Balance For The New Year

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Patanjali’s system of Yoga provides us with methodology to break down emotional and physical barriers that prevent us from knowing self-love and subsequently love for another.

In Ayurveda, the physical practice of yoga is an integral part of healing one’s body and mind.

Patanjali’s Sutras, in particular the Yamas and Ni Yamas entail simple principles to guide us in conduct and intentions that help us attain Samadhi- or balance in the body and mind. In a world where stimulus comes from so many places– when the pressures of life, work, children become too much – relationships often suffer. Strong principles rooted in common sense can have a profound effect on your making a good choice for a long-lasting relationship.

These sutras called the Yamas and Ni Yamas, form a template of commonsense principles to live by.

Find Equanimity With Patanjali’s Ten Yamas and Ni Yamas 

  • Ahisma: To practice ahisma means to never injure any living thing.  This includes injury inflicted by words as well as physical violence.
  •  Satya: Always speak the truth. Live honestly.  
  • Asteya: Do not always need (things) or people.
  • Bramacharya: Respect your body. Practice yoga, meditation or deep breathing.
  • Aparigraha: Think about what you can do for others. 
  • Saucha: Physical clarity. Keep your physical space clean and clutter-free.
  • Santosha:.  Try not to be overly concerned with finding fault in others or situations.   Create a domain of moksha or shanti (peace).  
  •  Tapas: Internal fire. Your relationships will be stronger if you have a personal physical practice that creates internal fire. 
  •  Swadhyaya: Self-inquiry.  This may be the hardest of them all.  No one likes to look at their words, their daily actions.  Take time each day and ask yourself if there was a situation, action or thought that contributed to someone’s pain or suffering.  
  • Ishwara Pranidhana: Let go of all negativity.  Let it wash away and live your life-

Namaste

Ramona Bessinger

 

ramonabessinger@gmail.com

http://www.JamestownHealingArts.com

http://www.pranajunkie.net

Natural Solutions For Healthy Hair And Skin

For the hair:

I take generous amounts of ghee butter and scrub into strands of hair. I comb through my hair then braid it, creating a mask. Personally, I love to leave the ghee on my hair overnight then shampoo it off in the morning for extra deep moisture.
Steps to follow for your deep oelation:

Take chickpea flour and clean the surface of your skin by rubbing the powder all over your body.  Rinse flour-scrub off your body.

  • Pour all your fat, and essential oils into your hot water.
    Soak in tub for as long s you can stand it.
    Work the oil into skin and hair
    Towel-dry your body, and leave your healing oils on overnight to do their job.
    Make a ghee butter mask for hair and leave in overnight

 

 

Pink Flowers

For The Skin:

Coconut Bath

Half a jar of coconut oil
Essential camphor or mint leaves will do
Essential orange blossom or the peels of oranges
Try sweet smoky scent of khus, balsam, sandalwood, or jasmine.

Sesame Oil Bath

4 or more cups of Sesame oil
A generous serving of Shea butter is a must!
Essential rose or rose petals
Essential basil or basil leaves for the aroma
Hina, sandalwood or amber.

Sunflower Oil Bath

4 cups of Sunflower oil
Bergamot is a nice citrusy scent if the minty herbs are too much
Try amber or musk if the other oils are not available.

Home Renew

 

Ramona Bessinger LMT

http://www.JamestownHealingArts.com

401-442-6462

Ayurveda Massage by Ramona Bessinger LMT

“Nature is the true physician”  Susanna Way Dodds

www.elephantjournal.com/2016/07/the-right-essential-oils-for-our-doshas/

I love essential oils.   In this article I explore the possible essential oils for your body type.  What scents work for you?

Essential oils are a beautiful way to help soothe the doshas, the physical body as well as the spiritual body. When you are having an off day or feel out of sorts, just a brief passing waft of an essential oil can help shift your mood.

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Rejuvenation

 

The scent from an essential oil in the form of a sachet or diluted in a base oil, neat (pure essential oil) applied direct can be used as an external mood elevator.

The scent of essence of jasmine can activate a positive memory and evoke feelings of love and sometimes elation. Knowing which oil soothes your doshas can further add to your aromatic experience.

Add rosemary to your scalp to help stimulate the follicles and promote healthy hair growth.

Basil, sweet orange, and essential bergamot combined elevate the mood.  Heal what ails you the natural way.

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Ramona Bessinger LMT

http://www.JamestownHealingArts.com

Boost your immune system with daily self-oelation.

Prana Love: Essential Oils For Your Dosha, Heart And Soul.

Our skin is not merely an envelope, or a membrane allowing exchange between the exterior and interior of the body. It also serves as a mingling point between the outer world and inner self, and between body and soul. Miru Kim

Nourishing my skin and hair with food-grade oil and fat feels amazing. I use oil on my skin before a bath or a shower to moisturize my body and hair. I noticed as a result that this daily ritual of oelation has a secondary effect on my overall sense of well-being.

I feel great when I apply oil daily, and I do not feel so great if I let my skin dry out.

About a year ago, I started wondering why oil had this effect on my mood and sense of well-being. Looking to Ayurveda for the answers, I came across some interesting information published by Dr John Douillard.

Dr. Douillard states that the skin is estimated to house innumerable microscopic microbia per square centimeter. He goes on to note that these microbia help strengthen our immune systems. The oil we rub on our skin feeds the important microbe population that keeps the immune system strong.

But what about the surge of positive energy that comes from my daily routine of oiling my skin?

The great feeling is not accidental. According to Dr. Douillard, rubbing oil on the skin calms the nerves and soothes muscle tissue. The result is an easing of nervous tension. The doctor adds that the rubbing of oil on the skin helps stimulate oxytocin. This hormone helps elevate feelings of joy and peace.

The many ways oil can increase physical and emotional strength

So now, my daily ritual makes sense. It is not simply cosmetic, but rather a practice of self-abhyanga, anointing, that elevates my spirit while nourishing and softening my skin.

Daily self-oelation:

For my daily regime, I use sunflower oil. But you can use jojoba, sesame, coconut or anything that feels appealing to your body.

I love to apply my oils prior to a hot shower or bath. I have found that pre-shower application enhances the effect on skin and mood. The heat and open the pores, allowing the oil to soak in.
For a more intense sensation, and I mean intense, once a week I take a hot bath in as much oil as I can stand.

Here’s how I go about it. For deep–once- a week- oelation:

Fill a bath with the warm water, hot as you can stand it.
While the water is still warm, immerse your hair and head and rinse the warm water infused with fats and essential oil over your body.
Rub the oil all over the surface of your body.
Soak as long as you can.
Scrub your scalp and let the warm water, the scents, and fats penetrate your skin and hair.
Step out of the bath, and towel dry excess oils off body. Do not wash the oil off.

For my hair

I take generous amounts of ghee butter and scrub into strands of hair. I comb through my hair then braid it, creating a mask. Personally, I love to leave the ghee on my hair overnight then shampoo it off in the morning for extra deep moisture.

(One thing: remember to scrub that tub clean afterwards so you do not leave a slick surface)
Steps to follow for your deep oelation:

Take chickpea flour and clean the surface of your skin by rubbing the powder all over your body. Rinse flour-scrub off your body.
Pour all your fat, and essential oils into your hot water.
Soak in tub for as long s you can stand it.
Rub oil into skin and hair
Towel-dry your body, and leave your healing oils on overnight to do their job.
Make a ghee butter mask for hair and leave in overnight

Coconut Bath

Half a jar of coconut oil
Essential camphor or mint leaves will do
Essential orange blossom or the peels of oranges
Try sweet smoky scent of khus, balsam, sandalwood, or jasmine.

Sesame Oil Bath

4 or more cups of Sesame oil
A generous serving of Shea butter is a must!
Essential rose or rose petals
Essential basil or basil leaves for the aroma
Hina, sandalwood or amber.

Sunflower Oil Bath

4 cups of Sunflower oil
Bergamot is a nice citrusy scent if the minty herbs are too much
Try amber or musk if the other oils are not available

Namaste
Ramona Bessinger
http://www.JamestownHealingArts.com

 

 

Essential Oils For Your Dosha, Heart And Soul.

“Nature is the true physician”  Susanna Way Dodds

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http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/07/the-right-essential-oils-for-our-doshas/

I love essential oils.  I enjoy using scents of all kinds to infuse any space or for the body.  In this article I explore the possible essential oils for your body type.  What scents work for you?

Essential oils are a beautiful way to help soothe the doshas, the physical body as well as the spiritual body. When you are having an off day or feel out of sorts, just a brief passing waft of an essential oil can help shift your mood.

The scent from an essential oil in the form of a sachet or diluted in a base oil, neat (pure essential oil) applied direct can be used as an external mood elevator.

The scent of essence of jasmine can activate a positive memory and evoke feelings of love and sometimes elation. Knowing which oil soothes your doshas can further add to your aromatic experience.

First, take the dosha test. What is your body type?

According to classical Ayurvedic texts, one of the benefits of understanding one’s dosha or body-soul type is to see the body as a system not unlike the universe or nature.

There are three doshas: All are present at birth and make up your constitution. This is also called your prakruti or your DNA.

• Pitta Dosha is represented by the elements fire and water.
• Kapha Dosha is represented by the elements earth and water.
• Vata Dosha is represented by air and ether.

The elements fire, water, earth, wind and ether act as visual representations of the body and spirit. These five elements are present in everyone’s body at birth.

As you go through life, cultural, social and personal experiences shift your doshas and cause imbalances to the physical and emotional body.

The first state is called your prakruti. It is your birth constitution. As you live and evolve, another state called vikruti manifests in the body. This state evolves as a result of social, cultural and emotional conditioning.

Together your vikruti and prakruti create a picture that makes up who you are. At birth, you could be a combination of vata, pitta and kapha. As you progress through life, the elements wax and wane vis a vis life experience and socialization.

If your vikruti dosha is vastly different from your prakruti, your body is most likely out of balance.

Pink Flowers

Pitta – Fire and Water

If you have a pitta imbalance then you have too much fire and water. This metaphor translates into being hot-tempered, outwardly judgmental of others, stubborn, prone to rashes, hives, and digestive disturbances. You may feel panicked or anxiety stricken.

Pitta disturbances may benefit from the following oils: camphor, lavender, orange blossom, basil and cedar For any essential oil that needs to be diluted, use a base oil of sunflower to dilute any essential oil that can’t go on neat, (pure). Pitta dosha may try basil as it increases intuition, clears the air and quiets the body. Camphor, frankincense and cedar are terrific for pitta disturbances as well. Both oils soothe a fire mind and create a sense of grounding.

Combine essential oils for pitta disturbances with cold-stone therapy, gemstone therapy and abhyanga (warm oil massage). Have fun and experiment.

Kapha – Earth and Water

Do you suffer from kapha imbalances? The symbolism behind the metaphor suggests that that if so, you may suffer from feeling sluggish, tired, and secretly judgmental of others. You may be suffering internally.

You may be holding on to pain, material items or both. Do you struggle with a slow metabolism? Typically, kapha imbalances show up as the stable force, always providing stability for others. You are the extreme giver and as a result you tend to get run-down and depleted.

Individuals with kapha disturbances should try the following essential oils: lily, sandalwood, iris and gardenia. A base oil of canola or simply mustard oil can also help break up the kapha disturbances.

Kapha dosha could also benefit from weekly garshana treatments (vigorous massage using raw silk gloves) this will help as it will break up the stagnation in the skin, bring blood to the surface and jumpstart the body.

Vata – Air and Ether

What can you do when vata dosha overtakes your body? First, the metaphor implies that there is too much movement, too much change and instability. Vata disturbances may mean you are prone to starting and stopping project after project.

You may find that you are too busy to stay in a committed relationship. You could find yourself running from love as your need to be the very best at so many things prevent you from staying grounded with one person or thing.

Vata constitutions need to be on the go – always moving. In meetings they will be the person who can’t sit still. The following essential oils may help soothe vata disturbances: Rosemary, rose, jasmine, and mint will help soothe your dosha.

Use them with a base oil such as sesame oil, or neat if possible. The oils will evoke a sense of love, devotion and will relieve tension. Jasmine in particular can help with melanchol. It will inspire you to shift your awareness to the positive. The Beauty of Shirodhara

Individuals with a vata imbalances would also benefit from regular shirodhara treatments, or massages. Anything that brings their body and soul vibration to a soothing quiet place.

Pure fragrances have been used for healing for centuries. The oils hold the same properties as the plant and are nourishing to the five senses. Get ready to feel great, because the scent of a plant resonates in the core and could raise serotonin levels.

Finally, consider these three points on the body where energy converges, and where your essential oils (diluted in base oil) should be applied:

Pitta – heart, chest, center of body
Kapha – between the naval and pubic bone
Vata – third eye between the eyebrows

Of course you are not limited to these areas, but give some loving attention to these areas on the body as you apply your oil of choice.

Have fun and anoint yourself with nutritional plant based therapy.
Namaste,

Ramona Bessinger

Contact Ramona @

http://www.JamestownHealingArts.com

 

 

 

 

Lift The Veil: Know Your Dosha And Know Yourself

“We are the universe” Deepak Chopra

And the universe is in us all.  According to classical Ayurvedic texts, one of the benefits of understanding ones dosha  or body/soul type is to visually see the body as a system not unlike the universe or nature.

The Maharishi Mahesh says: “It’s as if we live in a house which has a vast treasury of rooms. Only, we have forgotten about them. Instead of living a life of royalty, we go about in poverty.”

Rather than live in spiritual and physical poverty, consider using the five elements as a way to bring “royalty” back into the physical body:  see fire, water, earth, wind and ether as visual representations of the body and spirit.  Understanding doshas becomes a way to demystify your emotional and physical self.  Seeing the body as part of nature, in fact a mirror of nature, can help us to know what we need to maintain physical and emotional balance “sama” (peace and tranquility) or “moksha” (liberation from emotional pain).

In western society, the body is understood from a very clinical position, the bones, the tissue, the organs and the brain all have a function.  

While this clinical way of knowing our bodies is every bit important to our physical evolution, seeing our bodies from the ancient perspective allows the individual to see his or her body in a way that is aligned with the the natural world.  For example, fire in the body manifests in part as passion or anger, it can serve us positively or negatively.  Fire needs to be present in the body as it ignites us and helps us to move and to act.

Conversely, too much fire extinguishes earth elements needed to remain steadfast and grounded.  Understanding the body in this way is a beautiful compliment to our modern kinetic vision, together, the symbology alongside the practical takes us to the next level of physical awareness and spiritual wellbeing.

Let’s drop all veils and explore the doshas as they live in the body.  How can knowing your dosha help you to be happier?  How Can You Pacify Your Dosha Imbalances And Live A Better Healthier Life

Take The Dosha Test. What Is Your Body Type?

According to classical Ayurvedic texts, one of the benefits of understanding ones dosha or body-soul type is to visually see the body as a system not unlike the universe or nature.

Knowing your dosha can help you to understand your body type as well as your psychophysical make-up. Rather than live in a state of imbalance, consider using the five elements that comprise the doshas as a way to bring an intrinsic understanding of your physical and emotional self.

There are three doshas: all three are present at birth and make up your constitution; this is also called your prakruti or your DNA.

  • Pitta Dosha is represented by the elements fire and water.
  • Kapha Dosha is represented by the elements earth and water.
  • Vata Dosha is represented by air and ether.

The elements fire, water, earth, wind and ether act as visual representations of the body and spirit.  These five elements are present in everyone’s body at birth.

As you go through life, cultural, social and personal experiences shift your doshas and cause imbalances to the body and mind. The first state is called your prakruti, it is your birth constitution. As your life evolves, another state called vikruti manifests in the body, this state evolves as a result of social, cultural and emotional conditioning.

Together your vikruti and prakruti create a picture that makes up who you are.   At birth, you could be a combination of vata, pitta and kapha. Then as you progress through life, the elements wax and wane vis a vis life experience and socialization.

If your vikruti dosha is vastly different from your prakruti, your body is most likely out of balance and will need to be looked at and corrected.

Consider a brief analysis of your doshas and see if you suffer from imbalances.

Pitta

If you have a pitta imbalance then you have too much fire and water. You are hot-tempered, outwardly judgmental of others, stubborn, prone to rashes, hives, and digestive disturbances? You may find it difficult to love but desperately seeking love, and yet never feeling loved? Remember excessive water and fire destroys, so you need to counter pitta disturbances with activities that extinguish the fire.  Bring ether, and air into your life: For pitta imbalances, daily yoga is helpful. Long walks, swimming, and self-reflection can help restore the imbalance to a state of moksha or balance and clarity. Pitta disturbances may also benefit from cold-stone therapy, gemstone therapy and abhyanga (warm oil massage)

Kapha

Do you suffer from kapha imbalances? Too much earth and water? Are you sluggish, tired, and secretly judgmental of others? Are you inwardly suffering pain?  Are you holding on to pain, material items or both?  Do you struggle with weight gain and a sluggish digestive system? Are you always the giver and yet inwardly resentful of giving too much?

To counter your kapha imbalance consider foods that drive agni or internal fire in the system.  Smaller, fewer meals.  Seek out partners that are not needy. Take up walking. Book a weekly garshana treatment (vigorous massage using raw silk gloves) to order break up the stagnation. Individuals with kapha disturbances need to dance, they should move as increase their metabolism. Individuals with a kapha imbalance should surround themselves with music and art and anything that increases their metabolism and breaks up stagnation.

Vata

Do you have a vata imbalance? Too much ether and wind? Is your head constantly in your ideas and projects? Are you quick to change from one relationship to another, perhaps a bit flighty? Is your constitution sensitive? Are you always running from love?  You probably have many lovers, and find it hard to stay focused enough to be with one man or woman? Vata imbalances feel the need to constantly move. In meetings they will be the person who can’t sit still. The vata dominant person needs a great deal to hold their attention.

Individuals with a vata imbalances would benefit from regular shirodhara treatments, or massages, they need pampering and lots of attention in order to restore calm in their body and mind.

Ideally, you want to be an equal balance of all doshas; kapha, pitta, vata.  Fire, water, ether and wind need to be balanced so you feel good in your emotional body as well as your physical body.

Get ready to feel great

Once in a state of moksha or balanced doshas, your five senses will be ignited, serotonin levels will increase, breathing deepens, the digestion is restored to balance, love returns and ones relationships with the world will be more balanced.

We have all known this feeling of balance.  It is called presence of mind or peace. It is a state of grace and love, a state of expansion and movement, it is a state of creativity and joy.

Understanding who you are and what your dosha type is will help you to make sense of all that ails you.

This is not to say that everything will be perfect all the time, because for sure there will be times when life hijacks your inner calm, and your doshas run wild in the body.

But knowing your body in this way can unlock the tools needed to combat physical and emotional disturbances.

Know your dosha and know yourself. Live free.

 

Namaste,

Ramona Bessinger

For more information on Ayurveda Bodywork, contact Ramona Bessinger @

ramonabessinger@gmail.com

http://www.JamestownHealingArts.com

Could Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras Be The Answer To Peace and Equanimity?

Ayurveda and Everlasting Peace

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/06/ayurveda-and-your-path-to-lasting-love/

R

Embrace all ten principles expressed in Patanjali’s yoga sutras, and I guarantee everlasting love will come your way.

Patanjali’s system of Yoga provides us with methodology to break down emotional and physical barriers that prevent us from knowing self-love and subsequently love for another.

In Ayurveda, the physical practice of yoga is an integral part of healing one’s body and mind.

Patanjali’s Sutras, in particular the Yamas and Ni Yamas entail simple principles to guide us in conduct and intentions that help us attain Samadhi- or balance in the body and mind. In a world where stimulus comes from so many places– when the pressures of life, work, children become too much – relationships often suffer. Strong principles rooted in common sense can have a profound effect on your making a good choice for a long-lasting relationship.

These sutras called the Yamas and Ni Yamas, form a template of commonsense principles to live by.

Patanjali’s Ten Yamas and Ni Yamas To Try And Live By

  • Ahisma: To practice ahisma means to never injure any living thing.  This includes injury inflicted by words as well as physical violence.
  •  Satya: Always speak the truth. Live honestly.  
  • Asteya: Do not always need (things) or people.
  • Bramacharya: Respect your body. Practice yoga, meditation or deep breathing.
  • Aparigraha: Think about what you can do for others. 
  • Saucha: Physical clarity. Keep your physical space clean and clutter-free.
  • Santosha:.  Try not to be overly concerned with finding fault in others or situations.   Create a domain of moksha or shanti (peace).  
  •  Tapas: Internal fire. Your relationships will be stronger if you have a personal physical practice that creates internal fire. 
  •  Swadhyaya: Self-inquiry.  This may be the hardest of them all.  No one likes to look at their words, their daily actions.  Take time each day and ask yourself if there was a situation, action or thought that contributed to someone’s pain or suffering.  
  • Ishwara Pranidhana: Let go. Literally try to let go of the need to control everything. 

Namaste

Ramona Bessinger

 

ramonabessinger@gmail.com

http://www.JamestownHealingArts.com

http://www.pranajunkie.net

Marma Points and Yoga Postures

The energetic release and metabolic flow you feel during yoga does not happen by accident.

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/05/marma-points-how-yoga-postures-heal-us-from-the-inside-out/

Marma points are where energy converges in the body. According to classical ayurvedic texts, these nodes can be found where nerves converge with muscle fibers, veins, bones, and joints. The points are junctures in the body where tissue, or the dhatus, meet. When oxygen and blood are delivered to these areas, there is an increase of chi or prana (life force) towards that area of the body.

Consider the placement of your hands, your feet, an elbow a twist, bind or inversion. The shape, the asana in yoga and the angle by which the posture is realized can either enhance the flow of prana or block it.

According to classical ayurveda, the seven bodily tissues are rasa (white blood cells) rakta (red blood cells), mamsa (muscle tissue), meda (fat, adipose tissue) asthi (bones, cartilage) majja (marrow tissue, connective tissue) and shukra (reproductive tissue). The body is like a super highway where there are intersections of tissue. At various intersections, twists, binds, inversions can enhance energy or prana. The asana maximizes the delivery of oxygen and blood to the body.

There are 108 marma points in the body, in classical ayurveda. If the point is pushed too hard, injury can occur. If the  point is stimulated correctly, as we see in the practice of asana, then life-force or prana is enhanced.

see the full article at http://www.elephantjouranl.com

(Enter Ramona Bessinger)

ekapada_shiva

Here are just a few postures every yogi will know –

Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations)

Anterior Upper Body- Urah (Chest)

There are ten marma points or areas affected by the movement practiced in sun salutations. These movements stimulate cardiac function, lungs, thymus and immunity.

Starting with this asana is so important as you stimulate the respiratory system and cardiac output. Sun salutes generate heat in the body and enhance the conductivity of pranic energy; electric current, blood and oxygen.

Upper Back- Prushtha (Back)

There are twelve marma points affected by the actions performed during sun salutations. Here are a few: heart, lungs, bronchial tubes, kidney, bladder, colon, prostrate, cervix, liver, spleen, thyroid and spinal nerves.

Surya Namaskara A, B, and C is so important to yoga pracice as the organs and systems enhanced by the actions performed in this phase are a necessary first step in conditioning the body and mind.

Virabradhasana I, II, III (Warrior series)

The stimulated Marmani in Warrior I, II, and III and IV are in the lower extremities. There are at least six marma points, both posterior and anterior to the leg, which stimulate the heart, circulation, prana, thyroid and kidney.

Bakasana (Crow pose)

Arms- Urdhva Shakhah (Upper Extremities) Marmani

The Marmani stimulated in the arm and hands in crow are many. Urdhva Shakhah (upper extremities) points activated by the knee balanced on the back of the triceps stimulate the lungs, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, spleen and occipital nerves.

For every posture, there is a corresponding marma point. Knowing this can help deepen your yoga experience. Truth be told, the discussion on marma points and yoga postures could go on and on: It is an integral part of my assessment and bodywork. If you are interested in having a treatment or body assessment please contact www.pranajunki.net or message me at ramonabessinger@gmail.com.

Namaste,

Ramona Bessinger

http://www.JamestownHealingArts.com

 

Yoga Postures Are Not Just Pretty Shapes

“… let me repeat that no asana practice is complete without sun worship. Without its focusing of mental energies, yoga practice amounts to little more than gymnastics and, as such, loses meaning and proves fruitless. Indeed the Surya Namaskara should never be mistaken for mere physical excersize –for something incidental, that is, that simply precedes the asanas of yoga. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

As I drill down in my personal yoga practice, I find myself curious about the names each posture.  What can I learn from the mythology of yoga?  And, how can that mythology deepen my experience as a yogi?  

I find myself drawn to the Hindu myths surrounding yoga postures, specifically the metaphors in each story and the significance those metaphors have in relation to the energetic flow of each posture.  For this week, I think it makes sense to start with the Surya Namaskara ( Sun Salutations) and the Virabhadrasana series (Warrior 1, 11, 11, and IV as these are the shapes and the primary postures we start with in order to warm the muscles and nourish the mind.

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/05/know-the-mythology-of-yoga-postures-&-know-yourself

Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations)

There are twelve names for the sun in Hindu.  Each name corresponds with one posture in the opening sequence.  The sun salutation sequence is beneficial to start with as it prepares the mind and body for the physical and spiritual practice.  Here is how I understand the symbolism behind Surya Namaskara.  The sun salutes tell the story of the rising sun.  Just like the dawn of a new day, the practice begins with manifesting internal sun energy to warm the body and prepare the mind.  Every day is new, and so we open the heart, lungs and spine with oxygen, heat and light-filled movements that mimic the same life-giving energy the sun offers the earth.

See the full article at http://www.elephantjournal.com

(Enter Ramona Bessinger)

In the same way the sun nourishes the earth, we nourish our bodies by opening the chest muscles and back muscles and honoring our lungs, heart, spine and brain. Sun Salutations represent internal fire and physical rebirth.  Without the sun, there would be nothing on earth.  Because of the sun we have growth, warmth, and life cycles seen in everything alive.  Sun salutes not only honor the sun but they help us to harness the nourishing sun energy within. In Hinduism, Surya is the chief solar deity, he is the son of Dyaush and the supreme god of light and love.  When we practice Surya Namaskara we are manifesting the life force and life giving qualities the Sun has to offer.

shutterstock_397902886

Virabhadrasana Series (Warrior I, II, III)

In these postures we see the manifestation of the peaceful ahisma of yoga and the battle of avidya or the ego-mind. As the myth goes, Lord Shiva god of destruction as well as god of creation, manifests a warrior deity to fight his battle against King Daksha who is the father of Sati a Hindu goddess and wife of Lord Shiva.

Daksha orders Shivas death as he feels Lord Shiva is not worthy of his daughter’s hand. In order to protect himself, Lord Shiva manifests a warrior called Virabhadra who is sent to earth to slay the enemy.  In the story, Virabhadra slays the enemies of Lord Shiva.  Of course Shiva ends up victorious in his battle not because of physical muscle but because of his ability to remain focused and calm.

Like Lord Shiva, in yoga we fight our personal demons by remaining calm and non reactionary.  What the Warrior postures teach us is how to remain still in the face of adversity.  In that stillness we find answers and we overcome.  Warrior I, II, III and IV show us the way to peace as we remain still between action and reaction.

Look at the postures and notice how Warrior I suggests you are ready for battle, Warrior II, shows focus and aim, Warrior III, is the height of the battle, then Warrior IV, the battle is over and victory and peace is triumphant. The metaphor which initially escaped me, now makes perfect sense.  Overcoming all things that ail is within our personal power.  Virabhadra is in us all, we just need to remain still long enough to see that the strength we need to survive and thrive is inside our minds.  Remaining in the space between action and reaction is what made Virabhadra victorious.  Literally, we all harbor a spiritual warrior within  who is ready to fight the ego and self-ignorance which is the root of all our suffering.  Can’t wait to look deeper at all the wonderful postures yoga has to offer-

Know the myth so you can know yourself.  It is that simple.

Namaste,

Ramona Bessinger

 

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