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house1.jpgYoga of the Home:

Using Yoga to Create Sacred Space in our Homes

By Christan Hummel

  What do the beating of a shaman's drum, the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, stone monuments in Ireland, a Hopi medicine wheel, the ancient art of Feng Shui all have something in common? Each in their own way are attempts by different cultures to harmonize their space with their environment. Temples throughout time, from Stonehenge to the Great Pyramid, attest to humanity's desire to create sacred space, to open a doorway to bring Heaven to Earth. For thousands of years, humans have been striving towards a sacred union of mind, body and spirit with the land itself.

In ancient Vedic times, it was the natural state for people to be in tune with the core of their innermost being, and thus a natural communion with Nature resulted. The ancient Rishis worshipped the mountains and rivers as sacred, and to their finely tuned senses, the inherent divinity residing with Nature was obvious and deserving of reverence.

Today, our modern cities are testaments to a world addicted to unbridled growth at any cost. Electromagnetic stresses, pollution, and negative vibrational energy currents plague us in a manner unprecedented in human history. Under these conditions, is it still possible to create sacred space? Is it possible to apply the science of yoga and the wisdom of the ancients to promote harmony in our homes?

The ancient practice of yoga, of integration of mind?body-spirit can harmonize us, as well as our environments. As in ancient times, the utilization of yoga techniques to become attuned to nature can help us regain this lost inherent wisdom of how to live in harmony with our environment.

The Earth as a Holographic Reflection:

Many indigenous cultures throughout the world have viewed the Earth as a holographic reflection of the human body. Ancient Chinese and Vedic medicine believed that humans possess a meridian system that carries the currents of life energy throughout our bodies. When they are open, flowing and healthy, so are our body's systems.

EarthgridThe earth contains these meridians as well. They have been known by cultures all over the world for thousands of years. More recently coined ?ley lines? by Alfred Watkins in 1921 in England, this concept has now found its way into the common vernacular of our society.

While most homes do not exist on ley lines, there are all other energetic earth currents that influence our home environments. Some of these "meridians" are polluted with electro stresses as well as negative vibrational toxins such as battles, massacres and the like. These vibrations are stored in the records of the land itself, reflecting back to its inhabitants and causing serious illness, even death in extreme cases.[1] Fortunately, these energetic currents respond positively to spiritual impression. As a result, the vibrational stresses of the average home can be transformed through the same yogic techniques that transform those stresses in our minds and bodies.

As Within, So Without

To bring harmony and purity to our homes, we first have to understand that our external environment is only a reflection of our inner state. In The Upanishads, one of the great ancient yogic texts, we are reminded:

As is the atom, so is the universe.

As is the human body, so is the cosmic body.
As is the human mind, so is the cosmic mind.

As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm.

From the atom to the cosmos, Nature's laws and order are reflected. All of life is connected to this same order: the human body, our homes, and the cosmos.

Distortions arising in our physical environment are symptoms of minds and emotions that are out of synch with this natural order. As the ancient science of Sthapatya Ved says:

As is the human body, so is the cosmic body.

As is the human body, so is the body (structure) of the building.

As is the body of the building, so is the cosmic body.

As is the building plan, so is the cosmic plan.

So by demonstrating harmony in our inner environment, outer environment will begin to reflect that harmony as well.

Harmonizing our Homes with Yoga

While yoga can restore the flow of Ch'i through our bodies, the same yogic practices of meditation, sacred movement, sound, and ceremony can also create balance, flow, prosperity and peace in our homes.

Our ancient ancestors knew that meditation, ritual and ceremony were an essential part of keeping in balance the harmony between humanity and Nature. They routinely practiced a kind of yoga with the land, to keep life in balance. While this is a tradition lost to most of us in our modern culture, yoga holds a key to its revival.

The following yogic practices, when used with intention, will do much to restore balance and harmony to any home, making it a peaceful sanctuary where Heaven and Earth unite:

Clear the Mind: One of the first steps in any yogic regimen is to clear and still the mind. This begins to align us with the Source of our Being. Similarly when we clear our homes of the external clutter, we allow the vibrations of a natural order to permeate our surroundings.

Breath: Perhaps one of the most powerful tools in yoga is the use of the breath to bring our consciousness back in tune with the Divine Cosmic Breath. This Cosmic Breath is the rhythm of Life itself. The cycles of the seasons represent the inhale and exhale of Life itself. In the winter, when the force of Life is receding, it is not a good time to start new activities, but to dissolve old attachments and connections, to go within and recede as well. In the spring, when Life is bursting forth with abundance, it is a time for new projects and activities as we are aligned with the flow of Life at that time. By synchronizing our home activities with the timings and cycles of Nature, we align ourselves with that Cosmic Breath, or pulsation of Life.

Balance: Achieving balance of mind, body and spirit is a core aim of any yogic practice. In our homes, this is achieved by paying attention to the five elements: earth (body), water (emotions), air (mind), fire (spirit), ether (prana or sound). Become mindful that your home has a balanced representation of each of the elements. A home that is predominantly governed by one of these elements over the others will bring its inhabitants out of balance due to the undue influence of that element.

Movement: In yoga, certain movements of the body can stimulate the production of certain hormones, and restore the flow of Ch'i in the body. Likewise, homes that incorporate aspects of sacred movement will rejuvenate the environment. For instance, in properties containing labyrinths, there is a curious absence of negative earth energy currents on those properties. Similarly, rituals such as sacred dance, like the twirling of the Sufi dances, when done with awareness and intention, can transform negative vibrational energies on a property.

Sound: Nada Yoga means "union through sound." It is the ancient spiritual art and science of inner transformation through sound and tone. Russill Paul, author of The Yoga of Sound, states, "Through Nada Yoga, we can fine-tune our bodies and our minds to resonate with the harmony in all of creation, from atoms and cells to flowers and planets.

om_symbol.jpgThe healing uses of sound date back to ancient Greece, when the playing of the flute was used to relieve the pain of sciatica; and in Biblical times when David treated King Saul's depression with the playing of the harp. Today, there is a growing recognition that certain sounds influence health, mental states, emotions and consciousness giving birth to new fields of healing through the use of vibration and sound.

Pythagoras declared that there existed a "music of the spheres," a harmonic order of the cosmos. When we align with those harmonic sounds of the cosmos, we create a vibrational link to those higher dimensional levels through sound. Throughout the world, temples have employed sound to vibrate heaven into the sacred meridians of the earth.

The Vedas state that mantras chanted continually have the power to purify and rejuvenated the environment. When we offer sound as vibrational medicine for our homes, the result is a harmonizing of our environment with that "music of the spheres."

Form: The asanas of yoga were first devised to mirror the forms in nature. In so doing, our bodies and minds were put into tune with that natural order. The same is true of architecture that patterns the harmonics found in Nature. Nature does not have straight angles, it flows in curves and spirals, and so when we see examples of spirals, like a winding staircase, or the flow of water in a waterfall, we feel an instant harmony in environments that pattern Nature. Certain mathematical harmonics attuned to Nature achieve similar results. The mathematical harmonizing with nature was a main key to the building of the Cathedrals and temples throughout Europe, China, Egypt and India.

Ceremony: In yoga, the yajnas, or fire sacrifices, are a ceremonial bridge between the inner and outer worlds, between human and the divine. Fire transforms all things into their most subtle essence. Whether applying the spiritual fire of spiritual practice (tapas) or the actual fire of a candle flame, fire transmutes and refines both our inner and outer environments. The ritual of placing a problem at the fire of a candle each night relieves the mind of the problem and one awakes feeling refreshed and relieved of the burden offered to the sacrificial fire. Yagnas like Agnihotra, dedicated to the god of fire, are known to purify the environment on physical as well as subtle levels. They have been shown to lower pathogenic viruses, pollution and even crime in areas where performed. Imagine the effect of yagnas performed in our homes. Sacred blessings of the land, releasing of the energies and traumas of the past, giving thanks to the ancestors, releasing all prior spirits on the property, all are ceremonies which purify and cleanse the vibrations of our homes when done with mindfulness.

While times have changed, basic principles have not. Ancient yogic techniques of nada yoga harnessing the subtle vibrations of sound, asanas designed to mirror Nature's perfection, yagnas to purify and redeem the past, and meditation tuning us into the divine current of life around us?these techniques work not only to refine our own inner subtle vibrations, but also the vibrations of the space where we live, and our planet as well. Some of the most common changes that people have experienced when harmonizing their space with their environment include more energy, better sleep, enhanced learning among students, improved relationships, increased financial flow, increased plant growth, and better health among animals in the area.

Now is a crucial time to make our homes our temples--places where the sacred vibrations radiate out to heal our families and communities. While our modern times have created more complex problems, they have also created different solutions to the same age-old quest: creating sacred space on earth. By harmonizing the vibrations of our space, and creating sacredness among the mundane, we can transform our homes into sanctuaries of harmony.

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[1] Recent scientific research conducted in Europe reveals the connections between environmental stresses, and the occurrence of A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder), a 92% correlation with the onset of cancer, and a host of other diseases.
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