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Total Yoga

//Total Yoga

Know your asana- VEERABHADRASANA 3

One of the most celebrated asanas in Yoga is the Veerabhadrasana. Today we will learn more about the balance posture, Veerabhadrasana 3 or Warrior 3. The common characters of a warrior is their ferocity and anger. But this asana concentrates on their strength and calmness.  Veerabhadrasana 3 is about learning how to respond rather than react. Fight, Flight or Freeze are the common reactions, but we train to activate our parasympathetic nervous system. What makes  Veerabhadrasana 3 so special? This is a dynamic posture!! It works on your lower body, core and more importantly it teaches us patience and perseverance. Every posture in yoga works on our internal organs, muscles, breathing pattern and our personality. Warrior 3 is an epitome of all this. Besides, it's a journey from playing hopscotch in the first class to the time when we can hold it for 30 seconds. :) Chakra-wise Having your intentions in the right place during your practice allows for a deeper focus. Being a balance posture,  Mooladhara chakra ( root chakra) is stimulated. Our need for security, survival and stability is balanced. Thereby, we are more self-aware, courageous and fearless. :) Benefits of Veerabhadrasana 3 Strengthens the ankles and legs- Did you know that the foot and ankle complex have more than 33 joints and over 100 muscles and connective tissues? This pose helps in strengthening and aligning these muscles and bones. Besides, the legs are toned and strengthened. Improves core endurance and hip stability- To hold the posture, the core is engaged. Thereby the abdominal muscles are toned and strengthened . Simultaneously, the gluteus maximus becomes strong and hip flexors are opened.  Aligns your spine and sharpens your focus. Teaches patience, perseverance and focus- Getting this posture right may take weeks [...]

Know your asana- VRIKSHASANA

Travelling from the sages to the urban yogi, Vrikshasana (Tree pose) represents the grace and serenity of a tree. In the famous Hindu mythology "Ramayan", Ravana performs severe penances standing in Vrikshasana to win favours from the Gods. He stood in the posture for months with absolute determination and concentration which eventually lead to, Ravana being blessed with a boon by the Gods. What makes Vrikshasana so special? Many of the meditative asanas are seated postures. Vrikshasana is a balancing posture which is used by many sages and yogis to meditate. This is a mobile posture, it can be done anytime, anywhere for any duration!! The asana's beauty lies in its' simplicity. :) Chakra-wise Vrikshasana balances the Mooladhara chakra ( root chakra). This chakra regulates the most basic need of all living beings, that is, security and survival. The asana stimulates the energy near the coccyx and pelvic floor. This enables us to feel more safe, secure and stable. Besides building strength in the lower body, on an energy level, we are rooted with the stability of the earth . This ensures that we are more self-aware, courageous, and fearless. Benefits of Vrikshasana Tool for de-stressing- Even just a few breaths in Tree Pose help ground you if you are having a whirlwind week. It creates peace in your mind and in your body, and is a wonderful way to slow down when life gets overwhelming. Curbing anxiety and stress is just one of the emotional responses this posture encourages, and it naturally cools you off and balances the fight or flight response. Strengthens the lower body - Standing on one leg enhances the strength in your ankles and feet — which is very important for runners. Moreover it strengthens [...]

Mindfulness: Simple, yet not Easy

Mindfulness is the practice of training your Awareness to remain on one thing - this could be your Body, your Breathing, the Sounds that your hear, or even the Thoughts in your mind. You could become Mindful of any other aspect as well. When you train your Awareness to become one-pointed, your ability to Focus is enhanced. Mindfulness practice is extremely beneficial in managing our Stress. Origins of Mindfulness The practice of Mindfulness as a formal training finds it roots in the Buddhist traditions. These were perfected in Japan in the Zen traditions. It's interesting to note that the word ZEN was originally a mispronunciation of the word Dhyaan! As Buddhism spread to China, Dhyaan was pronounced and became 'Cha'an' and as it spread to Japan the word became Zen. Observation of Self or Swadhyaya, is a Yoga principle that that is a pillar of the Ashtanga system laid forth by Maharishi Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. In fact. Mindfulness is integral to most Meditation systems of the World. It is within the Yoga and Zen systems that is has been given special focus. Mindfulness in Daily Living Exercise 1 Often is our busy lives, it is difficult to take out 1 hour daily to practice Meditation. In such a scenario, one has to creatively place Mindfulness into one's daily routine. If you think about your daily life, you will find ways to become more Mindful. One of my favourite times for training Mindfulness is when I travel in a Taxi! I realised that I spend over an hour daily commuting in traffic. So I swapped driving my car and switched to using a taxi so that I could sit with my eyes closed and train the watching [...]

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 [...]