Healing is a process of coming home to one's authentic self—a sense of awakening to a wholesome loving way of being. The word healing comes from the ancient Greek word "holos" meaning whole or complete. Central to the healing arts is imaginative reasoning, experience, intuition and insight. This arena of knowledge encapsulates gnosis (the greek word for knowledge). From this type of knowledge a culture derives wisdom. Wisdom is the heart of education.
Its also interesting to note that the word meditation is a 'medi' word from the latin word 'meditari', which means to heal.
We are multi level beings, and the yoking together of 'the whole' has alway been a fundamental part of Yoga as a therapy. Practices involves ethics, physical postures, breath regulation, and meditation.
It is both healing and preventative.
The meaning of prana is 'life force' or 'vital energy' and is responsible for all creation. It is the prana within every created object, whether a plant, an asteroid, or a stone, that gives it existence, material form. The healing arts of Reflexology and Yoga serves to build and move prana, enhancing your ability to self heal. We all know that as we become sedentary or over active, we tend to diminish our prana, and when prana completely leaves your body, then you will be clinically dead and gradually your form will disintegrate.
To understand the functions of individual prana we divide it into five main categories:
prana - respiration - Anahata chakra
samana - metabolism - Manipura chakra
apana - excretion of waste - Muladhara chakra
udana - upward motion - Vishuddhi chakra
vyana - supply of vital nutrients to whole body - Svadhistana chakra
These are the five pranas, which together maintain the entire function of our physical form.
The mantra AUM
In yoga, it is said that in the beginning there was just pure consciousness from which emanated pure energy or mahaprana. When pure consciousness decided to become manifest, it manifested through pure energy. So from pure prana emanated sound, the first manifestation in creation. Sound is the most subtle aspect of manifest prana, and takes on the form of Aum. Form gradually emanated from sound and from the subtlest form came all the objects of creation, including our own individual being. When sounding the mantra aum, we align with a higher truth and Self worth.
Mindfulness is a way of learning how to relate directly to your life through the experience of being present in the moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn describes mindfulness as 'Moment to moment non-judgemental awareness cultivated by paying attention in a specific way - in the present moment and as non-reactively, non-judgementally and open-heartedly as possible.' In learning to be mindful, we can begin to counter many of our everyday sufferings such as stress, anxiety and depression because we are learning to experience events in a more impersonal and detached way.
Equanimity is best described as a neutral response to something we experience that leaves you feeling balanced, calm and composed. It is a state of awareness where we neither feel an aversion for unpleasant experiences nor craving for pleasant ones. The development of an equanimous mind is an important part of mindfulness skills because it gives us the ability to respond more and react less to difficult circumstances, thereby giving us a feeling of ease, self-control and composure as we go about our daily lives.
Asana is usually expressed as 'posture' in a yoga class. You may notice that yoga posture names end in 'asana'
Asana means a SEAT in which the witnessing consciousness observes sensations. As insights arises and ignorance passes, muscular tension, cellular memory and holding patterns are released.
Some common asana's include;
Savasana - Corpse pose – Lying on back in relaxation
Tadasana - Mountain pose – Standing still on feet
Marjariasana – Cat pose – On hands and knees arching back
Balasana – Child Pose – folding onto bent knees
Setu Bandhasana – Bridge pose – On back legs bent lifting hips up
Pascimothanasana – Forward folds – Sitting and leaning forward
Bhujangasana – Cobra – Lying on stomach arching back
Trikonasana – Triangle – Standing legs apart bending sideways
Sarvangasana – Shoulderstand – upside down pose on shoulders
Matsyasana – Fish pose – lying on back and arching back up
Dhanurasana – Bow pose – Lying face down holding ankles arching back
Virabhadrasana – Warrior pose – Standing legs apart arms out
Vajrasana – Thunderbolt pose – Sitting back on bent legs and heels
Padmasana – Lotus – sitting cross legged
Yoga Nidra relaxation technique
Yoga Nidra is a highly researched 20th century invention developed by Swami Satyananda Sarswati, described as a powerful technique being derived from the Tantras, in which you learn to relax consciously. It is a guided meditation done lying on your back in Savasana, whilst a voice takes you through physical and mental relaxation processes.