Pathways to Stillness: Removing the Layers of Illusion


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Awareness, Consciousness and Spirituality Blog

Proceedings – CHI

As we learnt earlier the nervous system is governed by Prana, therefore it benefits greatly when the Asana postures are coupled with deep pranic breathing. Its system is just as extensive as the energy system and simular in the way it has Nerve Plexus that combine the spinal nerves and support a specific area of the body, likened to the Nadis and Chakras. Every nerve impulse, whether it be a thought, a movement or internal bodily function is manifested through the expression of prana. Therefore our supply of prana is constantly being depleted, especially in times of high stress through constant physical activity, or even more so through mental stress, that creates constant chatter and turmoil in the mind.

There are five major nerve plexus; the Cervical, Brachial, Chest, Solar, Sacral and Lumbar, each one feeding life-force energy to support all bodily movement, and the functioning of localized organs and glands. Whilst the spine is being strengthened and toned by Asana Practice, the spinal nerves relay the benefits to each Nerve Plexus where the abundant flow of vital Prana is both, refined facilitating increased organ function health and vigour; and stored for times of high demand. The skin, referred to as the largest organ of the body also relies on vital prana, particularly to function as a major sensory apparatus where various skin receptors relay messages through nerve fibres.

It also plays a major part in detoxifying the body through continual cell renewal and release; casting off toxicity through the outer layer of dead skin cells. The stretching, lengthening and twisting action of Asana practice provides good skin tone and elasticity, whilst the increase in prana encourages good sensory function and blood circulation increasing cell renewal and release.

The endocrine system is also positively affected through Asana Practice. Its system comprises of several ductless glands that regulate physical and emotional processes by the secretion of hormones into various associated areas. The Pituitary Gland is known to promote a feeling of wellbeing when stimulated, therefore it responds positively to smiling and laughter. Stories have been told of the daily ritual of Ancient Monks who laugh on waking each morning to promote joy and wellbeing.

The Pineal gland is responsible for the secretion of the hormone melatonin, which enables it to function as our biological timekeeper. Several Asanas focus on the stimulation of this area, the most well known, referred to as the King of Asana Practice, is The Headstand. The Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands are centred in the throat; the thyroid regulates our metabolic rate through the secretion of thyroxine, under stimulation can lead to poor metabolism and obesity whilst over stimulation can lead to anxiety, nervousness and of loss of weight.

The Parathyroid regulates the absorption levels of calcium to the heart and muscles; sustaining a strong healthy heart, good bone structure and growth rate. Asanas such as The Shoulderstand, known as the Queen of Asana Practice positively affect these glands.


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The twisting, rotational and forward bending actions of many Asanas provide good stimulation to the Adrenal Glands and Pancreas that are situated at The Solar Plexus area. The Adrenal glands secrete steroid hormones via the kidneys necessary for healthy fluid and electrolyte balance. Also Adrenaline, that prepares the body for action in times of danger, stress or when extra effort is needed, by increasing the heart rate, raising blood pressure, stimulating respiration and increasing blood supply to the muscles.


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  4. The pancreas secrets digestive enzymes enabling us to assimilate our food and hormones that balance our blood sugar levels. Asana practice also targets the Sacral Centre positively balancing the glands that secrete Testosterone, Estrogens and Proestrogen. These hormones not only influence our sex drive and reproduction but also have a major influence on our emotional stability. Hatha Yoga positively benefits all systems, increases strength, flexibility, balance and tone, mental alacrity, stress control and spiritual awareness.

    The vast knowledge and wisdom invested in developing this profound science ensures that each Asana benefits several areas of the body at the same time, whilst also each aspect of the Practice whether it be a back bend, twist, balance, forward bend, inverted or lateral extension all provide unique physiological and psychological benefits when synchronization of both Asana and Pranayama is utilized.

    The position of the Asana provides a deep stretch to the hamstring, calf muscles and lower back. It also opens the shoulder joints and increases spinal flexibility which creates spaciousness within the spine and tones the spinal nerves. The organs and glands of the upper and lower abdomen, the stomach, liver, kidneys, spleen, intestines and reproductive organs receive a gentle stimulating massage from the forward motion of the Asana which increases digestion, immune function, purification and elimination.

    Holding this forward motion also stimulates and balances the endocrine glands within the Solar and Sacral Centres. Whilst in the stillness of the pose, one focuses on deep Pranic breathing which increases effectiveness of the circulatory system encouraging enriched, oxygenated blood to permeate the spaciousness of the spine nourishing the spinal discs; whilst also congregating at the abdomen to nourish the organs and glands. This extra abundance of Prana allows us to move deeper into the Asana as it permeates the whole body through the multitude of energy pathways Nadis , where muscle tightness is released; relieving tension and improving flexibility and tone whilst restoring vitality and rejuvenation to the organs and glands.

    But this is not all the increased prana is also deeply purifying the spinal nerves which calms the whole nervous system resulting in the stilling of the mind and emotions. One may also choose to focus with deep pranic breathing on one specific area that may be holding resistance or feeling discomfort, this will provide an extra boost of healing life-force energy. As one learns how to control and quieten the mind and senses full attention is able to be held on the present moment. This provides deep release and relaxation where phenomenal healing takes place both physically and psychologically; the blood pressure and heart rate drop, stress hormones reduce and metabolism slows cultivating many benefits including heightened energy, physical rejuvenation and longevity, mental clarity, good concentration skills and increased memory power.

    When Meditation is practiced regularly one becomes more and more at peace, slowing down and enjoying life moment by moment. Stress and anxiety levels decrease as the need to control life diminishes and everyday dramas have less impact on our wellbeing. As the pure channels of Spirit open, intuition and creativity flow, providing more fulfilment and enthusiasm in daily life. Living life through Hatha Yoga. Asana practice provides the most valuable lessons as our capacity for stillness and focus grows, the skills learnt on the mat emerge into daily life and a whole new level of consciousness evolves.

    Whilst holding an Asana we observe that it is in the letting go of judgment and resistance within the mind that allows the life-force of prana to flow, release tension and heal. This skill is then adopted in our daily lives where interaction with others becomes much less judgmental and we meet life circumstances with less resistance. Eventually through regular practice we start to see perfection within our own limitations, those of others and our life circumstances.

    Most importantly daily meditation and also the pursuance of right action; by observing the way we react to certain people we become aware of the mirror image that is there within others, helping us recognise and honour our positive aspects whilst releasing the negative.

    It also presents quite a challenge to stay in the stillness of a posture when the mind wishes to race on to the next. Here many benefits are manifested as we utilize the universal energies, breathe deeply, meet the challenge and move further into the posture. This inspires such inner strength and courage that as life presents its challenges we are equipped to approach them with calm and wisdom.

    When practice is initiated with intention we also gain direction in life. By maintaining focus and steadiness in both breath and posture we maintain focus and steadiness in our approach to life, where we are less likely to be swayed into directions that will not serve as well but choose to stay on our own path, conserving energy and inner strength.

    Are you Peeling the Layers of Ego - or Adding More?

    Hatha Yoga is so much more than a study of the physical body and mind, it is a way of life that will inspire, fulfil and direct anyone, no matter what shape, profession or age, courageously and lovingly along the path of life. It has been instrumental in providing so much awareness, purpose and enthusiasm in every area of my life. Contact Phone No: Email: vickie yogaoftheheart. The first limb:- Yama — refinement of our personality through five moral disciplines referred to as restraints or abstinences:- 1.

    The third limb:- Asana — physical postures performed to discipline, strengthen and purify the physical body in preparation for meditation. The fourth limb: - Pranayama - to control energy through the breath, encompassing techniques that rejuvenate, purify and harmonize whilst clearing distractions from the mind.

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    The fifth limb:- Pratyahara — sense withdrawal; letting go of external stimuli which provides deep peace and inner awareness in preparation for meditation. Given that the current socioeconomic system has a structural need for ever-growing energy consumption, simply shifting back to a territory-based socio-metabolic regime without otherwise radically altering the organisation of society is likely simply to displace, not overcome, the contradictions of our current way of life.

    So maybe a return to the surface is not the way forward. But maybe its sheer apparent impossibility should prompt us to consider it as something to be actively explored—as exactly the sort of radical revisioning of how we inhabit the Earth that is needed at this time. Yet the contemporary politics of low-carbon living is still closely tied to the enclosed forms of embodiment associated with industrial society and its fossil-fuel excess. Yet with the Protestant reformation, which prepared the way for modern society, the body was progressively closed off. Bodily engagement with the world, and with the divine, were increasingly devalued in favour of interior reflection, language and speech, and the close-contact senses of touch, taste and smell were de-emphasised in favour of those of vision and hearing.

    Gary Irwin-Kenyon - Pathways to Stillness (Wellness)

    The transition to industrial modernity also involved developing very different ways of talking about energy and movement. The modern, quantitative concept of energy is very different. It has made possible huge gains in human understanding of the universe, but has done so at the expense of an awareness of the qualitative dimensions of energy. Brennan also argued that the modern idea of psychic self-closure is inextricably linked with the technological domination of nature, and with the proliferation of commodities and characteristic of industrial, capitalist modernity. A transition to a genuinely sustainable society might require not just a technological transition but also a more fundamental anthropic one, involving new ideas of what it is to be human, with very different understandings of energy and its relationship to life—and perhaps one that echoes those of pre-modern societies.

    The Aerocene sculpture—along with all the wider social practices that convene around it—gestures towards such a new vision of the human. The Aerocene vision is about going up, but also opening up.

    The Aerocene sculptures gains its power to rise into and inhabit the atmosphere not merely from itself but from its openness to elemental media and cosmic forces. They collect electro-magnetic energy from the sun and the Earth through its membrane; they use the weight of the atmosphere above it to rise, and pressure differentials in the atmosphere around them to move. They engage with the human bodies and collectivities that gather around them, becoming nodes in a network of bodies that make each other sensitive to the dynamics of the atmosphere.

    And the open body of Aerocene reminds us of the openness of our own bodies—that living things, like all dissipative systems, [12] depend on a constant flow of energy, matter and information across the boundary that at once divides and joins them and their environment.

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    Aerocene points towards an anthropic transition that would open us up to the more-than-human world. Inhabiting the air and opening up to the elements would also involve us recognising contingency and hazard as a necessary part of creaturely existence, rather than something that can ever be eradicated. Over ten years it rose from nothing to a pinnacled height of 90m: as high as the near slopes of the Lincolnshire Wolds, the low chalk hills below which Louth nestles; higher than the glaciers that shaped the flat plain on which it has sat since first settled sometime after the most recent ice age.

    The spire was made from stone — sandstone quarried on the far side of the wolds. It was made from wool, trade in which was the source of the wealth with which the town paid the pounds, seven shillings and sixpence that the spire cost. It was made from the food which that money bought for the builders and their families, and from their faith — faith both in the God that the spire glorified and in the masons whose knowledge ensured that its walls would not tumble, that its beams not buckle, and that its tower would not fall. It was made from sound; from the grunts of labour, the rhythm of chisel and song, the harmony of hymns, the whistling of the wind, the chimes of the bells that all of them knew — knew — would one day hang in their new-made heights.

    And just as it was made of sound, it was made out of the air in which sound lives. The air they breathed, and into which the spire grew, and which it celebrated; the air of its inner spaces, bright lit through thin-columned high-arched windows; the air celebrated by its most spectacular features — the flying buttresses that spring from the pinnacles that top the tower to the mighty spire itself, not solid supports but open fretworks of stone, ideas built into and through the air. All the air in the world has blown past Louth since then, and with the winds, change. Louth itself rose up in a rebellion savagely put down, its priest hanged at Tyburn.

    The wool trade faded, and new trades grew — a boy schooled in Louth, John Smith, sailed across the Atlantic to a new settlement in Virginia. On the flat fens between the wolds and the sea, where once a line of windmills ground flour and pumped water, the masts of wind turbines now rise white and thin almost to the height of the church; off the coast they rise higher still. And still the spire stands, a part of the air and a resistance to it, a solid spike in the changing sky, an anchor for a weathercock ever turning in the wind.

    In , when the spire was scaffolded for repair, another artist, William Brown, had climbed to the top, lashed himself in place and sketched a panorama of the town, the wolds, the flat fens leading to the North Sea, later turning the sketches into a celebrated panorama. Woods wanted to do something similar, but in the modern style.

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    And so he commissioned video images of the spire from the point of view of a UAV hanging still and steady in the sky nearby. But these new panoramas differ from their predecessors in two crucial and interconnected ways. While their field of view is fixed, the images they represent move; a post van drives along Westgate, tennis players pace their court.

    And in the centre and foreground of the fixed field of view is the top of the spire itself. It is no longer a means by which such panoramas can be seen, but something which can be part of them — because to hang still in the sky is no longer something you need a connection to the Earth do.

    The story of human flight has to date been almost entirely a story of movement — of racing the clouds, of outrunning the winds, of speed no grounded traveller can dream of. The age of the UAV hanging steady as a weathercock brings the world of flight new stillness.

    Pathways to Stillness: Removing the Layers of Illusion Pathways to Stillness: Removing the Layers of Illusion
    Pathways to Stillness: Removing the Layers of Illusion Pathways to Stillness: Removing the Layers of Illusion
    Pathways to Stillness: Removing the Layers of Illusion Pathways to Stillness: Removing the Layers of Illusion
    Pathways to Stillness: Removing the Layers of Illusion Pathways to Stillness: Removing the Layers of Illusion
    Pathways to Stillness: Removing the Layers of Illusion Pathways to Stillness: Removing the Layers of Illusion

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