Date tart recipe

Easy vegan date tart

Ingredients;

  • 250 grams of dates
  • 300 ml of filtered water
  • 3 spoons of rice or date syrup ( I don’t usually use it as the dates are sweet enough already)
  • 100 ml of coconut oil or can use any other oil
  • 100 grams of oat or millet flour
  • 2 tea spoons of baking soda
  • 100 grams of almond meal
  • 1 tea spoon of cinnamon

Wash dates and put 100 grams in a pot with water and simmer for about 10 minutes. Put a lid on so you keep the liquid in as you will need it later.
Once the dates are done add syrup and oil and blend in a paste using hand blender.
In a separate bowl mix flour, almond meal, cinnamon, baking soda and the rest of dates cut into small pieces.
Add the date paste and mix all together. Bake in a round tin treated with oil and flour to prevent sticking for about 25 minutes at 160 degrees.
Serve with some plain yogurt.

Lesson plans for beginners (first timer in yoga

Plan 1
1. Ask the students if any of them have injuries or health problems. Also ask them how long they have been practicing yoga or what type of yoga.
2. Ask students to sit in any comfortable cross leg position, and chant three oms.
3. Guide students to breathe deeply from their both nostrils. (1 minute)
4. Stand and rotate ankles clockwise/counter-clockwise (10times both right/left), rotate knees, rotate hip joints, rotate hips, twist, rotate wrists, rotate shoulders and finally slowly tilt head right and left, up and down and rotate.
5. Come to stand in front of the mat and inhale raise both hands up raising both heels up to stand on tip of the toes and stretch whole body towards ceiling (continue breathing, count 5). Heels down and repeat for 3 times.
6. Come on hands and knees. Inhale head up/chest down/tail bone up and exhale head down round spine and tuck tail. Repeat 5 times
7. Inhale raise right leg, point toe toward right side and exhale bring leg to right side. Inhale back and repeat 3 times. Do the left side.
8. Come up on knees. Stretch left leg to the left side and place the foot in the line of the right knee. Inhale bring right arm up straight and exhale bend to the left side. 5 breaths. Each time inhale stretch, exhale go deeper. Do the opposite side.
9. Downward facing dog. 5 breathing.
10. Inhale bring right leg in front between hands and exhale high lunge. Stretch arms up and sink deeper. Each inhalation stretch arms back and exhalation go down.
Inhale up and arms down go back to downward facing dog. Do the other side of high lunge.
11. Inhale legs straight, turn the body to the side and bring left foot in. bring up both arms to sides and exhale go to right side and do triangle. Count 10. Inhale up. Turn feet around to do the left side. Repeat from the right side.
12. Stand in front of mat and mountain. Inhale bring right foot to the left thigh, tree pose. 10 count. Do the other side.
13. Stand in front and mountain. Bring arms back and interlace fingers and forward bend. Count 20.
14. Downward facing dog. 5 breaths. Bring knees chest chin down. Inhale baby cobra. Hold 20 count. Downward facing dog. 5 breaths, knees chest chin down, inhale baby cobra/high cobra.
15. Child’s pose. 10 breaths.
16. Sit in butterfly and knees up and down.
17. Happy baby pose.
18. Lie down, bend right knee and twist to the left. Do opposite side.
19. Savasana.
20. Move feet and fingers and stretch. Turn to one side and sit, eyes remain closed. Rub palms and warm eye sockets. Brink and open eyes.
Om. Namaste.

Anatomy of Sarvangasana

Anatomy of Shoulder Stand- SARVANGASANA

Sarvangasana or shoulder stands the queen of Asanas.
Benefits of Sarvangasana

  • Thyroid stimulating asana- when holding this asana for longer period of time the blood flow to the neck region will stimulate thyroid..So anyone with thyroid problems should practice regularly
  • Varicose veins – relieving the condition as it helps with faster  back flow from the legs back to the heart and will take pressure from the legs which tend to collect blood while standing
  • Increase blood flow to the head, brain, neck and face
  • Helping with toning of abdominal muscles
  • Promotes lungs health and it can be beneficial for people with asthma as the lungs receive larger amount of blood flow especially in the upper lobes which are neglected or less used most of the time as it is hard to push the blood in there due to gravity
  • Benefits people with heart problems
  • Stimulates parasympathetic system so it is highly calming
  • Stimulates digestive system

Joint position while performing this asana

  • Cervical spine in flexion
  • Shoulders in hyperextension
  • Elbows flexed
  • Hips extended
  • Knees extended
  • Ankles in plantar flexion

Muscles used
Once you reach final position most muscles should be in Isometric contraction
To name the major muscles used

  • Sternocleidomastoid
  • Bicep and triceps
  • Posterior deltoid
  • Core muscles activated
  • Erector spinae
  • Adductor muscles
  • Posterior

2.48 TATAH DVANDVA ANABHIGHATA

2.48 TATAH DVANDVA ANABHIGHATA

  • ah = then, thereby, thence, from that
  • dvandva = the pairs of opposites, the dualities, dichotomies
  • anabhighata = unimpeded freetatdom from suffering, without effect or impact, cessation of disturbance

 
Freedom from pairs of opposites: From the attainment of a perfected posture (2.47), there arises an unassailable, unimpeded freedom from suffering due to the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, good and bad, or pain and pleasure. That perfected posture comes from the two means of loosening of effort and focusing attention on the infinite
In order to achieve a “perfect” asana we need to free ourselves from any extremes our mind will try to take us…We need to stay clear of thinking this is too hard or too easy and just flow into the asana and focus our mind inwards. Not getting disturbed by anything happening around us as well as in our mind.
Once in the asana we still have to focus on not letting the opposites take control of us…So if I was to perform Paschimottasana and my mind will tell me to fold forward and put my head on my knees..If I am to go to the extreme I will never achieve this pose properly as I am still being control by the opposites….I might put my head down but I need to also lengthen my spine and so many other things to achieve this forward bend .So by freeing myself from the pairs of opposites I will let go of all thoughts and stop listening my mind and I will simple just arrive in the Asana. By doing just this I will be the Asana and will stop performing it. And the rest will balance itself on its own

Miscellaneous Post: Who owns Yoga?

A recent article from the New York Times draws attention to the question of who really owns yoga and whether it matters. From its title “Hindu Group Stirs a Debate Over Yoga’s Soul” I think you get a sense of what’s going on.
This question on the  integrity of Yoga without links to its ancient roots gets bigger as the practice becomes more global. On occasion, I too feel awkward when I see things that don’t seem “right” or authentically “Indian” or “Yogic”. This happens as Yoga goes further and further away from it’s roots in India. But the fact is, the more people there are sharing a life of Yoga, the more ways it gets interpreted and used. I think these interpretations can sometimes be uncomfortable, but evolution usually is.
This important thing to remember that it’s wrong to make a blanket judgement that all of this evolution and interpretation is wrong. It might not be what you are used to. But it might be right for someone else. As long as the principles and foundations are the same, it just means Yoga becomes more accessible. In my opinion, that’s a good thing.
As for the New York Times article on Yoga’s “Soul”? Ultimately, I feel that the link between Yoga and Hinduism needs to be a personal choice.
Here is the article: “Hindu Group Stirs a Debate Over Yoga’s Soul”

Yoga Lesson plan for beginners plan 2

1. Ask the students if any of them have injuries or health problems. Also ask them how long they have been practicing yoga or what type of yoga.
2. Ask students to sit in any comfortable cross leg position, and chant three oms.
3. Guide students to breathe deeply from their both nostrils. (1 minute)
4. Stand and rotate ankles clockwise/counter-clockwise (10 times both right/left), rotate knees, rotate hip joints, rotate hips, twist, rotate wrists, rotate shoulders and finally slowly tilt head right and left, up and down and rotate.
5. Sunsaltation. (easy version: from standing to step back, downdog, knee, chest chin down, low cobra, down dog, step front, standing) 3 rounds.
6. Come to mountain. Open legs hip width. Inhale stretch both arms up, hands together and exhale bend down till vertical to the floor. 10 counts. Inhale turn right foot out and go to the right side. 10 counts. Inhale to the center exhale to the other side. 10 counts. Inhale bring upper body up and stand in mountain.
7. Warier 2. Inhale right leg back and turn right foot to the back and left foot in. inhale arms to the side and bend right knee. 10 counts. Do the opposite side.
Repeat from the right side.
8. Bring left knee down, bend right knee, and slide right foot a bit forward. Inhale place palm on the right knee and bring hips down. 10 counts. Do the other side and repeat 20 counts.
9. Sit down and bring legs in front. Bend right knee, inhale raise left hand up and exhale twist to the right side. Count 10. Do the other side. Repeat and count 20,
10. Lie down on the stomach. In hale baby cobra, count 10. Repeat.
11. Bring both arms in front and boat pose. Count 10. Second time arms legs higher and count 10.
12. Child’s pose. 10 breaths.
13. Half shoulder stand. Hold 10 breaths.
14. Fish pose. Hold 10 breaths
15. Savasana.

Mixed brown rice salad

Ingredients

4 cups of cooked mixed brown rice
1 pack of deep fried tofu (tau kwa) 220g, chopped into 8mm cubes
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 pack of small asparagus chopped into 1cm long
1 tomato chopped into 8mm cubes
Rocket salad about 80g as much as you like
Salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice or valsamic vinegar (optional)
1. Prepare rice in a large bowl, pour 2 Tb spoon of olive oil, add about 1/4 tb spoon of salt and stir. Set aside to cool down.
2. Heat the pan with 2 Tb spoon of olive oil, add red onion and fry till it makes a good aroma.
3. Add asparagus and tofu. Stir until they are cooked.
4. Add salt and pepper. If you like add 1 tb spoon of valsamic vinegar. Cool it down.
5. About the time rice and tofu mix are cooled down, prepare rocket salad in another bowl and add salt, pepper lemon juice/valsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss it well.
6. Put everything together in the bowl of rice and mix well. Taste and add salt, pepper, lemon juice/valsamic vinegar, or olive oil if necessary.

My personal experience of santosha

Daily practice of asanas will even change your desire to deirelessness. That’s how I became a vegetarian.
My body had changed internally by practicing asanas for about two years. It gradually became harder for me to digest meat, followed by shell fish, clams and fish properly. It was strange for the first time because I was healthier than the other people around me.
Eating vegetables, beans and whole grains made me feel lighter and stable. People often ask me if I am forcing me being vegetarian for yoga. I believe that I am a vegetarian for a natural cause because it doesn’t bother me at all the other people eating my former favorite food such as duck, ram, sushi and so on while I’m not. I am totally OK with vegetarian foods.
It is a kind of santosha, is it?

My story of sirsasana

Everybody likes to try upsidedown, well almost everybody. I also wanted to come up. When I first tried to come up to sirsasana 1 from the position; head down, knee up and on tip toes, my elbows kept rising up. The teacher watched me and told my shoulders were too tight to even straighten the back.
I started to pay super attention to my shoulder opening immediately. A few months past. I could easily come up to sirsasna 2 with both legs straight. But still elbows kept rising up for sirsasana 1. I tried and tried and tried. About a year past. Still trying. By this time, I could come up to sirsasana 2 from Kakasana.
One day one advanced student was studying me and suggested that I might have shorter upper arm compared to the distance from shoulder to crown of the head. Yes, that was absolutely right. She suggested me to put folded towel under my elbows. I rose up finally by taking step by step. I kept on practicing this way. Soon, I could manage to raise both leg up in ashtanga way. The teacher watched me and told me that I had to lose the towel someday. But my arms were still short!
I found I had another weakness in my tight neck and back (whole spine) by doing halasana and it was another reason of preventing me from sirsasana 1.
I paid extra attention to doing shoulder stand and halasana as much as I could.
Several months past. Sometimes I could go up without towel from one leg up and the other leg down position. But it wasn’t stable to go up or hold for a long time.
Finally our master Wei Ling watched me doing it, and suggested me to shorten the distance between the elbows. Bingo! She instantly found the solution for short upper arm problem!
Of course I had to work on a lot of shoulder openings, too. I think the posture it helped a lot is urdhva dhanurasana because by straightening elbow and pushing the chest forward in this posture will help strengthening both arms and shoulders and opening shoulders and chest in a great amount.
Going up and holding sirsasana also uses core muscles and first of all, it is the must to find the right position of your crown to keep balance. But it will come along once you come up.
Anyway, thank you very much Wei Ling! You are the best!!

What makes a great yoga teacher (Reply to Paalu’s blog)

They say a good yoga teacher will transform you to the next level. I finally understand their words now.
In my 3 years and a few months of yoga experience at one of big major commercial studios, it had not come until 7 months ago that I met a really good teacher. Until then yoga for me had been only a miracle exercise that shaped my body for the first time in my life and kept the mind lively and happy.
I happened to take private training class with this teacher totally unexpectedlly. He was a new teacher at that time and I didn’t have any intention to take PT with any teacher. Somehow by seeing him at a glance, I thought this teacher might open my super tight shoulders and hip joints which I had been struggling forever. After 10 hour PT with him, my shoulders and hip joints were slightly open but I still couldn’t do those asanas such as parivritta baddha parsvakonasana.
What made me think him a good teacher was, he was the first one who told me to relax, release the tension, and breathe easily during the practice. That was a total awakening to me. Since then, I attended the classes with more focused and relaxed mind. It changed my practice totally. In his class I could focus even more and go deeper and stronger. I thought I finally met a kind of guru. But this teacher had to leave in a short period.
The next great teacher whom I met is a very spiritual teacher. (Actually he had been there for over 3 years but I couldn’t go to his class because it was so beyond of my mind level. The first teacher’s energy led me to him, I think.) He also tells me to relax shoulders where my tension always goes and not to go far beyond with the postures if the alignment goes wrong.
In his asana class he preaches yoga sutras all the way through and always reminds us to set our consciousness inside our body. It will bring you a sort of bliss feeling during asanas. His pranayama class brought me up to the stage that I could feel more comfortable setting my consciousness inside my body during both holding breath and meditation. By taking his classes my mind started to stay calmer, more stable and peaceful in daily life. I realized that yoga practice must have been this way.
Then his energy led me to Paalu, our master, which was also happened by following the flow of consequences although those two people don’t know each other.
By following Paalu, besides so many things that he had taught us, I found meditation was more powerful and peaceful than I had ever imagined. I believe that I will go deeper into my body and mind from now on. Keep on practicing.
What mostly made these 3 teachers especially better than the rest of good teachers was I feel stronger connection to each one of them, probably in energy level. They pulled me and pushed me forward with their strong energy. That’s what I feel now.
I am truly grateful to all these great teachers.
Om Namaste.