Something Fun, Be creative

We are having fun and crazy ideas of what we can do next!!! Not just for earning, but also help to contribute back to the community.

My friends came asking me, what I can contribute.?? That is where my idea came about to conduct some classes.

Opening a café cum yoga studio that sells take away coffee and some pastries was one of the ideas, with few benches for students who wants to mingle after the practice. It will only be operating from 8am – 4pm where we can still have work life balance. Portion of it will be yoga studio, where I can practice, perhaps teaching, renting the space out or even giving out free yoga lesson once or twice a month. And decide to take one of the days earnings and donate to the orphanage.😃

When I spoke to friends about yoga, to them they thought yoga is a female sport where they wear sport wear and do simple poses. Seems so easy, and after explaining to them some of the Mudras, Chakras, Pranayama. To my surprise they are very interested to know more about it and change the perspective how they look at yoga.

As most of them are working in the office for long hours. How this can improve their health and posture? After we practice on the mat, they realized the need to engage the core muscles of the body to corporate and coordinate the flow of the breath with the poses, to do a “simple looking pose”. And, the breathing technique that is something new to them. Never did they think that breathing can be something that you are born with, can have so many techniques and benefit to our health. So, this inspire me wants to learn more so that I can share the knowledge.

 

 

 

How yoga improves my self-awareness

In yoga, we learn to pay our attention to the body when performing a variety of yoga poses, whether our back is lengthened or rounded, our chest is opened or collapsed, our core is actively engaged or relaxed, our hips are squared or slanted, our pelvis is tilted anterior or posterior, our feet are in a dorsiflexion or plantar flexion position, our fingers are relaxing or actively stretching, and where our eyes are resting. Practising yoga not only increases my body awareness for improved body posture, it also increases my awareness in managing my facial expression and eating habits. In this post, I would like to share with you how practising yoga has promoted my awareness in these three aspects which are so important in our daily life.

Maintaining a good body posture

One of my favourite yoga poses is wheel pose or alternatively known as upward bow pose. This deep backbend and chest opening pose allows the spine to be stretched backward, counteracting the usual hunched body posture. Most other sitting or standing yoga poses also require us to open the chest and lengthen the spine. After practising yoga for some time, I have become more aware of my body posture when I am walking or sitting in front of the desk. To keep a good body posture, it takes awareness to contract my back muscles for straightening the back and roll my shoulders back for opening the chest. Having a good posture not only makes me look taller, but also improves my confidence. Mentally, with the chest opened, I feel my heart is opened as well. I have learnt to open up myself more to accept others and focus on bringing kindness to them.

Managing the facial expression

How often do we pay attention to our facial expression when interacting with others? There was one time in a yoga practice, when being asked to relax the space between our eyebrows during the relaxation stage, I realized I had been frowning unknowingly for no reason. I also tend to blink my eyes excessively during public speaking probably because I am too nervous. Realizing facial expression which is a part of the body language can determine how people interpret us, I started to put more attention on managing my facial expression. Starting from relaxing the space between my eyebrows, I go on to relax my face, smile more and focus my eyes in one direction. I believe the facial expression also reflects our mental state. By managing our facial expression, not only this can make people become more comfortable to interact with us, but also regulate our emotions.

Practising mindful eating habits

Healthy diet and exercise go hand-in-hand to nurture and shape our body. Additionally, the yogic diet encourages sattvic foods which are foods that are eaten fresh and natural or lightly cooked for a clear and calm mind. I was so used to eating excessively hot and heavily spiced foods which can overstimulate the body and mind. I frequently experienced stomach discomfort and breakout on my face on top of the restless state of my mind. After learning about the yogic diet, I always remind myself not to eat so much spicy food and avoid stimulants of all kinds. For example, I will opt for an egg prata instead of my usual egg and onion combination for this delicious local dish. Most importantly, I consciously remind myself not to overeat. Due to the constant stress in my study and work, I had been overeating for a long time as I wrongly took eating as a form of self-love by feeding myself all the foods that I was tempted to eat and as a reward for my hard work. During the yoga training, I could literally feel the heaviness in my body when trying to lift myself up in certain poses. I have since made some changes to my eating habits to avoid overeating.

  • Slow down the pace when eating: This is because our brain needs at least 20 minutes to catch up with the status of our stomach. In the past, I always finished my meal in 10 minutes and looked for more small bites to fill my stomach. After I have consciously slowed down my pace when eating, I can easily get full after just one meal without additional foods.
  • Be aware of the way you check in with yourself after eating: After each meal, instead of asking ‘Do you still have room for desserts or small bites?’, I find it better to ask ‘Are you feeling full now?’. Surprisingly, the answer is always yes to me.
  • Think carefully before ordering food: It is always tempting to buy a set meal that comes with a main course and a dessert or some side dishes to get the best deal from the menu. After knowing that I may overeat from this action, now I will choose to buy only the main course first. I will buy the dessert later when I truly feel hungry after having finished my main course.
  • Know the body conditions associated with your appetite: I get most hungry when the temperature is cold, especially when I am doing paperwork in an air-conditioned room. I also tend to eat more if I don’t get enough sleep the night before. It seems like my body is trying to fill the energy gap from my lack of sleep by eating more foods to keep me awake. Therefore, to prevent myself from overeating, I will ensure myself getting enough sleep by going to bed early and avoid working long hours in an air-conditioned room. I also realized I don’t feel hungry easily when I am doing certain exercises such as yoga and Pilates. This is probably because my senses and attention are focused on coordinating the body movements but not the hungry signal from my body. Therefore, exercise is a good way to burn my calories and suppress my appetite to prevent overeating at the same time.

Having said that, it is also important to satisfy our cravings from time to time. The key is to not develop a habit of overeating as this can lead to undesired consequences on our health such as obesity and diabetes. Our demand for food also changes with our age and body condition. Therefore, it is good to consciously check in with ourselves every time how much food is truly needed by our body.

 

With love,
Wei Li

Yoga: My journey to a happier life

I came to practice yoga in 2019 when I wanted to have a better health. At that time, my health screening result was quite bad and it took me to a point that I should do something to improve my physical health, then yoga came to my mind. I signed up for a yoga package later.  

I had been practicing yoga on and off from then until late 2020, I started to practice regularly and I saw some positive changes in myself – physically and mentally.

  1. I am healthier – this has proved by my job as an assistant to mural artist. When I have to draw at site, I tend to stand for long hours. Previously, I had painful back and legs every time after I finished my work, but now, I have no pain at all and I am not easily get tired like I used to be. I am more productive – it’s just wonderful!
  2. I love my body even more – with yoga, I can see improvement in my body. I become more flexible and stronger. With the regular practice, I am able to do some poses that I was not able to do before and I don’t have to compete myself with anyone, it’s just myself. It’s a kind of development that I can see in my body. Also, after yoga classes, I feel good to eat healthy food and I opt to eat vegetarian more often. I feel that my body is much lighter when I eat Sattvic food.
  3. My mind is clearer – I easily get stressed and yoga helps me to relieve stress and anxiety. Being mindful with the practice, it helps me to stay present and enjoy the moment. It’s a kind of meditation to me. Especially, when I came to practice Yoga Teacher Training, I learned more about alignment and when I practice with correct understanding of the alignment, I have more body awareness and the practice become even more mindful and joyful.    
  4. Lastly, I am happier and just feel I can achieve what I want in life easier. From yoga philosophy I have learned, maybe it’s just because I am contented and grateful for what I already have.

I believe yoga will continue to give more benefits to me, so what I can do is…KEEP PRACTICING.   

WILL I PASS THE APARIGRAHA PRACTICE?

Aparigraha is the last Yama (moral guidelines with regard to our relationship with ourselves and the world around us) in Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. It is often translated to ‘non-greed’, ‘non-possessiveness’, and ‘non-attachment’. This important yama teaches us to take only what we need, keep only what serves us in the moment, and to let go when the time is right. These moral codes can be applied both on and off the yoga mat and I would like to share my story with you.

 

Was I too GREEDY At The Start Of My Yoga Journey?

I started the Yoga Teacher Training Course feeling a little stressed. My classmates were stronger and more flexible while I struggled with several of the poses.  I could not help but compare myself to them and at some points, I considered dropping out of the course because I felt I was not good enough.

However, the trainers and my course mates were very encouraging. The Covid-19 Heightened Alert period when the course took a break also gave me some additional time to practice. The regular practice made me stronger, being stronger made me more confident, being more confident allowed me to attempt (and achieve) more poses. Honestly, the progress was slow and I did not realise it myself. It was when we returned to class after the break that the trainer commented on the improvement and I came to notice it. Today, I am still unable to do some poses that my classmates can, but I am a much stronger version of myself two months ago – this is what matters and I will constantly remind myself that.

 

Will I Ever POSSESS Enough?

I think I am quite vain and perhaps a bit of a shopaholic. I enjoy buying new clothes AND shoes! I once bought two pairs of the same shoes because I forgot that I already have a pair at home. I wear only 10% of my wardrobe 90% of the time, the rest are mostly neglected and sometimes forgotten.

During Circuit Breaker last year, I had time for reflection and also some housekeeping – I managed to clear some clothes for donation to the Salvation Army. My house is not Marie Kondo-ed, there are still a lot of clutter left and there are some apparels that I could not bear to give away even though I have not worn it for several years. However, it is still a tiny step that I have taken and I choose to celebrate small wins. 

My new resolution is not to buy new clothes for six months – hope this can help to clear the clutter in my room, my mind and my heart

 

Am I too ATTACHED To My Food?

Food is my life – my favourite pastime is reading food articles, trying out new cafes, planning my next meal and the one after that…

I also have a habit of over ordering which I blame on genetics because growing up, my dad (who is also a foodie) loves feeding us and he always made sure the dining table is full – “better more than less”, he says. As I dislike wasting food, I almost always finish my food. That also means I tend to overeat when I overorder so I need to resolve the root cause which is ORDER IN MODERATION!

Fortunately, I think the Yoga Teacher Training Course has improved my eating habits slightly – two days a week to be exact because that is the number of days we go to the studio. Intermittent fasting never seemed possible for me in the past because I am always hungry – my family and friends are witnesses to this. However, as our weekend classes are 11am-2pm and we are advised not to eat two hours before class (and I do not wake up earlier than that!), my first meal on weekends is around 3pm. Then, I am cautious not to eat too much in case we are asked to do breathing exercises during our theory classes at 4pm. I do eat a lot more for dinner but my overall consumption for the day is much lesser than on days when I do not practice. This routine has made me realised I require less calories than I think.

I would like to share this phrase that I came across and really like – it is “Hara hachi bu” which means “Eat until you are 80% full” in Japanese. It originated in the city of Okinawa, where people use this advice as a way to control their eating habits. Apparently, they have a fairly long life expectancy and one of the lowest rates of illness from heart disease, cancer and stroke.

 

Focusing On The Journey Instead Of The Destination

I am far from attaining Aparigraha, if ever. But just knowing about it and trying to practice it (even if occasionally) makes me feel good. Regardless of the results, I am going to enjoy this process.

IT IS NOT A LIE – Yoga helps to delay the AGING PROCESS

Our bodies are like clocks and one day we are going to stop ticking. Everything in our body is constantly aging but why does this happen and how can we slow down the process?

What does aging mean? For some, it means growing up, while for others, it’s growing old. Yet finding a strict scientific definition of aging is a challenge. What we can say is that aging occurs when intrinsic processes and interactions with environment, like sunlight, and toxins in the air, water, and our diets, cause changes in the structure and function of the body’s molecules and cells. Those changes in turn drive their decline, and subsequently, the failure of the whole organism.

We cannot stop aging process, as human bodies aren’t build for extreme aging. Our capacity is set at about 90 years. But with yoga practice, it is helpful to delay human aging process. The study published by the US National Library of Medicine shows that yoga combined with meditation, helps to delay the aging process and prevent the onset of many different diseases. After 12 weeks of YMLI (Yoga and Meditation Based Lifestyle Intervention), there was significant improvement in both cardinal and metabotropic biomarkers of cellular aging compared to the baseline values.

I think Yoga is helpful in delaying aging process in the below ways:

  1. People who practice yoga eat more mindfully, Yogis believe vegetable and fresh food have more energy (prana) than the stale food or meat. It helps with the digestion system, stimulate the cleansing process to detox.
  2. Yoga Asanas improve the body flexibility. Many asana poses help requires the body to twist or to stretch. It significantly increase the flexibility with practice. Flexibility will reduce your change of getting injured physically as it increases the muscle balances. My grandma is 70 years old, and she often walks very fast. Hence she fell and hurt her knees a few times during winter times, it was like once a year. But surprisingly she did not hurt her bones, considering fall down is very dangerous for people at her age. My family believe it is because my grandma always do some kind of stretches regularly. It helps to withstand more physical stress when she walks or fall down.
  3. Yoga Pranayama and Meditation helps people to maintain a positive state of mind. People look younger when they are in good mood. That is why sometimes we will be surprised by how young a people looks for his/her age and vise versa. In Yoga, we believe Pranayama and Meditation help people to clean the energy channels to make sure the chakra is not blocked. In another word, it helps people to clean their thoughts and mind so that they get more energy to deal with different challenges in daily life and still keep a positive mind.

Never give up on Yoga!!

Special Travel Buddies

 I’ve been blessed all my life about having good friends. In childhood, school days, at work, etc., I always met great people and enjoyed their company at different phases of my life. Among these great friends, yoga friends hold a really special place in my heart.

 

When it comes to practicing yoga, many people use a metaphor of ‘journey’. I do agree with this idea; my yoga practice has been a long, challenging, and enjoyable journey. There has been ups and downs, sometimes, the journey is slow, sometimes, it’s speedy.

 

Yoga has been part of my life, and my practice cannot be compared with other peoples’ journeys. However, having a group of ‘travel buddies’ along my yoga practice has been one of the most important part of my ‘journey’. These friends became so special as we’ve been seeing each other regularly and engage in the common activity together. We all love our yoga practice and we are not necessarily traveling the same paths. Yet, we support each other tremendously for each other’s individual journey.

 

After practicing yoga together for a few years, my yoga friends and I came to know each other’s strengths and improving points. We enjoy helping each other with different poses, stretching methods, and getting feedback from one another. Sometimes, we wear matching yoga outfits, other times, we have our own group sessions outside the yoga studio. During the circuit breaker period, we got together online almost every day and kept our practice going. My yoga friends never fail to motivate me with my journey.

 

Outside our asana practice, we also spend time to share meals, thoughts, or just stories of our everyday happenings. Our bond we built became so strong that I feel Iike I’ve gained family members through my yoga practice. In the middle of my journey, I know for sure that the time I’m spending with these special friends will be with me for the rest of my life.

 

A writer, Douglas Pagels said, “a friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.” My yoga friends has truly been one of the nicest things that have happened to me. They openly accept me for who I am, and are always there for me. I certainly hope that I am doing a good job being a special friend for them.

 

After all, the journey is so much more fun and meaningful with these special friends. Thank you for being you!

 

 

“Nuat Phaen Boran” 

A traditional Thai massage therapy combining acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles, and assisted yoga postures using the “Sen-lines” alias energy-lines.  These 10 “Sen” are thought to be “windows” to the body where disturbance to the flow of energy results in sickness.

(Chart of Thai “Sen” Lines -Sunshine Massage School, Thailand)

The Therapy

The recipient remains clothed during the treatment but will be positioned in a variety of yoga-like positions during the course of the massage, where the body is compressed, pulled, stretched and rocked combined with deep static and rhythmic pressures in accordance to the designated lines (“sen”) in the body.

How does it relates to Yoga?

Interestingly, these “sen” lines are aligned with the chakras and it was believed that working on the energy lines with massage can break the blockades and stimulate the free flow of Prana and help to restore general well-being enabling healing properties at both emotional and physical level.

 

 

Examples of the similarities to Nadis per the Yoga philosophy which the Divine energy flows:

  •  Sen Sumana = Sushumna Nadi  
  • Sen Ittha = Ida Nadi
  • Sen Pingkhala = Pingkala Nadi

These 3 Nadis connect our chakras and run vertically, from the base of the spine to the head. Ida is situated on the left, Sushumna in the center, and Pingala on the right.

 

Yet, at the same time, those who are familiar with the Chinese Meridian Acupuncture system in turn will find many similarities.   For example:

Sen Sumana = Sushumna Nadi = “Ren Mai” (Chinese). 

Therefore, it is fascinating to find that regardless of origins, knowledge or background – we find ourselves back to YOGA.   A union, that in your experience, everything has become one.  (Jaggi V,)

 

Restore Balance In Your Mind & Body With Pranayama

“I took a deep breath and listened to that old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.” – Sylvia Plath

Image from Unsplash

Breathing is something that we do involuntarily, day in, day out. It comes as no surprise that we hardly ever think about it.

However, the breath is closely connected to the mind and body – so even if we don’t realise it, they can actually influence one another.

When we develop the awareness and learn to breathe consciously, we can then create balance in the mind and body. This can be especially useful since we live in a fast paced world and sometimes forget to slow down.

If you’re dealing with stress on the regular, pranayama (life force extension via the breath) can do wonders for you. For those who simply wish to improve your well-being and health, it is a great tool for you too.

After all, studies have shown that having a regular practice of simple, deep breathing can reduce anxiety and depression, boost energy levels, improve immunity and reduce feelings of stress, among other benefits.

Ready to make every breath count? Try any one (or all) of the below techniques to restore balance in your mind and body!

1. Kabalabathi

Image from Unsplash

Kabalabathi translates to skull shining, and as its name suggests, this breathing technique rejuvenates the mind and body. Also, it improves memory and concentration as well as enhances blood circulation.

How to do it:

  • Sit in a comfortable cross legged position with your hands on your knees
  • Keep your spine straight and close your eyes
  • With both nostrils, take a deep breath
  • Pull the stomach inward and exhale sharply in short bursts
  • Follow each exhale with an automatic inhale
  • Repeat the process for 10 to 15 minutes

2. Anulom Vilom

Image from Unsplash

Anulom Vilom, or alternate nostril breathing, helps to ease symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. It also boosts memory and improves lung function.

How to do it:

  • Sit in a comfortable cross legged position
  • With your right hand, bring down your index and middle finger to your palm, and use your thumb to close your right nostril
  • Inhale through the left nostril for 3 counts
  • Close the left nostril with your ring finger and exhale from the right nostril for 6 counts
  • Inhale through the right nostril for 3 counts
  • Close the right nostril and exhale from the left nostril for 6 counts
  • Repeat this process for 5 minutes and focus on every inhalation and exhalation

3. Ujjayi

Image from Unsplash

Ujjayi is also known as ocean breath, simply because of the sound you’ll make when you exhale.

If you love being by the beach, take a moment to enjoy the ocean wave-like exhalation sounds while improving your focus, clearing sinus and staying positive, among other benefits.

How to do it:

  • Sit in a comfortable cross legged position
  • Inhale gently, in a long deep breath, from both nostrils
  • As you inhale, contract your throat and avoid letting the air touch your nose
  • With relaxed and light breathing, exhale with your mouth open or closed and repeat 3 – 4 times

Yoga is LIT

“Yoga is a lifestyle. Do not refine your life for yoga, but let yoga refine your life” – Master Sree. I wish I could put into words to show how much this statement has increasingly held true in my life, over the course of consistent yoga practice for a month with Master Sree and a group of 5 other amazing women.

The statement was made by Master Sree to the class in Week 1, and over the subsequent 3 weeks, he has consistently driven in the belief that we’re each on our own path, and we do not have the right (nor should we) engage in the petty judgement of others – the perceived differences that we may not agree with, and neither should we let things of the material world define our identity. My key takeaway from this was to approach the world with greater acceptance, and stemming from that, conscious detachment, especially to the outcomes of actions, situations and life. This does not mean that we don’t practice empathy, but while we understand and feel the extent of things happening in our lives, we don’t fixate upon the experience or the outcome. We let ourselves grow from it.

 

Yoga as a chosen lifestyle

Yoga is a lifestyle option that people choose to live by, choose to participate in, choose to integrate in their lives. There are many aspects in yoga philosophy that overlap with modern day mantras of practicing self-kindness, self-care, a focus on mental health, and also religious doctrines of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and more. The beauty of it is that the underlying principle is an acceptance of all varied beliefs, experiences and viewpoints. Everything that a (rational) person embodies and believes at a given point in time, is completely valid. The person has chosen a particular course of action or belief based on what he/she thinks is best for himself/herself, and his/her appetite for acceptance of a certain mantra, doctrine, response etc. What is medicine to one is poison to another, and this holds very true for yogic belief (in my opinion, at least). Master Sree gave an example in class once about the concept of healing. He said that depending on what the person believes, he would have to tailor his healing to suit the individual. For a person who is religious, healing would touch upon more spiritual aspects, but if a person believes in science, healing would gravitate towards a scientific explanation and solution. Ultimately, it is about what works for the person, and based on the answer (spiritual, scientific, anything else) given to the person, can it help the person gain the conviction to push through and overcome the obstacles?

As such, I have chosen to integrate some core principles of yoga into my life simply because it works for me at this given point in time. The practice of yoga makes me feel more at peace in a world where everything seems to be so unsettled, so confusing, so uncertain. It makes me feel like while everything around me could revolve to a state of utter confusion and uncertainty, the onus is upon me to remain positive, remain strong, and keep my conviction towards the pursuit of the path(s) that have seemingly opened up for me, and walk away from those that have closed too. I believe in the divine shaping of my life and as long as I approach life with a positive and strong mindset, things will work out!

 

Yoga as an individual journey

I know this is cliché, everybody says it. However, I think everyone says it because they have experienced it and it really holds true. You just gotta experience it and internalise it for yourself. The beauty of this is that you can take the principles from this state of “yoga being an individual journey” and apply it to all other aspects of your life – relationships, family, career and anything else that matters to you.

When I first started practicing yoga as a beginner, my practice was heavily centered around mastering poses. I inevitably kept comparing myself to those around me – my friends who were doing yoga, the other people in classes and thought to myself “okay I need to improve and improve and improve”.

However, throughout the course of the practice, you start to realise that yoga is so broad that there’s really no ONE measure of what is considered “better” or “worse”. It really depends on how you want to use yoga to enhance your life, and how you want to integrate it into your life.

Some practitioners prefer to focus on the more meditative aspects, while others want to focus on the physical aspects, and you can’t definitively say that one is better than the other. It’s really about what works best for you. Nonetheless, I would say that a desire to foundationally understand yoga philosophy should underpin the choice.

Furthermore, we’re all built differently. Some body structures make entering and training for certain postures more easily than others. While we tend to compare what can be seen most easily (aka comparison of the achievement of postures), there’s really so much more that goes behind the scenes and affects the outcome. Thus, I have learnt over the course of my yoga practice and YTT not to fixate on achieving postures too because ultimately, it is about the process and the mindset going into it, not the outcome.

 

Yoga as a form of reprieve from a world that tends to be competitive

In the light of the above that I shared, one thing I love about yoga is that it is fundamentally not about being the best or even better than other people – it is truly about being the best version of yourself.

In a world that teaches you to outsmart and outperform others in order to achieve “success”, for yoga, “success” is based on your own individual terms and based on your own parameters. The beauty of it is that understanding that it is purely your own journey reflects a deeper walk in the yoga journey.

This brings me so much relief, contentment and peace in this very competitive world.

 

Detachment from social situations

As someone who struggles with being too emotionally involved with many social interactions in my daily life, the fundamental concept of detachment has been a good principle to adopt in my life. Master Sree gave the example of a floating lotus – one who is in the water, experiences the water, but is unaffected by the water. I hope to be able to adopt this mindset in all aspects of my life where I feel the most of life but am able to not fixate upon certain outcomes, emotions and experiences that I go through.

 

 

Moving forward, I want to be able to fully practice this, practicing both self-care and self-kindness.

I feel that one of the most important things is to keep our intentions pure. Only by doing so will we be able to let go of the outcomes of various situations that we are put in. I use social situations as an example here because of all the things in life that we seek to control, other people (their actions, behaviours and attitudes) remain fleetingly out of our grip. This is why it is difficult to let go and change outcomes because we cannot change other people. Coming to terms with this and being able to practice detachment will help us (me) deal with the uncertainty of life when it comes to the other. I feel that this will have a profound impact on how we handle many things in life that come at us – a job opportunity outcome, our friendships, our relationships, even life/death.

Pranayama & Curing Eczema

Recently, I’ve taken an interest in how yoga and pranayama can help with eczema. Having had no history of eczema until this year (could be the weather, stress, who knows?), and hearing a little about how some pranayama such as Sitali and Sitkari can lower body heat, I decided to do some research into how pranayama can help with Eczema!

For starters, a yogi, Swami Ramdev, suggests doing kapalbhati breathing for half an hour, and then anulom vilum for an hour, then bhastrika, ujjai and bhramari pranayamas. After a consistent practice of this together with some tweaks to our diet, we’ll supposedly have glowing skin! Time-commitment seems to be a bit of an issue here though, but we can try.

Anyway, how can pranayama specifically help to ease eczema?

Detoxifies the body

Pranayama detoxifies the nadis (energy channels in our bodies), which are usually clogged with impurities. Once these energy channels are purified, the blood circulated around the body is one that brings about greater energy, and this also helps to improve complexion. In addition, pranayama activates the body’s lymphatic system, which is responsible for the removal of waste. The lymph nodes produce white blood cells to fight infections. I can imagine that this could lead to greater inflammation in the short-term, but a solution in the long-term.

Helps to relieve stress

We all know that yoga as an activity in itself, even if just focused on physical asanas, does help to relieve anxiety and stress levels. Being placed in an environment which encourages you to focus on your breathing, your flow, your postures, your mat and leaving your stressors outside the door (at least for the hour or so) does wonders for the mind. You leave a yoga session feeling rejuvenated and at least a little more calm.

To zoom in specifically on pranayama, In a Vogue article, Yoga guru Mini Shastri talks about how the slowing, modulating and equalising of our breath triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes the master gland of the pituitary-thyroid-adrenal nexus to harmonise. This results in a balanced hormonal system. Hormone imbalance is a primary cause of many skin conditions, including eczema, which are triggered by stress. Thus, pranayama helps to tackle this by bringing greater relaxation to the body.

Also, Kapalbhati has been said to have a positive effect in clearing the mind, and thus helping with anxiety and depression, all which contribute to, and simultaneously stem from some forms of stress in life too.

Eczema can be seen from a yogic perspective to be a dysfunction of the Muladhara Chakra, Manipura Chakra and Vishudda Chakra. Thus, yoga will help these chakras spin more effectively to some extent.