Archive for the ‘General’ Category

PRATYAHARA – development and control

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Pratyahara – the word means restraint, withdrawal or detachment.
Regarding Yoga practice it refers to the ability to withdraw consciousness from the dictatorship of the senses at will. The classical definition is that Pratyahara is ‘a restraint from acceptance of the food of the senses.’
It is sometimes mis-interpreted as an ‘indifference’ but this is not the case.

Detachment applies to the aspirant’s attitude to worldly and material things, in order that he may attach himself completely, in the spiritual sense, to God. It in no way should be interpreted as an indifference to things of the earth.

It is obvious that the senses can produce distractions for the mind and can even weaken the will unless one is willing to prove the mind superior to the impulses and waywardness of sensory habits. Pratyahara can be directly related to a need to improve concentration by overcoming sensory distractions. Beyond this basic need, the aspirant aims to withdraw awareness from the material world in order to increase his perception of the spiritual or non-physical spheres. The usual five senses need to be subdued as a prelude to meditation when the extra sensory mechanism or intuitive sense begins to function.

The first discipline of a student is to develop each of the senses in a balanced manner. Only when the 5 senses are observed, developed, then controlled to come under the direction of the mind can an impartial state of detachment be claimed. This will ensure that there is no undue accent upon any of them to cause any bias or distortion to one’s impressions from the outside world, which we seek to register as clearly and truthfully as possible. In seeking truth, it is usually the senses which offer the first distortion or diversion from truth or Reality.

Pratyahara is practised for relaxation purposes in the position known as Savasana.
A degree of pratyahara is necessary before being able to apply mental concentration which in turn precedes meditation. It is often practised in the body position known as the Yoni Mudra. In this follow the directions of your teacher or Guru.


Subjects for Class

Friday, February 28th, 2014

There are different subjects that open up teaching opportunities as to the application of the Yogic philosophy.

e.g. Mention of Astrology could give opportunity to discuss personality types and self control

Stress could lead to causes and techniques to reduce tension

Ayurveda leads to presentation of the ancient science and its long held traditions

Balance – Hatha Yoga
Benefits of Yoga practice
Chakras – and Energy
Colour – and Light
Detachment – attitudes
Emotions and thought
Fate and Free Will
God – concepts
Goodness – virtues
Hygiene – health rules
Importance of the Breath – pranayama
Karma – cause and effect
Love – devotion
Meditation – Mala and Mantra
Nature and its Elements
Natural Laws – defining morals, ethics
Relationships – understanding
Reincarnation – justice, Divine justice
Smiling – habit for happiness
Truth – discussing concepts
Wisdom – what is it?

SIMPLICITY – The Spiritual Life

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

We learn that better health comes through purification of the body, body building, and self discipline to maintain youthfulness and vitality. Simple practices require the inclusion of hygiene techniques, fasting, relaxation, natural diet, exercises to integrate mind and body, postural control and attention to correct upright body posture.

Some will choose to add further practices in breath control, muscular development, emotional discipline, mental exercises and spiritual self culture through meditation.
No matter how we specialize or what other disciplines we follow, the basic ones of health remain fundamental to our well being, just as common sense helps retain our mental balance.

So we are reminded to appreciate the importance of simple principles that help us to anchor the vital energies that will enable us to live as we desire, in quality of health and quality of our lifestyle.

In our philosophy loving kindness, truth and goodness play their part within our personal
outlook that guide us to live in accordance with the moral codes and life knowledge we inherit from aeons of human civilization. To include a deep reverence for the Creator – the great Allness that is the spiritual Source of our being provides us with the ingredient of inspiration.

Whether our personal attitudes and choices, made from our power centre of free will, differ one from one another is of little moment when we share our common sense, our loving heartedness and our desire to live a constructive life by respecting and caring for the life of other living beings. We must consider all life, whether plants, birds, fish, animals, or human or indeed the very elements of Nature that sustain us – our beloved Earth, its waters, and its atmosphere.

By changing our focus from argument and criticism and aggression regarding our differences we begin to become free of the stress and strain created by our intense sense of individuality to find we expand in a common understanding, in attitudes of mind and in our hearts.

When our choices prove wise and take us along the path that leads us to be kind to ourselves and to others, and refrain from violence of thought, word and deed, we will naturally begin to feel at ease and freer to experience in consciousness knowledge of being an integral part of the greater universe. This brings with it a profound sense of ‘coming home’.

The most respected quality of greatness is that of simplicity and its rarest human expression is in simple spirituality.

KARMA – in Social Situations and World Patterns

Monday, June 10th, 2013

The materialistic world in which we are living in the 20th century is not conducive to health of any kind. We have a struggle to survive – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually  having chosen to rebel against, or reject the fundamental values and ethics of our culture.

The destructive tendencies of mankind are now rampant in every sphere in society. There are changes that are not constructive and many have contaminated our personal living environment, ruined  the refuge offered by harmonious family life and even caused  nations to falter.

We hardly need to be reminded of the destruction of our natural physical environment with pollution being an issue on land, sea and air.

Regarding the subtler areas of human function in the emotional and mental realms we must recognize that there are also issues that are equally critical and even more important to our future welfare on the planet.

There is unrest or disease apparent on all levels but it is the massive outbreak of psychological issues evidence in depression, violence (self harm and to others), criminality and general aggression that identify our present societies as a far cry from the peace, health and happiness dream we all share.

However, because we as a people are responsible for the wonderful technological advances initiated by individuals, we are also responsible for rectification of our wrongs, both as a society and as individuals.  Only this fact can motivate us to offer our talents to the ultimate good of the whole.

 Karma, the law of Cause and Effect will determine the degree of our success.



Friday, February 15th, 2013

Through yoga we learn that better health comes through simple, natural practices aimed at self-care. The aim in Hatha Yoga is to take as much responsibility as possible for our own health. The body is regarded as the physical temple of one’s soul and we are its custodians.

Bhakti Yoga is concerned with our self culture of our heart or emotional nature and its disciplines are subtler but equally based on the simple philosophy of loving kindness towards our fellows and devotion to God. We try to keep our hearts pure and free from ill feeling of any kind.

Raja Yoga encourages the seeker for truth and knowledge that can be constructively employed and the elements in mind training are well known to those who study any science. Mental faculties are many and are employed not to make the mind supreme but that strong thought should serve the heart and emotional nature and give direction for a life of action.

There are other Margas or approaches but these three represent key ingredients in our personality. Our task is to integrate and harmonize these energies within ourselves.

In order to channel our life energies we are aided by a simple personal philosophy. Although Yogic philosophy and other traditional systems or viewpoints are of great interest and can help us, we are left to formulate our own. In this, we rely upon our intuition and use our personal choice to select ideas that bring us confidence and peace.

A simple philosophy that will assist us to refrain from negative action, thought and feeling is better than the most complex intellectual exploration. Our philosophy offers a blueprint or pattern for self culture that we choose as a reliable personal reference towards our ideal.

The age-old philosophy associated with Vedic teachings is ever present for our study and assistance. When we choose to call upon its great spiritual wisdom we will find that it
reminds us that greatness and simplicity usually go hand in hand.


Friday, February 15th, 2013

Moon gardens follow a popular romantic concept that although traditional, offers personal creative opportunities in landscape gardening as well as for home gardens.

The Moon symbolizes the subtle female power that complements the Sun or radiant power of our other main heavenly body. Life on our Earth depends upon them both equally.

In dedicating a garden to the Moon we are concerned with several important factors some of which may of necessity have to be modified.

Our intention is to plant a totally white flowered garden that will benefit from a shaded or green background with a percentage of silvery leaved plants that will seem especially attractive in the moonlight.

The ideal site, whether large or small is best to create a semi circular or circular garden that allows privacy and intimacy as well as protection from harsh winds.

The aspect should be chosen as a vantage point to enjoy the rising moon at its full.

Inclusion of a water feature is important – whether a pond, fountain or alongside a natural small running creek.

Planting should be chosen from a range of white scented flowering trees, shrubs, bulbs, annuals and perennials. Sweetly scented evening flowers are specially favoured.

Shrubbery and green foliage provides background and sometimes blue/green and grey or silvery leaves contribute lovely effects in the moonlight.

A touch of female statuary will add to the gentle atmosphere desired to stir the imagination and encourage quiet contemplation of the beautiful nurturing qualities and influence of the Moon that directs growth on our planet.

If there is little scope for all these desired features, a summerhouse can be used as a modified sheltered, white, quiet place of peace.

White Flowered Plant Suggestions

White daisies




Night scented stocks


Brugmansia (Angels


Lily of Valley

Moon Flower

Sweet Alyssum




Snowball shrub


White Violets

Crepe myrtle

White verbena




Money Plant

It is wise to carefully check before purchasing to ensure that your choice of plant is guaranteed to be a white flowering form, upon which the success of your Moon Garden will depend.

NATURE – Visible garment of God

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

The invisible Intelligence of Nature itself is Universal Consciousness – a greatness we struggle to understand in magnitude, in design and in its Purpose.
We feel very much the same, but on a small scale, in our efforts to understand computers and the abilities of those who intelligently create them.
We are fortunate that the visible Intelligence of the Creator is available and perceptible in the physical world around us through the natural kingdoms of life – mineral , vegetable, insects, birds, fish, animals and human should we seek to explore. As we observe and find more understanding of life forms of nature, we cannot help but discover the wonders of the Great Intelligence that created and established such miracles and perfection of form.
In appreciation of nature’s structures we discover the life within those forms and begin to realise the intelligence that determines its behaviour and its habitation. We observe that when the life is withdrawn, the form dies. That creature, plant or human being returns to the invisible realms, into its mysterious life source and its relationship with the visible material world seemingly comes to an end.
In the invisible streams of our human feelings and emotions, our thoughts and our memories however the soul lives on. This is true of any living creature in any natural kingdom. It is the miracle we all know when we have lost a especially devoted dog or pet, friend, child or loved one, can remain with us in our own minds and awareness, sometimes even stronger than when the form was with us.
The invisible energies of life exist as the spiritual and eternal reality. Visible material forms do not endure as we know our own body will die when our consciousness passes into the mysterious Greatness we know as the Allness or God.
So whilst we are here in our bodies of form, we are free to enjoy and learn about all the wonders of visible natural life, all the kingdoms of intelligences small and great, and in appreciation, in wonderment or in worship, observe the natural world as the visible outer garment of God and in doing so feel that we are a part of That.

Rebel Against Nature – and we suffer

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

What is natural serves as a reasonable guide to what is right. If we continue to try to turn our reasoning upside down or seek to challenge the great fundamental laws of Nature, we are in for a shock or two.
When our leaders choose to take us in a direction that we know is wrong, we as the people must assert ourselves. We have the freedom to deny their further poor government that is inclined to use bullying tactics to initiate laws that would be an affront to our freedom when they touch on traditional moral and religious issues.
When and where have governments had the power to challenge Nature and legislate in a way that declares that what the people know as wrong, has become right? ….only in countries where dictators rule. There is no place for this in a democracy. As long as individual thought has not been entirely destroyed the people in their values will gravitate towards what is natural, and therefore get back on track towards a genuine and wiser path to human advancement.
For instance, should we regress, by mistakenly accepting homosexual behaviour we will find it is a likely precursor to our doom as a people. This has been proven in previous civilizations where the male and females no longer recognize nature’s purpose as the vital key.
Should we continue to neglect or reject the responsibilities and the qualities of our birth sex and seek co-operative expression in normal blending of men and women in partnership, we are distorting the creative and proper use of sexual energy polarity by directing vitality into sterile or perverted channels.
The concept of sex as a fine and beautiful means of channelling another human being into the world has been damaged almost beyond repair.
The beauty and comfort of family life no longer exists to provide security and peace. There are few homes where a disciplined pattern and order of refinement is not longer possible because of the intrusion of outside pollutants of thought and behaviour.
If we would wish to intelligently correct our mistakes and rebuild our culture on a firm foundation there is little time for women, the gentle sex, to strive to become women again as and men regain true strength of heroic manhood.

YOGA NIDRA – important for both Beginners and Advanced

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

For eliminating stress we have the practice of relaxation which releases strain from the whole psyche. There are many and various methods used in teaching relaxation but in Yoga, traditional preparation for practising what is known as Yoga Nidra remains constant as discipline required for us all throughout life.  It is sometimes referred to as ‘the Yogi’s sleep’ but in fact we remain conscious throughout.

We first assume the body position or asana called Savasana by lying flat on the floor along the north/south polarity if possible, arms down by the sides with eyes closed. A passive peaceful body is required as a prelude to passive, peaceful states of mind in the stillness of meditation.

Stillness of the body in Yoga Nidra is designed to help us become receptive, first to outward sounds and impressions and then free of the distractions of others, to become inwardly aware of our whole being.

It should be a refreshing and pleasant experience – to which we look forward. Various subtle states of consciousness are rediscovered, sometimes for the first time since our infancy, as we find refreshment in the magical realm between sleeping and waking.

Relaxation rewards us by encouraging a state of freedom, even from our own thoughts, as we enter degrees of consciousness related to feeling awareness. We remain conscious of our surroundings, yet with a sense of acceptance, embracing the fact that although we are just a single life unit, we are able to sense life’s wholeness.

When we are in a relaxation state, we do not feel ourselves as separate from Nature, but as evidenced by our respiration and our life dependence upon the breath, we are in constant rapport with it.

Under the expert guidance of the teacher, we find that experiences in Relaxation increase in quality as we learn to ‘let go’ and to feel a vibrant part of the universal life and energy that surrounds us and learn to just be.

Relaxation is the state of non-action, of not doing anything. One ‘lets go’ and makes no effort in any way. Even breathing rhythm is rhythmic, easy and without strain.  In this state we yield to allow Nature to energize the body and direct all physiological functions of organs and glands as it does every day for us with our heart beat, digestion and other subconscious processes. So as we ‘let go’ and release ourselves from the conscious controls we learn that we can trust great Nature, as we do when we go to sleep, with confidence that we will reawaken in the morning refreshed.

PRATYAHARA -The Senses and their role

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Understanding and disciplining the senses is part of what is known as Prayahara.

Although many make the mistake of interpreting the spiritual teachings to mean that the human senses are to be overcome and are the enemy of those who seek a more spiritual existence, we should all consider that in the senses we possess at least five good friends….that is, if we learn to guide them appropriately.

We can all recall our mistakes when one sense or the other has been allowed free rein and made mistakes but our happiest experiences in life we must also recognize have involved our senses.

The disciplines regarding the senses are simple enough.

Firstly, not to over use or abuse or neglect any sense

To retain mental guidance over all the senses as a matter of responsibility

To enjoy life fully through clear and healthy attitudes

To silence the senses when in need of mental concentration

And to awaken the super-senses through relaxation of the active mind so that we awaken the intuitive peaceful mind in meditation.

To be ‘sensible’ assumes new meaning.

Role of the Senses is to help us be sensible, sensitive, serene and safely to go forward in life with confidence, feeling ‘in touch’ with the world.