How do the ALFW Workbook Questions and Journal Entries Work?

Journaling and self-reflection have long been critical components to personal development and lifestyle enrichment. Philosophers, writers, artists and scientists such as Dante, Anaïs Nin, Leonardo Di Vinci, John Dewey and Nikola Tesla all kept personal journals. They also kept very accurate field notes, which have accurately reflected their views in throughout their life. Like them, there is a beautiful, yet mysterious side to us all. There is an energy potential waiting to surface, unfold and express itself through the various channels of our being— all through the efforts of self-inquiry. So please, when working with ALFW, be as honest as possible when working through your workbook questions, journaling and peronal enhancement exercises. Be sure to work through the course on your own terms! Make sense of it in such a way that it becomes an uplifting personal experience— something you look forward to do on a regular basis. The premise of this course is for you to begin to see your own emerging patterns as it relates to emotional wellness. That is to say, begin to see things which are either too close or too far away to otherwise see. In a nutshell, ALFW is a process of refining (y)our mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.  It is about perserverence, thouroughness, tranquility, poise and contemplation. Lastly, it is about learning how to understand and control our emotional circuitry. ALFW is also about tenacity… learning how to take your life in a new direction. The majority of the elements of this course may be shared with others via social media. Conversely, you may keep it completely private. It’s all good no matter what you choose to do. Just be sure to understand that it is always more effective to share who we are with others and get their perspective as to what they see and feell about us. Please note; while ALFW is a very effective tool for personal growth and development, it does not in any way substitute the need for professional counseling and/or psychotherapy. If you feel that many of the things in your life are just a little too much to handle, please consult a mental health professional. You may also reach out to like-minded people by reaching ou to others and interacting with our ALFW blog.

Very often when people take the time for themselves they feel guilty, selfish and even self-centered! Let me dispel this ill perception: Truly the only way for you (or anyone else) to stay sharp, healthy and skillful is to take the time to maintain your good health. We all know that we must care for ourself to be mindfully more effective and helpful to others. It really is this simple. Moreover, we must understand the critical importance of teaching our children (all children) this very same thing: to love themselves as they are— again, this should never be confused with selfishness or being self-centered. Individuality is a basic human right and not a privilege. The right to be different is the fundamental backdrop of being healthy! So, with this in mind, remember to be as light and playful as possible when working with this workbook and journal. Do not take any of this material too seriously.

A Light From Within Yoga Course Foreword

Congratulations on discovering this amazing course. It will be a valuable companion on your journey inward. My personal journey has been blessed with the presence of Miguel Latronica, his expansive wisdom, knowledge and passion for yoga. This course, however, is more than just a course about yoga; It contains an interactive process for healing at all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

As a physician I have spent more than 20 years exploring wellness. My quest to understand1 the multidimensional aspects f wellness and healing began in public health and then traditional allopathic medicine. I soon recognized that our traditional model (with its focus on treating disease) was lacking in helping to create dynamic wellness. This personal paradigm shift has led me to explore yoga, meditation, and ayurvedic medicine. One of the many interesting features of Miguel’scourse is how he incorporates so many aspects of healing and wellness. A Light From Within is a beautiful and comprehensive exploration of both yoga and wellness. In the West, many tend to perceive yoga as only the physical practice of postures, or asanas. I am so excited to be able to recommend and share a book, such as Miguel’s which explores many aspects of yoga and self-care, ultimately leading to self-healing.

There have been several recent articles in major publications about the increasing popularity of yoga. In general, these focus on the physical practice of yoga– the asanas. While this is a great doorway into what we call yoga, there are, nonetheless, many other facets (or jewels) of yoga that allow us to shine and experience our “light” more deeply. Miguel’s course helps to do just that: He guides us in a process of learning how to cultivate the “jewels” of yoga from within. For example, in addition to the 52 physical yoga poses, we also learn how to blend and incorporate breath work (pranayama), mudras (energy locks) and other exercises too.The journaling and workbook exercises allow us to to peel away the unwanted layers of our life. It is through this process that we may learn to become aware of how the words we speak and images we conjure affect who we are.

A Light From Within encourages us to explore the way we think and feel about the things before us. This is what makes this course different from any other yoga courses I’ve ever seen. Its method leads one to the heartfelt process of self-inquiry. It presents a self-guided process based on your personal historical timeline and can therefore be personalized. The method presented here can be beautifully utilized alone, or in small group settings such as yoga teacher trainings. It is very interactive and includes social links to share and exchanging your thoughts and ideas with like-minded people. More importantly, it can be used alone and kept private so that no one but you sees and interacts with its content.

For those with minimal free time, explore one section of the course at a time. You can start anywhere and explore it’s many options. Just as we are all unique beings, the course can be individualized to provide a unique experience for each and every person. Becoming whole, healed or well requires attention to not only our physical body but also our othermore subtle layers. Traditionally, the disease-centric model of Western medicine has failed to address this unity of body. We developed “ologies” or separate silos of specialties. Fortunately, I am blessed on my journey as an integrative physician to have discovered functional medicine: a systems biology approach to wellness, understanding that the entire system (mind, body, spirit) functions and cooperates together. Specifically, functional medicine looks upstream at the root causes of disease and illness, in order to create wellness and vitality. It is more than naming a disease and prescribing a medicine. Rather, it is about digging deep to understand causes and individual variability, in order to heal and be well and vital.

A Light From Within is like a functional method for exploring yoga and wellness. It focuses on the unity of the body, mind and spirit. There are comprehensive directions of each asana, as well as corresponding journal entries, reflective questions, affirmations, mudras and haikus. In this book, you will learn about the subtle aspects of wellness, such as our energetic system, through exploring the power of mudras. The questions for journaling guide us to dig deep and understand the many layers of our subtle being. Each workbook question has a table to rate and explore our emotional imprint or intelligence. When we recognize and rate the parameters of our emotions, we bring more clarity and awareness to our feelings. We all have the ability to heal and turn toward greater health and wellness.In order to heal, we need to understand what role conditioning has played in our lives. In A Light From Within, Miguel provides a rich format in which to explore self-awareness and self-acceptance with gratitude and grace.

This course helps us to better see and understand our habits and cultural biases. It actually encourages us to learn to be more present in the moment and develop habits that encourage mindfulness. In our world today, we are rich with opportunities to disconnect from ourselves and our surroundings. We can find endless ways to occupy and distract ourselves from the process of life, from pain and suffering, and ultimately distance ourselves from joy and contentment. Being aware of our breath is one such practice we can cultivate. From our first inhalation to our last, our breath gives us life. In between this first and last are potentially billions of breaths of which we may never take notice, and that we often take for granted.

The section on Pranayama teaches us how to harness the subtle healing potential of prana. We can create a contract with the sublime healing forces of pranic healing from our breath. Traditionally,yoga has eight different limbs or rungs to it. A Light From Within focuses on the asanas, mudras, questions and journaling, it includes more than 50 hours of meditative exercises. The entire course is divided into Four Seasons, 52 weeks, or sections of your life. You can begin anywhere. Just begin where you are.

With Light,
Mary Farhi, MD

ALFW Winter Affirmations

Personal Affirmation

Winter | Card Suit Directory
Winter | ♠

A♠

If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.” -Rumi

2♠

“No matter how hard the past is, you can always begin again. -Buddha

3♠

“Every sunset is an opportunity to reset. Every sunrise begins with new eyes.” —Richie Norton

4♠

“You who are on the road must have a code that you can live by, and so become yourself. Because the past is just a goodbye.” -Graham Nash

5♠

You must see the best in others before you see the good in yourself.

6♠

“The unity of the perceptual field . . . must be a unity of bodily experience. Your perception takes place where you are and is entirely dependent on how your body is functioning.” -Alfred North Whitehead

7♠

“This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine.” -Shakespeare (The Tempest)

Winter | ♠

8♠

“There are some things one can only achieve by a deliberate leap in the opposite direction.”Franz Kafka

9♠

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

10♠

My body is the outer layer of my mind.

J♠

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” —Steve Maraboli

Q♠

Be like a river of supply starting and ending in the same place. From the ocean of life you take, and the ocean of life you give.

K♠

Your tomorrow is the creation of today.

ALFW Bujanghasana Yoga Pose

Bhjangasana

[Cobra Pose]

(boo-jang-GAHS-anna)

 Please checked this checkbox for completed yoga pose.

  1. Lie down on the mat belly side down (prone).
     
  2. Keep hips, torso, shoulders and arms on the ground.
     
  3. Lift left leg up off floor and slither it further back behind the right foot.
     
  4. Keeping the left leg fully engaged, lift the right leg up and move it back to meet the left tips of the left foot. Legs should be about 6 inches from each other.
     
  5. Place hands slightly out in front (or under) the shoulders, while keeping the elbows lined up with the sides of the torso.
     
  6. On an inhalation, begin to straighten out the arms so that the head and torso lift up off the floor.
     
  7. Be sure not to pinch the lower back. Keep the tailbone tucking in toward the floor and pubis toward the navel.
     
  8. While keeping the buttocks soft, inhale and lengthen the spine, but again, be sure not to increase the lordosis in the low back or at the neck (cervical).
     
  9. As the hands press the floor down and away, be sure to broaden the back of the shoulder blades away from each other.
     
  10. Keep the eyes and face soft.
     
  11. Hold the pose anywhere from 10-40 seconds.

 Pearls of Wisdom

Bhujanga means cobra in Sanskrit. The snake, or serpent, embodies the life of the spine. Kundalini, the serpent goddess, the symbol of our divine potential energy, is said to lie sleeping at the base of the spine. In this pose, we seek out our relationship to gravity, using consciousness to rise with great discrimination, as the cobra does, to meet opportunities. Bhujangasana strengthens, tones, and lengthens the muscles of the spine and back, helps to align the spinal disks, stimulates the thyroid, kidneys, adrenals, tones the uterus and helps to regulate the endocrine system, assisting in reproductive and menstrual problems. As the chest opens, lung capacity is increased, also helping to massage the heart. For the front body to open, the pubic bone must press into the ground, lengthening the low back, which makes more energy available to rise along the spine, allowing the heart to open to feeling, and the mind to open to intuition and discrimination, allowing the choices we make to become more conscious.

Front View of Hips

We highly recommend that you hold this mudra for at least 5 minutes in a seated meditation. Perform it at least 13 different times. Mudras may also be utilized while holding a yoga pose. Remember, mudras tend to be subtle and are very powerful in their own way.

K a n g u l a [ kan-gu-lam ]

The Kangula or “tail” mudra signifies the small or diminutive. It is the gesture of holding up a child’s face by the chin; representing a bird, little bells worn by children, pills, a coconut, the betal nut tree or fruits.

A Light From Within Online Yoga Course: An Introduction to the Bandhas

As explained in the pranayama chapter, bandhas are energetic “locks” or interconnecting energy points within the pranic body at the most subtle level. On the physical level, the bandhas have corresponding gross focal points not unlike other yogic tools and practices and have an impact on the mental and physical state of the body. The internal actions sustained by bandha activation within the body have the following effects:

Bandhas

1. Help generate and maintain heat in the body.

2. Support the four natural curves of the spine.

3. Help to focus awareness on subtle energetic experiences.

4. Help set the way for meditative/contemplative absorption. Bandhas may also be included in one of the eight limbs called pratyahara (sense withdrawal). Learning to change the energetic sensations both internally and intuitively requires a deeper commitment to both presence and attention to the details from awareness. Initially, the concept of a “lock” may be useful however, the and has are as much (if not more) an “energetic intention” than a physical muscular contraction. In fact, as one develops and advances the use of bandhas, less “physical energy” is used to achieve the same (and sometimes even greater) subtle results.

Jalandhara bandha

The throat or chin lock is engaged on either the inhale or exhale. For beginners, the recommendation is on the inhalation only. The chin lock can be activated by beginning with lifting the sternum upward and drawing the chin slightly back toward the occipital ridge at the back of the neck. Allow the space t the back of the ears to tilt upward slightly until the skin of the sides and back of the neck feels taunt. Finally, lower the chin down slightly toward the space at the center of the throat.

Jalandhara bandha corresponds to the Vishuddhi Chakra and raises air and space energy up the central channel.It draws prana vayu (upward flowing energy downward for mixing with apana vayu). The throat lock stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands. It is used to keep the collected elemental energies and prana from escaping the central nadhi channel. On a physical level, the bandha is associated with keeping the pressure in the carotid sinuses in the neck artificially elevated. The result of the increase in pressure in the throat allows the brain’s natural defense against high blood pressure to be reset temporarily as the practitioner holds the breath for longer periods than would be possible without using the technique. With careful practice, the use of Jalandhara can reduce the heartbeat and help establish a feeling of meditative or contemplative awareness.

Uddiyana bandha

The upward flying lock is engaged best on the exhalation of breath down to the residual volume capacity (the amount of air still contained within the lungs once you have exhaled as much as possible and the root lock is engaged. In order for the middle lock to be effective, the root lock engages automatically (for most ) and the chin/throat lock must be used to seal the vacuum from above in the glottis. This seal causes the internal breathing diaphragm to lift upward. Hold in emptiness and keep the Jalandhara lock in place. Attempt to inhale to lift and expand the thoracic ribs laterally but do not inhale, hold the breath out. Uddiyana bandha corresponds to the swadisthana, manipura, and anahata chakras. It raises water energy up the central channel. The upward flying lock tones the abdominal organs and stimulates the heart and thymus.

Mula bandha

The root lock is engaged best on the exhalation for most beginners although it can be activated on the inhalation. Bring awareness to the abdomino-pelvic floor region. Initially work toward contractions in the urogenital and rectal triangles combined.As your ability to refine the core lift develops, become more centered on lifting at the baseline that connects these two triangles, located medially between the genitals and the coccyx. In this space are the deep pelvic floor muscles, shaped like a hammock that supports the pelvic floor organs. Hold the lift briefly and then inhale, allowing it to relax. The root lock corresponds to the Muladhara (root chakra) and raises earth and fire energies upward along the central channel. The root lock draws apana vayu (downward) flowing energy upward. The deep toning of the pelvic floor muscles with mula bandha helps pelvic and lumbar stabilization in many positions. Many poses can be facilitated with greater ease using the root lock, and some poses are next to impossible to perform without the technique.

Maha Bandha

The integrated involvement of all the bandhas at once is called the great lock. The Mahabandha, also known as Tri Bandha, offers the integration of all the aforementioned principles and moves the individual practices to a new space of awareness where the parts no longer equal the whole. The use of all three locks is said to break down the three psychic knots believed to exist within the subtle body. The knots are detailed as:

1) Brahma granthi— the knot that has us attached to the material realm.
2) Vishnu granthi— the knot that has us attached to our emotions.
3) Rudra granthi— the knot that has us attached to our individuality.

The use of Maha Bhanda offers the yogic practitioner the opportunity to deepen awareness of the inner realm in addition to the external based explorations of asana and other elements. It is a factor in yogic lore of chakra activation and kundalini or pranic flow into the primary subtle channel, called Sashumna Nadhi.

Basic guidelines

1. Begin with Mulabandha, Jalandhara, and finally Uddiyana bandha in sequencing the introduction of the bandhas.

2. External breath retention (holding with breath out of the body) is considered a more advance technique and not appropriate for beginners. The Bandhas may increase intracavity pressure and are not appropriate for those with acute conditions of the pelvic floor or the abdominothoracic and cranial regions.

3. Offer easier exploration of all the bandhas by positional work previous to seated bandha work.

4. We can get a feeling for the Jalandhara bandha and prepare our energy and physical structures by holding a rolled-up sock, a small beanbag, pad, or the like in between the chin and sternal notch.

5. Practice bandhas after you have demonstrated skill at basic pranayama techniques previously introduced

© 2020. All Rights Reserved.

A Light From Within Online Yoga Course –The Preface!

“The Yoga Journey as it unfolds”

There is an expression: Take down three walls, but leave the fourth one standing: this is the centerpiece of your being grounded. Welcome to A Light From Within Yoga Coarse™ (ALFW™). I commend you in your desire and willingness to create vibrant health and achieve greater awareness. We all have the ability to transcend our personal experiences, and, it is never too late to live our life the way we want to live: to renew or reconstruct the blueprint(s) of our life’s perceptions. ALFW is based not only on the seasons of the year, but the seasons of our life. It has a common-sense approach to the art of lighter living. It is deeply grounded into the roots and details of our life, our community, our friends and our family. In many ways, it helps us to become more aware and tuned in to the conscious process of “letting go and holding on.” I invite you to think of this course as your living autobiography. Feel free to explore its many different platforms and possibilities. Have fun with it! Now, I’d like to introduce you to some of the courses operating principles. First and foremost, unlike a novel, you needn’t read and work through the book logically from the beginning to end. It is dynamic and is meant to be as polymorphic as possible.

Neurological synapses

I encourage you to take your time with this course as the purpose is the process. The course is based on a 342 page book and has six chapters. It is divided into two parts. Part One contains 102 Health and Wellness news updates, 102 workbook questions and 102 journal entry plates. Part Two contains the physical yoga exercises, anatomical renderings, personal enhancement exercises, mudra meditations and miscellaneous Pearls of Wisdom. It is self-directed, and after interacting with the it for just a short while, you will begin to see and feel the difference it makes in your life. Just remember: do not over-edit yourself while responding to the workbook questions.

The important thing to keep in mind while working through the course is that as long as you’re journaling and answering the workbook questions, you’re doing the work. And, as long as you’re practicing the physical yoga poses, mudras, and other exercises, again… you’re doing the work. When it comes to working through personal change, many of us take an analytical approach, while others may take on a more organic and intuitive approach. No matter your approach… it’s all good! After all, we’re all neurologically wired a little differently. That said, ALFW was specifically designed to be used by the many different kinds of thinkers and learners.

A young or elderly woman?

We all know that we feel and experience things differently in life. So, many of the things that live and express themselves through us now are nothing more than mirrored portals from the past. Living in full awareness requires the ability to transcend any and all forms of prior conditioning. When we safely bring to surface the various layers of our past conditioning, we also expose the many operating assumptions and preconceived notions attached to them… which, more often than not, sometimes mislead the direction of our life’s purpose.

This course is self-reporting and is based on your life’s own timeline. What you get out of the course depends entirely what you put in to it. The ALFW method demonstrates how often it is that you may (or may not) have consciously, and even unconsciously chosen to default to the various emotional responses throughout your life. Emotions proceed and are very different from our feelings. They request an in-the-moment response. They cue us in on the various events from within and around our physical body. However, they are more concrete and measurable than are our feelings. Emotions can be measured by Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), blood Flow, facial Expression, body language and brain EEG patterns. And, we must remember, we all have an equal opportunity as to how we chose to act or react. When we objectively chose to respond to our emotions, there is greater clarification, more reciprocity and greater mindfulness. However, when we blindly live out our the energy of our emotions, there tends to be a greater disconnect in the mind-body-heart tryad. Like the old saying “Every coin has three sides”: two large flat sides (opposite to each other), and the third side: the edge with which connecs the two. I like to tell remind both myself and my students that it is the third side with which we gauge and give rise to either given side. Simply put: It acts as our filters. what ever filters through creates the presentation.

Let’s face it, we all know what it’s like to have experienced insecurity or rejection. We all know how uncomfortable negative emotions tend make us to feel. However, it is very important to understand the critical importance of not getting caught up in the whirlwind of any single emotion. So if we remember to incorporate the tools and skills of critical thinking, we may more readily stay in the moment of mindfulness. Let’s look at this scenario a little differently: hypothetically speaking, if we were to strip away all the elements of time such as the past, present and future, what would be left for us to see? I will tell you: the raw collection of all your lifelong learning, conditioning and coping mechanisms. These “functions,” in part, represent how often it is that you have habitually (or otherwise) gravitated toward and/or defaulted to overusing particular positive and/or negative emotions. Remember, we are looking to balance our emotions and feelings— not get rid of them.

Emotions serve us in such a beautiful way— each has a place, purpose and function. It is critically important to remember that all the various things that have happened to you— in throughout your life, are exactly what led you to be the wonderful person you are today! Embrace and feel your gifts. But at the same time, trust yourself to let go of that which no longer serves your purpose: Journal and talk to others about your life:Let’s open the doors and windows of our lives together!

In life we create goals to get or achieve the things we need and want to get done.There are countless ways upon which to aim and direct the bow and arrows of our life. And, we all know that, until now, there were endless excuses and personal circumstances, which, in one way or another, seems to justify and validate our beliefs, behaviors and habits. Our intention influences the integrity and clarity of our perception’s aim. So, we must find effective ways with which to feel more safe and secure in expressing ourselves to others. A Light From Within is an inquiry into the heart and wisdom of your life. It is an effective tool to explore the various landscapes of your being. This brings us to the subject of yoga: Yoga helps to bridge the mental, physical and spiritual triad of our life. It is a practice whose integrative process allows for uncanny discernment. Yoga helps to teach us to become more present and it actually helps to create greater community! Throughout the six chapters of this book, you will learn how to safely open up to the more hidden aspects of yourself so that you may more easily accept that of which is, and that of which isn’t. You will safely learn how to tap into the poetic truth from within your heartfelt being. In many ways, ALFW is a living autobiography that helps guide us away from our fictitious being and more toward our truthful self. A famous German poet by the name of Friedrich Hölderlin once said:”Dichterisch wohnet der Mensch” Poetically man dwells

“Never let your negative past steal the beauty of your present.” -Edmond M Biaka

So, learning how to open up to yourself, is, in part, a lesson of patience and great observation. One important thing to keep in mind while working with this book is that feelings are not always analyzable as is emotion. In other words, sometimes it is a “gut feeling,” a sensation, thought or association from the past that gives rise to an emotion. So, after working through this course for just a short while, you will begin to understand the difference between an emotion and a feeling. Here is a brief distinction:

Feelings are senses working through your body via:
• Hearing • Taste • Sight • Smell • Heat • Cool • Pain • Pleasure • Sense of balance (vestibular) •Pressure •Motion (kinesthetic)

Emotions are somatic:
They are felt/sense-based processes that you can experience within your body. Again, emotions are physical and instinctive. They are programmed into subcortical levels of the right and left brain as stimulus-response patterns.

In many ways, when you read or hear the words “Poetically man dwells,”‘ please know that this is what I think the author had intended: Every living person is mortal and capable of dying. Therefore, here on earth, over a period of time, one man replaces another. Therefore, the dwelling is both you and the earth, together to do the miracles of one only thing. We find and/or create a more meaningful perspective by comparing the nature of our existence to that of which is linked to the greater whole: something greater than ourselves. For example, this could be your Godhead, nature or even the skies and stars above. When we learn to trust and feel more comfortable in our skin, we no longer have the fear (as an emotion) in exposing our vulnerabilities, wounds and scars to others. And why would we want to make ourself vulnerable and more visible to others? Well, because when we work through the fires of introspection, we create a clearing or space for a whole new possibility.

Positive personal change is akin to that of a flowing river. A river continuously fills and empties itself. Again, we see a process of holding on and letting go. Water continuously morphs. You may know the old saying by Heraclitus,”You can never step into the same river twice.” This is also nature’s way of assuring Her health and resilience:emptying and filling itself. This is no different than how we conduct and maintain our daily life. One of the six entry points (portals) into ALFW is Haiku. A haiku, traditionally, is a 17-syllable poem. It was invented in the late 19th century by the Japanese. Haiku has always been deeply rooted into Zen culture. Haikus are arranged in a three-line format of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Why did I choose to incorporate haiku as an integral part or entry point of this book? Simple: Haiku helps to express our union with nature. Usually, they revolve around the four seasons of the year,and are otherwise timeless. Haiku helps to cultivate simplicity and heightened awareness. They keep us grounded,close to the details and, truly, in the present moment. So, to that end, only you (the observer) and that of which is being observed (object) become one. The following quote was written by Basho describing the “ah-ness” of the haiku moment:

“Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so, you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one – when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. However well-phrased your poetry may be,if your feeling is not natural – if the object and yourself are separate – then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit.1

Here is an example of a famous haiku, so famous that a group of Japanese men once carved it into the rocks of the mountains:

There is a beautiful moment in time when, every 17 years, cicadas appear seemingly out of nowhere. Their sounds are so piercing and intensely loud that nothing else seems to be of significant importance. Only the listening of the sounds of their celestial song. It is my great hope that ALFW will help you delve more deeply into the essence and nature of your personal experiences, that which makes you the beautiful person you are today.

The six main tenets of this book:
• Self-cognition
• Self-compassion and compassion for others
• Fulfilling your social obligations such as donating or volunteering your time for others
• Expansive emotional awareness
• Social and cultural tolerance
• Nonobjectification of animate and inanimate entities

The six main tenets of this book:
• Attentive introspection
• Appreciative discrimination
• Confidence
• Sustained effort
• Integrative movement forward

1 Yussa Nobuyuki (trans.), Basho: The Narrow Road to the Deep Northand Other Travel Stretches (Hammondsworth, Midddlesex: Penguin, 1966).

Just below is an illustration of the Caduceus staff. It has somewhat of an esoteric meaning. However, it does have two serpents, each spiraling around a staff from two different directions. It also has a superimposed set of wings attached toward the top of the staff. Traditionally, the Caduceus relates to one’s physical and subtle being. As you can see, there are seven different colored discs known as chakras embedded upon the staff. Chakras are aligned along the axis of our spinal column. They consist of avortex of oscillating vibrations that regulate the subtle electrical impulses that affect the

Staff of Caduceus

seven different glands of the body. Chakras play a critical role in the function and operation of our endocrine system. They have to do with polarities and the transmutation of energy. Simply put: Chakras regulate the up and downward flow of energy via ida and pingala. Ultimately, it is their job to keep the sushmna healthy and resilient. There is an old saying by Hermes Trismegistus: “That which is below is like that which is above and that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing.” So ou see, the upward moving force of the chakra system is prana and the downward moving force is apana. Each working “… to do the miracles of one only thing.” Chakras are nothing more than the regulation of a feedback loop.They seek to balance each other, just like all the other forces of nature do.When the earth and atmosphere get too hot, the ice caps melt to cool it off!

Now here is the beautiful irony: as Hermes Trismigistus said, there are two elements, one above and one below. The magic is in how the two elements come together to “do the miracles of one only thing.” All throughout time, the laws of opposites (or contrast) have existed. For example, let’s look at two elements from the periodic table— sodium and chloride— each by themselves, caustic and corrosive. The two together create a stable unit called table salt. The same is true of hydrogen and oxygen, left alone, each is explosive and even deadly. United, they sustain and create the harmony of the universe as we know it. So you see, in life, it is ery important to observe and respect the various laws which bind and hold things together as they do. In the scientific community there exists three different kingdoms of Life: Eukarya, Eubacteria and Archaea. In the yoga world, we also say that there are three kingdoms of Life: Animal, Vegetable and Mineral.

Each is a form of life. We must think to ourself: just because crystals do not have organs, brains or blood running through their “veins” doesn’t mean they are devoid of what is scientifically, otherwise believed to be “life qualifying.” In fact, crystals grow and belong to the mineral kingdom just like plants and animals. Through evolution, man is just one of God’s many beautiful expressions. In order to live and maintain a healthy planet, we must learn how to harmoniously coexist. We must also learn how to properly release strong and unwanted negative emotional patterns and replace them with positive and uplifting energy or habits. To that end, this book is about the nature of what binds light to dark, life to death and thought to form. Awareness is a process of learning how to accept yourself (and others) without condition. It is about learning how to forgive others, therefore yourself, for the stumbling blocks placed upon the path of your growth and autonomy. Awareness is, in part, learning to understand why things are the way they are— and not the way we’d like to change them for our personal gain.

In the parlance of yoga there is a concept known as Tapas, or Tapta Marga. Tapas is a spiritual process of rejuvenation.It is a heated-rebirth or renewal of energy. It usually involves giving up one thing for the gain of another. In many ways, it is akin to our yoga practice. Usually we build up heat when we string the asanas or poses of our physical practice. This, in turn, burns away many of the physical and emotional toxins in the body and mind. Therefore, we sacrifice physical effort for the gain of better health— a simplified explanation. The elements of nature have an incredible way of helping to recharge the batteries of our life. However, in order to accept the charge, we must remember to align and keep the cells of our thoughts and body healthy. Remember, while we’re still in our bodies, our potential is never fully exhausted. For this and the gift of life we must forever be in great gratitude!

The Two Landscapes of Man: Visible and Invisible
The visible landscape of our life has its weft and warp in the components of our everyday physical being. Articles of interest such as art, books, cars, houses, music, pictures of family and friends, etc., lend a hand in creating value to the appreciation and felt gifts of our life. I love my children. I love my family and friends. This too is a gift of life. Remember… things are not just good or bad, right or wrong. Things are layers of variable vibrations ranging from thoughts to physical matter. Very often, many of the things perceived outside ourself and outside our physical bodies are really nothing more than mirrored images or representations as to what is inside the world of who we are. We all posses the the capacity for honing in on greater awareness. We just need to remind ourselves that from time to time,what it is that really matters in our life.

The invisible to the eye landscape is a little trickier. It has a greater potential to cause havoc or disorganization in our everyday life. It is important to understand that what is inside, yet out of mind, can bury itself much more deeply, and,when not properly attended to, has the capacity to create disease from within. For example, when we eat food, is there not an outlet for its waste? Yes, there is. When we get physically sick, does our our body not restrict and limit our dietary intake? It does! Really, this is no different than an ngineered computer virus: when it hits our hard drive, we’re out of commission! The solution? We purchase and install an antivirus software program. And, so now we must ask ourselves: What tools do we have to help minimize or eliminate subtle or invisible negative energetic patterns or entities? Actually there are many! Yoga and meditation are just two practices of many that help to keep us strong and more positively aware— all of which, incidentally, help to minimize and deflect disease. It is, in part, the principles of yoga that help mitigate the ill effects of negativity and other strong emotions and neurosis. Yoga helps us to bounce right back to vibrant health. It helps to renew our spiritually rich life. Yoga grounds and keep us close to ourselves and the people with whom we belong in community. We must never forget this! It is with the help of our family, friends and community that we best learn how to responsibly self-heal.

So, when it comes to yoga and self-healing, I wonder, have we relied too much on science and not put enough emphasis on our own personal responsibility to do what we know is right in our hearts and minds? It is through the process of this book that we utilize the tools of yoga, journaling, workbook questions and other exercises to bring us closer to a better understanding as to how to create a new possibility that allows for simple living through full awareness.

We are all a great lotus, ready to blossom yet another gift of life. But please remember: both the observer and observed must unite to do the miracles of one only thing. No single entity is a universe unto itself unless, of course we are speaking of God.

Perhaps it is both chance and God that implied universal love and unity. And, so here we are, able to acknowledge each, the other as a gift, onto the other. Together, you and me, we hold the recipe for change and reciprocation. We can waste our precious time folding into the echoes of a fictitious self, or we can allow ourselves to become a little more humble, more intimate and awakened to the beauty of each other in this present moment. Therefore, I declare: I would like to share my findings of the world with you! For us to share of ourselves (and bread each other is indeed a gift of pure divinity. Oh, and, one last thing: Each day, we must commit to our memory, to engrave into each 206 bones of our body, one of the oldest proverbs known to mankind. It is from the Delphi Temple and it reads:
Man, Know Thyself”

A Light From Within Yoga Course Sanskrit Glossary

Sanskrit Glossary

philosophy • ethics • life

A

a
non
abhaya
freedom from fear
abhinivesa
possessiveness
abhyasa
steady effort
acharya
a religious teacher
adhah
down
adhara
a support
adharma
breach of duty
adhibhuta
the principle of objective existence
adhidaiva
the principle of subjective existence
adhikari
competent candidate
adhimatra
superior
adhimatratama
the highest, the supreme one
adhisthana
seat, abode
adhiyajna
the principle of sacrifice,incarnation
adho-mukha
face downwards

adho mukha svanasana
the dog stretch posture
adhyasa
a case of mistaken identity
adhyatma
the principle of self
adrishta
the unseen (e.g. actions ofinvisible entities)
adisvara
the primeval lord, a name of Shiva
bhu
land
bhudana
the donation of land
bhuja
arm or shoulder
bhujanga
snake
bhujangasana
the cobra posture
bhujasana
the arm posture
bhumi
the object of meditation
bhumikatva
firm ground
bhuta
a ghost, an element
bija
seed
bindu
drop or point
bodhi
supreme knowledge
Brahma
the creator
Brahmins
the highest, priestly caste
brahmacharya
control of sexual impulses
brahmacharyasana
the posterior stretch posture
brahmadvara
the door where kundalini enters the spine
brahmanda-prana
cosmic breath
Buddha
Buddha
buddhi
wisdom, reason

C

chakra
a wheel or vortex
chakra-bandha
the binding which seals all of the
chakras
gomukhasana the cow-faced posture
gorakshasana
the cowherd posture
gotra
family, race
granthi
a knot, obstruction in the chitrini
gu
darkness
gulma
the spleen
guna
a quality of nature
gup
guard, hide
guptasana
the hidden posture
guru
a spiritual teacher, heavy,important

H

ha
the sun
Hakini
the goddess in ajna
hala
a plough
halasana
the plough posture
hamasana
the altered peacock posture
hamsa
a swan
Hanuman
a monkey chief, son of Anjana and Vayu
hanumanasana
the splits
hasta
the hand
hasta padangusthasana
the hand-to-big-toe posture
hatha
force, against one’s will
hatha-yoga
union with the supreme via discipline
khechari
mudra where the tongue is inserted in the upper cavity
khyati
an outlook of knowledge
kleshas
the five sources of trouble and suffering
kona
an angle
koshas
bodies or sheaths
krauncha
a heron
krikara
one of the vital airs, causes coughing and sneezing
Krishna
the eighth incarnation of vishnu
krishnasana
the Krishna posture
kriya
cleaning
krounchasana
the heron posture
Krttikas
the Pleiades
kshatriyas
the caste of princes and warriors
kshipta
neglected or distracted
kukutasana
the cockerel posture
kumbha
a pot
kumbhaka
holding the breath
kunda
starting place of kundalini
kundala
coil of rope
kundalini
a coiled female snake, the latent energy at the base of the spine
kurma
a tortoise, one of the vital airs-controls blinking
kurmasana
the tortoise (leg-lock) posture
kutichaka
the hut-builder

N

nabhipedasana
the upward ankle-twist posture
nada
an internal sound
nadi
a channel within the subtle body
nadi-shodhana
the purification of the nadis
naga
the vital air that causes burping
naishkaramya karma
actionless action
nakra
a crocodile
namah
a salute
nara
a man
Narasimha
the man-lion, fourth incarnation of Vishnu
Narayana
the supporter of life – Vishnu
Nataraja
Lord of the dancers, a name of Shiva
natarajasana
the Lord of the Dance posture
nauli
an abdominal exercise (lauliki)
nava
a boat
navasana
the boat posture
neti
not so
neti-yoga
cleansing of the nostrils
niddhyasana
meditation and contemplation

O

ojas
concentrated psychic power

R

raga
anger, passion
raja
a ruler, king
raja-yoga
the yoga of mastery over the mind
rajas
mobility
Rakini
the goddess in svadhishthana
Rama
the seventh incarnation of Vishnu
rambha
plantain
Ravana
a demon king from Lanka who abducted the wife of Rama
rechaka
outbreathing
retus
semen
ru
light
Rudra
a form of Shiva
rupa
a form or body

S

Sadashiva
a form of Shiva
sadhaka
an aspirant, seeker
sadhana
practice, a quest
sah
he, that
sahaja
the karma to which one is born
sahasrara
the thousand-petalled lotus within the cerebral cavity
shrivatsa
the curl on Vishnu’s breast
shuddha
clean, pure
shvana
a dog
shvasa
inspiration
svasa-prashvasa
heaving and sighing
siddha
a prophet or adept
siddhasana
the adept’s posture
siddhi
a psychic (or occult) power
simha
a lion
simhasana
the lion posture
sirsangusthasana
the deep lunge posture
sirsasana
the headstand posture
Sita
the wife of Rama
Skanda
a name of Kartikeya, god of war
sodhana
purification
steya
robbery
sthirata
steadiness
sthiti
stability
sthula-sharira
the dense body
styana
sloth
sudras
the caste of servants and labourers
sukha
happiness
sukhasana
the easy posture
sukshma-sharira
the astral body
sumanasya
benevolence utkatasana the the hunkering posture uttana an intense stretch utthita
stretched
utthita eka pada sirsasana the balancing leg-behind-head
posture
utthita kurmasana
the balancing tortoise posture
utthita lingamasana
the balancing on the phallus
posture
utthita padangusthasana the balancing big toe posture
utthita parsvakonasana
the stretched lateral angle
posture
utthita paschimottanasana the balancing back-stretching

V

vacha
speech
vaikuntha
Vishnu
vairagya
uncolouredness, not desiring physical objects
vaisesika
one of the schools of Indian philosophy
vaisyas
the caste of merchants and professionals
vajra
one of the channels in the spine,a thunderbolt, diamond
vajrasana
the thunderbolt posture
vajroli
the thunderbolt contraction
vakra
bent
vakrasana
the curved posture
valakhilya
a class of tiny entities, about the size of a thumb
aditi
the mother of the gods
aditya
son of aditi
advaita
non-duality of the universal spirit
advasana
the prone posture
agama
proof of the trustworthiness of a source of knowledge
aham
I
ahamkara
tendency to identify oneself with external phenomena, ‘the I-maker’
ahimsa
non-violence
aishvarya
desire for power
ajapa
involuntary repetition (as with a mantra)
ajna
command
akarna
towards the ear
akarna dhanurasana
the shooting bow posture
akasha
ether
akrodha
freedom from anger
alabhdha-bhumikatva
the feeling that it is impossible to see reality
alamba
support
alasya
idleness
amanaska
the mind free from desire
amrita
the elixir of immortality
anahata
unbeaten
ananda
bliss
chakrasana
the wheel posture
chandra
the moon
chatur
four
chela
a pupil
chit
pure consciousness
chitrini
a fine cord within the spine
chitta
mind-stuff, the lower parts of mind – such as memory
chitta-vikshepa
confusion, distraction
chitta-vritti
a mode of behaviour
crore
ten million

D

Dadhicha
a sage who gave his bones to the gods, from which was fashioned the thunderbolt which slew Vrita
Daitya
a demon son of Diti
dakini
the goddess in muladhara
Daksa
a lord of created beings
daksina
the right sidev
dama
control of the body and senses
damaniv
a layer within a nadi allowing for the passage of energy
dana
giving
Danava
a demon
danda
a staff
dandasana
the staff posture
darbha
a sweet-smelling dried grass
himsa
violence
Hiranya-kashipu
a demon king, killed by Vishnu

I

ichchha
the will
ida
the channel on the left of the spine
indriya
organ of sense or action
indriya-jaya
mastery of the senses by controlling the desires
Isha
a form of Shiva
ishvara
a supreme being, god
ishvara-pranidhana
attentiveness to god

J

jagrata-avastha
complete awareness of the state of the mind
jalandhara
bandha where the chin rests in the notch between the collar bones
janma
birth, incarnation
janu
the knee
janu sirsasana
the head-knee posture
japa
repetition of a mantra

L

lac
100,000
laghava
lightness
laghu
handsome, small
Lakini
the goddess in manipuraka
Lakshmi
goddess of beauty and luck
lalata
the forehead
Lanka
the kingdon of Ravana, Ceylon
lauliki
a movement of the abdominal muscles and organs
laya
absorption of the mind
laya-yoga
yoga using the latent power of kundalini
lingam
the phallus
lobha
greed
loka
a habitat
lola
swinging
lolasana
the swing posture
loma
hair

M

madhyama
average
maha
mighty

P

pada
part of a book, the foot
padahastasana
the balancing forward bend
padangushtha
the big toe
padasana
the foot above posture
padma
a lotus
Padmanabha
a name of Vishnu
padmasana
the lotus posture
palmyrasana
the palm tree posture
para
beyond, higher
paramatma
the supreme spirit
parangmukhi
facing inwards
Parashurama
sixth incarnation of Vishnu
parigha
a bolt for shutting a gate
parighasana
the locked gate posture
parigraha
hoarding
paripurna
complete, whole
parivartana
revolving
parivrajaka
wanderer
parivritta parshvakonasana
the revolved lateral angle posture
parivritta paschimottanasana
the twisting back-stretching posture
parivritta sirsasana
the twisting head-knee posture
parivritta trikonasana
the revolved triangle posture
sakshatkara
the spirit
sakthi chalini
the nerve-power posture
salabhasana
the locust posture
salamba
supported
salamba sarvangasana
the supported shoulderstand posture
sama
equal, upright
samakonasana
the sideways leg-splits posture
sama-sthiti
standing still
sama-vritti
pranayama where inhalation,exhalation and suspension of breath are of same length
samadhi
where the aspirant is one with the object of his meditation
samana
one of the vital airs, which aids digestion
samasthiti
the upright-sitting posture
sambhava
birth
samkatasana
the dangerous posture
samkhya
one of the schools of Indian philosophy
samkhya yoga
the yoga of science
samshaya
doubt
samskaras
memories
samyama
dharana, dhyana and samadhi taken together
sannyasi
one who has renounced the world
sanjivani
a life-restoring elixir or herb
supta
sleeping
supta baddha padmasana
the supine bound lotus posture
supta janu sirsasana
the supine head-knee posture
supta padangusthasana
the supine big toe posture
supta paschimottanasana
the supine back-stretching posture
supta vajrasana
the supine thunderbolt posture
surya
the sun
surya namaskar
the homage to the sun posture
sushumna
the spinal cord
sushupti-avastha
the state of the mind in dreamless sleep
sutra
a thread
sva
vital force, soul
svadhyaya
education through the study of the divine texts
svapnavastha
the state of the mind in a dream
svarga
heaven
svarupa
one’s true nature
svasamvedana
the understanding of oneself
svastikasana
the prosperous posture

T

tada
a mountain
tamas
darkness, inertia, ignorance vama the left side
vamadevasana
Vamadeva’s posture
Vamana
Vishnu’s fifth incarnation
vamaprakasha
lovely shiningness
vasana
longing
Vasnata
the deity of Spring
vasti
internal cleansing
Vasuki
a name of Shesha
vatayana
a horse
vatayanasana
the horseface posture
vayus
the vital airs
veda
the sacred scriptures of the Hindus
vedana
feelings
vedanta
one of the schools of Indian philosophy
vedas
the sacred scriptures of the Hindus
vibhuti
divine power
vichara
continued thought
vidya
knowledge, science
vijnana
comprehension
vikalpa
imagination, fancy
vikshepa
confusion
vikshipta
mental aggitationAnanta
infinite, a name of Vishnu
anantasana
Ananta’s posture
anga
a limb, or body part
angamejayatva
unsteadiness of the body
angula
a finger
angushtha
the big toe
Anjana
the name of the mother of Hanuman
anjaneyasana
the splits
antahkarana
the mind
antara
within
antaranga
the practices of pranayama and pratyahara
antaratma
the inner self, residing in the heart
anuloma
with the grain, naturally
anumana
an inference
apana
one of the vital airs, controls the elimination of bodily wastes
apara
lower
aparigraha
abstention from greed, nonpossessiveness

B

Bbaddha
caught
baddhahasta sirsasana
the bound hands headstand posture
bandha
binding, a muscular lock
darshama
a visit to a great person,viewpoint or vision
daurmanasya
despair
dehi
the self
deva
a divine being
devadatta
one of the vital airs, which causes yawning
devata
a divine being similar to an angel
deva-dasi
a temple prostitute
devi
a goddess
dhanu
a bow
dhanurasana
the bow posture
dharana
concentration
dharma
the law, duty, way of life
dhasanjaya
a vital air that stays in the body after death, sometimes bloating the corpse
dhenu
a cow
dhirata
strength
dhwani
a resonant sound
dhyana
contemplation
dirgha
long
Diti
mother of the daityas demons
dradhasana
the side relaxation posture
drashta
consciousness, the ‘witness’
dridhata
strength
duhkha
pain, grief
dvesha
hatred
jathara
the stomach jathara parivartanasana the bellyturning posture
jati
circumstances of life to which one is born
jaya
victory
jiva
a creature
jivana
life
jivatma
the individual soul
jnana
knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge
jnanendriya
an organ of knowledge, i.e. the five senses
jyotir dhyana
luminous contemplation
jyotis
inner light

K

kailasa
a Himalayan mountain, home of Shiva
kaivalya
spiritual independence and freedom
kakasana
the crow posture
Kakini
the goddess in anahata
kalabhairavasana
Lord Kalabhairava’s posture
kali-yuga
the current, pleasure-loving age Kama desire for material pleasures, the god of passion
mahabandha/mahamudra
types of mudra
Mahadeva
the great god – Shiva
mahat
cosmic consciousness
maitri
friendliness
maithuna
sacramental intercourse
makara
a crocodile
makarasana
the crocodile posture
mala
a wreath
malasana
the garland posture
man
to think
manana
pondering
manas
the reasoning ability of the mind
manasika
of the mind
mandala
circle
Mandara
mountain used by the gods to stir the cosmic ocean
manduka
a frog
mandukasana
the frog posture
mani
a jewel
manipura
navel
manomani
samadhi
mantra
a prayer or sacred thought
Manu
father of the human race
marga
a path
matsya
a fish
matsyasana
the fish posture
parshva
the side
parshva dhanurasana
the sideways bow posture
parshva halasana
the lateral plough posture
parshva sarvangasana
the sideways shoulderstand posture
parshva sirsasana
the headstand posture
parshvakakasana
the sideways crow posture
parvatasana
the mountain posture
paryanka
a bed
pasasana
the noose posture
pasha
a trap, noose
pashchima
west, the back of the body
pashchimottoanasana
the back-stretching posture
Patanjali
author of the Yoga Sutras
pavanmuktasana
the knee squeeze posture
pida
pain
pincha
the chin, feather
pinda
an embryo
pingala
the channel on the right of the spine
pliha
the spleen
Prahlada
a devotee of Vishnu
sansara
the wheel of reincarnation
santosha
contentment
sara
essence
Sarasvati
goddess of speech and learning
sarva
whole
sarvanga
the whole body
sarvangasana
the shoulderstand posture
sat
reality
sat chit ananda
bliss consciousness
Sati
mother of Kartikeya and Ganapati
sattva
orderliness, the quality of goodness in everything natural
satya
honesty
savasana
the corpse posture
savichara
investigational meditation
savitarka
inspectional meditation
sayanasana
the repose posture
setu
a bridge
setu bandhasana
the bridge posture
shabda
sound, the creative principle
Shakini
the goddess in vishuddha
shakti
female creative power, goddess
shaktichalani
one of the mudras, involves contracting the rectum
shalabha
a locust
shalabhasana
the locust posture
shama
calming the mind
tan
to stretch
tandava
violent dance of Shiva
tanmatras
the five potentials or senses
tantras
treatises on ritual, meditation,discipline, etc.
tap
to burn, shine, suffer
tapas
austerity, purification
tara
crossing over
Taraka
a demon slain by Kartikeya
tat
that
tattva
an element, the twenty-four categories of thatness
tejas
radiant energy, majesty
tirieng
horizontal
tittibha
a firefly
tittibhasana
the firefly posture
tola
a balance
tolangulasana
the balance posture
tolasana
the scales posture
trataka
an exercise to clear the vision
tri
three
trikona
a triangle
trikonasana
the triangle posture
trishna
thirst, desire
Trivikrama
fifth incarnation of Vishnu, who filled the earth, heaven and hell with his three steps (krama)
viloma
against the natural order of things
vipakas
the distressing results of karmas
viparita
reversed, inverted
viparitakarani
the upside-down posture
viparyaya
a mistaken view
vira
brave, a hero
virabhadrasana
the arrow posture
Virancha
name of Brahma
virasana
the hero posture
Virochana
a demon prince
virya
vitality, enthusiasm
vishama-vritti
uneven or strained movement whilst breathing
vishesha
particular
Vishnu
the preserver of life
vishudda
pure
vitarka
discernment
viveka
discrimination
vriksha
a tree
vrikshasana
the tree posture
vrishchika
a scorpion
vrishchikasana
the scorpion posture
vrit
to turn
vritti
a vortex, an idea, behaviour
vyadhi
illnessbandha padmasana
the bound lotus posture
baka
a wading bird, the crane
Bali
a demon king
basti
method for cleaning the intestines
bhadrasana
the auspicious posture
bhagavad gita
the dialogues between Krishna and Arjuna
bhagavan
holy
Bhairava
terrible, one of the forms of Shiva
bhajana
a hymn
bhakti
devotion, worship
bhastrika
the bellows breath
bhati
light
bhavana
concentration
bhaya
fear
bheda
a division
bhedana
breaking through, piercing
bheka
a frog
bherunda
terrible
bherundasana
the formidable posture
bhoga
enjoyment
bhoktir
one who enjoys
bhramara
a large bee
bhramari
the bee breath
bhranti-darshana
a delusion
dvi
two, both
dvi-pada
two feet

E

eka
one, single
eka pada hastasana
the one leg posture
eka pada kakasana
the one leg crow posture
eka pada sirsasana
the leg-behind-head posture
ekgara
one-pointed
ekamevadvitiyam
one without a second

G

gana
Shiva’s attendants
Ganapati
god of luck and wisdom
ganda
the cheek
garbha-pinda
an embryo
garbhasana
the foetus posture
garuda
an eagle
garudasana
the eagle posture
ghata
a pot, the body
ghi
clarified butter
go
a cow
gomukha
musical instrument resembling a cow’s face
kama-dhenu
the heavenly cow
kanda
a knot, the place where the three main nadis join
kandasana
the upward ankle-twist posture
kapala
the skull
kapalabhati
a process to clear the sinuses
kapota
a dove
kapotasana
the dove posture
karma
work, action, the law of cause and effect
karmaphala
the result of an action
karma-yoga
unselfish actions
karmendriya
an action organ, e.g. the hands or feet
karnapidasana
the ear-press posture
Kartikeya
the god of war, was reared by the Pleiades
karuna
pity, tenderness
kathanta
howness
katikasana
the front-stretching posture
kaustubha
one of Vishnu’s jewels
kaya
the body
kayika
pertaining to the body
kevala
whole, pure
khandapitasana
the ankle-twist posture
matsyendrasana
the posture of Matsyendra
maya
illusion
mayura
a peacock
mayurasana
the peacock posture
meru-danda
the spinal column
mimansa
one of the schools of Indian philosophy
mirdu
soft, gentle
mirta
a corpse
mirtasana
the corpse posture
moha
infatuation or delusion
moksha
emancipation of the soul from rebirth
mudha
foolish, stupid
mudra
a seal
mudita
delight
mudras
muscular contractions that include the bandhas
mukha
the mouth
mukta
liberated
muktasana
the liberated posture
mukta hasta sirsasana
the freehand headstand posture
mula
root
mulabandhasana
the ankle-twist posture
mulashodhana
cleansing the rectum
murcha
mind-fainting
Prajapati
Lord of created beings
prajna
wisdom
prakasha
shining, clear
prakriti
eternal nature
pramada
indifference
pramana
authority, an ideal
prana
breath, energy, life
pranava
another name for aum
prana-vayu
a vital air that moves in the chest
pranayama
control of the breath
pranidhana
dedication
prasarita
stretched out
prasarita padottanasana
the spread legs posture
prashvasa
expiration
pratiloma
going against the grain
pratyahara
control of the senses
pratyaksha
direct evidence
punarjanman
rebirth
punya
virtue, merit, good
purakha
inhalation
purnata
perfection
purusha
the spirit or soul
purvottana
the front of the body
purvottanasana
the front-stretching posture
shambhavi
related to Shiva
shambhavi mudra
gazing between ones eyes
Shambhu
a name of Shiva
shan
six
Shanmukha
with six mouths, a name of Kartikeya
shantih
peace
sharira
a body
shaucha
mental and bodily cleanliness
shava
a corpse
shavasana
the corpse posture
shayana
a bed
shesha
the serpent of eternity, having one thousand heads
shirsha
the head
shirshasana
the head-stand posture
shishya
the pupil of a guru
Shita
cold
Shiva
the destroyer
shmrti
memory
shodana
purification
shoka
anguish
shraddha
faith and trust
shravana
the act of listening to the doctrines

U

ubhaya
both
ubhaya padangusthasana
the buttocks balance posture
udana
the vital air controlling the intake of food and air
uddiyana
a fetter or binding involving the raising of the diaphragm
ugra
powerful, noble
ugrasana
the posterior stretch posture
ullola
a large wave
Uma
Shiva’s wife, Parvati
unmani
samadhi
Upanishads
the philosophical parts of the Vedas. ‘upa’ (near) ‘ni’ (down) sad (to sit) – the act of sitting down by one’s Guru to receive instruction.
upavishtha
seated
upeksha
disregard
urdhra prasarita ekapadasana
balancing forward posture
urdhva
raised
urdhva hastattanasana
the up-stretched arms posture
urdhva-mukha
face upwards
urdhva-retus
a celibate
ushtra
a camel
ushtrasana
the camel posture
utkata
fierce
vyana
one of the vital airs, circulates energy all over the body
vajna
a sacrifice

Y

Yama
the god of death
yamas
the five moral commandments
yantra
a design used in meditation
yastikasana
the stick posture
yoga
union, from ‘yuj’ – to join
yogadandasana
the yogin’s staff posture
yogasana
the anchor posture
yoga-nidra
the sleep of yoga, where the body is resting but the mind is awake
yogi/yogin
one who practices yoga
yoni
vagina, womb, or source
yuga
an age
yuj
to yoke, join, concentrate on
yukta
joined with, one who has attained the communion with the supreme spirit

© 2020. All Rights Reserved.

The Symbol of Your Soul Exercise

Symbol of Your Soul Exercise

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Yantra exercise

FOR THIS INSPIRING EXERCISE, it is important that you hone in on your heart center or heart chakra. When you hear the words heart chakra or heart center what is its meaning to you? What experience comes to mind?

Draw a picture or representation of it by using crayons, pencils, scissors, glue and glitter (or whatever else you may need or want to create and render your symbol. There will be a list of questions for you to answer upon the completion of your final soul symbol. Creating the stage: Lie down or sit comfortably in sukhasana, half lotus or any other comfortable position that suits you well. Focus on your breath to calm your mind and body.

Now begin to imagine that your heart center is so much more than just a place for the physical muscle of the heart. Maybe refer back to the heart chakra section of this course. Your soul symbol should be drawn on blank piece of paper, and then uploaded to this exercise (see upload button on top of this page).  Please do your work in a quiet, soft neutral setting. Please use no words in your drawing as it tends to bring one into a more logical mindset, thereby restricting the creative process. Feel free to practice on as many blank sheets of paper as you’k like. 

Explore the possibility that your heart center is an energetic entity that resembles a luminous nebulous cloud. One that extends throughout your entire body. It is an expression that by the process of awareness, one can tune into the source related to their soul purpose. Before you begin your soul exercise, here are a few items that we think you should have available:

•Crayons
•Pencils/Pens
•Paint/Glitter
•Scissors
•Any other supplies you see fit to use

When ready, ask yourself “are you grounded fully relaxed? Then begfin by opening the communication channels… and ask your heart center to search deep within to present you with a symbol that represents your soul’s purpose.
Once this symbol surfaces, explore its characteristics; i.e., what colors are there? What is the surface or appearance of your symbol? Are there lines, curves, open or closed loops? Are there triangles, squares or other geometrical forms? Are there any layers? Is there an imagined odor? How can its texture best be described and incorporated? Once you are comfortable and have a good mental representation of your soul symbol, begin to draw

Note: Remember to have fun with this creative exercise. It is critically important to keep your feeling heart open. My recommendation would be to read these instructions over and over again, so that on any given day, when the time is right, you may begin the process of creating your soul symbol.

Symbol of Your Soul Exercise

What do you feel and think this symbol means to you?Does your symbol relate to harmony and/or conflict?Do you think that your soul symbol is trying to tell you something?What do you think the colors mean? Can they be explained by some of the threads in your life?If your symbol could speak to you with words, what do you think it might be trying to tell you?Is your soul symbol something that represents your past, present or future, or perhaps all three? Explain

© 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Unsaid things…


What unsaid things linger in the landscape of your heart? In this exercise, please call, write or contact someone you know and have not talked to in some years, tell them whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to express to them (but for some reason did not). Regardless of the circumstances, this exercise is designed to free you up on an energetic level. Sometimes, we create scenarios (in our heads), and that, more often than not, there is no real basis for them. Is there a living relative, adversary or long-lost friend you’ve always wanted to tell something to but didn’t? Call them and do so. If it is a person who is deceased, imagine contacting them and visualize that imaginary conversation. Communicate the things you’ve always wanted to say to them.  Please journal your experience just below:

ALFW Pranayama Breakdown

Pranayama = breath control

Prana = the fundamental life force/energy Ayama = to stretch, extension, prolongation. To channel and control pranayama is the conscious use of breathing as a tool to cultivate pranic energy inside the body. Breathing techniques have always been an integral part of yoga and mindfulness meditation. Therefore, when we first learn and hear about “pranayama,” we must realize that it is a subcomponent of the larger system of the eight limbs of yoga more properly called Ashtanga, which in English translates to “Eight Limbs.” Pranayama is the fourth of eight limbs of the science of yoga.

Regardless of which door one enters into the discipline of yoga, it is imperative to know that all eight branches are intimately connected and therefore work in tandem. That is to say, the body and mind are bridged and strengthened with greater control when incorporating more than one of the eight limbs of yoga into their daily life. The focus and end goal of pranayama is to learn how to channel and transport very subtle forms of pranic energy. There are purported to be well over 72,000 nadis (acupuncture junctions) in the body. All these nadis revolve around the three different parts of breathing as outlined below:

• Purak: Inhalation of breath • Rechaka: Exhalation of breath • Kumbhaka: Retention of breath

Pranayama is described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It is much more than just a mechanical respiratory exercise: It helps to obliterate and/or minimize daily stress and other psychological and neurotic conditions. When properly learning how to incorporate the many different pranayama techniques into ones daily life, it is only then that we come to learn how to master the mechanics and underpinnings of the mind or what is more commonly called chitta. Learning how to consciously change the biorhythms of the body and mind is unlike anything else. More often than not, we are learning how to rewire the circuitry and biochemistry of the brain. Pranayama helps us to change the alpha, beta, theta and delta wave lengths of the brain. It allows us to masterfully channel the subtle energy waves from one power substation to another. In many ways, the science of prana works hand in hand with what Rosicrucian philosophy calls the “Etheric Envelope.” Basically, the Etheric Envelope consists of four different grades or parts. Simplistically speaking, it is the notion of what we commonly call the invisible force ether. Its four parts consist of the first being “Chemical” ether, the second is “Life” ether, the third is “Light” ether and the fourth “Reflecting” ether. As you may have guessed, ether is not what is physical to the eye; however, neither are feelings. I think the important thing to understand is that everything in the universe has its opposite polarity, or set of complementary charges such as the charges of positive and negative poles in electricity.

So with these principles in mind, pranayama leads us into the second half of the Eight Limbs of Yoga (Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi). It helps escalate our experience by inducing the body and mind to higher states of subtle consciousness. Of the already mentioned 72,000 nadis, 40 are considered to be secondary and 7 are the major chakras of the body. It is through the gate of pranayama that we learn to experience the sublime effects of the healing chakras.

It is pranayama itself that helps to move and transport the very subtle forms of energy from within and around the body. You see, once we learn to introduce and redefine the patterns and ratios of the breath, it is unlike anything you may have ever experienced. Pranayama helps to build and maintain the bodys nervous system. Its uncanny powers allow for multiple immediate feedback loops, which ultimately help to bridge and strengthen the neurological components of the mind, body and spirit.

As Swami Rama once pointed out, there was once a Sufi scholar quoted to say “the subject of breath is the deepest of all the subjects with which mysticism or philosophy is concerned, because breath is the most important thing in life.” The first breath begins at life once outside the womb. The beginning of respiration transforms the dynamics of the circulatory and neurological systems.

Introduction and Notes on Pranayama

Here are some general guidelines to consider in the practice and instruction of pranayama:

1. Begin by clearing the nasal passages of any blockage by blowing the nose or using the neti pot (kriya technique).

2. As in asana practice, pranayama is best performed on an empty stomach.

3. Pranayamas such as Dirgha or Ujjai are most easily introduced to beginners in a reclining or supported reclining position. Bhramari should not be taught in a reclining position.

4. Initially, simply observe the dynamics of the breath without attempting to control it. Then begin to regulate gradually, leading over time into full pranayamas.

5. In seated pranayamas, it is essential that the practitioner is supported by bolsters, blankets, and any other props as necessary to achieve a straight, extended spine, so that the spinal nerves can draw prana, or energy, from the breath, rather than causing strain to the nervous system.

6. Be sure that the exhalation is smooth and even; if there is any choppiness or strain, stop the practice and return to the natural rhythm of breath.

Definition

Pranayama is the conscious use of breathing as a tool to cultivate and move pranic energy inside and around the body. Prana is the essence of life in its most subtle form. Prana is found in all things, but humankinds ability to control this flow provides an immeasurable tool for transcendence. “Prana” means the fundamental life force and “yama,” means to channel or control. The various pranayama echniques are used to channel subtle energy into the body or one might also say to bring energy into the subtle channels of the body. Yama in Vedic literature and iconography, is also the god of death, so if prana is the essence of life, the experience of breathing is the mid ground between life and death as we know it. Another explanation from the Sanskrit is that “ayama” (which means to expand) following “prana” suggests that the goal is to expand the body with vital force.

General Pranayama guidelines

1. As in asana practices, pranayama is best performed with little abdominal congestion due to meals or drinks.

2. Choose a reclining position initially for pranayama practice.

3. Do not force the breath to move or stop moving initially; simply watch what happens.

4. In seated pranayama practices, keep the spine extended.

Benefits

The movement of the diaphragm places increased pressure on the internal organs. This has the following effects:

1. Acts to increase digestive homeostasis by facilitating peristalsis (normally incited by parasympathetic nervous system control), which is the wavelike movement of contractions of the intestines. Peristalsis works like a gentle pump for vascularizing the abdominal organs. It impacts the liver and helps with the removal of waste products. Also it acts on the kidneys by creating a massaging effect with the diaphragm. One role that the kidneys play is in controlling blood pressure.

2. The spleen, which is involved in the immune system function, is massaged and better able to perform its job of filtering blood, and storing lymphatic tissue and white blood cells.

3. The movement of the diaphragm supports the movement of lymphatic fluid from the lower body to the thorax where it is reabsorbed into the circulatory system. This aids in the production of immune system agents.

4. Pranayama regulates the flow of blood to the brain, which can stimulate both hemispheres of the brain creating balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Additionally, pranayama stimulates the olfactory bulb, which rests near the emotional center of the brain, and can have a quieting effect. Pranayama is effective for clearing the mind and concentrating attention mentally.

5. The full use of the lungs can prevent toxic buildup of waste materials in the bloodstream. Pranayama techniques affect the heart rate. Slow, even breathing can reduce the heart rate…. and in some cases canslow heart rate. This effect reduces the workload on the heart and makes its actions more efficient.

6. Many pranayama techniques can increase the flow of blood to the base of the lungs to remove fluids that build up there. The base of the lungs— where more alveoli are found due to gravity— do not naturally absorb as much oxygen because the gas more easily is drawn into the upper portion of the bronchial tract. Further, pranayama can increase the amount of oxygen transferred into the alveoli by extending the length of breath into the lower lobe of the lungs.

7. Pranayama affects the residual amount (functional residual capacity) of oxygen, which remains in the lungs more often than not making room for more air uptake by the alveoli.

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