Archive for the ‘yoga’ Category

by Naval Deshbandu

The body is the gross aspect of the Mind, or the Mind, is the subtle counterpart to our physical body. One affects the other. Why? Simply, because they are connected to each; they are part of the same system. To put it simply, there is a complementarity of structure and function.

When we twist our body into specific poses, or hold specific postures, specific organs are emphasized or attended to. Massaging of internal organs keeps them functioning optimally. And brain functioning is definitely tied to the rather delicate chemistry and complex balance of hormones and other fluids that make up our bio-matrix.  The greater the harmony of the inter-working of our biology, the greater is its efficiency in processing and functioning. Importantly, the mind is quieter, and the chatter is less.

The purpose of Yoga is to calm and quiet the mind.

Once the noise within the mind (perhaps stemming from social conditioning, or limiting cultural-contexts or physical diseases or discomforts) has died down, the mind is free from itself to experience that which is. And that which is, is experientially vastness, fullness and inter-connectedness. Consciousness can then fully meet itself having curled up onto it-self.

A human expression of such an experience is typically one of joy and liveliness.

Yoga – Physical flexing, twisting, contorting is perhaps a mimic to waves of Consciousness falling back upon itself.

Breath has an unusually important role to play in attainment of Yoga.

Holding specific postures, directing breath, controlling the breath gives the mind, body, brain time, albeit short, to not Be. This allows for a process of reconstruction and reorganization of something integral to happen. It is almost as if the very tendrils of our consciousness are stretched or flexed. Limited awareness derived from a physical sensory plane is being transcended.

Thus specific Yoga postures bring into play specific vital organs of our body, and allow the corresponding units of awareness to untie and de-knot. This releases great deal of pent up stresses and strains at multiple-levels of our existence. This makes for a healthier, freer, fully functioning brain.

about Naval:  Naval is a certified teacher of the Sri Sri Yoga course and teaches often at the Metuchen Art of Living center.

See Sri Sri Yoga Experiences blogpost  for experiences of Sri Sri Yoga course.



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Here are experiences of two participants of the March Sri Sri Yoga course taught by Naval Deshbandhu at the Metuchen Art of Living center.

by Mark Mocarski

I have been associated with Art of Living for approximately one year. I completed the Part 1 course, have done Kriya follow up sessions as well as other miscellaneous activities. I would certainly not claim that I spend all of my spare time at Art of Living, but I do enjoy and find benefits in the limited times that I am around the group(s). Recently, I received a newsletter from Art of Living. One of the topics covered was “Yoga for Weight Loss”. If you were to see me, you would know that this was NOT directed toward me since I am a fairly slender man. Although I didn’t see the need for the weight loss benefits of yoga, I continued to read the information. By the time I was done, I realized that Sri Sri Yoga has many more benefits than weight loss and at this time of my life, I could definitely use help in some of those areas.

While reading the benefits of Sri Sri Yoga, I realized that I was out of balance in so many areas and was hopeful that Yoga could help. I saw “increases energy, improves digestion, increases flexibility, strengthens muscles and bones, enhances and strengthens internal organs including endocrine (stress) organs” and more! I thought to myself, “ok, I’m a stressed out, stiff, lethargic weakling with digestive issues…..Maybe this can help me”.

I shared this opportunity with my daughter and she reluctantly agreed to join me. She is not really into the spiritual/meditative side of things, but she saw the opportunity to clear her mind by experiencing Sri Sri Yoga. Plus, she just loves to hang out with me.

I do realize the need for exercise, but must admit, I don’t like going to the gym or running 5 miles a day, nor do I want to spend my time doing that. I’ve always enjoyed yoga, but have not practiced it in a long time and I didn’t like many of the yoga videos that I own as use for instruction. The Sri Sri Yoga course is an awesome balance of yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation. It was well structured and well taught. Additionally, it was FUN! Yoga videos and yoga classes at a local gym are no match for Sri Sri Yoga!

I think the Sri Sri Yoga course can be a great experience for anyone at any level. I think it can be used as a great introduction to the Art of Living experience for someone who would like to evaluate the program. I
believe it is a great tool to begin to add structure to your life. It creates a level of commitment within
you to attend the sessions and to continue the practice after the course ends. What I really like is
that by the end of the course, I was able to “remember” all of the postures, breathing techniques and meditations which allows me to continue my practice at home. My major concern, while I was learning
the practice, was that I would not be able to remember the postures at home. I was planning on buying
a book or a DVD to help me along. By the last day, the moves became intuitive (with the instructor’s
help of course) and I simply flow from one posture to the next.

I’ve been practicing at home for the few weeks since the course ended. I can feel an amazing difference. I have suffered with lower back pain/stiffness for years. I believe it was caused by extremely tight back and hamstring muscles (throw some stress in the mix too). Since I’ve been doing Sri Sri Yoga, my back pain has subsided, my digestive issues are reduced, stress is more manageable and mental focus/energy is increased. All of my “conditions” are not fully gone, and I must admit, I do struggle with some back pain while doing the Yoga, BUT, there is a definite improvement! I will continue to practice and improve. I will share my status in a few weeks once my back pain is all gone, my focus is fully improved, stress levels are further reduced and digestive issues resolved.

I hope the information provided here will help you make a decision to participate in the Sri Sri Yoga course. I’m sure you will find similar benefits and will want to share them with your loved ones. I could continue to ramble on longer; expressing my gratitude toward my Yoga experience, but I think I’ve shared enough. I hope to see you at the next class!

Kindest Regards,
Mark Mocarski

About Mark: I have been involved with Art of Living for over a year. I enjoy investing some of my free time, limited as it may be, associating with the Metuchen center. I work at a pharmaceutical company and own an internet based health and beauty business which also ties in with me being a certified nutrition consultant and holistic health counselor. I have a huge hunger for knowledge and am open minded to learn about different cultures. I am looking to retire from the workforce by age 46 so I can travel the world with my wife.

by Prashant Bajaj

Recently, we had a Sri Sri Yoga Course at our center. I had a very interesting experience throughout the course. Initially, I expected the course to be… well… easy. When one has spent time being part of Art of Living for over a decade one tends to pick up few attitudes. I have also been practicing yoga-asanas (postures that is commonly known as Yoga) and meditation (Sahaj Samadhi) for so long, I thought it would be a breeze. Since the DSN course, I have been doing padma-sadhana ( a series of yoga-asanas that we learn in the course). Going in the course, I felt this pride and confidence that I can do any posture the teacher throws at me.

When I walked into the class on the first day, I may act humble but a small part of me was cocky and ready to take the challenge and the first thing I have to do is breathe…Kapal bhati (a form of pranayam). Many people know what this type of breathing is. I did too. I thought to myself, no problem. I did a few breaths and the teacher immediately corrected me with a list of points wrapped in the form of suggestions. I thought to myself, “Be humble Prashant. Right now he is the teacher and you are a student.” Sri Sri always says, only a good teacher teaches good practice but only a great teacher knows when to become a student. I thought that if I ever lead yoga, I first need to learn properly… The long elaborate conversation with I, me and myself that lasted only a fraction of second led to the conclusion that I thought I knew yoga but “my yoga” was filled with “vikaaras” (distortions) and that was it, I was ready to learn. My arrogance was dropped in that class in the first few minutes. After that, I did what the teacher asked of me and I continued.

When I walked into the class, my tummy was bulging and I was slouching and by the time I was done with the course, I was able to stand straight, found out why my tummy was bulging and started working on it and my digestion got better. I also learned that the yoga I thought I did was not really effective because my stomach muscles were too weak to even meditate. Earlier I couldn’t meditate long without the support of a back-jack but now I was able to do that. I found that my same Kriya that I used to day every day had become more enjoyable than ever.

I recommend Sri Sri Yoga to everyone.  Repeat it at least twice a year, so that if there are any distortions from doing yoga on your own, it may be corrected by a teacher who knows what he/she is doing and you may enjoy meditations and Kriya in a new way.

about Prashant: I have been in and involved in Art of Living for well over a decade and I have done almost all courses that Art of Living has to offer and some multiple times. I volunteer in our local Metuchen center as the audio technician and I also play dholak (Indian drums) at local satsangs whenever I can. Professionally, I have a masters in Nano-chemistry. I own and operate a live-event audio support company called MetaAudio Services and I am one of the founders of D.O.N.E. (Dreamers Of New Era), a non-profit organization for helping college students.

another blogpost on Sri Sri Yoga: John, Sri Sri Yoga Teacher, on the Benefits of Yoga



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by Maya Yajnik
Yoga, breathing and meditation techniques relieve the stress in our bodies. Stress is present in everyone’s lives. The everyday pressures of work, relationships and studying bring about a natural stress response in our bodies. This is the “fight or flight” response which is the body’s way of making us ready to deal with crisis.

When the mind perceives a crisis, due to the mind-body connection, it automatically starts off a complex series of signals and bio-chemical changes called the stress response. It manifests in our bodies as a rush of hormones that give us heightened alertness and brings a burst of energy to the muscles. This gives the familiar sensations of excitement, fear, of the heart pumping, skin tingling, dryness in the mouth and shallow breathing. The brain stimulates a release of the ACTH hormone which in turn triggers the release of cortisol, called the “stress hormone”. There is an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

The stress response is good in the short-term to get us moving at a time of crisis. However, the long-term impact on our health is not good. Because modern life is fast-paced and filled with multiple demands the stress response is being triggered in our bodies very frequently leading to chronic health problems. We are in a perpetual crisis mode. We are rushing around barely meeting our work deadlines, driving our children to soccer practice, keeping up with the latest movies etc. Our minds are constantly busy. For example we are worrying about the economy, thinking about an insulting remark made by a friend last week, daydreaming about our next vacation and planning when we will do our laundry. All these cause stress. There is a lot of fluctuation in our minds and often we impulsively overreact to situations.

With time, the biochemical changes due to stress turn toxic in our bodies. They cause fatigue, irritability, headaches, muscle tension, blood sugar imbalances, lowered immunity and increased abdominal fat. We need a balancing and relaxing influence which will release the accumulated stress and prevent the stress from accumulating. Our body has the natural ability to heal and recharge if we give it the chance. For example, a good night’s sleep leaves us feeling fresh and new again. Yoga, breathing and meditation are effective in bringing about this relaxation and rejuvenation. The techniques recharge us on a daily basis so that we feel fresh, enthusiastic and joyful again. Our systems are brought back into balance.

Independent research shows that yoga exercises along with breathing and meditation reduce the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and corticotropin. For example, the article “Yoga for anxiety and depression” in the Harvard Medical School newsletter says that yoga (and specifically Art of Living’s yogic breathing technique, Sudarshan Kriya) modulates the stress response lowering the levels of stress hormones. The techniques decrease the physiological arousal associated with stress slowing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and bringing breathing patterns back to normal. Studies show an increase in emotional well-being and enhanced brain function.

We are naturally capable of handling the pressures and challenges in our busy lives. The Art of Living courses give us the tools to balance our lives so that we can express our innate abilities. The yoga, breathing and meditation techniques reduce the toxic stress hormonal buildup in our systems. The practical suggestions in the courses give us awareness of how we react to situations. This awareness gives us the freedom to respond effectively thus prevents stress from accumulating in the first place. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “Meditation helps to change your perspective. It brings clarity in the mind. It improves your interaction with people around –what you say, how you react and act in different situations, you become more aware. In general, from a stress-free society to peace and health in individuals and from a violence-free society to a sorrow-free soul – all are side effects of meditation.”



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