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 [...]
My main passion today is Yoga but my first passion was running. When I was younger, at school I secretly enjoyed those long cold cross country runs over the frost, crisp ground into fields and past hedgerow, my peers would be moaning but my heart would be pounding I couldn't wait for that feeling of freedom in mind and body..Today, on my yoga mat I relate to this freedom to a concept of being unplugged, a practice of self love and an over powering feeling of gratitude. 30 years on, running still has that same appeal - what is that makes it so special ? As I get into stride, I connect with my breathe, this breath connects with my mind and the mind connects with this very moment and nothing else matters... past or future; any thoughts whether they be of anger, hurt, frustration, those unanswered questions, the burdensome complexities of life that can shroud you like a dark cloud, intoxicating and suffocating life out, fall away piece by piece, dissolving into insignificance... then - life pours back in... Ask yourself ? Do you have a routine or practice that allows you to feel that freedom. I believe it is an an experience that takes you to your true Self, beautiful, pure, simple, its the Divine in you; its like no other, when nothing else matters other than that very moment. It is powerful, like your going to burst out of your skin! All senses are connected... Then that thought .. its so good to be alive !!! You might relate to this in a different way, through the warmth of a passionate embrace, a soft kiss maybe analysing the beauty of a red rose... Maybe you find your path [...]
An accidental slip of the hand sent the glass tumbler crashing onto the marble floor, shattering into a thousand irregular shapes. I squeezed my eyelids together, then for a minuscule moment, I was aware that my mind became perfectly still, my breath slow and synchronised, I was in Ujjai breath, I know it well now. A thought then flashed, "Arrgh! ..Those kids," then in an instant the thought of blame and anger was gone, lost, hidden, irrelevant... Was this my Yoga practice translating into my everyday life. I could hear the words of wisdom absorbing me, hearing my Guru's voice soft in my ears "this is why we practice Naukasana, your body is in stress, you are irritated, upset, you maybe cursing me, that's fine... 3 more breaths!.. this is what we are training for .. stillness, calm.. but you are in stress..hold a little longer.. you have the willpower.." Looking at the broken glass, I wasn't irritated or upset..I was calm, in the present moment. Then looking deeper into myself , I saw a reflection into my own life ... I know for sure that life is an unexpected journey, along the way there will be broken pieces piercing into life..Those pieces I know can be repaired, the jagged become smooth, shiny, bright and full of life or they remain broken, dull and empty.. Its ultimately the choices we make... Next time, you roll out your mat... ask yourself ..Does your practice take you beyond the mat...? Author:- Jagdeep Dosanjh-Badwal-
Yes, I too have an Instagram account...it's called TotalYogi. But this blog isn't about Insta. It's about how in the 21st century, Yoga is primarily (almost solely) identified with Asana. It's also about how we as Yoga Teachers have a responsibility to pass on the best traditions of Yoga to future yogis and not succumb to the populism that Yoga currently enjoys. a typical Instagram #yoga post The truth hit home when a new student walked into my yoga class the other day and said that she wanted to learn Yoga, but not get into Meditation! I was at a loss for words. How is that even possible I asked? Meditation is an integral part of Yoga. And she said, "Well I want to do all the Yoga that I see on Instagram but am not interested in the boring Meditation stuff!" I promptly asked her to leave. Well, almost. :) I was a bit more courteous, but dissuaded her from joining my class which would eventually turn boring for her. But it got me thinking....how have we managed to 'dumb-down' Yoga to such a degree that many Yoga teachers I know today can't teach Meditation. Or worse still, haven't even tried it themselves. So, where does that leave Yoga? Before we get there, one question that might be worth answering: 'Is Health necessary for Yoga?' and I'm not even asking about Fitness, just Health? With modern Yoga so keen on parading itself as a Panacea for all health problems; it's noteworthy that the greatest Yogi of them all - the Buddha, was often quite ill. In fact, it is said that He was always accompanied by his physician. I'm certainly not saying that you [...]
You've been practising Yoga regularly but would like to take your fitness to the next level! That's why we've come up with the 21-Day-Yoga-Challenge! This is for all regular Yoga practitioners and those wanting to jump into a well-rounded, holistic Yoga practice. The base practice is 50 Surya Namaskaars everyday; building up till the finale when we'll do 108 Surya Namaskaars on Day 21. But that's the easier part! 21 Day Total Yoga Challenge Everyday we'll also have a unique Challenge - practising an Asana like Sirsasana, or a Pranayam technique or even trekking up a Hill and practising Meditation! You'll even be challenged to teach Yoga to someone you know on one of the days! Over the course of the next 21 days you will go through the entire spectrum of Yoga practices and after this 21 Day Challenge, you can proudly call yourself a YOGI! :) Watch this space for the daily challenge and also follow the challenge on Facebook.