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Yoga Insights

Mauna—Becoming Aware of Our Words

Although it is not often talked about, mauna is very much a part of the yoga system. It is sometimes called “yoga silence.”

One of the main goals of yoga and its various processes is to gain control over the senses because, if we are the servants of our senses, constantly struggling to meet their every demand, we will never be happy.

The yogic scriptures tell us that of all the senses, the tongue is the most difficult to control. But if we can learn to control the tongue, it then becomes very easy to bring our other senses under control.

One aspect of controlling the tongue is controlling what comes out of our mouths. If you think about it, so much of what people say is either unnecessary or even damaging—to themselves or to others, such as gossiping, rumor-mongering, and faultfinding. The urge to speak is very strong and it’s not so easy to stop. But by practicing mauna, we gradually gain control of that urge and redirect it, and this makes us more likely to succeed in yoga.

Some people are under the mistaken impression that mauna means not making any sound at all, but actually, mauna means not making any mundane sound as distinct from Yoga Sound.

Mauna is made up of two parts:

1. Not making mundane sound vibrations.

During mauna, one's mind will entertain many thoughts and the temptation to verbalize these thoughts will be very strong. Mauna means preventing your mouth from verbalizing these thoughts.

By practicing mauna, you begin to experience how your mouth makes sound spontaneously. So the first step in becoming the master of your tongue is to refuse to follow the urge to verbalize your many thoughts, ideas, opinions, etc. Being able to control the urge to speak will bring you a great sense of freedom and empowerment.

2. Making transcendental or spiritual sound.

You do this by practicing Yoga Sound Meditation, either by repeating the yoga sounds softly to yourself, for example, while practicing japa, or by any of the other meditation techniques you can find in my Easy Meditation for Everyone kit.

To practice mauna, set aside a certain period of the day or maybe a certain time one day a week when you make the commitment to avoid speaking about mundane topics. Instead, you practice one form of Yoga Sound or another. Once you get into the habit of practicing mauna, then on the days when you don’t, you’ll find that you will be able to catch your tongue before it says something unnecessary, critical, or mundane.

From time immemorial, yogis have known that sound vibration affects our consciousness as well as the consciousness of those around us. By controlling the tongue, we can determine what our consciousness will be. In other words, we can spiritualize the mind and heart by regularly practicing mauna.

5 Yoga Tips for Over-Achievers

Do you have a Type A personality—always busy, a real go-getter, pushing yourself to achieve goals at home, at work, and even at play? If so, my guess is that you could be transferring that goal-oriented mindset to your asana practice as well, and this may not be in your best interest. If you always focus on a vigorous asana practice, pushing yourself to exhaustion, perhaps feeling disappointed that you’re not as “advanced” as you’d like to be, you may not be experiencing the amazing benefits yoga has to offer. Yes, a good asana session can be a great workout, but yoga is so much more than that.

Heal and Dissolve Stress with Yoga Nidra

Do you ever dream of just lying down and doing nothing for a while? Wouldn’t that be nice—to just stop and rest? Maybe you should—it will do you more good than you can imagine. Yoga’s deep relaxation, called Yoga Nidra, gives the body and mind much-needed downtime.

I’m sure your days are as busy as mine—perhaps you work, then rush home to prepare a meal, to help kids with homework, or throw in some laundry. The pressure of trying to fit it all in is added to the already stressful situations we experience in life—difficult relationships, health problems, stress at work, to name just a few.

Practicing Yoga Asanas with Osteoporosis

Whether you have just started practicing yoga exercises or have been doing them for some time, keep it up and you’ll be reaping the benefits for years to come. Aside from managing stress, improving concentration and balance, and maintaining muscle strength and flexibility, doing yoga asanas regularly also helps keep our bones strong. This means we’ll be less likely to suffer the painful fractures that many people experience in old age.

Practicing Asanas with a Healed Injury

Think back to any injuries you might have sustained—maybe a broken bone, a torn ligament, sprained ankle, or a back or shoulder injury. Most of us have hurt ourselves in one way or another over the years. If we were able to take care of these injuries properly and they healed well, they may not bother us anymore. But sometimes, though seemingly healed, they can come back to haunt us.

Three Qualities for a Stress-Free Asana Practice

The ancient science of yoga offers profound benefits that go far beyond the physical. But in order to enjoy all of yoga’s benefits—physical, mental, and spiritual—we need to cultivate a certain mindset.

Asanas were designed to enable the practitioner to sit for long periods of time in meditation, so as to achieve the ultimate goal of self-realization. Even if our goals are less lofty, our asana practice can help us develop qualities that contribute to inner peace and a higher consciousness.

De-Stress Your Asana Practice

Why do we practice yoga asanas? I would guess that most of us do it for our health and well-being, to reduce stress, or to experience inner peace. Those are good reasons. But to achieve those results, it’s important to practice in a way that leads to those goals.

Remember that the word “asana” can be translated as “comfortable seat.” The word “comfortable” is the key to your practice. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t gently extend your boundaries—on the contrary, without doing so, the poses won’t get any easier. But it should be a gradual process, approached with patience.

Gaining Insights Through Meditation

Approaching life with the principles of yoga as our foundation will bring us keen insights—whether about our relationships, our personal situation, or our work. These insights will enable us to find a solution to any situation or problem in life.

When we’re faced with a difficult decision, if we’re unable to come up with a solution after analyzing the pros and cons, all too often we just sit there focusing our attention on the problem.


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