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Know your asana: NAUKASANA

Naukasana is one of the most challenging postures on day 1 or year 10 of your practice. Naukasana or the boat posture along with its variations has made it's way into Pilates and the Gym. Moreover, want to check your fitness level, hold the posture for 60 seconds and you'll know where you stand. :) What makes Naukasana so special? The boat posture utilizes all of your muscles in one stationary pose. This asana is an abdominal strengthener and also strengthens the deep hip flexors that attach the inner thigh bones to the front of the spine. Naukasana is lovingly nicknamed "The core killer". :) Chakra-wise The asana works on your core which activates the abdominal organs and activates the Manipura Chakra. On the physical level, the function of this Chakra is similar to that of a fireplace. When the energy of our food is not properly absorbed, utilised and distributed in the Manipura Chakra we feel tired, weak and ill, but with an active Manipura Chakra the body is provided with sufficient energy. Benefits of Naukasana Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors and spine as we balance on our tail bone and push the core towards the spine. Since we engage our core, the abdominal organs are stimulated. It regulates and ensures better functioning of the kidneys, thyroid - prostate glands and intestines. The core killer helps in toning the fat around the stomach. Thereby, regular practice will keep your abdomen taut and toned. Helps to increases the circulation of blood in all the abdominal organs and maintain the sugar level. Therefore, it helps in improving digestion. While balancing in the posture, keep your legs and knees straight, thereby strengthening and toning the legs. Contra-indications Avoid in [...]

Unlearning through Yoga

"Education is a process of Unlearning and learning." Similarly, Yoga is a process of unlearning and learning afresh. Thanks to our lifestyle and occupational hazards, we have acute stiffness, pains and bad postures. A lot of the new practitioners are taught how to stand right, sit with the spine straight and breathe deep. But, this proves to be more difficult than learning asanas due to the ingrained habits. Part of the path of yoga is to learn to let go of the ego. The ego doesn’t like to be ordered around and it detests changes. Yoga as a lifestyle My journey had a lot of unlearning and letting go. There was too much effort in my postures and in my breathing. My breath was shallow and I was tensing up the shoulders and spine in every posture. Overtime with awareness, I learnt to relax the muscles and focus on a particular stretch or asana. There were a few instructions that I could not follow. But with time, practice and a lot of unlearning, I was gaining more composure in my yoga practice. As per Patanjali's Yoga sutras, " Sthira Sukha Asana" , every practitioner should be steady and comfortable in a posture. On a physical level, an asana should be held comfortably for an extended period. And when we look inside, the key is to pay attention and respond to how you feel moment to moment, rather than imposing a structure from the outside. Our fast-paced lives and the prevalence of stress-related illnesses, make it clear that we need to simplify and declutter our lives. So, let's begin with our body and mind. Many a times we need to unlearn, to improve the quality of our [...]

Know your asana: ARDH KAPOTASANA

A classic Yoga Asana, which is camera friendly and multipurpose. In Sanskrit, Ardha means “half” and kapota means “pigeon”.  Ardh kapotasana is named after a great master, Kapota. His yogic accomplishments are documented in scriptures such as the Mahabharata and the Kalika Purana. What makes Ardh Kapotasana so special? The posture is widely practiced by athletes, sports people, gymnasts and dancers. Yoga handles stiff hips in a variety of ways. But mostly through a family of poses, popularly called the “hip openers." Ardh kapotasana is a great backbend that strengthens the lower back. It’s fascinating to see the variations of this asana, which has been tailored for people with stiffness in different areas. Chakra-wise The posture stretches the abdominal-pelvic muscles and affects the Manipura chakra (Solar-plexus).  As the seat of digestive fire, this Chakra regulates the function of the Pancreas and digestive organs. Therefore, an active Manipura Chakra supports good health and assists in overcoming many illnesses. Benefits of Ardh kapotasana As we balance in the centre and bend backwards, the abdominal area is engaged. It is a great posture to tone up the abdomen and  the abdominal organs are stimulated.  This pose is perfect for tight hips because it stretches the hip rotators (the buttocks area) and the hip flexors. This asana increases the lower body's flexibility.  It is a great post-run stretch to relax the muscles around the thigh and groin area. This stance is useful for conditioning your thighs. It strengthens the back, while being a great stretch for the spine. It improves the posture thereby giving dancers a better stance. Prepares the body for seated postures such as Padmasana(Lotus Pose). Thereby ensuring more composure in meditative postures. Contradictions Avoid in case of knee [...]

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

Know your Asana: DANCING NATRAJASANA

DANCING NATRAJ asana is one of the most recognisable modern yoga postures. Although it finds no mention in the traditional Yogasana repertorire; Dancing Natrajasana has become ubiquitous in Yoga studios and Instagram posts of Yogis worldwide! What makes Dancing Natraj asana so special? Mythologically, we say that Yoga originated from Adiyogi, an aspect of Shiva. Shiva is also the celestial Dancer or Natraj - the Lord of Dance. It it said that Adiyogi spent all his time either Dancing ecstatically or sitting in deep Meditation - only these two states! Hence Dancing Natrajasana pays tribute to Adiyogi and reminds us of the value that Dancing brings in terms of Catharsis, for a Meditative practice to flourish in an Individual. Chakra-wise: Being a Balance pose, Dancing Natrajasana helps us train to become more grounded. This helps psychologically with feelings of Stability and Security, which are the key aspects of Mooladhar or the base Chakra. All balance poses helps us work on our Mooladhar chakra and sets the stage for an inward Journey through the various Chakras and corresponding levels of Awareness. Benefits of Dancing Natraj asana: Balance poses in Yoga train our Awareness of our bodies, so that we have a heightened sense of the simplest of activities like standing; on one leg of course. To maintain balance; both hemispheres of our Brain need to co-ordinate. Whilst we have both Logical (left-brain) and Artistic (right-brain) faculties, we often choose to live life in one extreme. Balance poses force us to co-ordinate better between both hemispheres - thereby bringing about a more balanced personality. This is also the reason why Women are better then Men at balance poses - the Corpus Callosum, connecting both hemispheres it thicker [...]

By | July 13th, 2017|Asana, Balance Asanas, Knowledge Articles, Total Yoga, Yoga, Yoga for Runners|Comments Off on Know your Asana: DANCING NATRAJASANA

#MyYogaDay 50 Days. 50 Stories of Yoga Transformation.

It's International Yoga Day on June 21st, and so we're asking all our Yoga friends: WHY DO YOU DO YOGA? Over the next 50 Days, we'll be featuring 50 Stories of everyday Yogis sharing how Yoga has Transformed them. We're looking for small changes to the most massive transformations in Life! If you would like to join us, please shoot a 1 min Video of yourself sharing how Yoga transforms You and also show us your fav Yoga pose! Mail this to director@total-yoga.org #MyYogaDay by Yogis!   Chakras Rising Tour: To celebrate International Yoga Day; we're organising a special Yoga to Live Music Experience that features Sound frequencies of each of the Chakras! Over the course of 70 minutes; we'll spend 10 mins doing the Yoga asanas, Pranayam and Visualisations that stimulate each Chakra. Join us for this amazing experience where we're partnered with Urban Yoga clothes and accessories. Here's our schedule Bangalore (June 17), Pune (June 18), Delhi (June 20) & Mumbai (June 21). Chakras Rising will start 7:45am and end 9:15am. Stay tuned for updates and register by writing in to director@total-yoga.org

By | May 1st, 2017|Knowledge Articles, The Fun side of Yoga!, Total Yoga, Total Yogis, Yoga|Comments Off on #MyYogaDay 50 Days. 50 Stories of Yoga Transformation.