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Surya Namaskar With Mantra
Surya Namaskar With Mantra

Classical surya namaskar is a traditional cycle of 12 asanas performed sequentially.  The essential purpose of this practice is to awaken and expand your inner life force.  There are different variations of how you can achieve this.  This article focuses only on the mantra version of surya namaskar. 

There are 12 surya namaskar mantras to be chanted – one for each of the 12 postures – and the focus is on the sound and vibration of the different chants.  When chanted clearly and loudly in one breath, the effect of deep breathing is achieved.  The breath slows down naturally as the practice becomes more contemplative.  It raises the practice from the level of the body and mind to one of spirituality.

Each chant focuses on awakening the energy flow to a specific area of the body.  All 12 mantras begin with AUM – the universal mantra – and each line of the mantra invokes a different aspect of the solar energy to which you connect your mind through that vibration of the sound and the posture.  The sequence is demonstrated below:

Surya Namaskar With Mantra

follow the first three minutes of this YouTube video to see this practice. (The video also includes an additional practice of surya namaskar with SO-HUM mantra, for those also interested in this variation).

surya namaskar mantra

How to remember surya namaskar mantra

The easiest way to learn the surya namaskar mantra is to remember that each line starts with AUM and ends with NAMAHA, and in between is the name of the different aspect of the sun-energy you are connecting to through that vibration of the sound and the posture. 

Another way is to sit down and visualise each posture while chanting the mantra – you can record the words from many internet sources; but the best way is to regularly practice the postures together with the mantra so that you learn to associate each movement with the appropriate words.  The more you practice, the more spontaneous each mantra will arise as you perform the posture.  There is no shortcut – you simply need to practice.

How surya namaskar is incorporated into our 200-hour YTTC

In our 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course, we introduce the 12 surya namaskar mantra concept.  The students learn the words of the chant by practicing with the teacher and become aware of the mantra as they visualise the posture.  The next step is for the teacher to chant while performing the pose, and the students follow;  finally, the teacher and students chant together as they perform the postures.  This process helps them to remember the chant and gives them the experience of the mantra and posture combination. 

How surya namaskar is incorporated into our 300-hour YTTC

In our 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course, we develop the practice of the 12 surya namaskar mantra so that students chant with the teacher for a longer time, and at the end of the practice, remain standing, simply chanting the mantra.  In the silence following the completion of the practice, students experience how their prana (their energy) is flowing throughout their bodies.  Many students have remarked on the sense of peace they feel at the end of this practice.  


Chanting all kinds of mantras – including the 12 surya namaskar mantra – is integral to every yoga program and class held at the Vedic Yoga Centre.  Every aspect of yoga taught at the Vedic Yoga Centre has only one purpose – to bring your mind into the present moment.   Mantra is just one of these practices. 

If you want to chant with us at the Vedic Yoga Centre, you can join our different yoga programs. You can select from a short retreat, such as a beginner yoga and meditation course, or a more extended program, such as our 200-hour YTTC.

Beej Mantra
What Is Beej Mantra?

Beej mantras are considered to be the most basic mantras because they contain only one syllable.  They are known as seed mantras because they are the root of all longer Vedic mantras.  When combined with longer mantras the power of a seed mantra increases. 

The Mother of all mantras is the single-syllable AUM.  This is believed to be the first sound from which all other sounds arise.  Other well-known beej mantras include Aim, Hreem, Kleem, Shrim, Trim, Dham.  They may be small, but each sound contains many words within itself.

A beej mantra is also attached to each major chakra within the human body.


Root chakra (muladhara) – LAM

LAM is the beej mantra for your root chakra (located at the base of spine).  It represents the earth element within you.  Chanting LAM while focusing on this chakra helps keep you linked to the earth, the Mother of everything in nature.  It offers a sense of security in the world.  When this chakra becomes balanced through constant chanting of Lam you feel stable, secure and grounded.

Sacral chakra – (swadisthana) – VAM

VAM is the beej mantra for your sacral chakra (located around your reproductive organs).  It represents the water element within you.  Chanting VAM while focusing on this chakra helps balance the water element.  It allows you to embrace life’s challenges and creates openness and trust with others.  It also demonstrates appropriately controlled sexuality.

Solar plexus chakra – (manipura) – RAM

RAM is the beej mantra for the solar plexus chakra (located around the navel).  It represents the fire element within you.  Chanting RAM while focusing on this chakra helps your digestive fire and enhances your power.  It helps to eliminate negativity and improves trust in yourself.  It is characterised by assertiveness and co-operation.

Heart chakra – (anahata) – YAM

YAM is the beej mantra for the heart chakra (located at the base of the chest).  It represents the air element within you.  Chanting YAM while focusing on this chakra helps you to open your heart.  You only truly begin your inner journey when your actions arise from this chakra.   Awakening anahata helps to develop forgiveness, emotional maturity, creativity, compassion and unconditional love towards others. 

Throat chakra – (vishuddhi) – HAM

HAM is the beej mantra for throat chakra (located in the neck region).  It represents the space element within you.  Chanting HAM while focusing on this chakra helps you express yourself and communicate with others.  It gives you the courage to speak your truth and is characterised by trust, devotion, and surrender, bringing balance between your thoughts, words and actions.

Third Eye chakra – (agya) – AUM

AUM is the beej mantra for the Third Eye chakra (located between the eyebrows).  This chakra is beyond the five elements of nature.  It is your 6th sense, and looks inward rather than outward.  Chanting AUM while focusing on this chakra helps to awaken your discriminative intellect, inner vision, and higher intuitive wisdom, which arises from your own experiences.  It clarifies your purpose and helps connect you to your inner peace and joy.  When mastery over this centre is reached, the Mother of all mantras, Aum, is heard within, and connection between a teacher and student no longer requires verbal communication.   

Crown chakra – (sahasrara) – SILENCE

There is no seed mantra for the seventh chakra.  Accessing this chakra is a consequence of the balance created in the previous six chakras.  The practice of chanting the seed mantras is needed to awaken this chakra.  There are no words to express the experience of the sahasrara chakra – it can only be accessed through inner silence.  It is the ultimate destination of your spiritual journey, and your progress toward this goal is ongoing. 

When you have entirely dropped your ego, the Creator graces you with a state of continuous bliss or samadhi – it represents the merging of the individual self and the cosmic self.  Your total surrender leads you to ultimate freedom and the permanent loss of fear.  Beej mantras play an essential role in this journey.


How to chant beej mantra for chakra balancing?

Sit in a comfortable meditative posture (or on a chair with a straight back) and close your eyes.  Take a few breaths to calm yourself.  When you are ready to start, exhale completely, hold your breath, focus intensely on the chakra you are balancing, and repeat the beej mantra associated with that chakra: 

      LAM    for muladhara chakra

      VAM   for swadisthana chakra

      RAM   for manipura chakra

      YAM   for anahata chakra

      HAM   for vishuddhi chakra

      AUM   for agya chakra

When you can no longer hold your breath, slowly inhale, then relax.  Gradually you can increase the number of breaths for each chakra to 3 when you are comfortable. 

This practice will create within you a sense of tranquility and peace if performed mindfully.

gayatri mantra
What Is Gayatri Mantra?

Brief Philosophy of Gayatri Mantra

The origin of the Gayatri mantra is pranav – the very first sound ever heard; and in its transcendental form, this sound is known as Gayatri.  It is the source of the power behind every deity.   That is why Gayatri mantra forms a part of every tradition’s practices – whether it be Shaiva, Vaishnava, Deva etc.  It benefits all individuals because it is simply an earnest prayer for Light, addressed to the Almighty God.  Regularly repeating a few malas (prayer beads) of Gayatri daily brings you the most positive benefits, both now and in the future. 

Within every mantra, there is a storehouse of infinite power, but of all the mantras, the Gayatri mantra is considered the most glorious because everyone – regardless of their religion or caste – benefits from chanting it.  But as with everything else on your spiritual journey, its power will be determined by the strength of your faith and the purity of your heart.

Gayatri mantra is a prayer to the Vedic Sun God which manifests as the goddess Gayatri Devi, who is the power behind the sun – and everything else that is a part of creation.  She is shakti itself – energy.  Goddess Gayatri is portrayed with ten arms and embodies the combined strength of Lakshmi (prosperity), Saraswati (spiritual knowledge) and Durga (the remover of evil).  She is represented as radiance, or divine light.

Although there is no specific reference in the mantra to the mother aspect of God, Gayatri Is the mother because she represents the shakti – the energy – which creates, sustains and transcends the entire existence both within and beyond matter – the infinite.  In addition, the sun referred to in the mantra is the Great Sun – the Absolute Brahman, divine radiance, which is the Presiding deity Itself.

The Gayatri mantra is considered so powerful that chanting it is compulsory for all aspirants wishing to become sannyasi (renunciates).  Chanting at least one mala of this mantra each day – without a break – will guard you against dangers, give you infinite strength to overcome all obstacles and lead you to your higher consciousness.  It is the secret of each individual’s personal power.

Words of the mantra:

Aum Bhuur-Bhuvah Suvah, Tat-Savitur-Varennyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhiimahi, Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayaat

Literal English translation:

Aum, we meditate on the divine radiance, which deserves the greatest worship, and pervades the physical, astral and celestial planes. 
May it enlighten our intellect and awaken our spiritual wisdom.

Gayatri mantra benefits

  • Through meditating on the spiritual light of Goddess Gayatri, the heart chakra opens to receive the higher frequency vibrations of peace, love and prosperity – it raises your vibrational frequencies to that of the divine light.
  • It also protects against negative emotions such as fear, anger, jealousy, hatred, greed, and envy. 
  • Gayatri is the mother of all Knowledge, which is why she is said to be the mother of the Vedas. The mantra itself is said to contain all the knowledge of the universe, so it connects you to this universal wisdom, which is already within you. 
  • Goddess Gayatri is also the destroyer of all darkness and sin.
  • Practising the Gayatri mantra reminds us that humans are divinely connected to the Source of life itself and have been given everything needed to attain their highest potential.  Gayatri mantra also strengthens concentration and can heal the body.

When should you chant the Gayatri mantra?

The best time to chant the Gayatri mantra is in the early morning, but you can chant it at night before sleep or at any time during the day.  In the morning, try to visualise Gayatri as a baby goddess; during the daytime, as the adult form of Devi; and at night time, the older and wiser form of Gayatri Devi.  These visualisations will help you see the goddess as being alive, which will give you a living connection to the mantra. 

Once you can constantly connect your mind (mana) to the Gayatri mantra, and it starts to experience joy from this (rasa), then the mana naturally reaches a state where the Gayatri becomes your living experience.  That experience is called darshan (it is no longer just an understanding, but becomes your living reality).  In this state, you no longer feel separate from others – you experience that the One Reality existing within you is also present in every other being.  That is why the ancient traditions say, “I am the Light of all Lights that give the Light to the buddhi” (the intellect).

How to chant Gayatri mantra  

The Gayatri mantra can be chanted like all other mantras:  you can chant loudly, whispering it, or you can chant mentally, as described in our previous article.  If you are finding difficulty focusing on the mantra, start by chanting aloud, then gradually whisper it, and finally, just chant mentally.

What Is Mantra?

The word mantra means liberating the mind from thoughts through the power of sound vibrations.

7 Best Yoga Postures
How The “Sequence Of 7 Best Yoga Postures” Effects The Koshas

The Vedic Yoga Centre is dedicated to bringing to students the ancient teachings of yoga in their purest form so that yoga can become a spontaneous part of their lives.  “Rishikesh yoga” is the teachings of the sacred Himalayas, and in modern times all of those ancient teachings still live in the atmosphere in a non-verbal dimension.

The tradition of the Himalayas carries all different ancient teachings such as hatha yoga, kriya yoga, kundalini yoga, Swara yoga, nada yoga, ashtanga yoga, mantra yoga, tantra yoga, bhakti yoga, karma yoga, jnana yoga, raja yoga, and Vedantas and Upanishads. 

All of these different paths are an integral part of the teachings at the Vedic Yoga Centre.  These authentic yoga teachings from the sacred Himalayan tradition are included in all of our programs such as Himalayan Kundalini courses, beginner yoga and meditation course, and different levels of Yoga Teacher Training programs, both online and on-site in Rishikesh. Unfortunately, there are many people who are unable to participate in either of these options due to personal circumstances, so we try to present articles such as this Sequence of 7 Best Yoga Postures which can have a very powerful impact on a practitioner’s holistic health, even if they can’t connect with us directly.

Why is this Sequence a good combination for your regular practice?

This Sequence is a combination of all the different types of movements from hatha yoga – forward bending, back bending, side bending, twisting, inversions, and balancing poses which have a deep impact on all different organs, muscles and systems of the body.

There are many different sequences to practice, but we are trying to simplify it as much as possible because in day-to-day life those who are facing a lot of stress or depression and the muscles are very tense, so they think yoga is not for them because they are not able to practice due to physical limitations. Even in this Sequence it is important to just do what you can – however you can, and just be there, and breathe.  Accept yourself where you are right now.


In a previous blog we discussed a sequence of the 7 best yoga postures for a short daily complete yoga practice.  Its benefits include:

1. A practice for keeping the spine healthy, as well as all joints and muscles of the body;
2. A practice for de-stressing;
3. A practice for reducing depression;
4. A practice for de-toxifying the body;
5. A practice for lowering insulin levels for diabetics;
6. A practice for boosting immunity; and
7. Overcoming many other common imbalances caused by modern living.

The seven asanas of this sequence in brief

Effects The Koshas

After completing this sequence, it is important to sit in one’s chosen meditation posture and practice prana Dharana – a meditation on the prana.  The journey through this Sequence is the preparation for your inner balance between the solar and lunar forces within the body, so that you can be spontaneous with the practice of meditation.

In this blog, we will discuss the effects of this sequence on the five different koshas of the body.  Kosha means layer or sheath.  According to yoga philosophy, a human being is capable of experiencing these five dimensions of existence.  The external kosha is the physical dimension, while the others are progressively subtle.  The SOUL is at the centre of the innermost sheath.  The other four layers cover the soul, and all the sheathes are inter-related with each other.  The five sheaths operate as a holistic system.

Effects The Koshas

A brief description of the 5 koshas

1. Anamaya kosha (physical layer)

The outermost kosha is the food sheath – the physical body nourished by food.  It includes the five organs of perception (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) and the five organs of action (arms, legs, mouth, reproductive organs and excretory organs).  Any shortcomings or changes (both positive and negative) in the other four koshas manifest themselves in the anamaya kosha.  So all disease, regardless of its origin, finally manifests in the body.

2. Pranamaya kosha (energy layer)

Pranamaya kosha regulates the prana – one’s life energy – with the help of the breath.  The breath is the vehicle of prana which moves through the nadis (energy channels) throughout the astral body.  The nadis are purified with the help of all different yogic practices.  Purification of the nadis helps to expand the pranamaya kosha, which is just a bridge between your physical and mental layer.

Movement of prana – there are two powerful times when you can harmonise the pranic rhythms within the mind and body:

* In the morning between 3:30-7:30am, when the prana is rising upward (after 12:00pm it starts to move downwards); and
* In the evening time, when the sun in setting and the moon is rising.

A person’s pranamaya kosha can be experienced.  When you get a feeling about a person you meet, even if you don’t know them, you can experience their pranamaya kosha.  It is a physical expression of the person’s pranic rhythms.

3. Manomaya kosha (mental layer)

The manomaya kosha deals with the sensory mind.  Its role is to think and feel.  It is the layer that needs to be disciplined through our yogic practices.

When the first two layers (anamaya and pranamaya) are lacking harmony between them, the manomaya becomes distracted – that is what we call the “monkey mind”; but when there is alignment between the first two, then it helps the manomaya to be focused, which leads to the presence of the mind – a state of clarity.  This is where the practitioner can build up determination and cultivate developing their will power.

Brain waves

The different states of a person’s mind create particular types of brain waves.  Scientific research has shown that the state of your consciousness is responsible for the type of brain waves that operate in your mind.  All of your brain waves are on a continuum.  They are listed here on a scale from the most gross to the most subtle:

Beta waves – on EEG these correspond to the normal waking consciousness.
Gamma waves – are associated with higher brain functions like reasoning and memory. They can improve your working memory and problem-solving ability.
Alpha waves – indicate a relaxed and tranquil state.
Theta waves – are slower than alpha waves, and give a dream-like state, creating a world of imagination.
Delta waves – appear in the deepest state of relaxation and in restorative healing sleep, and are most commonly seen in infants.

From these definitions you can see how these waves represent different states of awareness.  All yogic practices are for helping the brain to tap into generating more alpha, theta, and delta waves, which helps efficient functioning in all aspects of one’s life.

4. Vijnanamaya kosha (intellect layer)

Vijnanamaya kosha is a state of inner clarity and intuitive intelligence.  It begins to function when there is alignment between the first three layers, which is the experience of stillness.  At this level of awareness, you are able to hear the knowledge from within you.

Gradually the expansion of vijnanamaya awareness leads you to the state of shunya – where you are completely neutral.  It is expressed as the experience of peace, where there is no longer any difference between your friends and your enemies.  The ability to cultivate that intense Dharana leads to deeper stages of experience.

5. Anandamaya kosha (blissful layer)

The anandamaya kosha is purely a state of experience – it is felt as a state of bliss, peace, and happiness – words are unable to describe this because it is not an intellectual concept.  It is purely a state of experience.  It cannot be grasped through the mind.   It is the very nature of your roots – it is your soul.

At the level of the senses, it is experienced as a drop of this happiness – no matter what we are doing in our external life, we are constantly seeking this happiness, but we are unable to find our completeness there.  As you begin to redirect your awareness within and start to experience your happiness and joy in life, and your fearlessness, you get an indication that you are on the path to your home.

The journey from gross to subtle in the Sequence of 7 Best Yoga Postures

The sequence of 7 Best Yoga Postures is based on the first three koshas:  integration between the body, breath, energy, and mind.  It is a journey from the gross to the more subtle:

1. In the beginning, you only have awareness of the body – you feel each movement so that it can be a conscious movement.
2. Then along with the movement, you add your awareness of the breath.
3. Then you become aware of the different parts of the body being affected in each posture.
4. Next, you try to remain longer in each posture, holding the breath either out or in, according to the movement, e.g. when you bend forward you will hold the breath out; when you bend backward, you hold the breath in, when you twist you will hold the breath out etc.
5. Finally, you are able to maintain the prana Dharana – the awareness on prana in your chosen meditative posture, or in Shavasana.

Effects of the Sequence on the koshas – the astral body

1. When you become aware of the movement and integrate this with awareness of the breath, it affects your anamaya kosha, the physical layer, and the pranamaya kosha (energy layer).
2. When the pranamaya kosha is affected in this way, it begins a detoxifying process – it purifies your energy channels (nadis) which allow the prana to flow in its rhythmic form – spontaneously. It will only flow spontaneously when you can integrate:

the movement, with
the breath, and with
the experience of the different body parts being affected, AND
the senses and mind.

This affects the manomaya kosha (the mental layer).

3. Points 1-2 show how the movement in the practice, with awareness of breath, body, mind, and senses, affects the physical layer, energy layer and mental layers of the body.
4. As these layers start to become aligned it brings you to a state of clarity which naturally brings you to function intuitively (this is the vijnanamaya kosha).
5. As you begin to function with clarity on a regular basis, it leads you to a state of inner joy and bliss through your stillness and the gradual expansion of your inner consciousness.
6. Conscious movement leads to stillness; stillness leads to clarity within, and inner clarity allows you to function at your full potential. This brings you to a state of inner joy and peace (anandamaya kosha).

These steps are a part of the ancient yogic methods of practice which help to bring both outer alignment and inner alignment to the practitioner.  This alignment leads to the practitioner’s holistic health and well-being – both physical health and mental health.

Prana, nadis and chakras

Prana is the first unit of life within you, which functions with the help of the breath.  The practices of posture and breathing (asana, pranayama, bandha, etc.) help to purify the energy pathway (the nadis).  The basis of this purification is your conscious involvement with the practice because the movement of prana is based on the movement of your mind – your thoughts.

Wherever your mind is, that is where your energy is, e.g. if you are suddenly faced with a stressful situation, immediately your breathing patterns will change – your breath becomes very active or irregular; and because the breath is the vehicle of your prana, a stressful situation distracts the flow of your prana, which affects all different organs of the body and the mind.

This does not allow a state of balance to occur, and both your inner and outer consciousness become out of harmony.  These two levels of consciousness are known as your chakras, and the process of bringing harmony between them through yoga practices is called chakra balancing.

The first 3 chakras (muladhara, swadisthana and manipura chakras) are the outer dimension of consciousness, and the next 3 (anahata, vishuddhi, and ajna chakras) are the inner dimension of consciousness.

It is only your consistent, mindful practice, carried out with patience, that will lead you to the state of integrating the physical and astral bodies, which then brings harmony between all the layers of your body and the different levels of your life.

Keep practicing the Sequence – it will help to move you along this path towards outer and inner alignment.  In our next blog, we will share practices for continuing your physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being through this Sequence.

7 best yoga postures for health
A Sequence Of The 7 Best Yoga Postures For Overall Health

The sequence of asanas described in this blog contains the 7 best yoga postures for a short daily complete yoga practice.  These postures come from the ancient system of hatha yoga and are the best asanas if you want to:

  1. Practice for keeping the spine healthy, as well as all the joints and muscles of the body,
  2. Practice for de-stressing,
  3. Practice for reducing depression,
  4. Practice for de-toxifying the body,
  5. Practice for lowering insulin levels for diabetics,
  6. Practice for boosting immunity, and
  7. Overcome many other common imbalances caused by modern living.

Pratyahara – withdrawing the senses for strengthening concentration

Pratyahara is the basis of all yoga practices.  It involves grounding your awareness and developing the meditative faculty of your mind.  Every posture in this particular sequence helps to develop pratyahara.  When your practice contains pratyahara it means you are disciplining your five senses (sight, hearing smell, taste and touch); and when you discipline your senses you are disciplining your mind – helping your mind to become separated from the many thoughts that are dissipating your focus.

The loss of pratyahara in modern yoga practices

The concept of pratyahara is what we are missing in our current times, because practitioners are not aware that in the process of inner awakening they are bringing the conscious mind from outward to inward – towards the subconscious and unconscious mind; and eventually beyond the unconscious mind to the source of life – the atman, the soul.  And while we may understand this concept intellectually, we also need to recognize that the moment you are disciplining the mind and senses (which is the conscious mind), your subconscious and unconscious mind comes forward and it starts to distract you.  This disturbance is enough to stop most people’s motivation to continue refining their inner awareness, because it’s not pleasant to deal with such deep-rooted impressions of the mind.

The need for patience

For this process of inner development, you need to have some patience with yourself, and an understanding that whatever you are facing within you, is part of the process – and it will pass.  You just have to remember that you should learn to be neutral between the positive and negative thoughts.  Gradual mastery of pratyahara allows you to feel and redirect your flow of energy within; and that leads you to the state of dharana – pure concentration, which eventually brings you to the state of dhyana (meditation).

The seven asanas of this sequence

  1. Tadasana (palm tree pose) – Inhale as you lift up the arms and heels, hold for five breaths, breathing slow and deep during the pose, and exhale as you come back to a standing position.
  2. Tiryak tadasana (swaying palm tree pose) – Inhale as you lift up the arms, exhale as you bend to the right side, breathe normally while staying there for five breaths, then inhale as you come up, and exhale as you bend to the other side and hold for five5 breaths.
  3. Kati chakrasana (waist twisting pose) – inhale as you interlock your fingers behind your back, and exhale as you twist to the right, breathe normally while you are holding the pose for five breaths, inhale as you come back to the centre, and exhale as you twist to the left, and hold the pose for 5 breaths.
  4. Prana jagariti urdh mukhasana (dynamic forward bending pose) – interlock your fingers behind your back, inhale as you bend backward, and exhale as you bend forward. Practice for 5 breaths (inhale as you bend back, exhale as you bend forward).
  5. Dhanurasana (bow pose) – grab a hold of your ankles, inhale as you lift up the abdomen and the legs, hold for five breaths, breathing normally while holding the pose, and exhale as you return your body to the mat.
  6. Udarakarshanasana (seated abdominal twisting pose) – squat on the floor, inhale, and exhale as you twist to the left, bringing the right knee towards the left foot (making sure you squeeze the belly and twist maximum from the lower abdomen). Hold for 5 breaths, then inhale as you come back to the centre, and exhale as you twist to the right and bring the left knee towards the right foot, holding the pose for 5 breaths.
  7. Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) – lie on the spine and inhale as you roll into Sarvangasana, hold for 11 or 21 breaths (according to your capacity), breathing slow, long and deep during the practice, and exhale as you bring the body down to the mat and lie on the spine.

This is one cycle.  Practice for a minimum of three cycles, gradually increasing to seven cycles.  As your awareness becomes deeper, you can also increase the number of breaths from 5 to 7, 11, 15 and so on.   Sarvangasana is the exception, where you are already holding for 11 or 21 breaths.

During the cycle there should be no force.  You must be relaxed in each posture and build up an awareness of the body and breath, and adopt a meditative attitude.

Remain relaxed

You should remain as relaxed in each posture as if you were sitting for meditation – all you are doing is trying to be attentive, doing the best in each posture that your body will allow, without any force or tension.  Engage your awareness on which organs, systems, and different parts of the body are being affected by each posture, from the toes to the head.  The process is simply to develop the awareness through scanning the body – THAT is the purpose of maintaining the seven breaths.

Maintain a rhythm

It’s also important to maintain a rhythm when moving from one posture to another – here also, there should be no tension, no force.  Work with the breath, and maintain your rhythm so that you feel your practice can flow.

Stay steady and still

At the end of your practice (according to your capacity), just stay steady and still, adopting a meditative awareness to the prana moving throughout the body, from the toes to head.  In this process you don’t have to visualise anything – you just have to mentally FEEL the different parts of the body – and even if you can’t feel them, just maintain your awareness there.

Progression of your practice

At the beginning of the practice the focus is on the body and the breath:  to FEEL the body, and FEEL the breath in the entrance of the nostrils.  Notice where the breath is coming from – sometimes it comes from the diaphragm, sometimes the chest, and sometimes the abdomen – according to the posture.

Eventually, as you begin to refine your awareness to the breath and your focus becomes deeper, then you can engage the dharana – the concentration – to the different psychic centres (chakras) by mentally identifying which psychic centres are being affected by each posture.

Finally, you bring your awareness to the Third Eye in every posture.  It’s OK if you are unable to do this in the beginning, just continue training your awareness to that place between the eyebrow centre.

Right after this practice, you can just lay on the spine if you have time, and watch your abdomen breathing – inhale and watch the abdomen rise, exhale and watch the abdomen drop back.  Maintain this awareness for 7-11 breaths and then just see the body lying on the ground from the toes to the head.  Then slowly turn to your right side and sit up.  Close your practice by chanting the mantra AUM.


  • Slipped disc or any chronic back problem.
  • Pregnancy
  • After any surgery or operation should be undertaken only under the guidance
  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • During menstruation Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) should not be practiced.
  • Practice under guide for advanced high blood pressure treated with ongoing medication.


This practice is for those who have patience, and who are looking for a meditative access in their yoga, or seeking to develop stillness and inner focus.  It is not for those who have a “Look at me!” attitude, but for those who want to look within.  The practice is just a means so that your awareness can be trained, and your mind and body can be prepared for being redirected towards its source through developing inner focus.


 This sequence is the best because:

  1. It is simple
  2. It affects all organs of the body
  3. It affects all the muscles and joints of the body
  4. It engages and exercises the mind with the body
  5. It’s a very powerful method of detoxifying your system, so if it is done regularly it helps to eliminate waste and impurities of the body through sweat, urine and stool. It also detoxifies your mind by bringing your mind from different dissipated thoughts into the present moment.  This helps the mind to experience its peace and harmony, and develop your mental strength.

All of these benefits will be experienced if you maintain the awareness – you engaging yourself in the practice, not just physically but also bringing the mind there by feeling the body, feeling the breath, and eventually the psychic centres.

There are many different sets of yoga practices, but here at the Vedic Yoga Centre Rishikesh we try to simplify the process so that you can bring your yoga into everyday living – then you can take the attitude of maintaining your awareness and meditative state from your mat into your daily activities.  They are definitely going to give you physical, mental harmony to be spontaneous during your day and perform your duties and responsibilities attentively and efficiently.

But you don’t have to believe what we say:  try it for yourself and see the results.


Hand Mudras
The Purpose Of Hand Mudras In Hatha Yoga

Hand mudras are yogic gestures which help to redirect your prana within. Usually the nature of prana is to flow outwards through the senses, but these yogic hand gestures help to redirect the prana inwards and connect the physical body, the energy body and the mental body. It brings them closer to each other so that you can experience your stillness.

Why Hand mudras important ?

The different combinations of the fingers and the placement of the hands helps to maintain both the rhythm and the frequency of the pranic flow within the pranic body. When the prana is able to flow rhythmically, it helps to open the pranic blockages within the nadis – the energy channels.


Teacher Training rishikesh
The Breath

Your breath is the basis of your life energy – as you inhale, you are nourishing your whole system with your prana shakti (your life-force), and as you exhale, you are releasing all of the impurities from your body and mind.  You should start to become aware of the breath, because it is your best friend.  It is the vehicle of your life energy, and the bridge between your mind and your body.

The gift of yoga is learning to breathe mindfully, which means slowly and deeply – whatever the circumstances.  The breath, the mind and the body are inter-related – your breathing changes according to the state of your mind, e.g. sadness, anger, jealousy, happiness, etc. You may also notice that when you are stressed the breath is active, and when you are depressed it is passive and jerky; but when you are relaxed it is rhythmic and deep.  Yogic practices teach you how to find your balance between your body and your mind; and as you learn to breath slow and deep, it will help you to experience clarity in your life – so that you become conscious of what you are doing at all times.

To develop this awareness, inhale deeply and hold the breath (only for a short time), then slowly exhale.  It is also helpful to keep a short pause after the exhalation when your mind is full of chatter.  Breathing in this way helps to withdraw your senses (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin) from the external world, as well as in all of the life situations that you face, and directs your awareness within.  Withdrawing the senses (pratyahara) is an essential element of your yogic journey, so the breath is a very important part of this process.

If you are looking to calm yourself, learn to bring back the awareness to the breath as often as possible, making it as slow and deep as you can.  In any situation that is stressful, tense, or when you just don’t know what to do, come back to your breath.  A few rounds of slow, deep breathing helps to refresh your mind and give you strength, helping to build a bridge to your inner self.

All of your deep-rooted habits and attitudes (samskaras) are stored in your subconscious and unconscious mind, and these are what prevent you from being at peace.  There are only a few things that can penetrate to the subconscious and unconscious mind – one of the most important is the breath.  The impressions of all your actions – both positive and negative – are stored in the form of energy (in the astral body).  A positive action helps your life energy to flow spontaneously, while the consequence of negative actions is to distract this flow, causing blockages in the system.  These blockages prevent your mind from experiencing harmony in the present moment, but slow, deep breathing helps to gently move the energy through these blockages.  That is why the yogic breathing system is known as the art of conscious breathing – also known as pranayama.

Through this conscious breathing, along with kumbhaka (holding the breath), and with the addition of the sound and vibration of chanting mantra, it helps to purify the yogic channels (astral) – the nadis. This helps to detoxify both the physical, mental and energetic layers of the system, and that leads you to a dimension of experiencing stillness in the mind, and clarity in your life.  Only then can you begin to walk gradually towards the source of your life-force – your overall health.

As you learn to master your breath you will discover your inner strength; and that inner strength will help you to react appropriately in all different situations and conditions of your life – consciously – in a way that will keep you functioning with harmony.

When you start breathing slowly and deeply, gradually expanding the belly, diaphragm and chest, then holding the breath, you will notice that the first breath is not so deep, but as you start to warm up within, each round spontaneously expands your breathing capacity.  As your capacity to inhale oxygen expands, so does the capacity to expel the air – the slower you breathe, the more toxins, or impurities, you will be able to release.  When you also bring your awareness there, you are further nourishing both the inhalation and exhalation with your prana shakti, your life force, so the effect is further multiplied.  Your entire system will be receiving more oxygen; and since many impurities are held in the lungs, breathing in this way is a great way to help detoxify the body.

In order to experience your breath, we are offering you a technique to practice – it is called nadi shuddhi kriya, which you can do twice a day – for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening.  If you do this consistently, keeping your mind on the process, for a period of 21 days, you will definitely feel a difference in your breathing patterns.

Nadi shuddhi kriya


  1. Closing the right nostril with the right thumb and having the left hand in chin mudra, inhale deeply through the left nostril – focusing your attention there – at the same time stretching the left arm up, and spreading the fingers wide.
  2. Hold the breath, focusing the awareness on the Third Eye (the place between the eyebrows).
  3. When you can no longer hold the breath, slowly exhale through the nose, bringing the arm down, co-ordinating the action with the breath. Exhale as slowly and for as long as you can.
  4. Repeat on the right side.
  5. Continue this practice for 10 minutes.

This technique is just a recipe to help you experience your harmony.  Keep in mind that just knowing this technique and remembering it will not help to transform your experience of it.  So it is very important that you practice this method regularly, consistently and be attentive during the inhalation, exhalation and holding the breath, maintaining the rhythm between the three.  Do not use any force during the inhalation, exhalation or when holding the breath; and if you find any type of tension during the practice you should reduce the duration of holding the breath.

As a supplementary practice, if you find that it is difficult to focus, or you have difficulty in breathing because either one or both the nostrils are blocked, you can begin the practice by adding kapalabhati breathing on the left side (blocking the right nostril and exhale, exhale, exhale …) for 11, 21 or 40 exhalations, and then continue with Points 1-3 above.  When you have finished on the left side, add the kapalabhati breathing on the right side before inhaling deeply and raising the arm, and continuing the practice.

For a demonstration of this practice you can watch these two YouTube videos showing our senior teacher, Shailendra Singh Negi explaining and practicing this kriya (Part 1) and (Part 2).


Teacher Training rishikesh
What is yoga?

In Sanskrit, the word yoga means “union”, but you need to understand that union can only be possible in the present moment – because it is an experience.

But what is this union?  Union means the experience of your totality – of all parts of you:  your mind, your breath, your body, and your energy.  It is your experience of all of these things as one, but in the beginning, it is only a glimpse of this.

We all need this union because without it our mind is divided into many different areas; and within us we are also divided – our body is in one place and our mind is somewhere else.  We can see the stress and pressure caused in our day-to-day lives for the average person who is running after things to find his completeness – or in other words, he is seeking his experience of one‑ness, of union.  Right now, our experiences are divided into separate categories, on different levels; and because of this we are not clear about what we truly want – we lack clarity.  This is why we need yoga in our life – so that we can experience that unity between all the different levels our mind and body.

The extent to which we are able to experience this union is the extent to which we will have clarity – at the moment we are not spontaneous with life.  We find ourselves very rigid in the different conditions and circumstances that life brings us.  We lose our focus – our equanimity – so the different practices of yoga help us to bring that unity within.  Yoga practices are a form of discipline which help to integrate ourselves through all these different levels so that we can experience the presence of one-ness, of unity, within – which means this very moment – NOW.

This “now” is not an intellectual “now”.  Through your intellect, you can understand what “now” means, but at the moment your reality of “now” is only a split-second – the moment you think of it, it has already gone!  Through the power of yoga, you can tune the different levels of yourself to become aligned, and as you consistently bring your awareness into the moment, you are actually able to dive into the moment, so that it expands – and this is the development of the journey of yoga.

According to Patanjali – the author of one of the most respected yogic scriptures – yoga means learning to master the endless chatter of the mind.  In Sutra 2, he states:  Yogaschitta vrtti nirodhah – which literally translates to mastering the many different thought-patterns of the mind (the consciousness).  But for this, you need to have consistent discipline, as Patanjali explains in Sutra 1:  Atha yoga Anushasanam – NOW is the discipline of yoga – building and maintaining a consistent discipline from the moment you open your eyes in the morning till the time you close your eyes at night; it means bringing your awareness into whatever you are doing.  Everything you do is a form of discipline, but Patanjali refers specifically to engaging your awareness at the same time that you are performing any action.  Discipline means learning to be attentive to whatever you do – carrying an attitude of attentiveness.

When your attentiveness becomes constant, it expands your awareness of everything around you in each moment, which helps lead you to a state where the endless chatter of the mind slows down spontaneously, and you are able to experience equanimity and stillness.  Remember that fundamentally, the mind is searching for pleasantness, fearlessness and freedom; and the moment the mind is able to dive into each moment, it begins to experience this as pleasantness and freedom, which naturally helps to stop the chatter of thoughts of the past or the future.  Then each moment expands because you have tasted the pleasantness that this can offer; and the stronger this becomes, the deeper your experiences become, which leads to an even greater expansion of your awareness.  The mind begins to truly experience the power of NOW.

Unfortunately, people are currently trying to distinguish between the different forms of yoga only through the style of stretching the body – simply giving different names to the different ways of stretching the body, but ALL of these methods are the same dimension of hatha yoga; and all of these methods have the same purpose – to bring your body, mind, breath, and energy into the state of union so that you can experience every moment and become more alive; then you will become more enthusiastic about your life, and it will definitely become more meaningful.

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