My Yogic Life with Sattvic Ahara

There is a point at everyone’s life where you feel that life has become stereotype and there is a major change required. Me along with my family has been feeling this from quite a while and has been planning something in our life since long time. The current life we are having is amazing, satisfying with no complains to offer. These has been amazing 12 years in Singapore and we have got to live more than we could have expected from this Life.

The decisions to make changes to your good going schedules aren’t easy, it really has to be a lot of give and takes. Obliviously, same is my condition and there were lot of gives and takes that we finalised, agreed on and among many of them one of the crucial decision of ours – as in, my husband and mine , is to stay near to the nature. We are among the gifted few who are part of the family who has been closer to the nature since long and we thought this is the time we re-establish that connection.

There comes my Part where I want not just nurture the environment around me but also something within me and I thought Yoga would be the right way to start with. Hence, I started my journey with Yoga a Year back by joining an hourly class daily. With growing confidence I thought it is the right time to move on the next stage of Yoga and start learning more about it , and be a instructor. This is where I have joined Tirisula and the plan is to complete this course and move on to the advanced courses and make Yoga not just a daily schedule but way or part of my Life.

Living a Yogic Life is definitely not easy and I know its just a decision we have made, it comes with lot of discipline that needs to be practiced and one such discipline which I believe I am moving towards is the diet. The Hindu culture to which I belong the core diet has been always something similar to Sattvic Ahara. For eg, during the fasting of Navratra (09 days), Chaturmas (04 months) – Hindus does eat a Sattvic diet. However, over the period of time this has changed and we have got fusion foods introduced in our daily meals. While we know they are good , but on a long run they are not helpful for our body. There are multiple reasons why we are not able to maintain these type of diet , could be due to busy schedules we have, and other factors like availability or the cost of the organic food.

The core principle of the Yogic diet is Vegetarian or Vegan as this doesn’t include harm to animals. It includes having food which are necessary for your Physical and mental needs. There are three primary type of foods that are referred in Yoga – Sattvic, Rajas and the Tamas.

Tamasic: This food type includes something which has been seen in everyone’s food style now a days. These are potentially overcooked, packaged, preserved and deep-fried. Alcohol ingestion is also considered to be Tamasic. These food items are considered to be heavy for digestion and cause blockages. Habit of overeating is considered to be Tamasic.

Rajasic:  These food types are usually referred to something which is energetic and overstimulating. They tend to make people hyperactive causing restlessness or insomnia. These are the food types like meat, fish, coffee, sweet, chocolates , spices etc. It also include more sour, spicy, oily, salty food items. Type of eating habit like eating in a hurry is also considered as Rajasic.

Sattvic: These are considered to be core organic food which promotes pure, life giving food. These food items include fruits, juices, vegetables , grains, nuts ,  Honey  – all of these should be organically grown. These food is considered to be easy to digest. Eating slowly, chewing and enjoying every bite is considered to be Sattvic.

With this, I felt Sattvic Bhojan is something we had been following from long time but has considerably changed due to environment around us and I believe that with my journey towards Yoga I will be gradually moving towards Sattvic diet.

Hopefully, you will find more about my Sattvic Bhojan plan in my next blog !

Bhujangasana and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

I have started my Yoga Journey with Tirisula. While I had been learning many poses I found some poses which are very engaging. These poses has variation and a small change in the pattern makes a big difference. I would like to write about one such variation of poses which is very common during Sun Salutations.  

Bhujanga means snake in Sanskrit. There is a pose which is associated with the snake like structure which is called as Bhujangasana – which is also called as Cobra Pose. 

I have learned to engage the abdomen in this pose. The abdomen can protect and support the lower back while you reach for more opening into the upper back. Once your lower back is stable you can focus on contracting your upper back.

Getting into bhujangasana :

1) Start by lying on your stomach and place your forehead on the floor.  Keep your feet’s apart from each other , the toes and the fingers are pressing the ground

2) Place your hand near to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body. Your breathing should be normal.

3) Inhale – raise or lift your head on trunk and lift your chest. Your arms should be bent at your elbows

4) Exhale – Arch your neck backward to replicate a Cobra like position. Your shoulder should be steady and away from ears. Your thighs and feets are touching the ground and you need to press them against the ground. 

5) You can hold this asana for 30-60 seconds while breathing normally. An ideal way will be to hold it for around 02 minutes.

6) To release the pose ,slowly bring your hands back to the sides. Rest your head on the ground by bringing your forehead in contact with the floor. 

7) This pose can be further extended to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward facing Dog). This pose is more intense than the Bhujangasana:

  • In this pose, the only difference is that your thighs & stomach is not touching the ground
  • Before you lift your head from the ground, we need to push your body in front and then make a arch on your spine
  • Your hands in this pose should be straight 

Anatomy

Bhujangasana & Urdhva Mukha Svanasana : benefits following muscles and joints 

Strengthens 

  1. Lattssismus dorsi
  2. Gluteal muscles 
  3. Abdomen / Core
  4. Psoas 
  5. Thighs 
  6. Deltoid 
  7. Biceps & Triceps
  8. Chest 
  9. Neck
  10. Pelvic

Stretches 

  1. Hip joints
  2. Shoulder & arms
  3. Heart 
  4. Lungs

Benefits of cobra pose / bhujangasana  & Urdhva Mukha Svanasana:

  1. Stretches the muscles in the shoulder , chest and abdominals. 
  2. Decreases stiffness of the lower back. 
  3. Improves menstrual irregularities. 
  4. Firms and tones the Gluteus Maximus. 
  5. Improves circulation of blood and oxygen, especially throughout the spinal and pelvic regions. 
  6. Improves digestion 
  7. Strengthens the spine. 
  8. Soothes the sciatica

Contradictions of Bhujangasana & Urdhva Mukha Svanasana:

  1. Severe back Problems
  2. Neck problems relating to spondylitis
  3. Not to be attempted by a pregnant woman at all costs
  4. A person suffering from hernia should not practice this at all
  5. Woman who are menstruting should avoid the pose

Starting Phase 2 of My Life with Yoga !

Starting Phase 2 of My Life with Yoga !

When a child, I was a chubby girl who always felt that my arms were very weak. I could not even hold my school bag. I would mostly avoid strenuous exercise with my arms as they would pain afterwards. My mother would always say that your shoulders are as weak as mine , when I would complain to her about my shoulders. On the way to school, as my shoulders would pain on bicycle – I devised a plan to keep all my books and my bag on the backseat while I would walk home.

After my marriage, I started realizing the same pain when I would do the household work – the shoulders would pain horribly at times.Things became more strenuous post my deliveries. After I delivered both my babies,  i gained weight and this was the time when I again started realising the pain especially when it was time to carry the kids.

About 3 years ago, I felt that I have numb arms . The pain at times  would become unbearable. Now I started realising that I need to take a rest every afternoon so I get a break to my day and then and resting would give me a relief but that was never long lasting. The pain would come back the moment some strenous activities happens during the day time.

During all of these years I wasn’t able to dedicate time for myself as my kids were small. However, I was always waiting for the right time when I would start doing something which will not just fix my pain but make me more fit, flexible and keep me young.

A friend of mine at this juncture connected me to someone who was taking Yoga Classes and I joined her class. In first few classes itself, I found amazing enery and strength in my body which I was looking for throughout my bad time. I thought my problem was solved and I started doing Yoga with more enthusiasam and was acknowledged by my Mentor/Teacher as the best student in the class.

With the interest in this vast subject and the variety of benefit Yoga Offers I made a decision to start a career in Yoga Teaching. I started looking for full time classes – I thought this way I will be able to keep myself fit and would also be able to teach world about this legacy which has been flowing through since thousands of years. I was also hopeful that I would be able to at least educate people around me towards the importance of Yoga .

Tirisula Yoga Institute happened to be academy which I have chosen to sail this journey with. The institute has wide presence in Singapore, their centres and the teachers are excellent , amicable , approachable. The centres was specially ensuring that all precaution was taken around the Covid scare. My fellow student colleagues are amazing friend who are helping me to do difficult poses during our classes.

I have joined teacher training courses around two months ago. As of now, it has been excellent learning. I have sailed through this jurney till now. Currently, I am trying to perform dificult Yoga poses like headstand and crow pose.  I am  at a stage where even when the pain is not completly out from my life, I am more confident and finding less pain on my way – even when involved into difficult poses.

I remember the first day my teacher said whatever tension you have in your mind just leave it and enter the yoga room in peace. I have onboarded this journey since the first day and I am enjoying it thoroughly.  My teachers knows that my shoulders and arms are weak – they encourage me and help me during difficult poses. I want to live the rest of my life with Yoga.

I have found a physical and mental balance in my life with Yoga !

My favorite Pranayama – Bhramari !

My favorite Pranayama – Bhramari !

If you would have been someone who is interested in fitness, you would have realized by now that between physical and mental fitness, the mental fitness takes the highest priority. Now a days our lives are so busy, that while we have managed to concentrate on the physical fitness there is no time to take care of our mental fitness. Thats where Yoga balances things as it is all about connecting your body with your mind. Yoga gives priority to the mental fitness and this starts with something referred as PRANAYAMA.

Pranayama is a path towards increasing the vital energy which is required for basic functioning of our body – referred to as Prana. Without Prana the human body will perish. This Prana is the energy which keeps us going mentally and physically. And, ayama means lengthen or gain control. With this – as the name suggest Pranayama is about gaining control of the energy through regulation of the breath.

Before I joined Yoga, my understanding was that breath is a common phenomenon and it is the basic capability of the human body to breath and in turn send the required prana to all parts of the body. However, when I joined my Yoga classes and started learning more about Yoga & Pranayama, I realized that there are many techniques of regulated breathing which is being used to gain energy. This Prana when reaches to our Nadis and chakras it keeps the human being healthy from inside and outside. In our busy lives, sometime not paying attention to our breath might lead to blockages resulting into irregular flow of our prana to chakra and Nadia which becomes cause of worries, tension and other mental and physical problems.

There are many types of pranayama, however we will talk here about my favourite –  Bhramari.

Bhramari name is derived from an India Black Bee which visits different flowers and makes a humming sound. This Pranayama technique can be practiced at any quiet corner. The natural calming effect of the humming sound calms down the nerves around the forehead and brain.

How do we do it:

  • Find a quiet place around – it can be at home, office or any other place
  • Sit on a comfortable position with both eyes closed and bring a smile on your face
  • Place your thumb on the cartilage which exists near your ear
  • Take a long breath and start making a high-pitched bee like sound, repeat this for 11-16 times

Benefits

  • Long breath taken during Bhramhari reaches every cell of your brain which takes away your anxiousness and frustrations
  • This also helps to cure insomnia or sleeping issues
  • It helps to increase memory and concentration power
  • It improves hearing capacity
  • This exercise when done calms down your mind instantly if you are going through agitation or frustration
  • This helps for curing of Migraine and Epilepsy