Lesson Plan- Advanced Yoga Class (by Adeline Choo)

Advanced Yoga Class (1.5 hour)
10 mins Warm-Up (10 mins)
20 mins 14 rounds of Sun Salutations with Different/ Modified Asanas for each set (2x each set)
> Virabadhrasana I, II
> Reverse Warrior
> Parivrita Parshvakonasana with hands in prayer and extended
> Side Planks
> Virabadhrasana III
> Revolved Half Moon
20 mins Standing/ Balancing Asanas
> Tree Pose (option with closed eyes)
> Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana
> Dancer’s Pose
> Prasarita Padottanasana D, A –> modified with transition into tripod headstand
> Eagle Pose
20 mins Sitting/ Arm Balancing Asanas/ Abs
> Bakasana
> Side crow
> Baddha Konasana
> Working the obliques: Lying down, raise both legs straight 90 degrees and drop slowly (diagonally) with control towards hands (left/ right) –> repeat 8 times
10 mins Finishing
 Shoulder Stand (hold 1 min)
 Drop feet back behind head into halasana (hold 10 breaths)
 Roll back onto mat slowly and go into Matsyasana
 Urdhva Dhanurasana (3 x)  option to lift 1 left up straight then other leg; 1 leg at a time
 Release and back to mat; hug knees and roll sideways and backwards-forwards, then drop bent knees to either side (3x each side) and hold for 10 breaths each time
 Paschimattanasana (10 breaths)
10 mins Savasana & relaxation

Stories Related Deepavali

Stories & Legends of Deepavali
Return of Shri Ram To Ayodhyaa
The most famous legend behind the celebrations of Diwali is about the prince of Ayodhya Nagri – Lord Shri Ram. The king of Lanka, Ravana, kidnapped Ram’s wife – Sita from the jungle, where they were staying as per the instructions of King Dashratha, father of Lord Ram. In order to freed Sita from Ravana’s custody, Ram attacked him. This was followed by a war, in which, Ram defeated Ravan and released Sita from his custody. On the arrival of Lord Ram along with his wife Sita, people of Ayodhya decorated their homes as well as the city of Ayodhyaa by lighting tiny diyas all over, in order to welcome their beloved prince Shri Ram and Devi Sita.
Incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi
On the auspicious new moon day, which is ‘Amavasyaa’ of the Hindi month of Kartik, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity – Lakshmi was incarnated. She appeared during the churning of the ocean, which is known as ‘Samudra Manthan’, by the demons on one side and ‘Devataas’ (Gods) on the other side. Therefore, the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the Lakshmi Pujan, on the day of Diwali, became a tradition.
Lord Krishna Destroyed Demon Narakasur
One famous story behind the celebrations of Diwali is about the demon king Narakasur, who was ruler of Pragjyotishpur, a province to the South of Nepal. After acquiring victory over Lord Indra during a war, Narakasur snatched away the magnificent earrings of Mother Goddess Aditi, who was not only the ruler of Suraloka, but also a relative of Lord Krishna’s wife – Satyabhama. Narakasur also imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of Gods and saints in his harem. With the support of Lord Krishna, Satyabhama defeated Narakasur, released all the women from his harem and restored the magnificent earrings of Mother Goddess Aditi.
The Return of The Pandavas
The great Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’ has another interesting story related to the ‘Kartik Amavasyaa’. According to the story, ‘the Pandavas’, the five brothers Yudhishthhira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahdeva, were sentenced to thirteen years exile as a result of their defeat against ‘the Kauravas’ – Duryodhana and his ninety nine brothers, at the game of dice. Therefore, the Pandavas spent thirteen years in the jungles and returned to their kingdom on the day of ‘Kartik Amavasyaa’. On their return, the people of their kingdom welcomed the Pandavas by celebrating the event by lighting the earthen lamps all over in their city.

What is the role of vegetarianism in the yogic philosophy?

Before I started the Yoga Teacher Training Course I assumed that practitioners of yoga were “supposed” to be vegetarian but I didn’t know why.  I came to this conclusion because I met people who practiced yoga and vegetarianism, and I also visited ashrams where a vegetarian diet was followed.  From this I decided that vegetarianism must be to do with the notion of “karma” that I had heard about and vaguely understood.
But now that I am learning the philosophy of yoga, I am learning that there are many reasons that suggest a practitioner of yoga should be vegetarian.  Whilst these reasons fall under the realm of philosophy, medical and scientific evidence supports them.
On a practical level, being vegetarian can help one’s yoga because it is likely that food will be digested easily.  Of course this is assuming that one is following a healthy vegetarian diet, high in what is referred to as sattvic foods in the yogic philosophy  – a diet of fruits and vegetables and unprocessed whole grains.    Indeed any diet that is high in processed foods, frozen ready meals, and deep fried foods is going to conflict with good yoga practice whether you are following a vegetarian or omnivorous diet.
Beside the belief that sattvic foods should make up the whole or the majority of ones diet, this yogic philosophy of sattvic food alone does not advocate vegetarianism.   Further evidence to support vegetarianism can be found in the Eight Limbs, or eight key principles, that were scribed by the ancient sage Patanjali.
One of the limbs, or principles, concerns Yamas.  Yamas are behaviours that should be dissolved in order to achieve good karma and overall well-being.  One of the Yamas is ahisma, which is translated as non-violence and non-injury to others.  It is clear that following a vegetarian diet is a positive step to committing to dissolving the ahisma in one’s life.
From a scientific perspective, the ideal pH of the human body is 7.4 which is slightly alkaline.  When the body is maintained at this pH level, there will be improved immune function, reduced pain and inflammation, slower aging, and healthier teeth and gums which can help to prevent heart disease.  The simplest way to keep the body’s pH at 7.4 is to eat a diet that is high in fruit and vegetables – a hunter gatherer’s diet as some people refer to it.  In fact, the hunter gatherer diet is what many believe our bodies are originally intended to survive on: human’s lack the powerful jaw and sharp incisors to eat meat, and our intestines are similar in length to other vegetarian animals and not to carnivorous animals.   It has been suggested that humans began relying on meat when their vegetarian sources of food were scarce, and that it has become more of a cultural habit than a physical necessity.
Just as asana can bring about a new level of consciousness of our bodies, our alignment and our physical presence, so too can practicing vegetarianism bring consciousness to what we are eating.  In the yogic philosophy eating is not about enjoyment and, in the extreme, succumbing to cravings and feasting and gluttony.   It is about nourishment and eating enough to support our physical work, and no more.   In today’s world we are all aware of the dangers that obesity can cause, and the damaging effects that it can have on our health. Perhaps the consciousness and awareness that can come from adopting a well-rounded vegetarian diet would address this.
Ultimately, as food is a vital nutrient and our bodies our unique, we must each find the diet that works best for our own selves.  In writing this article I wanted not to advocate or even suggest a particular diet, but to provide a deeper understanding and insight into the yogic philosophy and why practitioners of yoga may choose to follow vegetarianism.

So many benefits of Castor Oil

I just bought a bottle of castor oil from Mustafa, and it less than $3. I could be rich selling this online to Americans! I saw on Amazon that they are selling it at USD $33!! Gosh… this is another business idea,
Instead of buying cuticle oil for the nails, which costs like more than $10, I use castor oil mixed with olive oil and found it much better and effective and economical. In addition, there are no added chemicals and perfumes.
I read in some websites it can be used on the eyelashes to make it grow longer and thicker too. These are just some minor beauty benefits, when i research on it more, gosh…. I am overwhelmed.

What is Castor Oil?

Castor Oil is a very pale yellow liquid that is extracted from castor seeds (Ricinus Communis). It is an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant oil which has been used for centuries for its therapeutic and medicinal benefits. It is believed that most of castor oil’s benefits are derived from its high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids. Its density is higher than other oils, which made its texture very thick.
I could remember drinking a cup of castor oil during the Panchakarma, which certainly is a natural laxative and the taste is nauseating!

What Are the Everyday Health Benefits of Castor Oil?

This oil from castor bean seeds is applied to many health problems that you often encounter on a daily basis, such as:

  1. Constipation – As an alternative remedy, castor oil is a very effective laxative. It provides temporary relief to diarrhea and constipation.
  2. Ringworm – Undecylenic acid, which is one of the active compounds of castor oil, helps fight ringworm, a fungal infection.
  3. Skin Problems – Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, which delivers anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin. It provides treatment for minor cuts, burns, abrasions, sunburn and prevents skin disorders such as acne and eczema. Aside from these, one of the benefits of castor oil is in skin conditioning. It serves as a natural emollient, which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin that hydrates and moisturizes the skin. It treats wrinkles, repairing and rejuvenating the skin to make it look flawless and smoother. When applied regularly, castor oil also helps diminish dark circles under your eyes.

Aside from these, natural castor oil also treats yeast infections, gastrointestinal problems, migraines, menstrual disorder, and athlete’s foot.

Castor Oil Supports Treatment of Major Health Problems

Castor oil is a remedy for more serious health conditions, which include:

  • Labor Induction – Castor oil is used to induce labor in pregnant women. Note to seek consultation with your doctor first before ingesting the oil as it may bring potential side effects to the mother and to the baby.
  • Sciatic Nerve Pain – The oil relieves sciatia, a painful condition characterized by lower back pains and soreness in your lower limbs.
  • Hair Loss – One of the therapeutic benefits of castor oil is in hair growth treatment. Castor oil helps increase hair growth and makes hair healthier, softer, shinier and fuller.
  • Arthritis – Castor oil acts as a natural remedy for arthritis. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps massage arthritic joints and sore, tired muscles.
  • Lymph Problems – Another medical benefit of the oil is in lymph treatment. Castor oil stimulates the activity of the lymph system, which is responsible for eliminating the body’s metabolic wastes.
  • Tumors – By placing a castor oil pack (a piece of flannel soaked in castor oil) over a tumor, it can help reduce the appearance of tumors in your body.

In addition, castor oil is also believed to deliver medical benefits to certain neurological problems, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.
Natural products are simply amazing. No additives, no chemicals.

How to Safely Hold Asanas If You Have a Joint with Hyperextension

Increased flexibility is many people’s goal when they are practising yoga. However some people can naturally have too much flexibility in their joints and this must be carefully managed to help prevent damage to their joint. If a person has hyperextension of the knee or elbow hinge joints, then it will look as if the joint is being bent backwards.
The anatomical name for this over flexibility of the joints is called “hyperextension”. Hyperextension can also occur through injury, however in this blog I am going to discuss the importance of differentiating the asanas for those who are born with elbow and knee hyperextension and how to perform them without causing injury.
Whilst hyperextension does not cause discomfort to people whose joints are like this, it can in the long term lead to arthritis or ligament damage: when a joint is hyper extended the ligaments supporting it will be put under a lot of stress. It will also mean that the correct leg or arm muscles are not engaged during the asana as the joint will be taking the pressure.
One example of when you may see or experience hyper extension of the knee is in standing asanas such as tandasana. If one hyper extends their knees then this must be counteracted by slightly bending the knee, to prevent the knee joint from over extending backwards. It will of course look different to the traditional tandasana pose, however this is the correct way to do the position to avoid injury to the knee ligaments.
Hyper extension of the elbow can occur in sitting and inversion asanas. An example is when one is performing trikonasana or marichyasana poses. A person who hyper extends their elbow should counteract this by maintaining a slight bend in their elbow, which will allow for the correct muscles to be engaged and developed and will prevent overbearing weight on the elbow joint.
So, if you have hyper extended joints, or if you are teaching someone with hyper extended joints, this will mean that the visually asanas should look different as bending of the knees and elbows will be necessary to counteract the hypertension.

How To Use The Power of the Warrior Pose To Improve Your Golf!

                     The far reaching benefits of yoga have been shown to improve many aspects of people’s lives, and yoga can also be used to benefit your sports practise. Many sportsmen and women turn to yoga to improve their performance in a particular sport: the footballer Ryan Giggs famously practises yoga, as does tennis player Andy Murray.
I would like to discuss the benefits of the Virabhadrasana B pose to help improve one’s golf swing. The pose Virabhadrasana B, which is translated as Warrior 2, works several muscles in the body. It is however particularly good at strengthening the leg muscles and will also improve one’s balance.
To correctly hold the pose one should initially practise lunges. I suggest that you build up to five sets of ten lunges each, alternating legs, to help develop muscle strength and to thoroughly warm up the leg muscles.
By familiarising yourself with the correct lunging position and by warming up your leg muscles you will find it easier to hold Virabhadrasana B, or Warrior 2, correctly:
Start in a standing position with both feet together and your arms by your sides. Separate your legs to a distance between 4 and 5 feet and raise your arms in line with your shoulders. Keep your left foot pointing forwards and turn your right foot about 90. Try to line up your left heel in front with your right heel at the back – and to keep your balance!
Breathe in and as you exhale, bend your left knee so that you have a square 90 angle and your front leg resembles a lunging position. Try to keep your right foot firmly rooted to the floor as you slowly breathe in and out and try to hold the position for up to five deep breaths. As you hold your arms outstretched keep your fingers together with the palms facing the floor. Turn your head forwards to look along your left hand, letting your gaze follow your fingers, and feel your shoulder blades stretch apart.
As you hold the pose congratulate yourself – you are doing yoga! Feel the strength of a warrior as you hold the pose and use your breath to help your, keeping your tummy muscles pulled in and your shoulders down.
Once you have held the pose come back to the initial standing position with your legs together and your arms by your sides, and repeat the pose on the other side, with your right foot at the front.
The Virabhadrasana B pose is one example of how yoga can compliment other sports. By regularly practising the pose you should notice a positive improvement to your swing as your awareness of your body’s alignment and your muscle strength and flexibility will all begin to improve. Maybe you can bring some of the Warrior power onto the golf course with you for your next game!

Tat pratisedha artham eka tattva abhyasah I.32

“Enjoy and aware the moment”like focus on what you do, be present. Every time has his moment and every moment has his time. Every time you are aware of something, you take part of the action by living it.
Make the mind one-pointed, training it how to focus on a single principle or object.Remember one truth or one object. Principle of focus on one point to avoid the mind to be distracted and to prevent or deal with these nine obstacles( physical illness, tendency of the mind to not work efficiently, doubt or indecision, lack of attention to pursuing the means of samadhi, laziness in mind and body, failure to regulate the desire for worldly objects, incorrect assumptions or thinking, failing to attain stages of the practice, and instability in maintaining a level of practice once attained.) and  their four consequences (1) mental or physical pain, 2) sadness or dejection, 3) restlessness, shakiness, or anxiety, and 4) irregularities in the exhalation and inhalation of breath.).


Start the class with a good warm-up  done by the instructor(Bafikile Rapoo) , I do what I call waking up the body from the face, imagining you are chewing a big gum to rotating the neck. We do  shoulder rolls,hip rolls, contractions of the spine, rotation of the ankles finish by shaking the whole body.

  • We then move to SURYA NAMASKARA (A) sun salutation, we do it five times
  • We build up asanas to prepare for the final asana(Utthita Parsvakonasana)
  • FIRST-UTTHITA TRIKONASANA( extended triangle)
  • IN- Step the right leg to the right, with the foot pointing right and the left foot at 90 degrees angle and spread horizontally.
  • Ex-Lean to the right and reach for the right big toe with 3 fingers, left arm reach upwards towards the ceiling- stay for 5 breaths
  • In- Reach the body upright vertically
  • Ex – Keep the arms raised and shift the feet to the left, reach towards the left big toe and stay for 5 breaths
  • In- come up
  • Ex- Samasthiti
  • SECOND-VIRABRADASANA(B) Fierce warrior pose
  • Come in Tadasana( mountain pose)
  • IN- Step the feet out into extended hands and feet pose, step the feet wider apart
  • Roll  the back leg in and turn the heel out until the pelvis turns slightly to face the other foot
  • turn the front leg out
  • EX- Bend the front knee to take it out to a right angle, keeping the trunk fully vertically, the sternum lifted and open.
  • the thigh bone should be parallel to the floor and the shin should be vertical.
  • Do not take the knee past the ankle,as this puts undue pressure on the joint
  • Look to the forward hand
  • hold the position 5 breaths
  • IN- Come up
  • Samasthiti
  • LASTLY- UTTHITA PARSVAKONASANA(Extended side angle stretch pose)
  • IN- Step wide to the right with the arms stretched out and aligning the feet with the wrists
  • EX- Turn the right foot pointing in the direction of the right hand fingers and turn the left inwards.
  • Bend the right knee without extending over the ankle and place the palm by the side of the right little toe.
  • Rotate the spine starting from the hip region to the cervical region and gaze at the upper thumb
  • Stay for 5 breaths
  • IN- Turn the head back to neutral, come up and turn the feet parallel to the front
  • EX- Repeat on the left side
  • Standing poses are static and such very low lactic acid is formed in the muscles
  • Improves blood circulation to the inner organs, increases circulation to the pelvic floor, stimulates sexual organs.
  • Keep head and neck looking forward from the chest rather than over front arm
  • If there ‘s a difficulty balancing, decrease the distance between the the feet several inches; ensure that the right kne is still over the toes.
  • Improved concentration and communication skills