Savasana

Do not belittle this pose. For me personally I find this pose most rewarding. Here is a small little text we can understand more about it.
In this deep relaxation posture, you lie motionless, appearing outwardly as still as a corpse. this is where the name of  this posture is given.  This classical pose of relaxing mind and body is to fully absorb the benefits of yoga practices. The deep relaxation promotes helps, to restore and rejuvenate the student. With this pose after yoga asanas we can become exploreres which we travel deeper into ourselves through layers of consciousness . ( most of us will also think that it is a time to fall asleep)
The relaxation deepens into meditation upon the constancy of duality, the nature of activity within stillness can be directly perceived.
By staying conscious during relaxation , one improve the strength of your mind. At first, relaxation training may put you to sleep or bring about an unconscious emptiness. These reactions are normal and are indicative of neurological reprogramming to your parasympathetic nervous system. These are the anatomical structures of  your relaxation reflex. Should anytime you go unconscious, relax and make the transition from stillness slowly, gradually, moving with deliberate anticipated motions.

Feel it and Generate… your Manipura

“Then my angel said, “Here’s a pair of scissors. Why don’t you cut all those rubber bands and free yourself?”
We ‘reorder’ our lives when we choose spirit over the illusions of physical circumstances. With each choice we make, we either become more involved in the illusory physical world, or we invest energy into the power of spirit.
(excerpts from Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss, PH.D)
Manipura
The energy of the Personal Power Chakra. Fire heated in the right degree depending on how you manifest it.
The third chakra is the core to our strength and illnesses. You choose which way you want to lead your life with. It is activated by issues related to self-responsibility, self esteem, fear of rejection and an oversensitive to criticism.
This is when you can look at yourself and say, there is a lot to learn from every right and wrong from the doings of others and yourself. Who is to judge what is right and wrong? Hence, what is there to be happy, angry and sad about. I reckon it is how one sees the situation. I can see someone running into a lamp post and laugh while another can look at me and frown at such a reaction. When I laughed, it did not mean I had no empathy, when I laughed it is because of past imageries that have formed in my mind that made me recall the silliness of it all. You fall, you get up. Not only do you get up, you get up and smile. Why dwell in the unhappiness when you can turn it around and make things light for yourself and others. Every situation is an experience, hence it’s there.
Have you ever seen a child who fell and will get up on her own BUT when she looks around and sees the sad faces of  her parents, she cries and will wait for her parents to rush over to ‘hold’ her. It was that same child who fell and got up on her own when she realise she is on her own and there is nothing to cry about.
Every time we fall is it, our self esteem, our ego that has been crushed hence we react the way we do? And we suddenly do not response according to what we are capable of? It is easy to blame others for something that has happened or in this case, it is our ego that has been shamed.
It is not easy I must say, I have been through it all, the laughter and the tears and the anger (mother of all evil). And which ones are the ones we could have looked at it and thought. Was it necessary? Did it help? It sure did but how long did it take? Was it worth our energy?
Did you know when you get angry, your cells contracts and invariably leads to weakness in the body as your cells are now useless and become waste matter? The contraction of cells interferes with a normal healthy body.
How do we feel about ourselves? We need to understand this to understand why others are doing the things, reacting the way, they do.
The spiritual goal is to have a relationship with yourself before you can have a ‘relationship’ with others. If one can understand to why it is not a literal ‘relationship’ as mentioned, it is because you have the comprehension that the spiritual quality inherent in the third chakra compels us to create an identity apart from our tribal self.

Be Present, Carpe Diem, Existentialism?

All 3 different depths of living some of us swear by.
I know for sure, I have lived my 20 years by Carpe Diem”. I want to believe where I am today and the person I have become are all experiences from believing and living by the phrase. I was introduced to this at an early age, loving the movie, Dead Poets Society.
Now, living past quarter of my life, I have confronted my self and learnt that Carpe Diem has been good to me and now, to live life to its fullest, I can take it up a notch and “Be Present”. Just Sieze the Now WITH various conditions. Firstly, would be to inculcate the daily practices of Yamas and Niyamas.
 Be Present: Existing or happening now; current
Carpe Diem: Sieze the day. The phrase “And if not now, when?” (Pirkei Avoth 1:14)
Existential: maintained that the individual is solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely,[7][8] in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despair, angst, absurdity, alienation, and boredom.[9]  Simply, I have took these 3 ways of living as a comparison. As much as I would like to believe, I am not an existentialist. May I say, I care too much to be such as describe as someone who only has “I” in her dictionary.
Definitely, a careless and carefree person who seizes every moment and lives her life. That is me. The risks, physically and mentally are always seen as an excitement for me rather than a challenge. “What is there to lose?” One question I am always asking myself before delving into matters or choices I make in taking care of myself, enjoying the fruits of labour, getting into trouble for I believe “You only live once!” who cares what people think, just as long as I think I am doing something that will not hurt others, I am good to go. Will I make that extra effort, spend that extra hour to make it work the way I will be happy with? Yes, I definitely will. IF not, why do it? It is also an All or Nothing attitude.  This confidence did not just come by the snap of one’s fingers, it is the people around me that I have to Thank. They have built the confidence in me to be able to say. “Let’s just do it! I know I can more than just cope!” And if you really think about it, people like me who plunges into doings just by the ‘feel’ of it, often gets hurt. We get burnt playing with fire. There is always the Pain to know the Joy. Having said this, every ounce of the dead cells while getting burnt is worth it because I have learnt. What I am learning to do is to Get burnt once and move on and not get burnt once and continue with playing with that same matchstick. You burn and you end up in ashes, nothing is left for you to fuel up your energy. That would be the ultimate dumb.
You need that understanding and the right guidance to bring you out of the rut and make your ‘practice’ a perfect one. I have found my answer in the 8 limbs in my path to Be Present. I would like to believe if one has Self- Respect, a lot of the practice leading to Being Present will fall in place.
Now that I have the Carpe Diem Zest, I will take that and walk the path of a True Yogi.

Head Stand

Salamba Sirsasana
Introduction
‘Sirsa’ refers to the head and ‘Salamba’ means ‘supported’. This is a basic posture with vertical stand; which means, all Yoga practitioners have to experience the pose by holding their legs together throughout and balance on their heads and forearms. It, at the first beginning, may look very difficult; but once you overcome the fear psychologically and balance well physically, I am sure everybody can do it with confidence.     
The Posture
Warm up is a must for this posture. I suggest to start with six sets of Surya Namaskar . According to my experience and Yoga rules, it will be better if you can finish 12 sets of Surya Namaskar before practising Salamba Sirsasana.
First, kneel down with your knees together and bring you hips back over your heels, place your elbows aligned under yours shoulders. Deeply interlace your fingers and creating a semicircle throught the palms. Place the crown of your head on the ground up close against yours hands, lengthen through the back of your neck and extend the back of your head into your palms, curl your toes under and straighten your legs then walk your feet towards your body until your torso and hips are raised vertically upwards. Hold your abdominal muscles contracted as you pull back in your hips, bend your knees and rasie your legs so that your thighs rest over your abdomen as you bring your torso into a vertical position. If you still building your confidence with the head balance, you may wish to spring  your feet up softly one at a time, gradually working towards springing them up together until your abdominal strenght and confidence develop enough for you to float your legs up and straighten them together.  Remember to keep on your breathing soft and deeper.  For beginners , hold 3-5 minutes; for practitioners, keep it for 15 minutes or above if you can keep yourself very stable.  To recover, reverse your path slowly and carefully then move into the child’s pose so that your head and neck are supported in line with the rest of your spine.
 There are two very important things you have to pay extra attention: 1. Have to keep balance;  2. Beware of your cervical vertebrae (C1-C7) especially those who had injured their spine before. Taking myself as an example, I had my C4 injured and almost lost my confidence to practice this posture until I can practise Salamba Sarvangasana well. So, keep balance and play safe are my advice to all Yoga beginners when trying out this posture.  
Benefits
Salamba Sirsasana is an indispensable part of a Yoga practice. It influence the functioning of the body in numerous ways; benefits are experienced on a physiological, metal and spiritual level, and this postures revitalize the entire system. It can help alleviate fatigue, insomnia, headaches, varicose vine, digestive problems and excess tension and anxiety. So that  this posture is often referred to as the king of all postures.

Kurmasana (tortoise pose)

The yogi looks to be more like the calm, cool, collected reptiles and amphibians. Thus more relaxed, steady and ready for any situation. Poses like ardha kurmasana (half tortoise) are designed for just that. The head is below the heart, forehead resting on the floor, back spine and neck are elongated and relaxed.~ Theresa M
Chakra: Vishuddha
Dristi: Third eye
Benefits
Your abdominal organs are gently massaged, as you bend your hip and stretch your spine. Being a ground hugging forward bend the blood circulation to your brain and to the spine, hips, thighs increases. Due to the added flow of blood to the brain and sinuses, it also builds your body’s resistance to sinusitis.

  1. Aids prevention of Diabetes and diseases of the stomach.
  2. Helps reduce obesity

Contraindication

  1. patients suffering from postural vertigo or sharp variations in blood pressure

Instructions:
Stretch your legs forward while seated comfortably.
Spread your legs to a distance wider than hip width apart.
Bend knees slightly and anchor heels
Bend forward and slide shoulders under the knees
Stretch arms to the sides with palms pressed facing down
note:
The ideal time for you to do this exercise early morning on an empty stomach. Do it  before having your bed tea or breakfast. But if you need to do it during the daytime then you should allow for a gap of five hours to elapse after having meals. An Asana to be mastered!
 www.kundalini-yoga-poses.com

Hello Tiisula Yoga!

It’s pre-dawn and nearly time for class to begin (I’m a student in the 200 hr training) and I wanted to check if I can blog via iPhone. Hope you’re having a lovely day, yogis and yoginis!

Natarajasana

Natarajasana – Lord of the Dance pose or Dancer’s pose. Nata= Dancer. Raja = King / Lord. 
Nataraja is another name of Lord Shiva, who is also known as the “Lord of the dance”. His dance symbolizes cosmic energy in its “five actions:” creation, maintenance, and destruction or re-absorption of the world, concealment of authentic being, and grace. It is said that when Nataraj’s cosmic dance begins it brings blessings in the form of destruction for rebirth, which is an essential part of life’s cycle.
 This pose exudes elegance and grace. I’ve always thought that this pose are usually performed by Ballerinas on stage. Never knew that it is one of the Balancing Asana. The first time i tried this pose was 1 week prior to the Teacher’s Training Exam. I felt like my hamstrings were splitted into many halves.
Before getting into the pose, we did a bit of warm up. We did 20 times of alternate leg switches while in lunge position. It got our heart rate up. We did a few preparatory poses to help open up our hips, thighs and chest. Preparatory Pose Illustration:-
From Adhomukha Shvanasana (Downward Dog), bring your right leg forward and angle  the right shin such that the outside is resting on the mat it forms a ninety degree with your knee. Keep your hips square and left leg should be extended straight out from the hips.. Sink down as much as possible. This is a great hip opener. After you steadied in the pose, lift up your left leg from the knee and wrap your left hand on your ankle. Keeping hips squared, lengthen your spine and bend backwards. Now you’ll feel your chest opening, spine extending and hips opening.
Struggles – Keeping hips square and sinking as low as possible so that the stretch is deepened. When left leg is lifted from the knee, alignment is out. Bending backwards might compress the lumbar if awareness is not in opening the thoracic region and chest. Getting out of the pose is like releasing all the strain from your hamstrings and deep muscles.
Repeat on the other side.
Illustration to get into Natarajasana
From Tandasana, shift your weight onto your right leg. Lift your left heel towards your butt with your left knees bent. (Standing right leg has to stay straight and strong. Square your hips to the front). Keeping chest straight, shoulders retracted, sweep your left hand around behind your back and catch hold of the left foot. (Avoid compression on lumbar by actively tucking your tailbone under). Lift your left foot up, away from the ground,  away from your back. Extend the left thigh behind you and parallel to the floor. Stretch your right arm forward. Hold in the pose and repeat on the other side.
Struggles – Staying strong on the standing leg and keeping the balance with body squared to the front while pulling the lifted leg away from the body. Alignment tends to shift towards the side of the lifted leg.
End result .
An elegant and graceful dancer who makes it all seemed effortless. This pose stretches your shoulders and opens your chest. It opens up your hips, stretches your thighs and strengthens your legs. It helps to improve your balance.
It is no wonder that the chinese said that 1 min’s glory on stage equates to a lifetime’s practice.

A Simple Dedication

We have been informed and commended by those who study with our Yoga Master Trainers Paalu Ramasamy and Satya Chong Weiling through the Tirisula Yoga LLP (Yoga Alliance Registered Programs) that these Tirisula Yoga inspired certified yoga teachers are unique, inspiring, as authentic as it can get, mind blowing, and who are able to express and relate themselves as fully qualified teachers.
They all have one thing in general, they are simply OUTSTANDING.  I take this opportunity to thank all those teachers whom we had a chance to impart our knowledge inspired by our GURUs, to keep doing, practicing and become your true self.


Dwi Pada Sirsasana Adjustment
I pray to our Parama Guru,
Aum Namo Narayanayah Namah,
Lord of All Lords,
Prana of All Pranas,
Soul of All Souls,
Light of All Light,
Ocean of All Oceans,
Body of All Bodies,
Guide of All Guides,
Mind of All Minds,
I dedicate my soul towards HIS Lotus feet,
to enable consciousness within and
Reach HIM in whatever way possible.

Can Yoga help my sister?

“A mental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. It most commonly manifests as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking with significant social or occupational dysfunction. Onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood, with around 0.4–0.6% of the population affected. Diagnosis is based on the patient’s self-reported experiences and observed behavior. No laboratory test for schizophrenia currently exists”.
The above paragraph is a description of Schizophrenia taken from Wikipedia.
Yes…the words in bold aptly describe my sister’s “weird” behaviours. She has had schizophrenia for close to 20 years. It’s really hard to describe the challenge of having to live with people who are mentally unwell. It’s more than just painful and stressful. I would have gone into depression if not for my regular yoga practice for the past 8 years. My sister talks to herself, yells in the public, is awake when others are asleep (thus affecting our sleep), always suspects that there are people out there who want to harm her….etc. I had fought with her before….especially when she “abused me verbally” (she is very good at that). I remembered hitting her with a broom many years ago during the lunar new year. I slapped her whenever she “bullied” my parents. But there was a sense of guilt whenever I got physical with her. I have to admit that there were times I wish she is dead. End of agony for her and the family. Period.
Most people said schizophrenia is an incurable medical condition (Question: Isn’t it worst than any terminal illness? At least there is a closure for terminally ill patients.). My sister will have to take medicine for the rest of her life (that’s what the doctor said). She is young and intelligent but her life is worst off than my elder brother who has down’s syndrome. My brother is happy in his own ways and I love him very much. A cup of coffee or a piece of biscuit will bring smile to his face. That simple. Happiness is obtained by living a life of simplicity and freedom. I know my brother will not live very long and I will do anything that makes him the happiest person every day. 😀
Back to my sister…can Yoga help to alleviate the symptoms of Schizophrenia? 
I did a Google search on “Schizophrenia” and “Yoga”. Some interesting information:

  • Sufferers will often swing in mood from the extremes of rajasic, chaotic energy to the dull inertia of a tamasic state. They may feel apathetic, low in motivation and be affected in speech, movement and thinking.
  • Physiologically, it seems that there is an overreaction of the neurotransmitters in the brain at the synapes, highlighted by an imbalance of chemicals (mostly hormones in the blood – adrenalin, leucine, serotonin and catecholin are possibly four such chemicals).
  • On an energetic level, there appears to be an imbalance in the ida and pingala nadis, causing some of the bizarre reactions.
  • Schizophrenic will often feel low in self-esteem, confidence, motivation and energy. A yoga class needs to be well within their capabilities, energizing for the body, mind and emotions, and supportive and encouraging. The person’s competence can vary from week to week so the teacher needs to be adaptable and encouraging, no matter what happens.
  • During times of extra stress, sufferers can become extremely introverted, their thinking and movement become slow and erratic, and actions can be irrational. Students need to be encouraged to extrovert themselves but not to the extent where they withdraw completely. If a practice is too confronting, they may just walk away.
  • Visualizations, mental activity, practices beyond the students’ abilities and those of an introverting nature should be avoided. Meditation should only be attempted under experienced guidance.

What are the suitable yoga practices for schizophrenic? Some suggestions from the web:

  • Asanas that are excellent in the beginning stages are the pawan muktasana (wind relieving pose) series, relaxation poses, simple standing asanas, marjariasana (cat pose), and shashankasana (hare pose). With some experience, the student could move on to more challenging asanas such as the vajrasana (thunderbolt pose) series, and standing and bending asanas. The trikonasana series is particularly good for building confidence and a positive attitude. Doing surya namaskara in progressive stages can slowly build up one’s ability to practise the series.
  • Pranayama practices have an introverting effect. However, they can also be calming and centering. These practices should not be done for long periods of time, and the teacher needs to be very aware to balance them with something dynamic. Yogic breathing is a good practice for encouraging relaxed respiration. The breath is often short and shallow during states of dissipated energy and psychosis. Bhramari is useful for reducing anxiety, anger and tension. Kapalbhati allows the mind to rest from thoughts and visions. Ujjayi and the cooling practices encourage tranquility. Nadi shodhana is an excellent practice for calming chaotic emotions and is also useful to balance ida and pingala nadis.
  • Yoga nidra needs to be kept very solidly in the body sensations, inducing relaxation and awareness without stimulating visualizations or excessive mental activity.
  • Practices that are unsuitable for schizophrenic are those of a very introverting nature. Eye exercises, forward bending asanas without backward bending counterposes, pranayama, and prana vidya are examples of practices that are introverting. Visualizations should be avoided and also the students’ capabilities should not be exceeded.

The only problem I have now is….I really don’t know how to get her started. 🙁

“HypnoBirthing” or natural birth, not so far from yoga…

Giving birth is something women have been doing for centuries but it seems, today, we have forgotten how to do it. With our modern lives, where everything is fast and easy to get, we forget the most simple and natural things. We want to decide the sex, the date and even the time of the birth of our child and we forget to listen to our body, to nature. We think with our intellect instead of letting our instinct talk. We hear everywhere, in stories and from other women how giving birth is about pain and we get scared. Our brain is conditioned even before experiencing; we believe that giving birth is going to be painful, we panic and a lot of us capitulate and let the doctors be in charge of everything. We become complete spectators of our own bodies. And birth becomes a surgical act instead of being natural.
My first experience of giving birth was like that; I felt like I wasn’t deciding anything and all my wishes went out the window once I set foot in the hospital. I was disappointed. I felt like I had missed something. I was not going to let this happen again, I wanted to stay in control, so I decided to search for other possibilities. One day, being pregnant for the second time, I heard about HypnoBirthing®. It is a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education, enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques. It provides the missing link that allows women to use their natural instincts to bring about a safer, easier, more comfortable birthing. As a birthing method, HypnoBirthing® is as new as tomorrow and as old as ancient times. Marie F. Mongan, the author of the book method said: “We believe that every woman has within her the power to call upon her natural instincts to bring about the best possible birthing for her baby and herself”
This method will prepare you a few months before your due date to move through your limitations, fears and expectations, it will prepare you to relax and control your breathing. You will learn how to naturally stimulate your body to auto-reduce the pain with body hormones. When a woman is about to give birth and starts having surges (contractions), she needs to be relaxed and positive thinking to be able to breath deeply and let her body open with the rhythms of the surges. If she is scared and contracts when the surge arrives she will be working against her body. The breath is the key for the body to open. By letting the breath flow with the surges we are working together with nature to stretch the pelvic bones open. If on the contrary, we contracted and hold our breath, while the surge is trying to open our bones we are contracting our muscles against it and that’s when the pain is strong.
In the Raja Yoga Sutras 1.2 by the sage Patanjali, you will learn that controlling the mind is not possible without controlling the prana (vital energy, breath), as the two are intimately connected. We can easily see the connection if we observe the breath of a person engaged in a deep thinking or meditation. The breathing will be slow and calm. Alternatively, when the mind is affected by negative emotions, it will be seen that the breathing becomes irregular and unsteady. By withdrawing our attention from the external environment and by focusing inwards on the breath and sensations, you still the mind and increase your awareness of the body. When you are confident and you trust your body, the baby inside you will feel it and work with you to come out easily. The mother together with her child accomplishes birthing.
The HypnoBirthing® method will also talk about how visualization is important. During labor, it’s crucial to visualize your body relaxing, your hips slowly opening and the baby moving down, you see yourself strong, confident and graceful. You can picture yourself as a rose button slowly becoming a fully beautiful flower, as each surge is a petal opening. When your mind is focusing on a calm and gentle scenery, it’s easier for you to go deeper in the concentration.
I feel giving birth in peace and in full awareness is very important for the child being born and the mother to be. This little baby has been nurtured for 9 months in the womb, in constant intimate relationship with his mother; and suddenly he is pushed out from his warm and safe place, so it is best if he feels accompanied along the path. He will come into the world gently and surrounded by love. And for the mother, to be going through birth, to be feeling her body and her baby working together will make her invincible.