100 Days of Yoga, Day 15

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September 5, 2012 by blogmasterjdeam

Dear All,  Greetings and Salutations!  Who invented that phrase?  Who uses such wording?  What the heck does it even mean?  As we proceed toward Pratyahara, I will be giving many interpretations of this Sanskrit word.  It is a difficult concept to grasp.  Just like the real purpose of the aforementioned greeting is.

I received my certification from The Temple of Kriya Yoga.  In that school we were taught that Pratyahara could be summed up in one word: concentration.  I’ve read lots of interpretations since I finished yoga school, and I suppose concentration could be an explanation, but after reading more on the topic, I have found the concept to be rich, deep, even lyrical.  The word concentration simply doesn’t do it justice.

Together, I’d like to really explore the meaning of Pratyahara and see how it can be incorporated into daily life.

Here is the interpretation by Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., an extremely well-respected student/teacher of yoga:

http://www.judithlasater.com/writings/returningtoself.html

I will continue to give you interpretations, and hopefully, together we can come up with a satisfactory answer.

Meanwhile, I looked up the meaning of happiness (when you see one of the interpretations, you’ll know why.)  According to Mirriam-Webster, happiness means a state of well-being, contentment, joy.

Happiness can be a dangerous thing if it gets stuck in the yo-yo on our minds.  Some of us can take happiness to the state of manic, which can cause a backlash of depression.  The meaning of happiness I need to use is the one I think of as contentment.  A calmness or peacefulness that pervades my entire being suits me best.

While we ponder the meaning of Greetings and Salutations, we also may want to think about how happiness feels to each of us, because it is hard to get to a goal if you haven’t defined exactly what that goal is — to you.  How do you feel when you are happy?  (Or content, or joyful, whatever would you need to use.)

Another part of Prayahara makes reference to that never-ending voice in your head.  Have you ever actually paid attention to what it is saying?  Is it negative, judgmental, happy, sad, worried, inquiring?  Today, if you have time, you may want to actually listen to that voice and see what it is saying.  For me it was a non-stop dialogue about nonsense: guessing about the future; judging myself for my part (or lack thereof) in a conversation I had a day ago or a year ago or sometimes even twenty years ago.  I still do it, of course, let that voice start talking to me, but I’ve learned a trick over the years.  There is no good reason for that voice to be there.  In fact, as we’ll learn, there are many bad reasons for that voice to be there, so when it shows up, or at least when I recognize it as being there, I substitute a song.  I keep the song in my head until I can gain quietness.  Some people use a mantra instead of a song.  I’m not that evolved, at least not yet.

So while you are defining happiness for yourself, perhaps you’d also like to see what that voice has to say.

PRANAYAMA:  Today I will be practicing a more advanced breathing exercise called Kapalabhati.  It takes some time and practice to learn, but once done so, I think you will find it very beneficial.  Here is a link:

http://www.yogapranayama.net/breathing-exercise/kapalabhati-pranayama.html

ASANA:  Yesterday I ran, and boy did it feel great.  In fact, I am still reaping the benefits of a good, hard run.  3.16 miles in 34:13 minutes.  I then walked for five minutes at 3.5 mph to get the lactic acid moving out of my muscles.  In asana practice today I will continue the process of moving the lactic acid out by doing a series of standing poses.  I have done this series before, so it is in one of my earlier blogs, but here it is again:

Warm up with cat/cow and child’s pose into knee plank.  I will do as many sets as it takes for me to feel warm.  From there I will go into my first downward dog of the day.  I will stay there, alternating it with plank, until my hamstrings start to feel relaxed.

Then off to the races.  See if you can hold each position for eight full breaths.  If you can master that, try for sixteen, and so on …

High lunge (hands in prayer position)

Warrior I

Warrior II

Side Angle pose

Revolved Side Angle pose

Triangle

Half Moon

Five pointed Star (which takes me to the other end of the mat)

High lunge

Warrior I

etc.

I love this series, not just because it gets my blood pumping, but also because it stretches every muscle in my legs.

I will add a plank, as well as, a side plank.  An inversion (be sure you have brought your heart rate back to normal before you have your head lower than your heart,) a reclined twist, and finally Sivasana.

 

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU, c

 

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