ASANA PRANAYAMA MUDRA BANDHA

13 12 2017

Swami Satyananda Saraswati is the founder of the Bihar School of Yoga and so far as I am concerned this book is the yoga Bible. I first studied it back in the 90s, and I have been referring to it continuously ever since. It is, as it says in the Preface, “the refined essence of the teachings of Swami Satyananda Saraswati to his sannyasin disciples at Bihar School of Yoga [and] is intended to serve as the complete textbook for persons learning and teaching all levels of the basic yogic practices.”

It begins – a section for beginners (but everyone should go on doing this!) – with the Pawanmuktasana series of exercises, and there on the first page is TOE BENDING. Sounds so simple, almost silly, certainly not “yoga”, but it is important and I practise that and ANKLE BENDING (also on page 1) every day, along with various other exercises in this basic series designed to rid the body of excess gas and acid and so ease or remove entirely any rheumatic discomfort. “Though they seem very simple they have subtle effects on the practitioner.”

This is followed by a series of asanas for stiff muscles and joints, another series for the eyes, relaxation postures, meditative poses, and various other relatively easy exercises and asanas.

Then come the Middle and Advanced groups of asanas – not to be attempted until you have mastered all the basic exercises and postures, and even then preferably under the supervision of an experienced yoga teacher. (Check on your teacher before enrolling as a student by asking him/her about this book!)

Then, as promised in the title, there are sections on Pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) and on the Bandhas and Mudras. Bandhas and Mudras are physical holds and gestures, some easy to perform, others needing months or years to perfect, but all of which have a profound effect on the practitioner’s psyche.

The book closes with a section on psychic physiology and the chakras, and a brief survey of yoga therapy for specific disorders, though for this last we need something more specialised and detailed, and I will discuss a couple of the best yoga therapy books in future posts.

The paperback edition is available everywhere including Amazon but is quite expensive, so you may be interested to know that a fully illustrated PDF version is available FREE here:-

 

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Benefits of Reading

28 11 2017





Men are not so different …

19 11 2017

Yes, I know, but men are not so different. In fact in some ways they are more like the stereotypical woman than most women are!

The following is a quote from biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, author of Why We Love, that, while going against our usual sterotypical image of men rather confirms my own personal impressions and experience:

Men fall in love faster too — perhaps because they are more visual. Men experience love at first sight more regularly; and men fall in love just as often. Indeed, men are just as physiologically passionate. When my colleagues and I have scanned men’s brains (using fMRI), we have found that they show just as much activity as women in neural regions linked with feelings of intense romantic love. Interestingly, in the 2011 sample, I also found that when men fall in love, they are faster to introduce their new partner to friends and parents, more eager to kiss in public, and want to “live together” sooner. Then, when they are settled in, men have more intimate conversations with their wives than women do with their husbands—because women have many of their intimate conversations with their girlfriends. Last, men are just as likely to believe you can stay married to the same person forever (76% of both sexes). And other data show that after a break up, men are 2.5 times more likely to kill themselves.





YOUR BODIES MANY CRIES FOR WATER by Dr F. Batmanghelidj

18 11 2017

Probably the single most important thing we can do for ourselves when we are unwell is drink more water.

“You are not sick, you are thirsty.”

But not only when we are unwell. We need water, lots of water, to keep us well, says Dr Batmanghelidj in his best-selling book Your Body’s Many Cries For Water.

Read it, if you can get hold of a copy. But in brief, he tells us that our bodies require an absolute minimum of six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. And that means water, not coffee or tea, or fruit juice, or any other beverage. Water, plain and simple.

These six glasses would ideally be drunk as follows: one half an hour before each meal, and one two-and-a-half hours after each meal.

But that is the minimum, remember. We should also wash our food down with some water, and drink more water whenever we feel thirsty. Not only when we feel thirsty, though, but also when we feel hungry for a snack outside our regular meal-times: the body, especially as it grows older, becomes incapable of distinguishing thirst from hunger. While young people, who do know when they are thirsty, tend to quench that thirst with rubbish instead of water, many older people don’t believe they are thirsty at all and if given a glass of water just sip at it, merely wetting their mouths and throats and convinced that that is all they need.

As simply as dehydration will in time produce the major diseases we are confronting now. a well regulated and constantly alert intention to daily water intake will help to prevent the emergence of most of the major diseases we have come to fear in our modern society.”