Category Archives: Yoga and Ayurvedic Principles

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

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/

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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.

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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

 

http://www.JamestownHealingArts.com

Swedish Massage”Movement Cure” Yoga? Gymnastics? Shiatsu? Ayurveda? Maybe All Of The Above

As I write this blog on Pehr Ling’s “movement cure” the original name for Swedish Massage a system of massage techniques that help relax the muscles and increase circulation –  I can hear my yoga instructors’ voice: “yoga is just western gymnastics” the comment resonates with me as I study the lineages of movement and healing techniques.

This comment has me thinking because in part, he is correct.  But there is more.

As an ashtanga yogi, and LMT (licensed massage therapist), I am very interested in ways to move energy through the body. While studying for my national massage therapy boards, I came across some interesting articles on the history of Swedish Massage. According to Susan Salvo who wrote one of the most widely used texts on massage therapy, the modern era of therapeutic massage stems from Pehr Henrick Ling, (1776-1839). In Salvo’s brief history of massage therapy she outlines the various influences of the modern day massage therapy scope and practice.

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

(Enter Ramona Bessinger)

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Susan Salvo goes on to say that Pehr Ling developed a system of movement exercises to accompany the practice of therapeutic touch. Looking back at Salvo’s history and then researching everything I could on Pehr Ling, I came across articles that suggested Pehr Ling developed the “movement as medicine” system after traveling for seven years outside of Sweden.

While traveling, did Ling study Shiatsu yoga or Ayurveda?

Where Ling went during this seven year time period is not documented anywhere, but we know he came back to Sweden in the 1800s and developed the system of “movement cures” that resemble primary yoga postures as well as Shiatsu and Thai Massage.

In Pehr Ling’s assisted and passive movements he called “medical movement” or more commonly known as Swedish massage, he developed a complete system to stretch muscles, circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body and restore homeostasis to the body and mind. Not so different from yoga or other healing therapies.

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Could Pehr Henrick Ling have brought Shiatsu and yoga to Swedish Massage?

The techniques Ling referred to as medical gymnastics incorporates a series of assisted movements and passive actions that an individual would receive in order to improve blood circulation, and to help heal muscle injury. Interestingly, Ling’s system of assisted curative movements mimics many of the basic strategies for Shiatsu as well as the primary postures in yoga. Specifically, Ling focuses on eccentric concentric contractions with a primary focus on the muscles of the back. Yoga, Shiatsu, Thai Massage and Ayurveda do the same.

 

Gymnastics? Yes and no.

Shapes in gymnastics rely on being able to move the body. In order to move the body, you need the correct alignment to maximize energy flow and safety. Shiatsu is done in on a mat with the client passively lying in a supine or prone position and while the therapist moves the body or interactively moves with the client to assist in soft tissue manipulation. The same patterns of movement can be seen in the primary series of Ashtanga yoga postures, and in Ayurveda massage then subsequently in Pehr Lings system of curative movement known as Swedish Massage.

A bit of interesting history suggests that gymnastics, yoga, shiatsu converge at various points in history.

Massage therapy and various assisted and passive forms of massage date back to 3000 BC when Chinese records and paintings reveal the practice of touch as therapy, then as early as 1800 BC it is documented that massage becomes a part of the Hindu tradition known as Ayur-Veda. The same patterns of active and passive movements for healing can be traced further to 100 BC when Julius Caesar used massage to treat epilepsy. (Michael Tarver The History Of Massage Therapy)

Strangely enough therapeutic touch and movement seems to go undocumented and enters a bit of a dark period, then resurfaces in 1316 in the first modern treatise on anatomy written by Mondino dei Luzzi. From there, the lineage of therapeutic touch surfaces throughout the western world in various manuscripts and images. What I found fascinating were the common patterns of healing that traversed all healing practices and movement.

 

The patterns of movement and specific touch techniques across all cultures incorporate the same principles of moving energy through the body, increasing blood flow and oxygen to the muscles using touch, pressure, and movement as a way to increase chi, prana or balance to the body.  So, when my yoga teacher preaches that yoga is simply “western gymnastics” I am inclined to add that yoga, Swedish Massage, Shiatsu, Ayurveda Massage, (Abhyanga)  Thai Massage and yes western gymnastics are systems of movement that that all share the same roots dating back to the first documented practices of healing touch over 3000 years ago.  Did the father of Swedish Massage know this?  I bet he did.

Namaste,

Ramona Bessinger

http://www.JamestownHealingArts.com

 

 

 

 

Ashtanga Yoga: Why Lineage Matters

The Ashtanga yoga lineage matters for me because the very best practices of yoga, breathing, and medicine theories are addressed in all the postures of the Ashtanga series.

The practice includes an understanding of the body and the main energies of the body. Keeping in mind that illness surfaces when energy in the body is out of balance, the postures or asanas are designed to restore balance, eliminate phlegm, break up stagnation.

Each posture has specific health benefits. The transition from one posture to the next, the deepening of each layer in the posture enhances health benefits in the body. The Ashtanga practice incorporates physical shapes (asanas) with behavior and lifestyle techniques designed to restore the body and mind to homeostasis. Not to be confused with gymnastics, the ashtanga practice weaves thousands of years of Ayurvedic principles, and Tibetan healing concepts.

At the root of Ashtanga yoga is an ancient text known as the Yoga Korunta. The Yoga Korunta is a text outlining the benefits of purifying the mind and body by eliminating the the obstacles or distractions of day-to-day life. The Ashtanga practice is a systematic approach to movement devised by Sri K Pattabhi Jois, his practice incorporates the teachings of his teacher Sri Krishnamacharya who also studied the principles of the  Yoga Korunta.  

Krishnamacharya’s teacher, Ramana Mohan Brahmachari learned from a sage known as Rishi Samana. One key principle the sage Rishi Samana passed along in his teachings was to awaken the five senses through breathing and physical movement.  At some point over the past 100 years, the principles of Ayurveda and Ashtanga yoga evolve together to create Ashtanga yoga as we know it today. Ayurvedic principles that discuss how to awaken the senses through yoga, diet and breathing.

In Mysore, the torch was passed from Krishnamacharya to Sri K Pattabhi Jois who was born in South India not far from Mysore, and who commenced studies with Krishnamacharya in 1927 as a twelve year old boy. He became a professor at the Maharaja’s Sanskrit College and taught yoga from 1937 onwards. Guruji – Pattabhi Jois, passed away in May 2009.  His teachings live on and are advanced at the yoga shala in Mysore India.   Currently, the practice has been passed on to his to his daughter Saraswathi and grandson Sharath, while his granddaughter Shemee teaches in Bangalore.  The lineage has been taught to only a handful of certified ashtanga teachers throughout the world who have earned the certification through years of training and practice.  

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 Moving through the postures in a hot yoga class with any yoga teacher is interesting to me.  I always get something from a practice whether it is Bikram, Power Yoga, or Shiva Rea, I always learn something and I always enjoy the movement.  But for me, the practice of yoga is in the tradition and lineage of Ashtanga.  Through a daily ashtanga practice, I have learned so much.  Not only technique, asana and pranayama, but the deeper levels of the practice that include the effects of each asana on the musculoskeletal system, the importance of nourishing the spine and nervous system, and how the asanas help to restore the body and mind to homeostasis.  

i-Tf77QpL-XLContrary to some ways of thinkingAshtanga is not just gymnastics, the practice runs deep; it helps me to understand the value of breathing, the value of living, and knowing peace.  

To practice ashtanga yoga, is to study the teachings as they have been passed down for hundreds of years, it is a gift I will never stop feeling gratitude for.  For me, the value of my Ashtanga practice resonates off the mat, it follows me in my day-to-day life and infiltrates everything I do.

The body, the asana and shapes become geometric tools that enhance love, life, and the senses.  It is a continuum, a vortex of never-ending information passed down from sage to teacher to student.  This is why lineage matters to me and why I am thankful for the current teachers who inspire me, and for the knowledge I am able to pass on.  

Lineage matters.

Namaste,

Ramona Bessinger

http://www.JamestownHealingArts.com

Surrender to Peace with Shirodhara and Yoga

In the Yoga Sutras Patanjali says “Error in judgement arises from knowledge that is based on a false mental construct”.

Our minds can often create stories that are narratives fed by panic and fear.  For example, someone  practices yoga a certain way or follows a certain lineage of yoga, maybe they cough during a class, or maybe they cut you off in the parking lot or said something that threatened your belief system.  You are right, and the other person is wrong?

Or maybe the answer is that there is no right or wrong?

To quiet the narrative (chitta) and to live without judgement, anxiety and suffering can result in a happier state of being. Shirodhara like yoga, clears away the false narrative, it reduces anxiety and stops the mind from feeling panic and anxiety. What yoga does for the body and the tissues of the body (the dhatus) – shirodhara does for the mind.

Yoga and shirodhara are excellent ways to restore the body to homeostasis. Both practices soothe doshic imbalances and beg the question, what good can come from constant judgement of others or the constant need to be right?

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali states that “when you are in a state of yoga (union) all misconceptions (vrittis) that can exist in the mutable aspect of human beings (chitta) disappears”  Through breathing, pranayama, or taking a shirodhara treatment, the veil of judgement and anxiety drops away.

As Marianne Williamson says: “Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here”.  Just as fear is learned, we can train our minds to feel otherwise.  If yoga is not accessible to you, then try a series of shirodhara treatments and experience the benefits of peace.

Anoint yourself with the healing oil of a shirodhara treatment, infuse the body with pranayama, then watch the fear and the anxiety slip away.  It may be that simple.

Namaste,

Ramona Bessinger

For information on shirodhara and other healing treatments, please visit me at

http://www.bluewaterayurvedamassagetherapy.com

http://www.pranajunkie.net

 

The Beauty of Shirodhara

 

Wanting to learn more about how this beautiful Ayurvedic treatment works, I began to look into the many types of shirodhara as well as the health benefits of regular treatments. What I have learned about shirodhara is both beautiful and fascinating.

What is Shirodhara?

Shira means head and dhara means unbroken flow. While relaxing on a warm massage table, a copper bowl or urn is filled with warm oil. Out of a small opening at the bottom of the urn flows a steady stream of warm herbal oil onto the forehead. The direct stream of warm herbal oil stimulates the pineal gland.

According to Swami Sadashiva Tirtha, the author of Ayurveda Natural Secrets to Healing and Longevity, there are many ways to practice shirodhara, but the most common way is to receive the treatment in isolation, or for the very best results it can be in done in a 21 day treatment series. It is believed that the entire body is affected positively by shirodhara.

Benefits of Shirodhara

According to a published study in 2007 conducted by Southern California University, the effects of regular shirodhara treatments result in  improved sleep patterns and reduced anxiety.

How it all works

The steady stream of warm oil over the forehead stimulates the pineal gland or the third eye. It helps to calm the nerves and soothe anxiety. It is said that the stream of oil helps the pineal gland to function more efficiently.

The Pineal Gland and Shirodhara

There are many schools of thought which explain the healing benefits of shirodhara treatments, but the one that makes the most sense to me is that the gentle stream of oil over the forehead stimulates the pineal gland in such a way that the circadian rhythm in the body resets itself.

The idea as it is expressed in the Ayurveda Encyclopedia is that the increased melatonin production helps the individual receiving the treatment to sleep better.

Finally, a secondary benefit from a shirodhara treatment is that the oil nourishes your scalp and hair. If you are experiencing dryness, try a shirodhara treatment and judge for yourself. The beauty is in the oil.

Namaste,

Ramona Bessinger

http://www.JamestownHealingArts.com

 

 

In 2016 Resolve Never To Be Right Again

 

Quiet the chatter in your mind.  Make room for space, calm and ease

Chitta Vritti is the Sanskrit term to describe the constant flow of chatter in the brain. Chitta means seeing a situation through a sense, or a story. Vritti means repetitive waves of nervous energy. Together, the words paint a picture of a state of being that is loveless and worry-filled.  Known also as “monkey-mind,” the chitta vritti state of mind is wrought with nervous energy.

As the chitta vritti takes over, worry manifests and grows in the mind.

Space for calm and space for love is diminished and replaced with fear and anxiety.  The senses are dulled, the mind’s capacity to remain in a calm, loving state is also impaired. When this happens, the “monkey-mind” is takes over the calm mind.

In our quiet minds we can experience love, like in prayer or meditation. 

To love is to ignite the process of illumination in another being. This can only be done if your own mind is able to receive illuminating thoughts and feelings. Love is cellular growth, it is the exchange of energy. It the giving and the receiving of energy.

Being in a loving state is healthy

If love expands and allows for cellular growth, then the absence of love is cellular destruction. It is a slow death of the self. Every time you focus on an un-loving thought, you restrict breathing, prana is shortened, and cellular growth is diminished.  What follows are actions based on worry and fear, and in this space, no love can exist.

The negative monkey-mind destroys

The thinking mind is the part of the mind that sees the world and reports back to the brain. In this exchange, the mind has the ability to make choices about what it sees. In Sanskrit it is explained through the principle of tejas. Tejas is electric current in the body, when prana is strong, tejas is strong, when prana is weak and the monkey-mind is present, the body’s tejas is weakened.

Kundalini Shakti

Tejas helps the release of chitta vritti or chatter in the mind, it is released with the inhalation and exhalation of oxygen.  As you breathe and meditate, the bio-spiritual combination of kundalini shakti is released and the chitta vittri is pacified.  In this soothed state, the mind can make way for love, peace and calm.

Namaste,

Ramona Bessinger

 

http://www.jamestownhealingarts.com/