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Why love Headstand

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The first thought that comes to most of us when we think of a Headstand is…. ‘Can I do it?’.
We go through mixed emotions of fear, anxiety & uncertainty.

So is it worth the journey… ‘Yes it is’.

Here are five strong reasons to love Headstand:

It’s Anti-ageing

Gravity keeps working on us every moment and keeps pulling the organs towards it, most visible being the sagging face. Headstand gives a face lift by allowing gravity to work in the opposite direction. It works similarly on all parts of the body thereby acting as an anti-ageing agent. Get ready to get younger.

Builds Confidence
When we start working on Headstand everyday we make slow but steady progress. Each milestone achieved boosts our confidence and make us believe that final Headstand is possible. We start overcoming our fears. This positive reinforcement of confidence starts reflecting in other aspects of our day to day challenges, thereby, adding to our inner strength…mental and emotional. Headstand is the secret to great confidence.

Improves Focus
One of the key components of Asana practice is to develop ‘Focus’ and a Headstand can test it best. While most of the standing, forward bending, supine Asanas can be performed with little focus, a Headstand is just not possible without it. We might manage to get into it but to achieve steadiness ‘Focus’ is the most essential component of a Headstand. So get into a Headstand and get improved Focus.

Makes us Physically Stronger
A steady straight Headstand demands strong hands, shoulders, spine, core, legs…almost every part of the body. Getting into a Headstand daily will keep adding strength and energy making us stronger. Boost your strength with a Headstand everyday.

Gives Emotional Stability
In this age of instant coffee/messaging our mind gets used to working fast, we start seeking instant solutions to everyday challenges. While the real world moves at a more slow & steady pace. This disconnect from the real world leaves us disgruntled, irritated, angry & depressed. Working towards achieving a steady Headstand would take months of regular practice, the slow and gradual development connects us with the pace of real world. Over a period of time the slow & steady approach becomes second nature to us bringing back control in daily challenges and making us emotionally more stable & stronger.

Apart from the above, there are many more physical, mental and spiritual benefits to share but I choose to keep this note small & simple.

Do not allow the fears in your head keep you away from the Headstand.
Move on in life from ‘I cannot’ to ‘I can’.

Namaste

Kamal Maliramani

http://www.energizeryoga.in
http://www.facebook.com/EnergizerYoga

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The power of Rest

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We are in love with the new age 24×7 lifestyle. We love to talk about how busy we are (not necessarily constructive), how we are making the most of our time. Work, play & party hard is the mantra…there is no room for sleep or rest. Rest seems to be a waste of precious time. So much so that if we do get some spare time we start feeling uncomfortable, unproductive and depressed. Chasing the clock has become our daily routine and habit.

So do we really need rest? the answer is a firm ‘Yes’. Its as essential as eating, walking or breathing. When we rest, our body gets time and energy to repair and restore our muscles, joints, cells etc that are a part of our physical being, it helps the subconscious to assimilate thoughts and provide us with solutions, it reduces strain and stress that accumulates during work. It’s like going on vacation…when we get back from vacation we have more energy and enthusiasm. So right kind of rest will also bring in energy and enthusiasm in abundance.

Feel like you are dragging yourself from day to day and feeling fatigued when you get up in the morning? then rest assured you need rest 🙂 With proper rest we can be assured that our channels of thinking work most efficiently thereby making us more efficient in all the tasks that we take upon us.

Here are two cases that I share from my classes.

The first one is a gentleman from Mumbai who is in his early 40s and had developed heart problem. The fast paced life running behind the clock displayed in his body with a paunch around the abdomen, marks below the eyes and the skin looking dull and lifeless. He turned to Yoga looking for a solution and gave me one week time. To put him through a routine of asanas was not possible cos he had never spent time for fitness and coupled with this was his weak heart that could not take much physical exertion. I realized his immediate need was proper and effective rest. For one complete week we worked on only Pranayaam and Yog Nidra. This brought familiarity and importance of rest in his life. The result was there to see in just one week…his skin firmed up and was shining, eyes and face expressed freshness, the bloated body restored to normal and he also developed a positive mindset that life can be restored. When he returned to Mumbai his wife called to thank and said “he looks so much more younger!”

The second case is of a lady who delivered her second baby after about 6 years of gap. Now managing the home with a school going kid and having a new one who would not let her sleep was taking a toll on her. Exhaustion was visible on her face, eyes and body language. She had practiced Yoga earlier and now she had turned to Yoga once again for fitness, balance and weight loss. She was very efficient with asana practice earlier but now standing forward bending was making her dizzy. She was unhappy about this and so was I concerned. BP check brought in normal reading and that was a good news. On further discussion and contemplation I explained that it was lack of rest that is displaying itself in various ways. Once again for one whole week we just worked on Yog nidra in the class and she recovered. No more dizzy head and what more she also started loosing weight. Her efficiency in performing asanas improved and even bettered the earlier stint.

Rest is a biological need and lack of it can make you irritable, angry, unclear & unpleasant. So what is proper rest. If you think lying on the sofa reading a book or watching your favorite television show is rest then you are mistaken. Proper rest involves minimal nerve stimulation and absolute suspension of use of muscle, joints and the mind. Rest is complete when its more than just physical, we need psychological rest with suspension of use of mind. As we age and responsibilities multiply we need to relearn the art of resting that would help us lead a meaningful life with focus and clarity.

Here are quick benefits of proper Rest or Sleep:

– Keeps weight in check
– Make us look healthier and attractive
– Adds years to life
– Strengthens immune system
– Reduces stress
– Improves memory
– Improves creativity
– Sharpens attention
– Brings clarity to thought
– Improved enthusiasm & Positive thinking

Shavasana in the Yoga system reinforces the importance of rest, performing Shavasana at the end of a Yoga session helps channelize the energy gained while performing the asanas or praanayaam.

So till next time take care and do rest.

Namaste
Kamal Maliramani

http://www.energizeryoga.in
http://www.facebook.com/EnergizerYoga

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what are you looking at

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We are gifted with 5 senses that keep us connected with the outside world. The mind constantly receives inputs and keeps responding to the stimuli. Among these, the mind follows ‘Eyes’ the most. Most of our memories are also stored as experiences of the eyes. Most part of our lives are spent to make things visually appealing…. including ourselves. And they do create an impact….looks do matter.

The Eye is so powerful that our mind starts thinking in the direction we are looking at, we see an old friend and the mind is delighted, we see someone who has helped us in life and the mind will gather feelings of respect. One of the three monkeys of Gandhiji also emphasized on not looking at bad things. The influence of what we see is profound.

The system of Yoga identified this aspect of the Eye and utilized it to bring in focus and balance.

I distinctly remember one of my students who attended sessions religiously everyday but noticed that his eyes would always keep moving looking at others practicing or staring at things around. This student could not perform Pranayama for over 2 minutes with eyes closed cos his mind loved to be distracted. Distraction had become his habit. Constant reminders failed to keep his eyes and mind pondering on things around and this reflected in his poor practice.  Looking at others during Yoga practice is strongly not recommended cos it instantly brings up thoughts of comparison and judgement.

The fact that eyes can bring in focus and balance can be experienced once we move into intermediate and advanced asanas which would involve deep forward bends, back bends, inversions and arm balances. We just cannot bring in grace into our postures if our eyes and mind are not focused.

There are several aspects of Yoga that involve the Eye to develop focus…. Tratak, concentrating on an object to develop in meditation, visualization in yog nidra and so on. Ashtanga Yoga practice that comes from Mysore and also the Iyengar system of asana practice have specific emphasis on where we look at while we perform the asana.

There are eight points of gaze also known as ‘Drishtis’ that have been identified to keep the practitioner engaged with the current moment and being aware of the asana….the eight points are:

– Broomadhya: between the eyebrows
– Nasagrai: tip of nose
– Angustha ma dyai: the thumbs
– Nabi Chakra: the navel
– Urdhva: up to the sky
– Hastagrai: the hands
– Padhayoragrai: the toes
– Prasva: far left or far right

Using the gaze points helps mind to get focused and also develops inner focus. Thereby, taking us a step further in the aspects of Dharana (concentration) and Dhyana (meditation).

So next time in your Yoga session and also through the day, think of what you are looking at.

Namaste.
Kamal Maliramani

http://www.energizeryoga.in
http://www.facebook.com/EnergizerYoga