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Hatha Yoga Tip

CROW – KAKASANA – A balance pose to strengthen arms and shoulder girdle.

Start from a squatting position with legs and feet apart. Place palms on mat in front of you inside the knees with the elbows bent. Place hands apart, so they are facing inwards which takes strain off the wrists. Hands are apart as much as the feet. Spread the fingers to help with distribution of weight. Keep breathing rhythmically and looking straight ahead, lean weight forward into the arms and hands. Test your strength in arms and wrists. You may also have to adjust the distance of your hands from the body. Keep elbows bent outward. If not already on toes, come up on toes and keep knees pressed firmly into the upper arms. From here on, it is important to keep the chin forward and keep looking up so the head acts as a weight counterbalance. Lifting hips up, move weight forward and onto wrists and hands, allowing your feet to be weight free and start to leave the mat. Elbows are slightly bent and knees rest against or on upper arms. Hold your balance with toes on mat before further lean forward, ensuring you have sufficient strength in the shoulders, arms and wrists to perform this pose. If stable then proceed to move weight forward until you can lift feet completely away from the mat. The feet are held in alignment together. Keep chin forward. Hold up to 30 seconds.

• Develop and hold balance, moving weight progressively from feet, legs and hips forward onto hands and arms.
• Strengthen wrists, arms and shoulder girdle.
• Increase wrist flexibility.
• Strengthen triceps muscles.
• Strengthen shoulder muscles.
• Awareness of your body strength.
• Strengthen your concentration and determination.

This yoga asana is an edited contribution for the Sivananda Gurugram partly sourced and edited from the Sivananda Publication: “Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion” – Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre – 2010.

Whatever you eat, first offer it to the Lord. Take it as His Prasad. This will purify your food. – Sri Swami Sivananda

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NIMITTA: an instrument; a sign

There are three types of nimitta:
Parikamma-nimitta – also known at the preparatory sign, this is the perception of an object at the beginning of concentration
Uggaha-nimitta – also known as the acquired sign, in which the mind reaches a mild degree of concentration with an unsteady or unclear image
Patibhaga-nimitta – also known as the counter-sign, where a clear and static image is a sign of pure concentration.
Nimitta Bhava – an instrument-in-the-hands-of-the-Lord attitude

When the thread of Ahankara is broken by ‘Aham Brahma Asmi’ Bhavana or Sakshi Bhava or the self-surrender method by taking the Nimitta Bhava (instrument-in-the-hands-of-the-Lord attitude), all the Indriyas will be broken down or destroyed. The connection with Indriyas will be severed.

Serve everyone with intense love, without the idea of agency, without expectation of fruits, reward or appreciation. Feel that you are only a Nimitta or an instrument in the hands of God. Worship God in the poor and the sick. Have no attachment to any place, person or thing. Keep up mental poise amidst the changes of the world without consideration of success or failure, gain or loss, pleasure and pain. Have the mind always rooted in the Self amidst activities. Then you will become a true Karma Yogi. – Swami Sivananda

A weak will is overpowered by the strong desire. Reduce your desires and live contently. – Sri Swami Sivananda