Hatha Yoga – extreme controls

To endure and suffer heat and cold without protection….
Longevity –Swami Tailanga is known to have lived 280 years. Others claim about 300 years of life.
Buried alive – Haridasa 1837 is reported to have demonstrated 40 days buried underground in a comatose state during which time there was no growth of hair and nails.
Levitation – Christ walking on the water and overcoming Elements is legendary as is the ability to defy gravity of the Yogic masters.
Super strength – is demonstrated by Yogis to show a power equal to an elephant.
Moses commanding the Natural Elements is a familiar Biblical account.
Firewalking – is demonstrated as an ability amongst Pacific and Hawaiian people
Apollonius – the ancient philosopher with mysterious abilities, was witnessed to have disappeared in one location to immediately reappear in another, far distant.
Blavatsky and others have demonstrated in more recent times telekinesis with the ability to move objects without any physical contact.
Yogananda’s body showed no decay following his death and retained its normal appearance for a long period after.

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Some of the above feats are well known and documented and others less so. But many new examples of mind control over the body are being added daily to the record books.
Many extraordinary controls can be considered as an exaggeration of the principle of ‘Mind over Matter.’
But even sports are embracing these performances that create a type of excitement that is yearned for in some individuals who challenge death. We have now accepted what are called “Extreme Sports” that invite danger and in many cases are completely reckless.

Although observers may assess that those who choose to participate are to be pitied if they are indeed so bored with life that only by seeking new ‘thrills’ can they escape the familiar factors of life they cannot tolerate. Without purpose, by extending the boundaries of control we risk sheer sensationalism and destructive outcomes.

However in our present desire to investigate all spheres of life there are hundreds of researchers and scientists as well as individuals deliberately stretching the boundaries of presently known abilities of both body and brain. These efforts certainly show no limit to the potential to use our minds to overcome, control or discover more about ourselves and the world we live in.

If these experiments are harnessed to constructive purpose there must be positive outcomes.

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Elementary Yoga Practice

There are some simple practices that will be found common to all yogic teaching of Hatha Yoga.

Preparation before exercising includes having an empty stomach, and suitable clothing before the

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Hand Balance Asanas

Most of these Asanas are designed to increase body strength and they require a certain strength for their execution.  Further strength is developed by extending the duration in holding the Asana but in the main, exponents apply a matter of seconds only in sustaining a successful balanced position, particularly in the more difficult poses.

In Hatha Yoga these Asanas are those directly related to the masculine principle (the ‘ha’ of Hatha) or the sun energy and outgoing breath. They are the focus for men who seek to apply the yogic principle and to strengthen their masculine energies both physical and psychological.

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Yoga – Bandhas and Mudras

A bandha is a technique used in Hatha Yoga and associated with the practice of exercises and asanas. Each is a muscular lock and can be practised separately or in combination with various asana as guided by your teacher.

There are three main bandhas plus the Mahabandha which is a combination of them. The technique is to use muscular contractions or locks designed to seal off certain energy flows and to stimulate others. They are fundamentally helpful in reducing tension and stress, muscular strain, functional problems and nervous irregularities. They importantly also assist in balancing the glandular system.

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Surya Namaskara – Sun Salute

The Classical Yoga Exercise is called Surya Namaskara – better known to Western students as the ‘Sun Exercise’ or ‘Salute to the Sun’. This physical exercise is traditionally performed as a daily discipline in order to assist health by stimulating the major organs and glands of the body. It is usually executed as a continuous flow of twelve movements and, as with all yogic exercise, a slower pace is considered more complete approach, allowing better mental concentration.

The twelve positions each have an attendant thought focus upon the twelve universally accepted qualities of the Sun which when blended, offer a concept of perfection, or completeness. Although these are associated with inner recitation of the classical Sanskrit, it is modified appropriately in keeping with say Christians who may use the movements combined with the Lord’s Prayer just as other non-Hindus will apply their appropriate modifications.

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Exercising – The Yoga Way

 

The physical training system of Hatha Yoga is based upon the classic Asanas or static poses of the body although exercises for both development of strength and acquiring flexibility are included in the disciplines.

In regard to dynamic exercise, the standard Surya Namaskara or the Sun Salute is the traditional universal exercise consisting of 12 movements. The series of 12 positions is repeated a number of times as set by the teacher, usually 3 x, 7 x or 12 x are those given in the western school.  In Ashrams in India where concentration is given to healing the sick, patients are asked to perform the series an unlimited number of times – until the body breaks out in induced perspiration that is believed to be the beginning of a cure for most diseases.

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Sun /Moon – Hatha Yoga Symbolism

The principle followed in the study of Hatha Yoga is that of balancing the two complementary energies that affect all life on earth including human. Perfect health is seen as a result of this balance. A similar principle is seen to be contained in the Chinese symbolism of Yang /Yin,by which the harmony of natural forces in the universe is maintained. A simple study of the characteristics confirms the validity of this principle regarding human nature.

Regarding the philosophy behind Hatha Yoga, it is understood that ideally, in perfect health, a male predominantly expresses the qualities attributed to the Sun and a female predominantly expresses the Moon qualities. So the male develops his body for outward expression of strength and power as the female exercises for flexibility and grace in her natural physical expression.

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21 Yoga Health Asanas

The science of yoga positions known as Asanas is based upon the health requirement not only to employ the full capacity of body movement but also to use static positions that will encourage circulation of blood and energy or prana to specific organs. The classical Asanas by tradition, number 84 and of these, there are approximately 21 of most direct general health benefit.

Select 21 of the most appropriate asanas for you to incorporate in your regular daily practice.

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Hatha Yoga

The name of this marga, Hatha Yoga is made up of  Ha = the sun and Tha = the moon, symbolic of the two celestial bodies and energies that maintain our planet. These energies are represented in the electro-magnetic energies of our bodies, in the two branches of our nervous systems and the need for balance between them.

Health of body and control of it is demonstrated by many physical skills and demonstrations of mind mastery over the body. The Hatha Yogi sees the human body as a temple for the soul and as a schoolroom for his learning – seeking to understand as much as possible about it and its function, as well as developing the potential for utilizing and controlling its energies.

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