Guru Purnima is celebrated on the full moon day of Ashadha (July-August), at the beginning of the four month period of Chaturmas (the holy time of year in which the monsoons come and the saints refrain from movement). It is the day in which we offer our thanks, love and devotion to the Guru. The Guru Gita says “The Guru is Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Verily, the Guru is the Supreme Brahman itself.” But what is a “guru” in practical terms? While in the West, the term has taken on myriad, frequently derogatory connotations, the true meaning is pure and simple. In Sanskrit, “gu” means darkness, and “ru” means one who removes. So, a “guru” is one who removes our darkness. It is one whose mere presence emanates so much light, so much love and so much divinity that every darkness within us is alchemically changed into light. There is no darkness too dark for a guru. Their light can shine through and transform even the darkest darkness. Even the darkness of midnight would last but a second if the sun decided to rise six hours early. Similarly, no darkness can last in the Divine presence of a true guru. Unlike a “preacher” or “rabbi,” a guru does not necessarily have to be a religious figure, nor does it have to be a person of a specific religion, gender, age or ethnicity. It is simply someone who holds the light for you if your path becomes shrouded in darkness.You are lighter, freer, and more filled with joy. It is someone in whose light you want to bask forever. In the West, guru is frequently defined as “teacher.” Yet, the crucial difference between a teacher and a guru is that while teachers can explain concepts and give you verbal information, they cannot actually take you to the realms of which they teach. An astronomy teacher can tell you about other planets, but cannot take you there. A geology teacher can explain the properties of diamonds to you, but he cannot fill your hands with the precious gems. In contrast, a guru not only teaches you about God, but rather, he takes you to God. He not only teaches you about peace, but he also gives you peace. In Sanskrit, the word “guru” means one who removes our darkness. Yet it is not merely the darkness of ignorance. It is not simply that we go to our guru with a question, ask him, receive an answer and our confusion clears. Rather, the mere presence of the guru in our life removes all darkness – all anger, all pain, all confusion. History of Guru Purnima Guru Purnima is the day on which we pay our reverence to the Guru. It is a day filled with devotion, love and piety. On this day, Indians across the world pay their deepest reverence to both their personal guru, as well as to Sri Maharishi Vyasji. Vyasji is heralded as the one who classified and arranged the four Vedas, and as the author of the eighteen Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita.The Guru Gita tells us: “Meditate with concentration upon the Guru’s form. Worship with devotion the Guru’s feet. Take the Guru’s teachings as sacred, perfect mantras and recite them diligently. Only through the Guru’s grace will you attain liberation.” The Qualities of a Disciple People sometimes make the mistake of putting all of the responsibility on the Guru. We expect that we can continue to live our lives exactly as we want – along with our own egos, greed and vices – and yet the Guru will come, wave a magic wand and grant us instant peace, prosperity and enlightenment. It is not like that. The disciple must be dedicated, committed, faithful and assiduous in his/her sadhana. A good disciple: 1. Always tells the truth to the Guru and never hides anything from the Guru. HOLY DAYS • 2. Practices the teachings of the Guru with faith, discipline and regularity. 3. Follows the instructions of the Guru without argument. Questions, of course, can and should be asked when there are doubts or confusion in the disciple’s mind, but prior to asking any question the disciple should first deeply introspect to see whether the question really warrants the time and attention of the Guru or whether the question is simply to satisfy the ego or desires of the disciple. 4. Continues to grow and develop each day, making a commitment each morning to be more pure, and more divine every day. 5. Vows to live as a beautiful example and representative of the Guru. Disciples are the reflection of the Guru. So, if we truly love, revere and adore our Gurus, we must pledge to live our lives as shining examples of their teachings and as pure reflections of their Divine lives. 6. Is humble in front of the Guru, accepting the Guru’s words (and sometimes reprimands) with surrender and humility. 7. Is ever ready to serve the Guru – any time of the day, any day of the week, any week of the year. Seva given by the Guru and performed for the guru is a rare and precious jewel on the road to God-realization.
Life is just a story written into skin, there is so much we experience in one life time , I wonder how we can withstand it in this humble human body . It makes sense that we shouldn't remember , but there are moments when memories spill , lives and fears push through and across to touch us. These reminders are not accidental at all, they are here to teach us, like everything else in our lives. I look now at Earth as a school and everything is a lesson for us to learn. I wonder at times why I have chosen this life.We choose our parents, circumstances, out allies to aid us along our journey as I watch the reflection on the mirror..and I understand now this is the vehicle I need to experience myself .... And the growing process continue .....every person on this planet has a story and each of us is part of it, even for just a little while . To share your life takes courage but once the floodgates are open , it becomes the only way to live.we are powerful and we must remember our true nature. I feel purged and pried open since my arrival in India. I feel beautiful souls around me, I feel the Mother Ganga and her healing waters, as I let go of ideas and emotions...always changing.We are powerful and we must remember our true nature.
In love and light.
The practice of yoga is an art and science dedicated to create union, between body, mind and spirit. Yoga is spiritual but not religious. It adheres to the belief that some type of universal or divine force that is larger than the individual "ego-self" is the underlying truth of all existence . Yoga never claims that this force has to be represented by any deity or religion.
I would like to share some of the many different interpretations of the Sanskrit word "Yoga" one is " To come together". " to unite". "To tie the strands of the mind together " "union of body, mind and soul"
There are many ways of understanding yoga, it has it's roots in India, but it's content is universal, because it is about the means by which we can make changes, we desire in our lives." Doing an action in a proper way, that's yoga"
Yoga attempts to create a state in which we are always present, really present, in every breath, action, in every moment.........
It is not necessary to subscribe to any particular idea of God, in order to follow the yoga path... It only require us to be present in our actions and life...and we will start discovering something new.
The foundations of yoga philosophy were written down in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This sacred text describes the inner workings of the mind and provides an 8 step blueprint for controlling its restlessness so as to enjoying inner, lasting peace.
We can begin practicing yoga from any starting point, no prerequisites, but we must incorporate all aspects of ourselves and do so step by step....The Yoga Sutra emphasizes all aspects of human life, including our relationships with others, our behavior , our health, our breathing, and our meditation path.....
Asana is the practice of the physical posture, and probably the most commonly known aspect of yoga. Moving the body in to asanas has widespread benefits, of these: improved health, strength, balance, and flexibility. On a deeper level the practice of Asana which means "staying" Or "seat" is used as a tool to calm the mind and move into the inner essence of being.The first step of our yoga practice is to consciously link the breath and body. We do this by allowing every movement to be led by the breath as we practice Asanas.
“ In the beginning was the word, but behind the word is an even greater power, The breath”
Pranayama is changing unconscious breath into conscious breath. Through the Practice of asanas, we condition the body to sit with the spine straight in order to stretch it, opening the chest and ribs, allowing more air in the lungs and to open the diaphragm. There are different asanas like back bends, forward bends that are helpful in this process.
Prana being our vital force, or life in the form of energy, and Ayama extending prana through the breath, we create a relationship with the breath which is the vehicle for prana to enter the body. Keeping our focus on the breath, and the body comfortable we aim to concentrate more prana within the body. As we link the mind and breath, our mind becomes quiet and ready for meditation. As we keep our attention on the breath, we learn to be able to feel it, to follow it, to direct it to a specific place in the body.
We breathe in prana, and we exhale Apana, both forms of prana are necessary, but they should be in balance with each other. Apana is refer to the lower abdomen and all the functions that take place there. It is that part of prana that has the function of elimination of waste matter. By practicing different Pranayama techniques we reduce these impurities and allow more prana in. During inhalation prana is brought in from the outside of the body and meets apana, then apana moves toward the prana.Holding the breath after exhaling moves the apana toward the prana, and holding the breath after inhaling moves the prana toward the apana.With the movement of prana and apana, we affect the agni or fire of life in our bodies. The flame is constantly changing direction, according to our breathing.
In practicing Pranayama we want to focus in the inhalation, the exhalation and retention of the breath. Kumbhaka pranayama focuses on breath retention, as we hold the breath after inhalation, after exhalation or after both. Rechaka pranayma is a form of Pranayama in which the exhalation is lengthened, while the inhalation is free.The most important part of Pranayama practice is the exhalation, since in yoga we are trying to eliminate impurities and reduce avidya.The exhalation is so important, because it transports impurities from the body, allowing more space for prana to enter. Not until we are able to increase our ratios of our inhales and exhales, we should practice more advanced techniques in retention.
We don't find yoga, but yoga finds us. That’s something in our life, the universe responds to our readiness to benefit from what yoga has to offer us and then it presents us with an invitation, our willingness is up to us. With becoming such an industry around the globe in so many shades and forms, finding the most authentic yoga or yoga teacher may be a challenge. The more popular yoga gets, the less concerned people become about its origins in history.
Six years ago I took my first yoga class, and I found something my soul had been yearning for. Few years after I did my first TT, then I went to Guatemala with Will and the Hathavidya family, then I knew I found my teacher. It was challenging at times, but after practicing my sadhana, I started to feel so many changes in my self. The path of knowledge and the path of action leads to Self realization if done with the correct orientation.
In the Bhagavad Gita, the word yoga appears as a solution Krishna offers Arjuna for overcoming his inability to participate in life. The first 3 chapters talk about Arjuna's sorrow, which itself is yoga. Sorrow is the beginning of yoga. Duhkha being the cause for seeking yoga, itself becomes yoga. There comes a time in our lives when we want to seek spiritually -- which for me means going beyond my limited 5 sense perception and finding something more than the physical. Yoga helps us to disassociate with all kinds of sorrows. If things are good in our lives most of the time, we don't try to rise above, we usually enjoy the comfort zone.
In Chapter 6 verses 42-43:
"Or he is born in a family of yogis rich in wisdom. Verily, such a birth is hard to gain in this world. There he comes in touch with the knowledge acquired in his former body, O son of the Kurus, And strives still further for perfection"
Aside from the obvious reincarnation, this verse could be pointing towards the value of surrounding oneself with other people (or sangha) practicing yoga to motivate and sustain one's practice. Being reborn into such a company can feel like a new start. As I believe now, that in my previous life I practiced yoga, and now in this lifetime the seed is within me. Yoga is a journey to our inner self.
For yoga in the Gita is a rich, complex experience engaging so much in life and human existence. Yoga is a clear, discerning, dynamic participation in one's life. It occurs when life is happening. Yoga is a lifestyle. "One has to act" -- action is what sustains the world.
Keeping my sadhana practice as a ritual is probably the most important tool in my life. Living my life with devotion, love and gratitude.