It’s time to take up another Yoga challenge; this time in preparation for Guru Purnima. The full moon on July 31st is Guru Purnima, which is the most auspicious day to practice Yoga and especially Meditation. Let’s start to train ourselves by sitting in meditation daily so that we can make the most of this year’s Guru Purnima.
History and Significance of Guru Purnima from Mythology till Today for Yoga practictioners
In yogic lore, it is said that Guru Purnima was the day that saw the birth of the Adi Guru, or the first Guru. The story goes that over 15,000 years ago, a yog1 appeared in the upper regions of the Himalayas. Nobody knew what his origins were. But his presence was extraordinary, and people gathered. However, he exhibited no signs of life, but for the occasional tears of ecstasy that rolled down his face. People began to drift away, but seven men stayed on. When he opened his eyes, they pleaded with him, wanting to experience whatever was happening to him. He dismissed them, but they persevered. Finally, he gave them a simple preparatory step and closed his eyes again. The seven men began to prepare. Days rolled into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, but the yogi’s attention did not fall upon them again.
After 84 years of sadhana, on the summer solstice that marks the advent of Dakshinayana, the earth’s southern run, the yogi looked at them again. They had become shining receptacles, wonderfully receptive. He could not ignore them anymore. On the very next full moon day, the yogi turned south and sat as a guru to these seven men. The Adiyogi (the first yogi) thus became the Adi Guru. Adiyogi expounded these mechanics of life for many years. The seven disciples became celebrated as the Saptarishis and took this knowledge across the world. (this is from Wikipedia; authored by Isha Yoga)
Guru Purnima is held sacred in the yogic tradition because the Adiyogi opened up the possibility for a human being to evolve consciously. The seven different aspects of yoga that were put in these seven individuals became the foundation for the seven basic forms of yoga, something that has still endured.
By the way, July 31st also happens to be ‘once in a blue moon’! When two full moons occur in the same month, it’s called a ‘blue moon‘. All the more reason to be prepared for this rare occurrence!
The 21-Day Challenge this time is really simple. Or is it?! Hopefully it is easy by the end of 21 Days. We’re going to sit daily for 10 minutes in Meditation in Padmasana or Vajrasana (or even Sukhasana). Choose the Meditation you want to do. You can count deep breaths from 27 – 0 (OR) listen to soft music (OR) visualize an image you like from Nature or someone’s face (OR) just sit and watch your thoughts. Whatever you choose, keep practicing daily so that you’re comfortable to sit in Dhyaan. If you are comfortable already (or you feel you’re getting better at it); then increase the time from 10 minutes to more. Either ways, what we’re hoping for is that we’re all comfortable to sit in Dhyaan come Guru Purnima!