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Call it something else!

The yogis are turning in their graves Editorial by Swami Janakananda


“What I teach isn’t yoga. I just call
it yoga, because then more people will
come,” said a gymnastics teacher in a
Danish town.
On a larger scale something similar
has happened first in fitness centres
in the USA, and now also in Europe,
where a few so called “yoga” trends
have cropped up.
Common to these movements is that
they limit themselves to a few physical
exercises, which are performed in an
extremely fast or strenuous manner - a
manner which was never a part of the
yogic tradition. Through use of proper
yoga, you keep the body healthy and
supple, and the mind sound - without
letting yourself be dominated by the
physical or the mental.
The exercises, or the way you perform
the exercises in these new movements,
may give a brief kick. But this is a case
of an amputated yoga, where the deep-
going effects are lacking. Nor do you
find the finer breathing exercises here,
or the deep relaxation - not to mention
meditation - and therefore you do not
get the benefits of these methods either,
such as balance and a general view. Through the use of genuine yoga, apart of performing the postures, the breathing
One participant relates that relaxation from the feeling of well being you go exercises, the concentration techniques,
is avoided between the exercises during home with, you get an ongoing effect, the relaxations or the meditations.
the hectic “yoga” session - “so as not to which builds up over time through practice. When we discover that weeds have
lose concentration!” But then you miss crept in, we consider it in relation to
training an essential ability. It is not only Gene-manipulated yoga what we have learnt from the tradition,
while doing the exercises that concen- In our school we have something we call especially from Swami Sivananda and
tration should be present and also grow. weeds in our teaching. This is when the Swami Satyananda. A yoga that by oral
And if you get “cold” between the exer- instructions we give as teachers suddenly, tradition goes back thousands of years,
cises, or “bored”, then you should find or gradually, depart from the original. This and which is also expressed in the clas-
a school with better facilities and teach- can happen consciously or unconsciously. sical scriptures Gheranda Samhita,
ers with a thorough training. You get ideas, you start changing the way Hatha Yoga Pradipika (both between

2
500 and 600 years old) and Yoga Sutra
(probably 2300 years old). It is this tra-
cultural tradition which often expresses
itself, for instance in the USA, unfortu- Contents
dition of yoga that is the basis of a large nately breeds a we-know-better attitude
part of the medical research done on and a lack of respect for the knowledge I stand on my head for health 5
yoga in the 20th century. As regards the achieved over generations. That we Chris has not had a day sick for 36 years.
Yoga Sutras, one of the “yoga” move- have a common human heritage here on
ments makes use of this scripture in a this earth is unknown.
Why hold your breath? 6
totally distorted manner, among other Time is not taken to go deep and dis-
The yogic breathing exercises have a
ways with their name. cover what yoga really is and what it thorough and precise effect.
If we happen to tamper with yoga’s can do. Ignorance combined with an ex- Plenty of oxygen 8
“genes”, structure or design, we ask aggerated fascination with acrobatics and The doctor was nervous: Is there a
ourselves whether we are improving manic “fitness” exercises, make people lack of oxygen when I do breathing
on thousands of years of experience. believe that they can improve yoga. Is exercises and hold the breath? So he
A material that we as individuals there no understanding that self-know- investigated the matter.
and teachers have tested thoroughly in ledge, peace, and resting in yourself is Breathe through your nose! 9
every way, thereby achieving the effects timeless, that it has been attained by those
This provides more oxygen to the blood,
intended from yoga. gone before, and that you can learn from
them? You may pretend to know every-
strengthens the immune system, and is
Can yoga be made easier? Hardly. If you thing, but all you do is change yoga also beneficial for the heart.
follow a harmonious course of teaching, according to your limited knowledge. Well, An EEG study of the brain during
without haste, then the exercises are
always easy enough, because you move
then you end up going round in the circles Nadi Shodana 11
of your own illusions and expectations. An improved balance in the brain makes
forward by degrees. Yoga has a style of “Thousand year old experience!?”
its own, a mood and a rhythm of its own
you clear, optimistic and extrovert.
- “So what!” “It’s become a bit old
which aims at giving both energy and a fashioned and dusty, let’s pep it up a bit On the path to a greater 14
greater ability to go deep, and it is this and sell it under the same name!” awareness by Swami Janakananda
that makes it effective. How does the yogi handle an expanded
What is happening to yoga now, hap- awareness - a discussion with the
A culture without roots... pened fifteen or twenty years ago to the residents of Håå Course Center - based
Contemporary Western culture is to a term Chakra. It was also taken out of on a text by Swami Satyananda.
great extent without wisdom. It suffers the original yoga with its experience,
exercises, and guidance, and broad-
Swami Janakananda 32
from a foolishness, which brings the 30 years as Swami - 60 years in life.
individual up to be dependent, and does casted by people who claimed to pos-
everything to seduce in particular chil- sess a deeper knowledge. The main part Han-shan 36
dren and young people, turning them of this “knowledge” is based mostly on - poems from Cold Mountain.
into consumers. their own fantasy and imagination. Swami Janakananda 38
Every culture ends in disintegration in Europe and Australia
sooner or later, history shows us this, but About breathing
our so-called civilisation runs the risk of The precise effect of each exercise in yoga
Yoga shop 42
destroying itself before its time. Restless- is so well established, that you may well Intensive courses 43
ness, superficiality and the search for marvel at the knowledge that those who in the south of Sweden
slick or oversimplified methods dominate “invented” yoga possessed of humankind. Håå Course Center provides ideal con-
the spirit of today - and that is not exactly This is true especially of the breathing ditions for you to get to know yourself
what you are looking for in yoga. during the exercises. Still, some people - an opportunity to explore your potential
The culture, or rather the lack of have tried to “improve” yoga in this area through our unique way of teaching.

3
also. By suggesting, for example, that you Danish weekly magazine Familie Jour-
should breathe through the mouth instead nalen (see next page).
of through the nose during certain exer- Of course you can stand on your head,
cises. This should be sufficiently refuted even if you don’t call it yoga - it is said
by the studies done at the Karolinska that the French comedy writer Molière
Hospital in Stockholm (see p. 9). Also with did, “because it did him good”. It may
regard to the breathing exercises in yoga, be assumed that the yoga tradition was
it is best to keep to the original guidance, not known in France in those days, but
to ensure a stable cleansing, distribution maybe he learned it from the theatre,
and strengthening of the energy. In this from Comedia del’ Arte. Who knows?
issue of Bindu we have chosen to relate Not everybody wants to practise yoga,
some of the more fundamental effects but those who are looking for what yoga
of the breathing exercises in yoga, seen has to offer, shouldn’t be conned by a
through the eyes of science and of the yogi. false trade description.
Those of us who know the effects of
Yoga is catching yoga may not need to read the growing
From time to time our culture has let itself amount of data from scientific research
be influenced by yoga, and its exercises now available on yoga and meditation.
have been used also in other contexts. However, it might be good to have a
This is of course positive. One example mirror so as to see yoga from the out-
of this is shoulderstand, which is used, or side, and here science is a great help.
at least was used when I went to school, But if science is to be credible in the
in the gymnastics classes. In this instance future, it should not only describe the
it is good that the exercise be performed effects of a yoga exercise, but also
in a fairly brief manner together with exactly how it is performed, and what
other gymnastic exercises, not as in background both the teacher and the
yoga where you stand quite still in it for person doing the exercise have.
a lengthy period of time. It is actually “If you do yoga only for the sake of
one of the few yoga poses that children outer beauty, maybe you should go to a
should not do (in a “yogic” manner) beauty parlour instead. Yoga gives you
before their glands are fully developed. more than this.” (Swami Satyananda,
A recent, not so successful example some time in the seventies)
is so-called stretching, where you cer- I wonder whether Swami Satyananda
tainly stretch some muscles, but in could have imagined the following advert
comparison to yoga, in a superficial from somewhere in Sweden 1999.
and hasty manner. This therefore gives Anita Parlour
quite different, and even in some cases Hairdresser Body Therapy Courses in
unwanted effects, if certain recent stud- Meditation
ies are to be taken into account. When it comes down to it, the physical
A positive example of how to use yoga, when used correctly so the
an exercise, even though it’s not quite desired effects are achieved, is only a
the way it “should” be done, we find in stepping stone towards a higher yoga -
the article about headstand, which we and what is meant by this, see the article
have been permitted to publish from the beginning on page 14.q

4
I stand on my head for my health
Chris has not had a day sick for 36 years by Benny Pedersen
For some it is a case of what you lack in your head, you must have in your
legs. This does not apply to Hundested’s Chris Sylvest. He is supposedly
Denmark’s best 92 year old at standing on the head. And Chris does not do
it to boast of his gymnastic abilities, but to keep himself healthy!

Photo: © Karl Ravn


- In the middle of the fifties I emigrated, Healthy as a 25 year old
together with my wife and two sons, to
- A few months ago I was examined
the USA. My wealthy sister had a place
from top to toe by two doctors – quite
to live and work for us in California.
independent of each other. And they
And by and large it went very well. But
in 1958 I was affected by something in both reached the same conclusion:
my head. I still don’t know what it was. “Your body functions completely
It was incredibly unpleasant though. normally – for a man of 25!”
My own doctor, after having Chris Sylvest was born on a large
My brain was affected and I got worse farm near Frederikssund in 1902, under
and worse - I was actually about to examined me, declared:
- Tomorrow I will begin standing quite dramatic circumstances:
die. We were at our wit’s end. But then I shouldn’t even be here. The orifice
something happened that I would call a on my head for 10 minutes. And I will
continue to do so for the rest of my life. of my stomach wouldn’t open, and
miracle. the doctor gave me eight days to live.
We were in the USA for 14 years. - I don’t know what happens. But it
But my mother wanted it otherwise.
During that time we read neither Danish obviously has something to do with a
She poured some buttermilk inside
newspapers nor magazines. But when lot of blood and oxygen reaching the
me, and I got better. As an adult I
I became ill in 1958, an old edition of brain.
earned my living as a trader in fruit and
Familie Journalen (The Family Journal) Chris Sylvest was left a widower 14
vegetables. I had a wholesale business
fell into our laps. I still don’t know years ago when his wife died, after a
delivering goods to military barracks
where it came from. In the magazine long and beautiful life: and hospitals. We made a living from
there was an article about a watchmaker - My two sons, who have both been this till we emigrated in 1954.
from Ålborg (a town in the north of residents of the USA for many years, It seemed inevitable that my life
Denmark), who had cured a violent invited me to live with them. So I sold was going to end in 1958. But luckily
migraine by standing on his head for our large house here in Hundested and Familie Journalen landed in our laps,
10 minutes every day. I took to the idea travelled over there. But it wasn’t a with a recipe for a long and healthy
at once. A month and a half later I was success. I was regarded as an old man life. Come rain or shine, Christmas or
completely cured. Since then I have by those around me. They wanted me Easter, I start the day by standing on
stood on my head for 10 minutes every to sit down and relax all the time with my head. Hopefully for many years
morning – and I haven’t had a day sick a rug over my legs. After 14 months I to come, says Hundested’s Chris
for 36 years. Isn’t that incredible? went back home to Hundested again. Sylvest.q
Chris Sylvest gesticulates with the With only two suitcases as baggage.
whole of his slender body, while telling Everything else I left with my sons and (From Familie Journalen no. 6 1995.
about his health and his long, long, life. their families. Thank you for letting us print the article.)

5
Why hold your breath?
to thoughts and impressions. We can
observe it all with new eyes and see
through the filters, through which life
- a report from a yoga teacher class, edited by Mira is normally experienced. You could call
this a direct experience.
“When the breath is irregular, the mind is unsteady, but when the breath is When you do breathing exercises
still, so is the mind still and the Yogin obtains the power of stillness. There- or meditate regularly, these automatic
fore the breath should be restrained.” (Hatha Yoga Pradipika) reactions and habits in the nervous
system are weakened. The mind
becomes more creative and flexible –
They did not block in the brain The nervous system and the it becomes easier to see things from
In the beginning of the eighties, the breathing a new perspective. You communicate
school’s yoga teachers took part in a “Professor Dr. Thomas Schmidt has clearer and you are better at co-operat-
research project, led by the German conducted research into the different ing with others. We call the alpha state
doctor Dr. Thomas Schmidt at the Uni- relationships between thinking and “the open state.”
versity of Cologne. They studied the emotional activity of the mind and the
effects of the yogic breathing exercises; way the body reacts to this activity
among other things, the pulse, the blood (psychosomatic medicine). He has
Holding the breath
pressure and the activity of the brain confirmed to me that every change in the The breathing exercises in yoga are
(EEG) were measured. breathing, its rhythm and speed has a called Pranayama in Sanskrit. Prana
While the yoga teachers did the Psy- direct influence on the nervous system. means the body’s vital or psychic
chic Breath (Ujjayi Pranayama, read Before learning of the breathing energy, and yama to control or master
Bindu no.4) their EEG showed alpha exercises in yoga, Professor Schmidt it. What is unique about the breathing
waves, which signifies a relaxed state. concluded that, if one could influence the exercises in yoga, whether you breathe
But the researchers also wanted to breath consciously, one could create a slowly and deeply or fast and force-
examine how they reacted to distur- very efficient therapeutic system. Today fully, is that you also hold the breath.
bances. he knows that such a system already In the yoga scriptures, Pranayama is
Hamsananda, who took part in the exists, and that it has been tested for described as various ways of holding
experiment, recounts: “I sat in the lotus thousands of years in yoga. It has evolved the breath. In one of the most well-
pose and did Ujjayi, when, without into a set of different breathing exercises, known scriptures, Yoga Sutra by Patan-
warning, one of the researchers struck each one with specific effects.” (From jali, it says: “Pranayama is cessation of
the metal table hard. It made a loud Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily the movement of inhalation and exhala-
crash. But it didn’t affect me.” The Life by Swami Janakananda) tion” and “thus the covering of the light
researchers were accustomed to the sub- is dissolved and the mind is fit for con-
centration.”
jects easily reacting and coming out of Habits in the nervous system In certain exercises you inhale com-
the relaxed state, but to their surprise When we are in the normal waking state,
the yoga teachers’ EEG did not change. pletely and hold the breath and in
we react to a large extent automatically others you exhale completely and hold
While measuring another teacher, the to what we experience around us. Our
researchers sounded very excited. They the breath.
habitual picture of the environment
discussed among themselves that there dominates, and we expect that everything
was something wrong with the subject’s will remain the way we already know it. Spontaneous
EEG, but even then the alpha activity On the other hand, when we are in the In deep meditation or relaxation, the
was not broken. meditative or relaxed state, character- breath can become gradually fainter
The researchers concluded, “when the ised by alpha waves in the EEG, then and eventually stop by itself – for a
yoga teachers held their breath, the this picture of reality is much weaker. while. This is described as the highest
alpha activity could not be blocked.” Now we no longer react automatically form of pranayama.

6
Yoga or not, it works Here we will quote from another book, periodically, as he does with his vol-
In England a Russian doctor has recently “The Holy Science” which Sri Yukteswar untary nerves in sleep. After such rest
aroused some attention. He has discovered wrote towards the end of his life. What by Pranayama the involuntary nerves
that it is possible to help asthma patients is interesting is that he maintains that become refreshed and work with newly
by instructing them to hold the breath holding the breath creates such a calm replenished life.
after exhaling for prolonged periods of in the autonomic nervous system that As after sleep, when rest has been
time, and otherwise to breathe through the the inner organs get a rest, which they taken by the voluntary nerves, man
nose as much as possible. Unfortunately otherwise never do, neither during sleep requires no help to awaken naturally; so
he hastens to add that it is not yoga he nor during the waking state! after death also, when man has enjoyed
is doing. How else could he exploit his a full rest, he awakens naturally to life in
fellow human beings in need of help “Value of Pranayama a new body on earth. If man can “die”,
with the prices he asks for a method that Man can put the voluntary nerves into that is, consciously put his entire nervous
he tried to keep secret at first, but which action whenever he likes, and can give system, voluntary and involuntary, to
is an old well-known yoga method? them rest when fatigued. When all of rest each day by practice of Pranayama,
Also, in yoga there is an experience these voluntary nerves require rest he his whole physical system works with
that does not just rely upon fast effects. sleeps naturally, and by this sleep the great vigour.” (Sri Yukteswar)
Importance is placed on the long-term voluntary nerves, being refreshed, can
effects on the nervous system. There- work again with full vigour. Man’s Alternate nostril breathing
fore the conditions to be observed involuntary nerves, however, irrespec- The following articles in this issue of
before, during and after the exercises tive of his will, are working continu- Bindu concern the breathing exercise
are described exactly. ously of themselves from his birth. As Nadi Shodana Pranayama, also called
On page ten we have chosen one he has no control over them, he cannot the alternate nostril breathing. We will
example of many that gives this effect interfere with their action in the least. look at some of its effects, which we
just by holding the breath after inhala- When these nerves become fatigued they can benefit from, in our daily life.
tion. The example should be seen in also want rest and naturally fall asleep. In the tradition, Nadi Shodana
connection with the article on nitric This sleep of the involuntary nerves is is described as the exercise which
oxide (page 9). called Mahanidra, the great sleep, or cleanses the energy current (Nadi
Furthermore, yoga contains various death. When this takes place, the circu- means current, Prana vital energy and
other exercises that can be used against lation, respiration, and other vital func- Shodana to cleanse), so that it can flow
asthma. tions being stopped, the material body without blockages. By a regular prac-
naturally begins to decay. After a while, tise of this the yogi is able to master
Sri Yukteswar when this great sleep Mahanidra is and control his energy, and waken and
Quite another contribution to why one over, man awakes, with all his desires, raise it at will.
should hold ones breath comes from the and is reborn in a new physical body When the dormant energy is awoken,
yogi Swami Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936). for the accomplishment of his various all human potentials are expressed.
He had his ashram in Puri, India. The yearnings. In this way man binds him- Symbolically it is said in Tantra that
first time he was mentioned in the West self to life and death and fails to achieve Shakti or Kundalini rises up through
was by the author Evans Wentz - and later final salvation. all the chakras of the spine, which are
by his disciple Swami Yogananda, who roused on the way, to unite with Siva
at the request of Sri Yukteswar travelled Control over death. But if man can at Sahasrara Chakra at the top of the
to the USA in the thirties. Yogananda control these involuntary nerves by the head.
became particularly well known there aforesaid Pranayama, he can stop the
for his book “An Autobiography of a natural decay of the material body and “By this, mind becomes full of bliss;
Yogi”, which among other things is put the involuntary nerves (of the heart, verily the practitioner of Pranayama
about Kriya Yoga. lungs and other vital organs) to rest is happy.” (Gheranda Samhita)q

7
Plenty of oxygen during Nadi Shodana
a pilot study - by Per Lange, Doctor Spec. Internal Medicine
Occasionally when we do Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing) or other and for a while afterwards. Before
exercises where you hold the breath, it feels as though the need to breathe the breathing exercise the percentage
disappears. It’s as if you could continue holding the breath indefinitely. of oxygen in the blood was 97%
When this happens to me, I usually get a disturbing thought as to how long which is normal at rest. During the
experiment the lowest percentage of
it is possible to hold the breath without a harmful lack of oxygen arising.
oxygen measured was 88%, which is a
The only sure way of answering this question is to measure the content reassuring oxygen content.
of oxygen in the arteries while holding the breath, and that is what we The oxygen percentage returned in a
have done. few seconds to 97% after the exercise
was completed.
During the autumn of 1998, I carried The subject was a male of normal
out a series of interesting tests at the build in his forties, with twenty
Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm. years experience of yoga’s breathing
One of these was done on the alternate exercises. During the test he did five during after
nostril breathing Nadi Shodana and is rounds of Nadi Shodana, where you Nadi Shodana Nadi Shodana
described in this article. inhale, hold the breath, and exhale,
to the ratio of 1:4:2. That is to say10
breaths in 15 minutes, which is
relatively slow (a person at rest has
approximately 16 breaths per minute).

If you want to take measurements of the


blood that supplies the brain and other
organs, an ordinary blood sample from
a vein isn’t good enough. You must
CO2: There was a clear increase of
have access to the blood of an artery, P
carbon dioxide in the blood during the
an artery that leads the blood out to the exercise, which quickly normalised
organs of the body – the blood that has afterwards. It is the increase in carbon
just been oxidised by passing through dioxide that gives the feeling of wanting
more air.
during after the lungs. An anaesthetist placed a thin
Nadi Shodana Nadi Shodana plastic catheter in the subject’s left As a comparison it can be mentioned
radial artery, and repeated blood samples that in quite different medical trials, the
were taken from it during the time the percentage of oxygen in the blood of
subject was doing Nadi Shodana. healthy subjects has been lowered to
SPO2: The percentage of oxygen in the 75% without negative side effects.
blood is normally 90-98%. The subjects During the test carbon dioxide and
oxygen percent fell during the exercise
to 88% at its lowest, a value which is
Result pH values were measured and these
similar to those measured in sportsmen at Blood samples were taken regularly showed the same pronounced changes
maximum performance. during the whole of Nadi Shodana and rapid return to normal.

8
during
Nadi Shodana
after
Nadi Shodana
Breathe through the nose!
Modern research confirms the wisdom of the yoga tradition
by Eddie Weitzberg, M.D. Ph.D., Karolinska Institute
Nitric Oxide (NO) is a gas previously regarded as an environmental pollutant.
The gas is formed by combustion and is present in high concentrations in, among
other things, cigarette smoke and car exhaust fumes. It was therefore quite
sensational when it became apparent that NO is also generated in the human body.

In 1998 the Nobel Prize for medicine amount of the blood that passes through
went to three American researchers for the vesicles can be oxidised.
P
H: The pH value fell during the exercise this discovery. They were able to show
from an average 7.4 to slightly below
average, 7.26 at its lowest. It quickly
that NO is important in the regulation of More oxygen in the blood
the tone of the blood vessels. A continuous We compared breathing through the nose
returned to normal again after the
exercise.
generation of NO takes place in the walls with breathing through the mouth to see
of the blood vessels and this tiny gas if it was possible to show whether there
Conclusion molecule dilates the blood vessels, facili- was a difference in the oxidation of
Even a fairly slow Nadi Shodana tating the flow of blood. Recent studies the blood. Quite rightly it revealed that
have also shown that NO is involved in breathing through the nose led to a 10
does not cause any lack of oxygen, or
the function of the nervous system, and - 15% higher oxidation of the blood.
even come close to alarming values
is able to kill bacteria and virus. As a verification, breathing through the
concerning oxygen percentage, carbon
dioxide content or pH value. mouth with added NO from a gas bottle
Our research group at the Karolinska gave a similar effect, which corroborates
The physiological reason for the effect Institute in Stockholm has studied the
of increased clarity and energy that we that the NO in the nasal air has these
significance of NO in the respiratory positive effects.
feel after breathing exercises is not yet system. We have shown that a lot of
known. We have also looked at the importance
NO is normally formed in the sinuses of the nasal air for patients lying in a
of humans. It is worth mentioning, that respirator. These patients are intubated,
Other tests with holding the breath in many people the concentration of that is to say they have a tube from the
where we have taken a quick series NO in the sinuses exceeds the safety respirator directly into the respiratory
of pictures of the brain with an limit established by the authorities. The passage. This means that their nasal air
MRC (magnetic resonance camera) sinuses are in contact with the nostrils is never part of the breathing. We con-
during breath retention, indicates that via small openings and this means that nected a simple pump system, which
considerable activation of the brain the level of NO in the air of the nose is sucked nasal air from one of the nostrils,
takes place. First in those areas of the relatively high. and this air was given as a supplement
brain that are working with a certain What is the significance of this? On in the respirator. This relatively simple
task, and after that, when the breath inhalation, NO follows the air into the procedure increased the patient’s oxi-
is held repeatedly, it seems as if the lungs, that is, when breathing through dation of the blood by 10 - 20 %.
activation spreads over the entire brain. the nose. As NO is a blood-vessel dila- These findings demonstrate a new
I hope to be able to return to this in a tor, the blood vessels coming in contact principle where an effective substance
future article when we have performed with the pulmonary vesicles (alveoli) from the body itself, NO, is gener-
more tests.q are expanded. This means that a greater ated in the sinuses and carried with

9
the inhaling air to produce an effect in
another part of the body, the lungs. In
this way, NO works as an airborne medi-
ator in the human respiratory passages.
If one looks at the animal kingdom,
then only monkeys and possibly ele-
phants have NO in their nose. The other
species seem to be lacking this system.
One might imagine that monkeys and
humans require this system to optimise
oxidation because we have risen up
from walking on all fours.

Known in many places


The knowledge that it can be advantage-
ous to breathe through the nose is
widely known, but there has been no
scientific explanation for why it should
be good. It is obvious that the air is
cleansed more effectively when breath-
ing through the nose, but that does not
explain the positive effects of oxidation. Nadi Shodana - to counter sinuses, where Nitric Oxide is gener-
On maternity wards the expectant moth- asthma .ated. In this way one can benefit from
ers are encouraged to breathe in through A colleague of the author of the above the threefold effect NO has - relax-
the nose and out through the mouth article, has been a student of our school ing and dilating the blood vessels,
during contractions. Physiotherapists in Stockholm for many years. He has increasing the oxygen absorption in
often point out that patients with respira- the lungs, and killing bacteria. He
tory problems should breath in through had asthma since childhood. When he
learnt the first step of Nadi Shodana, believes that all this is contributing to
the nose and out through the mouth. Cer-
where one breathes slowly through help him be free from asthma.
tain elite athletes use nasal expanding
plasters. Within Yoga there are a wide alternate nostrils, but without holding
the breath, it caused him great difficulty. Nose cleansing
variety of techniques for nasal breathing.
Even in the Bible a reference is found He nevertheless continued and went Is it relevant for the absorption of NO
that can be interpreted as that nasal on to the next step where one holds the that the nose is clean? Perhaps this
breathing can be important: “And the breath after each inhalation. He allowed is the real reason that nose cleansing
Lord God formed man of the dust of the the air to gently press up in the nose (Neti) is such an important part of yoga.
ground, and breathed into his nostrils against the sinus and frontal sinus. It If you are inspired by this, then use a
the breath of life; and man became a was then very easy to do the exercise pot which is large and with a long spout.
living soul” [Gen. 2:7]. and helped his asthma immediately. Now This gives a satisfactory effect and en-
he is almost free from his medicine. courages one to cleanse the nose regularly.
Consequently there is a many thousand-
year-old knowledge of the importance of He emphasises the importance of
the nose for the breathing. The current closing the nose with the fingers and Found in heart medicine
research into this tiny gas molecule NO holding the breath so that the air cre- Nitric Oxide (NO) is also the most
may have contributed with a scientific ates a slight pressure upward in the important constituent in Nitro-glycerine,
explanation.q nose. This raises the air supply to the which is an important heart medicine.q

10
Nadi Shodanas influence on the brain
Astonishing results achieved after 10 minutes – EEG measurements of the balance between the
brain halves before and after Nadi Shodana By psychologist mag. art. Erik Hoffmann
Greater clarity and calm, but also more energy and inspiration, is what during meditation, and there is a lot to
people often say they achieve by using Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril suggest that people who meditate have
breathing). But can this be measured scientifically? more alpha waves than normal.

EEG and brain waves eyes, is mentally relaxed, but still awake The two brain halves
In the brain a continual rhythmic and able to experience. When the eyes The left brain half is verbal, analytical
electrical activity is taking place, the are opened, or the person is distracted and logical in its functioning, while
so-called brain waves. Taking in some other way, the alpha waves are
the right is musical, emotional and
weakened, and there is an increase of
measurements from electrodes, which spatially perceptive. The left brain
the faster beta waves (13-40 oscillations
are placed on the scalp, is called hemisphere thinks in words and
per sec.), that is the brain is activated.
electroencephalography (EEG). The amount of alpha waves therefore concepts, and the right thinks in
There are four types of brain waves. shows to what degree the brain is in a pictures, feelings and perceptions. In
During deep sleep delta waves are state of relaxed awareness. When the a normal brain, a spontaneous shift in
predominant (1-4 oscillations per beta waves are predominant, we to a balance occurs between left and right,
second), and in a dozy, dreamy state great extent think and act habitually. depending on what one is doing. When
theta waves (4-8 oscillations per sec.) Alpha waves, on the other hand, show one is reading, writing and speaking,
dominate. that the brain is in a more open and the left half will be more active than
The brain waves that interest us creative state, with a better contact with the right. On the other hand, when one
the most are the alpha waves (8-13 the emotions and the subconscious. is listening to music or is engaged in
oscillations per sec.). They are mostly Scientific studies have shown that visual spatial perception, then the right
to be found when the person has closed the amount of alpha waves increases half is most active.

Fig. 1 R/L ratio before and after Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing) A. Five persons in the advanced group, who
A. Advanced B. Inexperienced initially had a R/L ratio below 1.00, after
group group before Nadi Shodana Nadi Shodana exhibited values over 1.00. And
after Nadi Shodana conversely, five persons who before the exercise
optimal balance had a high R/L ratio achieved lower values
after the exercise. So all persons in this group
approached the best possible relation between
the brain halves.
After Nadi Shodana everybody in the
advanced group came very close to the average
Wilcoxon test: * p<.001, value, which means it is statistically significant.
ns= not signifikant, N=10
* these changes are statisti- B. In the inexperienced group the values
cally significant and cannot after Nadi Shodana showed greater variance,
be ascribed to coincidence. which entails that this result is not statistically
significant (even though their average for the
Temporal Post-Temporal Temporal Post-Temporal temporal area is the same as the optimal value).

11
It is important for the creative R/L ratio should be around 1.10, and
activity of the individual to have a the post temporal around 1.15. Fig. 2 The position of the electrodes on
“correct” balance and communication The American Richard Davidson has the head during EEG-measurement
between the brain halves. in recent comprehensive studies found Frontal
that depressive patients had a R/L ratio Temporal (frontal temporal lobe)
in the temporal lobes permanently under Post-Temporal (rear temp. lobe)
Alpha R/L ratio 1.00, whereas out-going, optimistic Occipital
By calculating the ratio between the people had a R/L ratio over 1.00.
amount of alpha waves in the right and In this study we have used the four points of
With children of the age of 2-3 he measurement (T3-T6) on the temporal lobes.
left brain hemispheres, an expression discovered a R/L ratio under 1.00 in
for the balance between the brain halves a group of shy and inhibited children, thereafter exhaling through the right
is obtained, the so-called R/L ratio. If while another group of outgoing, nostril (closing the left). Then one
there is exactly the same amount of uninhibited children displayed a R/L inhales through the right nostril, the
alpha waves in the right and left brain ratio over 1.00. breath is held, and exhales through the
hemispheres, the R/L ratio will be 1.00.
left nostril. This constitutes one round.
If there is more alpha in the right brain
For a detailed description of the
half, the R/L ratio will be more than Purpose various steps of Nadi Shodana, see
1.00, and vice versa, the R/L ratio will The purpose of this study was to test the book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation
be less than 1.00 if there is more alpha the hypothesis, that the breathing in Daily Life by Swami Janakananda
in the left brain half. exercise Nadi Shodana improves the (Weiser).
In most people during rest with balance between the two brain halves
closed eyes, the R/L ratio is normally as reflected by the alpha R/L ratio.
slightly above 1.00. This is probably Method
due to our culture’s emphasis on the Two groups, of 12 subjects each, had
functions of the left brain half. Nadi Shodana their EEG measured before and after
During deep relaxation, however, The alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Nadi Shodana. Group A consisted
a balance of 1.00 between the brain Shodana) is a classical yogic breathing of teachers and students of the
halves is approached. exercise. It is performed in the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation
Previous studies (see, amongst others, following manner: One inhales through School in Copenhagen with many years
the articles in Bindu no. 5 and 12) the left nostril (while closing the right), experience of Nadi Shodana. Group
point towards that the ideal temporal the breath is held (closing both nostrils), B consisted of students of the school

Fig. 3 Brainmaps
The central figures on the pictures
(see arrows) show the alpha activity
before and after Nadi Shodana. If you
compare these you see that after Nadi
Shodana the amount of alpha waves in
the right brain half has increased (more
ð ð
red), and that the balance between the
brain halves has improved. (For more
information about brainmaps see Bindu
no. 12.)
Before Nadi Shodana After Nadi Shodana

12
who had just learnt Nadi Shodana. Discussion and conclusion permanent long-term effect (see
All subjects were right-handed. We For several of the advanced Bindu no. 5).
avoided left-handed people, who can participators, apart from more alpha
have a different balance between the waves, there was also an increase of These positive changes were found in
brain hemispheres. the amount of beta waves after Nadi all instances in regions of the brain that
All subjects performed five rounds of Shodana. This might seem paradoxical, are closely linked to the limbic system,
Nadi Shodana as described previously. as such an activation of the brain which is the seat of our emotions.
This took 10 to 15 minutes. The EEG normally involves a decrease in the On the basis of our results we
measurement was taken from four amount of alpha waves. This could be therefore conclude that Nadi Shodana,
electrodes on the left and four on the interpreted as that you become more if it is done regularly over a longer
right side, placed on the head with the aid active and at the same time remain period of time, has a favourable
of an elastic band (see fig. 2). The signals calm and clear in the head. influence on the balance between the
from the electrodes were relayed through We found a similar “paradox” during brain halves and thereby an emotionally
an amplifier to a computer, where the a previous study where we measured stabilising effect on the individual.q
eight channels of EEG was displayed EEG during the deep relaxation Yoga
on screen. They were simultaneously Nidra. Normally when the amount of
stored on the hard disk for future theta waves increases, the alpha waves
analysis. Periods of about 60 seconds decrease and you fall asleep. During
EEG recording, one before and one Yoga Nidra, however, the theta waves
following Nadi Shodana, were analysed increased, but the decrease of alpha
for the temporal and post-temporal waves was minimal. This means that
lobes, which are considered the most you don’t fall asleep, but remain aware
important sites to measure this balance. and awake also in the deeper state.

In figure 3 you can see how the amount


Result of alpha waves has increased in the
With all subjects in the experienced right brain half after Nadi Shodana,
group, changes occur towards an optimal and there is an optimal R/L ratio.
balance (fig. 1). Five people, who
previously exhibited a R/L ratio below Previous measurements before and
1.00, had a value over 1.00 following after Kriya Yoga show the same
Nadi Shodana. And vice versa, five favourable changes as after Nadi
people who had a high R/L ratio before Shodana. The average temporal
the exercise achieved lower values R/L ratio after Kriya Yoga was 1.12
towards the optimal after the exercise. together with a significant rise of alpha
The mean temporal ratio fell from waves (see Bindu no. 12).
1.19 to 1.11, while the post temporal EEG-measurements of participants
ratio fell from 1.43 to 1.19. These on the three month courses (1986-
changes are statistically significant and 91) showed the same improvement
cannot be due to coincidences. of the R/L ratio. The measurements
Even though most of the changes then, however, were not done in
in the inexperienced group are in the connection to any meditation practice,
direction towards balance they are not, but during ordinary rest, before and
however, statistically significant. after the course. This result indicated a

13
On the path to a greater Awareness
- about a text by Swami Satyananda: “Chronology of a yogi”
Written and edited by Swami Janakananda
Wisdom teaches us, that
we are more capable of
meeting the spiritual if we
have no expectations - that
it is far more desirable to
experience what is really
happening, rather than the
ideas we, with our limited
awareness, are capable of
forming in advance.
It is in such a light the subject
of this article should be seen. In
advanced yoga we aim at keeping
awareness open and expanding.
This can be compared with the
state we are in when we identify
ourselves with what we have
learned by heart - habitual views
and expectations.
Living with a greater
awareness demands a body that
does not give way to different
states. The same applies to the
relation you have to your mind
- you must be prepared and
trained in experiencing your
mind as an observer, so that you
don’t get carried away so easily
by all the things that occupy it.
This does not come just by
itself.

Still, a person may spontaneously


have an experience of expanded
awareness, of an undisguised

14
presence; words fail to describe this single-mindedness and courage. When be transference of thoughts and feelings.
extraordinarily strong experience of the aspirants begin their preparation, But in the relationship between teacher
being, of existence. The causes can it is without fear of heightening the and student, during the period of
be many, for instance a shock, a great awareness or strengthening the level of learning, it is about channelling the
sorrow, a sudden change in your life energy. Obviously this is not like the energy, so tensions, inhibitions and
situation... relatively small and short-lived increase blocks can be released and flow onwards,
If you are not prepared and suddenly in energy that you can get, for example, or be ‘burned’ as soon as they arise.
perceive yourself as naked - if the after ordinary physical training. The learning process is above all
state is so strong that it is impossible The co-operation with the teacher, something that is experienced. In this
to deceive yourself, impossible to hide from whom the aspirant receives the way insight is achieved. But behind
behind roles, masks and justifications secrets of the living tradition, happens this process something else is going
- then it is of course overwhelming and in an artistic, a systematically scientific on - a purification of the energy flows,
can create fear in some people. On the and a quite natural everyday way. which is deeper than what is normally
other hand, others find such a sudden The training proceeds gradually and achieved with the ordinary yoga and
change of awareness very positive, even with great precision, both in daily life, breathing exercises.
though they are unprepared. Often the while learning the methods, and during Now the student receives help to
experience leaves a void when it is over. initiation into higher states. Everything harmonise and channel the energy further
Ordinary yoga and meditation provide plays a part, the living conditions, the - and - guidance in both being able to
a good foundation for meeting such an diet and the student’s ability to face confront and let go of the experiences
experience in a beneficial way. Whether him- or herself. which will come in the course of the
it is wished for or not, you will manage The teacher must also be able to guide purification process. This applies not
it better if you have experience of yoga. the aspirant away from narcissism and only to potentially unpleasant experiences,
Also people who have been subject to self-indulgence. The aspirant should not but also to those which fascinate.
unwanted states can benefit from yoga. lose him/herself in such involved and You don’t need to hide yourself
introvert states, or confuse them with behind a reserved attitude or forget
The teacher - student the experience of and the identification yourself in a reaction. Reactions
co-operation with oneself as consciousness. That is are something that most people
The tantric yoga tradition, however, to say, the aspirant should not identify experience when they start discovering
also contains methods and ways of with that which is experienced, but with themselves, but here the guidance helps
using yoga, which aim at opening the one who is experiencing. you get out of them quickly again.
consciousness and keeping it open, in Nothing could be more wrong than to There are various meditation methods
a stable and harmonious way. The real consider the learning or the use of yoga in the tantric tradition. I am referring
yogis (whose equals are seldom found methods as ‘mechanical’. here to “real” meditations. What some
among western yoga teachers or among Postures, breathing exercises and people today call meditation manipulates
leaders of modern movements in India) meditations can of course be described with positive and negative values
have exactly this expanded awareness and observed from outside - you can instead of having a liberating effect,
as a goal on their path. have a certain knowledge of them. But or plays on your expectations and
Nobody is persuaded to become a yogi the learning of, for example, the various ideas, creating fantasies on the basis
in the original tradition based on the kriyas in Kriya Yoga is accompanied of them. Incidentally, the same applies
teachings of Matsyendra and Gorakhnath. by an experience and a state so nowadays to what certain “counsellors”
Rather, attempts are made to dissuade fundamentally free, that it can only be call tantra sex. It hasn’t got much to do
the would-be aspirants from becoming known by those who have sought Kriya with the expansion of awareness and
yogis, or else they are scared off. It is up Yoga themselves, and really used it. increase in energy that is the purpose
to the individual to show determination, Normally you imagine telepathy to of the original tantric rituals.

15
that it would now be necessary to place dangerous; it touches what is safe and
“Ignorance” and conceptions the beginning of the bronze age further established. It touches the view of the
Both within spirituality and science back in time. Instead he should have world or the way you perceive yourself.
– yes, also within yoga, when it appears been glad that the picture of the world Which one of the priests or
as a movement or is connected to a was questioned a little, so things could scientists in the day of Galileo dared
religion – people often attempt to give a be seen afresh. look into his telescope? Not one.
complete view of the world, of life. But As regards medical research we They already knew that the earth is
to explain everything with descriptions can’t complain, nowadays there is a the centre of the universe, and that the
and mythologies, does that keep the great interest in yoga and meditation. planets and the sun and everything else
fear away? At any rate it doesn’t give I know, however, that effective orbit the earth.
any first-hand or direct experience of medical methods are directly hindered Why was Socrates proclaimed an
reality. It doesn’t teach us to see things by misinformation and inadequately enemy of the state in his old age?
anew or open our consciousness, so that performed studies. One example is the Because he taught the youth in the
we experience in a deeper way. Chelation therapy (EDTA) for heart streets of Athens about “ignorance”,
diseases and hardening of the arteries. the ability to wonder, and not to
Science isn’t just about confirmation With my knowledge of many cases of defend ready-made explanations! He
and new discoveries. I would like to improvement, not to say direct cure, also said, ‘Know thyself.’
question, for example, the size of the I am convinced that EDTA is more A crisis like the one both Socrates
time frame used when describing the effective than most medicines on the and Galileo apparently caused in their
history of mankind. At present there market - and with minimal side effects. day, can be compared with the one
are constant new discoveries, which But then this treatment is in full use in you might run into when you meet
are slowly but surely dating human most countries. So why is it opposed? yourself. What you meet when you get
settlement and the rise of civilisation on Well, what would happen to the to know yourself isn’t worse than the
the various continents far earlier than shareholders in the big pill factories, if ideas you have about yourself, quite
the information given in the history it came into use in the larger hospitals the opposite. Not much unconscious
books or encyclopedias. The idea that and not just the private clinics? The fear remains, when you have lived
everyone living at present stems from EDTA substance, which cleanses the through the meeting with yourself.
an ancestral mother and father in Africa body from heavy metals and gradually
about 200.000 years ago, I do not think breaks down the calcification, is so
will be valid for many more decades. commonly available, that you can’t Awareness training
We will gradually realise that the time obtain a patent for it! To keep an open consciousness,
scale of our history, or our prehistory, It is a shame that the effects of this training in being awake and aware is
is much bigger than what is maintained substance are not more commonly needed. In meditation you learn to find
today. known. It could save the lives of many, your way in to, and get accustomed
Until this opinion is definitely prevent amputations and by-pass to, your true identity - yourself as the
changed the attitude is: It’s scientifically operations and cut expenses for the experiencing awareness. It is about
proved! So there’s an end to it. We health service by millions. you who experiences, and not what
don’t need to discuss it any further. you experience, whether inwardly or
Unfortunately the evidence in science is The problem with the truth is that it outwardly.
often based on excluding facts that don’t cannot be determined once and for all. Also you must have knowledge of
agree with the theory one is creating. If both the scientist and the spiritual how to raise the energy level in body
When “the Iceman” or “Ötzi” was seeker really want to gain insight, they and mind - in order to change the state
found in the Alps some years ago, a must first of all be able to not know - to and remove the inhibitions, which bind
professor in Munich found it irritating let themselves be surprised. But this is body and mind.

16
accordance with yourself inwardly.
One example is a young aspirant
being given a Karma Yoga task, for
instance to mend something in one
of the houses. The house is a few
kilometres from the main buildings of
the school. Suddenly I see the person
in question, on a bike or with a tractor,
driving off at full speed to fetch a tool
or some material at the school. When I
stop him or her and ask if these things
weren’t available on the spot, I get the
answer that they are probably not. In
most cases, together we are able to find
at once what we need right where he or
she was to begin with.

There are different degrees of expanded


awareness. It begins with a presence
and sensitivity so strong, that it cannot
be distinguished from intuition. You see
Scope - and that which covers - the light at the crown of the head what you need to see.
It shows itself quite simply in
The ability to experience and the That which is here is elsewhere. practical matters in daily life: In class,
ability to strengthen your psychic that which is not here is nowhere. the student who doesn’t do the exercise
energy are two principles that support (Vishvasara Tantra) properly, is the one you see directly. A
each other. When consciousness and fault in the administration shows up in
energy merge into a unity in this way, At times the term evolution is used front of your eyes, without you having
we can speak of a heightened awareness. in a misleading way about cyclical looked for it.
To put it briefly, one of these abilities occurrences. For man, you could in a And the inner life: When you
we can train with the 7 steps in the spiritual sense speak of a “pupa phase” momentarily react or try to hide an
meditation Inner Silence, Antar Mauna, and a “butterfly phase” or of maturing, emotion or a thought from yourself.
and the other with the many methods in but it has nothing to do with “growth” When you are about to let yourself
Kriya Yoga. But there is more that plays or “development”. be overwhelmed or about to forget
a part and must be taken into consideration. yourself...
As guide and trainer for those living in The opposite is to be unaware,
The concept of evolution is one of the an ashram I must concern myself both inattentive and insensitive towards the
greatest and most destructive illusions with inner and outer matters - and they needs of other people, and to submit to
a human being, or a society, can live seem to be connected. If you can’t find influences, inhibitions and the moods
in. Those who “strive” on the spiritual what you’re looking for inside yourself, both of others and yourself.
path, seem only too often to want to be you certainly won’t find the things you
elsewhere than where they are. need externally. And vice versa, if you You know when you can let go - and
As if insight is to find other places live here and now outwardly, there when it’s a matter of endurance. Around
than where you are already. is a good chance that you’re also in you things fall into place by themselves.

17
An expanded awareness
“That is of course a good question.
I have several students who practise
advanced yoga at home, as a support in
(Exerpts from an evening’s discussion about, among other things, a text by Swami their daily or creative work.
Satyananda, with the people who live and work at Håå Course Centre. Some are yoga But let me use the Kundalini
teachers with a long full time yoga teacher training behind them, others have arrived experience as an example. In her
recently, and one is a student from India staying at the course centre with a scholarship book: ‘Kundalini - Psychosis or
for one year. Transcendence?’ doctor Lee Sannella
The way you live and work, at the same time doing yoga and meditation in company writes that an ashram seems the right
and alone, and where most people are also training to become yoga teachers, is what I place to be if you want to get the
call a ‘spiritual workshop’, a so-called ashram.) full benefit of ‘kundalini as an inner
therapy.’ She bases this statement on
Swami Janakananda: “Why do people The Seer quite a number of examples, so-called
live in an ashram?
“What are we talking about?” ‘case histories’. Some people were for
Why do you live in an ashram?”
example cured from manic-depression
“Working with yourself and with after going through a kundalini rising.
One of the aspirants: “Because it’s
others.” This was done under skilful guidance,
interesting!”
“Yes, but what is that really? There in the setting of Swami Muktananda’s
“Interesting! You can say that again!”
must be some motivation for living in ashram in South Fallsburg in New York
“Nice training!” an ashram. Does anybody else want to State, USA. Swami Muktananda was
tell me what yoga is?” among those who know how to channel
“Nice training for what? Nice - is it
and harmonise the energy.
really ‘nice’? Now you have to be “I see it as a help to get to know
Lee Sannella also asks the question
honest!” yourself, and at the same time to learn
whether it is possible to handle such
“No, not ‘nice’ - I would say ‘good’. to observe your personality and your
experiences outside an ashram, when
You experience what is good for you.” life and to become one with it.”
they come unexpectedly. When you
“It’s said strongly in one of the old are not prepared with yoga and if
“OK. But why Yoga? Can anybody tell
scriptures: ‘Looking at the eyebrow you’re alone, or in the hands of a
me - what is Yoga?”
centre is not yoga. Yoga is only to society which has no knowledge or
Another aspirant: “Somebody said become one with the seer - nothing understanding of what it’s about.
to me the other day that the contents else.’ That’s what you’re saying -
of your mind are pretty tangled - and ‘learn to observe’ - can you learn that?” Let’s look at our subject from another
then you do yoga and meditation and it point of view. When you live alone,
“I’ve become better at it.”
untangles the threads.” you’re not kept at it by the ashram
“Yes - it grows. You learn it through routine. You’re not inspired to remain
A third: “OK, it untangles it... But can awake and it can be difficult to keep to
training, don’t you!”
everybody do it? What about those a discipline.
who cling to their intellect and their so- “An ashram must be a place where
Carrying out a regular yoga practice
called intelligence? Can everyone open you’re kept at it all the time - otherwise
in such a way that you’re always in
themselves to such an experience?” you shouldn’t call it an ashram.”
contact with yourself and can maintain
“What was it Woody Allen said: an expanded awareness can be very
‘Intellectuals can be absolutely Kundalini much supported by life in an ashram.
brilliant, without having the faintest “Can’t you achieve this - or try to - When you’re on your own it’s
idea about what’s going on.’ ” outside an ashram?” difficult to let go of wishful thinking

18
and other illusions. There’s no help the ability to keep the door open, and Living in an ashram can be part of the
to see through them at once, when be there for those who want you to work of self-realisation. That is if you
you’re lacking the ‘mirror’ and teach them how to go further. So your use the place and the conditions, and
the understanding of the ashram teaching must contain this possibility. wish to receive the guidance and help
environment. Unfortunately the you can get.”
courage, the ability and the knowledge A higher state of
that is necessary you do not find in all consciousness
ashrams. “Unfortunately, there are some yoga You must be able to let go
Outside the ashram the circumstances teachers and other ‘spiritual’ teachers, “What you call spiritual awakening, or
and the attitudes that dominate society who claim all sorts of things, but who self realisation - can it be done step by
as a whole, can make you forget both haven’t experienced the heightened step?”
wisdom and training. state of awareness themselves. The fact “When I was younger, I expected it to
is that you can’t figure it out in your come suddenly, like a miracle - and to
The fundamental effects mind. Nor can you get it out of a book. a certain extent it was like that for me.
of yoga The day you experience breaking That is, part of it happened suddenly,
Let us return to the question, what is through to a greater awareness, you but still, it wasn’t that easy. The work
yoga?” might very well feel shaken for a was there and had to be done gradually.
long time afterwards. I was, anyway. With the help of the tantric meditations
“For me - I mean - I feel better when
When I drove through the streets of and the ashram training I learnt to
I do yoga. When I don’t do it, I can
Copenhagen in the sixties, for instance, stabilise the whole thing.
easily fall into a pretty dull state. So I
and I saw people waiting for the bus Swami Satyananda taught me this.
do yoga again and get out of it.”
or walking along the street, I said to Luckily he isn’t just a learned person.
“So what would you say that you myself: ‘Where are these people?’ I got Yes, he is learned, no doubt about
experience? What is it you achieve?” scared. To me it looked as if they were it, but he didn’t base his training on
nowhere - what I mean is, I noticed the the learning. He didn’t try to give me
“A sort of clarity, energy and even
unawareness - and it scared me! any form of intellectual information
happiness! When I experience this in
These ideas also turned out to be - he didn’t use books, lectures and
myself, I want to share it with others.
partly built on illusions. I had to learn so forth. Of course I’ve read books,
Sometimes it’s frustrating, because
to see through such concepts. Just but he taught me to count on my own
some people don’t have such an
because I experienced things stronger - experiences. He said: ‘Why read when
outlook on life that you can convey this
that didn’t mean that I knew what kind you’re together with the ones who
to them.”
of states other people were in. That was write the books?’ In other words, let
“Yes, very likely. But when you’re probably why I said to myself: ‘I’m us communicate directly since we’re
teaching in an evening class, even going to my teacher’s ashram, not so together anyway.
though some of the people present much for greater awareness, as to learn So, I made a decision: ‘OK, I’m here
may not be where your ideals would to build a bridge to the normal state of – I surrender; no matter what tasks
like them to be - or that’s what you consciousness.’ My awareness was so he gives me, I’ll go at it hammer and
think anyway - does that really matter? great that I felt that I could disappear tongs.’
When they go home from the class in the collective consciousness at Some people didn’t dare to just
they feel much better. any moment, and forget all about give in and be there. They questioned
Isn’t that enough? You can’t expect my individual little thread I was also all sorts of things - the way people
everyone to take the same direction as holding on to. behaved, the roles they played, the
you. Of course I hadn’t received any food that was served, the frequent
On the other hand you should have training yet in being a witness. power cuts, and every time the water

19
supply failed... They could leave any height - of course very slowly - that
time they wanted to, of course. But the practitioner becomes almost a
they needed an excuse to rewrite their seer of himself. Not only a seer of
own story, inside their head. They himself in vague terms, but a seer of
couldn’t face the fact that they were everything he does, feels, thinks etc.
incapable of carrying through their Therefore, this awareness should not
original decision. It’s amazing how be allowed to be developed by those
many excuses people use to avoid people who have not achieved a
their habits being upset, and to avoid certain knowledge of themselves.’
themselves being touched. But life
touches you, you can’t avoid it - until Why not? I talked about it on the
the day you start counting on yourself. Christmas course - it was Yogeswar
Until then, is what happens in your life who asked me about the psychic
other people’s fault? symbol. The psychic symbol
appears when you have reached a
What we have talked about here, is an state where you have given up effort
introduction to what I really want to completely - it’s a kind of feedback,
say... but on a deeper level than for
One day Swami Satyananda gave me instance biofeedback.
a short article to copy-type. With biofeedback, when you have
He called it Chronology of the yogi. the electrodes on your scalp and ear
In the following text it is written in phones on, you hear a sound. It’s
italics. only when the brain relaxes that the
sound disappears. The first time it
happens by chance, then gradually
Chronology of the yogi you learn to make the sound
‘The practice of yoga will not bring disappear and to keep the brain
about realisation. Because the purpose somewhat relaxed.
is not that.’ The psychic symbol brings about
something similar, but in a deeper
It’s obvious: you don’t struggle to and more comprehensive way.
achieve this with the help of an exercise, When you give up control in your
so that those who do the most exercises meditation, give up your ideas and
get there first. It’s not that simple. will power - when you become
‘The experience of truth or whatever receptive and start to experience
you want to call it is not an event - at that point the psychic symbol
to become, but it is a state of being. appears.
What you wish to realise through yoga When you are so ambitious in your the critical attitude for a moment, to
is already in you, in the same purity meditation, that you sit there and just experience and receive. In this way
in which you will realise it, after the strive, it never appears. Whereas, when you can compare it to biofeedback. The
removal of a kind of avidya [ignorance]. you let go and abandon yourself to the psychic symbol shows you that ‘now
Frankly speaking, all the practices are process, the symbol shows itself. It can you are there’.
only aids for developing individual also turn up in other contexts, when This, however, is just the first phase
awareness to such an intensity and you dare let go of the struggling and in the visualisation of the psychic

20
symbol. The fact is that it can keep your meditation. If you remain in signifies the end of the meditation and
you awake in areas that are normally contact with the symbol for a long a focusing of awareness.
‘unconscious’. time, the next phase sets in, with an In advanced yoga the symbol means
The second phase starts, when expansion of awareness. the following: Now the expansion of
you hold the symbol in your mind. What you first learnt about the awareness starts - if you continue for a
Now you go further than when you psychic symbol, as the ninth step in longer time - beyond the habitual limits
experience the symbol as the end of the Ajapa Japa meditation, is that it of the mind.

21
Seeing yourself Everyone who suffers from what with the psychic symbol. Of course
The psychic symbol tells you, among is called avidya (ignorance) doesn’t fundamentally this is based on personal
other things, that if you go on you will see himself or herself as they are. I guidance.
be able to ‘read’ or ‘see’ your personality don’t mean to say, though, that their Using the psychic symbol you can
as it is. Not just the ideas you have personalities are necessarily evil. make conscious areas in the mind that
about yourself, all the nice things that Self-insight does not result in you are normally unconscious. When the
justify your actions and thoughts - like realising that you are a bad person, on symbol has appeared at the end of the
‘oh, I’m so good’ - or the complexes the contrary - but still you’re in for a meditation, you hold on to it longer
and neuroses you pity yourself for. You surprise. Suddenly you see yourself as than you have done so far. Hopefully
won’t just experience things that you naked! There you are, without all the there’s nobody around to disturb you.
already know about. There’s more to pretty manners and smiles, the roles, You don’t need to do it forever - just,
discover and become aware of than that. the pride... Maybe you realise that you say, uninterruptedly for half an hour.
Let me give you an example. The other habitually use other people. Do you
day I heard someone say, that it would want examples? Men who use women,
be nice if criminals also had criminal and the other way around. Men who Nakedness
minds, or rather a criminal picture of use other men, for money, emotions, a In the course of this process you gradu-
themselves. But they haven’t. They have position or whatever. ally start to realise who you really are -
all these illusions about how nice they One day you stand there naked in and when you have established yourself
are, how charming they are, how good front of all this, and you don’t really in this, you also see what your personality
they are (corrupt politicians for example) know what to do. At the same time you is like, that it consists of a bunch of
and how just their actions are - at the understand, that far from everyone has programmes. Until this is experienced,
same time as their acts are criminal. arrived at such an insight. The apparent nobody really knows that this is the
Therefore there’s no hope for them. unawareness that you experience case - well, maybe in theory, but they
It’s the same as with some alcoholics. around you frightens you, and you haven’t met it in themselves. They
They say: ‘No, alcohol isn’t a problem realise that you need guidance. would rather remain in the illusion, that
for me.’ And they keep on saying it! I’m telling you now about my own what I think, the opinions and habits,
Until the day they drink and drive, and experience. You realise that you really tastes and interests that I have, are “me”.
run someone over in the street and kill are responsible and a creator of your Your personality consists of a
them. The only way you can start a cure own future. collection of values that someone has
for these people is, if they realise that
“But how do you get there? It’s difficult influenced you to have - or that your
they have a problem, and that so far
to be honest with yourself...” clever intellect has picked up from
they’ve been lying to themselves. Then
the cure can begin. books you’ve read. Ideas you wish to
Imagine if the criminals, the corrupt “You can’t do it just through the follow, or roles you play for yourself
politicians, could do the same - have intellect. You have to be thrown into a and others. This is not nakedness.
criminal thoughts about themselves, then state of greater sensitivity and greater A great deal of these programmes
they would know that they were criminals. ability to experience - an expanded are definitely good and necessary, they
Their acts are criminal. They subject awareness. And as Swami Satyananda are what we call culture. It would be
other people to a criminal behaviour, says in the beginning of the text I’m good, though, if we could use them
which causes pain and suffering. They reading here: ‘gradually and slowly’. consciously and change them when it
treat others, and speak about others, in If we are to meet the demands that is suitable - and not to be under their
a criminal way. But in their own minds, Swami Satyananda makes here, we sway, as slaves of the mind.
in the ideas they have about themselves, must train the mind. This is done with
everything is right and proper, and fits the various methods of yoga. It is done So awareness in this context is a kind
the picture they have of reality. through meditation and it can be done of nakedness. And when Swamiji talks

22
of awareness, of attention, this is what parents when I had been to visit them. “Yes! At other times it’s just the opposite.
he means. The text was written while I The first year I was here, I chose to visit As if everybody else has self insight.”
was living with Swamiji. Those of us them just once - and that went well, of
“Yes. But that’s not true. Maybe what
who were there at that time understood course. In the years after that I’ve visited
happens is that you see behind their
each other. We all came with a more or them more often. But last year my father
illusions, maybe you see the essence
less expanded awareness. I mean those came to visit me here - and I realised
of their being - but it’s far from certain
who were living permanently in the that I was in a completely different state
that the person you see is in contact
ashram - there were of course many who than when I was with him normally.”
with this essence.
just passed through - but those of us
“Yes. That must have surprised him
who lived there weren’t a large group. Some people claim that everything is
too? Or didn’t he see it? Maybe he just
We knew what he was talking yoga; I’ve written it in my book myself,
saw the picture he normally has of you?”
about, when he spoke of an expanded ‘there is nothing called yoga - it’s
awareness. And he knew that we knew. “I couldn’t see him at all. I just saw called life’. But that depends on how
a mist all week. It made me realise you’re seeing it. It’s not true in every
‘What you wish to realise through yoga something. It also made me care more connection. Of course not - you must
is already in you, in the same purity for the children in the family.” be able to see what’s what. Otherwise
in which you will realise it, after the you’re doing yoga a bad favour.
“Yes, if you really see it - and if you,
removal of a kind of avidya.’ If you want to help someone you say:
as I did, get over the initial fear and
‘Now I’ll show you what you can do
start living with an expanded awareness
about your problem. This is yoga. Do it
The veil of ignorance - you love your fellow beings. Not as
and you’ll feel better.’ Something like
children, you don’t have to patronise
This kind of avidya stems from what that. That’s as much as you can do for
them. Respect them and love them,
we have been told, where we’ve come most people, and that’s what we do,
wherever they are - as you would feel
from - influences we were subjected isn’t it?
for yourself, wherever you are.
to by the environment and from the But there are some people who go
Sometimes I’ve sat out here in the
people around us, where we grew up. further than that, they have achieved a
countryside with an expanded awareness
That is why originally, in the tradition I certain insight. When they’ve let go of
and worked with other people, during
was initiated into, you didn’t go home some of the coarser tensions and inhi-
the pretty wild seventies for instance.
to your family or your old friends, to bitions, they see things in a new light.
Then I went into town and talked to the
‘where things happen’ for 12 years. They want a more advanced guidance.
elderly man who owned the local timber
No matter how weak or invisible the Here it’s important not to put them off
yard; he retired a long time ago. I just
conceptions seem in your original with something they can sit and dream
stood there and talked to him, while we
background, they will keep you in about, enough people do that anyway.
pulled some lists out from the shelf,
a state of mind, where you identify Other people need to have what
which I was going to use at the school.
yourself with an illusion, which makes happens confirmed. A woman in
During the few minutes we talked I
it impossible to see through ignorance. Småland had an experience the very
realised: Just look at me, how arrogant
“Yes, I remember what it was like when first time she participated in a class.
can you get! This man is so wise. Who
I came home after living in a monastery Afterwards she came very discreetly
do I think I am, just because I teach
in Thailand. My mother collected me at and asked: ‘Is it OK if I leave my body
yoga? I don’t know if he’s ‘realised’, but
the airport. It was a shock. I’d trained my during the relaxation?’ The teacher
he’s definitely wise. He has my respect.”
awareness for over a year. And there I could confirm this: ‘There are people
was - it seemed to me that she was asleep.” “Sometimes it’s as if you know that try to achieve such an experience
everything and other people know for years, without attaining it.’ And she
“I had a similar experience with my nothing - and other times, it’s...” appreciated this experience.”

23
Experience and “experiences” vague terms, but a seer of everything he That’s what Swamiji means by
“But can’t too many experiences dis- does, sees, feels, thinks, etc.’ slowly and gradually. You will easily
tract people from what is essential?” manage what you meet in your mind,
if you’re active and “purify” yourself
“Yes, unfortunately. Here you need your If you want to go through actions that aren’t just about
intelligence, not for arguing, or liking out of your depth, you, and the result of which you’re not
and disliking - but for getting to the learn to swim first too dependant on. Yes of course you do
essential. ‘Therefore, this awareness should not be your best, and with great awareness,
If you want to go all the way, it’s allowed to be developed by those people but if something doesn’t succeed, you
important not to hang on to all kinds of who have not purified themselves.’ ” just continue and try again.
experiences or ‘abilities’. Some people,
for instance, get carried away when “What does that mean?” “So even if your motives appear to
they discover that they can see another “I have a problem with such a statement, you to be a bit suspect when you do
person’s aura. Others begin doing so Karma Yoga, it doesn’t mean anything,
it could sound a bit too “holy”- yes even
called ‘healing’. People get fascinated the Karma Yoga will have a cleansing
judgmental - that is if it’s misunderstood.
by the experiences and lose sight of the effect anyway?”
And there are plenty of possibilities for
aim. But we can go further than that. that. It can also be used as an excuse “Yes! When it comes to the spiritual
Let us get back to the subject. by teachers who are cowards and who path, we sometimes overdo it. We
Without a gradual training it can be don’t dare do anything for others at all, sit there getting all tense out of pure
pretty overwhelming to meet yourself but put them off with a lot of talk of ambition! “I want self-realisation only
and to feel at the same time in an understanding and of conduct.” for myself”. On the other hand it would
unusually intense way that other people
“But it means something else. It means be stupid to think that you should only
exist in this moment, together with you help others. How can you help others
- the direct experience of everything you have to do some yoga - above all
Karma Yoga. How can you consider to be happy, for instance, if you don’t
and everyone’s being. know happiness yourself - that would
Before you have achieved this you yourself purified, if you can’t do some-
thing for others? If you react against be a serious illusion. There must be
are too proud, too insensitive. You a balance between helping yourself
consider everything you do and think things, as soon as it’s not just about you.
and helping others, and this applies
to be right and true, but you don’t Your subconscious is sure to react with
especially to teaching. If you do things
experience the connection with others. a bad conscience, but you don’t notice
just for yourself, it’s not certain you’ll
That’s avidya - you mislead yourself. it. And if you suddenly open your mind,
get anywhere at all.
you see that and get scared.”
“So all you need is a shock?”
“Swamiji, what if you do what you do But it’s also about energy. The energy
“Yes, it’s tempting to say, that if nothing because of feelings of guilt? I mean, if you purify and get access to through
else helps, then a shock might be able you do Karma Yoga because you have a the yoga exercises, is channelled and
to wake you. But there are other ways bad conscience and you feel that...?” harmonised during the Karma Yoga
and one of them is yoga used in the activity. It isn’t just tensions in the
proper way. Let me read it again: “If you continue with your Karma muscles and bodily organs and inhibi-
‘Frankly speaking, all the exercises and Yoga, and I’m not just talking about the tions and limitations in the mind that
practises are only aids for developing Karma Yoga training you’re given in you cleanse, but also your energy, your
individual awareness to such an inten- an ashram, but also the initiatives and energy channels. Mind over matter
sity and height, of course fairly slowly, responsibility you take yourself, you’ll they say, meaning that your thinking
that the aspirant can become a seer in gradually free yourself from this feeling can influence the body. But it’s my
relation to himself. Not only a seer in of guilt. experience that energy is over mind.

24
meet life face to been in cultures where it was not at
face, and let go of as all possible to teach any confrontation
many complexes and exercises, or similar spiritual dances.
inhibitions as pos- They simply couldn’t look another
sible. The latter has person straight in the eyes - let alone
been the case here touch somebody else’s body.”
in the Nordic coun- “It reminds me of the film ‘The Rocky
tries the last three Horror Picture Show.’ Two nice young
or four generations. people suddenly land in a situation,
Certainly we have where they are confronted with a lot of
a spiritual life here, inhibitions and bizarre peculiarities in
but we don’t wish to the American culture. I wonder why it
live under religious was so popular?”
suppression and
“Yes, there will be
a reason for that.
There’s also a film
So if you master your with Michael Douglas,
energy, at the same time ‘The Game’, which in
you master your mind and a nerve-racking way
your body. Therefore not describes how a person
only the physical exer- reaches an insight
cises are important, but about himself and how
also the breathing exer- he treats his fellow
cises, Pranayama. beings.”
But let us go on with the “Lars von Trier’s ‘The
text. So Swamiji thinks idiots’ touches a few
that people who wish to raw spots too, I think
go further must go through - if you dare to involve
a cleansing. ‘Otherwise, yourself in it.”
as I know from my per-
sonal experience, they will
become conscious of their
own inabilities, hypocrisies, pains, pas- manipulation. Therefore many
sions, and so to say lower instincts.’ of us aren’t particularly over-
whelmed when we see some-
What Swami Satyananda says here, thing in our mind that some
should to a certain degree be seen priest or other says shouldn’t
from the point of view of the culture be there.
you live in. Some cultures and some When we read what
ages are more suppressive or more Swamiji writes in this part of
opposed to freedom than others. They the text, we must also take
encourage guilt and a bad conscience. our cultural background into
In other cultures many people try to consideration. After all, I’ve

25
“If you can see what it is you’re carrying yoga to practise Karma, Bhakti and “That Swami Satyananda has this
around with you, you can also let it go. Jnana and their allied aspects.’ view of Yoga is interesting - Karma,
You don’t need to follow all the ideas Bhakti and Jnana Yoga. Think of our
and tendencies that pop up in your mind. Swamiji is now talking about yoga as three-month courses for example. I
You have the freedom to choose. So a higher consciousness. What most couldn’t run the three-month courses
it’s important that you learn to experience people call yoga, in the East as well as without Karma Yoga. It would be
your mind as an observer - without in the West, he in the following calls impossible.
identifying with whatever is there. preparatory methods. Personally I Kriya Yoga gives you depth, energy
would prefer to call them fundamental and freedom from limitations - both those
‘Therefore yogasadhana should be and necessary methods. They remove you have inherited from society as well
practised step by step. You should many hindrances on the way. They as those, which are self-inflicted - but it
finish one thing at a time, so that the make the meditation easier - not to say must be learnt together with a certain
subconscious mind is not confused. It possible. They make it easier to do what amount of Karma Yoga. What is the
would not be out of place to tell how I, you want - for example realise yourself. use of doing Kriya Yoga, if you don’t
for a couple of months, as a result of an know how to make use of it in the daily
intense sadhana, became so aware of ‘Asana, [physical exercises] Pranayama actions you do in the form of Karma
myself - excessively self conscious - that [breathing exercises] and Hatha Yoga Yoga? The energy must be transformed
many a time I feared I would go mad. [cleansing processes like nose cleansing into action, so it doesn’t block.
Because I saw myself (and I do not know etc] are absolutely preliminary methods, Jnana Yoga is something you do
in which state) as two. But of course, I and as such they should not be confused in practice. You achieve it through
was saved in time by Swami Sivananda, with the word ‘yoga’. awareness training and certain
who was an expert in this matter. Realisation can come, Samadhi can meditations, especially Antar Mauna
My purpose here is to put before you be achieved, health can be maintained, (Inner Stillness), and through Satsang
the Chronology of Yoga with reference to psychic errors can be removed without (being with the teacher). The essential
your own consciousness. This awareness asana and pranayama.’ guidance, however, is received in
develops from subjective pratyaya [the That’s easy for him to say. He’s used daily life, through living and working
contents of the mind] to subjectless and these exercises to a very high degree and together with your teacher. In this way
objectless consciousness. And you who so have I. I wouldn’t have got anywhere you achieve insight about yourself,
have already freed yourself from the without them. I certainly wouldn’t have about your reactions and tendencies,
mental errors or its causes can safely met him. So what is it he means? and you gradually get to know the
develop this awareness to such an extent Actually, what we’re talking about influences in your subconscious, which
that you see yourself; you become a this evening is the experience you want, have an unnoticed influence on your
witness of yourself, and see in yourself and what you need to know, when you life.
something grand and glorious, and want to go further than the well being, Bhakti Yoga for me is something very
something worth appreciating. This concentration and vigour that ordinary special. Buddha asked his disciples
is an important point, which the yoga yoga can give. not to worship. ‘Make no images of
practitioner mustn’t forget. me.’ But did they hear what he said?
But it is not realistic that a man It would be difficult today to find a
with all his frailties and circumstances Karma, Jnana and Bhakti religion with more statues and pictures
should wait for such a purified state ‘What is more important in this than Buddhism. Muhammed said the
of mind, and then only take to the connection is that yoga cannot be same, make no images of god, and the
practices of yoga. If he thinks like this, achieved - can never be achieved Jews also have such instructions.
he will never achieve yoga. Both are without the practice of Karma, Bhakti What Swamiji says here about Bhakti
interrelated. Therefore it is safest in and Jnana Yoga.’ Yoga, I personally feel can be expressed

26
in this attitude: Devoting yourself The Tibetan book of the great Liberation. This is in reference to Hatha Yoga,
entirely to everything you do. Books by themselves, however, are Asana and Pranayama.
If you have this ability, you can worthless. Without knowledge of the In 1994 I visited Swami Satyananda
let go in the face of life, and towards real methods and without guidance in Rikhia, where he is now living after
yourself - you don’t need to struggle or you would just form new ideas and his retirement. During our conversation
be on your guard all the time. You dare expectations, to put it mildly. he said, Bhakti is not possible without
believe in life, you dare live it. Insight is something else, direct Pranayama.
What you carry in your heart should experience is something else. Getting Of course, I thought - Bhakti is a
remain a secret. If it becomes concepts to know yourself removes fear - and feeling, a state. It’s like a stream you
and pictures, it will stand in the way of I’m not talking about understanding tune in to when you let go. I myself
your self-insight! yourself - but about an experience, achieved becoming part of this current
In some of the more advanced stages about firsthand knowledge. of energy when I gave myself up to
of Jnana Yoga, you are asked to give up Basically Jnana Yoga is what we’ve it and let it happen. I discovered this
all concepts, all ideas. Maybe you have been talking about today. It is about stream of prana, which feels as if it’s
connected to a source high above me,
during the years when I did intense
breathing exercises on a daily basis. So
I could appreciate what he said.
You can’t tell this to just anyone,
though. How could they understand what
you mean, when it’s not a question of
worship, but still a matter of devotion?
That you become part of a vibrating
current, which you get in contact with
by using the breathing exercises in
yoga - and which you remain in contact
with during meditation.
been living with a certain conviction attaining an expanded awareness, You can use this current to get rid
or had fixed ideas all your life, but you and about how you manage the self- of even the worst states and tensions,
must be able to let go of them, so that knowledge you gain from it. it is in the highest degree purifying.
you can experience directly and without (See also Bindu no 8, Harmony between It opens you, and a connection
hindrance. This yoga you will find the experiencer and the experienced). is established where the energy
expressed in a few particular books or vibrates and flows both upwards and
scriptures; Yoga Vasishta (the esoteric downwards. You feel what Bhakti is,
Ramayan): ‘For the seeker both actions ‘Finally: the important when it’s not based on ideas. Without
(karma) and knowledge (jnana or gyana) landmarks in the life of a yogi this feeling you can’t get a proper flow
are necessary, as two wings are for the are: of prana to arise. The feeling of devotion
bird’. This is a knowledge that isn’t just 1. Desire to attain insight and gives the current power - just like when
about the limited individual self, but knowledge. you discover what it really means to let
about the connection between every- 2. A process where you achieve go. First Bhastrika (the blacksmith’s
thing, about the absolute, the whole. understanding through satsang [where bellows), and then Nadi Shodana. The
And from Tibetan Tantra we have the you communicate] with the teacher. breathing exercise Nadi Shodana is
meditation or discipline Maha Mudra as 3. Preparatory exercises performed in most effective in this way, when you
expressed in for example Evans Wentz: accordance with the given conditions.’ hold the breath by closing the nostrils

27
with the fingers and not, which some active - you can meditate 5 minutes a You expose yourself to influences, so
people claim is more advanced, by day. Of course if you work, let’s say 4 that you see if you can manage them
using the chin lock (see also page 10). or 5 hours every day, you can meditate without forgetting yourself.
When people don’t know of this for quarter of an hour. If you have an
ordinary job of 8 hours a day, you can 9. ‘Intense Japa, (Bhakti) Anushthan.’
experience, they may well sit there
meditate for half an hour or an hour Ordinary mantra meditation with
with their high ambitions and struggle
every day without a problem. And if devotion practised over a longer period
frustratedly with their breathing
you do Karma Yoga the whole day into of time, for example during a winter.
exercises. They don’t know how you
the evening, let’s say 16 hours a day This doesn’t suit everyone in the West,
literally feel upwards during Nadi
- then you’re on the safe side. Then you though. Other methods can be used,
Shodana. Without the experience of the
don’t need to sleep, you can meditate like meditation on the breath with or
‘flame’ or the ‘flow’, it is not so easy
the rest of the night.’ without mantra.
to hold the breath and get more out of
it. Everyone gets balance and clarity in That’s why we do Karma Yoga 10. ‘Checking up the mind through
the brain and inspiration afterwards of alongside the other methods. strong stimuli.’
course, when they use Nadi Shodana - 6. ‘Experiment with intense Sadhana.’ Are you open and receptive to
but this is barrier-breaking. ... in the beginning when I did that, yoga anything? Can you really experience
exercises for many hours every day and influences and states without losing
4. ‘Initiation from the guru.’
breathing exercises four times a day, yourself? Here Swamiji suggests that
5. ‘Return to Karma.’ the result was of course a very great you check that, before you continue to
At some point you must turn back to sensitivity – that’s why I had to turn to awaken the awareness.
Karma Yoga! Why? Because you should Karma Yoga. Therefore Swamiji says: There are sure to be different things
maintain contact with life around you, that normally would disturb your calm
and because you shouldn’t become 7. ‘Return to Karma Yoga.’ or your state. Do you forget yourself
self-centred and oversensitive. Through You can also say that you do Karma under their influence? Then back to
Karma Yoga you remain grounded, Yoga alongside your intensive sadhana. Karma Yoga!
while you can expand the mind with But you could of course, as Swami
Sivananda, do Karma Yoga 16 hours a 11. ‘Initiation into an expanded
other methods. If you are not grounded, awareness, if everything is found OK.’
you can’t live with an expanded day. He did this before he established
his ashram - he also used the hours What is ‘awareness’ as Swamiji calls
awareness, and things start to drift. On it? This initiation doesn’t come until
the other hand, if you’re outgoing and when we others are asleep. Apart
from his sadhana he helped people in under point 11. So far he has just
active with the Karma Yoga, you can go talked about the preparation: Sadhana,
far in a short time. Rishikesh curing leprosy, eye diseases
etc. Swami Sivananda had enormous yoga, all these things. So awareness
Swamiji once said to a person in this connection is when you’re
who asked him: ‘How much should energy - which he got through being
active, in combination with yoga and suddenly there, when you see! When
I meditate?’ You could see that this you experience everything in and
person wasn’t particularly active in his meditation!
around you, in a very strong state of
life. He probably had all sorts of dreams 8. ‘Checking up the mind through being present. Can you take that? If
in his head, and supplied them with fuel negative methods.’ you can, everything’s fine, you can just
from ‘spiritual’ books and magazines. Usually life ensures that you find continue. But to be on the safe side,
So Swami Satyananda said to him: yourself in situations where you check it again - here in the ashram
‘Well, it depends on what you do get ‘tested’. But you can also take it’s easy of course, this is what we do.
otherwise. If you’re not active or doing the initiative yourself and create a You find support in the meditations,
something with your life - you shouldn’t confrontation with states and situations where you’re constantly learning to
meditate at all. But if you’re just a little which would normally ‘disturb’ you. experience in this way and to let go.

28
12. ‘Checking up the mind with relaxation - your practice is directed by “Swami Satyananda says in the
adverse stimuli or negative the purity of your mind. text, ‘that when your awareness is
circumstances.’ expanded, and when you experience
14. If the mind is found impure, so
I can recognise all the points, which that this creates remorse and pain...’
that it disturbs your ability to rest in
Swamiji talks about here, in my life. At Does that mean that when the
yourself in such a way that it brings
certain times life has seen to it that I’ve awareness starts to expand, then you
forth agony and repentance, turn back
encountered them, at other times Swamiji see more and more of yourself and
to Karma and Bhakti. But if you’re
probably had a finger in the pie, like your own emotions?”
capable of remaining in an unaffected
when you got teased in the ashram and
state of awareness, as an observer “It doesn’t really mean at all that
your patience was put to the test.
of the activity of your mind and its you experience more and more in
When you meet with different
contents, then continue with the an intellectual way, where you can
things that touch you, it doesn’t come
expanded awareness.’ criticise or analyse yourself or other
as something you’ve agreed upon
This means that you are the witness, people - it’s not that kind of awareness.
in advance. In this way you’re not
you are the seer or the experiencer of No, here you experience directly.
prepared for what happens. It comes
your mental state. You experience the You don’t sit and think about it or
when you least expect it. In your
mind without identifying with it. But philosophise. It’s like when we use
attitude, however, there’s no question
without keeping it at arm’s length, the meditation Antar Mauna (Inner
of running away from life; you face and
you allow your feelings and thoughts Stillness). I have taught you how
accept whatever comes. You don’t try
to manifest and exhaust themselves to relate to the mind through Antar
to avoid the sensitivity either. No, when
within. Mauna. But to trigger off a greater
you’re ready you go further and deeper
with your Sadhana. How do you identify with a mental awareness is another story.”
All people go through upheavals. state? It’s easy enough to demonstrate. “Is it that you experience your feelings
What we’re talking about here, though, I know a way to tease anybody here, stronger and stronger?”
is to do it with a heightened awareness. and the person concerned would react
at once and throw something back in “Now you can see them as they are,
It happens all the time - for example
being involved in a court case, even my face. In that situation you’re not that is as emotions - and not as you.
if you’ve started it yourself; that is capable of witnessing anything at all. So, if you get a reaction, you can stand
‘adverse circumstances’ without a You’re involved. And you have to learn beside yourself and look at it, whether
doubt. Or if somebody’s jealous of you to realise this, so that you can work it’s strong or weak. You’re no longer
and tries to hurt you via the press - I got with it, use yoga, meditation and solve driven to actions where you throw
a taste of that earlier on in my ‘yogic’ Karma Yoga tasks. things at other people. You are truly
life. unaffected. Still you allow yourself to
But I must say that ‘negative ‘But the moment you find that the feel. It hasn’t got anything to do with
circumstances’ - when I look back over expanded awareness becomes the controlling yourself, no, you’re resting
the years and see what I was subjected cause of repentance, agony etc., then in yourself, in the eye of the storm.
to, and how I was carried away by it is always better for the spiritual It’s different if you’re a teacher, then
strong feelings, or just managed to keep aspirant to take a break and develop you have to react, strongly and clearly,
my balance - it definitely deserves the Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga, and in so the student wakes up.
name negative circumstances. this way to cleanse the mind.
However, we can’t live with intolerant
13. ‘If everything is alright go further This is the chronology of a yogi.’” ideals and expect ourselves always to
with the awareness.’ So you can live be oh, so nice to each other. Of course
“I have a question about the last part.” we should maintain a certain standard
in this heightened state. ‘If not, then
turn back to an ordinary meditation or “Yes?” so that we can live together and

29
preserve this unique situation which we next minute you turn around and crack notice when I get caught and carried
call ashram. In this respect living in an a joke. In other words, the state itself away by something. With the help of
ashram isn’t much different from other wasn’t important, it was just used the meditation and the people in my
places. to communicate with, after that you surroundings, I learn to see it and let it
For example, you can see people move on. go. But if you’re in a higher state and
who get carried away by a situation, Then again, you might have a unable to let go - then you need extra
and who cling to the involved state student who doesn’t want to let go help.
because they identify with it. of his/her states. Then you feel like The ashram has a safety net, which
On the other hand, people who have saying: ‘I’m sorry I can’t help you, go consists of the understanding that
the capacity to experience the thoughts somewhere else to get help.’ But to be exists here around these subjects, and
and the emotions are not bound involved in an emotional state or an of Karma Yoga.
by them. They can change quickly intellectual attitude isn’t so bad. Most
between various expressions. Maybe people are involved almost all the time. Thank you for the talk! You inspire
you’re angry about something, but In the daily life in the ashram, I me.”q

30
Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life
Swami Janakananda’s book in a revised and extended edition
(Weiser, USA ISBN: 0877287686). (Yoga, Tantra et Méditation dans la Vie
Quotodienne, Editions Satyanandashram, France ISBN: 2.905892-06-04).

“In my opinion this is one of the best


yoga books available at the moment.

Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily


Life is an inspiring and, above all, a
refreshingly practical book. It has been
written by a man who understands his by oneself. Breathing exercises and however, often falsely inflated and
trade and knows what he is talking deep relaxation (Yoga Nidra) are also overestimated; this is a pity, for the
about, you feel this when reading it. carefully and thoroughly introduced. sexual rituals are only a small part of
Swami Janakananda has had a Even people who already know the manifold Tantric tradition.
lifetime of practice and more than 20 something about yoga will be surprised In a total of 13 chapters Swami
years experience in teaching yoga at how much this book offers. Janakananda gives an excellent survey
and meditation. He imparts this Many yoga books today of the various aspects of yoga and
yoga consistently, as he himself has unfortunately lack a usable description meditation, including chapters on
learned it from his teacher Swami of real meditation, but here we find concentration, on Kundalini Yoga and
Satyananda Saraswati - without any both a theoretical introduction as well the Chakras, and a Sanskrit glossary.
superfluous religious or philosophical as concrete instructions. The last four But, as I have said, Yoga, Tantra and
interpretations, and equally without chapters exclusively treat the theme of Meditation in Daily Life is above all a
any fashionable New Age dilutions. meditation and belong to the best of manual to use.”
Simply and clearly formulated what I have read on this theme up to (Swami Pragyamurti - from a review
one finds all necessary instructions now. in Spectrum, the journal of the British
for inquiring independently into the One of the chapters is devoted to Wheel of Yoga)
original methods of Tantric yoga and the sexual rituals. Here the reader
meditation. finds original Tantric instructions
The entire book is generously for approaching sexual energy and The book has obtained five stars
illustrated and there are photographs experiencing it as it is: one of the (out of five possible) at the Customer
of all the various yoga programmes, fundamental forces in Mankind. The rating at Amazon. Read reviews
which facilitate practising the exercises Tantric attitude to sexual energy is, online at www.amazon.co.uk.

31
Swami Janakananda 30 years as Swami - 60 years in life
Thirty years ago, in February 1969, Swami Janakananda was initiated as a Swami, them into small pieces. I remember
and sixty years ago he was born. We - friends and yoga teachers - thought that we my mind wondering what in the world
would surprise him with a celebration. This we did on his birthday, June 13th. I was doing. For days, I stood there
We were given permission to print some of the texts he received in this issue of and tore cardboard into small pieces.
Bindu. Looking back, of course, one can see
what a wonderful exercise it
was for watching the mind,
With Great Joy, Regards and and also for utilising all mate-
Appreciation. rials carefully (and this was
What a great Joy it is to have just when the movement for
this opportunity to express the environmental consciousness
great appreciation, the love and was beginning). The cardboard
the special regards felt for Swami came to good use for starting
Janakananda. So many years of many fires in the egg-shaped
support and guidance have been fireplace that was being built in
showered upon my life through the main room.
his great compassion. And then there was the
From the moment I came into opportunity to participate in
his sphere of influence, a great one of the first three-months’
care and great love was felt right courses. It was tough and it
at the very first moment. As I was so great. What a gift it
reflect back on my life, I can was to concentrate so totally
see that he was there for me at on the practices. What a joy
the times when I needed him to have silence for an entire
the most. He has been a major month. Finally, one’s own
influence on my life. mind became silent and one
Strong memories come up, as could go deep within. Finally,
I contemplate this. For example, the inner experiences came to
when an old country school at the surface of the mind and
Håå in Sweden became available revealed – the entire subtle
as a course site and work began body – all the chakras – energy
to make it useable - I remember glowing in the most beautiful
many incidents from that time. vivid colours. With it came the
At one point the floor to the realisation that this was real,
shower in the main building was this was true. And then a most
being installed. Since funds were beautiful blue sphere filling
in short supply for all the materials Picture from Ann Mari Brenckert, Sweden the mind’s experience – so still, so
needed, Swami Janakananda directed us thing was used, nothing was wasted. complete Supreme Peace. Tears welled
to take small sections of the vinyl floor The same was true with all the card- up out of the eyes spontaneously.
covering that were leftover, and - like a board packing materials – instead of Great Joy was experienced. Later,
jigsaw puzzle – put them together so as just burning them up or throwing them Swami Janakananda came into the
to be able to complete the floor. Every- away, we had the karma yoga of tearing room. He looked at me. He knew. It

32
was not until much later that I fully artistic field really came to advantage.
understood the depth of what had been It became a lovely place and very
revealed to me. quickly many more people arrived, and
This is the greatest gift that a human the first ashram came into being.
being can receive. Swami Janakananda, Well, there is and always will be a
by his compassion and his love, has lot of go about you, so, if I remember
always pointed the way towards the rightly, in about two years only that
supreme treasure within one’s own self. place was too small. You heard of
This is the most valuable gift that any premises on Købmagergade, in the
human being can give to another. And very heart of Copenhagen, and off we
for that never-ending support and love, went again. The contract was obtained
I am ever grateful and ever in debt. This with great trouble (strange lawyer).
support and guidance is always mani- After about two years you found out
festing. ”No greater friend hath any man.” that the house was to be sold on an
So, it is with Great Regards, Great executive auction. So that really got us
Respect and Great Love that this going. I remember that when the house
offering of salutations can be made in was bought and taken over we were in
honour of Swami Janakananda for all the aeroplane on the way to the yoga
the great gifts he has given. Not only to congress in Bogotà, Colombia.
me – but to everyone that has had the Then you found the school at Håå.
good fortune to come into his company But when you asked for my advice
and receive what he has to give. about purchase etc., I couldn’t help you.
Ronald Nameth OM TAT SAT! There was too great a difference between
............................................................... the Danish and the Swedish rules. That
didn’t stop us from getting going again
Renovation of Håå Course Center 1972
with scrubbing, cleaning, sanding floors,
Even though I’ll probably give a speech yoga”. Anyway, as we both remember painting windows etc., but now there
on your sixtieth birthday, I think that I turned up at your humble and very were a lot more of us to help. Once
1) I might say something else and nicely set up premises in Viborggade. again, we had such fun, and the outcome
2) it isn’t easy for anyone to remember From the first time with you, there were of this is what you with joy can look at
the different speeches. a lot of things that touched something today. It’s wonderful to age in years,
My dear friend! We’ve accompanied inside me; especially Antar Mauna and and to call forth memories. I know that
each other for nearly 30 years. Here I Yoga Nidra, but all the other exercises you, as I do, “observe it”, and luckily
almost start to sing “The first time I saw you taught me were so inspiring that we’re still working on together. No one
you…” I started to use all the little free time I knows how many people one inspires,
It was when you were translating had on yoga. whether it is with yoga or with something
a lecture by Swami Satyananda. At We also quickly started a practical else, but you have done so for countless
that particular time I didn’t want to do co-operation, and Nordkrog, Hellerup, people and you’re still going strong.
yoga anymore, after having tried two was acquired (it’s lucky my job was, I’ll finish my little “biography” here
different “yoga ladies”, which gave me and still is, estate agent). We were and wish you happiness and success in
a certain physical routine, but there was alone in this new old house, and what the future. I’m quite sure that the two of
something missing. I remember best is the joy with which us will always work and be together,
I was together with a yoga teacher. we threw ourselves at the cleaning, the as long as we are “visiting performers”
Afterwards I said to her, “if the like of sanding of the floors, and all sorts of on this earth. With the very warmest
the young man who was translating was other things. of greetings and a very, very BIG OM
around, I’d very much like to do more Your creativity in the practical and from Maha Laxmi.

33
Dear Swami Janakananda for the past 23 years, it has been my tiple Sclerosis. For me, the physical
One day, when the drums were convers- distinct privilege, which I cherish very aspects of the course were very demand-
ing with each other, somebody mentioned much. Thank you for your being. I look ing. There were many poses, which
that Swami Janakananda was about to forward to many many more years of seemed to be completely beyond my
have a birthday, and that there was to enjoying your presence and friendship, capabilities. My back had also sustained
be a big party. The drums discussed the and learning from your example. some injuries in a car accident some years
matter back and forth and decided that All the best for your body, mind & prior to this. As a result, I experienced a
Táman should be the one to go, because soul. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! -from great deal of pain, particularly between
it was known, also among humans, as Roop, Tracy, Arjun and Uma Verma the shoulder blades, when sitting in a
“the one who speaks”. Therefore, it ............................................................... meditation pose. In one mid morning
could both say “happy birthday” in a Congratulations and Gratitude class during the teaching of the Kriyas, I
clear language, and whisper its secrets Throughout life, one is blessed by was experiencing some severe back pain.
when the time was ripe. For the fact encounters with others. My life has Swamiji was checking our poses and,
is with magic, they said, that both the been very blessed through my contact as he passed me, he lightly touched my
drum and Swami Janakananda have a with Swami Janakananda. back, saying: “That’s good”. The pain
part in it. Happy birthday! Sakti Rupini After starting yoga classes in Bergen stopped instantaneously and I have
............................................................... with Bjarke, I attended the three months never experienced its severity again.
Happy birthday... course at Håå in 1985. The first time I I left Håå at the end of the three
many returns of the day briefly saw Swami Janakananda (and at months course in fine health, able to
(samsara) that time not knowing who he was), I do all the yoga programs. Since then,
till the Eternal Time was struck by that short, silent but very I have continued to enjoy better health
comes to stay... significant encounter. As the course pro- than most other people do.
nirvana, nirvana gressed, it became obvious to me that he I have been blessed because my con-
was my teacher. Wonderful things then tact with Swami Janakananda has been
The doer does... started to happen. I would be thinking constant and frequent since that first
and sees the things done, about a particular topic throughout the three months course in 1985. Yes, he is
apt with conviction day and that night Swami Janakananda my teacher. He is also a cherished friend.
equally apt to go beyond... would arrive in the yoga room and As my teacher, Swami Janakananda
that is Swami Janakananda immediately start talking about the very has allowed me the freedom to grow
Sohan Qadri same topic. At first, I thought it was a and develop. He has encouraged me
............................................................... series of coincidences. I soon changed to become a yoga teacher much to
Dear Swami Ji my mind. On one particular day during my gratitude and the gratitude of my
A few words for the incredible journey the silent period, thoughts about Joan of many students in Mackay (Queensland
you undertook - under what inspiration Arc had entered my mind for the first time Australia). Whenever I have sought his
or plan - divine or human, I don’t know. in years. To my surprise, that evening and advice, he has provided guidance and
You have joined your precious life energy for the first time in the course, Swamiji support. But he has never given me
with the people who have carried the light made several references to St. Joan. instructions on how I should live my
of yoga through countless millenniums. After that incident, I felt Swami Jana- life. He has left those decisions to me.
Your life and work speak about the kananda had a direct telephone line into His teaching has shown me how to
same light which existed long ago my mind. I would mentally ask him a sustain periods of harmony, energy and
and which exists today and is helping question during the day and that night drive in my personal and business life.
thousands of seekers around the world. he would simply provide the answer. Whilst living in Scandinavia and as a
Knowing you as a friend, a brother A few years before the three months direct result of the inspiration received on
and co-traveller on the path of yoga course, I had been diagnosed with Mul- the 1985 three months course, I was able

34
to secure the IKEA franchise for the state congratulating you on reaching this were, in all directions… As the king
of Queensland. I am no longer in that important point of your life. and queen gazed on the bridegroom
business but whenever I drive past the With love and gratitude who was the very fountain of joy,
8,000 sq. metres of IKEA store on the Robyn Taylor, Mackay, Queensland, their heart was filled with rapture…
South East Freeway in Brisbane, I look Australia. 13 June 1999. And having gone through all the rites
at the place and say: “That’s the store that ............................................................... sanctioned by the Vedas and the family
yoga built”. And I experience gratitude. Blessed Self, Swami Janakananda usage, the glorious king Janaka gave
For the last nine years, I have been Saraswati - Hari OM his daughter to the bridegroom and
operating my own training business in On the occasion of your birthday thereby earned fair renown of an
regional Queensland. I am committed and also the jubilee of your initiation unprecedented character.”
to introduce Swami Janakananda’s to sannyas some 30 years ago, what This is for you Janakananda! May
teachings into the workplace using the better incentive for my good wishes your health, work and love improve
management courses that I conduct as and congratulations than some chanting and grow through many more years
the vehicle. In the business sector today, from the Ramayana, expressing the joy to come. I wish to join these words of
many people are asking questions about of Sita Kalyanam, union of the soul mine to those of the French public who
purpose and meaning. Yoga provides with the Supreme? so much appreciated your vibrant talks
the opportunity to discover one’s own ”The sounds of singing and kettle on yoga and meditation. And we hope
answers to these questions. drums and shouts of victory in heaven to see you again in Paris!
Like all of us on this wonderful as well as in the city overflowed as it Swami Yogabhakti Saraswati
voyage through life, there have been
times when life has appeared pretty
tough. On one such occasion, I was sit-
ting on the beach in front of my house,
feeling very alone and experiencing
intense grief. I can recall crying out a
question into the dark of that night and
asking for an answer. I felt very heavy as
I climbed up the path from the beach and
entered my home. As I walked in, the
telephone rang. There was Swami Jana-
kananda on the line from Sweden, pro-
viding me with the answer to the ques-
tion which, only a few moments ago, I
had just asked on the beach in Australia.
Thank you, Swami Janakananda, for
being my teacher; for showing me how
to access my own wisdom; for being
my friend; for being there in times of
need; for teaching me how to use the
energy to live a full and purposeful
life. May your 60th birthday celebra- May I take this opportunity here to thank everybody who
tion be a happy, joyful occasion. All of has contacted me, visited me, wrote to me or thought of me,
the people in Australia who have been and to Síta who has gathered these texts and been the prime
touched by your teachings join me in mover behind the celebration. Swami Janakananda

35
Han-shan - Poems from Cold Mountain by Stig Andersen
Thirty years ago I was born into the world, also found poems scribbled on pieces
A thousand, ten thousand miles I’ve roamed, of bark and on the trees near the cave.
by rivers where the green grass lies thick, In that way the poems have been
beyond the border where the red sands fly. preserved for posterity and today
they are part of the literary treasure
I brewed potions in vain search for life everlasting,
of China. In Japan the poems are also
I read books, I sang songs of history. greatly appreciated. There the great
Today I’ve come home to Cold Mountain. poet is called Kanzan.
I sleep by the creek
and purify my ears. The poems cover many subjects. From
poems that show a deep spiritual insight
The first time I read the poems of Shih-te, who was also a poet, worked to poems of a more secular nature. From
Han-shan was in the beginning of the in the kitchen of a Buddhist monastery. satire on society and the vanity of human
seventies. During this period of my He often gave Han-shan food when nature, to sorrow at the transience of
life I lived for a couple of years in the he came down from his cave on Cold life and the sufferings it causes.
Himalayas. I often went trekking high Mountain. The monks in the monastery
up in the mountains, sometimes for regarded the two friends as more or Man, living in the dust
months. The poems evoked pictures less mad. The story goes that Han- is like a bug trapped in a bowl.
I could relate to immediately. They shan could roam the corridors of the All day he scrabbles round and round,
were in tune not only with the outer monastery for hours, laughing and but never escapes the bowl that holds
world in the mountains but also with singing to himself all the while. If the him.
the inner. In a sense the poems build a monks wanted to give him something The immortals are beyond his reach,
bridge between the outer and the inner, to do or tried to chase him away, his craving has no end,
making the two worlds merge and he stood still, laughed out loud and while months and years flow by like a
become one. clapped his hands, and disappeared. river
The poems have been with me ever The official who had heard that the until in an instant he has grown old.
since and are still the clearest and most two impoverished friends were really
inspiring poetry I know of. incarnations of boddhisattvas brought The real masterpieces you find in the
gifts for them. He even bowed to them, poems from and about Cold Mountain.
Not much is known of Han-shan other which greatly surprised the monks of According to the poems Han-
than what you can read in his poems. the monastery. When Han-shan saw shan retired to a cave high up in the
Therefore nobody knows where he Lü-ch’iu and his retinue approaching mountains after living an ordinary life
came from, except that he was a with the gifts, which consisted of for approximately thirty years.
poor eccentric scholar who retired medicine and clothing, he shouted: At first glance the poems describe
to the mountains. The only existing “Thieves! Thieves”! He then ran into a nature and the mountains, but they are
description of Han-shan comes from cave in the mountain that closed after as much parables of meditative states
the late 9th century, from an official in him and they never saw him again. Lü- and spiritual awakening.
the T’ang Dynasty by the name of Lü- ch’iu then ordered his men to collect
ch’iu Yin. He describes his meeting Han-shans poems which were written The name Han-shan is often translated
with Han-shan and his friend Shih-te. on the walls of the cave he lived in. They as “the master of Cold Mountain” or

36
simply as Cold Mountain. In that sense Occasionally Han-shan is referred now. In the Yoga poses you work with
Cold Mountain is Han-shan himself. to as a Zen poet, though there are so the body. The body as it is - soft or
However when I read the poems I many references to the classical taoist rigid, young or old.
don’t experience Cold Mountain as text Tao Te Ching in his poems that it In meditation you make use of
being only Han-shan but as a metaphor would probably be more correct to call that which is happening in the mind
for the Self. That is the strength of him a taoist poet. during the meditation. You don’t try to
the poems - they give you a direct The kinship with Tantra is also avoid it. In this way you transform the
experience when you read them. apparent in many of the poems: energy. You have, like Han-shan, saved
Han-shan often describes how he your world. You have done that with
returns to Cold Mountain – returns All my life I’ve been lazy, the remedies at hand in the meditation.
to himself. The poems in many cases hating anything solemn, In the next meditation you repeat the
resemble the meditative process finding light matters more congenial. process, with the means you have at
where you are also in search of the Others may study how to make a profit, your disposal then. You return to Cold
self. I have my single roll of scripture. Mountain.
I don’t bother to fit it with a roller or
I climb the road to Cold Mountain, case, The birds and their chatter overwhelm
the road to Cold Mountain that never or trouble to carry it here or there. me with feeling;
ends. Like a doctor prescribing a medicine At times like this I lie down in my hut.
The valleys are long and strewn with for each disease, Cherries shine with crimson fire;
stones, I use what remedy is at hand to save willows trail their slender boughs.
the streams broad and banked with the world. The morning sun pops from the jaws of
thick grass. Only when the mind is free of care blue peaks;
Moss is slippery, though no rain has can the light of understanding shine in bright clouds are washed in green
fallen; every corner. pond.
pines sigh, but it isn’t the wind. Who ever thought I would leave the
Who can break from the snares of the I use what remedy is at hand to save dusty world
world the world. This is exactly the Tantric and come bounding up the southern
and sit with me among white clouds? approach. You use what is here and slope of Cold Mountain.q

37
Swami Janakananda in Europe...
Swami Janakananda will be giving a Satsang in Hannover, Germany on May 23rd. In June he has been
invited to teach at a retreat with the Scottish Yoga Teachers’ Association, and with the Finnish Yoga Teach-
ers’ Association in July. After the one-month Kriya Yoga course and a 14-day yoga teacher seminar
at Håå Course Center he will be in Australia for three months.

...and in Australia Retreats, Courses and Satsangs


September - November 2000

10 day retreat at Tannum Sands in Queensland: 11-21 Oct.


“It is now two days ago since we left the course in Acre and I still have
an elated and self-contradictory feeling of supercharged energy and
deep inner calm.” (Student after a 10 day retreat)

In a quiet atmosphere, we will live You get suppleness and well-being


mainly without phones, mail, media, from the various yoga poses. The
cars and shops. Such a setting provides purpose of the breathing exercises is to
you with a unique opportunity to gain cleanse your energy flows and create a
perspective and benefit the most from foundation for concentration and health.
the yoga and meditation you are going This aids in learning:
to learn and experience. Inner Silence (Antar Mauna), a
The course begins with easy yoga and meditation in seven steps through which
simple relaxation and meditation. you can come to terms with your mind
One of the first days is set aside for and learn to accept your personality
intestinal cleansing. In the morning in a constructive way. You develop
we drink warm saline water that is in your capacity to think creatively and
balance with the body’s own salt level. thus realize your visions. But first and
A few exercises help the water through foremost, you get closer to your self
the alimentary canal in a gentle and and experience your true identity.
harmonious way. The afternoon is spent Ajapa Japa is a preliminary form of
resting or enjoying the surrounding Kriya Yoga. In nine steps you go from
countryside. A mild vegan diet follows the coarse to the finer levels of your
the cleansing-day. Altogether this helps being, from using a special way of
to detoxify your body, removing coarse breathing to contacting the chakras, the
tensions and making you feel light. inner space and your psychic symbol.

For updates on the Australian tour see our website: www.scand-yoga.org

38
Yoga Nidra, a unique deep relaxation.
Karma Yoga, an activity that interacts with the rest of the
course where you have a chance to make use of the energy
you get from your yoga and meditation classes. Every day
there is 1-2 hours of preparing food, cleaning, garden work...
Silence (Mauna), a valuable
and integrated part of yoga.
Two and a half days of silence
raises your awareness further -
thus increasing your capacity to Swami Janakananda
experience. It makes you better was born in Denmark. He founded the Scandinavian
able to experience the finer stages of Yoga and Meditation School in 1970, one of the
the meditations that we practise at most advanced and well-established schools in the
this point.
West. His book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in
Lectures. Swami Janakananda
and Sita will give lectures on Daily Life (available from Samuel Weiser, USA) has
tantric yoga and meditation and been translated into nine languages.
how it can be used and integrated Swami Janakananda is a master of Kriya Yoga
in daily life. and other tantric meditations - and a great source
Meditative song and dance of inspiration, giving modern man the opportunity
from around the world, especially to practise deep reaching yoga in his every day
Sufi dance and Indian kirtan, life. He is a popular lecturer at international yoga
plays a small but important part in the course. conventions and has been in Australia several times.
In his teaching Swami Janakananda makes use of
Venue, dates and fee the situation here and now - of you, just the way
The retreat is held at Tanyalla Recreation and Conference
Centre, located in a quiet environment at the attractive
you are, not demanding that something first must be
seaside town of Tannum Sands, some 20 km south-east of different. From here the meditation grows, the room
Gladstone, Queensland, just 300 metres from the beach. you are sitting in, your body and senses...
Between Centre and the Boyne River is a large area of
natural woodland which is ideal for bush walks and nature
study. The retreat begins Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 7.00 pm and
ends Saturday, Oct. 21 at noon.
The course fee is $ 800, all inclusive for 10 days tuition,
accomodation and meals. Before enrolling on this retreat ask
for the Håå Course brochure and read it carefully, or read it
on internet: www.scand-yoga.org/english/haa.
Arrival Síta
Accomodation will be in single rooms with good communal is from Iceland. She has been teaching at the
toilet and shower facilities. Please bring your own bedding Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School for 16
or sleeping bag, including pillows. Please also bring years, working closely with Swami Janakananda.
comfortable shoes, towel and toiletries - as well as a mat for On the retreats she will guide the yoga classes and
yoga and a thin blanket. lead sessions with meditative song and dance.
continued on next page

39
Retreats, weekend courses and satsangs
in Australia 2000
10 day Retreat 10 - 12 November in Adelaide, South
Australia
Info Evenings
at Tannum Sands in Booking & info: Amritananda, and Satsangs
Queensland: 11-21 Oct. tel 08 8391 6228. Meet Swami Janakananda and find
Booking & info: Concept Training, e-mail: sara0025@flinders.edu.au out what the courses are about. The
tel 0749 549 490, fax 0749 549 330. evening ends with a guided meditation.
e-mail: concept@mackay.net.au 17 - 19 November in Sydney • On the Sunshine Coast: 28 Sept.
Open to all, aimed at experienced yoga • In Mackay: 3 Oct. 7.00 -
5 day Retreat practitioners. On this course, friday
evening will be 6.00 - 9.30 pm.
9.00 pm Slade Point Hall, Wren
on the West Coast 2 - 7 Nov. Street, Slade Point.
Venue: At Lower Chittering, 45 Booking & info: Swami Shabdavani • On the West Coast: 1 Nov.
minutes drive from Perth and Swami Priyaratna • In Adelaide: 9 Nov.
Bookings: Judy Allan, tel 0895 718 338 tel 02 9879 5240 • In Sydney: 16 Nov.
Fee: $ 400 e-mail: yoga@spiritofyoga.com.au Free entrance.

Still being planned: 22 - 24 Sept in


Weekend Courses Toowoomba, Queensland
Non-residential. Friday 6.30 - 10.00 Booking & info: Toowoomba School
pm. Saturday 9.00 am - 9.00 pm. with of Yoga, tel & fax 0746 392 486,
approx. two hours lunch-break and one mobile phone 015621134, email:
hour dinner-break. Sunday 9.00 am - d7694121@mail.connect.usq.edu.au
5.00 pm. with approx. two hours lunch-
break. Fee: $ 250.

29 Sept - 1 October on the Sunshine


Coast, Queensland
Booking & info: Edelweiss Symons,
mobile phone 0408109844.

6 - 8 October in Mackay, Queensland


Booking & info: Concept Training,
tel 0749 549 490, fax 0749 549 330.
e-mail: concept@mackay.net.au

For updates on the Australian tour see our website: www.scand-yoga.org

40
Experience Yoga Nidra - Inspiration for a richer life
The deep relaxation Yoga Nidra from the Nyasa Tantra is guided by
Swami Janakananda. You can get the deep relaxation on CD or on tape.
All you have to do is to lie down, close your eyes and follow the instructions!
“I remain very impressed with the CD. Roop Verma. Sound symbols for the
I get a lot of solicitations and often do various chakras are also played, from
not respond to them because the quality the music tradition called Nada Yoga.
is not always that good. Naturally, this practice is an
This CD is more than the exception individual experience. Personally,
to the rule, hence my enthusiasm. I enjoy I find it utterly fascinating. I feel
it not only because it was produced refreshed and revitalised after the
with quality, but because I can tell from practice, and I know I will continue
the instructions and the voice guiding it with it.” With the CD there is a 20-page booklet about
Yoga Nidra, and how to get the full benefits
that wisdom and experience, combined Nils-Olof Jacobsen in the magazine
from the two relaxations.
with a gentle strength and power, are Sökaren, Sweden Content of the CD:
leading the deep relaxation methods, “The Wholeness of Your Nature”
through Swami Janakananda.” short deep-relaxation (21:03).
Lisa McColley Anderson, Spirit “Yoga Nidra is much more than “Travel through the Space of
Links, USA a deep relaxation; it is a total Experience”, music (7:06).
“Discover Your Self”, the deep Yoga
experience that touches and Nidra (45:17).
“Yoga Nidra is different from anything I awakens all parts of your being.” Soon available in stores in USA, UK, Canada
have heard before. It is accompanied by Swami Janakananda & Australia. CD: ISBN 9163094886.
nature sounds, and the Indian musician Tape: ISBN 9163094924. Contact us for info.

Read Bindu
- Back issues are still available
No. 3: The ability to experience.
Headstand. Nose Cleansing... No. 7: Silver Jubilee issue! Read about Kriya No. 10: Nada Yoga, meditation on the inner
Yoga III. Yoga for pregnant women. Savasana. sounds. Vibrations create forms. Song and
No. 4: Kriya Yoga I. The effect of yoga on the dance. The Bumble bee.
finer energy. The Source of Energy - a Tantric No. 8: Harmony between the experiencer and
meditation... the experienced. On the Tantric meditation No. 11: The relaxed state and science.
Antar Mauna (Inner Silence). The Lotus Pose. Pictures of the brains’s activity during Yoga
No. 5: Kriya Yoga II. Psychic energy. Six Nidra. Tantra and Yoga Nidra.
years of scientific research on the 3-Months Intestinal cleansing.
Courses. The Pyramid. No. 9: Instructor or Guide? Yoga for the Back. No. 12: On the yogateacher education. Yoga
No. 6: The twilight hour - did we have a living Experience and Knowledge - about the yoga for “mouse arms”. Mapping the brains activity
meditation tradition in the North? About teacher education at the Scandinavian Yoga after Kriya Yoga. On Sadhana, cycles in
R.Y.E. (Research on Yoga in Education). and Meditation School. healing and learning and what it means to be
Shoulderstand... silent during the initiation into Kriya Yoga.
Read more about Bindu on the internet: www.scand-yoga.org/english/bindu
41
Yoga shop Subscription
You are welcome to support us, so we
can continue to publish Bindu. Pay 45
The book: Yoga, Tantra and Medi- Nose cleansing pot
with instruction brochure: SEK for one issue or 80 SEK for 2
tation in Daily Life (Weiser, USA) issues + 40 SEK postage (payment,
by Swami Janakananda Joghus, (short spout) blue or red. see below). Further contributions are
235 SEK (postage included) 250 SEK (postage included) also welcome.
Also available in other languages. Krutis, (long spout) blue, sand, white
New French translation of the book! or green, 370 SEK (postage included)
See also page 31.
The periodical: Bindu
The CD: Experience Yoga Nidra
Backissues: no. 3-7, 9-12,
200 SEK (postage included). See p. 41.
45 SEK each (postage included).
The tape: Experience Yoga Nidra Five issues or more: 30 SEK each
155 SEK (postage included) (postage included). See also p. 39.
Hopi Ear Candles: made of 100% The brochure (free):
bees wax and cotton; cleanses the ears. about the retreats at Håå International
80 SEK (postage included) Course Center. See next page.
We accept payment in Swedish Crowns (SEK) by international money order or to our postal giro account 73 86 03 - 0 in Sweden.
Or an international bank cheque (free of charge at our end). NB Euro-cheques are not accepted any more in Swedish Banks!
Please send money and order to: Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School, Håå Course Center, 340 13 Hamneda, Sweden.

SKANDINAVIAN YOGA AND MEDITATION SCHOOL


Håå Course Center, 340 13 Hamneda, Sweden • Tel. +46 372 55063 Publisher: Bindu,
Fax. +46 372 55036 • Email: haa@scand-yoga.org • www.scand-yoga.org Håå Course Center, 340 13 Hamneda, Sweden.
Circulation: 7,000 in English (Also printed
Sweden Denmark in German, Swedish and Danish)
• Västmannagatan 62, 113 25 Stockholm • Købmagergade 65, 1150 Copenhagen
tel. +46 8 321218, fax. +46 8 314406 tel. +45 3314 1140, fax. +45 3314 1434 Printed: Håå Course Center, by Erling
email: stockholm@yoga.se email: kbh@yoga.dk Christiansen & Mark Richards
Layout: Robert Nilsson & Swami Janakananda
• Olsegården 21 • 442 42 Kungälv, • Vestergade 45, 8000 Århus
Göteborg, tlf. +46 7020 57343 tel. +45 8619 4033, fax. +45 8619 4013 Translation: Jnana Shakti & Mark Richards
email: goteborg@yoga.se email: aarhus@yoga.dk Pictures: Back, p. 2, 14, 17, 20, 21, 27,
• Grynbodgatan 17, 211 33 Malmö 30 Swami Janakananda (from his autodidactic
• Kongensgade 12 B, 3000 Elsinore
tlf. +46 40 - 481008 tel. +45 4921 2068 period before he met his teacher and went
email: malmo@yoga.se to India); frontpage, p. 10, 13, Omkarananda,
Germany Danmark; p. 4, 5 Karl Ravn, Denmark; p. 25
Norway • Sextrostrasse 3, 30169 Hannover Ingela Hageman, Sweden; p.33 Maha Laxmi,
• Georgernes Verft 3, 5011 Bergen tel. +49 511 803 9941 fax. 803 9942 Denmark; p. 35 Thomas Schmidt, Germany; p.37
tel. +47 5614 3310 fax. +47 5614 9738 email: hannover@scand-yoga.org Corel PhotoCD.
email: bergen@scand-yoga.org
Copyright © 2000 Bindu and Scandinavian
Contact in Australia Yoga and Meditation School. All rights reserved.
Finland Robyn Taylor, Concept Training
• Sukula, 30100 Forssa PO Box 89, Mackay Q4740 No part of this publication may be reproduced
tel. +358 3 4350599 tel. +61 749 531 594 in any form without written permission from the
email: sukula@scand-yoga.org e-mail: concept@mackay.net.au publishers.

42
The Three Months Course 2001
24 Jan. - 21 April 21.000/17.900 SEK
Swami Janakananda, Síta et.al.
The Kriya Yoga Course 2000
22 July - 20 August 8950 SEK
Swami Janakananda and Yoga Shakti

10- and 14-days retreats 2000


May 28- June 10 5250/4000 SEK
Síta and Omkarananda
June 11 - 24 (German) 5250/4000 SEK
Hamsananda and Sirpa Kuosmanen
June 25 - July 8 5650/4600 SEK
Ananda Murti and Robert Nilsson
July 9 - 22 5650 SEK
Franz Jervidalo and Adam
Sept. 3 - 16 5250/4000 SEK
Intensive courses in the south of Sweden Robert Nilsson and Tuula
October 12 - 22 4950/3700 SEK
The courses at Håå Course Center in southern Sweden, are more than Mira and Mark
just holiday courses with a little yoga and meditation. Dec. 19 - Jan. 1 5650 SEK
Here you go through a process, which, with the aid of methods of Swami Janakananda and Tuula
genius from the tradition of yoga and tantra raises you to a level where Jan. 2 - 12 4950/3700 SEK
Síta and Erling Christiansen
you experience greater presence and increased energy - which you
can afterwards maintain with a regular practice at home.
The aim of the courses at Håå is for you to go deep and become
one with yourself - they give you the strength to go in the direction
you want.
Håå Course Center is about a two hours drive north from
Copenhagen, Denmark, and one hour from the airport of
Kristianstad in Sweden, for Ryan Air from Great Britain and
Ireland.
Get the brochure about Håå Course Center. It describes our
unique courses - where you for a period of time can withdraw to
gain perspective in surroundings of natural beauty.

Read more about Håå Course Center on internet: www.scand-yoga.org/english/haa 43


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