Practices

Common to all systems of Meditation Yoga is a sequential process, through practice, of refining the psycho-physiological systems of the body and mind. This has the effect of raising ones levels of awareness, discrimination and behaviour from what we might call lower states to higher states.

There is almost unanimous agreement between traditional teachers of all cultures that practices obtained from a book are useless. They must be brought to life through a relationship with a qualified teacher and the lineage which that teacher represents.

Meditation Yoga is a system refined by Meditation Master Dean Das.

It emphases sincere practice as opposed to philosophical discussion.

Yama Niyama

Yama and Niyama are often cited as being part of the Eight Limb practice of Patanjali.

Yamas are the ethical code regarding treatment of others, hatha yoga philosophy asked for truthfulness, integrity, generosity and moderation.

Niyamas are practiced in order to better understand the self. Hatha yoga philosophy tasked the practitioner to be disciplined and humble, willing to surrender to higher thoughts than those of everyday.

Meditation Yoga does not concern itself Yama or Niyama for key reasons:

  • Yamas and Niyamas are about responsibility to ourself and to others. They are the Hindu equivalent to the 10 commandments.

  • Tantric Yoga is all about having ‘a practice methodology' that brings about ‘inner-change’. So it begins with Asana, physical postures rather than a set of rules.

  • Tantra says that the more you get to know yourself through practice, the more responsible you will be to yourself and others.

  • Knowledge of self through inner experience is better than trying to adhere to a generalised ‘code of ethics’ written thousands of years ago.

Asana

Asana is the physical practice of yoga poses. In addition to referring broadly to the physical aspect of yoga, asana can also be used to describe a single pose. What most people call yoga could more specifically be called asana.

Foundational Asana 30mins (open up the body and calm its ‘nervous’ energy)

The Benefits of Asanas : Stability, Comfort & Strength

The Sanskrit Names for Poses

Asana is used as a suffix in the Sanskrit names for yoga poses, such as trikonasana, virabhadrasana.

It is common to have the Sanskrit names for animals, Hindu deities, and mythological figures included in the names for poses. You will also see variations in the spelling as they can be translated into English in various ways. Some poses have more than one name as they come from different yoga traditions.

The History of Asana

Asana is the Sanskrit word for posture or seat. As interpreted from the archeological record and primary source materials, the first yoga asanas were most probably seated positions for meditation. They were described in about the third century.

Asanas are part of the Hatha yoga practice, a branch of yoga combining physical movements and breathing techniques. The "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" was written in the 15th century and describes only 14 postures, of which 11 are seated positions.

It is not until fairly recently in yoga's history (with the influence of the Western physical culture movement) that asana developed such a wide array of poses and became the most widely practiced aspect of yoga.

Pranayama

Yoga breathing exercises, also known as pranayama, are an important part of a developing yoga practice. Paying attention to the breath is also a meditation technique that can be used on or off the mat, as it has the effect of keeping us constantly in the present moment. The past and the future melt away when the mind becomes fully focused on breathing.

Breathing Practices 15-20mins (even out the breath and calm your thinking)

What Is Prana?

Prana means energy, breath, or life force. Learning to direct and control prana in the body has long been considered a crucial aspect of yoga. Exercises in breath control, such as breath retention and deliberate methods inhalation and exhalation for specific mental and physical benefits are at the core of pranayama practice.

A (Brief) Look at Your Autonomic Nervous System

Breathing is part of the autonomic nervous system, which is comprised of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. In general, the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for governing our responses to stimuli, deciding whether they are threatening, and tripping the signals that tell the body how to react. This is sometimes described as fight or flight responses. The parasympathetic nervous system helps the body calm back down after the danger or stressor has passed.

One of the things that the sympathetic nervous system effects is the breath. In the presence of real danger, the breath becomes fast and short as your body tries to load itself with oxygen to facilitate its escape. This kind of breathing is also a response to non-life-threatening stressors. It happens in response to panic and then perpetuates the panic.

When you're aware of the effect of stressors on your sympathetic nervous system, you can deliberately slow and deepen the breath by signaling the body that it's ok to calm down. Your breath is a powerful force you can use to control your body's responses to stress.

Sitting

Sitting in Meditation Yoga is not relaxation. Sitting is an activity into which we can bring attention and intention. Our intention is to bring the mind to stillness and so we set our body up in such a way that we can focus all of our attention inwards.

Sitting Practices 15-20mins (counting meditation, focus on the breath)

Mudra : Energy Locks

These five mudras help to hold your attention (energy of attention) within the body.

  • Jnana Mudra - Fingers

  • Khechari Mudra - Tongue

  • Jalandhara Mudra - Chin

  • Shambavi Mudra - Gaze between eye brows

  • Asvini Mudra - Perineum / Pelvic Floor

Counting Practice

Counting practices are used in many meditation traditions. Counting focuses attention rather than letting it wander.

Philosophy

‘Western yoga is ego-enhancing, and the teachings of Eastern yoga is ego-diminishing. That is the essential difference.

One can surmise that if kundalini is awoken in an individual from a worldly consumerist environment, they maybe inclined to 'use' kundalini to fulfil personal ‘self-interested’ needs.

If the yogi’s / yoginis conditioning arises from an environment of a higher integrity, i.e. an environment less enmeshed in ‘the world’, the awakening of such a force is more likely to manifest in a less personalised form.

So, in short, generally the yogi/yogini of high order, prior to kundalini awakening, will already have a solid grounding in moral values.

Those of a lesser grounding need to consciously apply those precepts (yama and niyama).' ~ Dean Das


Philosophy is fascinating and we can end up thinking about it too much. Meditation Yoga is about practicing simple skill-sets to bring about the cessation of thought. However, a little philosophy and background provides some context for the practices.

Meditation Yoga is a six-limbed practice (rather than usual eight-limbed).

Far from focusing just on the body, the disciplines address different aspects of physical, emotional and mental states. Indian practitioners have developed a proven system of physical postures and breathing practices to quiet the mind, allowing the practitioner to enjoy their own company without distraction.

While on the mat:

Asanas are the poses we are familiar with today. Aside from being great for keeping the body limber and the blood flowing, the asanas are also practiced in mindful concentration, preparing the body for meditation.

Pranayama is a series of breathing exercises.

While sitting:

  • Pratyahara

  • Dharana

  • Dhyana

  • (Samadhi)