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YL May 2022

Published by Daya Nidy, 2022-04-29 07:43:03

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Om Ganapathaye ! FIFTY THREE YEARS IN THE PROPAGATION OF CLASSICAL RISHICULTURE ASHTANGA YOGA The whole of ICYER at Ananda Ashram was INTERNATIONAL filled with an exuberant energy of love and gaiety on MONTHLY the 16th of April as numerous well-wishers of the Gitananda Tradition descended on the premises to Vol.53 No. 05, MAY 2022 celebrate the Swarna Janmotsav Homam commemorating Dr Anandaji's 50th Golden CONTENTS Birthday. In our front and back pages we share glimpses of this extraordinary celebration of the Pan- MARKING THE GOLDEN BIRTHDAY IN STYLE - 02 Indian Culture, that of Sanathana Dharma. A GLOBAL LOVE POEM FOR THE GOLDEN BIRTHDAY - 04 Sri Nataraja Sastrigal, who has been an integral part of our life and officiated at all our BRINGING ORDER INTO CHAOS: - 08 important Pujas for decades, performed an elaborate TAMING CHILDISH ANARCHY WITH YOGA fire ceremony propitiating Lord Ganesha, the Navagrahas and other deities. The Vedic rituals were MY LIFE OF YOGA DURING - 16 conducted as per tradition and a special moment was when 108 chants of the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra THE BRAHMACHARYA AND VANAPRASTHA ASHRAMAS reverberated through the Satsangha hall intoned with vigor by the four dozen young trainee pundits of the MUKHA BHASTRIKA: A YOGIC BELLOWS-LIKE - 23 Veda Patashala. BREATHING Pujya Ammaji blessed Dr Ananda and family YOGA, THE QUEST FOR WELL-BEING - 28 on the occasion and to add to the grandeur of the occasion, the Upanayanam was conducted for Anandraj Bhavanani. This is a ceremonial rite in which the young Brahmin boy is invested with the sacred thread and initiated into the Gayatri Maha Mantra. Later in the day our Vishwa Yoga Parivar, the World Yoga Family came together to celebrate the occasion online and thus another grand event of togetherness manifested with the potent blessings of the Guru Parampara. We congratulate the team of Reena Joseph and Dr Shamili Shanker for bagging the First Prize in the \"Who knows Dr Ananda the Best\" quiz organized by Dhivya Priya and her team. We also congratulate Radu and Aishwariya who came second and Priya Philip and Arjunraj who came third. It was truly an amazing event and we all learnt so much more about our beloved Dr Sir The official publication of Yoga Jivana Satsangha (International); Vishwa Yoga Samaj (Worldwide Yoga Congress); Sri Kambaliswamy Madam (Samadhi Site); SPARC (The Society for the Preservation of Ancient Rishi Culture); ICYER (International Centre for Yoga Education and Research) at Ananda Ashram, Tamil Nadu. Published from Ananda Ashram City Centre at Yoganjali Natyalayam, 25, II Cross, lyyanar Nagar, Pondicherry-605 013, India. Editor and Publisher : Ammaji Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, Editor: (I/C) Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani. Phone: +91-0413-2241561. E-mail: [email protected]; Website: Printers : Sarguru Printographs, Villupuram, Tamil Nadu, India. Subscription Rate: Indian Rs. 500/year; International 50 Euros/ year. Note: All subscribers will be sent e-copies of Yoga Life every month from January 2021 onwards and hence are requested to register their preferred e-mail at icy[email protected] to ensure uninterrupted receipt of the journal.

MARKING THE GOLDEN BIRTHDAY IN STYLE Yogacharya Dr ANANDA BALAYOGI BHAVANANI Ashram Acharya and Chairman ICYER at Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry, India. Every birthday is special as it reminds us that we are born on earth as a human being for a purpose, to fulfill our Dharma. However this 50th birthday of mine has indeed been very special as it brought forth a loving avalanche of wishes and blessings from my Yoga family worldwide. When I look back at the past 50 years, all I can feel is a deep and infinite gratitude to life for the Divine who has manifested this “Life of Yoga” for me. To have been born to my Guru-Parents who have nourished my spiritual evolution every moment, is nothing sort of a miracle, as both of them have shown me what it is to “Be Humane, and Manifest Divinity”. When in doubt, all I need to ask myself is, “What would Swamiji and Ammaji have done in this situation?”- and at once all is clear in my consciousness. As we performed the Swarna Janmotsav Homam at ICYER guided by Sri Nataraja Shastrigal, my eyes filled with tears as I realized how fortunate I have been in this lifetime. When we can realise how blessed we are, we then are indeed doubly blessed. To have loving parents who have been my illustrious Gurus, and to have had great teachers and mentors who have been loving parents to me is something that I can never forget. They have been the best living role models anyone could desire. Every one of them from my times as a child and a youth to the present, has played a vital role in creating “what” and “who” I am today. I bow down in deep respect and offer my humble Sashtang Namaskaram to each and every one of these, Divine Souls. My beloved Dharmapatni Devasena, and my adorable children Dhivya Priya and Anandraj continue to support me and enable me to focus one pointedly on my Swadharma; to serve Yoga to the best of my ability. My Dharma has truly also become theirs too. My Spiritual Children of course make sure that I always have the round-the-clock-support I need at any time and every time. “Teach, teach and teach”, is all I that wish to do 24 hours/day and all of my dearest students worldwide enable me to do that with their responsive enthusiasm, loving presence and sincere questioning that brings out the best in me. If you don't show up for class, whom do I teach? Every time you all show up, and I get a chance Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 02

EDITORIAL to share, I am blessed with yet another opportunity to truly connect with the vast and wise universe that is there within all of us. My Worldwide Yoga Family has shown me how much they love and value this life of Yoga, and that motivates me to vow to continue to “Stand up for Yoga”, come what may. We must be worthy children of our Divine Mother Yoga and serve her with every breath, till our last one. Nothing else will be a better expression of our infinite love and gratitude. Hari Om Tat Sat. आनन्द-पञ्चकम् ānanda-pañcakam A Pentad on Sri Ananda Bhavanani ji nāṭya-gītādi-niṣṇātaḥ by Dr M Jayaraman on the occasion of 50th Birthday kalāyogī kriyāparaḥ vijñānī dharmaniṣṭho'yam गीतानन्दगरु ोः शिषय् ः ānando vinayānvitaḥ.. मीनाक्षी-मात-ृ सत्सतु ः । आननद् ो भिषजां श्रेष्ठः Sir Ananda is an expert in arts like dance and वन्द्यो योग-कलु ोद्भवः॥१॥ singing and hence a Kala-yogi. gītānandaguroḥ śiṣyaḥ He is ever active, a scientist & established mīnākṣī-mātṛ-satsutaḥ . in Dharma. But he is humble. ānando bhiṣajāṃ śreṣṭhaḥ vandyo yoga-kulodbhavaḥ.. भारतस्य सदा भकत् ः विदेशषे ु च कीरत् िमान् I salute Sri Ananda, the best among the physicians, born संसक् तृ ःे ससं ्कृतस्यापि in a Yogic family, the disciple of आननद् ः पोषकोतत् मः॥४॥ Sri Gitananda Guruji & the son of Mother Meenakshiji. bhāratasya sadā bhaktaḥ videśeṣu ca kīrtimān योगाभय् ासपरो नितय् म् योगसवे ापरो मुदा saṃskṛteḥ saṃskṛtasyāpi ānandaḥ poṣakottamaḥ.. योगशिक्षाप्रदः शर् ीमान् आनन्दो वन्दय् ते मया॥२॥ He is devoted to Bharat/India but is renowned world-wide. yogābhyāsaparo nityam He is a nourisher of Samskriti (culture) and Samskritam. yogasevāparo mudā आनन्दं भावयन् स्वान्ते yogaśikṣāpradaḥ śrīmān आनन्दं च पर् सारयन् । ānando vandyate mayā.. आनन्दो योगिवर्यः स: शतं वर्षाणि जीवतु॥५॥ He practices Yoga always. He always serves the cause of Yoga happily. ānandaṃ bhāvayan svānte ānandaṃ ca prasārayan . He richly contributes to Yoga teaching. ānando yogivaryaḥ sa: I salute such Sri Anandaji. śataṃ varṣāṇi jīvatu.. नाट्य-गीतादि-निषण् ातः कलायोगी कर् ियापरः In his heart he is always blissful (Ananda). He also disseminates bliss (Ananda). विजञ् ानी धरम् निष्ठोऽयम् आननद् ो विनयान्वितः॥३॥ Let such a great Yogi Sri Ananda ji live for one hundred Years Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 03

A GLOBAL LOVE POEM FOR THE GOLDEN BIRTHDAY To celebrate Dr. Anandaji's 50th Swarna Janmotsav! Dr. Ananda is PurnaPurusa. Dr. Rama Reddy Karri Dr. Ananda is Sat, Chit, Ananda! Yogacharini Sangeeta Dr. Ananda is 'ANANDA' (happiness) personified. Dr.Nalini Srinivasan Dr Ananda is a magnificent vehicle and catalyst for spiritual transformation, a dedicated and committed real yogi and, above all, a noble human being. Yogasadhaki Laura Tolbaños Roche Dr.Ananda is an ocean of love. Yogacharya Sumit Upreti Dr. Ananda is an embodiment of divinity. Dr. Meena Ramanathan Dr Ananda is an inspiration for all. Smita Benny Dr. Ananda is a lighthouse of love, light, insight and delight. Sheetal Sanghvi Dr Ananda is the greatest Guru in our universe. Yogasadhaka Selwyn and Claire Williams Dr Ananda is ... a beautiful Divine Soul. Sue Walker Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 04

A GLOBAL LOVE POEM FOR THE GOLDEN BIRTHDAY Ganesh: Dr. Ananda is the Dr. of Healing, Life and Wisdom. Govind: Dr. Ananda is Magic and a Know-it-allogist. Radu: Dr. Ananda is other-worldly. Aishwariya: Dr. Ananda is the All in All, and beyond the beyond. The Falcons Dr Ananda is a luminous soul and a magnificent gift to humanity. Mathaji Margo Hutchison Dr Ananda is love-joy-wisdom forte effervescent (to be taken daily for maximum benefits). Ovidiu Ponoran Gift from Guru to us is to enable us to understand who we are. Our gift to Guru is what we become. Nalini Srinivasan Dr. Ananda is a blessing of love, light and laughter. Gurleen Sarai Dr. Ananda is caring, dedicated, honest, humane, humble, inspirational, knowledgeable, loving, sharing, and wise. Prof. Ingunn Hagen Dr. Ananda is that energy that manifests, evolves and shares in the most unique and universal way! Yogacharya Sri Kant Dr. Ananda is the wonderful light of a rising sun that during the day illuminates us all and in the late afternoon warms our hearts with the warm light of the sunset. Caterina Caizzone Dr Ananda is a magical super hero. Yogacharini Marietjie Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 05

A GLOBAL LOVE POEM FOR THE GOLDEN BIRTHDAY Dr Ananda is a bridge between the heart and mind. Massimo Cantara Dr. Ananda is the embodiment of the true Heart and Soul of Yoga! Yogacharya Joseph Le Page Dr Ananda is a shining example of how much we can achieve in one lifetime. Jenny Lloyd Dr Ananda is a guiding light for Sanatana Dharma for all yoga sadhakas! Yogacharini Deepika Dr. Ananda is the embodiment of genuine love, compassion and generosity. Yogacharini Padma Dr Ananda IS. How exemplary! Yogacharini Niraimathi Dr. Ananda is a kind and caring true Yogi. Kim Wohlen Dr Ananda is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Yogacharini Kalavathi Dr Ananda is a guiding light, source of wisdom and absolute bliss for yoga seekers. Yogacharya Jnandev Giri Dr Ananda is a light in the darkness. Yogasadhaka James Thomas Dr. Ananda is a true gift and wonderment. Michele Wert Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 06

A GLOBAL LOVE POEM FOR THE GOLDEN BIRTHDAY Dr Ananda is a spring river running down the mountain with his flow of yoga knowledge and joyfulness. Yogacharini Sowmya (Agathe Sicouly) Dr. Ananda is.... an example of what each Human Being should be: a Divine Soul! Antonio Manzionna Dr Ananda is…. An inspiration, sharing yoga information through his excellent communication. Enabling transformation, motivation and illumination, leaving us all full of deep contemplation, immense appreciation and absolute dedication without hesitation. Yogacharini Gargi Dr Ananda is...inspiring me through his joy, wholeheartedness and authenticity to live the Yoga life as best I can! Alet Ferreira- Brazelle Dr. Ananda is possessed of a beautiful heart and soul and radiates boundless love. Yogasadhaka Michael McCann Dr. Ananda is Sat Chit Anand. Yogasadhaki Neeru Prashar We love Dr Ananda. Yogasadhaki Malini Nath Dr Ananda's classes are unique, he shares his knowledge with all of us, always with a smile, sometimes a tear. Always with so much love, it makes each one of us feel very special. Yogini Ranjana Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 07

BRINGING ORDER INTO CHAOS: TAMING CHILDISH ANARCHY WITH YOGA Pujya Ammaji, Yogacharini MEENAKSHI DEVI BHAVANANI, Director ICYER Editor's note: We are pleased to share with our readers once again one of Ammaji's iconic poems and articles on the role of Yoga in enhancing multidimensional wellness in children. This was written in the mid eighties but is so relevant even now. The best thing we can do is share Yoga with our children as it has the potential to change the future of humanity itself. LITTLE ANARCHISTS It is the anarchy With stones and bugs and leaves, Of children Calling forth the Lord Which delights me. In all that lives and breathes. Beckoning to worship They make weird and funny noises, Everyone on earth, Having neither rhyme nor reason. Ringing the clear bell Use old sticks and stones for toys, Of their innocent childish mirth! Run naked in the rainy season. Poke their noses in forbidden places, Little Scientists! Insisting That the universe is soft. And laugh at all the wrong faces. Testing their theory, persisting, They jump and leap up in the air, By falling everywhere hard. Often as not, with bottoms bare, Breaking every law of the land, Just because it pleases 'em. Bribing the Judge all the while, They kick their legs Staying the stern hand And wave their arms Of justice with a pudgy finger Eat flowers and insects And a toothless baby smile. Without harm. Smart little Anarchists! Don't they realise That's what they are! The world is filled with bums? They've hitched their wagons They insist on loving everyone, To that impossible star. And enjoying every crumb. Little Pandits! Doing Puja Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 08

BRINGING ORDER INTO CHAOS: TAMING CHILDISH ANARCHY WITH YOGA It has been decades since I penned this poem. The anarchy of children still delights me. However, twenty years of 'growing up' spiritually have also shown me the necessity of channelling this youthful anarchy, this charming chaos, along reasonable lines and towards Cosmic ideals. The perfect methodology to achieve this seeming miracle is contained in Yoga. The Third Law of Thermodynamics states: any system left will naturally tend towards chaos. Nowhere is the truth of this principle more visible than in a group of children. Left without responsible direction for even five minutes, the nicest, sweetest bunch of children become a loud, noisy and mischievous mob, all descending to mingle at the lowest common denominator. The chaos predicted by 'The Third Law' can be prevented by the insertion of one factor into any system. That factor? Intelligent, conscious guidance and authority. Every group needs a higher authority, around which it can rally and organise itself. Especially in children. Contrary to modern pop psychology and educational theory, which has gone overboard in permissiveness, children not only need fixed limits to their behaviour, but they actually crave them. Especially when those limits are just, wise and reasonable, and obviously conducive to the group's well-being. The seers and wise men of Yoga through the millennia have spent their lifetimes studying the spiritual laws of the universe, which are just as inexorable as the physical laws. Their wisdom is available to modern men in various bodies of knowledge. The uniqueness of this knowledge is that these wise men evolved ways in which others could also come to the same knowledge and thus, realise its truth from personal experience. The human, from the moment of birth, has to be taught basic facts of life by its parents. The law of gravity is discovered quickly enough, after a low fall. Facts about the potency of fire to burn, and one's inability to breathe under the water are also early lessons in living on Earth. By the time the child matures, if it survives, it has learned enough about its physical world to move safely through the innumerable dangers and hazards daily life presents. But who teaches the child about the spiritual laws of the Universe, which are just as unbreakable as the physical laws? Surely if one puts one's hand in the fire, one will be burnt. Surely, if one jumps off a four-storey building, one will break one's bones. This most people have learned by the time they mature. But who has been taught that one cannot break the spiritual Law? That one will instead break Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 09

BRINGING ORDER INTO CHAOS: TAMING CHILDISH ANARCHY WITH YOGA oneself over that Law? The Universe's spiritual Laws are just as inflexible as its physical laws. But which adult knows that? As one wag said, 'People sow wild oats all week and then go to Church on Sunday and pray for crop failure.' The Karmic Law is a basic, unbreakable Universal Law. We reap what we sow. We get what we deserve. But how many realise this? How many accept that they have been creating their own life by their thoughts, words and actions... for months, for years, even for lifetimes past? The ancient seers realised that the Universe was Cosmos, but the mind of man was chaos. 'The mind is a monkey. Nay, the mind is a drunken monkey. Ho! The mind is a drunken monkey stung by a scorpion', counsel the scriptures. 'Thus, tame the mind.' The natural state of the human mind is anarchy, because it has not yet discovered for itself the spiritual Laws of the universe. Once those Laws are realised and obeyed, the mind will naturally attune itself to the Cosmic Order and be filled with Cosmic Harmony. As Lord Krishna says: 'Face to face with what must be, what need is there for sorrow?' When one realises, through proper Yogic experimentation, practice and guidance, the existence of Universal Laws, which are absolute and unbreakable, then one ceases to try to break those rules. One faces reality for what it is, without sorrow or regret, and lives quietly and harmoniously within those Laws. This was the great work of the Yogis. The discovery of these spiritual laws, called Sanatana Dharma, or the Eternal Truth. It is also sometimes also called 'The Law of Virtue'. Obeying this Law of Virtue produces the cosmos. Disobedience results in chaos. That is the simple fact of life, whether we like it or not. Thus, we have no choice, if we wish to evolve spiritually. We must obey the Law. We are then rewarded with health, happiness, prosperity and spiritual insight. As the sage Veda Vyasa said thousands of years ago: 'O Man. Do thy Dharma (duty). Then Kama (love- emotional needs): Artha (material wealth) and Moksha (spiritual freedom) will naturally follow.' The anarchy of children is the restlessness of the monkey-mind, perhaps a little more evident than in its adult encasement, Adults have learned to mask their restless mind with polite chatter, fixed gazes, and pretence. Children simply do not hide what they are. But there is little difference between the restless minds of most children and the monkey-minds of their adult counterparts. The best counterbalance to this natural anarchy is imbibing the principles of Yoga which are based on Cosmic Law (Sanatana Dharma, the Law of Virtue) and undertaking the Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 10

BRINGING ORDER INTO CHAOS: TAMING CHILDISH ANARCHY WITH YOGA various disciplines and techniques offered in the Yoga system. This training can be started even from a young age. Of course, the younger the age, the more the techniques and practices have to be 'watered down' and made into games and types of play. It is possible in this manner even to teach some Yogic principles and techniques to children scarcely able to walk. The wise parent, observing his child, will see that babies naturally adopt many Yogic postures. This posturing can be accented, helped and encouraged. As the child develops, many games can be developed to seed the basic structure and discipline of Yoga into the very bones and blood. The Jesuit priests used to say, 'Give us a child until he is six years of age and he will be ours for life.' Yogic training should be started in infanthood itself. Of course, this is possible only if some-one in the immediate family or environment is a Yogi. And that of course, is the child's fortune (good Karma). We have already discussed the importance of imprinting. The necessity of good role models has been heavily stressed in the Yogic concept of spirituality. 'Satsangha' or 'association with those who seek the Truth' is necessary. Most people, whether they realise it or admit it or not, are moral and ethical chameleons. They take on the same characteristics, attitudes and behaviour patterns as those with whom they associate. In India, people of good families always take care to expose their children to elevated personalities, actively seeking the blessings of saints, sages and evolved souls at every stage of life, before beginning any important endeavour. The realisation of the power of the Ashirwads (blessings) and good will of evolved souls is part and parcel of Hindu culture. Those who wish to bring their children up in a Yogic way, must be very careful of not only the children's associates, but also the people whom they allow into their family environment. Perhaps a saint can save a sinner, but the sinner will corrupt the average man. Only a strong swimmer can save a drowning man, a weak swimmer on the contrary will also be pulled to a watery grave by the person he attempts to rescue. Thus, it is a folly to allow evil minded and bad habit-ridden personalities into one's psychic environment with the intention to 'reform them.' The power of negativity is greater than the power of good. One rotten apple can spoil a barrel. Hence, the importance of Satsangha for both children and adults is immense. It is the usual practice here in India, to begin formal instruction in any of the spiritual arts, including Bharatanatyam, Carnatic music, instrumental and vocal, Sanskrit training etc, around the age of six. This is also the age at which we admit Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 11

BRINGING ORDER INTO CHAOS: TAMING CHILDISH ANARCHY WITH YOGA children to our formal Yoga courses. However, in all the arts parents are advised to expose the child from a young age to stage performances, practice sessions, etc allowing the tiny tots to imbibe into their sub-consciousness all the multifarious vibrations of the art to be studied. This is also good advice in Yoga. To take even small infants to Yoga classes, Yoga demonstrations, Bhajana sessions. Mantra chanting sessions, Pujas, Ashrams, Yoga schools, any place where the vibration of 'Yoga' is powerfully present. Even small babies pick up lasting impressions from these positive surroundings which will remain with them their entire lives. I have spent much time discussing generalities, some might complain. This is because Yoga encompasses the whole of life; it is in no way simply a few physical or mental exercises, but a whole lifestyle, a way of looking at life, a way of eating, sleeping, moving, thinking, breathing, speaking. Yoga is the science of attuning ourselves to the Cosmic Reality, a means of achieving Oneness with that Divine Presence. Yoga is practical and has a methodology. One of my frustrations as a youngster growing up in a strict Roman Catholic environment was this: the nuns and the priests used to tell us daily. 'Love God. Love your neighbour. Be good.' I didn't love God. I didn't even know who or what or where he was; I certainly didn't love my neighbour, especially that bad little boy who used to throw stones at me on my way home from school. I knew I wasn't always good, though I certainly desired to be. When I asked all the important questions: 'How can I know God? How can I love my neighbour? How can I be good? How?' there was no response. For, they themselves may have not known 'HOW'. 'These things are a mystery,' they used to pat me on the head and say, 'You must have faith and believe.' But that was not my nature. I wanted to know. And I wanted to know how. These were the conflicts and spiritual urges I was experiencing from the age of six. I had to wait till I was twenty-three and came to India to discover there was a HOW to all of this. That HOW was contained within the methodology of Yoga. The ancient Yogis said: 'Don't believe anything. Experience it yourself'. And here is HOW you can undergo that experience. This is the path. This is the way you must walk it yourself.' The methodology of Yoga, the techniques and practices, are important tools. A hammer and a saw cannot build a house, but these tools can enable someone with skill, knowledge, energy, time, patience, perseverance, determination, regularity and commitment, to build that house. So also the practices of Yoga enable us to build 'our House of God.' Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 12

BRINGING ORDER INTO CHAOS: TAMING CHILDISH ANARCHY WITH YOGA It is important that young children know that this path, this way, exists. They must know that To Be Good You Must Feel Good. Yoga has a means of showing us how to Feel Good. From basic good feeling, one can ascend along the ladder of evolution till all the other important questions of life such as: Why was I born? What is my purpose? Who is God? What happens after death? Why do people suffer? What is my Swadharma (unique purpose in the Universe)? How can I fulfil my obligations to family, friends and society?' are automatically answered in the expanding sphere of consciousness. From my own experience, I know how important it is that young children realise that there is a method by which the Cosmic Law can be understood, and joyfully obeyed. That there is a method for creating a feeling of well-being, and of goodness. That there is a method of keeping body, mind and emotions trim and fit. That there is a method which will produce answers to all of life's questions. And that methodology is contained within that mighty 'Mother of All Sciences,' that Benevolent Mother of All Religions...Yoga. Thus, we see, when we open up the topic Yoga for Children we have stepped off into a vast and glorious universe. We understand that Yoga is best inculcated in the family unit itself, that Yoga should be the entire family's way of life. One's best Guru is one's mother, father, grandmother or grandfather. If that is not possible, then perhaps the Yoga can come from an associate, a friend or a more distant relative. Perhaps the child's Karma is that he will be exposed to Yogic concepts through medium outside of the family unit, through his school, through books, through companions. But the scriptures assure us: 'When the student is ready, the Guru appears.' Thus, when even a child is ready, surely the Guru will come to him. Yoga teachers must be Gurus. A least a little bit. They may not be fully realised personalities. They may have faults and failings. But they should have that spiritual urge to evolve themselves, to expand their consciousness, to deepen their understanding of God, the universe and themselves. They should be living a life in accordance with the Law of Virtue, according to the Eternal Rules of Life; they should be free of bad habits and addictions. They should be fulfilling their Dharma to family, society and nation. They should be intelligent and capable, skillful in their actions, polite and sensitive in their manners. Most important of all, They Must Practise What They Preach. For the root meaning of the word Acharya or Spiritual Teacher is this: 'one who teaches by example.' The bond between a teacher of Yoga and his student is a lifetime Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 13

BRINGING ORDER INTO CHAOS: TAMING CHILDISH ANARCHY WITH YOGA association, not just a month of classes or a short session of instruction. The Yoga teacher must be prepared to correct and guide his student in all aspects of life, pointing out when necessary, faults and failures. More importantly, the student must be prepared to accept the teacher's advice. Otherwise, there is absolutely no point. Swamiji tells a lovely story. He had a friend Sri Ram who possessed all qualities, a highly evolved professional man, and a heart surgeon. His friend was a Yogi Extraordinaire. Swamiji was so impressed with his friend's personality that he insisted that he be taken to meet his friend's Guru. 'My Guru is the most wonderful person,' said Sri Ram. 'l owe everything I am to him, to his guidance, his teachings and his blessings.' Swamiji thought, 'This Guru must be the most marvellous man to produce such a disciple'. The day of the meeting dawned, Swamiji found the 'Guru' to be a very ordinary, plain man, with little evident scholarship, or even education or refinement. Yet Sri Ram obviously adored the man, and great love and affection streamed between them. Swamiji always concludes this story by remarking. 'Often a student outgrows his own teacher. But if the student never forgets their psychic debt to the person who gave them stimulus for spiritual growth, the blessings of the Divine will continue to flow through even the most humble of vehicles.' That Guru-Chela relationship, one which can be as intimate as that between husband and wife, is a necessary part of true traditional Yogic training. That mutual commitment, one to the other for a lifetime, is the base on which the Yogic flow of knowledge can pass from the area of greater density, the Guru, to one of lesser density, the student. Commitment removes the barriers between the two even in teaching Yoga to children; the instructor must have that life-long commitment to his student and in turn, the child should be taught to revere and respect his teacher and treat the relationship with great care. Here in India, this is much easier than in the west, as the cultural structure has many ceremonies and customs which foster this respectful relationship. In Western countries, it has to be cultivated in a more difficult circumstance, in a climate where authority is not respected, and individuality greatly stressed. One should not take up Yoga teaching, whether to children or adults, unless one has a fairly firm grip on one's own life, and some degree of development. Nowadays one sees very young people labelling themselves as 'Yoga teachers'. It does bring the whole science down. It is like a first-year medical student calling himself a Cardiovascular Surgeon. Young Yoga Sadhaks can no doubt be of great help in assisting their Gurus in teaching basic practices, but their work should Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 14

BRINGING ORDER INTO CHAOS: TAMING CHILDISH ANARCHY WITH YOGA always be considered as an apprenticeship and should be carefully monitored by their Master, their Guru, for mistakes and failings. A certain minimum life experience, a certain minimum maturity is necessary for this exalted position. One of Swamiji's leading teachers in Berlin, Germany goes even farther. 'I don't think anyone should teach Yoga before they reach the age of forty. They should concentrate on developing a profession which is of service to the society, marry, have children, and understand life. Armed with that wisdom and their Yogic development, then they have earned the right to impart this sacred science.' Even children should be encouraged not to 'Guru Hop'. This has become fashionable in modern society. Some call it eclecticism. Taking the best from many sources and mixing it all together. If you took the best tomato, the best orange, the best apple, the best strawberry, the best potato, the best pineapple and mixed them all together, the resulting concoction would not taste too good, even though all the components are food. The traditional view of Yoga is that one finds a Guru and sticks to that Guru's teachings sincerely and loyally for a lifetime. One Guru - One Wife - One Aim - One Life is an old Hindu proverb. A true Guru will be teaching what he has been taught and what was handed down to him by a long line of Masters. One should find one's Guru, and stick to that tradition, developing its potentialities to its limit. Thus, even children who are coming to learn Yoga, should be prepared to stay with the same teacher, to stay within the same tradition, for their lifetime. This should not be as the result of any coercement of course, but rather a natural loyalty which grows as the years pass. Of course, this assumes that the Guru is expounding a legitimate system, a legitimate Paramparai which is vast and all- encompassing. Often people come to Swamiji, who are followers of other Gurus. 'Why have you come here?' Swamiji always quizzes them. 'You are the follower of Swamiji, so and so.' They answer sheepishly: 'Our Guru doesn't practise Yoga and we want to learn Yoga.' Swamiji always replies: 'Do what your Guru does. If he doesn't practise Yoga, then you should not either.' This of course, is anathema to most modern minds which are rooted in body consciousness and ego-fulfilling pursuits still; these are the basic thought patterns and concepts and ideals which make Yoga what it is: a unique life science which teaches people how to live correctly within Universal Laws. Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 15

MY LIFE OF YOGA DURING THE BRAHMACHARYA AND VANAPRASTHA ASHRAMAS Yogasadhaki SUZANNE KAUFFMAN, Graduate YSS, USA Hindu philosophy breaks a person's lifetime into stages, each composed of 27 years. The stages are Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired), and Sannyasin (renunciate). I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Gitananda Yoga in the Brahmacharya stage of my life. It was a perfect time for me to take up the multifaceted and immensely rich teachings. I studied first in Boulder, CO, with Ravi Dykema, who had spent years with Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri (Swamiji) in Pondicherry, India, at Ananda Ashram in the early 1970s. Subsequently, I was introduced to other North American teachers who were also carrying on the Rishiculture Yoga Lineage as taught by Swamiji. Eventually my husband and I travelled to India and met Swamiji's widow, Ammaji Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, their son, Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, and others at Ananda Ashram. It was after that visit that I began my first Yoga Step-by-Step lessons in correspondence with Ammaji Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani. The lessons came easily and codified many of the concepts that I'd learned over the years with various Gitananda Yoga teachers. After I'd completed more than half of the course, I reached the Grihastha stage of my life, and being the householder took precedence over completing the course. I'd always wanted to complete the course. I knew in my heart that it would happen someday. But here's the thing about the Yoga Step-by-Step course: It really does build one lesson upon the other. Jumping into the middle to complete the course just was not an option. I knew that I'd need to start fresh at Lesson 1. The course is masterfully constructed to take a student from wherever that person is on their own path and help them evolve to be a better version of themselves. It accomplishes this by presenting concepts and practices to become aware of one's breath, cleanse the body and mind, gain physical strength and body awareness, and ultimately quiet the mind and move within. So, in 2020 when Dr. Ananda offered the YSS class over zoom, I was thrilled to join Team 52, an online course of over 100 students with 25 mentors and Dr. Ananda as our guide. We met weekly for an entire year to delve into the rich lessons that Dr. Swami Gitananda laid out so carefully for us. Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 16

MY LIFE OF YOGA DURING THE BRAHMACHARYA AND VANAPRASTHA ASHRAMAS One of the fun assignments in the course is to provide photographs of yourself doing Asanas. Remember, prior to 2020 this course was only taught as a correspondence course, so sending photos to Ananda Ashram was a good way for Swamiji and Ammaji to see a student's progress and make corrections if needed. So, I dug out my photos from my first YSS coursework when I was younger. I wondered how different these photos would be from the ones I would take at the age of 60. After all, I do feel limitations in my range of motion and flexibility now. Surprisingly, the photos don't reveal stark differences but surely after completing a year with Team 52 in the Step-by-Step course, my practice has changed and the way I live my life has changed. Below, I'll present meaningful lessons that I learned during this past year along with comparative photos. I truly believe that living a Life of Yoga as taught in the YSS is helping me to age more gracefully and to be a better human being. You'll find pictures on the left that were taken on a mountaintop in 1997 and pictures on the right that were taken in a park in 2021. Sarvanga Asana With this amazing inverted Asana I gained a new appreciation for PurnaViparita Karana. The playful upside-down movement helped me regain flexibility and comfort in my hips. Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 17

MY LIFE OF YOGA DURING THE BRAHMACHARYA AND VANAPRASTHA ASHRAMAS ParshvaKona Asana The whole idea of Dharana, taking responsibility for one's actions, began to sink in for me. Somehow owning this responsibility lightens my load and is freeing. Bhujanga Asana It had been many years since I worked regularly and intensely with moving energy. But tapping into the awareness of Prana came much more easily than expected. My body had not forgotten the lessons learned as a Brahmacharya. Going back to Step One was like building upon a firm foundation. Ardha Vashista Asana Participating weekly for a year of lessons gave me insight into the lives of Dr. Ananda and the many mentors. Witnessing the way these teachers continued to Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 18

MY LIFE OF YOGA DURING THE BRAHMACHARYA AND VANAPRASTHA ASHRAMAS practise and be involved even though they had difficulties, busy lives, kids and/or ageing parents gave me a new appreciation for what it looks like to live a Life of Yoga and motivates me as I carry Yoga throughout my days. I know now that living a Life of Yoga takes persistence, strength, and practice and is not expected to be perfect! Nava Asana One of the first things I realized as I began the course again was that I was no longer breathing properly. My life had gotten too busy, and I'd forgotten to breathe! It's amazing how the breath is used as a tool to help us evolve so that we can become a better version of ourselves. As with other aspects of my life, I see in the pictures of Nava Asana a more relaxed me. I'm able to relax more at this stage of my life. Supta Vajra Asana Ageing gracefully took on a new meaning for me especially as the class was guided by the senior mentors. In fact, all the mentors and Dr. Ananda and family radiate a wholistic glow that speaks to how these teachings can benefit us as we age. Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 19

MY LIFE OF YOGA DURING THE BRAHMACHARYA AND VANAPRASTHA ASHRAMAS Ardha Matsyendra Asana Maintaining range of motion is not easy as we get older. I notice that the range of motion in my spine, head, and neck especially is not what it used to be. Daily practice is key as well as incorporating the breath to expand and relax into spinal twists. Eka Pada Sethu Bandha Asana Finding joy and happiness in playful poses like Eka Pada Sethu Bandha Asana has been refreshing. Opening my heart with body movements coordinated with Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 20

MY LIFE OF YOGA DURING THE BRAHMACHARYA AND VANAPRASTHA ASHRAMAS deep breathing and energy awareness has a profound and lasting impact as I go about my life. Mindful practice carries through to my daily interactions at home and at work. A challenge for me has always been the understanding and using of the Sanskrit terms for Yoga Asanas, Pranayamas, and energy flows. They are finally starting to make sense to me and come more easily after going through the readings and having them spoken by Dr. Ananda throughout the course. Hasta-Uttana Asana with hands in Anjali Mudra Part of living a Life of Yoga is expressing gratitude. I'm especially grateful for the Gitananda Parampara. This Yoga Family is accepting, encouraging, and welcoming. I knew this from years of participating in the North American Yoga Jivana Parampara. Participating in the Yoga Step-by-Step course with Team 52 introduced me to so many more teachers of this lineage from all over the world. I am so grateful to Ammaji Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, Dr.Ananda and his family, and all the mentors for all that they do to guide me as well as other students who wish to explore the many treasures brought to us by Swamiji. Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 21

MY LIFE OF YOGA DURING THE BRAHMACHARYA AND VANAPRASTHA ASHRAMAS Sukha Asana with hands in Namaskara Mudra In addition to being very grateful for this Parampara, I have a new understanding of what being on this Yoga path means. It's not something that one can accomplish and move on to the next thing. It's a way of life with teachings so abundant that build one upon another in a Step-By-Step manner. I know that I'm not there yet. I'm excited about circling back to Lesson 1 again as well as taking other courses. I'm ready to move into a deeper level of understanding. I'm ready to work more at giving back and giving In. I want to embody terms like causal, gross and subtle. Attaining my long-time goal of getting through the 52 lessons of the YSS course is not an end but a beginning. It has piqued my curiosity and desire to learn. And the timing could not be more perfect: I'm not retired yet but plan to before too long. I'm looking forward to being in the Vanaprastha stage of my Life of Yoga! Yoga as a way of natural living can provide relief for many psychosomatic ailments affecting humankind today. - Yogacharya Dr ANANDA BALAYOGI BHAVANANI Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 22

MUKHA BHASTRIKA: A YOGIC BELLOWS-LIKE BREATHING Yogasadhaki NEERU PARASHAR, Graduate Team 52, Canada & India Editor's note: We are pleased to share this excellent presentation by Neeru that was her final submission for the Team 52 YSS training led by Dr Ananda and mentored by an amazing team from all around the world. Neeru is an excellent teacher and shares her passion for Yoga with many in Canada where she currently resides. Introduction Yoga is a way of conscious living where oneness and harmony are achieved at different levels of a human being; gross, subtle, and causal. According to Swami Gitananda, Yoga aims to develop five-fold awareness where the first four levels are the preparation for the highest: awareness of the awareness. Yogic practices bring the mind-body complex in a concentrated/ekagrah state where one opens oneself to a dimension where the blurry vision caused by avidyā or mal-perception gets clear and the true self is revealed to the Sadhaka. On the path of Yoga, Maharishi Patanjali talks about obstacles that cause hindrances and slow down the upward journey of a Sadhaka. These nine obstacles or antarayas are described as Vyādhistyānasamśayapramādāalasyāavirati bhrāntidarśanāmabdhabhūmikatvā anavasthitatvānicittaviksepāsteantarāyāh ||30|| and it is well understood that they are deeply rooted in the mind. The symptoms of which can be seen at the physical and mental level in the form of pain, misery, tremors in the body, and disturbances in the breath. Duhkhadaurmanasyāngamejayatvaśvāsapraśvāsāviksepasahabhuvah ||31|| The goal of this article is not to focus on the deep-rooted disturbances of the mind but the secondary effect of these viksepas/disturbances such as tremors or disturbed tonic rhythm of the body and disturbances of the breath. If we look carefully, most of the stress-related issues are the manifestation of these antarayas along with a poor lifestyle, lack of exercise, and an unwholesome diet. Stress is subjective and most of the time it is implied due to which body stays in the fight and flight mode even when there is no real threat. Although some tension is needed to keep the natural tone of muscles, and the walls of blood vessels, when the body tonus rises above the normal level due to any of the above reasons, one experiences stiffness and disturbances in the smooth functioning of the body. Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 23

MUKHA BHASTRIKA: A YOGIC BELLOWS-LIKE BREATHING Stiffness in the body can also be due to residue of carbon during cellular metabolism or lactic acid due to friction of muscles. Most people experience fatigue and tiredness due to the accumulation of this gas above the normal range. Having a normal range of CO2 in the lungs and arterial blood is imperative for normal health. But a very large amount of CO2 concentrations produce adverse effects and pure CO2 is a toxic gas. Acidosis: A fertile ground for various diseases Carbon dioxide is produced in the body as a result of cellular respiration wherein vital nutrients are produced in the presence of oxygen. The carbon dioxide produced is then removed from the body by dissolution in the blood and transportation to the lungs where it is exhaled through the nose and mouth. This gas is more soluble in the human blood and this dissolved CO2 is taken to the lungs where alveoli take it out of the blood and send it out for exhalation. The body keeps the balance by removal of CO2 through exhalation and also by excretion of the acids and reabsorption of bicarbonates by the kidney. Usually, pulmonary regulation is faster than renal/kidney regulation and the fastest way to get rid of the waste material. Let us focus more on acidosis and pulmonary regulation in this paper. When carbon dioxide is mixed with blood it produces bicarbonate and hydrogen ions and acidosis is a process causing increased acidity in the blood and body tissues (due to an increase in hydrogen ions) CO2 + H2O ↔ H2CO3 ↔ H+ + HCO3 - (Carbondioxide)(Water)(Carbonic acid )(Hydrogenion)(Bicarbonate) Respiratory Based Acidosis = when carbon dioxide level increases and as a result, there is an increase in hydrogen ions due to CO2 build up. Blood acidosis provides an environment where disease can become possible. It can lead to acidemia, a blood pH below 7.35. The normal pH range is between 7.35- 7.45 and anything below this range is considered as acidic and more as alkalosis. Most people are shallow breathers and use 1/10th of their lung capacity. In our usual breathing, we inhale and exhale only 500 ml (tidal volume) of air whereas Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 24

MUKHA BHASTRIKA: A YOGIC BELLOWS-LIKE BREATHING our capacity is around 5-6 liters (total volume). Inhalation is an active process and exhalation is passive due to which one does not exhale slowly and deeply. A growing body of research has documented that acidosis contributes to a wide range of diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, cancer, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and increased susceptibility to environmental toxins. The acute form of respiratory acidosis can cause headaches, confusion, and drowsiness whereas metabolic acidosis can cause rapid breathing due to excess carbon dioxide. Role of Yoga Yoga offers a wide range of practices that focus not just on the human body but the human being as a whole. It promotes physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health for which it offers Yamas and Niyamas (social and personal code of conduct), Citta Prasadanam (mind-calming practices), and Pratipaksha Bhavana (adopting the contrary view; yoga drishti). On the other hand, it offers Kriya (cleansing practices), Asana (posture pattern), and Pranayama (energy enhancing breathing practices) to deal with the disturbed tonic rhythms of the body (angamevjayatva) and irregularity or disturbances of the breath, svasprasvasa. Yoga has always emphasised the influence of the mind on the body and mentioned how detrimental thoughts and emotions disturb the pranic energy of the body. In Hathapradipika it is said chalevatechalam chittam nischalenischalambhavet, yogi sthanutvamapnotitatovayumnirodhayet ||2| which says that as long as breathing is disturbed, the mind remains unsteady. Hence, one should restrain the breath and make it still to calm down the mind. In the Samadhi Pada of the Yogasutras, one of the Citta Prasadanam techniques mentioned by Maharishi Patanjali to bring pleasantness of the mind is pracchardanavidhāraṇābhyāṁvāprāṇasya||1:34||, through deep and forceful exhalation and controlled inhalation of breath. Prana rides on the vehicle of breath and one can change the breath to calm down the mind. Swami Gitananda Giri mentions four ways of relaxation: Letting Down, Giving In, Giving Up, and Giving Over. In Mukha Bhastrika a person is exhaling forcefully, giving up things that build up tension. This practice comes under the category of dhauti/ cleansing practice and acts as a preparatory tool to get fit and ready for the higher practices of Samyama and Shakti Pranayama Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 25

MUKHA BHASTRIKA: A YOGIC BELLOWS-LIKE BREATHING Mukha Bhastrika Mukha Bhastrika is one of the foundational practices of the Gitananda tradition. It is one of the Dhauti Pranayamas, cleansing breaths, which radically increases the CO2 ratio in the expelled breath. It is performed in the beginning to prepare the body and at the end to get rid of the waste materials or toxins released during the Hatha Yoga asanas, Jnana Kriyas and Prakriyas. Cleansing is given a lot of importance in Hatha Yoga to remove the imbalances in the dhatus (bodily tissues) before undertaking Pranayama. Cleanliness/Shaucham is one of the Niyamas in PYS and Mukha Bhastrika is a good example of Dhauti pranayama where breath is used as a cleanser to rejuvenate the body and mind. Lowering carbon dioxide levels not only detoxifies the body or makes it supple, but it also calms down the body. There is no breath-like condition for some time and the body and mind become still and calm. When carbon dioxide is thrown out of the lungs forcefully, the partial pressure of carbon dioxide gets lowered in the lungs, and CO2 from the blood moves towards the alveoli. The blood becomes slightly alkaline. As carbon dioxide is also responsible for breathing in along with other factors, lowering of CO2 depresses the respiratory centre and one feels the no breath like condition for a few seconds. As breath and mind are directly connected, it brings quietness in the mind. The multiple blasts of breaths also allow the reserve expiratory air to go out and fresh air to come in. How to do Mukha Bhastrika? In this Bhastrika, breath is blasted out like a Bellows breath through the mouth, which is puckered up as if one is about to whistle. The puckered-up lip position is called kaki mudra, the beak of a crow gesture. The gesture stimulates the nerves of the mouth, tongue, and throat so that a free cleansing may take place in these vital areas, but the main purpose of Mukha Bhastrika is to reduce the CO2 present in the bloodstream. – Swami Gitananda Giri ● Sitting in Vajrasana take a controlled deep inhalation; Mahat Pranayama ● Suck in a bit of breath and swallow it using the Aprakasha mudra. ● Pucker the lips in Kaki mudra and forward the chin activating the glossopharyngeal plexus. Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 26

MUKHA BHASTRIKA: A YOGIC BELLOWS-LIKE BREATHING ● Burst out the breath in a series of short expulsions and by snapping the diaphragm as in cough, slowly collapse forward till the lungs are empty. ● Continue doing it until there is no air left. Breathe in and rise and continue 3, 6, or 9 rounds. The number of breaths should be increased gradually. It is very important to empty the lungs, which also require higher mind control. Due to our lifestyle and faulty breathing habits, Swamiji suggests that this practice should be done at least three times an everyday day at sunrise, noon, and sunset. Three cleansing breaths bring the pH balance to normal, but it will last a few minutes if the body is very acidic due to various reasons. One of the research projects conducted by Dr Ananda's teams both at JIPMER and at CYTER shows that the practice of Mukha Bhastrika enhanced the functioning of central neural processing, the speed at which nerves can work. Reaction time (RT) is an index of the processing ability of the central nervous system and a simple means of determining sensory-motor performance. VRT and ART of 22 healthy schoolboys were recorded before and after nine rounds of Mukha Bhastrika. It produced a significant (P < 0.01) decrease in VRT as well as ART. A decrease in RT indicates an improved sensory-motor performance and enhanced processing ability of the central nervous system. This is of applied value in situations requiring faster reactivity such as sports, machine operation, race driving, and specialised surgery. Special needs children have a slower speed of reaction but again the study done at CYTER showed the enhanced neuronal processing ability. It is suggested that yogic breathing techniques like Mukha Bhastrika be used as an effective means of improving neuromuscular abilities in special children. Conclusion Mukha Bhastrika is a practice that is needed more than ever. Most of us are shallow breathers, lead a stressful lifestyle, live in a polluted environment and eat unwholesome foods that increase the risk of acidosis which is a fertile ground for a lot of diseases. Yoga as therapy focuses on prevention through proper lifestyle, diet, behaviour, and as a spiritual science it devises ways and means to reach the goal of yoga. Mukha Bhastrika is a dhauti or cleansing practice which helps to purify the body and makes the inner environment favourable for higher hatha yogic practices along with other health benefits. Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 27

YOGA, THE QUEST FOR WELL-BEING EMELINE PINEAU, Graduate Yoga: Step-by-Step, France Editor's note: We are pleased to share this excellent essay by Emeline Pineau that was her final submission for the YSS training mentored by our dear and most inspiring Yogashakti Yogacharini Jnanasundari, Senior Mentor of Gitananda Yoga in France. Introduction In our so-called modern society and Western way of life, it is sometimes difficult to escape various well-known ailments like stress, anxiety, afflictions, tensions, pain, illnesses. We don't listen to each other enough and it's hard to be in the present, the here and the now. It is not uncommon to regularly hear people speak about the past and the future. I chose this theme 'Yoga, the quest for well-being' because it seems to me that well-being is essential in the life of every human being. Feeling at your best psychologically, physically and emotionally is essential to simply live in harmony with your own self. Through this thesis, I want to show how Yoga can change our lives and our conditioning to be more anchored in the present. My work is based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. I will quickly define what yoga is, then talk about my discovery of Yoga and my first steps towards the practice. Then I will discuss the tools needed to learn in depth according to Patanjali. In a third part, I will develop an aspect that seems essential to me in practice: breathing. And finally, the benefits of yoga. Yoga and me. What is Yoga? History: Yoga has its origins in India more than 5,000 years ago. It was at the time of Patanjali, 2,200 years ago that the first founding writings of Yoga were born. These writings in Sanskrit are collected in the form of aphorisms and bear the name of Yoga-Sutras. There are also other sacred texts such as the Bhagavad-Gita, the Upanishads, Vedanta, Hatha-Yoga Pradipika and Samkhya shastras. It was only at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century that Yoga made its appearance in the West through masters who travelled to make this discipline known. Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 28

YOGA, THE QUEST FOR WELL-BEING Discipline: Yoga means union of the body of the spirit, of the sun and the moon, of the masculine and the feminine. This discipline allows a harmonisation of the bodily, mental, emotional and spiritual faculties of the human being. In this discipline, a mental disturbance can have consequences on the body and on the contrary, by acting on the body, it is possible to act on the mind. Continuous Yoga practice leads to a sense of peace, wholeness of well-being, and oneness with all of existence. The practice of Yoga leads to the union of the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness. Yoga leads to the direct realisation of our true nature. Yoga is the cessation of the movements of the mind. When the mind is stabilised, the state of Yoga occurs. Yoga is for everyone, whatever their origin, beliefs and religion. My discovery of Yoga and my first steps towards the practice I first heard about the art of living that is Yoga during a television report, when I was twelve years old. I felt a natural and immediate attraction to this practice. If I do a retrospective, let's say that it really intrigued me: women and men were doing Yoga on a terrace with a view of the rooftops of Paris. This alliance between well- being of mind and body, and being able to practice it anywhere, I knew deep down that yoga would one day be part of my life. Unfortunately at the time, the small town where I lived did not allow me to practise Yoga immediately. It was only fifteen years later that I had the chance to take part in a Yoga class following a move and a change of life. After two years of a weekly practice, I wanted to discover the origins of yoga in the lands where this practice was born. I was able to visit part of northern India and especially to do a daily practice for two weeks of Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa. This immersion in the practice of Yoga from 2016 was a revelation for me. Today, I am happy and I am delighted that yoga is by my side in my daily life. Indeed, after several years of practice, I decided to take the plunge and do this training: Step-by-step Yoga by Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri. The tools on this learning path The eight pillars of Yoga, Raja Yoga, Ashtanga, according to Patanjali: It is possible to approach these specialties in a linear and progressive way, like a Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 29

YOGA, THE QUEST FOR WELL-BEING common thread. First of all, we start with the five virtues which are the Yamas which are the moral restrictions (or the rules of conduct) in the society of a yogi. ● Ahimsa: non-violence ● Satya: the truth ● Asteya: honesty, not stealing ● Brahmacharya: control of sensuality, moderation ● Aparigraha: impartiality, non-possessiveness, detachment The Yamas constitute for the yogi a consequent matter. The practising person will be able to think and meditate. Then there are the Niyamas (or evolutionary observances); the follower must respect five conditions towards himself: ● Saucha: inner and outer cleanliness, purity of body and mind ● Santosha: the serenity of the mind, the contentment of what we have ● Tapas: discipline practised with intensity, self-discipline ● Swadhyaya: knowledge of “self” through introspection ● Atma-Pranidhana: obedience to greater than oneself, to a master The Niyamas are a discipline to purify and liberate oneself in order to return to one's self. They thus make the transition between the moral code expressed in the Yamas, and the practice. The third branch are the Asanas, the postures of Yoga as a whole. It is through this that Yoga settled in the West in the 20th century. The fourth, Pranayama is equivalent to the control of the breath. This constitutes the yogic science of the control of prana in the human being. The goal of Yoga is to consciously control and intensify this pranic metabolism to multiply the physical, mental and psychic energies of the adept. The important thing is the awareness of the breath. What is Prana? Prana is the sum total of all the energies contained in the Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 30

YOGA, THE QUEST FOR WELL-BEING universe. Prana is universal, it is vital energy. Prana exists in food, in water, in sunlight and yet it is neither vitamins, nor heat, nor ultraviolet rays. Air, water, food, sunlight convey the prana on which all animal or even plant life depends. Prana penetrates the whole body, even where air cannot. Prana is our real food, because without Prana no life is possible. The conscious control of the pranic vital energies in our body. Prana nourishes the body as a whole. Pranayama allows us to work on our physical breathing, but also on our energy by releasing and balancing the vayus representing the different directions of energy in the body. The main Vayus are five in number: ● Prana Vayu is the vayu of ascending energy, it is associated with the air element and related to the heart, head and chest. It is an energising force. ● Apana Vayu is the descending energy that connects us to the earth. This vayu is related to the area of the pelvis, legs and feet. It is an anchoring force. ● Samana Vayu is a centralising force, concentrated in the abdomen area. It is related to the fire element. It is a force of integration and digestion. ● Vyana Vayu is a distributing energy of the breath, associated with the circulatory and articular system. Linked to the water element, this vayu is considered to be extremely fluid and soothing. ● Udana Vayu is the energy of expression, directed from the inside to the outside of the body. It is concentrated in the area of the larynx, vocal cords. The fifth is Pratyahara or sensory control, withdrawal of the senses. This art consists of focusing on one's interior. It is difficult to implement because it goes against our five natural senses: taste, smell, touch, hearing and sight. But to return to self, you have to learn to listen to yourself while avoiding the traps of the ego. Thus, Pratyahara consists of feeling, becoming aware of your body, scanning your body and observing what is happening without judging. The sixth is Dharana or concentration. This is about mind control. In practice, subtle listening to sensations, breathing, inner space. In the immobility of the seat, observation of the functioning of the mind, of passing thoughts, of spaces without thought. Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 31

YOGA, THE QUEST FOR WELL-BEING The seventh, Dhyana, is the art of meditation. “To meditate is to be aware of everything at all times.” (Krishnamurti, Extract I.39 Yoga-Sutras Patanjali) The eighth, Samadhi, is the universal consciousness or cosmic consciousness. It is the state of awakening, enlightenment, liberation, union, total concentration of the mind, ecstasy. It is known that samadhi comes when the yogi is ready and has attained the Self through the previous seven branches. It is therefore by working with discipline on oneself that one can achieve Samadhi. The first four limbs Yama, Niyama, Asana and Pranayama are so-called external Yoga practices: Bahiranga Yoga. The other four, Pratyhara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are so-called internal states: Antaranga Yoga. To be continued next month... Vol.53 No. 05, May 2022 32

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