Friday, 30 June 2017

Zen Meditation (Za-Zen)

“Sit solidly in samadhi and think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking? Non-thinking. This is the art of zazen. Zazen is not learning to do concentration. It is the dharma gate of great ease and joy. It is undefiled practice-enlightenment.” (Dogen, Rules of Zazen: Zazen-gi)
Zazen, seated meditation, is the basic practice of Zen. In Soto Zen it is called shikantaza, just sitting. You will benefit from learning from teachers and masters, but finally, you have to experiment and test for yourself what is good for you, and what will help you towards realization. There are three dimensions to zazen: bodily posture, breathing, and mental attitude and vision.

viertel lotusTake a good, comfortable posture. Take a posture according to your physical conditions: full, half or quarter lotus, burmesian or seiza posture. You can also sit on a chair, preferably with some back rest for the lower back, your feet firmly planted on the floor. Let your whole body rest on the cushion and the floor. Keep your back straight, with lower back a bit curved forwards.
Let your head be held up, with chin a bit in. Let your shoulders be relaxed and the chest open. Hold your body loose and relaxed but steady, straight up and firm.

If your legs go to sleep, adjust a bit their position to relieve the pressure and avoid sleeping legs. Often you may feel a tension in some part of the body, particularly the neck, shoulders, lower back. Ease the part if it is cramped or held tight. But do not try deliberately to do something to that part of the body. Rather, after setting yourself at ease and being properly seated, just stay aware of the tension or pain.
Sometimes it helps to imagine healing breath being breathed in and out through that part of the body, and do not overdo it. If you think that your posture is not certain, ask the leader to check and adjust your posture. After that, just be, let be and be aware. Often when no thoughts bother you and you are in lucid concentration, your body will feel like being pulled in and contracted, or feel the heat; just let it be. Do not let yourself fall into a trance.
Hands and palms in the usual Zen mudra, resting close to the lower belly. If this is a strain for you, just hold your hands resting on your lap.

Let your eyes be slightly open and relaxed, looking down in front of you a few feet away, blinking as usual, without staring at any point. At times it is all right to close your eyes. Hence, keeping one’s eyes open calls one to be aware, to be here and now, to let be and be present to whatever happens to one.

During the kinhin walk, hold your body loose and flexible, be aware of your body and the walking movements, and be also aware of your breathing rhythm, eyes gently looking downward in front, hands in the kinhin mudra.

The way you breathe involves your basic attitude to life. In Zen one does not try to control one’s breath. One breathes normally but in a healthy way. However, focusing on the outgoing breath or exhalation is very helpful. Further, abdominal breathing is recommended. Focus on the out-breath, and breathe out long, slow and steady, and let the incoming breath flow normally and gently and of shorter duration. You can exhale to the count of one to ten; it helps for concentration or samadhi. After a while, such breathing will become normal and natural to you. Do not try to force deep breathing.

As the quote from Dogen at the beginning shows, zazen is not one of doing or achieving; it is not a method or technique. Zazen is not simply concentration or samadhi practice or getting into some trance state. The physical posture of zazen can be said to be the door opening into the spirit of zazen. But Zazen is more than a physical posture or a particular experience or a particular state of mind. Zazen is a form of healing affirmation, it is letting-be and be-ing. When you do zazen, it is the universe that is doing zazen, it is Buddha who is practicing. Zazen embraces all times and spaces and at the same time, it is timeless and spaceless.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Zen Quote...

Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while peeling potatoes.
Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Poorna Titali Asana (full butterfly)

 Poorna Titali Asana (full butterfly)

Sit in the base position.

Bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together, keeping the heels as close to the body as possible. Fully relax the inner thigh muscles.

Stage I Clasp the feet with both hands.

Gently bounce the knees up and down, using the elbows as levers to press the legs down.

Try to touch the knees to the ground on the downward stroke. 
Do not use any force.

Practice 30 to 50 up and down movements.

Stage 2: Keep the soles of the feet together.

Place the hands on the knees.

Using the palms, gently push the knees down towards the floor, allowing them to spring up again.

Do not force this movement.

Repeat 20 to 30 times.

Straighten the legs and relax.

Breathing: Normal breathing, unrelated to the practice.

Awareness: On mental counting, movement, and relaxation.

Contra-indications: People with sciatica and sacral conditions should avoid this asana.

Benefits: Both stages prepare the legs for mastery of padmasana and other meditative asanas. The inner thigh muscles hold a lot of tension which is relieved by these asanas. They also remove tiredness from long hours of standing and walking.

Six Healing Sounds Practice.

Six Healing Sounds Practice

Lung Exercise: First Healing Sound
1. Become aware of your lungs. Take a deep breath and, letting your eyes follow, raise the arms up in front of you. When the hands are at eye level, begin to rotate the palms and bring them up above the head. Keep the elbows rounded. You should feel a stretch that extends from the heels of the palms, along with the forearms, over the elbows, along with the upper arms and into the shoulders. The lungs and chest will feel open and breathing will be easier. Draw the corners of the mouth back, exhale, making the sound "Ssssssss", sub-vocally, slowly and evenly in one breath.
Figure 11. The Lung Sound Position.
2. As you exhale, empty all feelings of sadness, sorrow and grief from your lungs.

3. When you have exhaled completely (without straining), rotate the palms down, close the eyes, and breathe into the lungs to strengthen them. If you are color oriented, imagine a pure white light and quality of righteousness entering into your lungs. Float the arms down by gently lowering the shoulders. Slowly lower them to your lap so that they rest there, palms up.

4. Close the eyes, breathe normally, smile down to the lungs, be aware of the lungs, and imagine that you are still making the sound. Pay attention to any sensations you may feel. Try to feel the exchange of cool, fresh energy replacing hot, dark waste energy.

5. Repeat the sequence 3 to 6 times. For colds, flu, mucous, toothaches, smoking, asthma, emphysema, or depression, or for detoxifying the lungs, you can repeat the sound 9, 12, 18, 24, or 36 times.

6. The Lung Sound can help eliminate nervousness when in front of a crowd. D the Lung Sound sub-vocally without the hand movements several times when you feel nervous. This will help you to calm down. The Heart Sound and the Inner Smile will help also if the Lung Sound is not enough to calm you down.

Kidney Exercise: Second Healing Sound
1. Become aware of the kidneys. Place the legs together, ankles and knees touching. Take a deep breath as you bend forward, and clasp one hand in the other; hook the hands around the knees and pull back on the arms. With the arms straight, feel the pull at the back where the kidneys are; look up, and tilt the head back without straining.
Figure 12. The Kidney Sound Position
2. Round the lips and silently make the sound one makes in blowing out a candle. At the same time, press the middle abdomen, between the sternum and navel, toward the spine. Imagine any feelings of fear being squeezed out from the membrane around the kidneys.

3. When you have exhaled completely, sit up and slowly breathe into the kidneys, imagining a bright blue energy as the quality of gentleness enters the kidneys. Separate the legs to a hip's width and rest the hands, palms up, on the thighs.

4. Close the eyes and breathe normally. Smile to the kidneys, as you imagine that you are still making the sound. Pay attention to sensations. Be aware of the exchange of energy around the kidneys, and hands, head and legs.

5. Repeat 3 to 6 times. For back pain, fatigue, dizziness, ringing in the ears or detoxifying the kidneys, repeat 9 to 36 times.

Liver Exercise: Third Healing Sound
1. Become aware of the liver, and feel the connection between the eyes and the liver. Place your arms at your sides, palms out. Take a deep breath as you slowly swing the arms up and over the head. Follow with the eyes.
Figure 13. The Liver Sound position.
2. Exhale with the sound, "Shhhhhhh", sub-vocally. Envision and feel that a sac encloses the liver and is compressing and expelling the excess heat and feelings of anger.
3. When you have exhaled completely, unlock the fingers, and pressing out with the heels of the palms, breathe into the liver slowly; imagine a bright green color quality of kindness entering the liver. Gently bring the arms back to the side by lowering the shoulders. Place your hands on your lap, palms up, and rest.
4. Close the eyes, breathe normally, smile down to the liver and imagine you're still making the sound. Be aware of sensations. Sense the energy exchange.
5. Do this 3 to 6 times. For anger, red and watery eyes, or a sour or bitter taste, and for detoxifying the liver, repeat 9 to 36 times. A Taoist axiom about controlling anger says: If you've done the Liver Sound 30 times and you are still angry at someone, you have the right to slap that person.

Heart Exercise: Fourth Healing Sound
1. Become aware of the heart and feel the tongue connected with the heart. Take a deep breath and assume the same position as for the Liver Sound, but lean slightly to the right.
Figure 14. The Heart Sound position.
2. Open the mouth somewhat, round the lips and exhale on the sound "Hawwwwwww", sub-vocally, as you picture the pericardium releasing heat, and the feelings of impatience, arrogance, and hastiness.

3. For the rest cycle, repeat the procedure for the Liver Sound, but focus attention on your heart and imagine a bright red color and the qualities of joy, honor, sincerity, and creativity entering the heart.

4. Repeat 3 to 6 times. For a sore throat, cold sores, swollen gums or tongue, heart disease, heart pains, jumpiness, moodiness, and for detoxifying the heart, repeat 9 to 36 times.

Spleen Exercise: Fifth Healing Sound
Figure 15. The Spleen Sound Position
1. Become aware of the spleen; feel the mouth and the spleen connect. Take a deep breath as you place your hands with the index fingers resting at the bottom and slightly to the left of the sternum. Press in with the fingers as you push out with the middle back.

2. Exhale with the sound "Whoooooo", made sub-vocally and felt in the vocal chords. Expel the excess heat, wetness and dampness, and the emotions of worry, sympathy, and pity.

3. Breathe into the spleen, pancreas, and stomach, or imagine a bright yellow light, and the qualities of fairness, compassion, centering, and music making entering them.

4. Lower the hands slowly to your lap, palms up. Close the eyes, breathe normally and imagine you are still making the sound. Be aware of sensations and the exchange of energy.

5. Repeat 3 to 6 times. Repeat 9 to 36 times for indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea, and for detoxifying the spleen. This sound, done in conjunction with the others, is more effective and healthier than using antacids. It is the only sound that can be done immediately after eating.

Triple Warmer Exercise: Sixth Healing Sound
The Triple Warmer refers to the three energy centers of the body. The upper level, which consists of the brain, heart, and lungs, is hot. The middle section consisting of the liver, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, and spleen, is warm. The lower level containing the large and small intestines, the bladder, and the sexual organs, is cool. The Triple Warmer Sound balances the temperature of the three levels by bringing hot energy down to the lower center and cold energy up to the upper center, through the digestive tract. This induces a deep, relaxing sleep. A number of students have been able to break a long-standing dependence on sleeping pills by practicing this sound. It's also very effective for relieving stress.
Figure 16. The Triple Warmer Sound position.
1. Lie down on your back. Elevate the knees with a pillow if you feel any pain in the small of the back or lumbar area.

2. Close the eyes and take a deep breath, expanding the stomach and chest without strain.

3. Exhale with the sound "Heeeeeee", made sub-vocally, as you picture and feel a large roller pressing out your breath, beginning at the top of the chest and ending at the lower abdomen. Imagine the chest and abdomen are as flat as a sheet of paper and feel light, bright, and empty. Rest by breathing normally.

4. Repeat 3 to 6 times, or more, if you are still wide awake. The Triple Warmer Sound also can be used to relax, without falling asleep, by lying on your side or sitting in a chair.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Ardha Titali Asana (half butterfly)


 Ardha Titali Asana (half butterfly)

Sit in the base position.

Bend the right leg and place the right foot as far up on the left thigh as possible.

Place the right hand on top of the bent right knee.

Hold the toes of the right foot with the left hand.

This is the starting position.

Stage I: with breath synchronization

While breathing in, gently move the right knee up towards the chest. Breathing out, gently push the knee down and try to touch the knee to the floor. The trunk should not move.

Do not force this movement in any way.

The leg muscles should be passive, the movement being achieved by the exertion of the right arm.

Slowly practice 10 up and down movements.

Awareness: On the breath, mental counting, movement of

hip joint and relaxation of inner thigh muscles. 

Stage 2: without breath synchronization

Remain in the same position with the right leg on the left thigh.

Relax the right leg muscles as much as possible.

Push the right knee down with the right hand and try to touch the knee to the floor.

Do not strain.

Let the knee spring up by itself.

The movement is achieved by use of the right arm only. Practise 30 up and down movements in quick succession. Breathing should be normal and unrelated to the practice. Repeat stages 1 and 2 and the unlocking procedure (see note below) with the left leg. 

Awareness: On mental counting, movement of hip joint and relaxation of inner thigh muscles.

Benefits: This is an excellent preparatory practice for loosening up the knee and hip joints for meditative poses. Those people who cannot sit comfortably in cross-legged positions should practice ardha titali asana daily, both morning and evening. 

Practice Note: To unlock the leg after completing stage 2, slowly and carefully straighten the leg.
Bend it once, bringing the heel near the buttock.

Straighten the leg.

This procedure will ensure that the knee joint is realigned correctly.

via: BSY


Inner Smile Meditation

In the Taoist tradition, positive and negative emotions are associated with the internal organs. One of the keys to good health is to become aware of the emotional energies that reside in the organs and to transform the negative emotional energies into positive virtues. Taoists believe that we are all born with the virtues of love, gentleness, kindness, respect, honesty, fairness, justice, and righteousness.

Figure 1. The positive virtues.

Unfortunately, as we mature and encounter more stress in our daily lives, negative emotions such as fear, anger, cruelty, impatience, worry, sadness, and grief often predominate. The negative emotions have deleterious effects on the internal organs and glands, draining our life-force and undermining our health.

Figure 2. The negative emotions are the body's garbage.

In the Tao "emotional intelligence" is a process of recognizing emotions by their effects on the body, and employing exercises that transform the negative emotions into positive life force, or Chi. Two important exercises are the "Inner Smile" and the "Six Healing Sounds" techniques, as taught by Master Mantak Chia.
Figure 3. The negative emotions affect the body's organ systems.

Taoists learned the relationships between emotional energies and organ systems over many centuries of study and meditation. They developed methods to transform negative to positive emotions from their practical and intuitive understanding of the human body. Many of the Taoist insights are supported by observations and evidence from modern psychology and medicine. The "Inner Smile" and "Six Healing Sounds" exercises focus on five organs or organ systems: the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the liver/gall bladder, and the stomach/spleen.

Table 1. The five major organ systems and their associated emotions and properties. 

     · The heart is associated with the negative emotions of arrogance and hate and the positive virtues of kindness and love. Recent scientific research shows that feelings of love and appreciation strongly influence the heart's rhythm and its relationship to the body's physiological systems (see
 The lungs are associated with the negative emotions of sadness and depression, and the positive virtues of courage and righteousness. Emotional depression is often recognized by a physical depression and collapse of the chest and lungs.
 The kidneys are associated with the negative emotion of fear and the positive emotions of gentleness and kindness. Fear is closely related to the activity of the adrenal glands that lie on top of the kidneys. The adrenal glands secrete adrenaline and noradrenaline when stimulated by the body's fight-or-flight response.
· The liver is associated with the negative emotion of anger and the positive emotions of generosity and forgiveness. Physiologically, the liver is important for storing and rapidly releasing glucose into the blood. The energy of anger requires the rapid availability of metabolic energy stores in the body.
· The stomach/spleen are associated with the negative emotions of worry and anxiety and the positive emotions of fairness and openness. Most people will be familiar with the "butterflies" and "knots" in the stomach related to worry, apparently related to a network of network of neurons and neurotransmitters in the sheaths of tissue lining the digestive system, known as the enteric nervous system (Gershon, 1998).

     The Inner Smile and Six Healing Sound exercises direct our attentions to the body's organs and associated qualities. We successively visualize each organ, cleansing the organ and transforming negative emotional energies into positive virtues.
Figure 4. The Inner Smile
In the Taoist tradition, each person assumes responsibility for the emotions that arise within, regardless of the external events that trigger the emotions. Taoist exercises take us into our bodies and transform emotions by transforming the associated physiological systems. The Inner Smile and Six Healing Sounds exercise help balance and integrate our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, promoting health, resilience, and vitality.
Figure 5. The Proper sitting posture.
Inner Smile Practice
Front Line
1. Sit comfortably near the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your back straight, but not stiff. Stay relaxed, and clasp your palms together in your lap. Press your tongue against the upper palate of your mouth.

2. Close your eyes and become aware of the soles of your feet. Feel their connection to the Earth.

3. Create a source of smiling energy up to three feet in front of you. This can be an image of your own smiling face, or of someone or something you love and respect, or any memory of a time in which you felt deeply at peace, perhaps feeling the sunshine, being by the ocean, or walking in a forest.

4. Become aware of the midpoint between your eyebrows through which you will draw this abundant smiling energy in front of and around you. Let your forehead relax; as the smiling energy accumulates at the mid-eyebrow, it will eventually overflow into your body.

5. Allow the smiling energy to flow down from the mid-eyebrow through your face, relaxing the cheeks, nose, mouth and all the facial muscles. Let it flow down through your neck. You can roll your head slowly and gently from side to side as you do this.

6. Let the smiling energy continue to flow down to your thymus gland, which is located in the upper part of your sternum, and picture it glowing with vibrant health. Feel the thymus gland become warm as it begins to vibrate and expand like a blossoming flower.
Figure 6. The Front Line Organs
7. Let the warm, smiling energy spread from the thymus gland into the heart. Draw more smiling energy through the mid-eyebrow, and let it flow like a waterfall down into the heart. When you smile inwardly to the heart, it will generate the virtues of joy and happiness. Spend as much time here as you need to feel the heart relax and expand with loving energy. Try to remember your best experience of love and fill your heart with that same feeling again. Love your heart. The heart is associated with the negative emotional energies of nastiness, arrogance, and cruelty. When you smile into the heart, these energies will dissipate, creating the space for the virtuous energies of love and joy to expand.

8. Let the joy and happiness generated in the heart expand outward to your lungs. Feel the lungs open as the happy, smiling energy flows into them. The lungs may appear to be pink and spongy, or they may feel abundantly full. If there is anything you see or feel in the lungs that are unpleasant to you, get rid of it. You can clear the lungs of energetic, emotional, and physical pollution by smiling into them. Feel the air flow from the tip of the nose down into the lungs, following it all the way out to the tiny air sacs where oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide. Thank your lungs for breathing and helping sustain your life.

You should feel your entire chest cavity filling with smiling, loving energy. The lungs are associated with the negative emotional energies of sadness and depression and the virtuous energies of courage and righteousness. When you smile into the lungs, you will dissolve any sadness or negative feelings, creating space for courage and righteousness to expand.

Note: Remember you can go back to the source of smiling energy in front of  your vision or memory of a happy moment to get more energy any time during the meditation, If you feel your attention wandering, or it you feel the effect of the Inner Smile becoming weak or diluted, just gather more smiling energy from the source. The Chinese say," If you want water, you should go to the well. "

9. Next, you will direct the smiling energy to the liver, the largest internal organ, located just below the right lung. Feel the liver become immersed in smiling, loving, joyous energy. The liver is associated with the sense of sight, as it controls the energy of the eyes. Use your inner vision to see the liver and determine its condition. Its surface should be smooth and glossy, and it should feel relaxed and uncongested. You can use your eyes to smooth out any part of its surface or to relax any area that seems tense. Feel gratitude for the liver's work in detoxifying the body, helping to store blood, and producing bile.
The liver is associated with the emotion of anger and the virtue of kindness. When you smile to the liver, you will dissolve any anger and allow the kindness energy more space to expand. The Chinese suggest this also helps strengthen your decision-making power.

10. Let the smiling energy flow from the liver across the abdomen into the pancreas, located directly beneath the left lung. Thank the pancreas for making digestive enzymes, producing insulin, and regulating blood sugar. As you smile into the pancreas, see that it is healthy and functioning smoothly.

11. Continuing around to the left, smile into the spleen, which is just next to the left kidney. Don't worry if you don't know exactly where it is. If you smile in that direction, you will gradually get in touch with it. If you need to, return to the source of smiling energy in front of you, and let the smiling energy flow in through the mid-eyebrow and down to the area of the spleen.

12. As smiling, loving energy builds up in the spleen, let it flow into the kidneys. Smile down to the kidneys and feel them expand with radiant energy. You can use your inner vision to inspect the kidneys to be sure their surface is smooth and glossy and that they are filtering properly without any congestion. The kidneys are associated with the emotion of fear. As you smile at them, fear melts away, and the virtue of gentleness can grow. Keep smiling into the kidneys, and let the smiling energy build up until they are full.

13. Next, send the smiling energy down into the urinary bladder, urethra, genitals, and perineum.

Women: The collection point for female sexual energy is located about three inches below the navel, midway between the ovaries. Smile the accumulated energies into the ovaries, uterus, and vagina. Thank the ovaries for making hormones and giving you sexual energy. Bring the combined sexual, smiling, and virtue energies up to the navel, and visualize the energies spiraling into that point.

Men: The collection point for male sexual energy is located one-and-a-half inches above the base of the penis in the area of the prostate gland and seminal vesicles. Smile, and visualize the accumulated energies spiraling down into the prostate gland and testicles. Thank them for making hormones and giving you sexual energy. Bring the combined sexual, smiling, and virtue energies up to the navel, and spiral them into that point.

14. Return the attention to the source of smiling energy in front of you. Be aware of the mid-eyebrow point, and allow more smiling energy to flow in through it like a waterfall pouring down into the organs. Once again immerse the thymus, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, urinary bladder (Fig. 3.43), and sex organs in smiling energy. At this point, you should be feeling calm and peaceful.

Middle Line1. Become aware once more of the smiling energy in your eyes. Let it flow down to your mouth. Become aware of your tongue, and make some saliva by working your mouth and swishing your tongue around. Put the tip of your tongue to the roof of the mouth, tighten the neck muscles, and swallow the saliva hard and quickly, making a gulping sound as you do. With your Inner Smile, follow the saliva down the esophagus to the stomach, located at the bottom and on the left side of the rib cage. Thank it for its important work in liquefying and digesting your food. Feel it grow calm and comfortable. Sometimes we abuse our stomachs with improper food. Make a promise to your stomach that you will give it a good food to digest.

Figure 7. The Middle Line organs.
2. Smile into the small intestine in the middle of the abdomen. It is about seven meters long in an adult. Thank it for absorbing food nutrients to keep you vital and healthy.
3. Smile into the large intestine: the ascending colon, starting at the right side of the hipbone and passing upward to the undersurface of the right lobe of the liver; the transverse colon, which passes downward from the right liver region across the abdomen to the left beneath the lower end of the spleen; the descending colon, which passes downward through the left side of the lumbar region; and the sigmoid colon, which normally lies within the pelvis, the rectum and the anus. The large intestine is about 1.5 meters long. Thank it for eliminating wastes and for making you feel clean, fresh and open. Smile to it and feel it be warm, nice, clean, comfortable and calm.
4. Return to your eyes. Quickly smile down the Middle Line, checking for tension. Smile into the tension until it melts away.

Back Line
1. Bring your attention back to your eyes again.
2. Smile inward with both eyes; collect the power of the smile in the third eye (mid-eyebrow). With your inner eyesight direct your smile about three to four inches inside into the pituitary gland, and feel the gland blossom. Smile into the thalamus, from where the truth and power of the smile will generate. Smile into the pineal gland and feel this tiny gland gradually swell and grow like a bulb. Move your smile's eyesight, like a bright, shining light, up to the left side of the brain. Move the inner smiling eyesight back and forth in the left brain and across to the right brain and cerebellum.

This will balance the left and right brain and strengthen the nerves.
Figure 8. The brain organs
3. Move the inner smiling eyesight down to the midbrain. Feel it expand and soften and go down to the pons and medulla oblongata and to the spinal cord, starting from the cervical vertebrae at the base of the skull. Move the inner smiling eyesight, bringing this loving energy down inside each vertebra and the disc below it. Count out each vertebra and disc as you smile down them: seven cervical (neck) vertebrae, twelve thoracic (chest), five lumbar (lower back), the triangular bone called the sacrum, and the coccyx (tail bone). Feel the spinal cord and the back becoming loose and comfortable. Feel the discs softening. Feel your spine expanding and elongating, making you taller. 
Figure 9. The Back Line
4. Return to your eyes and quick smile down the entire Back Line. Your whole body should feel relaxed, The Back Line exercise increases the flow of the spinal fluid and sedates the nervous system. Smiling into a disc keeps it from hardening and becoming deformed so it cannot properly absorb the force and weight of the body. Back pain can be prevented or relieved by smiling into the spine.

The Entire Length of the Body
Start at the eyes again. Direct your Inner Smile's eyesight. Quickly smile down the Front Line. Follow the smiling down the Middle Line and then the Back Line. When you are more experienced, smile down all three lines simultaneously, being aware of the organs and the spine. Now, feel the energy descend down the entire length of your body, like a waterfall a waterfall of smiles, joy, and love. Feel your whole body being loved and appreciated. How marvelous it is!

Figure 10. The organs smiling.

Collecting the Smiling Energy at the Navel
It's very important to end by storing the smiling energy in the navel. Most ill effects of meditation are caused by excess energy in the head or heart. The navel area can safely handle the increased energy generated by the Inner Smile.
To collect the smile's energy, concentrate in your navel area, which is about one and a half inches inside your body. Then mentally move that energy in an outward spiral around your navel 36 times; don't go above the diaphragm or below the pubic bone. Women, start the spiral counterclockwise. Men, start the spiral clockwise. Next, reverse the direction of the spiral and bring it back into the navel, circling it 24 times. Use your finger as a guide the first few times. The energy is now safely stored in your navel, available to you whenever you need it and for whatever part of your body needs it. You have now completed the Inner Smile.

By Master Mantak Chia

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.”


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


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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’.


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.


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)