Monday, July 30, 2018

What is the meaning of spirituality?

Everybody is talking about spiritual growth, spiritual upliftment, evolution etc.  But the question again is, ‘what is the meaning of all this’? Can we check the spiritual growth of someone? Can the spiritual development be measured? Maybe somebody is practicing Yoga meditation for many years and now he me develop a doubt, ‘am I doing right or not’? What is the proof that you are going on the right direction? Fortunately it is possible. You can definitely check all this. For me,
 Spirituality can be defined as all round development of human being.
Spirituality is the method of holistic growth. When a person is developing himself in all dimensions, then definitely it is spiritual growth. When we say all round development, it means the development on the 5 planes. These 5 planes are physical, mental, social, emotional and soul. The development on all these five planes happens in the same order.
  • Physical growth refers to health, fitness, food, water and shelter. Initially spiritual development happens when a person is capable of surviving without fear and trouble. He becomes assured that I am given a place in this world by God almighty and he has made proper arrangement for me.
  • Mental development refers to knowledge, understanding, intelligence to make right decisions in life on the basis of logic and rationales. It brings wisdom with the time.
  • Social development is to understand and bear the responsibility towards one’s family, society, country. It enables a person to become a good citizen. Great masters never shied away from their responsibilities towards the whole world they decided share their knowledge so that this world can become a better place.
  • Emotional development happens by opening the heart. Qualities of love, compassion, sympathy, helping, understanding the pain of others are the characteristics of higher spiritual development. Small heart can’t accommodate a big God. So heart should become bigger.
  • Finally after the above four development there is the possibility of development at the level of soul. Scriptures tell that soul is perfect. It can’t be broken down or made bigger. What we mean here is on the level of soul the subject becomes aware that his soul is nothing less than the supreme consciousness. My soul is the same one as everyone has.

It means that if you are growing on the physical plane, then after some time you will definitely ask for the mental growth. But without developing on physical & mental plane, you cannot ask the development on social, emotional and soul level.
So now you can test if you are developing yourself on the physical plane and mental pain plane, then you can tell yourself that I am going on the right direction. But if the practices you are making are allowing you to grow only on physical or mental plane, they don’t grow you on the social, emotional and soul level, then this is not a spiritual practice. Maybe you can practice some sort of sports or you can join the training in the gym. It will definitely help you to grow yourself on the physical plane. You will grow some muscles, you will have some strength and fitness coming. You can expect a healthy lifestyle but that’s it. It won’t help you to grow on the mental or other higher planes. 
Same way if you start learning a new language, if you start reading physics, mathematics, you play game of Sudoku; they make your intellectual & mental development. It will happen that you come to know many things. So this way the mental development will come but we cannot tell about other things. The modern education system is like this only. It provides lots of information, but it doesn’t help children to become good citizens. It doesn’t help them to become emotionally more mature, because there is only one dimension of development. 
Did you hear of those people who are genius in one trade; he can be the best professor of physics or mathematics, but he doesn’t know how to buy vegetables from the market. He doesn’t know how to welcome the guests in the house. This kind of development becomes sometimes dangerous. Then you can find some people socially very capable, working in high positions in life, they have the best leadership and management capacities, but the lack the knowledge & understanding. For example look at the political leadership of many countries. They don’t have the emotional sensitivity to understand the pain of other people. They cannot empathize with the people suffering. They become dictators. On the other hand, you may find people very capable emotionally; loving, kind, generous, compassionate, and they have the previous things. 
But after sometime they start asking ‘is it all life has to offer or can I go higher than this to find even more development. Then they go for the Soul searching and this is all happening in a series. This gradual process of development is called spiritual evolution. All this process is spirituality. All the Spiritual practices are actually doing the same. They have different tools, different kind of stories to explain these simple principles, but these simple principles are not so simple to learn in life. That’s why we require spiritual practice in a yoga school in India. Patanjali's Ashtanga yoga system focuses on this spiritual growth. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

How to Choose the Right Yoga Teacher Training or Yoga School

Choosing a right yoga teacher training school is not so easy. This is a common question everybody is asking these days. People have so many options. There are millions of the yoga practitioners but at the same time there are thousands of the yoga schools. So how do you choose the right one or the best one for you? Well, it is not as difficult as it seems. Let me help you with that:

Which Kind of Yoga

The first thing to consider is which kind of yoga is being taught. As such it is all yoga and at the end of the day there should not be any difference. But in the beginning we people have different expectations from the yoga course. Consider the following:
  • If you are young, strong and you want more athletic and dynamic Asana focused course then go for the Ashtanga yoga TeacherTraining.
  • If you want some gentle Asanas then traditional Hatha will be the best.
  • Something in between is Iyengar Yoga.
  • Are you more interested in spiritual part or physical part of yoga? Choose carefully.
  • Do you care the traditional styles keeping the purity of instructions and techniques or modern fusions like Yin yoga, Acro yoga or Flow yoga. 

If you are clear about your aims, then it will help you making a wise choice.

Residential or Non Residential

While making a decision about a yoga school, next thing that people should consider is accommodation facility included in the package. If you going for the 200 hour yoga teacher training course then think about this?
  • If you are going to take a course in a different country, then choosing a residential school is the wise choice. As it will be cost effective for you.
  • But if you are near your home city then Non residential option can be useful.
  • The yoga school can provide a lump sum price for the whole package in which accommodation and food price are included and they always become cheaper than staying and eating outside.
  • Always compare what kind of accommodation is provided. Single or sharing; at what price.

 More than Yoga in the Course

We always want extra. The bundled packages make more sense. Everyone is teaching yoga, but what makes difference now is something extra that you can explore in the same price or time. For example;

 It will also add some extra skills in your name. This way when you are looking for a job or want to start a yoga centre, then you will have better credentials and options.

City and Location of the School

It is very important to find a great location in the city of your choice. Every city has its history, its flavor and styles are unique. But is your yoga school located in the middle of crowd or is it in some peaceful area. But then you don’t want to stay in the middle of nowhere. Otherwise you will be locked up in a place for four weeks. So look for a place that is neither in the middle of a busy road and nor very far from the same. A place from where everything is at walking distance.
I am sure considering the above factors will make it easier for you to make a wise choice.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Vedic Astrology and Emotional Problems: 2

The Moon

The Moon is the chief significator of the emotions and moreover for their expression and perception. The Moon also represents the intensity of the emotions. The position of the Moon in horoscope determines the emotional state of the person. If the Moon is properly placed and is Satwik in horoscope then the subject enjoys an uninhibited expression of the emotions. He doesn’t have to hide his feelings and he is comfortable in expressing them rather than inhibiting. The subject is not overly sensitive and his feelings are neither blunt nor exaggerated. The subject has an immaculate understanding of the feelings of others and he also provides them the proper space for their expression. The Moon in Satwik position in the horoscope (discussed earlier in detail) is approachable by everyone for the discussion and sharing. The subject understands how to help others by managing their emotions in a better way. This way the good position of the Moon in the horoscope enhances the emotional intelligence considerably.
On the other hand the Rajasik or Tamasik nature of the Moon in the horoscope inhibits the adequate expression of one’s feelings. In case of a Rajasik Moon the subject has many mood swings and exaggerates the expression of his feelings. It makes him extremely sensitive. The subject is overly dependent on others for the emotional support and fear of losing them is constantly haunting them. The tamasik nature of the Moon in horoscope causes either complete inhibition or exaggeration of one’s feelings. In any case the subject fails to express the feelings in proper manner.  Generally, he gets influenced by other people’s emotional responses quite easily and later feels himself to be ‘used’. The reason behind this is that they are not sure about the appropriateness of their own feelings and are excessively worried about the feelings of others about the various situations. This way they mimic the feelings of others.  The subject might be carrying some burden of emotions from the past as the tamasik Moon suggests some regressive thinking. At times the subject admits that he sees himself as an emotional fool.
For example, if a man ‘Mr X’ (with a tamasik Moon in his horoscope) met an old friend. She was a woman who was cursing her husband for many reasons and crying loudly. Then this Mr. X might also started cursing her husband and developed a view that her husband was a very bad man. This would happen without even thinking and listening the whole stuff. In a desire to be of help subject might become overly protective of her and develop an attitude of hate and dislike for her husband. When after some time this woman would be again living with her husband, Mr. X would find himself stranded. He could find it difficult to understand how this woman can go back to her husband without even looking back at him. In the same situation if Mr. X had a Satwik Moon in his horoscope then he would listen and give comfort to her, but without being attached to her feelings and encouraging her anger and grief. He would be a source of empathy and won’t find himself stranded when she returned to her husband again. Rather, he would be happy to bring happiness to them.

The Fifth House

The Fifth house is associated with knowledge in traditional Vedic astrology. Here in AstroPsychology we can understand subject’s personal interpretation of his environment by the position of the fifth house in the horoscope. The fifth house offers the cognitive aspect of emotions. In other words, the fifth house determines the role of mind in the heart matters. The sound position of the fifth house and fifth lord allow the subject to interpret the emotional stimuli in the most objective manner. He would like to analyze the environment for various cues and then decide what emotional response is proper in the present context. At many times the subject would decide that there is no need to express emotions rather a smile or a raise in eyebrow is enough. In this case the subject would delay his emotional responses for the cognitive process to decide the proper moment. He is not carried away by the views of other people about him. Moreover the various incidents of anger, frustration, insult and conflicts will also exhibit the delayed and measured emotional responses so that the situation would be dealt with in a very effective manner. The strong fifth house provides immunity from various fears, stress, over interpretation and self defeating thoughts. The subject is free from the excessive use of ‘understanding the hidden motives and real feelings. On the other hand, if the fifth house and fifth lord are poorly placed (the malefic in the fifth house and fifth lord in bad houses or in Rajasik and tamasik state) then the result is quite opposite. The subject’s objective understanding takes a blow. He can’t analyze the things from different perspectives. The emotions take him over quite soon as he can’t delay the expressions of them. The only way to not to express them is repression for him. This repression also leads to various psychological complexes that keep on compounding and may become difficult to handle later. The petty events of everyday life like other’s views about his manners, small incidents of embarrassment, failure and conflicts with nearby people bring out the deep states of emotional unrest. Further subject is blessed with a notorious capacity of reading the hidden feelings of everyone. On the basis of that he is always ready to face the emotional challenges. He is always planning to deal with the situations that can cause him emotional problems. And this is his own planning that fails him delaying his emotional responses. So it is quite common for him to get caught by stress, fears, anxieties, panic and self defeating thoughts. Rahu’s influence on the fifth house badly impairs the capacity to see the things objectively while Saturn and Ketu cause the detachment and expectation of failures and frustrations. The influence of the Mars in the fifth house makes the subject to perceive the constant hostility from the environment.

Note: This brief discussion about 'Emotions' is taken from the book 'Principles of AstroPsychology' of the author. The book is available here.

Vedic Astrology and Emotional Problems: 1

The modern definitions of emotion view three aspects of emotions, i.e. feelings, physiological changes (that determine the intensity) and cognitive interpretation of the environment. Daniel Goleman emphasized the importance of management of one’s emotions, telling that it had higher implications on the overall success of one’ life. According to the Goleman the person who can successfully manage his emotions, identify others’ emotions and successfully mould them for his benefit is emotionally intelligent. For many psychologists one’s success is directly proportional to one’s emotional intelligence and not IQ (intelligence). The AstroPsychology can help us understand one’s emotional intelligence quite well. For this purpose, we will have to consider the following factors:

The Fourth House

The fourth house in the horoscope is associated with the feelings part of the emotions. It is seen that some people have a tendency of finding happiness and others are prone to get sadness again and again. Now it is established that depression and anxiety can be acquired even in a very tender age, i.e. a person can acquire the tendency of remaining sad and anxious right from the beginning. The reason behind this is usually an unhappy childhood where a child was subjected to the absence of love, care, affection, security, assurance and attention. In the same way one can conclude that a subject may have developed a tendency of getting other feelings too, like happiness, jealousy, anger, frustration, surprise and fear. The position of the fourth house and its lord determine the valance of the emotions i.e. good or bad feelings associated with emotions. Properly placed fourth house and the fourth lord suggest the satisfaction from the emotional sphere and a view of no complaint from anyone. As readers may remember that the fourth house is traditionally and psychologically associated with the mother. So if the fourth house and its lord are well placed then the subject enjoys the full attention, love and nurturance from his mother. It means a largely happy childhood where the subject learned to appreciate the love and learned the importance of sharing it, where he enjoyed the feelings of security both emotional and physical, wasn’t subjected to any sort of ignorance and deprivation. So in this case one can reasonably expect the subject to exhibit rather satisfied and fond memories of his childhood. Since he received plenty of love, happiness, security and attention, he will most likely learn these things and develop a tendency of finding happiness and positive emotions instead of negative ones. Connection of benefics with fourth house and fourth lord (with both fourth house and fourth lord placed well) increases the mental peace.
On the other hand, many inflictions in the fourth house and to the fourth house lord (explained in detail earlier) hint towards a not so happy childhood or not receiving enough love and attention from the mother. This causes dissatisfaction and becomes a chief reason of finding emotionally uncomfortable stimuli more frequently. Saturn’s connection with fourth house causes the detachment from the people and situations. The subject doesn’t possess that much deep feeling for the most of the things in the life. Mars in the same situations causes insecurity and fear that results in frustration and lack of mental peace. Rahu and Ketu also offer the feelings of dissatisfaction with people and life. The subject has a complaining nature.

Note: This brief discussion about 'Emotions' is taken from the book 'Principles of AstroPsychology' of the author. The book is available here.

Sleep Disorder in Horoscope

Sleep disorder is the medical conditions where the sleep pattern of a person is seriously disturbed due to various reasons. Some sleep disorders are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental, social and emotional functioning. The most common sleep disorder is when a person suffers from difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep with no obvious cause, it is referred to as insomnia.
Disruptions in sleep can be caused by a variety of issues, from teeth grinding to night terrors. Some common sleep disorders include sleep apnea , narcolepsy and hypersomnia, and cataplexy (sudden and transient loss of muscle tone while awake). In case of apnea the subject can’t breathe while sleeping. This usually happens with the old people. Narcolepsy is the sleep disorder where a subject falls asleep at anytime anywhere. Here the sleep impulse is so strong that subject can’t resist it. Other disorders include sleepwalking, night terrors and bed wetting. There can be various physiological, psychological and emotional causes of sleep disorders. Sometimes sleep disorder are temporary and due to some other physical problems, but at times sleep disorder like apnea, narcolepsy and cataplexy can be caused by neurological causes (not fully understood).

AstroPsychology of the Sleep Disorders

Ø  The first thing to notice here is the state of the ascendant house and ascendant lord. If they are weak then subject can’t handle the various psychological stress and difficulties so well and it reduces his psychological immunity. Hence the chances of various mental problems increase many fold.
Ø  The most important aspect for the sleep disturbance is the position of the twelfth house. The twelfth house is associated with unconscious mind, sleep and dreams. If the twelfth house is inflicted by malefics and the twelfth house lord also suffers, then this is the potent sign of sleep disorders.
Ø  Further if there are two or more planets possessing the twelfth house (malefics or benefics), then also it increases the unconscious problems and sleep disturbances a lot.
Ø  The next thing to see is the position of the Moon. The Moon is associated with all kind of mental health issues.
Ø  Further the poor position of the fourth house (mental peace and emotions) and the fifth house (mind) also help causing the sleep disturbances suggested by the twelfth house.
Note: This brief discussion about AstroPsychology of Sleep Disorder is taken from the book 'Principles of AstroPsychology' of the author. The book is available here.

AstroPsychology of Depression

A depressed person may report multiple physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, or digestive problems; physical complaints are the most common presenting problem in developing countries. Other symptoms of depression include poor concentration and memory (especially in those with melancholic or psychotic features), withdrawal from social situations and activities, reduced sex drive, and thoughts of death or suicide. Appetite often decreases, with resulting weight loss, although increased appetite and weight gain occasionally occur. Family and friends may notice that the person's behaviour is either agitated or lethargic. Depressed individuals often blame themselves for negative events. Interestingly, patients who blame themselves for negative occurrences might not take credit for positive outcomes. Depressed individuals have negative beliefs about themselves, based on experiences of failure, observing the failure of social models, a lack of social persuasion that they can succeed, and their own somatic and emotional states including tension and stress. These influences may result in a negative self-concept and a lack of self-efficacy; that is, they do not believe they can influence events or achieve personal goals. Depressed people may be preoccupied with thoughts and feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt or regret, helplessness, hopelessness, and self-hatred. Insomnia is common among the depressed.

AstroPsychology of Depression

For finding a tendency of depression in horoscope there are various factors to consider.

  • The first thing to consider is the ascendant house and lord. If they are weak then subject looses the strength and firmness to deal with problems. He exaggerates the problems and gives up rather early. It also associates with poor self image and ego. A strong first house suggests that subject will fight hard against the problems of life and most probably will come out victorious.
  •  A weak Sun is also associated with poor self concept and ego. The subject starts underestimating himself and a feeling of self doubt and worthlessness creeps in. Moreover, weak Sun also causes a tendency to avoid the responsibility and remain passive.
  • The Moon is the most sensitive planet in the horoscope and is the first thing to consider. A weak position of the Moon in the horoscope suggests emotional problems and the subject’s inability to cope with emotional challenges. As mentioned earlier the Tamasik position of the Moon causes the lack of emotional intelligence. This is evident in the most cases of depressives.
  • The next thing to see is the poor position of the fourth house, i.e. lack of mental peace, unconditional love and some poor childhood experience.
  • The poor position of the fifth house and its lord cause lack of mental happiness, regressive thoughts, recurring sad memories and a tendency to note the negative side of the things.

Other astrological combinations for various symptoms associated with depression include disturbed third house (cognitive distortions and adjustment issues), the eighth house (guilt feelings, feelings of being humiliated) and twelfth house (sleep disturbance). 

Note: This brief discussion about AstroPsychology of depression is taken from the book 'Principles of AstroPsychology' of the author. The book is available here.

The author conducts regular classes for 
Advance Course of Vedic Astrology & KP Astrology in Rishikesh
Advance Astrology and  200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course in Rishikesh, India
Advance Palmistry Course