How to relax in yoga pose?

In the class, when I trying to adjusts the student’s style, or during my practice, especially when helping them go deeper into the pose, because of fear, or nerves, or students don’t have confidence in themselves or the teacher, me, the muscles will be tense, and hard to help them.

When the muscles are tense, it constraint the energy in the “air (in the body)” to move smoothly, and the breath is not smooth. The yoga practice is also changed from the nature of the body to the strong, which will lessen happiness experience.

We know that all the techniques of yoga are to achieve the purpose of “control the mind”. The physical tension is controlled by the consciousness of the human being, that is, the tension of the consciousness causes the body to be nervous.

If we try to relax our body during the practice, we actually try to control the mind consciousness – making it from a tense state to a relaxed state.

When the consciousness is relaxed, the body relaxes naturally, the body relaxes, the “air” is unblocked, and the air circulation is smooth, nourishing our internal organs, and the various systems of the body – the body is naturally adjusted effectively, so that the body enters a virtuous cycle.

When we practice yoga, we should concentrate completely on the present, and don’t give extra emotions, such as fear, anxiety, sadness, happiness, etc. The heart should be peaceful, and feel the changes in the body as you breathe. When you practice yoga with control, mind and heart, it becomes a dynamic meditation.

Is Yoga a complete Workout?

By Harsh Thakkar

The more I read about it the more evidence I find to support it. Well not sure if I can call it evidence yet, because neither have I seen the “evidence” from my own eyes, nor have I paid any medical labs or scientists to conduct the research on my behalf. Yes, I have spent a few hours googling about it, I will not deny it.

My first few findings were that Yoga has a lot of benefit for toning of your muscles, achieving muscular strength, flexibility, core strength, relaxation, endurance and reduce stress levels. There was also mention of it being good for cardiovascular health and increasing lung capacity. And I did come across a few articles explaining in detail how it really is proven by experiments conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the largest exercise science association in the world, that Yoga can be at par if not better than any other aerobic exercise out there in the world like running, cycling or swimming. Now I still am going to take that with a pinch of salt.

The parameters one can use to define physical fitness is cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, lung capacity(VO2 Max), Flexibility and body composition( percentage of fat, muscles, bones, organs and other non-fat tissues). Yoga has been proven in one way or another to improve all of the above within a span of 8 weeks of practice (2-3 times per week) in all age groups irrespective of previous chronic health ailments, sex, smoking habits etc.

Now I don’t know how true this is and whether ASCM was paid by the Federation of Yoga Loonies to prove that Yoga is awesome. I don’t even think such a federation exists, because I just made that up!

What I can put on the table for you to consider are facts:

  1. I lost about 9 kilos in 4 months, since I started practicing Yoga
  2. I do feel positively less stressed
  3. My chronic Rhino sinusitis has been less active
  4. My stamina of exercising and endurance have both increased many fold. And I have eye witnesses in the form of my yoga batch-mates to vouch for that. Still long way to go though…
  5. Don’t even get me started on my flexibility
  6. I still have not achieved the zen state. I must mention this as I do fight with my wife every now and then and she will read this article at some point in time I would like to believe

So whether it’s a complete workout or not – I don’t know. As a wise man said once upon a time, Yoga is not about fitness but about wellness. I will add a bit of running, swimming and a game of tennis to my exercise regime, just because I love it and I don’t like to put all my eggs in the same basket. But will I continue to do Yoga? Heck yeah!

Yogic diet and mind balance

By Harsh Thakkar

Do you control your mind when it comes to eating what you want to eat or does the mind tell you what to eat? And how does the food one eats contribute to the state of mind?

Ayurveda is described as the traditional Indian system of medicine (incorporated in Atharva Veda, the last of the four Vedas) which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing. Balance as we know now is also one of strongest pillars of Yoga. Literally translated it would be “Ayur” meaning Life or Age and “Veda” meaning science or knowledge. In most western countries although it is considered as a system of complementary and alternate medicine. Even though I do not have the complete knowledge of Ayurveda and all its practices, whatever I have read so far it tells me that it provides guidelines for diet, seasonal routines and homemade remedies from plants and herbs to remind us that one’s health is a delicate balance between the environment, body, mind and spirit.

According to Ayurveda, food has a prominent role in achieving balanced body-mind-soul consciousness. It is said that the nature of food a person consumes reflects their nature or temperament.

Any food you eat can be categorized as either sattvicrajasic and tamasic according to its character and effect upon the body and the mind.

Sattvic food

Sattva is that which makes us curious, thoughtful, and alert.

Sattvic food is always freshly cooked and simple, juicy, light, unctuous, nourishing, cooling and refreshing to mind and body. It increases the energy of the mind and produces cheerfulness, serenity and mental clarity. Sattvic food is highly conducive to good health.

Foods: Whole grains and legumes like Rice, Whole wheat, Millet, Corn, Lentils, Oats, Beans etc. Freshly picked and organically grown vegetables like Celery, Sweet potatoes, Sprouts, Cauliflower, Zucchini, Lettuce, Green beans, Spinach, Broccoli, Asparagus etc. Fresh fruits such as Apples, Peaches, Oranges, Bananas, Guava, Berries, Papayas, Pomegranate etc.

Rajasic Food

Rajas are invigorating and mentally stimulating and make us active, giving us the desire to work, push, and manifest.

This is food that is fresh but heavy. The rajasic diet is also cooked fresh and is nutritious. It may contain a little more oil and spices compared to sattvic food. Rajasic foods are bitter, sour, salty, pungent, hot and dry. It stimulates aggression, passion, fire, imbalance of the emotion, energy, alters the consciousness, and creates depression.

Foods: Fish and meat such as Salmon, Sole, Trout, Lamb, Chicken, Turkey, Tuna, Eggs etc. Excess of Sharp Spices like Salt, Pepper, Black Pepper, Ginger, Onion, Radish, Garlic etc. Stimulants such as Coffee, Tea, Tobacco, Sugar, Cola Drinks, Chocolates, Alcoholic Drinks etc.

Tamasic Food

Tamas gives us the desire to stop, slow down, and rest.

Tamasic foods cause lethargy, inactivity, mental block, severe anger, darkness, ignorance, and no control of self. These foods are considered to be highly detrimental to the body and mind.

Foods: Fried food, Eggs, White flour, Fast food, excess starch and sugar, chillies, sauce, fermented or stale food, ice creams, chocolates, preserved meats/ fruits and jams, artificially flavoured drinks, alcohol, breads, cakes, Pickles.

We have all the three Gunas / qualities within us in different proportions. All 3 of these qualities (Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic) are necessary for survival and to move in a progressive direction in life. How we respond to the events and circumstances in our life very much depends on the predominant Guna / Quality within us.

Sattva qualities make a person calm and joyful. ‘Small amount’ of Rajas makes the person active and passionate, while Tamas in ‘moderation’ is considered as grounding and promotes stability.

 

 

 

 

Learning from Teaching Yoga

When I started to teaching Yoga with some of my neighbours, I felt that it is easier to be a student than teacher.

  1. Confidence – when I teach the first Yoga class, I keep ask myself, am I ready to teach others? It was super nervous to speak in front of the student and my mind were empty. I can’t give clear instruction and smooth sequences.
  2. Planning – the level of student are mixed for every class, so I have to plan for each level of student.
  3. Communicate – Student can feel how you feel, a good teacher can communicate with student via Yoga poses teaching.
  4. Until today, I still have 5 classes balance for assignment, I know I am improving, not only the way I teach, but also the experiences i gained.

Life around Chakras

By Harsh Thakkar

We are living in the age of data. Yet there are so many things around us that we know nothing or very little about. Back in the stone age when the Neanderthal man did not know or understand something, he looked at stars to see signs to guide him in the right direction. Then came the middle ages and the homo sapiens around the world had been taken over by religion. They started going to priests and reading the scriptures be that the Holy bible or the Quran or ancient Hindu Vedic scriptures to enlighten them and tell them what to do when they were lost. Today when we are lost we google. Which is of course the biggest warehouse of – you got that right – Data. Yoga on the other hand tells us to look inside when you feel lost. Understand yourself and your own body so that you can understand your surroundings.

However, we still understand very little of our own body and how that fits in the vast reality we call universe. Yoga Sutras always had an answer to this question for the mind that seeks. Different books and interpretations of how the human body is powered have been written and explained in different cultures across the world. Of course, over time when we underwent the scientific revolution we found logical answers too to pretty much every religious and cultural belief that we had accepted over hundreds of years. The same scientists still send a silent prayer when things go beyond their rational expertise or will shout out to God to be saved if they were thrown in front of a hungry tiger. No I’m not undermining science or its miraculous achievements. I’m just trying to shine some light that there are so many things that still cannot be explained by science.

Different people are governed by different motives or energies at different stages of their lives. One could say that you have been motivated to work towards becoming a millionaire or that promotion in your current job or to write that novel or this blog. In another part of the world; there is a poor farmer who labors day in and day out just to earn enough to survive and feed his family, a young teenager from the same village puts in the hard work in school and college and becomes an engineer. Another from a different village become an entrepreneur and a millionaire. What is powering these different people from similar backgrounds yet able to achieve such diverse goals and destinies? Then there are some who are born with a silver spoon, everything served on a silver platter, yet they’re not motivated enough to leave their own mark on the world. Chakras may have the answer.

So what are chakras?

Ancient texts between various traditions noted 5 to 114 chakras throughout our body some even elaborated as many as 88,000. The most important of them can be shortlisted to only seven. They can be explained as small rotating or vibrating discs of energy centered around the plane of the spine from the base of the spine at the pelvic floor to the crown of the head in a human body. Every chakra since it is a concentrated disc of energy has its own frequency and color associated with it. And if all chakras in a human body are rotating at the ideal frequency then you as human being are balanced spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

Every chakra is related to a different ailment, or a different strength of your body, even different traits of your personality. At times the focus of your life can be determined by a certain chakra being more powerful than the other. Let us start with describing these Chakras first: 

1. Muladhara (Root) Chakra, Color: Red, Frequency: 396 Hz

Think about your root chakra as the foundation of a house, except for your body—it’s sturdy, stabilizing, and supportive, keeping everything safely connected if it’s functioning properly. It’s associated with the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae, and responsible for an individual’s sense of security and survival. Because of that, it’s also connected to whatever you use to ground yourself, including basic needs such as food, water, shelter and safety, as well as your more emotional needs such as letting go of fear and feeling safe. As you well know, when these needs are met, you tend to worry less.

When it’s unbalanced: A variety of ailments can occur from blockages, including anxiety disorders, fears, or nightmares. Physically, the first chakra is associated with problems in the colon, with the bladder, with elimination, or with lower back, leg, or feet issues.

2. Svadhishthana (Sacral) Chakra, Color: Orange, Frequency: 417 Hz

Located above the pubic bone and below the navel, it’s responsible for our sexual and creative energies. Associated with the element of water, when your sacral chakra is aligned, you will likely feel great: You’re friendly, passionate, and successfully fulfilled while also eliciting feelings of wellness, abundance, pleasure, and joy. By honoring your body and expressing yourself creatively, you’re keeping the energy wheels turning and fluid.

When it’s unbalanced: When you’re feeling uninspired creatively or have some emotional instability, your sacral chakra may be misaligned. Likewise, this can also be associated with physical sexual dysfunction, while also potentially experiencing fear of change, depression, or addiction-like behaviors.

3. Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra, Color: Dark purple, Frequency: 528 Hz

With its name meaning “Jewel City” in Sanskrit, the third chakra is said to be your source of individual power, ruling over self-esteem. Located from the navel to about the rib cage, it reportedly governs all things metabolic, digestive, and stomach-related.

When it’s unbalanced: You can suffer from low self-esteem, have difficulty making decisions, and may have anger or control issues. It’s not just feeling badly about yourself, but also may lead you to outwardly express apathy, procrastination, or that you’re able to be taken advantage of easily. Likewise, you’ll also possibly have a tummy ache of some kind such as digestive issues or gas.

4. Anahata (Heart) Chakra, Color: Green, Frequency: 639 Hz

As the central chakra, found at the center of your chest, represents where the physical and the spiritual meet. Physically, it’s said to encapsulate the heart, the thymus gland (which plays a vital role in your endocrine and lymphatic system), the lungs, and the breasts. And as its name implies, is all about the love. “It’s the awakening to spiritual awareness, forgiveness, and service”. Associated with the color green, it’s believed that when your heart chakra is aligned and balanced, love and compassion are flowing freely—both in terms of giving it out and getting it back.

When it’s unbalanced: A closed heart chakra can give way to grief, anger, jealousy, fear of betrayal, and hatred toward yourself and others—especially in the form of holding a grudge against something or someone. Holding onto hurt harbors negative feelings and cuts you off from opportunities to love.

5. Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra, Color: Blue, Frequency: 741 Hz

Have zero problem saying how you feel? Your fifth chakra, which is all about speaking your inner truth—or specifically, ensuring that your opinions are properly communicated—is likely well-balanced. The throat chakra rules all communication and is the first of the three solely spiritual chakras (as opposed to the lower ones, which manifest themselves in a more physical way). Anatomically, the throat chakra is associated with the thyroid, parathyroid, jaw, neck, mouth, tongue, and larynx. When this chakra is in check, you’re able to fully listen as well as speak and express yourself clearly.

When it’s unbalanced: In addition to having trouble speaking your truth, you find it hard to pay attention and stay focused, or fear judgment from others—which can further hinder your ability to keep it real. Physically, this blockage can manifest itself as a sore throat, thyroid issues, neck and shoulder stiffness, or tension headaches.

6. Ajna (Third Eye) Chakra, Color: Indigo, Frequency: 852 Hz 

The third-eye chakra is physically located between your eyebrows. Organs including the pituitary gland, eyes, head, and lower part of the brain are said to be ruled by the third eye. And it reportedly governs your intuition—plus the ability to recognize and tap into it.  What’s more, the third eye is also said to be responsible for all things between you and the outside world, serving as a bridge between the two, allowing you to cut through any illusions and drama to see the clear picture.

When it’s unbalanced: You may have trouble accessing your intuition, trusting your inner voice, recalling important facts, or learning new skills. And if your lower chakras—AKA the root, sacral, solar plexus, and heart chakras—and are unbalanced, your third eye will likely be as well, which may cause you to act more judgmental, dismissive, and introverted. A third-eye blockage is associated with a broad range of issues, including depression, anxiety, and a more judgmental attitude—while physically, it’s said to cause headaches, dizziness, and a slew of other brain-health issues.

7. Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra, Color: Pure White, Frequency: 963 Hz 

Known in Sanskrit as the Sahaswara chakra or the “thousand petal lotus” chakra, it is the center of enlightenment and our spiritual connection to our higher selves, others and ultimately the divine. As the name suggests, the seventh chakra is located at the crown of your head. When aligned, the realizations that occur within you are said to be along the lines of pure awareness, consciousness, undivided and all expansive.

When it’s unbalanced: Unlike the other chakras, the crown chakra is often only opened fully through specific yogic or meditative exercises, or at certain times—which is not a skill set you can call upon at any given moment. You may be able to get a taste of it, though, through daily practices—anything from meditation, prayer, to moments of silence and gratitude—to have those moments of spiritual connection.

Chakras are essentially nerve centers in the human body the presence and the frequencies of which has been proven scientifically. If the Manipura Chakra is powerful in a human being then he/she would go after power, money and recognition making him/her very ambitious during that phase of life. On the other hand if a person is barely just surviving financially and fighting over stability and security in life he/she is ruled by the Muladhara Chakra. A motivational speaker or an influencer on the other hand is being ruled by the Vishuddha Chakra. With the practice of certain asanas, meditation or breathing one can balance and master the different chakras to maintain proper energy flow in the body. I would like to end this rather lengthy article by quoting Dalai Lama :

“In the view of Tantra, the body’s vital energies are the vehicles of the mind. When the vital energies are pure and subtle, one’s state of mind will be accordingly affected. By transforming these bodily energies we transform the state of consciousness.”

~ The 14th Dalai Lama

AI-assisted Yoga

“Bixby, I want to practice Vinyasa flow today.”

“Bixby, I’m feeling a bit stiff, let’s try some Yin yoga stretch.”

“Bixby, tell me the third precepts of Niyama?”

“Bixby, can you play some music for meditatition?”

These are just some the questions or instructions that human can tell to the android AI assistant through speech-recognition to create a sequence for vinyasa flow, changing yoga style from flow to any yoga style desired and getting a reminder of what we should observe in our daily moral practice by Patanjali’s first limb of Yama in the Yoga Sutra and to playback dedicated music for specific mode of practice. It can guide us on doing pranayama as well as meditation. It might even be able to teach us Sanskrit, for example “Shiram sushma asanas” and tell us thousands of captivating stories from the Vedas.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is exploding in all areas from financial analysis, stock trading, medical diagnosis, transportation, creative are such as arts and music and many more. It is inevitable that AI will also converge at one point with the discipline of yoga one day. In my opinion, to resist the advance of AI into yoga practice is futile and I would be more open-minded to accept what it can offer in a positive manner. 

AI will help us to learn and progress faster since it is like an encyclopaedia contains vast knowledge available in the world about yoga aspects. Not only it can give us the answers directly but will also be able to suggest smart variations base on the level of the person in yaga, tailor each practice by taking into consideration of individual body conditions, injuries, medical history and customise total duration of each session. Sequencing poses to poses with harmony, giving precise and clear instructions of getting in and out of the pose, at the same time calibrating the breathing counts depending on the preferred styles (Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yin and so on) that you choose. It will also sing us the soothing and relaxing yoga nidra towards the end of the practice when we are lying down in Savasana pose.

It seems to look all very pretty what AI can do but there is also some area where AI can still not be able to replace human in terms of human touch – adjustment. For example, we could be doing a headstand but AI can’t hold us up and help to keep us balancing without falling. It won’t be able to align if your hips are not squared when holding in Trikonasana or giving your the extra gentle push when you need a little weight when bending forward in Upavistha Konasana unless the technology is advanced enough for a humanoid robot to be fitted with AI and can move like a human to give us that assistant. AI won’t be able to know whether we have reach Samadhi and are union with our consciousness. As much helpful as a guide and a database of knowledge, AI has it’s limitation. It will be many more years for the ultimate evolution of AI to materialise. At least, I don’t foresee that to be happening anytime soon and thankfully we, the yoga teachers can still keep our job for a little while. 

You should practice yoga when these symptoms appear in your body.

Yoga is really amazing!

Yoga is a good way to recuperate the body. If those symptoms appear in your body, it’s telling you that you need yoga!

stiffer limb

When you feel your limb always in a stiff state and become very inflexible. Even feel very painful and difficult when you trying to do forward bend or twisting. These may be caused by aging.

You need yoga to help you stretch your muscles and make your limbs softer and stronger.

Yoga will make you look young.

Obesity

Obesity is a very big impact on health.

Practice yoga can help you to lose weight. Yoga is a healthy/ self-disciplined exercising way. You will achieve your weight loss goals in a happy mood and calm state.

Yoga will make you look fit.

High pressure

fast-paced life and stressful job make you feel breathless. It will affect your body condition and even make you feel depression.

While practice yoga, minimize these negative emotions. Meditation will constantly adjust yourself.

Yoga will make you look calm.

Insomnia

Sleep can recuperate the body. But when you have a lot of thoughts in your mind, you cannot sleep at the night. While your brain is still working at the night, it hurts you.

Yoga meditation is a good way for you to relax your brain and recuperate your body.

Yoga will make you look refresh.

Breathing problem

Breathing become lightly and varies of breathing time, which may affect your health. Practice yoga can make your more focused on breathing, make breathing deeper and deeper, increase breathing space and increase lung capacity.

Yoga will make you look steady.

I practice yoga is not only because of those benefits but I just love yoga.

Beating jet lag

You have a great voice to put people to sleep.
Not exactly my idea of a compliment, but given the context, I’ll take it!

My friend was commenting after I guided him through yoga nidra, it helped him to relax – so much so that he wanted a recording to play at bedtime.

Yoga nidra, also known as dynamic sleep, is where the body relaxes deeply while the mind remains alert. Step by step, one relaxes physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Guided instructions prompt us to physically prepare the body, then the breath, and the mind, followed by physical, mental, and spiritual relaxation exercises, before being re-awakened.

These guided exercises focus on different parts of the body and specific breathing, which helps to balance the nervous system. As our brains shift from an awakened state to a more relaxed state, serotonin is released, which calms us down even further. Our bodies get the chance to restore themselves, and the stress hormone cortisol is removed.

Given the effect on our bodies and minds, it’s no surprise that yoga nidra has been found in prior studies to help stabilise blood sugar levels, alleviate depression and anxiety, and combat PTSD. Since learning more about it, I’ve been more consciously using some of the techniques recently – to manage jet lag.

I travel frequently for my “day job”, across time zones, including long haul flights… in economy class. I applied some of the relaxation techniques while flying- allowing my body to fully relax first, then my mind, and the next thing I knew I was sound asleep during the flight. Despite a 7 hour time difference, I arrived rested enough to go straight to practise yoga with friends!

When I woke up in the middle of the night in the new time zone, I again used yoga nidra techniques to relax my body. For the first time since learning about yoga nidra in YTT, I became aware and could identify that my mind was alert, while my body was deeply relaxed.

They say that one 30-minute practice of yoga nidra equals approximately two hours of deep sleep. I can attest that despite the changes in time zone and missed hours of sleep on the way, I had one of the most energised, yet restful business trips yet!

Oily Yoga

Oily yoga is about how you can incorporate essential oils to give you that extra edge in your yoga practice. Tapping on the therapeutic properties of essential oils to enhance your overall well-being and invigorate your sensory experience during asanas.

Essential oils are pure plant extracts and they can be used aromatically, topically or internally. Do you know that one drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 25 cups of peppermint tea? Essential oils are that potent!

There are some days that I have to drag myself to the mat, and those are the days that I will reach for those citrus essential oils such as orange, lemon, lime or bergamot. Citrus oils have uplifting properties and energize the body, keeping me happy and alert for the practice. 🙂

Right before you hit the mat, you may want to use Rosemary essential oil to settle your thoughts and clear your head. Especially for the evening practice, where you had been frenzy running around all day, bringing anxieties to the mat is a no no for me. Applying Rosemary essential oil helps to ease all the anxieties, align and create a sense of peace and purpose.

During asanas, do not forget to breathe! Deep breathing help to calm and relax your mind. Apply some peppermint or eucalyptus essential oils on your chest to open up the airways to promote clear breathing. And to promote breath awareness, use myrrh, cardamon and frankincense.

People go for yoga classes for different reasons, and you can use these essential oils accordingly to enhance your yoga therapy. Such as citrus oils are energising, floral oils are soothing and calming and earthly oils are grounding. Each type of oils provides different therapeutic properties.

For most of the yogis, there are bound to be some poses that are proved to be challenging and seem unattainable. When practising challenging poses, overcoming the “I can’t” mindset is important, the essence is to keep on practising and not give up. Cedarwood is inspiring and gives strength and endurance to drive you to reach higher goals.

There are also essential oils that can aid to relieve your sores and aches after an intensive Ashtanga class, such as Wintergreen. I kid you not, you can feel the difference within hours and you can go on to book your next Ashtanga class the very next day.

Finally….we have reached Savansan. We can use essential oils such as Chamomile or Sandalwood to quiet our thoughts and create an alpha state to bring us to a blissful resting pose. Applying Chamomile on our pulse points and also the nape of our necks to support muscular and emotional release of tension while Sandalwood promotes easing and calmness of the mind.

Combine each inhale and exhale that you take with these lovely scents enhances the asanas that you flow in. Each scent promotes a different kind of experience. At one time do not use more than three oils in a practice to prevent sensory overload and make sure you are using highest quality essential oils to reap their benefits.

Empower yourself with the knowledge of essential oils and take your yoga practice to the next level.

Chandra Namaskara (Moon Salutation)

Most people who have a regular yoga practice know about and have done Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation). It is a gracefully linked sequence that energises the body and provides a great cardiovascular workout. On a more symbolic level, Surya Namaskara also allows us to express gratitude to the sun and appreciate it as a source of life.

While I was looking for ways to improve my postures in Surya Namaskar, I chanced upon a similar sequence, “Chandra Namaskara”, the Moon Salutation in Hatha Yoga. For those who have never heard it before, you can take a look here: https://www.yogajournal.com/videos/moon-shine

Even though Chandra Namaskara is a rather recent development (according to my research, late 20th century) and does not have as much of a history as Surya Namaskara, it serves as an opposite to Surya Namaskara, just like how yin is to yang. According to Yoga International, we can pay homage to the lunar energy in nature and within by practising Chandra Namaskara. The 15 steps in the sequence below represent 15 tithis, or lunar days; a 16th step honours the tantric goddess Shodashi, who presides over all the phases of the moon, as well as all that is perfect, complete, and beautiful. When practised with devotion and gratitude for the divine feminine, this version of Chandra Namaskara can become a full body prayer.

This could possibly be part of a daily routine – start off the day with Surya Namaskara to warm up and energise your mind and prepare your body for the day. Then end off the day with Chandra Namaskara for inner meditation to teach us to slow down and to be more receptive to our needs. To create equilibrium in our yoga practice and in our lives, it is helpful to observe the power of opposites. Although Surya Namaskara and Chandra Namaskara embrace different qualities, I feel that they complement each other perfectly.