Recently, I have been going through a marriage separation from my wife of 17 years! This has been quite an emotionally powerful time for me and have relied on the teachings of Advaita Vedanta to see the truth of my experience. Advaita, or Non-Duality aims to see things as they really are without all the value judgements and conditionings that our minds normally place on things. The practice is to always come back to the moment and n0tice the reality of what is and not what we would like it to be. The Mind or Ego places an endless amount of value judgements on all happenings.
Recently, I lead a life changing pilgrimage to the Indian Himalayas. It was a journey to the magical kingdom of Ladakh, which borders Tibet, China and Pakistan. 26 of us ventured for 17 days in 3 buses. We began the journey in Dharamasala which is the spiritual home of his holiness the Dalai Lama! From there, we went to the tantric temples of Padma Sambhava who brought Tibetian Buddhism from India to Tibet. We then gathered in Manali and had an amazing time visiting waterfalls and having Tibetian Pulsing workshops!! From there we spent 3 days traveling overland through the Indian Himalays to Ladakh. We then had a 3 day no-mind festival that blew all of our minds. The conclusion of the journey was all of us sitting with HH the Dalai Lama for a Kala Chakra Initiation!!
Tumeric Chai is an amazing new health drink that promises to cure many ailments. It is an amazing product to help with Cancer and other diseases!! Tumeric has been used for thousands of years as a blood cleanser and for many other problems!!
Peak Performance: Yoga to Improve Athletic Performance
Athletes call it “being in the zone.” Author and learned professor of psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi , calls it Flow. Osho, or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh said, “this is the secret of happiness. Whatever you are doing, don’t let past move your mind; don’t let future disturb you. . .” There is a paradox that yogi practitioners are aware of, and that is this: if you live in the flow of a moment, your movements and mental choices become super-human, extraordinary, divine as if guided by some great invisible hand. In order to achieve peak performance, or rest easily in this paradox, professional athletes use tools such as yoga and meditation.
When you have a calm mind, that which a consistent yoga practice helps to provide, you see a greater number of possibilities. Anger, stress, jealousy and other unstable emotions create an imbalance in both the brain and body, and make it very difficult to do your best in any sport. If it’s the last inning of a World Series Game or your team is against its arch ‘enemy’ in a World Cup, then you need to be able to keep your body and mind in perfect balance. Did you know that feeling angry can raise your heart to upwards of 180 beats per minute? It also makes your body tight and your muscles tense up. This isn’t exactly and ideal physical state when you need to achieve peak performance. Anger slows your metabolism and even constricts blood flow. If a referee of your game calls something that you don’t agree with, you can choose to keep your cool or let anger win the game instead. Yoga and meditation practice help to give you the choice.
Utilizing meditation, athletes can train their minds to complete a seemingly impossible task mentally before actually doing it in real life. The brain doesn’t really know the difference between the two, so if an athlete can get into the ‘flow’ of a game or match, and tap into a complete presence in the now moment, they can call upon previously stored memories of success, and bring them to the present moment. A great jump shot or a perfect golf swing can be the results of meditative training just as much, if not more, than physical practice.
Performing in No Time
When Magic Johnson performed his best, the basketball hoop seemed to widen in diameter. When Handel wrote the Messiah, he did it all in almost one sitting without realizing weeks had passed. He didn’t remember eating, sleeping, or using the restroom. Soccer players, runners, ballet dancers, you name it, experience the Nirvana or absolute freedom of their sport when they loose track of time. They feel they could dance, run, jump, swim or play all day, without tiring. This is the power that yoga and meditation provide. It goes beyond the physical. It is literally a matter of mind over matter, though there are significant physical benefits. The Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, among other teams, use meditation and yoga to increase the chances of an athlete performing in the zone. LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers practices yoga. Tightend Dudley LaPort practices for his amazing football skills. The list of pros who use meditation and yoga is in the thousands.
Breaking it down:
Meditation has been clinically proven to change oxygen consumption and respiration rates. Athletes can experience better power with less oxygen use.
Meditation changes the way cells metabolize. In one study participants realized a 20% increase in phenylalanine concentrations which is one of the essential amino acids needed for building muscle.
Meditation increases endurance. The muscles are not the only thing to fatigue in endurance sports. Athletes participating in the Tour de France and numerous marathons talk about how meditation increases both mental and physical fortitude to go the distance.
Meditation reduces distraction. If a competitor or fan at an athletic event is calling out your name, you need to be able to focus on your next action, and not distractions like these. Meditation creates laser-like focus in athletes.
Yoga teaches mindfulness in every posture – a form of moving meditation.
Yoga and meditation isn’t just for monks and flower children. It’s the recipe for peak performance.
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What is the meaning of 108? It is a magical sort of number that has meaning, but what is that meaning? 108 seems to have a certain vibration to it. Not sure what it is, but there is no mistake. The Buddhist have 108 mala beads and count them when they do their prayers. We do 108 sun salutations when we salute the sun. What is it’s meaning, let’s look into it and see what we can find. Yogi’s want to know, does anyone know what it is?
Tantra often conjurers up images of people having sex in a spiritual way. The truth is is that tantra is an ancient aspect of yoga and is one of the original schools of yoga. It was concerned with activating and controling the vital life force that is the energy behind the sexual attraction and the main driver in most people’s actions. Instead of driving people’s desires and thoughts into the sub-conscious, tantra acts to bring these energies to the forefront of ones mind and allow the energies to be harnessed for the amazing power that it contains.
Often in this day and age, people assume that tantra is just about sex, but the truth of the matter is much deeper. One must be very careful to discriminate between ‘new age’ tantra and classical tantra. If you are interested in finding more, I suggest finding an accomplished teacher who has walked the path, but make sure you enter with both eyes open. There is often a temptation to step in the deep end and become attached to a teacher.
I often get people asking about how one should go about becoming a yoga teacher. Many people fall in love with yoga and decide that they want to quit their day job and teach yoga. Often these people have only been practicing for a short time and don’t really have the essence of yoga within them. My response to them is that they should need to spend more time practicing, incorporating a yoga lifestyle into their daily life. It is helpful to find a teacher who can show you the path.
Once the person feels that they have enough experience to teach, it is important to find a quality teacher training program. There are hundreds all over the world. The first question is if you can immerse yourself in a full time program, or would a part-time course be more suitable? Also it is important to decide how long the course is. Most yoga training are either 200, 350, or 500 hour courses. To become certified in Australia, one needs to do a 350 hour course. This is probably the minimum for someone series about teaching yoga. Then one needs to make the commitment, as it is a huge undertaking to become a yoga teacher.
Once you have completed the training, it is important to find someone who you can become an apprentice to. Someone who will teach the important aspects of yoga teaching and guide you and give you confidence. The last important ingredient is Karma, without Karma pointing you in the right direction, you will never be able to succeed as a yoga teacher.
Ray Long’s books on the anatomy of yoga. He’s just released a 4-book series, recognized as the Mat Companion Series, and it’s phenomenal. have a look. Please let us know of any other books that would be useful to yogis all over the world.
a2zyoga is here to help people find out more about living a yogic lifestyle. This includes more than just the Yoga postures and meditation. It involves how we live our life: The decisions we make in everyday life, whether in our personal decisions or event the thoughts we choose. By growing in our understanding of what yoga is and how it applies to all aspects of life. We can overcome past karmas and become who we really are!