The word 'meditation' carries different meanings in different contexts. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous global traditions and beliefs.
Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind. The practice benefits those willing with a sense of calmness and inner peace.
Pranayama is control of Breath".
'Prana' is breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and 'ayama' means control.
Pranayama is a scientific tool to assist the practitioner in the control of the vital life force. This is beneficial in two ways, firstly the development of balance and calmness in the mind.
Secondly, assisting the removal of many of the body’s diseases eg irregular blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, anxiety and depression to name just a few.
The term Hatha Yoga has been commonly used to describe the practice of asana (postures). The syllable 'ha' denotes the pranic (vital) force governing the physical body and 'tha' denotes the chitta (mental) force thus making Hatha Yoga a catalyst to an awakening of the two energies that govern our lives. More correctly the techniques described in Hatha Yoga harmonise and purify the body systems and focus the mind in preparation for more advanced chakra and kundalini practices.
In Sanskrit "Ashta + anga" is Ashtanga. "Ashta" means Eight and "Anga" is limbs so it means Eight Limb path, ashtanga yoga is based on Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali. The asanas, Pranayamas or the dharana which we have studied earlier or the yam and niyam are based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
In Kundalini Yoga, higher-level chakras are awakened and also the activities associated with these higher psychic centers.The basic method of awakening involves deep concentration on these chakras and forcing their arousal. Asanas, pranayama, mudra and bandha and other forms of Yoga such as Mantra Yoga are also used to stimulate the awakening.
Raja Yoga is a comprehensive yoga system which deals with the refinement of human behaviour and personality through the practice of the yamas (restraint) and niyamas (disciplines); attainment of physical health and vitality through asanas (postures) and pranayamas (pranic breathing techniques); management of mental and emotional conflicts and development of awareness and concentration through pratyahara (sensory withdrawal) and dharana (concentration); and developing the creative aspect of consciousness for transcendental awareness through dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption in the universal identity).
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