Practice of Shiva-yoga ( Instructions for the beginners )
You will require:
– Ishtalinga – one small pot of water – one small bowl – two pieces of cloth (one that is well absorbing and another one which is soft, like flannel) (note: all items should never be used for purposes other than Shiva-yoga!)
1. Choose a silent place and sit in a comfortable but firm posture (sukhasana). It is best to sit on the floor. Wear comfortable clothes of natural material.
Sit in padmasana or some easy, comfortable but firm posture.
2. Place Ishtalinga in the centre of your left palm. A little sign that you notice on Ishtalinga must always face the thumb. Direct your index finger towards the centre of the bowl. Immerse your right ring fInger in water and draw a water line along your index finger.
Place Ishtalinga on the palm of your left hand.
3. Take a pot of water in your right hand and slowly pour water over Ishtalinga, repeating 2-3 times mentally the mahamantra OM NAMAH SHIVAYA. The water should flow evenly down your index finger into the bowl.
Pour water over Ishtalinga, repeating the shadakshara (six-lettered) Maha-mantra
4. Dry Ishtalinga with a clean, well absorbing piece of cloth. Dry it thoroughly. Dry your palm also. The palm should not be wet.
5. Gently rub your left palm on a soft flannel cloth. Your palm should be warm. Then gently rub Ishtalinga, in one direction only, from knee towards the body. This will make the coating of Ishtalinga very shiny and, more importantly, electricity will be generated (see Swamiji’s lecture!)
Gently rub the Ishta-linga towards you (only in one direction)
6. Place an oil-lamp or a candle behind and just a little above your left shoulder.
Place an oil-lamp or a candle behind and just a little above your left shoulder.
7.Shiva-yoga is to be practised in the dark, so make sure the lights in the room are turned off or the blinds are closed.
Make sure that lights are turned off.
8. Place Ishtalinga on your left palm. Again the sign on Ishtalinga should be facing the thumb.
9. Raise your left palm so as to come in line with the place between your eyebrows. Greet Ishtalinga with a circular, anti-clockwise movement of your open right hand.
10. Determine the correct distance between Ishtalinga and the eyes. Use your right hand. Fold all fingers except the thumb. Press your right wrist against the left wrist and touch the tip of your nose with the tip of the thumb which should be straight. Once you do this, support your left arm with the right hand, either by holding your left elbow, or by tucking your right hand under your left arm-pit.
Take appropriate distance between left palm and eyes
11. Sit straight and start gazing at the speck of the light on the coating of Ishtalinga. This steadfast gazing is called Tratak. During Tratak your eyes should be half closed and you should not blink. All the time, repeat mentally the mantra OM NAMAH SHIVAYA.
Yoga students practising Shiva-yoga
12. Begin your practice with not more than 5 minutes (time of practice will increase on its own!), then bow down to lshtalinga. By doing so, you actually bow down to Shri Swamiji.
13. After the practice is over, remain seated in silence and enjoy the overall peace that surrounds you. Meditate with eyes closed. Thus all the benefIt from the practice of Shiva-yoga will be preserved.
Always sit in the same place. Face either north or east and try to start your practice at the same time every day. The best time is early in the morning (between 4 and 6 hrs) or in the evening (between 19 and 21 hrs). During Shiva-yoga practice do not wear any metal ornaments on your body as it will prevent the even flow of energy (prana), throughout your body. You should also remove wrist-watch and specs or lenses. But, in case you are long-sighted, leave your specs on!
Keep your Ishtalinga in a small cotton or silk bag (never use leather or synthetic material). Treat your Ishtalinga with utmost care, respect and above all-love. It is sacred. If you wish, you can wear it on your body, i.e., around your neck so that it stays in the area of anahata chakra (heart centre). Your lshtalinga has been blessed by Shri Kumarswamiji and is full of his Guru-shakti (Master’s power) and Grace. The wearing of lshtalinga fIlls your body with wonderful energy and gives you protection against various negative influences from the outside world. It also helps you to always remember Shri Kumarswamiji and the practice of Shiva-yoga.
Be regular in your practice and feel the blessings of Guruji.
This article ‘Practice of Shiva-yoga’ is prepared by Gurudeva’s ardent disicple and devotee from direct learning the practice from His Holiness Mahatapsvi Shri Kumarswamiji.