Personal Challenges of Tirusula 200Hr Yoga Teaching training course (and how I overcame them)

Waking up early
I have not woken up at 6am on a regular basis for a long time, so going to bed early and waking up early was initially quite a concern for me. I was used to sleeping late, and it was quite difficult for me to get to bed before midnight. However, after getting up early in the morning on a regular basis, I realized I did not need as much sleep as I thought. I also felt that I had more energy, as well as more time in the day to complete what I had to do, when I woke up early in the morning. Waking up early is no longer considered a challenge for me, and I have integrated it into my daily routine.
“Impossible” postures
Before the start of the course, there were postures which I found nearly impossible to do, such as Sirsasana, Supta Kurmasana, and Marichyasana. When attempting such difficult postures (at least for me), it was physically very challenging, and I had to overcome my mental fear (e.g., of falling, breaking my arm) as well. Nevertheless, with the training, help, and encouragement of the yoga masters and trainers at Tirisula, I improved tremendously in my asanas, and these “impossible” postures became possible for me to get into.
Working out when muscles are sore from the day before
Muscles take time to recover, with estimates ranging from one day to three days. As we did our physical practice daily, on some mornings, parts of my body was aching from the day before, which made the practice quite challenging. However, as the days pass, my body got stronger, and my body did not ache as much, though our practice got more intensive. I also made it a point to stretch properly after each practice, which helped to reduce muscle soreness.
Concentrating on theory after the physical practice
After the physical portion of our course each day, we had the theory portion. It could be quite a mental challenge sometimes, when I was tired, to focus and concentrate on the lesson. Master Satya is extremely knowledgeable about the anatomical and physiological aspects of yoga, and I thoroughly enjoyed her lessons. Master Paalu has an extensive knowledge of yoga philosophy, and I appreciate his sharing of his knowledge as well. I was motivated to learn because I always went home everyday learning something new. That motivation to learn more about yoga kept me focused on our daily lessons. My peers in the yoga course were also encouraging and that helped to make the daily lessons quite fun.
Leow Yi Jin

Ayurvedic body clock

Every day, we cycle through the three dosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) in 4-hour increments. Each time period is dominated by one dosha, and thus influenced by the qualities of that dosha. You can organize your day so that your activities are supported by the dominant energy inside and around you. This allows you to be more in tune with your natural rhythms and to experience more ease and harmony in your life.
Mornings between 6 and 10am are dominated by Cool, Heavy, Earthy Kapha. Instead of sleeping during that part of the day, get up and move your body. This is a time of day when rigorous exercise is particularly beneficial, and even more so if you have excess Kapha (which can manifest as laziness, sluggishness, excess weight, heaviness, stagnation, difficulty moving forward in your life). If you feel tired, get up anyway, and catch up on sleep by taking a nap later in the afternoon. It’s really worth it to make that effort, because if you sleep in the morning you will feel off all day, and your internal systems won’t run as smoothly and optimally as they could.
So get up at 6am, stretch, do some vigorous breathing exercises (Bhastrika is a great one at this time of day), practice yoga or go for a run, do some strength training, whatever makes you feel awake and alive. Make sure you move your legs and pelvis, as this is where Kapha is located in the body and tends to stagnate.
Morning time is not the best time for a huge meal. The dominant energy is already Kapha, so eating a big meal full of fatty or heavy foods will make you feel more sleepy and sluggish. To make the most of this time of day, eat lightly; if you’re not hungry, it’s better to skip breakfast altogether. Ayurveda teaches that lunch is the most important meal of the day so breakfast is optional.
Lunchtime is between 10am and 2pm. In that time period, Hot, Sharp and Fiery Pitta dominates. Pitta is the transformative fire; it’s what allows us to digest. So this is the time of day when you want to have your biggest meal, because your body will be able to transform the food you give it into fuel and energy more easily than any other time. Lunchtime is when you can eat whatever you feel like, as much as you want. Have a big meal around 11 or 12, which gives your Pitta fire a couple hours to digest it, and then eat more sparingly the rest of the day.
Another thing to note is that because your body’s energy is focused on digestion at this time of day, naturally there is less energy available for exercise and mental or creative activity. Instead, this is the best time of day to get things done. If you observe yourself, you will notice that you feel more inclined to check things off your to-do list at this time of day than any other. You are literally “on fire”, and can go through tasks quickly and effectively. The Pitta fire gives you that competitive edge that compels you to move forward and take care of business. It’s another form of “digestion”.
Some people use that fiery energy to fuel exercise, but be aware that if the weather is hot and sunny, and therefore already very Pitta, then you will over heat your system, especially if your constitution is already predominantly Pitta. Avoid stoking your pitta fire with vigorous exercise during the pitta time of day when the weather is Pitta-like, or you may just combust.
Next, between 2 and 6pm, comes Light, Dry, Airy Vat. Vata’s specialty is mental and creative activity. This is a good time to work on a math problem, to write, to compose music, or anything else that requires brain power and/or creativity. If you already have a tendency to be overly vata – if you process things with your mind a lot, tend to over analyze things, easily feel ungrounded and excited, change your mind a lot or move quickly from one project/activity/relationship to another, then this time of day may be too much vata for you to handle, and you may actually feel sleepy. This is particularly true if the weather is hot and dry.
To make the most of this time of day, stay grounded, warm and calm. Do things that feel nurturing to you. Drink hot tea, get cosy, slow down, do some long deep breathing. By pacifying vata in this way, you are in the best state to take advantage of this vata time of day to be creative, find solutions to problems, reflect, process without feeling overstimulated by your mind. Vata is the most delicate of the doshas, the one that is most prone to imbalance; but if you can pay special attention to it in the afternoons, you will reap its wonderful rewards.
From 6 to 10pm, we cycle back to Kapha time. Where the morning Kapha period is for waking up, the evening one is for quieting down, releasing the day’s activities in preparation for a restorative night’s rest. It’s a good time to exercise, but not too vigorously; choose a type of exercise that will help you shake and stretch the stress out of your body without compromising your sleep. Aim to cool yourself down, as opposed to heating yourself up. Yoga, walking or swimming are good options. A shower or a bath will also help you relax and relieve stress. Eat dinner early and keep it small, and avoid overly fatty and spicy foods, as this will impact your sleep. The lighter you eat in the evening, the more refreshed you will feel the next morning.
Spend these last hours of the day indulging in your favourite quiet, calming activities like reading, listening to music, meditating, relaxing with your loved ones. Most of us finish our days in front of a TV, movie or computer screen, but that flickering screen is very stimulating for the brain. You will sleep much more soundly and efficiently if you shut your screens down before 8pm. Aim to get to bed by 10pm.
At 10pm we enter the second phase of Pitta, the fire energy, which lasts until 2am. This time around, Pitta is not intended to digest food, but to clean our system. It basically “digests” everything that happened in our bodies during the day, gives our insides a good housecleaning, and resets our bodies for the following day. This is why it’s crucial to be asleep between 10pm and 2am, so that we don’t hinder the purification process. If you are awake, it’s very likely that you will want to eat, as a reaction to the dominant Pitta energy. But if you eat, you force the Pitta fire to digest your food, and divert it from its vitally important cleaning job. You will wake up the next morning feeling groggy, tired, and like you still have undigested food in your belly.
The last phase is from 2 to 6am. This is Vata time once again, but don’t confuse it with the first. This early morning Vata is not for being creative; it’s for being receptive. This is by far the best time of day for meditation, contemplation, prayer, chanting or other spiritual practices. If you are asleep, you will have dreams; if you are awake, you may receive very valuable insights and understandings.
If you have a general tendency towards excess Vata, you might notice a lot of anxiety and mental agitation in the early morning hours, which makes for very frustrating meditating. In this case, make sure to pacify your vata by grounding your body through movement, stretching, yoga, tai chi. Take a hot shower, drink some hot tea, make yourself warm and cozy. Do things that you enjoy. The main idea is to use this Vata time of day to open up to higher energies, to practice mindfulness, and to feel connected to yourself.
(More information on http://www.shareayurveda.com)
– Anna Petrov

Have You Ever Done Yoga

Have you ever done yoga?
Have you ever done it in a mindful way – not being so tired from the excersises alone so that you can  concentrate and make sense of the instructions you are given to go into a posure and to imporve it?
Then have you even done a worrier pose? You know that one? The most common asana, that is like a logo for many yoga commericlas. It is easy – just spread your legs apart and stretch your arms parallel to the floor, bend one knee and look forward! As simple as that. However there is one thing that you must not forget while doing this pose – firmly plant your legs on the ground, distrubute the weight evenly and form a sold foundation. If I come and push you while you are in this pose, you should not collapse, should not even move.Because you are a worrier. And as such you have to be strong. And what makes you a strong worrior is your solid foundation, on that foundation you carry all your weight and with this same foundation you resist tremors and shaking that afflict you.
Now have you ever done a head stand? The one that you form a triangular base on the floor positioning your elbows down shoulder width apart,  interlocking your fingers and placing the crown of the head on the floor, almost in your palms. These two elbows and the crown will make the foundation for your whole body to rely on. Then you will lift your legs straight up like a candle. And remember in that asana you should not feel any pressure or strain in your body, you should feel light and relaxed.
Also do not imagine you have to be very fit and super strong to be able to do it. You just need to build your good foundation and not to be afraid. Afraid of inversions. Afraid of oposing the law of nature which says that you should always stand on your two feet to have stability. But things are changing these days a lot and rather fast.
World, as they like to say recently, is flat and open and there are no boundaries and it is full with opportunities.
My boy is only four years old. Since he was born he lived in Tokyo for two years, in Sofia for a year, and in Singapore for the last seven months. In the moving period between Tokyo and Sinagapore he also lived for two months in a house in Bali, which for a three and a half  year old is, as I understood, long enough time to start feeling that this was also his home, just in another country.
When we arrived in Singapore for first one month and a half we stayed in two hotels and one temporary apartment befre moving in into our long-term house. When his grandparents, with chocked throat from the other end of the world, asked him on the phone whether he had friends he joyfully explained about the boys he had met in our place and who he said ” are my friends”. One of these boys left just last Sunday. Went to Vietnam. Another one is moving out in June. Going to the East Coast. It is all right. Another family maybe will move in. Or may be not…..
He went to school in Tokyo, for a few months, to a kindergarten in Bulgaria for one year and finally started school in Singapore in January, after a long time when he staying at home. He attended for a short period other one in November, but was not happy and had to quit. He still calles it, ” my other school” whenever he remembers something about it. And he does remember….
The new school is very good. It took him a while to relax ( it is normal with kids, isnt’t it?), but he is very happy now, I can tell. The main teacher he really likes. On Valentine’s day when asked whom he loved, he replied that he loved mummy, daddy and Miss Karen. Today miss Karen told me, that this month is her last. She is moving with her family to UK……
My son had said ”Good Buy” and ”Hi” so many times in the past one year and a half that one may wonder whether these words actually mean what they have to mean to him. He is also confused which is our house after all. Since to him all the houses we recently lived in were in his words ” houses the people gave us to live in”, which means rented homes. And he worries now that very soon the time to pack again will come, but he has no big box to carry all his cars in . He still cannot believe that hopefully this time it will be a while before we pack again his cars in a suitcase.
I feel uneasy and doubtful. Where in that case is that sound foundation that you need to make you resilinat to shakes and shovels?  And if childhood is the foudation on which life will build up, and adult personality will evolve, how are these constant changes and emotions helping to feel grounded and bound to the base, which again, as the experience suggests, will make you strong, brave and confident. Confident in your own self. Changing and saying Bye and Hi is not a bad thing in itself. It just seems challenging for a four year old kid. Or it might be just my burdened adult mind thinking that way……
I have no fear of inversion, of standing with my head upside down. I even enjoy these different point of view. My body and my mind both feel some thrill from the posture and it is one of my favourite. I also like the feeling after I get out of this asana. I feel refreshed and invigorated. And maybe because I had no fear I could imporve the posture and later enjoy it.
So I should not be afraid for my boy neither and hope that this floating early life he has had so far (and will most porbably have) will eventually teach him to be strong rather than not. Will, against the common pricipal of stability, mould him into a confident man who can rely on his own self rather than on other people and circumstances. But will also make him open to the new, to the unknown, to the different.
Yes, I can only hope for the above, but no, I cannot hope to be, I have to be, his most stable and solid foundation now, in this early life. The stable base for him at the moment on which he can rely to practice and develop. Just like one has his legs and arms and abs to train first and then rely on when mastering that balanced and resistant posture.
I believe yoga is like life. Is is a practice where one works alone with his own body, and mind according to his own physical and emotional abilities. But if one believes in the practice and if he knows and understands his own self, gradually one will be able to do things that did not perceive before. Because in yoga as in life it is all about belief, action and confidence.
Stanislava Filipova 200hr TTC

How yoga changed my life

How yoga changed my life.
July 2010.
My life leading to this date was very unhealthy.
Smoking
I have been smoking since 16 years old and never had I had a day without a cigarette. Gradually my smoking habits grew to a packet of cigarettes a day. Every morning I will start off the day with a stick of cigarette before doing anything else. Similarly, when I wind down at night before bed. I was what you would call a chain smoker. Out of habit I will be lighting up every other hour. Before meals, after meals, waiting for a friend, and taking frequent smoke breaks in between work.
Diet
I never took breakfast and meal times were when I was with friends. Chocolate and chips were my daily staple and I could go through the day without drinking water except sugary soda drinks. After all I assume there is a certain percentage of water in those drinks. Fruits and vegetables were not a requirement in my diet or at least I thought.
Exercise
The only form of exercise was walking from one end of Orchard Road to the other shopping with my friends. I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs without panting. I thought elevators and escalators were the best invention.
Start of a healthy lifestyle
I was encouraged by friends around me to consider giving yoga a try because of my unhealthy lifestyle and constant lack of energy. So I decided to give it a try, and went for a trial class- Bikram Hot Yoga. My very first beginner’s yoga class and boy! It was a wake up call. The room was pre heated to 42 degrees and students will be served a dialogue and practice 26 asana poses in 90 minutes.
At the start of the class, the teacher reminded us to breathe and to give our best effort and stay in the room for the whole of 90 minutes.
All this while I was thinking yoga was a walk in the park, just a few simple stretching postures in a hot room. Just 10 minutes into the practice, I found myself panting and falling behind the class and was wondering did the room just became hotter? The heat was overwhelming and I struggled to breathe. By the third pose, I was feeling light headed and gave up. Just as I was about to get up to leave, the teacher insisted that I stay and sit down and concentrate on breathing. My emotions got the better of me as I found it difficult to breath much less stand up. If this is what stranded in a desert feels like, I couldn’t understand why everyone else was unaffected. I believed then that they had superhero power. My mind was in chaos thinking of many reasons to give the teacher just to get out of the room. Every fibre in my body was screaming for help and I was scheming for ideas to get out of the room. I gave up and lied flat on my back and before I knew it class had ended. The teacher brought me aside after the class and complimented me on a good effort to stay in class and not giving up and encouraged me to come back the next day. At the same time I felt a sense of accomplishment, and euphoria running though my body and I was determined to press forward.
Since that day I had build an appetite for healthier food options and also found myself drinking lots of water. I had no cravings for cigarettes and found myself gradually cutting down on smoking. I was attending Bikram yoga every day, and found myself stronger to attempt more poses and hold it for longer. Also, smoking makes me breathless in class. It was counter productive to smoke and to do yoga at the same time. It wasn’t too long before the cigarettes didn’t agree with my body and soon 2 months after my first class I quit smoking for good.
October 2010
3 months after my first class. I finally completed my first Bikram Hot Yoga class, all 26 poses and 90 minutes in a hot room. I never felt better in my life at that moment, my perseverance, determination, commitment and never give up attitude paid off. It had trained my mind to be stronger and I am now more positive and able to tackle anything that comes my way in life.
 
Just like what Bikram Choudhury once said “You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to start from scratch once again. “
Evangeline Tay
200 Hour Teacher’s Training course March-April 2013

Elevator Pitch for Yoga

In the consulting world there’s a term called the “Elevator Pitch”.
Imagine you’re standing in an elevator. When the doors open, someone walks in. You glance at his face. Suddenly, you realise this is someone really important. For the next 30 to 60 seconds, it’s just you and him in that tight space. You now have the chance of a lifetime to sell him an idea, a product or a service. How would you summarize your thoughts? What’s the most interesting pitch you can make in that short ride?
When the doors open, is he keen to find out more? Have you won him over or lost him forever?
The Elevator Pitch came to mind a couple of weeks ago when we started lesson planning for beginners.
At that time Master Satya had a suggestion: “Tell the students your name, and give a quick introduction about Yoga.”  That “quick introduction” turned out to be surprisingly challenging.
A number of us stuttered and stumbled, as we got increasingly tangled in our thoughts and words.
How do you explain to students that what they normally equate with Yoga is actually just the Asanas, and Asanas are just one of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga (some of them might even ask “what do you mean by ‘limb’)? Do you tell them about all the other limbs? Or is that too esoteric for a layman, especially if he’s just looking for some exercise? If Yoga is not a form of exercise, what is Yoga?
How do you compress the meaning of Yoga into a 60-second soundbyte that is:
–          Reasonably accurate
–          Accessible to the layman
–          And better yet, intriguing (so that students will be motivated to find out more)
I realised then how important it was to sort out my personal understanding of Yoga. Aside from students, there will surely be other instances in conversations with friends and even strangers, where I’ll find myself facing a casual question of “so, what’s this Yoga you’re doing?”. And they won’t be expecting a long answer, that’s for sure.
After some thought, here’s my attempt (tailored for a class intro):
“What you normally see in studios and exercise classes are actually known as ‘Asanas’, which means postures or poses held in a comfortable and steady manner. This is just one aspect of the practice of Yoga. But Yoga is not just about physical activity.
In Ashtanga Yoga, there are eight aspects in total. Aside from Asanas, there are breathing techniques to help regulate our prana or life energy. We call this Pranayama. There’s also mediation or Dhyana, philosophy and guidelines on ethical conduct. Practising Yoga will improve our self awareness and help us to confront our inner selves with honesty. It addresses our physical, mental and spiritual health as a whole [I won’t go into detail here, but for those interested in finding out more, we can discuss after class] Our focus today is on Asanas – the physical postures. Asanas improve our physical health and ability to concentrate.  As we go into each pose, we become more aware of our body, we recognise our individual abilities and limitations. With regular practice, we gain more strength, stamina and flexibility.  Asanas can also benefit blood circulation, internal organs, hormonal glands and the nervous system. When we have a healthy body, it forms a good foundation for mental and spiritual health.”
There’s no right or wrong answer. I’m sure every individual would have his or her own interpretation.
So what’s your Elevator Pitch for Yoga?
– Laurel

What has happened to Yoga now?

Yoga, traditionally, is an individual practice. Even if the yogi is to learn from a Guru, the guru will not spoon feed you and tell you instructions on how to do the asanas or pranayama. For Ashtanga Yoga, in Mysore (a place in India), no instructions are given during the asana (yoga poses) practice. Practitioners are do perform a set of about 70+ yoga poses in a continuous flow, and the guru will adjust and correct.
It is a quiet practice. All you hear is the sound of oceanic breaths, called Ujjayi breathing, plus the sounds of landing on the feet from an uncontrolled practitioner. Sometimes the rhythm of the breaths can be so mesmerizing, that brings you into a calm mode, amidst the challenging asanas.
The most important thing of the asana practice is to go inward, focusing on your breath, gaze and bandha (lock), which is 180 degrees different from what is happening currently in the common Yoga classes in Singapore and the region.
Yoga is to help you go inwards.
In most gyms and fitness centres, Yoga became a dance or aerobics dancing class, where you have huge mirrors and music. Plus a nanny Yoga instructor who nags at you, instructing you specifically what to do. For students who doesn’t use their ears, they rely on a Yoga demonstrator to perform all the yoga poses and they follow. When there is no demonstration, they become lost.
The mirrors can be very distracting as you will find yourself staring at yourself half the time, and the other half the time, looking at other people, comparing yoga poses, are you the best or worst.
Do the students learn anything from that monkey see monkey do ‘yoga’ class? No! (Only a few intelligent ones do) Basically, they don’t use their brain to remember or recall anything. They awareness may not be in their own body to remember the bodily positions that they have held 1 hour ago. There may be too many postures done for beginners to remember the whole sequence. (Sometimes, this is the trick used by more Yoga instructors, so that their students can keep coming back, instead of letting them go for their individual practice. Show them 1000 moves so that they don’t recall any single move)
This ‘Yoga’ brings your attention outwards.
I find that this is not the proper way to teach Yoga. This is very misleading and because of publicity and marketing, common man choose to believe that the ‘Yoga’ is the right way to go. I want to clear up the misunderstanding as much as possible, therefore, we came up with this program:
Yoga for Self practice course (click the link for more details)
This is the most value for money investment that you can make for your own health. The course is not cheap, cheap things cannot be good. If you were to compare this investment to the time taken you need to travel from your house to a yoga studio, the class fees you have to pay, the transport cost, the time taken to travel from yoga studio to work place for 1 year, this course is definitely worth it. What’s most important is to learn the right things and not to damage your body.
That’s all for now. Time for me to go inward.

Breathe!

After a few days on the mat, things are supposed to get better, but is it really the case?
The body is feeling sore, and during Asanas each diificulty gives the mind an opportunity to jump in and challenge the situation.
‘I can’t do this’…,
– just breathe and move with the flow without thinking about what comes next.
‘What am I doing here?’…,
-just breathing, nothing else to think or do.
‘I feel so tired’… ,
– but I can still breathe!, this is what matters for now and it is just enough to make it to the next move.
‘Maybe I’ll injure myself if I go so deep in this pose’…,
– just breathe, stay centered, steady, focus on your bandhas, feel lighter, trust the teachers, the process and yourself…
‘How many more Vinyasa ane Chaturanga can I endure?’… – who cares, just this one matters, breathe, feel your body pulsating, feel just how good this inhalation is.
Don’t pay attention to whatever comes through the mind, just focus, just breathe, discover the joy of this single, simple breath and ride on it like on a wave, and the next one…, and the following one…

Body Awareness and Good Posture

Until this yoga training course opened my eyes, I had been oblivious to how the human body moves. My eccentric posture since I was a toddler features a funny slouch from protracting my shoulders, rounding my back, and tilting my hips in a posterior angle.  In addition, I am one of the clumsiest people. Much like the absent-minded professor, I regularly walk into glass doors and bump into furniture. Once in a while, I trip over my own feet while walking. Fortunately, with this newly gained knowledge of anatomy and increased body awareness, all of these unconscious habits are already changing.
In the anatomy sessions, we learned that the most efficient standing posture is to stand with the feet slightly apart, legs straight, hips in a neutral to slight anterior tilt, core slightly engaged to hold the lower back and hips in alignment, shoulders retracted and depressed, hands supinated so that the palms face forwards, neck straight, chin parallel to floor or slightly down. This posture position is similar to Tadasana or mountain pose, except in Tadasana, there are more powerful contractions at the glutes, quadriceps, shoulders blades, core, and pelvic floor, and the palms face the body.  So a good standing posture is essentially a more relaxed Tadasana that can be sustained indefinitely. The key insights for me in correcting my posture are that I need to develop a new habit of constantly retracting the shoulder blades and engaging the core to hold in the back and hips.  Luckily the regular asana sessions are developing and strengthening all of these muscles so they are easier to keep turned on.
As for my clumsiness, since regular asana practice tones the muscles, improves reflexes and cultivates overall mindfulness and awareness, I am also expecting to naturally become a more coordinated and agile person in the days ahead.  The key to mastering the asanas involves controlling body movement in sync with breathing.  One tool is squeezing the pelvic floor muscles and the core in the bandha state, which changes the center of gravity and makes the lower body more weightless, thereby providing more control, stability, and balance in quick movements, deep bends, and inversions. This is why bandha makes jumps, headstands, shoulder stands and forward bends more effortless and graceful.
In conclusion, one of the biggest benefits of this yoga training so far for me is that I can now make use of body awareness, breathing, and the bandha in normal life to improve my posture, coordination and gracefulness and to maintain a steady balance and move ergonomically throughout the day.  In addition, with good posture, I can be a few inches taller without wearing heels!

“You look like you’re dancing in a field of Dandelions”

Ever felt this way? Or do you perpetually feel this way? Well, you have a Vata body type.
Just like me, my first few lessons was greeted with comments such as “hey, you look like you’re dancing in a field of Dandelions” or “you have a very air/space body type”. What a weird first impression to give I thought. But hey, what a weird course to join in the first place! (I mean, who signs up and pays for mental and physical yogic torture!)
I later decided to pursue this point of intrigue and find out more about my yogic body type. It was like discovering a new horoscope system and taking all those horoscope indicator tests again.
Vata is a concept unique to Ayurveda and is one of the 3 doshas. Doshas are principles that govern the physio-chemical and physiological activities.  Most of us have 1 or 2 doshas, which are most dominant in our nature, with the remaining one(s) less expressed.
The 3 doshas are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. In this article, I have compiled various sources and will elaborate on how you can determine your individual constutition, what food constitutes to your dosha element and how to go about finding a balance.

3 Doshas
Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Vata is also known as space and air body type. People who are more “vata” have a “light” quality that may manifest itself in a lanky physique. Excess lightness may manifest as being underweight, having muscle wasting, light bones, insomnia or feeling “spacey” or insecure. The “dry” and “rough qualities may manifest itself as having dry or brittle skin, lips, hair, nails or bones. Or develop poor digestion with lots of bloating and constipation. The “subtle” quality of air may express itself as being introverted and creative, while the “mobile” quality can represent a healthy ability to multi-task. If in excess, this may result in scattered attention, fidgety tendency, tremors and nervousness.
Pitta is also known as the fire and water body type. Pitta individuals are typically of medium build. Physically, they have good muscle tone; have a tendency to always feel warm; have premature graying hair or balding; have reddish complexions; enjoy high energy levels; and have really strong digestion – they can eat almost anything. Mentally, they are extremely intelligent, focused, ambitious people. Emotionally, they are passionate about life, have a tendency to be perfectionists, and can become easily irritated.
Out of balance, Pitta types can experience excessive anger, suffer from inflammatory conditions (such as headaches and rashes), encounter digestive problems (such as acid reflux, diarrhea and ulcers), and become over-stressed, workaholics.
Kapha is also known as the earth and water body type and typically the largest of the body types. Physically, they have wide hips/shoulders; thick wavy hair; good physical stamina. Mentally, Kapha types tend to me slow to learn, but they have great memories. Emotionally, they tend to be very loyal, stable, and reliable – they are often referred to as the “rocks” in a relationship.
Out of balance, Kapha individuals have a tendency towards sinus congestion, poor circulation, and sluggish digestion that can easily lead to obesity.
To find out what dosha you are, take a dosha quiz here.
Vata, Pitta and Kapha foods
Even foods have their own Ayurvedic qualities. Try identifying some of these foods and you’ll see that the type of food you take in daily may actually correspond with your Ayurvedic body type.
Vata Food: Dry/crunchy foods, carbonated beverages, and cold/raw vegetables
Pitta Food: Hot spices, alcohol, coffee, vinegar, and acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes
Kapha Food: Deep fried, sweet or heavy foods. Too many cold foods or drinks can also lead to an increase as well. In general, fatty and oily food.
Eating for your Ayurvedic body type
Balance is the key to life.  Now that you know what is your dosha. Find out how what type of diet works best for you.
Vata Body Type
Following a vata diet helps rid your body of the imbalance responsible for your insomnia and anxiety, restoring your creativity. Fatty acids, such as avocados, almonds, flaxseeds and freshwater fish, are the answer for your anxiety and depression. Oils such as canola, coconut, corn, olive and sesame help relieve the dryness you experience. John Douillard, DC, Ph.D, author of “The Yoga Body Diet,” explains no oils are off-limits for the vata diet. He recommends choosing high-protein foods like nuts, chicken, turkey and fish. Increase oils for cooking and choose warm food over cold or dry food. Examples of vegetables include Brussels sprouts, garlic, winter squash and tomatoes. Fruits include dates, figs, grapefruits, grapes, lemons, limes, mangoes and oranges. Choose spices such as anise, black pepper, basil, cinnamon, cumin, fennel, ginger, saffron and turmeric. Enjoy butter or buttermilk, cottage cheese, rice or soy milk and yogurt. Brown rice, wheat and oats top the list for grains. Sweeteners such as raw honey, molasses, rice syrup and raw sugar can be used in moderation.
To find out more balancing your Vata Body Type, take a look at this video:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xcnaw6mVy74&w=560&h=315] Pitta Body Type
In terms of a balancing diet, those who have a predominantly Pitta dosha need to be cooled down. Hospodar’s article in the “Yoga Journal” states that Pittas need a reduced amount of fats, oils and salt. Pitta-pacifying foods include ripe fruits and vegetables, except garlic, tomatoes, radishes and chilies. Coriander and mint have a cooling effect, and pomegranates, coconuts, grilled vegetable salads and rice pudding help to reduce Pitta if it is unbalanced.
To find out more balancing your Pitta Body Type, take a look at this video:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuP3tjso–M&w=560&h=315] Kapha Body Type
To combat the congestion, Kapha types can add garlic to their diet or take garlic supplements. Hospodar’s article in the “Yoga Journal” states that light, dry, warm foods will help to stimulate and warm-up someone with predominately Kapha in their make-up. Grains such as barley, buckwheat and rye are good for the Kapha type, as are apples, cranberries and other light, dry fruits. Kaphas can also eat spices, herbs, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, but should avoid salt.
Exercise is also critical to keep Kapha people in balance; if you have a Kapha body type, you have to get up and move!
To find out more balancing your Kapha Body Type, take a look at this video:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJmh8xTyeLE&w=560&h=315]

Who Moved My Yoga Mat?

By Elaine Ee
With yoga now part of mainstream exercise, it’s important not to lose sight of what it really means.
Throw a stone these days and there’s a good chance it’ll land on a yoga mat. From personal yoga trainers to independent studios in shophouses to fitness chains, yoga is everywhere. It’s become so widespread that it’s almost rare to meet someone who hasn’t tried it at all in some way, shape or form. Certainly, everyone has heard of it.
So ubiquitous has yoga become that you can buy a mat at a convenience store, if you wish. And choose from a huge range of yoga products—clothes, accessories, music, books, DVDs etc.—from dozens of retail stores, on the high street or online. And you can attend yoga conferences, festivals, seminars, training courses; even go on yoga holidays.
The varieties of yoga that have evolved are as numerous as the types of studios. From ashtanga to Bikram to hatha to Iyenga, schools of yoga practically run from A to Z. Each expresses yoga in its own way, with its own method and approach, style and form, with some schools being compatible and similar while others are diametrically opposite.
With this profusion that has amassed around yoga, this ancient Indian discipline has turned into a modern day industry. Instructors, studios and yoga organizations vie for students, who in turn seek the right type of yoga, the right teacher, the right studio. And as in any industry, organizations sometimes poach from one another, each wanting the best for themselves.
The yoga celebrity has also emerged. These are big name instructors, perhaps founders of a particular type of yoga, who have become famous, sought after and valuable. They lend their names and their presence to yoga events; make videos and DVDs, write books, host yoga retreats and garner a flock of devoted followers.
Of course they are excellent practitioners and instructors, but the cult of celebrity status sometimes adds a layer of pizzazz that is not necessarily authentic to yoga. And for every authentic yoga business out there, others are less true to this profound practice. Sometimes it’s hard, at least at first, to tell the good ones from the bad, the real gurus from the showstoppers.
Amidst all this, it’s easy to get caught up, as a practitioner or an instructor, or anyone involved in yoga. It’s easy to start comparing, to start competing. To aim for big brands, the star names, the best value, the biggest business potential, the latest trend—in short, all the wrong things. The yoga industry can lend credence to the practice, give it recognition in today’s world, but it can also obscure the real purpose of the practice, covering it in plumes of success, like too much make up masking the natural beauty of a woman.
Because at the end of the day, when you are on the mat, what is it all about?
It’s about union.
The original purpose of yoga, it’s underlying philosophy, is to bring about union of mind, body and spirit, which ultimately leads to self-realisation. Serious followers of yoga will know this, and that yoga is so much more than the postures practiced in yoga classes today which have become synonymous with the whole of yoga, largely overshadowing its other aspects.
Other arms of yoga include karma yoga, which is doing good deeds; bhakta yoga, which is devotional yoga; jnana yoga, which is yoga of knowledge; and raja yoga, which is learning to control the mind. Part of raja yoga is using postures and the breath to bring the mind under control, and ashtanga yoga falls here.
Yoga is also a way a life, a way of looking at life and yourself. It is about finding the perfect equilibrium, cultivating a peaceful, strong, compassionate outlook—and in so doing setting free your true, glorious self, being the amazing person that you were always meant to be. It’s about finding a contentment that stems from within, so that whether you are in a six-star resort in the Bahamas or a slum in Southeast Asia, nothing disturbs your joy. As an old Tibetan saying goes, “You can tell a yogi by his or her laugh.”
If all this sounds esoteric, well, it is. But this is what ultimately yoga is about. It’s not about doing a 360-backbend or the standing splits or balancing on one finger—those are means to an end not ends in themselves. So when you hear someone say that they are not flexible or strong enough to do yoga, you know that’s missing the mark.
To find this truthful path to yoga, you don’t need fancy studios, expensive memberships, nice yoga costumes or idyllic locales. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things of course, but you don’t need them. A good instructor is important as he or she acts as a guide, but even then your yoga practice is your personal journey to make. Another saying from the yoga vault goes, “A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves.”
All you really need is a mat. And an understanding, and the desire to practise. From there, everything else starts to falls in place.
To cite a final quote, “You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.”