The Eight Limbs of Yoga

1.YAMA (discipline)

The first limb of yoga covers five moral disciplines or obligations to the self and others! a. ahimsa (nonharming)
b. satya (truthfulness)
c. asteya (nonstealing)
d. brahmacharya (chastity)
e. aparigraha (greedlessness)

These directives help destroy negative human characteristics or conditions.
The first directive, ahimsa, is nonviolence in thought and action. Most of the world’s religions emphasize this idea. Violence seems to be an integral part of human nature. It does not always take the form of physical assault, but sometimes as ear, hostility, and disapproval.

Satya is translated as real, genuine, or honest, and this is usually taken to mean one should tell the truth. It is mentioned many times in yogic literature.

Nonstealing, or asteya, is closely related to ahimsa,since stealing violates the person from whom things are taken.

Chastity, or brahmacharya, is addressed by most spiritual traditions. Generally speaking, sexual stimulation is thought to interrupt the impulse toward enlightenment by indulging the desire for sensory experience and by draining energy.

Greedlessness, or aparigraha, is defined as the nonacceptance of gifts. We are encouraged to cultivate voluntary simplicity, since possessions lead to attachment and fear of loss.

2. NIYAMA (restraint)

As the yama are concerned with our outer actions, so the niyama are concerned with our inner life. The five practices are:
a. shauca (purity)
b. samtosha (contentment)
c. tapas (austerity)
d. svadhyaya (self-study)
e. ishvara-pranidhana (devotion to god)

3. ASANA (yoga posture)

The first two limbs, yama and niyama, concern the mind. Asana, or posture, expands this to involve the physical body. This is what many Westerners think of when they consider yoga practice. At first, posture was essentially immobilization of the body. Later in yoga’s history, it came to mean what we recognize today, the collection of poses for therapeutic purposes. The focus at this level is on making the physical body a stable platform for the deepening of the journey toward meditative unfolding.

4. PRANAYAMA (breath control )

When yogins have become aware of their inner climate and have gained control of their muscular tensions and physical state, they become more attuned to the life force as it circulates in the body. The next step is to support awareness of energy systems and emotional states through the practice of pranayama (literally “extension of prana,” or life force. The idea of this life force is familiar to man cultures: the Chinese call it chi, the Polynesians mana, the Native Americans orenda. Modern scientists refer to bioplasma.

Through regulation of the breath, along with concentration, prana can be stimulated and directed, usually toward the head. As prana rises, attention follows and leads to more and more subtle experiences. Finally, pranic energy reaches the crown, and consciousness may be changed radically, leading to ecstasy (samadhi).

5. PRATYAHARA (sense withdrawal)

The practice of posture and breath control leads to the shutting out of external stimuli. When consciousness is sealed off from the environment, this is the state of sensory internalization, or pratyahara. Sanskrit texts compare this process to “a tortoise contracting its limbs.” The mind grows very active when removed from sensory input. This allows for the deepest concentration.

6. DHARANA (concentration)

Concentration is the focusing of attention to a given locus (desha) which may be a particular part of the body, such as a chakra or an external object such as the image of a deity. This is a highly intensified form of the concentration we experience every day. The difference is that dharana is “a whole-body experience free from muscular and other tension, and therefore with an extraordinary dimension of psychic depth, in which the creative inner work can unfold.” This is both difficult and sometimes dangerous work. Yogic concentration is a high-energy state, and it is easy to see how this psychic energy could go awry.Shauca, or purity, is different from cleanliness. It is inner or mental purity brought about by meditation and concentration. The goal is to “mirror the light of the transcendental self with out distortion.”

Contentment, or samtosha, means not coveting more than what is at hand. It is the voluntary sacrifice of what is transient anyway. Sages around the world speak of this virtue, as it equalizes pleasure and sorrow.Austerity, or tapas, includes such practices as fasting; prolonged immobilized standing or sitting; the bearing of hunger, thirst, cold, and heat; and formal silence. These practices raise energy that is then used to achieve higher awareness. Tapas is not self-torture, however. Svadhyaya, or self-study, is not intellectual learning, but rather “the meditative pondering of truths revealed by seers and sages who have traversed those remote regions where the mind cannot follow and only the heart receives and is changed.” It is one’s own exploration of the hidden meanings of the scriptures.The final part of niyama is devotion to god, or shvarapranidhana. The god referred to here is free of illusion,forever aware of truth.

7. DHYANA (meditation)

Deep concentration leads naturally to a state of meditative contemplation, or dhayana. All thoughts regard the object of concentration and accompany a state of peaceful, calm disposition. Alertness is intensified rather than dulled, although there is little or no awareness of the external environment.

8. SAMADHI (ecstasy)

The final limb is elusive and difficult to define fully. Samadhi occurs when “all the fluctuations (vritti of ordinary waking consciousness are entirely stilled through meditation. Psychologists and practitioners have differently interpreted it.

While many texts and teachers refer to the hierarchy of the eight limbs, the vast number of Western students begin formally with the third limb of practice (asana). The first five techniques are often called the outer limbs of practice, while the remaining three more subtle aspects are called the inner limbs. The linear progression through these practices is only one way of conceptualizing them.Because each limb has as its ultimate goal the realization of “ultimate truth”, one could start from any lace and cultivate practice from that point. It is useful to consider the eight limbs a circular progression rather than a tree with higher and lower branches. One can also focus practice on only one limb while maintaining awareness of the underlying unity between all the limbs.

McAfee, John. The Secret of the Yamas: A Spiritual Guide to Yoga.
Woodland Publications, 2001. pp. 19-21. Feuerstein,
Georg. The Yoga Tradition. Hohm Press, AZ, 1998.

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21 of the best ALFW Yoga Warm-ups

Instructions › Background

DEFINITION

Warm-ups are gentle yoga movements. They are usually done in repetition, on each side, and should not stress the body.

The purpose of the warm-up is twofold: (1) to gently provide a stretch that will increase warmth and blood flow to the area, and lubricate joints; and (2 target muscle and joint groups for later postures in a class.

Warm-ups can be postures that have been broken down to their essential actions on the body structure.

GENERAL GUIDELINES

1. Link flowing breath with the movements for an ideal work-breath duration.
2. Flow from one gentle movement into the next.
3. Slow movements are the basis and foundation of warm-ups.
4. Warm-ups can be held in full extension of a pose after several movements in and out of a sequence.
5. Be creative and spontaneous, but give some thought to possible warm-ups.

BENEFITS

1. Increases body temperature, blood flow and breathing, and lubricate connective tissues so that they becomepliable for greater range of motion. Increase neuronal signals between muscles and nervous system.

2. Provides greater somatic awareness of the body. Increase the flow of subtle energy, or prana, that connects body parts as a whole.

3. Provide an opportunity for safe exploration of range of motion so that unconscious efforts to accomplish a pose do not lead to strained tissues, muscle pulls, or bone misalignments

LEADING TIPS

1. Start slowly. Deepen respiration, and release any natural sounds that may be held inside the body. Pause briefly between each warm-up sequence to feel the results on an experiential level.
2. Keep the focus simple on the sensations in the area engaged in the warm-up and then on surrounding areas. Consider doing a feeling study: comparing an area warmed up with an area that has not yet been attended to.
3. In case of dizziness breathe, and slow the warm-up sequence down. Rest momentarily. There are many possible reasons for dizziness. The increase in oxygen to the system can override the brain’s ability to function. Come to a squatting position, or rest in child’s pose.
4. Facilitate the flow of breath with warm-ups for pranayama experiences later in a sequence. Using deep breathing and exhaling through the mouth with sounds to relax the body serves to create gentle vibrations inside, increase prana flow, and decrease toxin levels.

Head, Neck & Shoulders › Supine

  1. Inhale and lengthen tailbone from spine to crown of head.
  2. Exhale and rotate head to look over right shoulder.
  3. Inhale, back to center. Repeat to left.
  4. Repeat above, and after head rotates, drop the chin to the right shoulder gently pressing the left shoulder to ground.
  5. Repeat to left.

SHOULDER ROCKS #2

HEAD ROTATIONS #1

  1. Clasp elbows, making arms perpendicular to body.
  2. Exhale and move elbows to the right, keeping lower arms perpendicular to spine.
  3. Inhale to center and exhale to left.
  4. Repeat above, turning head in direction of arm movement.


  1. Inhale and lengthen spine. Exhale and drop chin to chest, keeping chest open and shoulder blades working down and back. Exhale, and move right ear to right shoulder. Inhale to center. Exhale to left. Inhale to center.
  2. Exhale and move right ear to diagonal between sternum and right shoulder, Inhale to center. Exhale and look over right shoulder. Inhale lengthen spine. Exhale and drop chin to shoulder. Inhale to center. Repeat on left side.
  3. Exhale and drop chin to diagonal between sternum and right shoulder. Inhale to center. Repeat to left.

NECK STRETCH #3

  1. Exhale drop chin to chest, Inhale, roll right ear to right shoulder.
  2. Exhale, roll back to center. Inhale, roll left ear to left shoulder.
  3. Move back and forth, making gentle half circles.
  4. NOTE: Never drop the head backwards into circles, as this can stress the central cervical vertebrae.

1/2 NECK CIRLCES #4


Head, Neck & Shoulders › Seated or Standing

  1. Make half circle to right, moving right ear to right shoulder.
  2. Rotate left shoulder forward in slow, gentle circles.
  3. Reverse direction of shoulder roll to left side.

NECK STRETCH WITH SHOULDER ROLLS #5

  1. Inhale and bring shoulders up toward the ears and circle them back, opening the chest and drawing the shoulder blades together.
  2. Continue the rotation, exhaling as the shoulders move down and forward.
  3. Repeat as much as you like and then reverse directions.

SHOULDER ROLLS #6

  1. Place hands on shoulders. Make full circles with the elbows, breathing as directed in the above exercise.
  2. Keep shoulders relaxed and down away from the ears.
  3. Reverse directions.

ELBOW CIRCLES #7


Warm-up Sequences from Head to Toes

Neck & Spine › Supine

  1. With knees bent and feet flat, exhale pressing lower back into ground.
  2. Inhale and release.

PELVIC ROCK #8

  1. Bend knees and place feet on floor parallel to each other, and hipwidth apart. Exhale, pressing lower back into floor.
  2. Inhale and lift hips to ceiling, rolling up one vertebrae at a time, up to the shoulder blades.
  3. Exhale and roll down one vertebrae at a time.

SPINE ROLL #9

  1. Draw knees to chest. Holding both shins, rock gently from side to side.

ELBOW CIRCLES #10



Neck & Spine › Table Pose

  1. Inhale and lengthen spine.
  2. Exhale and drop tailbone and crown of head to floor.
  3. Inhale and lift tailbone and crown of head to ceiling.
  4. Move back and forth with the breath as much as necessary.

CAT (BIDILASANA) #11

  1. Inhale, lengthen spine.
  2. Exhale, move the right hip to the right and the right ear toward the right hip.
  3. Inhale, come back to center.
  4. Repeat on the left side.
  5. Move back and forth with the breath.

WAG THE TAIL #12


Arm, Shoulders, Spine & HIPS › Table Pose

  1. Inhale and lengthen spine.
  2. Move the hips in a circular fashion to the right, then forward, around to the left, and back.
  3. Repeat a few times. Reverse the directions on the opposite side.

HIP CIRCLES #13

  1. Inhale and extend the right arm, reaching the fingertips to the ceiling and opening the chest.
  2. Exhale and thread the right arm under the left, keeping the hips centered and rotating the rib cage to the left.
  3. When stable, start pressing the right shoulder blade to the floor.
  4. With every inhalation, lengthen the left arm along the floor, extending it over the head.

THREADING THE NEEDLE #14


Hips & Knees › Seated

  1. Sit with knees bent, feet flat on floor, with hands behind for support.
  2. Exhale and allow the knees to gently fall to the right.
  3. Inhale and bring the knees back up to center, and then allow them to gently fall to the left while exhaling.
  4. Repeat as needed.

KNEE DROP #15

  1. Hip Rocks: Left leg is extended or comfortably bent for support. Bend right knee and hold the right foot for support (and/or shin or calf ).
  2. Gently rock the leg from side to side. Be conscious to allow all movement to stem from the hips.
  3. Hip Circles: Repeat the above directions, but rotate foot in circles parallel to the floor, moving

HIP ROCK & CIRCLES #16


Legs, Feet & Toes › Seated or Supine

  1. Extend legs and feet, pressing the back of heels into the floor.
  2. Inhale, curling all the toes back toward the face while opening the toes away from each other (spreading).
  3. Exhale and curl all the toes away from the face. Keep the soles of the feet open and resilient.

TOE CURLS #17

  1. Flex/Extend: Exhale and extend tops of feet down away from the body and point toes down towards floor. Inhale and extend bottoms of feet (heels) while moving toes back toward the face (flex feet).
  2. Side to Side: Extend tops of feet, relax toes, move outer edges of feet outwards away from each other, and then move inner edges of feet toward each other.
  3. Circles: Slowly move feet in a circular fashion. Circle feet inward, and then when finished with inner circle, switch and work feet in the opposite direction.

FEET STRETCHES #18


Arms, Wrists & Hands › Seated, Supine or Standing

  1. ONE: Extend arms in front of body. Inhale and open fingers away from each other. Exhale, close fingers to palm, one at a time.

FINGERS #19

  1. TWO: Inhale and open hands spreading fingers. Move fingers back toward face, flexing top of wrist. Exhale, and keep hands open, flex inner wrist, pointing fingers toward the floor.

WRISTS #20

  1. THREE: Extend fingers in line with wrists, keeping tops of hands facing up. Move thumb side of hand to inner wrist, then move pinky side of hand to outer wrist.
  2. Make circles with wrists.
  3. Repeat above directions with both hands held in a fist.

WRIST CIRCLES #21

THE EIGHT CLASSIFICATIONS OF YOGA POSES


Ever wonder how many classifications of asana (yoga poses) there are?
A Light From Within Online Yoga course is happy to share all about. Enjoy..

STANDING ASANAS
Standing postures have the unique capability of allowing us to feel connected to the earth through our feet, while at the same time, allowing us to feel that we can rise up to infinite possibilities. In other words, they teach us how to keep a strong, steady base even as we extend ourselves from around our center of mass. Although generally, they are not classified as pure balancing poses, they all contain an element of balance in their execution. From a physical standpoint,standing poses allow us to fairly easily activate the muscles and joints.Standing poses can be classified as symmetrical or asymmetrical. Symmetrical poses have both sides of the body doing the same thing. Some examples include Tadasana and Utkatasana. Asymmetrical poses have each side of the body doing something different.Poses such as Utthita Trikonasana and Virabhadrasana I and II are examples of asymmetrical poses.In general, for each asymmetrical pose done on one side, it should be practiced on the other side as well.

Standing poses can also include characteristics of other types of postures.Already mentioned is the element of balance in each standing posture.Another example would be Utthita Trikonasana, which has a lateral bend element to it. Utkatasana has some characteristics of a forward bend. Thus, like most things in life,asanas don’t always fit into a nice,clean box.

LATERAL BENDS
In our daily activities,pure lateral bending is uncommon. Typically, if we reach for something to our left side, we will displace the hips backward and to the left, while the chest and shoulders move forward and to the left. This type of movement decreases the amount of lateral bend in any given movement. In contrast, in ateral bend asanas, to get the most benefit from the posture, we want to maximize the lateral flexion and extension of the torso by limiting the rotation of the hips, chest and shoulders.Lateral bend asanas have many benefit. They build strength and stability in the musculature of the pelvis, spine, rib cage, and shoulders.They aid in maintaining the elasticity of the rib cage, which in turn, increases breathing capacity. Also, by alternately compressing and stretching the kidneys,intestines, liver, and other abdominal organs, lateral bends stimulate the function of these organs.

In all lateral bend asanas, it is important to lengthen the spine with each inhalation, which creates more space between the vertebrae. In that way, you can maximize the potential for lateral flexion without compressing the intervertebral discs. Further,by extending the arm on the side that is being stretched, and keeping it in line with the shoulder and torso, you can maximize the stretch of the muscles and connective tissue of the rib cage and torso.

BALANCING ASANAS
Usually, when we think of balancing postures, we think of postures where we are standing on one leg, even though all standing poses have some element of balance in them.This section will cover those standing pos t u esr where balance is the primary element.In general, balancing postures strengthen the body and improve mental concentration. However, once you possess a threshold level of strength, concentration is probably more important than strength for maintaining balance—if concentration is lacking, no amount of strength will keep you from falling. Try to maintain Vrkshasana (tree pose) while thinking about what the yoga student next to you is doing. You will probably fall out of the pose!

Balancing postures can teach us many life lessons. Using Vrkshasana again as an example, in order to stay upright, your standing leg has to continually make adjustments. These adjustments are so great that they can typically be seen with thenaked eye. What can we learn from this visual lesson, and thus teach our students? In order to be grounded, you must be willing to adapt. But the reverse is true as well. If we adapt too much, we will lose our balance in the pose, as well as in our lives.

FORWARD BEND ASANAS
In our daily lives, we perform forward bending much more than we do back bending. For example, it is quite common to reach forward to grab something by forward bending. In addition, many of us spend hours forward bending by sitting in chairs at the office, home or elsewhere. However, unless we make a conscious effort to do otherwise, much of the forward bending we do throughout the day is done with a rounded back and the hips thrust forward, which can put excessive strain on the lower back.Forward bends can be classified as symmetrical, e.g., Uttanasana, or asymmetrical, e.g. Parsvottanasana. Generally, asymmetrical forward bends isolate and deepen the stretching effects on one side of the body, while symmetrical bends work both sides of the body equally. Also, many postures have elements of forward bending in them, but may be classified in another way. For example,Adho Mukha Svanasana could be considered a forward bend, but it also has an inversion character to it.Forward bends can be performed in a supine position, e.g., Apanasana, seated, e.g., Pascimatanasana, kneeling, e.g., Garbhasana, or standing, e.g., Uttanasana. Generally, supine and kneeling forward bends are simpler and safer than the other types of forward bends and thus are very appropriate for beginners. Standing bends, by the use of gravity, allow for the greatest range of motion.Seated postures are typically the most restricted, and while they can provide for deep stretching, they have the greatest risk for injury due to the tendency to bend from the lower back while seated, rather than from the hip.

Depending on the particular posture, forward bend asanas have many benefits. Forward bends stretch and strengthen the spine, the entire length of the erector spinae muscles,and other posterior muscles and ligaments that stabilize the vertebrae. They also strengthen the abdominal muscles and massage the intestines, kidneys and adrenal glands, stimulating the working of these organs. Forward bends enhance hip flexibility and thus help prepare us to be able to sit comfortably for meditation. Forward bends also have great mental benefit. They generally are soothing to the nervous system, thus creating a feeling of calm, reduced stress, and lowered levels of anxiety.

TWIST ASANAS
Twist asanas offer many benefits. They build strength and flexibility in the abdominal muscles, and maintain the elasticity of the intervertebral discs and ligaments.By alternately compressing and stretching the chest and abdominal areas, twists stimulate respiratory function and the functioning of the abdominal organs.Twisting can also correct the body’s bilateral asymmetry. During our daily activities, if we habitually twist more to one side, this will distort the body’s symmetry, eventually creating structural problems. This problem is more common than you may think.Always holding the groceries on the same side,shoveling snow from one side, favoring one side when sleeping, or any number of other activities that incorporate twists create a situation where one side is favored over the other. Since twisting, by its nature, is asymmetrical, a conscious twisting practice as part of an overall yoga routine offers the opportunity to correct imbalances in the body’s symmetry.There are certain precautions that should be taken when twisting. By their very character, twists compress the intervertebral discs. If there are preexisting

conditions that make the spine already compressed e.g., hyperkyphosis, hyperlordosis, or scoliosis, it is especially important to avoid too much force in the twist when using the arms or legs as levers, and to make sure to lengthen the spine on the inhalation. In all twists, the rotation should be generated from the abdomen by contracting the abdominal muscles on the exhalation, rather than forcing the rotation with arm or leg leverage.

SEATED ASANAS
Seated asanas often have characteristics of other types of postures. For example, Paschimotasana is a seated posture, however the primary focus is forward bending. In this section, we will cover two of the seated poses that don’t easily fit into other categories:Dandasana and Baddha Konasana.Dandasana is the seated equivalent of Tadasana. It teaches us the proper way to sit and is the foundation for all the other seated poses. It can look deceptively simple, yet it has numerous benefits. When great attention is paid to alignment, Dandasana opens and lifts the chest, strengthens the abdominal muscles, and improves muscular stamina of the lumbar spine and legs. Also, since many people can easily hold it for extended periods, Dandasana provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the subtlety of movement in a calm and conscious manner. Emotionally, Dandasana helps focus the mind and reduces stress.Baddha Konasana extends the spine, flexes the hips, and promotes good urinary and reproductive health. Ideally, the lumbar spine in Baddha Konasana is in exactly the same position as that of Dandasana. However, having the soles of the feet together and close to the perineum prevents forward rotation of the pelvis. This, in turn, makes it difficult to fully extend the spine and can create a rounding of the back. If you find our back curving as you bring your feet closer to the perineum, move the feet farther forward.

Baddha Konasana also has a forward bend element to it. As you begin to bend forward in Baddha Konasana,bringing the head toward the feet, practice humility.The head is symbolic of the ego, and the feet are symbols of humility and peace. Joining the head and feet together can help create a more humble and reflective personality.

BACKBEND ASANAS
In ordinary activities through out the day, we may typically spend a lot of time hunched forward, whether due to sitting for prolonged periods at our desks or other activities. Backbends counteract the effects of constantly hunching over, and thus can help improve our posture.They can stretch and strengthen many muscles of the body, including the illiopsoas muscles, an important link between the spine and the legs. Backbends also gently massage the abdominal organs, stimulating their function. Generally, they are energizing and can help relieve depression and provide greater focus.Backbends can stretch and strengthen different muscle groups depending on the type of backbend that is being practiced. For example, in prone backbends, such as Bhujangasana or Ardha Shalabasana, you are lifting your body up against gravity and returning to the starting position with the help of gravity. Thus, in these types of postures, you are primarily strengthening the posterior musculature of the back and hips.In contrast, other types of backbends,such as Ustrasana, work the opposite way;gravity assists the movements into the posture, but you are going against gravity to come out of it. These types of backbends tend to facilitate a deep stretching of the iliopsoas muscles as well as provide anterior stretching of the chest and abdominal areas.

Probably the most difficult aspect of back bending is lengthening the entire spine so that the effort can be spread over a greater area of the back. A common error is to put too much effort into the lumbar region, which can cause unnecessary compression in that area of the spine.

INVERSION ASANAS
Inversion asanas have many benefits. These benefits are collectively known as “viparita karani” or “active reversal.”Through their effect of turning the body upside down, inversions tone many organs in the body, stimulate the adrenal glands, and strengthen the muscles, ligaments,and connective tissues. In addition, inversions help improve posture, digestion, circulation, and respiration.Emotionally, they can lift your spirits. They also promote balance and efficiency in the entire body. However, in order to realize the “active reversal” effect, it is important to stay in the posture without stressing the body in any way whatsoever.Any posture where the head is below the waist, or the legs are raised above the head, has some inversion quality to it and thus provides at least some of the benefits of inversions. However, this section mainly includes those postures where the inversion is the primary effect.

The most common risk while performing inversions such as Halasana and Sarvangasana is injury to the neck. This risk can be cumulative, and may manifest years later.Thus, it is critical to honor any input that tells you to go slowly or not at all. Proper sequencing and keen attention to alignment will help minimize the risk of injury.

WHAT ARE THE FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD CLASS LEVERS OF YOGA ANYWAY?

In our A Light From Within Yoga course, we value form. So as an example, we stress the fact that if one has a basic understanding All levers use the principle of opposing two forces about a fixed pivot or fulcrum. The fulcrum pits an effort force (EF) against a resistance force (RF), and its placement can greatly ease the task of moving an object or working through a pose. The distance from an EF to a given fulcrum is called the force arm (FA) while the distance from the same fulcrum to a esistance Force is the system’s resistance arm (RA). The body uses three classes of levers for yoga.

FIRST CLASS LEVER
can be compared to a seesaw. A fulcrum rests at the center of gravity in such a system; an EF and an RF balance each other on either side of the fulcrum.

A prime example of first class lever in the human body is the neck joint. The atlas, the uppermost vertebra of the cervical neck spine is a fulcrum that bears the weight of the head. The head’s center of gravity is slightly above and to the fore of the atlas, but this first class lever system allows counterbalance and movement with minimal muscular effort. Other examples of first class levers are the pelvis, which balances on the heads of the legs’ femurs, and even each femur itself balances on the tibia below it. Poor posture or muscular dysfunction can seriously fatigue and even disrupt lever function and lead to serious, painful consequences.

With FIRST CLASS LEVERS, two forces are exerted on either side of an axis, much as with a seesaw. A natural lever arrangement of hard bone allows muscles to work and finetune activity with efficient ease.

SECOND CLASS LEVERS
The principle of opposing two forces about a fixed pivot or fulcrum finds a different arrangement in the second class lever. Here, the RF is between the EF and the fulcrum. The length of the effort arm is much longer than the length of the resistance arm. In lever systems, the placement as well as the distance between the pivot and the forces in play can significantly increase or decrease the work of the muscles involved. Pushing the body up on one’s toes exemplifies use of a second class lever system. The EF exerted by powerful calf muscles through the Achilles tendon uses the ball of the foot as a fulcrum. Dancers and construction workers alike can testify that this is an exhausting effort.

As a SECOND CLASS LEVER, the foot pushes the body off the ground as the Achilles tendon is drawn upward by the calf muscles. The ball of the foot functions as a fulcrum. This is much like pulling the handles of a wheelbarrow up and forward. Here, the wheel is a fulcrum.

THIRD CLASS LEVERS
Third class levers depend not just upon an Effort Force opposing a RF about a fulcrum, but the importance of placement and distance between these components. Where the human body uses third class levers, it favors mobility and agility over efficiency and power. Third class levers operate like a construction crane: EF is applied close to a fulcrum and often distant from the RF.

The THIRD CLASS LEVER is essentially a crane. The EF is close to the fulcrum, and the distance to the RF makes a considerable difference in the power required to accomplish work.

BODIES IN MOTION–WAY COOL!

What is the Humunculus?

Neurologists can map which parts of the brain control various parts of the body. Stimulating the sensory or motor cortex with a weak electric current does the mapping. The stimulation often produces tingling or movement in part of the body. Humans put great emphasis on speech and manipulation of objects by the hands, so humans have large amounts of cortex devoted to mouth, tongue, and hands. Different species have different patterns. Rats get a lot of information from their whiskers, so they have large amounts of sensory cortex devoted to their whiskers.

The following diagram on the left represents a slice of cortex near the fissure of Rolando, running from the top of the head on downwards toward the ear. The diagram indicates the location and amount of cortex devoted to each part of the body. At location #22, for example (just above the lateral fissure by the ear), stimulation produces a swallowing reflex. At location #3, at the top of the head, stimulation results in toe movement. Altogether, the map of brain connections to the body in this particular strip of cortex looks like this, with the amount of cortical tissue represented by the size of the body part in the diagram.

The diagram looks a bit like a grotesque little man, so it is called the homunculus (ho-MUNque-lus) which, means “little man” in Latin. The first homunculus diagram was drawn by Wilder Penfield in the 1940s and looks similar to the one above. Notice that the hands, lips, and tongue are large because of the large areas of cortex devoted to these areas of the body in humans. What sort of humorous references to he homunculus are common?

The homunculus is a textbook diagram, certainly not a self or center of consciousness in the brain. However, humorous references to the homunculus as a little person in the head are common among psychologists alike.common among psychologists alike. One psychologist might say to another, “But how exactly is this mental activity carried out? Does the homunculus do it?” This is a way of saying, “You have not given us an adequate explanation!”

What is evidence that cortical mapping can change with experience? Actually there are many homunculi in the brain, if the word refers to an area of cortex where body surfaces are mapped. Such maps can change with experience. People who read Braille (which is done with an index finger) develop large areas responsive to stimulation from the index finger. A homunculus mapped on the motor cortex of such a person would have a huge index finger. This flexibility in the brain inspired some therapies for brain damaged patients. In one study, people who suffered partial paralysis of an arm after a stroke were able to regain full use of the arm by having the other (good) arm immobilized (prevented from moving). This encouraged development of the cortex that controlled the “bad” arm, resulting in partial recovery of the patient’s ability to move that arm.

The Personal Emotions Imprint Map (PEIM) Pie Chart

The Personal Emotions Imprint Map™ (PEIM) chart below is just a random example as to what your (or anyone else’s) chart might look like. The PEIM is the cornerstone of your life as it pertains to ALFW course. It is based entirely on your life’s personal timeline and reflects the ways in which you have emotionally responded to most all of your life’s encounters. Because most emotions are uniquely felt (and experienced), they are also subjective by nature. And, based upon your personal way of perceiving and experiencing the world from within and around you; your PEIM should make intuitive, yet logical sense to you! So please, remember… as thoroughly as you complete all your workbook questions and journal entries, so then you shall end up with a more accurately-based PEIM chart. 

So, little by little, as you work through the course the analytics of your PEIM will change–that’s a very compelling thing. Why, because it allows you to pay more attention to how it is you repond to things. It allows you to attenetively monitor yourself, yet without the otherwise, everyday reactions. I cannot tell you in words how many times it was that teachers and psychotherapists would take one of my blank PEIM pie chart (wheel) and give it to their students (or clients) before class or a session…the idea is to easily access where they’re at on an emotional level–and working with crayons is always a fun endeavor!!!.
So just below is a sample of a blank PEIM chart; all one needs is crayons so that each segment of the wheel may easily be filled in which represents where anyone is at on an emotional level

A Light From Within Yoga Mudra Database for Meditation Training

 Mudra dates back more than 5000 years. The word mudra is derived from two Sanskrit root words – Mud, which means ‘delight’ and Rati that means to bring forth. In an ancient yoga book called Gheranda Samhita, the reference of mudras is made note of in Sutra 100. It is believed that there were originally 108 basic mudras. Each must have represented what in Jotishi (the science of light) is called the 108 lunar mansions or vedas. Traditionally, mudras have been used during meditation, while doing yoga poses and even in dance. Holding mudras helps produce an altered state of mind. Using mudras is nothing more than learning how to concentrate and allow for a more efficient “flow” of electrons via the meridians and biorhythms of the body and mind. Historically, people have used mudras as symbols to communicate and transmit their different experiences, to share an infinite number of anthropological expressions of their spiritual and material worlds.

In ayurvedic healing, there exists five elements, all of which nourish and bind the universe. Each element is represented through the five fingers of each hand as shown in the middle illustration below. When one stops to think about it, everything we do, without exception, is expressed through the vehicles of the five elements. Everything: life, food, materials, thought and countless other things perceived and interacted with. Everything as we know it are the building blocks of these five elements. The lower right illustration shows the first five chakras as being related to the four fingers and thumb of each hand. When we mindfully meditate upon a chakra, we have the ability to use the other fingers in the hand mudra. Often times, ayurvedic physicians will remedy a condition by prescribing a ring with a gemstone to be placed on a particular finger of a hand. Usually, this protocol involves both a hand mudra and a mantra. When we recognize how to identify our “out-of-balance polarities” we also learn how to remedy and shift them into a new vibration. Precious and semiprecious gems have very specific frequencies upon which certain fingers are more receptive then others. Again, this science dates back thousands of years and still holds a place in total body healing. So accordingly, in the lower far left of this page is an illustration representing the astrological significance of the hand. Once again, may I remind you: everything is energy: the Sun, the Moon, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, etc. We live in a time where we are once again beginning to understand the interrelatedness of the universe! This includes science, which really is nothing more than a broadcasting of live hypothesis. Most any physicist (and poet) will tell you: The universe is intimately interconnected— not just by the string theory or feeling of love alone, but by the very molecules that binds it. So you see, even yoga mudra has a place. It is a perfect way for anyone, no matter what your belief system, to hone in on a clearer, more perceptible being. Yoga does not superimpose or even force hange— it simply suggests new possibilities, all of which enhance our health, relationships and life. Yoga brings us closer to the intrinsic core of who we are, closer to the source and essence of other people. So you see, incorporating all 52 different mudras (contained within the A Light From Within Yoga Course) into your yoga journey is meant to connect the mappings of your hand and body to the world at large. It is all just one big hologram. Have fun, while at the same time, exploring the biofeedbacks from within the world of YOU!
Namaste,
Miguel Latronica

Personal Emotions Imprint Map (PEIM)

Now, let’s talk about the heart and throb of A Light From Within Yoga course: moreover, the Personal Emotions Imprint Map™ (PEIM). The course offers 102 workbook questions and journaling opportunities. Once each question (or journaling opportunity is completed you, the user have the option of populating what is called its correlating counterpart, the Chart of Emotions (COE). This simply means that for each and every workbook question (and journal entry), there are 18 common emotions from which to chose to describe your experience as it relates to that question or journal entry.  Additionally, each COE has a corresponding Scale of Intensity (from 1 -10), which lends itself to the strength of each and every chosen emotion. As you begin to work through this course you will start to see an emerging pattern; one which helps you to see how your sometimes out-of-balance emotions may affect your professional, spiritual, mental and physical growth. Again, it is important to understand how emotions play a critical role in helping to maintain optimal balance in our everyday life. One of the goals of ALFW is to allow you to become a little more unified and connected, not just to yourself, but to all the people in your life. Self-inquiry leads us so deeply inward, that at some point, there is nowhere else to go except outwards, and into the thrust of life and community. When working with the workbook questions please record the date, time, your energy levels and even the conditions of the weather. It is recommended that you take your time and come back to your journaling portions as many times as you see fit. Just be sure to always complete your thought process. Lastly, remember to commit yourself to executing some “Weekly Random Act of Kindness.” (Remember to record all your random acts of kindness) You may notice that after some time, you begin to look forward to initiating these random acts of kindness.

Online Yoga Course and Emotional Awareness

There is an old 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 experiences…our perceptions. ALFW 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. AlFW is more than just an online yoga course, it is a journey into the nature of our overall health which includes emotional wellness.

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Greetings friends, We’re so excited to unveil our newly minted A Light From Within Yoga Workbook and Journal.  Our e-learning platform has brought the otherwise book to a whole new level. Please check out our videos to see how our program can benefit you and your beautiful life today! Namaste.