Yoga and Weight Loss

As a woman and living in an Asian country, our body appearance and weight is one of the most concerned and talked about issues in our life. And some might start yoga for helping their weight loss. But, is yoga truly beneficial for weight loss? Are we really able to lose weight relying on yoga practice?  
 
The most common theory for weight loss is reducing our calorie intake and increasing our calorie consumption. If you want to get rid of 1kg of your body weight in a week, it is said that we have to cut down 3850 calories in a week, which is about 550 calories a day, and is about ¼ of our daily recommended calorie intake. So if you reduce it without any exercise, it seems to be unrealistic and possibly unhealthy…Then, how much do we burn in physical yoga exercises? According to  this article, yoga practice burns about 250-300 calories per hour, that means if you physically practice yoga an hour EVERYDAY, you could possibly lose (only) 0.5 kg in a week. So for successful weight loss, they recommend controlling calorie intake if yoga is the primary exercise! How surprising!
 
Then, how should we control calorie intake? If you start practicing yoga, it might worth looking at some ‘’yogi’’ ways of making plans for controlling your calorie intake. One of the ways we can build this, is through the yoga philosophy of Gunas, ‘the fundamental of quality or attitude’ of Prakriti (Material). There are three type of Gunas; Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, and you can find these qualities or attitudes everywhere, in a person’s attitude and mind, and even in food.
 
Sattvic food can bring you more purity, strength, energy and peace in mind.  Fresh and natural food, non-processed food, or cooked food with ingredients retaining their shape are categorised as sattvic food. Rajasic food is something stimulating your body and mind, such as spice, sugar, coffee, tea, convenience foods, snacks, and tobacco. Tamasic food is the food which makes you dull and lazy, such as processed, fermented, fried, heavy, or canned food. Meat, fish and alcohol also belong to tamasic food as they make you lazy and energyless in the end. So in Yoga, as you can guess, it is recommended to avoid Rajasic and Tamasic food. This can bring inner peace to our mind and body as diet plays an important role in both.
 
Those tamasic and rajasic foods are high in sugar, salt, and chemicals, which we should try to reduce our intake of not only for weight loss but for our own health. You do not want to be lazy after taking tamasic food as you want to be energetic to burn more calories in your daily life. Some might think rajasic foods would be helpful to boost your energy but in the end, this will fluctuate your mind and could lead to a tamasic mind. Categorising Gunas in food is not probably scientifically proven, but you might feel that this is the best way for controlling your diet.  As yoga is not only about physical practice but also a part of our life, why don’t we try it?
Hyunjoo
200Hr YTT weekday Sep 2015
(Reference)
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Calories-burned-in-30-minutes-of-leisure-and-routine-activities.htm
http://www.nutrition.com.sg/atd/atdwtloss.asp

Claudia Jiang – Yoga and Asana

Yoga and Asana
Asana collectively constitute the physical aspects of Yoga and are known to have immense physical and mental health benefits. (Yoga for anxiety and depression). In the Yoga Sutras, Pantanjali defines “Asana” as “to be seated in a position that is steady and comfortable” (Swami prabhavananda, Pantanjali Yoga Sutras)
 
In the Yoga Sutras, Asana is the third of the eight limbs of Raja Yoga. When control of body is mastered, Yogi will free free themselves from the duality of heat/cold, hungry/satiety, joy/grief, that leads to the unattachment that relieves suffering. The fourth limbs of Raja Yoga are Pranayama, or breath control. The practice is an integral part of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. According to Patanjali, pranayama is the control of the enhanced “life force” that is a result of practicing the various breathing techniques.
 
Based on Sri Dharma Mitta , there are a lists of 1300 Asana variations , derived from contemporary gurus, yogis and ancient and contemporary texts. (Taimi, I.K. , the science of Yoga)
 
The benefits of the Asana including:( Ross A. 2010)
 
-improve flexibility
-improve strength
-improve balance
-reduce stress and anxiety
-reduce symptoms of lower back pain
– be beneficial of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
-increase energy and decrease fagitue
-shorten labor and improve birth outcomes
-improve physical health and quality of life measurement in the elderly
-improve diabetes management
-reduce sleep disturbances
-reduce hypertension
-improve blood circulation
-reduce weigth
 
The following part I will explain one of Asana in detail, Sirsasana, head stand. In headstand pose, the body is completely inverted, and held upright supported by the forearms, while the crown of the head resets lightly on the floor. The name comes from the Sanskrit words “Shirsha “ meaning head, and “Asana” meaning “posture.
 
The benefits of this position include to increase the flow of blood to the brain, improve memory and other functions of the cerebrum.
 
As a yoga practitioner who never practice headstand before, there is a very real fear when first start to practice. I am not sure that whether I can balance myself upside down and the fear of falling down haunted me.
 
To conquer the fear, based on instructions, I practice headstand in front of a wall and have teacher standing with me. After few times of trying , I have noticed that one of the major reason I cant practice headstand is due to the weakness of upper body. The reason is a weak upper body wont able to create and hold a stable base.
 
To tone up my upper body including biceps, triceps, shoulders and the muscles in my upper back, I start to exercise Dolphine push-up minimum 20 times a day.
baby dolphine
While building up a strong upper back, working on a suitable sequence also important.
First, I started with Bound headstand prep: straight leg
 
hs 1
The key point is I need to walk my legs towards my face as much as possible, and try to shift the weight of my hips over mu shoulders.
Second, Bound Headstand Prep: Tuck
hs 3
bend the knee and tuck both knee into my chest
Thirdly, Headstand
hs 4
However, my alignment is still not very good . My torso isn’t in a straight line with my abs engaged. I believe that I will be balance without a strong base. Therefore, I will keep practice dolphin push-up and adjust my alignment according.
 
Last but not least, the perfect of Asana is not a one-day job. It required us have a strong self-discipline and determination.
 
Sources:
“Yoga for anxiety and depression”. Harvard University. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
 
Verse 46, chapter II; for translation referred: “Patanjali Yoga Sutras” by Swami Prabhavananda , published by the Sri Ramakrishna Math
 
Taimni, I. K. (1996). The Science of Yoga. Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House.
 
Ross A, Thomas S (January 2010). “The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies”. J Altern Complement Med 16(1): 3–12.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Downward facing dog – which muscles stretch and strengthen?

One of the most practiced asana in yoga classes would be Adho Mukha Svanasana, or so called ‘’downward facing dog’’. Although we practice this asana an uncountable number of times, we often forget how many checkpoints there are, like not only lengthening your spine, hips up towards sky but also like ‘’engage your quads.’ To be honest with you, I have thought that this ‘Downward facing dog’ is all about stretching. The more I stretch my hamstrings, calves, shoulders, and back, the more I thought I could improve my downward facing dog pose. However, since I have been taking this course and learning about the anatomy of our body, I have learnt that this pose is not all about stretching.
 
While we do downward facing dog, we often hear ‘Engage your quads’, meaning activate and contract your quadriceps. Here is why you engage your quads in doing the downward facing dog. There is a concept called ‘Active stretch’. This is stretching the muscle you want while contracting the opposite muscles, rather than just relying on your body weight or gravity to stretch the muscle. So, if you want to stretch your hamstrings, contracting the opposite muscle, which is quadriceps, will make you more flexible.
 
In addition, quadriceps are not the only muscles you need to contract. My heels still do not touch the ground as my hamstrings and the back side of my calves are not flexible enough. So I would need a stronger contraction on my anterior tibialis to get more flexibility.
 
This concept is applied not only to downward facing dog but also other asanas requiring some flexibility, for example Padangusthasana and Paschimottanasana. Also, this is not only for those who are not flexible. For those who are super flexible, this is useful to gain more control of your body. When we practice under the supervision of Master Paalu, he often say ‘’Close the gap between your body” or “Our quads are not strong enough” This means rather just bringing our upper body forward relying on our flexibility, probably means using more strength of our muscle. Through using control and the strength of our body, we can have more awareness of our body.
 
Human anatomy is complicated and we will not be able to memorise all the names of muscles as long as we are not medical students. However, if we understand this concept a bit, this could result in proper alignment and bring us more benefits while we practice yoga.
 
Hyunjoo
200hr YTT Weekday Sep 2015
 
Reference
http://www.dailybandha.com/2015/03/stretching-growing-older-and-your-down.html#comment-form
 

Claudia Jiang – Yoga and Nutrition

Yoga and Nutrition
 
According to Ayurveda , there is no one single diet or food is healthy for every individual. Ayuvedic emphasize a proper diet is vital for our health and happiness. As yoga practitioner, when we are balanced, our mind , body and spiritual sync, we will desire food s that are food for us. Six major tastes identified by Ayuveda are – sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Each of this has a specific health healing effect. By including all the six, we will have sufficient nutrition.
 
The six tastes mentioned above also affect the doshas. Dosha is one of the three bodily energies that make up one’s constitution, including Vata , Pitta and Kapha. (Hari Ghotra, Ayurveda- the three Doshas)
dosha
 
-Vata : the impulse principle necessary to mobilize the function of the nervous systems. It affect the wind humour, flatulence, gout and etc. (monier- Williams, sunskirt dictionary , oxford , 1899)
 
-Pitta: the bilous humour, the chief quality is heat. It is the energy principle, which uses bile to direct digestion. (Monier – Willams , Sanskrit dictionary , Oxford , 1899)
 
-Kapha : the body fluid principle which related to mucus, lubrication and the carrier of nutrients.
 
Every human being are unique, due to what we eat , how we exercise , when we sleep, and our body structure. To have a good understanding our body type will help our body to achieve optimal health and balance in life.
 
The following is my body type quiz results:
Untitled
 
 
 
Predominately, I am a Vata body type, but there are big Pitta number in my emotional profile and low Kapha numbers in my fitness numbers.
Vata is balanced by a diet of freshed cooked, whole foods are soft or mushy in texture, rich in protein and fat, seasoned with a variety of warming spices. Those food help to calm Vata by lubricating and nourishing the tissues, preserving moisture and maintain warmth. (http://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/diet/vata-pacifying-diet/)
 
 
 
Vata is pacified by the sweet , sour and salty taste and aggravated by the pungent , bitter and astringent tastes. I should eat more naturally sweet food like fruits, most grains .it is good to favor sour additions like a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar. Besides, salt stimulate my appetite and digestion, helps retain moisture, and support proper elimination.
 
The following is a guideline that can be used for Vata constitution:
 

Vegetables
Favor Reduce or Avoid
cooked vegetables
asparagus
beets
carrots
cucumber
garlic
green beans
onions, cooked
onions, cooked
sweet potato
radishes
turnips
leafy greens in moderation
broccoli
Brussels sprouts
cabbage
cauliflower
celery
eggplant
leafy green vegetables
mushrooms
peas
peppers
potatoes
sprouts
tomatoes
zucchini
Note: The above vegetables are OK if cooked with oil except cabbage and sprouts
Avoid raw vegetables, in general

 

Fruits
Favor Reduce or Avoid
sweet fruits
apricots
avocados
bananas
berries
cherries
coconut
fresh figs
grapefruit
lemons
grapes
mangos
sweet melons
sour oranges
papaya
pineapple
peaches
plums
sour fruits
Stewed fruits
Sweet, well-ripened fruit in general
apples
cranberries
pears
pomegranates
The above fruits are OK cooked
Avoid dried fruits, in general and unripe fruit (especially bananas)

 

Grains
Favor Reduce or Avoid
oats(as cooked oatmeal cereal, not dry)
cooked rice
wheat
barley
buckwheat
corn
dry oats
millet
rye

 

Dairy
Favor Reduce or Avoid
All Dairy is acceptable

 

Meat
Favor Reduce or Avoid
chicken
seafood, in general
turkey
All in small quantity
Avoid red meat

 

Beans
Favor Reduce or Avoid
chickpeas
mung beans
pink lentils
tofu (small amounts)
All, except as noted.

 

Oils
Favor Reduce or Avoid
All oils are acceptable
Sesame oil and olive oil are especially good.

 

Sweeteners
Favor Reduce or Avoid
All sweeteners are acceptable

 

Nuts and Seeds
Favor Reduce or Avoid
All are acceptable in small amounts. Almonds are best.

 

Herbs and Spices
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Almost all, in moderation, with emphasis on sweet and/or heating herbs and spices, such as:
allspice
anise
asafoetida
basil
bay leaf
black pepper (use sparingly)
caraway
cardamom
cilantro (green coriander)
cinnamon
clove
Avoid using spices in large quantities. Minimize or avoid all bitter and astringent herbs and spices such as:
coriander seed
fenugreek
parsley
saffron
turmeric
Nutrition plays an important part in our life. This is an old saying that we are what we eat. Having a balanced vita force, I will be lively and enthusiastic, with a lean body.
 
Student name: Claudia jiang yuanyuan

 
 
 
 

Claudia Jiang – Yoga Anatomy

Yoga anatomy
 
It is important to learn anatomy as a yoga instructor. It will help to facilitate healthy practice and share with students what’s going on in the body. For example, by understanding how the spine works, it can help us to work with students in forward and back bends.
 
First, we need to understand what is human anatomy. Human anatomy is the study of the structure of humans, from molecules to bones and how they interact to form a functional unit. There are few key aspects; a yoga instructor should get familiar with. It includes the skeletal system, the muscular system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the endocrine system, and the cardiovascular system.
 
The skeletal system:
skeletal_system1
The skeletal system is made up of 206 individual bones. It includes two major divisions: axial skeleton and appendicular skeleton.
 
Axial skeleton (80 bones) consists of the bones of the head and trunk of vertebrate including skull, hyoid, auditory ossicles, ribs, sternum, and vertebral column. Appendicular skeleton (126 bones) is in the regions of upper/lower limbs, pelvic girdle and shoulder girdle.
 
The vertebral column, also called as backbone or spine, is one of the important parts in the skeletal system. It is the crucial body part when we practice asana.
 
a5a45509623d763b8fb25205ea7bb9fc
 
As we can see from the above picture, there are 33 vertebrae all together. These are divided into 5 regions, cervical spine (7 vertebrae), thoracic spine (12 vertebrae), lumbar spine (5 vertebrae), sacrum (5 fused into 1) and coccyx/tailbone (3 -4 fused into 1).
 
It is important to have a healthy vertebral column to prevent back pains. People who took yoga classes are as twice as likely to cut back on pain medicines for the back aching than people who managed symptoms on their own, according to a study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. Yoga provides ways to prevent and heal back pains from various types (Yoga Journal)
 

  1. heal injured back muscle
  2. speed up recovery time from back injuries
  3. prevent re-injury
  4. enhance flexibility
  5. improve posture
  6. strength the lower back muscles

 
For example, child’s pose which is an active stretch to help elongate the back . Another good pose to stretch back is extended puppy pose. It helps to stretch the spine and shoulders and improve flexibility of spine.
 
childsposeextended-puppy-pose
Misalignment of the spine will cause kyphosis (exaggerated heperflexion of the thoracic vertebrae), lordosis (exaggerated hyperextension of the lumber vertebrae), and scoliosis (lateral curvature of the vertebrae).
 
Yoga poses can reduce the above misalignment. For example, Cobra pose benefit for kyphosis by strengthen the back muscles, open and realign the heart and chest area .
cobra-pose
 
Sources:
Yoga journal
the journal Archives of Internal Medicine
 
 
student name : claudia jiang yuanayuan

Achieving peace of mind through meditation

I have always wanted to do meditation but have always found it difficult because of the anxiety within my mind. All thoughts are running in my mind when i tried to meditate in the past. The funny thing is that the more i want not to think of something the more it comes to my mind. But a few days ago when Master Pallu sat down with the class to do meditation, i was quite surprised as i never expected that we will be doing meditation that day. But when I noticed that he had closed all the curtains to prevent all the light from coming in and he had turned on a light soothing music I had a feeling he was going to start us on a meditation journey.  He then instructed us to sit in a comfortable with our back straights and then asked us to close our eyes,  focus on our breathing and to forget about the outside world as we started the meditation. Initially it was difficult for me to sit for long by keeping my back straight and to take away all thoughts from my mind. As had happened in the past, all the worries of the past and the future started entering into my head. I could also feel that the left upper thigh was beginning to feel numb.  I realized that if i was focusing on the physical difficulties i was facing i would never be able to meditate, then i tried not to focus on the physical difficulties i was facing and also decided to turn negative thoughts about worries to positive things about myself like the wonderful course i was taking and the benefit yoga is bringing to me. It took me a really long time to get into the state of meditation and feel a sort of calmness within myself. Finally after around an hour the sessions was over but i think i probably really did only 20 minutes but it was still a learning experience for me and through this session i really came to understand the benefit of meditation and how it helps us achieve inner calm and peace. Of course this is something that needs to be done consistently instead of just in one sitting. So what are the benefits of meditation ?
 
meditation
 
 
 
 
 
 
Firstly, it benefits the emotional well being of the person doing meditation.  It lessens the worries and the anxieties that the person has and reduces our stress levels. This is a great benefit considering the fact that in Singapore we are all very stressed with our work. So spending some time meditating every day will take away all those stress and anxieties.  Secondly it also enhances our own self-esteem and self -acceptance. This means it helps us appreciate the strengths we have within ourselves. There is  a saying that we need to love ourselves first before we can love others and yoga helps us to love ourselves. It also helps us become stronger when we are faced with challenges in our lives and be able to take any changes that come in our lives positively. It also has benefits on the mind and increases our memory retention, concentration power and problem solving skills. Finally there are physical benefits also some of which includes an improvement in breathing and our heart rate, reduced blood pressure, lessens heart and brain problems and helps improve our general immune system as well as our energy level.
With all these benefits why are you guys waiting ? Start doing meditation regularly !
Tahsina razuan
200hr yttc september 2015 weekday

Claudia Jiang – Yoga Philosophy

Yoga philosophy
 
Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice or discipline, which originated in India. (kamalashila 2003 ) based on sanskrit, Yoga means “to unite”. According to Panini, the writer of Yoga Sutra, yoga means Samadhi (concentration). (yoga sutras, Panini). The history of yoga has been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions, and developed around the sixth and fifth century BCE. (Samuel 2008, P.8)
 
As described in the yoga sutra of Pantajali, the term Raja yoga refers to Ashtanga Yoga – the eight limbs to be practiced to attain Samadhi. Raja yoga refers to the ultimate goal of yoga, Samadhi.
 
Ashtanga yoga includes epistemology, metaphysics, ethical practices, systematic exercises and self-development techniques for body, mind and spirit. (Edwin 2001, the yoga sutras of patanjali)
 
Pantanjali’s writing is the basis for ‘Ashtanga Yoga” also called eight – limbed yoga. The eight limbs are:
 

  1. Yama (the disappearance of suppressions)
  2. Ahimsa – non violence, non-harming other living begins
  3. Satya – truthfulness, non –telling of lies
  4. Asteya- non-stealing
  5. Brahmacharya – accept reality, no judgement, celibacy
  6. Aparigraha – non- possessiveness

 
In the following paragraphs, I will focus on the meaning and story of ahimsa and how it affects us on a practical level. The word ahimsa is derived from Sanskrit and means “ not to injure” and “compassion”. It applies to all living beings. “Not to injure” includes ones deeds, words and thoughts. The Vedas contains an interesting moral story about Ahimsa. A wandering monk saw a large snake terrorizing the villagers and making their life difficult. The monk taught the snake about Ahimsa. And the snake took to heart. Next year, the monk saw the snake in village again. The once large snake became skinny and bruised. As the snake no longer struck fear in the villagers, villagers now had the boldness to throw rocks at him. The monk shook his head and said Ahimsa need to be practiced within us also. The moral of the story is to teach us that it is important to protect ourselves, both physically and mentally, from unjustified aggression.
 
 
2.Niyama (the freedom from all observances)

  • Saucha (purity, clearness of mind, speech and body)
  • Santosha (contentment, acceptance of others and of

One’s circumtances)

  • Tapas (persistent meditation, perseverance, austerity
  • Swadhyaya(union of the divine comes through self-   study
  • Ishwara-pranidha (workship of god/ Supreme, surrender of there ego or egoless surrender)

 
The meaning of saucha will be explained in detail below and how it affects our life. Saucha refers to purity of mind, speech and body. It is important to our health, happiness and general well being. Internal purity is through physical exercise including Asana and Pranayama. External purity includes the daily routine of cleaning our body for example. To purify our speech and mind, such as anger, hate, greed, pride, fear, is part of saucha too.
 

  1. Asana: steady and comfortable pose. Literally means “seat” in Sanskrit
  2. Pranayama :”Prana” means breath, and “Ayama” means to restrain or stop. Cessation of breathing and expansion of prana is Pranayama.

 

  1. Pratyahara : withdrawal of the sense from object and subjects and moving consciousness inwards

 
6.Dharana: Fixing the attention on a single object
 

  1. Dhyana : Meditation . the uninterrupted thought towards the object to the exclusion of other sensual perception.

 

  1. Samadhi: merging consciousness with the object of meditation.

 
To conclude, the ultimate goal of yoga practitioner is Moksha. Based on my understanding, Moksha is the sense of a “personal self” and the sense of “unlimited spirit and consciousness” is united. It requires yoga practitioners to have an austere, self –disciplined life around the 8 limb of yoga.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kamalashila (2003) P.4
Yoga Sutras
Samuel 2008, p.8
Edwin Bryant (2001) , the Yoga sutras of Patnajali
 
 
 
 
Student name : Claudia jiang yuanyuan
 

What comes into play during a jump back?

“Arms up, fold forward, half way lift and jump back.” These are the first few steps in a sun salutation and a vinyasa transition between standing poses. What roles exactly does the jump backs perform in our practice? In my opinion, I think the jump backs are part of training the arms to gain enough strength and prep them for arm balancing poses. All these muscles engaged in a way that creates a strong and stable foundation that can support your entire body weight above it. A jump back is almost a half handstand where all our body weight is on our hands (replacing the function of the feet), arms (legs) and lastly the shoulders (pelvis).
So what exactly are the muscles we are using here? They are the muscles in the shoulder – serratus anterior, rotator cuff muscles, trapezius and rhomboid and those in the arms – triceps, biceps and deltoids. Other than those, we also activate our abs, obliques and erector spinae.
How do they all work together so that we can execute a good jump back? Let’s look at how the muscles work when we execute the jump back. In a jump back, we are protracting and upward rotating our scapulae, extending our elbows, contracting our abs and lengthening our erector spinae to lift up our body. To protract and upward rotate our scapulae, the serratus anterior together with the trapezius muscles will contract while the rhomboid will extend to hold and stabilise the scapulae. At the same time, the triceps will contract to extend the elbow while the biceps will extend to hold the arms in place. Ta-da… with the muscles and a little practise and technique (leaning slightly over our shoulder), we will be able to execute a good jump back.
With all these muscles working hard to let us execute our jump back, we have to work on strengthening them so that we will be able to do a good jump back. Some of the exercises that we can do are the dolphin push ups, plank and boat pose.
Till then, have fun jumping!
Nameste
Adeline Soon
200hrs YTT Weekday Sept 2015
 

EAT RIGHT FOR YOUR TYPE

In class I was told that I am pitta, qualities reflecting the elements of fire and water. Doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) can tell you a lot about a person, what you should eat, reflects your physical features and personality. So when you are pitta, we are instructed to avoid sour and salty foods. Examples of these foods are ginger, garlic, salt and pepper as well juicy fruit and dairy. I enjoy cooking. For me it is difficult, because salt and pepper are common ingredients in my regular cooking. For instance, I like to cook Italian and all you need is a green salad, some olive oil and some sea salt and ground pepper.
So this is very challenging for me. But I find a light and delicious recipe that reduces some of these: “Couscous with asparagus and peas”. I have made this great summer dish several times. It is from www.epicurious.com. As a pitta person it is good to eat more leafy greens, healing herbs and all grains.
couscous
HOW TO PREPARE THESE RECIPE?
Prepare the couscous according to the package instructions. Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan over high heat, add fresh roasted asparagus and peas (I added corn, other vegetables like spinach and artichokes would also be good), cook it until it is crisp-tender. Then combine the couscous and vegetables. I am a big fan of the greens. So, you can halve the couscous or double the veggies. Just try what you prefer.
If you are one of the other doshas you can serve it with a lemon dressing.
For the dressing you need 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest. Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl and drizzle the dressing over the couscous. Season with salt and pepper.
You may not be able to substitute all the ingredients you should not have according to your dosha, but you should be aware of it.
HAPPY COOKING!
Sabrina, 200Hr YTTC, September 2015
 
 

Connecting with Asteya

Translated as non-stealing, in its simplest form Asteya is described as not taking from others.  Another aspect of Asteya is not longing for or covet what others have.  Do not take possesions of something that is not yours.
On a deeper level,  Asteya can also be interpreted as not stealing time from ourselves or others and appreciating our personal time and the time others dedicate to us.
With this in mind, let me share ways to incorporate Asteya into our everyday lives.

  1. Focus on not being jealous of what others have. The ill will has the power to steal energy and happiness from ourselves.  Jealousy also steals precious time away from our daily lives by worrying about what we lack, compared with others. By practicing being happy and content about what we have and not being envious of others, we are able to spend our time and energy wisely on other important matters.  This can also apply to being envious of those with a stronger yoga practice.  For instance longing for their strength, flexibility and comparing their level of practice.  Remind yourself that with constant practice mindfully, know that yoga asanas takes time to come at your own pace.  Never rush, slow and steady appeals to the yogic.

 

  1. Be mindful of the time of others.  By arriving on time punctually at yoga class so that you do not withhold everyone else who have made the commitment to arrive early is Asteya.  Sometimes it is not easy to anticipate how the morning unfolds. With this in mind, why not just set your alarm ahead of time giving yourself ample time to be mentally ready to begin the day.  Preparing the night before your yoga attire, books materials and lunches.  You reap the benefit of being present in time and setting yourself an awesome start.

 

  1. Block out some ‘Me Time’.  So often, we steal important time and energy from ourselves by unnecessary worries instead of allowing ourselves a moment of stillness.  Perhaps it is allowing yourself  to enjoy the sun, to meditate, to hike outdoors, to read a book, go to a café, making a nice meal or simply spending time by yourself doing nothing.  Lets decide here and now no more draining of precious energy.  Where you are and who you are is exactly where is meant to be.

 
Esther Ong
Sept weekday 200YTTC