ESSENCE OF YOGA

ESSENCE OF YOGA – THE 8 LIMBS

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Essence of yoga

The history of Yoga dates back to time immemorial, and includes a huge body of scriptures. That scriptures navigate the human experience and how we may train the mind through the body, thereby achieving the union of “Yog” with the all that is. So what is essence of yoga?

To witness the self as a direct expression of all that is. And without attaching to experiences, remaining free from conceptions and ideas. Whilst being spontaneously joyous, spring forth with universal knowledge both verbally and non-verbally as a direct outer of the eternal wisdom of the universal. This can become quite esoteric and difficult to comprehend. But may also be simplified when taken in the pathways of everyday practical Yoga routines available to us in real and tangible teachings.

The simplest of these is arguable the Astanga 8 limbs of Yoga. Which teaches us how we may walk the path the renunciates (Yogis) do, while we are still living in the material and commercial world of modernity and stressors.

Applying teachings

In fact, when we take written teachings and apply them where we are, it is the immediate experience. And this experience provides a learning environment and incentive to change our worldview and view of ourselves in it. And thus, we achieve greater knowledge of ourselves and others, our inner and outer world. So what is essence of yoga?

The Ashtanga teachings include a simplification and elucidation of the core yogic path. This was created to simplify and find an accord between the varying schools of Yoga. So it can sometimes cause much confusion to the beginning practitioner or potential student.

To summarize those principles here are the core 8 limbs as recorded in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:

1) Yama (ethical restraints) 2) Niyama (personal observances) 3) Asana (physical postures) 4) Pranayama (breath control) 5) Pratyahara (sense withdrawal) 6) Dharana (concentration) 7) Dhyana (meditation) 8) Samadhi (a state of unity)

The first two limbs consist of ethical and personal restraints and observances that lead us into more and more peace, thereby ensuring our practice may proceed with minimal obstructions. To go to the third step with no regard for the initial two is only going to create more challenges to your practice yielding the fruits your practice would otherwise provide. So it is best to adhere to the path of the ancient teachings in the acknowledgement that you will proceed more easily, and effectively through the path towards self realization and moksha, liberation and freedom from suffering for want of a better translation from Sanskrit.

The following are the breakdown of steps that make up the Yamas and Niyamas:

YAMAS (ethical restraints)

1) Nonviolence (Ahimsa) – doing no harm to oneself or to any living being or “From harming

ourselves and others to kindness and compassion for self and others”. 2) Truthfulness (Satya) – honesty and forthrightness without doing harm or “From lies and

half-truths to expressing our uniqueness and authenticity”. 3) Non-stealing (Asteya) – removing the tendency to look outwards for satisfaction or

“From theft to cultivating new skills and abilities”. 4) Non-excess (Brahmacharya) – being present to the divinity in life and not seeking more

or “From greed to appreciation and pleasure without excess”. 5) Non-possessiveness (Aparigraha) – freedom from desire to “own” or “keep” people,

status and material possessions or “From attachment to intimacy without possession”.

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NIYAMAS (personal observances)

1) Purity (Saucha) – continual clarification of our intent, thoughts, emotions and actions or

“Cleansing our bodies, our speech, our thoughts”. 2) Contentment (Santosha) – being at peace with the present state of awareness, internal

and external conditions or “Falling in love with our own life”. 3) Self-discipline (Tapas) – maintaining the drive and motivation to embrace eternal

change and create balance of “soft” and “hard” in ourself and practices or “Consciously choosing discipline and growth”. 4) Self-study (Svadhyaya) – to study the universal and small self, to also examine the

mind, its thoughts emotions and feelings arising in reaction to the external world, and learning the essence of our conditioned self to release this, so we may rest fully and completely in the expansive universal self and consciousness, or “Knowing the Self”. 5) Surrender (Ishvara Pranidhana) – to release control and embrace the progression

along the path as being like that of a river you have entered, carrying you downstream towards the ocean of enlightenment you release the need to struggle against perceived obstacles. This is essential for regaining faith in ourselves, and the outside world, embracing change and opening the heart and mind or “Paying attention to what life is asking of us”.

I trust that this brief explanation of the core principles in Yogic practice makes clear what was not before, and hides you along the path to union with truth, bliss, peace and consciousness.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

By Thomas Clayden Eckersley B.H.Sc

downward facing dog

Yoga for degenerative disc disease

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Yoga for degenerative disc disease:

An estimated 80 percent of the population will suffer from back pain at one point in their lives but Yoga can magnificently help you to don’t stay in this border line. There are many different conservative and alternative degenerative disc disease treatment options that can help manage the symptoms of this condition. Yoga for degenerative disc disease, for example, can help to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the spine to potentially reduce symptoms. Some of the more popular yoga poses that can accomplish this goal include:

CHILD’S POSE

Begin on all fours with your arms extended straight in front of you. Then, sit back on your heels while keeping your arms straight out. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute and repeat.

DOWNWARD FACING DOG

A good lower backstretch, this pose is accomplished by starting on your hands and knees with your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Raise your knees off the floor and lift your tailbone toward the ceiling to stretch the large muscles in your lower back.

CAT AND COW POSE

Start on all fours on the ground then slowly arch your back to move into the cat pose. After a few seconds, press your shoulder blades back and lift your head to create the cow pose. Repeat as needed.

But Let’s go more specifically now to the yoga for degenerative disc disease….

HERNIATED DISC… What to do?

One of the most common disease of the spine is Herniated Disc and it can be a very painful condition. It identifies damage to the intervertebral disc. The disc undergoes a movement that can cause irritation of the neighboring nerves, with the consequent appearance of back pain and sciatica.
The herniated disc can be lumbar, cervical or dorsal.
Generally in the case of pain in the treatment of herniated disc inflammation, drugs such as cortisone, painkillers and anti-inflammatories are used. If there is strong inflammation, rest is recommended. But as soon as you feel better, Yoga can be a wonderful healing tool.

YOGA POSES for the disc herniation

Yoga in particular hatрa yoga, through the static and dynamic Asanas, helps the spine to be flexible and to find the right posture, as well as strengthening the muscles, tendons and connected nerves.

Here are the best Asanas for disc herniation:

ADVASANA  (Reverse Corpse Pose)

This Asana is recommended for those with herniated disc problems, stiff neck and curved profile. Those suffering from these disorders can also sleep in this position to find benefits.

Lie on the floor mat
Stretch your arms over your head with the palms of your hands on the ground
It relaxes the whole body like in Shavasana.
If you feel uncomfortable or have difficulty breathing in position, put a pillow under your chest
Breathe normally

Hold the position for as long as possible

– JYESTIKASANA (Superior Pose) 

This position is useful for all disorders of the spine

So called as it is the best pose for relaxing spine.

Lie on the tummy with the legs a bit apart. Turn the toes in towards each other and let heels fall out to sides.
Interlock the fingers at the back of the head. Either at the back of neck, or the back of the skull.
Turn the face to one side if that is more comfortable. Half way through rest turn the head to the other side.
Elbows and arms are completely relaxed.
Let the body sink into complete softness and allow the effects of the practices to settle in the body.

Stay as long as you need and  comfortable!

But now coming the Highlight of this Topic….

1 MINUTE AND A HALF OF YOGA AND STRAIGHTEN YOUR BACK.

To reduce spinal problems in adults and adolescents, only 90 seconds of yoga would be enough, every day, for a few months

Back or spine problems, such as scoliosis, can be reduced with only 1,5 per day of yoga.
The beneficial effect, practically immediate, was observed following a study published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine and conducted by a team of researchers. There was  Dr. Loren Fishman of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York.
In this study, Fishman and colleagues evaluated the effects of a yoga posture called “VASISTHASANA” (Side Plank Pose) in 25 patients with idiopathic or degenerative scoliosis.
Based on the analysis, it was established that patients had a primary curve of 6 to 120 degrees.

After recruitment and selection, researchers taught patients how to take posture and maintain it for 10-20 seconds a day during the first week. After that, the participants maintained the position for as long as possible, once a day. The posture, moreover, had to be maintained only on the convex side, that is the weaker side of their vertebral column.

The results of study on the impact of yoga for degenerative disc disease

The final results showed that with an average of only 1.5 minutes per day, six days a week from two to twenty-two months, the yoga posture taken in the study reduces the curves of idiopathic scoliosis from 32% to 49.2% in both adolescents and adults.

The originality of the study lies in having adopted a posture that acts asymmetrically – as is the condition of scoliosis.
The dr. Fishman notes that the National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF) recommends as many as 25 yoga postures to treat scoliosis, but does not provide asymmetric exercise.

The adoption of complicated, tiring and long-lasting exercises puts a strain on patients’ patience and constancy, emphasizes the expert, so it may be that many leave the treatments, with the risk that scoliosis progresses. According to Fishman, untreated scoliosis can progress by 7% per year and cause disability and dangerous health risks.

“Since scoliosis is an asymmetric condition, I treated it asymmetrically – explains Fishman in the press release – asking patients to take the pose only on the weaker side.
This reinforces the specific spinal muscles on the convex side that are necessary to help in reducing the curvature of the vertebral column”.
Apan Mudra

Yoga Mudras to improve health

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MUDRAS…..The power is in our hands

Mudras are yoga movements that are performed with the arms and hands. They are extremely simple, but so powerful that they will transform your life. You can use Yoga Mudras to improve health. How? Simply releasing the blocked energy inside your body in the energy channels called Nadis and in the energy centers called chakras. By arranging and directing this energy through the mudras, you can achieve your goals and have the ability to solve the problems of daily life.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common clinical presentation worldwide. High blood pressure control is important to reduce many disease complications such as kidney failure, heart diseases and stroke. Apart from medications, yoga Hand Mudra is an effective supplement to medical healing clinical conditions like blood pressure, asthma, stress, obesity and heart diseases.

Apana Mudra

This mudra is known as the mudra of energy. It helps the body eliminate toxins and treats bladder problems.
With both hands: join the yolks of the thumb, the ring finger and the middle finger, while the other fingers remain extended.
Practice as needed, from 5 to 45 minutes, or as a cure 3 times a day for 15 minutes.
The Apana Mudra exerts a balancing effect on the state of mind, which depends on a liver that works well. It grants patience, serenity, confidence, inner balance and harmony. In the mental sphere, it generates the ability to develop visions. All this is necessary when looking to the future, when we have to face new challenges and when we want our wishes to be fulfilled.

Benefits:

Reduces heart problems and normalizes palpitations. It is used as first aid for a heart attack when it is done in the first couple of minutes. Maintains blood pressure. Reduces stomach problems and reduces acidity. Regulates intestinal transit and relieves constipation. Maintains body temperature. Increases self-confidence. Reduces menstrual problems.

Garuda mudra

To perform the Garuda mudra, seat straight, place your right hand on top of your left hand, wrapping your right thumb around the joints of your other thumb. The mudra should look like the wings of a bird, with the palms of the hands facing you. Soften your shoulders and place your hands in front of your lower abdomen; hold the mudra for ten breaths. Move your hands up your body, stopping at the navel and center of your chest for ten breaths. This mudra should be done three times a day.

This mudra activates blood circulation, revitalizes the body and balances the energy of the two halves of the body. It revitalizes and stimulates. It also relaxes and softens menstrual irregularities, discomfort with shortness of breath. If you have hypertension, be careful when performing mudras and consult your doctor prior to use.

 

Surya Mudra or Mudra of the Sun:

The tip of the ring finger touches the base of the thumb, which applies slight pressure to the ring finger. Benefits: Increases body heat production, is useful for overweight, aids digestion, lowers cholesterol levels. Precautions: Do not practice this mudra in hot weather.

Prana Mudra or Mudra of Life

The tips of the thumb, ring finger, and pinky finger touch each other, while the rest of the fingers are stretched out. Benefit: awakens the power of prana, is useful for eye diseases and improves vision, increases the body’s resistance to disease, relieves fatigue. Reduces hunger pangs during fasting. In case of insomnia, together with Gyan Mudra, it helps to get to sleep.

Apana Vayu Mudra or Mrita Sanjivani Mudra

Sit comfortably with your spine straight. Breathe gently through your nostrils. Now connect the tip of your middle and ring fingers to the tip of your thumb, then bend your index finger towards your thumb and touch the base of your thumb to the tip of your finger. Leave your pinky finger as long as possible.

This mudra should be kept for 10-15 minutes.

Benefit: Apana Vayu Mudra is believed to be very beneficial for the heart. People with heart disease should practice this mudra on a regular basis. Suitable for those who suffer from stomach problems such as heartburn and indigestion. It normalizes blood pressure and thus stimulates the circulatory system, reduces nervousness, calms the nervous system, and is also very effective in treating migraines. A migraine or headache is primarily caused by poor digestion or nervous nerves. As mentioned, this system calms the nervous system and strengthens the digestive system, leaving no reason for migraines. By calming the nervous system, it induces sleep and cures insomnia.

You can see what is the benefit of using Yoga mudras in our daily life and how it can improve our health.
Difference Between Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga

What is the difference between Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga ?

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What is the Difference between Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga?

When we talk about yoga, the term goes beyond only physical exercise as it is known in western countries. There are different branches that support and rich the whole discipline to eventually become a lifestyle when one deepens into it.

Ashtanga Vinyasa and Vinyasa Flow are two styles of yoga asana which have specific characteristics according to their purpose and philosophy.

What’s the meaning of “Ashtanga”?

The word Ashtanga itself means “the eight limbs (branches)” of yoga which according to the ancient knowledge. There are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Pattabhi Jois and T. Krishnamacharya established Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in Mysore (South India) in the 20th century. These branches are meant to expand the whole discipline into other fields to:

  • learn different techniques to control your breathing and vital energy.
  • improve your concentration and knowledge
  • have a better control of your senses
  • learn different methods of inner and outer purification and of course to balance the mind within the physical body: yoga asana.

Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic, flowing style that connects the movement of the body with a specific technique of breath called “ujjai ”. The importance of this yoga asana practice relies on the daily practice of a sequence series of postures. According to the progress of the yoga practitioner, there are six series of Ashtanga yoga sequences where the level of the asanas as well as the level of concentration in the mind increase.

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Mysore style of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga classes means that the students have to memorize each asana sequence, develop it individually, but setting the energy together and get adjustments from the teacher supporting the class. They should master each posture in the sequence they are working before they move on to the next.

Ashtanga yoga is considered a vigorous, orderly practice. And, as such, is more suited to students who want a dynamic and rigorous yoga practice.

What is Vinyasa yoga flow?

The term Vinyasa refers to connects the breathing system with every movement in the series.

Vinyasa is also the term used to describe a specific sequence of poses commonly used throughout a vinyasa class. For example, Chaturanga to Upward-Facing Dog to Downward-Facing Dog.

In a Vinyasa practice, the student is led by the teacher who will create a different class every time to develop the certain number of asanas. And he go with dynamic flow and increase the level of the postures with the support of some elements such as props, music, some variations according to the student, etcetera.

Some difference between Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga styles are:

  • The sequencing: Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga consists of a series of postures: primary, secondary, and advanced. On the other side, Vinyasa Flow class sequences vary, the practitioner might change a sequence each time.
  • Each Ashtanga Vinyasa series includes a category of asanas: the primary series centers on forwarding bend, the second series focuses on backbends, and the advanced series emphasizes arm-support and arm-balancing poses. Vinyasa Flow yoga sequences, on the other hand, often feature a peak pose, chosen by the yoga teacher according to the level of the student class.
  • The main development of the Ashtanga vinyasa practice is up to the student with the Mysore style class mentioned above. While in the Vinyasa Flow class, the teacher always leads the class through the asanas.
  • Practitioners of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga do not use props, posture modifications, or music. In Vinyasa Flow classes, some teachers make props available to adapt and adjust to some asanas if it is needed.

It would be a good idea to do some research. And also to try a couple of classes to feel yourself. Then finally decide which one is the more suitable for you according to your lifestyle, personality, energy, and physical constitution.

Advanced Yoga Poses, Practice, Sequences: Techniques & Instruction

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Advanced Yoga Poses, Practice, Sequences: Techniques & Instruction:

Yoga tradition in India is an ancient discipline. And it focuses on the balance between body and minds developing also the emotional and spiritual subtle bodies. Yoga shows us how to connect with our physical body and to make ourselves aware of the different functions. It realizes to transform the energy inside, such as respiration, digestion, assimilation and excrete substances. In the same way, it takes a very important part within the nervous, glandular, reproductive systems in our body.

In yoga philosophy, it is applied the term ahimsa. It refers to the ‘non-violence’ towards us and also to our context. Therefor in the moment of the warm-up, this understanding leads us to take care of our body, to feel and listen to it and to take it slowly to the movement and eventually to perform the final pose. In the second place, the importance of the warm-up relies on the prevention of injuries. Because if we take care of the body, it will react in a more positive way for the rest of our yoga practice.

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Types of Warm-up for Advanced Yoga Poses

There are several ways to take our body to warm it up. Professionals within the physical body establish these options to make some order in the moment of irrigating blood towards the muscles:

1. Warm-up from head to feet
2. Warm-up from feet to head

Joints Warm-up for Advanced Yoga Poses

The movement starts from the joints in order to lubricate them: ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, toes, neck. Afterward it is recommended to speed up the heart bit with some deeper exercises to increase the body temperature. Finally, it is appropriated to do some stretching exercises all over the body. Mainly in the biggest muscles in order to prepare it for a practice. Which is demanding a longer duration, movement, resistance, strength.

Warm-up for intense poses

If within your yoga practice there are included some asanas that require a higher level of strength, balance or to be held for a longer period of time, there are few recommendations.

Sun salutation is a very complete series of asanas since it warms up every muscle in our body from feet to head. It also goes gentle with the body so they awake gradually, and at the same time it becomes intense. So it activates biggest muscle groups such as the abdomen, buttocks, tries to give a strong support for the rest of the body.

In Hatha Yoga there is the Pawanmuktasana group, which is a series of asanas with a deep effect so body and mind get prepared to develop the practice from the essence to the most advanced asanas:

  • anti- rheumatic Asana group
  • Abdominal and digestive Asana group

A good Warm-up for Advanced Yoga Poses besides preparing the body to do a nice yoga practice, one can avoid overcharging and harming the body. It is essential to give the gap and time to prepare the body with a good warm-up. So we can elongate his well functioning through a healthy way.

Yoga for Shoulder Pain

How to Use Yoga for Shoulder Pain, Stretches for shoulder pain

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How to Use Yoga for Shoulder Pain, Stretches for shoulder pain: Yoga is an ancient practice whose objective is to take the human body to a state of balance. Within the human body there are also other subtle energies such as the mental body, the emotional and the spiritual body. In our daily life, in our every day activities. we focus mainly into the physical body only. Yoga makes special emphasis to connect with our five senses and develop the capacity of becoming more sensitive about them in order to touch these subtle energies that are flowing within us.

Connection mind- body- emotions

It is known that every part of the physical body is related with some emotional memories from the past, and that our subconscious body is wiser than our intellectual body and thus it is reflecting through the physical body some sore, pain, or even some decease in order to alert us that something in our emotional or mental level is unbalanced.

Within the psyche science, shoulders in our body represent the capacity of holding an emotional weight, either happiness, sadness, fear or anger whether it is under our control or not. We might feel unbalanced whenever we have the sensation that we still have too many of goals to accomplish and it might be too intense to complete them , or even to feel non satisfied about it.

Also when we are experiencing certain insecurities either emotional or material, shoulders might tend to tense. In the moment of tension, they are also contracting and therefor closing up. This connotation of closing implies also blockage to communication with ourselves and with the environment. As a consequence , shoulders might block the openness with the heart because it rests between both shoulders and, and this tension would be blocking as well the natural flow with the rest of our body.

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Yoga for Shoulder Pain

Asanas in Yoga promote the openness of the distance between the shoulders and the ears, they are improving the functions of the respiration system. All this will generate a release of this tension and also a decrease of the pain on this area as well as in the neck and in the upper back.

  1. Garudasana (eagle pose). This asana will stretch the dorsal area and the arm muscles.

  1. Ardha Uttanasana (half standing forward bend pose). This posture benefits the stretching of the frontal torso as well as the strengthening of the back muscles, creating distance between the shoulder and the ears.

  1. Gomukasana (cow pose). It helps to expand the chest improving the heart functions, it also optimizes the openness of the shoulders and the elongation of the upper part of the back.

  1. Adomukhasvanasana (downward facing dog). The appropriated performance of this pose benefits the openness of the shoulders, armpits, and chest as well as the elongation of the spine.

  1. Pendant pose. The benefits of this asana are: to release tension on the lateral muscles of the neck.

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Yoga for kids. How yoga is beneficial for children?

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Parenting in today’s world is full of challenges. It’s not uncommon for parents to feel overwhelmed by their busy schedules and seemingly endless responsibilities. But, it is uncommon for us to think about how the demands of parenthood may also be overwhelming for our children. Our little people are strong and resilient. But they are often influenced by stressful situations just as much as big people. Many adults practice yoga for stress release and relaxation. And what about yoga for kids? Is it beneficial for children?

The answer to that question is: ABSOLUTELY. Introducing children to yoga is not only valuable for relaxation. It is valuable for sharing knowledge, building confidence, and developing communication skills.

Yoga Educates

Many Asanas (yoga postures) were named after animals and plants because they were created by yogis who lived close to nature. When children practice these asanas they will use their imagination as they embody the movements of a cobra or a butterfly, and sharpen basic skills as they count to ten while standing tall and strong like a tree.

 

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Yoga Builds Self Esteem

As a form of exercise, yoga is good for building coordination, flexibility and strength. What separates yoga from youth sports and other goal oriented physical activities is that it is noncompetitive. This creates a space for a child to experience control over their physical being and develop body awareness without any feelings of judgement or comparison.

Yoga Strengthens Communication

Children may not be able to understand the complex and dynamic systems of human anatomy but they can experience their brain communicating with their body through yoga. As they alternate between Cat and Cow, they will be actively listening to, and speaking with, their bodies. After completion they will be able to talk about the different physical sensations they felt, adding an opportunity for them to verbalize the connection between their mind and body.

Yoga is Fun

In addition to all the benefits mentioned above, let’s not forget that yoga is really fun. Indeed, kids deserve time to play and let’s be honest, a yoga mat is a playground. So next time you’re looking for something to do with your kids, drop down into Lion’s Pose, stick out your tongue, and let out a roar. Your pride will have some happy cubs.

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TIPS FOR A GOOD YOGA PRACTICE

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Because Yoga is a whole life journey and also a discipline, it is not only about performing asanas or postures. The full Yoga practice is a concept which the goal is the purification of the body and mind in parallel.

Such purification brings us harmonic balance including all the activities in our life. From the well functioning of the systems within our body to a deeper understanding of the our mind to create more space and experience mental peace, tranquility,  then more genuine and long term happiness.

The Importance of A Healthy Sleeping Process

To have a good rest is vital. In order to wake up fresh on the next morning and regenerate our body. So we can invest the energy we accumulated to do our yoga practice.

In order to have a quality rest time, it is essential in the first place to make some gap in our mind, emotions and consciousness by the moment we go to sleep. It is likely that the mind would stay  sharp and clear even by the moment we wake up.

As well as it is recommended to make some space in the mind in the moment we go to sleep. You can do it by keeping aside certain worries, avoiding the contact with the phone and similar devices. It is also essential to have some space in the stomach, in other words it is important to have an early and light dinner that would be easier to digest.

 

Kriyas (Purification of the body)

The purpose of these cleansing exercises, according to the nature of our body, is to help with the elimination of the toxins.

According to the classical Hatha yoga knowledge, there are six main Kriyas  (Shat Kriyas):

  • Neti: It implies different kinds of nasal cleansing.
  • Dhauti: A method to clean the upper digestive system.
  • Nauli: It is the strengthening of the abdomen as well as the purification of the digestive system.
  • Kapalabhati: The cleansing of the respiratory system: from the nasal cavities to the lungs lungs, as well as mental impurities.
  • Trataka: A mind purifying technique through the sense of sight using the flame of a candle.

Such cleansing or purification get a stronger effect on the body if we apply them on an empty stomach as well as our yoga asana practice, if we  have to do it early morning. Otherwise it is better to leave a gap of three to four hours after having meals.

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Ahimsa: Taking Care of Our Body, Practicing Non-Violence

Since all yoga practices lead to the path of liberation through the philosophic principles such as respect, solidarity and devotion. In the asana practice it is applied as the term ‘Ahimsa’ (nonviolence). It means to establish a relationship with our body with the purpose of having a deeper understanding according to what it needs for maintaining the harmony within. To be aware of certain physical limitations or injuries, it is necessary to warm the body up previously to the performance of the asanas, as well as increasing the capacity to be able to perform more advanced ones.

 

To Be Present is To Be Connected With Our Own Nature:

  • Before the practice it is very important to let go any thought from the past or the future. So we can connect with the present moment and link with our body.
  • When we are linked with our body, we can deepen our yoga practice by connecting to the breath with every posture. Which means that we are able to unify the inhalation- exhalation when we enter to the posture, when we are in the posture itself and finally on the way out of it.
  • These are some tips that will do of your yoga Asana practice, a conscious activity. And therefore your will be able to notice the benefits within your body and the mind.
christmas celebration in akshi yogashala 2

Christmas Celebration at Akshi Yogashala

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Compared to Diwali and other religious festivals, the celebration of Christmas in India is quite small. However, in recent years sightings of Christmas Baba have become more and more widespread across the nation as mango trees are decorated, Midnight mass services are held, and festively wrapped gifts are opened excitedly by children. Akshi Yogashala has started a tradition of their own for the holiday, a tradition that is centered around Karma Yoga and the gift of giving.

Rishikesh, the Yoga Capital of The World, is a hotspot for tourists and visitors from India and beyond. Unfortunately – like many popular destinations across the world – if one ventures slightly off of the beaten path they will find themselves amidst communities where folks don’t have access to family sustaining careers and are struggling to fulfill their daily needs. Committed to sharing and caring, Akshi Foundation developed a way to give back to the local community during the Christmas season.

In March of 2013, the Udaan Foundation Trust, launched a free school for underprivileged students in Rishikesh. Akshi Foundation recognized this meaningful work, and decided to reach out to the school to see how they could best support their efforts. This helping hand was received graciously by the trust, and an annual Christmas celebration was coordinated.

This year Akshi Yogashala collected donations to buy clothes for students and hand delivered that offering to the school on Christmas Day. In addition to this gesture, students enrolled in Akshi’s 200 Hour Yoga TTC visited the school to celebrate the holiday with the children. The morning was filled with dancing and live performances, smiles and laughter, and most importantly, genuine appreciation for the work the Udaan Foundation does to provide these youth with access to education.

The Christmas celebration at Udaan Foundation Trust’s school is more than just a symbol of Akshi Foundation’s gratitude to the Rishikesh community. It is an opportunity to highlight the true nature of holiday spirit. Selfless actions for the greater good are what makes celebrating Christmas special, and they are also fundamental to the teachings of yoga. As a leader in the yoga community, Akshi Foundation believes it is their duty to instill these values in their students, and leading by example is one of the most effective ways for a teacher to communicate these ideals.

Change Attitudes Towards Teaching Yoga

3 ways to Change Attitudes Towards Teaching Yoga

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How to change attitudes towards teaching yoga?

When people come to the yoga teacher training course , they are inspired by the desire to share what they love with others. Difficulties arise when a beginner yoga instructor becomes a teacher and organizer of his own activity. It happens that the environment of yoga studios, which forces to sell more and more, discourages the conduct of classes. At such times it is useful to reconsider your beliefs and see new horizons on the chosen path.

We offer 3 ways to change it on the other hand:

  1. Feel the inner strength.

The leader paves the way not for others to follow him, but to inspire everyone to follow his own path. Try to improve the quality of your services. Let people get the best that you can give. Remember the joy and strength of activity when you give yourself completely to the process. Spend yoga , giving the maximum of what you can do.

You are not a person. Ideas about yourself can only be knowledge of past experience. Do not rush to evaluate your teaching practice. Look at each lesson as a new achievement. Feel yourself immobile inside, like the ocean, and the emotional waves on the surface will not be able to subdue you.

Questions for introspection:  Can you give a reassessment of your past actions and with dignity talk about yourself in the present? How can you change your personality to feel confident in your actions?

  1. Create inspiration, not business.

When we act according to our principles and defend our convictions, we feel strong. Our inner strength is gaining a firm footing, and we can do more and more for this world. Create a movement that inspires people to stand by your side, joining your mission and sharing your values.

The world needs health, healing and hope. You can sit back and watch others become part of positive change or go to your dream, be someone who inspires and motivates others to reveal their potential.

Look at your values ​​from a different angle. Successful and sincere entrepreneurship is not marketing and increasing sales, but the inspiration of others and helping them to get answers to their questions.

Questions for introspection:  What led you to a yoga mat? How did you come to teaching? What were the most memorable ideas, books, insights that influenced you? If you could offer the world one gift, what would it be?

  1. Do not discount your activities.

Faith is a great value, which is why it is so difficult to change one’s beliefs. So you’ve probably heard that money is just energy, and they become what they believe in.

If you think:

  • Money is evil, then they will become it.
  • That it is bad to get money to help others in healing and understanding themselves, then for you it will become true.
  • The receipt of money is contrary to your ideas of sincerity and spirituality, then you will face self-condemnation, receiving money for doing yoga .

You have the right to keep faith in it, but you need to give up limiting beliefs, if you want to become a master of your craft. To a loving person appeared in your life, you need to learn how to truly love yourself. The same principle applies to value: feel the value of your actions so that others treat your work with dignity. Think about this the next time you feel ashamed of the desire to receive a reward for your work. Therefore, to change attitudes towards teaching yoga is not easy, but possible if you want it.

Questions for introspection:   What kind of payment do you charge for your services? This question scares you? Answer clearly with a sense of self-worth and a sense that you are a representative of the tradition and experience of your teachers.

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