We have been listening to the wonderful music and chanting of artist Rajesh David at the beginning of our sessions this term. The CD (titled ‘Mantram’) is available from his website here and contains several mantras set to haunting melodies which are ideal for relaxation and meditation. All of the tunes are famous mantra chants. The one of particular interest to us has been the Gayatri which we have listened to a variety of versions this year.
The Gayatri chant is from the Rig Veda one of the oldest known written works. It has been sung from the very beginnings of time. Why not join in and hum or sing along? It has a calming and uplifting effect and once you know it you can do it anywhere. There are many benefits to chanting the Gayatri including helping you breathe more slowly, stimulating the subtle energy centres in the body and improving concentration. For 10 benefits of chanting the Gayatri see this site
There are many translations, here is one by Deva Premal:
Om bhur bhuvah svah
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dhimahi
Dhiyo yonah prachodayat
Through the coming, going, and the balance of life
The essential nature illuminating existence is the adorable one
May all perceive through subtle intellect
The brilliance of enlightenment
The following inspiration comes from Eileen Caddy – in her book ‘Opening Doors Within (365 daily meditations)’
Be yourself, and do not try to be like anyone else. It takes all sorts to make a world. I do not want you all alike, like peas in a pod. I need you all different, each doing your specific job and playing your specific part, blending in perfectly with the whole. It does not mean that there need be any disharmony or discord because you are all different. There are many different musical instruments in a full orchestra, and each has its rightful place in the whole and blends in perfectly when working in harmony with the whole. It is when individual souls go off on their own tangents with no thought or consideration for the whole that discord and chaos are created. When your heart is in the right place and you are living and working together for the good of the whole, only the very best will come forth. Therefore cease struggling and let go. All you have to do is to be, and let everything unfold.
The brilliant image is by Dianae Diviantart
Pushan mudra is a symbolic gesture designed to fill you with energy to give and receive joy. With the right hand bring the tips of the index and middle fingers to touch the tip of the thumb. With the left hand bring the tips of your middle and ring fingers to touch the tip of the thumb. Stretch out the fingers that don’t touch the thumbs. Hold for 5 minutes twice a day – or as and when required.
This mudra is for accepting as well as giving – you will feel the energy in the hands, it is quite a work out for your fingers. Benefits of this mudra include aiding digestion, can help with nausea and seasickness.
The term Pushan means to prosper, to grow and to thrive. Enjoy working with this mudra!
I like to chant OM 3 times at the beginning and end of all my classes. I’m sure over the course of my teaching this might have put some people off coming to yoga – it is a bit weird to the Western ear. But I still like to do it even for people at their very first class. It makes me feel very calm and ready to teach the class. Everyone has the choice to chant or just listen.
It also helps students become ready for their class too. There are may theorised benefits about chanting or listening to OM –
- helps to elongate the breath – this has many benefits including fully oxygenating the tissues of the body and gentle massaging of the heart by the diaphragm.
- The sound vibrations help to calm the nervous system.
- The single focus helps to clear the mind of daily clutter.
How to chant a good OM
Sit comfortably with your back straight. Lift the ribcage and elongate the spine.
Breath quietly and calmly for a few breaths.
Take a lovely, long deep inhale – expand you ribcage out to the sides of the room.
On the exhalation begin chanting OM – there are 4 distinct parts –
Chant twice more. (3 oms a day help you work, rest and play!)
There was an article recently published in the FT about how OM chanting affected the brain waves and is very good for your mental health – you can read it here – but again, more theory!! I think as with most things in life you have to suck it and see for yourself.
Try it, you might like it!
One Saturday in the summer a group of us went up to the Purelands Meditation gardens and spent a wonderful day with Buddha Maitreya a Buddhist Monk of great experience. He spoke gently and kindly to us all, seeking to know what we did in the world and proceeded to explain that all we needed to meditate and be happy was here with us – there was nothing to learn, no goal, no achievement but simply to be here now and relax.
I have visited Buddhist Monks before and been led in meditation, but none had got to such a point. It seemed with the other practices that there was actually very much to learn (recitations going on for hours). But with Maitreya the words and the way in which he showed us to hold our hands and arms was so simple and effective that I truly believed I did have all that was necessary to relax into the moment.
“Meditation is not trying to stop thinking. It is the moment of quiet appreciation of the inner truth”
For more information about the Purlands garden and events see their website here
6th August 2016
SUMMER TRIP TO PURELANDS
Japanese Garden Meditation Day
10 .30 – 4.30
Lunch & Afternoon Tea Included
Join us to learn the simple approach to inner peace and self-realisation with meditation master Buddha Maitreya. Beginners welcome for a relaxing and enlightening day.
Take your own transport and meet at the garden. I will book us in and let you know the payment details.
The Yoga and Meditation classes will have a focus on the heart for the last term this year. We’ll be working to improve our circulation and our understanding of the anatomy of the heart. Following on from last terms work on the rib cage we’ll work with practices that transform the ribs from a cage into more of a ‘basket’ – working on a theme of ‘nesting’ or ‘nestling’ the heart at the centre of our physical and emotional body like a small egg in a nest.
Underpinning our asana, pranayama and nidra practices will be developing our knowledge of the heart. We’ll have a look at the actual make up of the heart – where it is, what exactly does it do and the main things that can go wrong.
If you would like to join us for these informative and enjoyable sessions please do get in touch with me to see if there are spaces.
Classes take place
Tuesdays – Preston 6 – 7.30
Wednesdays – Ryhall 10 – 11.30 and 7.15 – 8.45
The cost for the term of 7 weeks is £49
AKASA – is Sanskrit meaning space – a wide, free, open space. We can use it to describe the ether, sky or the atmosphere.
When a sunny day arrives, enjoy it and make the most of it… lie on your back out in the open air, gaze up at the sky. Allow your mind to wander and the eyes to soften. Let the breath be slow and smooth. Feel as though you are connecting with both the whole world around you and your soul within. It is an opportunity to let go of the feeling of isolation;- let go of the feeling of being an individual and join in with the flow of the universal cosmos.
Garuda the mystical bird, is the carrier of lord Vishnu. Garuda is the king of birds, sky and air. Birds generally have sharp eyes, a distinct sense of orientation, and strong survival instincts. Garuda mudra is a powerful mudra to add to your daily yoga and meditation practice. Garuda mudra is useful in balancing energy in the body. It is very beneficial for the circulatory systems and should be used for about 4 minutes 3 times a day.
Sit in a meditation position of your choice and place the right hand on top of the left, spread the fingers and gently hook the thumbs. Place the hands horizontally in the lap. Whilst in position imagine living your life as a big bird of prey – you sail elegantly and lightly through the air and see the ground below clearly. You see the landscape all around you for what it is – the mountains are challenges but are not too high for you to fly over. Breathe deeply. Use your clear vision to ascertain what is significant in your life and what is unimportant.
Sit up tall, place both feet evenly on the floor and, if you’re sitting press down a little to feel yourself connected to the earth. Breath in and out through the nose. Imagine that you are filling your lungs from the bottom up – like pouring water into a bucket. Breath right up into your throat and then out again. Don’t go too mad or you will get all dizzy – simply take 4 or 5 full breaths and then smile.