Transform your Life with Yoga, Meditation and Loving-Kindness

LEVEL ONE – Raising Vitality, Strength and Awareness Complied with love by Dave West

 Himalaya Yoga 2007

The yoga tradition of the world is centred on the quest for enlightenment. This is when the veils of delusion are peeled away and the true majestic nature of our inner most Self is revealed, in all its glory. Love, compassion, generosity, dispassion, caring, friendliness and happiness all naturally blossom in everyday life. Yoga is mind, body and spirit flowing in perfect harmony with nature and the all creation. It represents awareness and silence, the stillness that can come in the mind. This is when the mind naturally begins to cease its constant vacillation between worry of the future or regrets of the past, when the whole awareness comes to the present moment. Such beauty and fullness is found there! Also termed by athletes and ‘being in the zone’, this natural state of awareness accompanies peak performance in all fields of human endeavour. That Presence is stillness inside, alertness, clarity of mind and peace, even in the midst of dynamic activity. Thus the human nervous system is far more effective, responsive, and action far more powerful. The information in this book is compiled directly from the Himalayas, from all my teachers, past and present, and from my own understanding of that wisdom. I pray that this new compilation reaches you with the blessings from God and all the holy beings, and assists you towards perfect health, inner peace and happiness. Take time from the hectic pace of modern living to experience the harmony of yoga through this book, combined with regular yoga and meditation classes from an experienced instructor and your own personal practice at home. Play relaxing music, burn natural incense and let the light of love shine clear in your heart. Dave West Bali 2007

 Himalaya Yoga 2007


and for the spiritual evolution of mankind.com Phone: +62 81 338 290 562  Himalaya Yoga 2007 3 .com Email: info@himalaya-yoga.himalaya-yoga. Contents COURSE OVERVIEW ORIGINS OF YOGA DEVELOPMENT OF HIMALAYA YOGA INTRODUCTION TO YOGA TEN PRINCIPLES OF YOGA PRANA AND CHAKRAS KUNDALINI SALUTATIONS TO THE SUN RELAXATION ASANA YOGA FOR BEGINNERS – 30 MINUTES PRANAYAMA MEDITATION MANTRA YOGA CLASSES PROFILE REFERENCES Himalaya Yoga Website: www. Strength and Awareness Complied with love by Dave West Himalaya Yoga aims is to provide authentic Himalayan wisdom and yoga training For your health and happiness.HIMALAYA YOGA LEVEL ONE – Raising Vitality.

removing simple energy blockages in the mind and body. all systems are restored to radiant health. wisdom and compassion inspiring self-discipline and spiritual living. ignorant and evil people of the world. This all helps to make the purification process deep-rooted and ensure success. holistic and spiritual living.  Himalaya Yoga 2007 4 . Powerful breathing techniques recharge the whole system with prana . Yoga Nidra . He used this knowledge to develop what he calls Himalaya Yoga. strength and awareness. Holistic lifestyle . Regular practice of these techniques will revitalize the body and mind by removing energy blockages and improving circulation. to the abode of the snows. Himalaya Yoga allows you to learn about your own body and mind. encompassing mind. Relaxation and meditation techniques bring inner peace to the mind allowing you to explore higher realms of consciousness. loving-kindness. Asana . body and spirit and illuminates the path of self-discovery and enlightenment.raising vitality. Himalaya Yoga covers a range of Himalayan techniques and philosophies. They recognized that every human being evolves in a different way according to temperament and capacity. It was passed down from guru to student for thousands of years and on to our present day teachers. Development of Himalaya Yoga Himalaya Yoga is inspired by the great yogi masters of India. sacred text of the Vedas. Dave was warned about ego and attachment to the body. where Lord Shiva was seated in deep meditation.the path to enlightenment and liberation. body and soul. by combining Hatha Yoga with other forms of yoga. Himalaya Yoga brings health. Meditation . stillness. This ancient wisdom was recorded in the Tantric and Yogic Shastras. the entire skeletal system. loving-kindness. money. resistance to disease. weight loss. compassion. providing a strong foundation for advanced practice. happiness and inner peace to your mind. glands and nerves. Nepal and Tibet and is a gentle blend of Sivananda Yoga. long time ago in the Himalayan kingdom of Tibet. They advocated everyone to emphasize the practice of certain yogas over others.Himalaya Yoga Course Overview LEVEL 1 . The yoga masters of the Himalayas taught Dave that to live harmoniously the mind. giving guidance for peaceful. mental and emotional relaxation Pranayama . developing patience and gentleness. your potential and limitation. morality.lifestyle re-evaluation. so that she could then teach and help the suffering. He was taught to focus on health. Origins of Yoga A long. This assists you in developing a personal practice and holistic lifestyle. Pawanmuktasana . This results in a comprehensive guide to the classical yoga techniques and philosophies from the Himalayas. They develop love.physical. sex. promoting strength and vitality. the spine. By exercising every part of the body. Bihar School of Yoga and Kundalini Yoga.BEGINNERS . body and spirit must develop in a balanced way.proper breathing and equanimity. depending on individual requirements. Yoga is the oldest personal development system in the world. toning the muscles and joints. legend has it that the goddess Parvati was so distressed by all the human suffering in the world that she climbed to the top of Mount Kailash.life force energy. It releases tension and stress.developing awareness. food and sleep. She pleaded with him to teach her the divine science of self-realization. After travelling extensively in the Himalayan Mountains yoga instructor Dave West discovered and compiled many of these ancient yoga techniques. Thus Lord Shiva gave Parvati the first teachings of yoga . By combing traditional yoga techniques with a transforming spiritual philosophy from the heart. he formed a powerful healing system for 21st century mankind. Tibetan Yoga. ten principles of yoga. wisdom and meditation. the internal organs.basic mobility and flexibility. acceptance.

V.V. in accordance with individual temperament and taste. Swami Vishnu-Devananda summarized the vast science of yoga into five points: proper exercise. Pattabhi Jois both studied with Krisnamacharya as well as his own son T. This all helps to make the purification process deep-rooted and ensure success. Bible. happens. Bhakti Yoga. that is between one's individual consciousness and the Universal Consciousness. breath. heart. Two of his most famous students Swami Vishnu-Devananda and Swami Satyananda Saraswati later went on to expand the philosophy of Sivananda Yoga forming their own yoga centres and universities around the world. Iyengar and K. Born in Mysore. It cannot be given in a book or lecture. body and spirit must develop in a balanced way according to individual temperament and capacity. yoga refers to a certain state of consciousness as well as to methods that help one reach that goal or state of union with the divine. our breathing. B. He therefore advocated everyone to emphasize the practice of certain yogas over others. Koran. body and mind. determination. Each of us is required to pay careful attention to the direction we are taking. detachment. breathing and relaxation techniques. Desikachar. When we gain more understanding of ourselves and reach a point we have personally never been before. if possible under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor. He became a medical doctor and served in Malay. going on to develop their own famous styles. proper breathing. including our relationships with others. India in 1887. The more we progress. This purifies the mind and body in preparation for meditation. promoting peace and harmony in your daily life. Most of the yoga styles taught today throughout the western world are variations of Hatha Yoga which involves stretching. and to be unaffected by the woes of the world and life. patience. body purification. if you study it long enough.K. proper diet and proper thinking and meditation.K. This careful observation will allow us to discover something new about ourselves. This may objective may only be achieved if there is balance and harmony between mind and body. Therefore. After receiving yogic instruction from a wandering monk he set up hospitals for the sick and needy in Rishikesh. Yoga helps each of us to attain what was previously unobtainable.  Himalaya Yoga 2007 5 . and more. proper relaxation. which can lead to enlightenment. All these qualifications are listed in a yogic text called the Gherand Samita. Although popular belief is that the Sanskrit word yoga refers to union between body. The true meaning of yoga is to bring about this change using systematic purification of the mind and body through moral. mind. This is achieved by regularly practicing yogic techniques in a systematic and progressive way. the more we become aware of the holistic nature of our being. Upanishads. constitution and capacity. Yoga helps to develop these required qualifications in the aspirant. as well as ashrams for the study of yoga and Vedanta. Desikachar states that each of us has a different starting point depending on temperament. emphasizing all aspects of human life. It must be earned through diligent selfpractice. and Kundalini. Progress on the path of Yoga depends on various physical and mental qualifications in an individual that have to be gradually cultivated and awakened. combining Hatha Yoga other forms of yoga such as Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga. These practices and experiences are the means to achieve perfection. the traditional acceptance is union between the jivatman and paramatman. Swami Sivananda taught that to live harmoniously the mind. you will come to understand that change is not a choice. Under the guidance of an experienced yoga instructor you can develop a personal discipline that trains the mind and body to become healthy and live in balance and harmony. and our meditation.Introduction to Yoga Yoga is a practical system and universal philosophy designed to help you return you body and mind to radiant health. realizing that we are made of body. and whatever happens. mind and spirit. There are many techniques that can help you to attain this goal (read Bhagavad Gita. Hatha. like nature.K. gentleness and determination yoga can make this change a positive one. enabling him or her to progress along the path to perfection. that is yoga. Asthanga. and over time you are different. We should celebrate our individuality and accept our personal starting point. We begin where we are and how we are. you must experience it for yourself. Jnana Yoga and Raj Yoga which includes Tantra. Swami Sivananda was born in Tamil Nadu. etc) and therefore as many different yogas. Karma Yoga. direct perception. so that we know were we are going and how we are going to get there. women and children of all ages to reach their full potential. With patience. spiritual physical and mental discipline.g. Swami Sivananda recognized that every human being possesses and identifies with each of the following elements in different ways: Intellect. Dhammapada. steadiness of the body.S. our behavior. India in 1888. Therefore practice yoga everyday. Yoga is an evolutionary process and. our health. lightness of the body and mind. The actual practice of yoga takes each person in a different direction. We should not compare or compete with others. Following these simple points will make a positive change in all areas of your life. Yoga is a journey of self-realization and self-discovery that cannot be bought by the hour. Modern yoga was influenced by the great yogi masters Sri Tirumalai Krisnamacharya and Swami Sivananda Saraswati. If we are to become complete human beings we must incorporate all aspects of ourselves. it happens. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. T. Yoga introduces us to ways of seeing that create opportunities for us to recognize ourselves better. allowing men. e. Krisnamacharya is considered the father of modern yoga and is responsible for pioneering the refinement of postures sequences combined with breath control. They are.

Take your time. swimming and asanas. Hatha Yoga does not utilize the transcendental experience of sexual union for the path to spiritual awareness. It is essential to drink plenty of water between meals. Relax. reducing stress and tension in preparation for meditation. Advanced students should consider a purely vegetarian diet to enhance spiritual progress. Concentration techniques help improve mental stability and awareness.M. and in time you will understand the need for patience and gentleness. Avoid over-eating.M. POSITIVE THINKING AND DETERMINATION There are many obstacles on the path of yoga.energy centres. RELAXATION The technique of yoga nidra {deep relaxation} releases tension and stress in the mind and body and rests the whole system. Rushing this process may result from not understanding basic concepts and theories and may cause many problems including physical and mental injury. Meditation helps us to find inner peace and teaches how to become aware of the inner self. It is extremely important to have a strong determination to succeed while maintaining a positive mental attitude. Discipline also means yama and niyama .  Himalaya Yoga 2007 6 . This will save huge amounts of energy and considerably decelerate the aging process. It will also help in reducing the great attachment that people have with sex and the material world. It is only necessary to have about 5 to 6 hours sleep per night but most people have 8 to 10 hours. Never exert un-due force. avoiding anxiety and depression through life’s ups and downs. giving a high resistance to disease.conserved in the chakras . Take natural remedies for illness. but it should be reduced and controlled as much as possible. leaving you as refreshed as after a good night’s sleep. ego inflation and exhaustion. Hatha Yoga advises celibacy . making use of all not just part of your lungs to increase your intake of oxygen. Eat only foods that are easily digestible. keeping the spine and joints flexible. However. which work systematically on all parts of the body. with continuous mindfulness and awareness of every present moment. BREATHING This means breathing fully and rhythmically through the nose.reduced sexual activity and thoughts. CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION Being in the present moment. ultimately transcending all thought. leading to complete absorption with the Divine. day by day. systematic practice is essential. Pranayama . and get up around 5 or 6 A. Hatha Yoga takes many years of discipline to achieve safe results. Avoid over-processed foods.restraints on behaviour through universal moral commandments and self-purification through spiritual discipline. stretching and toning the muscles and ligaments. This helps to still the mind.yogic breathing techniques . FOOD Eat a nourishing and well balanced diet.Ten Principles of Yoga DISCIPLINE To succeed in yoga one must have discipline. speech and actions.vital energy . This brings steadiness and lightness to the body and mind. in yoga nidra you are not allowed to sleep. and maintaining a high standard of morality. This keeps the body light and supple and the mind calm.” If you are not religious try to maintain mindfulness and constantly be in the present moment aware of all actions and thoughts. Complete sexual suppression is not necessary. In Hatha Yoga proper exercise is given by the salutations to the sun and the asana. This is ample time to get a good night’s sleep and gives you enough time in the morning for yoga practice. Deep relaxation leads into pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses – leading to inner awareness and greater concentration. This includes awareness of all thoughts. especially during periods of intense practice. and improving circulation and the flow of prana. muscles and circulation with jogging. SLEEP Too much sleep makes the body lazy and weak and reduces the amount of waking time. as pain is signal to stop the practice. is the key to spiritual evolution. EXERCISE Try to exercise regularly for a healthy heart. It carries over into all your activities and teaches you to conserve energy and let go of all worries and fears. Regular. truthfulness and celibacy. based on natural foods. Positive thinking promotes mental health and helps to remove negative thoughts. Try to go to sleep at 9 or 10 P. PATIENCE AND GENTLENESS Do not try to rush your progress. Swami Sivananda says “To achieve the goal of yoga one must have constant spiritualization of all activities and cultivation of virtues such as non-violence. avoiding pharmaceuticals and synthetic medicines except in emergencies. SEX Hatha Yoga teaches that sexual energy should be conserved and used for spiritual progress. Avoid fasting too much.teaches how to recharge the body and control our mental state by increasing and regulating the flow of prana . advancing slowly but surely.

BINDU At the top back portion of the head Light . Central to Hatha Yoga is the cleansing and purifying of these subtle energy channels and awakening of the charkas through the movement of prana. allowing free movement of prana throughout the body. Thought . which control the circulation of prana permeating the entire human structure. On a physical level charkas correspond to the major nerve plexuses and endocrine glands in the body.VISHUDHA In the spine at the back of the throat near the thyroid gland Air .MANIPURA In the spine behind the navel Water . Below is a list of the grand chakra system and their positions along the spine. thus purifying and unblocking each chakras.SWADISHTHANA In the spine approximately two fingers width above the mooladhara chakra Earth . Prana travels through the human body along thousands of subtle channels called nadis. Prana is the vital life-force energy that pervades the universe. Chakra is the ancient Indian Sanskrit word for wheel or vortex.ANAHATA In the spine in region of the heart Fire . which correspond to nerves in the physical body.MOOLADHARA At the perineum in the base of the spine between the anus and the genitals Grand Chakra System  Himalaya Yoga 2007 7 . but also on the subtle or astral energy level. psychic and karmic history. The nadis cross at thousands of junctions in the body called charkas.SAHASRARA On top of the head Nectar . These chakras contain our physical.Prana and Chakra The healing process of yoga not only operates on the physical and mental levels. promoting vitality and strength. The chakras are then able to absorb and store greater quantities of prana. mental. Chakras are vortices of pranic energy at specific areas in the body. Sahasrara and bindu are not strictly chakras but have been included here for simplicity. In most people these chakras lie dormant or inactive. It is with the practice of yoga that these centres of energy may be awakened and cleansed.AJNA In the midbrain behind the eyebrow centre Sound .

having a warming effect and relating to the right nostril. If Ida is dominant then the mind will be overactive. or a physical part of the body. so that the flow of prana through the sushumna nadi becomes open giving balance and health throughout. Pingala is represented by ‘ham’. It is along this channel that the major chakras of the body are located and is the main highway for prana in the body.brain. Sushumna nadi must be flowing for success in meditation. may be awakened with specific advanced yogic techniques. Pingala coincides with the sympathetic nerves. It is these two nadis that give Hatha Yoga its name.The most important nadi in the body is the sushumna which joins the mooladhara chakra at the base of the spine. Ida is represented by ‘tham’. which are equal and opposite forces within the body. resulting in the experience of higher planes of consciousness which is normally unobtainable. body and spirit. constricting the blood vessels and decreasing respiration. it stimulates the dormant areas of the brain. requiring extreme discipline and proper guidance from an experienced teacher. Either side of the sushumna nadi are two nadis. It is these two forces that must work in harmony and balance for the mind and body to be healthy and for the sushumna nadi to flow. to the ajna chakra in the mid. It rises through the other cha on top of the head and joins with Shiva – the seat of pure consciousness. this latent cosmic energy. When Shakti is permanently united with Shiva in sahasrara. and is symbolised by a sleeping snake. However. pranayama and Meditation technique a particular point in the body is recommended for concentration. kras to sahasrara having a cooling effect and relating to the left nostril. When all the nadis are purified. It could take several lifetimes to achieve. This is combined with unblocking the chakras. It may be the breath. Pingala is active. when all the chakras are open. The prime aim of Hatha Yoga is to bring about this balance in the flow of prana in the pingala and ida nadis. dilating the blood vessels and increasing respiration. By directing the mind to specific regions of the body the effect of the particular practice is greatly increased. which is selfrealisation and union with the Divine. It has only been necessary to include this additional information in order for the student to fully understand the ultimate goal of all yogas. prana is stimulated to flow through the chakras. pingala and ida. Ida is passive. Kundalini Yoga is for advanced students only and should never be attempted without guidance from a qualified instructor. By concentrating on one of the chakras while doing asana or other practices. introvert and feminine. or sometimes it is one of the Chakras. However. so that neither the mental or physical faculties are dominant. the moon. With proper guidance and regular practice your health should slowly improve as you systematically progress through the techniques of yoga. the flow of prana in pingala and ida is completely involuntary until yogic techniques control it. or solar force. If pingala is dominant then the body will be restless. also known as Shakti – primordial creative energy. Together with each asana. or as preparation for advanced Yogic techniques. But the path of Kundalini does not stop here. Ida coincides with the parasympathetic nerves. speeding up the heart rate. This is a very difficult process. or lunar force. extrovert and masculine. Hatha Yoga is designed as a gentle and scientific path to perfect health of mind. Kundalini Yoga is beyond the scope of this handbook. reducing the heart rate. At this point Kundalini Yoga training may begin. the Sun. Kundalini Latent cosmic energy known as Kundalini rests in the mooladhara chakra at the base of the spine.  Himalaya Yoga 2007 8 . behind the centre of the eyebrows. However it takes many years of dedicated practice and patience to purify the nadis and awaken the chakras. Do not expect overnight results. and when prana is flowing freely up along the sushumna nadi and throughout the body. Hatha Yoga is therefore a system of purification of all the energy channels in the body and mind. After several years of practising Hatha Yoga serious spiritual students may wish to work towards the awakening of Kundalini and spiritual enlightenment. Yoga may be practised simply to bring health and peace into daily life.

Breathing in rhythm with the twelve positions is an important part of this practice. harmonizing the whole mind-body complex. It loosens all the joints.  Himalaya Yoga 2007 9 . the basic structure of surya namaskar is the same. The mantras are evocative sounds and through their power of vibration have subtle. flexes all the muscles of the body. counteracting the preceding position. It is neither an asana nor a part of traditional Yoga. They new that without it there would be no life. Surya namaskar is a dynamic sequence of twelve rhythmical and symmetrical positions that are synchronized with the breathing. as well as all the internal organs in the body. MANTRA There are specific mantras (mystical words or sounds of power) for each of the twelve positions. breathing. These twelve positions flow gracefully and rhythmically into one another. Although these positions can vary from school to school. AWARENESS This is an essential element of surya namaskar. synchronicity. RELAXATION This is not strictly part of surya namaskar. but with full awareness. Surya namaskar consists of five essential aspects which must be performed correctly to gain optimum results from the practice: PHYSICAL POSTURES There are twelve physical positions. It symbolizes spiritual illumination. Without awareness the many beneficial results are reduced. This is because it revitalizes the whole body. and extra time should be spent perfecting this coordination. The sun is a symbol of rebirth into spiritual consciousness and immortality. exhalation or retention of breath. But because it is such a wonderful practice it has been adopted into the techniques of Hatha Yoga by many teachers and gurus. but the best is shavasana. rhythm and awareness. and the word namaskar means salutations or worship. But the sun was not only worshipped because of its material nature and power. Ancient people worshipped the sun with awe.Suray Namaskar – Salutations to the Sun The Sanskrit word surya means sun. breathing and mantras must be maintained throughout the practice. Therefore this practice is known as salutations to the sun. The sun has been adored since time immemorial. Each position is associated with either inhalation. yet powerful and penetrating effects on the mind and body. BREATHING The whole movement of surya namaskar from start to finish is synchronized with the breathing. Nothing is forced or unnatural. the light in the darkness of ignorance. removes all signs of sleep and is excellent for preparing the body and mind so that maximum benefits can be derived from the subsequent asana. for the breathing naturally corresponds to the pattern one would normally do in relation to the physical movement. the ancient scriptures of India. massages the internal organs. It is first mentioned in the Riga Veda and Yajur Veda. activates the respiratory and circulatory systems. The twelve cyclic positions of surya namaskar represent the twelve phases of the sun each year as it passes through each of the signs of the zodiac. It represents the essence. Awareness of the body. Any relaxation technique can be adopted. It is recommended for practitioners to include surya namaskar as an essential and integral part of their Yoga program. These will be taught to you when your Yoga instructor feels you have perfected the positions. pranayama and meditation practices. the spirituality which exists in all material things. However. The twelve positions systematically stretch and massage all the muscles and joints. just as the sun dies each evening so it is reborn each morning. as well as helping to tone all the other systems of the body. mind. knowing that the sun generates the heat and light necessary to sustain life. Each position is an asana in its own right. The mantra may be repeated silently or aloud. The sun itself is a symbol. it is a necessary supplementary practice that should be done without fail on completing surya namaskar. Recognising the symbolism of the sun is a stepping stone to spiritual awareness and peace. wisdom and knowledge.

ILLNESS Do not practice surya namaskar if you are ill because at this time all the energy in the body needs to be internalized to heal and remove the ailment. No special preparations are necessary except that the stomach. TEMPO You may do surya namaskar as fast or as slow as you choose. as well as feel an intimate relationship with everything around them. concerning yourself with only mastering the sequence of physical movement. reduce the number of rounds. Pain should never be endured with the practice of yoga. The following advice and precautions should be carefully observed before beginning. gradually becoming adjusted to the increased exercise. Ladies are also advised not to practice it during menstruation as a precautionary measure. This is because the first twelve positions are repeated except that in the second half of the round the left leg is extended backwards instead of the right leg. Surya namaskar is ideally practiced before doing other asana. It is urban people who suffer from the majority of diseases. Pain is treated by the yogi as a stop signal. Shallow breathing and incorrect mantras should be avoided and these may be signs of going too fast. breathing and mantras. The breathing and mantras remain unchanged. breathing and the mantras.  Himalaya Yoga 2007 10 . all welded together in an integrated whole. surya namaskar consists of awareness on physical movement. PAIN Do not strain yourself by doing more rounds than your body will comfortably handle. ONE COMPLETE ROUND The twelve positions constitute half a complete round. However. PURIFICATION Surya namaskar is a powerful method for removing toxins from the body. but it can be continued after childbirth. If fever or boils occur.Surya namaskar is a panacea for those people who live in cities and towns and who find insufficient time and opportunity to take adequate exercise. RESTRICTIONS People suffering from sciatica. Twelve is a healthy number to do. NUMBER OF ROUNDS This depends on the health of the individual and the time available. bowels and bladder should be empty. If you feel tired during the day.. The main reason is lack of peace of mind and exercise. In the final form. both mentally and physically. a few rounds of surya namaskar will quickly restore the lost vitality. slipped disc. on a mat or blanket. walking and swimming are excellent exercise. People in the country automatically exercise their bodies and relax their minds. It is equally relevant to surya namaskar. One full round consists of twenty-four positions. SEQUENCE You should first familiarize yourself with the twelve positions. as long as you can remain aware of the positions. but this depends entirely on the health of the individual. This process must be done slowly to avoid any symptoms that may result from rapid elimination. Surya namaskar is the answer especially if performed in conjunction with other yogic practices. helping to remove emotional disturbances. Eventually you will find a natural tempo that will come automatically after several months of practice. Only when all the movements are performed automatically are you ready to begin synchronizing them with the breathing. but they do not exercise the body as effectively as surya namaskar. PLACE It is best to practice in the open air. coronary ailments and any other serious illness should seek professional medical advice before commencing surya namaskar. ladies should not practice surya namaskar after their fourth month of pregnancy. It is highly recommended that surya namaskar is incorporated into your daily Yogic program. Beginners should start with two or three rounds. LIMITATIONS There are no sex or age limitations. Later the mantras can be learned and synchronized with each position. SLEEP It is not advisable to do surya namaskar before sleeping because it activates the entire body which is the opposite of the desired effect for sleeping. Running. At the slightest signs of exhaustion stop the practice and relax the body. high blood pressure. as it helps to remove any sleepiness and loosen up the body in preparation for your asana practice. TIME OF PRACTICE Although surya namaskar is traditionally practiced at sunrise facing east and at sunset facing west it can be practiced at almost any time of day and in any place. increasing by one round every week. There is no other exercise that surpasses it. Face the sun at sunrise or sunset to absorb the healing energy of the sun.

Normally we have an idea of how the asana should be. Each posture is an ever evolving. however. and this isn’t necessarily easy. Although many people practice asana only for physical health. they help to direct prana (vital life-force energy) to different parts of the body depending on which asana is being practiced. The ideal state for practicing asana is to be as willing and relaxed as possible. but also through the conditionings that have accrued through the years. Asana are basically a series of physical stretches and steady postures that have been inspired by meditation and the close examination of nature. mind and higher states and should therefore be practiced first on the path towards spiritual progress. The body. and how long we should be able to stay.” The body’s edge in yoga is the place just before pain. what we should look like while we are there. is an obvious violation of the body. an ability necessary for mediation. In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. This practice becomes one of being relaxed and willing at your deeper edges. can be called “playing the edge. not only on the body’s frame. stretching and toning the muscles and joints. The length of your stay in an asana is determined by your endurance edge. with deep concentration and awareness. and person to person.  Himalaya Yoga 2007 11 . We are often more aware of where we aren’t than of we where we are. Your skill in yoga has little to do with your degree of flexibility or where your edges happen to be. Pain tells you where the limits of your physical conditioning lie. Somewhere in between these two points is a degree of stretch that is in balance: intensity without pain. Erich Shiffmann suggests that sensing where your edges are and learning to hold the body there with awareness. no intensity. How far you can fold forward. The process of sensitively flirting with your edges and achieving perfect energy flow is not merely the means to achieve the pose. is limited by your flexibility edge. The main thing to understand is that there is no such thing as a completed or ideal position. Swami Swatmarama states that asanas are tools to higher awareness. mental and spiritual. your yoga practice will be permeated with the effort of going somewhere else. However. The hatha yogis found that specific body positions open the energy channels and psychic centres. The Yoga Sutras. Your interest in an asana is a function of your attention edge. then you would be somewhere other than where you are. but not pain itself. use without abuse. as non-resisting as possible. restoring all systems to radiant health. If practised regularly the whole system can be toned and revitalised. increasing the possibility of both physical pain and injury. This gap produces a feeling of conflict and frustration. Going too far. In his famous work. It will be future orientated. This is a very freeing idea. no matter where they are. they are primarily intended to prepare the body to sit in meditation. This is what the physical aspect of yoga is fundamentally all about. They found that developing control of the body through these practices enabled them to control the mind and energy. but also on the internal organs. This allows you to focus the mind with one-pointed concentration. This also allows the student to sit comfortably and relaxed for extended periods of time. and little possibility for opening. asana is the third limb of Raja Yoga. Yoga is a way of exploring these limits. This place in the stretch is called your “edge. providing the stable foundation necessary for the exploration of the body. moving with its soft subtle shifts. mind and spirit can all become steady with the practice of asana. and that if you were truly doing yoga properly and were a good and evolved person. promoting deeper meditation.” This is a large part of what you will be doing in your practice. for example. A large part of the art and skill of asana. Patanjali gives a concise definition of asana: ‘Sthiram sukham aasanam’. We have a rough idea of how deep we should be able to go into a stretch. that where you are and who you are is insufficient. You can experience this balance in every asana you do. lies in sensing just how far to move into a stretch. You can then comfortably press you edges open. the spine and the entire skeletal system. If this is the case. working. physical. the present being only a stepping stone to the future. Patanjali equates asana to the stable sitting position for meditation. in Hatha Yoga it means something more. Edges are marked by pain and define your limits. constantly moving energy phenomenon that is different form day to day. resulting in radiant health.Asana According to Maharishi Patanjali. Asanas exercise every part of the body. glands and nerves. If you don’t go far enough there is no challenge to the muscles. Your edges and limits will change as a by-product of this exploration. asanas are practised to develop the ability to sit comfortably in one position for an extended period of time. meaning ‘that position which is comfortable and steady’. to go any further hurts and is actually counterproductive. It about how sensitively you play your edges. Asanas work on all levels. And you will miss being present. so that you can sit quietly and comfortably without pain or discomfort from the body. When held for sufficient periods of time. it is the pose. you will change. In this context. Therefore in Raja Yoga. strenuous without strain. and your yoga practice in general. moment to moment. It’s difficult to stay relaxed in the midst of a high-intensity stretch. so that one part of you is not in opposition to another. Your body is limited in its movement not only through its genetic makeup. no stretch. breath.

you should first seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner. BREATHING Always breathe slowly and deeply through the nose. Do not to attempt advanced asanas without proper preliminary exercises and warm-ups over several years. calm and quiet. If there is any reason why you feel you should not practice yoga. and the muscles are warm and relaxed. If you experience pain in any part of the body. After asanas practice savasana for at least 10 minutes. the stretch should be immediately terminated. PAIN Never exert undue force or strain. gentleness and determination. Practice in the shade. but never after sunbathing. Do not begin yoga until at least 4 hours after a heavy meal. EMPTY STOMACH The stomach should be empty. Women should not practice inverted stretches during menstruation or pregnancy.  Himalaya Yoga 2007 12 .e. The ground should be clean and flat. but after several weeks of regular practice they will become surprisingly suppler. they only become truly effective and beneficial when performed in the proper manor after correct preparation. wristwatches and jewellery from your body. WARM-UPS Always do 10 to 20 minutes of simple warm-ups before starting asana. Asana should never be attempted without proper guidance from a qualified instructor. Before commencing remove spectacles.The following advice and precautions should be carefully observed before practising asana. during and after asanas. PLACE OF PRACTICE Should be in a well-ventilated room. Asana should be performed slowly with complete awareness of the body. CLOTHES During Yoga it is best to wear loose. or 5 to 10 rounds of surya namaskar – salutations to the sun. should seek professional medical advice before commencing yoga. This will greatly enhance the effect of your yoga practice. For best results asana should be practiced everyday with patience. i. This will ensures that all the joints are open and loose. where it is clean. Seek medical advice. Blankets are also good. RESTRICTIONS People who have fractured bones and those who are suffering from any chronic disease like ulcers. co-ordinating the breathing with the stretch. preferably outside in a beautiful garden or natural environment. Early morning practice is recommended. EMPTYING THE BOWELS Before starting yoga the bowels. light and comfortable clothing. or any mental or physical condition or restriction. USE A YOGA MAT Do not use a mattress which is spongy or filled with air. BEFORE STARTING Take a cold shower. breathing or spiritual centres. This can be done by practicing the pawanmuktasana series – basic flexibility and removal of minor energy blocks. RELAXATON Relax the mind and body before. breathing and mind. forward bending followed by backward bending. COUNTER-POSE Every stretch should be followed by an equivalent counter-pose. Beginners may find their muscles stiff at first. IMPORTANT Take it really slowly at first. Drink plenty of water after yoga. Though any person may start to practice asanas. AWARENESS Asana should be performed slowly with full awareness of the body. Pain is treated by the yogi as a stop signal. tuberculosis or hernia. bladder and intestines should be emptied. INVERTED STRETCHES Do not do inverted stretches if you have eye problems or head and neck injuries. mind.

Desikachar 6 times keep legs straight 6 times 5.V.K.Himalaya Yoga Yoga For Beginners .com E-mail: info@himalaya-yoga. 6 times 7.com Phone: 081 338 290 562 13 . 6 times 6 times Pranayama 2 Alternate Nostril Breathing 12 times  Himalaya Yoga 2007 Website: www.himalaya-yoga.30 minutes Ref: The Heart of Yoga by T.

The technique of yoga nidra begins in savasana and should last about twenty minutes. and the resulting tensions become more and more deeply rooted. we often attribute that condition of the mind to some superficial cause. and read a newspaper or switch on the television. a beer or a cigarette. MENTAL TENSIONS These are the result of excessive mental activity. This is because we are unable to express our emotions freely and openly. If the mind is tense. the state of dynamic sleep. but the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level of awareness and is often described as psychic sleep or deep relaxation with inner awareness. Yoga nidra is the science of relaxation which enables each of us to dive deep down into the realms of the subconscious mind. When we are sad. Often we refuse to recognise them. thereby releasing and relaxing mental tensions. It is a vicious circle of events resulting in sickness and ill health. If you try to concentrate you will obstruct the natural flow of awareness which takes the mind deeper into the Self. From time to time these explode. Relax in Savasana – corpse pose Yoga nidra is a powerful technique in which you learn to relax consciously. angry or irritated. unrested and doze on for half an hour longer. Sleep is not regarded as relaxation. Instructions will be given from a tape or teacher to become aware of the breath. During yoga nidra one appears to be asleep. It is not necessary to concentrate. This is pratyahara. it will relax the whole body and mind. When the mind is fixed on a centre. These are only sensory diversions. The mind is a whirlpool of fantasies. the whole circulatory system will also be tense. the mind becomes clear and thoughts are more powerful. It is not necessary to listen to all the instructions. MUSCULAR TENSIONS These are related to the body itself.e. yoga nidra should be ideally performed after asanas. the stomach will also be tense. just keep your mind moving from point to point and be aware of every experience. and upon waking up you will feel refreshed and energetic. It is a method of introspection that has been used by yogis since time immemorial to bring them face to face with the inner self. In psychic sleep we contact our inner personality to change our attitude towards others and ourselves. fewer hours will be needed. It is a systematic method of inducing complete physical. but a method such as yoga nidra can tranquillise the entire emotional structure of the mind. It is a state of sleepless sleep where one is on the borderline between sleep and wakefulness. i. tension is released. and establishing harmony in all facets of our being. the nervous system and endocrine imbalances. In yoga nidra the physical centres of the body become introverted. the experiences registered by our consciousness are accumulated in the mental body. For absolute relaxation you must remain aware. practice yoga nidra just before sleeping. Most people do not know how to sleep. affecting our body. profit/loss. mind. success/failure. True relaxation is actually an experience far beyond all this. EMOTIONAL TENSIONS These stem from various dualities such as love/hate. in fact it is natural to miss some of them. These are easily removed by the deep physical relaxation attained in the state of yoga nidra. behaviour and reactions. contact with the conscious and unconscious dimensions occur spontaneously. In the deep state of relaxation that results. so they are repressed. We should learn the scientific way of sleeping. Throughout our life. Therefore. They fall asleep thinking over some problem or anxiety. They wake up feeling lethargic. And if the stomach is tense. blood and energy are drawn to it and this causes withdrawal of the senses at that centre. Even  Himalaya Yoga 2007 14 . People feel they are relaxing when they collapse in an easy chair with a cup of coffee. This is yoga nidra. mental and emotional relaxation. It is not possible to relax these tensions through ordinary sleep or relaxation.Relaxation Proper relaxation and release from stress and tension is one of the chief concerns of Hatha Yoga. confusions and oscillations. The sleep will be deep. But the underlying cause behind man’s abnormal behaviour lies in the accumulated tensions on the mental plane. stiffness and general tension in the body are great obstacles to the practice of yoga nidra. happiness/unhappiness and are more difficult to erase. Pain. In this threshold state between sleep and wakefulness. The mind should be totally taken up in following all the instructions. In sleep their mind runs on and their body is tense.

many people think it is a form of hypnosis. loss of semen. If the breath is unsteady. You will be instructed for your awareness to travel throughout the body. It is one of the ways of entering the state of pratyahara . When the voice of the teacher brings you out of yoga nidra do not attempt to make any sudden movements. By pranayama you can also increase mental energy and develop thought control and thought-culture. The teacher’s voice will then give you a resolve that will change you at a deep level i. If you can control the prana you can easily control the mind. If you can control the breath you can control the prana. The supply of prana to the body and mind is particularly abundant in the breath and is received by the nervous system and nadis. Prana or vital life-force is found in all forms. It is at this point that profound changes can be made to our inner personality. In yoga nidra you must disconnect the sensory channels and still maintain awareness. the nose smells. This is the aim of yoga nidra. When prana is cut off or absent. the skin feels. in the radiance of a fire. etc. and in the fragrance of a flower. The prime purpose of pranayama is to absorb and store up as much prana as possible by the regular practice of specific pranayama techniques. the mind is steady and calm. solar energy. Next comes relaxation on the plane of feelings and emotions. but with regular practice you will find it easier. chakras and nerve centres and is supplied to the body as required. allowing deeper concentration and meditation. If the breath is steady and calm. the astral body separates from the physical body resulting in death. followed by a visualisation of healing images.e. Beginners should start very slowly increasing gradually over periods of months and years. At this point the mind is very receptive to positive thoughts and suggestion. But they are totally different sciences. the mind and prana. the tongue tastes. This helps release mental tensions. Then whatever is being spoken will be imprinted on it. The consciousness can go as far as you can lead it. from the ant to the elephant. the instructions of the teacher will still work on the subconscious mind as the conscious mind withdraws.if you are dreaming of something else. In yoga nidra the important thing is to expose your self to the instructions of the teacher and to view any experiences that arise with total awareness and detachment. At first it will take a long time to completely relax. prana is expended by thinking. the mind thinks. water. It is through the power of prana that the ears hear. prana is the link between the physical and astral bodies. It is therefore extremely important to learn and perfect the techniques of controlling prana. kumbhaka and rechaka varies according to the strength and capacity of the practitioner. which follows after securing the steadiness of posture or seat. talking. the mind is unsteady. from the digestion of food to the melody in music. so to will you have to tame this prana gradually. moving.withdrawal of the sensory channels. It does not matter if you are disturbed. Each pranayama exercise consists of three distinct processes. just as the storage battery stores up electricity by regular charging. A steady mind is the prerequisite for concentration. to feeling it as a stream of silver liquid. tiger or elephant. air. from the elementary form of plant life to the developed form of animal life. from the lowest to the highest. This is achieved by the control of the breath with specific breathing exercises. meditation and spiritual evolution. PURAKA KUMBHAKA RECHAKA Inhalation of the breath Retention of the breath Exhalation of the breath The ratio of puraka. Prana is supplied to human beings by food. You can practice pranayama and asana side by side. However. restless. body and spirit as it travels around your entire being. In hypnosis you are led into a state of deep sleep where the brain becomes completely shut down and the capacity of consciousness is limited. It is prana that shines in your eyes. The man who has in his store an amazingly large supply of prana radiates vitality and strength all around. cool and smooth. It is recommended that when visualizing the flow of prana.” But you do not have to wait for complete mastery of asana before practising pranayama. patience and perseverance to tame a lion. writing. The excess of prana is stored in the brain. Allow yourself to gently readjust to the outside world with slow movements of the body. This is because there is an intimate connection between the breath. “I will achieve total health” or “I will awaken my spiritual potential”. the eyes see. although they have the same starting point. In Yoga Nidra you must not sleep but remain relaxed. Because yoga nidra brings about a state of sensory withdrawal. In the smile on the face of a child. and so on. Pranayama The Sanskrit word pranayama literally means ‘control and regulation of the life force’. anxious or stressed.  Himalaya Yoga 2007 15 . You are then able to transcend the barriers of your personality and go to any depth or height. from an amoeba to a man. systematically relaxing all parts. Then return your awareness to simply watching the breath. Patanjali Maharishi defines pranayama as follows: “Regulation of breath or the control of prana is the stoppage of inhalation and exhalation. all these and many more have their origins in prana. just as it takes a long time. In this way the technique of yoga nidra can be used to train the body and mind to completely relax and awaken divine faculties. Feel its life-giving energy revitalizing and strengthening your mind.

It is equally relevant to asana. A Yogi practices regulation of breath to establish harmony.Swami Sivananda says “There is neither rhythm or harmony in the breathing of worldly-minded persons. Do not twist the face muscles while practicing kumbhaka. This is very important as the lungs are very delicate and any misuse may easily cause them injury. neck and head erect and centred to assist the flow of prana along the susumna nadi. If outside. faint or chest pains at any time. STRAIN Strain should be avoided. blood pressure disorders. The air in the room should be fresh so that you may freely breathe oxygen. Remember to keep the spine. in the cold. A cross-legged position provides a firm base for the body and makes a triangular path for the flow of energy.  Himalaya Yoga 2007 16 . If this is not possible try sitting on a chair. It is very important that these preliminary exercises are successfully performed and understood before the advanced exercise is attempted. Do not jerk the body during the exercises. PAIN Pain should never be endured with the practice of Yoga. Early morning practice is recommended. If you feel dizzy. Regulation of breath and kumbhaka are of tremendous help in the practice of concentration and meditation. and before meditation. Breathing should be through the nose unless specific contradictions are given. tobacco or any other material. STEADY POSTURE Sit in a comfortable. with spine and neck held erect but not tense. PRELIMINARY EXCERCISES All techniques and exercises will have an easy variation for beginners. The breath stops by itself when kevala kumbhaka {absolute and pure retention of breath} follows. respiratory disorders. choose pleasant surroundings like flowers and trees. smoky or smells bad. STOMACH Bowls. arteriolosclerosis or any other serious illness should seek medical advice before commencing pranayama. stop practising and rest for at least 10 minutes and seek proper guidance. When the breath is regulated. BREATHING Each pranayama technique has specific instructions on exactly how to breathe. SEQUENCE Pranayama should be practised after asana and yoga nidra. You may injure yourself if you do not follow this advice. or while smoking cannabis. where it is calm and quiet. steady posture. RELAXATION Throughout the practice the body should be as relaxed and calm as possible. when there is harmony. Keep the body still without jerking. the breath will be moving within the nostrils. Pain is treated by the yogi as a stop signal. The breath should not be retained for longer that is comfortable. The mind becomes quite steady. or in air that is dirty. It is extremely dangerous to practice pranayama during illness. RESTRICTIONS People suffering from heart disease. EXTERNAL DISTURBANCES Cover the body with a blanket or comfortable garment so that external disturbances such as insects or cold may be avoided. Relax the face as much as possible throughout the practice. The following advice and precautions should be carefully observed before commencing pranayama. Do not practice in a strong wind. Then Samadhi {super conscious state} supervenes. The fruit of regulation of breath is kumbhaka. WARNING Panayama should never be attempted without guidance from a qualified instructor. bladder and intestines should all be empty. PLACE OF PRACTICE Should be in a well-ventilated room. SHOWER Do not take a bath or shower for at least half an hour after finishing pranayama exercises. For maximum benefit try to follow each technique carefully and accurately.

this universe. To realize that there is nothing to hold onto that brings lasting satisfaction shows us there is nowhere to go and nothing to have and nothing to be – and that’s freedom! Allowing us to strive towards our goals and dreams with wisdom and love. where there is no separation. there is a part of the world you can not see. with non-attachment. the aim of practicing meditation is to awaken the dormant areas of the brain. accepting the ever changing universe as it is. These techniques take you to the inner most recesses of the soul.  Himalaya Yoga 2007 17 . Meditation is the unbroken flow of thought of the object. desires. transcending the mental and physical worlds. right now. Being mindful in the present moment. And this you can not buy with all the money in the world. Training the mind to liberate itself from wanting and desire. Concentration is holding the mind on to a particular object for a defined length of time. This is because we see how wanting obscures the present. Initially meditation brings peace and calm to your life. without expectation or attachment to the outcome. We can simply be. this life. Wanting is seeking elsewhere. from thinking that all our wants have to be satisfied. You are One with the Universe. with its reaching and desiring for that which we do not have now. When there is wanting in the mind. When we let go of this wanting we realize that there doesn’t need to be anything to grasp for. In yoga. The next stage is concentration exercises known as dharana. for all the nerves in the body are directly or indirectly connected to the brain. This is true happiness. Hatha Yoga is based on the principle that one can become aware of higher states of mind by manipulating the different forces and systems in the physical body. If want to you awaken these dormant powers and faculties you must practice Hatha Yoga for many years. known as God. You must purify your whole being and practice regular meditation.the individual human spirit. with regular training and the daily practice of techniques such as yoga and meditation. and promote harmony in your daily life. By reaching such a state of deliberateness without effort. allowing you to discover for yourself deeper realms of consciousness. They can simply be observed. Meditation is awareness. If for example. we can release ourselves from the cycle of birth. a Buddhist may use the breath. When we experience the depth of wanting in the mind there follows a great joy. and this seeing frees us from much grasping. death and rebirth and transcend to the higher levels of existence. this body. Meditation is an important part of this process and should always be practiced at the end of your yoga session. experiencing each and every moment with full awareness. Meditation begins with the withdrawal and emancipation of the mind from the control of the senses. This stage is called dhyana. etc. measurings. We realize that the mind is made up of wants. When you are hurrying around too quickly. This you must experience for yourself. This is true health. Zen uses contemplations on nature and emptiness to discover the ultimate truth. This is known as pratyahara . This is inner peace. In order to find ourselves. and the Supreme Universal Spirit. that we have to compulsively respond to everything that arises in our mind. Traditionally. A yogi may use Om or a candle. We see that things can be a certain way without needing to be acted upon or judged or even pushed aside.withdrawal of the senses. The main difference between the different meditation philosophies and therapies around today is the object of concentration that allows us to develop this awareness. super-conscious and a super-human state of illumination and enlightenment. completely mindful of all thought. speech and action. During meditation all worldly thoughts are shut out from the mind.Meditation Yoga is a practical system for personal development that helps you return you body and mind to health. Concentration merges into meditation. We discover for ourselves the subtleties and impermanence of this mind. The philosophy of yoga teaches that with this profound awareness and devotion to the goal of enlightenment and nirvana. These basic concentration and awareness techniques allow us to notice the qualities of the mind and how it works. in order for sushumna nadi to flow. This is meditation. no duality between You . The fruit of meditation is pure consciousness and complete absorption with the Divine. it is only when you stop and look at things clearly that you can revise your direction and take a more proper course. The concentration techniques of Hatha Yoga are aimed at purifying and preparing the mind for the higher stages of meditation attainted through other forms of yoga. You must develop your will and control your senses and mind. that moment feels incomplete. You have within yourself tremendous powers and latent faculties of which you have never really had any conception. one can permanently be in the present moment. This state is known as Samadhi. This is achieved by developing a personal discipline so sure and a spirit so true that one can afford to be utterly spontaneous. With regular practice the layers of the mind are peeled away. But perseverance and dedicated practice will lead to a deep sense of selfawareness. Any stimulation or manipulation of the nervous system will surely have an effect on the mind. you are taking the wrong direction in life. Completeness is being right here. or hold on to. Seeing the scope of our wanting shows us how deeply and subtly dissatisfaction has created our personal world. judgements. we’ve got to learn to stop. to be content in the moment. plannings.

Throughout the practice the body should be as calm as possible. When the state of tranquillity prevails during meditation. Do not move the body unless it is absolutely necessary. Metabolism. The whole mind and nervous system are remodelled. This helps to steady the mind and encourage concentration. MANTRA Mantra is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘the thought that liberates and protects’. along with the concentration of prana. Concentration develops with regular practice. Do not try to get up from your seat. In six months the peace and purity of the atmosphere will be felt. do not disturb the mind. The chanting of a mantra is used to focus and concentrate the mind. but in coming back. It will be up to you to choose the one that suits you most. new cells. thus cultivating a more spiritual life. steady posture. Simply disassociate from it.e. It is far easier to practice meditation when the body can sit quietly and is fully charged with vitality and strength. materialism. It is not just a matter of gaining enlightenment. This is truly man’s greatest adventure. i. If this is not possible try sitting on a chair. The most effective times are sunrise. Remember. or Om may be used. Be determined. It is recommended to practice meditation for one hour. With regular practice your body will become adjusted and more comfortable. New nerve-currents. BEFORE BEGINNING Command the mind to be quiet. and to invoke the deity of the mantra to bring physical. new feelings. reduce sexual activity and reduce the hours of sleep. If this is not possible designate an area especially for meditation only. The following are certain practical points regarding the basic techniques of meditation. new vibrations. co-ordinating the repetitions with the breathing. brain waves and breathing will slow down as concentration deepens due to a steady posture. RESTRICTIONS People suffering from mental problems should seek professional medical advice before practising meditation. a new heart. Try to prolong the meditation for as long as possible. new mode of thinking and acting and a new view of the universe. the purpose of yoga is not in running away from the world. REGULARITY Regularity of time. However. with spine and neck held erect but not tense. At first you may become frustrated by your lack of progress. Do not attempt deep meditation with out proper preparation and guidance from a qualified instructor  Himalaya Yoga 2007 18 . DURATION Begin practising meditation with ten-minute periods and increase by five minutes per week. at sunrise and at sunset. If the mind persists in wandering do not force it to be still. The mind will settle down more quickly when time and place are established. It is difficult to focus the mind when it wants to jump about as soon as you sit down for concentration. desires and pleasures of the senses. It will gradually slow down. As meditation is repeated the powerful vibrations set up will be lodged in the room. A cross-legged position provides a firm base for the body and makes a triangular path for the flow of energy. but will eventually become concentrated. It is recommended that you to eat less food. twice per day. place and practice are very important. brain and the nervous system. and watch it as though you are watching a movie. do not neglect your obligations to family or employer. midday and sunset. Place your hands in a specific mudra to control the subtle energies in the pranic body. Before beginning meditation it is best to have a proper attitude and environment and to have sufficiently prepared yourself through asana and pranayama. If you chose to use a mantra speak to your yoga teacher. Be aware of every thought and physical sensation but do not be attached to them. new avenues and new channels are formed. You will have a new mind. At first the mind will wander and jump around. A mantra may be repeated out loud or mentally. It is therefore recommended to practice asana. Relax as much as possible. it is a matter of acting in the world with love and compassion. There are many techniques for meditation. Regularity conditions the mind to slow down its activities with the minimum of delay. STEADY POSTURE Sit in a comfortable. MEDITATON ROOM Try to have a separate room for meditation.For advanced students on the path of spiritual evolution it is suggested that you give less importance to the physical world. new sensations. Any comfortable position will do. WARNING After you have been regularly practising meditation for several months or years considerable changes begin take place in the mind. If you chose to have an alter or focus point. pranayama and concentration exercises prior to meditation. keep it clean and furnished with fresh offerings like flowers and natural incense. A mantra is a word or group of words form any philosophy or religion that contain powerful healing vibrations within the syllables of the words. The place of meditation and mental state should all reflect a readiness to turn inward. mental and spiritual healing.

which may be directed for the benefit of the one who uses it and for that of others. Sikhs and Muslims may select a name or mantra from the Zend Avesta. Om Namah Shivaya . Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi. speech and mind. promoting harmony in all parts of the human being. wisdom and compassion and may we all reach self-realization like the jewel in the lotus.Salutations to Lord God Shiva. It becomes an integral part of the individual’s being and needs absolutely no conscious effort. Ram. It is usually in the sacred language of ancient India. The mind vibrates with the sound of the mantra. Mantra is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘the thought that liberates and protects’. or Om may be used. When using a mantra. Eventually after continuous and dedicated practice. in which sound vibration joins with thought vibration and there is no awareness of meaning. This awareness and concentration prevents the mind from thinking of other things.  Himalaya Yoga 2007 19 . by your blessings and gifts may we reach perfection and enlightenment. The mantra acts as a pathway between normal states of consciousness and super consciousness.We pray for love. This is a very powerful way of approaching meditation states. Ram. A mantra is a word or group of words that contain powerful healing vibrations within the syllables of the words. repeat it mentally and co-ordinate the repetition with the breathing. Never change the mantra unless instructed to do so. but may also be in any language. Hare Krishna. Repetition will lead to pure thought. Namu Myoho Renge Kyo Glory to the Lotus Sutra.Creator of the universe. we meditate upon thy splendour.From the hearts of all the holy beings. One does not need to be a Hindu or a Buddhist to make use of a particular mantra. destroy our sins. for the mind is rendered calm and concentrated. Mantras are mystical combinations of sound that were realised by sages and rishis during stages of deep meditation. the mantra is repeated automatically without strain or effort. Tat Savitur Varenyam. may we receive thy blessings on our body. Granth Sahib. The following is a small selection of mantras commonly used in the Himalayas: Om . Hare Krishna. or Mother of Jesus. Om Ah Hum . Hare Ram. During the early stages of Yogic practice. the seat of pure consciousness. Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat Creator of the universe. this individual human spirit is one with the universal supreme consciousness. The mantra spontaneously manifests itself and becomes an integral part of the mind. may I be free from karma and reach enlightenment.Salutatons to great guru Padmasambhava. and guide us in the right direction. It repeats itself spontaneously with every breath. Hare Ram. Although mental repetition is stronger.Mantra Many cultures and religions make use of mantras. The chanting of mantras activates and accelerates the creative spiritual force. Sanskrit. the chosen mantra has to be repeated over and over again with effort of will and full awareness. Parsis. Om Mani Padme Hum . or Koran respectively. the mantra may be repeated aloud if you become drowsy. Their importance is to focus and concentrate the mind and to invoke the deity or healing power within the mantra. If you do not have a personal mantra. May thy radiant power illuminate our intellects. Hare Hare Through my deepest devotion to the Lord God Krishna. day and night. Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum . Om Bhur Bhuvah Swha. Krishna Krishna. The devotee is gradually converted into a living centre of spiritual vibration. speak to your Yoga instructor. Devotees of Christ may use the name Jesus or Hail Mary. Hare Hare.

Most beginners come to yoga classes wanting physical health and relaxation. glands and nerves. yoga can bestow divine powers and super-intuitional knowledge resulting in enlightenment and liberation. Hatha Yoga is therefore the perfect starting point for all forms of yoga. and not just a few painful stretches. The branch of Yoga known as ‘Ha-tha’ deals mainly with strengthening and purifying the body and mind. have taken the original teachings of yoga out of context. Eventually. sun and moon. toning and revitalizing the muscles and joints. especially in the west. advanced students can go on to the spiritual science of yoga. Thus. Many yoga instructors do not prioritize the true spiritual goal of yoga. This is mainly due to our attachment to the body. it is important to maintain this feeling of equanimity and mindfulness throughout our day. When the class is over. the ancient Indian texts.  Himalaya Yoga 2007 20 . in order to awaken the main energy channel in the spine known as sushumna nadi. Initially this is achieved by exercising every part of the body. Yoga classes should teach us how to live a balanced life and avoid uselessly squandering our energy. practicing meditation and higher consciousness lifestyles. but also practicing being in harmony and balance. restoring all systems to radiant health. Yoga is regarded as the divine science of life. It signifies that these techniques are designed to purify and balance the solar and lunar energies in the chakra body. In a yoga class we are not only healing our self and the world around us. In a yoga class we should be learning the science of human evolution. working. the spine and the entire skeletal system. focusing manly on asana. or are inextricably bound up in all sorts of problems. not only on the body’s frame. the essence of yoga is much more than just stretching. Hatha Yoga and its many variations. but also on the internal organs. for it is by love alone that we may create a brotherhood of man between the various nations of the world.Yoga Classes Many commercial yoga classes. whether physical or intellectual. Without proper guidance this results in attachment to the desire of having the perfect body. It is considered even older than the Vedas. so that we can know what its like to be in harmony. Yoga classes should bring hope and self-confidence to all those who are disappointed with their materialistic life. Hatha Yoga was first documented in the fifteenth century by Yogi Svatmarama. It is in this way that yoga leads us to universal love. so that our whole life becomes harmonious and healthy. this becomes our permanent and spontaneous state of being. revealed to enlightened sages of India through self-exploration and the study of nature. over 5000 years old. With proper guidance. resulting in purification of the mind and body. the stretching techniques of Hatha Yoga. It states that the goal of yoga is to control the mind and body in order to achieve a state of absolute peace where there is neither imagination nor thought. where the combination of physical. We should be learning how to exercise self-control and preserve a positive attitude towards life. as a healthy mind and body is the absolute prerequisite for all human endeavours. competition and ego inflation. with regular practice. However. has become the most popular and accessible form of yoga available today. mental and spiritual techniques are extensively documented. ‘Ha’ and ‘Tham’.

I am currently teaching at several resorts in Bali and head of the sports department at Sunrise International School. Gyasto The Ancient Secrets of the Fountain of Youth by Peter Kelder The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness by Erich Schiffmann Himalaya Yoga Website: www. Tibetan Buddhism and meditation. In India my guru taught me that each of us has our own starting point and it is here that we begin our personal journey to health.K.K.K. Australia.V.himalaya-yoga.S. happiness and beyond…” References Sadhana by Swami Sivananda Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati The Heart of Yoga by T.K. I have since returned to India and Nepal several times to advance my personal practice studying Kundalini Yoga. Iyengar The Joyful Path of Good Fortune by G. I have recently returned from Japan where I studied Zen Meditation and Japanese language.Profile Dave West – Himalaya Yoga Instructor “I lived in the Himalayan Mountains with the great yogi masters for 3 years and studied Sivananda Yoga and Bihar School of Yoga for over 12 years.com Phone: +62 81 338 290 562  Himalaya Yoga 2007 21 . Desicachar Yoganjalisaram by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya Light on Yoga by B.” “I see myself as a down-to-earth practitioner carrying the light of yoga around the world for all those who are interested in benefiting from the healing powers of this ancient art. becoming a yoga instructor in 1998.S. Thailand and Indonesia. I have taught yoga in England. America. Indian philosophy.com Email: info@himalaya-yoga. Iyengar Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translated by B.

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