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I send my prayers and love to all those affected by the coronavirus.
To my students around the world, I am thinking of you.
May you all be well and safe!
Q/A On Ojas Pranayama
Answers to the questions on Ojas Pranayama from the last Webinar:
It’s only in the first step of this Pranayama that the exhalation is through the mouth. All other breathing is through the nose. However, it is okay to breathe through the mouth if necessary.
It is okay to use Ujjayi breath during this Pranayama as long as you can keep the breath and mind relaxed. Otherwise, focus on taking deep breaths.
In steps 1 & 3, the focus is on making the exhalations longer and steadier.
In step 2, the focus is on contraction, expansion, and relaxation.
A recommended time to practice Ojas Pranayama is just before the asana practice, or after the asana practice but before the savasana (corpse pose). However, this Pranayama can be practiced anytime on its own or with other Pranayamas as you see fit.
This Pranayama is a part of the Ojas Kriya
Here is the link for the instructions for Ojas Pranayama
The next two Webinars are on April 22nd and 23rd. There are spaces available on April 22nd.
Registration fee: $10:00 to support the Foodbank in Halifax.
Krishanji, please explain what is meant by being Antarmukhi? How is it practiced?
Once, King Abhaya has asked Sage Anidra a similar question, to which Sage Andra had replied,
” Abhaya, the five organs of the five senses are located on the face (mukha). Through the five organs, the five senses project outward. The outward projection of the five senses serves as a vehicle for the mind to travel outward to perceive and experience the outer, which is greatly influenced by the previous samskaras. The samskaras are the impressions of the actions and unfulfilled desires of past lives. The mind carries the samskaras with it from one life to the next. The five senses and the mind remain pulled outward because the outer is alluring, though it contains both pleasure and pain. The mind, wanting to achieve satisfaction, keeps running after pleasures despite the sufferings it endures. The pleasures give an appearance of inherent satisfaction that doesn’t exist. Therefore, the mind, in a quest for fulfillment, remains in the cycle of birth and death.
Abhaya, after many cycles of birth and death, a rare one recognizes the mirages in the outer. He, with the grace of his Guru combined with self-effort, manages to pull the five senses and mind back to the inner-being and keep them there. Such a rare one is called Antarmukhi. His mind and five senses get turned inward.
Abhaya, though many strive to attain the state of Antarmukhi, only two kinds of people attain it, which I will talk about another day.”
Saying so, Sage Anidra became silent. Abhaya wanted to know more, but he knew that Sage Anidra preferred to speak very little at a time. So, he too remained silent.
Shortly after, Anidra played a song on his flute, which meant:
O, virtuous man!
herein lies your struggle.
You want to know
that cannot be known.
You want to see
that cannot be shown.
Practices may bind you
Knowledge may charm you
Causing mirages within mirages
O, noble man!
there is a simpler way.
Remember the Lord!
Sing His name.
His boundless glories,
again and again acclaim.
Surely, you will know,
that needs to be known.
Lord Govind will show you,
that needs to be shown.
Cardio exercise is one of the best ways to deal with anxiety and fear. Thirty minutes of cardio twice a day, followed by yoga, pranayama, and meditation can be very helpful in dealing with today’s stresses. You may be very tempted to just sit and meditate, but that may not be of much use, especially if you are not very good at meditating. You may be just sitting there, worrying even more with your eyes closed.
When there is excessive tamas (negative energy), creating good rajas (active energy) is the way to deal with the tamas.
Even when you are in a locked-in situation, there is so much you can do inside the house. There are so many online free videos for all levels that you can follow for cardio exercise. Walk back and forth in your room. Go up and down the stairs several times a day. You can do cardio even while watching TV. Stay active. Keep the blood pumping to keep your energy levels high.
Some Wisdom from Young Wises, Very Relevant For Today
Once, when my daughter Priya was in grade one or two, for some reason ( perhaps because she had not practiced her piano) I got angry at her and told her that she was grounded for 30 minutes, and she must stay in her room. With an unhappy face, she went to her room. Not even a couple of minutes had passed when I started to feel guilty at the thought of her being unhappy and perhaps even sobbing in her room. Not being able to resist any longer, after about five minutes, I went to her room. I was not expecting what I saw. She was in her bed, leaned against 2-3 pillows, with a bag of chips and a book in her hands, I didn’t know how to react or what to say as she was doing exactly what I had told her to do, that was to stay in her room. In response to something I said, she replied,” Well, I am grounded, I might as well make the best use of this time.”
To make the best use of every situation was a great lesson I had learned from her. She has followed this wisdom all her life and has kept our family happy and strong.
This wisdom is suitable for any time but even more relevant for today’s situation when we all are grounded. Make the best use of this time. Lean against the pillows and read your favorite book. Learn something new. The Internet is a great way to learn new things. Catch up on things you have been postponing. Even when in isolation, you can still dance and laugh.
One day, when my son Amol was in grade two, he showed me his collection of hockey cards and then asked me one-by-one if I knew the players. After I failed to recognize about ten players, I could recognize one. Immediately, he looked at me and said to me, “Wow, you recognized one, even though you don’t play or watch hockey.” That was an eye-opener for me. Instead of saying that I could recognize only one, he cheered me!
That’s how he has been all his life. He always sees the good in others, a beautiful lesson that I have learned from him.
This wisdom is also suitable for any time but even more relevant in the current situation when the families may be spending more time together. It is important not to be critical of each other and not complain too much. Instead, praise and appreciate each other. Everyone has good and bad in them. The bad is easily visible, but it may require some wisdom and sensitivity to see the good in others.
Preparing For The Upcoming Webinar, March 29
I am looking forward to seeing all the registered participants who have received a confirmation letter. Please note that if you have not received a confirmation letter, you are not registered even though you may have been able to fill in the form right after the Webinar was fully booked. I will do another one for you soon.
To prepare, please follow the following instructions
The Ojas Pranayama requires contracting the chest while holding the breath. Please check with your physician whether or not you can do this if you have any heart or other conditions which may be of concern to you.
You can do this pranayama while sitting on the floor or in a chair or lying down. Once I have explained the pranayama, you just need to hear and follow the instructions. There is nothing to see. So, if you prefer to sit on the floor or lie down, keep a yoga mat and a cushion handy.
Keep a bottle of water handy. It is okay to drink water during the pranayama if needed, but I recommend that you drink before we begin the practice.
Do not eat anything substantial at least two hours before the Webinar.
Do not gather in groups. Follow the imposed restrictions in your region because of coronavirus.
Please take extra precautions to stay safe and healthy.
"Difficulties in life cannot be avoided but a wise man faces them with a smile" - Guru Nanak
A Strengthening Breathing Exercise
The following breathing exercise, Ojas Pranayama, can help strengthen the upper respiratory system.
It is a part of the OJAS Kriya which I will be teaching in my courses.
- Sit up straight or lie on your back.
- Take 8-10 deep breaths. Inhale through the nose but exhale through the mouth actively and thoroughly with a loud hissing sound.
- Relax the breath. Take your attention to the whole of the ribcage, chest, and lungs.
- With the next inhalation, expand your chest sideways. Try to make the chest and ribcage wider. Hold the breath, but keep expanding the chest and ribcage.
- Imagine that you are expanding your lungs sideways also.
- Exhale through the nose slowly. As you are exhaling, try to squeeze the chest and ribcage from the sides as if you are trying to make them narrow and smaller.
- Take 8-10 such breaths, with a short rest in between if needed. This will complete one round.
- Do three rounds of steps 2-6.
- After completing three rounds, take a deep breath. Hold the breath for 10-15 seconds. Exhale slowly with full control and try to make the expiration as long as possible. Take 5-6 such breaths, making the expiration steadier and longer with each breath.
You can do this OJAS breathing exercise twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening. If you are unable to do the complete routine, do as much as you can and slowly build up.
Laughter Is The Best Medicine
Laugh every day for 2-3 minutes. Laugh loud from your belly. It is hard to laugh when you are worried or fearful, but that’s what you need to do to come out of it.
You can combine laughing with the above Ojas breathing. Laugh first, and then do the breathing exercise.
This challenging time will be over soon. Exercise daily. Eat and rest well. Support others in any way you can.
"The pain that you have been feeling, can't compare to the joy that is coming" -Romans 8:18
Wisdom and certain practices of different religions can be beneficial to all and should be shared. We all share the same water, earth, sun, and air. Different foods that grow in different parts of the world are meant to be enjoyed by all. Scientific discovery in one part of the world becomes useful for the whole world.
Similarly, the mantras from Hindu Scriptures, which are known for their calming and energizing benefits, can be useful to all, especially now, during this global turmoil caused by coronavirus.
The mantras contain sacred energy, which is positive, powerful, peaceful, and harmonious. Chanting of these mantras, whether audibly or silently, or just by listening to them, radiates this sacred energy to our inner-beings, It combats the negative feelings of fear and worry. As a result, we feel stronger to handle difficult situations with a sense of calmness. This sacred energy also brings a variety of physical benefits by soothing the body at the cellular level.
Today I share with you two mantras, dedicated one each to Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman.
Lord Ganesha is known as the remover of obstacles, and Lord Hanuman is known for His selfless devotion and immense strength.
Their symbolic animal-like forms represent some of their virtues like strength, kindness, wisdom, and generosity, etc. Their different virtues are expressed in different mantras dedicated to them. By chanting those mantras, we assimilate some of their virtues.
Mantra of Lord Ganesha
Om Gam Ganapatye Namaha
(This is the base mantra)
The base mantra is also chanted with other mantras as below:
Om Gam Ganapatye Namo Namaha
Shri Sidhi Vinayak Namo Namaha
Ashat Vinayak Namo Namaha
Ganpati Bapa Morya
More Ganesha mantras with beautiful singing:
Mantra of Lord Hanuman
Om Han (or ham) Hanumatye Namaha
(This is the base mantra)
The base mantra is also chanted with other mantras as below:
Om Han (or Ham) Hanumate Namo Namaha
Shri Hanumate Namo Namaha
Jai Jai Hanumate Namo Namaha
Shri Ram Dutaye Namo Namaha
Below is Hanuman Chalisa, a beautiful Lord Hanuman song, in divine voices.
One can sing along with the above videos, or other audios/videos available online, at any time of the day, even while doing your house chores.
Reciting the above two base mantras silently, eleven times, early in the morning prepares you for the day, and reciting them eleven times before going to bed helps one sleep better.
These mantras are not just for difficult times. During good times, chanting of these mantras brings better health, prosperity, peace, and fulfillment. The mantras, however, are not a substitute for self-effort.
While chanting the mantras, don’t be too concerned about their proper pronunciation. What matters most is that we chant them with devotion, humbleness, and gratitude
May God give us the inner-strength
to go through this difficult period with courage and acceptance!
Hindu Temples Are Not Just For Hindus.
Hindus respect all religions and believe in one omnipresent God. But still, there are a few Hindu temples in India and abroad where only Hindus can enter. Anyone who may not look like a Hindu can be questioned and barred from entering.
A long time ago, almost all Hindus were vegetarians. They lived a life of purity and non-violence and considered themselves to be purer than non-Hindus. Therefore, to preserve the sanctity of the temples, non-Hindus were prohibited from entering many temples, This tradition is still being practiced in some temples even though the old and weak reasoning is no longer valid. Today, a large percentage of Hindus eat meat. Conversely, a large number of non-Hindus are now vegetarians and live a spiritual life.
As a Hindu, I believe that everyone must be allowed to enter Hindu temples, except for any safety concerns. There may be some rules for entering a temple, but they should be the same for Hindus and non-Hindus.
If you are a Hindu and if there is such a temple in your area, you should make an effort to educate the temple authorities and change this wrong tradition.
“I live in the heart of every being” Bhagavad Gita
Replacing Om with a Cross
A few years ago, I went to Mauritius to conduct a yoga course. There, a man came to talk to me about something that had been disturbing him for many years. It was a long story, but in short, the burden of supporting his family had fallen on his shoulders at a very young age. They were very poor and were struggling. One day a Christian missionary approached him and offered to help him, but only if he would convert to Christianity. Out of desperation, he agreed and was converted. He replaced his OM necklace with a Cross. He didn’t consider that to be a big deal then. But as he grew older, it began to bother him. He started to feel ashamed and guilty.
As he was sharing his story, there were tears in his eyes. He believed that he had committed a sin and wanted to know if he could become a Hindu again, and how? I hugged him and told him that he could consider himself to be a Hindu from that moment on and that no formal ritual was necessary. I suggested that he should make a Hindu altar in his home and perform a Puja, and he should revert back to his original identity. He seemed relieved.
The practice of religion-conversion arises out of smallness and ignorance. Converting people by taking advantage of their helpless situations is a disgraceful mission. People should have the freedom to choose their religion or have no religion, but no one should be bribed or forced to convert.
As a student of yoga, regardless of your religion or belief, you must challenge what seems wrong. That’s one of the major principles of Karma Yoga.
I Would Like To Help You
Several years ago, I introduced the SAHC practice in Sri Sri Yoga programs. It consists of a series of unique movements and muscular contractions that are helpful in strengthening and rejuvenating the body. Those who have learned the practice have reported a variety of benefits.
I have now refined and expanded this practice and have also combined it with a few breath-strengthening exercises. I have named it ‘Ojas’, meaning increased vitality. The regular practice of Ojas, I believe, provides additional benefits of strengthening involuntary muscles, and may even help with breathing disorders and early symptoms of Parkinson’s.
If you (or someone you know) have early symptoms of Parkinson’s or breathing disorders which have no cure, I would like to work with you by conducting a few one-to-one sessions of Ojas on Skype. To begin with, I will accept only 15 people. Please write to me at email@example.com
Fee: Make a donation to your favorite charity. Suggested donation
$500.00 CAD, or whatever you can afford. Healing begins by helping others.
Dancing Empty Shell
The source of water in a river is water. The water in the river throughout its journey remains water, and always connected to the water ahead and behind. It expands into its vastness when it enters the Ocean.
Similarly, the source of Consciousness that you are is Consciousness. Throughout the journey of your life, you remain Consciousness. When the ignorance disappears, you expand into your vastness, the Consciousness.
A river flows effortlessly downward toward the Ocean. Its flow and merger into the Ocean are dance-like. Similar is the journey of a devotee. It also flows downward. A devotee becomes so humble and empty that he becomes non-existent. Effortlessly and dancing, he merges with God and expands into His vastness.
“Wearing bells in my anklets, I dance with my Beloved. My life is with Him. What remains of me is only an empty shell” -Mira Bai.
“Singing and dancing, I go to my Beloved'” – Kabir
Tips For Boosting Your Immune System
- Do cardio exercise followed by asanas, a minimum of 45 minutes daily, five days a week.
- Get good sleep, 6-7 hours daily.
- Eat healthy vegetarian balanced meals.
- Don’t go hungry for too long. Carry healthy snacks with you.
- Cook at home.
- Eat 4-6 prunes daily for a proper bowel movement
- Drink 1.5-2 liters 0f water daily.
- Some of the immunity booster spices/roots/seeds/foods are given below with daily dosage which can be added to your food.
- Garlic, 1-2 cloves
- Ginger, 1/2 teaspoon grated
- Red onion, 1/4 cup cut pieces
- Red chili pepper, 1/4 teaspoon crushed or small pieces
- Cloves, 3-4 pieces
- Saffron, 12-15 strands (I add it in warm almond milk)
- Turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon
- Pumpkin seeds, 2 teaspoons
Please take all the recommended precautions diligently to stay safe from COVID-19. I send my prayers and love to all those affected.
I Am Spoiled
I am spoiled
I don’t listen
They said to face East
to worship God.
I faced West
I had my Beloved
all to myself.
I am spoiled
I don’t listen
They said God was within
I looked outside
There He was, everywhere.
I am spoiled
I don’t listen
They said the purpose
was to find oneself.
I jumped in the Ocean
I am spoiled
I don’t listen
The Blessed Loser
A devotee never gains
He loses it all
First, he loses his world
Then, he loses himself
to his Beloved