Thursday, 22 June 2017

Hatha Yoga – Danta Dhauti.

Hatha Yoga – Danta Dhauti

Danta dhauti, one of the shatkarmas, consists of a series of simple practices which clean various organs and regions of the head. These practices are danta moola dhauti (cleaning of the teeth and gums), jihva moola dhauti (cleaning of the tongue), kapal randhra dhauti washing the skull), karna dhauti (cleaning the ears) and chakshu dhauti (washing the eyes). These practices, as well as jala neti1, are concerned either directly or indirectly with the main senses of the body – hearing, seeing, smelling and tasting. As such they are important in enabling us to gain the best possible perception of the world around us. Remember, our sensory perception is dependent on the -tate of the associated organs. Therefore the following practices, though perhaps seeming rather trivial and simple, are a valuable aid in being able to communicate with and relate to the outside world.

The ancient yogis realized the necessity of maintaining the sensory organs in the optimum condition. This is clearly stated in the traditional text on practical yoga, the Hatha Yoga Samhita: “The cleaning of the teeth, mouth, tongue, ears and the nasal cavities is the first duty of the yogic aspirant and should be performed every morning without fail.”

DANTA MOOLA DHAUTI

The Sanskrit word danta means ‘teeth’, dhauti means ‘wash’ and moola means ‘root’. Therefore this practice is concerned with cleaning the teeth and gums.

Utensils

The usual utensil used today is the toothbrush.

Yet many authorities have strongly condemned its use without regular sterilization. It is pointed out that toothbrush bristles become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. During daily use these are transmitted into the mouth. Further, hard bristles tend to tear and damage the gums, especially when the cleaning action is very harsh. In India today the traditional method of cleaning the teeth is by means of a twig from a neem tree. The twig is usually about fifteen centimetres long and half a centimetre thick and it has good alkaline and astringent properties. The end of the stick is chewed until it forms bristles. These are then used to brush the teeth and gums. Both chewing the end of the stick and using it as a brush makes the teeth and gums strong and clean. After use the stick is thrown away.

This method is probably impractical for most people. If this is the case, then use a soft bristled brush to clean the teeth and try to clean the brush as often as possible. The gums should be cleaned with the index finger making a hard, rubbing motion over both the inner and outer gums. You should try to clean your teeth at least twice every day, and even better after each meal.

Dentifrice

The important qualities of a dentifrice are that it is sufficiently abrasive to remove ingrained stains on the teeth, germicidal to destroy bacteria, as well as being able to wash the teeth and gums.

The ancient yogis always made their own tooth powder out of catechu, alum, myrobalan and the ash of burnt coconut shells in the proportion 1:6:1:2. However, these substances are not readily available and so most of us will have to stick with the toothpastes of today, the best of which are generally available at ayurvedic pharmacies, health and macrobiotic food stores. Additionally, some excellent dentifrices are wood ash or lemon juice which can be applied on a brush, or the rind of a lemon which can be rubbed up and down on the teeth and gums. This is a particularly good method of removing tarnish from the teeth.

The importance of cleaning the teeth and gums and teeth is not appreciated by many people. The mouth is the gateway to the body and a favourite breeding ground for bacteria. Some of these germs proceed further into the body while many remain in food particles trapped in the teeth cavities. The vulnerable time for tooth decay and the build-up of bacteria in the teeth and gums is in the first half an hour or so after meals. It is for this reason that ideally the teeth and gums should be cleaned immediately after each meal.

Diet also has a large part to play in the health of the teeth and gums. This is illustrated by the fact that there are many cases of primitive tribes who have perfect sets of teeth, yet have never seen a toothbrush in their life. Diets which are very rich in sugar seem to have a noticeable deleterious influence on teeth and gums, because sugary foods are very quickly converted into acids, which in turn attack the enamel or protective lining of the teeth.

Regular cleaning of the teeth and gums, together with a reduction in the intake of sugary food and the adoption of a sensible vitamin-rich diet is therefore the only sure way to prevent dental decay and pyorrhoea, as well as the accompanying toothache and bad breath originating from the mouth. Remember also that many authorities say that bad teeth and gums and infections of this area have a harmful influence on the general health of the whole body.

JIHVA MOOLA DHAUTI

The Sanskrit word jihva means ‘tongue’ and moola means ‘root’. This practice is therefore concerned with cleaning the tongue and its root.

The tongue is a vital organ of the body, yet very few people ever seriously think about cleaning it. All of us have at some time or another noticed a thick layer of yellow slime on the upper surface of the tongue, especially when we feel a little ‘under the weather’. This coating on the tongue actually consists of impurities that have been removed from the body. It indicates that there is some inner disorder or accumulation of toxins that the body is desperately trying to expel.

Failure to remove the impurities on the tongue can aggravate ailments within the body, particularly digestive problems. Remember these impurities can act as breeding grounds for bacteria which in turn can contaminate food being eaten. So regular cleaning of the tongue is very important in maintaining a healthy body.

The practice is veiy simple and takes no more than a minute or so.

Technique

Wash the hands thoroughly, making sure that the finger nails are perfectly clean. Join the index, middle and ring fingers of one hand so that the tips are in line with each other. Carefully push them into the mouth and as far towards the back of the throat as is possible without retching. Rub the root of the tongue slowly and thoroughly for a few minutes. Simultaneously try to cough out any phlegm and other impurities that are in the throat. This should be sufficient to remove any impurities from the tongue. Time and duration This practice should be performed preferably before breakfast. This is important for one might otherwise tend to retch as the fingers are pushed into the back of the throat. Try to practise at least once every day, if not as often as time available will permit. Two minutes rubbing the back of tongue and two minutes milking the upper and lower surfaces is sufficient.

KAPAL RANDHRA DHAUTI

Kapal randhra is the upper hollowed region of the head, which can be clearly seen on a newly born baby. Therefore, this practice is concerned with washing the upper part of the head. It is a very simple process and requires little description. One must merely wash the head vigorously and thoroughly with cold water. This brings about a soothing influence in the whole brain. It is very useful when you feel tired or sluggish, as it instantly brings wakefulness and vitality.

A further variation of kapal randhra is kapal dhauti. One merely presses the temples on each side of the forehead with two thumbs, making small circling movements. Do this for a minute or so and then repeat the same movement rotating the thumbs in the opposite direction. This again brings relaxation to the brain and is especially useful if you have a headache.

KARNA DHAUTI

The word karna means ‘ear’, and this practice is concerned with cleaning the ears. The outer portion of the ear consists of a short tube or canal about four centimetres in length, running from the outside to the inside of the head. Inside the tube there are a few hairs which prevent insects and other foreign bodies from entering the inner regions of the head and the eardrum at the end of the canal.

This outer canal also contains various glands, which secrete wax to protect the deeper structures of the ear. For perfect hearing, this outer canal must be unimpeded so that the sound vibrations in the air can cause the ear to vibrate. Sometimes the glands produce too much wax which blocks the canal; or sometimes wax accumulates, even though it is produced in correct amounts, and is not removed in the way that it should be. This can easily reduce one’s hearing capabilities. A varied assortment of methods and utensils are used to clean the ears. Some people even use toothpicks or matchsticks. These devices are not advised for they can easily damage the eardrums. The best method is to gently place the small finger in the ear canal and rotate the finger cyclically a number of times. A slight pressure should be applied against the ear walls to dislodge any unnecessary wax. Remove the finger and direct the head and ear canal downwards to allow any dry wax to drop out. Repeat the same procedure but using the index finger. There should be a layer of wax on your fingers after completing the practice. Repeat with the other ear. Perform this practice every week or so, but make sure that your fingernails are short and clean.

Benefits

Many ear ailments are caused by blockage of the eustachian tubes. The ear is divided into three chambers: the outer, middle and inner sections. Sound vibrations are transmitted from the environment through the outer ear and into the middle ear via the eardrum, which also separates the outer ear from the middle ear. There is no direct connection between the two chambers. For perfect hearing the pressure of air in the middle ear must be the same as that outside the body – atmospheric. This is brought about by means of the two eustachian tubes, which connect each ear to the back of the throat. These tubes are about the same diameter as a pencil lead and easily become blocked with mucus deposits. The best way to remove this type of problem is by practising jala neti, as this will help to draw out any blockages from these tubes’.

CHAKSHU DHAUTI

This practice involves washing the eyes with clean, lukewarm water whenever time permits. This can be done when taking a wash or bath, making sure that no soap enters the eyes.

EYE TONING TECHNIQUES

In this topic we are concerned with practices which bring about the best possible health of the head region and associated organs. Though not part of danta dhauti, there are various other simple techniques to help bring the eyes into optimum condition. We will briefly discuss these techniques. One should remember that there are two distinct causes of eye ailments. Defective vision such as short sightedness (myopia), long sightedness (hypermetropia) etc. are generally caused by mental strain or excessive use of the eyes, such as during extensive book study. Eye diseases, on the other hand, are caused by pathological changes in the structure of the eye due to disturbances within the eye itself or in the body as a whole. This may be due to a build-up of toxins in the body or an inadequate diet.

Yoga practices can help to eliminate and prevent either of the two types of eye ailments. In a general sense, regular practice of asanas and pranayama are wonderful methods of counteracting eye ailments for they eliminate toxins from the body. Further, the mental relaxation that one can obtain through all yoga practices counteracts eyestrain, even while reading a book or doing work which involves deep concentration. In this way functional defects are less likely to occur. Jala neti has definite beneficial influences on the eyes1. It stimulates the nerves of the eyes which in turn activates and tones the associated muscles and organs. The blood flow to the eyes is also increased for a short duration which helps to flush out impurities and toxins.

1. Palming

Sit comfortably, close the eyes and face the sun. Feel the heat of the sun warming the eyes. Keep the eyes closed and vigorously rub the palms of both hands together until they are hot. Place the palms over the closed eyes. Feel the warmth and energy entering the eyes. Do this for a minute or so. Repeat 2 or 3 times. This practice helps to revitalize and relax the eyes.

2. Distant and Near Viewing

Sit so that you can see the horizon or so that you can see far into the distance. Focus your eyes on the nose tip. Then focus on an object in the far distance. Focus on the nose tip again. Repeat this as many times as possible, then close the eyes. This practice is very useful for exercising the eye muscles, which brings about changes in the focal length of the lenses of the eyes.

Hatha Yoga – Danta Dhauti by Swami Satyananda Saraswati


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Method to Change the Swara!

Method to Change the Swara



If anyone who want to change the flow of breath from active swara (breath) to inactive swara use this three most effective and easy method
.
1. Yoga Danda Method
 Using yoga danda under the armpit of your active side and put your weight over the danda. Observe your breath flow and you will find within 5 to 10 minute your breath flow will change into soonya (non-active side). For ex. if your right nostril is active put yoga danda under your right armpit, breath flow will change into left.


2. Lying Method
Lying on the same side which swara is active (see figure) your close nostril will open within 5 to 10 minute. For eg. If your left nostril is active and you want to change into right, lie down on your left side keep right side upward, the right will become active in given time. If your breath is not changing even after more than 20 minutes that means your breath has just shifted from another side..If it is not then it indicates imbalance state of energy flow that may cause chronic mental or physical illness in future or even death.  
3. Pressure on the armpit by hand
Put pressure under the armpit of the active side with opposite hand. For ex. if your right nostril is active and you want to change into left. Put pressure by your left hand on your right armpit by the thumb and other four fingers. Swara will change within 20 minutes

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Swara Yoga Cont...


Swara Yoga is an ancient science of nasal breathing that correlates the breath with sun, moon and five elements. The practice of Shiva Swarodaya allows us to synchronize our breath with the universal rhythm. This alignment removes undue efforts, stress, and strain from our daily activities. Swara Yoga practice helps us to change unwanted physical, mental or emotional states at will, create favorable conditions for one’s life by changing the internal environment thus improving one’s attitude towards life through increased awareness.

Before we get focused on Health, Wealth & Happiness, let us have some basic understanding of three Swaras or Nadis through Swara Yoga.

If you observe your breath, you will notice that at a given time, any one nostril is more dominant and the other one relatively congested. This keeps changing every one to two hours and during the transition period, both nostrils may be equally dominant for few seconds.

The right nostril dominance is associated with Pingala Nadi or Surya Nadi. The Pingala, which is the masculine or solar principle, is associated with the left hemisphere of the brain that controls the right side of the body. The left nostril dominance is associated with the Ida Nadi or Chandra Nadi, the feminine or lunar principle, associated with the right hemisphere of the brain and controlling the left side of the body. Just by observing the direct effect of solar and lunar currents of breath on human behavior, swara yogis were able to ascertain the activities best suited during the left nostril dominance and activities best suited during the right nostril dominance.

The nose can be seen as the main switch of cerebral hemispheres. It can stimulate electromagnetic activity on one side of the body and it can switch the hemispheric activity on and off at will. The third nadi is “shushumna”, where the left and the right are perfectly balanced. It represents “Shiva” (pure consciousness) in the state of “so-hum”. Whenever the nostrils switch, both are open for seven to eight breaths. That is the time when the shushumna breath flows. No worldly activities are recommended in Shiva swara. One must meditate. Intuitive knowledge is received best during this state.

In the original manuscript of Shiva Swarodaya, there are 395 sutras, many of them deal with Health, Wealth & Happiness.

Health: One can easily maintain good health with the knowledge of Swara Yoga. Here are few tips to help you.
  • If you want to alter an unwanted physical, emotional or mental state, just breathe through the more congested nostril. This prevents worsening of the symptoms and promotes rapid recovery. Swara yoga advises changing of the active nostril at the first sign of any physical, emotional or mental disturbance.
  • To cure a common cold, breathe through the right nostril 21 times by blocking the left nostril. Also sleeping on the left side gives considerable relief; as it activates the right nostril.
  • In the case of acidity and fever, activating the left nostril helps. You can block the right nostril and breathe through the left nostril 21 times. Also sleeping on the right side helps to reduce fever.
  • Swara medicines can be prepared with the knowledge of swara yoga. Swara medicines work at the vibrational level and can help the patients without any side effects.

Sutra no. 391 of Shiva Swarodaya says about the health and medicines that, he who has first-hand knowledge and awareness of three nadis and five elements, to him even the million times more powerful Rasayana itself would not be able to equate.

Wealth: Normally it is understood that one can earn good amount of wealth based on one’s Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, and Strategy. But Swara knowledge goes much deeper than these normal understanding. According to Swara Yoga, to assure success in world, one must enter the cosmic rhythm and stay tuned to it… and you get success with effortless ease!

But how does one align with the cosmic rhythm? Here is the simple way to do it.

Get up each day at least half an hour before the sunrise. Find out the dominating nostril. Kiss the corresponding hand. With the same hand, touch or rub face, neck, chest, thighs and feet. Then while stepping out of the bed, the foot that corresponds to the operating nostril should be placed onto the ground first. Then one can proceed for the morning activities. This simple practice helps you align the subtle flow of energy that ensures success in everything that happens for that day.

Swara yoga also helps to influence people…

Whenever it is desirable to influence the other person, if one’s right nostril is operating, the person to be influenced should be positioned to the right, below or behind. In the case of left operating nostril, onto left, above or in the front.

Sutra no. 214 of Shiva Swarodaya says that the knowledge of swara is a secret wealth. There is no other wealth higher than that as because of the knowledge of swara, one can approach anything and indeed could get the fruit, without an effort!

Sutra no. 53 of Shiva Swarodaya is about giving Dana (Charity). It says, if a wise man performs an act of charity at the time of inhalation through the left nostril, it bestows upon him a crore ( ten million) fold auspicious fruits in this very lifetime!

Sutra no. 389 of Shiva Swarodaya is about health & wealth. It says that the person who is well versed with the knowledge and awareness of Swara Yoga, the Goddess Lakshmi is at his feet and to him, there would be happiness all over the body!

Happiness: Normally it is understood that happiness is a state of mind… but Swara Yoga delves much deeper. It says… happiness is the natural by-product of the enlightened consciousness! In fact, ultimately the very aim of Swara Yoga is to get enlightened.

Sutra no. 27 of Shiva Swarodaya says that the knowledge of Swarodaya is the best among all the things, the best science and is like the flame of the lamp, and is ultimately for the enlightenment of the receptacle in the form of the body. The phrase used is Atma-ghata-prakasarthe… indicating self-illumination, self-realization or the knowledge of the self in Indian sense.

Swara Yoga is a practical science that can help us to get attuned to cosmic rhythms to get Health, Wealth & Happiness. Make the best use of it!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Swara Yoga!

Swara Yoga

Swara Yoga is an ancient, closely guarded and esoteric science with its origins in the Tantras. There is not much information on Swara yoga and the main text is known as Shivaswarodaya which is the dialogue between Shiva and Parvati. Previously it was taught only from Guru to disciple.

Swara means continuous sound. It is the science of breath, prana, its rhythms, movements, and patterns. It talks about the relationship between prana and cosmic prana and is known to give psychic abilities in a short amount of time. Pranayama, the control of prana, is one aspect of swara yoga. It explains how the movement of prana can be manipulated by the breath. Swara yoga can be used not just in basic life for daily requirements, but, as with all yoga, its aim are for union and it will help you to realize your true inner self.

The swara is known as the essence of the breath. It is something we are born with and dies with. We all have breath and we all have the subtle prana. This is the essence of the breath and the basis of swara yoga. Normal breathing is a mechanical function performed by the physical body but in swara yoga, this process is controlled and manipulated. Breathing is not just a physical action but with each breath, there is a significant coded message.

The thoughts and prana travel through the breath. Emotions affect the breath. All are interlinked. For example, when we make some food with love or with anger the breath mixes with the food we are cooking and this makes the food positive or negative. A simple dish, when cooked with love or if special mantras are used when cooking can make a meal amazing. Whereas another meal which may normally taste great, when cooked in an angry mood, even though all the ingredients and techniques are the same, may turn out horrible. That?s why in many ashrams only those who have positive thoughts are allowed in the kitchen.

The power of thoughts traveling through the subtle breath can also be seen in the experiments by Dr. Emoto. Here water crystals were studied after treated in certain ways. For example when water was held and the person was thinking I love you or I hate you. This produced different effects to the crystals. The I love you crystals were purer whilst the I hate you crystals were not properly formed, though the same water was used. Look also at the connections between a mother and baby or long married couples. They understand what the other needs without any words.

The breath flows in eleven main ways but the focus is generally on the left or right nostril. If you observe the breath at first it will seem that the air is flowing out of both nostrils simultaneously, but after some time you will begin to notice that one nostril dominates the flow of breath and also that this nostril changes. It may be left dominant, right dominant or both nostrils. The flow of breath through one nostril has a different physiological and psychological effect on the flow of breath through the other nostril. Every 1 ½ hours approximately the flow will change from one to the other, though it changes from person to person and the environment that they are in. Both nostrils are used during the in-between period. This change in the swara keeps the balance of the body and mind. If this swara becomes irregular then it is a clear indication that something in the body is not functioning correctly.

Each nostril has different effects on the body and mind.
 Left Right
 Ida Pingala
 Mental energy Physical energy
 Moon Sun
 Cold Hot
 Female Male
 Right brain Left brain
 Relaxation Stress response
 Considered auspicious Hard, tough, not so virtuous






For some people, one nostril may dominate. If one is left dominated they may be more emotional, feminine, compassionate, kind, depressed or with changeable moods. If they are more right dominated they may be more masculine, dynamic, angry and aggressive. There is no right or wrong. Each has their benefit depending on the situation. If there is no domination then the body is in balance, but this is not common for long periods of time.

As was discussed earlier, a healthy rhythm, conducive to yoga practice is 1 ½ hours. It is linked with the phases of the sun and the moon. The first day after no moon there will be left nostril domination for three days. This will be reset at sunrise to left. After three days every sunrise there will be right nostril domination. Again this will last for three days. So there is a three-day cycle of left and right domination.

Swara yoga can be used in all aspects of our life. So how can we relate swara yoga into our daily life? Well to begin with it is best to get up before sunrise for better physical and mental health. Getting up late causes laziness and unbalance with the hormonal cycle. When waking up first check which nostril is most active and move that side first. It is best to move the left side first as it brings the body and mind together. When going to the toilet it is best to have the right nostril active, if the left is active there may be constipation or diarrhea. When practicing yoga it is better to have the left side switched on as the body and mind should be relaxed. If one wants to do exercise or dynamic practices then it is better for the right nostril to be switched on. Looking at showers and the perfumes we use the male perfumes stimulate the right nostril and male hormones, whilst the female perfumes stimulate the left. Ideally, the best routine for yoga is to sleep on the left side so that the right is active during the night and the left is active all day.

In relationships, girls attract men by having their left nostril active whilst men attract girls by having their right nostril active. When couples have same nostril domination it can cause problems. Swara yoga can also be used when one wants to send a message to their partner, providing it is a positive one (the others won?t work). When one breathes out they can send the message with their mind, assuming the partner is close. This will be inhaled by the partner.

Food also affects the rhythms of the breath. Right nostril domination causes hunger and proper digestive stimulation. It is always best to eat when this nostril is active. Left nostril domination is depressive and can increase or decrease hunger in an unnatural way. There are many foods that heat or cool the body. Milk, banana, curd and guava are cooling and stimulate the left nostril. Spices, ginger, garlic and papaya are heating and stimulate the right nostril.

We can keep ourselves healthy by observing the swara. We can predict and prevent disturbances in our health. If a cold is coming, the left nostril becomes more active. To prevent it, increase the hot principle and activate the right nostril. If there is a migraine it can be relieved by changing the nostril. Migraines may be due to many reasons so it may need the left or right. If there is heat stroke, diarrhea or some other heat related condition then the left nostril needs to be switched on. To maintain health we need to balance the nostrils.

So how can we switch on and balance the nostrils?

1.Anulom Vilom / Alternate nostril breath for 10 - 15 minutes each day will help to balance the nostrils.
2.Place cotton wool in the left nostril to block it. This turns on the right nostril. Block the right and the left will be turned on.
3.Place the hand under the left armpit and press it for 5 minutes to turn on the right nostril and vice versa
4.Sleep on the left side to turn on the right nostril.
5.Same nostril breathing, for example, inhale left exhale left, will turn the left nostril on.

Swara yoga may seem like an unusual kind of yoga but it is very beneficial for use in daily life to keep the body and mind happy, healthy and relaxed.

By Jigyasu Bhakti Ratna (Kate Woodworth)