Stamina, Strength, Flexibility

In our first YTT lesson, we learned that yoga improves not only flexibility; we work on stamina, strength, and of course stretching. Since starting YTT in July, I have noticed improvement in all three of these ways, in body and in mind.

Stamina is defined in the Oxford English dictionary as The ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort.”

I used to struggle to do a headstand. As soon as I felt a small wobble, I would bring my legs down and I could barely hold the pose for 3 breaths. Now, even after an hour of practice, I can comfortably hold headstands for 10 breaths, overcome the wobbles and breathe more calmly. I will continue to build my headstand stamina to 12, 15, 20, 30 breaths…

The past year has been challenging for me personally and professionally, but with every challenge – particularly since starting YTT – I have surprised myself, at how I have been able to work through difficult situations to ‘bounce back’ quickly with solutions. I’ve also noticed greater persistence; for example, I’ve stuck to a daily gratitude practice. My mental stamina has definitely improved with practice.

To Strengthen is to “Make or become stronger.”

How do I know my body is getting stronger? One way is seeing improvement in jumping back from bakasana (crow pose) to chaturanga. It takes strength and control – from isometric contraction of the legs in crow pose, engaging the core, and all the while the arms hold the weight of the entire body as the hips and legs move up in the air and back. I couldn’t do this before YTT; I accomplished this for the first time in a YTT session!

One of the yama is satya – truthfulness, or living one’s truth. To me, this is not just about being honest; it’s also about staying true to oneself, not being swayed or affected by external views that aren’t one’s own truth. I like to ask advice from many people, and so it has also been easy for me to be swayed by others’ views. But this year I have learned to be stronger, how to better weigh up others’ advice, and come to what I think are more ‘truthful’ ideas, and ways of looking at people and the world.

The dictionary offers several definitions for the word stretch.

  1. “Straighten or extend one’s body or a part of one’s body to its full length.”

Before I started yoga, I could not touch my toes. With my own tight hamstrings, I marvelled at those superhumans, who can completely fold in half, chest to thighs, in forward folds like paschimottanasana. Although I could reach my toes when I began YTT, I was nowhere near ‘fold in half’ flexibility. But, during a YTT session, for the first time I could feel my chest/belly on my thighs during a forward fold. Yes, my classmate was assisting me at the time, but it was clear that my flexibility has improved significantly!

  1. “Make great demands on the capacity or resources of.”

In YTT, we were introduced to many topics I had never thought about, let alone studied before. Chakras, aura, and other metaphysical topics were particularly challenging for me. In the same way one might stretch hamstrings or do ‘hip opening’ poses, I too had to stretch and open my mind, to try to understand and appreciate the ideas. I’m grateful that I had these prompts to make my mind more flexible.

  1. Cause (someone) to make maximum use of their talents or abilities.”

For me, that is what the YTT journey has been all about.

Sutra Neti – A cleansing Kriya I wish I discovered earlier

I have been plagued with persistent non-allergic rhinitis since I can remember. I get flare ups ever so often; 3-4 times a week. The perpetual sneezing, runny nose, blocked nose, accompanied with coughs, sore throats, headaches and puffy eyes; it is disruptive, so bothersome and oh-so-tiring. The only solution was to take medication (or if I have the luxury of time or able to take medical leave – sleep it off)

Now, I am not one who is in favour of taking medication. Litres of H2O and a lot of rest are my go-to remedies. However, it becomes a different story when a flare up occurs.  So when Master Paalu said he will be showing us how to perform “Sutra Neti” and that it is good for people with sinus problems, I found myself seated in the front row for an up-close view of the demonstration. Anything to relieve me of rhinitis flare ups, I will try.

Before I commenced my YTT class at Tirisula Yoga, I saw it on their social media channels; it was taught as part of the YTT programme. I wondered what it was all about – “What are they putting in their noses? Why were the students cringing? Oh my gosh, doesn’t it hurt?!!

After the demo, we tried it out ourselves. Cringing, gagging, drooling, with tears welling up in our eyes. We were told to conduct the Sutra Neti three times a week, in the morning, with an empty stomach. But me – I was specifically told to do it everyday. At that point, I thought, “Wow.. it must be so obvious that Master Paalu knows of my rhinitis issues just by looking at me.

So, what is Sutra Neti?

Swatramana described the practice of Sutra Neti in the second chapter of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika as follows:

“A cord made of threads and about six inches long, should be passed through the passage of the nose and the end taken out in the mouth. This is known by adepts, the Neti Karma. The Neti is the cleaner of the brain and giver of divine sight. It soon destroys all the diseases of the cervical and scapular regions.”

What is Sutra Neti, again?

Sutra Neti is a Hatha yoga technique to clean your nasal cavity. In Sutra Neti, a waxed cotton string is inserted into the nose and then pulled out from the mouth. Then both ends are held with the hands and nasal cleaning is done by to and fro motion of the strings. In layman terms, the action is akin to flossing. Traditionally, a specially prepared cotton thread was used. Several strands were tightly wrapped together and dipped in melted beeswax. However, today, it is more convenient to use a thin rubber catheter so that it slides easily through the nasal passage.

Demo video:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUzH_beP4_Y?controls=0]

And its benefits? 

The nasal cavities can get clogged with impurities which may cause infections, inflammations and headaches. Sutra Neti can give the following benefits:

  1. It helps to maintain the nasal hygiene by removing the dirt and bacteria trapped along with the mucus in the nostrils.
  2. It de-sensitizes the sensitive tissues inside the nose, which can alleviate rhinitis, allergies and some types of asthma.
  3. Several health problems like sinusitis, migraine, headaches, can be reduced by doing Neti.

So has Sutra Neti helped me with my rhinitis issues?

I have not had a major flare up since. REJOICE!

Life around Chakras

By Harsh Thakkar

We are living in the age of data. Yet there are so many things around us that we know nothing or very little about. Back in the stone age when the Neanderthal man did not know or understand something, he looked at stars to see signs to guide him in the right direction. Then came the middle ages and the homo sapiens around the world had been taken over by religion. They started going to priests and reading the scriptures be that the Holy bible or the Quran or ancient Hindu Vedic scriptures to enlighten them and tell them what to do when they were lost. Today when we are lost we google. Which is of course the biggest warehouse of – you got that right – Data. Yoga on the other hand tells us to look inside when you feel lost. Understand yourself and your own body so that you can understand your surroundings.

However, we still understand very little of our own body and how that fits in the vast reality we call universe. Yoga Sutras always had an answer to this question for the mind that seeks. Different books and interpretations of how the human body is powered have been written and explained in different cultures across the world. Of course, over time when we underwent the scientific revolution we found logical answers too to pretty much every religious and cultural belief that we had accepted over hundreds of years. The same scientists still send a silent prayer when things go beyond their rational expertise or will shout out to God to be saved if they were thrown in front of a hungry tiger. No I’m not undermining science or its miraculous achievements. I’m just trying to shine some light that there are so many things that still cannot be explained by science.

Different people are governed by different motives or energies at different stages of their lives. One could say that you have been motivated to work towards becoming a millionaire or that promotion in your current job or to write that novel or this blog. In another part of the world; there is a poor farmer who labors day in and day out just to earn enough to survive and feed his family, a young teenager from the same village puts in the hard work in school and college and becomes an engineer. Another from a different village become an entrepreneur and a millionaire. What is powering these different people from similar backgrounds yet able to achieve such diverse goals and destinies? Then there are some who are born with a silver spoon, everything served on a silver platter, yet they’re not motivated enough to leave their own mark on the world. Chakras may have the answer.

So what are chakras?

Ancient texts between various traditions noted 5 to 114 chakras throughout our body some even elaborated as many as 88,000. The most important of them can be shortlisted to only seven. They can be explained as small rotating or vibrating discs of energy centered around the plane of the spine from the base of the spine at the pelvic floor to the crown of the head in a human body. Every chakra since it is a concentrated disc of energy has its own frequency and color associated with it. And if all chakras in a human body are rotating at the ideal frequency then you as human being are balanced spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

Every chakra is related to a different ailment, or a different strength of your body, even different traits of your personality. At times the focus of your life can be determined by a certain chakra being more powerful than the other. Let us start with describing these Chakras first: 

1. Muladhara (Root) Chakra, Color: Red, Frequency: 396 Hz

Think about your root chakra as the foundation of a house, except for your body—it’s sturdy, stabilizing, and supportive, keeping everything safely connected if it’s functioning properly. It’s associated with the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae, and responsible for an individual’s sense of security and survival. Because of that, it’s also connected to whatever you use to ground yourself, including basic needs such as food, water, shelter and safety, as well as your more emotional needs such as letting go of fear and feeling safe. As you well know, when these needs are met, you tend to worry less.

When it’s unbalanced: A variety of ailments can occur from blockages, including anxiety disorders, fears, or nightmares. Physically, the first chakra is associated with problems in the colon, with the bladder, with elimination, or with lower back, leg, or feet issues.

2. Svadhishthana (Sacral) Chakra, Color: Orange, Frequency: 417 Hz

Located above the pubic bone and below the navel, it’s responsible for our sexual and creative energies. Associated with the element of water, when your sacral chakra is aligned, you will likely feel great: You’re friendly, passionate, and successfully fulfilled while also eliciting feelings of wellness, abundance, pleasure, and joy. By honoring your body and expressing yourself creatively, you’re keeping the energy wheels turning and fluid.

When it’s unbalanced: When you’re feeling uninspired creatively or have some emotional instability, your sacral chakra may be misaligned. Likewise, this can also be associated with physical sexual dysfunction, while also potentially experiencing fear of change, depression, or addiction-like behaviors.

3. Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra, Color: Dark purple, Frequency: 528 Hz

With its name meaning “Jewel City” in Sanskrit, the third chakra is said to be your source of individual power, ruling over self-esteem. Located from the navel to about the rib cage, it reportedly governs all things metabolic, digestive, and stomach-related.

When it’s unbalanced: You can suffer from low self-esteem, have difficulty making decisions, and may have anger or control issues. It’s not just feeling badly about yourself, but also may lead you to outwardly express apathy, procrastination, or that you’re able to be taken advantage of easily. Likewise, you’ll also possibly have a tummy ache of some kind such as digestive issues or gas.

4. Anahata (Heart) Chakra, Color: Green, Frequency: 639 Hz

As the central chakra, found at the center of your chest, represents where the physical and the spiritual meet. Physically, it’s said to encapsulate the heart, the thymus gland (which plays a vital role in your endocrine and lymphatic system), the lungs, and the breasts. And as its name implies, is all about the love. “It’s the awakening to spiritual awareness, forgiveness, and service”. Associated with the color green, it’s believed that when your heart chakra is aligned and balanced, love and compassion are flowing freely—both in terms of giving it out and getting it back.

When it’s unbalanced: A closed heart chakra can give way to grief, anger, jealousy, fear of betrayal, and hatred toward yourself and others—especially in the form of holding a grudge against something or someone. Holding onto hurt harbors negative feelings and cuts you off from opportunities to love.

5. Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra, Color: Blue, Frequency: 741 Hz

Have zero problem saying how you feel? Your fifth chakra, which is all about speaking your inner truth—or specifically, ensuring that your opinions are properly communicated—is likely well-balanced. The throat chakra rules all communication and is the first of the three solely spiritual chakras (as opposed to the lower ones, which manifest themselves in a more physical way). Anatomically, the throat chakra is associated with the thyroid, parathyroid, jaw, neck, mouth, tongue, and larynx. When this chakra is in check, you’re able to fully listen as well as speak and express yourself clearly.

When it’s unbalanced: In addition to having trouble speaking your truth, you find it hard to pay attention and stay focused, or fear judgment from others—which can further hinder your ability to keep it real. Physically, this blockage can manifest itself as a sore throat, thyroid issues, neck and shoulder stiffness, or tension headaches.

6. Ajna (Third Eye) Chakra, Color: Indigo, Frequency: 852 Hz 

The third-eye chakra is physically located between your eyebrows. Organs including the pituitary gland, eyes, head, and lower part of the brain are said to be ruled by the third eye. And it reportedly governs your intuition—plus the ability to recognize and tap into it.  What’s more, the third eye is also said to be responsible for all things between you and the outside world, serving as a bridge between the two, allowing you to cut through any illusions and drama to see the clear picture.

When it’s unbalanced: You may have trouble accessing your intuition, trusting your inner voice, recalling important facts, or learning new skills. And if your lower chakras—AKA the root, sacral, solar plexus, and heart chakras—and are unbalanced, your third eye will likely be as well, which may cause you to act more judgmental, dismissive, and introverted. A third-eye blockage is associated with a broad range of issues, including depression, anxiety, and a more judgmental attitude—while physically, it’s said to cause headaches, dizziness, and a slew of other brain-health issues.

7. Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra, Color: Pure White, Frequency: 963 Hz 

Known in Sanskrit as the Sahaswara chakra or the “thousand petal lotus” chakra, it is the center of enlightenment and our spiritual connection to our higher selves, others and ultimately the divine. As the name suggests, the seventh chakra is located at the crown of your head. When aligned, the realizations that occur within you are said to be along the lines of pure awareness, consciousness, undivided and all expansive.

When it’s unbalanced: Unlike the other chakras, the crown chakra is often only opened fully through specific yogic or meditative exercises, or at certain times—which is not a skill set you can call upon at any given moment. You may be able to get a taste of it, though, through daily practices—anything from meditation, prayer, to moments of silence and gratitude—to have those moments of spiritual connection.

Chakras are essentially nerve centers in the human body the presence and the frequencies of which has been proven scientifically. If the Manipura Chakra is powerful in a human being then he/she would go after power, money and recognition making him/her very ambitious during that phase of life. On the other hand if a person is barely just surviving financially and fighting over stability and security in life he/she is ruled by the Muladhara Chakra. A motivational speaker or an influencer on the other hand is being ruled by the Vishuddha Chakra. With the practice of certain asanas, meditation or breathing one can balance and master the different chakras to maintain proper energy flow in the body. I would like to end this rather lengthy article by quoting Dalai Lama :

“In the view of Tantra, the body’s vital energies are the vehicles of the mind. When the vital energies are pure and subtle, one’s state of mind will be accordingly affected. By transforming these bodily energies we transform the state of consciousness.”

~ The 14th Dalai Lama

AI-assisted Yoga

“Bixby, I want to practice Vinyasa flow today.”

“Bixby, I’m feeling a bit stiff, let’s try some Yin yoga stretch.”

“Bixby, tell me the third precepts of Niyama?”

“Bixby, can you play some music for meditatition?”

These are just some the questions or instructions that human can tell to the android AI assistant through speech-recognition to create a sequence for vinyasa flow, changing yoga style from flow to any yoga style desired and getting a reminder of what we should observe in our daily moral practice by Patanjali’s first limb of Yama in the Yoga Sutra and to playback dedicated music for specific mode of practice. It can guide us on doing pranayama as well as meditation. It might even be able to teach us Sanskrit, for example “Shiram sushma asanas” and tell us thousands of captivating stories from the Vedas.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is exploding in all areas from financial analysis, stock trading, medical diagnosis, transportation, creative are such as arts and music and many more. It is inevitable that AI will also converge at one point with the discipline of yoga one day. In my opinion, to resist the advance of AI into yoga practice is futile and I would be more open-minded to accept what it can offer in a positive manner. 

AI will help us to learn and progress faster since it is like an encyclopaedia contains vast knowledge available in the world about yoga aspects. Not only it can give us the answers directly but will also be able to suggest smart variations base on the level of the person in yaga, tailor each practice by taking into consideration of individual body conditions, injuries, medical history and customise total duration of each session. Sequencing poses to poses with harmony, giving precise and clear instructions of getting in and out of the pose, at the same time calibrating the breathing counts depending on the preferred styles (Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yin and so on) that you choose. It will also sing us the soothing and relaxing yoga nidra towards the end of the practice when we are lying down in Savasana pose.

It seems to look all very pretty what AI can do but there is also some area where AI can still not be able to replace human in terms of human touch – adjustment. For example, we could be doing a headstand but AI can’t hold us up and help to keep us balancing without falling. It won’t be able to align if your hips are not squared when holding in Trikonasana or giving your the extra gentle push when you need a little weight when bending forward in Upavistha Konasana unless the technology is advanced enough for a humanoid robot to be fitted with AI and can move like a human to give us that assistant. AI won’t be able to know whether we have reach Samadhi and are union with our consciousness. As much helpful as a guide and a database of knowledge, AI has it’s limitation. It will be many more years for the ultimate evolution of AI to materialise. At least, I don’t foresee that to be happening anytime soon and thankfully we, the yoga teachers can still keep our job for a little while. 

Something about yoga practisers

You thought those yoga practisers are only slim lovely girls.

Actually they can rise up a bucket of water. They have power due to daily 1-2 hours yoga practise.

 

You thought those yoga practisers don’t like delicious food.

Actually kitchen is their paradise. They love all kinds of food including desserts and hot pot. But they know to control the appetite and enjoy the food.

 

You thought those yoga practisers are all girls.

Actually many yoga teachers and masters are men. Nowadays, more men come to yoga classes because yoga is for everyone.

 

You thought those yoga practisers are doing variety show.

Actually those difficult poses need years of practise to be done. They are working hard to practice.

 

You thought those yoga practisers are all very peaceful.

Actually they are as same as you have emotions, just they are more disciplined and they would like to choose a happy way to live. As pure as a child.

 

Those yoga practiser actually are as same as you as a human being.

But they love their life more.

To be healthy, happy and positive.

Yoga – The Mother of All Sports

Imagine the frustration that minutes into playing a normal sport or practicing a martial art technique that you have already sprained your ankle, wrist or any particular muscle. The futile out-of-breath experience after running 200m into your 5K jog routine. It is getting common in modern urban societies where most works have been automated, saving us time and effort looking at the surface, our every body movements in daily life are becoming so easily injured with slight off-balance away from the proper postures.

These are just a few scenarios which are considered minor issues of sports injuries when compared to the more serious ethical issues in sports world such as unethical business practices of poaching customers, selling fake sport goods brand, to the widespread sexual harassment and assault allegations to the coaches of national teams in various countries triggered by the #MeToo movement.

Well, life is not easy anyway but we see multitudes of problems in just doing sports alone. This is where the practice of yoga seems to make a meaningful entrance into helping to address all these area.

In Ashtanga yoga of Patanjali or the eight-limbs of yoga, it covers 8 aspects of our practice. 

1st and 2nd limbs – Yamas (ethical guidelines) and Niyamas (observances)

The first and second limbs set forth in the ethical precepts are moral imperatives or rules for us to live a right and proper lifestyle. The laying down of the fundamental proper values and attitudes are more important even before beginning the training of the body and before obtaining any sporting skills or techniques. Imagine that a talented athlete who lacks of moral conduct will be condemned, even if he wins a medal. Hence proper moral standard has to be cultivated before the start of practice of our physical body. This is also essential for the later stage of practice that a purify mind will have less distractions and hindrances from improving further when we are operating at the advance level.

3rd and 4th limbs – Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing exercises) 

Asanas and pranayama enable us to build strength, increase flexibility and improve stamina at the same time. There will be also less injury during our training as the body is enhanced and calibrated with all rounded strength and flexibility. With the outset of a strong physical foundation, our body will be ready to dive deeper into any field of sports in the next stage.

We can visualise the manifestation of this combinations of capabilities in a great example where an ice figure skater who is able to maintain the body balance while gliding gracefully across the ice ring, having the flexibility to perform difficult stunts in a dynamic moving condition and lastly having the stamina to complete the whole sequences till the end. 

5th and 6th limbs – Pratyahara (bringing the senses inward) and Dharana (concentration) 

Often in competitive sports, an athletes requires elevated concentration and focus to be able to achieve and deliver the best performance during a match. Being able to shut out from the external environments such as the noisy audiences and emotional distractions or pressure from the opponent as well as the player ownself will be crucial to carry through the competition. When all sides fair equally in speed, power and skills, which is especially common when competing at the professional level, by elevating our sharp attention to focus on one point will determines the winner of the day.

7th and 8th limbs – Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (integrating one’s conciousness with the universe)

By understanding that we are oneness with all living beings through meditation and by being at the present moment, we are able transcend our judgemental ego, dislikes, worry and fear. Winning the matches are secondary to being just having the honour to express our potential to the fullest and enjoying the process of interaction of skills with another individual (match opponent) or individuals (audience). To a higher level, sports should have the capacity to unite people together to celebrate human excellence while eliminating political, national and cultural boundaries.   

In India, yoga education is introduced to all government schools. This is a good start for children to begin their lifelong journey in purifying their mind at the same time building a strong physical body. It would be encouraging to see more people, either for sports or just leisure purpose, around the world to start to practice yoga in the coming future.

You should practice yoga when these symptoms appear in your body.

Yoga is really amazing!

Yoga is a good way to recuperate the body. If those symptoms appear in your body, it’s telling you that you need yoga!

stiffer limb

When you feel your limb always in a stiff state and become very inflexible. Even feel very painful and difficult when you trying to do forward bend or twisting. These may be caused by aging.

You need yoga to help you stretch your muscles and make your limbs softer and stronger.

Yoga will make you look young.

Obesity

Obesity is a very big impact on health.

Practice yoga can help you to lose weight. Yoga is a healthy/ self-disciplined exercising way. You will achieve your weight loss goals in a happy mood and calm state.

Yoga will make you look fit.

High pressure

fast-paced life and stressful job make you feel breathless. It will affect your body condition and even make you feel depression.

While practice yoga, minimize these negative emotions. Meditation will constantly adjust yourself.

Yoga will make you look calm.

Insomnia

Sleep can recuperate the body. But when you have a lot of thoughts in your mind, you cannot sleep at the night. While your brain is still working at the night, it hurts you.

Yoga meditation is a good way for you to relax your brain and recuperate your body.

Yoga will make you look refresh.

Breathing problem

Breathing become lightly and varies of breathing time, which may affect your health. Practice yoga can make your more focused on breathing, make breathing deeper and deeper, increase breathing space and increase lung capacity.

Yoga will make you look steady.

I practice yoga is not only because of those benefits but I just love yoga.

Inversion Poses

Yoga Poses – Inversion

Yoga inversion poses are Asanas (yoga poses) where feet are raised above the head like headstand (Salamba Sirsasana) or shoulder stand (Salamba Sarvangasana). Practicing inversion poses helps us to see our world in a different angle, an angle that we hardly see; upside down.

The concept behind inversion poses is expressed in yoga texts as Viparita Karani, meaning “opposite process”, which simply means facilitating a different perspective.

Physically, our body is normally supported by our legs and feet but during inversion poses, our body is supported by our hands or/and head. In addition to that, this exercise is more than just a physical change in direction. It also increases our ability to adapt to change instead of being stuck in our everyday habitual state, which increases our capacity for growth and transformation.

handstand-adjustment 

Health Benefits of Inversion Poses:

a) it reverses the blood flow in the body and improve circulation as it uses gravity to provide the brain with more oxygen and blood, thus increasing mental functioning, and improving concentration and memory.

b) it gets more blood moving to the brain, which results not only in physical invigoration but mental revitalization as well.

c) it increases core strength: shoulders and arms-especially for women who tend to be stronger in the lower body, inversions create body balance by developing upper body strength. To hold a straight headstand for an extended period of time, we must engage the obliques, the rectus abdominus and the transverse abdominus.

headstand-pose

d) inversions stimulate and provide refreshed blood to the pituitary and hypothalamus glands. These glands are vital to our well-being and they also regulate all other glands in the body(thyroid, pineal and adrenals).

e) any fluid that is retained in the feet is able to drain(edema), therefore reducing the onset and prevalence of varicose veins.

f) inversions increase digestive fire and body heat. The intestines are cleansed by reversing the pull of gravity, while releasing congested blood to the colon.

Experiencing the inverted yoga poses personally have progressively amazed me. While I could manage the Halasana(plow pose) and Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand), each time the experience seems to differ: holding the pose while doing the Ujayi breathing and gazing at the right spot all at the same time. And each time the pose becomes more comfortable with more practice.

While I was struggling to get my legs up the in air for Salamba Sirsasana the 1st week of the course, the 2nd week had successfully lifted my legs off the ground(while against the wall). Now that it’s coming to the 3rd week, I’m looking forward to hold this pose without the wall and stay longer at it!

Samantha Loh
200hr weekday
March-April 2014

What has happened to Yoga now?

Yoga, traditionally, is an individual practice. Even if the yogi is to learn from a Guru, the guru will not spoon feed you and tell you instructions on how to do the asanas or pranayama. For Ashtanga Yoga, in Mysore (a place in India), no instructions are given during the asana (yoga poses) practice. Practitioners are do perform a set of about 70+ yoga poses in a continuous flow, and the guru will adjust and correct.
It is a quiet practice. All you hear is the sound of oceanic breaths, called Ujjayi breathing, plus the sounds of landing on the feet from an uncontrolled practitioner. Sometimes the rhythm of the breaths can be so mesmerizing, that brings you into a calm mode, amidst the challenging asanas.
The most important thing of the asana practice is to go inward, focusing on your breath, gaze and bandha (lock), which is 180 degrees different from what is happening currently in the common Yoga classes in Singapore and the region.
Yoga is to help you go inwards.
In most gyms and fitness centres, Yoga became a dance or aerobics dancing class, where you have huge mirrors and music. Plus a nanny Yoga instructor who nags at you, instructing you specifically what to do. For students who doesn’t use their ears, they rely on a Yoga demonstrator to perform all the yoga poses and they follow. When there is no demonstration, they become lost.
The mirrors can be very distracting as you will find yourself staring at yourself half the time, and the other half the time, looking at other people, comparing yoga poses, are you the best or worst.
Do the students learn anything from that monkey see monkey do ‘yoga’ class? No! (Only a few intelligent ones do) Basically, they don’t use their brain to remember or recall anything. They awareness may not be in their own body to remember the bodily positions that they have held 1 hour ago. There may be too many postures done for beginners to remember the whole sequence. (Sometimes, this is the trick used by more Yoga instructors, so that their students can keep coming back, instead of letting them go for their individual practice. Show them 1000 moves so that they don’t recall any single move)
This ‘Yoga’ brings your attention outwards.
I find that this is not the proper way to teach Yoga. This is very misleading and because of publicity and marketing, common man choose to believe that the ‘Yoga’ is the right way to go. I want to clear up the misunderstanding as much as possible, therefore, we came up with this program:
Yoga for Self practice course (click the link for more details)
This is the most value for money investment that you can make for your own health. The course is not cheap, cheap things cannot be good. If you were to compare this investment to the time taken you need to travel from your house to a yoga studio, the class fees you have to pay, the transport cost, the time taken to travel from yoga studio to work place for 1 year, this course is definitely worth it. What’s most important is to learn the right things and not to damage your body.
That’s all for now. Time for me to go inward.