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TTC 200hr Syllabus Manual ver.

Darius
Contents
Philosophy ..................................................................................................................................................... 5
1. Origin of Yoga, different paths of Yoga ................................................................................................. 5
a. Origin ................................................................................................................................................. 5
b. History of Yoga .................................................................................................................................. 5
c. Noun Yoga ............................................................................................................................ 6
d. Different Paths .................................................................................................................................. 6
The 4 paths of Yoga ........................................................................................................................... 6
Other Paths ....................................................................................................................................... 7
2. Brief Introduction of Shat-darshana ................................................................................................. 7
Samkhya ................................................................................................................................................ 7
Nyaya .................................................................................................................................................... 8
Yoga ....................................................................................................................................................... 8
Vaisheshika ........................................................................................................................................... 8
Mimamsa .............................................................................................................................................. 8
Vedanta ................................................................................................................................................. 9
3. Introduction of traditional yogic text .................................................................................................... 9
4. Patanjali Yog Sutra .............................................................................................................................. 10
a. 1
st
chapter ....................................................................................................................................... 10
Chitta Vritti ...................................................................................................................................... 11
b. 2
nd
chapter ...................................................................................................................................... 12
Kriya Yog .......................................................................................................................................... 12
Yogic view of pain and suffering ..................................................................................................... 13
Ashtanga Yog ................................................................................................................................... 14
Bahiranga exoteric yoga ........................................................................................................... 15
Antaranga internal aspect of yoga ........................................................................................... 18
5. Hatha Yoga Pradipika .......................................................................................................................... 18
Chapter 1, Asana ................................................................................................................................. 18
A. Four Levels of Asana ............................................................................................................... 18
B. Types of Asana ........................................................................................................................ 19
C. How to Practice ....................................................................................................................... 19
D. Yamas: Rules of Conduct ......................................................................................................... 19
E. Niyamas ................................................................................................................................... 19
Chapter 2, Pranayama and Shatkarma (Kriyas) .................................................................................. 19
A. Pranayama Key Terms ............................................................................................................. 20
B. Methods of Pranayama ........................................................................................................... 20
Nadi Shodhan Pranayama: .......................................................................................................... 20
Surya Bhedan: ............................................................................................................................. 20
Bhastrika: meaning bellows breath ........................................................................................... 20
Bhramari: humming bee breath ................................................................................................. 20
Ujjayi: victorious breath .............................................................................................................. 21
Sitkari: hissing breath .................................................................................................................. 21
Shitali: cooling breath ................................................................................................................. 21
Murchha: fainting breath ............................................................................................................ 21
Plavini: floating breath ................................................................................................................ 21
C. Kriyas ....................................................................................................................................... 21
Neti: ............................................................................................................................................. 21
Dhauti: ......................................................................................................................................... 21
Chapter 3, Mudra and Bandha ............................................................................................................ 22
Mudra .............................................................................................................................................. 22
Bandhas ........................................................................................................................................... 22
Chapter 4, Samadhi: ............................................................................................................................ 23
Anatomy ...................................................................................................................................................... 23
Introduction of human organism ............................................................................................................ 23
Nervous System .............................................................................................................................. 23
The endocrine system ..................................................................................................................... 24
Musculoskeletal System .................................................................................................................. 24
The respiratory system ................................................................................................................... 34
Holistic Health ..................................................................................................................................... 34
Asana, Pranayama, Meditation and their psycho-physiological benefits and contraindications ....... 35
Asana ............................................................................................................................................... 35
Benefits and Concerns ................................................................................................................ 35
Other considerations .................................................................................................................. 38
Pranayama ...................................................................................................................................... 38
Understanding Asanas from an Anatomical point of view ............................................................. 39
Seated Classification ................................................................................................................... 39
Table-Top (hands and knees) Classification ................................................................................ 40
Standing classification ................................................................................................................. 41
Balancing classification ............................................................................................................... 41
Forward Bending classification ................................................................................................... 42
Backward Bending classification ................................................................................................. 42
Spinal Twisting classification ....................................................................................................... 43
Inverted classification ................................................................................................................. 43
Yoga Therapy .............................................................................................................................................. 44
Yogic View diseases and cure ................................................................................................................. 44
Psycho-somatic disorders ................................................................................................................... 44
Definition: ....................................................................................................................................... 44
What are Psycho-somatic disorders? ............................................................................................. 44
Yogic View: ...................................................................................................................................... 44
Experiments verify yogic control over body systems ..................................................................... 45
Body and Mind Interrelationship .................................................................................................... 45
Yoga Therapy for Specific Systems of the Body: ............................................................................. 45
Cardiac Health and Circulatory System ....................................................................................... 45
Yogic Program for heart and circulatory disease ........................................................................ 46
Digestive System ......................................................................................................................... 46
Practical solution to Digestive disorders in Yoga therapy: Gomukhasana ................................. 47
Respiratory System ..................................................................................................................... 47
Endocrine System ........................................................................................................................ 47
Implications of Meditation towards holistic health .................................................................... 49
Bibliography ................................................................................................................................................ 53




Philosophy
1. Origin of Yoga, different paths of Yoga
a. Origin
It is believed to be started very close with the beginning of human civilization, about at least
5000 years ago, with the Stone Age of Shamanism (History of Yoga, 2005). There were found similar
cultural similarities between the modern Hinduism and Mehrgarh a neolithic settlement (now called
Afghanistan). Not only by a set of common practices, rituals, both concepts share together the same
primary goals and ideas.
e.g. When Herodot was writing about Shamans, he also described their understanding of healing
the body with plants together with healing the spirit with songs.
The first archeological evidence (1920s) of yoga, asana, sets it also back aprox. 3000 B.C. when
some excavated stones from the Indus valley were depicted with figures performing yoga postures.
Before that, scholars placed yoga more to a 500 B.C. timing it with Gautama the Buddha (Feuerstein)
b. History of Yoga
Vedic Yoga
o Veda = knowledge / rig= praise
o Yogic teachings were found in songs of Rig-Veda
Preclassical Yoga
o Brhmanas and ranyakas
o Upanishads
o Bhagavad-Gt
Classical Yoga
o Ashtanga Yog Limbs Pantajali Yog Sutra
Postclassical Yoga
o Some particular attention to the body and its hidden potential
o Influence of alchemy, using the system to rejuvenate the body, to prolong its life
o Body getting attention as the temple of the immortal spirit
o Time of Hatha-Yoga and Tantra-Yoga
Modern Yoga
o Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893 / Swami Vivekananda
c. Noun Yoga
From the verbal root (yuj, to yoke), from Proto-Indo-European *yewg- (to yoke,
harness, join), whence also Proto-Indo-European noun *yugm that gave Sanskrit (yug).
The act of yoking: Joining, attaching, harnessing
Yoke, team, vehicle
Putting on (of armour)
Remedy, cure

- Yoga as the union of the Microcosm (individuality) and the Macrocosm (universality)
- Yoga as the union of the Atman (Center of consciousness, Self; Vedanta) and Brahman
(Absolute reality; Vedanta)
- Yoga as the union of the- Jivatman (Soul as consciousness plus traits; Vedanta) and
Paramatman: (Self/soul as only consciousness; Vedanta)
- Yoga as the union of Shiva (Static, latent, unchanging, masculine; Tantra) and Shakti
(Active, manifesting, changing, feminine; Tantra)
- Yoga as the dis-union of Purusha (Untainted consciousness; Sankyha-Yoga) and Prakriti
(Primordial, unmanifest matter; Sankyha-Yoga)
(Word Yoga Note)

d. Different Paths
The 4 paths of Yoga
i. Jnana Yoga
The yoga of knowledge, of wisdom
This is the most difficult path, requiring tremendous strength of will and
intellect. Taking the philosophy of Vedanta the Jnana Yogi uses his mind to inquire
into its own nature. We perceive the space inside and outside a glass as different, just
as we see ourselves as separate from God. Jnana Yoga leads the devotee to
experience his unity with God directly by breaking the glass, dissolving the veils of
ignorance. (THE FOUR PATHS OF YOGA)
ii. Karma Yoga - the Yoga of Action - union through action. Pointing the need of
understanding by experiencing the union, the action without expecting benefits,
considerations or any desires.

iii. Bhakti Yoga - Union through surrender or to accept, to realize the relationship with
the God or your super-Soul, higher-Self
This path appeals particularly to those of an emotional nature. The Bhakti Yogi is
motivated chiefly by the power of love and sees God as the embodiment of love. (THE
FOUR PATHS OF YOGA)
iv. Raja Yoga
Raja Royal seen as the union at the higher level, mind level
Because of the culmination practice which is meditation, its also known as Ashtanga
Yoga for the path, the 8 limbs to arrive there. Directly connected also with Hatha
Yoga (being a principle of Ashtanga Yog + Kriyas)

Other Paths
v. Hatha Yoga
Sun Moon Union / Balance
Foundation of every type of Yoga, Hatha Yoga is more an embodiment of Ashtanga
Yog and Kriya practices.

vi. Kundalini Yoga / Laya Yoga / Tantra Yoga
Focuses on the awakening of kundalini energy, also known as the yoga of awareness,
aims to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak
truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal
others. (Swami Sivananda Radha, 2004)
Kundalini energy as the primordial energy represented as spiral starting a little
above the sacrum maybe to the root place where spinal nerves meet
vii. Kriya Yoga
viii. Mantra Yoga
ix. Ashtanga Yoga, Swara Yoga, Nada Yoga,
2. Brief Introduction of Shat-darshana

Shat-Darshana are the six traditional philosophies in India: Samkhya, Nyaya, Yoga, Vaisheshika,
Mimamsa and Vedanta.

Samkhya
thought represents a dualistic system in which the two distinct and formative principles of purusha
(spirit) and prakriti (matter) dominate.
Purusha is the conscious principle which constitutes the multiple individual selves that inhabits
and animates the bodies of every living thing. Being pure consciousness in and of itself, it is eternal,
incorruptible, self-illuminated and self-illuminating, unalterable, uncaused and all-pervasive by nature.
The individual conscious self transcends the limitations of the body, mind, senses and intellect. Its
present connection with the force known as prakriti is one of temporary entrapment.
Prakriti is the very antithesis of spirit, being by nature limited, changable, enervating and
corrupting. Prakriti, calm, equipoised and unitary in its quiescent state, devolves from this state of
equilibrium to a reality of multiplicity and diversity as a result of contact with purusha. The goal of life,
according to the Samkhya School, is for purusha to regain his state of freedom beyond the bondage of
prakritis influence.
First systematized by the sage Kapila, Samkhya is possibly the most ancient of these six schools.

Nyaya
founded by Gautama and is the Indian tradition of logic and epistemology.
Generally speaking, the objective of the Nyaya School is to create a concrete method of
discriminating valid knowledge from invalid As well as truth from falsehood using the tools of logic and
discursive reasoning. Nyaya employs a very systematic regime of logic involving 16 different divisions of
philosophical concerns, goals and means. These divisions are known as the padarthas.
As with the other five schools of classical Hinduism, the chosen means of acquiring truth that we
find in the Nyaya system are not considered ends in and of themselves, but are merely tools for
achieving the final goal of all Hindu philosophical systems: liberation from the grips of samsara, the
present realm of repeated births and deaths.

Yoga
to reunite the presently alienated soul with the Absolute.
In [1:2] of his sutras, Patanjali defines Yoga as citta-vritti nirodhah, or The restriction of the
modifications of the mind. In addition to the acquisition of knowledge that is stressed in other schools
of Hindu philosophy, the classical Yoga system of Patanjali stresses eight limbs (ashtanga), or
techniques, that lead their practitioners towards perfection.

Vaisheshika
itself is a reference to the attributiveness which is the main concern of this school. It is, generally
speaking, an attempt to categorize the various components of reality into a coherent system. The goal
of Vaisheshika is real knowledge, produced by special excellence of dharma, of the characteristic
features of the categories of substance (dravya), quality (guna), class concept (samanya), particularity
(vishesha), and inherence (samavaya). Over time, the Vaisheshika became very closely aligned with
Nyaya.

Mimamsa
philosophy seeks to establish a methodology through which the teachings of the Vedas the revealed
scriptures of ancient India can be understood. The specific focus of this exegetical school is the karma-
kanda section of the Vedic literature, or the pre-Upanisadic literature, comprised of the Samhitas (four
Vedas), Brahmanas and Aranyakas. Karma-kanda is essentially a technology of cosmo-geographic
ascension which focuses on the exactingly intricate science of Vedic sacrifice as a means of both material
prosperity, as well as spiritual progress. This school is also known as the Purva (earlier) Mimamsa in
order to differentiate it from the Uttara (later) Mimamsa.


Vedanta
is predicated upon the teachings of three works, known collectively as the Prasthanatraya, these are:
a) the terse philosophical aphorisms attributed to Badarayana Vyasa known as the Brahma-sutras
b) the famous philosophical dialogue between Krishna and his disciple Arjuna, known as the
Bhagavad Gita and
c) the collection of philosophical scriptures known as the ancient Upanisads. For the most part, the
history of Vedanta consists of a commentarial tradition centered on these works, the Brahma-
sutras being the main work.

3. Introduction of traditional yogic text
Hatha Yoga is a kind of yoga focusing on physical and mental strength building exercises and postures, as
well as other practices, described primarily in three texts of Hinduism:
Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Yogi Swatmarama (15
th
century)
Shiva Samhita, author unknown (1500 B.C. or late 17
th
century)
Gheranda Samhita by Yogi Gheranda (late 17
th
century)


1. The Hahayogapradpik consists four chapters which include information about Asanas,
Pranayama, Chakras, Kundalini, Bhandhas, Kriyas, Sakti, Nadis, Mudras, and more.
It runs in the line of Hindu Yoga (to distinguish from Buddhist and Jain Yoga) and is dedicated to
Sri AdiNatha, a name of lord Shiva, who is believed to have imparted the secret of Hatha Yoga to
his divine consort Parvati.

2. The Shiva Samhita also describes the teachings of Shiva to his consort Parvati.
Shiva Samhita is considered the most comprehensive and democratic treatise on hatha yoga.
Shiva Samhita talks about the complex physiology, names 84 different asanas (only four of
which are described in detail), describes five specific types of Prana, and provides techniques to
regulate them. It also deals with abstract Yogic philosophy, Tantric practices, and Meditation.
It emphasizes that even a common householder can practice yoga and benefit from it.
3. Gheranda Samhita is a manual of yoga taught by Gheranda to Chanda Kapali. The text itself
follows this division in seven chapters, and has a focus upon the akarmas (shatkarma), thus
this text is sometimes said to describe ghatastha yoga. For instance, the Yoga Stras of Patajali
describes an eightfold path (yama and niyama instead of shatkarma and mudra, and addition of
dharana). The closing stanzas on samadhi teach different methods than those described by
Patanjali.

4. Patanjali Yog Sutra
a. 1
st
chapter
When it comes to written texts on the subject of yoga, the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali is the one
that stands above all others. The Sutra's were written around 800BCE, but the teachings found in it had
been around for hundreds of years before. Before Patanjali comprised the teachings into a text the
sutras, had been taught as an oral tradition, and passed on for years from one person to another. The
text is comprised of 196 sutras and gives one the foundation and understanding that is needed for them
on their yogic journey. In the first chapter, second sutra Patanjali, says that " Yoga is experienced in that
mind which has ceased to identify itself with its vacillating waves of perception" meaning that one's
yogic journey is a journey that is completely inward and concerned with controlling the mind and senses
to find ones true self. In order to do this, one needs to have a correct understanding of all things found
in the internal and external world. Correct understanding comes from direct perception. The things that
block our understanding are:
Correct perception (not having attachment),
Misconception (derived from illusory knowledge)
Imagination (faculty knowledge
Relying on others for knowledge- need own experience)
Sleep (absence of mindfulness) and
Memory (fallacy by holding onto past experiences, not living in the now)
When our understanding is blocked we are not able to see that our ultimate state comes from
practicing non attachment which leads to complete self-realization. In order to gain this knowledge we
use analytical thinking to understand the direct experiences we experience in the internal and external
world. The internal part of the yoga practice is a spiritual practice in which our goal is to connect with
the divine. The divine, holds a different meaning for each and every person. The divine can be "God" or
the divine can be the highest form of ones true self. It depends on the individual to decide which one is
true for them. One way we can practice connecting with the divine presence is with reciting the sound
of OM, the sound of all things within the universe.
The sound of the ultimate self comes from connection with this divine presence. In order to gain
connection with this divine one must have attained true self-knowledge. On the path to self-knowledge
there are many obstacles that block one from gaining this true knowledge such as disease, dullness,
doubt, negligence, and laziness. These obstacles are bound to come up on ones yogic journey and one
must be prepared to face such obstacles. The best way to overcome and block these and other obstacles
is by practicing meditation. Meditation does not only allow the blocking of these obstacles, but it also
allows one to find true self-knowledge because meditation, is an inward journey that helps one find
their true self.

Chitta Vritti
Mind Chatter- the constant noise in your head, the hamster wheel that is always spinning. The goal of
yoga is to quiet the mind, tame it and gain control of ones true potential. Recognizing that only we and
we alone can control our destiny is of great importance. Learning to live in the moment, the right now,
will end our suffering. A true yogi recognizes that the past and the future do not matter.

Abhyasa
Practice, being able to reach tranquility in ones life requires daily practice. It takes time and a lot of
effort to reach this state. We can make an effort to obtain direct experience.
Vairagya- Non-attachment, Fear and illusions of self are what are stopping us from finding ones true
self. By continuing ones practice and following the principal of non-attachment one can stay true to
their goal of tranquilly. Abhyasa and Vairagya are the core of one's yogic foundation

Ishvara
Lord, the Supreme Being, pure consciousness, the ultimate source of reality. Practicing the sound of OM
allows one to connect with the Devine. The term Ishvara and can have different meanings for each and
every person. The supreme being can be external, i.e. a divine being somewhere in the sky or internal,
i.e. a divine being within. With either one, the goal is to connect with this Supreme Being and reach a
state of pure consciousness.

Ishvara pranidhana
surrendering to the higher source. Learning to let completely go and give one self entirely to the
Supreme Being that is attainable from within. Aligning ones life with purpose. Removing the ego- "I"
and recognizing the Supreme Being that is within. This is a constant personal practice. Finding the joy in
just being; Devotion to living life and allowing ourselves to keep our hearts open, willing to experience
the higher Devine.

Chitta Viskshepa
Distractions on our yogic journey inward. Distractions are the things that arise while we are on our yogic
journey that we recognize can sway us away from our quest. Seeing and recognizing that distractions
will arise while we are on journey is not bad, but when we indulge or give into these distractions, they
become Obstacles (Antaraya) on our yogic journey. There are nine main obstacles that have a tendency
to arise according to the sutras; Illness, Dullness, Doubt, Negligence, Laziness, Cravings, Misperception.
Failure and Instability.

Chitta Prasadan
Chitta is mind and Prasadan is happiness. One is only able to reach this point in their yogic journey once
they are able to gain control of their mind. True happiness is found when one can remove the notion of
self and surrender completely to the divine.
b. 2
nd
chapter
Kriya Yog
The condensed definition of Kriya Yog [2:1] is focused on the 3 terms:
Tapah derived from Tapa which primarily means to heat with intensity, in the text viewed as
austerity (action without desire), as a self-discipline of purification
Svadhyaya self-study of spiritual texts, scriptures, sacred lores
Isvara pranidhani placement of oneself under the fullness of the Divine, full surrender to the
Lord (of Love). (Stiles, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 2002, pp. 16,79)
So we are introduced to a practical yoga (technique) which has its base on concepts of
purification, continuous Self-study and acceptance to manifest as in the presence, light of the
Divine with devotion.
tapas - self-purification - needs to be clean from the roots so that will not grow again.
Purification in a form of heat (it is not only physical heat; its also pranic, mental or spiritual
heat):
- ahimsa
- brahmacharya (control doesnt mean suppression)
- pranayama (4 times a day)
- hatha yoga
- mudras
- bandhas
- concentration of the mind
- silence (mauna)
Svad the study has to be done in 3 steps:
- recitation / proper pronunciation (pathamun)
- deep study (adryaymun)
- reflexion (chitanum)
The term will also point to:
- own analysis, own study, e.g. BG or Bible
- sutra 32
- trying to perceive your own self in different perspectives / mirror / on all levels:
o physical
o mental
o emotional
o spiritual
The practices of kriya yoga lead to perception of the self / own consciousness:
- placing yourself completely in innermost awareness
- placing your consciousness
- ishwara is inner awareness = not a personal self anywhere outside
Kriya yoga - yoga (of) practical (techniques):
- self-purification
- self-observation
- self-awareness
a raja yoga method.
Yogic view of pain and suffering

Continuing with the [2:2], Patanjali places the practice of Kriya Yog as cultivating an attitude
which conduct on being absorbed in Spirit and minimize the power of the primal cause of
suffering (Stiles, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 2002, p. 16).

As in [2:3-11] we receive a definition of primal cause of suffering, the possible state of
existence, 5 types and another way to reduce or overcome them, meditation.

[2:2] Kleshas - causes of afflictions, primal cause of suffering, obstacles are summarized under
this following 5:
[2:3] causes of pain
- Ignorance / errourness (avidya)
- I feeling / I-am-ness (asmita)
- liking (raga)
- disliking / hatred (dvesa)
- fear of death / a great urge to clinging the life (abhinivesah)
One could remember a similar definition from Patanjali in [1:33] when he talks about the
spiritual path: by cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward happiness, compassion toward
suffering, delight toward virtue and equanimity toward vice, thoughts become purified and the
obstacles to self-knowledge are lessened (Stiles, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 2002, p. 10)
Pain is not rooted in the present but far in the past.
Klesha - kind of agony which is inside of our very being (even animals have kleshas - a very deep
in the subconscious fear). The expression of kleshas can be also in behaviors as ambition, an
effort for success.
[2:4] AVIDYA
the four states of kleshas:
- dormant - cannot perceive them
- thin - mild expression
- scattered - rise to oscillating state
- fully expressed
[2:5] Ignorance, pain, is also when we take something that is ephemeral as being permanent,
taking something impure as being pure, taking as pleasure something that is pain and suffering.
Each and every pleasure will express on its culmination point in a form of pain.
[2:6] ASMITA - I Feeling
- identifying with the vehicle of the body "the bus is coming? or the driver inside is
running it?"
- identifying with body, mind, senses
- the consciousness with the identify
One of the Yoga definitions is: individual self + universal self, self + SELF = Yoga.
Through yoga I know, I am not this body, I am not this intellect, yoga as a separation of the
notion of the I, of the limits.
[2:7] Raya is the liking accompanying pleasure
[2:8] Dwesha is the repulsion accompanying pain
[2:9] Abhinivesha - clinging to life - the desire for life sustained by its own force which dominates
even the learned
[2:10] kleshas can be reduced by [2:11] meditation

Ashtanga Yog
In [2:29] Patanjali is introducing a solution to clear all the impurities and to let wisdoms radiant
light to shine forth with discriminative knowledge:

Yogas eight component parts are self-control for social harmony, percepts for personal
discipline, yoga pose, regulation of prana, withdrawal of the senses from their objects,
contemplation of our true nature, meditation on our True Self and being absorbed in Spirit.
(Stiles, 2002, p. 23)

Self-restraints, fixed rules, postures, breath control, sense withdral, concentration, meditation
and samadhi (Saraswati, 2013, p. 185)

Through the understanding and practice of this limbs were identified 2 categories in Ashtanga
Yog, Bahir (External) and Antar (Internal). Where the external could be concluded as voluntary
practice of yoga (Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara) which with their fruits or
culminating with inward experiences (Dharana, Dhyana and Samadi).

Bahiranga exoteric yoga
The yoga which is practiced with the objects outside, in relation to the body, society and many
other things ouside onself (Saraswati, 2013, p. 185)
- Yama [2:30] self-control - the five restraints or the "don'ts" (Ashtanga Yoga - The Eight-
Limbed Yoga):
o Ahimsa non-violence, non-injury, implies non-killing. But non-injury is not only
non-killing, it is much more than that. More comprehensively, ahimsa means
"entire abstinence from causing any pain or harm whatsoever to any living
creature, either by thought, word or deed. Non-injury needs a harmless mind,
mouth and hand. Ahimsa is not mere negative non-injuring. It is positive, cosmic
love."(Swami Sivananda, Bliss Divine)

There are basically 3 types, expression of ahimsa, in action body violence, in
words and as thoughts. More than this, even we are under the chapter of Yama,
one could understand to practice ahimsa also in respect to himself: not-forcing
the body over the limit, not abusing the expression of communication, not
thinking violently about himself like judging, false believing e.g. [2:3-11]

o Satya truth, truthfulness, leading one on a truthful path
Satya is truthfulness. It is more than just telling the truth. One's actions should
be in accordance with one's words and thoughts. God and man's true Self are
truth, and in order to tune in with that consciousness we need to live truthfully
at all times. Furthermore lying creates many thoughts in the mind which go
against the raja yoga objective of calming the mind. (Ashrama)
e.g. the strory of Budha and the 3 men asking for the existence of God with the
3 different answers.
e.g. Merchant of Venice:
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
o Asteya - Non-stealing, freedom from stealing, dwelling on things other people
have and you don't have
Reflection: What makes you happy? Do you think that one persons smiles lies
on the things he poses? Do you think that hes really happy because of that
smile you see? Do you think that what satisfies him will satisfy you? Know you
own-self!
e.g. joke on difference between a different attitude between sexes on choosing
a partner (as the person or the image)

In yoga we are taught that when we no longer desire something it will come to
us by itself.

o Brahmacharya - Control of the senses, behavior that respects the Divine as
omnipresent.
One of the many reasons is that practicing the higher limbs of ashtanga yoga -
dharana, dhyana, samadhi - requires a tremendous amount of energy or prana.
Like all traditional spiritual traditions, yoga advocates restraining from indulging
in sensual gratification. Often viewed as a reference to celibacy or chastity, then
mastered as a practice of sexual continence, it points to the sexual energy on a
correct cultivation of it.
Reflection on: What is the intention at the start, during or on the culminating
moment of our sexual activities?
o Aparigraha freedom from greed, Non-covetousness and non-acceptance of
gifts, freedom from ownership
They are viewed as a universal great discipline so there is not practice exception as
birth, place, time or circumstances [2:31].
- Niyama [2:32] fixed rules, fixed observances, rules of conduct
o Saucha - Purity, cleanliness
Focusing on both inner and outer aspects:
Body external aspects as also attention on its visitors as food, air.
Underlining also kriya practices, asana and pranayama as methods to cleans
and unblock roads in our body.
o Santosha - Contentment
o Tapas - Austerity
o Swadhyaya - Self-study, study of scriptures
o Ishwara Pranidhana - Surrender to God's will
[2:33] In order to remove disturbances, passions one should practice with the
same intention their opposites.
- Asana stable and confortable pose [2:46]
Under the following yoga sutras [2:47-48] the word asana points more to the meditation
posture than to physical yoga exercises.
Yoga pose is mastered when there is no physical effort, the breath is at peace and one
could easily identify oneself with the infinite breath of life. When there is no more
duality, reaction to criticism or disturbances.

Asanas main role, as underlined in this sutras, are for reducing the effort and preparing
the body for higher yoga practices.
There are many ways to split asanas in categories, generally one would view:
4 focus categories: 60% hips (opening), 20% balancing, 10% meditative, 10% other.
3 traditionally: 66% cultivating for 26% meditative and 8% relaxation (H.P.)
So if we want to overview most of them help to attain or are a meditative pose.

From the traditional text we can identify from 15 to 85 asanas but its believed to be
+34M, one reference with each animal species on earth.

If many will understand that the point of asana means aligning the body to some
postures, to an observable universe, some practitioners are looking for an interaction
with the intangible universe (from mind, soul to other ethereal concepts as prana, chi).
This journey into different layers of Pacha Kosha can be attained by mastering one pose
with the capacity of holding it for a higher period of time.

- Pranayama [2:49] - cessation of the movements of inspiration and expiration benefits:
removal of the veil [2:52]

The moments of pranayama [2:50] external, internal or suppressed with regulation of
place, time and number will become long and subtle.
The fourth kind of pranayama [2:51] is the one who transcends the internal and external
object: In the fourth method of regulating ones breath, prana is extended into the
divine life force and the range of prana is felt pearmating everywhere, transcending the
attention given to either external or internal objects. (Stiles, 2002, p. 29)

Medical no. of breaths for a healthy body: 12 / min
Yoga recommendations: 6-8 / min
Preparing for mediation: 2-3 /min mind becomes fit for dharana.

Pranayama requires the body to be in one of this two states:
A mountain stable, comfortable, not affected by any fluctuations, cloud, weather
conditions.
Ocean where many rivers unite, this is a state of a teacher, which has the power to
influence with its breath, with its prana the fluctuations, the breath of their students.
At the beginning we are a dessert and the prana is the wind the blows over us, same
time intoxicating the prana and disturbing our body when not fit for the practice.

- Pratyahara
As the light can be viewed as distinct breams of different colors which can still convert
back into a light fascicle, as so we have to control our senses, not by suppressing the
organs but by choosing, by controlling voluntarily, the information, the impulses we
receive and being able to control, to decide if we want to reply, action upon them.

Another analogy given to us is that of the tortoise which, under perceived danger, pulls
in all its limbs and head.

Pratyahara is, as it were, the imitation by the senses of the mind by withdrawing them
from their respective objects. (Saraswati, 2013, p. 219)

Antaranga internal aspect of yoga
Brief study of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadi
Dharana Concentration, Fixation of Attention
Dhyana Uninterrupted Meditation, a natural flow of thought or consciousness
between the meditator and the object of meditation
Samadi - Fully Integrated Consciousness / Complete Equilibrium
Pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi cannot be practiced. A person cannot
simply sit down and say, "Right now I am going to do dharana." All the person can do
is to create the right conditions to help bring about a state of dharana. (ICBS, 2007)
5. Hatha Yoga Pradipika
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is the classic and widely recognized manual for Hatha Yoga, written by
Svami Svatmarama in the 15th century. The manual was written originally in Sanskrit and was later
translated to English, and broken down into four parts: asana, pranayama, mudras, and samadhi.
Chapter 1, Asana
"One can achieve sound health, stability, lightness of body and mind with asana.
A. Four Levels of Asana
1. Poses that incorporate stability: maintaining the body in certain pose for longer durations to
achieve stability in all muscles (stretched or relaxed).
2. after stability comes comfort and ease in ones ability to remain in a pose
3. Relaxation: after much practice, a practitioner can begin to relax the muscles to obtain more
stability and comfort in each asana.
4. Relaxation in the body leads to relaxation in the mind: this is the highest level of asana, and
involves cessation of the mind from the physical experience and goes into meditation.
5. According to HYP one has maintained mastery of asana when they can hold a pose for 3 hours
without discomfort.
B. Types of Asana
1. Meditative: goal to stabilize the body for advanced practices of meditation and pranayama:
padmasana, samasana, siddhasana, swastikasana, vajrasan
2. For the improving of health: asanas effecting specific systems in the body therapeutically
Matsyendrasana, spinal twist pose, is beneficial to the digestive system and pancreas and helps
to improve insulin production and sarvangasana, shoulder stand, benefits the circulatory system
through the reversal of blood flow, and the endocrine systemparticularly the thyroid.
3. Relaxation: poses that provide relief for both body and mind: prone position, savasana,
makarasana
C. How to Practice
1. Be reserved with your knowledge of yoga: A yogi desirous of success should keep the
knowledge of Hatha Yoga secret; for it becomes potent by concealing and impotent by
exposing. (1)
2. A yogi should practice in a small, clean, insulated, space free of insects, distractions, and filth.
3. failure in yoga: over eating, exertion, talkativeness, unsteadiness
4. success in yoga: courage, daring, perseverance, discriminative knowledge, faith, aloofness from
social company
D. Yamas: Rules of Conduct
1. Ahimsa: non-violence and compassion for oneself and all living things
2. Satya: commitment to truth
3. Asteya: non stealing
4. Brahmacharya: control of the senses and energetic output
5. Aparigraha: neutralizing desire for wealth

E. Niyamas
1. Saucha: cleanliness
2. Santosa: contentment
3. Tapas: heat, and becoming aware of your austerity and drive
4. Svadhyaya: self-study and self-awareness
5. Ishvara Pranidhara: surrender to God

Chapter 2, Pranayama and Shatkarma (Kriyas)
Posture becoming established, a Yogi, master of himself, eating salutary and moderate food, should
practice pranayama, as instructed by his guru.
A. Pranayama Key Terms
1. Kumbhaka: breath retention
bahir: retention after exhalation
antar: retention after inhalation (forceful inhale)
keval: cessation of breath, synonymous with samadhi
2. Ida and Pingala: left and right nostril respectively
3. Puraka: inhalation
4. Rechaka: exhalation
5. Nadis: energy channels of the body, those which pranayama aims to cleanse
B. Methods of Pranayama
Nadi Shodhan Pranayama:
Benefits: balances the mental and vital forces within the body through alternate nostril
breathing with Kumbhaka for purifying the Ida and Pingala Nadis.
Closing the right nostril, and inhaling through the left, then closing the left, exhaling through the
right, inhale through the right and repeat.
this method is excellent to precede meditation because of its calming and centering effects on
the mind
Surya Bhedan
Benefits: a dosha balancing method and sympathetic nervous system stimulator that increases
vital energy in the body.
Eliminates wind or gas related trouble from the Vata Dosha; balances mucus from the Kapha
Dosha; and bile/acidity from the Pitta Dosha.
how: practiced by inhaling with right nostril, then performing kumbhaka with bandhas
(Jalandhar Bandha or Chin Lock, Moola Bandha or Anus lock and Uddiyan Bandha or Abdominal
Lock) and exhaling through left nostril
Bhastrika: meaning bellows breath
benefits: stimulates circulation of cerebral fluid and aids compression and decompression in the
brain; and the rhythmic diaphragm movements aid strength building for the core muscles and
lungs
how: engage in forceful inhales and forceful exhales, operating the lungs exactly like a bellow
Followed by inhaling through the right nostril, then performing kumbukha with bandhas, and
exhaling through the left.
Bhramari: humming bee breath
benefits: increases psychic sensitivity as well as ability to perceive subtle sound vibrations;
reduces stress and other mental instabilities
how: press closed the ears with both thumbs, and place the middle and ring fingers lightly over
the eyes, and pointer fingers on the forehead; then begin to hum in rounds imitating the sound
of a buzzing be, focusing on the vibrations heard and felt within the head
Ujjayi: victorious breath
benefits: reduces high blood pressure in the body through the pressure placed on the carotid
syncs, also useful for reducing anxiety and tension
how: inhalation through the nostrils by way of the throat. An audible sound should occur
because of the compression of the epiglottis in the throat as the air passes through
Sitkari: hissing breath
benefits: cools the body and the blood, therefore removing excess heat in the body and diseases
like hypertension and acidic tendencies.
how: slightly opening the lips over closed test, and inhaling through the teeth with a hissing
sound; then perform kumbhaka with band has engaged and exhaling through nostrils
Shitali: cooling breath
benefits: same as Sitkari
how: roll the tongue and inhale through an open mouth, also follow by kumbhaka and bandhas,
then exhale through the nostrils
Murchha: fainting breath
(for advanced practitioners, only under the guidance of a guru)
benefits: reduces blood pressure
how: inhale through the nostrils, engage kumbhaka with the bandhas, and then exhale with chin
lock engaged. this practice reduces the blood pressure so much that it leads one to a state of
conscious unconsciousness
Plavini: floating breath
benefits: removes many ailments of the stomach/digestive system
how: inhale (through the mouth if you like) to fill the stomach; hold the air to your capacity
C. Kriyas

Neti: cleaning of the nasal cavity to allow more space for clear breathing for pranayama practice.
Relieves headaches, improves vision through clarity of eyes, and alleviates allergy symptoms

Jala Neti: warm (38-40 degrees) saline water is inserted into the nasal cavity by way of a spout to flush
out mucus

Sutra Neti: threading a small tube through the nostrils and out the mouth to clear out the remaining
mucus

Dhauti: internal cleansing
Contraindications: women should not perform any of the dhautis during their monthly cycle, as they
shake up the internal balance and pressure system which can upset the hormonal structure needed for
smooth menstruation.
Antar: internal digestive cleansing
vatasara: passing air from the mouth through to the stomach and out the anus
varisara: evacuating water out of the anus
vahnisara: builds heat in the body via abdominal wall contraction combined with jalandhara
banda
Danta: cleaning of the separate regions of the head relating to rejuvenation of the senses
danta moola: cleaning of the teeth and gums
jihva moola: cleaning of the tongue
kapal randhra: washing the skull
karna: cleaning the ears
chakshu: washing the eyes (2).
Hrid: cardiac cleansing
vastra: swallowing of the cloth
danda: inserting a soft banana stem into the stomach
vaman: swallowing saline water, and then vomiting it back up to cleanse the mucus lining in the
stomach and esophagus
Basti: cleansing of the colon
Jala: water sucked through the anus into the intestines and then expelled
steal: same, with air
Tratak: cleansing of the eyes
Nauli: abdominal cleansing, dakshinright, vampleft, and madhyama center
Kapalbhati: detoxification of the mind via forceful breath

Chapter 3, Mudra and Bandha
Mudra
is translated as attitude or gesture. They can be described as emotional, psychic, devotional, or
aesthetic and are a combination of subtle physical movements geared to alter perception and enhance
awareness.
Mudras that annihilate death and old age: Maha Mudra, Maha Bandha, Maha Vedha, Khechari,
Uddiyana Bandha, Mula Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha, Viparita Karani, Vijroli, and Sakti Chalana specific
benefits: maha mudra for example provides the body with relief from colic and indigestion, and is said to
bring great success to the practitioner in general
Viparita Karani: legs up the wall brings relaxation to the nervous system, and greatly aids the
circulatory system by bringing the stagnant blood residing in the feet and legs back to the upper body
(alleviating causes for problems like varicose veins)
Bandhas
meaning bond or body lock
Mula bandha: contraction of the perineum
Uddiyana bandha: contraction of the abdomen by way of sucking it into the rib cage
Jalandhara bandha: tucking the chin into the chest
Maha bandha: combining the above three into a super bandha

Chapter 4, Samadhi:
A Hatha Yogi draws all his Prana from the different parts of his body and takes it to the
Sahasrara Chakra (thousand-petalled lotus) at the top of the head, where he then moves into the
superconscious state. (3).
qualities of samadhi: equality of the self with consciousness, indifference to worldly enjoyments,
stilling of the citta vrittis
The union of the previous chapters and their regular practice and mastery leads the yogi to the
state of samadhi.
Compared to the idea of one active wave settling down and into the unbounded oneness of the
ocean (4).

Anatomy
Introduction of human organism
The most basic unit of the human organism is a cell. Cells are made up of clusters of atoms and
elementary substances such as; proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals. A bundle of cells come
together to form tissues and the next level created from these tissues are known as organs. When the
organs work together we call these systems. The brain and the spinal cord are the regulatory authorities
in humans and control the systems for proper functioning.
Cells have different lifespans depending upon which type of cell it is. There are red blood cells,
white blood cells, platelets, skin cells, intestinal cells, tongue, bone and nerve cells. When homeostasis
exists (healthy cells) we experience comfort and are free from disease. By lengthening the lifespan to its
maximum potential we can experience harmony in the working order of all our systems. This will help us
function to our maximum potential.
Nervous System
Two Structural Divisions:
- Central Nervous System
o Brain and Spinal Cord
- Peripheral Nervous System
o Essentially everything else i.e. nerves, ganglia etc.
Two Functional Divisions of Nervous System
- Somatic
o What we have control over i.e. voluntary muscles
- Autonomic
o What we have less control over (mostly involuntary responses)
o Sympathetic and Parasympathetic
Sympathetic = Fight or flight response i.e. how the body copes with stress
physiologically. Main characteristics are pupil dilation, vasoconstriction, heart
rate/blood pressure/breath rate increase, muscles tighten
Parasympathetic = Rest or digest response i.e. relaxation. Main characteristics
include digestion of food, blood pressure/heart rate/breath rate decrease,
vasodilation, muscles release

The endocrine system
(Controls hormone secretions which regulate body responses and/or changes in homeostasis)
Growth, mood, reproduction, sleep patterns and circadian rhythm are all controlled by the endocrine
system. A major section of the brain, known as the hypothalamus, gives instruction to the rest of the
endocrine system for effects on the above long term processes. The hypothalamus can send specific
hormones to either relax or excite our nervous system. Glands are tissues that secrete chemical
substances (hormones) to elicit a response. When we respond to emotional or sensory input our
endocrine system can change the homeostatic nature of the body causing a sympathetic or
parasympathetic reaction. This changes our heart rate, breath rate, and rate of circulation (blood,
lymph) and the levels of cells that go to different areas of the body.
Musculoskeletal System
Types of muscles:
- Skeletal
o Major component of muscle tissues, connected to bones (voluntary)
- Smooth
o Lines internal organs (involuntary)
- Cardiac
o Involuntary and involved in conduction of nerve impulses, ONLY found in the heart

Planes
- Frontal
o If you cut the body in half, the front of the body would be anterior, the back of the body
is posterior
o Examples of asana in a frontal plane
Trikonasana i.e. triangle pose
Veerbhadrasana ll Warrior 2
- Sagittal
o If you cut the body in half at the center line it divides the body into right and left halves,
the areas closest to the midline (spine) are medial while the furthest away are lateral
o Examples of asana in a sagittal plane
Veerbhadrasana l Warrior 1
Veerbhadrasana lll Warrior 3
- Horizontal
o If you cut the body in half at the waist, the upper half of the body is superior and the
bottom half is inferior
Directions or Major Movements
- Flexion and Extension
o Examples
Flexion: Bending the hand to the shoulder = elbow flexion
Extension = Straightening the leg from a bent knee = knee flexion
- Abduction and Adduction
o Examples
Abduction: Bring arms out to the side (like in Warrior 2) from resting =
abduction of the arms
Adduction: Bringing arms back beside the body from warrior 2 = abduction of
arms
- Circumduction
o Examples
Circling the arm = shoulder circumduction
- Rotation
o Examples
Internal: Turning the leg inward (so the heels are out and toes point in) =
internal hip rotation
External: Turning the leg outward (so the toes point out, heels are in) = external
hip rotation
- Plantar Flexion and Dorsiflexion
o Examples
Plantar Flexion: Pointing the sole of the foot
Dorsiflexion: Flexing the foot (from pointed toe to flexing towards the shin)
- Supination and Pronation
o Examples
Supination: arms at shoulder level, with palms facing up
Pronation: arms at shoulder level, palms facing down
Major Muscles of the Body
- Shoulder Girdle
o Trapezius
Actions: scapular elevation and retraction, upward rotation of scapula
Examples of Movement: Reaching for an item on a shelf thats high up
o Levator Scapulae
Actions: scapula elevation, lateral flexion and extension of cervical spine
(independent of each side)
Examples of Movement: shrugging the shoulders
o Rhomboids
Actions: scapula retraction (pressing shoulder blades together on back), rotation
of scapula downwards
Examples of Movement: Pulling on a door handle
o Pectoralis Minor
Actions: scapular retraction, rotation of scapula downwards
Examples of Movement: Pushing a door open
o Serratus Anterior
Actions: Scapular retraction, rotation of scapula upwards
Examples of Movement: Reaching up to a high window
o Sternocleidomastoid
Actions: Single side contraction = lateral bend of the neck to that side,
contraction of both simultaneously = flexing of the neck
Examples of Movement: looking down at the feet, looking over the shoulder,
holding a phone between your ear and shoulder
o Deltoid
Anterior deltoid = Actions: Shoulder flexion and internal rotation
Posterior deltoid = Actions: Shoulder extension and external rotation
All fibers = shoulder abduction
Examples of Movement: Lifting the arms
o Supraspinatus
Actions: abduction and stability of the humerus
Examples of Movement: holding bags out to the side of the body
o Infraspinatus
Actions: Shoulder abduction and external rotation
Examples of Movement: Changing a light bulb
o Teres Minor
Actions: External rotation and shoulder adduction
Examples of Movement: Changing a light bulb
o Subscapularis
Actions: Internal rotation and adduction
Examples of Movement: Putting arms into reverse prayer (on back)
o Latissimus Dorsi
Actions: Extension, internal rotation and adduction
Examples of Movement: Pushing on the arms of a chair to stand up
o Pectoralis Major
Actions: Shoulder flexion, internal rotation, adduction
Examples of Movement: Placing objects on a shelf
o Biceps Brachii
Actions: Elbow flexion, forearm supination
Examples of Movement: Picking up bags of groceries
o Triceps Brachii
Actions: Extension of the elbow
Examples of Movement: Pushing a door closed
o Supinator
Actions: Supination
Examples of Movement: Closing the gas-cap for a car
o Pronator Teres
Actions: Pronation, elbow flexion
Examples of Movement: Closing the gas-cap for a car
o Flexor Carpi Radialis
Actions: Flexion of the wrist, radial deviation of wrist
Examples of Movement: Pulling rope towards you
o Flexor Carpi Ulnaris
Actions: Flexion of the wrist, ulnar deviation (adduction of the wrist)
Examples of Movement: Pulling rope towards you
o Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis
Actions: Extension of the wrist, radial deviation
Examples of Movement: Typing
o Extensor Carpi Ulnaris
Actions: Extension of the wrist, ulnar deviation
Examples of Movement: Getting a motorbike to accelerate
o Flexor Digitorum Superficialis
Actions: Flexion of the wrist and fingers
Examples of Movement: making a fist
o Flexor Pollicis Longus
Actions: Extension of the wrist and thumb
Examples of Movement: Releasing your grip on an object
o Extensor Pollicis Longus
Actions: Flexion of the thumb and wrist
Examples of Movement: Tightly gripping an object
o Rectus Abdominus
Actions: Flexes lumbar spine
Examples of Movement: Moving from lying down to sitting
o External Obliques
Actions: Contraction of one side laterally bends trunk in that direction, (can also
rotate trunk to other side) compresses the abdomen and supports abdominal
viscera
Examples of Movement: Starting a gas lawn mower with a pull-cord
o Internal Obliques
Actions: Contraction of one side laterally bends trunk in that direction, (can also
rotate trunk to other side) compresses the abdomen and supports abdominal
viscera
Examples of Movement: Starting a gas lawn mower with a pull-cord
o Transverse Abdominus
Actions: Compresses the abdomen and supports abdominal viscera
Examples of Movement: Maintaining a good standing posture
o Quadratus Lumborum
Actions: Laterally flexes trunk
Examples of Movement: Bending sideways to reach for something (side
stretching)
o Erectus Spinae
Actions: Extension/lateral flexion/maintains correct curvature of spine
Examples of Movement: Maintaining a good standing posture
o Splenius
Actions: Extension of head/neck, contraction of one side can laterally flex/rotate
the neck to the same side
Examples of Movement: Looking up to the sky, Shoulder-checking while driving
o Multifidus
Actions: Extension, lateral flexion and rotation of the spine
Examples of Movement: Maintaining good posture
o Ilipsoas
Actions: Flexion of the hip, Lateral rotation of the hip, can flex torso if legs are
stable
Examples of Movement: Walking up steps
o Sartorius
Actions: Flexion of the hip/knee, abducts hip, external rotation of hip as it flexes
Examples of Movement: Sitting in sukahsana (easy pose)
o Rectus Femoris
Actions: Flexion of the hip, extension of the knee
Examples of Movement: Kicking a ball
o Tensor Fasciae Latae
Actions: Flexion of the hip, hip abduction
Examples of Movement: Walking with one foot in front of the other
o Gluteus Medius
Actions: Hip abduction, posterior fibers externally rotate hip while anterior
fibers provide internal rotation
Examples of Movement: Drawing large circles in the sand with your foot (using
hip rotation)
o Gluteus Minimus
Actions: Hip abduction, internal rotation of hip
Examples of Movement: Getting out of a car
o Gluteus Maximus
Actions: Hip extension, external rotation of hip
Examples of Movement: When the leg extends to climb up a hill on a hike
o Piriformis
Actions: External rotation of the hip and hip abduction
Examples of Movement: Stepping the 1
st
leg out of a car
o Biceps Femoris
Actions: Hip extension, knee flexion, lateral rotation of the hip when knee is
flexed
Examples of Movement: Bending the knee to step over something
o Semitendinosus
Actions: Hip extension, knee flexion, internal rotation of hip when knee is flexed
Examples of Movement: Bending the knee to step over something
o Semimembranosus
Actions: Hip extension, knee flexion, internal rotation of the hip when knees
flexed
Examples of Movement: Bending the knee to step over something
o Adductor Brevis
Actions: Hip adductor/flexion
Examples of Movement: Bringing your 2
nd
leg out of the car
o Adductor Longus
Actions: Hip adduction, hip flexion
Examples of Movement: Bringing your 2
nd
leg out of the car
o Adductor Magnus
Actions: Adductor head = adducts/flexes hip, hamstring head = extends hip
Examples of Movement: Bringing your 2
nd
leg out of the car
o Vastus Lateralis
Actions: Knee extension
Examples of Movement: Kicking a ball
o Vastus Intermedius
Actions: Knee extension
Examples of Movement: Kicking a ball
o Vastus Medialis
Actions: Knee extension
Examples of Movement: Kicking a ball
o Gastrocnemius
Actions: Plantar flexion
Examples of Movement: Standing on the balls of the foot (toes)
o Soleus
Actions: Plantar flexion
Examples of Movement: Standing upright
o Flexor Digitorum Longus
Actions: Plantarflexion, inversion, flexion of toes
Examples of Movement: Grabbing something using the toes
o Flexor Hallucis Longus
Actions: Flexion of big toe, plantar flexion, inversion
Examples of Movement: Push-off phase in walking
o Peroneus Longus
Actions: Eversion, plantar flexion
Examples of Movement: Walking on a rocky (unstable) surface
o Peroneus Brevis
Actions: Eversion, plantar flexion
Examples of Movement: Walking on a rocky (unstable) surface
o Tibialis Anterior
Actions: Inversion, dorsiflexion
Examples of Movement: Flex of foot after picking it up while walking
o Extensor Digitorum Longus
Actions: Extends toes, dorsiflexion, eversion
Examples of Movement: Walking over something and making sure toes/foot
clears the object
o Extensor Hallucis Longus
Actions: Extension of big toe, dorsiflexion, inversion
Examples of Movement: Walking over something and making sure big toe/foot
clears the object
The respiratory system
is made up of the nose, sinus, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi (right and left lung), bronchial
tree, alveoli and diaphragm. Some medical norms that we should be aware of are: breath rate at 12 bpm
(breaths per minute), tidal volume (02 inhaled=500ml and 02 exhaled=500ml), residual volume (2500ml
kept inside the lungs as a reserve), total volume (6000ml as the max capacity of air we can hold). Cellular
respiration is the air that moves through the tissues and the metabolism of gas exchange. There are 2
types known as, aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic is when 02 is present to breakdown glucose for use as
energy. This type of respiration makes 38 ATP (energy) and is needed at rest. The other type, anaerobic,
is when glucose is broken down without 02. This produces lactic acid and 2 ATP (energy). This
respiration is used when we exert extra energy, as in exercise.
Holistic Health
Some people believe that health is merely the absence of disease, but taking a holistic approach
addresses the whole person to maintain or improve well-being. Physical, mental, emotional and
spiritual health is considered rather than focusing on a specific ailment. This philosophy seeks to achieve
balance while focusing primarily on lifestyle and what the person is able to control.
So what does it mean to be healthy?
Physical
- Physical health can be achieved by engaging in activities that respect your body and improve
your well-being. Getting a reasonable amount of exercise and eating a proper balanced diet are
ways to achieve this form of health.
Mental
- Mental health involves maintaining a positive frame of mind. Although it can be difficult to
achieve happiness all of the time, avoiding situations that can be stressful, disturbing or
exhausting can help maintain a sense of well-being. This includes balancing work and life
situations while leaving enough time for leisure.
Emotional
- Being engaged in healthy and supportive relationships is key for emotional health. Maintaining
supportive relationships satisfies the human need to be social and feel loved. Positive social
connections allow for a person to thrive, rather than simply survive in isolation. Learning to
express emotions in a positive way though social interactions and relationships can also provide
emotional support.

Spiritual
- Your spirit is the deepest part of you; the side that is reflective of who you are, and how you are
connected to the world around you. Spiritual wellness can help you gain a sense of strength and
hope while providing a sense of purpose in life. Many behaviors can help you gain spiritual
health such as practicing yoga, meditation, volunteering, contributing to your community and
practicing compassion towards ones self.
Intellectual
- Intellectual health can be achieved by involving yourself in activities that satiate a humans need
for knowledge and learning. The need to evolve, grow and adapt is a natural progression
towards self-actualization. Critical thinking, problem solving and creativity in your life can make
you feel productive and fulfilled. Ways to achieve intellectual health could include reading a
book, taking an art class or participating in a yoga workshop.
Asana, Pranayama, Meditation and their psycho-physiological benefits and
contraindications
Asana
Benefits and Concerns
- Feet
o Benefits: Proper alignment begins with the feet. An accurate connection of the foot to
the ground results in an increased likelihood of correct knee and hip alignment which
affects the spine and ultimately the rest of the body. In yoga, the accurate connection of
the foot includes the application of padha-bandha or the foot lock. Padha-bandha
supports the longitudinal arch (i.e. the lengthwise-arch of the foot) and the transverse
arch (the lateral-arch of the foot, in the direction of big to little toe). When these arches
are supported they prevent eversion of the foot which puts more pressure on the
medial (or inner) side of the foot.
o Concerns: Some students have arches that have always been collapsed; being born with
fallen arches is known as structural pes planus. Although asana can relieve pain, this will
likely never go away and orthopedics must be used. Most students experience
functional pes planus, which develops due to weakness in specific muscles. The plantar
fascia or connective tissue on the soles may be weak.
Focusing on the feet especially in all standing asana will help, as well as
pointing/flexing feet in joint movements.
- Ankle
o Benefits: All standing balancing asana will help develop strength and stability in the
ankle. Proprioception is the awareness of where a joint is in space relative to itself and
the surrounding environment. When balancing asana is practiced, the body is forced to
utilize this mechanism to stabilize the ankle joint and maintain that position. This
prevents the ankle from becoming de-stabilized
o Concerns: Eversion and inversion can result from ankle instability. Inversion is more
common due to the structure of the ankle joint which results from the lack of stability;
whether thats the articulation of the bones, or the strength and laxity of the ligaments
on the lateral side. If a student is lifting the ball of the foot in any asana, they are likely
causing inversion of the ankle.
Be aware of poses that may cause excess pressure on the ankles for those with
ankle injuries (ex. Vjrasana) or causes excess inversion/eversion.
- Knee
o Benefits: Proper knee alignment in all poses can strengthen and balance the muscles
that support the knees ligaments and the patella. It can also lubricate the menisci and
articular cartilage which prevents osteoarthritis.
o Concerns: Many students experience issues with knees for a variety of different reasons.
Imbalances in the musculature of the legs can cause internal rotation of the femur
which places excess pressure on the ligaments and/or patella. Collapsing of the arches in
the feet can also cause the knees to fall towards each other. Weakness or fatigue of the
vastus lateralis/medialis can cause lateral/medial tracking of the patella on the
respective side. Make sure the knee is in proper alignment so that the joint is stacked
over the ankle for most asana. For example, if the knee is further than the ankle in
Warrior ll it places added pressure on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) which can
cause or aggravate an injury.
Without proper hip rotation, students practicing full/half lotus may experience
knee pain. Hero pose is usually an issue for students with knee problems,
attempt to use bolster under the sit bones but otherwise skip. Tightness in the
iliotibial band can cause knee pain in pigeon. Place blankets underneath knees
for any asana on knees ex: camel.
- Hip
o Benefits: Many poses help open the pelvis and relieve tension in the hips. This can
prevent or alleviate issues with sciatica, and keep your pelvis in alignment. Flexibility
and alignment in the hip can also prevent issues in the knees and/or ankles. Movement
at the hip causes the joint to secrete synovial fluid which provides lubrication, reduces
friction and improves shock absorption.
o Concerns: Some poses may be hard on the knee joint due to the ilitibial band
(originating from the tensor fascia late or TFL) on the outer hip. Pigeon for example may
need to be modified or a prop placed under the raised hip for support. Tight hips can
also cause anterior pelvic tilt which makes it difficult for many asana and puts excessive
pressure on the low back. Be mindful of students that have trouble sitting (place blanket
underneath sit bones) and use caution when practicing poses that stress the low back.
- Back
o Benefits: People with issues in their back (ex: scoliosis, lordosis, kyphosis) can benefit
from the length created in the back with asana. Many poses strengthen, and lengthen
the muscles of the back. Many poses create space between the vertebrae in the
intervertebral joints which often become compressed due to gravity over time. Yoga
also helps to lubricate these joints, especially with twists.
o Concerns: Some people develop these issues due to imbalances in the musculature,
however some people are born (i.e. congenital) with these conditions. Students may
experience back pain in specific poses
Support the low back in forward bending; instead practice ardha-utanasana
(half-way lift) get students to place palms on above/below knee. Give students
the option to practice gentler backbends instead of more intense ones (ex. Do
cobra instead of updog, or bridge instead of full-wheel)
- Wrist
o Benefits: Increased weight bearing on the wrists in most poses (i.e. downdog, plank etc.)
signals the brain to build stronger bones at the point of pressure. Bones in the forearm
(i.e. radius and ulna) increase in bone density, along with the bones in the palm.
o Concerns: Many people experience pain in the wrists due to the amount of weight
bearing and stress it can cause to the joint. Make sure students develop a good hasta-
bandha (hand-lock) which will relieve pressure on the wrists. Ensure the joint is stacked
properly (i.e. directly underneath shoulder for poses like plank) and give the option to
come down to the elbows.
- Elbow
o Benefits: Many poses strengthen the muscles and tendons that support the elbow joint.
o Concerns: Those with specific injuries such as tennis elbow may not be able to
straighten or bend the elbow. Many poses can be down with arms on the hips or at the
sides instead. Each persons injury can be a different experience so modifying or using
props under elbows when necessary
- Shoulder
o Benefits: Strengthens and improves stability in the shoulders and more specifically
rotator cuff muscles, improves blood flow to the head which prevents headaches and
muscle tension
o Concerns: Issues with range of motion due to inflexibility or injury can result in
difficulty/pain with many poses (ex. down dog, side angle or basically anything where
the arms are raised overhead). Give options to rest arms down to the sides, or come
down to the knees when necessary to take pressure off the shoulders.
Avoid poses that put excess pressure/strain on shoulders such as shoulder
stand, plow, headstand or handstand
- Neck
o Benefits: Many poses either relax tension in the neck, or strengthen the muscles that
support the cervical vertebrae. This can help maintain proper alignment in the spine,
and relieve tension headaches
o Concerns: Some poses can but excess pressure on the neck, and may not be good for
someone who already is experiencing neck tension or has whiplash.
Avoid bringing the head back in poses such as camel, avoid headstand, shoulder
stand, plow, and fish
- Head
o Benefits: Inversions ensure proper blood supply to the brain along with the pituitary and
pineal gland; reinforcing our growth, health and vitality. Weight bearing on the head will
signal the brain to produce stronger bones in the skull.
o Concerns: Many people experience pain when practicing poses such as headstand; try
using a blanket or light pillow underneath for support but avoid if pain persists. Another
suggestion is to try practicing headstand supported (tripod).
Other considerations
- Inversions
o Benefits: Improves circulation throughout the body; more specifically venous blood and
helping it return to the heart. The improvement in circulation prevents issues such as
varicose veins. Improves lymphatic drainage and therefore immune response. Sends
blood to the brain; helps to revitalize the mind and think more clearly.
o Concerns: Avoid inversions completely if student is pregnant, menstruating,
eye/ear/sinus infection, high blood pressure, heart disease, any internal issues (i.e.
recent internal surgery, kidney issues etc.), hernia
- Meditation
o Benefits: Calms the busy mind, allows for parasympathetic response (rather than
sympathetic, our fight/flight), clarity of thought
o Concerns: If someone is mentally unstable meditation may not have calming effect.
Certain meditations also arent appropriate for those with anxiety. Try exercises such as
counting each breath.
Pranayama
- Ujayyi Breathing
o Benefits: Soothes the nervous system while calming the mind and increasing the bodys
internal heat. Slows the heart rate down and is useful for those with high blood pressure
or heart disease.
o Contraindications: Essentially none
- Nadi Shodana
o Benefits: Calms the body and balances its energies. It purifies the nadis or the subtle
lines of energy within which allows the channels to flow more easefully. Breathing
through the left nostril activates the right side of the brain, while breathing through the
right nostril activates the right hemisphere.
o Contraindications: Do not practice if there is a cold, flu or fever especially with nasal
congestion. No breath holding portion if there are issues with blood pressure.
- Sheetali
o Benefits: Cools the body and improves temperature regulation in the body. It gives
control over hunger and thirst while generating feelings of satisfaction.
o Contraindications: People who suffer from low blood pressure or lung disorders should
not practice. Make sure to practice in a non-polluted area thats not too cold
- Sheetkari
o Benefits: Same as sheetali
o Contraindications: Those with sensitive teeth, or missing/dentures should avoid if
theres pain/sensitivity
- Brahmari
o Benefits: Relieves stress and cerebral tension while increasing the healing capacity of
the body. Induces a meditative state while soothing the nervous system. Alleviates
anger, anxiety and insomnia.
o Contraindications: Anyone with severe ear infections
- Bhastrika
o Benefits: Burns up toxins, and helps balance the doshas (Ayurveda medicine: kapha,
vata, pitta), increases the exchange of oxygen and CO2 in the blood stream, stimulates
metabolic rate, balances and strengthens the nervous system
o Contraindications: pregnancy, high blood pressure, heart disease (including stroke),
hernia, gastric issues, eye problems (retinal detachment, glaucoma), epilepsy, vertigo,
may not feel good during menstruation
- Kapalbhati (technically a kriya: shining skull)
o Benefits: Reverses the normal breathing process with a forceful exhale (and passive
inhale) which has profound effects on the nervous system, cleanses the lungs, blood and
internal organs
Contraindications: pregnancy, high blood pressure, heart disease (including stroke), hernia, gastric
issues, epilepsy, vertigo
Understanding Asanas from an Anatomical point of view
Seated Classification
We can explain the anatomy of asanas in many ways. Let us first understand what anatomical
position is. When we stand up straight with the palms, toes, head and pelvis facing forward, this is
anatomical position. In Hatha yoga we often begin in a seated, meditative like (crossed-legged) position.
Here our hips externally rotate, feet invert, elbows flex slightly to bring hands to the knees (or lap) and
head, neck and back are in a straight line. This simple crossed leg position is known as sukhasana or easy
pose. Here the tendency is to collapse the abdomen, which rounds the thoracic and/or lumbar spine.
Beginners can sit against a wall to learn what it feels like to align the spine against a wall, keeping it
straight, against gravities nature of drawing us downward. The reason we sit in this position is to allow
room for proper breathing. We can practice many methods for improving the breath. This is known as
pranayama. The lungs and diaphragm require space to inflate and deflate during the respiratory process.
When we keep our spine erect, the open space for our organs and respiratory muscles is vital in taking
efficient breath. In easy pose we can further develop into more challenging seated poses, as in
padmasana(lotus). This pose requires our legs crossed, but with each foot resting upon the opposite
thigh. Due to muscular and structural compositions, each individual will feel either comfortable or
uncomfortable in any given pose. For example, someone with poor range of motion in the ankle cannot
rest their foot on the opposite thigh because this action requires inversion of the ankle to be constant.
There are many other factors that affect how we perform each asana. Since we all have different sizes,
shapes, flexibility and proportions of our bodies, certain asanas come with ease whereas others may just
do harm. Consider also that chronic, traumatic and acute injuries or illness can prevent us from
performing certain poses. There are many modifications we can make to ease tension, when a particular
asana elicits pain. Most of the time, the pain comes from incorrectly performing the asana and by
correcting the body position, the pain desists. In seated asanas, we can move the body through all 3
planes and axis. By doing so, muscles, ligaments and tendons are contracted and relaxed to improve
strength and flexibility in our body. Meditation (dhyana) is one of the 8 limbs of yoga and a means of
connecting the individual to the divine. In clear expression, a human can reach to a higher
understanding of its existence. There is contentment that follows this process. It is a means of living
without suffering under the pyscho-somatic control of our brains. Seated poses require the ability to be
still and reverse any unnatural curvatures that may have developed in our spine. Due to habitual sitting,
standing and movement tendencies, many people will find the simple crossed legged position
unbearable. These people can sit upon a cushion or block to alleviate the discomfort. A tight ilio-psoas
muscle along with major external rotators of the hip may prevent people from sitting upright
comfortably. In other cases, the bone structure prevents an erect spine, as in scoliosis. Lastly, illness can
also inhibit an ability to sit upright. This is true if someone is born with or acquires a condition that
affects the bones, muscles and/or joints. A counter pose for any seated asana is bhujangasana (cobra
pose). When seated in a meditative pose, we can chant ohm which has many meanings. Yoga
practitioners use this as a way to focus, pay respect to nature and connect with consciousness (moving
awareness inward). To adjust in any seated pose, the teacher can place one foot perpendicular to the
students back, directly at the sacrum. Then, teacher keeps their leg straight and draws the students
shoulders back with their hands, asking the student to press the spine against the teachers leg.
Breathing should be slow, rhythmic and comfortable. In sequencing, seated can be a starting point, an
ending point and also used as a resting point for a student who needs a break during class to reconnect
with their breath.
Table-Top (hands and knees) Classification
This position is also known as many other names. For now we will call it quadruped, as I had first learned
about it in physical therapy. The hands are positioned on the ground/mat in line with the shoulders. The
elbows are straight with the elbow creases pointed toward each other. The knees are on the ground
placed in line with the hips. Tops of the feet are on the floor with the toes pointed away from the body.
Most of us have not created a strong abdominal wall and have tight back muscles from activities of daily
living. Therefore many people sink their low back in this position, when they are at rest. Squeezing our
abdomen, keeping the shoulders away from the ears (in a neutral position) and fingers spread, are the
important reminders when holding a quadruped asana. Awareness begins at the feet making sure they
are directly in line with the knees. The knees should be hip width, directly under the hip bones. A
cushion under the knees (or rolling the mat a couple times) will alleviate pain in quadruped position.
Keeping the elbows straight and the back flat, are 2 more important factors to be aware of in the table
top position. Breath should be slow and rhythmic (as with all asana/meditation), while focusing on the
diaphragm. No counter pose is needed for table top, since it does not place the spine in any exaggerated
position. No adjustments should really be made by a teacher though a mirror is useful for a student to
ensure their back is straight, neck also in line with the spine. This is a very basic position and every
student should feel comfortable and capable here if there are no injuries. Table top is typically used in
class sequence after the students has been in a seated posture for some time (mostly in the beginning
quarter of class). It may also be used to transition the class from standing postures back to the floor.

Standing classification
When we are ready to begin sun salutations and increase dynamic postures, we move students into
standing asanas. This usually happens after pranayama, meditation, seated, table-top and the first
downward dog of a class. This is not a hard and fast rule. That simply means we may start the class doing
surya namaskar(sun salute), depending on the conditions of our external environment or other factors.
In contrast, we would not typically end a yoga class in standing. The reason for this is that we want the
body to take full rest after a proper practice. Standing asanas build internal heat and warm the muscles,
ligaments and connective tissue. Coordination, lung capacity and oxygenation are improved with the use
of standing asana. The heart is put under voluntary stress which has a strengthening effect. Standing
asana is best used by those whose spend a lot of time sitting. These poses increase both strength and
flexibility in our muscles and connective tissue. Ujjayi breath is recommended here to keep a focused
and conscious self connection. The breath should be synchronized with the movement. Inhaling with
each expansion/extension and exhaling during compression/flexion of the spine will improve the ease
through which the body moves through standing postures. Breath coordination is especially helpful in
sun salutations. Awareness of the soles of the feet rooting down to the earth beneath is important. Toes
should be spread, thighs squeezing, lifting the knee caps, shoulders rolled back and down, abdomen and
buttocks tightened and neck long when in a static standing position. The spine should remain erect, if
simply standing in sama sthihiti. Eyes should remain straight ahead on one point of focus (a Dristi).
While in standing we can perform our dynamic postures in all 3 planes, sagittal frontal and transverse.
This will balance the use of muscles as we move through our practice. Typical adjustments will ensure
the bones are stacked on top of each other providing a protective position of all joints, ligaments and
tendons. The knees should always be kept over the heel or ankle. The shoulders should always be kept
away from the ears. The hands should be active, spreading the fingers wide apart. The neck should be
aligned with the rest of the spine so we should never let the head hang in standing asanas. The spine
should be warm before attempting any major flexion, extension and/or twisting asana. A counter pose
will depend on which position the spine is in, in a particular asana. We should reverse the spinal position
within a smaller range of motion, opposing the original asanas alignment. Slightly bent knees will take
pressure off of the back should anyone have back injuries or issues. People with slipped discs or
sciatica should avoid all standing postures except for tadasana, hasta uthanasana and akarna
dhanurasana(Swami Saraswati 285).
Balancing classification
We can perform balancing asanas in seated, standing, inverting, forward bending, back bending, and
using just our upper body. There are so many contraindications when considering whether or not to
perform a balancing pose. As we age, brain function decreases and the cerebellum (which controls
motion) loses ability to function, in the process. Anyone with cerebellum issues should not practice
these asana. The effect of practicing the balancing asana is improvement in posture, physical grace and
coordination and reduces stress and anxiety. It is important to start simple with beginners and cue only
basic balancing poses for the beginner to work on. In sequencing, a balancing pose is best performed
after the body has warmed up. After some sun salutations have been performed it is helpful to still the
body and find balance. This classification of asana may be your peak or climactic pose of the whole class.
It also may be part of a flow sequence, in transition from one pose to the next. Lastly, the balance pose
may be saved for the last quarter of a class, when we truly need to stay focused on our own selves.
There is a tendency to lose the breath with dynamic movement so balancing can steer us back to looking
within for strength and coordination. Balancing poses also increase bone density, which is depleted by
the aging process. To counter pose balancing asanas, we can come to simple resting poses such as
childs pose and downward facing dog. Modify these postures by using a wall, floor, block or belt to
assist in creating stability. Adjusting a student in balancing poses may be too obtrusive. Try using cues to
enhance the asana and let the student find their way. Alternatively, adjustment may be helpful when
the teacher supports the student by easing into the adjustment and slowly easing out, allowing the
student to stay coordinated.
Forward Bending classification
Society today causes unnecessary tension and tightness in our bodies due to the habits and patterns of
culture. We can look at forward bending as a means to deepen our capacity in exhalation. These are also
a counter pose to back bends and vice versa. Gravity assists our bodies in forward folding asana and
helps relax our back muscles, causing space between the vertebra and discs. Over time the space
diminishes and our backs become weakened. Organ compression is a side effect in these poses which
helps improve circulatory flow throughout the organs, keeping the body in homeostasis. There are
emotional, mental and physical effects of forward bending with or without ease. These asana can be
placed, in sequence, post pawamuktasana or joint movement. Any time throughout the practice and
during sun salutations, we use forward bending to increase range of motion, flexibility and strength in
our backs. Awareness is needed to bend at the hips and keep length in the spine. This will prevent injury
to a spine. As we bend forward, the breath should be exhaled for as long as is comfortable, in reaching
the final position. Adjustments feel great if properly applied and pressure is not given at the upper
thoracic or cervical spine. Remember these poses can affect us emotionally, so never pressure yourself
or a student beyond their end point.
Backward Bending classification
Back bends are a counter pose to forward bending, which allows for deep inhalation. The ribs expand
and separate here, providing more room for the lungs to inflate. We connect outward more with the
world/nature, when we do backward bends. We can modify our backbends if there is discomfort by
bolstering the spinal column. Those with degenerative diseases should not exaggerate the extension of
the spine because it adds more compression (pressure) onto already weakened bones, discs and
muscles. For a healthy spine and to balance our forward bends, we can use back bending as a way to
keep space in between the vertebrae and discs. The affect is a flexible spine which allows free flow of
blood, lymph, cerebrospinal and all other bodily fluids. Homeostasis will be present when the spine has
space to move with freedom and strength. Awareness should be placed on limitations of the extension
within our individual bodies. Slow return from a backbend is another major focus that will keep us safe
as we exit a back bend. Adjustments can be performed adding further extension to the spine as long as
the student feels comfort and support. After practicing intense back bends, such as wheel/chakrasana,
we can do a gentle forward bend to counter pose the spinal movement. This brings balance to the body.
Spinal Twisting classification
We must remember that our spine has the ability for more than just flexion and extension. It can also
rotate and when we twist into rotation, we keep the spine healthy. To sequence a twist we can truly
place them anywhere but they are most beneficial after both forward and backward bending. Also, we
can take a twist after the counter pose to an inversion. They can also be utilized in an active way or to
relax the body at the end of our asana practice. Twisting massages the internal organs by compressing
the space they have to function. When we release the twist we increase the space for easy movement of
organ circulation. Imagine a pump that puts pressure and releases pressure. Twisting is a pump (like the
heart) with which we move fluid, nutrients and waste easily. If pregnant, only one spinal twist is
recommended. This is meru wakrasana, which does not induce extreme rotation, rather is gentle and
safe for non-risk pregnancy. Free flowing breath is a direct result of spinal twisting after the practice has
been completed in both directions. To counter pose we simply twist in the opposite direction. A block
under the hand and cushion under the hips may be used to support a twisting pose, in a seated posture.
Emotional affects can result from spinal twisting. We can twist away negative thoughts and also become
better at managing challenges in our daily events.
Inverted classification
The force of gravity is a constant factor in our health, posture and vitality. Inverting allows blood to flow
easily to the brain, oxygenating it with the use of gravity. Inversion is a way to counter pose standing,
sitting and lying down asana. Emotionally, we can find new perspective on any given understanding. So
we can invert if we are looking for a new way to view an experience. Inversions are well known for
combating anxiety, stress, depression, lethargy and support positive thinking. To counter pose an
inversion we can rest in childs pose, or even gentle seated forward fold. The head should be slightly
elevated to rebalance the veins flow from the brain. Anyone with neck injuries, vertigo, heart conditions
(like high blood pressure) and/or back problems should refrain from inversion poses. A bolster or
blankets under the shoulders or head is always a benefit to protect the head neck and shoulders.
Adjusting a student while they are inverted is dangerous and can only be done with extreme caution and
great confidence. A student should also feel extremely comfortable in the inverted pose before anyone
assist them further into the pose. We must ensure that we include these asanas after the body has been
through some movement when sequencing them into a class. The inversion can be the peak pose in the
middle of a class or even near the end of the class for a rebalance of all the gravity influenced
movement.

Yoga Therapy
Yogic View diseases and cure
Psycho-somatic disorders
Definition:
Mind (psyche) and body (soma) psychosomatic disorders are those which involves both mind and body.
Some physical diseases are thought to be particularly prone to be made worse by mental factors such as
stress and anxiety. Your current mental state can affect how bad a physical disease is at any given time.
What are Psycho-somatic disorders?
To an extent, most diseases are psychosomatic - involving both mind and body.
Some physical diseases are thought to be particularly prone to be made worse by mental factors such as
stress and anxiety. For example, psoriasis, eczema, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and heart
disease. It is thought that the actual physical part of the illness (the extent of a rash, the level of the
blood pressure, etc.) can be affected by mental factors. This is difficult to prove. However, many people
with these and other physical diseases say that their current mental state can affect how bad their
physical disease is at any given time.
The term psychosomatic disorder is also used when mental factors cause physical symptoms but where
there is no physical disease. For example, a chest pain may be caused by stress and no physical disease
can be found. It is well known that the mind can cause physical symptoms. For example, when we are
afraid or anxious we may develop:
Faster heart rate, Heart palpitations, Nausea, Shaking, Sweating, and Chest pain, Headaches, Fast
breathing
These physical symptoms are due to increased activity of nervous impulses sent from the brain to
various parts of the body and to the release of adrenaline (epinephrine) into the bloodstream when we
are anxious.
Yogic View:
Yoga as therapy with psychosomatic disorders has been practiced for many centuries in India, and only
recently has become utilized for this purpose in other countries. The yoga system evolved as a system
of liberation to allow man to discriminate between his ego-self and pure consciousness, and as such, its
medical benefits are really side-effects.
Integral yoga practice, however, with which many other self-regulatory somatopsychic approaches have
much in common, consists of a holistic technology which functions to restore optimal homeostasis by a
variety of special techniques not found in other approaches. Clinical observations of psychosomatic
patients indicate that their distorted somatopsychic functioning necessitates their practice of yoga or
yoga-like therapy.
A review of the clinical evidence available indicates that yoga practice has proven most effective with a
wide range of psychosomatic and psychiatric disorders. The effectiveness of yoga can be partially
understood in terms of neurophysiological theory.
During the last 50 years or so that modern scientists have sought to confirm these claims of yogis by
impartial observations, experimentation and verification on a scientific basis. Its acceptance and
verification by the scientific world in India and abroad has added to its credence. The magic and mythical
image of yoga is fast reverting to its true form.
i

Experiments verify yogic control over body systems
The experiments conducted on yogis by the doctors of the Physiology Department of the All India
Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, clearly show the ability of yogis to control the internal systems of
the body. For example, they have demonstrated reduction in the heart, breathing and metabolic rates.
Experiments also show that during meditation, brain waves differ from those of other conscious states.
Studies of yoga practices and yoga therapy on a scientific basis in the treatment of illnesses such as high
blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, and nervous dyspepsia, have been conducted by Dr. Udupa,
Professor of Surgery and Director of the Institute of Medicine of Banaras Hindu University. The
successful application of shavasana as a therapeutic measure in cases of high blood pressure and heart
disorders by Dr. K. K. Datey, an eminent cardiologist of Bombay, has not only shown voluntary control
over the complex internal mechanisms of the body through yoga practices, but has proved the efficacy
of this therapy in treatment of these diseases.
It is now an accepted fact that yoga asanas tune up the body and mind thus, we find that yoga can cure
diseases as well as prevent them.
Body and Mind Interrelationship
Understanding from scientific evidence that Yogis have greater control over bodily functions as
explained above and having a better understanding of psycho-somatic disorders (The majority of which
are physical illnesses caused by mental disturbances) then logical to draw the conclusion that Yoga is
particularly beneficial in the treatment of psycho-somatic disorders.
Having greater control over ones senses allows the Yogi the ability to better understand the
disturbances which are causing physical illness. Better understanding and control also provides the Yogi
with the opportunity to regulate the physical conditions by regulating the specific mental disturbances
by using specific yoga asana.

Yoga Therapy for Specific Systems of the Body:
Cardiac Health and Circulatory System
Yoga offers a number of solutions to aid in cardiac illnesses. Yoga therapy provides a way of life to
maintain optimal condition of the heart. In order to do this emotional conflicts, dependencies, needs
and requirements must first be known, accepted and expresses. Then they can be transcended.
Yogic Program for heart and circulatory disease
A tired heart needs rest first and foremost then a yoga practice can be built in slowly using the following
steps.
1. Asana: Beginning with pawanmuktasana 1 & 2, moving onto gentle asanas. If tiredness occurs
savasana should be adopted to relax the body.
2. Pranayama: Should never impose strain on the heart or lungs. The most important practices are
nadi shodhana 1 & 2 and ujjayi breath.
3. Yoga Nidra: Once a day yoga nidra should be practiced along with savasana and other relaxation
techniques.
4. Meditation: Should be learned as an enjoyable pastime not a discipline for cardiac patients.
Most suitable practices are ajapa japa using the mantra so-ham.
5. Shatkarma: Jala Neti is the best practice to be adopted by the heart patient.
6. Karma Yoga: Selfless service where one works with all attention and care, without regard to
rewards or returns.
7. Changing lifestyle: Adopting a more relaxing lifestyle, many cardiac diseases are caused by stress
resulting from an over active lifestyle.
8. Swadhaya: Study of various scriptures where those have devoted their lies to self-service and
realisation of the higher truths rather than material possessions.
9. Bhakti Yoga: Channelling energy away from possessions and towards the universal self or god.
10. Diet: Avoiding meat, excessive protein, milk and dairy products, oil and spices. Diet should be
light. Overeating must be avoided.
Digestive System
Yoga for digestive disorders, deals more with the concept of psychosomatic ailments than with
medication. How well does Yoga therapy understand this concept and mechanism of psychosomatic
ailments? If you have noticed, the first thing that an Ayurvaid does, to correct the situation, when you
have any chronic illness is deal with the digestive system. Similarly, Yoga therapy tackles psychosomatic
ailments by cleansing, balancing and correcting internal digestive imbalances. This is result of the
knowledge handed down by the ancient yogis since time immemorial. They carried out experiments
with their own inner bodies and in states of deep meditation found out that the digestive system is the
first target that stress manifests itself. The yogis of yore gave us crystal-clear descriptions of how rise in
psychological gives rise to psychosomatic ailments. This understanding is of great use to all sufferers of
digestive disorders. It helps them correct the problem and restore normal health.
Practical solution to Digestive disorders in Yoga therapy: Gomukhasana
Fold your left leg under your right leg in such a way that the heel of your left leg is
touches your right buttock.
Now take your right leg over the top of your bent left leg in such a way that your
right heel touches your left buttock.
Adjust your right knee in such a way that it is on top of your left knee.
Keep your left arm behind your back and your right arm over your right shoulder.
The back of your left hand must be in contact with your spine. At the same time
your right palm should be resting against your spine.
Try to hold the fingers of both hands behind your back.
Take your raised elbow behind your head so that your head forces down against the
inside of your raised arm.
Keep your head, neck and spine in a straight line and close your eyes.
Remain in this position for around a minute.
Release your hands, straighten your legs
Now repeat the position with your left knee uppermost and your left arm over your
left shoulder.

Respiratory System
Yoga science looks at respiration different to medical science. For example it recognises mucus
discharge as beneficial elimination of toxic waste from the body and promotes the cleansing process
using the hatha yoga shatkarmas along with heat promotion procedures. This is due to the cold weather
causing heat imbalances in the body.
Yogic perspective is a slow subtle process and discourages gross physical manipulations. Jala neti is used
to clean the sinuses. Cases of long standing sinusitis have reacted quickly and favourably to the neti
procedure. It should be performed twice a day. This will also help alleviate other ear nose and throat
disorders also.
Endocrine System
Yoga for Endocrine System is extremely important for good health. The endocrine system consists of
your thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary, adrenal, pineal, and reproductive glands. Their main function is to
generate and secrete hormones that help regulate your growth and metabolism, for reproductive
purposes and throughout pregnancy.
Certain health conditions are caused as a result of the inability of glands to secrete or produce
hormones. The regular practice of Yoga actually helps prevent the incidence of, as well as in dealing
with, a number of ailments or health problems resulting from hormonal disharmony or dysfunction.
What Is The Endocrine System?
The complex living functions of our body are controlled and monitored by a number of very important
"ductless" glands. These are called endocrine glands. Their job is to produce and secrete hormones,
otherwise called chemical emissaries in our bloodstream. The endocrine system is principally
responsible for the balance one hormone kindles a certain type of reaction, the other holds it back.
Together all act in close kinship with each other, as well as with our sympathetic nervous system. All of
them are controlled by the pituitary gland, and eventually, by the brain.
Yoga and the Glands
The Endocrine System arbitrates the close, most cherished relationship between the mind and body
emotions like fear or anger, love or hate, all suggest hormonal activity as well as, in many instances,
disharmony. Needless to say, they all strongly influence your health.
The Pituitary Gland
The Pituitary Gland is the master gland of the body that regulates the secretion of hormones in all the
other glands. It is under the direct control of the brain.
Sirshasana (Headstand) is most beneficial here.
Thyroid and Parathyroid
The Thyroid Gland is responsible for the basic metabolic rate of the body, its growth as well as cell
processes. On the other hand, the Parathyroid Gland controls the production and secretion of
phosphate calcium.
Both these glands are stimulated by the Shoulder Stand.
Pancreatic and Adrenal Glands
The secretions of the Pancreatic and Adrenal Glands are vital to life. They strongly affect our physical,
mental and emotional well-being. The pancreas, for instance, secrete insulin that helps regulate the
levels of sugar in the blood. When it dysfunctions the body suffers from what is called Diabetes. And
when it ceases to function altogether, you need those daily painful insulin injections. However it can be
helped, greatly by the
Mayurasana, Peacock Pose which helps massage the spleen and the pancreas helps greatly
Female Sex Hormones (Ovaries)
The Ovaries, the primary source of oestrogen secretion, help regulate menstruation, pregnancy,
lactation and all female physical traits. This includes complexion and sexuality.
Male Sex Hormones (Testes)
These are the primary source of testosterone. It is the male sex hormone responsible for procreation in
men.
Practice relaxation postures to help maintain a healthy balance in the male and female glands
and hormones. This relieves you of all sexual disorders and problems.
Implications of Meditation towards holistic health
We have already seen that the mind can have a profound effect on the physical condition of the body,
particularly through psycho-somatic disorders. Therefor it would be a logical conclusion to deduct that
better control of the mind would allow for improved physical and mental health.
The use of meditation is particularly prevalent in better controlling our mental state. The premise of
meditation is one of encapsulating a more relaxed state of mind removing obstacles. This improved and
relaxed state of mind is complimentary to improved physical health particularly in the case stress
induced illnesses along with other psycho-somatic disorders.
True holistic health requires a long term change in the structure of the mind. Meditation can be
practiced and the effects can be seen almost instantaneously on a personal level. This however is not
scientific in its approach and relies on personal evidence. Therefor in order to prove the efficacy of
meditation towards long term health we must rely on more scientific studies. Three studies outlined
below are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of meditation on holistic health.
1: Meditation affects our DNA (Harvard University, 2008)
A Harvard University study published in 2008 found the first compelling evidence that the Relaxation
Response (RR) the physiological response to meditation, yoga, tai chi, Qi Gong or repetitive prayer
affects our genes.
Nineteen adults were long-term daily practitioners of various RR techniques, 20 were trained in RR
eliciting techniques (breathing, mantra and mindfulness meditation) for 8 weeks, and 19 served as
controls.
By analysis of blood samples, the study found that 2209 genes were differently expressed (switched on
or off) between the long-term meditators and control group. Specifically, 1275 were up-regulated (their
activity was increased) and 934 were down-regulated (their activity was reduced). It also found that
1561 genes were expressed differently between the group who did the 8 weeks meditation training,
who were considered novice meditators, and the control group. Specifically, 874 were up-regulated and
687 were down-regulated.
In other words, meditation short or long term causes hundreds of genes to turn on or off.
Many of the genes were involved in cellular metabolism and in the bodys response to oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is one of the biological products of mental and emotional stress. It produces free
radicals and is known to be involved in a host of disease processes, including atherosclerosis, Parkinsons
disease and Alzheimers disease. It also accelerates aging at the cellular level. Ideally, we want a good
response to oxidative stress so that we can prevent the negative effects.
In the study, blood analysis found significant changes in cellular metabolism and response to oxidative
stress in the two meditation groups relative to the control group.
The scientists proposed that the Relaxation Response whether it is induced through meditation, yoga
or prayer may counteract cellular damage due to chronic psychological stress.
People have meditated for years and enjoyed better health (and a slower aging process) but many
others have been skeptical as to its benefits. Now, we have solid scientific proof of the positive genetic
effects of meditation in that it affects genes that positively influence cell metabolism and the response
to oxidative stress.
2: Meditation effects persist long after the practice. (Boston University, 2013)
The effects gained from meditation continue to affect brain function for a long time after meditation is
over, according to new research.
"This is the first time meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain
outside of a meditative state," said Gaelle Desbordes, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Athinoula A.
Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and at the Boston University
Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology.
"Overall, these results are consistent with the overarching hypothesis that meditation may result in
enduring, beneficial changes in brain function, especially in the area of emotional processing."
Before beginning the study, the researchers hypothesized that meditation assists in controlling
emotional responses, even in a non-meditative state.
During meditation, the area of the brain that contains the amygdala showed decreased activity. The
amygdala is a mass of gray matter inside of each cerebral hemisphere that is involved with the
experiencing of emotions.
When the subjects were shown images of other people that were good, bad, or neutral for a
mindfulness technique known as "compassion meditation," the amygdala was extraordinarily
responsive.
The participants were able to focus their attention and significantly reduce their emotional reactions.
The study found that they were able to retain this ability for eight weeks after the testing concluded.
The subjects demonstrated subdued emotional response and increased compassion for others when
faced with disturbing images, even when they were no longer in the meditative state.
Another group of Harvard Medical School researchers studied the effect of meditation on retaining
information. Their hypothesis was that meditators have more intentional influence over alpha rhythm -
a brain wave believed to screen out everyday distractions.
"Mindfulness meditation has been reported to enhance numerous mental abilities, including rapid
memory recall," said Catherine Kerr of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher
Research Center, both at Harvard Medical School.
"Our discovery that mindfulness meditators more quickly adjusted the brain wave that screens out
distraction could explain their superior ability to rapidly remember and incorporate new facts."
Both studies used participants that did not have prior experience with meditation. Over the course of a
two-month period and a three-month period, both groups showed significant change in their daily
normal brain function.
This research supports a belief held by some researchers - that meditation may help reduce dependency
on pharmaceutical drugs.
"The implications extend far beyond meditation," said Kerr. "They give us clues about possible ways to
help people better regulate a brain rhythm that is deregulated in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
and other conditions."
3: Meditation causes high rate of remission from depression (Department of Physiology,
Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College, New Delhi)
Sahaj Yoga is a meditative technique that has been found to have beneficial effects in some psycho-
somatic illnesses. The study was carried out on 30 cases (19 Males, 11 females, age 1845 years) of
major depression diagnosed on the basis of DSM IV criteria. The patients were then randomly divided
into two groups: Group 1 : (10 Males & 5 Females) Patients who were practicing Sahaj Yoga and also
received conventional anti-depressants. Group 2 : (9 Males & 6 Females) Patients who were only
receiving conventional anti-depressants. Training in Sahaj yoga was conducted under the supervision of
a trained Sahaj Yogi for 8 weeks. At start of the study, all the patients were subjected to Hamilton Rating
Scale for Depression (HAM-D) and Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HAM-A). Above scales were again
assessed after two months of treatment.
There was significant improvement in HAM-D as well as HAM-A scores in both Group 1 and Group 2
patients (P<0.001). However, percentage improvement in HAM-D scores and HAM-A scores in patients
receiving Sahaj Yoga was significantly higher than in Group 2 patients. The number of patients who went
into remission after two months of intervention were also significantly higher in Group 1 patients
(P=0.02). The present study demonstrates that Sahaj Yoga has got a potential role as a component in the
management of depressive disorders.

A significantly higher number of patients (46.6%) went into remission in Group 1 than in Group 2
(13.3%) (P=0.02), remission being total HAM-D score of 7 or less.
Conclusion
The initial study (Harvard, 2008) conclusively concludes that Meditative techniques affect our ability to
turn particular elements of our genes on or off. The majority of these genes related to the Relaxation
Response of the body. By having greater control on these through meditation and other techniques we
can better control our stress levels in the body and therefore reduce or remove the onset of physical
and mental ailments.
The Boston University study shows clearly the benefits of Yoga Therapy and its validity. It also shows in a
scientific setting that results from these practices are long lasting. As mentioned earlier, on a personal
level one may be able to see the effects of meditation immediately, however this study brings scientific
proof that it is not only there but lasts for a prolonged period of time after the actual practice. It also
recommended the use of Yoga therapy as a substitute for pharmaceutical drugs.
The third controlled study used meditation versus the use of pharmaceutical drugs in the treatment of
depression (depression being a particularly acute psycho-somatic disorder). The study proved that
meditation was almost four times more effective in bringing the condition into remission in comparison
to use of drugs solely. The relatively short study (8 weeks) is quite profound in the fact that it had an
extremely high rate of remission leading to conclude that meditation is an extremely effective technique
in resolving psycho-somatic illnesses.
These three studies clearly show the efficacy of meditation in changing our mental and physical state on
a genetic level rather than a superficial one. This genetic change is the ultimate method of proving the
veracity of meditations profoundly positive affects on holistic health.


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http://www.swamij.com/index-yoga-meditation-yoga.htm
http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10104.htm
http://www.traditionalyogastudies.com/articles/
http://www.hafsite.org/media/pr/yoga-hindu-origins
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www.veden-akademie.de

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