The Asanas

The Yogis lay great stress upon the subject of "asanas," which means the right postures or physical carriage when performing Pranayama and esoteric practices. The Yogi aphorism states, "The ideal of asana is relaxation, ease, and balance of mind and body."

In the study of Raja Yoga (physical Yoga), a series of physical and mental exercises are gone through everyday, until certain states are realized. Therefore, it is necessary that we find a posture in which we can remain in long periods in comfort. The rule is: the posture which is easiest for the particular person is the posture for that particular person to use.

Sculpture on the facade of the Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebid, India. Built following the iiathofKingKulottuga, A. D1118, the temple stands to this day as the finest example in lie world of Hoysalas of Dwarsamudra architecture and sculpture. Courtesy the Archaeological Survey of India.

During the practice of Pranayama, there is a good deal of action going on within the body. Nerve currents are displaced and given a new channel. New sorts of vibrations begin; the whole constitution is remodeled. The main part of this action lies along the spinal column, so that the one most important necessity for the correct asana is to hold the spinal column free by sitting erect, and holding the chest, neck, and head in a straight line.

Let the whole weight of the body be supported by the ribs, and then you will have an easy, natural posture, with the spine straight. The spinal cord is inside the vertebral column, thus if you sit crookedly you disturb this spinal cord. Anytime you sit improperly (out of plumb) and try to perform the oriental mystical practices, you are doing yourself an injury. The spinal cord must be kept straight; the three parts of the body—the chest, neck, and head—must always be held in one line. With a little practice the proper asana will soon become as natural to you as the act of breathing.

The chief elements in the Yogi posture or asana which you should employ in your Pranayama methods are:

1 Assume an upright position of the sitting body, with head, neck, and chest in as nearly a straight line as possible.

The historical Red Fort of Delhi, India. Built by the Moghul emperor, Shahjahan in 1649 in memorial of his empress at Agra. Behind the red sandstone walls are spacious lawns, palaces, and airy pavillions. Within one marble room of the fort, ceilinged in solid silver, is a couplet written in letters of gold which reads, "if there be a paradise on earth, 'tis here, it is here, it is here."

The historical Red Fort of Delhi, India. Built by the Moghul emperor, Shahjahan in 1649 in memorial of his empress at Agra. Behind the red sandstone walls are spacious lawns, palaces, and airy pavillions. Within one marble room of the fort, ceilinged in solid silver, is a couplet written in letters of gold which reads, "if there be a paradise on earth, 'tis here, it is here, it is here."

2 Throw your shoulders back, and do not permit your chest to sag inward.

3 Place your hands in your lap, palms upward, the back of one hand resting in the palm of the one beneath it, in an easy, comfortable position.

4 Have the weight of your body resting easily and evenly on the hips, thus being supported naturally.

5 Draw your abdomen slightly in, and never allow it to protrude.

This ancient Hindu formula for assuming what is called "the stable asana"

may be useful to you. It was given by the venerable Sage, Yogi Patanjali of many centuries ago:

"Sitting erect, throw back your shoulders and hold your chest in the natural, outcurved position, letting your trunk rest its weight on your hips. Then let your body sway backward and forward a few inches in either direction, until you discover the exact point of the center of gravity of your body; you will know when this is found by the feeling of perfect balance and poise which will be experienced by you. This once found, you will have discovered the position in which you may sit for the longest time with the least feeling of fatigue or discomfort. There must be no bending forward, no craning forward of the neck, no protruding of the abdomen, no sagging of the chest. Neither must there be any leaning to one side or the other; your trunk must be supported by the spine and ribs, the weight resting evenly upon the two hips, and not upon one hip or the other. Neither must there be a sinking-down of the body, with the resulting 'sitting on the spine' which is neither a true sitting nor yet a true lying-down, but rather a mixture of both, and an unworthy position for a Yogi."

In the next chapter of this book, I shall instruct you further into specific techniques of Oriental Rhythmic Breathing for various purposes, and of the force and power of prana. As your studies advance, you will learn of the production and direction of prana in the various manifestations of the real magic of India. You will discover how the power of the-mind is immeasurably increased when pranic energy is added to it, and this pranic energy is aroused and made available by means of the practice of Pranayama.

Using Hypnosis To Achieve Mental Mastery

Using Hypnosis To Achieve Mental Mastery

Hypnosis is a capital instrument for relaxation and alleviating stress. It helps calm down both the brain and body, giving a useful rest. All the same it can be rather costly to hire a clinical hypnotherapist, and we might not always want one around when we would like to destress.

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