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~Kripa~

Kripa is a word from the Sanskrit, kripala. Its exact meaning depends on the context, but it encompasses concepts of “grace,” “blessing,” “mercy,” and “divine grace.” It is an important concept in Hinduism and is the central tenet of Bhakti yoga.

Kripa is also the name of an important rishi in the “Mahabharata,” a sacred Indian text. The “Mahabharata” is particularly important to yoga because it contains the Bhagavad Gita, which is a key text on yogic philosophy. In the Gita, kripa is described by Krishna as a process of surrendering to the Divine with faith and an attitude of loving contemplation. Krishna said that this would bring liberation from cyclical rebirth.

Symbols {177} ~ Apis Bull

Apis was the most important bull deity of Ancient Egypt. Aspis was one of the first animals in Egypt associated with eternity and divinity. Aspis was a symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt. There were many other bull deities in ancient Egypt but Aspis was the dominant one. Apis was originally depicted as a walking bull with a serpent and solar disc between its horns. The solar disc is a representation of Hathor, the mother of Apis. In later periods of Egyptian history, he is depicted as a man with a bull’s head. He was always associated with the king of Egypt. Apis is also considered an embodiment of the god Ptah, the creator god.

In order for a bull to be considered Apis in ancient Egypt, he had to have certain markings. There needed to be a vulture wing on its back, a triangle on its forehead, a white crescent on its right flank, and a scarab mark under its tongue. When a bull was determined to be Apis it would be brought to the temple and be worshipped as an incarnation of Ptah. The bull would be given a harem of cows and would be treated as an oracle. The bull’s mother would be treated specially and would be given a special burial. Apis would be led through the city wearing jewelry and flowers and there would be a window in the temple where he could be viewed by everyone. His presence near someone would bless that person with strength and his breath cured diseases. The bull was killed after twenty-five years unless it died sooner. The death of Apis symbolized the life cycle – life, death, and resurrection. When Apis was slaughtered to preserve his youthful looks, some priestesses would lift their skirts and bathe in his blood to promote fertility. After the ceremony Apis would be mummified and buried in a chamber of his own. Apis reconnected with Osiris in the afterlife and was then reborn as another bull on earth. Apis was considered to be a protector of the dead. His horns symbolized protection and were often found on pharaohs tombs. When Alexander the Great of Greece took over Egypt Apis morphed into Osiris-Apis and then Serapis.

~Gandharva~

Gandharva veda is one of the four main upavedas, which are derived from the four Vedas – “Rig Veda,” “Yajur Veda,” “Sama Veda” and “Atharva Veda.” From Sanskrit, gandharva means “skilled singer” or “master of music”; and veda means “knowledge” or “wisdom.”

Upavedas, meaning “applied knowledge,” are specific applications of Vedic teachings. Gandharva veda is a Vedic science on the influence of sound and music in all, including the body and soul of the yogi. Ayurveda, which is one of the upavedas, uses gandharva veda to promote physical and mental health.

Did You Know {172} ~ Smiles Are Innate, Not Learned

It’s heartening to know that your most joyful reaction is something you’re simply born wanting to do. “Individuals blind from birth could not have learned to control their emotions in this way through visual learning, so there must be another mechanism,” San Francisco State University psychologist David Matsumoto said in a statement. “It could be that our emotions, and the systems to regulate them, are vestiges of our evolutionary ancestry.

~Seiza~

Traditionally, seiza is one of the Japanese formal ways of sitting. It is often used in martial arts and is performed with mindfulness in both martial arts and other formal Japanese settings.

In yoga, seiza is called thunderbolt pose in English, or vajrasana in Sanskrit. The pose is often used as a resting posture for a meditative practice; although, when performed with the toes flexed and tucked under the feet, it offers a significant stretch to the feet and legs.

Seiza encourages tranquility by clearing the mind and entering into a state of rest, which is why it is often used as a meditative pose or for pranayama and/or sadhana practice.

Outside of a yoga spiritual practice, this asana is also used by other religions as a prayerful pose. Practitioners can sit and enjoy the pose as long as is comfortable, being mindful of the breath.

Seiza can increase blood flow to the lower abdomen, which aids in digestion and pelvic health. Although it is recommended that asanas are not practiced after eating a meal, this pose is suggested to aid those with poor digestion after mealtime. It also strengthens the muscles that support good posture — the back, neck and chest — and can provide helpful relief for lower back issues and/or sciatica.

~Kapila~

Kapila was a Vedic sage who lived around the 6th century BCE and is considered a founder of Samkhya, the oldest of the six orthodox schools of Indian philosophy, or darshans. His name comes from the Sanskrit meaning “reddish brown” and is translated as “the red one.”

Kapila is considered an incarnation of Vishnu who came to earth to restore spiritual order. He is also known for teaching Bhakti yoga, the spiritual path of liberation or enlightenment.

Did You Know {168} ~ Looking At A Picture Of A Loved One Can Relieve Pain

The next time you need to get a shot or have blood drawn and want to avoid as much pain as possible, bring along a snapshot of your significant other, your kids, or anyone else that you adore. One 2010 study published in the journal PLOS One found that looking at a picture of a loved one can help reduce moderate pain by around 40 percent; it even relieved severe pain by between 10 and 15 percent.

~Daoist Walking Meditation~

Daoist walking meditation is a type of walking meditation recommended in the Chinese Daoist tradition as a way to bring body and mind into harmony. There isn’t one single method of practicing Daoist walking meditation, but instead many techniques which can all be considered part of the practice. These techniques often involve the use of visualization. Compared with other traditions which teach walking meditation, Daoist walking meditation sometimes has more of a focus on physical health and well-being, although it also has mental and spiritual benefits.