About Siddhars (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddhar) (Tamil: சித்தர்): are saints in India, mostly of the Saivaite denomination in Tamil Nadu, who professed and practiced an unorthodox type of Sadhana, or spiritual practice, to attain liberation. Yogic powers called Siddhis are acquired by constant practice of certain yogic disciplines. Those who acquire these Siddhis are called Siddhas. These Siddhars can be compared to Mystics of the western civilization. Siddhars are people who are believed to control and transcend the barriers of time and space by meditation (Yoga) and herbs that transform the body to make it potentially deathless, and a particular breathing-practice, a type of Pranayama. Through their practices they are believed to have reached stages of insight which enabled them to tune into the powers hidden in various material substances and practices, useful for suffering and ignorant mankind. Typically Siddhars were saints, doctors, alchemists and mystics all at once. They wrote their findings, in the form of poems in Tamil language, on palm leaves which are collected and stored in what are known today as Palm leaf manuscript, today still owned by private families in Tamil Nadu and handed down through the generations, as well as public institutions such as Universities all over the world.
Siddhars from Nandhi’s perspective:
After years of inner journeying, meeting and absorbing the Siddhar wisdom, being consumed in the Siddhar mantras while living the life of the Siddhar, it is inspiring to write about the “Siddhars” from this experience.
The term Siddhar has always drawn intrigue, curiosity, interest and respect in India. The little known aspect about them other than from their divine poetry and literature has always created mystery while revealing the secrets of this yogic path to those who are spiritually mature seekers. In Tamilnadu and as in rest of India, it is common for an enlightened being to be called a Siddha or a Siddhar. When Gautama Buddha was born, the astrologers identified his star of birth to be powerful in all aspects, as a higher being- so he was named Siddhartha- the one who is a Siddhar. Siddhartha later left his home to seek ‘nirvana’, the attainment of liberation of the mind, to then be called Gautama Buddha.
Siddhars are Sages who journey beyond enlightenment as the ‘liberated’ yogis. In this journey within consciousness, the Siddhars abandon beliefs for experience. Connecting to the ancient lineage of Gurus who pave way for guidance, protection and grace, their’s is a process of ‘unlearning’. The inner journey of the Siddhars is based on tapas (to light the fire within of perpetual Source union). The Siddhars follow the path of oneness that embodies ahimsa (ahimsa is the life message of Mahatma Gandhi. Ahimsa means- non-violence, non-killing, tolerance and love for not only all of humanity but for all creatures as well). For the Siddhars, external knowledge especially from a book is hardly relevant as much of their knowing, practice and teachings is based on self-knowledge, the wisdom from within. With depth of silence, meditation and mantra japa (recitation of mantras) as tapas, the Siddhars examine the human realities from cosmic consciousness. Those who chose the path of the Siddhars are often not from the Brahmin caste (priests, the upper hierarchy of the Indian society) and the Brahmins who take to the path of the Siddhars often renounce their caste as a Brahmin to be able to tread this ego free wisdom. The Siddhar tradition is devoid of castes, traditions, beliefs and written teachings. Instead, the ancient wisdom was conveyed through resonance, the mantra deeksha (initiation) and the guru’s grace- with much of evolving transformation happening from one’s own effort- tapas (inner fire) and sadhana (daily discipline). For a Siddhar Sage, divinity is in form and formlessness, with the worship centered more towards a simple fire lamp as a symbolic focus of their own inner lamp. Siddhars prefer to call God, Source as to free wisdom from stagnancy of dogma. The South Indian Siddhar’s teachings of Tantiram are the roots to the term ‘tantra’, where the awakened roots of the human as in the mode of survival, sexual and primal needs unite with cosmic consciousness to transcend a normal human into an angelic yogi. Siddhars worship the Divine Feminine as the essence to wholeness.
Siddhars from the practical sense:-
In the pathway of the Siddhars, as we journey through consciousness, we realize our mind being empowered by the extra abilities such as envisioning the future, seeing the past of another person, reading the thoughts of others etc. Due to the absence of ego, the Siddhar Sages do not succumb to these extra powers of the mind and the super-normal abilities that awaken with the mind connecting with Source/God. However, the Siddhars, realizing their vastness of being Spirit/Source in their ability to transcend the mind and the limits of the mind, bring this blessing to benefit humanity. The Siddhars bless humanity by way of deepening their tapas and flowing as the guiding wisdom to all who meditate, as Guru Ayya did while he meditated in his cave for over 18 years. There are other Siddhars who are in humanity as healers, scientists, visionaries and other professions who utilize the states of higher consciousness to effect changes in real terms. Some of the notable nature of the Siddhars are- absence of ego, total love for God/Source as bhakti (devotion), lack of organization and followers around them. To a Siddhar Sage living in the midst of humanity with a life of purpose and focus, multidimensional talents as genius are brought to fore. The path of the Siddhars is attuned, aligned and suited to the current modern day society as it is a journey to seek being whole due to understanding the power of now and the colossal vastness of the human as in basic nature of goodness.
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These teachings were held within the intimate circle, primarily to be shared only with those who are spiritually mature and are able to handle the vast potent energies of the awakening Mother Kundalini. However, from today’s perspective of where the word and name “yoga” came from, as in the form of exercise and practice reaching global awareness, it is necessary to understand yoga and the practice from the perspective of the Siddhar sages.
Our daily discipline of yoga is to find the total union with source, with each moment as in supreme peace. The harmony within as the calm center, at all times is the yogic attainment with little practice as the first steps. In other words, we do yoga to attain a state of perpetual meditation.
All Hatha yoga is tantra. Tantra means union of source with our human. Tantra comes from the wordtantiram, which is the ancient wisdom of the realized to magnify human realities of highest purpose—to realize the orgasmic joys of being on every level of human reality that represents all the seven chakras. Each layer of reality,starting from the roots of sensuality to the leaves of active doing, has a state of joy growing from the limited to the unlimited. When we are in this ‘flow’ we are blessed by an inspired life and its abundant reality.
However, to understand Tat Vam Asi as in actual experience, as a yogi, we need to understand ourselves containing all facets of the infinite and the finite represented by the five elements.
The yogi connects to each of the five elements to be one. Within this mystical wisdom is the practice of ‘tumor’–– the ability to generate heat from within and be beyond the limits of heat and cold. The practice of integrating with the five elements allows a yogi to be the master of the now as in terms of the natural settings.
1. Earth—our body
3. Fire—our intelligence and the intelligence of life
4. Air—our breath/air and the wisdom of life force, prana
5. The eternal source, space, void—to awaken to being dance within the void is to be Lord Siva, theSpirit.
Through our daily yoga, when we find union with Source through the five elements, we realize the oneness as the experience of being the All.
Yoga naturally induces health. A healthy body enhances the mind to focus on higher ideals as in devotion and union with Source. However, our daily practice of yoga is beyond just health and well-being. Connecting the mind to Source awakens the genius within ourselves—the amazing unique potentcy each of us are gifted with from birth. By connecting the body to Source, we awaken to the rejuvenating the youthful energies.
Each posture of yoga has a specific enhancement in our external realities. For instance, the warrior posture helps better focus of thoughts; downward dog posture enhances mindfulness. To surrender the mind, the past and thoughts into the calm harmony of the center, by way of breath and stillness, awakens the underlying energy within each posture. To rest in the absolute state of harmony within each posture is to attain the tranquility of breath, “sthira.” Yoga is much like shooting to the stars and then coming back home to the ocean of tranquility through each posture.
The mind is conditioned by the past, or the momentum of karmic imprints that limits us and beliefs that impede us from realizing that we are Source. To realize the One within ourselves that is in harmony, love, peace, happiness, bliss and oneness, is to be God/Source. The objective of yoga is to climb above the mind and thoughts to the state of being the Spirit—directly experiencing Source as the loud sacred silence. When we awaken to realize ourselves as the Spirit, beyond the mind and the chatter of thoughts, we appreciate Source as in all the pathways of religion and yet, we are not confined by the limitations. A yogi is a prophet directly experiencing Source.
When we experience the intense joys of yoga as in the bliss, the expansiveness, the sense of freedom and all the health and harmony benefits, we set a discipline to have this joy every day. When we do yoga every day, we choose to break the confine of 24 hours within which we experience the days and nights, and the ups and downs of our mind and instead. Instead yoga awakens us to step into the higher conscious state of “turiya“—the sleepless sleep—the super mind that enables us to accomplish far more than normally possible.
In being disciplined, a yogi sets himself/herself free.
On a subtle experience of the journey within, the yogis ride on the currents of the moon breath (left nostril) and the sun breath (right nostril). The breath of the sun and the moon has two different energies. The sun breath is much like fire with increased awareness and faster metabolism. When we are in the intense moments of prayers or doing inspired work, we are breathing from the right nostril unconsciously. The moon breath is rejuvenative, inward propelling and relaxing. When in deep sleep or fatigued, we normally are breath through our left nostril. The yogi understands and consciously utilizes the moon breath and sun breath, depending on the posture, alternating both the rivers of energy to create harmony.
“Yogam” is used today colloquially in Tamil as to describe being lucky in all respects. To do yoga is to be lucky and favored in all aspects of love. From health, love, career—to the spiritual journey—yoga is an effective tool. When a yogi faces a crisis in life, often, the higher conscious perspective enables him/her to look at the crisis as an opportunity. “Yogam” means the wholeness. Finding wholeness in ourselves from the inner joys that are not really dependent on the external realities, we are able to be create a life of wholeness that is complete in all its goodness.
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The push is our own daily discipline and effort. The pull is grace. This grace is attributed to our Guru whom we invoke through our daily yoga. If in a yoga class, expressing reverence and gratitude to the yoga teacher at the beginning and end of yoga sessions does contribute to enhancing the inherent goodness of the inner journey of yoga.
This “Guru” is most times a living master or sometimes a spiritual being whose grace and guidance, the journey through consciousness as in yoga is enhanced. Awareness from a yogic perspective is the wisdom guiding us beyond the state of the ‘no-thought’ where the mind has no more thoughts. This ‘awareness’ as the wisdom behind thought is the Guru. In yoga, as we journey through consciousness and states beyond the mind, the awareness beyond the mind as the Guru continues to guide us.
This Guru could be Christ, Ramana Maharishi or any master of consciousness whom we feel deeply connected to or grateful for. When we invoke our Guru through our daily hatha yoga by way of breath, bandha (inner lock), visualization and intent, we open ourselves to be at the receiving end of grace that transforms our inner and outer realities.
Breath is the key to utilizing the mind. Each thought carries energy and thoughts of our Guru as in physical or spiritual form does carry expanded energy of wisdom that guides, transforms and evolves us. When we invoke our personal Gurus to guide us through our yogic journey, we are guided through a higher wisdom connection that is fulfilling and nourishing as the next level of consciousness.
The Guru Consciousness is from the awareness of the chakra above the navel called by the yogis, the Guru Chakra (not described in any text books or intellectual teachings of yoga). Taping into this energy field just above the navel, we possess vast unlimited energy even as we awaken to primal wisdom of higher consciousness. Yogis activate this energy field above the navel, the Guru Chakra to climb above consciousness that gives the freedom to be beyond hunger, heat/cold and sleep/tiredness.
With daily practice invoking our Gurus, we master consciousness to become the Guru. Expanded consciousness is Mother Kundalini. When we realize that the Guru is Kundalini and that Kundalini is a state of consciousness, we are the Guru.
[It is recommended to practice Sun Salutations as a sequence to incorporate the invoking of the Guru. Sun Salutations is a sequence of postures that help warm up at the beginning stages of yoga. In this sequence, from posture to posture, awareness of breath, the mind and the body is with ease.]
1. Invoke your Guru at the start of the sequence when bringing your palms together as in Anjali mudra (palms together at the front of the chest). Remember your Guru through each following sequence and through each breath.
2. Stand with the legs slightly apart imagining ourselves as a pyramid. Feel the root chakra within ourselves as the center of the pyramid. Experience ourselves as stable and steady while aware of each breath.
3. Inhale our breath all the way down from the root chakra. Let the breath fill up from the lower belly and upwards.
4. In the retention of breath, be conscious of the spot above the navel. Contract the spot above the navel.
5. In the exhale, elongate the breath as a slow exhale while being conscious of the navel chakra and the Guru within our breath.
6. Do the entire sequence of Sun Salutation being aware of each breath as the journey within the breath invoking the Guru.
7. Through each posture, feel the Guru Chakra and all our effort from the body towards the postures coming from the Guru Chakra.
8. Upon completing the Sun Salutation sequence and coming back to the Anjali mudra (palms together at the front of the chest), exhale through the third eye, visualizing the Guru as Spirit within ourselves.
Ultimately, through our daily yoga, we realize our inner fire and the invoke Gurus as the higher consciousness we awaken to be. The Guru within is awake as blessings of yoga!
Ever expanding consciousness is pure wisdom that is reflected in being in the present moment. As there is truth in the dynamic nature of ever expanding consciousness of the present moment, there is truth in the hybridization of yoga as long as the ‘yoga practice’ is in tune with uniting the Source to our human experience utilizing yogic principles. The spiritual end of experience that aligns with the stillness of the mind and the vastness of being Spirit is beyond scriptures and belief systems in its truth.
From the perception of the Siddhar Sages who live the life of yoga in its entirety, the yoga journey is being liberated as Spirit, and then the taking care of the body and understanding the body is as a shrine that holds the divinity of Self. Liberated from the mind and body to be Spirit and then understanding the body as a shrine to utilize the mind as a tool of consciousness, the inner journey through yogic wisdom unfolds each day as our own enriching experiences.
[By yoga we refer to ‘hatha’ yoga as practiced in the West–the physical postures and the inner journey through this form of yoga as a sequences of postures. The Siddhar wisdom is potent when applied to the hatha yoga practice as the body is an effective tool to work the mind towards the inner core of realization. Tapasyogi Nandhi offers the yogic insights from the mystical Kalangi Kundalini Yoga as practiced by the Siddhar Sages of South India.]
One of the key understandings to hatha yoga is the realization of the vastness of our Spirit toward awakening and the human body we have in being a shrine. The yogi understands the human body as the shrine that contains all of the Universe and Mother Earth. This “All-ness” is contained in the five elements—earth; water/fluidity; fire; air and void space. When the yogi understands that connecting to Source is to be present through the existence of the five elements and begins to attain mastery over each element, that the real complete union of human and Source has begun.
So in our daily yoga, understanding our inner journey through the elements with awareness paves the way toward the mastery of wholeness. The elements are the body as are the elements of earth; each thought is as the element of water; our inner fires—the energies that help with digestion, breath, activities etc leading to the kundalini fire; breath and the breathless realm the element of air; and the final destination, infinite void space of ever expanding consciousness.
While the word ‘nude’ does put most minds on alert and sometimes provokes the extreme ends of reaction, for a yogi, wearing the minimal clothing means wearing the entire infinite sky as clothes. Digambara, the sky clad one, is another name for Lord Siva, the supreme yogi. When practicing yoga, doing yoga in the nude enables us to integrate the five elements as one of the body and our being.
From the yogic experience, grace and learning is the ability of the body and our mind to break free of the limits and climb above the extreme cold or heat; hunger and sleep. The concept of ‘tumo’, the inner fire that produces warmth for the body is vital and important aspect of our yogic journey. By doing yoga nude we integrate the element of infinity of space; air through breath and our breath beyond breath wisdom; the inner fires and of our body shrine representing Mother Earth.
– Open your window or door to keep the outside air flowing inside so to connected with the air element.
– Be conscious of the temperature (hot or cold) and allow your yogic practice to generate the inner fires that work like a thermostat to equate our thresholds to equate whatever may be the weather outside.
– Allow our awareness to go beyond the mind to connect with the infinite nature of the sky. Realizing that we are infinite beings doing yoga is the rich experience of the Spirit having the human experience.
Within each posture is the trigger of vital energies kindled through breath. The Himalayan Master (from the book, Autobiography of a Yogi. For those who have not read this wonderful book, a great life-changing gift of reading awaits you!) Mahavatar Babaji’s teachings of the mystical kriya yoga, condenses the essence of “sthira” as a very vital part of the practice. Sthira is the attainment of calm, tranquil, harmony of the breathless breath in breath.
Through each posture, divine into this tranquil space by utilizing the breath of sthira and expand the ‘self’. This ‘self’ is our awareness of our vast being-ness that is also experienced through the recitation of ‘AUM”. Sthira is the attainment of bliss and joy through breath from the breathless being. A ‘yoga’ session without usage of “AUM” is glorified gymnastics that presents much danger since we are not including the greatness of our partnership with Source. In the breath of sthira is the realization of the eternal aum that makes us aware of our infinite being, one with Source.
The yoga practice we do comes originally from the Sages who lived in the wilderness of caves and mountains. Every day they walked, climbing up hillocks and hills. Most temples and shrines in India are located above on hillocks and hills to facilitate such pilgrimages. Their daily hatha yoga practice complimented their walking while their food intake was minimal or optimal.
In our society we do consume far more calories than needed. We are exposed to huge blasts of stress energies. We live without the need to walk on a daily basis. This environment needs to be transcended by making our yoga more effective by including skipping and/or dancing and/or running and/or cycling alongside with our daily yoga practice. Nandhi would recommend including any additional activity that gives more of joyfulness as joy paves way to daily discipline.
Utilize a yoga studio as you would use a walking stick. Yoga studios are for us to learn sequences of asanas but it does not substitute our daily yoga practice. Our daily yoga practice with or/and without a yoga studio is important for your daily inner journey in its practice, learning, wisdom and experiences.
There is a deeper wisdom from the yogic perception of time. When we ensure that we have our own daily practice that does not rely on anyone else or any circumstance (like a yoga studio), we begin to step into realigning the 24 hours though the experience of stepping into the gift yoga has to offer—timelessness. Doing yoga is a powerful form of worship and a journey into timelessness. Each day has 24 hours of time that holds the day and night experience for us.
We are like a planet experiencing the day and night while limited within the 24 hours each ‘day’ has to offer us. When we step into timelessness just once a day through yoga, we reflect life as though we are the sun. We cease to be the night and days experiences of the mind in its moods and in its perception of realities.
Another key benefit of having our own daily yoga practice is in awakening ourselves to be the greatest master and the most deserving student. When we learn from a yoga teacher, we are then like sponge, able to incorporate all the gold nuggets of wisdom into our daily practice.
Tantra comes from the pre-vedic teachings of South India, the Dravidians. The worship of Lord Siva and Goddess Sakti and the yogic teachings within it was called “Tantiram”, the roots of tantra. Tantiram is to unite Source with our human reality through the wisdom of joyfulness. Tantiram wisdom teaches that the roots, the muladhara, hold all the power in our journey towards realization and the journey through consciousness after waking up. The root chakra holds the key to the inner journey, hence the importance of worshiping Lord Ganesh.
When we thread the yogic path we realize the vastness of ourselves to be like an onion, layered in each reality, starting from the roots all the way to the crown as realities to unite with Source. Tantiram, the core of tantra, is the experience of orgasmic bliss within each and all layers of reality that we can enhance through our daily yoga. When we awaken to the wholeness of yoga, we transform our primal energies of sex, sensuality and survival instinct into evolved angelic potent thoughts of manifestation. Our daily yoga is tool to transforming and evolving through the embrace of wholeness, the tantiram.
Most hatha yoga teachings involve having to invoke the root chakra to awaken and work with Mother Kundalini. When we journey inward, we know Mother Kundalini as another state of consciousness and through this awareness; we ride through the inner fire awakening each chakra that holds the secrets of each layered reality as in its manifestations through harmony, abundance and Divine grace.
This wholeness is the union with Source that holds the nature of bliss and the understanding of the “I Am” experience as in the bold statement, “I Am God”. Lord Siva as experience is “Satchidananda” the experience of the now as in being the bliss form.
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The goal of a Siddhar yogi is to reach the higher plane of consciousness through yogic techniques and then be guided by this ‘higher plane of consciousness’ within the ‘third eye’ through all other activities. These activities could mean meditating, or doing daily chores.
For yoga practitioners, it is bringing down the divine energy of perfection into every activity. To bring down this divine energy enables karma free thoughts and gathering heart’s true goodness of intent and purpose to be manifested on the human reality plane.
We normally function in the three states of mind that is- the ‘Satvic’ mind that is pure and is like an eye of a hurricane-calm but with all events happening around (much like Mahatma Gandhi moving the minds of millions of Indians towards a nonviolent freedom struggle while he was tranquil and in harmony even as he was in jail, or in his room in meditative contemplation); ‘Rajasic’ mind that is filled in action (the majority of us are in this category as we are faced with our daily lives) and the ‘Tamasic’ mind that is caught up in the grips of the external with inertia, violence, extreme emotions, and each thought is karma ridden and karma gathering.
There is the fourth state of mind- Turiya, that the Satvic state is connected or leads to . It is a state of higher consciousness where the mind is subdued and guided by the divine. In this state of Turiya, since the limiting factors of the normal three states of mind is broken, the sages manage to go beyond the need to sleep even as this pristine state is called, ‘sleepless sleep’.
The sages also call the state of Turiya ‘Mahalaxmi,’ as any thought propelling out of this mind is from the Source and therefore, they manifests in the earthly realm. It is for the reason that most spiritual beings, who climb above to be with the divine, are able to bless and those blessings manifest. Each of us would definitely have experienced this state of Turiya though we may not be conscious of it. The influence of the state of Turiya when utilized in the lower three spheres, ie, Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic enables divine perfection in the outcome.
Yoga is about attaining this state that sets us free from limitations and karma. Yoga is about allowing the state of Turiya to guide our mind on the mundane level.
The process of attaining Turiya through our daily yoga-
With each breath build consciousness of growing the fire below from the muladhara (base chakra) and course the fire gently above. Each bandha (lock) performed is to lift the sacred fire upwards. Each inhale is to descend to the mighty muladhara triangle fire and as we hold our breath, to climb above the fire stalk of Kundalini and bring focus on the chakra we wish to be at and exhale, conscious of that chakra.
If each posture (asana) incorporates the guidance to the inner fire climb of Kundalini with breath the key element, the infinite subtle energy becomes more lit and alive within us that we guide upward.
‘Surya Namaskar’, the sun salutation, is a perfect series of asanas to guide this fire with each series dedicated to the conscious lighting up of each chakra.
The descent of each breath into the ‘muladhara triangle’ is vital. This triangle keeps ascending as we build our fire climbing up the chakras. The goal is to reach the Ajna chakra, the ‘third eye’, the chakra of Siva-Sakthi, with the union of the muladhara fire. To meditate in this sacred spot is to be with the state of Turiya. This state of mind gives us the larger picture of our life and all around it. It is like climbing up a mountain and taking the breath of freedom from the peak with the vision of seeing all those limitations, frustrations and pains small in comparison to the larger picture!
It is in the muladhara that our earthly aspirations of the mind with all three natures, tamasic nature included, that fulfills as a divine instrument to complete human karma. Connecting the ‘lower’ chakra to the higher plane of consciousness, the ‘eye’ of awareness enables every sphere of our life to be fulfilled with the higher wisdom enacting our reality on this human plane- the body in its health, relationships fulfilling, career inspiring and the mind knowing the larger picture that is connected to Source.
In this seat of wisdom, all facets of life blossoms to allow us to mature into seedless eternal fruit of yoga!
The Sage then whispered, “Sitting on the peak with the view from the eternal, the subtle is visible and not hindered invisible anymore by the gross. Below in the mundane is the choice to be the muck or in yoga to reach out to the blissful reality as the lotus of knowing. The knowing discarding away belief as the peaks view is the ancient truth worth each breath in the mundane world.”
These loud thoughts of the Sage are reflected below-
1. All our youth, our energy flows upwards, which constantly rejuvenates the body. From the age of 27 onwards, our energy begins to flow downward progressing with age. This energy flow downwards is accelerated when the mind is scattered, overburdened and not centered. Yoga redirects the energy upward. Yoga must be practiced with this insight.
2. From the start to finish of a yoga session, be present within the eternal Aum. This eternal Aum is called, the nada, the resonance of the divine heard and unheard. In this process, the breath clings on to the Aum recited. Breath then is becomes like a creeper climbing up the eternal pillar of joy and knowing. This surely will get the energy surging upwards!
3. Our body is a product of karma and ego. We were born to complete the past. We are today the sum total of the past. The lighter beings carry less of the past and future to live in the eternal present. Yoga brings us to the present as the truthful center that overflows in bliss shedding the past and future the mind carries as baggage. The mind brought to its calm true state of bliss rising up into the absolute present then shapes the body as the calm tranquil mind free of burden delights in feeding the rejuvenative energy to the body.
4. Know the upward climb of yoga to be the various states of the body transcended by the mind and finally reaching the single pointed blissful awareness of the soul. This is however a foundation needing to be built with each asana (posture), concentrating on the energy within each chakra and ascending above finally to perch between the eyebrows.
5. Each chakra has been described by the ancient wisdom so that the upward journey by a yogin could be mapped with milestones to invoke the divine essence at each of these energy centers so encompassing each facet of our life to ensure harmony in the upward climb.
6.Ha means the Sun and Tha means the Moon. The word Hatha is derived from the knowing of these two energies of the sun and the moon. Five times a day, our breath switches to the right nostril, the energy of the Sun. When we are excited, inspired, divinely absorbed or in intense concentration, we breath through our right, the Sun energy. At times of sunrise or sunset, we would be breathing through our right. When we are sad, sleepy, ill, tired or in a very relaxed mood, we must be breathing through our left nostril, the Moon energy. The Sun energy increases the metabolic rate and results in weight loss but in excess could result in a burn out of energy. The Moon energy rejuvenates and is normally predominant while we are sleeping. Hatha yoga is the union of these two energy fields through breath as the subdued mind climbs to the divine with the grace of harmony and balance between the two energy fields.
7. Nadi- shuddi, a pranayama (breathing) practice of alternative nasal breathing is important at the early stages of the yoga session. This practice cleanses the nadis, which are the 72000 energy points running through our body and enables the mind to single-pointedness when practiced with visualization and mantra counts. Nadi-shuddi is like dusting and cleansing the mind and body. Since our yogic journey upwards will invoke powerful divine energy we need to make our mind and body compliant with this higher energy by doing the nadi-shuddi.
8. While doing yoga, be aware of the moment of breath when you exhale to inhale and inhale to exhale. The mind normally flutters at this moment of change in breath with stray thoughts. To turn this disadvantage into an advantage, develop a fixed thought pattern through japa (repetitive recitation of mantra) to latch the mind to the divine single pointedness. Every time you inhale, ask yourself, Who am I, and when you exhale, I am That even as you recite your mantra to achieve the yogic objective of the calm state of I AM, the residual truth.
9. Remember that for yoga to be effective, the healing essence and the rejuvenating energy are the vital for the body, which relies on its primary source, the mind. The mind in turns relies on the vast space of divinity as the mighty Void or the overflowing Absolute in the form of pure bliss. This union of the body, mind and the spirit is prana breath, divine knowing and grace. The Oneness in the trinity is bliss.
10. Upon each break to inhale, our state of awareness falls below from wisdom to intellect as we meditate. The Siddha technique to harness the change in state of mind is to let our awareness during the descent for breath be on the chakra on we are contemplating. As we ascend chakra, so does our awareness too of the particular chakra and focusing our inhaled breath through that chakra provides the bandha, which locks up the energy each chakra up building a foundation.
11. The bandha, is the process of consciously locking up or creating a dam for the energy already built up. In our ascent upwards, we would wish to climb on foundations of energy fields that serve as the safety net on which we can bounce up higher each time we land when descending for the next breath. The bandha, the lock, creates this energy field. To create a bandha, using our muscles gently with subtle attention to the deity we are with of that particular chakra in the awareness.
12. There is a bridge within the mind between the conscious single thought and the unconscious void/absolute thought. In yoga, this is a process of surrender of thought process to the lamp lit within. To keep the intellect alive and nourished through the brightness of wisdom, break through the inner vision of the third eye, between the eyebrows and hold on to the consciousness while perched there. This will focus will carry the mind through the divine journey with adequate grounding on return back to perform normal day to day work.
The mind is the master of senses five;
He is the head of the body habitat;
There is a steed (breath) he rides to his destined goal;
The masterly one the steed carries,
The feeble one it throws away;
That steed the Prana Breath is!
Siddhar Thirumulanathar, a Siddha Sage, the Grand Guru to many Sages who attained Light.
A Sage narrated, “The fifth sheath of true being is pure joy with the union of divine sparkling as overflowing peace within us. Here, however, is a greater understanding when the body, mind and soul cry to be united with this immense divine. The soul is already ‘That’, but the mind and body must repay karma to become That. This yogic reality then puts life on a ‘fast-forward’ mode. The yogin sits in calm divine within the eye of a hurricane like energy field while all else is redeemed through higher energy flowing from within. Yoga is the centering force, the yogin is within and beyond this ‘reality’, burning out karma of past, present and future.”
1. Each asana, ‘the seat’, nurtures divine attributes. Each asana of yoga represents evolution of the human body and representation of each living entity. Each living entity has that ‘special’, i.e., an ant for its strength in proportion to its size, a camel for its ability to sustain etc. Plunge into capturing this divine nectar of understanding within each asana.
2. Recognizing the process of surrender within each asana, create a single pointed mind pegged to the divine throughout the yoga session.
3. A single pointed mind and infinite energy are the outcome of ‘divine breathing’. The breath is held as a song with each breath more deep with the need to merge with the divine. Elongated deep breath with the urge to merge in the divine provides the ‘intoxicating’ feeling and in turn allows for even deeper breathing as an inward whirl into the divine. Drunk in this divine, set yourself free of the thoughts and in that emptiness alternating in fullness, feel the presence of the divine within yourself.
4. Begin to recognize the body as a divine creation of elements in the male and female principle. Begin with the element of earth, then water, then fire, then air and finally space. Ascend upward through each uniting the male and female to become one whole through each. The concept of yin and yang of wholeness applies here when each element is visualized as the basis of our own creation of the body, mind, karma and divine attributes. For instance, if the male element is space or nothingness, the feminine divine is fullness and manifestation.
5. Each ‘chakra’ or energy center within us is a seat within to climb up. Rest and rejuvenate and be absorbed within each energy center before leaping upward to the next. What takes us above is the feminine divine grace characterized as gentleness and nurturing energy. Siddhars invoke the grace of the Goddess to move above to the next orbit at every stage much as a child cries and the mother responds to the child’s needs.
6. Climbing up each chakra through the divinity present in each, then perform the ‘bandha’ in each. Bandha means to lock/ block/withhold the sages mention the process as like creating a dam to withhold water. It implies, locking the energy at each chakra as our consciousness surges upwards withholding wastage of energy due to its natural downward flow.
7. Gently contracting the muscles as you start with the base below your spine, then your genital area and above your navel area, form this as the most important lock as you climb upward. As you climb upward to your solar plexus region, keep adding up the locks while being conscious of the breath now held within. Hold the breath as a huge pot from your belly upwards and perform the bandha.
It is in the bandhas and breath-retaining techniques that the evolved yogis are able to take their body beyond the influence of outside temperatures as the body builds tapasic heat. It Tibetian tantric yoga, it is called tumo. It is the presence of Mother Kundalini.
8. The sacred fire that destroys karma is alight upon climbing above the navel. The navel chakra is the realms beyond animal instinct and seat above the grasp of ego and attachment. From here and above, seeds of negative karma of past, present, and future are burnt as the mantra energy and mental resonance takes us deeper to the divine without the downward pull.
9.Yoga is a good workout to burn negative karma with divine guidance and protection with the internal fire invoked. This internal fire constantly fed by the surrender of ego burns the seeds of past, present and future karma that prevents us from being divine beings. Our inherent good nature is angel just waiting to be released as our true personality, wishing to fulfill its duty of earthly manifestation.
The law of karma begins with good thoughts free of ego.
10. Incorporate your daily yoga with these divine insights. Each day of the journey opens newer doors above and the pathway to becoming the infinite becomes wider with our intellect drinking higher wisdom absorbed in our yoga to become our own personal Guru.
11. When in the final stage of relaxation as in savasana, the corpse pose, imagine yourself free of the mind and body. Ask yourself, Whom am I? Then feel your blissful free spirit. Hold this truthful experience of true freedom. In actual world, this would allow you to see everything with detachment, free of ego.
12. Yoga sets free the spirit that then evokes all the divine forces to work along with the awakened knowing. Heart’s work is always inspiring, courageous and is spiritual, the essence of the yogic journey.
13. Being in Spirit is the objective of yoga and this is the Space element representing fullness/void. Attaining the knowledge to represent the form of space, celebrate the immense freedom to be.
A quote from Patanjali- “Be steadfast in your abstention from thoughts of falsehood, of fear that things won’t work out. Be steadfast! And you will set in motion the dormant forces which will collaborate with you because you were in Spirit rather than form”.
Upon waking up in the morning: Remember to express gratitude for having been ‘born’ into another day as your first thought upon waking up. Take both your palms and place them before your face. Imagine your left hand to be the presence of your mother and the right hand to be the presence of your father. Then place your palms gently over your eyelids and express your love, gratitude and respect to your father and mother. Acknowledge your father and mother as two Divine entities that gave birth to you. Bring your awareness to your body and express gratitude to the Divine for all that you are.
Cut into the wedges of the end of each running thought and the beginning of each thought by seeking your Source. Reciting a mantra in silence or aloud helps. Dedicate your day to the Source and gently bring your thought to the present moment.
Drinking Water: Drink lots of water immediately. The art of drinking lots of water is to ensure that the water is room temperature or slightly warm. Visualize your stomach as a huge pot capable of holding large capacity of water as you drink water. Drink the water without tasting it. When we do not taste water we are able to drink a larger quantity of water. After drinking water, rub your stomach gently clockwise. Start with the belly button at the center with each circular motion proceeding outwards in a spiral motion with one palm over the other. When going through your bowel movements, visualize the part below your navel in pink color. This will help your bowel movements.
Sun Salutation: Start your yoga ideally with a warm up Sun Salutation. The Sun Salutation is highly recommended to enable a daily routine of yoga. Due to the simplicity in the sequence of postures it is easy to set our daily routine with Sun Salutation by ourselves. Within just 10 minutes, even if a few rounds of Sun Salutation is accomplished at the start of the day, we are kept inspired with a higher level of metabolism throughout the day.
First round of yoga- Bring your awareness to your body in the first round of Sun Salutation. Enjoy your Sun Salutation as though you are giving yourself a massage. Be tender, loving and kind to yourself. Visualize a cat stretching itself- feel yourself doing yoga enjoying your body.
The Sun Salutation contains nearly all the essential awakening vital energies with each pose holding vast wisdom and a journey within itself pose to pose. We can never reach a point in time where the learning stops while doing Sun Salutation. For example- the Downward Dog posture in Sun Salutation is to enable rejuvenative energies to flow when we visualize our body to be the vast infinite sky above or the Namaste (Anjali Mudra) posture at the start and end of Sun Salutation as to acknowledge ourselves to be the Divine as Spirit in the body. More info
Yogic Breathing: During every inhale through the process of our daily hatha yoga we take a deep inhale of breath all the way below the navel. This is the way we breathe when we are little children and slowly we forget this deeply inhaled tranquilizing breath of harmony as we become adults. Hold the inhaled breath and gently squeeze the muscles of the muladhara chakra- between the anus and the urinary tract in the retention of breath. Visualize a lamp lit in the retention of breath. In the exhale, feel the upward moving energies nourish your lower back, straightening your spinal cord from the tail bone. Slowly let your exhales open your shoulder blades as you visualize your breath opening your heart.
Garland of breath- Sages mention of how each long exhale is connected with the inhale and the retention to achieve a steady flow of directed thoughts. Breath slowly becomes like a garland and our awareness maintains this interconnected breath as we go about doing our asanas, pose to pose.
The Experience: As we do our yoga postures begin to identify ourselves as the body, then as the mind and slowly as the Spirit. Gradually, our experience of being the Spirit allows us the joys of the higher perch. This higher perch within ourselves with the experience of being the Spirit enables us to be in the moment of now through the joy we derive in our yoga.
When we experience the joy of being in our yoga, the body and mind absorbs the good energies of our happiness. We become aware of the higher perspective through the joys of being in the moment. Our mind becomes fertile to the thinking process due to the clarity of thoughts we attain and within the clear mind is the state of ananda, the undiluted bliss as joy. Being joyful is being connected to Source, the goal of yoga.
The Union: Satchidananda is one of the beautiful names for God, to describe Lord Siva, the Eternal Yogi within ourselves. Satchidananda means, Bliss Formed. The Sages, mention that our body and mind becomes the form of love when we hold the experience of joy. Being Satchidananda is being one with God, our mind and body dissolved in love.