How do we generate and maintain our zest for life? It comes from practicing techniques for rejuvenation, reawakening and renewal.
In Ayurveda, this is the practice of Rasayana and it includes our physical, mental and spiritual states of being. Ultimately, Rasayana helps us to achieve and maintain our passion, our enthusiasm and our appetite for life. Rasayana promotes cognitive and physical strength, immunity, enthusiasm and energetic zest for the remainder of our lives. Through Rasayana we can keep living younger longer.
And, it’s not just for old agers… it’s for anyone who may be unbalanced right now. Or for anyone who wishes to move into old age more youthfully.
A new move to a new town in a new year has undoubtedly brought me a fresh perspective. By now we have unpacked the boxes, at least most of them, and the excitement of reestablishing a home and all that goes with it has dwindled. I am beginning to look ahead to my next “phase.”
Before my transition, I researched materials for planning this next journey because I’ve learned, from previous moves, that a new environment is a great opportunity for reevaluation and fresh prospects. I knew that my latest transition would need reassessment and I wanted to start out with a good system for designing and organizing my new intentions.
I ended up purchasing a MaxOut planner. Its selling point was that it could help me “unlock my full potential, set meaningful goals and succeed in accomplishing my biggest dreams.” This particular journal/planner is complex with pages for goal setting, affirmations, reflection, tracking and, of course, planning the months, weeks and days. However, the first step to beginning the process is to ask yourself the big question:
“In the entire path of yoga, there is really only one lesson. It is the one lesson we have to learn over and over again. Whenever we relinquish our craving, clinging and grasping, whenever we are totally present and undivided, we are immediately in union with our true nature.” – Stephen Cope
Through yoga, we can address our attachments, our extreme possessiveness, with the concept of non-attachment or aparigraha. Aparigraha is the 5th yama or abstinence in the 8 fold path of yoga. In Sanskrit, the word aparigraha is broken down into graha = to take/grab, pari=all sides & a=against. So, aparigraha means “against taking all” or non-greed. While we can certainly have attachments to physical things, we can also be possessive on an intellectual or verbal level.
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize that there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu
In the context of our next yama, non-stealing or asteya, this week we will value what we have. Therefore, find one attribute each day that you are thankful for and celebrate it on your mat. If you are confident in your downward dog, do a practice that salutes that posture.If you are a patient person, try holding your poses for a little longer than you normally would. If you are good at standing up for yourself, work on those balancing postures a bit more. Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Value Yourself”→
…we should progressively embrace what is real for us, so that we may find health and harmony. As you go deeper into yoga, remember that you are doing this study in order to remember yourself, to come home to all of you… – Rolf Gates
In our practices this week, let’s focus on the second ethical quality or yama known as truthfulness. As a moral principle, truthfulness or satya, as it is called in Sanskrit, asks us to convey truth responsibly. Like the other yamas, we should consider truthfulness in thought, speech and action.
Now that we have built our foundation for a steady yoga practice, we are ready to begin supporting our practice so that we can keep it going. In my experience, I have found that the best way to keep a steady practice is to form balance. Balance teaches us to be moderate and achieve evenness – it keeps you upright and steady. And, in order to form balance you need to establish pillars to hold up your practice. We will begin with the yamas and the niyamas. These are the yogic branches of abstentions and observances that can stabilize your asana practice.
“Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow is only a vision, therefore look well to this day.” – Goswami Kriyananda
This week prepare your yoga days by designating a practice tag line for each day of the week. The labels not only provide a preset plan but also assure that during the week the practice will be variable and well rounded.
Today I am introducing what may be the most effective concentration/meditation technique that I have encountered in my training and practice. It frequently helps to remove the attachments and fluctuations from my mind so that I can focus on my breath and generate positive energy.
The technique is called Hong Sau – a name that originates from the Sanskrit word Hamsa which means Holy Gander (that migrates back to its spiritual home). Its concept is symbolic. Geese migrate or wander; yet no matter how far they fly from home, they always return. Like the gander, we strive to migrate back to our higher self or spiritual nest so that we may experience joy and contentment. Continue reading “Migrate Back to Your Spiritual Nest”→
When I began exploring a meditation practice some years ago, I found it difficult to remain present at first. Who hasn’t? Luckily there are a myriad of techniques available for generating awareness. And, through trial and error, it’s possible to discover a method that speaks to you. In the end, a meditation practice should give you energy, enthusiasm, peace and joy.
That’s what the Hong Sau Kriya technique has given me. Hopefully you will attune to it as well. Here is the process and some tips:
What is it?
Hong Sau Kriya is a form of meditative breathing. The practice is simple – you mentally chant Hong as you inhale and Sau as you exhale. When the breath is still, the chanting stops. As your breath elongates, so does the word.
The word Hong is pronounced like “hong kong” & Sau like the word “saw”. Its meaning is simple and profound: Hong= I am Sau=spirit.
Kriya means action or movement.
How Should I Practice?
Although Hong Sau Kriya can be practiced anywhere and at anytime, it may be best to set up a regular schedule to get the most of its regenerative benefits. So, a quiet place in an upright seated position with no distractions is ideal. If you already have a meditation practice, then place this technique at the end of your session so that once the mantra fades, you can sit quietly and enjoy the stillness.
Your Challenge this Week:
Try to practice the Hong-Sau Kriya technique for a few minutes daily. Keep it a passive process by allowing the breath to breathe you. The less effort you put into it, the more you will enjoy it. The more you enjoy it, the more it will become a habit you look forward to doing.
The most important quality of a practice such as Hong-Sau is its effectiveness. Not the technique itself but the outcome. When you approach it with positiveness and joy, it will bring you serenity.
For your reference, here is a lovely story written by Goswami Kriyananda that explains the essence of Hong-Sau in greater detail:
“In Sanskrit, the word Hamsa (Hong-Sau) means wild gander, and has great symbolic significance. No matter how far the wild gander flies, at some point it remembers, and migrates back to its home, always at the proper season. In the same way, we as spiritual beings following a spiritual principle must, like the wild gander, remember, and migrate back to our spiritual home. The spiritual home is the inward state of Samadhi. The Hong-Sau Kriya meditation is a key technique whereby you return to the spiritual home.”