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

How do you get students to like your yoga class?

After experiencing teaching this morning (and from my experiences of being a yoga student for many years), I feel that the way an instructor conducts a class is the most important factor to enhance a student’s enjoyment, such as:

  1. Personality of the instructor (calm, soothing and reassuring, confident and approachable)
  2. Tone and voice of instructor (assertive yet encouraging, loud and clear voice)
  3. Overall pace of the lesson (comfortable, steady pace – students should be able to follow and still be challenged)
  4. Clear instructions that are easy to understand and follow (regardless of class type)
  5. Knowledge of teacher (able to provide information on certain asanas performed eg. how it aids digestion)
  6. Checking on individual student and making sure they are okay (and breathing)
  7. Flowing sequence and suitable asanas (students are physically challenged but not pushing them till there is risk of an injury)
  8. Flexibility of changing the lesson plan anytime (modify the postures accordingly for different students)

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Yoga and the Media

In today’s modern word, it’s hard to avoid the impact of the media, especially the ‘social’ kind. Many industries have boomed with the rise of social media attention and yoga doesn’t seem to have escaped this growing trend. But, with such an ancient practice, how has modern day media ‘shaped’ the art of yoga and is it detrimental to the fundamentals of what it means to be a yogi?

It seems inevitable in a capitalist society, that nothing is exempt from commercialisation, including yoga. Falling under the ‘fitness’ banner in many western countries, yoga has become big business and with the rise of social media platforms, such as Instagram, yoga has been steadily growing in popularity. You don’t have to search for long to find vast numbers of yogi profiles from around the globe, proudly posting photos of pincha mayurasana against a pristine-white-beach backdrop, or another demoing a dynamic flow, wearing the latest stylish gear. The thriving yoga industry has led to the rise of the ‘celebrity yogi’ – a diverse group of accomplished practitioners, with a strong Instagram following. Many of these high profile yogis will openly share their own views about how social media has led us away from what it means to practice yoga, yet the irony is that the platform from which they post these views, isn’t able to truly capture all that yoga stands for.

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Practicing yoga asanas with an injury and how to modify

We’re taught in the YTT200 how to ensure correct alignment in postures to avoid injury, which is such a fundamental part of a safe and sustainable practice, but what about if you come to yoga with a pre-existing injury?

I tore my piriformis around 18 months ago – I was not fully warmed up, I was practicing in a cold room on a cold tile floor and I dropped down into hanumanasana on my right side, extended over my right leg into a forward fold and that’s when I heard it… RIP! The piriformis is a small muscle located deep in the buttock, underneath the Gluteus Maximus – it originates at the sacrum and inserts at the top of the femur. My glute was incredibly sore for several weeks and didn’t seem to be improving, I continued regular practice, determined not to let the injury stop me from progressing, despite the pain. Eventually, the isolated pain began to radiate down my leg towards the back of my knee and so I sought the advice of a physiotherapist.  The sciatic nerve passes directly behind, or in some people, through the piriforis and any trauma to the piriformis can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve, resulting in radiating pain or spasms. My original muscle injury had now led to compression of my sciatic nerve, making most standing asanas incredibly painful, in fact, it even hurt to sit down for any length of time.

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Yoga and Buddhism

Before Yoga, I was introduced to Buddhism and got inspired by the books written by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, who is a renowned Bhutansed lama,film maker and writer. He says that its not the clothes you wear, the ceremonies you perform, or the meditation you do. Its not what you eat ,how much you drink, or who you have sex with. Its whether you agree with the four fundamental discoveries(also known as the four seals)the Buddha made under the Bodhi tree, and if you do, you can call yourself a Buddhist.

So what are these four truths?

All compunded things are impermanent.
All emotions are pain.
All things have no inherent existence
Nirvana is beyond concepts.

By thinking of it, we see that there is nothing moralistic or ritualistic about them. There is no mention of good or bad behavior. They are simply the truths based on wisdom which is the primary concern of a Buddhist. Unfortunately, people seem to view Buddihsm in a religious way.

A few years ago, I got into yoga pratice for fitness reason. With regular pratising, I surely enjoyed all those physical benefits, at the same time, I found Yoga also invovled with a lot mental work. Then this karmic wind continued blowing towards me and here I am in the 200hrs YRS training course.

Its not surprising that yoga and buddhism is connected in the ways of concept and pratice. Some points of connections could be:

Karma.
Meditation position and mudras.
Aim to reach enlightment as to Samadhi or Nirvana.
Yamas in Yoga very similar to Noble Eightfold Path.

Well, I just start the discussion here and this topic is really broad. Yoga, Buddhism and all spiritual paths are a map showing the journey back to the heart of the universe. Its time for us to give some thought to spriritual matters.

My yoga journey

 

On a random weekday afternoon about 8 years ago when I first started working, I received a call from a Yoga Centre telling me that a friend had referred me for a week of free trial classes at their centre. At that time, I thought ‘Yoga? Isn’t that for older people? Who referred me? How did you get my number? Is this truly free? What should I bring or wear?’ I was skeptical as it all sounded too good to be true and slightly “scammy”. However, in a moment of spontaneity, I decided to give it a shot. After the phone call, I roped in my cousin to come along with me to my first ever yoga class.

 

To be honest, my first experience with yoga was not great. We sauntered into the studio fashionably late (didn’t know punctuality and discipline were that important – we nearly weren’t allowed in!), struggled through the entire hour-long sequence (the poses sounded funnily foreign) and within 10 minutes, were panting like dogs and sweating buckets. The practice lasted for an eternity. I was sore for days after that, aching in places i never knew existed. But – it sure felt good! Yoga, to me, feels like a completely different workout from the usual swims or runs, because it also trains your mind to stay focused. Focus, or you forget which side you’re doing during sun salutations. Focus, or you fall when performing a balancing pose. Focus, or you forget to breathe into the pose. It all begins in the mind, and our mind controls the body.

 

I started to feel little changes in my daily life after practising yoga. I concentrated better at work, slept well at night, felt more confident about my own body …  the list goes on. More importantly, I find myself enjoying it! Yoga reminded me of my ballet days in primary school which had brought me so much joy and enjoyment. I had to stop ballet eventually after several years due to my flat feet, but the great thing about practising yoga is that it may even help you cope with certain medical conditions!

 

As I went for more classes. I began to feel more comfortable as I slowly understood the different names of the asanas without having to look to my left and right mat neighbours for guidance. I could see progress monthly, weekly and even on a daily basis. Gradually, my hands could touch my feet during forward bends. Gradually, I felt my feet getting lighter when I practised the crow pose. Gradually, I began to hold a headstand for longer each time. Each little milestone gleefully and enjoyably noted. Everyday, I learnt something new – from breathing techniques to correcting alignments in asanas. With practice, I learnt that you can get to every pose, slowly but surely. I have also learnt not to chase poses and let them come to you naturally, taking as much time as your body needs. It has been an amazing journey to discovering what my body is able to do – I even recently found out I’ve got hyperextended elbows! It also teaches you life skills – patience, perseverence, self-control and self-love. There is definitely more to yoga than the physical act of practising yoga poses.

 

Like the title of my post, yoga is a journey. “Practice, and all is coming.” – I will remind myself to enjoy the process and the benefits will come. Funnily enough, till this day, after practising yoga for so long, I still do not know who referred me all those years ago! I really want to thank whoever that person was – I would not have begun my lifelong journey with yoga if not for him/her.

Angela

 

Ayurveda Body Type

Ayurveda is the complete knowledge of life. It is derived from ancient India Philosophy. Based on the philosophy of Ayurveda, it say that all the matter in this universe are made of 5 elements: air, water, space, fire, and earth.  They are made by this 5 elements with different proportion, so that there are variable creation in the universe with different characteristic.Read More

Bhujangasana

We had our final exams today, it was a very intense and sweaty practice but fun at the same time.  You can see everybody at their best alignment, drishti and pranayama.  Everybody looked so graceful and beautiful with all the asanas.  At some point, there were cards layed on the floor for us to teach with a time limit.  Tadah!!! I picked a card and got Bhunjangasana – Cobra Pose.Read More