Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nirjala Ekadasi June 11, 2011 – The Importance of this Ekadashi

Namaste, Hari Om,

Calendar Date of Fast: June 11, 2011 - ‘Nirjala’ means without water and devotees do not drink water on the day of fasting. The greatness of Nirjala Ekadasi was explained to Bhima, the second of the Pandava Brothers, by Sage Vyasa. (below talks about Ekadashi, and how to observe it)

Ekadashi is very important, its stated in many books including the Ramayana; The chapter on the importance of Ekadashi was read: ‘The merit gained by performing a hundred Rajsuya yagnas or a thousand Ashwamedh yagnas don’t come into comparison with even a 16th of the merit gained by performing the Ekadashi vrat.’

Again we always should ask why is this important to me? And why should I do this, understanding these questions will make us believe what we do even more, it becomes non mechanical and spiritual. 

Fasting on these days are important because it does many things, it conditions the mind and body for looking within and meditating. Secondly its important to you because its another way of feeling and showing devotion to that almighty power. We can build connections and understanding with the special power of the universe by connecting with thy name while performing various tasks in our mind. For those that challenge fasting, devotion and contemplation of God, they should first try to do these things with a clear calm mind. Having a truthful mind will always make your mind calm, when your mind is calm the benefits (both physical and spiritual) will enhance your everyday outlook. Following Ekadashi is spoken by the very words of Lord Vishnu, in our lives we are given moments to propel our dedication and these days of Ekadashi we can do this by vrat or fasting and contemplation of the Lord. 

Scientifically there are special energies, atoms or light that is on earth due to the star/planet alignment - Thus having our bodies and minds in a special condition causes a better receptor to this energy that cleanses our being. 

There is a nice post on Hindu Blog that talks about this fast, its equivalent to fasting for all 24 Ekadashi's, if you fast on this very day. Continue reading, hopefully we all can follow this Vrat. 

**Remember: What is more important is devotion and not the severity of the fasting. Dont feel that you have to give up your life to attain a connection, #1 that connection exists, #2 feel the love in what we do, this is more important than anything else. 

Jai Shri SitaRam
- SimpleHinduBhai


Nirjala Ekadashi is very popular Ekadasi fasting and it is performed by man Hindus without even drinking water. Nirjala Ekadasi June 2011 date is June 12 [SHB Note - June 11 for US Folks]. Nirjala Ekadasi fasting is very tough and different from the usual Ekadasi fasting method. Devotees do not drink water on the day. Neither do they eat anything for the entire day. The fasting is from sunrise to next day (Dwadasi) morning sunrise.

The popular belief is that observing Bhim Ekadasi is equal to observing all the 24 Ekadasis in a year.

Nirjala Ekadasi Story
Nirjala Ekadasi is associated with Bhima, the second of the five Pandava brothers. There is a popular story associated with Bhim Ekadasi. Bhima was always hungry and he could not fast during Ekadasi. Therefore he wanted to find a solution to fast on Ekadasi by consuming food and he went to Sage Vyasa to find a solution Veda Vyasa advised Bhima to observe Nirjala Ekadasi falling in the Shukla Paksha of Jyeshta Month. It has the benefits of observing all the 24 Ekadasis in a year.

How to Observe Nirjala Ekadashi: 

Nirjala Ekadasi, or Pandav Bhim Ekadashi, is observed during the Jyeshta Shukla Paksha – waxing phase of moon in Jyeshta month, which falls during (May end or June beginning). The Ekadasi fasting method for Nirjala Ekadashi is different from the usual practice. In 2011, the date of Nirjala Pandav Bhim Ekadasi is June 12.
Nirjala Ekadasi is one of the toughest fasting in Hinduism. ‘Nirjala’ means without water and devotees do not drink water on the day of fasting. The greatness of Nirjala Ekadasi was explained to Bhima, the second of the Pandava Brothers, by Sage Vyasa.
It is said that one should not drink water from the moment of sunrise on the Ekadasi day and should drink water only on the sunrise on the day of Dvadasi (next day morning). Devotees also do not eat food on the day.
In the scriptures, it is said that a devotee should perform the purification ritual by drinking water that can immerse a single mustard seed.
Devotees spend the day at Vishnu temples or listening to stories from Bhagavad Purana or by chanting bhajans dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Vishnu Sahasranama and other sholkas dedicated to Lord Vishnu are chanted on the day.
It is strongly advised that those who are under medications and have some ailments should not observe Nirjala Ekadasi.
Those devotees who want to observe this particular Ekadasi but can’t follow the rule of not drinking and not eating on the day can observe a partial fast. What is more important is devotion and not the severity of the fasting.
This Ekadasi fasting happens before the starting of the monsoon season and therefore it is also meant in helping in cleansing the body.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pranayam: Breathing Exercise - Alternate Nostril (Anuloma Viloma)

Namaste, Hari Om,

"Pranayam, or control/regulation of the life force is thus the fourth step in the ashtanga yog system laid down by Patanjali. It comes after yam, niyam and asan.  So the first indicator is, it should be undertaken after getting at least reasonable degree of proficiency in the asans. Control of the body through posture is the first step, control of the breath is the second, which will eventually lead to the control of the pran or life force." 

We will talk more about breathing (Pranayam) styles in a future post, but wanted to quickly high light Pranayam basics.

So many of us go about life not breathing right, this effects the way we act, look and more importantly think. Breath is so critical, it keeps us going everyday and it is linked to every emotion. When you are angry you breathe heavier and shorter breaths are taken, before you (almost) get in an accident you take that initial quick inhalation which rushes air to the brain for quick thinking.

Control of the mind leads to wonderful things, we can unlock our true potential if we can control the life (breath). Its true we only use a small percentage of our mental power, through Pranayam we can use more. Below is a guide to Alternate Nostril Breathing, its the basic introduction thats really easy to start, you can start feeling the effects fast, calming and slower more profound thinking and emotionally you will start to become happier. For those with tests, interviews or performances, Pranayam can really help to alleviate stress and anxiety.

It makes perfect sense to do this, we can ease our body and mind, breathing is strongly linked to chakra wakening as well, the power within the chakras (if done under a proper teacher and right mindset) will enhance our lives even more. I am truly blessed to have a great yoga guru, a teacher that can open your mind to the scientific and spiritual reasons for asanas, pranayam and physical movements will help you to move forward in Yogic practice. Everything is within us, we just have to have the will to look within, the energy, guidance and love will come once we have the desire to look within.

Nice guide thanks to; Below information and steps comes from this site, please enjoy.

Jai Shri Krishna, Hari Om Tat Sat

One Round of Anuloma Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

    Anuloma Viloma 1

  • Inhale through the left nostril, closing the right with the thumb, to the count of four.

  • Anuloma Viloma 2

  • Hold the breath, closing both nostrils, to the count of sixteen.

  • Anuloma Viloma 3

  • Exhale through the right nostril, closing the left with the ring and little fingers, to the count of eight.

  • Anuloma Viloma 4

  • Inhale through the right nostril, keeping the left nostril closed with the ring and little fingers, to the count of four.

  • Anuloma Viloma 5

  • Hold the breath, closing both nostrils, to the count of sixteen.

  • Anuloma Viloma 6

  • Exhale through the left nostril, keeping the right closed with the thumb, to the count of eight.

  • Benefits of Anuloma Viloma

    The exercise of the Anuloma Viloma produces optimum function to both sides of the brain: that is optimum creativity and optimum logical verbal activity. This will make both sides of the brain, the left side which is responsible for logical thinking and the right side which is responsible for creative thinking to function properly. This will lead to a balance between a person's creative and logical thinking. The Yogis consider this to be the best technique to calm the mind and the Nervous System. 

    Anuloma Viloma: The Scientific Confirmation

    Medical science has recently discovered the nasal cycle, something that was already discovered by the Yogis thousands of years ago. Modern scientists found out that we do not breathe equally on both nostrils, that is one nostril is much easier to breathe through than the other at any particular time. Each nostril alternates about every three hours. The Yogis claim that the natural period is every two hours, but we must remember these studies were done on people who do not have an optimum Health level. 

    Scientists also discovered that the nasal cycle corresponds with brain function. The electrical activity of the brain was found to be greater on the side opposite the less congested nostril. The right side of the brain controls creative activity, while the left side controls logical verbal activity. The research showed that when the left nostril was less obstructed, the right side of the brain was predominant. Test subjects were indeed found to do better on creative tests. Similarly when the right nostril was less obstructed the left side of the brain was predominant. Test subjects did better on verbal skills. 

    Medical science has not quite caught up with the ancient Yogis yet. The Ancient Yogis even went one step further. They observed that a lot of diseases were due to disturbances of the nasal cycle or if a person breathe for too long through one nostril. To prevent and correct this condition, they developed the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. This clears any blockage the airflow in the nostrils and reestablishes the natural nasal cycle. For example, the Yogis have known for a long time that prolonged breathing through the left nostril only (over a period of years) will cause Asthma. They also know that this so-called incurable disease can be easily treated by teaching the patient to breathe through the right nostril until the Asthma is cured and prevent it from recurring by doing the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. The Yogis also believe that Diabetes is caused, to a large extent, by breathing mainly through the right nostril.