Yoga is a way of life. It is a system that weakens our animal instinct. Yoga is not simply a collection of physical exercises which take place in an air-conditioned studio. This is a mere 10 % of what yoga offers. This book aspires to illustrate how we can use yoga in our daily lives so that we can evolve.
The following chapters summarize the work we have done (on ourselves) through the practice of yoga at YogaLife, over the last nine years. My students and I under- take the same procedure from September to July, starting the same cycle from the same point that the previous cycle finished.
In September we begin with exercises that expand the lungs, then continue with cleansing exercises to minimize somato-psychic blockages. Finally, we work on the energy centres (chakras) to build up energy.
The result is both constant and certain. The more times the specific 9-month-cycle is repeated, the more permanent it becomes and the more likely it is to be freed from unwanted mental programming. It is an awareness of this that inspired me to write this book, so that my students would have a hands-on practical programme to guide them. The book is not exclusively for my own members, however, as I have retained only the simplest and most direct practices, so that people who are not part of the team can follow and benefit from them too.
Those who teach yoga are free to use these practices according to their own judg- ment, or to follow the order and combinations mentioned for proven results.
The practices in this book come from the Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga system
(Gitananda Yoga –www.icyer.com) and my teachers Yoga Maharishi Dr Swami
Gitananda, Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani and Yogacharya Dr Ananda
Balagogi Bhavanani from Pondichery in Southern India. It is there that I spent
and continue to spend many months of my life, learning from my teachers. This
system comprises of ancient yogic practices for cleansing and reprogramming
of the body, emotions and mind. It also contains advanced spiritual practices.
What attracts me to this particular system is that all the practices combine equal
amounts of logic and intuition. In this way, the people who are very insecure can
be grounded effectively, while those who cannot function spiritually due to lack
of faith can find logical explanations to support them and allow them to progress.
Sometimes, I combine the practices of Richiculture Ashtange Yoga (Gitananda 13
Yoga) with Satyananda Yoga, because I find that some practices belonging to this system (for example, some practices with guided visualizations) are more suited to the western style of thinking.
There are also quite a few techniques that I have adapted from different sources or I have created from scratch, according to the needs of the group and the western lifestyle.
The theories and practices described in this book relate to the cleansing and strengthening of the human ‘system’ (body/mind/emotions/spirit).
Each chapter describes:
Α) The theory behind each subject that we are dealing with
Β) a physical posture
C) meditative breathing
D) a mental exercise
E) a life practice
All of the above approach the theory from different aspects of our existence. In this way, for each three-week period, we have a target and a combination of exer- cises for this purpose, which we work on during the sessions in class but also as we go about our daily lives.
Personally, I do not believe that the physical exercises and breathing exercises of yoga or meditation can permanently change our consciousness unless they are accompanied by the philosophy of yoga. Perhaps after some exercises or after some mental guidance that some people call ‘meditation’, we might feel calmer and full of energy; but this only lasts until the next “failure”, where one discovers that whatever had been built with their mental practice has collapsed. We need to change our way of thinking in order to elevate our consciousness in a steady and permanent way. The following chapters give a practical way of achieving this. This book does not contain meditation techniques or more advanced spiritual practices. It does, however, give the essential mental and physical guidance in order to meditate effectively.