Expansion is a concept in yoga that describes both physical and spiritual growth. During the physical practice of yoga, the lungs expand through the breath, allowing vital life-force energy to flow through the body. In turn, yoga poses help the yogi grow physically, mentally and spiritually.
It is on the spiritual level, though, that expansion is most significant. On this level, it means letting go of unconscious contraction, thereby allowing the yogi to be present and aware.
Sankhyas are members of the oldest system of Hindu philosophy or darshan. The Sanskrit word sankhya means “number” or “enumeration”; therefore, the Sankhyas are sometimes called the enumerators. Systematic enumeration along with rational examination forms the basis of their philosophy.
The six classical schools of Hinduism are Vaisheshika, Yoga, Samkhya, Nyaya, Mimamsa and Vedanta. Sankhya philosophy closely resembles that of Yoga darshan, as both are based on the principle of liberation, but, Sankhya deals with the theory while Yoga is concerned with applying the theory and the practices for obtaining liberation.
Linga sharira is the subtle body within Hinduism’s three-body philosophy. From Sanskrit, linga translates to “reason,” “characteristic” or “conclusion,” and sharira means “body.” This body is considered to contain all vital functions and keeps the physical (gross) body alive. It is believed to exist after an individual dies and operate as a medium for reincarnation.
Within a spiritual practice, yogis seek to balance the three bodies through pranayama, meditation and asana.
Turiya is – as the South Indian sage, Ramana Maharshi, states – “the state of wakeful sleep.” It is the fourth state of consciousness, which is the higher or pure Consciousness. It is the state of union also referred to as conscious samadhi.
Turiya can be experienced by yogis through their practice of asana and meditation.
“If you’re serious about your personal development, I cannot recommend yoga enough. Learn it and start practicing ASAP.
But I don’t mean the Western-style yoga you see at your gym. I mean real Indian style yoga:
~Kundalini yoga ~Kriya yoga ~Tantra yoga ~Raja yoga ~Pranayama ~Some Hatha yoga There are many good systems and teachers available online these days.
Yoga practice is very important because it adds a physical and energetic dimension to your meditation and spiritual practice. This is vital because Western-style self-help (and even Neo-Advaita and Zen) is too intellectual. You tend to learn a lot of ideas, but gain little inner growth. And any lessons you happen to learn are not really translated to the level of your body or your vital energy.
Yoga will help you in many ways:
~It will free up energetic blockages in your body which are hard to fix any other way ~It will release pent up emotions ~It will vastly improve the quality of your breathing ~It will improve your posture and flexibility ~It will heal all kinds of chronic diseases like: chronic fatigue, cold hands and feet, allergies, migraines, ADD, high blood pressure, back pain, joint pain, thyroid imbalances, immune system problems, heart disease, PMS, depression, anxiety, insomnia, mental fog, etc. ~It will build discipline and willpower, reduce laziness ~It will increase your physical vitality ~It will reduce your sleep quota ~It will reduce stress and muscle tension ~It can double as physical exercise without needing a fancy gym. It’s like having a portable gym. ~It will gradually cleanse your Chakras and move Kundalini energy up your spine for spiritual awakening ~It will improve your meditation, concentration, and self-inquiry ~It will greatly reduce monkey mind and paralysis by analysis
Whichever yoga school you go with, make sure your yoga’s primary focus is spiritual development, NOT physical exercise. All physical postures should be a means of spiritual development, not a form of flexibility training. In proper yoga, postures are designed to iron out the energy blockages in your body FOR THE PURPOSE of deepening your ability to meditate.
I’ll be talking about specific types of yoga more in the future, as I experiment with various systems. For now, start doing your own research. The payoff will be immense.
Learning yoga is also a MUST if you’re going to be doing any serious meditation or solo retreats. Sitting for such long periods of time while neglecting your body is a wasted opportunity. Yoga will super-charge your retreats and get you more breakthroughs faster.
If you’re pursuing enlightenment and you feel stuck with meditation/self-inquiry, incorporate yoga into your daily practice ASAP. You need to bring your entire body along for this ride, not just your head. Enlightenment is not just a head thing. And if your body is in bad shape, from decades of bad food, chemicals, stress, bad posture, muscle tension, and disease, enlightenment may be practically impossible for you until you clear this up.
I will be adding a lot of yoga-related books to my book list in the future.”
Mahima is one of the eight Hindu siddhis, or divine super powers, that may be attained by practices such as meditation or yoga. Mahima is the ability to expand the body to an infinitely large size, or the ability to become bigger than the universe.
The great sage, Patanjali, outlined five ways to obtain siddhis: birth, using herbs, incantations of mantra, self-discipline and samadhi.
Postnatal yoga is a style of yoga that addresses the physical, mental and emotional challenges of being a new mother, as well as the aftermath of pregnancy. Yoga poses focus on helping new mothers tone their body and regain their figure, relieve stress and even bond with their newborn.
There’s no one particular practice that falls under the definition of Postnatal yoga, but there are many types of classes and personal practices that seek to ease the transition from pregnancy and birth to this next stage of life.
A yoga high is that blissful, euphoric feeling a yogi experiences after a yoga practice. Just like the better-known runner’s high, the physical practice of yoga releases chemicals in the brain that produce the feelings of euphoria. But a yoga high comes from more than just a physical practice triggering a chemical reaction – yoga also strengthens the mind-body connection, builds self-confidence and creates a sense of happiness and joy.
Yoga is fulfilling on a physical, spiritual, emotional, relational and intellectual level. By positively addressing all of these keys to a happy existence, yoga creates a high that may differ from the one that springs from other, purely physical activities.
The Yoga Sutras are a collection of texts written by the sage, Patanjali, around 400 C.E. The collection contains what is thought to be much of the basis of classical yoga philosophy and is made up of 196 sutras (“threads” or discourses).
The 196 sutras are compartmentalized into four topical books:
~Samadhi pada (what yoga is) ~Sadhana pada (how to gain a yogic state) ~Vibhuti pada (benefits of practicing yoga regularly) ~Kaivalya pada (liberation or freedom from suffering)
A disciple is someone who learns from a teacher, who is most often a spiritual teacher. The term is commonly used in Christianity to refer to the students and followers of Jesus as described in the New Testament. A disciple is different from an apostle in that a disciple is the one who studies with the teacher and learns from them, whereas the apostle is generally tasked with delivering teachings or messages.
In yoga, the word refers to a person who goes to a teacher or guru to find God and, in doing so, creates a deep spiritual connection with that guru.