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Category: Yoga Postures

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January 26
2012

Karin
US

Question

When beginning my meditation practice, should I do hatha yoga before or after energization exercises, or does it matter?

Thank you

Tyagini Dharmadevi

Answer

Dear Karin,

Thank you for your question. I believe it depends upon you and whether Energization Exercises leave you feeling more inward and ready for meditation - or yoga postures do.

Do the one that feels most inward right before you start your meditation. Either way, doing both Energization Exercises and Hatha Yoga before your meditation is incredibly beneficial! Great work!

Cyril
Ireland

Question

Hi,

Is the objective to straighten out the spine completely?

I ask only because again there are diagrams of the spine in yoga books with the centers where the spine has the characteristic elongated "stretched out S" shape.

Thanks for your clarification.

Cyril

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Hello Cyril,

I'm very glad that you asked this question, because it's quite possible to go seriously wrong in pursuit of a straight spine - in asana practice, or in life generally.

When yogis say "straight spine" (synonym: neutral spine) they mean a spine in its natural curves: inward curve in the lumbar spine (around waist level), outward curve in the back of the chest, and inward curve in the neck. We want to have such a straight spine at all times - in asana practice, in meditation, in life generally - unless we are deliberately bending the spine one way or another.

Cyril
Ireland

Question

Hi,

When in an Asana and my breath is under no strain but the muscle seems to be burning up should I just hold it as along as I can maintain the even breath?

This seems to be more obvious in poses like the bridge for e.g.

Thanks for your advice.

Cyril

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Hello Cyril,

Ananda Yoga practice is about raising awareness, and for that, working inwardly with the life-force is key. If a muscle is "burning," you will be preoccupied with the physical (regardless of whether the breath is smooth). This will diminish your awareness of the life-force - and hence your ability to work with it. Consequently you will be less able to raise your awareness through the practice.

Cyril
Ireland

Question

Hi,

Recently I have been having success (I feel and think) in the double breath technique as prescribed by Yogananda. I got the sensation of energy gently pulsing up back side of head and in face which was very enjoyable (like a sprinkling of refreshing rain on a burning desert!) Are there guidelines for how long we should do this for. i,e min and max time, to avoid too much energy being aroused in body with nowhere for it to go.

Thanks

Cyril

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Hello Cyril,

Yes, it is indeed an enjoyable technique. The exact nature of the experience can vary from person to person, and even from time to time with the same person. So don't be surprised if yours changes at some point.

There's no minimum length of practice (even just one breath is good). As for the maximum length, it's more about monitoring the effects than the time. Some people hyperventilate with too much double breathing; don't continue the technique if you begin to feel light-headed. Also, because the technique moves a lot of energy, there can be times when too much double breathing makes you feel agitated, irritable, or anxious; that's a sign to stop.

Cyril
Ireland

Question

Hi Friends,

Sometimes coming up out of postures like the standing forward stretch with clasped fingers outstretched behind I get a little dizzy ( occassionally have needed to rest against something for support ). Sometimes it feels like I am swaying gently side to side aswell. What is the dizziness/ light headed ness symptomatic of? Is this more to do with increased energy or blood pressure. GP always says my bp is fine. Am I trying to fly too high too quickly?.

Thanks for your advice.

Cyril

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Hello Cyril,

What's happening to you is quite common, and it is usually related to blood pressure. People with low blood pressure are especially susceptible, but it can happen to anyone. A sudden reversion to the upright position can cause a significant lowering of blood pressure in the chest and head, a shift that's more than the body's circulatory system can compensate for gracefully.

Isa
India

Question

Swamiji in his Art and Science of Raja yoga, says that women during menstrual cycle should avoid stomach poses. What are the other poses to be avoided? What about Mahamudra and Kriya? Has Master talked about these things?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Hello Isa,

The reason for this caution is to avoid putting excessive pressure on the lower abdominal region during menstruation. For some women it might make no difference, but for others there can be discomfort. So poses such as Dhanurasana (Bow), Salabhasana (easy version of Locust), and Mayurasana (Peacock) should be avoided. Uddiyana Bandha (stomach lock) should be done gently, if at all.

Casey
England

Question

Can the Energization Exercises be practised effectively by people who have balance problems or other physical mobility difficulties?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

The answer is, "Absolutely!" In fact, if practiced correctly and regularly, the Energization Exercises can improve physical functionality of many kinds, because they help one cultivate bodily awareness and control.

I've known people to gain significant benefits from practicing the exercises while confined to a hospital bed or wheelchair. Energization offers many more possibilities for the physically impaired than any other form of exercise I know, because they emphasize working with energy, not just the physical body.

September 9
2009

Brian M Dotson
Us

Question

I teach yoga out in the community. I am a firefighter, and truly believe that my brothers and sisters could use yoga both physically and spiritually. They are a very "fit" group, but the rates of pulled muscles and back problems is astounding.

Has anyone worked with someone or have some insight to how I can best translate the benefits of yoga on a level they might understand?

Answer

Dear Brian,

We put your question out to members of the Ananda Yoga Teacher Association who are teaching in many different settings. Due to space limitations I cannot include all their answers here, but I will summarize.

All agreed that the best approach is to share your experience of how yoga helps meet needs that are important to your students. So don't start with esoteric aspects. Instead emphasize the practical, tangible benefits such as:

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