The king of asanas

The Headstand often called the ‘king of asanas’. What has earned it that title is because to master it requires focus to your balance and alignment that heightens your sensitivity and stability and the strength and the willingness to literally turn yourself upside down. It’s a pose that requires courage and it’s only once you muster that courage, can you reap in the numerous benefits.

Here are some of them:

It’s the elixir of youth
Going Into a headstand and letting your skin hang in the opposite direction can provide an instant ‘facelift’. The inversion also flushes fresh nutrients and oxygen to the face, creating a glowing effect on the skin.

It resets and improve blood flow
When you’re doing an inversion, oxygenated blood flows the other way. It can flow straight to the brain improving focus and mental clarity or to the eyes, improving eyesight. It also increases blood flow to the scalp, which in turn improves nutrient delivery to your hair.

It relieves stress
Combined with slow, long breaths, it’s great for when you’re having anxiety, stress or fear. It also works on your adrenal glands which are responsible for the release cortisol or adrenaline- stress hormones.

It’s great for hormone balance
Aside from relieving stress, the headstand stimulates and provides oxygenated blood to the pituitary and hypothalamus glands which are considered the master glands that regulate all other glands in the body (thyroid, pineal, and adrenals).

It’s great for strengthening shoulders, arms and abs
The headstand uses a lot of muscles to firstly get you up then keep you up. Strengthening these muscles are also great for improving upper body strength and muscular endurance.

It improves digestion
When the effects of gravity are reversed, it helps relieve trapped gases, improve bloodflow and remove waste from the digestive system.

 

“The best way to overcome fear is to face with equanimity the situation of which one is afraid,”

B.K.S. Iyengar says in his section on Sirsasana in Light on Yoga

Yoga for your insides

Yoga has many benefits. Most people know the wealth of physical benefits- improves flexibility, improves strength and stamina – but what about what it does to your insides?

There’s a whole new area to explore when looking at the effect of yoga on your hormones.

Each of the glands in the endocrine system has specific functions, and can cause specific symptoms if out of balance. As it’s a system, if one gland is out of balance, then it is likely to affect other glands in the system so it’s important to do a yoga practice that helps to keep the entire system balanced.

For those who believe in the energy of the chakras, the endocrine system is also very closely aligned with the chakra system with the positioning of each chakra containing one or two glands.

A regular practice has been shown to decrease cortisol and adrenaline hormone levels- the hormones that rise during periods of stress and can possibly cause tumours if the levels remain high for a long period of time. While they’re our in-built fight or flight mechanism, they’re also the hormones that can make you cranky and generally not happy.

For women during their menstruation or menopause, hormones can wreck havoc on happiness and outlook on life. Yoga can contribute a balancing effect.

Yoga can also help you sleep more soundly and peacefully as certain positions can raise levels of melatonin.

Yoga can also increase thyroid hormone which increases your metabolism rate and helps you lose weight and feel more alive.

While it’s not an exact science, many studies state that it takes around 3 to 6 months of regular practice for yoga to have these effects on your hormones.

I’ve been doing yoga one and off for a few years now and I personally have definitely noticed its effect on my mood during the periods when I’ve committed to regular practice.

Here are some good yoga poses to try to stimulate certain glands:

Pireal gland– halasana, matsyasana

Pituatory– siriana

Thyroid– halasana, viparita karani

Pancreas– any twisted pose like parvitta trikonasana or pincha mayurasana

Adrenal – any backbends such as chakrasana, ustrasana

Reproductive glands – sirsasana

Here are some power poses when it comes to stimulating the glands:

Sasangasana
This pose stimulates the thyroid and the parathyroid glands. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and secretes hormones that regulate growth and metabolic function. The parathyroid glands are also found in the neck and control how much calcium is released into the body.

Bhujangasana
Cobra Pose massages the adrenal gland which allows your body to better combat stress and release tension.

Ustrasana
This pose stimulates your internal organs, especially in the neck region where the thyroid and parathyroid glands are located.

Teacher training course- only the beginning

I have been practicing yoga on and off for many years. I move around a lot so whenever I move to a new country or city, it takes a while before I’m able to find a yoga studio I like and a teacher I want to follow.

In my dabbling of yoga, I’ve slowly progressed through the asanas (my inflexibility, slowly and painfully improving) but I always knew yoga was much more than its asanas which is why I enrolled for the teacher training course.

During one fo the theory classes we learned about the 8 limbs of yoga- which refer to a way of life that is very much in line with the ideal kind of life I would like to lead.

These 8 limbs are the Yama (attitudes toward our environment), Niyama (attitudes toward ourselves), Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (restraint or expansion of the breath), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (complete integration).

It stuns me to think that all this time I’ve been doing yoga, I’ve only scratched the surface. I was only exploring the Asana. Through the course I’ve explored Pranayama and Dhyana, both of which I think will be great building blocks as I progress in life.

It’s also made me realise how much I’ve got to learn. We’re always told that 200 hours was not enough and I completely agree. More than a teacher training course, it’s only the beginning of what will be a life long journey of learning and I’m looking forward to further improving myself in the asanas and learning much more about the 8 other limbs of yoga.

Moving Forward! Start a journey to a Yogi Lifestyle – 4 The Theory

Moving Forward! Start a journey to a Yogi Lifestyle – 4  The Theory

Love the theory part, not so much that I like to read now, but so relax and easy that someone there talk and I listen, the science, the philosophy, the art, and the stories.

I had already much forgotten to recall exactly how many years from the day I enjoy listening to the teacher’s classroom teaching.

It’s back to my old golden days.

After all, after reading for so many years, my eye sights getting bad. Just packed up all my books into 26 cartons of boxes while preparing to move them to another location.

After this course, I think, likely will start collecting and pick up again, books on the Yoga’s title.

It’s pleasant reading on the Yoga Sutra, though initially having difficulties and hard time stirring my tongues over the Sanskrit words and trying to figure out what’s the meaning by reading the long explanation inside the manual, which eventually made me more confused.

Lucky enough, I managed to find and organized from the internet.
Well, IF, I meant “IF”, If I have the time, likely will add on to it’s German and Chinese or even other languages translation at my leisure if I can find it.

Here share if you need.

Here go we happy Journey to Yoga Lifestyle.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra Translation Sanskrit to English

 

汇编 Complied by Angie Chua 20190909.

Yoga and CBT

Starting a short, simple routine first thing in the morning is something I’ve always wanted to do, but I only ever ended up drinking 2 glasses of water daily when I wake up, and doing some stretching. During 200hr Yoga TTC, we learnt the Tirisula 5-Step Rejuvenation to do every morning. I must admit I do steps 1-3 and then I do my own stretching, especially opening up the shoulder and hip joints where I feel most stiff in the mornings. However, it enabled me to finally kick-start a morning routine, and as it only takes 30 days for something to become a habit, I am the better for it, and of course I will get to completing all 5 steps every morning!

Just before starting this course, I completed an online course about the Essentials of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), something I’ve become interested in since learning about it at uni. CBT is used to help shift thoughts and behaviours to more positive and productive ones. A key concept of CBT is “people get better by making small changes in their thinking and behaviour everyday” and as someone who practices or teaches yoga, I think it is important to remind ourselves and our students of this. Common thoughts I have are “I have no time” or “I’m too tired” which leads to not doing yoga as often as I’d like to. Now I keep reminding myself I’m doing a beneficial thing that has long-term positive effects, and when I do complete the morning routine I tell myself “it’s good that I did that today” – as suggested in CBT to build a sense of self-efficacy. I will continue to do this as I increase the yoga practice to include asanas in my morning routine once this 200hr Yoga TTC ends!

– Ari (200hr YTTC, 2018) 

Yoga and Life

This was the year I knew I was going to do things I’ve been thinking about but never did, to feel the sense of loving life again like when I was a kid. Two things I always wanted to do were tour Europe and do a yoga teacher course, and this year I took the opportunity thanks to good timing with my uni break and a family wedding in London.

I did a Topdeck tour after the family wedding, travelling on my own for the first time, from Barcelona to Rome for 11 days, through 6 cities. Turns out most of the 40 people on the tour were also living in Australia, and I wasn’t the only one travelling on my own! Between each city was an 8 hour driving day spent on the coach, with rest stops every 2 hours. I knew they would play an arrival song every time we stopped, and I wondered what ours would be. I was fast asleep on the first driving day, and woke up to the sound of whistling coming through the speakers. It was the start of the arrival song, “Love Life” (by John Mamman in French/English). The song instantly became a favourite, as it was the reason I booked the tour, and I needed those lyrics this year more than ever. (Coincidence, or a sign from the universe? haha) I knew I was in the right place at the right time. Each time I heard the song, I felt more at ease, and felt that I was actually starting to love life again, because I was just enjoying living in the moment.

I am now completing the 200hr Yoga TTC in my hometown where I was first introduced to yoga at the age of 11 by my mum. During the course, we learnt about taking care of ourselves through our daily routines, actions, thoughts, even the food we eat. I feel happy learning so much more about yoga, which has been one of the few consistent things in my life. Yoga has kept me sane and grounded throughout my time at school, and now uni, soon to be throughout my career too. “Always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive” – the quote on my phone’s lock screen. It is absolutely true – the Topdeck tour and Yoga TTC are the best things I’ve done in Season 24 of my life. So, if you’re reading this and thinking about doing something but have been putting it off, just go for it!

– Ari (200hr YTTC, 2018) 

Yoga and listening to yourself

Often in yoga classes, I observe people trying to complete the advanced version of yoga poses, even though they struggle in an easier option and in doing so, place their body in an awkward posture or fall over completely. On the other hand, I am overly conscious about my body’s limits in terms of strength and flexibility. I always move into the easy option of the pose first, even if I’ve done it countless times, as my mind and body are not the same every day. I think this comes from having good yoga instructors who always remind me that it is not about getting to the advanced level of a pose and suffering in pain there, no. It is about listening to your body, going only as far as you can, aligning your body in the correct posture, maintaining awareness of breathing, and enjoying being comfortable in a pose. It is also important to focus on yourself during the poses, and not compare yourself to those around you in class.

During the 200hr Yoga TTC, we learnt about Patanjali’s sutras for Asanas – 2.46 being “sthira sukham asanam” which means “steady, comfortable posture”. I think as a yoga teacher it is very important to emphasise this to students, especially beginners who have never done yoga before, though gentle reminders throughout the class that they should be able to smile during an asana and not be suffering in pain. This directs the mindset of how postures should feel, and enable the students to carry this on as they develop their yoga practice over time, to strengthen the connection between mind and body by listening within. I still continue to remind myself to relax into each pose, not just the ones I like because I can do them well.

– Ari (200hr YTTC, 2018)

Future Path with Yoga

Today we learned 4 paths of yoga, these had actually make me think back a few months ago I attended a course called “20 years Journey”. The course is actually a motivation class that help us open up our vision. The topic mainly to help us indentify what is our changes or achievement for past 10 years and figure out what we wish to do for 10 years in future. That times, we are given 30min with some guidance to list out changes of past 10 years regardless good or bad, and another 30 min for future 10 years.

After 30min I write out quite a lot of changes in past 10 years that I not even realize until I list out. The changes not only the physical or any viewable changes like how many properties we have…etc, it also included experiences and knowledges. The most changes I have in past 10 years is actually knowledges and experiences, and this is the most valuable and also the only things that will follow us forever, whereas others might gone some time or some day. For past 10 years, I never stop learning and improve myself, especially in works. I can catch up work in short period of time, my 2 years of service in company is equal to some of the senior who work 5 years there. This is mainly due to learning attitude, not because I am genius or super clever. Therefore, when I work in the same company for more than 3 years, I start feel boring to do same job everyday, the learning curve become bottom neck, then I will start to look for others things to do, so that I can learn a new things. In term of yoga path, I think this should be under Jnana yoga.

My friends ask me whether I’m going to teach yoga after the training? My answer is “Not for full time teacher at this moment, part time maybe.” Most of them give me a funny and shocked face and ask me “why I take teacher course then?”. Well…taking Yoga teacher course doesn’t mean want to become teacher immediately, just like study Japanese doesn’t mean you want to move to stay in Japan right? To me to get a knowledge 1st, then only decide future pathway. Of cause, another reason is because I need a fixed income to sustain my living now. Yoga teacher might not be able to gain higher income at these early stage, but might be later after I gain more experiences or reputation. Anyway, no rush to be yoga teacher to me, there is still a lot more to study and to learn in yoga. YTT-200 course is just a starter, there is still a lot of yoga knowledge some where out there waiting for us to figure out.

I always believe “Practices make perfect”. I will consider teach for part time if have any chances and I’m ok to teach for free or for charity to train myself too. Oh…I won’t call this as Karma yoga yet, this is definately with condition or subject to my availability…haha! I probably closed to Jnana yoga stage, but still have to figure out the other 3 paths to move myself to another stage of yoga. Therefore, if nothing can be a barrier for us to improve ourselve.

Lastly…..After YTT-200 regardless become teacher or not, never stop practicing yoga and remember to do 5 steps of daily practice told by Master Paalu (kapalabhati, alternate breathing, Nauli, stretching (cobra, twist & forward fold) and last one is talk to soul) every morning… This is to REMIND myself and this is my GOAL.

Cheers!!!

Wei Veen

The Muscles and Skeletons Songs

After Study Muscles and Skeleton, I realize this is really brand new knowledge to me and I kind of like it actually. All the while, I though yoga is just like jogging, zumba…is just exercise until today. To become a teacher, I need to study deeper, need to know more than just poses, need to ensure student do correct posture and align with anatomy, need to ensure didn’t cause injuries…etc. So, Anatomy is very important.  But, to remember all the Muscles and Skeletons name really kill me, the names sound like Aliens and Dinasours to me… I’m not biological student and I’m not good in remember all the weird names as well. Oh no…How can I remember all the name? I think I must find something to help me remember all these names. So… I look for my 2 best friends “google & youtube”, hope they can help me.

Finally, I found a very useful study material, which is the Study Song. There is a lot of talented and creative people created many interesting study materials.
Here I share some of video and I write down one interesting lyrics…it’s really cool!!! This video is not only tell you the name of muscles, also it movement.

Thorax and Shoulder Muscles song:
“Give me a second I, I need to get these muscles straight
Find some way to remember where they insert and originate
The Pectoralis Major it lie just across the chest
Its goes from Clavicle and Sternum to the ribs and humerus
For shoulder flexion it’s a prime mover, that goes for adduction as well
And below it lies the smaller size of Pectoralis minor, guys
Which goes from scapula to ribs
So it by the time you don’t study, you throw your arms up in despair
The Pec major will help (because it’s shoulder flexion, get it?)
Anterior thorax muscles, Extrinsic to the shoulder,
all insert into the girdle, except for the pec major.

Serratus Antertior runs deep and inferior to Pec Major and Minor up above
Ribs to scapula it falls, scapula abduction calls
And it holds the scapula to your chest walls
I’d like to make myself believe that the subclavius shows clearly
Stabilizing and depressing shoulder girdles easily
But it can’t be seen in cadaver lab bodies
Posterior thorax thew is just as easy too
The Latissimus Dorsi lies on top (technically the trapezius in on top too, superior to LD)
This most supetficial thing work in shoulder adducting
And extension like in forceful hammering
From Lumbar vertebrae and Pelvis, And inserting at the humerus
It’s just a superficial as the Trapezius
Which elevates, adducts, depresses, & outwardly rotate the scapula
(and it has 3 sections, lower, middle and upper fibers)
Now the Levator Scapulae does what its latin name implies (elevate the scapula)
Helping Trapezius elevate, the scapula and inwardly rotate
The Rhomboids are deep to those with major and minor pose
to adduct and rotate the scapula in
From vertebral column’s start to scapula,
some part of that muscles is memorized by heart
I’d like to make myself believe that I know the upper extremity

Shoulder muscle next…extended and flexed
Starting with the deltoid muscle 1st, supplied by the anxillary nerve
With it prime motion, Abduction, extension, flexion
It’s where u get most of your injection
The Rotator Cuff is deeper down, that’s where all 4 “SITS” muscles are found
(Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Subscapularis)
Scapula origin to the humerus leading if acting all at once they stabilize
The rotator cuff… the learning not enough
The Supraspinatus is aligned just above scapula’s spine
Stabilization preventing dislocation (downward)
It always keep the humerus in line
In Infraspinatus rotates laterally beneath scapula its sits stably
Teres minor rotates too, lateral moves, those 2 are hard to saparate.
Subscapularis last of the “SITS” mates, medially or laterally rotates.
Then teres major is listed next, i’ll wager it’s helper to Latissimus Dorsi…
If you’re feelings somewhat overstressed just recall these songs to pass the test
I’ve gotten bolder knowing Thorax & Shoulder, and i’ll remember for the longest time!”

Thorax and Shoulder Muscles song

For the skeletons, I found the “Bones! Bones! Bones!” Songs is quite interesting. Together with cute animation, I’m sure you can remember easily for all the bones name.

Bones! Bones! Bones!

Hope this is helpful for your study and there is more video and songs can be found in youtube.

Let’s “Sing” together. Cheers!!!

Wei Veen

New diet with 3 Gunas

First week of Yoga Teacher Training, we learned about the food categories based on 3 Gunas, which is Sattvic, Rajasic & Tamasic. This is interesting!!!

After the class, I ask myself what is the percentage of food between this 3 gunas that I consumed all the while? My answer is ” I ate coffee, tea, milo, milk, hawker food, Japanese food, Korean food, Chinese food, western food, fruit juice, soy milk… fruits and salad too… emmm…Roughly 5% (Sattvic), 15% (Rajasic) & 80% (Tamasic)…”
OH OOoo….almost all is under Tamasic & Rajasic…
Looking into the food range, sound difficult to have full Sattvic now a day, unless today we have own farm, own cow to supply fresh milk, own land to plant organic vegetables…etc, otherwise there is no way to have full Sattvic diet. In fact, Tamasic & Rajasic food are not all unhealthy food. There are still a lot of healthy food with rich of vitamin, protein, mineral and so on…that human body require daily. We don’t have to eat Sattvic food to become healthy right? The most important to reduce unhealthy food and take balance diet everyday.

So, I do some analysis and finally I split Tamasic food into 3 types which is suit to me.
1. Tamasic Healthier – Whole meal, low fat, low sugar, non-processing and non-preserve.
Exp:Whole meal bread, Chicken breast, fish, mushroom, low fat milk, beef…etc
2. Tamasic Average – Normal hawker centre food, Bread, Rice, biscuit, taufu, chocolate, frozen vegetable…etc
3. Tamasic Unhealthy – Fast Food, fried food, snack, preserve food, processing food..etc

Next, I’ve adjusting my daily meal percentage to roughly 35%(Sattvic), 8-10% (Tamasic), 50-55% (Tamasic type 1&2), and 2-0% (Tamasic type 3) and my new diet begin…
Instead of eating fried “you tiao”, economy beehun..etc plus coffee, now my breakfast changed to cereal, whole meal bread, milk and banana. Not much changes for lunch, I’m taking normal meal in coffee shop, just try to avoid taking Tamasic type 3. For dinner, I took only fruits, nuts (almond, cashew, raisin…) and vegetables.

Results after 2 weeks:
Not really seen any obvious changes physically yet, my weight maintain… but I can feel not that sleepy even without coffee in morning. Also One thing can be sure, I became “more willing” to get up from bed in morning, compared to last time I keep snoozing my alarm clock many times, then late to work…haha!!! Furthermore, I seem like not very rely on coffee to make me awake anymore. Sound good!!!

Looking forward to see what is the changes along the way, will keep this diet for a period of time and observe…
Cheer!!!

Wei Veen