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YOGA AND MEDITATION

Yoga means ‘union’ in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India. Indeed, India is where yoga originated many thousands of years ago. The word is used in the sense of union of mind, body and spirit. What is commonly referred to as ‘Yoga’ can be more accurately described by the Sanskrit word ‘Asana’, which refers to the practice of physical postures or poses, though the system of Asanas is only one of the eight ‘limbs’ or types of Yoga; the others are more concerned with mental and spiritual growth and well-being.

Yoga is about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility. This is done through the application of poses, each of which has a specific physical benefit. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement, or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the pose’s alignment. There is an ideal way that each pose should be performed, though not all yogis will agree about what this is.

Yoga Classes

We specialize in Hatha Yoga, Sivananda Yoga and Pranayama. Every day at Buddha hall there are numerous Yoga and Meditation classes that range from Yoga Asanas, Pranayama, Dhyaan, Bandha, Chakras, Mudras and YogaNidra and special Therapeutic Meditation classes. The courses are usually one week long and include a three month Yoga Teacher Training that covers theory and practice.

buddhahall, hatha yoga

Yoga is increasing in popularity in the west where we find it in many forms like ashtanga yoga, bikram yoga, acrobatic yoga. Yoga is for the uneducated individual a series of complicated body postures with the aim to stretch different muscles and ligaments. In the health industry it is used as a therapy for curing backache, joint problems, reduce stress leaves and correct body posture etc. Yoga is the perfect technique for maintaining physical health. It does not only work on the alignment of the body but as well on balancing of the nervous and endocrine system, two major systems which need to function properly in order to maintain good health. But physical fitness is not all there is to yoga. When the technique was first developed around 5000 years ago it was intended as a tool for spiritual enlightenment. The word YOGA is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’, meaning to bind, to join and to yoke. Yoga means integration of the individual consciousness with the universal truth.

In the yoga philosophy ethical as well as existential topics are discussed and a yoga practitioner is advised to pay attention to how he is living in the world and the consequences of his actions. But it is not a religion in that sense that it has any fixed set of beliefs or there is a prescribed godlike figure to be worshipped in a particular manner. There are however suggested guidelines for correct living in the yoga philosophy These guidelines go hand in hand with the physical practice, such as “ahimsa/non-violence” and “aparigraha/non-hoarding”. The ultimate goal of yoga is enlightenment which means reaching a state of purity and love, a “buddha-like” state. The yoga practitioner may notice a change in behaviour and as a consequence of the practice he may become less violent and less interested in creating drama around him, this may happen even though he has paid no thought to the philosophy part. This is because the yoga postures are said to purify the body and the mind restoring balance and harmony in the individual so that he comes closer to his true nature which is light and peace.

The yoga practitioner may notice a change in behaviour and as a consequence of the practice he may become less violent and less interested in creating drama around him, this may happen even though he has paid no thought to the philosophy part. This is because the yoga postures are said to purify the body and the mind restoring balance and harmony in the individual so that he comes closer to his true nature which is light and peace.

Asanas – Physical postures

“Prior to everything, asana is spoken of as the first part of hatha yoga. Having done asana, one attains steadiness of body and mind, freedom from disease and lightness of the limbs.” 1:17 Hatha Yoga Pradipika According to the teachings of yoga specific body positions which are named asanas, open the energy channels and psychic centres of the body and mind freeing the body of tensions. This is the same thing as cleaning the mind of impurities. Yogasanas are tools to higher awareness, and asana practice comes first in Hatha Yoga texts such as Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The asanas have positive effects on the body posture and the muscle tension, improving flexibility and preventing joint problems and so on.

They restore the blood flow and balance the nervous and hormone system. They have a calming effect on the mind and are beneficial for treating depression and stress related diseases. Many of the asanas are inspired by nature and animals, there are postures such as the tree pose and the fish pose. In the Yogasutras of Patanjali there is a concise definition of yogasanas: “Sthiram sukham aasanam”, meaning ‘that position which is comfortable and steady’. In this context, asanas are practised to develop the ability to sit comfortably in one position for an extended period of time, an ability necessary and a preparation for meditation.

Pranayama – Art of btrething

Pranayama is generally defined as breath control. Although this interpretation may seem correct in view of the practices involved, it does not convey the full meaning of the tern. The word Pranayama is comprised of two roots: Prana plus ayama. Prana means ‘vital or life energy’. It is the force which exists in all things, whether animate or inanimate, although closely related to the air we breathe, it is more subtle than air we breathe, it is more subtle than air and oxygen. Therefore, pranayama should not be considered as mere breathing exercises aimed at introducing extra oxygen into the lungs. Pranayama utilises breathing to influence the flow of prana in the nadis or energy channels of the pranayama kosha or energy body.

The word yama means ‘control’ and is used to denote various rules or codes of conduct. However, this is not the word which is joined to prana to form pranayama: the correct word is ayama which has far more implications than the word yama. Ayama is defined as ‘extension’ or ‘expansion’. The techniques of Pranayama provide the method whereby the life force can be activated and regulated in order to go beyond one’s normal boundaries or limitations and attain a higher state of vibratory energy.

In the Pranayama practices there are four important aspects of breathing which are utilised. These are:

  • 1. Pooraka or inhalation
  • 2. Rachaka or exhalation
  • 3. Antar kumbhaka or internal breath retention
  • 4. Bahir kumbhaka or external breath retention

Meditation

Special Therapeutic Meditation Classes

The aim of Holistic Healing Meditation is to bring perfect health to all human beings and to make all those suffering, due to ignorance and lack of information, aware of the positive benefits of Spiritual Science.A complete cure from ‘incurable’ diseases like cancer, AIDS, hepatitis, asthma, arthritis etc. is possible.

People need not spend a single penny because the ability to cure themselves is present within them. This is possible due to the divine and supramental (supernatural) force present within everybody, which is an unlimited source of immunity from all ailments troubling humanity.