A step by step guide to learning Yoga

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A step by step guide to learning Yoga

Dear Friends,

Okay, so we lost an extra hour of beauty sleep last night, worse things could happen. Hopefully you were dreaming a pleasant dream before your time was shortened.

Today’s featured image was taken when we spent the day at the beach and rented a jet ski in the island of Saint Kitts in November as part of a Caribbean cruise. The water was perfect.

If your on my blog chances are you have heard a little about Yoga and wonder what it’s all about.

You probably have a few preconceptions and imagine a girl twisted up in lotus pose, or maybe you picture a person sitting cross-legged chanting some weird sound?

To simply things, I am going to review step by step what you can expect in a normal Yoga session.

First Step: Introduction:

Most Yoga classes begin in a standing position. Sometimes an instructor will start in seated and ask you to sit crossed legged and close your eyes. They might instruct you to concentrate on a person that you want to offer up your practice to today. It could be a family member, a friend, a person you heard about on the news that is going through a situation, heck, it can even be an offering for yourself and your needs, but I’d advise to put others ahead of yourself unless you are particularly struggling with an issue. There is no limit to whom you “offer” the positive energy of your practice up to.

The reason an instructor usually starts in standing after dedication is that the standing position is the most natural Human position there is. Leonardo Da Vinci produced a famous scientific picture of the symmetry of the human body when it is in its natural standing position. The outstretched arms and legs can have a perfect circle drawn around them and this is true of everyone regardless of their height or weight. What this means is that a standing pose comes naturally to us – we are not worried about getting it wrong and we can concentrate of the state of the body. Breathing exercises will be a key part of the warm up stage for your routine. This is the only time in your life you will be ‘taught’ to breath and it’s a skill which allows people to restore calm to their bodies and thoughts.

Second Step: Your Routine:

This is the art of your session which will vary the greatest depending on what style of Yoga you are learning. Each posture (think exercise segment) will be different, however, the nature of them will become very similar after a short period of time. You will be stretching muscles that you don’t normally use in the course of a day. Your teacher will explain to you the alignment for each pose. He/She may approach you to guide you into and out of the postures if they see you doing it incorrectly or if they feel you would benefit from a slight adjustment. Usually the teacher will ask before assisting, but if you are not wanting assistance approach the teacher prior to class and explain that you hard about adjustments during the class and you’d feel uncomfortable if that were to happen. The instructor is there for your benefit and will understand your “personal space”.

Normally your instructor will say the pose in both English and the native “Sanskrit” terminology for the pose. Don’t worry about trying to understand or learn the Sanskrit in the first few months, that will come to you with repetition and is not expected of any student but rather optional if you wish to learn anatomy in Sanskrit.

A lot of times your Yoga teacher will talk about the reason behind certain postures and about the energy points of your Chakra’s (Areas of spiritual power within the body). The Chakra system is important  to learn because it can teach you where areas of congestion are in your body and you will learn postures to release the blockages to allow energy to flow freely.

Final Step: The End Of The Session:

During the session you have worked a lot of key areas of your body and the relaxation stage or end of your practice is where you will allow this energy that you have built up to flow in and out and around your body. Usually you will have a cool down period and then “Savasana” or the resting pose. This is where you allow your body to stretch out grounded to the floor beneath you and relax all of your limbs. You concentrate on your breathing and fully “letting go” so that your pent-up energies can release and flow and bring your body, mind and spirit into a calm state. The teacher will normally have you wiggle your toes,feet,fingers,hands and slowly turn on to your side and gently push up into a seated position to end the class with a “Namaste” which can be thought of as an offering of thanks for your practice.

Yoga will give you a sense of peace, calmness, joy and a greater understanding of how to breathe, improve your overall health as well as cope with everything in your life.

Give it a try.

Namaste In Good Health,

Your Friend Kat

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Yoga Sutras 1 40-50 by JYL

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Yoga Sutras 1 40-50 by JYL

Dear Friends,

As we head torwards the end of 2017 we wrap up Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 1:40-1:50. We learn about the stages of Samadhi and how difficult it is to actually obtain full liberation, which means “to be completely free”. Recently I was watching a dance production in which the choreographer incorporated yoga postures along with Sutra text. Watching in amazement as they danced beautifully in sync to the music. I thought to myself, “Yes, they are on the path to enlightment”. Personally, I believe that with a dedicated practice the persistent yogi can achieve this in his/her lifetime.

Below is a review of 1:40-1:50 to assist you in your study goals. Please continue to work through the entire Sutras study.

Namaste,

Kat

1:40= Although we are all expressions of God, each one of us in some way is unique.

1:41= Samadhi- Act of knowing. Knower=man, Known=God.

1:42= Stages of Samadhi

#1= Sabikalpa- Ego is alive but dormant

#2= Ego= Soul attached to the body

1:43=#3 Nivitarka or (nirbikalpa) samadhi= God works outward from the center, man works inward from what he sees.

1:44= Differences between 1 & 2

1:45= When one achieves oneness with the infinite all is perceived as part of great oneness

1:46=Any thought of ego brings the yogi down from that high state into delusion.

In #2 (Ego) You can’t fall from that state but you must go through all past lives & realize God himself played every role.

Everything is God.

Even Satan is really only an instrument of God.

In #2 (Ego) one has vanquished the ego but there remains the memory of his past delusion. You must now free yourself of identity with the past lives. The goal of this life is to seek God.

#3 Moksha= Full liberation

1:47= Nirbichara Samadhi= Completely pure, impossible to fall again. Attachment to the ego has been destroyed.

1:48= Absolute consciousness, all other joys are incomplete.

1:49= The meaning of this sutra is self-evident

1:50= “I am Free”- awareness time!!!

Yoga Sutras 11-20 by Kat of JYL

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Dear Friends,

As we head into this Labor Day weekend we continue in our study of the book “Demystifying Patanjali”. The Yoga Sutras as written many years ago by Patanjali and interpreted ever since by several others.

By now if you have been on this path with us, you have an understanding for what the Sutras are. Hopefully you have enjoyed 1:1-10. The Sutras are very complex and could easily take a lifetime to actually go through due to the nature of understanding each one and how it applies to your life. There is just so much out there that I feel we need to start tackling  as a group and other great works I want to share in our book club.

As we go into the fall season we will start reviewing another book and yes (as requested in your emails), we will continue to spend some time each blog to go through the other Sutras.

Have an enjoyable weekend and take time to nurture your spirit and that of others around you.

Namaste,

Kat

1-11

Memory: Memory is clinging (refusing to abandon any ideas of objects that return to the mind).

1-12

The vrittis are calmed by practice and by non-attachment.

“Banat, Banat, banjai  Doing, Doing, at last, done”

Don’t be constantly looking for results

1-13

The endeavor to develop even-mindedness is what constitutes spiritual practice.

1-14

Spiritual practice becomes firmly grounded when it is undertaken for a long time, without a break, and with deep earnestness.

“I am doing this as a part of your play. It means nothing to me”= the outcome.

“I am always inwardly at peace with Thee.”

1-15

From constant self-remembrance there comes complete non-attachment to things seen or heard. Not just by sight, but by what we hear if we seek daily news or gossip. However, when we live in the consciousness of God, all outer attachments fade away.

The mind grows by what it feeds upon.

Include God in all of your activities practice the presence of God.

1-16

When one ceases to thirst for outward manifestation, having realized the Purusha, one attains supreme non-attachment.

1-17

Sampragyata samadhi (sabikalpa samadhi; the state of conditioned oneness) is still tied to the various functions of the ego.

1-18

Unconditioned samadhi occurs with the cessation of all conscious thought. Subconscious memories alone remain.

1-19

Yogis who have not attained the highest state by the time they die remain attached to Prakriti (nature), owing to the ego’s continued identification with outwardness.

There are 2 types of yogis:

(1) Those who have attained their goal.

(2) Those working toward attainment.

Yoga= union/oneness with God.

1-20

For the others, the highest state is attained through faith (based on experience), strength of will, mindfulness (retaining constantly the awareness of God’s presence), conditioned oneness (sabikalpa samadhi), and discrimination.

Patanjali says true yoga may be attained not only by the practice of yoga techniques but also through right application as follows:

(1) Faith: Belief is good because without it we’d never even start to follow our path, but faith depends on results. The greater the results, the greater the faith.

(2)Strong will power: The half-hearted seeker will never find God.

(3) Devotion: The more devoted we are the greater tests we are able to bear.

(4) Sit surrounded by vast space- Try to relax so you are not aware of your body during meditation.

(5) Discrimination: Learning to determine if visions are real or imaginary. A real vision will bring a heightened consciousness, bliss, clear awareness.

 

 

 

 

Yoga Sutra 1-10 “Sleep”

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Dear Friends,

Today we discuss “Sleep”. In Yoga Sutra 1-10 Patanjali explains to us that we should sleep only as much as our body needs and that too much sleep is a drug.

The author further explains that Mantras have a calming effect on our mind

Try this exercise each day for a week at the exact same time:

As the author expressed:

We should mentally watch our breathe- don’t try to control it. Just let it flow.

As your breathe flows in mentally say to yourself “Hong”.

As your breathe flows out mentally say to yourself “Sau”.

Hong-Sau= bij, or seed, mantra.

As your mind calms your attention should be shifting to the flow of your breathe at the root of your nose, close to the seat of super consciousness between your eyebrows (3rd eye), into the forehead.

Namaste,

Kat

The Mat S 6 E :12 Yoga Sutra 1:9

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Dear Friends,

As we continue we go into 1:9 “Understanding that is based on untruth is imaginary.”

This Sutra teaches us to never justify a wrong action. Don’t feel like you need to defend yourself against accusations. Don’t allow temptation to make you feel as if you must offer up an explanation for situations when things happen to go wrong, which they will.

If you find yourself in the wrong, just let it be what it is, don’t allow your ego to take over. If you did something bad or wrong, simply just “own” it and there is no need to give stories or half truth explanations, just allow it be the mistake you made.

Seek the truth always, in all things. Try to do the right thing regardless to what others say or do. Ask for forgiveness and learn to forgive yourself, nothing more.

Namaste,

Kat

The Mat S6 E11 “Yoga Sutra 1-8”

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Dear Friends,

We continue of our journey into Demystifying Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1-8:

“Wrong understanding is when we mistake true nature of that which is being considered.”

Have you ever done something and then later found out that you made a huge mistake? Sure you have, we all have at one time or another. In this Century most of us  are on information overload and don’t even realize it because we are too busy being busy taking on more information or “data”. I will give you one huge example that we are each familiar with “Social Media:”

How many hours of your life do you spend on your mobile device or computer tagging family/friends, uploading images, reading posts, agreeing or disagreeing over those posts etc. Are you so glued to your Social Media that you bring your phone to the table while eating? Sure you do, most of you do, admit it. Do you sit across from a friend or coworker and totally pretend to be listening to them while your engrossed in the next chime on your cell phone from Facebook, Snap Chat, Twitter etc.?

While Social Media is clearly a tool that society uses to share and express we are to be mature enough to curtail our intake and output in the electronic World and in the World in general.This is why mediation and reflection are so important in your daily lives. But I understand, for some of you, your too busy just treading water right?

At least take the time to consider how if you stop what you are doing and pick up this book and begin to study along that you may just find a way to clear out a path in your schedule for “you time” and then when you actually do this you will thank yourself for it.

We need to clear the mind and to do that we need to clear a path, then and only then we can see the truth.

So how do we tell the truth from false visions? This is not so easy. When we have “wrong understanding” it becomes an obstacle in our life, especially as we try to go on our spiritual path.

As Patanjali teaches us we need a few things in out tool kit to take along:

We need to learn:

Humility

Devotion

Openness

Our minds are inclined to self-deception. We are born of wishful thinking and ego-protectiveness.

So how do we get started? We each need to find our Guru (teacher,mentor). When we find the Guru we need to approach this Guru with the right attitude in order for things to progress in our manifestation.

How will you know who your Guru is? It will just feel right, you’ll know when you meet him/her. There are times in your life when you will move on to new Guru’s and it is possible to have more than one Guru. For now try to clear your path and open your mind.

Trust me, please trust me, if you have a heart of humility, you devote yourself to your practice and you open up to all possibilities and are ready to listen, learn, try new ideas and new things then you will be able to tell truth from false visions. It is a process, yoga is a process. It took your body, mind and soul many years to be the way you are today and it will take a long time to undue what you need to clean up and to add the new tools that you need to survive and become enlightened.

The good news is that if you are watching this video and reading along, you are already practicing on your spiritual path.

Namaste,

Kat

The Mat Season:6 E:10 “Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras 1-7”

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“Right understanding comes from direct perception, inference, and valid authority.

Dear Friends,

How do we know God exists? Most of us can’t speak from personal experience. So, should our knowledge come from interpretation or assumption? Wow this Sutra is awesome!

The author of Demystifying Pantanjali tells us “When it comes to a simple earthly matter, valid authority may come to us by a phone call or a radio report. But when it comes to spiritual matters- like, “Does God exist?”- true perception is rare; without true intuition, perception is not always reliable.

The take away:

God must be consciousness!

Valid authority is the most important of all.

Do Not Take Advice From Men

Namaste,

Kat