Stack Up!

Stacking up can mean many things. As an avid reader, I’m usually stacking my pile of books. Stacking simply put is, neatly piling or arranging things in order. At work as a research scientist, I find myself ‘data stacking’ to simplify my datasets and prepare them for further analysis. Stacking the data neatly into one organized column, helps me run many types of specific analyses for further understanding of my research. Needless to say, the order it is stacked in is not interchangeable and gives the data meaning. 

Similarly, in yoga, we stack the bones in our body so it can bear our weight in a pose and ensure a good alignment to prevent us from injuries. Specifically, in the shoulder stand, it is vital to ensure the body is stacked ideally for our breath to flow with ease. Stacking into proper skeletal support forms good alignment, minimal muscular effort, and smooth breathing. 

The shoulder stand, “Sarvangasana” is an inverted asana. The inversion stimulates blood pressure sensors in the neck and upper chest, triggering reflexes that calm the brain, slow the heart, and relax the blood vessels. It is a pose that comes naturally to me – a reason why I also enjoy it so much. But it is precisely why I lacked the technical anatomical and muscular knowledge of the pose.

This is how I come into the shoulder stand: I begin with lying flat on my back, with my arms by side. First I bend my knees and on an exhale, bring my knees to my face. With this momentum, I lift my hips and back up, with my hands supporting the lower back. Ensuring my elbows are grounded and tucked in, I push up my hips such that they are in line from feet to shoulders. My neck is engaged in a chin bandha, and my shoulder blades are pulled into the upper back. This movement creates space between the chin and the chest. Once I attain the balance and alignment required, I feel tranquil, to say the least – perhaps an indication that I successfully stacked, requiring minimal effort in muscles and breath. 

Dissecting the shoulder stand more technically: To lift your body up against gravity, it is vital to tighten the erector spinae in the back and the posterior deltoids in your shoulders. Flexibility in the chest and shoulder helps straighten the body vertically up, with the elbows and backs of your arms push firmly against the ground to provide support. For your arms to come into the supportive sweet spot, it requires flexibility in the pectoralis major muscle and the anterior part of the deltoid muscle. When the left and right pectoralis major muscles contract, they assist in flexing your arms forward, adducting them together in front of you, and then internally rotating them toward one another; all this action is happening behind you in your shoulder stand. The anterior part of the deltoid muscle assists in extending the shoulders to reach your arm behind your shoulders and firmly grounding your elbows.

By understanding the inner workings, it explains why attaining each alignment in the pose is important. It also allows me to help those who are unable to come into this pose, by stretching out and working on the flexibility of certain muscle groups; which in this case are the pecs and frontal deltoids!

瑜伽哲学

瑜伽哲学是个很深奥的话题,我看了一些资料左思右想,也不知道如何下笔。就讲下自己对瑜伽八支里制戒(Yama)与内制(NIYAMA)的理解吧!

             Yama                   Niyama

不暴力                     要自省

不欺骗                     要知足

不偷盗                     要洁净

不纵欲                     要刻苦

不贪婪                      要虔诚

  我仔细的分析了一下自己,虽然不是个很好的人,但也不是坏人。在生活中我想我就是绝大多数人中的其中一个。平平凡凡,简简单单。自从上了TTC的理论课,接触了瑜伽的理论,这让我更加喜欢瑜伽,因为我觉得可能是从小受的教育和原生家庭的关系,我对自己其实是在一种不是很健康的状态下生活的,因为制戒,对外,其实我觉得我还都做的挺好,但是对于自己,似乎就没那么友好了。因为老师讲了,制戒不是单单制定给对外的,对内也是不正确的。至于内制,我个人觉得除了我刻苦精神不太嘉以外,我觉得其他都还可以,虽然还需要更加进步。

  所以,我开始练习体式、调息,从而思考问题,反省自己。……没自我!对, 就是没自我!是在生活当中渐渐失去了自我。这样的感受是无法用语言所形容的,像一种无形的压力,让人身心疲惫,没有方向,日复一日,年复一年。就好像大海里漂泊的小船……回想年轻时的自己觉得好像并不是同一个人。但是那些记忆有深深地印在脑海里。我开始慢慢调整自己,让自己多一些空间,想不通的时候就调息,练一会体式,静下来的时候认真的听一下自己的心声,不明白的问一问自己!渐渐的自己的状态,心态,都好多了。也觉得,瑜伽不仅仅是体式的练习,也不是单纯的呼吸,也不是制戒与内制,而且全部八支的结合,其实我不求达到最高境界,只是想找到自我……真是的自我……让生活更简单美好的自我。

Recommended Pranayama for Vata Dosha 

Description of  Vata Dosha

Combination of the space and air elements. People with a predominantly Vata constitution are often lean, with dry skin, cold hands and feet and variable digestion tending toward bloating, discomfort, and constipation. Their sleep is typically light, and their lifestyle routines tend to be irregular. When unbalanced, they may become fearful, nervous, and anxious. They are prone to worry, easy to fatigue, and can be impulsive, compulsive, and erratic (Yoga International).

Pranayama for Vata Dosha – Nadi Shodhana  (Nadi = channel, gateway or path.  Shodhana = cleaning / purifying)

Pranayama is a controlled breathing during which one inhale, hold breath, and exhale in a specific sequence and regulated manner. Nadi Shodhana involves rhythmic, grounding, soothing inhalation and exhalation and is recommended for a Vata body type. It is good for releasing physical stress or stiffness in the muscles/tissues which could potentially promote mental clarity and reduce anxiety. Pranayama can be practiced on a regular basis to calm the predominant Dosha and restore balance and harmony in our mind, body, and soul. One should note that a Nadi Shodhana should not be practiced while suffering from cold, flu or fever.

Practicing Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

  1. Sit comfortably and bring the right hand into Vishnu Mudra
  2. Begin the first round by closing the right nostril with thumb
  3. Inhale long and deep* from the left nostril
  4. At the end of inhalation, close left nostril with ring finger and hold the breath*.
  5. Release the thumb from the right nostril, exhale slowly*
  6. Inhale deeply from the same right nostril, hold the breath* inside and exhale slowly* from the left nostril. It completes the one cycle
  7. Repeat for 20 cycles

 *Breathing Ratio for Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

Level Inhale Hold Exhale
Beginner 1 1 1
Intermediate 1 2 1
Advance 1 4 2

 

调息

 

 

说到调息,虽然我了解的不多,但是TTC上也是认真听老师讲了的。平时也有练习,多少也会比纯小白强一点点。感觉如果真的说不出点什么就有点对不起自己的老师了。

那么就先说下自己,从一开始腹式呼吸到乌加依呼吸法,回想一下!起初并不懂,由于是小白对体式也不熟又紧张,很多时候都是吸气然后屏息出力做的,后来上课呼吸系统的课,才知道自己把有氧运动的瑜伽,变成了无氧运动。因此总是肌肉疼!开始有意识到呼吸的重要性,所以有用心去感受自己的呼吸以及配合呼吸做动作……比如从最开始的拜日式,虽然我平时的习惯也是鼻呼鼻吸不会让自己很喘到需要用嘴巴呼吸,但是每次练下来也不知道哪里该是呼哪里该是吸,知道有一次TTC课上老师让我们锻炼自己喊口令时我才意识到。回到家,决定先从12式拜日式研究起,先熟悉体式,然后慢慢配合呼吸。

吸气,双手向上后弯

呼气,站立前屈

吸气,右脚向后一大步,左脚向后一大步

呼气,膝盖落,下巴落,胸落,

吸气,向上,眼镜蛇式

呼气,下犬式

吸气,右脚向前一大步,左脚向前一大步

呼气,前屈

吸气,双手向上后弯

呼气,双手合十于胸前

每一个体式我都慢慢体会发现,向上伸展打开胸腔的体式都是吸气,向下延展的休息的都是呼气!所以口令很容易自己就整理出来了 再慢慢整理拜日式A和B。有点错乱的地方,去上课的时候老师指导一下就理解并记住了!回来再自己配合练习,所以进步就很快。口令也会熟练的掌握!练习一段时间会发现,体式练习中,会很自然的做乌加依呼吸法,这是一件很神奇的事……

再一个就是,鼻孔交替调息法,刚开始,由于不是很明白而且自己的专注力也不好,每次都是调的自己很错乱,后来老师用个om的app,帮我们更加专注的来做鼻孔交替调息法,慢慢的专注于心专注于呼吸,发现调息完以后,整个人都精神许多。从而也领悟到一切其实是要从心开始才可以做到做好。

至于其他的呼吸法,我还只是会做而已,并没领悟,但是很期待全部领悟的那一天的到来,期待自己可以进入冥想状态!

 

我对瑜伽哲学的认识

                                                     

       瑜伽哲学,对我个人来说是很深远奥妙的学问。把这门学问带入自己的瑜伽练习中是很难在短时间内所能领悟的。就与我自己的经验吧!初学的五年里,我只重视体式的形成,还追求着高难度的挑战!但这样的追寻也只能说带给我很多的疲惫和失望。

         后来,阅读了一本简易介绍帕坦伽利的<瑜伽八支>的书籍📚,得于了解体式在瑜伽里只是其中的一个步骤,需要把身体转变与灵性层面的连接,才能调整到自己的思想和行动,让自己体会瑜伽带给自己内心的另一层感知。

           我也曾经看过一篇文章普尚吉(Prashsritji)所描述<<练习者如果只注重在体式上而忽略了调息、专注,那么此练习者到了年老以后还能像年轻时一样的练习体式吗?但是如果在此之前有了瑜伽哲学的教育和探索就会对自己的生活智慧大放光芒,对生活意义的影响和引领起作用。>>

             他们对瑜伽的理念也着实让我有振撼的力量,也改变了我练习瑜伽的心态,从新调整自己的呼吸与便让内心和身体共处。当然这只是我浅浅的体会,我自己在生活中有些改变,由其是现在的我对人与事有着不同的看法和行为。以前的执着和恐惧正悄然远离自己,不束缚自己,有规律地练习瑜伽为自己营造自我的环境和时间。

               我曾经看见一个小卡片摆放在瑜伽馆里写着:

瑜伽的核心是–Joy喜悦 / Letting go 放开 / Stillness 宁静 / Attention 专注 / Meditation 冥想 / Non-violence 非暴力 / Self-discipline 自律 / Self-study 自习

这是个很好的表达在练习瑜伽所要有的态度,才能真正体会到身体、感官、心、智性与自己融合。我也立马记录在自己的筆记本上,让自己去寻找自己对瑜伽的知觉,能否与这个小卡片产生同样的共鸣。这也让我不暇思索的踏上瑜伽垫一直练习的原因。

关于头倒立的领悟

初次接触瑜伽时,我觉得头倒立是一个超级厉害的体式。能做到的人一定是超级厉害的,因 为我自己从小就惧怕倒立! 

由于报了TTC考试中有头倒立, 所以要硬着头皮上 。初次体验是在老师和同学的帮助下,坦 白讲基本上是他们抱着我起来,抱着我下来的。过程十分恐怖……内心是不愿再尝试的,所以 决定放弃这个体式。 

大概两个星期后体式课上老师又要求头倒立了,在老师的帮助下,我居然倒着从墙上去了。 只是不太优美,不过几秒就下来了。很清楚的,记得当时心里的喜悦,大过了恐惧。几分钟后, 老师让我再来一次。点了点头,在同学的帮助与保护下又一次上了墙,同学们提醒我收紧核心 ,我尝试着收紧的同时感觉自己稳多了,这时老师就帮我拍了一张很珍贵的照片,当时开心极 了。 

 

第一次贴墙面倒立 

  回到家,我便开始循序渐进的练习头倒立,按照老师说的教的先热身,在启动核心启动手臂力 量。我在家里找了一个合适的地方,两面都是墙。前倒后倒就都不怕了,开始接下来的练习。

 

  星期一我练 星期二我练 星期三我练练练 

练习中,每天练完,我都会看家里的视频回放,找出自己的不足和缺点,需要改进的地方,第 二天继续练习。

 

星期四 可以坚持18秒了 

由于练的有点过猛,周五全身肩部酸痛,太累了!选择了休息。

星期六的体式课 25秒 

其实真正领悟到头倒立是在考试的前两天,由于练习习惯我是脸对着墙墙上的!考试我害怕 , 所以提前两天练习, 背对墙上 ,内心还是恐惧的 ,紧张到上去后一直摇啊摇 摇啊摇 ,经过 两次后,我突然发现 ,我是紧张到忘记了呼吸…… 

真正考试到来的那天, 手肘向下压实地面、 大臂外旋、肩胛骨内收、肋骨收 、收尾骨、 收紧 核心 臀部放松 、大腿内旋收紧上提, 调整好呼吸 坚持了1分钟+ 其实并不累 因为找到真正 找到了头倒立的感觉……只是内心还是会有一些怕才会下来!不过没关系 总有一天 我会让 自己足够强大 战胜恐惧!!!加油!!!

 

 

Anulom Vilom Pranayama

Pranayama – the cessation of breathing and expansion of prana.

Prana means “vital life force” and Ayama means “to extend or draw out”. Together, Pranayama means breath control.

Before hearing of this term pranayama, I’ve never given extra thoughts as to why yoga teachers tell students to take deep breaths and throughout the class, give reminders to “breathe”. I knew breathing regulates our heart rate, making the movements from pose to pose more manageable. Until recently, when I was introduced to the different types of pranayama techniques that I was wowed by it.

 

So, what exactly is pranayama? It involves techniques controlling our breaths in various ways.

According to Yoga Sutras of Pantajali, sutra 2.50:

bahya abhyantara stambha vrittih desha kala sankhyabhih paridrishtah dirgha sukshmah

This translates to “that pranayama has three aspects of external or outward flow (exhalation), internal or inward flow (inhalation), and the third, which is the absence of both during the transition between them, and is known as fixedness, retention, or suspension. These are regulated by place, time, and number, with breath becoming slow and subtle.”.

 

The three aspects of breath are:

  1. Exhalation: Training the exhalation is removing the jerkiness, allowing the flow to be slow and deep, as well as diaphragmatic.
  2. Inhalation: Training the exhalation also means eliminating jerkiness, breathing slowly, and using the diaphragm.
  3. Transition: Between exhalation and inhalation, and between inhalation and exhalation there is a transition, which is experienced as suspension, retention, or cessation, etc. The training of the transition is to make it very smooth as if there were no pause at all.

 

One of the breathing techniques that I would like to talk about is Anulom Vilom – Alternate Nostril Breathing.

What attracted me to this pranayama is that it improves digestion. I am someone with poor digestion and irregular bowel movements. When I first tried Anulom Vilom, just 5 minutes in and I felt the need to go to the toilet! How quick is the effect of it? Given the stressful lifestyle and the amount of food some of us take due to convenience, this is one pranayma that I think is highly suitable!

Some other benefits of Anulom Vilom are:

  • Boosts respiratory system
  • Reduces stress
  • Helps in keeping mental disorders at bay
  • Improves concentration
  • Boosts and improves digestion

  

The steps to practice Anulom Vilom:

  1. Sit in a cross-legged or meditating position, making sure the spine and head are straight.
  2. Close eyes and relax for a few minutes and when relaxed and ready, to cool the body, take your right thumb and place it on the right nostril (refer to the left image below)
  3. Press the right thumb with a slight force so that airflow through the right nostril is temporarily stopped. And take a deep breath from the left nostril.
  4. Then release the thumb, place your ring and pinky finger on the left nostril, and release the breath through the right nostrils (refer to the right image below)
  5. Making sure breath is slow and ratio for inhalation and exhalation to be 1:1 and graduation work up to 1:2

*to heat up the body, take your ring and pinky finger and place it on the left nostril, breathe in through the right nostril, then release the fingers and place the right thumb on the right nostril and release the breath through the left nostril.

Picture source: https://www.myupchar.com/en/yoga/pranayama/anulom-vilom-pranayam-yoga-steps-benefits-in-hindi

Have fun with this! Hope you’ll experience the same effect I had!

我的瑜伽路程

我与瑜伽是在十五年前相遇的。那时的我对瑜伽的概念是一种不需要穿着运动鞋而踏在垫子上的运动,不需要做到汗流浃背或气喘如牛,使用的力量不多而且还能够做到许多高难度的体式,如蜻蜓式、蛇式高级变体、孔雀式等等. 加上找到朋友一起学习。

我就这样懵懵懂懂加入了瑜伽馆成为了会员,开始了我的瑜伽之旅。我加入的第一节课,课程上虽然写着初级班,可是我一走进去,让我自己觉得无法发挥自己的运动细胞,第一节课我就感觉呼吸困难,跟不上节奏因为过程中有上有下,还要拉伸肌肉停留在一个体式几秒中保持呼吸。我上了这堂课后,了解瑜伽的动作和我以前的运动是有区别的。比如打网球,我只注意的是手、脚、球拍和反应加上速度。

我下定决心要好好的学习(这是不服输的性格),就开始每一天上两堂课,不论早、晚,还是连续两堂,而且也上不同的课程,如:哈他、阿斯汤伽、热瑜伽等等。上了大约六个月后,身体悄然发生了变化,体质变强了!柔韧性好了,身体也变苗条了,哈哈,窃喜一下。  可是,这时发现我的身体出现了疼痛,尤其是我的腰椎和颈肩,后来疼痛加剧也到忍无可忍的情况下,就找上医生做诊断。

结果发现我们腰椎有小裂缝和左右颈的比例有差,这时心中不禁产生了疑问,瑜伽不适合我吗?当我还在考虑是否继续学习的时候,遇到了一位从印度来的瑜伽导师,朋友就组织了六个星期的课程和这位瑜伽导师上课。

这课程里,他教会我们从简易的体式到高难度的体式,用什么技术去做体式,每个体式是要激发那个身体部份而不造成伤害,也让我更了解自己的本质,做不到的体式就要简化而能达到同样的效果。重要的是他让我对瑜伽的认知更上一层,如他提到的: 瑜伽体式只是其中一种的修炼,需要加上养性再配合专注,控制。从而达到有利于身心的练习。从这个课程中加深了我对瑜伽的热爱,我学会了欲速则不达的道理,在学习的过程中每一步都要专注于自己的呼吸才能体会到身心所要表达的感受。

为了要对瑜伽有更多的知识,原本要去上瑜伽导师培训班,当时没有几个瑜伽馆提供中文课程,只好转上一些<瑜伽工作坊>,但发现没有我所要的,因为他们所教的都己经学习过。有一次,我去上了一个<艾扬格瑜伽工作坊>,这个瑜伽课程很特别,因为用了很多辅助具来帮助学员完成体式。老师知道我能够做到的体式很多,但他对我的体式有很多的意见和批评,当时的我有受到挫折的感觉,我也很努力的去改进他所认为对的体式。到最后我还是沒有达到他所要的体式。过后我一直在思考问题出现在那里,在家里我一直练习他所教的方法,当然我有认识到自己的问题出现在那个部位。

经过这两位导师的教导,我的结论是每个导师都会有不同的见解,我不能说谁对谁错而是自己应该多练习去多了解。这是我在瑜伽的过程中有趣的事件。后来我再次去寻找新的瑜伽课程,终于让我等到了中文瑜伽导师培训班了,就这样我加入了Tirisula yoga又来到了新的一站!

冥想和调息法与我同在

冥想是“瑜伽八支” 中的第七分支 Dhyana 指的是入定. 那何为 “入定” . 指意识能长久集中,不被外在事物所干扰,对认知从表面逐渐深入本质(原始). 帕坦伽利述写的 “瑜伽八支” 里要练习冥想先从身体外和内开始洁化,学习体式、调息、控制感官, 专注于一点,大脑没有波动,才能进入高度专注状态。

冥想的好处:

  • 改善睡眠质量和失眠等症状,让身体处于放松状态,增加褪黑激素分泌。 
  • 增加大脑的记忆力、创造力、专注力.因为有科学家的研究证明冥想是能让大脑里的海马区域和杏仁核里得到休息而激发神经中枢。
  • 对抗抑郁症,能让患者学习面对恐惧、焦虑、惊吓感。

当然练习冥想并没有什么捷径的技巧达成,所谓的欲速则不达。我在练习冥想的时候,会选择在一定的时间和地点,加上与冥想有关的音乐,我也会利用乌加依调息法 (Ujjayi)带入冥想的情绪,因为乌加依法在喉部间所发出似海浪般的声音让我觉得安稳。其他人也会运用 “om” 声和蜂鸣声带入。我只是一个初学者,每次完成练习,都让自己感觉轻松而且容易入眠。

瑜伽中的呼吸被称为调息。Pranayama,有报道称说我们每一个的呼吸只有30%的能量,如果掌握了正确的调息方法就可以找回呼吸中所浪费掉的70%能量。在<哈他瑜伽之光>这本事中有一句话说,”呼吸在、生命就在,呼吸停止、生命也就结束了,所以请调理你的呼吸.”  这句话明显的解释调息的意义所在。在瑜伽经里,修行者都证明了呼吸控制是控制心意波动的一个重要因素,而且是连接身与心的桥梁。所以在”瑜伽八支”调息是修身后所要练习的过程才能再进入心境。

在瑜伽调息中包括了乌伽依法、清凉、圣光、鼻孔交替、蜂鸣、能量收束法。这些调息法不但能增强肌肉系统和骨骼系统,也能促进循环系统、消化系统、神经系统和分泌系统的功能。在医学上,医生也承认呼吸疗法的重要性,认为通过控制呼吸练习有促进健康的提升效果。

冥想与调息都是我一直努力练习的课程,当然这两个技术需要有耐力去学习,我希望能和更多朋友分享,因为它们的确对我们身心起了良好的效果。

我和瑜伽的故事-体式篇

说起瑜伽,难免要说体式,瑜伽体式看起来优美大方,让人赏心悦目,总想着摆个美美的体式,拍张照也是令人羡慕的。这也是我练习瑜伽的初衷之一吧。

心动不如行动,想到了就赶快做起来,报了瑜伽班,就想着优美的姿势耍起来,想想就美,哈哈。

理想是美好的,现实是残酷的,第一天就给我一个下马威,犹如一盆冷水下来–浇个透心凉。想起当天风和日丽,真是个好天气,我也是神清气爽,一路哼着歌就来到了瑜伽室。幻想着很快就可以直冲高级姿势了,哈哈哈,不由自主的就笑了出来。教练告诉我们,练习要多体会,多思考,平时也要抽时间练习。我心想:少说废话吧,赶快动起来。教练继续说了些什么,我也没留意听,就等着做体式了。不一会儿,让我们开始热身了,我赶快调整情绪,准备好好练习。教练说:“先做入门的拜日式五遍。”我一听,马上就蒙了,什么是拜日式?(我真真瑜伽小白一个,连个入门级的拜日式都不知所云。我甚至忘了应该提前做点功课,起码有点了解。我报的可是教练培训班哪!不是初级班)这时我想起来赶快看看周围同学的动作,照猫画虎,跟着做起来。动作不规范不说,关键我也跟不上节奏,别人一个动作都做完了,我还趴那里没起来呢。我心想:我就是来陪衬的吗?不行,赶快跟上。我跌跌撞撞勉强跟了2轮,就已经累得不想做了。心里的两个小人打了半天架,我连滚带爬地勉强算做完了。正要休息一下,教练又让我们热身,练习核心。妈呀,我已经累得直喘了,还要接着来,这是自虐的节奏吗?没办法,已经赶鸭子上架了,不行也得行。我硬着头皮继续做,这时已经像个泄了气的皮球,只剩垂头丧气了。正当我万分沮丧的时候,教练告诉我们,瑜伽练习不是习惯性的肢体伸拉,在于感受与知觉,不论练习了多久,也不论什么体式,请用归零的心态去面对。瑜伽是练给自己的,要用心灵去感知。它不是高难度体式的“较量”。我们在繁忙的工作中,已经身心疲惫了,不要让自己在瑜伽的世界中让自己更累。请将呼吸与动作配合好,意识专注即可。

我开始慢慢专注于身体的觉醒,享受练习的过程,在练习过程中,了解到瑜伽的姿势可以使肌肉、骨骼、呼吸系统、消化系统等互相协调,调节体内脏器官,使人体维持在最佳的状态,经过正规体式练习,平衡力和活力成为正常的精神状态,整个人会归于平静,不再受太多的问题干扰。睡眠也会更好了。

经过这段时间的练习,也渐渐明白了练体式,不要刻意勉强自己,只要求根据自身的条件进行练习,听从自己内心的感受找到适合自己的练习方法,不管自身的身体条件如何,一切身体外在的都只是瑜伽最初的表现,要用心专注于当下,感受每个体式带来的身体感受。经过一段时间后,就能发现自己的蜕变,日久见成效!

我们走在瑜伽的路上,要坚定自己的意志,精神内敛,定时起居,饮食规律,要明白高级体式不是目标,我们要重在当下,体验过程。