A Yogi’s Brief Guide to Moving Through Loss by Way of the Chakras by Denise Payne

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Yoga Alliance (Australia/International) Master Yoga Teacher Denise Payne (Ubud-Bali)

Two years ago, I was in Indonesia preparing to lead a yoga teacher training beginning in 72 hours. My phone rang. On the other end, I was told my sister had just died from a heroin overdose. Speechless and gutted, I pulled my arms in front of my chest. I dropped my head into my hands and felt paralysed.

From my previous experience with loss, I knew these actions were causing a “shaking in” of the trauma. The best thing to do in this situation is to run around, move the limbs and yell— “shake out” the trauma. However, we’ve been conditioned to intellectualise the sadness first. This makes navigating and unravelling the inner workings of our feelings difficult, yet an understanding of the Chakras can help. This knowledge was integral in helping me deal with the loss of my sister. I hope it can serve you in your own unique grieving process.

Grieving Through the Chakras

The energetic system of the chakras defines how we move. Grief affects each chakra individually and the system as a whole. Each chakra (energy center) has its own purpose and receives energy or information from the outside world. Chakras assimilate and integrate this energy, combine it with their particular states and expresses this combination back into the world.

1st chakra, Muldhara – stability and survival: Healing from loss and grief here comes through grounding practices. Silence and slow and methodical movements nurture it. Sink into the support of gravity.

Pro tip: garden, get your hands in the dirt.

2nd chakra, Svadisthana – fluidity and emotions:This chakra likes flow of all kinds. Nurture it by experiencing pleasure through all of the senses. Eat delicious and nourishing foods. Look at the beautiful blue sky. Flow in your yoga practice—combining breath and movement supports the relationship between the first and second chakras.

Pro tip: dance.

3rd chakra, Manipura – power and self-discipline: Nurture this chakra by caring for your first two chakras daily. Consistently roll out your yoga mat and move. This ignites the fire this chakra needs to thrive. 

Pro tip: care for your first two chakras, even when you don’t feel like it. 

4th chakra, Anahata – breath: Grief affects this chakra by making the breath shallow or causing it to be held.  Heal here through deep breathing—especially through the mouth in the early stages of grief. Notice how the body moves with each inhale and each exhale. Let the space between the two begin to lengthen naturally.

Pro tip: match the rhythm of the breath with the rhythm of your heartbeat. 

5th chakra, Vishuddha – creativity, speech, and listening: When grieving, listen to others share their stories of loss and heartache. Meet with people who can relate to your experience without judgement or sympathy, heard by people that understand that it’s your journey, your own healing timeline.

Pro tip: sing.

6th chakra, Ajna – perception of ourselves and others:We can easily allow the perception of a loss to define us. Who are we once someone is gone? Do we feel guilty moving on? Through experience, I know that the sixth chakra will feel supported, if the time has been taken to care for the lower five properly. 

Pro tip: sit quietly with the eyes closed. Bring the gaze up to the space between the eyebrows and connect to your inner wisdom.

7th chakra, Svadisthana – connection and attachment:The healing journey encompasses the attachment to our perceptions and the stories we tell ourselves. Who are we if we are no longer that thing which defined us? Do your grounding practice. Give the first chakra what it needs to build a foundation, then slowly work your way up through the chakra system, to find answers. 

Pro tip: practice stillness. Commit to one minute at a time, then slowly increase the time.

After my sister died, I found safety in my anger and brokenness. It served me until one day it didn’t. If I had rushed the healing process to suit someone else’s timeline, I wouldn’t feel as whole as I am beginning to feel right now. When grieving, take your time. Go through the process of nurturing your chakras, and the healing will find its way. 

Denise Payne Teacher Training School in Bali One Song Yoga has been serving the yoga community as a registered school since 2009. Our guiding principles are steeped in yoga tradition and philosophy and offer bespoke teacher training to fit the growing needs of the expanding yoga community. www.denisepayneyoga.com

Yoga a Noble Tradition

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Yoga – a Noble Tradition by Sadhviji Bhagawati Saraswati

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji

The Divine Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji Spiritual Leader, PhD, books author, director International Yoga Festival Rishikesh and much more….

The noble traditions of Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama have, over the last three decades, become a catalyst for transformative and positive changes to the mind, body and spirit. As an example, in the United States, yoga practice increased from 9.5% of the population in 2012 to 14.3% in 2017 according to a 2017 National Health Interview Survey. Involvement by children doubled during the same period.  As part of this increased participation, people are coming to realize that Yoga is more than asanas and meditation.

Yoga, as taught by Patanjali, is an eight-fold path with each limb flowing gracefully and naturally, one into the other, yet flexible enough the limbs may be experienced ordered in a multitude of variations. The first two limbs of Yoga are the Yamas and Niyamas, or the ethical rules for living and interacting within community. This, by extension, can encompass the world at large. The third limb refers to the practice of asanas for keeping the body healthy and supple. Asanas are also critical for preparing the mind for the more subtle practices that come next. The fourth limb is Pranayama, or control of the breath – the vital energy permeating the body. It is said that the number of breaths we are allowed to take on this earth was written at the time of our birth. Yoga teaches that longevity depends on the rate at which we breathe. As we lower the rate of breathing, we can increase the length of our lives. Pranayama has an effect on both body and mind, and is a means of attaining higher states of awareness and consciousness.

The final four limbs help to refine and discipline the mind. They are Pratyahara or control of the senses, Dharana or concentration, Dhyana or meditation and contemplation, and Samadhi or enlightenment. One very powerful Dharana is envisioning the world completely devoid of our presence. This reminds us that we are not this body and nothing material is of substantial importance. Samadhi is the final state of enlightenment and oneness with the Supreme Consciousness.

Yoga is primarily a spiritual process designed to help the practitioner attain self -knowledge and Samadhi. It is rooted in Sanatan Dharma. Millions of people around the world are involved in the practice and spread of Yoga. From its origins as Ashtanga, many asana variations have been developed. Examples include Vinyasa, Iyengar, and Bikram. The essence of the original practices, however, remains intact because no new asanas have been developed.

Yoga is also a science that has been verified using scientific methods. Tests have been conducted for decades on the effect of Yoga on the body and mind. Studies show asanas, pranayama and meditation in combination with allopathic medicine can be an alternative treatment for many health issues. Research is now being undertaken to determine whether Yoga can cure and prevent cancer. Initial findings are encouraging, and show that yoga improves the physiological and physical symptoms of cancer patients and reduces stress, thereby improving quality of life.  Yoga is also being studied to determine its effectiveness in treating issues such as autism, PTSD, trauma, anxiety disorders and issues related to the mind.  On the individual level, yoga is an experiential process because the practitioner can directly observe changes in their body and mind as a result of a sustained practice

A whole world of possibilities is available through Yoga, and new opportunities are being discovered every day. Yoga can be considered one of the most important tools in the twenty-first century for health and well-being – physical, mental and spiritual. We humbly request that all teachers and practitioners treat Yoga as their most precious jewel and protect it in the same manner.

Biography

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Ph.D, was raised in an American family in Hollywood, California and graduated from Stanford University. She was completing her Ph.D. when she left America in 1996 to live at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, India. She has been living there for 22 years, engaged in spiritual practice and service.

She was officially initiated into the order of Sanyas (monastic renunciation) in the year 2000, by His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, one of the most revered spiritual leaders in India and the President of Parmarth Niketan.

Sadhviji serves as:

Meet  Sadhviji at the IYF 1- 7 March 2019 Rishikesh – Parmarth Niketan Ashram 

Yoga Alliance (International/Australia Proud Media Partner International Yoga Festival 2018/2019

Yoga Alliance (Italia/International) -Media partner International Yoga Festival 2018/2019

Yoga Alliance (Italia/International) proud Media Partner of the International Yoga Festival 2018/2019

Influential Spiritual Leaders: H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji

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The life and time of on the most influential Spiritual Leader: H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji President of the International Yoga Festival Rishikesh  

H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji  invites you to join him at the IYF 1-7 March 2019. Register Now:  https://www.internationalyogafestival.org/register/

  

“Welcome Home!” – this greeting is offered to every guest and visitor to Parmarth Niketan Ashram, a true spiritual haven, lying on the holy banks of Mother Ganga in the lap of the lush Himalayas. “Parmarth Niketan” literally means “Dedicated to the Welfare of All.” A friendly welcome and this simple mission statement expand into a vast array of programs and services that are led by or inspired by or driven by, or a combination of the three, the ashram. The ashram runs schools, hospitals, ecological programs and disaster-relief projects with no discrimination on the basis of caste, color, creed, gender or nationality.

I first came to Parmarth Niketan in 2013 on a spiritual adventure, attending the International Yoga Festival. I was hooked – Home! One of the aspects of Parmarth most attractive to me is the charity work. Pujya Swamiji says, “it’s culture, nature, and future” – a culture of love and togetherness, focused on our common nature and this one planet we share, to create the future we desire. This vision is further unfolded in the programs and efforts of the ashram or that are associated with Parmarth. This year I made the personal decision to move to India, to live at the ashram as a sevak, in service to the vision and mission of Pujya Swamiji and the ashram’s various programs.

His Holiness, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji serves as President and Spiritual Head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Pujya Swamiji selflessly and tirelessly uses every moment as an opportunity to give and to teach others the gift and value of giving. Every day you will find him participating in a multi-variety of activities: Meeting with government officials, faith leaders, and devotees; leading spiritual ceremonies and community programs; offering darshan and inspiring words; and chanting at the inspiring Ganga Aarti celebration held each evening on the banks of the sacred Ganga River in Rishikesh. From His example, countless others are inspired to action in their own communities in the areas of healthcare, education, the environment, and social justice.

The purpose of this story is share with you some of the charitable work of the ashram, seeking to inspire you to make a difference, and perhaps sparking a fire in you to serve in some way or even to come visit us at Parmarth in Rishikesh, India. I have aligned the work with Swamiji’s theme of “culture, nature, and future”.

From a cultural perspective, Pujya Swamiji is part of a global effort to bring faith leaders together for a more peaceful, healthy and sustainable world – a cultural approach for change that is all about nature – the Interfaith Humanitarian Effort. In addition to faith leaders, the ashram brings together Entertainers for Peace, where the stars are inspired to shine for a more peaceful world.

Entertainers have a unique position and opportunity to influence peace and Swamiji challenges them to rise to the occasion. Efforts to bridge business leaders and political leaders are also a piece of the cultural change efforts – all in the name of peace. Lastly, Pujya Swamiji led a labour of love and intellect to create the Encylopedia of Hinduism, sharing one of the most beloved and lasting gifts of the Indian people to the world. The encyclopedia is 11 volumes of more than 7000 entries from over 1000 scholars, bringing together hindu history, scholarship, and contributions to the development of the world. We are One culture, One world – a world that is about Love and Togetherness – if we choose it to be.

Nature is fascinating, complex, ever-changing, and an endless opportunity to see ourselves in relationship to the world around us. Since coming to the ashram, I have learned of some drastic predictions coming from the United Nations around water, global warming, and the impact of food choices on the health of people and our earth. The ashram’s goal is to awaken us all to the difference we make and the changes required. The ashram’s efforts begin at home here in India, where Pujya Swamiji inspires India’s leaders for a clean and green India and a more peaceful world. The ashram’s specific programs include the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA.org), the world’s first initiative to engage the planet’s many faiths as allies in efforts to create a world where every human being has access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and proper hygiene.

Nothing short of a behavior change revolution is require to insure health, sustainable WASH for nearly half of India’s population. One of my favorite signs here at the ashram is for the World Toilet College, providing classroom and outreach trainings that cover the entire range of sanitation projects. Plus, there’s WASH on Wheels which brings dedicated social workers, volunteers and performers to all areas of India; the WaterSchool used to train and motivate teachers and students to learn the principles of sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene in order to be agents of social change; and  Women for WASH which seeks to develop women entrepreneurs against pollution, hardship and disease right in their own neighborhoods and villages.

I am much more aware today of the significant role women can and do play in making change for the health of communities and our planet – and nature and culture balance and support one another. The Divine Shakti Foundation (DSF) is dedicated to the holistic well being of women, their children, and orphaned/abandoned children, and to all of Mother Nature and Mother Earth. Again, to make is personal, Menstrual Hygience Management was not on my radar screen before getting involved with Parmarth – it is now and the solutions are so simple – but they require me to think differently and to act differently. Creating a clean, green, and serene world means everyone is supported and barriers to health and wellness are removed. The Ashram’s efforts in these areas includes Gurukuls (schools) and Orphanages, education, and a Rural Development Program. There are programs such as Project Give-Back: The Heart of Healing, a health care program with annual free health care camps in Rishikesh.

Nature is a key element to understanding ourselves and I am convinced that any personal spiritual journey requires me to consider nature. What I understand today is that my relationships to people, to Mother Nature, to communities, is beyond borders and boundaries, and beliefs and ideals. It’s a matter of the heart – and about sameness and connection. Hope is our hands, and programs like Ganga Action Parivar (GAP) raise awareness about the need for collective and holistic, solution-based action to address the crucial issues facing the holy river Ganga. And Ganga broadens beyond this sacred river in India to encompass all rivers, all sources of water, all peoples. Briefly, Pujya Swamiji speaks of environmental preservation and 6 T’s: Toilets, Trash, Taps, Tigers, Trains, Trees – you can visit the ashram website to learn more how each of these has an impact on nature, and is influenced by culture and affects our future.

The final call in Pujya Swamiji’s vision is for the future. I think this is where the personal call most comes in – what future do I want? Knowing what I know now, how do my choices change? Choices around water, food, material possessions, care for my body, community, world – and those around me. It’s an interesting path – one that I find support along the way from the community here at Parmarth, through yoga and meditation, and through meeting amazing people from around the world who are involved in the change. So my last thought is – who do I surround myself with? How do I use my senses – what do I watch? what do I listen to? how do I touch? what do I allow my mind to gravitate towards? Ask yourself these questions – and perhaps our paths will cross as walk the path of “culture, nature, and future”.

I feel a sense of pride and I draw inspiration from these programs and initiatives, being called to make a difference in the world. Change really does depend upon each of us – it is a matter of the heart – the heart of me, the heart of you, the collective Heart of one earth! And for me, through the Heart of the One – the Divine – “any name, any form, no name, no form” – together we can. “Welcome Home!”

You can learn more about the ashram’s charitable mission and projects by visiting www.parmarth.org 

Article by Ed Fink a sevak at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh (Himalayas), India.

Teaching Yoga

In composing the Teacher Training program, I came across a series of personal reflections … “Who is the Yoga teacher?”, “What does it mean to teach Yoga?”

Fundamental questions for those who decide to start a training course, which often go into the background, focused on finding a suitable course for hours .. for the subjects studied .. for costs.

But they are also fundamental questions for those who already teach, reflections that sometimes do well to face ..   And then I rediscover and remind myself that teaching Yoga does not consist in simple information that the teacher transmits and disseminates, keeping them detached from oneself and leaving them at the end of the day in a Yoga Shala.

What one theaches should be one’s own state of being, a way of life that is necessarily part of the teacher himself. In learning Yoga, the teacher can accompany and support the student only to where he has come himself, he can point a light only to those places in which he was willing to cross. It can empathize with the student’s research and with the problems that may emerge in the course of this research, just because he personally embarked on the same journey.

Here then teach Yoga is continuous research, a continuous discovery of themselves, those sides that every time we find new, fragments of us that from time to time, experience after experience, we bring to light to find that balance so difficult to reach .

And then I remind myself that the foundations of the Yoga tradition are closely linked to the conduct of a life in which our actions are congruent and consistent with our values ​​and with what we transmit to others.   If we present ourselves as

“Yoga Teachers”, which is science and the art of living, then we must put ourselves into practice that way of life. If, on the contrary, we only want to teach positions and postures, then it is better to give to what we do a name different from Yoga.

A long journey … towards the Heart of Yoga ..

Article by Amrita Ceravolo Yoga Alliance (Italia/International) Master Yoga Teacher, Vice president of “Sathya Yoga – International School of Yoga Studies”, in Milano (Italy) affiliated with Paramanand Institute (India). Honorary Director of “Paramanand Institute of Yoga Sciencese & Research” (India), Honorary Director of “International Association of Indian Yoga” to find more about Amrita’s events and Yoga Teacher Training Courses visit her website :www.sathyayoga.academy  www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006514069373

Amrita Ceravolo Master Yoga Teacher

Amrita Ceravolo Utthita Astha Padangusthasana

  

 

Amrita Ceravolo Ustrasana Variation

 

The Light of Chakras

The Light of Chakras by Paolo Proietti Yoga Alliance Italia/International Master Yoga Teacher https://www.yogaalliance.it/registro/lista/paolo-proietti/   

Paolo Proietti Master Yoga Teacher For the ancient Indians the celestial sphere was divided into 27 sectors or ‘Houses of the Moon’, called naksatra, literally stars or pearls.  Thirteen rays2 originate from each ‘House of the Moon’ and reach the earth. Four of these, perceivable as ‘light-sound’ are distinguished by the syllables A, I, U, E, O, BA, BI,  BU, BE, BO etc.

In total  there are 27×4=108 light-sounds corresponding to 108 building blocks of Matter. 108, like the grains of Mala, or like the elements indicated by the chemist Dmitrij Ivanovic Mendeleev in the Periodic Table of the Elements3, or by rsi Kasyapa4 at least 3,000 years before (or so they say).

  • See ‘Hatha Yoga, la lingua perduta dei Veggenti-simbologia e pratica della Serie Rishikesh’Aldenia Edizioni, Firenze 201
  • Precisely 13,3333… for a total of 27×13(3)=360 a ray for each degree of

THE CELESTIAL SPHERE

  • Dmitrij Ivanovic Mendeleev (Tobol’sk, 8 February 1834-San Petersberg, 2 February 1907). A Russian chemist, was the inventor of the Periodic Table of the Element Unlike previous contributors to the Table, Mendeleev furnished a system of classification that provided for the characteristics of elements yet to be discovered.
  • Kasyapa, author of Kashyapa Samhita, one of the most important books on traditional Indian medicine. He was an astronomer, doctor and Yogin. He is considered one of the seven rsi, literally prophets, the patriarchs of the Veda religion. Atharvaveda ‘Shaunakiya recension’ Hymn 19.7

To these 108 perceivable rays another 252 must be added, for a total of 360 rays, one for each degree of the celestial sphere. The theory of the Indian poets5 is fascinating: the radiance of the stars, in Sanskrit, marici, not only brings life to earth and to all the undefined parallel worlds that form the Universe of Veda, but has the power in certain, specific conditions to increase the frequency of the vibrations in our cells favoring those levels of consciousness which are defined as Realization, Illumination, Liberation…

In human beings all these 360 rays are present: those which illuminate the cosmos, those which give life to matter and those from which thoughts, desires and emotions arise.

These rays are to be found ready to respond to the ‘Song of the Stars’, in the six fundamental Cakra of Yoga (perineum, genitalia, navel, heart, throat, the center of the eyebrows):

56 resonate to Muladhara Cakra, the perineum plexus;

62 to the Svadhisthana Cakra, navel plexus;

54 to the Anahata Cakra, heart plexus;

72 to the Visuddha Cakra, throat plexus; 64 to the ajna Cakra, forehead plexus.

At the moment of creation, the ‘Goddess of Dawn,, called ‘Marici’ by the Buddists, or The One Who Radiates’, lets fall the ‘Seeds of Light’ (or of sound or light-sound) into the depth of our soul. After having practiced Yoga, through a particularly emotional state or by fluke, we become sensitive to the ‘Song of the Stars’. The ‘Seeds of Light’ germinate and ‘the Cosmos alights inside us’.

Like harp strings, caressed by the wind, they create unexpected melodies so that our internal organs, bones and our cells harmonize with the voice of the Cosmos, sharing the Harmony of the Spheres. It is from the Seeds of Light that the Interior Universe blossoms.

For the ancient Vedas, inside each human being there sleeps an entire Universe with planets, stars and galaxies. See, eg, “Uttara Gita – or The Initiation of Arjuna by Sri Krishna into Yoga and Jnana” English Translation and Notes by B.K. Laheri, F.T.S. –

T.P.H. Oriental Series No. 9 – Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar,

Madras, India 1933 – Cap. II,15-16:  “15. Susumnã is a fine nerve that passes between the Idã and Pingalã. From this Susumnã all the JnãnaNãdis (sensory nerves) take their birth: hence it is called the Jnãna- Nãdi. 16. The Sun, the Moon, and the other Devatas, the fourteen Lokas of Bhur, Bhuvar, etc., the ten directions, East, West, etc., the sacred places, the seven oceans, the Himãlaya and other mountains, the seven Islands of Jambu, etc., the seven sacred rivers, Gangã, etc., the four Vedas, all the sacred philosophies, the sixteen vowels and twenty-four consonants, the Gãyatri and other sacred Mantras, the eighteen Purãnas and all the Upa- Purãnas included, the three Gunas, Mahat itself, the root of the Jîvas, the Jîvas and their Atman, the ten breaths, the whole world, in fact, consisting of all these, exists in the Susumnã.”

The Song of the Stars awakes this universe, changing each gesture into a cosmic dance and each thought into an astral voyage.

A poetic metaphor? Maybe not. Recently it has been discovered that astrocytes’, star shaped cells (hence their name) that form from 20-50% of the cerebral mass, and the microtubules, the supporting structure of the cells, communicate between each other, and create specific processes.

The neuronal microtubules, when stimulated by certain vibrational frequencies (sounds), produce energy in the form of light and heat. Energy that would be able to modify DNA.

In their turn, the astrocytes, which don’t communicate by electric impulses but through light, activated by the energy of the microtubules, start to regenerate nerve tissue by creating new neurons and therefore new synapses.

With this in mind, Yoga is the ‘Art of Vibration’. The aim of Asana, Mudra and Mantra is to make the energy of the stars vibrate in the body.

If this vibration stimulates the production of light energy in the microtubules, and energy that enables the astrocytes to generate new neurons, then the so-called illumination  would be none other than the contemporary activation of all the neuronal microtubules and consequently the stimulation of all the astrocytes that Yoga leads to cell regeneration and to the modification of DNA as suggested by some, is a fascinating hypothesis, but like all hypotheses it must be verified.

If you think of the disproportion between the number of people who practice Yoga (30 million in the USA alone) and the number of known cases of physical transformation or unexplained healing linked to the practice of Yoga, it leads us to think that it is just a hypothesis, fascinating but farfetched.

Moreover, the stars light everyone in the same way: in which way or for what reason are some people able to use this light whilst the majority of human beings cannot?

THE STARS INSIDE US

In forty-five years of practice and research I am convinced that in Yoga one has to go beyond the metaphor.

One must in many cases, if not in all, take the ancient teachings literally.

Speaking of illumination for example, many of us automatically think of the poetic description of a particular condition of the mind or a particular state of consciousness. But what if it is really a phenomenal explosion of light? If in fact it is the perception of stars that dwell in us? I have discovered that the asana are constellations, asterisms that are purely casual.

A few years ago whilst making a teaching video I was consulting Google to find images for Yoga positions that are named after birds.

I typed in ‘Peacock, Crow, Swan, Crane, Dove…’ and images of the Milky Way came up. This intrigued me and I looked for the names of the basic positions in the Indian texts on astronomy. And indeed, all the asana that I know, from Trikonasana (the triangle position), to Mandukasana (the frog position), from Garudasana (the eagle position) to the position of Natarajasana, all correspond to stars, constellations or asterisms.

Shiva, King of the Dance, (this means Nataraja) is none other than Orion the Hunter. To understand this one must just compare the images of the King of the Dance with those of the Hunter in love with the Pleiadi.

The asana are celestial bodies and phenomena and the traditional pathways are maps of the sky, maybe routes of ancient mariners. Apart from the eventual practical aspects it is however beautiful! Each time we assume a series of positions we are recounting the story of a voyage.

With its astral links Yoga reveals itself as a sacred dance that lets us live physically, that link between person (Microcosm) and Universe (Macrocosm). We often use this as a metaphor, this state of consciousness or poetic attempts to overcome our anxiety of incompleteness. Marvelous!

The identicalness between asana and the stars is the key to understanding the real sense of Yoga: the discovery of our celestial origin and the transformation of body and mind together. I said cellular regeneration, and DNA modification. Science fiction?

The Tamil’s Nath and Siddha, the creators of Hathayoga, have always spoken of this. Tirumular (known as Cuntaranatar) in the Tirumantiram7  (a book of 3,000 verses which narrates the deeds of the first siddha, Nandi, Patanjali, Vyaghrapada etc.) affirms to be at least 3,000 years old and Babaji di Hairakhan, who died in 1984, was Babaji Nagaraji, recorded in the annals of thousands of years ago.

Legends? Based on my experience with the Rishikesh series, on my research and on the documents furnished by Rupchand, one of Babaji Hairakhan’s well-known pupils, I am of the opinion that Hatha Yoga is something different from what is generally believed. Behind the accounts of paranormal phenomena there is more than just the desire to astound which animates many of its devoted disciples. ‘Tirumantiram’ – ITES Publications, Madras 1979.

THE DANCE OF THE GODS

Let’s imagine that there are really stars inside us and that millions of years ago our forefathers discovered a way to make them play by the ‘Music of the Celestial Spheres’.

Let’s also imagine that these stars inside us are those astrocytes that are currently being studied by Prof. Fred H. Gage’s team in California. (Salk Institute for Biological Studies). Astrocytes are sensitive to light and today we know that stimulating the neuronal microtubules with  sound vibrations the brain illuminates with its own light. (see: Stuart Hameroff, Roger Penrose. Consciousness in the Universe, Physics of Life Reviews, 2013).

Is it so absurd to think that it is possible to stimulate the neuronal microtubules and therefore the astrocytes, with sounds and vibrations produced by the Yogin? Not according to me, and I believe that there is a way of proving it.

First of all with the asana and the sequence of movements one must soften and in a sense expand the body.The voice must travel, between muscles, skin and bone, without obstacles, like the breeze on the ocean, slipping through the dozens of fissures, cavities and channels that are found in our cranium, to make the bones vibrate and to finally arrive at the cerebral mass.

With practice, every single part of the head can vibrate producing high frequency sounds called Overtones based on the theory of Overtone Singing.

In the production of the harmonics the role of the soft palate is fundamental (called in tantra ‘the dwelling of Rudra, the Roaring God’). One can say that the soft palate is the entrance to the superior levels of consciousness. The production of overtones is accompanied by a tactile sensation, a sort of caress or massage in diverse areas of the cranium.

Paying attention to this sensation, after a short time, an interior sound begins, a sort of pleasant insect’s chirrup that is neither linked to the heartbeat nor to the flow of breathing.

It is as if the brain starts to sing by itself. Often, light phenomena are linked to this chirruping, with flowers of light that form and disappear, following this rhythm.  Once one has become confident with this internal sound, the quality of work on the asana changes radically. The movement is softer, lighter and beneath the skin one is aware of a sort of effervescence (perhaps the divine caress that the tantric refer to, see the ‘Paratrisikavivarana’ by

Abhinavagupta). This condition, finding the alignment with the constellations and thinking that each articulation corresponds to a celestial body, is an experience that is well worth trying. The song of the stars sounds in each single cell, and the body cannot do anything other than dance. This is Yoga: a dance, ‘the Dance of the Gods’.(translated by Christine Elizabeth Hogan)

Paolo Proietti Master Yoga Teacher