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U –Understanding Pranayam #AtoZChallenge

U –Understanding Pranayam #AtoZChallenge

 

“The practice of ‘asanas’ and ‘pranayam’ wards off disease and helps to maintain alertness.” ~Swami Sivananda

‘Prana’ is a Sanskrit word for life force and ‘ayam’ is to draw out. ‘Pranayam’ means breath control. In the traditional teachings of yoga, our breath is said to carry our life force and is a vital link between our body and mind. Breathing correctly brings about a joyful and healthy existence. Learning the benefits of breathing right is an integral part of doing yoga.

To be honest, I do not enjoy breathing exercises as much as I enjoy performing the asanas in my yoga practice. However, I do recognize the tremendous difference Pranayam can make in our lives. It is only in doing it regularly that we see the impact it has on our body and mind.

“As a fire blazes brightly when the covering of ash over it is scattered by the wind, the divine fire within the body shines in all its majesty when the ashes of desire are scattered by the practice of pranayama.” ~B.K.S.Iyengar

Some of the popular types of Pranayam are Kapalabhati, Ujjayi, Nadi Sodhana, Shitali, Bhramari, Anuloma Viloma and Bhastrika.

Benefits of Pranayam:

  • Reduces symptoms of various diseases
  • Improves digestive capabilities
  • Enhances levels of energy in the body
  • Prevents degeneration of brain cells
  • Weight reduction
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improvement in mood
  • Reduces insomnia
  • Quietness in your mind and nerves
  • Connects you to your inner self
  • Improves self-awareness

Pranayam techniques are highly scientific in origin as it is a systematic process of inhaling and exhaling. It is said that when we own our breath, no one can steal our peace!

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge 2017 Blogging from A to Z: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/.

I write about my spiritual and personal growth influences from A to Z.
My previous posts in chronology:

  1. A New Earth 
  2. Brahma Kumaris
  3. Chicken Soup for the Soul
  4. Dialogue with Death 
  5. Eat Pray Love 
  6. Finding a purpose in life
  7. GANDHI
  8. Healing with Chakras
  9. I Believe in Angels
  10. Jonathan Livingston Seagull
  11. Kahlil Gibran 
  12. Lisa Nichols
  13. Meditation
  14. Neale Donald Walsch
  15. Oprah & Deepak Meditations
  16. Power of Positive Thinking
  17. Quotes, my favourite ones
  18. Rhonda Byrne ‘The Secret’ and ‘The Magic’
  19. SKY by Santosh Joshi
  20. Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Image courtesy: http://bit.ly/2pcIrBb 

T- Thich Nhat Hanh #AtoZChallenge

T- Thich Nhat Hanh #AtoZChallenge

“With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk fondly referred to as Thay, is a world-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader and author. I first heard of him when I received his book ‘Peace is every step’ as a gift from my then husband (life and it’s ironies). It was the first time I got introduced to the word ‘mindfulness’. Until then I knew of only the ‘mind’ being ‘full’ of noises.

Breathing in, I calm my body.

Breathing out, I smile.

Dwelling in the present moment,

I know this is a wonderful moment!

Thay’s key teaching is to inculcate the practice of mindfulness through which we can learn to live in peace and happiness. We are so busy getting an education and a job and material possessions, that we forget living the present moment – the only moment there is for us to be alive. He highlights some of the ways we can learn to be mindful through conscious breathing, thinking less, meditating and nourishing our awareness of the moment.

 There is nothing to chase after. We can go back to ourselves, enjoy our breathing, our smiling, ourselves and our beautiful environment.

 

His teachings are not just theoretical but they highlight the simple ways we can be mindful and aware in our daily activities – while walking, while eating, while driving or even while washing the dishes. We don’t have to be sitting only in a meditation hall to feel peace and happiness. It is available to us at every given moment.

Being passionate about calligraphy, I also enjoy his calligraphic works and how effortlessly they flow through his hands. It a mindful art of Nhat Hanh that captures and expresses his lifetime of meditative insights, peace and compassion.

Listening to his words of immense wisdom infused with a sense of calm and a bit of humour, has been extremely soothing to the chaotic mind. He is a spiritual leader I truly admire and follow.

Key Highlights:

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

“Wearing a smile on your face is a sign that you are master of yourself.”

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

Look at some of his bestsellers here: http://amzn.to/2p7Xuda

 

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge 2017 Blogging from A to Z: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/.
I write about my spiritual and personal growth influences from A to Z.
My previous posts in chronology:

  1. A New Earth 
  2. Brahma Kumaris
  3. Chicken Soup for the Soul
  4. Dialogue with Death 
  5. Eat Pray Love 
  6. Finding a purpose in life
  7. GANDHI
  8. Healing with Chakras
  9. I Believe in Angels
  10. Jonathan Livingston Seagull
  11. Kahlil Gibran 
  12. Lisa Nichols
  13. Meditation
  14. Neale Donald Walsch
  15. Oprah & Deepak Meditations
  16. Power of Positive Thinking
  17. Quotes, my favourite ones
  18. Rhonda Byrne ‘The Secret’ and ‘The Magic’
  19. SKY by Santosh Joshi

 

Images courtesy: http://bit.ly/2pFwyEt; http://bit.ly/2oRTa1J

  

O – Oprah & Deepak Meditation Experience #AtoZChallenge

O – Oprah & Deepak Meditation Experience #AtoZChallenge

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” ~Oprah Winfrey

American television host, producer, actress, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Oprah Winfrey is a woman I greatly admire. Rising above her poverty struck childhood and rough adolescence, she went on to become the first African American billionaire. She is a role model for so many young women and surely is an inspiration for me.

Deepak Chopra is an author, public speaker, alternative medicine advocate and a prominent New Age movement figure. He is the co-founder of The Chopra Centre, a premier contributor of experiences, education and integrative approach to complete well-being.

When Oprah and Deepak come together to provide a meditation experience, it is a treat – to our ears, to our mind and to our senses.

“Meditation takes you beyond the mind’s noisy chatter into the pure awareness that is the source of all your happiness, inspiration and love.” ~Deepak Chopra

Every few months, based on a theme comes a 21 Day Meditation Experience by Oprah and Deepak. One meditation a day for 21 days. A warm introduction by Oprah followed by Deepak leading you into a soulful meditation. It is a beautiful combination of a sanskrit mantra, guidance and a centering thought for the day for all 21 days.
Their soothing sounds of calm bring immense peace to the heart. The wisdom that emanates ensues clarity of thinking in your mind. It is an experience I have benefitted from and something I eagerly look forward to.

At present they have an ongoing 21 Day Meditation Experience on ‘Hope in uncertain times’. Click here for details:

https://chopracentermeditation.com/

It is also available as an app on iTunes and Google Play.

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge 2017 Blogging from A to Z: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/.

I write about my spiritual and personal growth influences from A to Z. My previous posts in chronology:

A New Earth 

Brahma Kumaris

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Dialogue with Death 

Eat Pray Love 

Finding a purpose in life

GANDHI

Healing with Chakras

I Believe in Angels

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Kahlil Gibran 

Lisa Nichols

Meditation

Neale Donald Walsch

 

Image courtesy: http://bit.ly/2oo2AQs

M – Meditation #AtoZChallenge

M – Meditation #AtoZChallenge

The thing about meditation is you become more and more you.” ~David Lynch

If there is one daily practice of mine I absolutely look forward to, it would undoubtedly be meditation! What started as an anxious mind seeking solace during a mental storm, meditation has now become a way of life.

The word meditation, is derived from two Latin words : meditari (to think, to contemplate, to exercise the mind) and mederi (to heal). Its Sanskrit derivation ‘medha‘ means wisdom. Meditation means different things for different people.

I look at meditation in several ways –

Meditation for me means awareness. It means getting into a state of alert consciousness. Meditation is to connect with my higher self and to feel the presence of divinity. It is a recognition of my breath.  It is the observation of my mind as a bystander. Meditation is being mindful of my life. It is to live in the present moment. Meditation is who I choose to be in my full consciousness.
Various methods are used to practice meditation for e.g. prayer beads, chanting of mantras, breathing exercises, idol worship, long sitting postures, bodily movements, lighting incense and candles, using crystals, etc. The style you are comfortable with evolves with time and practice, yet the technique is not that significant as is the experience.

How has meditation helped me?

  • Keeping anxiety at bay
  • Better clarity of thought
  • Calmer response to daily challenges
  • Increased sense of intuition
  • Greater productivity
  • Better sleep
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Wiser perspective to life

If you are new to meditation, it would be good to start with focusing on your breath for 5-10 minutes daily. Then gradually begin with listening to meditation music and short guided meditations. There are loads of options available online as well as several meditation groups in your city. It is a process of trying, absorbing and evolving. If you aren’t already meditating, I do hope you get started on this beautiful journey of self-discovery.

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge 2017 Blogging from A to Z: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/. I write about my spiritual and personal growth influences from A to Z. My previous posts in chronology:

A New Earth 

Brahma Kumaris

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Dialogue with Death 

Eat Pray Love 

Finding a purpose in life

GANDHI

Healing with Chakras

I Believe in Angels

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Kahlil Gibran 

Lisa Nichols

 

 

 

B- BRAHMA KUMARIS #AtoZChallenge

B- BRAHMA KUMARIS #AtoZChallenge

“Making things positive doesn’t mean a sunny outlook; it means making the choice to see problems as opportunities.” ~ Brahma Kumaris

I happened to chance upon the ‘Awakening with Brahma Kumaris’ TV show many years ago. B K Shivani had held my attention then. I was impressed that here was truly a learned spiritual influencer who could speak with good clarity and diction.

A few days later, a dear old school friend gifted me something unique for my Birthday -‘The Happiness Index’ DVD set by the Brahma Kumaris. Some serendipity!

Listening to B K Shivani was like applying a soothing balm to the wounded heart. So much truth being spoken in such simple language. She emanates immense wisdom for practically dealing with our daily challenges. Watching this series was my introduction to the Brahma Kumaris movement and more importantly, to meditation!

No one is responsible for my hurt, pain, fear or anger. It is my own creation in response to their behaviour, and I have another choice. The choice to be happy.

What followed was my interest in some of their ways of life – the Rajyoga meditation at the B K centre, understanding the theory behind the Prajapati Baba, the divinity of the Didis and listening to the daily ‘murli‘ (divine message of the day).

People come to explore their own spirituality irrespective of their cultural backgrounds. The Brahma Kumaris meditations help develop inner calm, clear thinking and personal well-being.

‘Practical Meditation’ is a concise book on the foundation course of Rajyoga Meditation that includes Self-Awareness, Controlling Thoughts, The Law of Karma, Supreme Soul and the Eight Powers. A simple introduction to the simple ways of life, each lesson concludes with a suggested meditation.

Watch a glimpse of the first episode of ‘Awakening with Brahma Kumaris: The Happiness Index’ with Sister Shivani: https://youtu.be/YzkK2HndNuM

Listen to a few samples of Rajyoga meditation music here:

http://bit.ly/2nsxI0K

Om Shanti!

 

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge 2017 Blogging from AtoZ: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Images courtesy: kerala.brahmakumaris.com; www.awakening.in; omshantimusic.net.

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