Weight over your shoulder – the good kind

Zeus condemned Atlas to stand at the western edge of Gaia and hold up The Heavens on his shoulders
SARVA-ANGA ASANA
The word Sarvanga is a Sanskrit word comprised of two words. One is ‘sarva (all) and another is ‘anga (lims). It literally means “all the limbs”.
When one does this inversion posture, the entire body is resting on the shoulders. Picture the greek god Atlas, although in a much smaller scale!
 
HOW TO DO SHOULDER STAND POSE
• Lie on the your back
• Bend both legs 90 degrees
• Using your core, raise the legs up and straighten the spine. Lift
• Support the back with your palms. Elbows are grounded on the floor
• gaze is towards the toes
 
 
 
 
 
 
CONTRAINDICATIONS
1. cervical or neck injuries
2. high blood pressure
3. menstruation
4. spinal weakness caused by conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis
 
BENEFITS
1. Bye to common colds: eradicates common colds and other nasal disturbances.
2. Hello sexy legs: It increases the flow of blood to the upper parts of our body. As we have learned inversions help in the circulatory systems- Ladies? It keeps the varicose veins away! Save yourself the trip to the doctor, or those expensive creams!
But the most important benefit? It’s just plain FUN!
 
So go ahead, channel the greek god or goddess in you. Carry some weight over those shoulders – the good kind!
 
 
Bianca Pereche- Gamboa
200hr TTC (weekday), March 2015

BACKBONE:the spine in mind

spineA mnemonic for remembering the spine, the specific functions of each in relation to one’s (my) intention for learning and teaching yoga
if i Can Teach and Learn yoga So Can you!
7 Cervical(neck) to build confidence and hold one’s head up high
to guide the student even if he says yes to me or no (C1- axis and C2- atlas), i will hold them up (C2-atlas) and keep them stable
 
12 Thoracic(ribs) to know the proper breathing
to unlock their own passion and keep my own close to my heart (sternum)
 
5 Lumbar(lower back) to provide the most support and strength to ones students and my own practice
 
5 Sacral(fused) to fuse the mind, body and Self
 
4 or 3 Coccyx(tailbone) to acknowledge students anatomical differences, respect limitations and do proper alignment
 
 
 
You can always set your own intention per each but REMEMBER: if i Can Teach and Learn yoga SCan you! – it’s true!
 
Bianca Pereche- Gamboa
200hr TTC (weekday), March 2015

Understanding Rhomboids

Rhomboids, as the name suggests, are diamond-shaped skeletal muscles that connects the scapula to the vetebrae of the spinal column. There are two types of rhomboids: rhomboid major and rhomboid minor. Rhomboid major is the larger of the two, is the situated below the rhomboid minor. Antagonists include the serratus anterior and upper and lower fibers of the trapezius.
Exercises and yoga asanas that work the rhomboids and interscapular muscles can help to relieve tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back – ailments that are commonly associated with sitting for long hours at the computer. It also helps to improve one’s standing and sitting posture by bringing more awareness to the upper back region. Chronic neck and shoulder pain may be caused by strained rhomboid muscles, which cannot be effectively alleviated just by massages and painkillers. 
Yoga asanas that work that rhomboids:

  • Balasana (Child’s Pose)
  • Gharudasana (Eagle Pose)
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
  • Prasarita Padottanasana C
  • Seated twists such as Ardha Matsyasana, Marichiyasana

For those who have been spending long hours seated at the computer at school or at work, some of these simple asanas can be done in between short breaks to relieve some tension in your rhomboids, which can also do wonders to relieving neck and shoulder tensions. Habitually doing these asanas and bringing more awareness to the rhomboids can also improve both standing and sitting posture, as you break the habit of hunching your back over the computer or when you are working.
If you have been suffering from neck and back pains, give these asanas a go! They will help immensely in relieving pain and tension in your body.
 
Namaste!
Angie (200hr Weekend YTT)

Filipino A-saucha

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Traditional Filipino Costume called Baro’t Saya made of silk or white bark fiber

Short, brown skin, non prominent nose- these are a few of the preconceived physical notion of a Filipina. Cheerful and hospitable are the resounding adjectives of my race. During the first week, Master Paluu asked each race represented by a student in our class to be described. It was stereotype enumeration game. Much of the girls were shy, sensitive and would veer away from any negative implication to a certain race. Master Paluu on the other hand, was on a frankness streak since he has been blessed with truthfulness(Satya).

We are quite the Miss Universe batch- the races were very diverse. Most of the descriptions were funny. Some adjectives were exaggerations however, for some, like for myself it was spot on. Filipinos ARE known to apologize too often, a little too much in fact. We easily blame it on our history of over 300 years of colonization of the Spaniards, Japanese, and Americans all combined. For me, it is much of a convenient excuse to be submissive. It is true, the truth stings. I loathed being stereotyped, it made me feel limited and predictable. Even though I did hate being stereotyped, I found myself sharing the same superficial thoughts over the different races as we went through the class. So I took home with me two lessons that day. One is to treat others how I want to be treated (Bramacharya) and to eliminate any bias (Saucha). Who knows you might meet, a tall, fair skinned, unapologetic Filipina and hopefully, be pleasantly surprised.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bianca Pereche- Gamboa
[Tall, fair skinned, unapologetic Filipina] 200hr TTC (weekday), March 2015
 

Gomukasana

I really like this asana, although, I cannot do it on my own , I have to have somebody to pull me and twist me in order to get my hands to touch. In the 4 weeks of the course I only managed to do this asana in full, twice.
This is an asana that I will be working non stop until I manage to do it on my own.
Benefits :
Opens the hips- especially beneficial for tight IT band and gluteals.
Opens the shoulders- especially targeting tight rotator cuff muscles.
Opens chest and thighs
Stretches the triceps
TECHNICAL COMMENTS
There is always something to work on in this posture. Ideally the person will have both sit bones weighted evenly, a block can be a great help here if one side is lifting off of the floor. Engage the feet slightly to avoid rolling the ankles and to maintain good ankle knee alignment. Ensure that the ribcage is resting over the pelvis three dimensionally- i.e., the back the ribs line up with the back of the pelvis and the front of the ribs line up with the front of the pelvis. Due to tightness in the chest and shoulders, many students will pop the ribcage forward in order to link the fingers behind their back. Try to keep the elbows close to the body and the ears in line with the shoulders.
Carla Cavaco

Chakras

I have heard the word chakras many times before, it is one of those words that somebody mentions and everyone knows what it is , or what does it mean .
But do they, really??
As part of my course, I had an introduction to the Chakras, I can mention one by one by name.
But if I am asked what a is Chakra, I can say that it is one of the seven centres of spiritual power in the human body. I can name and locate them.
But, can I really feel them? Can I really understand the full mean of a Chakra?
Am I spiritual enough to understand the concept of Chakra?
I don’t think so , or maybe this is also part of the big journey that I embarked when I joined the course.
When I hear Master Paalu talk about the Chakras while in the classroom it makes perfect sense but as soon as I move away that sense of understanding and embracing stays right there in the yoga studio. This philosophy needs to be explored and be understood deeper.
Carla Cavaco

Follow up from the first head stand

In my first blog , I expressed with great enthusiasm the fact that I had done my first EVER head stand and how excited I was to carry on and progress with it.
I am quite sad to report that I have not progressed further with it. Quite the opposite!!
I stopped doing all the asana where I have to put strain on my neck, I seem to have a nerve trapped, somewhere in my neck and it is causing two numb fingers in each hand.
It is quite frustrating to not be able to achieve the tasks that I set myself, that does not happen very often
I have to confront and accept my limitations but I have decided to concentrate and focus in what I can do instead of I what I cannot do. I now can hold my big toes while doing Padahastasana while , when I started the course I hardly could touch my carve.
Every day that I get up at 5.30 in the morning to attend the course it is a small victory and once the class starts and, every day, I can bend a little bit further, I gives me such a sense of achievement.
It’s not just the physical achievement but for me it is also very much the mental. I am learning so much about myself, I am learning how love myself a little more , not that I did not , I did , I truly believe if one does not love itself , no one will, but I am not sure how to express this , but maybe I am respecting myself a little more .
This course has turned me inside out , I am a very confident person , but there were times that I felt so lost and venerable , although , I must admit that those feeling were so strong when I could not do an asana , or when I did not have the answer for a particular question.
Then I realised that I had to be kinder to myself , I had to admit that I never had done yoga at this level and I am very inflexible, but there was no other way than forward. And now , on my almost 5th week of the course regardless of the outcome , my confidence is back and I thank all the Masters at Tirisula, for their help and persistence , ohh boy they have twisted and bended me in ways I never thought possible.
Carla Cavaco

Facing your fears

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I decided to give myself a challenge in the beginning of this year. I want to take action before hesitation comes to visit me again. I decided to use one-month time to finish my 200 YTTC class and see how this course will do to me.
 
I have scoliosis since I was teenage but never make too many awareness of myself posture in my daily life and make adjustment to it until my back pain over my right lumbar started to visit me. I think yoga really has an obvious effect in improving my back pain and energizing me. I am not addicted to fancy poses in my class, whatever there is an option offered by the teacher, I will definitely pick the basic one I just don’t want to hurt myself. Due to my special condition of my back issue not every yoga teacher will come over, adjust me or give me alternatives especially in a mass class teaching.
 
Attending different classes also open my eyes to different teaching style of yoga teachers. Some teachers did create a sequencing that makes me feel extremely good after attending their classes. I started to aware the magic of different poses that will help my spine in different way. It is not just motivating me to get a deeper understanding in different asana and the effect of it, but also want to spread the benefit of it to people near me who also suffering different pain and condition.
 
After 20 days classes in Tirisula, I found my physical condition changes, my deltoid shape comes out sharply and I feel the lightness in my spine and through out my whole body. I am doing the most physical workout in my life up till now in these 20 days. It is not just giving better idea for what yoga actually but also open me the door to different possibility in the future.
 
I never imagine what I will turn to be after 25 days of training but it definitely give me more and more passion to continuous my practice in a better way to either myself or to those who need my helps. I also get the satisfaction in managing different new poses in the yoga journey. The feeling of conquering your own fear and gaining trust to yourself.
 
Mika cheung 200YTTC weekday( march)

From Hot Yoga to Ashtanga and get hooked since then

 
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Why Ashtanga ?   What get me into this?  I can say Hot classes like Hot yoga is a very popular class in commercial yoga studio and sometime it is quite difficult to get an Ashtanga class from them especially during the peak hour after work. I just tried a class of Ashtanga few months ago as I found the name of it interesting to me and just want to try it out. I have been having a year of hot hot hot hot classes in my yoga schedule which I started to feel bored.
I was first attracted by the beautiful sequence and dynamic flow of this yoga.I was absolutely attracted by the lightness of the movement that my teacher demonstrated in the class. Feel like flying in her transition of movement. Yoga suddenly turn into an art to me , it can be so elegant and pretty .I can make you sweat like you are in the hot classroom due to the dynamic flow but not due to the external heating panel. The vinyasa also like helping me mobilize the spine and get less stiff after the lesson. I feel like I get my flexible spine after the class.
After I knew there is an instructor class for Ashtanga in Singapore, I really want to try it out and learn more about this beautiful flow of asana. I was used to struggling in my dolphin pose while others are trying their headstand or more advanced pose in the class so I set my goal for myself to be able to headstand after the course .To my surprise, we need to try headstand and handstand in our first few days. I think it will not be started that early in the course. I was not able to manage it at the beginning ,I was so frustrated when I saw other classmates are flying inverted .Please get me inverted!!!I really want to do it …..
I reflex and remind myself it is why yoga attractive to me. Sometime what you need may be a little bit patience to yourself. You are not able to manage some poses in a short period of time but you need to know your problems and not giving up .One day you will be surprised by it again when you turn your impossible into possible. I can get myself inverted with the help of wall in the first week but I still not able to left my wall due to my wobbling body in the air .I will try my best to get my leg from the wall one day .
Learning your own problems and facing it may lead you to grow in a faster way than just do it blindly without someone can inspire you through. Thanks my teachers in the course open the impossible door into a possible one to me .Let’s turn more impossible into possible and progress in our life long practice in a playful way.
Mika Cheung YTTC200( weekday) march

Fallen angel pose

One challenging pose for me is the Fallen angel pose.  As can be seen from the name, the final pose looks like an angel that just fell from the sky with the legs illustrating the angel’s wings towards the sky.
There are a few preparation exercises.
1.  Utkatasana twist – Sit in a chair pose, twist the torso to the right side with palms at heart center.  Left elbow should be over the right knee.  Repeat on other side.
2.  Crow pose – Balance on two hands with knees over elbows.
3.  Side crow pose – Squat with knees together, palms on the floor at shoulder width.  Twist legs to the left (or torso to the right).  Place the right knee on the left elbow and right hip on the right elbow.  Balance on two elbows by hugging in the shins.
The Crow and the side crow are two of my favorite asanas.  But the following steps leading into Fallen Angel is where things start to become difficult.
1.  From side crow, shift forward towards the ground until the temple of the head touches the floor.  Face the same direction as your knees.
2.  Making sure the elbows are bent at 90 deg angle, hinge the hips and reach the left leg straight up towards the sky.  Reach up with strength as if the toes are trying to grab something in the sky.
3.  Hinge the hips to rotate the right leg towards the sky also, but keeping the right knee on the left elbow.
4.  Keep hinging until both toes face the sky.  Hold for 5 breaths.
5.  Come back down to side crow.
6.  Rest in child’s pose.
 
Benefits of this pose include cultivation of discipline, tenacity, deep body awareness, focus, and a steady, calm mind.  But above all, I would like to master this pose because it is so pretty.
So far, my attempts have left me with bruises on my arm where I rotate my lower leg..  I will continue working on this asana until I learn to ‘fall with grace’.  angel
Getting knocked down in life is a given.  Getting up and moving forward is a choice.
 
Naho Udagawa – 200hr YTTC weekday