Are we really healthy?

As we grow older, our immune system weakens and sickness is inevitable.

 

A few days ago, someone very dear to me sat me down.

“I have diabetes.”

His words rendered me speechless. We had always jokingly worried about me getting diabetes as I grew up on a diet that comprised of disgustingly large amounts of sugar. I would order 200% sugar level for my bubble milk teas, pour packets of white sugar straight into my mouth, there was a month i spent eating 7 big bars of chocolate every single day.

 

A few months ago, he still asked me “hey, maybe you don’t have depression. Maybe you’re just diabetic. Depression is a symptom of diabetes.”

 

Did you know, that Singapore has the second highest rates of diabetes in Asia.

 

Did you know, that 1 in 3 Singaporean youths are diabetic?

 

Unfortunately, yoga is not a definite cure of diabetes but it will definitely help diabetic patients manage it better. Also for those that do not have diabetes, practicing yoga will help keep you in the low risk range of onset late adult diabetes because out of the other profound benefits it possesses, yoga mitigates stress. I’m not going to delve deeply into stress.

 

Breathing and moving the body with focus and concentration takes the mind out of its habitual preoccupation with worrisome thoughts. It brings the mind into a continuum, and in that moment when the mind is completely absorbed, it forgets where it is, who it is, and what disease it has”

 

Studies have shown that slow and steady breaths and deep concentration I practiced with each pose as well as silent meditation that follows keep heart rate and glucose levels steady.

 

In all asanas, there is a perfect balance point that tips out of equality and we fall out of the pose. Despite the ups and downs of daily practice, I am reminding myself to be grateful for the opportunity to find that balance.

 

Benefits of yoga (especially for diabetics) :

– weight loss

slow the process of fat accumulation

– maintenance and reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels

– mitigate stress

– improve blood sugar control, cholesterol profile

– enhance lung function, mood, sleep, and quality of life

 

Asanas that will help (especially for diabetics) :

  • sethu bandhasana (avoid when having neck or back injury)
  • balasana (avoid when pregnant, have knee injury or diarrhoea)
  • vajrasana (
  • sarvangasana (perform un
  • halasana
  • dhanurasanas
  • paschimottanasana
  • ardha mastyendra

SLEEPING DURING YOGA, PRESSURE POINTS AND YOGA NIDRA

Is it normal to sleep during yoga?

Being someone who has the tendency to fall asleep when not doing something of a certain engagement level can create a fair few problems. Dozing off during class comes across as disrespectful and uninterested although this is not the case for me! I’ve faced this issue from as early on in my life as I can remember. Maybe it’s a combination of growing up in an era where media is causing attention span to decrease, maybe it’s a genetic disorder, I don’t know.

It is close to the end of the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training course and I have fallen asleep during Shavasana almost after the end of each practical class. I have also fallen asleep while holding various sitting and supine poses. So I research about whether it is normal to sleep during yoga and it is completely normal! (Phew.) It also shows that you are in a state of relaxation, a goal of yoga practice.

However, if like me, you would like to not fall asleep during yoga, here are some recommended poses.

5 POSES TO PREVENT FALLING ASLEEP:
Breath of Joy (Pranayama)
Upward-Facing Salute – Urdhva Hastasana
Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
Reverse/Exalted Warrior Pose – Viparita Virabhadrasana
Dancer Pose – Natarajasana

Besides these poses, I feel like inversions also help me to feel more awake. Although I still sleep in class, I don’t think that this is an issue that can be resolved overnight and other measures need to be taken as well. First and foremost, ample sleep. Secondly, a classmate of mine who practices qigong shared with me her knowledge regarding pressure points, saying that pressing firmly onto certain pressure points on my body would aid with my blood circulation and hopefully help me stay awake during class. This is similar to the concept of chakras that we are taught in yoga. Apologies to my non-Mandarin reading friends but I’m sure a quick Google check can provide you with information!

Image result for 人体经络网 足阳明胃经

Any points showed on the red and blue lines pressed during 7 to 9 in the morning would be the most effective.

Image result for 后头骨 凤池

There are three indentations at the back of our head, those are also pressure points that are easily accessible to be pressed by ourselves to help relieve fatigue.

Yoga is about going with the flow and not fighting our body’s desires and signals.

Do note that sleep and yogic sleep (aka yoga nidra) is different. Yoga evaluates the overall state of the mind and body by the relative proportion of three inherent qualities: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. Sattva is associated with calm awareness. Rajas is the principle of movement and activity. When out of balance, it can lead us off on mental tangents and manifest in the body as twitches and jerks. Tamas is the force of gravity and gives a sense of groundedness. In excess, it can be felt as a restrictive heaviness, dragging the conscious mind into sleep. Falling asleep during relaxation practices is usually a sign that the quality of tamas is excessive or the quality of rajas is deficient. The practice of systematic relaxation requires a balance between rajas and tamas so that we are grounded and comfortably present in the body, but at the same time alert and mentally attentive. When both conditions are present, our consciousness can rest in sattvic self-awareness.

This Sattvic self-awareness can be achieved through yoga nidra, a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping that occurs during the stage where we enter deep sleep. The yogic goal of both paths, deep relaxation (yoga nidra) and meditation are the same, a state of meditative consciousness called samadhi.

I hope my post has been reassuring and informative to those who face the same problem as I do!

Mudras – from dance to yoga

A few days ago, as part of my YTT course, I learnt about the significance of mudras (“seal” or “closure” in Sanskrit) in yoga practice. Mudras are grouped into 5 categories based on the body part involved, i.e.: hasta (hand mudras), mana (head mudras), kaya (postural mudras), bandha (lock mudras), and adhara (perineal mudras). Hastas are formed by specific positioning of the fingers and thumb, which creates neuronal connections designed to impact energy flow and create balance through the activation of nerve receptors in the fingertips. Hastas should be practiced for 5-20 minutes at a time and are often accompanied by pranayama (breathing) exercises for maximum results. While this information was new to me, the mudra concept wasn’t.

 

My first encounter with mudras occurred back in my university days, when I had the privilege to attend a superb Bharatanatyam performance by a respected Indian classical dancer in my home-country. I was absolutely enthralled by the artistic performance and set out to actively seek opportunities to learn this exquisite dance form. Unfortunately, it was only when I moved to Kuala Lumpur 10 years later that my dream finally came true and I managed to take classes for a total of 3 years with breaks in between to manage my knee pain (I have tilted patellas and Bharatanatyam is notoriously demanding on the knees, particularly the rhythmic foot stamping in the classical position known as aramandi, a half sitting posture where the knees are bent outwards). Eventually I stopped completely at my doctor’s advice, however, my fascination with Indian classical dance is still very much alive and I attend public performances whenever I have the opportunity. This interest in dance has prompted me to research similarities and differences between mudras in a yoga vs a dance context.

 

First, for those who are not familiar with Bharatanatyam, it is a form of devotional dance originally performed in temples by devadasis (temple dancers) on special religious occasions, which later evolved into a classical art form, although the themes continue to be primarily devotional. The dancer moves to the beat of Carnatic music, one of the two subgenres of the Indian classical music (the other being Hindustani music, popular in the north and often paired with Kathak dance). The oldest written records about Bharatanatyam are found in the Natya Shastra, a Sanskrit text attributed to Sage Bharata Muni and dated roughly 200 BCE- 200 CE. This dance form comprises complex techniques divided into three main categories: nritta (pure rhythmic dance), natya (dance with a dramatic aspect) and nritya (interpretive dance).

 

Which brings us back to mudras. Hand mudras (hastas) are an essential component of a Bharatanatyam dancer’s “vocabulary” and are used to visually convey inner feelings as well as external events. They act as a codified language which requires knowledge by both the performer and the audience. In other words, they are used to communicate externally, unlike in yoga, where they serve to communicate internally. The repertoire comprises 28 asamyuta (single hand) and 24 samyuta (double hand) mudras. Based on the position of the fingers, they are divided into 12 categories:

  1. Prakarana Hastha – fingers stretched
  2. Kunchita Hastha – fingers folded
  3. Rechita Hastha – fingers are given movement
  4. Punchita Hastha – fingers folded or moved or stretched
  5. Apaveshtita Hastha – fingers bent down
  6. Prerita Hastha – fingers bent back or moved or stretched
  7. Udveshtita Hastha – hands are held up
  8. Vyavrutta Hastha – hands held up laterally
  9. Parivrutta Hastha – hands are brought together from sides
  10. Sanketa Hastha – hands are used to convey implied meanings
  11. Chinha Hastha – hands are used to convey a physical appearance, weapons, parts of the body, mannerisms etc.
  12. Padarthateeke – hands are used to confirm the meanings of certain words

 

Some of the dance and yoga mudras are fairly similar in appearance. Examples include the hamsasya hasta (swan) in dance vs the gyan mudra in yoga (increases memory power); the trishula hasta (trident) in dance vs the Varun mudra in yoga (balances water content in the body); the mayura hasta (peacock) in dance vs the prithvi mudra in yoga (improves skin complexion and stimulates weight gain); the simhamukha hasta (lion head) in dance vs the apana mudra in yoga (regulates diabetes); and the kartarimukha hasta (scissors) in dance vs the prana mudra in yoga (balances vitamin deficiency and increases immunity).

 

This process of learning and connecting yoga concepts with prior knowledge has been a very enriching experience and I’m definitely glad I signed up for the YTT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Niyama experience

Niyama: When learning about niyama I wanted to put actions into them because I saw them as guidelines to help improve yourself and grow. Upon taking action and follow the five steps in Niyama, I really loved it.

Saucha: Clean Thinking,
To work on clean thinking I practiced meditation to help keep the mind calm and clear. I feel that the effects of meditation, especially directly afterwards. After meditation my mind always feels calm and peaceful, it makes my mind feel like it has been cleansed, almost like I pressed the reboot button.

Santosha:
Santosha for me is easy at times but I can also really struggle with it at other times. I sometimes can change from happy to sad very quickly and yes it can be very tiring. My body is so energized in one moment and the next thing I know, I feel sleepy and tired. I am still trying to find my balance and I try to help improve this again with meditation practices. Meditation helps when I feel stressed, sad and when there’s energy built up inside me. I now am working on the habit of sitting still for 5 mins and meditating when I feel these things and this helps me a lot to keep balanced.

Tapas:
I love tapas, I love the feeling after putting your full efforts into something. I’ve even put this into my asanas, I used to get lazy with holding poses, but now I struggle through and it feels so much more worth it in the end. Putting your full effort into something isn’t a physical challenge, it’s a mental challenge. It’s like doing sirsasana, if you are confident, and you tell yourself you are balanced then you will be balanced, but if you believe you will fall, you will fall. When you put full effort into one action, you need to tell yourself, you can do it!

Swahyaya:
Self-study is such a special time for yourself. I sometimes struggle with spending some time to myself these days, I’ll be busy, I’ll spend too much time with my family or boyfriend. But lately, I’ve been trying to give more time to myself. It can be from twenty mins to an hour that I give myself to do my solo time, read, draw, just anything that I enjoy doing alone. It feels good just to be with yourself.

Ishwara- Pranidha:
My purpose, as asked, “what do you have that people can take and take where you don’t feel depleted?” When I ask myself this question, now I think of sharing my knowledge of something that will help others. like yoga, I feel that the next big step in my life will be yoga. I want to grow and teach people what I know and make them happy.

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.

Moving Forward! Start a journey to a Yogi Lifestyle – 1 The Start.

Moving Forward! Start a journey to a Yogi Lifestyle – 1 The Start.

Having been working with the desktop for more than three decades, started to realized severe soreness all over from a Migraine, stiff shoulder, lower back, hip bone.

I wasn’t sure where’s goes wrong. Couldn’t even tell whether the soreness came out from bone, muscles, ligaments or nerves. Feeling more like the bone is the culprit as if like it has had not enough strength to support the whole body’s weight. Can imagine how clumsy I was with the big fat tummy which I almost changed full closet of clothes to XXL (my daughter said, it’s “Perth Ladies Size”).

Switching from clinic to clinic, from doctors to doctors, signing up packages of commercial massage programmes after programmes, swapping from chiropractic to chiropractic, countless X-Ray showing the bone crack and old injuries reminding me from those “hiking” “mountaineering” “Scuba Diving” age and countless “carrying babies” nights. None of these fully heal me from suffering. Eventually swopping from yoga classes to yoga classes with some hands-on experiences, I decided to settle down my mind to learn yoga in a much organized and systematic logic.

Initiated a thought to search for one that allows me to have an overview of different types of Yoga happening in the market, here I m, with Tirisula Yoga, learning actively from Master Paalu, Wei Ling, and Sri.

Here I go, enjoying the classes in a joyful environment, picking up bit by bit daily, stretch out slowly at a comfortable pace.

Moving Forward! Start a journey to a Yogi Lifestyle – 2 The ASANA

Moving Forward! Start a journey to a Yogi Lifestyle – 2 The ASANA

Yoga is a lifestyle,
Yoga is an ancient wisdom,
Yoga is a science that leading us to achieve the area where scientist not able to explain.

Leading a simple lifestyle, healthily, happily, is a most precious gift and greatest asset I received at the retiring age.

Started to be able to build up some strength, jumping forward backward until blisters all over my little toes, twisting my clumsy body to an awkward shape, till able to see the world upside down.

Daily Stretching soothes off the killing neck and lower back soreness.

Challenging and greatest satisfaction arises, ah ~~~ all of at once that moment opened up in my heart and suddenly non-controllable laughing out loud during the class, when I discovered myself secretly, still being able to reach a certain level of flexibility compared with some younger age.

A little consolation prize strike. Though Master Paalu was puzzled if I was possessed by some spirit since now is the Lunar Seventh Moon.

LAST EPISODE.

 

 

 

I left this article to write about my experience of learning YOGA in a different country and with a different language. Since I was a little girl, I was always a hard worker at school till today and … why? Because I wasn´t one of those people who had it easy, but it help me found my path in life. Don´t get me wrong I know that everyday we need to find ourselves, but my believes are strong and helps me to know how to work with my pros and cons in life.

Everything I´ve been living wasn´t easy for me, but here I am in Tirisula Studio getting a YTT200 degree. I knew it was going to be challenging because is something out of my comfort zone.

 

What did I experience?

 

It was a lot of learning, obviously! For me the most interesting part is how multicultural yogi group was formed. I thought I was going to meet just Asian people, but for some kind of reason we were from all around the world. Japan, United Kingdom, United States, Chinese and Mexico. Lots of countries, right ?

Everyone was there taking a full month of yoga classes, the reasons why everyone was there were the most random like marriage, vacation, work, holidays, etc. but all of us were willing to learn the bases of yoga.

Time was going fast and we start to know each other more and more. The most incredible thing I start realizing was a lot of them were looking for their path and how to find their goal in life, everyone struggles with that at some point.

They were looking for answers and I hope they found it. “But, why? They don’t see what I see?” They have everything inside themselves to get wherever they decide to go. They can break any Karma right here right know! They are so talented, so powerful and so intelligent. They have being looking for an answer that is not an answer is just to let it be! I said myself.

The last day I realize it! Tirisula is the place where we needed to be to clear, solve, reach and live thought yoga.

 

A Vatta pacifying version of my favorite workout snack…

Understanding that I’m a Vata-Pitta Dosha, below are two versions of one of my favorite workout pre/post snack, Oats! As a Vata dominant Dosha, I to eat before every workout or feel lethargic during my workouts. For YTT, I make my cold overnight oats each Sunday in a giant mason jar that I have for breakfast each morning (sorry Nauli…). As I’ll be heading to Boston in a couple weeks, I wanted to prepare a warm version of my favorite oats to pacify my Vatta dosha that will likely be thrown out of balance (too much) given the cold weather.

Warm Carrot Cake Oatmeal
For the oatmeal:
1 cup (125 g) finely grated peeled carrot
1 1/4 cups (310 mL) unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Dash ground nutmeg, to taste
Pinch fine sea salt
1/2 cup (50 g) rolled oats
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)
Toppings:
Chopped toasted walnuts
Raisins
Shredded coconut

Cold Strawberry Chocolate Overnight Oats (current obsession)
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (heaping) rolled oats
2/3 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax meal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
0-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries