Yoga in Kent

Karma yoga – A UK Yoga Teachers Blog

World of Karma – Beginning

Without a doubt, at least once in life we have heard the word Karma. However, not all of us have a clear understanding of the meaning of it.

First, Karma means movement of change and this change is brought about by action or deed. Moreover, Karma is something we can not avoid. In fact, when we are born we have to act. We get food, earn living, interact with the outside world. Second, it is not possible to exist without Karma. Third, absence of Karma means absence of life.

In the modern world, the explanation of Karma will be “what goes around comes around.”

If you give out good energy and positive vibes, it will come back to you in a full circle. The same can be said for negative energy and thoughts.

New life Karma

In the modern world, the explanation of Karma will be “what goes around comes around.”

Spirit of Karma in Yoga practice  

Many people live their lives on autopilot mode. They are not aware that their thoughts influence their realities. Much of the unrest we see in the world today is a direct result of people’s thoughts. All of the conflicts, wars, complaining, and general unhappiness begins with a thought carried out with action.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means union. The roots of yoga are founded in a philosophy of union. Union of the mind, body and soul. Union of the self with the divine. It is the concept of oneness — of each individual being a part of a universal consciousness.

Busy people

Through Karma yoga we learn kindness and compassion without an expectation of gain.

Yoga is a union

Karma yoga – Yoga of action

If we integrate Karma and Yoga together, the meaning of Karma Yoga will be action that joins or unite. It is the action that joins us to everything around. And what is around? It is the creation of God, which includes living beings, nature, animals, other human beings. Any action that unite us to everything around us is Karma Yoga.

Karma yoga is the yoga of action. It is about purifying your heart by learning to act selflessly in service of others. Through Karma yoga we learn kindness and compassion without an expectation of gain. The idea being that learning these lessons helps us to step away from our ego. I fact, it is freeing us to move one step further on the path to enlightenment.

Karma yoga – Three attributes of action

 According to Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu sacred text, there are three attributes of actions. Therefore, if the action has these three dimensions, then it will be Karma yoga.

 First, the action should be without selfish desire. Apparently, desires create strong attachments. So, as a result of desires, we have attachments to the fruit of our action. These attachments are the cause of our stress and unhappiness.

Yoga and study

For example, if you are studying for the exam and you can achieve a higher grade then you may get highly paid job. And then you will get attachment with higher grade and this attachment brings lot of stress. It means that in Karma yoga the action should be performed without any desires. After that, while you perform any action without any attachment then you have no stress, anxiety and depression even if you fail.

Karma yoga – The second dimension

The second dimension of Karma Yoga is selfless action. In other words, action without false ego and action not for me. When you are doing something, you say: “I am doing it for myself.” That “I” is false ego.

For example, I decide to travel to Paris for the Christmas holidays, but if I cannot travel that leads to a big disappointment and sad feelings.

In Karma yoga there is no sad feelings, no quilt and just peace and contentment.

The third dimension is that it should be in line with your duty, responsibility. The right action in that moment and situation and space.

For instance, if I am a mother then I have certain duties towards my children. Moreover, if I live in a society then I have to follow the law and respect others. The society has given me a lot, so I have to give back. After all, I receive so much from mother nature. That means I have to give back to mother nature.

Good vibes

In Karma yoga there is no sad feelings, no quilt and just peace and contentment.

Karma yoga – Daily practice of every human being

How can we practice Karma yoga in our daily life?

First, when it comes to practicing Karma yoga, it is important that the service comes from a selfless place. It is about giving to those in need, sharing love, and spreading light.

Second, start practicing Karma Yoga at home, with yourself. In other words, when you live your life with awareness, you carve a path to nourish the universe that eventually nourishes you. Besides, being kind to ourselves and taking care of ourselves is not selfish but rather critical. If you are not healthy and peaceful, you cannot help others.

Good Karma to help orphan kids

Be honest with people, tell the truth. Put out your best effort and stay your true self in the world, and the universe will send you experiences and people to match your energy.

Help others and they will appreciate your help. Surprisingly, you will make an ever-lasting mark on their life. When you help others, you also help yourself. Everyone needs a purpose in life, and helping people should always be a part of that purpose.

Recycle

Karma yoga – Way of right living

Contribution is a big part of Karma yoga practice. It might be a donation, volunteering or simply listening to someone (friend or doorman) who is having a bad day. Nevertheless, this is also a contribution. Helping an elderly person carry groceries is also a contribution – a huge one!

Be kind and respectful to nature and animals. People need to respect nature and living things. The environment is also good for our health and helps us to breathe too.

Hurting the environment hurts animals and pollutes the earth. Hence, Karma yoga takes a huge part in saving the environment of mother nature.

In conclusion, whatever you choose to do, making the above things a regular part of your life. This is the key of practicing Karma yoga. It can become more than just a practice. After all, it can become a way of your truthful and harmonious life.

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Meaning of cleansing process in Hatha yoga – A UK Yoga Teachers Blog

Meaning of cleansing process in Hatha yoga – Beginning 

 We all know that the cleansing is a natural process. Every living being has its own way to clean. Rain is a very good example of cleansing process in nature. Animals, even the little birds have bath and clean themselves. Finally, human beings life has a huge part in the cleansing process too.

In fact, we are very absorbed about a daily cleansing during whole life circle. Every day we take a shower, clean our teeth, evacuate our bowels etc. Many of us like to take a shower or bath, and we really enjoy that. However, when it comes to Yoga cleansing techniques, things are different. Constant yoga followers reluctant or even refuse to practice those techniques.

Why do so many of us, who like to clean themselves not like there Hatha Yoga Cleansing techniques? Nevertheless, they are many reactions which are probably responsible for this negative reaction to the yoga way of cleansing.

cleansing is a natural process

Every person in the world wants to be in control of their body. However in cleansing techniques people have a very little control.

Meaning of cleansing process in Hatha yoga – Fear of Criticism

 The first reason can be in the social acceptability of these techniques. In society we are taught not to display the negatives or waste products that our body and mind produce. We often think that it is not proper to do it in front of others or in society itself. What will other people think about it? Society will think that it is a mannerless person. It calls a fear of criticism. Obviously, it can be obstructing the acceptance of these cleansing techniques.

human beings in the cleansing process

Many yoga teachers are introducing at least a few techniques in their classes. Most of them can be performed at an advanced level only, after years of yoga practice.

meditation and yoga

Meaning of cleansing process in Hatha yoga – Emotional makeup

The second reason is related to our own emotional makeup. We often suppress our emotions, we may not express ourselves. This creates an emotional stress in the deeper mind.

For example, memory of sad events and negative experiences. This can create similar experiences in our mind.

We all know that as the body and mind are closely related. The mind resists as it is scared of letting the negatives accumulated come out. 

This happens when we are trying to bring the waste products from inside of the body. Sometimes when sudden death of a close person creates emotional strain. We know that it is better to cry and release these trapped energy in this situation. Cleansing is a simple release of these emotional stress on the physical level. It is definitely affecting the mind in a positive way.

Meaning of cleansing process in Hatha yoga – The other reason

  The other reason is the lack of control during the practice. That is why we are reluctant to practice cleansing techniques. Every person in the world wants to be in control of their body. However, in cleansing techniques we have a very little control.

Sometimes we have various thoughts and emotions. We definitely express them in a totally different way. There is a split between what is inside and what we show outside. The cleansing techniques bring out what is inside on a physical level. Moreover, as the body and mind are connected, people are scared of letting these internal experiences from the mind to come out.

meaning of the cleansing in hatha yoga

However, there are 6 different techniques of cleansing in Hatha Yoga. We briefly discussed about them in the previous article Traditional Hatha Yoga. All of them have to be practiced only under the guidance of yoga expert. Also, remember that the improper practice might cause some serious health side effect.

Meaning of cleansing process in Hatha yoga – Magnificent Techniques

 Many yoga teachers are introducing at least a few techniques in their classes. In fact, most of them can be performed at an advanced level only, after years of yoga practice.

We are going to discuss about first technique, which is Kapalbhati or Frontal Lobe Cleansing.

In the process of Kapalbhati exhalation is fast and with jerk. However, inhalation is slow, passive and without any effort. Emphasis is given more on the process of exhalation.

In natural respiration, emphasis is on inhalation and it is active. However, exhalation is passive. In Kapalbhati the process is exactly reversed. It gives us more importance to exhalation and less importance to inhalation.

The benefits of Kapalbhati are different. It helps us to clear and purify the mucus, dust, carbon particles from the respiratory tract. Also it helps to improve digestion, the function of liver and pancreas. It increases the strength of abdominal muscle and the diaphragm.

stillness in yoga

Regular practice under the guidance of yoga expert will help to the state of health on both physical and mental levels.

Meaning of cleansing process in Hatha yoga – Magnificent Techniques

 Second technique is Neti or Nasal cleansing. Magnificent practice, helps to remove obstructions from the nostrils. It creates a proper air flow through the nostrils. It also helps to improve the secretion and functioning of the nose, throat and ear. This technique opens up the inner ear, which helps to improve hearing and prevent ear infection. It helps to get rid of and prevent tonsillitis, allergies, cough, cold, hay fever. The practice supports to remove the accumulated mucus from the sinuses. Finally, gives relief to migraine.

 Third, Vaman Dhouti or Regurgitive cleansing helps to increase the efficiency of the abdominal muscles. As large amount of water consumes, it stretches the stomach muscles. It also helps to remove excess mucus and acid secretion. It will not be absorbed as the water is salted. Instead, water along with toxins from the blood will come in the stomach and will be vomited out. So, it is a process which helps in digestive problems. It also improves digestion, improves the strength of abdominal muscles, and relieve the pressure on the heart.

 Fourth, Shankha Prakshalana or Master cleansing. In fact, this technique is described in “Gherand Samhita”. It is a text on Hatha Yoga written by Sage Gherand in 13th Century. Many diseases like diabetes, IBS, colon related problems can be effectively treated with Master cleansing.

Hatha Yoga Cleansing techniques

It is a process of consuming of salted water with lemon followed by complex of exercises. Generally, this process should be done in presents of yoga of even medical expert. Besides, salt can increase blood pressure during the practice. Also, there are some more precautions which are not allowed to practice this technique.

meaning of cleansing in modern life

Meaning of cleansing process in Hatha yoga – Eyes Cleansing

 Finally, Trataka or Eyes Cleansing. This is a process of looking intently and to gaze at a small single point until tears are shed from the eyes. Candle flame is usually used for the Trataka practice. Even after closing eyes the impression of candle flame remains for a long time.

The practice helps us to improve the function of our eyes. It gives relief from eyes strain, headache, myopia and the early stages of cataract. The eyes become brighter by the magnificent practice of Trataka.

More importantly, Trataka has an effect on the mind and brain. It is useful in cases of depression, insomnia. It will also help to increase memory and concentration.

 As we can understand now, yoga cleansing techniques surely affect our body and mind. It helps us to bring purification which leads to our physical health. It also leads to a strong mind and controlled emotions. Regular practice under the guidance of yoga expert will help to the state of health on both physical and mental levels.

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Traditional Hatha Yoga

Traditional Hatha Yoga – A UK Yoga Teachers Blog

Traditional Hatha Yoga – The History

 In the 21st century Traditional Hatha yoga is becoming of greater importance and relevance. In addition it provides an overall balance for everyone who is practising. 

A balance of body and mind, emotion, thoughts and also behaviour. This is the focus of the Yoga lifestyle. 

Even so many yoga schools and studios around the world are offering different types of yoga. Hot yoga, Yin yoga, Power yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Prenatal yoga, Gentle yoga and many more. 

But which one to choose? What is the difference? What are the benefits?

Focus of the Hatha Yoga

“Ha” means physical energy or body and “Tha” means mental energy or mind.

Traditional Hatha Yoga

 These types of questions will pop into the head of anyone new or experienced in yoga practice. Besides new styles of yoga are coming every week.

Nevertheless all these types are based on Traditional or classical Hatha Yoga. 

“Ha” means physical energy or body and “Tha” means mental energy or mind. Hatha yoga was developed between 6th to 15th century AD.

In fact, the aim of Traditional Hatha yoga is to purify and clear energy channels or passages (in Sanskrit: Nadis). Then it balance physical and mental energies and remove any blockages between them.

Breathing is a vital process

The aim of Asanas is to achieve a healthy body by strengthening various systems. Likewise to achieve a peaceful and stable mind, increase body awareness and thus connects the body to the mind.

Modern yoga style Tunbridge Wells

Traditional Hatha Yoga –  Cleansing techniques

 Above all there are 5 contents in Traditional Hatha yoga. It always begins with Shatkarma – cleansing process

There are 6 cleansing techniques during execution help to remove accumulated toxins in the body. It is also balancing the entire body and mind, especially nervous and endocrine systems. It removes blockages from the energy channels that the panic energy starts flowing without any hurdles.

From then on many yoga teachers are introducing at least a few techniques to the beginner or intermediate classes. Most of them can be performed at an advanced level only, after years of yoga practice.

Traditional Hatha Yoga –  Asanas

 After the cleansing comes Asanas (yoga postures) the most popular content. 

Asana means the position of the body as well as the state of mind. If you consider the Asana, there are 3 steps. First is taking the position, second is the Asana or position itself. The third step is releasing the position. 

All these steps have to be steady, comfortable, supportive to the definition. Hence it is necessary that the movement involved should be slow and steady. As well as fast and speedy movement must be avoided too.

Most important that the aim of Asanas is to achieve a healthy body by strengthening various systems. Likewise to achieve a peaceful and stable mind, increase body awareness and thus connects the body to the mind.

Beautiful asana or yoga practice in Tunbridge Wells

 The natural condition of the body and mind is a relaxed state. By regular practice of Asana this relaxed condition is achieved without efforts.

To demonstrate, if you are just sitting in an office chair, try and make your body relaxed. Try to let the mind become calm and peaceful. As a result there will not be any stress or strain on the physical level and no thoughts in the mind. Now we can easily understand what an Asana is.

Traditional Hatha Yoga –  Pranayama 

 Pranayama or breathing in Traditional Hatha yoga comes after Asana. It is made up of Prana + Ayama, which means the control and extension of the Prana (vital energy or bioenergy). 

In fact, breathing is a vital process which starts at the time of birth and ends at death. Oxygen is vital to life and is supplied to all the parts of the body including organs and cells. 

All metabolic processes always require oxygen. Oxygen is life, a vital force. Breathing is the process of taking in this energy and removing the waste products out of our body and mind. 

Breath, which is connected to the mind, controls the nervous system. It releases stress, anxiety, mention and anger.

Deep state of meditation

 There are various techniques of Pranayama which have different effects on the body, mind and spirit. Some of them are relaxing, soothing, can be practised at any time on different levels of scale. 

Some are rhythmic or with retentions and should only be practised under the direct guidance of an expert yoga teacher.  

All these techniques are beneficial for everyone as it works perfectly for all body systems. Especially it work for the nervous system, which is so important in our modern life.

Traditional Hatha Yoga –  Mudra’s and Bandha’s

 Subsequently, the last part of Traditional Hatha Yoga is Mudra’s and Bandha’s. It is a psychic gesture which induces a particular state of the mind. 

Mudras and Bandhas are what I am using to control the Pranic energy. These are awakened after the mastery of Asana and Pranayama practices. 

Healthy body, stronger nervous system, better neuromuscular coordination and an ability to concentrate. It leads to being able to control the flow of Prana and to strengthen the mind. Once again these are the keys to success in the study of Mudras and Bandha’s. 

The practices of Mudras and Bandhas simultaneously bring a deep state of meditation without any conscious efforts.

The aim of Hatha Yoga

To Summarise, Traditional Hatha yoga is a science of body and mind balance. It includes physical health, mind relations and mental control, emotional balance and intellectual development.

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Traditional Hatha Yoga in Kent


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History of yoga Tunbridge Wells teacher blog

The History of Yoga – A UK Yoga Teachers Blog

The History of Yoga

 Due to the oral transmission of sacred texts and the secretive nature of the teaching, the exact dates of the origins history of yoga are difficult to verify. 

In fact, according to modern historians, the first written copies of the yoga were found in southwestern Asia. It was around 5,000 years ago, but it is believed they were there orally for much longer.  Some sources were given up to 10,000 years or even more.

For the most part, it was a collection of sacred songs, mantras and rituals which was used by Vedic priests known as Brahmas. Moreover, in the sources appear the first mention of ascetics and ascetic practices, the first explicit references to yoga appear. Concepts of withdrawing the scenes, controlling the mind, and attaining liberation are mentioned in founded materials too.

The evolution of yoga is believed to span since that time. During this long development it has branched into many different styles and schools. Some concentrate on the mind and meditation, some on exercise and breathing.

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"When the five senses, along with the mind, remain still and the intellect is not active, that is known as the highest state. They consider yoga to be firm restraint of the senses. Then one becomes un-distracted for yoga is the arising and the passing away" - Katha Upanishad, c. 5th century BCE

Raja yoga - “the king of yoga” - because all yoga pathways are said to lead to it.

The History of Yoga – Raja and Jnana Yoga

 In the first place Raja yoga was founded before 1000 BCE. It is the earliest form of yoga, which is known as meditation. 

In the art of the ancient East the Buddha was often depicted meditating. His knees closed in one of the classic cross-legged sitting positions. 

That is the first yoga postures, in modern yoga named lotus. It was developed by the sages because they enabled them to sit in meditation without moving for long periods. 

In fact, the ancient form of yoga Buddha practiced survives today as Raja yoga – “the king of yoga” – because all yoga pathways are said to lead to it.

Later on, the first writing of Jnana yoga – yoga of knowledge was founded c. 900 BCE. It is intuitive, enlightening knowledge which is gained from enquiry and insight. It is a process of slowly discovering the nature of our personality with intellectual guidance. 

There have been many famous Jnana yogis who have defied logic. They gained knowledge through intuition and by seeing something that was not defined by the existing, accepted knowledge of the time.

Stilness

Life is all about movement and change. That means Karma yoga is something we cannot avoid.

Beauty of nature

The History of Yoga –  Yoga Sutras

 Furthermore The Yoga sutras (collection of 196 Indian sutras (aphorisms) on the theory and practice of yoga) were compiled prior 200 BCE by sage Patanjali. 

He writes the yoga sutras, giving guidance on meditation and the practice of yoga. It was the first yoga manual from older traditions. 

Later, 1200 years ago, the sage Ramanuja initiates Bhakti yoga. The yoga of devotion to a personal god. 

Through service to God or to other people, through prayer, and through faith, one achieves enlightenment. Bhakti yoga as one of three spiritual paths for salvation is discussed in depth by the Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord).

 

The History of Yoga – Hatha Yoga

 Finally 1000 years ago, science of Hatha yoga started to develop and gained more and more popularity over a period of time. The tradition or science was found by Sage Matsyendranath, his followers and his discipline Sage Gorakhnath. 

As a result, they designed wonderful techniques from the Tantras (a Hindu or Buddhist mystical or magical text), leaving aside some of the ritualistic parts which had many sociality unacceptable methods. Obviously, the focus was on purification, asanas (yoga postures), cleansing, pranayam (breathing) as well as mudras and bandhas. 

Balance between body and mind

The History of Yoga – Karma Yoga

 Afterward Karma yoga or yoga of action was founded in c. 300 BCE. This type of yoga emphasises taking the right action at the right time to avoid future unhappiness.

Karma means movement or change. This change brought about the action. 

 Life is all about movement and change. That means Karma yoga is something we cannot avoid. When we are born we have to act, to get our food, earn living, interact with outside world.

Practitioners from the past

So then, in the late 19th century, yoga masters began traveling to the west. Hatha yoga was the classic school destined to influence the modern world, since its emphasis on asanas (yoga postures), breathing, and healing appealed to the Western mind. Afterward, many Westerns visited India to study Hatha yoga, and respected Indian teachers, taught in the West.

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