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

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.).

LESSON PLAN- UTTHITA PARSVAKONASANA( special class)

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)
  • HOW TO GET INTO THE POSE
  • 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
  • BENEFITS
  • 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.
  • THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS
  • Improved concentration and communication skills

Philosophy – Yoga Sutras

Back in the US,  I was invited to attend a weekly yoga sutra reading hosted by my former yoga instructor, Steven.    The idea was to read the “Yoga Sutras” and discuss the passages in a very laid back enviroment.  I was able to attend to only two meetings; however, I made the point to read the Yoga Sutras on my own… the 17 hour flight to Singapore was the right time to do it!
The sutras reading is not an easy one, and even with all the commentaries included is very difficult to deeply understand and relate to the underlying messages.   It must be that the understanding of the sutras is reserved for a special few.  However, this didn’t stop me from reading.  These set of separate threads have withstand the pass of time and today, I believe that are even more useful that when they were originally wrote.  Below is the one that grabbed my attention:
Chapter 1:33
MAITRI KARUNA MUDITOPEKSANAM SUKHA DUKHA PUNYAPUNYA VISAYANAM BHAVANATAS CITTA PRASADANAM.
Sri Swami Satchidananda translated this sutra to: “By cultivating attitudes of friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and disregard towards the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness”.  So, what should we take from this sutra in order to maintain peace of mind:
Not to be jealous or envious when we see happy people.  The feeling of jealousy only affects you…the person you are jealous or envious of, most of the time do not even know it.  How many times have you told a friend or somebody how much you envy him/her? I guess that NEVER! So, you are the only one with the negative feeling.   The trick, be friendly with this person, in this way you will maintain your inner peace.  A similar reasoning is used towards the virtuous people.  The key word used by the sutras is “Delight”. 
Last but not least, this sutra suggests that in the case of wicked people (I think more of unreasonable or “crazy”  people), the message is not to attempt to provide advice. In other words, let them live their lives and continue with their nonsense.  When we provide advice to friends or family that we believe are doing something wrong or crazy, most of the time we are seeing as arrogant, full or ourselves, etc. So why waste our energy trying to advise the wicked.  “Disregard” is the attitude that should be assumed towards these people.   If we assume the attitudes described in the sutra with each type of person, you will definitely retain inner peace or peace of mind…trust me, it works.
Some quotes about attitude…
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us.
And the updated version of one of my favorites quote, which I learned in Mexico:
When life give you lemons, make a lemonade… and add a Tequila shot…  Serve chilled!

MISCELLANEOUS- AFTER TEARS PARTY

You  are wondering what is the ” after tears party”! well let me enlighten you. In South Africa whenever there’s a funeral we have the whole community helping, so we have what we call society gathering and its done by men and women. Men have their own and so is women, they don”t mix unless its a family society . the procedure is, there will be meetings held and they collect money  from each member and there ‘s a joining fee so they will meet once in a month, and it will be a sunday. In case of a funeral among one of the members then the society is there to help the family with whatever they need, so for instance, during the week the women will help with the baking, organize big pots, the men will take care of making  big fire place and a cooking spot. There society then hold a meeting to talk about how much they give to the bereaved family or they will buy grocery, a cow, organize tables and hire buses for the community. The night before the funeral, there will be  a night vigil, so there will church service, they slaughter the cow, women prepare the food for the funeral next day. Everything will be done by 5am , the society then leaves to go home and wash so they can attend the funeral and also the family to also  prepare for the burial. The burial is normally done at 8 or 9 in the morning and after that everybody goes back home to the bereaved family for lunch, while that is happening the society then prepares for the after tears party. It will be done at the back opposite or next door neighbor’s house, music is prepared and change of clothes,from the formal to casual. We bring the cooler bags, call friends even if they didn’t attend the funeral or even know the person. The event will start small and by the evening its a party.There’s nothing special about it really if we knew the person we will talk about him, have fun, others will say thank God he/she ‘s gone , its just an after tears party. Its not done by the youth only, the elders do it too but in a more subtle manner. I don’t know of any other country that does it but its a MZANSI’S culture meaning South African culture.

Did you know…

My initial idea for this post was a “Day of Body and Soul”.  I was ready to share some ideas about the perfect yoga day… Ashtanga Yoga by the pool, followed by a nice brunch.  All in the company of great friends.  To complement the post, I wanted to share a Puertorrican recipe but I was struggling to find something that was truly representative of PR and healthy at the same time….so, while browsing about Puertorrican things… I came across a nice youtube clip featuring 10 facts about my little island.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma_eDmuSu3k&feature=player_detailpage
Puerto Rico is a very small island located in the Caribbean with a population of approximately 5 Millions.   The island enjoys a weather of about 27.6 C all year long and in recent years, it has been named the home to the “happiest people in the world”  according to independent studies….Of course, we have over 500 festivals and only 365 days.   Puertorricans enjoy good food, shopping and spending time with family and friends (sound familiar?).  However, it is 17,618.65 Km  (0r approx. 25 hrs flight)  from Singapore, no wonder, from time, I miss my little island.  Luckily for me, I have met a group of amazing people that make me feel  just like home…

Lesson Plan – Special Class

Introduction (Name and Questions to participants related to injuries)
Start with 3 depth breaths and 3 AUMs.
Warm Up (10 minutes)
Rotation of neck, Rotation of arms and wrist, Rotation of hips and legs, Rotation of torso
 Guided Surya Namaskar A ( 5 times) and Surya Namaskar B ( 5 times) (10 minutes)
Standing Poses (5 minutes)

  1. 1.    Padangusthasana – 5 deepth breaths & Pada Hastasana – 5 breaths

 Slowly bring yourself up and Samastiti. 

  1. 2.    Virabhdrasana 1  – hold the pose for 5 breaths.  From Warrior 1, student will transition into plank pose.

 Seated Poses and Drills (25 minutes)
 3.    Plank Pose – Hold the plank for 20 seconds.  Release the pose and repeat 3 times.  Rest in Child’s pose for 5 seconds and return to plank pose
 4.    Knee to elbow Plank Pose (variation).  In plank pose, raise the right knee to the elbow and repeat for 5 times with each leg. Rest in Child’s pose for 5 seconds.  Vinyasa to transition and lay flat on the mat.
 5.    Navasana –  Hold the pose for 5 deep breaths and repeat 5 times.                                       
6.    Beginner’s variation of Garbha Pindasana (legs folded).  Roll back and forth 9 to 10 times. This will allow the student to get used to get into the final pose using core strength. Vinyasa and jump thru to seated.
 
7.    Urdhva Mukkha Pachimottanasa

    Finishing Sequence 
8.    Salamba Sarvangasana – Hold the pose for 15 breaths ( menses or pregnant do not get into the pose)
9.    Matsyasana Fish pose – hold for 10 breaths
10.  Rest in Savasana (10 minutes)
Namaste!

Asana Technique-Ushtrasana(camel pose)

  • HOW TO GET INTO THE POSE
  • From Dandasana bend the knees one at a time and sit  on the heels. This position is called Vijrasana(Thunderbolt pose)
  • Stand on the knees, lift the hips off the heels
  • Separate the knees to about hip distance apart, stretch the toes back so that the backs of the feet can rest on the floor
  • Place the palms on the hips, fingers pointing down, elbows shoulder width apart, rolling the shoulders back
  • Engage the buttocks and the thighs
  • Inhaling, lengthen the spine upwards, push the chest  out and arch back as much as possible without moving the hips and thighs
  • One at a time, catch hold of the ankles or heels
  • Gently drop the head back
  •  HOW TO GET OUT OF THE POSE
  • Releasing the hands one by one from the heels or the ankles and rest them on the hips
  • Come up slowly with control, staring from the lower back , middle back, upper back and finally the head.
  • Do not rush to come up
  • PHYSICAL BENEFITS
  • Increases the flexibility in the spine
  • stretches the chest muscles
  • stretches the front of the quadriceps and hip flexors
  • tones the butts and back muscles
  • THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS
  • corrects hunch back  and rounded shoulders
  • fully opens the chest and alleviates respiratory conditions like asthma
  • relieves back problems like sciatica through constant practice
  • stimulates the spinal nerves
  • stretches the stomach and intestines, combating constipation, good for digestive system
  • regulates the thyroid and the parathyroid gland
  • enhances the flow of the cerebellum and medulla oblongata
  • SPIRITUAL BENEFITS
  • enhances the Swadhisthana(genital organs,corresponds with the prostate plexus) and the Vishudda( at the throat) chakra to activate the kundalini shakti(female)
  • CONTRAINDICATIONS
  • severe back problems
  • MODIFICATIONS
  • beginners can keep the hands on the hips
  • OPTIONS
  • when thighs are slanted backwards: There should be no movement from the hips down
  • knee joints should be at 90 degrees
  • do not force the hips forward in the slanted position.
  • if the spine is not flexible, this will cause discomfort in the lumber spine
  • shoulders are rolled forward: engage the muscles around the shoulder blades and roll the shoulders back.
  • open the fronts of the shoulders and chest