At Sadhana, we’re dedicated to all aspects of yoga.
Bringing asana (postures), chanting, meditation, and breath awareness together offers a clear path for enhancing health, wellbeing, and spiritual growth. We offer the rich history, philosophy, and teachings of the yoga tradition to students and teachers alike.
Sadhana, from the Sanskrit, means "conscious spiritual practice". Our teachings reflect a philosophy that views oneself from the inside out, rather than from the outside in, cultivating fearlessness, awe and delight in the world around us.
Balancing Strength and Softness: The Five Vayus (winds)
Man, can you feel the winds of change? The end of summer, lunar and solar eclipses, Mercury in retrograde, school starting or already started; it’s just a whirlwind of activity and change right now. Sometimes I feel the need to stop and take a deep breath, and then I remember, “this is where the study of Prana begins.” Closing the eyes, inhaling, and feeling an energy flowing up from the belly, through the torso, to the third-eye. This is a practice of Prana-Vayu, one of the five energetic components of the Vayus.
The five Vayus have very distinct energetic qualities, specific functions and directions of flow:
- Prana-Vayu resides in the head, centered in the third-eye, and its energy manifests from the chest region. The direction of flow of prana-vayu is inward and upward. It nourishes the brain and the eyes and governs reception of all things; food, air, senses, and thoughts.
- Apana-Vayu is based in the pelvic floor and its energy fills the lower abdomen. The energy of apana-vayu moves down and out and nourishes the organs of digestion, reproduction and elimination. Close your eyes and as you exhale, feel an energy flowing down the torso from the top of the head to the tailbone.
- Vyana-Vayu is situated in the heart and lungs and flows throughout the entire body. The flow of vyana-vayu moves from the center of the body to the periphery. It governs circulation of all substances throughout the body and assists other Vayus with their functions. Close your eyes and as you inhale feel the breath radiating from the navel to the arms and legs.
- Udana-Vayu is located in the throat and it has a circular flow around the neck and head. It functions to ‘hold us up’ and governs speech, self-expression and growth. Close your eyes and as you inhale and exhale feel the breath circulating around and through the head and neck.
- Samana-Vayu is positioned in the abdomen with its energy centered in the navel. The flow of samana-vayu moves from the periphery of the body to the center. It governs the digestion and assimilation of all substances: food, air, experiences, emotions and thoughts. Close your eyes and as you inhale and exhale feel the breath rising and falling in the front, sides and back of the torso.
When the wind is at your back, it’s easy to soften and sail forward, but what about when the wind is blowing right at you? Learning to lean into difficulty is a gift of the practice of yoga. Studying the Vayus introduces us to our inner universe and gives clear ways to mental wellbeing. Finding the balance between leaning into the wind and letting it take you takes practice. So, yogis, close your eyes, inhale deeply, and sail!
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Meditation is gaining recognition every day as a way to work with pain – researchers have examined meditation’s effects on people, such as attention regulation, body awareness, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction.
Scientists have asked two questions: “Does meditation help?” and “How does meditation help?” One study showed an approximately 40 percent reduction in pain intensity ratings during meditation when compared with non-meditation. And that it worked for beginners.
Meditation teaches people how to react to pain. People are less inclined to have the ‘ouch’ reaction, and are able to control their emotional reaction to pain.
We are offering these meditations to you to use when you need guidance to reduce stress and pain. There are many forms of stress that can be soothed, including such things as a busy schedule, exhaustion, or agitation.
These meditations were written by Stephen Levine, and read by Sondra Loring. Our dear musician friend, Steve Gorn, plays the music. For more from Steve, visit his website: SteveGorn.com
In loving memory of Metta Callahan