can be advantageous to breathe through the nose is widely known, but there has been no scientific explanation for why it should be good. It is obvious that the air is cleansed more effectively when breathing through the nose, but that does not explain the positive effects of oxidation. On maternity wards the expectant mothers are encouraged to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth during contractions. Physiotherapists often point out that patients with respiratory problems should breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. Certain elite athletes use nasal expanding plasters. Within Yoga there are a wide variety of techniques for nasal breathing. Even in the Bible a reference is found that can be interpreted as that nasal breathing can be important: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” [Gen. 2:7]. Consequently there is a many thousandyear-old knowledge of the importance of the nose for the breathing. The current research into this tiny gas molecule NO may have contributed with a scientific explanation.q

Nadi Shodana - to counter asthma

A colleague of the author of the above article, has been a student of our school in Stockholm for many years. He has had asthma since childhood. When he learnt the first step of Nadi Shodana, where one breathes slowly through alternate nostrils, but without holding the breath, it caused him great difficulty. He nevertheless continued and went on to the next step where one holds the breath after each inhalation. He allowed the air to gently press up in the nose against the sinus and frontal sinus. It was then very easy to do the exercise and helped his asthma immediately. Now he is almost free from his medicine. He emphasises the importance of closing the nose with the fingers and holding the breath so that the air creates a slight pressure upward in the nose. This raises the air supply to the

sinuses, where Nitric Oxide is gener.ated. In this way one can benefit from the threefold effect NO has - relaxing and dilating the blood vessels, increasing the oxygen absorption in the lungs, and killing bacteria. He believes that all this is contributing to help him be free from asthma.

Nose cleansing

Is it relevant for the absorption of NO that the nose is clean? Perhaps this is the real reason that nose cleansing (Neti) is such an important part of yoga. If you are inspired by this, then use a pot which is large and with a long spout. This gives a satisfactory effect and encourages one to cleanse the nose regularly.

Found in heart medicine

Nitric Oxide (NO) is also the most important constituent in Nitro-glycerine, which is an important heart medicine.q


Nadi Shodanas influence on the brain
Greater clarity and calm, but also more energy and inspiration, is what people often say they achieve by using Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing). But can this be measured scientifically?

Astonishing results achieved after 10 minutes – EEG measurements of the balance between the brain halves before and after Nadi Shodana By psychologist mag. art. Erik Hoffmann
during meditation, and there is a lot to suggest that people who meditate have more alpha waves than normal.

EEG and brain waves

In the brain a continual rhythmic electrical activity is taking place, the so-called brain waves. Taking measurements from electrodes, which are placed on the scalp, is called electroencephalography (EEG). There are four types of brain waves. During deep sleep delta waves are predominant (1-4 oscillations per second), and in a dozy, dreamy state theta waves (4-8 oscillations per sec.) dominate. The brain waves that interest us the most are the alpha waves (8-13 oscillations per sec.). They are mostly to be found when the person has closed

eyes, is mentally relaxed, but still awake and able to experience. When the eyes are opened, or the person is distracted in some other way, the alpha waves are weakened, and there is an increase of the faster beta waves (13-40 oscillations per sec.), that is the brain is activated. The amount of alpha waves therefore shows to what degree the brain is in a state of relaxed awareness. When the beta waves are predominant, we to a great extent think and act habitually. Alpha waves, on the other hand, show that the brain is in a more open and creative state, with a better contact with the emotions and the subconscious. Scientific studies have shown that the amount of alpha waves increases

The two brain halves

The left brain half is verbal, analytical and logical in its functioning, while the right is musical, emotional and spatially perceptive. The left brain hemisphere thinks in words and concepts, and the right thinks in pictures, feelings and perceptions. In a normal brain, a spontaneous shift in balance occurs between left and right, depending on what one is doing. When one is reading, writing and speaking, the left half will be more active than the right. On the other hand, when one is listening to music or is engaged in visual spatial perception, then the right half is most active.

Fig. 1 R/L ratio before and after Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing) A. Five persons in the advanced group, who
A. Advanced group B. Inexperienced group

initially had a R/L ratio below 1.00, after before Nadi Shodana Nadi Shodana exhibited values over 1.00. And conversely, five persons who before the exercise after Nadi Shodana had a high R/L ratio achieved lower values optimal balance after the exercise. So all persons in this group approached the best possible relation between the brain halves. After Nadi Shodana everybody in the advanced group came very close to the average Wilcoxon test: * p<.001, value, which means it is statistically significant.
ns= not signifikant, N=10 * these changes are statistically significant and cannot be ascribed to coincidence.





B. In the inexperienced group the values after Nadi Shodana showed greater variance, which entails that this result is not statistically significant (even though their average for the temporal area is the same as the optimal value).


It is important for the creative activity of the individual to have a “correct” balance and communication between the brain halves.

Alpha R/L ratio

By calculating the ratio between the amount of alpha waves in the right and left brain hemispheres, an expression for the balance between the brain halves is obtained, the so-called R/L ratio. If there is exactly the same amount of alpha waves in the right and left brain hemispheres, the R/L ratio will be 1.00. If there is more alpha in the right brain half, the R/L ratio will be more than 1.00, and vice versa, the R/L ratio will be less than 1.00 if there is more alpha in the left brain half. In most people during rest with closed eyes, the R/L ratio is normally slightly above 1.00. This is probably due to our culture’s emphasis on the functions of the left brain half. During deep relaxation, however, a balance of 1.00 between the brain halves is approached. Previous studies (see, amongst others, the articles in Bindu no. 5 and 12) point towards that the ideal temporal

R/L ratio should be around 1.10, and the post temporal around 1.15. The American Richard Davidson has in recent comprehensive studies found that depressive patients had a R/L ratio in the temporal lobes permanently under 1.00, whereas out-going, optimistic people had a R/L ratio over 1.00. With children of the age of 2-3 he discovered a R/L ratio under 1.00 in a group of shy and inhibited children, while another group of outgoing, uninhibited children displayed a R/L ratio over 1.00.

Fig. 2 The position of the electrodes on

the head during EEG-measurement

Frontal Temporal (frontal temporal lobe) Post-Temporal (rear temp. lobe) Occipital

In this study we have used the four points of measurement (T3-T6) on the temporal lobes.


The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis, that the breathing exercise Nadi Shodana improves the balance between the two brain halves as reflected by the alpha R/L ratio.

thereafter exhaling through the right nostril (closing the left). Then one inhales through the right nostril, the breath is held, and exhales through the left nostril. This constitutes one round. For a detailed description of the various steps of Nadi Shodana, see the book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life by Swami Janakananda (Weiser).


Nadi Shodana

The alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodana) is a classical yogic breathing exercise. It is performed in the following manner: One inhales through the left nostril (while closing the right), the breath is held (closing both nostrils),

Two groups, of 12 subjects each, had their EEG measured before and after Nadi Shodana. Group A consisted of teachers and students of the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School in Copenhagen with many years experience of Nadi Shodana. Group B consisted of students of the school

Fig. 3 Brainmaps

The central figures on the pictures (see arrows) show the alpha activity before and after Nadi Shodana. If you compare these you see that after Nadi Shodana the amount of alpha waves in the right brain half has increased (more red), and that the balance between the brain halves has improved. (For more information about brainmaps see Bindu no. 12.) Before Nadi Shodana



After Nadi Shodana


who had just learnt Nadi Shodana. All subjects were right-handed. We avoided left-handed people, who can have a different balance between the brain hemispheres. All subjects performed five rounds of Nadi Shodana as described previously. This took 10 to 15 minutes. The EEG measurement was taken from four electrodes on the left and four on the right side, placed on the head with the aid of an elastic band (see fig. 2). The signals from the electrodes were relayed through an amplifier to a computer, where the eight channels of EEG was displayed on screen. They were simultaneously stored on the hard disk for future analysis. Periods of about 60 seconds EEG recording, one before and one following Nadi Shodana, were analysed for the temporal and post-temporal lobes, which are considered the most important sites to measure this balance.

Discussion and conclusion

For several of the advanced participators, apart from more alpha waves, there was also an increase of the amount of beta waves after Nadi Shodana. This might seem paradoxical, as such an activation of the brain normally involves a decrease in the amount of alpha waves. This could be interpreted as that you become more active and at the same time remain calm and clear in the head. We found a similar “paradox” during a previous study where we measured EEG during the deep relaxation Yoga Nidra. Normally when the amount of theta waves increases, the alpha waves decrease and you fall asleep. During Yoga Nidra, however, the theta waves increased, but the decrease of alpha waves was minimal. This means that you don’t fall asleep, but remain aware and awake also in the deeper state. In figure 3 you can see how the amount of alpha waves has increased in the right brain half after Nadi Shodana, and there is an optimal R/L ratio. Previous measurements before and after Kriya Yoga show the same favourable changes as after Nadi Shodana. The average temporal R/L ratio after Kriya Yoga was 1.12 together with a significant rise of alpha waves (see Bindu no. 12). EEG-measurements of participants on the three month courses (198691) showed the same improvement of the R/L ratio. The measurements then, however, were not done in connection to any meditation practice, but during ordinary rest, before and after the course. This result indicated a

permanent long-term effect (see Bindu no. 5). These positive changes were found in all instances in regions of the brain that are closely linked to the limbic system, which is the seat of our emotions. On the basis of our results we therefore conclude that Nadi Shodana, if it is done regularly over a longer period of time, has a favourable influence on the balance between the brain halves and thereby an emotionally stabilising effect on the individual.q


With all subjects in the experienced group, changes occur towards an optimal balance (fig. 1). Five people, who previously exhibited a R/L ratio below 1.00, had a value over 1.00 following Nadi Shodana. And vice versa, five people who had a high R/L ratio before the exercise achieved lower values towards the optimal after the exercise. The mean temporal ratio fell from 1.19 to 1.11, while the post temporal ratio fell from 1.43 to 1.19. These changes are statistically significant and cannot be due to coincidences. Even though most of the changes in the inexperienced group are in the direction towards balance they are not, however, statistically significant.


On the path to a greater Awareness
- about a text by Swami Satyananda: “Chronology of a yogi” Written and edited by Swami Janakananda
Wisdom teaches us, that we are more capable of meeting the spiritual if we have no expectations - that it is far more desirable to experience what is really happening, rather than the ideas we, with our limited awareness, are capable of forming in advance.
It is in such a light the subject of this article should be seen. In advanced yoga we aim at keeping awareness open and expanding. This can be compared with the state we are in when we identify ourselves with what we have learned by heart - habitual views and expectations. Living with a greater awareness demands a body that does not give way to different states. The same applies to the relation you have to your mind - you must be prepared and trained in experiencing your mind as an observer, so that you don’t get carried away so easily by all the things that occupy it. This does not come just by itself. Still, a person may spontaneously have an experience of expanded awareness, of an undisguised


presence; words fail to describe this extraordinarily strong experience of being, of existence. The causes can be many, for instance a shock, a great sorrow, a sudden change in your life situation... If you are not prepared and suddenly perceive yourself as naked - if the state is so strong that it is impossible to deceive yourself, impossible to hide behind roles, masks and justifications - then it is of course overwhelming and can create fear in some people. On the other hand, others find such a sudden change of awareness very positive, even though they are unprepared. Often the experience leaves a void when it is over. Ordinary yoga and meditation provide a good foundation for meeting such an experience in a beneficial way. Whether it is wished for or not, you will manage it better if you have experience of yoga. Also people who have been subject to unwanted states can benefit from yoga.

The teacher - student co-operation

The tantric yoga tradition, however, also contains methods and ways of using yoga, which aim at opening consciousness and keeping it open, in a stable and harmonious way. The real yogis (whose equals are seldom found among western yoga teachers or among leaders of modern movements in India) have exactly this expanded awareness as a goal on their path. Nobody is persuaded to become a yogi in the original tradition based on the teachings of Matsyendra and Gorakhnath. Rather, attempts are made to dissuade the would-be aspirants from becoming yogis, or else they are scared off. It is up to the individual to show determination,

single-mindedness and courage. When the aspirants begin their preparation, it is without fear of heightening the awareness or strengthening the level of energy. Obviously this is not like the relatively small and short-lived increase in energy that you can get, for example, after ordinary physical training. The co-operation with the teacher, from whom the aspirant receives the secrets of the living tradition, happens in an artistic, a systematically scientific and a quite natural everyday way. The training proceeds gradually and with great precision, both in daily life, while learning the methods, and during initiation into higher states. Everything plays a part, the living conditions, the diet and the student’s ability to face him- or herself. The teacher must also be able to guide the aspirant away from narcissism and self-indulgence. The aspirant should not lose him/herself in such involved and introvert states, or confuse them with the experience of and the identification with oneself as consciousness. That is to say, the aspirant should not identify with that which is experienced, but with the one who is experiencing. Nothing could be more wrong than to consider the learning or the use of yoga methods as ‘mechanical’. Postures, breathing exercises and meditations can of course be described and observed from outside - you can have a certain knowledge of them. But the learning of, for example, the various kriyas in Kriya Yoga is accompanied by an experience and a state so fundamentally free, that it can only be known by those who have sought Kriya Yoga themselves, and really used it. Normally you imagine telepathy to

be transference of thoughts and feelings. But in the relationship between teacher and student, during the period of learning, it is about channelling the energy, so tensions, inhibitions and blocks can be released and flow onwards, or be ‘burned’ as soon as they arise. The learning process is above all something that is experienced. In this way insight is achieved. But behind this process something else is going on - a purification of the energy flows, which is deeper than what is normally achieved with the ordinary yoga and breathing exercises. Now the student receives help to harmonise and channel the energy further - and - guidance in both being able to confront and let go of the experiences which will come in the course of the purification process. This applies not only to potentially unpleasant experiences, but also to those which fascinate. You don’t need to hide yourself behind a reserved attitude or forget yourself in a reaction. Reactions are something that most people experience when they start discovering themselves, but here the guidance helps you get out of them quickly again. There are various meditation methods in the tantric tradition. I am referring here to “real” meditations. What some people today call meditation manipulates with positive and negative values instead of having a liberating effect, or plays on your expectations and ideas, creating fantasies on the basis of them. Incidentally, the same applies nowadays to what certain “counsellors” call tantra sex. It hasn’t got much to do with the expansion of awareness and increase in energy that is the purpose of the original tantric rituals.


“Ignorance” and conceptions
Both within spirituality and science – yes, also within yoga, when it appears as a movement or is connected to a religion – people often attempt to give a complete view of the world, of life. But to explain everything with descriptions and mythologies, does that keep the fear away? At any rate it doesn’t give any first-hand or direct experience of reality. It doesn’t teach us to see things anew or open our consciousness, so that we experience in a deeper way. Science isn’t just about confirmation and new discoveries. I would like to question, for example, the size of the time frame used when describing the history of mankind. At present there are constant new discoveries, which are slowly but surely dating human settlement and the rise of civilisation on the various continents far earlier than the information given in the history books or encyclopedias. The idea that everyone living at present stems from an ancestral mother and father in Africa about 200.000 years ago, I do not think will be valid for many more decades. We will gradually realise that the time scale of our history, or our prehistory, is much bigger than what is maintained today. Until this opinion is definitely changed the attitude is: It’s scientifically proved! So there’s an end to it. We don’t need to discuss it any further. Unfortunately the evidence in science is often based on excluding facts that don’t agree with the theory one is creating. When “the Iceman” or “Ötzi” was found in the Alps some years ago, a professor in Munich found it irritating

that it would now be necessary to place the beginning of the bronze age further back in time. Instead he should have been glad that the picture of the world was questioned a little, so things could be seen afresh. As regards medical research we can’t complain, nowadays there is a great interest in yoga and meditation. I know, however, that effective medical methods are directly hindered by misinformation and inadequately performed studies. One example is the Chelation therapy (EDTA) for heart diseases and hardening of the arteries. With my knowledge of many cases of improvement, not to say direct cure, I am convinced that EDTA is more effective than most medicines on the market - and with minimal side effects. But then this treatment is in full use in most countries. So why is it opposed? Well, what would happen to the shareholders in the big pill factories, if it came into use in the larger hospitals and not just the private clinics? The EDTA substance, which cleanses the body from heavy metals and gradually breaks down the calcification, is so commonly available, that you can’t obtain a patent for it! It is a shame that the effects of this substance are not more commonly known. It could save the lives of many, prevent amputations and by-pass operations and cut expenses for the health service by millions. The problem with the truth is that it cannot be determined once and for all. If both the scientist and the spiritual seeker really want to gain insight, they must first of all be able to not know - to let themselves be surprised. But this is

dangerous; it touches what is safe and established. It touches the view of the world or the way you perceive yourself. Which one of the priests or scientists in the day of Galileo dared look into his telescope? Not one. They already knew that the earth is the centre of the universe, and that the planets and the sun and everything else orbit the earth. Why was Socrates proclaimed an enemy of the state in his old age? Because he taught the youth in the streets of Athens about “ignorance”, the ability to wonder, and not to defend ready-made explanations! He also said, ‘Know thyself.’ A crisis like the one both Socrates and Galileo apparently caused in their day, can be compared with the one you might run into when you meet yourself. What you meet when you get to know yourself isn’t worse than the ideas you have about yourself, quite the opposite. Not much unconscious fear remains, when you have lived through the meeting with yourself.

Awareness training

To keep an open consciousness, training in being awake and aware is needed. In meditation you learn to find your way in to, and get accustomed to, your true identity - yourself as the experiencing awareness. It is about you who experiences, and not what you experience, whether inwardly or outwardly. Also you must have knowledge of how to raise the energy level in body and mind - in order to change the state and remove the inhibitions, which bind body and mind.


accordance with yourself inwardly. One example is a young aspirant being given a Karma Yoga task, for instance to mend something in one of the houses. The house is a few kilometres from the main buildings of the school. Suddenly I see the person in question, on a bike or with a tractor, driving off at full speed to fetch a tool or some material at the school. When I stop him or her and ask if these things weren’t available on the spot, I get the answer that they are probably not. In most cases, together we are able to find at once what we need right where he or she was to begin with. There are different degrees of expanded awareness. It begins with a presence and sensitivity so strong, that it cannot be distinguished from intuition. You see what you need to see. It shows itself quite simply in practical matters in daily life: In class, the student who doesn’t do the exercise properly, is the one you see directly. A fault in the administration shows up in front of your eyes, without you having looked for it. And the inner life: When you momentarily react or try to hide an emotion or a thought from yourself. When you are about to let yourself be overwhelmed or about to forget yourself... The opposite is to be unaware, inattentive and insensitive towards the needs of other people, and to submit to influences, inhibitions and the moods both of others and yourself. You know when you can let go - and when it’s a matter of endurance. Around you things fall into place by themselves.

Scope - and that which covers - the light at the crown of the head

The ability to experience and the ability to strengthen your psychic energy are two principles that support each other. When consciousness and energy merge into a unity in this way, we can speak of a heightened awareness. To put it briefly, one of these abilities we can train with the 7 steps in the meditation Inner Silence, Antar Mauna, and the other with the many methods in Kriya Yoga. But there is more that plays a part and must be taken into consideration. The concept of evolution is one of the greatest and most destructive illusions a human being, or a society, can live in. Those who “strive” on the spiritual path, seem only too often to want to be elsewhere than where they are. As if insight is to find other places than where you are already.

That which is here is elsewhere. that which is not here is nowhere. (Vishvasara Tantra) At times the term evolution is used in a misleading way about cyclical occurrences. For man, you could in a spiritual sense speak of a “pupa phase” and a “butterfly phase” or of maturing, but it has nothing to do with “growth” or “development”. As guide and trainer for those living in an ashram I must concern myself both with inner and outer matters - and they seem to be connected. If you can’t find what you’re looking for inside yourself, you certainly won’t find the things you need externally. And vice versa, if you live here and now outwardly, there is a good chance that you’re also in


(Exerpts from an evening’s discussion about, among other things, a text by Swami Satyananda, with the people who live and work at Håå Course Centre. Some are yoga teachers with a long full time yoga teacher training behind them, others have arrived recently, and one is a student from India staying at the course centre with a scholarship for one year. The way you live and work, at the same time doing yoga and meditation in company and alone, and where most people are also training to become yoga teachers, is what I call a ‘spiritual workshop’, a so-called ashram.)

An expanded awareness

Swami Janakananda: “Why do people live in an ashram? Why do you live in an ashram?” One of the aspirants: “Because it’s interesting!” “Interesting! You can say that again!” “Nice training!” “Nice training for what? Nice - is it really ‘nice’? Now you have to be honest!” “No, not ‘nice’ - I would say ‘good’. You experience what is good for you.” “OK. But why Yoga? Can anybody tell me - what is Yoga?” Another aspirant: “Somebody said to me the other day that the contents of your mind are pretty tangled - and then you do yoga and meditation and it untangles the threads.” A third: “OK, it untangles it... But can everybody do it? What about those who cling to their intellect and their socalled intelligence? Can everyone open themselves to such an experience?” “What was it Woody Allen said: ‘Intellectuals can be absolutely brilliant, without having the faintest idea about what’s going on.’ ”

The Seer

“What are we talking about?” “Working with yourself and with others.” “Yes, but what is that really? There must be some motivation for living in an ashram. Does anybody else want to tell me what yoga is?” “I see it as a help to get to know yourself, and at the same time to learn to observe your personality and your life and to become one with it.” “It’s said strongly in one of the old scriptures: ‘Looking at the eyebrow centre is not yoga. Yoga is only to become one with the seer - nothing else.’ That’s what you’re saying ‘learn to observe’ - can you learn that?” “I’ve become better at it.” “Yes - it grows. You learn it through training, don’t you!” “An ashram must be a place where you’re kept at it all the time - otherwise you shouldn’t call it an ashram.”

“That is of course a good question. I have several students who practise advanced yoga at home, as a support in their daily or creative work. But let me use the Kundalini experience as an example. In her book: ‘Kundalini - Psychosis or Transcendence?’ doctor Lee Sannella writes that an ashram seems the right place to be if you want to get the full benefit of ‘kundalini as an inner therapy.’ She bases this statement on quite a number of examples, so-called ‘case histories’. Some people were for example cured from manic-depression after going through a kundalini rising. This was done under skilful guidance, in the setting of Swami Muktananda’s ashram in South Fallsburg in New York State, USA. Swami Muktananda was among those who know how to channel and harmonise the energy. Lee Sannella also asks the question whether it is possible to handle such experiences outside an ashram, when they come unexpectedly. When you are not prepared with yoga and if you’re alone, or in the hands of a society which has no knowledge or understanding of what it’s about. Let’s look at our subject from another point of view. When you live alone, you’re not kept at it by the ashram routine. You’re not inspired to remain awake and it can be difficult to keep to a discipline. Carrying out a regular yoga practice in such a way that you’re always in contact with yourself and can maintain an expanded awareness can be very much supported by life in an ashram. When you’re on your own it’s difficult to let go of wishful thinking


“Can’t you achieve this - or try to outside an ashram?”


and other illusions. There’s no help to see through them at once, when you’re lacking the ‘mirror’ and the understanding of the ashram environment. Unfortunately the courage, the ability and the knowledge that is necessary you do not find in all ashrams. Outside the ashram the circumstances and the attitudes that dominate society as a whole, can make you forget both wisdom and training.

the ability to keep the door open, and be there for those who want you to teach them how to go further. So your teaching must contain this possibility.

A higher state of consciousness

Living in an ashram can be part of the work of self-realisation. That is if you use the place and the conditions, and wish to receive the guidance and help you can get.”

The fundamental effects of yoga

Let us return to the question, what is yoga?” “For me - I mean - I feel better when I do yoga. When I don’t do it, I can easily fall into a pretty dull state. So I do yoga again and get out of it.” “So what would you say that you experience? What is it you achieve?” “A sort of clarity, energy and even happiness! When I experience this in myself, I want to share it with others. Sometimes it’s frustrating, because some people don’t have such an outlook on life that you can convey this to them.” “Yes, very likely. But when you’re teaching in an evening class, even though some of the people present may not be where your ideals would like them to be - or that’s what you think anyway - does that really matter? When they go home from the class they feel much better. Isn’t that enough? You can’t expect everyone to take the same direction as you. On the other hand you should have

“Unfortunately, there are some yoga teachers and other ‘spiritual’ teachers, who claim all sorts of things, but who haven’t experienced the heightened state of awareness themselves. The fact is that you can’t figure it out in your mind. Nor can you get it out of a book. The day you experience breaking through to a greater awareness, you might very well feel shaken for a long time afterwards. I was, anyway. When I drove through the streets of Copenhagen in the sixties, for instance, and I saw people waiting for the bus or walking along the street, I said to myself: ‘Where are these people?’ I got scared. To me it looked as if they were nowhere - what I mean is, I noticed the unawareness - and it scared me! These ideas also turned out to be partly built on illusions. I had to learn to see through such concepts. Just because I experienced things stronger that didn’t mean that I knew what kind of states other people were in. That was probably why I said to myself: ‘I’m going to my teacher’s ashram, not so much for greater awareness, as to learn to build a bridge to the normal state of consciousness.’ My awareness was so great that I felt that I could disappear in the collective consciousness at any moment, and forget all about my individual little thread I was also holding on to. Of course I hadn’t received any training yet in being a witness.

You must be able to let go

“What you call spiritual awakening, or self realisation - can it be done step by step?” “When I was younger, I expected it to come suddenly, like a miracle - and to a certain extent it was like that for me. That is, part of it happened suddenly, but still, it wasn’t that easy. The work was there and had to be done gradually. With the help of the tantric meditations and the ashram training I learnt to stabilise the whole thing. Swami Satyananda taught me this. Luckily he isn’t just a learned person. Yes, he is learned, no doubt about it, but he didn’t base his training on the learning. He didn’t try to give me any form of intellectual information - he didn’t use books, lectures and so forth. Of course I’ve read books, but he taught me to count on my own experiences. He said: ‘Why read when you’re together with the ones who write the books?’ In other words, let us communicate directly since we’re together anyway. So, I made a decision: ‘OK, I’m here – I surrender; no matter what tasks he gives me, I’ll go at it hammer and tongs.’ Some people didn’t dare to just give in and be there. They questioned all sorts of things - the way people behaved, the roles they played, the food that was served, the frequent power cuts, and every time the water


supply failed... They could leave any time they wanted to, of course. But they needed an excuse to rewrite their own story, inside their head. They couldn’t face the fact that they were incapable of carrying through their original decision. It’s amazing how many excuses people use to avoid their habits being upset, and to avoid themselves being touched. But life touches you, you can’t avoid it - until the day you start counting on yourself. Until then, is what happens in your life other people’s fault? What we have talked about here, is an introduction to what I really want to say... One day Swami Satyananda gave me a short article to copy-type. He called it Chronology of the yogi. In the following text it is written in italics.

height - of course very slowly - that the practitioner becomes almost a seer of himself. Not only a seer of himself in vague terms, but a seer of everything he does, feels, thinks etc. Therefore, this awareness should not be allowed to be developed by those people who have not achieved a certain knowledge of themselves.’ Why not? I talked about it on the Christmas course - it was Yogeswar who asked me about the psychic symbol. The psychic symbol appears when you have reached a state where you have given up effort completely - it’s a kind of feedback, but on a deeper level than for instance biofeedback. With biofeedback, when you have the electrodes on your scalp and ear phones on, you hear a sound. It’s only when the brain relaxes that the sound disappears. The first time it happens by chance, then gradually you learn to make the sound disappear and to keep the brain somewhat relaxed. The psychic symbol brings about something similar, but in a deeper and more comprehensive way. When you give up control in your meditation, give up your ideas and will power - when you become receptive and start to experience - at that point the psychic symbol appears. When you are so ambitious in your meditation, that you sit there and strive, it never appears. Whereas, when you let go and abandon yourself to the process, the symbol shows itself. It can also turn up in other contexts, when you dare let go of the struggling and

Chronology of the yogi

‘The practice of yoga will not bring about realisation. Because the purpose is not that.’ It’s obvious: you don’t struggle to achieve this with the help of an exercise, so that those who do the most exercises get there first. It’s not that simple. ‘The experience of truth or whatever you want to call it is not an event to become, but it is a state of being. What you wish to realise through yoga is already in you, in the same purity in which you will realise it, after the removal of a kind of avidya [ignorance]. Frankly speaking, all the practices are only aids for developing individual awareness to such an intensity and

the critical attitude for a moment, to just experience and receive. In this way you can compare it to biofeedback. The psychic symbol shows you that ‘now you are there’. This, however, is just the first phase in the visualisation of the psychic


symbol. The fact is that it can keep you awake in areas that are normally ‘unconscious’. The second phase starts, when you hold the symbol in your mind. Now you go further than when you experience the symbol as the end of

your meditation. If you remain in contact with the symbol for a long time, the next phase sets in, with an expansion of awareness. What you first learnt about the psychic symbol, as the ninth step in the Ajapa Japa meditation, is that it

signifies the end of the meditation and a focusing of awareness. In advanced yoga the symbol means the following: Now the expansion of awareness starts - if you continue for a longer time - beyond the habitual limits of the mind.


Seeing yourself

The psychic symbol tells you, among other things, that if you go on you will be able to ‘read’ or ‘see’ your personality as it is. Not just the ideas you have about yourself, all the nice things that justify your actions and thoughts - like ‘oh, I’m so good’ - or the complexes and neuroses you pity yourself for. You won’t just experience things that you already know about. There’s more to discover and become aware of than that. Let me give you an example. The other day I heard someone say, that it would be nice if criminals also had criminal minds, or rather a criminal picture of themselves. But they haven’t. They have all these illusions about how nice they are, how charming they are, how good they are (corrupt politicians for example) and how just their actions are - at the same time as their acts are criminal. Therefore there’s no hope for them. It’s the same as with some alcoholics. They say: ‘No, alcohol isn’t a problem for me.’ And they keep on saying it! Until the day they drink and drive, and run someone over in the street and kill them. The only way you can start a cure for these people is, if they realise that they have a problem, and that so far they’ve been lying to themselves. Then the cure can begin. Imagine if the criminals, the corrupt politicians, could do the same - have criminal thoughts about themselves, then they would know that they were criminals. Their acts are criminal. They subject other people to a criminal behaviour, which causes pain and suffering. They treat others, and speak about others, in a criminal way. But in their own minds, in the ideas they have about themselves, everything is right and proper, and fits the picture they have of reality.

Everyone who suffers from what is called avidya (ignorance) doesn’t see himself or herself as they are. I don’t mean to say, though, that their personalities are necessarily evil. Self-insight does not result in you realising that you are a bad person, on the contrary - but still you’re in for a surprise. Suddenly you see yourself as naked! There you are, without all the pretty manners and smiles, the roles, the pride... Maybe you realise that you habitually use other people. Do you want examples? Men who use women, and the other way around. Men who use other men, for money, emotions, a position or whatever. One day you stand there naked in front of all this, and you don’t really know what to do. At the same time you understand, that far from everyone has arrived at such an insight. The apparent unawareness that you experience around you frightens you, and you realise that you need guidance. I’m telling you now about my own experience. You realise that you really are responsible and a creator of your own future. “But how do you get there? It’s difficult to be honest with yourself...” “You can’t do it just through the intellect. You have to be thrown into a state of greater sensitivity and greater ability to experience - an expanded awareness. And as Swami Satyananda says in the beginning of the text I’m reading here: ‘gradually and slowly’. If we are to meet the demands that Swami Satyananda makes here, we must train the mind. This is done with the various methods of yoga. It is done through meditation and it can be done

with the psychic symbol. Of course fundamentally this is based on personal guidance. Using the psychic symbol you can make conscious areas in the mind that are normally unconscious. When the symbol has appeared at the end of the meditation, you hold on to it longer than you have done so far. Hopefully there’s nobody around to disturb you. You don’t need to do it forever - just, say, uninterruptedly for half an hour.


In the course of this process you gradually start to realise who you really are and when you have established yourself in this, you also see what your personality is like, that it consists of a bunch of programmes. Until this is experienced, nobody really knows that this is the case - well, maybe in theory, but they haven’t met it in themselves. They would rather remain in the illusion, that what I think, the opinions and habits, tastes and interests that I have, are “me”. Your personality consists of a collection of values that someone has influenced you to have - or that your clever intellect has picked up from books you’ve read. Ideas you wish to follow, or roles you play for yourself and others. This is not nakedness. A great deal of these programmes are definitely good and necessary, they are what we call culture. It would be good, though, if we could use them consciously and change them when it is suitable - and not to be under their sway, as slaves of the mind. So awareness in this context is a kind of nakedness. And when Swamiji talks


of awareness, of attention, this is what he means. The text was written while I was living with Swamiji. Those of us who were there at that time understood each other. We all came with a more or less expanded awareness. I mean those who were living permanently in the ashram - there were of course many who just passed through - but those of us who lived there weren’t a large group. We knew what he was talking about, when he spoke of an expanded awareness. And he knew that we knew. ‘What you wish to realise through yoga is already in you, in the same purity in which you will realise it, after the removal of a kind of avidya.’

parents when I had been to visit them. The first year I was here, I chose to visit them just once - and that went well, of course. In the years after that I’ve visited them more often. But last year my father came to visit me here - and I realised that I was in a completely different state than when I was with him normally.” “Yes. That must have surprised him too? Or didn’t he see it? Maybe he just saw the picture he normally has of you?” “I couldn’t see him at all. I just saw a mist all week. It made me realise something. It also made me care more for the children in the family.” “Yes, if you really see it - and if you, as I did, get over the initial fear and start living with an expanded awareness - you love your fellow beings. Not as children, you don’t have to patronise them. Respect them and love them, wherever they are - as you would feel for yourself, wherever you are. Sometimes I’ve sat out here in the countryside with an expanded awareness and worked with other people, during the pretty wild seventies for instance. Then I went into town and talked to the elderly man who owned the local timber yard; he retired a long time ago. I just stood there and talked to him, while we pulled some lists out from the shelf, which I was going to use at the school. During the few minutes we talked I realised: Just look at me, how arrogant can you get! This man is so wise. Who do I think I am, just because I teach yoga? I don’t know if he’s ‘realised’, but he’s definitely wise. He has my respect.” “Sometimes it’s as if you know everything and other people know nothing - and other times, it’s...”

“Yes! At other times it’s just the opposite. As if everybody else has self insight.” “Yes. But that’s not true. Maybe what happens is that you see behind their illusions, maybe you see the essence of their being - but it’s far from certain that the person you see is in contact with this essence. Some people claim that everything is yoga; I’ve written it in my book myself, ‘there is nothing called yoga - it’s called life’. But that depends on how you’re seeing it. It’s not true in every connection. Of course not - you must be able to see what’s what. Otherwise you’re doing yoga a bad favour. If you want to help someone you say: ‘Now I’ll show you what you can do about your problem. This is yoga. Do it and you’ll feel better.’ Something like that. That’s as much as you can do for most people, and that’s what we do, isn’t it? But there are some people who go further than that, they have achieved a certain insight. When they’ve let go of some of the coarser tensions and inhibitions, they see things in a new light. They want a more advanced guidance. Here it’s important not to put them off with something they can sit and dream about, enough people do that anyway. Other people need to have what happens confirmed. A woman in Småland had an experience the very first time she participated in a class. Afterwards she came very discreetly and asked: ‘Is it OK if I leave my body during the relaxation?’ The teacher could confirm this: ‘There are people that try to achieve such an experience for years, without attaining it.’ And she appreciated this experience.”

The veil of ignorance

This kind of avidya stems from what we have been told, where we’ve come from - influences we were subjected to by the environment and from the people around us, where we grew up. That is why originally, in the tradition I was initiated into, you didn’t go home to your family or your old friends, to ‘where things happen’ for 12 years. No matter how weak or invisible the conceptions seem in your original background, they will keep you in a state of mind, where you identify yourself with an illusion, which makes it impossible to see through ignorance. “Yes, I remember what it was like when I came home after living in a monastery in Thailand. My mother collected me at the airport. It was a shock. I’d trained my awareness for over a year. And there I was - it seemed to me that she was asleep.” “I had a similar experience with my


Experience and “experiences”
“But can’t too many experiences distract people from what is essential?” “Yes, unfortunately. Here you need your intelligence, not for arguing, or liking and disliking - but for getting to the essential. If you want to go all the way, it’s important not to hang on to all kinds of experiences or ‘abilities’. Some people, for instance, get carried away when they discover that they can see another person’s aura. Others begin doing so called ‘healing’. People get fascinated by the experiences and lose sight of the aim. But we can go further than that. Let us get back to the subject. Without a gradual training it can be pretty overwhelming to meet yourself and to feel at the same time in an unusually intense way that other people exist in this moment, together with you - the direct experience of everything and everyone’s being. Before you have achieved this you are too proud, too insensitive. You consider everything you do and think to be right and true, but you don’t experience the connection with others. That’s avidya - you mislead yourself. “So all you need is a shock?” “Yes, it’s tempting to say, that if nothing else helps, then a shock might be able to wake you. But there are other ways and one of them is yoga used in the proper way. Let me read it again: ‘Frankly speaking, all the exercises and practises are only aids for developing individual awareness to such an intensity and height, of course fairly slowly, that the aspirant can become a seer in relation to himself. Not only a seer in

vague terms, but a seer of everything he does, sees, feels, thinks, etc.’

If you want to go out of your depth, learn to swim first

‘Therefore, this awareness should not be allowed to be developed by those people who have not purified themselves.’ ” “What does that mean?” “I have a problem with such a statement, it could sound a bit too “holy”- yes even judgmental - that is if it’s misunderstood. And there are plenty of possibilities for that. It can also be used as an excuse by teachers who are cowards and who don’t dare do anything for others at all, but put them off with a lot of talk of understanding and of conduct.” “But it means something else. It means you have to do some yoga - above all Karma Yoga. How can you consider yourself purified, if you can’t do something for others? If you react against things, as soon as it’s not just about you. Your subconscious is sure to react with a bad conscience, but you don’t notice it. And if you suddenly open your mind, you see that and get scared.” “Swamiji, what if you do what you do because of feelings of guilt? I mean, if you do Karma Yoga because you have a bad conscience and you feel that...?” “If you continue with your Karma Yoga, and I’m not just talking about the Karma Yoga training you’re given in an ashram, but also the initiatives and responsibility you take yourself, you’ll gradually free yourself from this feeling of guilt.

That’s what Swamiji means by slowly and gradually. You will easily manage what you meet in your mind, if you’re active and “purify” yourself through actions that aren’t just about you, and the result of which you’re not too dependant on. Yes of course you do your best, and with great awareness, but if something doesn’t succeed, you just continue and try again. “So even if your motives appear to you to be a bit suspect when you do Karma Yoga, it doesn’t mean anything, the Karma Yoga will have a cleansing effect anyway?” “Yes! When it comes to the spiritual path, we sometimes overdo it. We sit there getting all tense out of pure ambition! “I want self-realisation only for myself”. On the other hand it would be stupid to think that you should only help others. How can you help others to be happy, for instance, if you don’t know happiness yourself - that would be a serious illusion. There must be a balance between helping yourself and helping others, and this applies especially to teaching. If you do things just for yourself, it’s not certain you’ll get anywhere at all. But it’s also about energy. The energy you purify and get access to through the yoga exercises, is channelled and harmonised during the Karma Yoga activity. It isn’t just tensions in the muscles and bodily organs and inhibitions and limitations in the mind that you cleanse, but also your energy, your energy channels. Mind over matter they say, meaning that your thinking can influence the body. But it’s my experience that energy is over mind.


meet life face to face, and let go of as many complexes and inhibitions as possible. The latter has been the case here in the Nordic countries the last three or four generations. Certainly we have a spiritual life here, but we don’t wish to live under religious suppression and

been in cultures where it was not at all possible to teach any confrontation exercises, or similar spiritual dances. They simply couldn’t look another person straight in the eyes - let alone touch somebody else’s body.” “It reminds me of the film ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show.’ Two nice young people suddenly land in a situation, where they are confronted with a lot of inhibitions and bizarre peculiarities in the American culture. I wonder why it was so popular?” “Yes, there will be a reason for that. There’s also a film with Michael Douglas, ‘The Game’, which in a nerve-racking way describes how a person reaches an insight about himself and how he treats his fellow beings.” “Lars von Trier’s ‘The idiots’ touches a few raw spots too, I think - if you dare to involve yourself in it.”

So if you master your energy, at the same time you master your mind and your body. Therefore not only the physical exercises are important, but also the breathing exercises, Pranayama. But let us go on with the text. So Swamiji thinks that people who wish to go further must go through a cleansing. ‘Otherwise, as I know from my personal experience, they will become conscious of their own inabilities, hypocrisies, pains, passions, and so to say lower instincts.’ What Swami Satyananda says here, should to a certain degree be seen from the point of view of the culture you live in. Some cultures and some ages are more suppressive or more opposed to freedom than others. They encourage guilt and a bad conscience. In other cultures many people try to

manipulation. Therefore many of us aren’t particularly overwhelmed when we see something in our mind that some priest or other says shouldn’t be there. When we read what Swamiji writes in this part of the text, we must also take our cultural background into consideration. After all, I’ve


“If you can see what it is you’re carrying around with you, you can also let it go. You don’t need to follow all the ideas and tendencies that pop up in your mind. You have the freedom to choose. So it’s important that you learn to experience your mind as an observer - without identifying with whatever is there. ‘Therefore yogasadhana should be practised step by step. You should finish one thing at a time, so that the subconscious mind is not confused. It would not be out of place to tell how I, for a couple of months, as a result of an intense sadhana, became so aware of myself - excessively self conscious - that many a time I feared I would go mad. Because I saw myself (and I do not know in which state) as two. But of course, I was saved in time by Swami Sivananda, who was an expert in this matter. My purpose here is to put before you the Chronology of Yoga with reference to your own consciousness. This awareness develops from subjective pratyaya [the contents of the mind] to subjectless and objectless consciousness. And you who have already freed yourself from the mental errors or its causes can safely develop this awareness to such an extent that you see yourself; you become a witness of yourself, and see in yourself something grand and glorious, and something worth appreciating. This is an important point, which the yoga practitioner mustn’t forget. But it is not realistic that a man with all his frailties and circumstances should wait for such a purified state of mind, and then only take to the practices of yoga. If he thinks like this, he will never achieve yoga. Both are interrelated. Therefore it is safest in

yoga to practise Karma, Bhakti and Jnana and their allied aspects.’ Swamiji is now talking about yoga as a higher consciousness. What most people call yoga, in the East as well as in the West, he in the following calls preparatory methods. Personally I would prefer to call them fundamental and necessary methods. They remove many hindrances on the way. They make the meditation easier - not to say possible. They make it easier to do what you want - for example realise yourself. ‘Asana, [physical exercises] Pranayama [breathing exercises] and Hatha Yoga [cleansing processes like nose cleansing etc] are absolutely preliminary methods, and as such they should not be confused with the word ‘yoga’. Realisation can come, Samadhi can be achieved, health can be maintained, psychic errors can be removed without asana and pranayama.’ That’s easy for him to say. He’s used these exercises to a very high degree and so have I. I wouldn’t have got anywhere without them. I certainly wouldn’t have met him. So what is it he means? Actually, what we’re talking about this evening is the experience you want, and what you need to know, when you want to go further than the well being, concentration and vigour that ordinary yoga can give.

Karma, Jnana and Bhakti

‘What is more important in this connection is that yoga cannot be achieved - can never be achieved without the practice of Karma, Bhakti and Jnana Yoga.’

“That Swami Satyananda has this view of Yoga is interesting - Karma, Bhakti and Jnana Yoga. Think of our three-month courses for example. I couldn’t run the three-month courses without Karma Yoga. It would be impossible. Kriya Yoga gives you depth, energy and freedom from limitations - both those you have inherited from society as well as those, which are self-inflicted - but it must be learnt together with a certain amount of Karma Yoga. What is the use of doing Kriya Yoga, if you don’t know how to make use of it in the daily actions you do in the form of Karma Yoga? The energy must be transformed into action, so it doesn’t block. Jnana Yoga is something you do in practice. You achieve it through awareness training and certain meditations, especially Antar Mauna (Inner Stillness), and through Satsang (being with the teacher). The essential guidance, however, is received in daily life, through living and working together with your teacher. In this way you achieve insight about yourself, about your reactions and tendencies, and you gradually get to know the influences in your subconscious, which have an unnoticed influence on your life. Bhakti Yoga for me is something very special. Buddha asked his disciples not to worship. ‘Make no images of me.’ But did they hear what he said? It would be difficult today to find a religion with more statues and pictures than Buddhism. Muhammed said the same, make no images of god, and the Jews also have such instructions. What Swamiji says here about Bhakti Yoga, I personally feel can be expressed


in this attitude: Devoting yourself entirely to everything you do. If you have this ability, you can let go in the face of life, and towards yourself - you don’t need to struggle or be on your guard all the time. You dare believe in life, you dare live it. What you carry in your heart should remain a secret. If it becomes concepts and pictures, it will stand in the way of your self-insight! In some of the more advanced stages of Jnana Yoga, you are asked to give up all concepts, all ideas. Maybe you have

The Tibetan book of the great Liberation. Books by themselves, however, are worthless. Without knowledge of the real methods and without guidance you would just form new ideas and expectations, to put it mildly. Insight is something else, direct experience is something else. Getting to know yourself removes fear - and I’m not talking about understanding yourself - but about an experience, about firsthand knowledge. Basically Jnana Yoga is what we’ve been talking about today. It is about

been living with a certain conviction or had fixed ideas all your life, but you must be able to let go of them, so that you can experience directly and without hindrance. This yoga you will find expressed in a few particular books or scriptures; Yoga Vasishta (the esoteric Ramayan): ‘For the seeker both actions (karma) and knowledge (jnana or gyana) are necessary, as two wings are for the bird’. This is a knowledge that isn’t just about the limited individual self, but about the connection between everything, about the absolute, the whole. And from Tibetan Tantra we have the meditation or discipline Maha Mudra as expressed in for example Evans Wentz:

attaining an expanded awareness, and about how you manage the selfknowledge you gain from it. (See also Bindu no 8, Harmony between the experiencer and the experienced).

‘Finally: the important landmarks in the life of a yogi are:
1. Desire to attain insight and knowledge. 2. A process where you achieve understanding through satsang [where you communicate] with the teacher. 3. Preparatory exercises performed in accordance with the given conditions.’

This is in reference to Hatha Yoga, Asana and Pranayama. In 1994 I visited Swami Satyananda in Rikhia, where he is now living after his retirement. During our conversation he said, Bhakti is not possible without Pranayama. Of course, I thought - Bhakti is a feeling, a state. It’s like a stream you tune in to when you let go. I myself achieved becoming part of this current of energy when I gave myself up to it and let it happen. I discovered this stream of prana, which feels as if it’s connected to a source high above me, during the years when I did intense breathing exercises on a daily basis. So I could appreciate what he said. You can’t tell this to just anyone, though. How could they understand what you mean, when it’s not a question of worship, but still a matter of devotion? That you become part of a vibrating current, which you get in contact with by using the breathing exercises in yoga - and which you remain in contact with during meditation. You can use this current to get rid of even the worst states and tensions, it is in the highest degree purifying. It opens you, and a connection is established where the energy vibrates and flows both upwards and downwards. You feel what Bhakti is, when it’s not based on ideas. Without this feeling you can’t get a proper flow of prana to arise. The feeling of devotion gives the current power - just like when you discover what it really means to let go. First Bhastrika (the blacksmith’s bellows), and then Nadi Shodana. The breathing exercise Nadi Shodana is most effective in this way, when you hold the breath by closing the nostrils


with the fingers and not, which some people claim is more advanced, by using the chin lock (see also page 10). When people don’t know of this experience, they may well sit there with their high ambitions and struggle frustratedly with their breathing exercises. They don’t know how you literally feel upwards during Nadi Shodana. Without the experience of the ‘flame’ or the ‘flow’, it is not so easy to hold the breath and get more out of it. Everyone gets balance and clarity in the brain and inspiration afterwards of course, when they use Nadi Shodana but this is barrier-breaking. 4. ‘Initiation from the guru.’ 5. ‘Return to Karma.’ At some point you must turn back to Karma Yoga! Why? Because you should maintain contact with life around you, and because you shouldn’t become self-centred and oversensitive. Through Karma Yoga you remain grounded, while you can expand the mind with other methods. If you are not grounded, you can’t live with an expanded awareness, and things start to drift. On the other hand, if you’re outgoing and active with the Karma Yoga, you can go far in a short time. Swamiji once said to a person who asked him: ‘How much should I meditate?’ You could see that this person wasn’t particularly active in his life. He probably had all sorts of dreams in his head, and supplied them with fuel from ‘spiritual’ books and magazines. So Swami Satyananda said to him: ‘Well, it depends on what you do otherwise. If you’re not active or doing something with your life - you shouldn’t meditate at all. But if you’re just a little

active - you can meditate 5 minutes a day. Of course if you work, let’s say 4 or 5 hours every day, you can meditate for quarter of an hour. If you have an ordinary job of 8 hours a day, you can meditate for half an hour or an hour every day without a problem. And if you do Karma Yoga the whole day into the evening, let’s say 16 hours a day - then you’re on the safe side. Then you don’t need to sleep, you can meditate the rest of the night.’ That’s why we do Karma Yoga alongside the other methods. 6. ‘Experiment with intense Sadhana.’ ... in the beginning when I did that, yoga exercises for many hours every day and breathing exercises four times a day, the result was of course a very great sensitivity – that’s why I had to turn to Karma Yoga. Therefore Swamiji says: 7. ‘Return to Karma Yoga.’ You can also say that you do Karma Yoga alongside your intensive sadhana. But you could of course, as Swami Sivananda, do Karma Yoga 16 hours a day. He did this before he established his ashram - he also used the hours when we others are asleep. Apart from his sadhana he helped people in Rishikesh curing leprosy, eye diseases etc. Swami Sivananda had enormous energy - which he got through being active, in combination with yoga and meditation! 8. ‘Checking up the mind through negative methods.’ Usually life ensures that you find yourself in situations where you get ‘tested’. But you can also take the initiative yourself and create a confrontation with states and situations which would normally ‘disturb’ you.

You expose yourself to influences, so that you see if you can manage them without forgetting yourself. 9. ‘Intense Japa, (Bhakti) Anushthan.’ Ordinary mantra meditation with devotion practised over a longer period of time, for example during a winter. This doesn’t suit everyone in the West, though. Other methods can be used, like meditation on the breath with or without mantra. 10. ‘Checking up the mind through strong stimuli.’ Are you open and receptive to anything? Can you really experience influences and states without losing yourself? Here Swamiji suggests that you check that, before you continue to awaken the awareness. There are sure to be different things that normally would disturb your calm or your state. Do you forget yourself under their influence? Then back to Karma Yoga! 11. ‘Initiation into an expanded awareness, if everything is found OK.’ What is ‘awareness’ as Swamiji calls it? This initiation doesn’t come until under point 11. So far he has just talked about the preparation: Sadhana, yoga, all these things. So awareness in this connection is when you’re suddenly there, when you see! When you experience everything in and around you, in a very strong state of being present. Can you take that? If you can, everything’s fine, you can just continue. But to be on the safe side, check it again - here in the ashram it’s easy of course, this is what we do. You find support in the meditations, where you’re constantly learning to experience in this way and to let go.


12. ‘Checking up the mind with adverse stimuli or negative circumstances.’ I can recognise all the points, which Swamiji talks about here, in my life. At certain times life has seen to it that I’ve encountered them, at other times Swamiji probably had a finger in the pie, like when you got teased in the ashram and your patience was put to the test. When you meet with different things that touch you, it doesn’t come as something you’ve agreed upon in advance. In this way you’re not prepared for what happens. It comes when you least expect it. In your attitude, however, there’s no question of running away from life; you face and accept whatever comes. You don’t try to avoid the sensitivity either. No, when you’re ready you go further and deeper with your Sadhana. All people go through upheavals. What we’re talking about here, though, is to do it with a heightened awareness. It happens all the time - for example being involved in a court case, even if you’ve started it yourself; that is ‘adverse circumstances’ without a doubt. Or if somebody’s jealous of you and tries to hurt you via the press - I got a taste of that earlier on in my ‘yogic’ life. But I must say that ‘negative circumstances’ - when I look back over the years and see what I was subjected to, and how I was carried away by strong feelings, or just managed to keep my balance - it definitely deserves the name negative circumstances. 13. ‘If everything is alright go further with the awareness.’ So you can live in this heightened state. ‘If not, then turn back to an ordinary meditation or

relaxation - your practice is directed by the purity of your mind. 14. If the mind is found impure, so that it disturbs your ability to rest in yourself in such a way that it brings forth agony and repentance, turn back to Karma and Bhakti. But if you’re capable of remaining in an unaffected state of awareness, as an observer of the activity of your mind and its contents, then continue with the expanded awareness.’ This means that you are the witness, you are the seer or the experiencer of your mental state. You experience the mind without identifying with it. But without keeping it at arm’s length, you allow your feelings and thoughts to manifest and exhaust themselves within. How do you identify with a mental state? It’s easy enough to demonstrate. I know a way to tease anybody here, and the person concerned would react at once and throw something back in my face. In that situation you’re not capable of witnessing anything at all. You’re involved. And you have to learn to realise this, so that you can work with it, use yoga, meditation and solve Karma Yoga tasks. ‘But the moment you find that the expanded awareness becomes the cause of repentance, agony etc., then it is always better for the spiritual aspirant to take a break and develop Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga, and in this way to cleanse the mind. This is the chronology of a yogi.’” “I have a question about the last part.” “Yes?”

“Swami Satyananda says in the text, ‘that when your awareness is expanded, and when you experience that this creates remorse and pain...’ Does that mean that when the awareness starts to expand, then you see more and more of yourself and your own emotions?” “It doesn’t really mean at all that you experience more and more in an intellectual way, where you can criticise or analyse yourself or other people - it’s not that kind of awareness. No, here you experience directly. You don’t sit and think about it or philosophise. It’s like when we use the meditation Antar Mauna (Inner Stillness). I have taught you how to relate to the mind through Antar Mauna. But to trigger off a greater awareness is another story.” “Is it that you experience your feelings stronger and stronger?” “Now you can see them as they are, that is as emotions - and not as you. So, if you get a reaction, you can stand beside yourself and look at it, whether it’s strong or weak. You’re no longer driven to actions where you throw things at other people. You are truly unaffected. Still you allow yourself to feel. It hasn’t got anything to do with controlling yourself, no, you’re resting in yourself, in the eye of the storm. It’s different if you’re a teacher, then you have to react, strongly and clearly, so the student wakes up. However, we can’t live with intolerant ideals and expect ourselves always to be oh, so nice to each other. Of course we should maintain a certain standard so that we can live together and


preserve this unique situation which we call ashram. In this respect living in an ashram isn’t much different from other places. For example, you can see people who get carried away by a situation, and who cling to the involved state because they identify with it. On the other hand, people who have the capacity to experience the thoughts and the emotions are not bound by them. They can change quickly between various expressions. Maybe you’re angry about something, but

next minute you turn around and crack a joke. In other words, the state itself wasn’t important, it was just used to communicate with, after that you move on. Then again, you might have a student who doesn’t want to let go of his/her states. Then you feel like saying: ‘I’m sorry I can’t help you, go somewhere else to get help.’ But to be involved in an emotional state or an intellectual attitude isn’t so bad. Most people are involved almost all the time. In the daily life in the ashram, I

notice when I get caught and carried away by something. With the help of the meditation and the people in my surroundings, I learn to see it and let it go. But if you’re in a higher state and unable to let go - then you need extra help. The ashram has a safety net, which consists of the understanding that exists here around these subjects, and of Karma Yoga. Thank you for the talk! You inspire me.”q


Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life
Swami Janakananda’s book in a revised and extended edition
(Weiser, USA ISBN: 0877287686). (Yoga, Tantra et Méditation dans la Vie Quotodienne, Editions Satyanandashram, France ISBN: 2.905892-06-04).

“In my opinion this is one of the best yoga books available at the moment. Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life is an inspiring and, above all, a refreshingly practical book. It has been written by a man who understands his trade and knows what he is talking about, you feel this when reading it. Swami Janakananda has had a lifetime of practice and more than 20 years experience in teaching yoga and meditation. He imparts this yoga consistently, as he himself has learned it from his teacher Swami Satyananda Saraswati - without any superfluous religious or philosophical interpretations, and equally without any fashionable New Age dilutions. Simply and clearly formulated one finds all necessary instructions for inquiring independently into the original methods of Tantric yoga and meditation. The entire book is generously illustrated and there are photographs of all the various yoga programmes, which facilitate practising the exercises

by oneself. Breathing exercises and deep relaxation (Yoga Nidra) are also carefully and thoroughly introduced. Even people who already know something about yoga will be surprised at how much this book offers. Many yoga books today unfortunately lack a usable description of real meditation, but here we find both a theoretical introduction as well as concrete instructions. The last four chapters exclusively treat the theme of meditation and belong to the best of what I have read on this theme up to now. One of the chapters is devoted to the sexual rituals. Here the reader finds original Tantric instructions for approaching sexual energy and experiencing it as it is: one of the fundamental forces in Mankind. The Tantric attitude to sexual energy is,

however, often falsely inflated and overestimated; this is a pity, for the sexual rituals are only a small part of the manifold Tantric tradition. In a total of 13 chapters Swami Janakananda gives an excellent survey of the various aspects of yoga and meditation, including chapters on concentration, on Kundalini Yoga and the Chakras, and a Sanskrit glossary. But, as I have said, Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life is above all a manual to use.” (Swami Pragyamurti - from a review in Spectrum, the journal of the British Wheel of Yoga)

The book has obtained five stars (out of five possible) at the Customer rating at Amazon. Read reviews online at


Swami Janakananda

30 years as Swami - 60 years in life
them into small pieces. I remember my mind wondering what in the world I was doing. For days, I stood there and tore cardboard into small pieces. Looking back, of course, one can see what a wonderful exercise it was for watching the mind, and also for utilising all materials carefully (and this was just when the movement for environmental consciousness was beginning). The cardboard came to good use for starting many fires in the egg-shaped fireplace that was being built in the main room. And then there was the opportunity to participate in one of the first three-months’ courses. It was tough and it was so great. What a gift it was to concentrate so totally on the practices. What a joy to have silence for an entire month. Finally, one’s own mind became silent and one could go deep within. Finally, the inner experiences came to the surface of the mind and revealed – the entire subtle body – all the chakras – energy glowing in the most beautiful vivid colours. With it came the realisation that this was real, this was true. And then a most beautiful blue sphere filling the mind’s experience – so still, so complete Supreme Peace. Tears welled up out of the eyes spontaneously. Great Joy was experienced. Later, Swami Janakananda came into the room. He looked at me. He knew. It

Thirty years ago, in February 1969, Swami Janakananda was initiated as a Swami, and sixty years ago he was born. We - friends and yoga teachers - thought that we would surprise him with a celebration. This we did on his birthday, June 13th. We were given permission to print some of the texts he received in this issue of Bindu. With Great Joy, Regards and Appreciation. What a great Joy it is to have this opportunity to express the great appreciation, the love and the special regards felt for Swami Janakananda. So many years of support and guidance have been showered upon my life through his great compassion. From the moment I came into his sphere of influence, a great care and great love was felt right at the very first moment. As I reflect back on my life, I can see that he was there for me at the times when I needed him the most. He has been a major influence on my life. Strong memories come up, as I contemplate this. For example, when an old country school at Håå in Sweden became available as a course site and work began to make it useable - I remember many incidents from that time. At one point the floor to the shower in the main building was being installed. Since funds were in short supply for all the materials needed, Swami Janakananda directed us to take small sections of the vinyl floor covering that were leftover, and - like a jigsaw puzzle – put them together so as to be able to complete the floor. Every-

Picture from Ann Mari Brenckert, Sweden

thing was used, nothing was wasted. The same was true with all the cardboard packing materials – instead of just burning them up or throwing them away, we had the karma yoga of tearing


was not until much later that I fully understood the depth of what had been revealed to me. This is the greatest gift that a human being can receive. Swami Janakananda, by his compassion and his love, has always pointed the way towards the supreme treasure within one’s own self. This is the most valuable gift that any human being can give to another. And for that never-ending support and love, I am ever grateful and ever in debt. This support and guidance is always manifesting. ”No greater friend hath any man.” So, it is with Great Regards, Great Respect and Great Love that this offering of salutations can be made in honour of Swami Janakananda for all the great gifts he has given. Not only to me – but to everyone that has had the good fortune to come into his company and receive what he has to give. Ronald Nameth OM TAT SAT! ...............................................................
Renovation of Håå Course Center 1972

Even though I’ll probably give a speech on your sixtieth birthday, I think that 1) I might say something else and 2) it isn’t easy for anyone to remember the different speeches. My dear friend! We’ve accompanied each other for nearly 30 years. Here I almost start to sing “The first time I saw you…” It was when you were translating a lecture by Swami Satyananda. At that particular time I didn’t want to do yoga anymore, after having tried two different “yoga ladies”, which gave me a certain physical routine, but there was something missing. I was together with a yoga teacher. Afterwards I said to her, “if the like of the young man who was translating was around, I’d very much like to do more

yoga”. Anyway, as we both remember I turned up at your humble and very nicely set up premises in Viborggade. From the first time with you, there were a lot of things that touched something inside me; especially Antar Mauna and Yoga Nidra, but all the other exercises you taught me were so inspiring that I started to use all the little free time I had on yoga. We also quickly started a practical co-operation, and Nordkrog, Hellerup, was acquired (it’s lucky my job was, and still is, estate agent). We were alone in this new old house, and what I remember best is the joy with which we threw ourselves at the cleaning, the sanding of the floors, and all sorts of other things. Your creativity in the practical and

artistic field really came to advantage. It became a lovely place and very quickly many more people arrived, and the first ashram came into being. Well, there is and always will be a lot of go about you, so, if I remember rightly, in about two years only that place was too small. You heard of premises on Købmagergade, in the very heart of Copenhagen, and off we went again. The contract was obtained with great trouble (strange lawyer). After about two years you found out that the house was to be sold on an executive auction. So that really got us going. I remember that when the house was bought and taken over we were in the aeroplane on the way to the yoga congress in Bogotà, Colombia. Then you found the school at Håå. But when you asked for my advice about purchase etc., I couldn’t help you. There was too great a difference between the Danish and the Swedish rules. That didn’t stop us from getting going again with scrubbing, cleaning, sanding floors, painting windows etc., but now there were a lot more of us to help. Once again, we had such fun, and the outcome of this is what you with joy can look at today. It’s wonderful to age in years, and to call forth memories. I know that you, as I do, “observe it”, and luckily we’re still working on together. No one knows how many people one inspires, whether it is with yoga or with something else, but you have done so for countless people and you’re still going strong. I’ll finish my little “biography” here and wish you happiness and success in the future. I’m quite sure that the two of us will always work and be together, as long as we are “visiting performers” on this earth. With the very warmest of greetings and a very, very BIG OM from Maha Laxmi.


Dear Swami Janakananda One day, when the drums were conversing with each other, somebody mentioned that Swami Janakananda was about to have a birthday, and that there was to be a big party. The drums discussed the matter back and forth and decided that Táman should be the one to go, because it was known, also among humans, as “the one who speaks”. Therefore, it could both say “happy birthday” in a clear language, and whisper its secrets when the time was ripe. For the fact is with magic, they said, that both the drum and Swami Janakananda have a part in it. Happy birthday! Sakti Rupini ............................................................... Happy birthday... many returns of the day (samsara) till the Eternal Time comes to stay... nirvana, nirvana
The doer does... and sees the things done, apt with conviction equally apt to go beyond... that is Swami Janakananda Sohan Qadri ............................................................... Dear Swami Ji A few words for the incredible journey you undertook - under what inspiration or plan - divine or human, I don’t know. You have joined your precious life energy with the people who have carried the light of yoga through countless millenniums. Your life and work speak about the same light which existed long ago and which exists today and is helping thousands of seekers around the world. Knowing you as a friend, a brother and co-traveller on the path of yoga

for the past 23 years, it has been my distinct privilege, which I cherish very much. Thank you for your being. I look forward to many many more years of enjoying your presence and friendship, and learning from your example. All the best for your body, mind & soul. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! -from Roop, Tracy, Arjun and Uma Verma ............................................................... Congratulations and Gratitude Throughout life, one is blessed by encounters with others. My life has been very blessed through my contact with Swami Janakananda. After starting yoga classes in Bergen with Bjarke, I attended the three months course at Håå in 1985. The first time I briefly saw Swami Janakananda (and at that time not knowing who he was), I was struck by that short, silent but very significant encounter. As the course progressed, it became obvious to me that he was my teacher. Wonderful things then started to happen. I would be thinking about a particular topic throughout the day and that night Swami Janakananda would arrive in the yoga room and immediately start talking about the very same topic. At first, I thought it was a series of coincidences. I soon changed my mind. On one particular day during the silent period, thoughts about Joan of Arc had entered my mind for the first time in years. To my surprise, that evening and for the first time in the course, Swamiji made several references to St. Joan. After that incident, I felt Swami Janakananda had a direct telephone line into my mind. I would mentally ask him a question during the day and that night he would simply provide the answer. A few years before the three months course, I had been diagnosed with Mul-

tiple Sclerosis. For me, the physical aspects of the course were very demanding. There were many poses, which seemed to be completely beyond my capabilities. My back had also sustained some injuries in a car accident some years prior to this. As a result, I experienced a great deal of pain, particularly between the shoulder blades, when sitting in a meditation pose. In one mid morning class during the teaching of the Kriyas, I was experiencing some severe back pain. Swamiji was checking our poses and, as he passed me, he lightly touched my back, saying: “That’s good”. The pain stopped instantaneously and I have never experienced its severity again. I left Håå at the end of the three months course in fine health, able to do all the yoga programs. Since then, I have continued to enjoy better health than most other people do. I have been blessed because my contact with Swami Janakananda has been constant and frequent since that first three months course in 1985. Yes, he is my teacher. He is also a cherished friend. As my teacher, Swami Janakananda has allowed me the freedom to grow and develop. He has encouraged me to become a yoga teacher much to my gratitude and the gratitude of my many students in Mackay (Queensland Australia). Whenever I have sought his advice, he has provided guidance and support. But he has never given me instructions on how I should live my life. He has left those decisions to me. His teaching has shown me how to sustain periods of harmony, energy and drive in my personal and business life. Whilst living in Scandinavia and as a direct result of the inspiration received on the 1985 three months course, I was able


to secure the IKEA franchise for the state of Queensland. I am no longer in that business but whenever I drive past the 8,000 sq. metres of IKEA store on the South East Freeway in Brisbane, I look at the place and say: “That’s the store that yoga built”. And I experience gratitude. For the last nine years, I have been operating my own training business in regional Queensland. I am committed to introduce Swami Janakananda’s teachings into the workplace using the management courses that I conduct as the vehicle. In the business sector today, many people are asking questions about purpose and meaning. Yoga provides the opportunity to discover one’s own answers to these questions. Like all of us on this wonderful voyage through life, there have been times when life has appeared pretty tough. On one such occasion, I was sitting on the beach in front of my house, feeling very alone and experiencing intense grief. I can recall crying out a question into the dark of that night and asking for an answer. I felt very heavy as I climbed up the path from the beach and entered my home. As I walked in, the telephone rang. There was Swami Janakananda on the line from Sweden, providing me with the answer to the question which, only a few moments ago, I had just asked on the beach in Australia. Thank you, Swami Janakananda, for being my teacher; for showing me how to access my own wisdom; for being my friend; for being there in times of need; for teaching me how to use the energy to live a full and purposeful life. May your 60th birthday celebration be a happy, joyful occasion. All of the people in Australia who have been touched by your teachings join me in

congratulating you on reaching this important point of your life. With love and gratitude Robyn Taylor, Mackay, Queensland, Australia. 13 June 1999. ............................................................... Blessed Self, Swami Janakananda Saraswati - Hari OM On the occasion of your birthday and also the jubilee of your initiation to sannyas some 30 years ago, what better incentive for my good wishes and congratulations than some chanting from the Ramayana, expressing the joy of Sita Kalyanam, union of the soul with the Supreme? ”The sounds of singing and kettle drums and shouts of victory in heaven as well as in the city overflowed as it

were, in all directions… As the king and queen gazed on the bridegroom who was the very fountain of joy, their heart was filled with rapture… And having gone through all the rites sanctioned by the Vedas and the family usage, the glorious king Janaka gave his daughter to the bridegroom and thereby earned fair renown of an unprecedented character.” This is for you Janakananda! May your health, work and love improve and grow through many more years to come. I wish to join these words of mine to those of the French public who so much appreciated your vibrant talks on yoga and meditation. And we hope to see you again in Paris! Swami Yogabhakti Saraswati

May I take this opportunity here to thank everybody who has contacted me, visited me, wrote to me or thought of me, and to Síta who has gathered these texts and been the prime mover behind the celebration. Swami Janakananda


Han-shan - Poems from Cold Mountain
Thirty years ago I was born into the world, A thousand, ten thousand miles I’ve roamed, by rivers where the green grass lies thick, beyond the border where the red sands fly. I brewed potions in vain search for life everlasting, I read books, I sang songs of history. Today I’ve come home to Cold Mountain. I sleep by the creek and purify my ears.
The first time I read the poems of Han-shan was in the beginning of the seventies. During this period of my life I lived for a couple of years in the Himalayas. I often went trekking high up in the mountains, sometimes for months. The poems evoked pictures I could relate to immediately. They were in tune not only with the outer world in the mountains but also with the inner. In a sense the poems build a bridge between the outer and the inner, making the two worlds merge and become one. The poems have been with me ever since and are still the clearest and most inspiring poetry I know of. Not much is known of Han-shan other than what you can read in his poems. Therefore nobody knows where he came from, except that he was a poor eccentric scholar who retired to the mountains. The only existing description of Han-shan comes from the late 9th century, from an official in the T’ang Dynasty by the name of Lüch’iu Yin. He describes his meeting with Han-shan and his friend Shih-te. Shih-te, who was also a poet, worked in the kitchen of a Buddhist monastery. He often gave Han-shan food when he came down from his cave on Cold Mountain. The monks in the monastery regarded the two friends as more or less mad. The story goes that Hanshan could roam the corridors of the monastery for hours, laughing and singing to himself all the while. If the monks wanted to give him something to do or tried to chase him away, he stood still, laughed out loud and clapped his hands, and disappeared. The official who had heard that the two impoverished friends were really incarnations of boddhisattvas brought gifts for them. He even bowed to them, which greatly surprised the monks of the monastery. When Han-shan saw Lü-ch’iu and his retinue approaching with the gifts, which consisted of medicine and clothing, he shouted: “Thieves! Thieves”! He then ran into a cave in the mountain that closed after him and they never saw him again. Lüch’iu then ordered his men to collect Han-shans poems which were written on the walls of the cave he lived in. They

by Stig Andersen
also found poems scribbled on pieces of bark and on the trees near the cave. In that way the poems have been preserved for posterity and today they are part of the literary treasure of China. In Japan the poems are also greatly appreciated. There the great poet is called Kanzan. The poems cover many subjects. From poems that show a deep spiritual insight to poems of a more secular nature. From satire on society and the vanity of human nature, to sorrow at the transience of life and the sufferings it causes. Man, living in the dust is like a bug trapped in a bowl. All day he scrabbles round and round, but never escapes the bowl that holds him. The immortals are beyond his reach, his craving has no end, while months and years flow by like a river until in an instant he has grown old. The real masterpieces you find in the poems from and about Cold Mountain. According to the poems Hanshan retired to a cave high up in the mountains after living an ordinary life for approximately thirty years. At first glance the poems describe nature and the mountains, but they are as much parables of meditative states and spiritual awakening. The name Han-shan is often translated as “the master of Cold Mountain” or


simply as Cold Mountain. In that sense Cold Mountain is Han-shan himself. However when I read the poems I don’t experience Cold Mountain as being only Han-shan but as a metaphor for the Self. That is the strength of the poems - they give you a direct experience when you read them. Han-shan often describes how he returns to Cold Mountain – returns to himself. The poems in many cases resemble the meditative process where you are also in search of the self. I climb the road to Cold Mountain, the road to Cold Mountain that never ends. The valleys are long and strewn with stones, the streams broad and banked with thick grass. Moss is slippery, though no rain has fallen; pines sigh, but it isn’t the wind. Who can break from the snares of the world and sit with me among white clouds?

Occasionally Han-shan is referred to as a Zen poet, though there are so many references to the classical taoist text Tao Te Ching in his poems that it would probably be more correct to call him a taoist poet. The kinship with Tantra is also apparent in many of the poems: All my life I’ve been lazy, hating anything solemn, finding light matters more congenial. Others may study how to make a profit, I have my single roll of scripture. I don’t bother to fit it with a roller or case, or trouble to carry it here or there. Like a doctor prescribing a medicine for each disease, I use what remedy is at hand to save the world. Only when the mind is free of care can the light of understanding shine in every corner. I use what remedy is at hand to save the world. This is exactly the Tantric approach. You use what is here and

now. In the Yoga poses you work with the body. The body as it is - soft or rigid, young or old. In meditation you make use of that which is happening in the mind during the meditation. You don’t try to avoid it. In this way you transform the energy. You have, like Han-shan, saved your world. You have done that with the remedies at hand in the meditation. In the next meditation you repeat the process, with the means you have at your disposal then. You return to Cold Mountain. The birds and their chatter overwhelm me with feeling; At times like this I lie down in my hut. Cherries shine with crimson fire; willows trail their slender boughs. The morning sun pops from the jaws of blue peaks; bright clouds are washed in green pond. Who ever thought I would leave the dusty world and come bounding up the southern slope of Cold Mountain.q


Swami Janakananda in Europe... ...and in Australia

Swami Janakananda will be giving a Satsang in Hannover, Germany on May 23rd. In June he has been invited to teach at a retreat with the Scottish Yoga Teachers’ Association, and with the Finnish Yoga Teachers’ Association in July. After the one-month Kriya Yoga course and a 14-day yoga teacher seminar at Håå Course Center he will be in Australia for three months.

Retreats, Courses and Satsangs September - November 2000

10 day retreat at Tannum Sands in Queensland: 11-21 Oct.
“It is now two days ago since we left the course in Acre and I still have an elated and self-contradictory feeling of supercharged energy and deep inner calm.” (Student after a 10 day retreat)
In a quiet atmosphere, we will live mainly without phones, mail, media, cars and shops. Such a setting provides you with a unique opportunity to gain perspective and benefit the most from the yoga and meditation you are going to learn and experience. The course begins with easy yoga and simple relaxation and meditation. One of the first days is set aside for intestinal cleansing. In the morning we drink warm saline water that is in balance with the body’s own salt level. A few exercises help the water through the alimentary canal in a gentle and harmonious way. The afternoon is spent resting or enjoying the surrounding countryside. A mild vegan diet follows the cleansing-day. Altogether this helps to detoxify your body, removing coarse tensions and making you feel light. You get suppleness and well-being from the various yoga poses. The purpose of the breathing exercises is to cleanse your energy flows and create a foundation for concentration and health. This aids in learning: Inner Silence (Antar Mauna), a meditation in seven steps through which you can come to terms with your mind and learn to accept your personality in a constructive way. You develop your capacity to think creatively and thus realize your visions. But first and foremost, you get closer to your self and experience your true identity. Ajapa Japa is a preliminary form of Kriya Yoga. In nine steps you go from the coarse to the finer levels of your being, from using a special way of breathing to contacting the chakras, the inner space and your psychic symbol.

For updates on the Australian tour see our website:


Yoga Nidra, a unique deep relaxation. Karma Yoga, an activity that interacts with the rest of the course where you have a chance to make use of the energy you get from your yoga and meditation classes. Every day there is 1-2 hours of preparing food, cleaning, garden work... Silence (Mauna), a valuable and integrated part of yoga. Two and a half days of silence raises your awareness further thus increasing your capacity to experience. It makes you better able to experience the finer stages of the meditations that we practise at this point. Lectures. Swami Janakananda and Sita will give lectures on tantric yoga and meditation and how it can be used and integrated in daily life. Meditative song and dance from around the world, especially Sufi dance and Indian kirtan, plays a small but important part in the course. Venue, dates and fee The retreat is held at Tanyalla Recreation and Conference Centre, located in a quiet environment at the attractive seaside town of Tannum Sands, some 20 km south-east of Gladstone, Queensland, just 300 metres from the beach. Between Centre and the Boyne River is a large area of natural woodland which is ideal for bush walks and nature study. The retreat begins Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 7.00 pm and ends Saturday, Oct. 21 at noon. The course fee is $ 800, all inclusive for 10 days tuition, accomodation and meals. Before enrolling on this retreat ask for the Håå Course brochure and read it carefully, or read it on internet:

was born in Denmark. He founded the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School in 1970, one of the most advanced and well-established schools in the West. His book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life (available from Samuel Weiser, USA) has been translated into nine languages. Swami Janakananda is a master of Kriya Yoga and other tantric meditations - and a great source of inspiration, giving modern man the opportunity to practise deep reaching yoga in his every day life. He is a popular lecturer at international yoga conventions and has been in Australia several times. In his teaching Swami Janakananda makes use of the situation here and now - of you, just the way you are, not demanding that something first must be different. From here the meditation grows, the room you are sitting in, your body and senses...

Swami Janakananda

Arrival Accomodation will be in single rooms with good communal toilet and shower facilities. Please bring your own bedding or sleeping bag, including pillows. Please also bring comfortable shoes, towel and toiletries - as well as a mat for yoga and a thin blanket.

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is from Iceland. She has been teaching at the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School for 16 years, working closely with Swami Janakananda. On the retreats she will guide the yoga classes and lead sessions with meditative song and dance.



Retreats, weekend courses and satsangs in Australia 2000
10 day Retreat
at Tannum Sands in Queensland: 11-21 Oct.
Booking & info: Concept Training, tel 0749 549 490, fax 0749 549 330. e-mail: 10 - 12 November in Adelaide, South Australia Booking & info: Amritananda, tel 08 8391 6228. e-mail: 17 - 19 November in Sydney Open to all, aimed at experienced yoga practitioners. On this course, friday evening will be 6.00 - 9.30 pm. Booking & info: Swami Shabdavani and Swami Priyaratna tel 02 9879 5240 e-mail: Still being planned: 22 - 24 Sept in Toowoomba, Queensland Booking & info: Toowoomba School of Yoga, tel & fax 0746 392 486, mobile phone 015621134, email:

Info Evenings and Satsangs

5 day Retreat

on the West Coast 2 - 7 Nov.

Venue: At Lower Chittering, 45 minutes drive from Perth Bookings: Judy Allan, tel 0895 718 338 Fee: $ 400

Meet Swami Janakananda and find out what the courses are about. The evening ends with a guided meditation. • On the Sunshine Coast: 28 Sept. • In Mackay: 3 Oct. 7.00 9.00 pm Slade Point Hall, Wren Street, Slade Point. • On the West Coast: 1 Nov. • In Adelaide: 9 Nov. • In Sydney: 16 Nov. Free entrance.

Weekend Courses

Non-residential. Friday 6.30 - 10.00 pm. Saturday 9.00 am - 9.00 pm. with approx. two hours lunch-break and one hour dinner-break. Sunday 9.00 am 5.00 pm. with approx. two hours lunchbreak. Fee: $ 250. 29 Sept - 1 October on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland Booking & info: Edelweiss Symons, mobile phone 0408109844. 6 - 8 October in Mackay, Queensland Booking & info: Concept Training, tel 0749 549 490, fax 0749 549 330. e-mail:

For updates on the Australian tour see our website:


Experience Yoga

Nidra - Inspiration for a richer life
Roop Verma. Sound symbols for the various chakras are also played, from the music tradition called Nada Yoga. Naturally, this practice is an individual experience. Personally, I find it utterly fascinating. I feel refreshed and revitalised after the practice, and I know I will continue with it.” Nils-Olof Jacobsen in the magazine Sökaren, Sweden

The deep relaxation Yoga Nidra from the Nyasa Tantra is guided by Swami Janakananda. You can get the deep relaxation on CD or on tape. All you have to do is to lie down, close your eyes and follow the instructions!
“I remain very impressed with the CD. I get a lot of solicitations and often do not respond to them because the quality is not always that good. This CD is more than the exception to the rule, hence my enthusiasm. I enjoy it not only because it was produced with quality, but because I can tell from the instructions and the voice guiding it that wisdom and experience, combined with a gentle strength and power, are leading the deep relaxation methods, through Swami Janakananda.” Lisa McColley Anderson, Spirit Links, USA “Yoga Nidra is different from anything I have heard before. It is accompanied by nature sounds, and the Indian musician

“Yoga Nidra is much more than a deep relaxation; it is a total experience that touches and awakens all parts of your being.”

Swami Janakananda

With the CD there is a 20-page booklet about Yoga Nidra, and how to get the full benefits from the two relaxations. Content of the CD: “The Wholeness of Your Nature” short deep-relaxation (21:03). “Travel through the Space of Experience”, music (7:06). “Discover Your Self”, the deep Yoga Nidra (45:17). Soon available in stores in USA, UK, Canada & Australia. CD: ISBN 9163094886. Tape: ISBN 9163094924. Contact us for info.


- Back issues are still available
No. 3: The ability to experience. Headstand. Nose Cleansing... No. 4: Kriya Yoga I. The effect of yoga on the finer energy. The Source of Energy - a Tantric meditation... No. 5: Kriya Yoga II. Psychic energy. Six years of scientific research on the 3-Months Courses. The Pyramid. No. 6: The twilight hour - did we have a living meditation tradition in the North? About R.Y.E. (Research on Yoga in Education). Shoulderstand... No. 7: Silver Jubilee issue! Read about Kriya Yoga III. Yoga for pregnant women. Savasana. No. 8: Harmony between the experiencer and the experienced. On the Tantric meditation Antar Mauna (Inner Silence). The Lotus Pose. Intestinal cleansing. No. 9: Instructor or Guide? Yoga for the Back. Experience and Knowledge - about the yoga teacher education at the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School. No. 10: Nada Yoga, meditation on the inner sounds. Vibrations create forms. Song and dance. The Bumble bee. No. 11: The relaxed state and science. Pictures of the brains’s activity during Yoga Nidra. Tantra and Yoga Nidra. No. 12: On the yogateacher education. Yoga for “mouse arms”. Mapping the brains activity after Kriya Yoga. On Sadhana, cycles in healing and learning and what it means to be silent during the initiation into Kriya Yoga.


Read more about Bindu on the internet:


Yoga shop
The book: Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life (Weiser, USA) by Swami Janakananda 235 SEK (postage included) Also available in other languages. New French translation of the book! See also page 31. The CD: Experience Yoga Nidra 200 SEK (postage included). See p. 41. The tape: Experience Yoga Nidra 155 SEK (postage included) Hopi Ear Candles: made of 100% bees wax and cotton; cleanses the ears. 80 SEK (postage included)

Nose cleansing pot with instruction brochure: Joghus, (short spout) blue or red. 250 SEK (postage included) Krutis, (long spout) blue, sand, white or green, 370 SEK (postage included) The periodical: Bindu Backissues: no. 3-7, 9-12, 45 SEK each (postage included). Five issues or more: 30 SEK each (postage included). See also p. 39. The brochure (free): about the retreats at Håå International Course Center. See next page.

You are welcome to support us, so we can continue to publish Bindu. Pay 45 SEK for one issue or 80 SEK for 2 issues + 40 SEK postage (payment, see below). Further contributions are also welcome.

We accept payment in Swedish Crowns (SEK) by international money order or to our postal giro account 73 86 03 - 0 in Sweden. Or an international bank cheque (free of charge at our end). NB Euro-cheques are not accepted any more in Swedish Banks! Please send money and order to: Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School, Håå Course Center, 340 13 Hamneda, Sweden.

Håå Course Center, 340 13 Hamneda, Sweden • Tel. +46 372 55063 Fax. +46 372 55036 • Email: • Sweden
• Västmannagatan 62, 113 25 Stockholm tel. +46 8 321218, fax. +46 8 314406 email: • Olsegården 21 • 442 42 Kungälv, Göteborg, tlf. +46 7020 57343 email: • Grynbodgatan 17, 211 33 Malmö tlf. +46 40 - 481008 email:

• Købmagergade 65, 1150 Copenhagen tel. +45 3314 1140, fax. +45 3314 1434 email: • Vestergade 45, 8000 Århus tel. +45 8619 4033, fax. +45 8619 4013 email: • Kongensgade 12 B, 3000 Elsinore tel. +45 4921 2068
Publisher: Bindu, Håå Course Center, 340 13 Hamneda, Sweden. Circulation: 7,000 in English (Also printed in German, Swedish and Danish) Printed: Håå Course Center, by Erling Christiansen & Mark Richards Layout: Robert Nilsson & Swami Janakananda Translation: Jnana Shakti & Mark Richards Pictures: Back, p. 2, 14, 17, 20, 21, 27, 30 Swami Janakananda (from his autodidactic period before he met his teacher and went to India); frontpage, p. 10, 13, Omkarananda, Danmark; p. 4, 5 Karl Ravn, Denmark; p. 25 Ingela Hageman, Sweden; p.33 Maha Laxmi, Denmark; p. 35 Thomas Schmidt, Germany; p.37 Corel PhotoCD. Copyright © 2000 Bindu and Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publishers.



• Georgernes Verft 3, 5011 Bergen tel. +47 5614 3310 fax. +47 5614 9738 email:

• Sextrostrasse 3, 30169 Hannover tel. +49 511 803 9941 fax. 803 9942 email:


Contact in Australia

• Sukula, 30100 Forssa tel. +358 3 4350599 email:

Robyn Taylor, Concept Training PO Box 89, Mackay Q4740 tel. +61 749 531 594 e-mail:


The Three Months Course 2001 The Kriya Yoga Course 2000 10- and 14-days retreats 2000

24 Jan. - 21 April 21.000/17.900 SEK Swami Janakananda, Síta 22 July - 20 August 8950 SEK Swami Janakananda and Yoga Shakti May 28- June 10 5250/4000 SEK Síta and Omkarananda June 11 - 24 (German) 5250/4000 SEK Hamsananda and Sirpa Kuosmanen June 25 - July 8 5650/4600 SEK Ananda Murti and Robert Nilsson July 9 - 22 5650 SEK Franz Jervidalo and Adam Sept. 3 - 16 5250/4000 SEK Robert Nilsson and Tuula October 12 - 22 4950/3700 SEK Mira and Mark Dec. 19 - Jan. 1 5650 SEK Swami Janakananda and Tuula Jan. 2 - 12 4950/3700 SEK Síta and Erling Christiansen

Intensive courses in the south of Sweden

The courses at Håå Course Center in southern Sweden, are more than just holiday courses with a little yoga and meditation. Here you go through a process, which, with the aid of methods of genius from the tradition of yoga and tantra raises you to a level where you experience greater presence and increased energy - which you can afterwards maintain with a regular practice at home. The aim of the courses at Håå is for you to go deep and become one with yourself - they give you the strength to go in the direction you want. Håå Course Center is about a two hours drive north from Copenhagen, Denmark, and one hour from the airport of Kristianstad in Sweden, for Ryan Air from Great Britain and Ireland. Get the brochure about Håå Course Center. It describes our unique courses - where you for a period of time can withdraw to gain perspective in surroundings of natural beauty.

Read more about Håå Course Center on internet:



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