Archive for ‘Yoga’

July 8, 2012

Surya Namaskar Mantra…1

Surya Namaskar Mantra…Part One.
Having gone through the movements and the breath in conjunction with the movements, we are ready to learn and utilise the power of the Surya Namaskar mantra. But before we go into the specifics let us have a basic understanding of what a mantra is.
‘A mantra can be defined as word(s) believed to be of super human origin, received, fashioned and spoken by the inspired seers, poets and recited in order to evoke divine power(s) and especially conceived as a means to creating, converging, concentrating and realising intentional and efficient thought or coming into touch or identifying oneself with the essence of the divinity which is present in the mantra.’ ( Gonda:255)
Mantra is a word, or more precisely  sound vibration that has the power to transform our state of mind. It can be in the form of a single syllable, a string or group of words.It comprises of three aspects: the shakti or the driving force, the beej or seed syllable/potential of the mantra and the keel which binds the mantra to the purpose that it is intended.
Any mantra is a tool used by the mind to free itself from its fluctuating nature. It has a deep effect on the body/ mind as well as the surroundings.It is believed that the human body with its various organs is made up of different frequencies of sound that emit unique vibrations. The strength of these vibrations are dependent on the kinds of thoughts we think and the nature of our emotions on a day to basis.Also, the subconscious mind with its primitive consciousness and storage of old memories exists  throughout the physical and subtle bodies which alters the nature of the overall vibration.The  focused, dedicated use of specific mantra has the capacity to cut through crystillised thoughts and emotions stored at the cellular level and bring about deep healing and total transformation. This is experienced as peace, centeredness, harmony and one-ness.
Chanting of mantra has to be done with the correct intonation and the appropriate breath for maximum benefit. That is why it is requested that chanting is to be learned from authentic sources.When chanted with intention mantra has the capacity to bring forth unwavering  focus, deep clarity, intense healing and transformative energy. It is a potential conciousness elevator.
The Surya Namaskar mantra is one of the oldest and most used in the yoga context. It comprises of the six beej mantra as well as the twelve salutatory chant that extoll the virtues of the Sun. The beej mantras have no meaning as such but they are coded energy that have tremendous tranformative capacity.  It is believed that when Divinity manifested in the physical plane It did so in the form of sound and light energy. Beej mantra represent specific aspects of divine energy in its most potent form.
Each beej mantra vibrationally represents a particular attribute of a deity. When we focus our intention on these qualities, chant and move our limbs with the corresponding breath, then the vibrations of these mantras have the capacity to transform us at the celluar level and raise our consciousness to higher planes of being.
The six beej mantras in surya namaskar are chanted either alone or in conjunction with the main mantra. They always begin with the prefix ‘om’, the pranava mantra which is considered the primordial sound vibration of the cosmos. The order in which the beej mantra are chanted are:
Om hram  (acts as a stimulus to the brain, heart, alimentary canal, respiratory organs such as nose, windpipe, throat, lungs and chest and upper ribs.)
Om hrim  (invigorates the throat, palate, heart, respiratory and digestive organs.)
Om hrum  (strengthens the liver, spleen, stomach abdomen, hypogastria, uterus and intestines.)
Om hraim  (stimulates kidneys.)
Om hraum  (normalizes the function of the rectum and anus.)
Om hrah  (develops the chest and throat.)
The Pranava Om stimulates all the vital internal organs of the body, especially the brain, heart and stomach.
Begin each repetition of the sun salutation with one beej mantra or better still, relate each posture to its corresponding mantra. Since there are twelve postures in a complete sun salutation, the beej mantra which are six in number, have to be repeated twice.
When strapped for time or wanting a quicker, more physical rendition, many practitioners make do with performing the sun salutation with the beej mantras only. Let this not become a habit as the benefits that arise from chanting the whole set of the surya namaskar mantra are incomparable and should not be sacrificed at the altar of instant gratification!
April 14, 2012

anjanaya asana …. yoga

Anjanaya asana Instructions:


1. Sit  in the vajra-asana (thunderbolt pose) comfortably.

2. Kneel up on your knees until your back, buttocks and thighs are aligned.

3. Extend your left foot foward bending your left knee at about a 90 degree angle.

4. Place the palms of your hands together at the heart in the anjali-mudra.

5. Raise your arms stright up keeping the palms together while bending the head backward and looking up.

6. Slowly bend backward stretching the arms backward and straightening out the right leg. Hold this position for as long as comfortable while breathing gently through the nostrils.

7. Come back to the vajara-asana (thunderbolt pose) then reverse the posture by alternating legs.

Anjanaya asana – The Salutation Pose

The anjaneya-asana combines several postures and mudras (gestures) in a fluid, evolving flow that combines motion, stretching and holds. It delivers great benefits for the back, arms, chest, legs and hips. Regular practice will strengthen concentration and improve balance. Perform this posture with a sense of reverence and praise. Take a moment to reside in silence and peace as your hands are held at the heart in the gesture (mudra) of salutation (anjali-mudra). Keep the intention of praise in mind as you extend your arms skyward. Feel your entire body-mind-heart extending outward in recognition of the sacredness of life.

April 14, 2012

Hanuman, Wagner and Wartime music

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan’s disciple, Rajeev Taranath once told journalist Renuka Narayan an interesting story behind the name of the Raga ‘Lankadahan Sarang’.

It is interesting to believe that Hanuman had played a new Saranga based raga immediately after setting the city of Lanka under fire?

Renuka Narayan writes:

“Just as old Hindu temples each have a sthala puranam, or founding legend, most classical ragas have an ‘aithihyam’ or creation history. This raga’s aithihyam is that after Sri Hanuman set fire to Lanka, he fell into a mood of great embarrassment at having behaved so wildly, that too with Devi Sita in the vicinity. Since he was a highly educated and divinely gifted person, he was moved to express his remorse through the composition of a somberly beautiful raga, full of reflection and tranquility. ‘Lankadahan Sarang’ means ‘The Sarang Scale Composed After the Burning of Lanka’”

Please listen to Ustad Ali Akbar Khan rendering Raga ‘Lankadahan Sarang’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_mKZqmY8vY

compare it with  Richard Wagner’s composition ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ which has been widely used in war time newsreels and in many Hollywood film war scenes including in the the air bombing sequence Apocalypse Now, the 1979 film based on Vietnam war.

What role music has been playing vis-a-vis war?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNq4n6wC5ms&feature=related

(many thanks Gopalakrishnan)

Tags:
Wonder, silence, gratitude

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