Om

Don’t you love the vibrations that OM produces inside you and how it grows in your surroundings when we all do it at the same time? I do!

OM is an amazing sacred monosyllable and the mantra that accompanies us, generally, at the beginning and / or end of our yoga practice. Singing the OM gives us a unique physical sensation and, of course, for some spiritual too.

It is a term with multiple and complementary meanings, among them it refers to the essential, to the divine; also, to the feeling experienced during meditation and which its identified with the sound of the universe creation; the excellent singing, the sound from which all other sounds emerge.

Singing the OM, articulating its different syllables and the physical vibrations produced by each of them, invites us to feel a state of mindfulness, physical and emotional consciousness. From a pure physical perspective, its vibrations help slow down our nervous system and have a calming effect on our mind. Hence, there is no need to be spiritual to enjoy its benefits or sign along.

Om’s four syllables, also written as Aum (A + U + M + Silence) , have 4 meanings and refer to 3 bodies and states of consciousness:

A/ Vaisvanara, universal: refers to the physical body and wakefulness, when we are awake. It represents the origin of every sound, connecting us with our individual being or ego. This sound (aahhh) must come from the back of the throat where the tongue finds its root in our physical being.

 

U/ Taijasa, the Shining one: refers to the subtle body and sleep state. It represents the dreamlike, the energy of the mind and the universe. This vibration (oooh) invokes balance and clarity as it passes from the back of the tongue to the lips.

 

M/ Prajna, the Smart: refers to the spiritual body and the state of deep sleep. This vibration invokes the sense of unity between the body and the universe. Practitioners close their lips around the sound ((mmmm) to experience vibration in the head and body.

 

Silence/ Turya: the quite time at the end, with no sound, refers to transcendent consciousness, it is not a state of consciousness but from it arises the other 3 states. It is a fundamental part of the Om and invites yoga practitioners to fully experience the joy and peace of silence and the sense of unity and connection.

 

In Patanjali’s Yogasutras it is the word he expresses to God/Isvara. And it tells us that the repetition of the OM sound allows understanding, it is a tool to eradicate the obstacles of the mind, to take it away and get the vision of who we are, it is the way to oneself, to the depths of our being.

We usually sing the OM in meditation posture, i.e. sitting with our legs crossed or in lotus position, the hands can be in different ways; palms resting on the knee, hands on the knees joining the tip of the index finger with that of the thumb, or placing the palms together at chest height in the prayer position. The back is stretched and the chin slightly tilted downwards.

In India it is common to see the symbol of the OM on the doors of houses, temples, shops, etc., to balance and harmonize energies.

And now, deep breath and let’s OM together!

Jathara Parivrttanasana

This is a really simple asana that I really like so I thought I share with all of you. 

It is a spine twisting pose which helps increase flexibility to the back muscles and the fluidity of the spine. At the same time, it tones the spinal nerves, improving their function.

It relieves muscular back pain due to poor postures, immobility or overloads, by stretching and relaxing that area. It is also useful in case of scoliosis, providing a gentle rebalancing.

The twist has a direct effect on the abdominal area and reactivates the digestive system by performing a massage on all abdominal internal organs: stomach, intestines, pancreas, spleen, liver and kidneys. It is a very good posture to help with constipation  and has a draining effect that helps eliminate toxins.

It rebalances the nervous system and helps relieve stress,
mild depression and anxiety. And it also helps on the balance between body and mind. Usually, the mind is excessively active and the body tired and lacking in energy. This position helps us to return them to a more balanced relationship.

 

There are different variants: stretched legs, flexed legs, a single
leg flexed, … but always exercising this action of twisting the spine and on the abdomen.

You have to pay special attention in case of having herniated disk.
Torsion may not be a good option in this case. If you have one, adopt it slowly and observe how you feel.

When you practice it, remember:

·       The shoulders and arms must be able to rest on the floor. If your legs do not reach the ground, put a pillow or blanket underneath so that legs and feet are also supported and relaxed.

·       I recommend that you close your eyes and open yourself to the observation of sensations, be present in what happens inside.

·       Always practice it from both sides and stay the same time on one side and the other (except in case of any imbalance that recommends being longer on one side).

·       Important! Do not practice it on a full stomach.

 

Once the position is adopted, let the whole body relax and allow your breathing to flow naturally. The deepest tissues will relax naturally and the nervous system will find its balance.

A posture with many benefits. Give it a try!

 

 

A Positive Pranic Snack

Living a balanced healthy life, from my point of view, it has to start with the basics in place: food, exercise and sleep. Yoga is key on the excercise front from a physical, spiritual and mental perspective. It is never easy to get all in balance. See if I can help a little on the food front as food is my thing! Especially healthy food is what I love to experiment with and develop new recipes. After learning about positive, neutral and negative pranic food, being really similar to what I practice, I created a positive pranic muffin full of great ingredients that it’s easy to make and practical in our crazy busy daily life.

These muffins are versatile as a nutritious snack or an easy take away breakfast when in a rush. Let me introduce you to these beauties: I call them ‘power muffins’ as they are packed with great goodies: almond, Greek yogurt, honey, flaxseed, chia, blueberries and anything else you feel like really.

Here you have the recipe step by step:

       Preheat oven to 220C. Get the muffin tray ready with the muffins paper cups in.

       Wet ingredients: In a bowl, mix well 180gm of yogurt, 2 eggs, 85gm of almond butter, 75gm honey, and 2 tsp vanilla.

       Dry ingredients: In a bigger bowl, whisk 160gm of oats, 50gm of almond flour, 25gm of  chia, 25gm of flaxseeds, 1 tsp of baking powder, 1/2 tsp of baking soda, 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1tsp of cinnamon until well mixed.

       Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until everything is combined. Add in 100gm of blueberries.

       Fill the muffin paper cups all the way to the top as they will not raise much. Top each with blueberries and sliced almonds.

       Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 220C. Reduce the oven temperature to 175C and bake them for 15 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let them cool down and enjoy!

*You can keep them for 3 days in an airtight container or you can freeze them too. 


Introduction to mudras

I have been practicing yoga for a while and I have been putting my hands in different positions on many occasions, however, I never understood what they truly meant.  Hence, I decided to look into it and find out more about Mudras. Here you have the summary of what I have found out:

Mudras help to channel the energy of our body, and thus be able to reach a balance. When Mudras are carried out, energy is able to flow through the nadis or energetic channels of the body where the prana flows, causing us to reach a state of inner peace and serenity.

Mudras are mainly performed by different positions of the fingers, and by joining them, and applying light pressure, it sends a message to the brain through the nerves. This is how we establish connection and harmony between body and mind.

Their key benefits are: stimulating endorphin production, stress relief, better sleep, overall mood enhancement, improves self-esteem and concentration. In order to achieve these benefits, it will be necessary to be consistent with the practice of mudras. It is recommended to practice them every day. Depending on the type of mudra we choose, the duration of this pose ranges from about 5 to 45 minutes, being advisable to stay as long as possible within this range. If 45 minutes is too long and difficult, break it down into blocks of 15 minutes. Also, if possible, we will try to perform them on an empty stomach, to avoid diverting energy to other functions not related to the goal of the mudras.

Mudras can also be done with other parts of the body, other than hands, such as the feet, eyes, and even with some breathing techniques. However, today, let’s focus on the fingers. The fingers of our hands are associated with the different types of energy that act in our body. This energy comes from the five elements (fire, air, ether, earth and water), and are each connected to a chakra.

Thus, depending on the connection of the fingers, we will focus on different mudras.

Each finger corresponds to the following:

– Thumb: relates to the fire element and is associated with the solar chakra. It’s the representation of the person himself. Control our logic and willpower.

– Index Finger: Relates to the air element and the planet Jupiter. It is associated with the heart chakra. It’s the representation of knowledge. Control our mind.

– Heart finger: it relates to the ether element and the planet Saturn. It is associated with the throat chakra. It’s the representation of patience and calm. It’s in charge of controlling the circulation.

– Ring finger: relates to the earth element and the planet Uranus (or to the Sun). It is associated with the root chakra. It is the representation of vital energy and health. It is responsible for controlling the liver, gallbladder, and our vitality in general.

– Little finger: it relates to the water element and the planet Mercury. It is associated with the sacral chakra. It represents our ability to communicate. It is responsible for controlling our sexuality, our personal relationships, and communication with our environment.

When we talk about mudras, we must know that we will be able to perform them actively, or passively:

– Active Mudras: The fingertip should be placed on the fingernail of each finger.

– Passive mudras: these are used on a regular basis. They consist of touching with the fingertips of the other fingers, without touching nails. The pressure to exert on these mudras will be the right one to feel in contact and the flow of energy so that it is not excessive.

There are 399 mudras, each with its meaning.  Here, you have some of the most popular ones. Enjoy! 

 

Gyan mudra: it is the seal of knowledge. It consists of joining the fingertips of the thumb and the index finger, while the rest of the fingers remain extended. 

 

 


Shuni mudra: is the seal of patience. It consists of joining the fingertips of the thumb and the heart finger, keeping the rest of the fingers in extension.

 


 

Ravi mudra: also called the seal of the sun or life. To do this we will have to join the fingertips of the thumb and the ring finger, stretching the rest of the fingers.


 

 Buddhi mudra: it is the hallmark of mental clarity. It is done by joining the fingertip on the thumb with the little finger, stretching the rest of the fingers, as in the previous basic mudras.

 


 

Anjali mudra or Mudra of Prayer: To do this we will extend the back and gather the palms of the hands at the height of our heart chakra. Your fingers should always be pointing upwards. This mudra helps to achieve a feeling of balance and connection between our mind and body.


 

Chin mudra or Gesture of consciousness: Also known as Jnana mudra but with the palms up. It is done by turning the palms of the hands making them stare at the ground, and touching with the tip of the index fingers the tips of the thumb, forming a circle with both fingers. All other fingers should be stretched. This mudra serves to stimulate the root chakra, and offers a feeling of modesty linked to the return to our origins.


Vishnu Mudra It is one of the most complicated hand-held mudras. We’ll have to stretch our hands so that the palm is facing the front. We will bend the index and heart fingers, keeping the ring and little fingers stretched. There may be difficulty keeping the ring outstretched, and a good solution is to make the little one supportive. This mudra serves to activate and balance the root, sacral and solar plexus chakras, in addition to allowing to clean the 7 chakras.

Yoni mudra: One of the most suitable handed mudras to soothe daily stress and to relax. We will do this by joining the fingertips of the thumbs and forefinger of each hand (thumb with thumb, and index with index), keeping the fingers stretched. This will cause a triangle to form between the two hands. The tip of this triangle should be facing downwards, and we will bend the remaining fingers of the hand that have not come into action. The term Yoni, in Sanskrit, means womb or uterus. Thus, this mudra allows us to isolate ourselves from the stress of the outside world as if we were inside a matrix that protects us, offering relief and mental relaxation.

Abhaya mudra: It is a mudra associated with peace and security in oneself, considered the first mudra, in addition to being one of the easiest. It consists of vertically extending our right hand, so that the palm is facing the front. Once in this position, we will tilt the hand back until we feel a slight strain on the wrist. Place your hand at a height somewhat below your chest. In Sanskrit, Abhaya means fearlessness, and represents peace by showing hands without any weapon. It will allow us to achieve a feeling of peace and courage.

Hakini mudra: Associated with strength and spiritual power. Put our hands together in anjali mudra’s position. We’ll extend the elbows out until only the fingertips of both hands remain in contact. Fingers should be pointing upwards at all times, without forcing the position. With this mudra we will get a feeling of concentration and greater control of our thoughts.


Dhyana mudra or meditation mutra: Frequently used to meditate. It is done in a seated position, placing the outside of the right hand on the palm of the left hand. Once we have performed this step, we will place both hands on our lap and make the tips of the thumbs touch. This mudra leads to a very powerful state of concentration, offering calm, tranquility between body and mind