Kundalini Yoga: Dangers and Beauty

Kundalini is a spiritual potential energy or life force located at the base of the spine. The means and practices to awaken this spiritual energy are known as Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini yoga awakens the “Saraswati Nadi”, the hidden channel in the spinal column.

There are hundreds of practices. The practices are flexible. It is not a rigid path. As you practice and go forward, you need to adjust and add new flavors to it.  Rigidity is the only problem. If you are too rigid to the steps and practices, you can not progress much. It will be some mechanical exercises. Kundalini yoga is like good cooking, you have to learn it and modify it gradually to get the best out of it.

History of Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga was first described in the Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad, which is one of the 108 Hindu texts of meditation.  It is a part of Yajurveda. Most probably it was written around 1000 to 1400 years before the Birth of Christ. (BC).  The classical literature of Kashmir Saivism also discusses more about the nature of this kundalini energy. Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gherandha Samhita and Shiva Samhita are three famous books of kundalini yoga.

In the late 1800s John Woodroffe, an Oxford graduate, in his famous book “The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic” discussed this occult science of tantra and kundalini energy awakening practices. He translated some twenty original Sanskrit texts under the pseudonym Arthur Avalon and became a major contribution of the time to the appreciation of Hindu philosophy and spirituality.

In 1935 Sri Swami Sivananda wrote a detailed, but esoteric portrayal of some historically classic Kundalini Yoga practices in a treatise called Kundalini Yoga.

Obviously, there are many schools of thoughts about the nature of practices. Different cults, sects and gurus have their own methods. However, packaging may be different but the core teachings of the Kundalini yoga are same.  It is a journey of Divine energy from Muladhara Chakra (lower end of the spinal column) to the Sahasara Chakra at the top of the head.  Kundalini yoga is a science, it is not a static thing, new discovers, new experiences adds new dimensions to it.

Dangers of Kundalini Yoga:

Awakening of the kundalini energy brings joy, pure knowledge and love, but like all powerful scientific experiments, if you do it wrongly it may cause problems.  Hence, you must take necessary precautions before doing Kundalini Yoga. In yoga sutra (1.29), Sage Patanjali said “OM” chanting removes the obstacles of yoga.  This is valid for all yoga techniques, including Kundalini Yoga.

Precautions and safety practices of Kundalini Yoga:

Safety #1:

You are your own judge; do not rely too much on external teachers. They may have their own agendas. You have to apply your intelligence and commonsense in every moment.

Safety #2:

Do the practices one by one. Do not be in harry.  Give sufficient gap between two practices. Learn gradually.

Safety #3:

Learn the basic techniques first. Modify them according to your needs. As my teachers say “Kundalini yoga is not a static concept. You need to re-discover it in every moment. ”

Safety #4:

Forceful kundalini awakening is dangerous. It creates imbalances in the mind. So avoid these forceful techniques. Forcefulness comes from ego. Ego enjoys it. However, you have to go beyond the ego.

Safety #5:

Do the practices with patience and love for the Divine energy.

Beauty of Kundalini Yoga:

Benefit #1:

Brings balance in life.  It provides peace and stability of mind.

Benefit #2:

Releases accumulated emotions such as anger, fear and insecurity.

Benefit #3:

Re-establish our natural bio-rhythm.

Benefit #4:

It develops the feeling of joy and happiness along the spinal column.

Benefit #5

It provides more Strength and Energy.

Conclusion:

Kundalini yoga techniques are developed for greater physical and mental fitness, which prepares one for higher wisdom. It ignites the creative energy of our system. It guides the energy flow in the brain and it is best way for self healing.

Yoga and Vipassana for Stress Relief and Pain management

Each one of us is having the ability to heal ourselves. We need to learn the techniques for healing. Yoga and Vipassan are two beautiful ways to control pain and bring happiness in life. Both these techniques are scientifically proven and millions of people are getting benefits of that.  Just like allopathic medicines, too much Yoga and too much Vipassana meditation is harmful for body and mind. You should be careful they should not create addiction.


Great Yoga and Vipassana master Sri Amit Ray of Uttarkashi in the book “Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style” beautifully explained the ways and means to use yoga and Vipassana for pain management and stress relief.  He says “Select your own yoga posture slowly and very gently twist your body and gently focus your attention to the starting place of the physical pain. Just comfortably permit your awareness to rest in that area for few moments and then move your attention to the …..  “. The book beautifully amalgamated the two ancient meditation and yoga techniques.

But Yoga and Vipassan are not the answer for all pains, particularly for acute pains you need to take proper medical advice. Yoga postures should be selected depending on the nature of pain.

Essence of Yoga and Vipassana

The concepts and methods of harmonizing body, mind, and spirit introduced centuries ago by Patanjali have been adopted by scientists, religious and spiritual leaders, and experts in the field of physical and mental health, as well as by the public at large. The concept of observing the breath and the tingling sensations of the body have been adopted by Gautam Buddha. Kriya yoga and vipassana are the two wings of a spiritual journey. If one is weak you cannot fly comfortably. God realization and stillness of mind both are important.

Buddha said “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. “ Vipassana is the art of conquering yourself.

Essence of Vipassana

Essence of Vipassana

Paramahansa Yoganandanin the writer of the spiritual classic,“Autobiography of a Yogi”, said “Meditation is the science of God‑realization. It is the most practical science in the world. Most people would want to meditate if they understood its value and experienced its beneficial effects. The ultimate object of meditation is to attain conscious awareness of God, and the soul’s eternal oneness with Him. “

 

In the teachings of the Zen masters we observed “What we call the body and mind in the Buddha Way is grass, trees and wall rubble; it is wind, rain, water and fire.”

 

Himalayan spiritual master Amit Ray of Uttarkashi in his book,  Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style”  said “There are three aspects in yoga, the first one is keeping the body and mind in harmony and healthy. The second one is stilling the mind and the third one is realising the inner sprit. Yoga deals with the first aspect of life. Vipassan is more about the stilling the mind and for the third one you need your own inner grace.”

Ramana Maharshi the master of yoga through self-inquiry mentioned that “self-inquiry is certainly not an empty formula and it is more than the repetition of any mantra. If the inquiry `Who am I?’ were a mere mental Questioning, it would not be of much value. The very purpose of self-inquiry is to focus the entire mind at its source. It is not, therefore, a case of one `I’ searching for another `I’. Much less is self-inquiry an empty formula, for it involves an intense activity of the entire mind to keep it steadily poised in pure Self-awareness.” Self inquiry is the art of knowing yourself.

Sri Aurobindo tried to amalgamate the older religions and said “Eevolution is the method by which it liberates itself; consciousness appears in what seems to be inconscient, and once having appeared is self-impelled to grow higher and higher and at the same time to enlarge and develop towards a greater and greater perfection. Life is the first step of this release of consciousness; mind is the second; but the evolution does not finish with mind, it awaits a release into something greater, a consciousness which is spiritual and supramental. The next step of the evolution must be towards the development of Super-mind and Spirit as the dominant power in the conscious being. For only then will the involved Divinity in things release itself entirely and it become possible for life to manifest perfection.”

Great yogi Ramakrishna Paramhansa taught ceaselessly for fifteen years the basic truths of all religion through parables, metaphors, songs and by his own life. He said “There are pearls in the deep sea, but you must hazard all perils to get them. If you fail to get at them by a single dive, do not conclude that the sea is without them. Dive again and again, and you are sure to be rewarded in the end. So also in the quest for the Lord, if your first attempt to see Him proves fruitless, do not lose heart. Persevere in the attempt, and you are sure to realize Him at last.”

Essence of Religion

Essence of Religion

Winter Yoga

If you prefer the outdoor yoga, dress correspondingly and get out for a walking yoga. Walking through the snow might be a brilliant way of getting the heart rate up in the cold winter months. You can have an even better time if you join with your yoga pet for the walk.

If you do not like the traditional way of yoga, then you may pick up the snow shovel and go for shovel yoga. This is an excellent technique of physical activity. You will have a great time together with your children and family by practicing this shovel yoga.

Remaining active in winter is must. According to the Himalayan yoga master Sri Amit Ray “Activity, spirit and fun is the essence of yoga.” Get as much as you can to allow your body to produce as much seratonin as possible. Expose yourself to plenty of sunlight. Get plenty of sleep. Go to bed early and rise when the sun does.

If you are doing indoor yoga, turn the room temperature up to at least 100 degrees. During exercise the heat allows your body to be more fluid and flexible.  You may sweat a lot depending on the humidity levels of your room, but heat is the key. If you are doing Vipassana yoga keep your awareness on the sensation of heat and cold. Just observe the feelings.

Lahiri Mahasaya was Yogananda’s guru’s guru explained the beauty of kriya yoga during winter.  Great yoga teacher Sri Ramana Maharshi explained winter as the best time for concentration.  Yoga Guru Sri Ramakrishna said  “Repeat God’s name and sing His glories, and keep holy company; and now and then visit God’s devotees and holy men. “.  Winter is the best time for that.

Yoga: To Release Arthritis

Arthritis is a degenerative condition causing wear of the articulating surfaces, resulting in pain at rest, pain with movements, restriction of movements and in severe cases, deformity.

The word “arthritis” means “joint inflammation” — the Greek “arthron” means “joint”, and the Latin “itis” means “inflammation. Arthritis is a term that covers many different medical conditions that affect the joints, and is the main cause of disability in older people.

With arthritis, something goes wrong with the joint, depending on the kind of arthritis — it could be that the cartilage is wearing away, a lack of synovial fluid, or it may be an autoimmune disorder, or a combination of factors. Joint injuries may also eventually lead to arthritis.

Osteo Arthritis

Types of Arthritis:

The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The most common type is osteoarthritis, which is wear and tear associated with ageing. It can be accelerated, or aggravated, or even caused by trauma, excess body weight, obesity, mal–alignment of the joints or congenital joint deformities (dysplasia).

The other common type of arthritis is called rheumatoid arthritis. In this disease, the immune system of the body reacts against the joints and musculoskeletal tissues. This causes inflammation of joints, and leads to wear and tear.

The other types of inflammatory arthritis are: aukylosing spondylarthropathy, Lyme disease, gouty arthritis, arthritis associated with connective tissue disease, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.

Walking Yoga to Remove Arthritis

Now people are discovering that immobility is terrible for someone with arthritis. With sedentary people, even more degeneration and pain of the joints arises. To keep joints and muscles healthy and strong, they must be used. When they’re not used, they become weaker and more unbalanced with more likely-hood of injury and more pain and debilitation.

Regular gentle movement and walking helps to maintain mobility and it reduces pain, as well as promoting the health of other systems of the body. With regular walking yoga exercise there’s increased blood circulation which helps to reduce swelling and pain, and it improves the functioning of the immune system.

Walking Yoga to Remove Arthritis

Walking Yoga to Remove Arthritis

Yoga Postures and Yoga Exercises to Remove Arthritis:

Regular yoga exercises help to keep the body stronger and more supple; increasing range of motion in the joints, while keeping the surrounding muscles strong and supportive. Some common yoga postures are as follows:

Neck Exercises:

Many people hold tension in their necks and shoulders, leading to stiffness, bad posture, and tension headaches. Yoga practice can ease tension, increase flexibility, and tone the muscles.  The steps for neck exercises are as follows:

  • Bend your head forward, chin on chest, then back to original position.
  • Bend to the right, then back to the original position.
  • Bend backward, then back to the original position.
  • Bend to the left, then back to the original position.
  • Bend forward, chin on chest, move from right to the left, then move from left to right.

Standing Side Stretch Yoga Pose:

The Standing Side Stretch Yoga Pose may give you the look of a tree swayed by wind, though this pose offers more benefits than just a stretch on your branches. This side stretch will increase the flexibility of your spine, arms, and rib cage as it stimulates the liver, kidney, and spleen functions. Furthermore, the Yoga Pose will also help realign your spinal column and will aid the lungs to take in more oxygen. This is a simple Yoga Posture with a wonderful stretch in which one line of energy reaches upward from your belly and outward through the arm, and one line travels downward through the legs

Single leg raises Yoga Pose:

This Yoga Pose is performed in order to prepare the body for other exercises. It benefits the legs, lower back muscles, and abdominal area. In practicing the Single Leg Raise, one leg is raised while the other one stays on the floor.

Shoulder Stretches:

These are great in relieving stress and tension on your shoulders, as well as your entire upper back. Practice them daily for several weeks and notice the changes. Learn some basic stretches for the shoulders in this section.

Wrist bending:

Your wrists can also be affected by arthritis, specifically Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid Arthritis. Take good care of your wrists through stretching and bending. Learn how to improve the range of motion of your wrists by doing the Wrist Bending Exercise.

Ankle bending:

Repeated strain or sprain in the ankles can contribute to the occurrence of Ankle Arthritis. Manage stress and keep your ankles in good condition through therapy, having enough rest, and by doing the Ankle Bending Exercise.

Pranayama to Release Arthritis:

Alternate nasal breathing exercise, Belly breathing,  and Kapalvati pranayam are very helpful to remove arthritis.

Research on Yoga and Arthritis:

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University found that Yoga is helpful for rheumatoid arthritis. They found that those who participated in eight weeks of yoga classes had significantly fewer tender and swollen joints than they did before starting class.

Yoga for Long Life

Physical activity is deeply valuable for bone health. Sure, walking is the greatest of all for the prevention bone density. But it won’t do much for wrist or spinal fractures, so we need free hand Yoga exercises to keep our upper body bones strong.  Above all don’t smoke, get lots of exercise, eat lots of beans & green leafy vegetables, and cut out the fat to live a long life on this planet.  Eat plant-based food, now, if you wait until your baseline nitric oxide supply gets too low, it may be too late. Use whole grains over refined grains and apples over apple juice. Take broccoli, arugula chard, other greens, beans, calcium-enriched non-dairy milk, tofu, dried fruits, kiwi, and soy yogurt. Amla, Aloe Vera and  Green tea’s detoxifying properties helped to stay young with long life.

Chinese symbol of long life:

symbol of long life

symbol of long life

You need about 500-700 mg of calcium per day. Don’t drink the milk much but walk for a mile every day. Do yoga exercise for at least 30 minutes per day.  The social contact appears to be as important as the calories burned and the joints lubricated. According to my spirituals master Amit Ray “Most heartening is to increase the span of life either you should be like a child or you should be in contact with the children. “

Calcium supplement is not the answer. “We calculate that for every 1,000 people treated with calcium for 5 years, it will lead to four additional myocardial infarctions, four additional strokes, and two additional deaths, while preventing three fractures,” Dr. Ian R. Reid said.  Click here for the press release.

Some simple tips for long life are as follows:

  • Always see the positive side of the life
  • Always stay with cheerful friends
  • Be ALIVE while you are living.
  • Often laugh long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

Firm handshake link to long life

Yoga: In Search of the Christ Within

Jesus said,  ”For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Yoga is the art to find out that kingdom.

I recently returned from a week-long Yoga meditation retreat from Rishikesh, India.  I liked the yoga classes.  It helped me to understand the deep relation between the myself and Jesus.

This yoga classes were particularly delightful for me. Yes, the place was beautiful, it was peaceful, it was quiet, it was nice and away from all telephones and computers, all tasks and ordinary demands, all talking, all purposeful activities.

The people attended the retreat were all excellent.  In life we want enjoyment; we want to avoid pain and discomfort. I think Yoga is the right answer for that. Yoga and service to others was the true message of Christ. Jesus said, “You have burned enough in the sun, in the heat. You have roamed all over the place. Just come inside; this room is ready for you.” You are made up of love. Everyone is full of love and love is God. So you are made up of God! God is not an object of senses, but the feeling of feelings, the presence of presence, the sound of silence, the light of life, the essence of the world and the taste of bliss.

Yoga practice the postures, free hand exercises and special breathing techniques, which open energy channels and centers of awareness, activating them to higher levels of  consciousness.

Meditation and Yoga

Meditation and Yoga

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