Setting an intention

It got me into deep thinking today when Master Ram brought it up and explained about it during today’s lesson and it got me thinking that the goal aka “intention” that I’ve set for myself that was it because of my Karma or was it just my mind?

 

Setting an intention doesn’t always need to have a timeframe. It should be something clear and straight that your body and mind knows it. Hence, your body will also flow naturally accordingly with your mind in order to achieve it.
For example, I would like to achieve splits or any other particular asanas in 1 month. So naturally, I would set my time to practice regularly, allowing my body to flow accordingly in order to achieve.
Another example is like you want to get xmas presents for your good friends. You already know what to get and even if the cost of the present itself is going to be much higher than the budget you all have set, you will still want to get it for him/her because you know him/her will like it, it’s a need or it’s useful. And you do not expect any return from them.

 

So, to be honest, I’ve never been a tidy person ever since I was young. I was totally fine to be untidy, my room was so messy and I didn’t bother to even clean it up because I was thinking why bother when it will be untidy again? I only tidy up occasionally or whenever I feel like it.
But as soon as I hit my mid 20s, I started to change without realizing. And being in a clean environment actually makes me feel better. Like my moods gradually became better and allowed me to take a moment to feel the sense around me. It felt great that I even set the intention to clean and tidy up the whole house on every weekend be it on Saturday or Sunday no matter how tiring I know it will be.

 

Other than just making me feel better, but also by setting and achieving it, everyone in the family might feel better and also it’s good for my dog as well. I know my mum is grateful that I bothered to clean up, but of course, I didn’t do it because I need her to show me a sense of gratitude or like anything in return.

Simple & easy stretch that you can do it everyday!

Ever since I started my YTT training, I’ve never fully understood the importance of stretching. I only know that it has some of the benefits for a short term period. So I only stretch before and after working out or on days which I’m feeling sore or aching in some parts of my body. And also I am always prone to neck, shoulders and lower back ache because I am an office worker, I do sit down in my chair and face the computer everyday.

But now that I know the importance of it and the benefits for it based on a long term basis, I’ve actually implemented some simple asanas or stretching exercises that I do almost everyday.

Why? It’s because ….
  1. Increase the range of motion of our joints and posture
  2. Improves blood circulation
  3. Reducing the tension of our muscles
  4. Reducing soreness after working out
  5. Enhance our flexibility and athletic performance
  6. Lowers our heart rate which reduces strain on your heart and causes your blood pressure to become more consistent
  7. Reduce stress
  8. Some asanas also help to massage our organs, helping them to function even better
And so on …..

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The importance of Thoracic Spine for back bending asanas

For the first practical lesson of my YTT journey, while I was doing the first round of Surya Namaskar A, Master Ram commented that my lumbar spine is very flexible which there are good and bad advantages for it. And then I found out that I have been engaging the wrong spine/back muscles for the asanas and especially in back bending asanas even though I have been practicing yoga on and off for a couple of years.

During Back bending asanas, I will be engaging my lumbar spine the most and not my thoracic spine. Sure, it always looks nice and flexible to have that arch looking there but then again, I have never liked back bending due to the amount of pressure I got to put and have on my lower back. And after coming out of the pose, my lower back will be feeling extremely aching. And even if I were to do the asanas that will help to relieve the aching, I will still be feeling a little aching. So little did I know I am actually weakening my lumbar spine every time I am compressing it and jamming it.
So below are some of the basic and easy asanas/exercises that will help you to stretch, open up and activate your thoracic spine before we get into the back bending asanas.
Baby Cobra
1. Lay down on your belly and feet flat on the ground
2. Inhale, place your palms (fingers facing forward) beside the side of your chest and elbows internally rotate towards your midline
3. Exhale, draw your shoulder blades, engage your core and rhomboids
4. Inhale, keep your shoulders away from your ears, extend your chest and head up while using light pressure push on your hands.
5. Stay here for a couple of breaths
6. Last inhale to extend up higher
6. Exhale, gently lower down and rest your chin or forehead back on the floor or mat
7. Repeat the same for a couple of rounds with the option of lifting the hands away from the floor as well
Sphinx Pose
1. Lay down on your belly and feet flat on the ground
2. Inhale, place your elbows and internally rotate towards your midline. Hands and fingers will automatically be facing forward.
3. Exhale, draw your shoulder blades, engage your core and rhomboids
4. Inhale, keep your shoulders away from your ears, extend your chest and head up while using light pressure push on your elbows.
5. Stay here for a couple of breaths
6. Last inhale to extend up higher
6. Exhale, gently lower down and rest your chin or forehead back on the floor or mat
7. Repeat the same for a couple of rounds with the option of lifting the hands away from the floor as well
Kneeling Thoracic Spine Twist
1. In a table top position, ensure that your wrists are in-line with your shoulders and knees are in-line with your hips
2. Inhale, Abduct your right hand out and laterally rotate your rotator calf up while engaging your rhomboids
3. Exhale, medially rotate your rotator calf down and adduct your right hand back to the center
4. Do this for a couple of times and repeat the same on the other side
Wall Slides
1. Lean your back against the wall with your feet a few inches away from wall
2. Slightly flex your knee and press your whole back against the wall. Make sure there is no arch or hole on the lower back and head is still relaxed
3. Inhale, flex your elbows and lean against the wall right, in-line with your shoulders
4. Exhale, slide your elbows down towards your midline
5. Inhale, slide your elbows halfway up but not into a straight hands
6. Ensure that you are always engaging your core and rhomboids
Cat Cow against the wall
1. Standing facing a wall, about one foot away and placed your palms on the wall around the same height as your chest
2. Exhale, walk backward, flex your hips and fold into a L shape. You may adjust the placement of your palms in order to be in-line with your shoulders and pelvis is in a neutral position
3. Inhale, extend your spine
4. Exhale, flex your spine
5. Do this for a couple of times

Why balancing asanas are good for us

Why balancing asanas are good for us

The 3 systems that is necessary to work correctly in order to maintain the balance
 
1. The Ear
 
2. Eyesight
 
3. The Proprioceptive System
Majority of them are found in the soles of our feet, ankles, hips, spine and neck. And when they are stimulated by movement, they transmit signals or electrical impulses to the brain, and the brain will help to determine where we are and how we’re moving in space.
 
It will generate problems in the sense of equilibrium if there’s any failure of these 3 systems.
 
The importance in practice and in life
 
Physically – Each balancing asanas can be used to build strength and flexibility in different body parts, muscles, joints and stilling unconscious movementWe get to know our center of gravity, how to align ourselves, improve the function of the equilibrium receptors in the body, and also learn the importance of the yoga principle of rooting down. And as we deepen the practice, we engage new elements into the pose in order to reach the next level.
 
Mentally – It keeps us focused and concentrated and also helps us to stimulate our memory as well. Balance Asanas were also found to be pretty helpful in relieving stress and reducing inner tensions. These high levels of concentration required in balancing asanas postures make them some of the most meditative poses to practice. Ultimately, it also gives us the ability to control emotions in critical and stressful moments.
 
Which is why, we are always hearing the yoga masters & teachers instructing us repeatedly to keep our back (spine) straight, engage our core, knees straight (but still microbending), look at one point for focusing, breathe & etc.”