Hatha Yoga Tip
Tree Pose – Beginner
Standing on one leg demands concentration and single-mindedness rather than physical prowess. To help you find your point of balance, alternate your weight between your heel and toes.
1. Stand up straight, focusing on a spot in front of you for balance. Breathe slowly from your abdomen. Lift your left foot and place it against your right thigh. Point your left knee outwards.
2. When you feel secure in your balance, release the hold on your foot and place your hands in Prayer Position in front of your chest. Keep up the rhythmical breathing.
3. With an inhalation, slowly lift your arms. Hold the pose for up to 1 minute. Release, then repeat on the other side. Practice another standing asana or go directly to final relaxation.
Ignorance is identification with this body, forgetting your Self, Atman or God. As long as you identify with the body there is a karmic reaction. – Swami Vishnudevananda
There is no greater treasure than contentment. There is no greater virtue than truthfulness. There is no greater bliss than that of the Soul. There is no better friend than Atman or the Self . – Sri Swami Sivananda
03 Full Moon
03 Guru Purnima
14 Swami Sivananda Mahasamadhi
17 New Moon
Thoughts of God cheer up the body, mind and spirit. Names of God soothe the nerves. Love of God bestows peace and joy. Knowledge of God breaks the fetters of Karma. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. This is the birthday and the day most sacred to Lord Ganesha. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September). It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world. Clay figures of the Deity are made and after being worshipped for two days, or in some cases ten days, they are thrown into water.
Lord Ganesha is the elephant-headed God. He is worshipped first in any prayers. His Names are repeated first before any auspicious work, or any kind of worship is begun. He is the Lord of power and wisdom. He is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and the elder brother of Skanda or Kartikeya. He is the energy of Lord Shiva.
Without the Grace of Sri Ganesha and his help nothing whatsoever can be achieved. No action can be undertaken without his support, Grace or blessing.
Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom and bliss. He is the Lord of Brahmacharins. He is foremost amongst the celibates. He has as his vehicle a small mouse. He is the presiding Deity of the Muladhara Chakra, the psychic centre in the body in which the Kundalini Shakti resides. He is the Lord who removes all obstacles on the path of the spiritual aspirant and bestows upon him worldly as well as spiritual success. Hence, He is called Vigna Vinayaka. His Bija Akshara (root syllable) is Gung, pronounced to rhyme with the English word “sung”. He is the Lord of harmony and peace.
Lord Ganesha represents Om or the Pranava, which is the chief Mantra among the Hindus. Nothing can be done without uttering it. This explains the practice of invoking Ganesha before beginning any rite or undertaking any project. His two feet represent the power of knowledge and the power of action. The elephant head is significant in that it is the only figure in nature that has the form of the symbol for Om.
The significance of riding on a mouse is the complete conquest over egoism. The holding of the ankusha (goad) represents his rulership of the world. It is the emblem of divine Royalty.
Ganesha is the first God. Riding on a mouse, one of nature’s smallest creatures and having the head of an elephant, the biggest of all animals, denotes that Ganesha is the creator of all creatures. Elephants are very wise animals; this indicates that Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom. It also denotes the process of evolution–the mouse gradually evolves into an elephant and finally becomes a man. This is why Ganesha has a human body, an elephant’s head and a mouse as His vehicle. This is the symbolic philosophy of His form.
On the Ganesh Chaturthi day, meditate on the stories connected with Lord Ganesha early in the morning, during the Brahmamuhurta period. Then, after taking a bath, go to the temple and do the prayers of Lord Ganesha. Offer Him some coconut and sweet pudding. Pray with faith and devotion that He may remove all the obstacles that you experience on the spiritual path. Worship him at home, too. You can get the assistance of a pundit. Have an image of Lord Ganesha in your house. Feel his Presence in it. Take fresh spiritual resolves and pray to Lord Ganesha for inner spiritual strength to attain success in all your undertakings.
May the blessings of Sri Ganesha be upon you all! May He remove all the obstacles that stand in your spiritual path! May He bestow on you all material prosperity as well as liberation!
From Hindu Fasts and Festivals by Swami Sivananda