Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dedication to the Art of Yoga

By Faye Martins

Dedication to the art of Yoga is one of the most important keys to realizing the fruits of your practice. Traditionally, a Yoga student or aspirant was required to do selfless service for a decade or longer, before being offered Yogic teachings and techniques from a Guru. In today’s world, these teachings and techniques are readily available to any interested student.

Yoga practices will bear the most fruit if a student receives Shakipat or spiritual initiation from his or her Guru prior to beginning Yogic practices. There are a few living Yoga masters who are available to students today. Spending time with an enlightened master will ignite and nourish your Yoga practice.

The art and practice of Yoga is a life-long journey of awakening, exploration, discovery, healing, and divine joy. The art of Yoga consists of a variety of different practices such as selfless service, study of the scriptures, asanas, meditation, pranayama, self-inquiry, and mantra. As a student engages with the practices on a regular basis, the inner energy of meditation will become stronger and will begin to permeate his or her life.

As the energy awakens and ascends up through the chakras, many different thoughts, emotions, and experiences will rise to the surface. This will give the student an opportunity to process and integrate these different experiences and thoughts from a place of compassion and love.

In order to complete the path of Yoga and become united with the divine energy residing within one’s own heart, the student must be dedicated and steadfast in his or her practices. The Yogic path is not always easy or fun. It can be very difficult and painful as all sorts of memories, thoughts, and emotions are stirred up by the increasing inner fire (tapas). We also may be challenged to let go of unhealthy behaviors and attachments as our vibration level is raised higher. This inner fire or tapas can be daunting and requires true dedication on the part of the student.

After some time dedicated to the art of Yoga, a student will experience the fruits of his or her ardent study. These “fruits” can range from a stronger body to a clearer mind, all the way to experience the feeling of, or vision of, the essence of God within each of us. It is said that when we are able to behold Divine love within our own being and focus on it, great knowledge and bliss will arise. This is the greatest fruit of a steady dedication to the art of Yoga.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Friday, April 29, 2011

The Origin of Hot Yoga

hot yoga teacher training intensive
By Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 250

The original creator of Hot Yoga is a great Yogi by the name of Bikram Choudhary. Bikram Choudhary is an Olympic champion in weight-lifting. In the 1960′s, he won Olympic Gold in his class. For personal health reasons, Bikram sequenced traditional Yoga poses in a very specific way, in order to promote the health and healing of the physical body and mind.

One of the main aspects of Hot Yoga is that the Yoga asana sequence is performed in a very hot and humid room. Ideally, the temperature is to be set at 105 degrees and the humidity level between 40-50 percent. Performing Yoga asanas in a heated room helps the elasticity of the muscles and ligaments and also enhances the detoxification process.

Bikram Choudhury was born in Kolkata, India in 1946. He began to learn and practice Yoga asanas at the age of three. When Bikram was five years old, he began studying Yoga techniques with his teacher, Bishnu Ghosh. Bishnu Ghosh is the brother of Paramahansa Yogananda, a beloved Yoga instructor and meditation teacher. This lineage focuses on bringing ancient Indian scriptural wisdom to the Western world, while maintaining the integrity of the original manuscripts.

By the age of 14, Bikram was known as an exemplary practitioner. Within his lineage, he was declared to be a Yoga Raj, or King of Yoga. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, at age 20, Bikram suffered a severe weightlifting accident that crippled him. Bikram was told that he would never walk again.

With the expert guidance and support of his guru, Bikram created a series of 26 yoga asanas that ultimately restored his health. To the doctors’ amazement, he made a full recovery in six months through the ardent practice of this 26 asana posture series. Several years later, Bikram opened up Yoga schools in Japan and India. In 1972, he traveled to the United States and opened up the Bikram Yoga College of India that is flourishing today.

The practice of Hot Yoga has grown out of Bikram Yoga. Bikram Yoga outlines a set practice of asanas, in a specific order. Hot Yogic styles utilize Bikram Yoga as a framework from which to build a powerful and effective Yoga practice. The use of a heated and humid room is also a core element of any Hot Yoga practice. Truly, Hot Yoga practitioners and teachers owe a debt of gratitude to Bikram Choudhury and his teacher, Bishnu Ghosh, in the creation of such a powerful and healing Yoga practice.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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