NEWSLETTER       Issue 01.  Jan 04.


 
In this issue:

Updates

 
  Pre-Natal Lunchtime class: For working mums-to-be! These Thursday one-hour lunchtime classes are a safe and soothing way for working mums-with-bumps to to maintain health and prepare for the growth and change this transitional phase brings. Kavita, a mother of two, uses gentle postures and props, yogic breathing and Eastern wisdom to help prepare for the challenges of childbirth.

Executive Lunchtime class: Our signature one-hour SachYoga lunchtime classes for beginners and general students are running as usual.  An excellent program for the busy Central executive which helps to replenish lost energy and refreshes the body and mind  through poses done with props, yogic breathing and meditation.  The session brings about a state of relaxed alertness, increasing efficiency and productivity at work. Students can get straight back to work after class.    

Vedanta Philosophy Study Group: A Vedanta study group has started Monday lunchtimes and is led by Kavita. The text currently being studied is the Tattva Bodh of Adi Shankaracharya. SachYoga is arranging for visiting guest teachers to speak at these classes from time to time.

Email  info@sachyoga.com or call 2526 2225 if you would like to register for any trial class.

New Teacher: We are delighted to have Babeth join us this month.  Babeth has studied yoga in the UK in the Sivananda tradition and brings her own experience and practice into her classes.  Babeth will be teaching the Monday evening and Friday lunchtime SachYoga classes. To enroll for her classes, please contact Babeth directly at 97737770.

Bharat Natyam Dance: Sunaina, an acclaimed, award-winning teacher teaches this Indian classical dance as it was practiced over 5000 years ago! This ancient and graceful form of dance is where many yoga poses originate from! Especially good for young girls, Bharat Natyam builds strength, balance and flexibility.  Sunaina, who started learning this art from her Guru in India at the age of three, teaches this class at SachYoga.  To enroll for Sunaina's classes, please call her directly at 97475861.

Satsang:  It is Kavita's ardent desire to start a satsang group with the yoga community in Hong Kong . Satsang or group chanting is an amazing and powerful technique of transforming the negative qualities of the mind with it's vibrational effect on our energy field. Many yoga teachers and practitioners who were approached have shown wholehearted support for this initiative so you will be hearing from us on a forthcoming chanting session very soon. 

 
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News & Events  
 

Yoga Sentencing by US judge: An American judge has introduced a new twist to the US justice system by 'sentencing' a man convicted of spousal abuse to a yoga course instead of a prison term. Texas Judge Larry Standley ordered James Lee Cross, a car salesman accused of slapping his wife, to take a yoga class as part of his one-year probation.
"It's part of anger management," Standley said. "For people who are into it, it really calms them down."
Prosecutor Lincoln Goodwin agreed to a sentence of probation with yoga and without jail time because Cross had no significant criminal history. Cross told the court that his wife was struggling with a substance abuse problem and that he struck her on New Year's Eve during an argument about her drinking.
"He was trying to get a hold of her because she has a problem," Standley said. "I thought this would help him realize that he only has control over himself."

Charitable Donations: Since its inception in April 2003 and in keeping with our philosophy of service to the community, SachYoga has been running many classes on a voluntary donation basis. There is a pay-if-you wish policy for all first timers attending Kavita's classes with 100% of the proceeds contributed directly to government registered charities in Hong Kong and India.  We are happy to say that in 2003, our generous students contributed a total of $7,550 towards classes they attended. A big thank-you to all of them! The amount has been donated 100% among the Chinmaya Foundation Hong Kong,  Aids Concern Hong Kong and  the Tulsi Goverdhan Trust, Param Shakti Peeth and Akshar Educational Trust in India.

Visiting Masters: SachYoga was honoured to host an evening with His Holiness Swami Anantacharya of Brindavan, India.  Swamiji delighted us with his humor and wit and spoke on the Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali and the Bhagavad Gita.  We had a lovely little satsang session courtesy of the divine Art of Living singers.  Watch this space for details on forthcoming visits by other masters. .....

Upcoming Workshops: Sarah Powers returns to Hong Kong for a weekend yoga retreat in February 2004.  Contact Babeth for details at 97737770.  Anthony Carlisle returns to Hong Kong in March 2004 for Ashtanga workshops at SachYoga.  Contact Clint at 97476616 for details.

 
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Ayurveda  
  Dashvidha Pariksha:  The Tenfold Examination.  Dash – ten;  pariksha-  examination. An experienced Ayurvedic physician will use Dashvidha Pariksha to learn about the patient’s state of health.  This consists of examination of the prakriti (body constitution), vikrti (pathological state), sara (tissue vitality), samhanana (physical build), pramana (body measurement), satmya (adaptability), sattva (psychic constitution), ahara shakti (digestive capacity),vyayama shakti (capacity for exercise), and vaya (age).
 
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Yoga  
 

Supta Baddhakonasana.
(Reclining bound- angle pose)

Benefit: A great hip opener, this pose opens the chest, works the pelvis, pelvic region and hip joints, keeping the uro-genital system in good health. Especially beneficial for puberty and menopause, it also corrects a prolapsed uterus. This pose prevents hernia, tones the kidneys, helps to cure bleeding piles and regulates blood pressure.

You will need: 2 pillows or a firm bolster, a rolled towel and a yoga belt. The pillows support the back and open the chest allowing for deep breathing. The towel supports the neck and head. The belt supports the angle of the legs.

How to: Sit upright, knees wide apart and soles of the feet joined together. The bolster or pillow is placed with the short side resting firmly against your buttocks. Cup your hands around the ankles and bring the joined heels as close to the perineum as possible. Wear the belt just under your waist and hip bones and loop it around your feet. Firmly tighten and adjust the belt. Lower the waist and back on the bolster by bring your elbows on the floor. Make sure there is no gap between your spine and the bolster. The spine should rest on the centre of the bolster or pillows. Place the rolled towel under the neck. The pillow/bolster should be long enough to support the weight and length of entire back and neck.

Inhale, bring the arms above the head, bend the elbows and place each hand just above the opposite elbow. Gently try to bring the elbows closer to the pillow, moving the shoulder blades closer to each other but at the same time towards the buttocks. Relax and extend the groins out towards the knees. Feel the pelvis open up and gravity assist in the release of tension in the knees and ankles.

Stay for five minutes, breathing gently, smoothly and deeply, keeping the mind focused on the pattern of breath.

 
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Mantra & Meditation  

The Breath - Prana or our vital life- force

“If you can become master of your breathing you become master of your emotions.... The unconscious goes on changing your rhythm of breathing, so if you become aware of this rhythm and its constant changes, you can become aware of your unconscious roots, of what the unconscious is doing.”
The New Alchemy

Breathe deeply the whole day, not forced but slow and deep, whenever you remember, and feel relaxed, not strained.

Watch your breathe, observe it. Be with your breath as it enters and leaves your body. If you can observe your breath it will become deep, silent, rhythmic. By following the breath you become very very different, because this constant awareness of the breath will detach you from your mind. The energy that normally moves into thinking will move into observation. This is the alchemy of meditation — to change the energy that moves in thinking into observation...how not to be a thinker but a witness. But be playful about watching your breathing, don’t make it work.

 Use your breath as an awareness of life and death simultaneously. When the breath goes out it is associated with death; when it comes in, with life. With every out breath you die; with every in breath you are reborn.

“Life and death are not two things, separate, divided: they are one. And each moment, both are present. So remember this: when your breath is going out, feel as if you are dying. Don’t be afraid. If you are afraid, the breath will be disturbed. Accept it: the outgoing breath is death. And death is beautiful, it is relaxing.” -Osho.

Om - the sacred symbol.

Om is the eternal and sacred symbol that represents the sound of all creation. Om symbolizes the Infinite and thus transcends caste, creed, class and colour. The Om is especially dear to those who have enjoyed the transformative and unifying effects of Yoga. It is an ideal symbol in this time of political, emotional, and physical divisiveness.

Om is at the source of the entire universe. It is this mystical and primordial vibration that the ancient Hindus have written about and have mentioned in all the Upanishads. The sound that is produced from the vibration is like a deep, hum.  Om , also pronounced AUM. This sound is also called the four-element syllable. The letters A-U-M are considered the first three elements, and the fourth element is the silence from which the sound of Om arises, and back into which it subsides.

The shape and form of the Om symbol is also representative of the Infinite. Swami Sivananda has given a beautiful explanation of the Om symbol.  In the figure below, you will note that each curve represents the three states of an individual's consciousness; the waking, the unconscious, and the dream states. The dot and semicircle also have significance and represent the Infinite and Maya (the veil of ignorance covering our true Self) , respectively:

 The curve in 1 above represents the waking state. The curve in 2 represents deep sleep or the unconscious. The curvein 3 represents the dream state (which lies between waking and deep sleep. The dot in 4 represents the Infinite state of consciousness which illuminates all other states of consciousness. 5. The semicircle represents Maya (or the veil of the world.). It separates the Infinite from the other states.


 
 
Vedanta  
 

The chart below is compiled by Sachendra, a yoga teacher, depicting the three qualities of nature.

Modes of Material Nature

IGNORANCE PASSION GOODNESS
General Characteristics foolishness, madness, illusion, inertia, indolence & sleep unlimited, uncontrollable desires & longing, intense endeavor & activities. relative purity, illumination, happiness & freedom from reactions, conducive to real knowledge.
Destination After Death the hellish worlds & the animal kingdom. the association of fruitive workers on the earthly planets. the heavenly planets.
Objects of Worship ghosts & spirits. demons, powerful men & self-proclaimed, imitation gods. the demigods & the impersonal concept of God.
Food tasteless, stale, putrid, decomposed, unclean, cooked more than three hours before being eaten; remnants of the meals of others; meat, fish, eggs & liquor. too bitter, sour, salty, pungent, rich, dry or hot; causes pain, distress & disease. increases longevity, purifies one's existence, gives strength, health, happiness & satisfaction; nourishing sweet, juicy, fattening & palatable-- milk products, grains, sugar, fruit & vegetables.
Sacrifice performed faithlessly, in defiance of scriptural injunctions & with no spiritual food distributed, no hymns chanted & no remunerations made to the priest. performed proudly, ostentatiously, for the sake of some material end or benefit (such as elevation to the heavenly kingdom). performed as a duty, according to scriptural regulations & with no expectation of reward.
Austerity performed foolishly by means of obstinate self-torture or to destroy or injure others. performed ostentatiously to gain respect, honor & reverence; brings only unstable, temporary results. performed with faith & without desires for one's benefit; bodily austerities-- cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy, nonviolence, offering of respect to the demigods, brahmanas, spiritual master & superiors like the mother & father; austerities of speech-- speaking beneficially, truthfully & inoffensively & with reference to Vedic authorities; mental austerities-- serenity, simplicity, gravity, self-control & purity of thought, detaching the mind from sense gratification.
Charity performed at an improper time & place, to an unworthy person like a gambler or contemptuously without respect. performed to get something in return with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood. performed as a duty, at the proper time & place, to a worthy person & with no expectation of material returns.
Renunciation consists of giving up one's prescribed duties because of illusion consists of giving up one's prescribed duties because of fear or because they appear troublesome. consists of performing one's prescribed duties because they ought to be done & abandoning attachment to the fruits of one's work.
Knowledge very meager, unrelated to the Absolute Truth; breeds attachment to one kind of work as all in all; concerned only with bodily comforts, eating, sleeping, mating & defending & so resembles the knowledge of animals. gives rise to speculative doctrines & theories through which one sees the body as the self & consciousness as  temporary by-product of the body; rules out the existence of the eternal, individual soul within. gives rise to a vision of one undivided spiritual force within the bodies of all living beings.
Action irresponsible, violent, distressing to others; performed in illusion, without consideration of scriptural injunctions or further bondage & consequences. performed under false egoism & with great effort to satisfy one's desires to enjoy the fruits of his work; results in distress. performed under scriptural regulations as a matter of duty, without attachment & without love of hate; renounces the fruits of action.
Worker disregards scriptural injunctions; materialistic, obstinate, cheating, lazy, morose, procrastinate & expert in insulting others. attached to the work, the fruits of work, desires to enjoy them; greedy, always envious, impure, moved by joy and sorrow. free from material attachments, pride & false ego; enthusiastic, resolute & unwavering in success or in failure.
Understanding considers irreligion to be religion & religion to be irreligion; strives always in wrong direction misguided, perverse & imperfect, cannot distinguish between religion & irreligion; truth & untruth; & what should & should not be done. intelligently discriminates under scriptural direction between what is to be feared & not be feared, & what is liberating & what is binding.
Determination cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness & illusion. fixed upon securing the fruits of religion, economic development & sense gratification. practically unbreakable, sustained with steadfastness by yoga, which control the activities of the mind, life & senses.
Happiness blind to self-realization, delusion from beginning to end, comes about from sleep, laziness & illusion. derived from contact of the senses with their objects, seems like nectar at first, but poison at the end; epitomized by sexual enjoyment. compared to poison in the beginning but nectar at the end because it involves control of the mind & senses; it awakens one to self-realization.
Colours blue, black red white, yellow
Times of day day  early morning
Location pub/brothel, betting off, slaughter house city/town/village forest
Animals monkey (will take a birth as a man in this mode ) lion (will take a birth as a man in this mode ) cow (will take a birth as a man in this mode )
Trees & Plants fir trees, fungii onions, garlic mango/neem/banana trees
Types of people raksasas asuras suras
Social order & position on universal form of the Lord  sudra          vaisyas             ksatriya 
 (legs)        (stomach)            (arms)
brahmana
(head)
Puranas six (including Linga) six six, (including Padma Purana & Vishnu Purana)
Bhakti Yoga- qualities of the practitioner executed with personal motives by someone who is envious, proud, violent & angry & who is a separatist* thinking he is the best worship of the Deities by a separatist with motive for material enjoyment, fame & opulence. worship of the Lord, offering the results of one's activities in order to free oneself from karmic reaction
* A separatist is one who sees his interest as separate from that of the Supreme Lord, or a devotee whose service is mixed with the modes of passion & ignorance, regarding the Lord as an order supplier for his personal desires. Devotional service according to the three modes thus can be divided
 
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The Bhagavad Gita  
  Each issue of our newsletter will feature a selection from the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient epic work of literature written by Sage Veda Vyasa; embodying the spiritual philosophy of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism). 

The second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is entitled “Sankhya Yoga” or the Yoga of Knowledge.  Sankhya means the logic of thought in a philosophy. The symphony of the Bhagavad Gita has many themes but the central ones are three: Gyana, Bhakti and Karma.  Light. Love. And Life.  In the second chapter, we get an exhaustive summary of the entire philosophical content of the Gita and as such, this chapter can be viewed as an epitome of the entire Gita.

 Lord Krishna advising a despondent Prince Arjuna who does not wish to fight his kith and kin on the battlefield of Kurukshetra:

“Dehinosminyatha Dehe Kaumaram Yauvanam Jara, Tatha Dehantarapraptirdhirastatra Na  Muhyati.”Selection # 2. Chapter II Verse 13.

JUST AS IN THIS BODY THE (EMBODIED) SPIRIT PASSES INTO CHILDHOOD, YOUTH AND OLD AGE, SO ALSO THE SPIRIT PASSES ON TO A NEW BODY; THE FIRM MAN DOES NOT GRIEVE THIS.

COMMENTARY:  We have a memory of our childhood and youth even when we are in our old age.  For this to happen, the memory and the memorizer must both be the same entity, only then can the faculty of memory function.  In the process of life, childhood dies away and youth appears, and youth must die before old age can manifest itself.  We know that neither the childhood nor the youth are with an old man and yet he can recall his early days.  It thus becomes evident that “SOMETHING” in us is constant in all the different stages of our growth and so the same entity remembers the experiences of the past.

Applying this logic, youth may be considered as a birth when the childhood has met with its death.  So too, old age is born only when the youth is dead.  And yet, we do not grieve these changes and in fact, enjoy the experience of growth and change as the body moves from innocent childhood to adulthood and maturity in old age.

This verse asserts in clear terms the truth of the Reincarnation Principle.  The Masters of all ages have accepted, expressly or tacitly the logical conclusions of the Reincarnation Theory.  Very often, to an uninitiated student of Vedanta, this theory appears utterly staggering and beyond comprehension. Christ Himself has proclaimed to his disciples that “John, the Baptist, was Elijah.”  Solomon’s BOOK OF WISDOM says: “To be born in sound body with sound limbs is a reward of the virtues of past lives.”  And the famous declaration of the learned Prophet of Islam who said: “I died out of the stone and became a plant; I died out of the plant and became an animal; I died out of the animal and became a man. Why then should I fear to die? When did I grow less by dying?  I shall die out of man and shall become an angel!!”

Krishna declares in the Gita that the embodied Spirit comes to identify Itself with various forms, which temporarily gain a limited but determined set of experiences.  It is only clear philosophical thinking which can guide our intellect to an understanding of the continuity from the beginningless past-through the present-to the endless future.  The Spirit remaining the same, it gets seemingly conditioned by the embodied ego and experiences through the ego the self-ordained environments.

Krishna explains to Arjuna that wise men do not worry when they leave one body for the purpose of taking another one. We do not moan the death of our childhood following which alone can we experience youth, assured in the knowledge that though our childhood has ended, there is a continuity of existence of the same one and only, and that the child has become a youth.  So too, at the moment of death, it is merely the embodied ego of the dead body leaving its previous garb (body), and depending on the vasanas (mental impressions and conditionings) it has accumulated during its embodiment, it seeks identification with another garb in which it can express itself and seek its perfect fulfillment.  Swami Chinmayananda's "The Holy Geeta".

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Sanskrit  
  Vedanta: “Ved” means knowledge and “anta” means the end. Vedanta literally means the end of the Vedas (the four beginningless books of knowledge). Vedantic texts are also known as Upanishads  and contain words which reveal the Eternal Truth. Vedanta is a valid means of knowledge that provides direct experience of one’s innate state of Perfection. The reason Vedanta can provide direct knowledge of the Eternal Truth is because Vedanta concerns the “attainment of that which is already attained” like looking for your keys all over and finding them in your pocket.  It is the study of Vedanta that gives rise to direct perception and knowledge of the Self or Atman. The Bhagavad Gita written by Sage Vyasa is a Vedantic text of this ultimate Knowledge that can lead to Self-Realization.

The Vedas are divided into 4 sections; the last being the Gyana Kanda or the Knowledge Section. The Vedas contain knowledge directly revealed by the Paramatma or Supreme Self and this knowledge was transmitted from Guru (teacher) to Shishya (pupil) since time immemorial. The knowledge was transmitted to qualified students worthy of receiving it.

Vedanta has only one end: direct knowledge and experience of the Atman or Self. As the Gyana Kanda is the end of the Vedas, it is called Vedanta. The knowledge of Vedanta is not a means for some other end, it is the end in itself.

 
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SachStore  
  SachStore is our on-site store carrying a range of pure herb Ayurvedic remedies, rare books on yoga and ayurveda, jal neti pots, PrAna premium quality yoga mats, yoga logo tees and tankinis in superior quality cotton/lycra, yoga belts and props, chakra cards, bookmarks, CDs, incense and more. To order or view the products, please call or email us.
 
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