How Yoga May Benefit High Blood Pressure

Desirable or normal blood pressure is generally considered to be below 120/80 (one-twenty over eighty), where 120 represent the systolic measurement and 80 represent the diastolic measurement.

According to a new study presented at the “28th Annual Scientific Meeting”, yoga may help lower a person’s blood pressure.

In this study, Dr. Debbie Cohen of the University of Pennsylvania, led a team of researchers to evaluate exactly the effect yoga had on blood pressure among a total of 58 women and men, aged 38 to 62.

Although the study couldn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship, doing yoga two to three times a week was associated with an average drop in blood pressure readings from 133/80 to 130/77, the researchers said.

In comparison, the average decrease in blood pressure was smaller (134/83 to 132/82) among people who ate a special diet but did not do yoga.

In a bit of a surprise, doing yoga in tandem with a special diet did not outperform doing yoga alone — blood pressure numbers fell only slightly (135/83 to 134/81) among people who ate a special diet and also did yoga, the researchers said.

The small decline in blood pressure among people who ate a special diet and did yoga may be because doing both required a greater amount of time, making it more difficult for participants to stick with their regimens, the authors said.

They believe that the reason why yoga is able to lower blood pressure so successfully is because of the relaxation and mindfulness associated with it. In fact, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) found that yoga may be superior to other forms of exercise in its positive effect on mood and anxiety.

The authors said that yoga could have a very beneficial effect on people suffering from high blood pressure, especially when used in addition with other lifestyle modifications.

According to a previous study by researchers at the University of Ulster, low levels of weekly exercise can drive down blood pressure and boost overall fitness.

It is important to note that blood pressure treatments should be patient-specific – some treatment options may work for some but not for others.

Yoga poses that can help reduce high blood pressure include:
• Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose)
• Janu Sirasana (Head to Knee Forward Bend)
• Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose)
• Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
• Setu Bandha Savangasana (Bridge Pose)
• Ardho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
• Virasana (Hero Pose)
• Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)
• Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
• Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Mavis Tan 200hr January to May 2014 Batch

Reference:
http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20130515/yoga-may-help-ease-high-blood-pressure-study-finds

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/finder/therapeutic_focus/t_high_blood_pressure

Yoga 1 – Sinusitis 0

Every morning for the past few months, I’d wake up with -apart from the roadkill face and rat’s nest hair- a blocked nose. The blockage would take the next few hours to clear out and I’d be able to breathe fully through my nostrils again only by lunchtime.

My sinus started unceremoniously. Like an unwelcome distant relative with no sense of personal space, it just appeared one morning and refused to leave -no matter what I did to make it go away. Never been one to have any sort of difficulty breathing or excess phlegm issues, it was debilitating. Too often, my day would be ruined even before it really began.

When I started my course at Tirisula Yoga, it was the same ol’ respiratory routine and by the end of the first week, all my lovely coursemates knew me more by my trusty box of tissues than my name. Yes, a box. A pack of tissues can only last me for about half-an-hour tops and that’s not so disco for me and my leaky yet stopped-up nose. It was even more frustrating because I couldn’t do any of the morning pranayama exercises properly without doing a large part of my inhales and exhales through my mouth. Truly annoying, very dismaying and doing yoga with a pile of crusty tissues by your mat is just plain gross. At the worst moments of my plight of packed phlegm, as everyone easily did their rounds of anuloma viloma and all I was doing was whistling through my nostrils, I would look at Master Paalu and give a silent (or sometimes loud) cry for help.

He, in turn, will look back at me and say confidently, “It will go away soon. Trust me. Just keep doing what you can do.”

Adoi! Really? When?!

Fast forward two weeks, his words came true: my sinus troubles disappeared. It wasn’t even a gradual thing. I didn’t even noticed my sinusitis mornings were not happening anymore. They just…….stopped.

What exactly made it go away, after many bouts of nasal sprays, tablet decongestants and breathing strips have failed and only turned me into a pharmacy store junkie?

I say, it is my daily Ashtanga practice. 

Ashtanga Primary Series

Countless studies have proven any physical movement when you’re under the weather is going to encourage the lymph to move along and do its job, so one can feel healthy again. Though a non-yogi might hardly think yoga is the way to go for much movement, Ashtanga Yoga is actually a great option as it is actually one of the most dynamic forms of yoga commonly practiced. Additionally, Gregor Maehle, author of Ashtanga Yoga: Practice and Philosophy stated in his book, Ashtanga makes the body “free of disease, making it light and strong so that it can be a suitable vehicle on the path to freedom.”

Sounds (and feels) about right.

For sinusitis specifically, inversions are excellent as it improves the flow of fluid in the sinuses and can flush mucus from the lungs. According to a review published in a 2008 issue of the International Journal of Yoga, Authors Sarika Arora and Jayashree Bhattacharjee, biochemists in New Delhi, India, a pose like Downward Facing Dog is already considered an inversion and the practitioner can start to benefit from that asana without even getting into a full-on sirsasana or headstand. We do more than a few inversions in Ashtanga Primary Series alone. Just counting the number of Downward Dogs I do in one session is enough to get me quite heady. Factor in the actual Sirsasana done during the finishing sequence and the other varying forms of inversions like the Prasarita Padmottanasana and the Salamba Sarvangasana throughout the series alone, it is not unfounded for me to credit Ashtanga for helping me get rid of my morning snots and sniffles.

Having said that, I feel I should also give props to the humble jala neti pot.

When Master Paalu gave the pots out that morning, my first thought was;

“You want me to put that where and do what?!”

Jala Neti Pot

The looks on everyone else’s faces were just as incredulous but after we learned how to do it and then we actually did it, I learned never to be afraid of using metal pots to clean my insides ever again.

The pots were used for nasal irrigation, which Wikipedia defines as a “personal hygiene practice in which the nasal cavity is washed to flush out excess mucus and debris from the nose and sinuses.” In the yogic system, it is one of the body cleansing techniques to clear the passageways in the head and will bring benefits such as profound physiological improvements on the body, mind and personality.

Jala Neti

Sterilized and lukewarm isotonic salt water is poured into one nostril, so that it leaves through the other. The procedure is then repeated on the other side, and the nose is dried by bending forward and by rapid breathing. According to Melissa Pynnonen, MD, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Michigan, nasal irrigation helps to “thin out the mucus and improve the coordination of the cilia (hair-like structures in the nasal passages) to help them more effectively remove bacteria and other irritants from the sinus passages.”

Needless to say, whatever Ashtanga was doing for my sinus, the neti pot came along and boosted the effect -much like Super Mario getting a power-up from a Star AND a Super Mushroom all in one level.

I think if I were to break it all down, one blog post is not enough for me to deliver my Winning-An-Oscar thank you speech about what I am grateful in the healing of my sinusitis. All I need to reaffirm is that, yoga did it for me again. I did not start with Ashtanga Yoga back then, just Hatha, Vinyasa and when I need to really sweat it out, Bikram. however, when I started doing yoga back in early 2013, I did not know I have unwittingly embarked on a journey that would constantly keep me going and improving as I go along. Back then, it was simply a means to get me out of the lowest point of my life because I heard it had great physical benefits so one can live better. Having courted death and survived, I needed to live better. Now, a year on, it’s even helped me to breathe better.

By and by, the more I do it, the more I realize how my yoga practice is always there to help me get things done and done the way that’s best for me. From simple daily decisions I make about food and fun to addressing my health to finally realizing I can let go of a grudge I’ve held against an old friend for too long. It’s liberating -in more ways than one.

By and by, I get keener than ever to continue on these paths to self-discovery. Even when sometimes it hurts to get there. Or the journey’s hard. Or it gets me breathless. Wherever I get to and whatever I get out of it all eventually, I will always be learning and I will surely be enlightened. This is an education that will never stop.

Knowing just that is enough for me and now, I can breathe easy.

-Raihan Ruslan
200hr Yoga TTC

 

Heart-Opening with Yoga

“Often, it is not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.”   – Heath L. Buckmaster

 

When I was in my teens and mid-twenties, I often obsessed about what the world thought of me, if what I did/wore/said was good enough, felt unsure of my capabilities, was never confident enough to speak my mind if my opinion differed from the madding crowd.

 

It wasn’t all bad though.

 

Even as I did not have any remarkable talents like being able to play volleyball or a musical instrument with supreme virtuosity (I was a late bloomer who needed lots of time to emerge from the cocoon), the mildly obsessive compulsive disordered person in me mostly managed to make up for it by meticulous attention to detail in preparation work, study time, organization and packing skills. To borrow a Guna word, I was an extremely Rajasic person, full of passion (translate : quick temper, falls in love easily) and energy (I loved being occupied with things to ponder and chores to do).

 

When I was about 24, I tried yoga for the first time in my life for a grand total of 2 weeks. It was a Hatha yoga class and the mundaneness literally blew me away. Then, I was neither emotionally nor spiritually mature enough to appreciate what yoga had to offer other than the very relaxing deep sleep at the end of class.

 

Fast-track 11 years down the road, during which I packed on :

1 financially-draining (now defunct) relationship

2 surgeries

3 stand-up paddleboards

4 full-time employers

5-year old daughter born out of wedlock

6-island solo backpacking trip to Greece

7 dogs

8 Catholic spiritual retreats

9 months learning the cello at age 31

10 sales & marketing staff under my wing

 

I found yoga again on a stand-up paddle board in March 2013, came to realize that I was finally ready to accept what it had to teach me and started practising in a studio since. The past 11 years had done its work and developed me in Yama and Niyama, such that I began to find meaning and meditation in Asana and Pranayama this time round. Of course the learning is far from done, but I truly enjoy the humbling, enlightening, gradual learning process that yoga has presented. Through practising asanas, the onion of me was peeled even more layer by layer as I discovered new areas about myself which had previously not come to light before – my fear of falling over in handstands even when the wall is there (which reveals a residual lack of faith in my abilities) and my not being able to actively prevent myself from falling over badly in a handstand (that I have a delayed reaction to stimuli due to overthinking).

 

Yoga also helped me further unlock my inner potential, turning my double-edged swords the good way. Stubbornness was moulded into persistence, inability to take strong stands chiselled into non-judgement, emotional eating kneaded into a keen interest in preparing my own nutritious meals. Ironically, as Patanjali beautifully described in the Yoga Sutras, it always requires the passion of Rajas to strive for tapas, or self-discipline, to attain the peace of Sattva.

 

This picture of Urdhva Dhanurasana done on a standup paddle board out at sea with the sun and breeze in my hair, truly epitomizes for me the heart-opening that yoga has done for me.

 

 Blog 2

 

Posted by :

Marian Ang

200HR TTC (Jan/Feb ’14)

 

New life, 2013.

2011
(2009, 2011)
The person you see now, every day jumping around in class and eating almost everything, is currently at her happiest and healthiest.
I had a severe eating disorder 4 years ago. The picture on the left showed the days when I was in Polytechnic. I made sure I exercised at least two hours and consumed less than 10 food items every single day, all for someone I loved then whom said I was too fat. Later, when I managed to lose 8 kg, I did not realize I lost much more. I lost what it meant to be called a woman. I lost quite a bit of hair as they thinned out so much, I missed my period for nearly one year, lost my two best friends called ‘breasts’, and surprisingly, my self-esteem. I rejected outings with my friends just to exercise and restrain myself from social eating. I was so thin, and some friends then joked that they can stick a straw and drink water from my collarbones.
After going through so much and losing my friends one by one, I thought I had sacrificed a lot for the one I loved. Ironically enough, it never lasted because I ended up losing so much weight, he said he felt like he was hugging a lamppost instead. Upset, feeling cheated and totally heartbroken, I ate all that I wanted. University started around then too, and the late nights made me indulge in junk food even more.
Needless to say, my weight rebounded. The photo on the right was taken 2 years back, when I had to wear baggy clothes to cover my tummy and weight gain. I still wore shorts because I could not deal with the fact that I was putting on so much weight, I had to convince myself that I was still fine, that I could still pull the shorts up my thighs. During that time, I ate with my emotions and within a year or so, I put on 10 more kg, even heavier than I was before. I was elated when my period finally restarted, and I no longer had to eat hormone-regulating pills. But I was not happy. I was feeling fat, sluggish and totally wasted. I started doing yoga more often, and stuck to it because I loved how I feel after every session. I did begin to shed off some weight and gain some strength. The calmness I felt during yoga was something I never got off the mat, which gradually made me realise how harshly I was treating my body in the past.
In this 200hr training course, after getting to know others and learning about their stories, I felt I was lucky to not have suffered from severe body issues having put myself under such undue stress previously. The body is such a precious temple that we have only for this lifetime. I also learnt much more about body anatomy, about the type of food we eat and how to eat right for a healthy body.
Right now, I may be heavier, meatier and rounder compared to when I was at my lowest weight, but I am undoubtedly happier and healthier. At least I do not have to worry about breaking my own bones when I fall in inversions or arm balances. I also do not have to worry about whether I was getting regular periods, or whether I had to stuff tissue into my bra just to look more normal and lady-like in my clothes.
It is true that when you have gone through suffering, you are more compassionate towards others and can truly understand how they are feeling. Compassion is such an important characteristic of a yoga teacher, not only when guiding total beginners into the practice, but also in living the yoga off the mat.
I do admit that I still stare at my jiggly bits now and then, wondering when will they ever leave me one day, but then I remind myself that I am blessed to be in relatively good health, and armed with the knowledge and means to make it better.
For that, I am already very thankful.
– Joy

letting go

If you ask me what yoga practice has taught me, I would tell you that it has taught me to let go. We hold so much fear of the unknown and emotions in our bodies that we often forget that practicing yoga is about releasing all that negativity. It is about unveiling all the fears that we have buried deep inside.
How many of us often think the same thoughts repeatedly, hardly ever creating new trails of belief and chances of miracles? I am quite guilty of that. Sometimes we might just get stuck, afraid to let go of our ‘normal’ thoughts because we fear the unknown, the change. We are afraid to get out of our comfort zones. Of course I am going to tell you it is not going to be easy, and it takes a little courage and truck-loads of confidence. But it is going to be worth it, and once you ‘surrender’, you will soon realize you can achieve so much more.
Because of my relatively weak back, I took up lessons to strengthen it. I used to fear asanas (I still do, for some!) that require me to bend my back to an angle I do not feel ‘comfortable’ with. The fear could be so intense that even the simple wheel pose would give me the jitters. However, after months of classes and practices I realized that if I do not overcome that fear, it will have power over me and will soon become an obstacle and limitation to my practices.
To be able to conquer your fear, first you must allow yourself to acknowledge it. It is only then that you learn to let go of it. Allow yourself to feel the fear that is presenting itself. Personally, I like to visualize myself overcoming it before I actually tackle it. Take for instance, inversions. I like to prepare my mind by ‘tricking’ it, playing images of myself doing it effortlessly before I take the plunge and attempt it. Of course, not everyone will go through the same journey; you have to discover which highway gets you to your destination 🙂
When we begin to let go, it is almost as if everything starts to change? All our perceptions and beliefs that we used to define ourselves by (thoughts like: my arms are too weak I can never do a handstand!), will start to slowly begin to dissolve until they are no longer there. Our expectations also fade and our awareness expands. We will start to realize that every individual is unique and special; some of us just need to cross more roads to get there. Then, we are able to take responsibility for ourselves and begin to live more deeply from our own truth.
Let go of that anger. Let go of that hatred for somebody. Let go of that jealousy that is making you feel lousy. Free yourself. Let us all let go, surrender on the mat, and surrender to the present moment. Let go, of whatever that is holding you back.
Sandy

Choosing Baby Name

Choosing a baby’s name can be challenging with so much choice. From celebrity names, fashionable names, ancestral names or if you live in a Catholic country (like Poland) then one is restricted to a Catholic name only.
If you choose not to know the sex of the baby then it is even more difficult. Additionally, your choice may be unpopular with family members.
As soon as I found out that I was having a girl, my first choice with Nel. Why? It was a character from my favorite book as a child. My partner disagreed, he didn’t want her to be called names like Smelly Nelly at school.
I was disappointed as I felt like I had the right to choose the name as I was having to go through the labour and 9 months of pregnancy.
The other name which I liked was Zoe – which means life in Greek. I wanted a name which was brief but strong sounding to accompany the hard to pronounce Scottish surname – McIlwraith.
McIlwraith means “children of the mist” and their ancestral home is the Isle of Skye, an island on the West coast of Scotland. The family was happy with the choice of name although their was no Polish equivalent to the name Zoe. As a result, my family nicknamed her Zojka (pronounced Zoe ka)
I wasn’t planning to give my daughter a Polish name but my father in law really like the idea of Zoe having a Polish name so I gave her Natalia as a second name – after my favorite singer – Natalia Kukulska.
My daughter is nearly 12 now and we are both happy with the choice of name, importantly Zoe likes her own name.
Zoe (life) McIlwraith (Child of the Mist)
By Aggie

Advance Yoga Class Plan – Working on the hamstrings, glutz, quads :)

Intermediate Yoga Class
Warm Up : 10 mins
I would include warm up for the hip flexers, shoulder joints, ankle joints, shoulder lifts, forward bents and slight bent backs, hamstrings and quads and a couple of sun salutation B.

  1. Warrior 1
  2. Warrior 2

Variation: Floating Warrior 2

  1. Warrior 3
  2. Uktasana ( Chair Pose )

Variation: Stand up on tiptoes, lift balls of feet above the ground.

  1. Twisting chair pose
  2. Divers Pose
  3. Purvottanasana and then to child’s pose
  4. Bridge pose

Variation: Bridge pose, then holding still life right leg up to the ceiling. Then change legs, left leg up high, toes pointing to ceiling

  1. Boat pose

10. Locust pose
11. Half spinal twist
12. Savasana
Evangeline Tay – 200 hr Teachers Training

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