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Benefits of Yoga

What is prana?

Prana is the subtle yet dynamic life force which permeates the whole body. Prana is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘constant motion’.

Prana circulates throughout the body via pathways called ‘nadis’. Nadis provide energy and operate within a vast communication network of fibre-like links carrying ‘prana’ back and forth in every direction. This pranic life force accumulates in six main centres or ‘chakras’ along the spinal column corresponding to the nerve plexuses in the gross body and culminating at the 7th centre at the crown, the sahasrara.

Awareness of prana and visualisation can be fostered and enhanced through various Yoga techniques for therapeutic purposes and can result in healing on many levels.

Benefits

Yoga & Meditation have individual benefits and many in common for the body, mind and spirit. Some of these are listed below.

Physical:

Mental:

Psychological:

Spiritual:

Yoga & Your Inner Sanctuary

Wellbeing Magazine, August 2003

For most of us the word sanctuary evokes a sense of peace, tranquillity and rest. The word itself draws one inward-the dictionary defines it as a holy place of refuge.

So how do Yoga & Meditation show us the way towards more peace in our lives and how do we go about finding this ‘inner sanctuary’?

At Calma Lifestyle, the ‘inner sanctuary’ and its development is at the heart of all its classes. This place of peace, freely accessible to each one of us, can become the means for regeneration, for rejuvenation and even more importantly, for healing.

The practice of Hatha Yoga gently begins to free the mind and body from stress, releasing blockages in the muscular, nervous and glandular systems. With consistent practice, our awareness of all aspects of our ‘selves’ sensitises us to our energies, both external and internal. We begin to experience a sense that within each of us lies an inner, far more subtle energy, a life force or prana.

This vital but subtle force can be utilized via the breath. Breath control-pranayama- is just the tool we need to access as well as deepen our sensitivity, to journey towards our inner sanctuary. The practice of Yoga Nidra-relaxation-gives us the opportunity to ‘let go’-to enter into a child-like state of freedom and rest. Step by step, we literally begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The other piece of the puzzle is Meditation. At Calma Lifestyle, Meditation is practised both within the class framework and separately. Techniques are provided which help to overcome physical, mental and emotional obstacles. The focus can also incorporate inner healing - we have cleared the path to the doorway within and can now enter the inner sanctuary where we can draw on the power and compassion of the Inner Self.

Pranic Healing in a Modern World

by Lydia Dyhin, from International Light-Journal of the International Yoga Teachers Association, Oct-Dec.,2002

Just recently, I went along to see the Dalai Lama with one of my daughters. To walk out of the car park in the morning for the ticket distribution and be confronted by 11,000 people standing in a single queue-a very, very, very long queue, brought home to me what an insatiable thirst people in our modern world have for meaning and spiritual healing in their life. Later that afternoon, it was an honour to be present at a sharing of such clarity, humility and resounding simplicity.

We returned home very enthused and I picked up the Dalai Lama’s book: The Art of Happiness and resolved to finish it this time. The pages of the third chapter jumped out of the book at me as I had only just been contemplating those very thoughts. The chapter is called: ‘Training the mind for Happiness’ and in very practical terms, it discusses the process of retraining the mind and how this in turn affects the body:

“The systematic training of the mind... is possible because of the very structure and function of the brain... Neuroscientists have documented the fact that the brain can design new patterns, new combinations of nerve cells and neurotransmitters... in response to new input. In fact, our brains are malleable, ever changing, reconfiguring their wiring, according to new thoughts and experiences... By mobilizing our thoughts and practicing new ways of thinking, we can reshape our nerve cells and change the way our brains work.” [1]

This process is an incredibly significant one as it gives us hope to alter any aspect of ourselves we so choose. Yogis have known about this process for thousands of years-modern man’s awareness and self-knowledge now seems to be catching up. The most important element which bridges the gap between the mind and the body and can lead to change manifests as the presence of Prana.

The stimulating articles in the last two issues of International Light magazine on ‘healing’, in particular, Julie Friedenberger’s thoughts on the healing power of Yoga in the April-June issue, inspired me to reflect on my own experience with regard to this. Julie very importantly makes the distinction between curing and healing. ‘Healing’ she convincingly states, ‘emanates from the inner resources which we all have’ [2] . In my view, this inner resource manifests as prana, a Life Force with an innate intelligence and therapeutic power. This prana is also highly dynamic yet extremely subtle so if we are to ‘tune in’ so to speak, we could compare it to the same way we tune in to our favourite radio station: we focus, listen and refine until we become sensitive to the appropriate frequency.

In my own experience, Yoga can assist one greatly in attempts to harness this prana and actually utilize it via visualisation, breathwork and meditation.

The Dalai Lama’s premise-imbibing new ways of thinking can re-program our whole body and in turn support our efforts towards healing and happiness - is hugely sigificant. The bridge between the mind and the body is constantly at our fingertips, or should I say, within each one of us and all around us in the form of prana. Modern scientists are now beginning to realise just how much these two aspects of our Being are in tune with each other but more importantly that each one of us has a choice. At any moment, we are able to choose to acknowledge, accept and express gratitude for our innate power to transform ourselves- physically, emotionally and spiritually.’ Healing is’, as Julie states, ‘a matter of integrating all of these aspects of our being’ [3].

Such transformations in our lives can in this way become stepping- stones towards even greater awareness, knowledge and alignment with our higher Selves. By surrendering to the Divine, expressing gratitude and hopefully receiving the gift of grace, a deeper and deeper understanding and experience is something to look forward to.

[1] The Art of Happiness-a handbook for living, His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Howard Cutler, M.D. Hodder Headline Australia P/L. 2000. p.44

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