Have you ever intentionally forced yourself to continue dreaming a sweet dream in the morning? Or after you suddenly wake up from a nightmare, you close your eyes and continue with the dream just to make sure you get a happy ending? All these are forms of dream yoga. The only difference is that you don’t quite understand at which point in your sleep you should actualize the dream so ideally, you are already awake.
A Practical Lucid Dreaming Experience
Do you believe in hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis seeks to tap into your unconscious mind. Either the therapist puts you to lucid dream by a series of imaginations or repetitive sounds that make you slowly drift to sleep.
You can apply the same technique to achieve dream yoga. But first, is it really worth the effort?
Advantages of Dream Yoga
A Tool for Healing and Self-control
We all have fears in life, don’t we? However, for some people these fears define them. For example, a person who is afraid of snakes will wake up sweating if they experience snakes in their dreams. And probably, during the day, any slithering creature they come across might raise their blood pressure.
Dream yoga dares you to face these fears. Is your dad too sick that you keep dreaming of his burial? Face that fear and create a “happy ending” in your lucid dreams. You see, the brain never sleeps. It doesn’t differentiate dreams from reality. Therefore, when you constantly channel happy thoughts in your dreams, your brain reprograms and releases the phobias we carry along in life.
Self-discovery and Unleashing Your Full Potential
Have you read a book called “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne? The book is all about using your brain to attract positivity in your life. The author explains that today’s billionaires are not by chance. They understand and apply “the secret”.
Dream Yoga helps you tap into your brain’s full potential. You can task your brain to find answers to the questions you couldn’t handle while awake. You can also create situations just as you want them to happen. Be it your dream job, your dream family, etc., you can start creating them tonight in your lucid dreams.
Eventually, if you apply the secrets you explore in your dreams, these imaginations will come to be. How soon they happen depends on the amount of effort you put in after you wake up.
I must also mention that this particular advantage is misused quite often. People create fantasies that affect them negatively and in the end, they get lost in these fantasies. Don’t get too fascinated or attached to your dream creations such that you reinforce your mind’s negative habits. Learn to separate light from the darkness: even in your dreams.
Dream Yoga Generates Happiness
Assume you’re having a dream where your boat is almost capsizing in a river. If you start thinking it’s real, you can get terribly scared, right? Now imagine you have mastered the art of lucid dreaming. At this point, you just tap into your unconscious mind, start jumping left and right and balance that boat like “Wakanda” in the movies.
How does that make you feel?
Like Superman, right?
You also make sure that you wake up once the boat has safely docked.
Similarly, you can play around with ordinary life challenges. You stop being more reserved, timid, and more cautious, and instead, live your life to the fullest. Your life becomes your dream. Eventually, just like other types of yoga, dream yoga builds self-esteem and improves your self-confidence.
How to Practice Dream Yoga?
Now that you understand the need to be conscious in your dreams, let me teach you the simple steps to achieve dream yoga.
Start with Affirmations
Say it repeatedly to yourself “tonight I will become lucid in my dreams”. Feel this affirmation and believe it in your heart. We call this the law of intention.
Alongside affirmation, create good thoughts as you draw closer to bedtime. Usually, your last thought creates your dream structure.
When you finally lie on that bed, relax. Take deep breathes and count backward if you have to. If you’re unsettled, you will not achieve dream yoga.
This is considered the best posture to sleep, dream, or die. You sleep on your right side to employ the calm states of consciousness and facilitate throat chakra. You also block masculine negative energies that interfere with waking consciousness in this position.
Evoke Throat Chakra
Bindus are concentrated points that influence your conscious mind (mind drops). And where the bindus go, they dictate your consciousness. When you’re awake (like during the day), the bindus are concentrated in the forehead. When you’re deep asleep, they go to the heart. However, when you’re waking up from deep sleep, the bindus converge towards the throat. As a result, it is important that you evoke throat chakra before you fall asleep.
Create an image in your mind that starts from the forehead and ends in the throat. This can be a small light or a drawing of the chakras at this level. Follow that light/drawing and in no time, you will be fast asleep.
According to, Charlie Morley, an icon in the art of dream yoga, to experience this form of yoga, you must become lucid in your dream. By lucid we mean the conscious mind starts to explore as you use your unconscious mind.
To test your level of awareness, practice things that are unachievable in real life. For example, you can fly around or try walking through a wall. Initially, your mind will convince you it’s real, and you find it almost impossible to achieve. However, if you stay with it, and convince yourself that it’s an illusion, you will eventually walk through that wall.
Alternatively, play mind games. Try walking through that wall backwards. As long as you don’t see the wall, you will definitely walk through it. And just like that, you now know the magic key to turn on your consciousness.
Lucid dreams are extraordinarily vivid, pleasurable, intense, and exhilarating. I consider my lucid dreams some of the most wonderful experiences in my life. I can be anywhere I want. All I have to do is close my eyes and make sure I tap into my consciousness. Have you experienced dream yoga? If not, you have no idea what you are missing!
Mantra Yoga: A Magnificent Tool For Self-Transformation
When we are starting the process of self-transformation, it is important to do it comprehensively on three levels: physical, energetic and consciousness level. It is really important to understand that all three aspects are interrelated. For example, energy problems enslave the physical body and affect our consciousness. Mantra yoga is a very effective unique tool for self-transformation on all three levels.
In this article, I’ll share with you what mantra yoga is, what are its benefits, and give you some tips on how to start your practice.
How Does Mantra Help Our Self-Transformation?
As I already said, mantra is a unique yoga tool that affects three levels at once: body, energy, and consciousness. It was empirically proved that the sounds of Sanskrit have healing power, that is, the very sound of the mantra heals the body.
Mantra also contains energy, which gets into resonance with your body when you’re chanting mantras. And the influence of the mantra on our consciousness is due to a simple principle: “we become what we concentrate on.”
Everyday people concentrate on what is important to them. But, unfortunately, usually, it is a concentration on something negative. Thus, we all have concentration skills, we just need to learn how to use this concentration correctly. And it is mantra yoga that allows us to learn this skill.
What Is Mantra?
Mantra is not just a random set of unintelligible sounds in an unknown language. Each mantra contains sacred energy that is coded into the sound.
Most often, mantra does not have a specific and single translation. Thus, the practitioner must find out the meaning of the mantra he/she is practicing. And the level and depth of this understanding always align with the level of self-transformation in the process of practice.
By concentrating on mantra, its meaning, and thinking about it, we transform our personality. As I already said – we become what we are focused on!
Thus, by concentrating on the mantra that is associated with a particular deity, we concentrate on the energy and qualities of that deity. This energy will come into our lives, and the qualities of the deity will become our own qualities. By concentrating on something energetically pure, we purify ourselves. Or by concentrating on something great, we cultivate the best qualities of our soul.
For example, by concentrating on Shiva mantra, we adopt the qualities of Lord Shiva.
Varieties of Mantras In Mantra Yoga
All mantras were received by the ancient sages in a state of superconsciousness or expanded consciousness with a specific purpose. Depending on the purpose, mantras can be divided into three groups:
The essence of these mantras is the liberation of the mind from the limitations of the human form and the ultimate liberation.
Liberation mantras are safe and can be practiced by everyone. Their intention promotes the evolution of the Universe and self-transformation. These mantras do not have any selfish material goals based on greed.
2. Blessing Mantras
The essence of these mantras is to bring prosperity and fulfillment of various desires into everyday life.
Blessing mantras work with certain energies, both the energies of saints, deities and the energies of various spirits.
3. Healing Mantras
These mantras are aimed at healing specific diseases.
Different Ways to Practice Mantra Yoga
#1 Mantra Chanting
The most common way to practice mantra yoga is by actually chanting the mantra. And it is quite a powerful tool for cleansing our mind and our aura of the negative energy. Mantra chanting allows us to clear our subconscious mind of destructive attitudes that each of us has. This practice changes our energy. If by practicing asanas we can transform our energy in 1-2 hours, then by mantra chanting the same result can be achieved in 15-30 minutes.
#2 Mantra Concentration
Another way to practice mantra yoga is meditation with a concentration on a mantra. Concentration on the mantra energy will help you to enter into resonance with the energy of the mantra. Regular practice of such meditation will allow you to maintain energy at the proper level.
#3 Mantra Chanting Combined With Pranayama
You can also chant mantras while practicing pranayama.
For example, the mantra “Soham” is often used in pranayama practice. Listen to your breath, it involuntarily utters the sound of “So” on the inhale and “ham-m-m” on the exhale.
#4 Integrating Mantra Into Your Regular Life
You can turn your whole life into a permanent practice of mantra yoga. To do this, you need to constantly keep the mantra of your choice in mind. Repeat it to yourself, thinking and delving into its meaning, trying to comprehend it not only on an intellectual but also on a spiritual level.
Our mind often clings to the objects of the outside world. By being attached to them, it is drawn into an endless thought process that makes us not only waste energy but often concentrate on negative things. The constant repetition of the mantra will allow us to occupy our restless mind with a concentration on the higher vibrations.
#5 OM Mantra Practice
It is believed that if a person has accumulated experience in the practice of the mantra “Om” during this life, then full concentration on this mantra at the moment of leaving the physical body will allow him/her to be reborn in the higher worlds, even despite the presence of negative karma.
Even in the moment of death the principle “we become what we concentrate on” works. And if a person concentrates on the divine sound of the mantra “Om”, from which our entire Universe once arose, then his consciousness at this moment resonates with the divine energy and acquires divine qualities.
Reincarnation is based on the principle of “we always attract what we radiate”. Therefore after death, a person will be incarnated into a world that corresponds to the qualities of his/her consciousness at the time of death. That is why people who have the divine qualities of consciousness, can incarnate into Higher Worlds.
Moreover, since at the moment of death there is a natural dis-identification of consciousness with the mind and body, then with the proper level of awareness and experience in mantra yoga practice it is possible at this very moment to achieve the state of Buddha and liberate yourself from the cycle of rebirth.
Thus, the practice of mantra yoga not only allows us to transform our consciousness during our current life but also can contribute to an adequate transformation, which is equally important.
Mantra Yoga And Purity of Mind
It is also worth considering that mantra practice requires a certain purity of mind and the ability to concentrate. At the beginning of the practice of mastering the art of mantra yoga, mantra is used as a means of bringing the mind into balance by concentrating on the pronounced combination of sounds.
You basically concentrate on mantra chanting, discarding all other thoughts, and creating certain vibrations that change your mindset. This practice clears your mind from unnecessary thoughts.
When Will Mantra Start To Work?
When there is no resistance to the process, and the repetition of the mantra does not require effort, the practitioner goes to the silent repetition of the mantra, which reveals its true essence – the understanding of the intellectual level, and direct knowledge.
Mantra begins to change your physical reality (to cure diseases, change the course of things, etc.) when you start to maintain a proper life and develop certain qualities that resonate with the vibrations with the mantra you practice (such as compassion, unconditional love, etc.).
How To Make Words Powerful?
You have to understand that in order to see real results from your mantra practice your word should gain strength. What does it mean? You see, unfortunately, most people don’t pay too much attention to what they say. Therefore, their words lose their power to manifest reality.
Therefore, it is very important to always follow your word, say what you think, fulfill promises, tell the truth. You basically need to align your feelings, thoughts, and actions.
In order for the power of the word to become unshakable, it is also very important to remain in the silence of the mind, to be free from attachments and emotions, not to be attached to the results of your actions and to be responsible for every word you speak.
The purer your mind, the less chaotic your thoughts, the better the ability to concentrate on one thing, and the more powerful your mantra practice becomes.
The Bottom Line
The miraculous effect of the mantra lies not so much in the right combination of words, intonation, melody, and rhythm as in faith itself. And faith comes from the alignment of the mind with the Universe, God, Tradition, Teacher, or all together. When faith becomes an axiom, then the mantra begins to work.
Bikram Yoga: Benefits And Harm Of Hot Yoga Classes
Have you heard about Bikram yoga? This yoga style is becoming more and more popular. Many practitioners find it very effective for creating
What Is Bikram Yoga?
Bikram yoga is a complex of certain asanas that are performed in a hot room. This type of yoga got its name from its founder Bikram Choudhury.
The initial class of Bikram yoga includes:
- 2 breathing exercises;
- 26 consecutive Hatha yoga asanas.
Bikram yoga classes are practiced in a room heated to 105 °F with a humidity of 40%. The duration of the lesson is 1.5 hours.
Due to the complexity of such “hot” exercises the whole body strengthens. Each posture of the asana flows smoothly into the next asana, thus increasing the flow of oxygen, through which toxins are removed from the body.
Bikram yoga is known for its martial style of teaching, the concentration of energy and impeccable posture. It is one of the most popular styles of hot yoga that is practiced all over the world. It should draw the attention of those people who prefer strict, disciplined practice, which controls everything – starting with breathing and ending with the opportunity to drink water.
Bikram Choudhury was born in Calcutta in 1944. At age four he already began practicing yoga. When he was 13 years old, Bikram received the title of national champion of India in yoga. At the age of 17, Bikram Choudhury severely injured his knee. Doctors said that he will never be able to walk independently.
But the young champion did not despair and under the guidance of his mentor, he began to perform asanas in a certain sequence, aimed at full recovery of the injured part of his body. A distinctive feature of this complex of asanas was that the room (where yoga was practiced) was very hot. This was essential in order to effectively work on the injured knee, and in order not to further damage. The result of hard training was a fully restored knee.
Bikram Choudhury reasonably believes that Hatha yoga brings the most positive results in conjunction with the hot climate of India. Naturally, not everyone has the opportunity to practice Bikram yoga in a hot climate. Therefore he suggested creating appropriate temperature regime artificially. In this case, we can practice hot yoga in any country, even in the North.
As a result of refinement and improvement of the sequence of asanas, Bikram Choudhury created his own unique style of Hatha yoga, which is now known as Bikram yoga.
Bikram Yoga Vs. Hot Yoga: What’s The Difference?
Many people think that Bikram and hot yoga are the same thing but these two styles still have differences.
So what’s the difference between Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga?
Bikram yoga studios must be heated to 105°F with 40% humidity.
Hot yoga rooms can vary in humidity and are generally heated to anywhere from 80 to 100°F.
2. Duration of the Class
The duration of the Bikram yoga class is always 90 mins.
Hot yoga classes can last anywhere from 60 to 90 mins.
Music or clapping are not allowed during Bikram yoga classes.
Hot yoga classes often have music playing during the class and even can be followed by a round of applause.
4. Asanas Variations
Bikram yoga includes the same 26 asanas and two breathing exercises. All the asanas and breathing exercises are performed in the same order every class.
Hot yoga can include many different asanas that may vary by class or/and studio.
The floors of Bikram yoga studios must be carpeted.
In Hot yoga studios, the floors are usually made of any type of artificial wood or any other material.
There must be bright lighting in the Bikram yoga studios.
Hot yoga classes are often performed with dim lights or even by candlelight.
7. Talking During the Class
It is not allowed to talk during a Bikram yoga class.
During a Hot yoga class, the students can interact with each other and with the yoga instructor.
It is difficult to say which one of these two styles is better. Everything is absolutely individual. Someone may be uncomfortable to practice yoga in a room heated to 105°F, and someone, on the contrary, will appreciate this temperature and find it easier to relax. There are such studios that conduct Bikram yoga classes in a very warm room, but only 60 minutes instead of 90 minutes and in a more relaxed mode.
Or, for example, you may not like to practice yoga on a carpeted floor and will appreciate the wooden floors more that regular hot yoga studios hold classes on.
So it’s completely up to you! Ask yourself which type of yoga will suit you better!
Bikram Yoga Postures And Their Benefits
During Bikram yoga class, a complex of 26 postures is performed in a strictly defined sequence. It is very important to perform these postures to the end and repeat each of them twice. As a result of each such practice, the vital energy (prana) circulates in your body harmoniously, and the organs are exposed to beneficial effects.
Bikram Yoga complex includes the following postures:
1. Pranayama (breathing practice)
This posture is aimed at relieving fatigue, relaxation and at the same time concentration on the upcoming yoga practice.
2. Half Moon Pose (ARDHA-CHANDRASANA)
This asana relaxes and gradually stretches the muscles of the whole body, preparing you to perform basic postures.
3. Awkward Pose (UTKATASANA)
This pose helps to tone and shape your legs, heals chronically cold feet, helps relieve rheumatism and arthritis in the legs, helps to cure slipped discs and other lower spine problems.
4. Eagle Pose (GARURASANA)
This pose is aimed at the development of coordination. This is due to the fact that some muscles of the body tense up, while others relax. As a result of performing this asana, pain in the back and joints goes away, the muscles of the legs come to tone, the blood flow improves.
5. Standing Head To Knee (DANDAYAMANA-JANUSHIRASANA)
Stretches the leg muscles and gluteal muscles, blood circulation in the brain becomes noticeably better, and the blood pressure returns to normal.
6. Standing Bow (DANDAYAMANA-DHANURASANA)
This asana is aimed at developing a sense of stability, discipline and emotional inner harmony and balance. In physical terms, there is a relaxation of the back and strengthening the muscles of the legs.
7. Balancing Stick (TULADANDASANA)
This asana has a moderate load on the heart, stimulates its intensive work and the release of blood. Thereby this posture helps clear the vessels and increases the activity of the brain. This asana is an excellent prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
8. Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose (DANDAYAMANA-BIBHAKTAPADA-PASCHIMOTTHANASANA)
This asana is aimed at stretching the muscles of the back and strengthening the blood flow to the joints. It also massages the internal abdominal organs, the small and large intestines.
9. Triangle Pose (TRIKANASANA)
This asana is aimed at the simultaneous study of all the muscles of the body and enhances metabolism. This pose is extremely beneficial for women with a broken menstrual cycle. It also benefits the heart and lungs.
10. Standing Separate Head to Knee Pose (DANDAYAMANA-BIBHAKTAPADA-JANUSHIRASANA)
This pose stimulates the work of all the glands of our body, especially the thyroid gland. It also helps to heal reproductive system disorders and frequent chronic migraines.
11. Tree Pose (TADASANA)
This asana aimed at stretching the spine and strengthening the muscles of the back. It improves your posture and reduces tension in the abdomen.
12. Toe Stand (PADANGUSTASANA)
This pose aimed at developing balance and strengthening willpower, as well as stretching the muscles of the legs.
13. Dead Body (SAVASANA)
This asana relaxes every single muscle of your body. As a result, the movement of blood and lymph comes back to normal. Moreover, the internal cleansing happens and we learn to relax.
14. Wind-Removing Pose (PAVANAMUKTASANA)
This pose massages the organs inside the body in a natural way which is especially beneficial for the digestive system.
15. Sit Up (PADA-HASTHASANA)
This asana clears the lungs of the air that has stagnated there. Also, it stretches the spine and increases flexibility.
16. Cobra (BHUJANGASANA)
During the performing of this asana, your arms are strengthened and your back muscles become more flexible. Thus there is a prevention of diseases in the lumbar region, such as, for example, arthritis. This asana increases the performance of the liver and spleen, and blood pressure returns to normal.
17. Locust Pose (SALABHASANA)
Great pose for those who have a pinched sciatic nerve or displaced vertebrae. Practicing Locust Pose is an excellent prevention of varicose veins.
18. Full Locust Pose (POORNA-SALABHASANA)
This pose increases strength in the middle spine and the rib cage elasticity. Also, it firms the abdominal muscles, upper arms, and hips.
19. Bow Pose (DHANURASANA)
This asana increases spine flexibility. It aids digestion, fights constipation, combats bronchitis and diabetes. This pose improves the functioning of the large and small intestines, the liver, kidneys, and spleen.
20. Fixed Firm Pose (SUPTA-VAJRASANA)
While performing this asana you are stretching your spinal muscles and the muscles of your ankles, resulting in visibly tightened thighs and belly. In addition, this asana is the prevention of diseases such as gout and varicose veins.
21. Half Tortoise (ARDHA-KURMASANA)
This asana improves sleep, helps to get rid of frequent migraines, improve memory and normalize blood circulation of the brain, as well as prolong your life.
22. Camel Pose (USTRASANA)
This pose helps to stretch the back muscles. It also improves the flexibility of your neck and spine and helps degenerative spinal problems. This asana helps constipation, stretches the throat, thyroid and parathyroid glands.
23. Rabbit Pose (USTRASANA)
This pose helps to reduce tension in the shoulders and neck. Is also helps alleviate colds, sinus problems, and chronic tonsillitis.
24. Head to Knee Pose and Stretching Pose (JANUSHIRASANA AND PASCHIMOTTHANASANA)
This asana is very beneficial for immune and lymphatic systems, allergies and arthritis. It increases circulation to the liver, pancreas, thyroid, thymus, and intestines. Also, performing this pose improves digestion.
25. Spine-Twisting Pose (ARDHA-MATSYENDRASANA)
Performing this twisting asana increases circulation to all the spinal nerves, veins, and tissues, and improves the elasticity of the spine. It relieves lower back pain and helps prevent slipped discs, kyphosis, scoliosis, cervical spondylosis, and arthritis.
26. Blowing In Firm Pose (KAPALBHATI IN VAJRASANA)
This pose improves digestion and circulation and increases the elasticity of the lungs.
Bikram Yoga Benefits
The successful outcome of Bikram yoga practice entirely depends on you. Regular classes and your devotion to the practice will soon bring positive effects.
The benefits of Bikram yoga are:
- provokes active burning of calories;
- helps to lose weight quickly, get rid of cellulite and bring your body into good shape;
- cleanses your body of toxins;
- your body gains great flexibility;
- strengthens the cardiovascular and respiratory system;
- helps to quickly recover from injuries of varying severity;
- improves metabolism;
- helps to relax after a hard day and put in order your nervous system;
- improves sleep quality;
- helps relieve stress (regular practice helps reduce cortisol levels);
- improves skin quality (helps get rid of acne and enlarged pores);
- all muscles come in tone;
- reduces depression;
- makes you more disciplined;
- helps to find inner balance and harmony with the outside world;
- increases immunity and it becomes easier for your body to fight infections and viruses;
- relieves mental stress and relaxes you.
Can Bikram Yoga Harm You?
Before choosing to attend Bikram or Hot yoga class you should be aware of the harm that this kind of yoga can cause.
There is a number of disadvantages that you may face during your hot yoga class.
1. A danger of excessive stretching
It may be hard to believe but if you have already good flexibility, then Bikram yoga can provoke muscle tension. The thing is the heat weakens the muscles and you may be in danger of excessive stretching.
2. A danger of dehydration
Practicing yoga in a hot room can naturally lower internal body temperature and provoke dehydration. Moreover, there is a significantly increased risk of heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. Symptoms of exhaustion include weakness, dizziness, and quite severe nausea, so if you encounter them, it is important to stop your yoga practice immediately and leave the class.
3. A danger of the kidney load increase
When we’re hot and stuffy, we’re thirsty. It’s a natural process. In the conditions of Bikram yoga, there is heavy sweating and, of course, we want to drink twice as much. This means that the load on the kidneys increases.
Сontraindications of Bikram Yoga Practice
Since Bikram yoga is being practiced in a hot room there are some contraindications that can be temporary and permanent.
Permanent contraindications include:
- vascular problems;
- varicose veins;
- heart disease;
- weak mitral and aortic valve function;
- lung diseases;
- kidneys diseases;
- gallstone disease;
- gynecological diseases;
- brain diseases.
Temporary contraindications include:
- period of gynecological inflammation and menstruation;
- catarrhal diseases;
What to Expect from Bikram Yoga Class?
If you decided to attend Bikram yoga class then you may have a reasonable question – what to expect? It is natural to feel nervous if you come to Bikram yoga studio for the first time. It’s okay if you are not as successful in your yoga practice as others during the first few classes. Everyone’s been through this.
Let us share with you some tips for those of you who are going to attend your first Bikram yoga class:
- Come to the studio 15 minutes before your class starts.
- Be sure to warn the instructor about the presence of any chronic diseases and medical restrictions.
- Be sure to have an empty stomach. Start training about 2 hours after you have eaten.
- Do not drink too much water before and during yoga class. It is allowed to moisten the throat and take a few sips. A full stomach is contraindicated when performing asanas!
- Visit the restroom before the class, as it is not recommended to interrupt the practice.
- Most studios categorically prohibit the use of a cell phone, so we advise you to completely turn it off and take the time to enjoy yoga.
- Try to breathe slowly and deeply, it will help to relax all the muscles and get used to the room temperature.
- Breathe only through the nose, because breathing through the mouth dries the mucosa and excites the nervous system.
- Be prepared for the fact that during classes you will sweat a lot. Most hot yoga studios artificially increase humidity, so you’ll sweat even in places where you had no idea you had sweat glands (hello, a sweaty inner side of the elbow).
- Try not to wipe the sweat flowing from you in streams, so you give the body a signal to release even more liquid to cool the hot body.
- Your heart may start to beat faster, but if you don’t have a problem with that, that’s fine. You need to stay calm and focus on your reflection in the mirror. If, however, you are alerted, and you start to panic, lie down on the mat and take a short break.
- If you have any unpleasant feelings during your yoga practice, focus on your reflection in the mirror, it will return you to the comfort zone.
- Listen to your body. If you feel bad (dizzy, nauseous, etc.) during yoga class, the only right decision is to get up and leave. Do not try to break through the weakness, so as not to harm yourself.
- Improve the result gradually. If you have just started practicing hot yoga, it is not necessary to do the exercises in full force. As in the case of any other workout, your body should get used to the peculiarities of the load. Therefore, start small and boldly move forward.
- After yoga class, you will have a feeling that you are ready to conquer the whole world (of course, after a long shower). This is the pleasant aftertaste of yoga.
We want to note once again that not everyone can practice this kind of yoga. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor for contraindications. In addition, it must be remembered that the hot conditions of the hot yoga classes may initially seem unbearably difficult to handle. Therefore, you should determine your level of endurance,
Summing up, once again we note that Bikram yoga, despite its ambiguity, is an effective tool that allows you to cleanse your body, tighten sagging skin, develop flexibility, form a posture, delve into your feelings and fully master the management of your body.
We hope that after reading this article, you are now able to decide whether this type of yoga is suitable for you or not. Remember that yoga is not a competition, and the approach to choosing a yoga style for practice should be based on individual feelings, needs
Ashtanga yoga: Sophisticated Path To Self-Discovery
Practicing yoga for more than 7 years, I suddenly decided to try a new direction, which I previously stubbornly avoided due to its rigid nature. Yes, I’m talking about Ashtanga yoga. According to the philosophy of this school, yoga should not be adapted to the weakness and imperfection of the practitioner, but on the contrary, the practitioner should develop himself to meet the ideals of yoga.
Not that I enjoy penance or work at the limit of my possibilities. But it just seemed very attractive to me to achieve the results promised by this practice: the ideal body shape, flexibility and strength, peace of mind, and most importantly, the ability to control your attention, which I really miss sometimes.
So, hearing about the severity of the method, I decided to get the most detailed information. As an expert, I chose my yoga teacher and Scripture scholar. Perhaps what I was able to learn during our conversation will be useful to someone else for the successful start of the Ashtanga yoga practice.
What is Ashtanga yoga?
Ashtanga yoga is a special practice formed in the course of Hatha yoga. If classical yoga gives priority to breathing exercises, development of flexibility and relaxation, then Ashtanga yoga forms the strength of spirit and body. To achieve the main goal, – Samadhi (full equilibrium, spiritual perfection), – one will need to pass eight difficult stages.
If you think that the practice of Ashtanga yoga does not require any serious effort, then you are wrong! Not everyone is able to go all the way. It requires not only physical endurance but also the willingness to abide by decent rules of life, to radically change your world.
Many people find it difficult to overcome the first stages of the Ashtanga yoga Path. But you can certainly be sure that having achieved success in Ashtanga yoga, physical and spiritual self-improvement, you will not be able to abandon this practice. After all, this is more than just a hobby. This is a very special lifestyle.
Ashtanga yoga is an eight-step path to the ultimate Goal – Samadhi (the highest spiritual perfection). Although the ultimate goal is to achieve spiritual harmony, Ashtanga yoga is very attentive to physical perfection, since the bodily shell and the mental spirit are inextricably connected.
This practice is great for those who have a strong body and mind, eager for achievements. People who want to take refuge in their own spiritual world from external problems often resort to the practice of Ashtanga yoga.
Eight stages (steps) of Ashtanga yoga
In Sanskrit, the word “Ashtanga” means “eight steps”.
Each of the eight steps of Ashtanga yoga are not easy in their own way. The first two of them, perhaps, are the most important, because they teach human psycho-hygienic rules of life. If there is not enough desire and willpower to make them your way of life, moving on to the next stages is simply meaningless. In other words, if you realize that you are not ready to change yourself spiritually, you should understand that Ashtanga yoga is not for you.
It is very important to have a general understanding of the eight steps before you start practicing Ashtanga yoga. These steps are a guide to how to act in order to live a full, long and happy life and approach spiritual perfection.
The first stage: YAMA
Yama is a set of ethical norms that teach us to communicate with others in the right way. To be brief, it means one thing: treat people the way you want them to treat you.
There are five Yamas:
- Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence, non-harming other living beings.
- Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood.
- Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing.
- Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity, marital fidelity or sexual restraint.
- Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness.
Second stage: NIYAMA
The step of forming the self-discipline and uplifting spirituality. This step involves regular visits to temples, meditative practices, a study of nature, thinking and walks.
Five Niyamas are:
- Śauca (शौच): purity, clearness of mind, speech and body.
- Santoṣa (सन्तोष): contentment, acceptance of others and of one’s circumstances as they are, optimism for self.
- Tapas (तपस): austerity, self-discipline, persistent meditation, perseverance.
- Svādhyāya (स्वाध्याय): study of self, self-reflection, introspection of self’s thoughts, speeches and actions.
- Īśvarapraṇidhāna (ईश्वरप्रणिधान): contemplation of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, Brahman, True Self, Unchanging Reality), attunement to the supreme consciousness.
Third stage: ASANA
Asana means ‘posture’ or ‘pose’. So by saying ‘asanas’ we mean body poses. Yoga practitioners know that our physical bodies are temples for our souls. Body care is one of the most important stages on the path to spiritual growth and enlightenment. Performing certain asanas, a person learns concentration and self-discipline.
Fourth stage: PRANAYAMA
Pranayama is the ability to control your breath. It is a set and a system of special techniques that make it possible to establish a relationship between breath, mind, and emotions. Literally, pranayama translates as ‘extension of the prana’ or ‘breath control”. Pranayama practice allows you to rejuvenate the entire body and prolong your lifespan. We can practice pranayama as a separate type of yoga technique, or use it as a component of the complex of yoga practice.
Fifth stage: PRATYAHARA
‘Pratyahara’ means ‘gaining mastery over external influences’.
The purpose of this stage is to achieve a state of distraction of the senses from the surrounding reality and the circulation of the gaze and consciousness inside of you. In other words, pratyahara is the ability to concentrate and not be distracted by various external stimuli. This step gives you the vision of the internal systems, understanding what can stop your personal and inner growth.
Sixth stage: DHARANA
Dharana means ‘concentration’ or ‘single focus’. By concentrating and abstracting, we get distracted from external ‘noise’. This is how we can calm down our mind, which distracts us from knowing more than we are able to understand. It helps us to see the limitless of our possibilities. At this stage, there is a skill to slow down the thought process by focusing on sound, image, energy or body.
Seventh stage: DHYANA
Dhyana means ‘contemplation, reflection’ and ‘profound, abstract meditation’. This is the stage of full development of the properties of meditation and concentration. Conscious inhibition of thought processes allows to calm the mind, to feel serenity, not to give rise to new thoughts. To reach this stage, you need endurance and strength. For achieving this, you have to put a lot of effort and time.
Eighth stage: SAMADHI
Samadhi is a state of intense concentration that can be achieved through meditation. This is a state of bliss and understanding. On this stage, you extend the boundaries of your Self. You start feeling the connection between the divine origin and all living things, unity with nature and the world.
Samadhi isexperiences oneness In samadhi, the mind becomes still. You become totally aware of the present moment.
The Bottom Line
According to the general opinion of the gurus of this type of yoga: no yoga should adapt to the limited opportunities and weaknesses of students, but on the contrary – a person must improve himself to achieve the ideals of yoga. Those who practice Ashtanga yoga, pass the path of spiritual and physical perfection, allowing to make a person healthy and happy.
I hope you’re as inspired to start the Ashtanga yoga class as I am! I’m wishing you a wonderful practice! Namaste!
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