Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Yoga for Meditation Set: Appendix 1

Referred URL
http://anmolmehta.com/blog/2007/01/23/sm-meditation-program-yoga-for-meditation-set-appendix-1/



SM Meditation Program: Yoga for Meditation Set  
This set should take you 40 minutes to do.  It is to be done daily for the first 4 weeks as part of the Phase 1 Yoga for Meditation physical work.

1.     Long Deep Breathing (LDB):
a.      Description: Sit in Sukh Asan (choose the leg position of your choice as described in Chapter 7: SM Meditation Program Basic Meditations) with your hands grasping your knees and breathe by taking full deep breaths through the nose.  The key to LDB is to fill the lungs entirely on the inhalation and then empty them completely on the exhalation.  The diaphragm is kept relaxed and the stomach expands out on the inhalation and back in on the exhalation.
b.      Breath: LDB
c.      Duration: 5 minutes
d.      Benefits: LDB is excellent for expanding ones lung capacity and bringing in maximum amount of oxygen in every breath.  It promotes healing and helps build the nervous system.
e.      Notes: If you feel dizzy return to normal breathing, but in general LDB should not pose much difficulty for you.  If 5 continuous minutes is too much intersperse with normal breathing as required.

2.     Relax in Shav Asan:
a.      Description: Lie flat on your back in Shav Asan have your hands out to your sides with the palms facing slightly upward, the legs are shoulder width apart and everything should be relaxed.
b.      Breath: Normal Breathing
c.      Duration: 1 minute
d.      Benefits:  Shav Asan is the best posture for relaxing completely as it provides maximum support to the entire spine and back.  Relaxation between exercises gives the body a chance to consolidate the gains that the exercise produces and rejuvenate the areas of the body that are the focus of the exercise.
e.      Notes: Don’t fall asleep.  Especially if you not used to waking up early and are trying to do the SM program in the morning.

3.     Breath of Fire:
a.      Description: Sit up in Sukh Asan with your hands grasping your knees and begin breathing rapidly though the nose with equal emphasis on the inhalation and exhalation- like very fast sniffing.  Keep the abdomen relaxed and allow it to pulse automatically with the breath.  Remember that the breath is not taken in very deep and the pace is fast, about 3 cycles per second.
b.      Breath:  Breath of Fire
c.      Duration: 5 minutes
d.      Benefits: Breath of Fire is the breath to do when you want to increase your energy and quickly oxygenate your blood.  It generates heat it the body, helps detoxify your system and brings your entire system under one rhythm.e.      Notes: If you feel dizzy slow down the force and/or speed at which you are doing the breathing.  Or you can substitute Long Deep Breathing for BOF until you feel ready to switch to BOF again. 

4.     Relax in Shav Asan: [Repeat #2 again for 1 minute] 

5.     Butterfly Stretch:
a.      Description: Sit with your back straight and the soles of your feet together.  Interlace your fingers around your feet and using your elbows as levers push down on your inner thighs or calves so your knees approach the floor.
b.      Breath:  BOF
c.      Duration: 2 minutes
d.      Benefits:  This posture stretches the inner thighs and groin.  It transmutes sexual energy to higher frequencies to be used for other bodily functions.  It is a fundamental stretch for any meditator and helps one to sit cross-legged with greater ease.
e.      Notes: Don’t press down to the point of pain, just enough to feel a good stretch.

6.     Hamstring Stretch:
a.      Description: Sit up with your legs extended away from of you.  Lean forward from the waist (don’t arch your back down) and keeping your knees straight try to hold as far down on your legs as possible.  If you can hold your toes and pull them back towards you.  If you can’t hold your toes, arch your feet back towards you to impart a stretch on the calves.
b.      Breath: BOF
c.      Duration: 2 minutes
d.      Benefits:  This posture stretches the longest nerve in the body (sciatic nerve), which is important for longevity and overall health.  It also stretches the entire back of the body and is a fundamental stretch that should be practiced daily.
e.      Notes: Don’t bounce when doing this stretch.  As you feel your muscles starting to relax accent the stretch further gently.

7.     Knee to Chest:
a.      Description:  Lie on your back and bring your right knee to your chest.  Wrap your arms around your knee and pull down towards your chest to accent the stretch.  Repeat with the left knee.
b.      Breath: LDB
c.      Duration: 1 minute / sided.     
Benefits: This helps loosen the hips and stretches the groin.
e.      Notes:  This is a simple stretch but works on the all-important hip area which is often stiff and the culprit in many injuries.

8.     Frog Stretch:
a.      Description: Continue to lie on your back and bring both legs up into the air with the soles of the feet pointing up towards the sky.  Reach up with your arms and hold onto your feet and pull your knees down towards your armpits.  The legs should be spread wide, creating a strech in the groin area.  You should be holding your feet from the inside such that the back of your hands are facing each other and your fingers are curled around the arches of your feet.
b.      Breath: LDB
c.      Duration: 2 minutes
d.      Benefits:  Stretches the buttocks, groin and hips.
e.      Notes:  This is a very comfortable stretch.  Just be sure that you are holding onto your feet the right way (inside out).

9.     Bridge Pose:
a.      Description: This pose is also called modified wheel pose or tabletop pose.  Bring yourself up on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet.  You should be facing the sky.  Press upwards with your hips such that your torso is parallel to the ground.  Your fingers are pointing backwards (away from your feet).
b.      Breath:  BOF
c.      Duration:  2 minutes
d.      Benefits:  Strengthens the lower back, arms, shoulders and nervous system. 
e.      Notes:  If you can’t do 2 minutes at a stretch take a break and then come into the posture again.  If you find this posture too difficult do the following modification.  Interlace your fingers and bring your arms and hands under yourself.  Now push up with your hips and raise them up while at the same time push down into the floor with your arms.  Your feet are flat on the floor as before.  Your chin should be tucked in towards your chest. 

10.  Relax in Shav Asan: [Repeat #2 again for 1 minute]. 
11. Cobra:
a.      Description: Roll onto your stomach, let your feet rest flat on the floor, place your hand under your shoulders and lift your chest and head up arching your back as you rise.  Your hips should stay on the ground.  Look up.
b.      Breath: LDB
c.      Duration: 2 minutes
d.      Benefits:  Adds flexibility and strength to your lower back.  Improves your digestive system.
e.      Notes:  Go only as far up as is comfortable and take a break if 2 minutes is too much. 
 
12. Knee Bounce:
a.      Description:  Sit up with your legs extended in front of you.  Bend your left leg and place your left ankle high up on your right thigh.  Hold onto your left knee with both hands and bounce the knee gently up and down.  Repeat with the other leg.
b.      Breath: BOF
c.      Duration: 2 minutes / sided.      Benefits:  This exercise targets exactly what a meditator is looking for.  Flexibility in the hips so that one can sit in Sukh Asan at ease.
e.      Notes: Let gravity do the work, on the way down don’t push aggressively.  Do not force the knee towards the floor. 

13. Cradle Rock:
a.      Description: Staying in the same position cradle your left leg.  To cradle the leg hold onto the left leg with your left arm from underneath (your left elbow will be on the inside of the knee joint and you will be holding your left foot from underneath) and with your right hand hold the left foot.  Then rock your leg back and forth bringing the ankle towards your chin.  Repeat with the other leg.
b.      Breath: BOF
c.      Duration: 2 minutes / side
d.      Benefits:  This exercise perfectly complements the previous one and together they are a meditator’s best friends.
e.      Notes:  Be careful of your knees, do not strain, and only bring your leg up as high as is comfortable.

14. Split Stretch:
a.      Description: Now extend both legs out wide in front of you and lean forward from the waist and grasp as low on the legs as you can.  If you can grasp the toes and pull them back towards you, if you are not holding your toes arch them back towards you to force a stretch in the calves.
b.      Breath: LDB
c.      Duration: 2 minutes
d.      Benefits:  This posture is often used as an indicator for determining a person’s flexibility; it stretches all the lower muscles of the legs as well as the groin area.
e.      Notes:  Again be careful of your knees and groin, and don’t overdo it.
 
15. Spinal Twist:
a.      Description: Sit up in Sukh Asan hold your shoulder with hands bringing your elbows out to the side and up to shoulder height and twist to the left and then to the right.  You are twisting at the waist and your head goes with the direction of the twist.  Twist at a moderate pace.
b.      Breath: Inhale when you turn left; exhale when you turn right.
c.      Duration: 2 minutes
d.      Benefits:  This exercise loosens up your entire back and helps your digestive system.
e.      Notes:  Breathe forcefully to get your energy going.

16.  Relax in Shav Asan:
a.      Description: You are now ready for your Meditation Session.  As you relax with every inhalation feel yourself being filled with health and awareness and with exhalation feel disease and ignorance leaving your body.
b.      Breath: Silk Thread Breath [STB: Described in Chapter 4: Yoga for Meditation]
c.      Duration: 3 minutes
d.      Benefits: Relaxes your mind and body and gets you ready for meditation.
e.      Notes:  As you begin your meditation you may notice that quite naturally your breathing will switch to STB.

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