India is a special place, and practicing yoga there has been an amazing experience. There are many things that make yoga in India unique and different from the states, but before I get into some of those differences, I want to start by saying that these practices can be cultivated within any culture, in any country you happen to find yourself. You do not need to travel halfway across the world to start practicing yoga everyday. You can do it in your own living room, on your own or with a small group of friends. When we set goals for ourselves that feel unattainable, it gives us an excuse to quit before we even get started. So don’t decide that India in the only real place to practice yoga, because it’s not! But there is a sense of ease and lineage that make yoga in India a thing all of its own. The two places that I have practiced most of my yoga are in India, the birthplace of yoga, and the United States, the birthplace of modern yoga. With our modern twist, we’ve picked out the parts that we like and tossed a lot of other stuff aside, for reasons that I can’t exactly pin down. I want to highlight some of the things that have made my personal experience practicing yoga in India so fulfilling, and show that they can be recreated anywhere with a little motivation and the right group of people. I am going to focus on two parts of yoga that I have found profoundly different in India: the community, and the practice itself. The community aspect of yoga in India is unlike anything I have experienced anywhere else. When [...]
How yoga helps in treating backpain? Yoga is perhaps the most important methodology to treat Back Pain. Most Back Pain is caused because of the sedentary nature of our modern Lifestyle; and hence due to weakened Back and Core muscles. Add mental Stress to this, which causes stiffening of muscles and we find that Back Pain has become a global epidemic! Yoga exercises or Asanas were designed to keep the Back supple yet strong as a straight back was pivotal for sitting long hours in Meditation. Asanas are often used in Physiotherapy exercises in the therapeutic alleviation of Back Pains. Also, Yoga’s Breathing exercises or Pranayama helps us de-stress; so then our Body can relax and heal itself. Is yoga a good workout? Take a peek in to any gym in the world and you will see a Yoga class on the schedule. Yes, Yoga has universally been accepted as an effective work-out! Yoga helps us get Fit, lose Weight, tone our muscles, improve posture, alleviate back pains and strengthen the back. It helps us make our bodies more supple and Flexible while also Strengthening to create a lean, toned look. Worldwide sportsmen and athletes are swearing by yoga! It is an exercise that caters to people of all age groups. Yoga is arguably the most complete workout in the world as it benefits all aspects of Fitness - flexibility, strength, cardio, balance and mental wellbeing! Is yoga good for respiratory system? Yoga lays a high emphasis on Breathing. In fact an entire range of practices called Pranayama are dedicated to Breathing completely. This makes the Body stronger and eliminates toxins. The right balance of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide is vital [...]
According to legend it is said there were 8.6 million Asanas (physical poses) in Yoga! Of course in modern times, we are only acquainted with about three or four hundred asanas. And it is also said that all these Asanas exist primarily to help the Yogi develop the strength and flexibility to sit in one of the 4 classic meditative postures! To understand the meaning of the term ‘Asana’ we refer to the Patanjali Yoga Sutras; a treatise codified by the great Yogi Ptanajali around 300BC. Asana is defined as “Sthiram Sukham Asanam” meaning “Steady Ease Asana”, meaning that one must be steady/ unmoving and at the same time at ease/ comfortable in this Asana. The Meditative Asanas Padmasana (lotus pose) Padmasana (Lotus pose) This is the classic posture that you most often associate with the idea of a meditating Yogi or Buddha. By interlocking your legs you gradually arrest the blood supply to the lower body so that your awareness is not distracted but remains with the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) and its more subtler parts. Padmasana is one of the most important yogic postures. Often you will need to gradually practice this pose and it may take a few months to be able to sit in Padmasana without any discomfort. If you have terrible knee pains from excessive jogging or surgery, avoid doing Padmasana and choose a simpler pose. Padmasana: Padmasana training 1 Padmasana training 2 Padmasana training 3 Padmasana training 4 For Padmasana, bend your right knee and place the ankle on left thigh as high as possible (the heel should almost be touching your [...]
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 [...]
Dhyaan Mudra ‘Mudras’ are Yogic gestures or techniques that help in bringing about certain attitudes or moods upon the practitioner. Dhyaan Mudra is a pose that helps the practitioner enter into a meditative frame of mind. Physically the touching of the particular combination of fingers helps to activate those parts of the brain that are involved in the practices of meditation. How to do Dhyaan Mudra? Sit comfortably in Padmasana or Ardha Padmasana on the floor or simply on a chair. Keep your back straight, and your palms on your thighs. On both hands, draw in the index finger so that the tip touches the tip of the thumb. The middle, ring and little fingers are stretched out in a relaxed manner. Then relax with a few deep breaths. Modifications: You may practice this at any point of day and even sitting like this with your eyes closed at office or while traveling for a few minutes will greatly relax and quieten your mind.