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Yoga Nidra Course program 1997-98

for Håå Course Center


meditative deep relaxation
Tantra - Nyasa - Chakra - resolution -
consciousness - research

Unique pictures of
the brain‘s activity
during Yoga Nidra
Attitude or Insight editorial by Mira
“Can you still feel of Energy, which is, amongst
frustrated and inadequate other things, based on a special
even though you may have breathing technique, her blood
meditated for many years?” pressure became almost normal.
Another woman on the
a journalist asked me
course proved to have low
recently, “or do you go blood pressure and when we
around with a permanent measured her, we saw to our
smile on your face?” great surprise that it had
That made me think of a actually risen following the
woman on one of our same exercises!
meditation courses. When An explanation for this could
Triquetra - Linda Gustavson Nameth. See also page 34.

she came home after the be that these techniques make


meditation, her children us relax and help us let go of
rushed boisterously up to her the thoughts, impressions and
and hugged her. She wanted states which are otherwise seat-
to remain in the tranquil state ed in our muscles and organs
she had reached during the and which influence the
meditation. She therefore nervous system - this process
tried to keep them at a normalises the blood pressure.
distance imagining that the When something is worry-
children would disturb her. ing us, we may feel as if we
I advised her to accept the are enclosed in a bubble.
children entirely and not try When the problem has been
to cling to any state. The resolved, or the cause of the
effect of the meditation is anxiety has been removed, then
there anyway, as we go everything feels different.
about life and allow our Suddenly we can make contact
various traits to find expression - and calms me. But if I am tired and uninspired with the people around us again and
it’s okay to react normally. and cannot get started on anything, then appreciate the small daily events.
meditation gives me renewed energy. Yoga and meditation can remove these
I am sure everyone experiences yoga A woman with very high blood pres- bubbles - regardless of whether they arise
and meditation in their own individual sure participated on a yoga and meditation from anxiety, ideals or self-indulgence -
way. It is exciting to discover and course we held in Germany a few years and prevent new ones forming. If you
explore the potential of the exercises. ago. She had tried all kinds of therapies, happen to adopt another “meditative
The fundamental effects, however, are but nothing helped. So she turned to pose”, then you end up in a new bubble
pretty much the same for all - body and yoga. She had a blood pressure device that can inhibit your awareness and
mind find their own natural balance. with her and we took her blood pressure meditation and become a burden.
When I have been very busy going full on various occasions during the course. The realisation that you don’t need to
speed ahead all day and then find it diffi- After the deep-relaxation Yoga Nidra, live by ideals and poses, that you can
cult to unwind in the evening, meditation followed by the meditation The Source depend on yourself, along with the

2
Meditative Deep Relaxation
understanding that meditation does not Yoga Nidra and consciousness... by Mira
need props - is fundamental to our
teaching, which is inspired by the Tantric Yoga is probably best known as a try to imagine that you relax. So instead
tradition. When I went on my first yoga comfortable form of relaxation, both on a of deriving benefit from the relaxation,
course at this school, I found I could be physical and mental level, but it involves the person concerned gets irritated and
myself. There was nothing to live up to a lot more than that. Relaxation is only worried from making so much effort.
and no-one tried to convince me of the first step. In Yoga Nidra you are never asked to
anything. The result was that I was able to relax - and my experience is that even
It is easy to practice Yoga Nidra. You lie those people who have previously
relax and experience the effects of yoga.
completely motionless on your back, and experienced problems relaxing, find
One day two young men came to the listen to the instructions given. The benefit from Yoga Nidra.
school. They wanted to know what yoga technique is used by people who need an
effective relaxation. Many use the Yoga Yoga Nidra is equally popular with
was. “Do you have to believe in any-
Nidra tape or CD without having any school kids and senior citizens, and is
thing?” they asked. “No,” I replied,
other knowledge of yoga or meditation. highly valued in many work places. For
“yoga is like football. It is something you beginners, it is an easy way to experience
do. It isn’t something you believe in.” Sometimes a person will come to me and a state of meditation.
Maybe you get a broader perspective say: “I have tried relaxation and it does Some years ago I taught at a school for
on a variety of things or maybe new not work for me. I just cannot relax.” It young people. The teachers were very
values, but yoga is not something to always turns out that the person has used surprised when they saw the boys lying
ascribe to; insight grows by itself. ! a form of relaxation, where you have to (continued on next page)

one of modern medicine’s most advanced Swami Janakananda abroad 29


Contents instruments - the PET scanner at The Spring / Summer 1998
State University Hospital in Copenhagen. Lectures, seminars and weekend courses.
Meditative deep relaxation 3 Tantra and Yoga Nidra 12 Programme for Ireland, France and
A short introduction to Yoga Nidra. Iceland.
Swami Janakananda writes for the first
time about the knowledge and methods in
The relaxed state and science 5 Tantra which lie behind Tantric rituals and Courses in Copenhagen 30
In the course of the last 30 years, which make Yoga Nidra so uniquely effec- ...and other cities. Introduction evenings,
research has shown that the relaxed tive and deep - about Nyasa, Chakras, con- free trial classes, short intensive courses,
state is highly beneficial for your health. sciousness and the resolution in Yoga Nidra. “drop-in”, pregnancy courses, as well as
We explain a little of what this state weekly courses that run for 10 or 20
entails, how you achieve it and how you What on earth do they use it for 24 weeks and classes in English.
ensure it becomes deep and lasting. People’s very different experiences with
Yoga Nidra ... Yoga at Home 30
Pictures of the brains’s 8 From our shop we send books, relaxation
activity during Yoga Nidra Håå Course Center in South Sweden 26 and meditation tapes, nose-cleansing
A new chapter in research on meditation, A place with ideal conditions for getting pots, ear candles, yoga mattresses, the
it was called, when the scientists to know yourself and exploring your periodical Bindu and much
published pictures of yoga teachers doing potential through the unique methods more to people all over the
Yoga Nidra. The research was done with taught there. world.

3
completely still on their backs with their your elbows rest on the floor with your staying aware in a deep state.
eyes closed for twenty minutes. forearms pointing upwards. Each time Yoga Nidra teaches you to consciously
you are about to fall asleep, your arms experience the different states that you
You can practise Yoga Nidra anytime you will drop down, and you will wake up. are guided through, eg. heaviness and
want, to improve your concentration, get lightness. You learn to give in to the
better rest and renewed energy - and if The essence of Yoga Nidra, as with all different emotions and states. Your mind
you sleep poorly at night, to improve kinds of real meditation, is awareness - is being trained in this way and becomes
your sleep. consciousness resting in itself. During more flexible - and you reach a state of
Listen to the instructions without Yoga Nidra thoughts, states and dreams deep rest.
making effort or using your willpower. may surface. You may have impressions It is important to have guidance from
Just follow the instructions with interest of experiences and emotions from that an experienced teacher in a class or on a
and awareness, and let the rest happen by day or from earlier times in your life. All tape/CD, especially with the long Yoga
itself. this you experience, but you don’t cling Nidra, as the relaxation should preferably
to any of it - and you don’t judge it (after be the same each time. In this way the
In the beginning when you practise Yoga all, you also experience when you judge). subconscious feels secure and relaxes
Nidra, you may fall asleep - and that is You let the impressions and thoughts more easily. When you have gotten used
okay - even though the purpose is to stay come and go without trying to control to the short Yoga Nidra, you can then
awake and aware. If for a moment you them, and you reach not only a relaxed take yourself through the instructions
don’t hear the instructions, you may have state, but a state where the mind empties mentally, before you turn to the long and
an experience like you are deeply asleep and frees itself of all that it does not deep Yoga Nidra.
- but at the same time you know that you need. You let the thoughts flow by and
are conscious. Generally falling asleep disappear like clouds in the sky, making The name Yoga Nidra actually represents
completely is a transitory stage. room for inspiration again. a state of consciousness, and the
Gradually you become increasingly If for a moment you forget to follow technique leads you there. Both mind
present in the deep state. the instructions, then do not try to and body reach the meditative state. You
When you practise Yoga Nidra, it is remember what happened at that gain an experience that you can use in
best to lie with your head towards the particular place in Yoga Nidra; just other contexts; among other things, it can
north. Your clothes should not be tight. follow the now. When you get carried improve your meditation.
Do not lie on anything too soft, but pre- away by a thought it may easily turn into What is most important for all kinds of
ferably on an even floor, maybe on a rug, a dream that carries you into sleep. meditation, is regularity, preferably a
with a light cover over you. If you are Because you are in a deep state, it is daily practice. Each time you do it, it
prone to falling asleep, keep your hands quite normal for this to happen. As soon will be easier to reach the clarity and
and feet uncovered or lie without a cover as you discover it, then return to the peace, which support physical health and
altogether. If you still fall asleep, then let instructions. In this way you get used to your presence in everything you do. !

4
The relaxed state and science by Robert Nilsson
Queues and bottlenecks occur during paper that was running through the Muscular tension decreases when you
rush hour in our cities. At other times of machine underneath. Every time an relax, just as a tension decreases when
the day, the traffic is less active and impulse came from the electrode, the pen you keep a muscle stretched for a while
therefore flows better. It is the same with moved so that the line on the paper in a yoga pose. The muscular tension is
the body and mind; when activity is became a wavy line, hence the also measured by placing two electrodes
reduced, we experience a less stressed expression brain waves. Today on the muscle in question.
and less blocked state than that which we everything is recorded on computer, so The pulse drops during relaxation or
normally find ourselves in with our daily that the waves can be analysed and meditation. As does the breath rate and
chores. displayed on a screen. frequency.
The states of consciousness were The activity of the brain is divided into
previously divided up into three main four states. See the chart below.
categories: waking state, dream and What does it mean to be
sleep. But over the last thirty years, Besides the EEG, there are other means relaxed
science has acquired a broader view of of measuring the relaxed and somewhat “Not everyone believes they can
our states. In the late sixties an American deeper meditative state. concentrate, not to mention relax. Maybe
doctor, Dr. Keith Wallace, had his Skin resistance, for example, is it is true that they cannot do it just like
doctoral thesis accepted under the title measured on the palm between two that, by using willpower. Some people
Meditation as a Fourth Major State of electrodes. If you have a high skin claim that all they need is to sit in a
Consciousness. Since then there have resistance, then your palm is dry and you chair, put their feet up and close their
been a lot of different publications and are relaxed. However if you become eyes. However, they do not always show
research on altered states. One of the provoked a little, within a few seconds an improvement if, for instance, their
major works from 1969 is still worth the skin resistance will fall due to an blood pressure is measured.
reading: Altered States of Consciousness imperceptible perspiration on the palm. Still, I maintain that everyone can
edited by Professor Charles T. Tart, is a Skin resistance is used to measure the achieve deep relaxation through correct
collection of articles from researchers all reactions in the autonomous nervous and systematic guidance. And once you
over the whole world. system, and can reveal when the level of can relax, you can also improve your
stress or anxiety increases or diminishes. concentration.” (From the booklet
A similar method is used in lie-detectors. accompanying the CD Yoga Nidra)
The relaxed brain
The relaxed state soon received a
scientific classification, which is
Beta, 13-40 waves/sec., normal, active Activity of the brain
practical, but also limiting. It was called The more active the brain is, the more
the Alpha state. By pasting small round Alpha, 8-13 waves /sec., relaxed impulses the nerve cells fire. A
silver discs called electrodes on various description of the four states shown on
places on the scalp, the brain’s activity the left, their frequency (oscillations or
could be measured. The electrodes were waves per second) and their scientific
Theta, 4-8 waves /sec., dream, sleep
connected to a machine, an names are also shown there.
Electroencephalograph (EEG). There The EEG sinks from Beta to Alpha
was a row of pens on the EEG and each
when one relaxes, but it is rarely pure;
one was connected to an electrode on the Delta, 1-4 waves /sec., deep sleep
this means that there is both Alpha and
head. The pens were attached in such a
way that each drew a line on a piece of Beta concurrently.

5
It is possible to have experiences with By relaxation technique, we mean more present in your senses. There are
yoga, relaxation and the like and still fool something that can provide a more meditations where you learn to make
oneself into believing that one is relaxed, effective form of relaxation than that your mind one-pointed, and meditations
even though one is not. I have had days which can be achieved by taking a stroll without a focal point, which are based on
where I thought it was okay to skip my or sleeping. Through the use of a the ability to experience the totality in
yoga practise. When I nevertheless took relaxation technique, you learn to and around oneself. It should also be
the time to do yoga, I could feel a distinct achieve a state of rest that is deeper than added that some methods give only a
difference in my state afterwards. It is that of sleep, while you remain conscious light relaxed state, while others produce
important not to be blinded by your ideas and experience what is happening. You very clear changes in your general state.
of how you feel. You should also not try become familiar with the relaxed state. Certain Tantric meditations, for example
to achieve a certain experience - you just “The advantage seems to come from Inner Silence, are constructed as a
follow the technique the physiology of relaxation rather than developing sequence containing a whole
by mere suggestion.” (Dr. P. M. Lehrer) array of the mentioned methods - it spans
The relaxation technique works by itself; the spectrum from outer awareness to
The relaxation response you need only lie still and follow the deep inner rest in oneself.
It is easy enough to become excited or instructions.
stressed. The way the body reacts during Through meditation and awareness Some researchers have documented that
such a state is called the fight or flight training you will also be able to see when relaxation techniques, sometimes
response; in a perilous situation the body the fight or flight response is about to be supplemented with other yoga techniques
prepares itself for fight or flight. The triggered, and thereby become better at and meditation, can be used as an
blood pressure rises and the blood flow to choosing how to react. alternative or a supplement to traditional
the brain and muscles increases at the treatment for people who suffer from
expense of the internal organs. Often this diabetes, high blood pressure, stress,
automatic reaction is completely out of What do you get from sleep disorders, chronic pain,
proportion compared to what has trigg- relaxing? rheumatism, anxiety, cancer, psoriasis,
ered it. Even just a minor daily problem “Well-being, of course,” is the answer if alcoholism, epilepsy, to name but a few.
can be enough to create a stressed state. you ask those who know how to use a
Dr. Herbert Benson from Beth Israel good relaxation, “and creativity.” Current The immune defence
Hospital School in Boston has realised, research is interested in more than that system is strengthened by
through his research into high blood though. They want to see if there are relaxation
pressure, the significance of proper permanent and deep physiological effects.
relaxation. With his first book The Perhaps the most interesting thing for
Recently I looked into a database most of us is the fact that relaxation
Relaxation Response he introduced this (Medline) containing reports that have
term in relation to methods for relaxing strengthens the immune defence system.
been published in recognised research Therefore it can help in keeping sickness
and lowering the blood pressure. In magazines. It contained more than 27,000
contrast to the fight or flight response, at bay by making people more resistent
reports on relaxation, yoga and meditation to viruses. The degree of effectiveness
the relaxation response does not always published over the last twenty years.
come by itself when it is needed. naturally depends on whether or not one
I realised, as I went through the reports, uses relaxation regularly.
that some of the researchers regard
“Just sitting quietly or, say, watching meditation as an unalterable quantity.
television, is not enough to produce the Therefore they cannot understand why Examples from research:
physiological changes. You need to use a there is a discrepancy in their research. - At the Marylebone Health Centre in
relaxation technique that will break the The fact is that the results largely depend London, they have been able to cut their
train of everyday thought, and decrease on which meditation technique is used. prescribing costs by 40% by using
the activity of the sympathetic nervous In some meditations you learn to methods including yoga, meditation and
system.” (Dr. H. Benson) withdraw the senses; in others you are relaxation.1)

6
- An American fighter pilot, with a six care, took part in a 10 weeks meditation your breath, various states such as
year history of high blood pressure, and relaxation program. 50% of the heaviness and lightness, warmth and
underwent various treatments (medicine, patients showed a 50% or more reduction cold... and various mental pictures and
diet, physical exercise) without results. in pain, while a further 15% of the symbols. And it is this very systematic
Following a six weeks program of yoga patients had a reduction of 33% or more.8) and fixed procedure that triggers the
and relaxation, his blood pressure was - 9 patients with asthma took part in a relaxation.
normalised, and he regained full flight residential course in yoga and relaxation. The researchers in Cologne found that
status. And as the researchers pointed After a week they were generally more Yoga Nidra had a more thorough effect
out, relaxation also has an advantage relaxed, and were able to breath more than the relaxations based on suggestions
over medicine in that it has no side easily, as the inspiratory and expiratory or hypnosis. During Yoga Nidra the
effects, something which can be muscles were more relaxed.9) Alpha waves covered the whole brain,
hazardous for a fighter pilot.2) whereas they occurred only here and
Our experience on some of our longer
There are numerous reports on the effect there during the other relaxations.
courses, the 3 months course for example,
of relaxation on high blood pressure - Furthermore the level of Alpha waves
is that some students have achieved what
yoga also works well for low blood was constant throughout the entire Yoga
you might call a cure or a complete
pressure, because the exercises normalise Nidra, while they came and went during
control of asthma. Quite a few have gone
the blood pressure. the other relaxations. The balance
home from the course without any
between the EEG in the two brain halves
- “After about ten lessons, the patient will symptoms.
was better in Yoga Nidra, which means
be able to control his own stress and high
that the two brain halves communicated
blood pressure.”3)
better. These results were again
- From research into HIV positive: confirmed in 1997 in the research you
“These results suggest that stress can read about in the following article. !
management [through relaxation and
meditation] to reduce arousal of the 1) Holistic GPs cut prescribing costs to 40% of
nervous system and anxiety would be an average. Pulse 1989 Nov 25.
appropriate component of a treatment 2) Treatment of essential hypertension with
regimen for HIV infection.”4) yoga relaxation therapy in a USAF aviator: a
- Of 149 diabetics, 104 were able to Yoga Nidra in relation to case. Brownstein AH. Dembert ML.
reduce their intake of medication after 40 relaxation based on 3) In training for relaxation. Hodgkinson L.
days treatment with yoga and relaxation.5) suggestion 4) Effects of a behavioral stress-management
program on anxiety, mood, self-esteem, and
- 11 epileptics who were resistant to In connection with an extensive research T-cell count in HIV positive men. Taylor DN.
epileptic medicine meditated 20 minutes project at the university clinic in
5) A study of response pattern of non-insulin
a day. After a year, a significant Cologne, Germany, in the beginning of dependent diabetics to yoga therapy. Jain SC.
reduction in seizure frequency and the eighties, the brain waves of a group Uppal A. Bhatnagar SO. Talukdar B.
duration was measured.6) of teachers from the Scandinavian Yoga
6) Meditation improves
and Meditation School were measured clinicoelectroencephalographic measures in
- Of 73 patients with advanced cancer, during Yoga Nidra. A researcher who
who had attended at least 20 sessions of drug-resistant epileptics. Deepak KK.
was more familiar with other and more Manchanda SK. Maheshwari MC.
intensive meditation, 10% showed a suggestive forms of relaxation, where
remarkable slowing in the growth of the 7) What can cancer patients expect from
one imagines that one is relaxed, took intensive meditation? Meares A.
tumour and a further 10% had a less part in this research.
marked reduction. 50% experienced a 8) An outpatient program in behavioral medicine
During Yoga Nidra one is not even for chronic pain patients. Kabat-Zinn J.
greatly improved quality of life.7) asked to relax. The word relaxation does 9) Study of pulmonary and autonomic functions
- 51 chronic pain patients whose condition not appear in the instructions at all. You of asthma patients after yoga training. Khanam
had not improved with traditional medical experience your body, its various parts, AA. Sachdeva U. Guleria R. Deepak KK.

7
Pictures of the brain’s activity during Yoga Nidra
by Robert Nilsson
“We had not expected the meditators to be able to control their consciousness
to such an extent.” (Brain researcher Troels Kjær, The Kennedy Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Researchers have for the first time sitting in a meditation pose cannot be important that the different areas of the
succeeded in taking pictures of the brain measured. brain were precisely the same size and in
during a meditative deep-relaxation, with We therefore agreed with the the same location (Talairach space). The
as short an exposure time as one minute researchers to measure people practising data from the pictures were compared
per photograph. The pictures were taken Yoga Nidra from a tape or CD guided by and the mean values calculated.
by one of the most advanced medical Swami Janakananda. This ensured that
research instruments, the PET scanner at all those who were measured did exactly Pictures were taken of a normal waking
The State University Hospital in Copen- the same thing. We also wanted to limit it state with closed eyes, as well as pictures
hagen. The initiators were researchers, to those who practised Kriya Yoga of four different practices in Yoga Nidra.
Dr. Hans Lou and Dr. Troels Kjær from regularly - they were to do Kriya Yoga in By comparing this data and eliminating
the Kennedy Institute in Copenhagen. the morning, before going to the hospital the normal activity from the activity
When they contacted us, they said they to have brain scans. during Yoga Nidra, it is possible to see in
wanted to measure awareness! But how which areas of the brain the activity had
do you do that? At the Scandinavian increased during Yoga Nidra.
Yoga and Meditation School we have The measurements And in order to discover what was
previously collaborated with a number of The subjects lay one at a time in the PET characteristic of the normal state, in com-
researchers who was examining the effect scanner. parison to the state during Yoga Nidra,
of yoga’s breathing exercises on blood It takes just one minute to gather the the values of the pictures taken before and
pressure, among other things. We have data of the brain scan, but there must also after Yoga Nidra were combined, and
also measured participants for six be an interval of ten minutes before the then the values of the four pictures taken
consequtive years, at Håå Course Center next picture can be taken. Eight pictures during Yoga Nidra were subtracted.
to determine the effect the three months were produced from the scanned material.
course has on the reduction of the content The pictures show which areas were Now the researchers wanted to see the
of harmful fat in the blood (cholesterol); active before (one picture), during (four difference between the various sections of
on the body’s hormone balance; on the pictures) and after Yoga Nidra (three Yoga Nidra. While the first picture was
balance between the two brain halves and pictures). being taken, the subject was experiencing
on the result of awareness training, for The person lying in the PET scanner is his/her body, in particular the various
instance on the reduction of fear in a not disturbed by the photography, but parts of the face. The next photograph
normal person. To actually measure practises the deep Yoga Nidra without a was taken during the experience of
consciousness and how the brain pause from start to finish. happiness and contentment, the third
functions by conscious control of aware- At the same time the brain’s activity during the experience of a summer day in
ness, was, however, quite new for us. was measured by an electroencephalo- the countryside and the fourth at the end
At first we proposed that people doing graph (EEG, see also page 5) during the of Yoga Nidra, during the experience of
Kriya Yoga could be measured. This is a entire procedure. The EEG curve “who am I”.
meditation which has given very distinct showed, as expected, that the subjects After preparing the sampled data, two
results in other measurements (one of were in a meditative state during the different pictures emerged: They showed
which we will present in the next issue of entire Yoga Nidra. that the more “concrete” tasks, such as
Bindu). As, at present, it is only possible Afterwards, their brain pictures were the experience of the body and the
to lie down in a PET scanner; a person made to the same size, as it was landscape, activated more or less the

8
Preparation for the scanning at The State University Hospital in Copenhagen. The 21 electrodes connected to the EEG are in place on the head.
Now all that are needed are headphones for Yoga Nidra. Only the person being measured is in the room when the measurements begin.

same regions in the brain (fig. 4); while electrodes (11%p). The reduction of the following Yoga Nidra - where one just
the more “abstract” tasks, such as alpha activity (2% NS) was insignificant; lies and rests - was compared with the
happiness and who am I, activated other this shows that this meditative state is state during Yoga Nidra, the
regions (fig. 3). altogether different from that of the measurements showed a significant
sleeping state and comprises conscious difference between the two states. This
awareness. Furthermore, the state was confirms the importance of using a
The results constant and evenly distributed over the technique if one wants to achieve results,
The measurements of the brain’s activity entire brain for the forty five minutes the such as those described in this and other
(EEG) during Yoga Nidra indicated that relaxation lasted. articles in this periodical.
the subjects were in a deeply relaxed The research took one and a half hours The PET scanner’s pictures show that
state the whole time, similar to that of per participant. During that period, the the subjects were not in a drowsy or
sleep. The theta activity rose person lay completely still in the same unconscious state during the relaxation,
significantly on all the twenty one position. When the state prior to and which is something one would expect of

9
The pictures of the brain were taken in a PET scanner (Positron Emission Tomography),
which measures the flow of blood through different parts of the brain. This is done by injecting
water with a weak radioactive trace into the blood stream.
Tomography is derived from the Greek word tomos, meaning section. In the PET scanner,
numerous 4.25 mm thick sections of the brain are registered, giving a three dimensional picture of
the brain’s activity.
When one part of the brain is particularly active, the flow of blood increases, and by comparing
several pictures it is possible to see where the brain’s activity rises under certain conditions.

a person in such a deep state. The similarity between the pictures of the force the various things that you
subjects remained in considerable control seven yoga teachers who were measured. experience. On the contrary. The EEG
of what was happening. It is clearly shows that you are completely relaxed
visible how specific regions of the brain Something that may seem paradoxical to from start to finish. You just listen to the
were activated sequentially, according to those who have no experience of instructions and experience clearly what
where the subject was in Yoga Nidra. meditation, is perhaps the fact that these happens, as a child listening to a fairy
What happens in the brain during Yoga clear results, which reveal a high degree tale - active and participating, but
Nidra or where it happens is not a matter of concentration, are brought about without effort.
of chance. entirely without effort. While you are The results confirm the experience of
There was a surprisingly significant lying in Yoga Nidra, you are not trying to the yogi: Concentration is a spontaneous
state, which comes of its own accord
when a method is used that removes
Why it is interesting - a comment by psychologist Ronny Öhrnell. whatever is hindering it.
The EEG measurements have previously only been one dimensional - skin And as the doctors said: “It proves that
resistance, blood pressure etc. - and have only shown that the state changes. That the 1.5 kg (brain mass) with the unknown
means that a perpendicular dimension has been described, for example a deepening content can control its own activity in an
of the state. On the other hand, it has not been possible to measure or substantiate astonishingly precise manner. From a
the content of that altered state. With this latest research, a horizontal dimension is holistic point of view, it indicates that the
added to the measurements of the altered state of consciousness, giving it life. What soul and body act in unity.”
occurs on the deeper levels of consciousness can now be measured and shown.
The research shows that some sensory centers in the brain are active, but that Conclusion
activity is internal. From our own experience, we know that internal experiences are Consciousness during Yoga Nidra is in a
more changeable than those we see and hear through our senses in the reality around very deep and stable state.
us. Our thoughts, our imagination and our dreams continuously take on new forms. At the same time the measurements
When we allow these centers to be involved with the inner experiences, where then show, for the first time, that one can be
do the impulses come from when we are not aware of anything from outside? From completely aware in such a deep state -
deeper planes? From the surroundings, after all? Or are they formed there, in the that one can consciously experience and
sight and touch centers? Does the language center have the same function on the control the brain’s activity simultaneously.
deeper inner plane? Or does it have other functions? This confirms that meditation is a fourth
There is a “new” world to be discovered here. It can be done by taking major state, equal to dreaming, sleeping
measurements and by combining the measurements with the account the meditator and wakefulness (see also page 5).
gives of what he or she experiences on the way. The research also confirms a lot of
what was previously described about relaxation and meditation by people who knew The results can therefore be said to be
it through their own experience - and that what you experience within, is another very important news within this field of
reality to that of the external senses, which to a degree obey different laws. research! !

10
1. rest
This picture is based on the photographs taken prior to and following Yoga Nidra. It
illustrates the state closest to normal waking consciousness, though without being a
tired or stressed state. Those who use Yoga Nidra remark that not only do they benefit
from the deep relaxation while doing it, but that it has a definite beneficial effect on the
rest of their day.
In this picture it is the front of the brain that is responsible for the superior control
and which is active. One of its capacities is to ensure that we can function in a complex
society, as it “processes” the signals from the deeper emotional and instinctive regions
of the brain.
The brain stem and the cerebellum are also active, indicating that one is “ready for
action”.

2. meditation
This picture shows the general state during the entire Yoga Nidra. The visual centre
at the back of the head and the centre for tactile sense (sense of touch and direction)
at the top of the head are active and are in contact with the limbic system. This
implies an increased ability to visualise and, more importantly, that there is better
contact with emotions.
Some of the teachers also had distinct activity in the centre for long term memory,
which is consistent with accounts from people who meditate, that very lucid
memories can appear during or after a meditation.
It must, however, be emphasised from our side that the subjects’ experience and
their regular use of Kriya Yoga possibly intensifies the effects of Yoga Nidra.

3. abstract
This picture is created on the basis of measurements taken during the experience of
happiness and at the end of the relaxation during the experience of identity, of being
centred. During these “abstract experiences” in Yoga Nidra, the centre for speech and
language was especially active.
It must be said, however, that the pictures only show the areas where the most
activity occurs, and not the general activity in the whole brain, as is shown in picture 2.

4. concrete
It was primarily the visual and tactile
centres which were active as the subjects
went through the body’s different parts
(especially the face) and experienced a
pleasant summer day in the country.

When looking at these pictures (1, 2 and 4) one must imagine that the luminous areas
are within the brain, and not only on the surface of the cerebral cortex. In picture
number three, on the other hand, the activity is in the cortex. All active areas were
basically the same, that is symmetrical, in both brain halves.

11
Tantra and Yoga Nidra “At the point of sleep when sleep has not
yet come and external wakefulness
vanishes, at this point being is revealed.”
(Vigyana Bhairava Tantra)
- a little about the tradition behind Yoga Nidra by Swami Janakananda

Tantra is a timeless tradition with only lecherous and without sense for the
methods for raising consciousness. deeper perspectives - wanting just a little
The word Tantra actually means to taste only to hurry on to something else.
expand - consciousness, knowledge of It is important to safeguard the tradition,
life - and to liberate - one’s self. so that the genuine methods are not lost,
The knowledge on which Tantra is misunderstood or diluted.
based has been in use since the matri-
archal period in prehistoric times, where
women were not repressed and mythology Intentional language in
was founded on fertility and feminine Tantra and elsewhere
energy. Tantra still contains elements Much of what we find in Tantra is
from that era. The religious aspects of therefore secret; it was either not written
Tantra show that women dominate in the down or, when writing was introduced,
form of goddesses - and women are equal was written in code language, which in
to men in the performance of the rituals. Sanskrit is called Sandhabhasa.
These codes, or paraphrases, may
appear as innocent stories - well, not
To meditate or philosophise always innocent. They may also have a
The “real” Tantrics use methods and have pornographic content to scare or fascinate
experiences - they act. They don’t the reader so he would not discover the
philosophise and are reluctant to write hidden content of the text. The real
down anything at all. If they do, then it is practices, if they were written down at

© Peter Appel
solely for the purpose of inspiring others all, were hidden in rituals, religious or
to do something, to meditate etc., instead sexual texts, or behind names or num-
of philosophising. bers that would have had to be swapped
It is therefore important to understand with other words. They could only be
that Tantra is built upon practice and not understood by someone who had already
on theorising, where experience is for- been initiated part of the way - but even The aspirant is tested
gotten and the understanding of terms, then the practices described in the scripts The aspirant receives various tasks over a
mythology and wisdom becomes more remained veiled in innuendo compared to long period, to ensure that his or her
important than wisdom itself. Not every- when one receives guidance directly attitude is open and receptive. It is
one understands what it means to walk the from another individual, for example, important to know whether the aspirant
path of self realisation. For the teacher the when instructed in advanced meditation. will misinterpret the teacher’s intentions
object is to teach those who are receptive This was not only an Indian and actions, and if the person in question
and who will actually use what they phenomenon; it was also found in other really will abandon fear and habitual
learn. However the teacher withholds his places, among them on Iceland, where it thoughts about his or her own
or her knowledge from those who are was called Launmál (hidden language), limitations.
merely curious or sensation-seeking and meaning that behind the story, lies Also, the student must be prepared
who, with regard to the sexual rituals, are another story, an initiation, a practice. gradually with various easier practices,

12
and above all, his or her patience must be Theory or practise daydreamed a little and time and again it
set to the test. Life in an ashram or in the It is my experience that the more one seemed as though they had to force
teacher’s home can provide the right talks of, for example, meditation in themselves to follow the instructions. It
environment for this training. theory instead of practising it, the less only happened that one morning during
A clear and well known example is one’s mind believes it is necessary to do the entire course - the rest of the time
Milarepa’s relationship with his teacher it - after all you “know it all already.” they were quite alert.
Marpa. Marpa gave the appearance of The problem is that merely “knowing” When the silence was over, I asked
being a drunken, unreasonable and has no effect. The body and mind have them if they could remember how they
choleric farmer. But judging from the no use for knowing, if the exercises are felt the morning after the lecture. I
result of the training he gave Milarepa, not applied. promptly received an explanation from
he must have been one of the best A few years ago I experienced one of them and the others agreed. He
teachers that ever lived, at least the best something interesting during a month said that the interesting things they had
for Milarepa - Tibet’s great guru. In long Kriya Yoga course that I held. heard the evening before had filled his
short, Milarepa had to undergo a twenty Students come to learn the great Kriya head to such an extent, that his mind
year long training, with hardships that on Yoga in silence. They have been prepared thought his body no longer needed to do
occasions almost wore him out, and by previous courses with various yoga the exercises. It was not necessary - he
frustrations - that made him run away and meditation methods and with a knew it all already.
several times - about not being allowed certain amount of theory.
to take part in the secret doctrines, which Apart from a few talks and discussions
in all probability contained meditation at the start of the course, I felt an urge to Concept or experience
techniques along the lines of Kriya Yoga just let them meditate, do yoga and to What is theory worth, when it is not
and Inner Silence (see previous issues of generally be engaged with practical based on experience? If theory comes
Bindu). things. In other words, I had no desire to first, the intellect will block the
My teacher Paramhansa Satyananda give lectures during the period of silence, experience - with expectations and effort,
stayed with his teacher Swami Sivananda which was quite appropriate as the we can be lead in the wrong direction,
for twelve years in Rishikesh. He did students do not talk, write or read while a know-all attitude hinders the
mainly Karma Yoga there, which anything. The silence helps to remove the openness to follow and receive guidance
consisted of various practical tasks in the deeper lying tensions and in, for example, a meditation. It gets in
administration of the ashram and with its maintains a good balance in the brain the way of sensitivity and the ability to
printing press. while also increasing the ability to experience what cannot be written down.
Later he travelled around India as a experience. It all quite easily becomes indoctrination.
mendicant. For a period of his wandering Nevertheless, about halfway into the You are told how it is, instead of
years he had the possibility to withdraw silent period, I needed to clarify a few experiencing it yourself. Opinions and
and, among other things, practise the things and to theoretically explain a little concepts become something learnt by
methods he had learnt in his daily of how you can let go of automatic rote and clung to, believed in, defended,
association with Swami Sivananda. His reactions and habits in the nervous even though they are not based on
teacher had also put him on the track of system and in the mind. The lecture personal insight and first hand
things in the yoga and Tantric tradition, which I gave in the evening was, I am experience.
which during his travels he could find, sure, inspiring for both the students and Take a word such as meditation. It has
draw forth and investigate - subsequently myself. widely become a concept. The mind can
he was ready to teach others himself. The following morning the students come up with all sorts of ideas about
Swami Satyananda was an exceptional had a physical yoga class with another what meditation is and actually avoid the
teacher - no one else, neither before nor teacher. After the class the teacher told essential. “Oh, but I have my own
since, has elucidated the Tantric practises me that the awareness and concentration meditation,” and then you sit and dream a
to such a degree. I write in the past tense, present the other mornings was not really bit. You never leave the limitations of the
because he has now retired as a teacher. there that morning. The students had mind behind. Some even get the bright

13
idea to teach on the grounds of such impressions, a way of emptying the The purpose of the
notions. There are those who say that mind. It is also a search for one’s true
they receive answers to all sorts of things identity, one’s center - and for this you
sexual ritual
in their meditation. It is probably true, need methods that ensure you don’t cheat “While being caressed, sweet princess,
but oh, they never leave their minds in yourself, but really reach your innermost. enter the caressing as everlasting life.”
peace. (Quotations: Vigyana Bhairava Tantra)
It is the same with the word relaxation, The famous or notorious sexual rituals
which is used today to describe all kinds The ritual in meditation (of which I have written a variation in
of things, from hypnosis to music. There helps you bypass the my book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in
are even some good musicians who call limitations of the mind Daily Life) is a good example of Tantric
their music “meditation.” One can only rituals and practises having other
Classical meditations from Tantra and purposes than people normally think.
hope that their audience can enjoy the Zen show this alternative approach. The
music without allowing themselves to be It is usually believed to be an excellent
Tantric meditation is contained in the therapy for people with sexual problems,
limited by such a claim. ritual. The Tantric ritual consists of
In the 70’s I recognised the problem or is thought to help achieve greater
methods which continually occupy the sexual freedom, and intensify sexual
with these labels as I prepared the release mind, leaving the thoughts to do as they
of a Yoga Nidra tape. I wanted to make it enjoyment. Yes, it probably can - but it
please and drift by in the background. has another purpose.
clear what Yoga Nidra was about and There is no need to struggle with them.
called it a “deep-relaxation”. It only took “At the start of sexual union, keep
You have something else to do. And if attentive on the fire in the beginning,
a few months before that description was for a moment you become
used for every kind of possible and and, so continuing, avoid the embers in
preoccupied with a thought, then all you the end.”
impossible relaxation. need do is realise it, remember what it
Unfortunately, the name Yoga Nidra is It is a matter of capturing the mind and
was you were doing and return to your the sex drive is well suited for this
also used today for relaxations that have practise.
nothing to do with the effective purpose.
Kriya Yoga is an example of this, “When in such embrace your senses are
technique that stems from the Tantric using methods that open and cleanse the
tradition and which we are discussing in shaken as leaves, enter this shaking.”
energy flows in the body, raise the level When you are prepared through all the
this issue of Bindu. of energy and create an absorption that is
Apart from what can be palmed off on various practises belonging to the ritual,
independent of the mind’s endeavours, apart from bathing, eating etc., then the
us by others, the ideas that people expectations and ideas.
themselves form of meditation can really desired result is inevitable.
In Yoga Nidra one does not try to “Even remembering union, without the
stand in the way of reaching the relaxed relax, but rather occupy the mind with
or meditative state; such as the embrace, the transformation.”
the methods given. The relaxation is The purpose is to expand
assumption that the mind should firstly triggered - it comes by itself.
be controlled. The mind does not stop, so consciousness and increase the energy.
How long can one concentrate on a
why fight it and get frustrated? thumb for example? One second? Two?
Learn to bypass it by using a method The mind wants to go on to something
and allow the mind to calm down by else. Therefore the restlessness of the An uninterrupted
itself. mind is accommodated and experience
What does one get from meditation, if consciousness is transferred to the index “The meaning of life
it does not give noticeable energy and finger and so on. life itself provides,
zest for life in the day to day, and from The mind is occupied in such a way until we begin
relaxation, if one does not come out of it that it does not have time for anything to inquire ” (Grook by Piet Hein)
with greater clarity, calmness and else and therefore it cannot hold any
overview? tension. The mind can imagine all kinds of things,
Meditation is a break from all both too much and too little, and it loves

14
to argue, it loves to discuss. It can prove experience is passed on from person to comprehensive that the Tantric methods
anything, but it can just as well disprove person for generations. can be compared to contemporary
it. science. In addition to methods to
When you dare to receive expand, raise and liberate human
directly - when you do not consciousness, Tantra also contains
expect sensational mathematics, astronomy, methods for
“experiences” or demand an healing and art of the highest
answer for everything - calibre. It could be said that the
then you can begin the Tantric tradition contains all
transformation. The conceivable means of
methods remain helping people through life
secret until you - and in mastering
are ready to themselves.
use them.
You learn Unfortunately, it
Kriya Yoga has become
in silence. fashionable
nowadays to
Not giving associate Tantra
out the with sexual rituals
methods to alone. They are, of
the course, a part of
uninitiated is the tradition, just
a principle as there are people
Tantrics that benefit from
have in using them - but
common they are just one
with Celtic part of the rich
druids (for Tantric tradition.
whom it was
directly
forbidden to write Nyasa
anything of what they We are now going to deal
had learnt), the Egyptian with a group of methods and
initiates and, to a certain practices that are used in the
extent, with the indigenous Tantric rituals - also the sexual
people (Aborigines) living ones, but not only there. They can
in the deserts of central also be part of what we popularly call
Australia. Contrary to the relaxation and meditation. Their purpose
Celtic and Egyptian elite, is to alter the state of your physical body
Tantra was and is part of the local and of consciousness, so that you become
culture. A timeless and living present, receptive and sensitive to what is
The treasures of Tantra are not only tradition further happening in the ritual or in the
reserved for a learned social class, but Anybody who proves to be suitable and meditation.
also form part of the living tradition in receptive can share in the Tantric These methods have a collective name:
many villages where knowledge and knowledge. A knowledge that is so Nyasa.

15
According to the Oxford Sanskrit given on the next page, is a different
English Dictionary, the word Nyasa form of Nyasa from that which is used in
means: to place, to set on or in, to use, to Yoga Nidra. But if you have experienced
touch, etc. the deep Yoga Nidra you will be able to
What are touched are the body’s see the similarities between one of the
various parts - what is placed, is a mantra larger sections of Yoga Nidra and
(sound), for example, on the appropriate Matrika Nyasa.
places. The earth, water, fire, air and ether
It is worth noting that the dictionary (space) elements also play a role in
further defines Nyasa as: “Mental Nyasa. The body is divided into five
consecration or allocation of various parts, each with its own element.
bodily parts to guardian spirits”. This And as previously mentioned, the
definition is correct, as far as I can see, body and its various parts can be
but is insufficient as it stands. One could consecrated to one or more guardian
just as well claim that all science is “The little man” (motor homunculus) spirits - even to planets or holy places.
religion, as theology is still counted shows, along the marked band across The name of the spirits or gods, of the
among the Sciences. the cerebral cortex, which regions of planet, place or element are then added to
Apparently the “facts” elucidated in the brain are linked with the various the string of mantras and recited aloud or
encyclopaedias depend on who is parts of the body. repeated mentally.
supplying the information; the diverse
and at times peculiar or limited teacher’s guidance of Yoga Nidra. Naturally Nyasa is used because it has an
definitions of Yoga and Tantra are clear Nyasa also involves the “placing” of a effect on the body and mind - and is not
examples of that. mantra (sound, syllable or a combination just an empty ritual. Nyasa is related to,
The purpose of using Nyasa in Tantric of the two - a phrase) on different parts and possibly even predates, Shiatsu and
yoga, in my opinion, is to awaken of the body. This is done mentally, or the Acupuncture. But whereas these other
consciousness, which I hope is apparent mantra can be said aloud. two methods are based on the physical
from the articles in this issue. With that The Sanskrit alphabet, just like runes body and their energy points and are
in mind, however, I will now quote a in their time in the Northern countries, mainly used for healing, Nyasa is more
definition by Agehananda Bharati: does not only serve as a group of letters than this, in that it also has methods for
“Literally, Nyasa is the process of used to form words, but also each letter “touching” and awakening the mind’s
charging a part of the body, or an organ has an inherent power, a vibration that numerous dimensions, e.g. through the
of another living body, with a specified forms the basis of the science of mantra. psychic chakras.
power through touch.” And he continues. In one form of Nyasa, the letters of the
“For instance, by placing the fire-mudra Sanskrit alphabet are distributed over the The long and deep Yoga Nidra is based
[a way of holding the fingers when whole body. This is called Matrika on simple and therefore very effective
touching] on the heart region uttering the Nyasa. variations of Nyasa, from beginning to
fire-mantra ‘ram’, the adept’s heart is “Matrika is the source of all mantras, the end.
made into the cosmic fire...” origin of all sciences and the soil from
which all the principles, all sages and all
Nyasa can consist of “touching” the knowledge are born.” (Laxmi Tantra) The dimensions
various bodily parts by hand. It can be The above mentioned methods can be Once you have followed the guidance in
performed by oneself, or by one’s partner combined so that you touch your body or the deep Yoga Nidra, while lying on your
or teacher. But it can also be done that of your partner, at the same time as back, you are then familiar with the way
mentally, by thinking of the specific you name the mantra for the place that you move your awareness through all
areas and calling them by name - this you touch. parts of the body; with the experience of
happens, for example, during the Matrika Nyasa, an example of which is heaviness and lightness, warmth and

16
cold, pain and contentment. And with
how you get in contact with the chakras
in different ways, and experience certain
Mâtýkâ Nyasa
symbols, landscapes, pictures etc. Mode of doing Mâtýkâ nyâsa is as follows. With middle and third fingers place letter
A on forehead and say Að Namaë. With first, middle and third fingers put round the
There are several dimensions to our mouth and say Âð Namaë. With thumb and third place letter I on right eye and say Ið
being. In daily life we are familiar with Namaë. Same fingers on left eye Ìð Namaë. Back of thumb on right ear Uð Namaë
the body, breath, thoughts, emotions, and left ear Üm Namaë. Little finger and thumb on right nostril Ýð Namaë, on left
moods - and with states like nostril «ð Namaë. First, second, third on right cheek Lið Namaë, on left Lìm Namaë.
wakefulness, dreaming and sleeping. But Middle finger upper lip Eð Namaë. On lower lip Aim Namaë. Third finger upper
there are other states such as the teeth Oð Namaë. Lower teeth Auð Namaë. Middle finger head Að Namaë. Third
meditative, the shamanic, the hypnotic, finger on opened mouth Aë Namaë.
the intoxicated ... Then passing to the consonants, with middle, third and little fingers joined
The dimensions of the human being
together place on right shoulder Kað, on elbow Khað, on wrist Gað. With same
are described from the basis of different
backgrounds. Jung and Freud introduced fingers place on lower parts of fingers of right hand Ghað and on tips of fingers Ñað,
concepts such as the conscious, the in the same way on left arm place Cað, Chað, Jað, Jhað and Òað. Then on right leg
subconscious, the unconscious and on hip-joint, knee, ankle, lower joints and tips of toes place ¥að, ¥hað, ¢að, ¢hað,
libido. Það and on the left place Tað, Thað, Dað, Dhað and Nað. With same fingers on right
In the European occult or mystic side place Pam, on left Pham, on back Bað. With thumb, middle, third and little
tradition there are concepts that to a fingers place Bhað on navel. On belly place Mað with all the fingers. On the heart
certain degree correspond with other put Yað saying Tvagâtmane Namaë with the palm of the hand. On the right shoulder
cultures’: the physical body, body with palm put Rað saying Asýgâtmane Namaë. With palm place Lað on the hump
humours (as in Ajur Veda), vital energy, saying Mâðsâtmane Namaë. On left shoulder place Vað with palm saying
the astral body and the causal body. Medâtmane Namaë. From the heart to the right shoulder place ×að saying
Similarly in Europe there is, or was, a Asthyâtmane Namaë. From the heart to the left shoulder Êam saying Majjâtmane
concept such as bliss (intense and
Namaë. From heart to right leg place Sað saying ×ukrâtmane Namaë. From heart to
independent happiness).
In the Indian texts the Upanishads, we left leg place Hað and say Prâþâtmane Namaë. From heart to belly place Lað and say
find the following description of the Jìvâtmane Namaë. From heart to mouth place Kêað and say Paramâtmane Namaë.
human dimensions: This is the Bahirñyâsa of Mâtrikâ (Tarkâlaðkâra). For those who cannot do the
prescribed Mudrâs a flower may be used.
(from Sir John Woodrofe: Mahanirvana Tantra)
The five sheaths
(from the Paingala Upanishad)
“Then the five sheaths made of food, The five vital airs, The understanding
vital air, mind, understanding and bliss. along with the organs of action along with the organs of perception
constitute the sheath is the sheath made of intelligence.
What is brought into being made of the vital principle. (Vijnana-Maya-Kosha)
only by the essence of food, (Prana-Maya-Kosha)
what grows only by the essence of food, These three sheaths (of life, mind and
that which finds rest in earth Mind intelligence) form the subtle body.
full of the essence of food, along with the organs of perception The knowledge of one’s own form is of
that is the sheath made of food. is the sheath the sheath made of bliss.
(Anna-Maya-Kosha) made of mind. (Ananda-Maya-Kosha)
That alone is the gross body. (Mano-Maya-Kosha) That is also the causal body.”

17
The purpose of Nyasa and of Yoga Nidra experiences is drowned in materialism body, above the perineum: Muladhara; in
is to touch and experience the various and narrow-minded concepts. They play the spine: Swadhisthana, Manipura,
planes, to awaken consciousness in areas with people’s expectations and notions Anahata, Vishuddhi; in the head: Lalana;
where it is normally dormant due to and have no experiences themselves. and in the brain: Ajna, Bindu and
tensions. It can be in such ordinary places Sahasrara. There are a few others, but
as organs and muscles. The tensions are I have written about Chakra previously, these are the ones most commonly used.
thereby released, but that is only one step in Bindu no. 4 in the series of articles on
of the process. The aim is to experience Kriya Yoga, and in a chapter of my book:
that you are not bound to just one plane of Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life. The various dimensions of
consciousness, but that you consciously Furthermore, I have explained a little a chakra
contain them all - and that leads to the about it in the booklet that comes with A chakra is not only physical, but
insight, that one’s true identity is the the CD Experience Yoga Nidra. consists of all the human dimensions.
experiencing consciousness behind it all. A chakra can be regarded as a
It is more than just an idea, it is microcosmic image of an individual, just
something you realise - an experience. Energy whirls and flows as an individual possibly is microcosmic
The subtle body, or energy body, consists in comparison to the universe. That, at
The Tibetan Book of the Dead extends of numerous minor energy whirls or any rate, is what the Hopis (in northern
this experience beyond life into the realm points of consciousness. They are called Arizona) say:
of death. These teachings help prepare chakra and are evenly distributed over
you for the realisation that you are the whole body (compare with Sei or Gen “The living body of man and the living
neither the fascinating nor the terrifying points in Chinese medicine). Between body of the earth were constructed in the
planes you encounter after death, but that them flows Prana, the psychic energy (as same way. Through each ran an axis,
they too are only experiences that you in Ki or Chi energy) in the nadis (similar man’s axis being the backbone, the
need not get trapped in on the way. to Meridians, see also Bindu no. 4 - vertebral column, which controlled the
“Yoga and the finer energy”). equilibrium of his movements and his
In order to see the use of Nyasa in another These minor chakras are touched in functions. Along this axis were several
light, let us look at what we call Chakra. Yoga Nidra. vibratory centers which echoed the
In the beginning of the relaxation, you primordial sound of life throughout the
go through the body mentally at such a universe or sounded a warning if
Chakra, pace that you have time to just touch the anything went wrong.”
places named in the guidance, but not (Book of the Hopi, F. Waters)
the psychic centers enough to think of anything else. By
The word Chakra has in our “New Age” thinking of these small chakra, the whole
been taken out of its original context and body is gradually made conscious - as are Awakening
debased. Its meaning has become limited the respective areas in the cerebral cortex Initially the body is brought into
to the physical and, at its best, the (see the illustration on page 16). harmony by yoga exercises. Then
mental, while lacking the perspectives In itself, the body is one big chakra - a blockages in the energy flows are
and possibilities found in the Tantric point of consciousness, an energy whirl. removed by breathing exercises and
tradition, from where the term stems. To relaxation techniques. Yoga creates a
awaken a chakra and use it consciously is solid and lasting balance in the entire
quite a different process from what is The major chakras organism and in the area of each chakra.
going on today; a whole market exists The major chakras have many
where people promote chakra cream, dimensions. On the physical level they Thereafter, additional consciousness is
chakra massage, chakra machines and I are central areas in the body that are brought into these centers by the use of
don’t know what. Psychic sensitivity and linked to the nervous system and the Yoga Nidra, Kriya Yoga and other
the prospect of more profound nadis. They are found at the base of the Tantric meditations. Now begins a

18
emotions and vital energy (prana) is
communicated through the major chakras.
When they are awakened, you gain
insight into different levels of your being,
and into your normally unconscious
reactions. You realise how your states
influence the outcome of your actions.

Eventually the chakras can be opened


fully - the interpretative filters of the
cosmic energy rays or vibrations are gone.
When we no longer hold back, but
allow all the chakras to communicate
freely, with energy flowing unhindered
through them, as it does through the
universe, then we enter into a greater
wholeness as true cosmic beings.

The Rainbow Dharma


by Tan Swie Hian:
“In the wilderness, the voyager told
the great white light,
‘I cannot look into you.’
The light immediately turned itself into
eight rainbows.”

Or are the above mentioned phenomena


just another way of describing how the
various regions of the brain communicate
better as a result of meditation - which
they do when you see the results of the
scientific measurements and listen to
people’s experiences. Better contact with
Muladhara Chakra. This article does not contain a complete account of the various major
chakras. Muladhara Chakra, the fundamental root chakra, is just one example. It is situated the emotions and between body and mind
above the perineum, between the sex organs and the anus. is achieved (more about that in the next
issue).
cleansing of the old attachments, habits and goes at first, until it has become
and inhibitions (vritti) rooted in our completely established, the encounter
actions and mindscape. with the contents of the various planes of Tools for raising
Then the chakras are ready for an consciousness continues. consciousness
awakening, where you are not carried The way Nyasa rouses the consciousness
away by deeply embedded patterns and “An individual’s destiny is determined by of various parts of the body and mind,
behavioural traits (samskara) that have his or her unconscious radiation,” a and combines them with mantra (sound),
been imprinted on the mind over the Danish writer, Poul Martin Møller once yantra (potent diagrams) and symbols,
years. expressed it. has much in common with the way a
During the awakening, which comes The relationship between body, mind, chakra is made conscious or awoken.

19
The individual chakra can be touched in Where does this knowledge of these On my newly released CD,
Nyasa in different ways. Many of them instruments and symbols come from, one “Experience Yoga Nidra” (previously on
are used in Yoga Nidra. Here are some of might ask. We know that such things can cassette tape) I use the mantras (certain
them: appear in our dreams, and therefore one sound syllables) connected to each
could answer, that perhaps they come chakra. I also use visual symbols in
• Through feeling the body’s contact from that other reality, the inner one. Yes, accordance with the traditions of India
areas (in the classical yoga poses, for but they also come from the experiences and Europe.
example); of the yogis. Descriptions of these keys When I started to produce
• through tones and the finer inner are nevertheless only signposts along the “Experience Yoga Nidra” while teaching
sounds (this happens in Chakra way, to be in the USA, the Indian musician Roop
Vajrohan, where tones are sung in confirmed or rejected by one’s own Verma was inspired to record the ancient
each chakra, and through inner Nada experience. musical symbols of the chakras. He was
Yoga, sound yoga - see the previous the first ever to do this. This special
issue of Bindu - and to a certain This has been about touching (Nyasa) music has been merged with my
degree by a particular form of Indian and a little bit about awakening, but it is text and guidance during the deep
music); far from the whole story. Yoga Nidra.
After a chakra has been cleansed and
• mentally through the mind, which has awoken through yoga methods and Chakras are often spoken of in
several dimensions, by naming the guidance, it begins to play a part in one’s connection with Kundalini Yoga, a set of
chakras, by placing their seed mantra conscious life. With the awakening methods and meditations that can be used
there - and by the use of symbols; follow abilities and a greater sensitivity, a to harmonise and awaken the psychic
kind of sense beyond the purely physical energy. (The name
• through the five elements, their (see also Bindu no 4 in the article on Kundalini Yoga, however, is also used as
respective symbols and diagrams; Kriya Yoga). the trade mark of a contemporary
• through animal symbolism (possibly a Furthermore, some people can see movement - although they only teach
connection back to shamanism); when a chakra is active in another standard yoga).
person. My first experience of this was
• through energy, where breathing when I saw a spiral shaped cone of bluish Kriya Yoga is probably the most
exercises also play a vital role in grey energy, that projected from the profound and effective form of Kundalini
cleansing the energy passages (Nadi). eyebrow center of a Danish yoga teacher Yoga. In an awesome way it can
In Nyasa, you tune into the frequency I knew in my youth. strengthen the body’s energy field,
of various energy passages by remove depressions, increase creativity
“placing” letters or mantras on the and open you up for a first hand
“lotus petals”. These petals represent Chakras in Yoga Nidra knowledge of the genuine mystical or
energy passages linked to each chakra; According to Paramahansa Satyananda, spiritual aspects of life.
Yoga Nidra actually begins with the
• with “keys” in the form of diagrams experiencing of these chakras. The chakras have corresponding areas in
(Yantras) and symbols that create a The chakras are also known in other the brain. When they are relaxed and
contact with the chakras deeper cultures, as we have seen with the Hopis harmonised during Yoga Nidra, the
dimensions; in the USA, but also by the alchemists in release of unwanted states such as
• through mandala (or deities) as a seat Europe and the Inuits of Greenland and confusion and lack of concentration
for (or representation of) the cosmic Canada, to mention but a few of the more begins. People who awaken their
energy that flows through the chakra evident examples. chakras through yoga and meditation,
and keeps it open and clean; In the deep Yoga Nidra, we use eight open up to a previously unknown
of the major chakras to contact the capacity for communication, insight and
• and by consciousness itself. various planes of consciousness. creativity.

20
Consciousness according to the part of Yoga Nidra with
which the mind is engaged (however, the
first experience the right side of the body,
and then the left side. It is done in the
The awakening of consciousness through section of Yoga Nidra dealing with the beginning of Yoga Nidra and normally
Nyasa releases tensions and lethargy, major chakras was not measured in this without interruption.
thereby healing illnesses; but primarily, it research). “When I had guided them through the
brings you into contact with all parts of right side of the body, mentally feeling or
your being. touching different parts of the body in the
The guidance in Yoga Nidra through Relaxation or cleansing fixed order, I stopped and asked them to
the different areas of the body and mind, I have been fortunate enough to learn a notice if there was a difference between
does not only make the body more Yoga Nidra which is in close accordance the right and the left side of the body.
conscious and more relaxed and awake, with Nyasa as it is used in Tantra. Just to Afterwards when we discussed it, the
but trains your ability to utilise the read or study the Tantric texts tells you students were amazed by the difference
various regions of the brain, both those little or nothing of how Nyasa can be experienced through such a simple
connected to the physical body and those used, as for example in Yoga Nidra. exercise.” (Micheline Flak)
connected to the chakras. In the text “Laxmi Tantra”, which The students remarked that they had
From the research carried out at The gives guidance in the Tantric rituals and felt that the side of the body they had just
State University Hospital in Copenhagen sexual practises, Nyasa ends a sequence, touched mentally was alive, light and at
in the Spring of 1997 - which is of which breathing exercises and the ease, while the other side, which they had
discussed in another article here in the cleansing of the five elements are a part. not as yet gone through, was still in that
magazine - it appears that different This practise is called Bhutasuddhi, normal, slightly heavy and tired state.
regions of the brain are activated cleansing of the body. Here Nyasa builds From my own teaching I received the
a bridge between inner and outer following account from a female student,
cleansing. who is now a yoga teacher.
Does this mean that one cleanses the “Many years ago I took part in a three
body and mind by mentally “placing” a months course at Håå Course Center. We
mantra on a certain body part or merely had placed ourselves comfortably on the
by thinking of that part? The answer is floor and as usual we were looking
yes, and furthermore by using a mudra forward to a guided Yoga Nidra with
(position of the fingers) or by mentally Swami Janakananda. And what a Yoga
touching and thereby experiencing a part Nidra! For some reason or other he went
of the body, the body is brought to life through the right side of the body twice -
and made conscious. and skipped the left side.
The effect was soon felt! We all
Micheline Flak teaches yoga in France. experienced a sensation which could be
She also leads R.Y.E., (research into described quite literally as being
children’s use of yoga in schools) which lopsided. It was a strange feeling of
is described in Bindu no. 6. She made an having ‘lots of vitality’ in the right side,
experiment during Yoga Nidra, first with whereas it was difficult to get contact
a group of yoga teachers on a seminar, with the left. It passed, but I was
and later in her daily teaching. reminded of how strong an effect Yoga
One section of Yoga Nidra involves Nidra really has.” (Shanti)
going through all parts of the body, by
thinking of them or feeling them as they In contemporary western culture, the
are named in the guidance. You start with word relaxation is used for all sorts of
the thumb of the right hand, then the things. The actual word or term
index finger and so on. In this way, you relaxation is not commonly used in

21
Sanskrit in India in connection with yoga you teach them that through their own
and Tantra. There the field of “relaxation” but... practice they can achieve real
comprises various techniques, which are For the relaxation itself to be effective, independence of influences and a
called by different names, the word the relaxed state should not be induced transformation of body, mind and
cleansing (suddhi) being one of them. by techniques or methods that are based consciousness.
But the results of these methods are the on hypnosis - one should not use Swamiji meant, in other words, that
same as what we achieve through what suggestions to get into an artificial and rather than try to change people’s outlook
we term relaxation. Relaxation means to limited state. and habits, I should help them so that
remove tensions - the body and mind are When you experience Yoga Nidra, you they themselves can acquire an overview,
cleansed of tensions. will notice that you are never asked to insight and wisdom.
That the body and mind actually form relax, or to imagine that a particular part Though that does not mean they
a whole is common knowledge today. It of the body relaxes - the word relaxation should avoid being consistent and
is expressed by the word psychosomatic. is not used at all during the guidance. steadfast.
Tensions of the mind create tensions in That is not what Yoga Nidra is about.
the body and vice versa; removing a Yoga Nidra consists of techniques that Experience, insight and realisation are
tension in the mind removes it in the body. trigger a state where one’s being is the opposite to hypnosis. Hypnosis is like
In Nyasa, and therefore in Yoga Nidra, vitalised - the result is a stable and burning incense in a room that smells in
this happens without trying to relax. One unbroken state of relaxation in the body order to hide the odour. The ability to
experiences the body consciously, and and the entire brain while practicing experience, to make conscious, is like
that alone releases tensions. Yoga Nidra. (See also the two articles by cleaning the room and airing it.
Robert Nilsson in this issue). Personally I do not want methods that
program me, but ones that liberate me
You make a resolution, Nyasa (and thus Yoga Nidra) is from old programs and expand my
Using a resolution in Yoga Nidra is good fundamentally different to a lot of consciousness.
and effective. It would be foolish not to modern therapies, which are only based “Everything is hypnosis,” you might
make one, when you can use it to on hypnosis, even though they do not call say - and I can understand why you
influence the direction of your life. it hypnosis, but use other names and might think so. We are influenced by all
You make only one resolution in order trade marks - yes, sometimes even the kinds of things from cradle to grave. That
not to spread your energy and confuse word meditation. is exactly why we need tools to
your mind. If you use a number of occasionally empty the body and mind of
resolutions or visualisations, you will “Do not waste your time trying to change the accumulation of impressions, habits
probably achieve some results, but people’s mentality. After you, some Hitler and automatic thinking.
nothing deep and lasting. might come and ruin everything Liberation, after all, lies in using
For half an hour or longer, every day anyway,” Swami Satyananda once said to insight and awareness in order to see
or once in a while, you can allow me, when I was ready to return to Europe through one’s influences. The wise
yourself to relax in the face of your usual to teach. He shocked me deeply by using person does not react against influences,
thoughts and emotions and let them flow such a potent picture - what did he mean he does not try to stop them, instead he
by. By momentarily not hooking on to by that? experiences everything, and lets go of
everything that crops up in the mind, you What help is it to have everything what he does not need. It is on this basis
remember who you are and doubts can explained to you by an authority before that meditation has come into being.
not take root. In the relaxed state, your you have experienced it yourself? It is so
resolution works with an undiminished easy to be influenced by someone who Myths, which we constantly create to
strength. comes along with a powerful image and a avoid a direct experience of life, are very
(Read more about this in the booklet “quick” solution and allow yourself be much a form of hypnosis. With hypnosis,
accompanying the CD). taken in and have the wool pulled over notions of reality often take the place of
your eyes. People cannot be free, unless reality itself.

22
Throughout human history there have which attitude to life, which nationality, themselves, to have the courage to accept
been countless examples of people background and age one has. them, is to live consciously.
wanting to know what they should think
about reality, instead of experiencing it “A great saint, a mahatma, a yogi, a
for themselves. So armoured, they can We must each make a prophet or a gyani lives on this earth like
disagree with “the others”, those who choice... any other human being. He thinks, enjoys
have (allowed themselves to be Naturally we need to make a choice in and eats like others. The great difference
influenced in having) a different world relation to what we want to do with our between a yogi and an ordinary man is
view to themselves. Different lives, and therefore a choice of influences that he has awakened a dormant faculty
interpretations of reality can then clash and of resolutions that we want to follow. in man called awareness, whereas the
and, on a larger scale, create religious The reverse would be to sit behind the ordinary man has not. He is always
and political wars. steering wheel of a moving car without aware. He is called a drastha - a seer. He
The individual whose expectations are taking hold of it and steering. And the is the witnesser of events. Your aim on
not met by the promises of the latest higher we set our goal, the easier other the path to realising and awakening your
mythology or therapy, often end up in a things fall into place by themselves. dormant potential should be to gradually
state of bitterness and frustration - and unfold this faculty of awareness within
look for the cause outside themselves. “The moment one definitely commits you. Become a seer…”
Even the teacher who is available to help oneself, then Providence also moves. (Paramhansa Satyananda)
one out of limitations is sometimes All sorts of things occur to help which
accused. Regardless of how clever the would not otherwise have happened.
teacher is, he cannot be held responsible A whole stream of events flow from the
for fulfilling the expectations of the decision, bringing all sorts of unforeseen Yoga Nidra
students - provided that he or she has not incidents, meetings and material To make conscious by thinking of certain
helped to create the expectations. In the assistance which no-one could have places in a precisely determined
end it is the individual him/herself and foreseen.” sequence, or by feeling these areas, or by
society that are responsible for the (W.H. Murray, inspired by Goethe) naming the places mentally, is probably
expectations they have and no one else is “What ever you can do, or dream you the easiest, the original and perhaps
answerable if they are not met. can; begin it. Boldness has genius, power therefore the most fruitful of all Nyasa
and magic. Begin it now.” (Goethe) practises - by experiencing warmth and
Intolerance towards those who think What Goethe expresses here is not a cold, heaviness and lightness, pain and
differently does not arise amongst postulate, but an observation which he contentment, and whatever else Yoga
individuals who are aware and who wishes to convey, which makes him a Nidra consists of, like Chakras, certain
experience instead of theorising. My mystic and not a priest repeating doctrine symbols and landscapes that one
experience is personal and I realise that by rote. remembers.
others do not necessarily need my In the deep Yoga Nidra all the parts of
experience and my interpretation - they It is obvious that there must be a balance your being, all your potentials, are
have their own. between influences (one’s resolution in touched, named and vitalised through
However we all have more or less the Yoga Nidra) and making conscious. The Nyasa, and it is precisely this experience
same kind of organs and nervous system, expression ‘to make conscious’ does not which creates well-being and clarity.
and more or less the same kind of mind. mean in my language to analyse and It is due to Paramhansa Satyananda’s
We have learned this through both judge, but touch, awareness, genius that we can use this effective
modern science as well as the several receptiveness, participation and - the method of Yoga Nidra today, and we
thousand year old tradition and placing of consciousness, Nyasa. must credit him for revealing Nyasa
experience in yoga and Tantra - therefore To feel or just to think of a place, is through the Yoga Nidra relaxation in a
one can unearth and preserve techniques enough to bring life to it. To be aware of way through which everybody can
and methods that work regardless of the possibilities in life that present benefit. !

23
What on earth do they use it for…
Different people’s experiences of Yoga Nidra
“Listening to a relaxation tape,” she said.
She had been on a yoga and meditation
course.
I was going to set her hair beautifully
as it was her wedding day, but now
instead I had to stop doing it and wait for
20 minutes. She seemed to think that
From a female Norwegian permanent companion in my daily life taking this time out was natural, and I
boxing champion and before boxing tournaments. By the was expected to accept the break and
As an active athlete and one of Norway’s end of 1996 I had become Norwegian wait - but I felt the irritation rising. That
champion and received the boxing was not the way to treat me.
female boxers, I used to have a recurring
problem before many matches. I was very association’s cup for best female boxer. The break did us both good however.
This would have been hard to achieve, If she had not put a brake on my
nervous and tense during the period just
before a fight - several days in fact before had it not been for Yoga Nidra, which enthusiasm with comb, curling brush and
taught me to relax and at the same time spray, a wig would probably have been
a boxing meeting. My body behaved like
a battery which had discharged its energy. clear my mind, so it became easier to the only way out. Both she and I had
box in a smarter and more tactical way. become calmer when she suddenly rose
I was really disappointed to lose fights
where I could not do my best simply (Anita Bertelsen) and said that now we could continue.
because I lacked the energy. Her hair style was fine - and she got
I understood that I had to learn to relax, married.
Yoga Nidra and adverse
but how? My knowledge of meditation
and the positive things it can give a
side effects from medicine Seven years later when I had “burned
person, wasn’t great either. When I I am schizophrenic, and Yoga Nidra myself out”, the wise doctor I visited told
received a Yoga Nidra tape from a friend helps me greatly. me my workplace probably wouldn’t fall
I realised that I had nothing to lose in The drugs I take have numerous and apart if I took a stress break. He was
trying it. strong side effects. But even after just a right. It was still there when I returned.
For a week prior to the next boxing short time practicing the long Yoga I rested and as I had plenty of time, I
event, I used the tape every day, and I felt Nidra, the side effects have practically borrowed some books about being
that it helped me reduce the tension in my disappeared altogether. burned out. They all stressed the
body. Right before I had to box, I lay flat At the same time schizophrenia is importance of relaxation to enable the
on my back in the dressing-room and very much characterised by fear. But body to get rest and gather new energy.
meditated to Yoga Nidra. My coach each time I use Yoga Nidra I experience The claim seemed sensible, but how did
thought I had gone crazy, and made a the fear decrease little by little. one go about it? I found it difficult to
scene because I didn’t warm up the way a (From a person in a Hospital in Denmark, unwind.
boxer ought to. I then went up into the whom shall remain anonymous) I went on a trial yoga lesson. We were
prize ring and boxed brilliantly, not only asked to listen to all the sounds around
because I had more energy in my body, us, without listening to anything in
but also because Yoga Nidra had The wedding of my particular. That was fantastic. I heard a
sharpened my concentration and cleared younger sister lot of things that I normally wouldn’t
my head! My younger sister was lying on her bed, have perceived, although I left with the
Since then Yoga Nidra has become a as if dead, listening to a Walkman. same set of ears as I had arrived with.

24
We did some physical exercises. It Sometimes he falls asleep afterwards and How Yoga helped me
looked easy but I was very stiff. I got sleeps for half an hour to an hour. Then overcome shingles
hooked and went to several courses to he eats his breakfast and goes to work
loosen up. fresh and rested. In July, 1995 I woke one morning with a
At one lesson we listened to a This he can do without a problem three severe pain down the side of my nose. I
relaxation tape. I bought the tape, nights a week. thought it was the beginning of a sinus
because I thought it might be good to attack so I did nasal cleansing and Nadi
have. The need to use it proved to be Shodhana [a yogic breathing exercise].
For a period I practised Yoga Nidra just
almost daily. before going to bed. I had felt tense when
I told my sister about the tape. It bedtime came and wanted to improve my While this relaxed me, the pain was still
turned out that I had been taught by the sleep. Instead of going to bed like I used intense and by that night had centred in
same yoga teacher as she and now had to at half past ten, I began to listen to the my right eye. My doctor diagnosed
bought the same tape as she listened to long Yoga Nidra. When the tape was shingles.
on her wedding day. over at a quarter past eleven, I went to
bed and fell asleep right away. To my Unfortunately, as it was a late diagnosis,
Now I listen to the tape almost every day surprise I woke up completely rested at the optic nerve had already been affected.
after work. How insolent of me to just five o’clock, 45 minutes earlier than I I was in terrible pain and, as shingles
throw myself on the bed and let everyone used to get up. affect the nerve endings, I suffered from
and everything be for 20 minutes, while I For several weeks I did Yoga Nidra at deep depression, especially at night. But
am lying as if dead! It is wonderful. No the same time every night, and I kept then I began to get up early each
one in my family has any objections to waking up at the same time every morning, - usually between 4 - 5 am - to
my habit (some might call it a bad habit) morning. do Yoga Nidra. After that I was able to
because they see the results. return to bed relaxed and much more
Now I do yoga, relaxation and A woman dancer, was on one of our comfortable, which helped greatly.
meditation on a regular basis - and I am post natal yoga courses. She told me that
happy that I am more inquisitive and after giving birth she felt stiff and full of In the afternoons I began to do 20
curious rather than sceptical, so that I aches in her muscles, just like after minutes or so of Nadi Shodhana which
tried it - because it helps me. training her dance exercises. But after relaxed my head and really helped the
Try and see! The tape my sister and I each class, which involves physical yoga pain. After a couple of weeks of this
listen to is the deep relaxation Yoga Nidra and Yoga Nidra, the aches in her muscles routine I was amazed at how much better
guided by Swami Janakananda from the were gone. She wondered why. I felt and by degrees I was able to do
Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation Swami Satyananda once said that an simple eye exercises such as Palming,
School. (Hélén Persson, Sweden) hour of Yoga Nidra is equal to four hours Sideways viewing etc. After four weeks I
of sleep. And I have read that you need was told at the eye clinic that, in spite of
four hours of unbroken sleep for the initial scarring of the retina, my sight was
Yoga Nidra and Sleep muscles to relax enough to allow the now perfect. I had used reading glasses
A man who recently took part in one of blood carry away the lactic acid that has for small print but I now find that I don’t
our courses at Håå Course Center used to accumulated there. This woman never need them anymore. As I was sixty last
work at his computer far into the night. slept that long at a stretch without being year I feel that this is something of a
He told me that he had found a way, to a woken by her baby, and therefore the record.
large extent, to replace sleep with Yoga lactic acid remained in her muscles and
Nidra. caused the pain. I would recommend yoga to anyone
Around four o’clock in the morning he Could it be that her muscles relaxed as suffering from a severe dose of shingles
turns off his computer, takes a shower, much during half an hour of Yoga Nidra such as I had, especially in the delicate
and places himself on a rug on the floor as they would during four hours of eye area.
and listens to the long Yoga Nidra. unbroken sleep? (Mira) (Dympna Dreyer, Waterford, Ireland)

25
Getting to know the silence... by Omkarananda
Meditation and Yoga from the tantric tradition at Håå Course Center in South Sweden
Why is a group of people silent for 21 The courses
or 33 days when they learn Kriya begin with
Yoga at Håå - and for three days when simple tension
they participate in the shorter 10-14 releasing exer-
days holiday courses with yoga and cises and a
cleansing pro-
meditation? cess where you
What kind of silence do you flush out the
discover when you do not talk, write stomach and
or read? the intestines,
Do you recognise the situation, when from so you become
a detached position you watch a quarrel as clean as a
between two colleagues, or between new born baby
children? Impartially you experience the inside. In order
confusion without being part of it. to create a
In the same way you can experience better balance
thoughts, emotions and attitudes, rather than in the brain and
letting yourself become immersed in them. strengthen the
To have this experience, however, you energy, we use
have to create a foundation, and that comes breathing-,
about through the interplay between the When I see through the movements on concentration- and eye exercises. Step by
different things we learn on the courses. the surface of my mind, I find a step you become familiar with the yoga
When I meditate I do not try to stop or tranquillity, which allows previously exercises and the different meditations.
change the flow of thoughts. I let it be, unexpressed traits of my nature to unfold. Apart from yoga we spend about 1½
and little by little I can experience my hours a day on practical tasks, like digging
personality and all that it involves. During The teachings up carrots, looking after the horses, chop-
meditation I don’t need to defend or fight at Håå Course Center ping wood, cleaning and cooking. (The
anything in myself. On the contrary, I When you come to Håå for 10 or 14 days, food is vegetarian and comes mainly from
discover that I can accept my habitual or for one or for three months, to go our ecological gardening.) It is important
pattern of thoughts, emotions and reactions. exploring with the deep reaching yoga that you circulate the energy which you
which is taught there - the teaching takes generate in the yoga room. In this way the
place under ideal conditions. process of going deep and the daily
In Håå it’s the same as being on a holi- activities enrich each other mutually.
day in the country, but without newspapers, The courses culminate with a period of
TV, Walkman and mobile phone, and away silence. On the 10 and 14 days courses
from daily worries and influences. That in there are 3 days of silence, where the finer
itself provides peace. It supports the steps of the meditations Antar Mauna
teaching in the yoga room and helps you (Inner Silence, a seven step Tantric
make your body supple, sharpen your meditation) and Ajapa Jap (a nine step
awareness, see through the habits of the preliminary Kriya Yoga) are taught.
mind and get closer to your own center. The Three Months Course is a unique

26
initiation into the tradition. After a
thorough preparation for 6 weeks, the
unabridged Kriya Yoga is taught - maybe
the only place in the world where it is
offered - during 33 days of silence. On
the 4-week long Kriya Yoga Course,
which demands that you have previously
taken part in a 10 or 14 days course,
there are 21 days of silence. (Order the
brochure about Håå.)
Free time is also important. You can
walk, ski or ride along the surrounding
fields and in the forests. The course
center has nine horses. Where the brook
runs into the lake we have a boat and
some canoes. The area has an unusually
rich animal and bird life. There are many
deer and if you are lucky you may see a
moose or an otter. In the Spring and
Autumn cranes, geese and swans come by.
The sauna represents an old Nordic
way of cleansing, relaxing and
acclimatising yourself. In the “Pyramid”
you float quietly in salt water. The lack
of sensory input allows the mind to come
to rest and the body to relax - by itself. “You are the inner silence, the silence on the background of what you experience,
that which happens in your mind.” (Swami Janakananda)
Like spokes joined
in the hub of a wheel
All that you participate in - yoga, Yoga Current Courses at Håå Course Center
Nidra, intestinal cleansing, breathing The Christmas Course Weekend Courses
exercises, the meditations, silence, 19 Dec. - 1 Jan. 4900 Sw.Cr. 21 - 23 November 1400/1100 Sw.Cr.
garden work, free time in the Småland Swami Janakananda Shanti et.al.
nature, and in the evenings, lectures or 16 -18 January 1400/1100 Sw.Cr.
song and dance - is part of a process that The New Year Course Síta et.al.
paradoxically provides both deep
2 - 12 Jan. 4300/3300 Sw.Cr.
tranquillity and extraordinary energy. Summer Courses '98
Jørgen Hastrup & Mette Kierkgaard
Last Christmas a student called it a
spiritual survival course. You return 14 - 24 May 4550/3550 Sw.Cr.
home with a greater presence, and an The Three Months Course '98 24 may - 6 June 4850/3850 Sw.Cr.
ability to do the tasks that are obvious 21 Jan. - 18 April 18.600 Sw.Cr. 7- 20 June 4850/3850 Sw.Cr.
and need to be done. From this, in daily Swami Janakananda, Síta et.al.
21 June - 4 July 5150/4200 Sw.Cr.
life as well as during your practice of
yoga and your meditation, grows your The Kriya Yoga Course '98 5 - 18 July 5150 Sw.Cr.
discovery of a silence in the midst of this 18 July - 16 August 8200 Sw.Cr. 30 Aug. - 12 Sept. 4850/3850 Sw.Cr.
teeming modern life. ! Swami Janakananda et.al. 8 - 18 October 4550/3550 Sw.Cr.

27
Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life
Swami Janakananda’s book in a revised and extended edition

This book offers an alternative to the


misconception put forward by many yoga
books, that one must take on a new life-
style in order to use yoga and meditation.
Swami Janakananda describes yoga
from within, based on his own experience
- from a yogi’s point of view.
As you follow the exercises in this
book, you will realise that yoga is based
on a profound knowledge of human
nature. It is the fruit of a living tradition,
where knowledge is passed directly from teacher to student, from generation to generation. Step by step you are guided through the
subject and in a practical manner you can benefit from the different poses, breathing exercises, meditations and the Tantric sexual
yoga. (Rider Books, UK and Weiser, USA). (Yoga, Tantra et Méditation dans la Vie Quotodienne, Editions Satyanandashram, France).
“For a long time I have had a yearning to take up yoga, but have been put off by the narrow scholarly and religious approaches that
often seemed apparent. Your approach, and the convenient inclusion of tantra and kundalini was so refreshing, and just what I had
been looking for. I could thoroughly identify with everything you said; not only that, but I felt that the way in which you
communicated your knowledge and beliefs was perfect.” (V. Williamsson, London, UK.)

tradition in the North? Invent tomorrow's education, about


Read Bindu R.Y.E. (Research on Yoga in Education). Shoulderstand...
Previous issues are still available: No. 7: Silver Jubilee issue! Read about Kriya Yoga III. Yoga
No. 3: The ability to experience. for pregnant women. Savasana.
Headstand. Nose Cleansing... No. 8: Harmony between the experiencer and the experienced.
No. 4: Kriya Yoga I. The effect of On the Tantric meditation Antar Mauna (Inner Silence), its
yoga on the finer energy. The Source ancestors and cousins. The Lotus Pose. Intestinal cleansing.
of Energy - a Tantric meditation... No. 9: Instructor or Guide? Yoga for the Back. Experience
No. 5: Kriya Yoga II. Psychic energy. Six years of and Knowledge - about the yoga teacher education at the
scientific research on the 3-Months Courses in Håå, Sweden. Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School.
“The Pyramid” and Pratyahara. No. 10: Nada Yoga, meditation on the inner sounds.
No. 6: The twilight hour - did we have a living meditation Vibrations create forms. Song and dance. The Bumble bee.

28
Swami Janakananda abroad - Spring / Summer 1998
with lectures, seminars and weekend courses
Ireland - in April Arrival: the evening of 29 May - or from the audience and ends the evening
before 9.00 am, Saturday, 30 May. with a meditation. The lecture begins at
Lecture Train station: Tonnerre. We may be able 8pm.
23 April 1998 at 8pm in Galway City to pick you up.
Attitudes behind Yoga and how we can Language: the teaching is in English Intestinal Cleansing - Friday 10 July
apply it in our daily life. with translation into French. Síta will lead you through this refreshing
For more information contact: Swami Fee: 2200 FF (2000 FF if in a group of yogic cleansing process. We use warm
Shraddhamurti and Swami Chetanmurti, four or more), the course fee includes salt water and four simple yoga poses to
Tober na bhfinn, Athenry, Co Galway meals and accommodation. cleanse and relax the stomach and
and Church yard St., Galway City, Booking and Payment details: contact intestines. A 10 day diet period follows.
telephone (091) 844 449. Swami Brahmatattwa or Swami Devanath For more energy, for your health and well
Weekend Course at the Aube Ashram, being. From 9am - 2pm.
24-26 April 1998 in Athenry phone +33 (0)325700640,
fax +33 (0)325700635. Early booking is Weekend Course 10-12 July
To be attended by people with good Yoga and Meditation
knowledge of yoga. Already booked up advised as the number of places are
limited. (Places on the seminar are still This course offers a transforming and
(September 1997). rewarding experience for both those
available when printing this, Nov. 1997)
Don’t forget: your sleeping bag and a familiar with yoga and for beginners
alike. Swami Janakananda and Síta will
France - in May/June towel...
teach yoga poses, breathing exercises,
A five day seminar: simple relaxation, the meditative deep
30 May - 3 June 1998 Iceland - in July relaxation Yoga Nidra, a concentration
Meditation and Self Knowledge technique and the meditation methods
Swami Janakananda and Síta (who is
Swami Janakananda is well known for Inner Silence (Antar Mauna) and The
Icelandic) will be in Reykjavík in Iceland
his lucid approach to meditation and self Source of Energy (five steps of Ajapa
from 5 - 12 July, 1998 giving a lecture, a
knowledge. He and Síta will guide you Japa).
weekend course in yoga and meditation
through this enriching process. The Friday 10 July 18.30 - 22.00
and an intestinal cleansing. All details not
seminar is centred around the tantric Saturday 11 July 09.00 - 18.00
decided at the time of printing (Nov. ‘97).
meditations Inner Silence and Ajapa Japa Sunday 12 July 09.00 - 17.00
and also yoga. Kirtan as well as other Lecture - Sunday 5 July Lunch-break approx. two hours
ethnic chanting and dancing are also a A path to Self Knowledge; Tantra,
part of it. yoga and meditation. For detailed information booklets or
An inspiring evening with Swami booking: Contact Síta before the middle
Venue: Aube ashram, 2 hours drive, Janakananda. He is a lively lecturer, of June at Håå Course Center (see next
south east of Paris. The ashram is much saught-after and is one of the page). Contact in Iceland after the middle
situated in a beautiful rural area, on the greatest meditation teachers in the world. of June: phone: (+354) 5627377 from
edge of a peaceful village, surrounded by He teaches the full Kriya Yoga from 5pm - 7pm daily and some evenings.
rolling fields and woods. The address is: January to April on the yearly 3 months Early booking is advised for the
Centre de Yoga Satyanandashram-Aube 14 course at International Håå Course courses in Reykjavík, as the number of
16 Rue de la Cote Régnier, Center in South Sweden. This is his first places are limited. (Places are still
10210 Chesley, France. visit to Iceland. He welcomes questions available when printing this, Nov. 1997)

29
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Hopi Ear Candles: made of 100% The brochure (free):
bees wax and cotton; cleanses the ears. about the retreats at Håå International
50 Sw.Cr. + 30 Sw.Cr. postage. Course Center. (See pages 26-27).
We can only accept payment in Swedish Crowns by Eurocheque, international money order or to our postal giro account
73 86 03 - 0 in Sweden. If you send a personal cheque, please add 50 Sw.Cr. (cashing fee).
Please send money and order to: Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School, Håå Course Center, 340 13 Hamneda, Sweden.

Publisher: Bindu,
Håa Course Center,
Håå Course Center, 340 13 Hamneda, Sweden. Tel. +46 372 55063. 340 13 Hamneda, Sweden.
Fax. +46 372 55036. Email: haa@yoga.se Circulation: 4,000 in English
Sweden Germany (Also printed in German, Swedish and Danish)
• Västmannagatan 62, 113 25 Stockholm • Egestorffstrasse 3, 30449 Hannover Printed: Håå Course Center,
by Erling Christiansen & Mark Richards
tel. +46 8 321218, fax. +46 8 314406 tel. +49 511 454163 fax. +49 511 447281 Layout: Robert Nilsson & Swami Janakananda.
email: stockholm@yoga.se email: hannover@scand-yoga.org Translation: Dani Dreyer & Robyn Taylor.
Norway Pictures: Back page “Concealed Interior” (part of
Denmark painting from 1987) and p.2 “Triquetra” (1988):
• Georgernes Verft 3, 5011 Bergen Linda Gustavson Nameth, Sweden. Both pictures
• Købmagergade 65, 1150 Copenhagen
tel. +47 5614 3310 fax. +47 5614 9738 are printed in her book “På fjärilsbänken”. Front
tel. +45 3314 1140, fax. +45 3314 1434
email: bergen@scand-yoga.org page, p. 4,24,26,27: Omkarananda. Page 9,10:
email: kbh@scand-yoga.org
• Skytterdalen 6, 1300 Sandvika, Oslo Troels Kjær, Denmark. Page 12: Peter Appel,
• Vestergade 45, 8000 Århus Finland. Page 19: „Mooladhara Chakra“,
tel. +47 6756 9555 Anandananda, Norway.
tel. +45 8619 4033, fax. +45 8619 4013
email: karuna@online.no
• Kongensgade 12 B, 3000 Elsinore Copyright © 1997 Bindu and Scandinavian Yoga
tel. +45 4921 2068 and Meditation School. All rights reserved.
Finland No part of this publication may be reproduced in
• Sukula, 30100 Forssa, Helsinki any form without written permission from the
Internet • www.scand-yoga.org tel. +358 3 4350599 publishers.

30
w on CD!
No
Experience
Yoga Nidra
Inspiration for a richer life
with
SWAMI JANAKANANDA
1. The Wholeness of Your Nature, the
relaxation Yoga Nidra to the sounds of
Mother Earth. Composed and guided
by Swami Janakananda. 20.41
2. Travel through the Space of
Experience, a piece of music,
composed and played on a Swara-
Mandala harp by Roop Verma. 7.44
3. Discover Your Self, the deep Yoga
Nidra. The relaxation is guided by
Swami Janakananda, to the music of
Roop Verma. 45.16
With the CD there is a 20-page booklet
about Yoga Nidra, and how to get the
full benefits from the two relaxations.
“Relaxation is a state. It is best achieved through a technique that triggers it. The blood pressure
is normalised, the immune system is strengthened and the brain relaxes and cooperates better. All
the organs and senses of the body are rested in a way that sleep seldom provides. Thus the senses
are sharpened and you feel invigorated afterwards.
The more familiar you become with Yoga Nidra, the easier it is to glide into the relaxed state.
And as you come to know harmony, you are soon able to recall it instantly - in the middle of the
activities of your day.
What makes Yoga Nidra so special is that it touches all parts of your being through the
different methods it contains. After having made the body and mind thoroughly aware and
relaxed, I use, among other things, the mantras (spoken sounds) and the visual symbols of the
chakras - to awaken and harmonise these energy whirls or fields of consciousness.
On this CD Roop Verma, as the first musician, has been inspired to record the ancient music
symbols of the chakras, which you experience with my text and guidance during the deep Yoga
Nidra.” (Swami Janakananda)

31
Linda Gustavson Nameth - Concealed Interior
32