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YOGA CAPSULE

Yoga Capsules

Swami Niranjanananda introduced the concept of Yoga Capsules last year. Yoga capsules are bite-sized chunks of various yoga practices, that take a maximum of 5-10minutes to do, done at specific times of the day as well as whenever we find we have a few spare minutes. This style of practice is perhaps more suited to our time-constrained lives than taking a full hour or so out of our day to devote to yoga. Specifically Swami Niranjanananda mentioned 5 key yoga capsules that we can use to help us improve our potential, productivity and ability to enjoy life. PRacticing these capsules regularly at least 5 days a week, will very quickly bring about positive changes in all aspects of your life, and take yoga from being a practice to being a lifestyle!

You will see if you add up the time it takes to do all 5 capsules, you are doing 40 – 50 minutes of yoga a day! Taking these capsules regularly can make a huge difference to your overall functioning and sense of well-being and happiness, without you having to spend a cent at the doctors or pharmacy!

The techniques given here are described in full detail in the book, 'Asana Pranayama Mudra Bhanda' by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. If you are unsure of the techniques it is best to learn then from a Sayananda Yoga Centre near you.

Here is the prescription:

Upon Awakening in the morning - Caspule 1

Before Breakfast - Capsule 2

Several times during the day - Capsules 3 and 4

Just before bed - Capsule 5

Capsule 1 - Mantra Chanting

Sound vibrations from these mantras create subtle changes to the body and mind. Like a mood creates a vibration in the body, so to do the sounds from these mantras create certain vibrations that uplift the mind and heart and help to set a more spiritual tone to the day.

Take this capsule first thing in the morning when you wake, before getting out of bed even! They are most effective if done before the mind starts to extrovert itself into the activities of the day, hence immediatelty on awakening when the mind is still quite and without any impressions is the best time.

Chanting 11 rounds of Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra (mantra for physical and mental health and well-being), 11 rounds of Gayatri Mantra (mantra for wisdom and knowledge, mental clarity and concentration). They may be chanted out loud, or mentally repeated. Swami Niranjananda says that these mantras "demagnatize the energies of the body, to strengthen them, and to awaken their creative qualities."

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

Om trayambakam yajamahe

sugandhim pushti vardhanam,

mrityor mukshiya mamritatur.

Gayatri Mantra

tat savitur varenyam,

bhargo devasya deemahi,

dhiyoyo nat prachodayat.

Capsule 2 - Asana & Pranayama

This capsule will ensure good physical health and wellbeing. It will balance the body, breath and mind.

Note: These postures are recomended for people without any ailments or back problems. If you suffer any ailments it is best to seek guidance from a Satyananda Yoga Teacher and work out a program of postures that will help to alleviate the ailment first.

Asana:

After cleaning yourself and waking up properly, but before breakfast practice 10 -15 minutes of asana (postures) practice. The following sequence is recomeded as it will stretch the spine, energise the body and remove the stiffness and tensions caused from sleep, and maintain the body in good health.

Do 7 rounds each of T.T.K (Tadasana, Tiryaka Tadasana & Kati Chakrasana)

Tadasana: The palm tree pose

Inhale raising arms and extending upwards, hold breath in or breathe normally in final pose, exhale lowering arms down to head.

Tiryaka Tadasana: Swaying Palm tree

Exhale bending over to sides, inhale coming up to centre.

Kati Chakrasana: Standing Twist

Exhale twisting to sides, inhale coming to centre when doing it slowly. Breath slowly and deeply if doing it dynamically and faster.

Followed by 3 rounds of Surya Namaskara (Salute to the Sun), first round slowly, then a little faster ending with a fast third round, this will get energy flowing and alleviate stiffness and fatigue from the body.

Followed by an Inverted posture can be performed e.g. Shoulderstand, headstand or half shoulder stand

Pranayama:

Follow this with just 5 to 10 rounds of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breath) and 10-15 rounds of Bhramari Pranayama (humming bee breath) - (see capsule three)

Use your right hand to control the flow of breath. Rest the thumb on your right nostril and your ring finger on your left nostril, index and middle finger rest on the eyebrow centre. Become aware of your breath.

Nadi Shodhan - Alternate nostril breathing:

Breath in through your left nostril, out through the right, then back in through the right and out through the left. This is one round. Keep breath soft and do not strain. Practice at the stage and level that you are comfortable with.

Capsule 3 - Bhramari Pranayama Breathing

This is a tranquilising pranayama and is useful in reducing mental tension, stress, insomnia, blood pressure and anxiety. It has also been used to harmonize the brain and induce a calm and meditative state of being.

15 rounds of Bhramari Pranayama(humming bee breath) sometime during the middle of the day when at work. This will help you develop awareness and concentration and improve your working capacity.

Sit in any comfortable mediation posture with the spine upright. Allow the body to become still and steady in the posture, with your eyes gently closed. Your lips are together and your jaw is relaxed, the teeth are separated slightly.

Spend a few moments being aware of your natural breath as it passes into and out of the body.

Bring your hands up to your ears, with the elbows pointed out to the side and use either the index or middle fingers to block the ear canal. You may use the finger itself or block the canal by pushing the ear flap over the canal.

Take a deep breath in and as you exhale make a buzzing sound in the nasal passages.

Focus your awareness on the vibrations inside the head space and on the breath being steady and even.

Your exhalation should be slow and long. The humming sound should be soft and mellow and continue evenly for the entire exhalation.

At the end of the exhalation take a long deep breath in and repeat the process.

Without taking your fingers from your ears, repeat several breaths with the humming sound.

Practice initially for five to ten rounds, building up to ten to fifteen minutes. In cases of extreme mental anxiety or tension, or for therapeutic uses, one can build the practice up to thirty minutes.

Capsule 4 - Short Yoga Nidra Power Nap

Relax in Shavasana and do a full scan of the body experiencing each part becoming soft and heavy and observe your natural breath, for 5 – 10 minutes when getting home from work, before doing anything else. This will give you time to let go of work and relax so that your interaction at home with your family and friends does not carry the undercurrent of your work day. This capsule can be done as often as needed several times dureing the day.

Capsule 5 - Contemplative Meditation Practice

This practice helps to destress the mind before sleep, heplping one let go of the day and have a more peacefull sleep.

Just before going to bed, spend 5 – 10 minutes recalling the events of the day from when you woke up until this moment right before you fall asleep. This practice will further develop mindfulness and help you let go and release the day. You will also find over time that it creates more mindfulness during the day.

Let the body settle, lying in Shavasana (or sitting up if you prefer) and begin to recall the start of your day, right from the time you woke up. See how much of your day you can remember, in as much detail as possible, moving sequentially through the day until you reach the present time.

As you are recalling your day, imagine you are watching a movie (in which you are the star!) rather than involving yourself in what you are recalling. Try to develop a detached attitude to what you recall, paying particular attention to situations or circumstances where you felt angry or annoyed. Notice these emotions and see why you felt so affected in the moment. Once completed, look at any moments were you generated stress or negativity within yourself as a result of your actions or the situation, contemplate without judgment if there is another way of acting in those situations that would not cause negativity and resolve to act like that should a similar situation arise again in the future.

Practicing this technique daily will not only help improve your memory-recall ability but also give you the opportunity to become more aware of yourself and your actions. You may start to notice patterns in your behaviour and thoughts, which in turn will ultimately give you the power to change any negative or unhealthy patterns.