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Introduction to Kundalini

Kundalini is an ancient Hindu system of philosophy and practice. It is based on the Tantric philosophy which, according to some scholars, predates Patanjali and his Yoga Sutras.

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Kundalini Shakti

Two of the most significant texts that guide our current yoga practices are Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (by Swatmarama). Patanjali, in the Sutras makes no mention of the term Kundalini and only a scant reference to a couple of terms from the naadi (nervous system) system used in Kundalini. The Yoga Sutras provide the basic foundation and the underlying philosophy of the yoga practice, not the actual details of the practices involved. The main guiding text that provides details of the yoga practices is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika which came out approximately one thousand years ago.

In the practices described in the Pradipika, Swatmarama decided to integrate the yoga philosophy from Patanjali and the Kundalini practices taken from the ancient system of Tantra. As a result many of the yoga styles that are in vogue today are influenced both by the basic yoga philosophy given in the Yoga Sutras and the practices including the Kundalini aspect of yoga as given in the Pradipika.

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What is Awareness?

Consciousness and Awareness

Consciousness and awareness – two words that sometimes are used interchangeably. Do they mean the same thing? If not, what is the difference between them?

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Ego and Awareness

We commonly hear a story like – "the boy fell down, his head hitting a stone and he become unconscious. By the time the paramedics came, he had regained his consciousness and became slowly aware of the surroundings". Here, we notice that the boy had to regain consciousness to have awareness. Thus, these are two separate concepts. From the yoga perspective, consciousness is an attribute of the pure soul, called "Purusha" in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Awareness is an attribute of the intellect which is a part of the phenomenal entity called "Prakriti".

As you may have heard, only Purusha or the soul (atman) has consciousness. That is why Purusha is often referred to as "pure consciousness". The intellect or the Prakriti has no consciousness of its own. It is the "borrowed" or reflected consciousness from the soul that the intellect uses for its working. Using this borrowed consciousness, the intellect becomes "aware" of the various elements of Prakriti.

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Workshop – Understanding the Mind to eliminate Stress

I invite you to join me for a discussion on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali wherein I will introduce some of the key concepts of the sutras. We will also discuss how an understanding of the sutras can profoundly impact our day-to-day life in a positive way.

  • What: An Introduction to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
  • When: First Saturday of the month
  • Next Session: Saturday, October 4, 2014
  • Focus: Eight Limbs of Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga, aka Raja Yoga)
    (Visit here for a brief intro )
  • TIME: 2:30 – 4:30 PM
  • LOCATION: Integral Yoga Studio, 4000 Bearcat Way, Suite 104, Morrisville, NC 27560
  • FEE: by voluntary donation

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21-day Yoga Challenge, Oct 13 – Nov 2, 2014

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Virabhadrasana (Warrior2)

I am pleased to announce the next 21-day Yoga Challenge program. The past programs have been very well received by all the participants. For most of them, it has been truly a life-transforming experience. I invite you to join me on this exciting and deeply rewarding 21-day yoga journey. Here are the particulars:

[Please download the flier here]

  • When: Monday, October 13- Sunday, November 2, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 AM – 7:30 AM
  • Where: 4000 Bear Cat Way, Suite 102, Morrisville, NC 27560
  • Cost: $125
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Root Cause of Stress

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Stress

One of the most common reasons why people join yoga classes is to learn how to deal with day-to-day stress.

Here are a few definitions of stress:

"Stress is a physiological response to any change, whether good or bad, that alerts the adaptive fight or flight response in the brain and the body."

"Feeling overwhelmed or negatively challenged by a circumstance or an event that places a demand on the body, mind and/or emotions that is perceived as beyond our ability to handle."

"The body’s response to any demand, when forced to adapt to change."

The modern fast-paced lifestyle puts a lot of demands on the mind and body. We convert these to mental stress as we find ourselves unable to deal with these rapidly changing events and situations. As you can see, the main cause of what we perceive as stress is our inability to deal with the event or situation that we are presented with at any given time.

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12-day Pranayama/Meditation Intensive, Sept 24 – Oct 5

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Vishnu Mudra

I am pleased to announce the next 12-day pranayama/meditation intensive.

Come and join me for this life-transforming experience where you will learn two of the most important aspects of a complete, integrated yoga practice – pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation. In this program you will be introduced to many of the breathing techniques that are mentioned in our ancient yogic texts. You will also learn the concepts and techniques of meditation.

No prior pranayama or meditation experience is required.

  • When: Wednesday, Sept 24 – Sunday, Oct 5, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 – 7:30 AM
  • Location: 4000 Bearcat Way, Suite 102, Morrisville, NC 27560
  • Daily Routine: Light stretching (10-15 minutes), Pranayama (30 min), Relaxation (10 min), Yoga philosophy (15 min), Meditation (20 min).
  • Commitment: A firm commitment to follow this schedule and attend every day
  • Fee: $75

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My Shoulder update – recent MRI

As some of you are aware, about ten months ago in October, 2013, I had surgery on my right shoulder to repair a tear in my rotator cuff. The surgery was done at the UNC Chapel Hill hospital. After the surgery, I went through a fairly extensive physical therapy program. Despite regular PT, and my own yoga practice, I was unable to develop mobility and strength in some movements of the shoulder. For example, I still cannot finish drinking a glass of water with my right hand without a little pain and some trembling of the hand. There is almost no external rotation. Essentially, the lack of mobility and strength have seemed similar to what they were before the surgery.

Because I was seeing no improvement in the situation, I had an MRI done a couple of weeks ago, followed by a visit to my surgeon to find out the result of the MRI. As I had anticipated, the result showed that rotator cuff was re-torn almost exactly to the same extent as it was before the surgery. The surgeon didn’t know how or why this might have happened. He was obviously very apologetic about what has happened.

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Marjarasana (Cat & Cow Pose) for a Healthy Spine

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Cat Pose

Back pain, especially pain in the lower back, is perhaps the most common reason why people join a yoga class. Many people notice stiffness in the back when they wake up in the morning. Most stretches in a typical yoga routine are geared toward making the spine more flexible, stronger and healthy.

Marjarasana (cat and cow stretch) is a simple stretch that, when practiced regularly, can go a long way in keeping the spine healthy and pain free. In the yoga routine that I practice and teach, I start each asana (stretching) session with Marjarasana.

The word "marjara" (मार्जार) in Sanskrit means a cat. In English, the name gets commonly translated as "cat and cow". In this stretch, the spine is moved rhythmically up and down. While breathing in the movement of the spine resembles the ‘hump’ of a cow’s back. While exhaling the spine is moved so it resembles the back of an angry cat. Hence the name "cat and cow".

Step-by-step

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Yoga for Diabetes

(Guest post by Madhusoodanan Sunderesan)


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Pashchimottanasana (Forward Bend)

After a late night party, or a sumptuous dinner with family and friends with your favorite sweets, have you felt terribly thirsty, drinking lots of w ater and going to the bathroom frequently? Perhaps you have felt tired out, dizzy and hungry after a long walk or work out in the gym. These are not uncommon. These are, however, more pronounced if you are a diabetic-when the sugar level in your blood fluctuates from a very high in the first instance to low/very low in the second instance.

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21-day Yoga Challenge, Aug 4-24

warrior2
Virabhadrasana (Warrior2)

I am pleased to announce the next 21-day Yoga Challenge program. The past programs have been very well received by all the participants. For most of them, it has been truly a life-transforming experience. I invite you to join me on this exciting and deeply rewarding 21-day yoga journey. Here are the particulars:

[Please download the flier here]

  • When: Monday, August 4 – Sunday, August 24, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 AM – 7:30 AM
  • Where: 4000 Bear Cat Way, Suite 102, Morrisville, NC 27560
  • Cost: $125
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