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Showing posts from July, 2018
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NATURAL ELIXIRS

 Here are some simple yet potent elixirs I discovered amongst the Tamil Siddhas , the Yogis of South India.

Tirikatukam (the threefold pungency) is highly esteemed for its cleansing and rejuvenating power.  It is a combination of zingiberos (ginger, dry), piper nigrum (black pepper) and piper longum (long pepper) mixed with raw honey (to taste) to form a paste that is to be taken at or before noon. It is best to mix the powders in a half-jar of honey.  I always take a half-teaspoon to fire me up for my morning yoga practice. 

Another favorite of the Siddhas is a mixture of cumin seeds, turmeric and white mustard seed powdered together (according to taste) and taken twice monthly.  Turmeric destroys bacteria, including salmonella and has anti-cancer properties.  The powders leech out toxins and promote youthfulness.

The Siddhas say that garlic and lemons should be used daily (though not necessarily together!) as they create a blood environment in which viruses, parasi…
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SOUND MEDITATION

Play a piece of music made by no more than five or six instruments.  The music will flow to you from everywhere, from all directions, but the idea is to focus on following the flow of only two or three instruments simultaneously, with total attention, while excluding the rest.

 It requires high concentration to immerse in the music while simultaneously “holding”  and following the melody or sound of two or three instruments . The sustained effort may reward you with a blissful feeling (mind orgasms can abound) and a vastly enriched appreciation of harmonious vibrations. The main thing is that we are developing our power to concentrate and meditate through sound .

Adagios and the tranquil movements of the classical masters Bach, Mozart and Beethoven are ideal for sound meditation. The piano music of the mystic G.I. Gurdjieff and the Russian composer Thomas De Hartmann also work well along with traditional and sacred world music. Experiment with all kinds of Instrument…
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YOGA AND MASSAGE 

Freeing the muscles of the body from tension through massage will bring greater flexibility in the yoga postures; the head, neck, shoulders, back, abdomen and feet are usually the most in need of massage.  You can work deeply along the sides of the spine between the shoulder blades and around the buttocks.
Essentially the techniques involve: kneading, stroking, rubbing or squeezing the knotted muscles with your fingertips, palms, knuckles or the heels of the hands.   Experiment with different speeds, strokes and pressures according to the feedback you receive from your partner.  Feel through the hands for ‘lumps’ - knots of tension to unravel and release from the body. 
In California I found a lovely yoga teacher wonderfully named Cherry Clampett, at the Santa Barbara yoga centre .She skilfully combined yoga posture work with something like therapeutic touch and massage. It reminded me of the pictures of medieval yogis shown giving and receiving massage. I was se…
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MEDITATE LIKE A BUDDHA
If you want to experiment with meditation you should pick a time and place when you expect to have at least five or ten minutes to yourself undisturbed, each day.  It may be at home, during your lunch break, on a quiet hillside, or in a nearby church or temple.  Morning and late evening are ideal times to meditate.
 Accept and include whatever occurs as part of your meditation - car-noise, bird-song, ringing phone!  Some days during your meditation your mind will seem to buzz with static, other days you will feel like a clear sky inside.  Cultivate indifference in regard to mind-states and moods and you will strengthen the witnessing presence within you.  All of it is fine; everything is food for the Buddha.
Whenever I get too precious about my meditation I recall the tale of the three yogis in a cave.  Inside the cave all is dark and silent.  Suddenly a roar is heard, “that was a tiger ”says one yogi.  Three years pass “No it was a lion” says another.  Seven years…
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ARUNACHALA

A poem written after circumambulating the sacred mountain Arunachala in Tiruvannamalai, South India.

Arunachala

Like a hidden lamp a living soul
burns inextinguishable within
the heart of the mountain, Arunachala.

Mainstay of the world, mountain of bliss,
the hill of light, the hill of dawn,
the red hill rising at the birth of time
older than the Himalayas & fair Atlantis.

Arunachala,
enchanted remnant
of a forgotten continent,
eclipsed in the sea.

The mountain sings of sages
within her secret caves,
shining like suns and fire
& Yogic lore of the mythic age
when all beings dwelt in bliss.

Arunachala, your teaching runs
wild like a tiger,
no guru, no scripture,
no temple can contain you.

Remote in the power of stillness,
you gleam amongst insects,
birds, beasts & men.

Serene witness of the ephemeral flow,
with you all things seem eternal.

Arunachala sing on high
for all who seek truth
within your circle.
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THE BENEFITS OF HATHA YOGA

"I just know that something good is going to happen, and I don't know when but just saying it could even make it happen". Kate Bush "Cloudbusting."

Sheer positivity is perhaps one of the greatest boons you may acquire through Yoga.  One message from yoga is that you don’t have to malfunction as you age, like the computer Hal in the movie 2001, whose units were removed one by one!

Once you have started yoga practice every little molecule of your body will shimmy into new life.   Your posture, vision and appearance will improve, and you will start feeling fresh, frisky and youthful. Your body will acquire lightness, suppleness and strength, and your mind may shine at times like crystal. 

The artistry and beauty of many yoga forms can be compared to those of ballet, gymnastics and the martial arts but you don’t have to be able to bend and twang like a rubber band in order to obtain the benefits of yoga. It isn’t a sport or a competitio…
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ORIGINAL HATHA YOGA

The primary purpose of Hatha Yoga was and is to release the latent powers of the body...  powers that can facilitate radiant health, self healing, enhanced abilities and numerous other benefits.   Particular poses – called asanas – are sustained for ever increasing durations of time.  The Sanskrit word ‘asana’ means a pose which is both stable and pleasant. The practice of asanas can create a body that is firm, flexible and light.   There is a shamanic element inherent within many of the poses that is often reflected in the names...cobra, tree, cat, lotus etc.

Asanas alone do not constitute the whole of hatha yoga, there are also kriyas (cleansing practices), pranayama (breathing exercises), mudras (attitudes, gestures), bandhas (muscle locks) and mantras (sounds to focus the mind).  
Hatha is practiced for three reasons.   The first is therapeutic and is to promote wellbeing. The various practices and asanas counter the effects of toxins and stress, allowing fo…