The incredible Swami Rama starts off his series on the Yoga Sutras. He discusses the word YOGA in a series of 85 10-minute youtube videos.
YOGA from the Sanskrit root word ("yuj") which means to "unite" or "join" refers to the individual soul uniting with the cosmic soul.
I love the way Swami Rama further explains why Yoga is not a religion. Religions come from yoga. Yoga does not come from religion.
YOGA in other RELIGIOUS TEXTS
Swami Rama clearly references yoga in the Bible. He points out yoga exists everywhere including temples, churches, mosques and synagogues. Yoga is not to be mistaken as being from only India or a part of Hinduism because most of the popular yogis are from India. Yoga has no limits or boundaries.
AUTHENTIC YOGA IN TORONTO
We don't have to put a hole in our wallets to fly to India in order to learn about yoga. We are presently living in the Kali Yuga (the Dark Ages). Consequently, most of the teachings in India are lost and/or degraded. I witness this more and more during my extended stays in Bombay. Many foreigners travel to India and experience the same. My best source of authentic teachings and practices I receive right here in our cultural mosaic city of Toronto!
Whatever stones are thrown your way in life get up and dust it off your shoulders with a big smile. All the obstacles in life are a blessing in disguise. Moods and feelings are infectious so if you are going to spread a disease make sure it is happiness! When all comes tumbling down a small ounce of positivity can help drown the sadness, anger, disappointment or any other negative thought in your mind. Think of how lighting a candle in a pitch dark room complete dissolves the darkness. There’s no need to compare your life to anyone else’s. We all have our own unique story for a reason. There’s no point dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. Live, love, dance, sing, paint, or do whatever it is you need to do to feed your soul and enjoy the present because this moment will never come again!
Always remember that you belong to no one, and no one belongs to you. Reflect that some day you will suddenly have to leave everything in this world, so make the acquaintanceship of God now. Prepare yourself for the coming astral journey of death by daily riding in the balloon of God-perception. Through delusion you are perceiving yourself as a bundle of flesh and bones, which at best is a nest of troubles. Meditate unceasingly, that you may quickly behold yourself as the Infinite Essence, free from every form of misery.
~ Lahiri Mahasaya
“Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha mokshayoho.” Which translates to, “As the mind, so the man; bondage or liberation are in your own mind.”
Just started reading the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and it opened up nicely with this Sanskrit saying. Your mind is the only thing which binds you or sets you free. It’s up to you to decide what you want to feel and be. Also I quote, “The entire outside world is your own projection.”Read More
Beautiful words of wisdom from this young little toddler.Read More
With one snowfall after another this winter in Toronto and other parts of the world it seems that many people are suffering from the flu bug going around. This sea urchin look-a-like is one of my favourite herbs to combat the symptoms. Traditionally it is used for wounds, burns, inflammations of the gums, toothache and sore throats, colds, coughs, mumps, measles, gonorrhoea, sinus infections, bladder infections and other illnesses. Also, it is believed to treat snake and insect bites. Regardless, it is a great immune system booster, wards off infections and can be taken as a laxative. Historically, it was used by Native American Indian tribes. All of its 9 species are native to eastern and central America. It comes in the form of a tincture or a capsule but I prefer it as a tea with lemon and honey. Here’s a link at which you can read about how it was named and more interesting information about echinacea http://www.cloverleaffarmherbs.com/echinacea/#sthash.pMXhVASS.dpbs
Rather than taking the flu vaccination it may be a better idea to keep a nice stock of Echinacea on hand. Here are the findings of one of the largest ever studies done on this healing herb. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2215442/Largest-study-echinacea-finds-herbal-remedy-protect-colds.html
“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” -Genesis 1:29Read More
The great Tibetan yogi Milarepa mastered the practice of Tummo which involves increasing the body temperature. With unusual extremely cold temperatures around the world and astronomically priced winter gear it definitely would be worth the investment to learn the amazing techniques of Tummo Reiki to keep your body from freezing into an ice pop. But of course the benefits of Tummo are much more than just to increase the body temperature like the psychic powers which appear and eventually the ability to go on to learn the Powa practice of the transfer of consciousness at the time of death.
I recently finished reading about the wonderful story of Milarepa’s trials and yogic achievements in Life of Milarepa which I highly recommend each person to read at least once in their life. It is a story which many of us can relate to. It may seem impossible the way he survived without proper nourishment and clothing in the winter climate but with the way things are taking place around the world it would be very valuable to learn from this very humble and persistent yogi.
Tummo Reiki doesn’t seem to be very popular like the traditional Reiki systems but I must say it is very powerful. I was blessed to have a healing session given by a friend/colleague/teacher yesterday and it was incredible that I could not wait to share my experience. It was as though a vortex of pure energy entered my body and cast away whatever was bothering me from having restless nights the past few days.
Wherever you are residing in the world you never know where your karma may lead you to or how mother nature may surprise you with extreme conditions in which Tummo Reiki and the story of the Great Yogi Milarepa will be your most valuable tools for survival.Read More
“Sing songs that none have sung, think thoughts that ne’er in the brain have rung; walk in paths that none have trod; weep tears as none have shed for God. Give peace to all to whom none other gave, claim him your own who’s everywhere disclaimed. Love all with love that none have felt and brave the battle of life with strength unchained.”
– Paramahansa YoganandaRead More
“All methods of healing are really indirect ways of rousing the life energy, which is the true and direct healer of all diseases.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda ~
We have all the resources within ourselves to heal ourselves. If we think pure thoughts and fill our minds with Light we can overcome any disease which manifests in our body. However, in today’s time when we have come with karma accumulated from thousands of years of incarnations we have become too engaged in our senses and attachment that we suffer and fall ill. Thankfully spirits have come in different times in different places and transmitted to masters different modalities of healing who have then passed the teaching to others. If you happen to come across one of these great masters which is very rare then take it as the biggest blessing you will ever receive. If not then it would be good to do your homework to find out the source of the teachings given.
I have encountered some people that received incorrect teachings or symbols in Reiki which was very disappointing because they were unable to practice for many years. Although Reiki has no negative effects it is still crucially important that you are transmitted the correct teachings because one day you may be asked to teach and it would be difficult to teach with a clear conscience not knowing if what you are presenting to your students is correct. Authenticity is so important.
I began my spiritual life in February of 2010 with Mystical Yoga and Reiki. At first I was unable to comprehend all of this myself. I began learning Reiki by a Reiki Master who had a Guru. I also ended up learning from the Guru eventually. But when I attended my first real yoga retreat I had absolutely no clue what a Guru was and what the importance of a Guru was. To be honest I was completely dumbfound about Hinduism or spirituality for that matter. I was also swayed away by what some of the Hindu priests were preaching in the temples which I used to attend with my family. Most of the people I have spoken with about this also had similar experiences in their respective places of worship.
I started having flashbacks and memories of my childhood. I remember when I was in high school I went on a trip with my Youth Group to Yogaville in Virginia, USA. I was alarmed by what I saw there. I mean don’t get me wrong it was a beautiful and peaceful retreat with a temple constructed in the shape of a lotus flower. I remember all of the people gathering for laughing yoga classes in the day time and in the evenings for a kirtan. Although laughing yoga is not a part of true mystical yoga and most of the yoga classes offered all over the world appear to be modified from the true mystical teachings. In any case, upon returning from this trip I questioned what were these people doing in the middle of nowhere most of whom were caucasian and chanting worship songs to Hindu deities. I must say this was one of the first times I started to have so many questions about “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose?” because I felt like they had found something which made them complete and yet I was missing this. I also felt ashamed that I did not practice or make an effort to understand Hinduism or anything spiritual for that matter. Even still today I read as much as I can but it seems to never be enough.
It was a blessing in disguise that I had terrible back pain in 2010 because my spiritual back wasn’t able to support itself without a true Enlightened Guru. I felt relieved when I heard my Guru say to me “I have been waiting many lifetimes for you to come to me”. I finally found my home and a spiritual family on Earth to help me heal myself… one that would encourage me to find within myself my true self. I think everyday how blessed I am to have a real Enlightened Guru to present to me the real teachings to heal myself and to help heal others.Read More
“How much you listen to God is how much He will listen to you.” -Romanian Saint Arsenie Boca
Arsenie Boca is one of my favourite saints. I visited his peaceful monastery in Romania a few years ago and I must say this is one of the best places in the world. This monastery has the most stunning garden in the world. I won’t ruin the surprise for those who haven’t visited the place. I know most people dream of seeing magnificent skyscrapers but visiting a monastery touches your soul leaving memories which are indescribable. If you haven’t visited a monastery yet I suggest you add it to your bucket list for 2014.Read More
It’s no wonder myrrh was one of the gifts presented to the newborn Jesus as the three wise men followed the star and arrived in Bethlehem. According to some research studies myrrh has several healing properties including an answer to grave diseases like cancer.
“Gift Of The Magi” Bears Anti-Cancer Agents, Researchers Suggest
On Saturday I was blessed to have the opportunity to be in presence of an icon of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus which had myrrh streaming from it. The icon radiated such enormous energy. I have visited several monasteries in Romania which had icons that miraculously healed people that had very serious diseases.
This extraordinary icon reminded of me of the miracle which took place in 1995 when I was a child growing up in Charleston, South Carolina. I remember all of our close friends and families gathered to share this experience together. Our eyes were amazed by the Lord Ganesh statue which was drinking milk. Here’s a video I found on youtube which shows exactly how Ganesh drank.Read More
The wonders of simple prayers are magnificent! I came across a beautiful article about the benefits of prayers and what the studies revealed about the effects they have on your health, mental concentration and life.
Why People Who Pray Are Healthier Than Those Who Don’t
If you want to achieve maximum health, here are a few things that you should do: exercise regularly, eat nutritious and minimally processed foods, drop those extra pounds — and pray. That’s right, regular prayer and meditation has been shown in numerous scientific studies to be an important factor in living longer and staying healthy.
Prayer is the most widespread alternative therapy in America today. Over 85 percent of people confronting a major illness pray, according to aUniversity of Rochester study. That is far higher than taking herbs or pursuing other nontraditional healing modalities. And increasingly the evidence is that prayer works.
It doesn’t matter if you pray for yourself or for others, pray to heal an illness or for peace in the world, or simply sit in silence and quiet the mind — the effects appear to be the same. A wide variety of spiritual practices have been shown to help alleviate the stress levels, which are one of the major risk factors for disease. They also are powerful ways to maintain a positive outlook and successfully weather the trials which come to all of us in life.
The relationship between prayer and health has been the subject of scores of double-blind studies over the past four decades. Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiovascular specialist atHarvard Medical School and a pioneer in the field of mind/ body medicine discovered what he calls “the relaxation response,” which occurs during periods of prayer and meditation. At such times, the body’s metabolism decreases, the heart rate slows, blood pressure goes down, and our breath becomes calmer and more regular.
This physiological state is correlated with slower brain waves, and feelings of control, tranquil alertness and peace of mind. This is significant because Benson estimates that over half of all doctor visits in the U.S. today are prompted by illnesses, like depression, high blood pressure, ulcers and migraine headaches, that are caused at least in part by elevated levels of stress and anxiety.
Dr. Andrew Newberg, director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study of Tibetan Buddhists in meditation and Franciscan nuns in prayer which showed comparable decreased activity in the parts of the brain that are associated with sense of self and spatial orientation in both groups. He also found that prayer and meditation increase levels of dopamine, which is associated with states of well being and joy.
The effects of spiritual practice appear to be more than just the result of enhanced focus and concentration. Ken Pargement of Bowling Green State University instructed one group of people who suffer migraines to meditate 20 minutes each day repeating a spiritual affirmation, such as “God is good. God is peace. God is love.” The other group used a nonspiritual mantra: “Grass is green. Sand is soft.” The spiritual meditators had fewer headaches and more tolerance of pain than those who had focused on the neutral phrases.
But are the calming effects of spiritual practice temporary, or do they last even after we get up from the meditation cushion or leave a prayer service to reenter our less than serene lives?
In one National Institutes of Health funded study, individuals who prayed daily were shown to be 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure than those without a regular prayer practice. Research at Dartmouth Medical School found that patients with strong religious beliefs who underwent elective heart surgery were three times more likely to recoverthan those who were less religious. A 2011 study of inner city youth with asthma by researchers at the University of Cincinnati indicates that those who practiced prayer and meditation experienced fewer and less severe symptoms than those who had not. Other studies show that prayer boosts the immune system and helps to lessen the severity and frequency of a wide range of illnesses.
A recent survey reported in the Journal of Gerontology of 4,000 senior citizens in Durham, NC, found that people who prayed or meditated coped better with illness and lived longer than those who did not.
But the question remains: By what physiological mechanisms does prayer impact our health? Herbert Benson’s most recent research suggests that long term daily spiritual practices help to deactivate genes that trigger inflammation and prompt cell death. That the mind can effect the expression of our genes is exciting evidence for how prayer may influence the functioning of the body at the most fundamental level.
But what about praying for others? On the question of whether intercessionary prayer works, the jury is till out. Slightly over half the research done to date suggests that it helps, wile the rest concludes that there is no measurable effect. Critics of these studies say that there is a big difference between praying more or less mechanically and at a distance for a stranger because a researcher has told you to do so and the heartfelt prayers for friends and relatives which arise spontaneously from within.
Prayer, unlike say the behavior of a rat in a maze, cannot be directly observed, and the subtle effects on self and others are difficult to quantify and assess. Moreover, it would be wrong to view prayer as merely a technique to heal illness and promote physical health.
Spiritual practice aims to connect the individual with God or a Higher Power, to open one to the Divinity dwelling within the self, and to make one fully present to life in the here and now. These are not goals that lend themselves to being measured in double blind experiments. The sense of deep peace and radiant well being that spiritual practitioners in different religious traditions report are also not testable by scientific means.
What science can tell us is that people who pray and meditate trend to be statistically more healthy and live longer than those who do not. Whether these boons are merely unintended side effects of still deeper spiritual benefits remains a matter of faith.
Whether you worship Christ, Krishna, Kali or Allah,
you actually worship the one Light that is also in you,
since It pervades all things.
Everything originates from Light,
everything in its essence is Light.
~ Sri Anandamayi MaRead More
While in Romania I was introduced to a very distinctly flavoured herb…. dill. During this frigid Toronto winter I have missed this profound taste in piping hot soup which I used to drink back in Romania. I found some interesting information about this bold tasting herb.
Some of its health benefits include using it as a digestive aid to calm upset stomach, reduce acid reflux, and prevent diarrhea. It protects against free radicals and carcinogens. It’s used as an anti-bacterial. Steeped in hot water it can be sipped on as tea to aid with insomnia.
It would be great to test out some new recipes using this wonderful herb. Here’s a link I found to a site that has some simple yet appetizing recipes which you may enjoy….