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Inversions

Know your Asana: SIRSASANA

Turning the whole world topsy-turvy, comes the asana that is called the 'King of Asanas'  -Sirsasana, popularly called the “Headstand” is an inversion. It benefits every system of the body and is a morale booster, once you learn to stay up in the posture. What makes Sirsasana so special? In the words of Swami Sivananda, author of Yoga asanas, “In this asana alone, the brain can draw plenty of Prana and blood. It leads to natural Pranayam and Samadhi by itself. No other effort is necessary.” Practicing Sirsasana is a great way to lift your energy, relax your body and mind. Besides, it relaxes all the organs that are pulled by the gravity all day long. Chakra-wise As we balance on the cranium, the asana nourishes the head with oxygen and blood which balances the Sahasrara (Crown chakra). This leads to relaxing your mind and releases all the stress.  An active Sahasrara Chakra unifies the human mind with the higher self and takes us beyond the existence of space and time. This chakra is associated with wisdom, enlightenment and transcendence. Benefits of Sirsasana The most obvious benefit is the increase in blood flow. Extra oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the head means oxygen supply to the brain, more nutrient flow to the scalp and it balances the functioning of brain. The heart works against gravity; inverting your entire body lessens the strain on your heart, and allows a plentiful supply of oxygen-rich blood to reach your head and brain. When you flip onto your head you will be directly stimulating your lymphatic system and thereby helping to remove toxins from your body. Headstand is known as a cooling posture, meaning that it helps you to draw your attention [...]

By | July 18th, 2017|Asana, Inversions, Knowledge Articles, Total Yoga, Yoga, yoga for energy|Comments Off on Know your Asana: SIRSASANA

The 21-Day Headstand Challenge!

SIRSASANA is the most iconic and admired Yoga Asana and for thousands of years Yogis have been identified with standing on their Heads! The Headstand conjures up ideas of Mastery over the Body, overcoming Fears in the Mind and an immersion into the Meditative arts. Why Sirsasana? 5 Benefits of the 'King of Asanas!' By inverting the Body, blood flow is re-directed to the Head; thereby stimulating the functioning of the Brain. As we grow older and the neck muscles tighten, lesser Blood flows upwards and while this may be marginal - by re-directing the blood flow upwards, we ensure that brain functions like Memory, Focus & Creativity don't diminish. Sirsasana re-stimulates the functioning of the Pineal gland. This small gland calcifies once we reach the age of about 8. However, unlike the Appendix, the Body continues to nourish the Pineal gland. For a long time, Medical researchers were searching for the function of the Pineal gland. Apart from its role in Sleep, the Pineal gland is also very active in Meditation. This was seen in Electro-Encaphalogram studies of Buddhist monks while Meditating. This corroborates the Pineal gland's importance in Yogic lore - where it relates to Bindu Visarga, one of 8 chakras in some Yogic systems. It connects Man to spiritual insight. Sirsasana is not recommended for people with High BP initially, although over time and if the practitioner can rightly do Headstand, it helps alleviate the condition. In addition, it gives the practitioner a unique Confidence in his Body's abilities. We naturally walk upright but by learning to stand on our Heads, we overcome not just Fears but also various limiting conditioning of our Minds. Finally, the Core gets toned as it engages in order to raise your [...]

By | June 30th, 2016|Asana, Inversions, Knowledge Articles, Meditation, Total Yoga, Yoga, Yoga Challenge, yoga for energy, Yoga in Daily Life|Comments Off on The 21-Day Headstand Challenge!

Sirsasana – look at the world differently by Purnima Trasi

Very recently, for the first time in my 'yoga life', I practiced Sirsasana without the wall and with just a bit of support from my guru! I have had a bit of a mental block with even trying to practice the upside down asana, so I was elated! Apart from the initial euphoria of being able to do the asana I didn't feel any different, until I sat down to meditate, a few moments later. Then, it was like suddenly parts of my brain opened up that hadn't been used before.. Oh yes, there are many of those in my brain! After the first few moments of calm, I started analyzing some conflicting issues in my life that were clearly hidden in the back of my brain and something inside told me that I wasn't handling them right. I was looking at those issues in the arrogant, ignorant, angry manner that is not me and certainly not the yogi me. I was so overwhelmed with that realization that I was crying through meditation! I realized that even though we think we have worked out or come to terms with issues dear to our heart, until we really look deep within ourselves, those issues may still exist. Clearly for me, the practice of Sirsasana had sent blood rushing to my brain to get it working again! But Sirsasana has a lot of other benefits. Sirsasana also known as the king of asanas, is a headstand. To get into a headstand, you need to identify the crown of the head by putting your palm on the forehead and taking your middle finger to the top most point on the head. Then sitting in Vajrasana interlock your palms and place them on the mat in [...]

Aversion to Inversions

I am not one of those people who did headstands or handstands or tumbled and did cartwheels at every opportunity as a child. You are talking to a person here who during preteen and teen years avoided PE classes as much as possible bringing in a note every couple of weeks so that I would be allowed to skip the class. In my yoga classes, I stayed away from headstand for a long time, refusing whenever my teacher asked me to try sirasasana. When I started Teacher Training I could not say no anymore. Eventually, I accepted my teacher’s offer to help me get into wall supported headstand. I folded my mat into half and set it against the wall. Then I knelt down, put my forearms on the ground and clasped my hands. When I put the crown of my head on the ground, fear started rising inside of me. I took a deep breath and then let out a long exhale. My anxiety over doing inversions is long-standing. I raised my hips into the air slowly resting them on the wall for support. Then I brought one leg up and my teacher held the knee so I could bring the other leg up. And just like that I was in a supported headstand. After he placed my heels against the wall, he stood back to check my alignment. At that point somebody called for his help and I was left upside down. All I remember was being taken over by panic and my feeble voice saying ‘over here please, I need help to get out of this pose.’ Soon afterward, but what seemed like an eternity to me, he helped me back down [...]

By | February 4th, 2015|Asana, Inversions, Meditation, Pranayam, Total Yoga, Total Yogis, Yoga, Yoga in Daily Life|Comments Off on Aversion to Inversions

Shoulder Trouble by Jagdeep Dosanjh-Badwal

In October 2014 my shoulder pain was it's worse. I knew a medical diagnosis was required. The x-Ray and assessment by the orthopedic consultant revealed that the most likely cause of the pain was an impingement on the rotator cuff, bone calcification was ruled out, which I was told was good news ! I was recommended physiotherapy for period of 7 days and given a series of exercises that were required to be done 2-3 times daily; as long as no pain was felt. Some exercises had to be done with a physio band, or Swiss ball, against a wall and another from the top of a door frame. I leant the importance of stretching exercises and only when stretched without pain would the shoulder strengthen. My 3 favorite stretches include 1. Anterior Shoulder Stretch . Grasp something above such as a door frame . Move forwards, leaving arm behind to stretch in front if shoulder . Hold position 20-30secs and repeat 3x 2. Posterior Shoulder Stretch .Place one arm across the front and pull it in tight with the other . Hold for 20-30secs and repeat 3x.. Should feel a gentle stretch in the back of the shoulder but no pain 3. Supraspinatus stretch .Place the hand on the lower back and use other hand to pull the elbow forwards . Keep hand on lower back . You should feel a gentle stretch at back of shoulder .Hold for 20-30 secs, repeat 5 x - if painful discontinue I went back to the yoga studio after a 2 week break and recalled my consultants words, "no headstands! " I continued my practice mindful of my injury, this meant fewer rounds of surya namaskara, less [...]

By | January 12th, 2015|Asana, Asana for Shoulders, Asanas Directory, Inversions, Meditation, Pranayam, Total Yoga, Yoga, Yoga for Sports|Comments Off on Shoulder Trouble by Jagdeep Dosanjh-Badwal

The TOTAL YOGI Work-out!

A lot of people have asked me for a Yoga routine that they can follow. I've always resisted. Ideally there should be NO routine in your YOGA practice - it's not about mastering 15-20 poses; but about having overall Flexibility, Strength and being Sensitive to what your Body requires at that particular MOMENT. And only then you have a chance to be fresh every single time you do Yoga. Only then can you keep the wonder and interest alive - and then Meditation can begin to happen to you. No Auto-Pilot routines of Asanas! Ideally. However, till you develop the interest and time to figure it out yourself - here's what I'd recommend - the TOTAL YOGI workout! How often should you practice Yoga?  I'd say, a minimum of 7 days a week!  Yes, like you eat or bathe everyday; so too should yoga be practiced daily. How long should you practice? At least 40 mins. I don't expect you to sustain focus for longer and you'll end up wasting a lot of time in between especially if you're practicing by yourself. So keep it tight! Any less than 40 mins is tough - simply because we are doing Asanas, Pranayam & Meditation! When? Preferably early morning - after your toilet & shower - before eating. Else, evening. What constitutes the Total Yogi Work-out? It should include Flexibility, Cardio, Balance and Strength training apart from Relaxation & Meditation. Each major Body-Part should have an exercise. Asana trains muscle endurance - so each pose should be held  for 1 min. Your target is to hold this 1 min with only 12 breaths; or lower! For further Fitness - Isometric exercises (push-ups, squats, crunches) will follow the Asana. For all the [...]