Healthy Living, Yoga Practice

Lead from the Heart

childhood

Imagine hopping on to a time machine and zooming back to some of the best days in our life…childhood! Life was easy and making friends without questioning their background or color, was easier. We learnt new things without rationalizing their use. Simplicity filled our lives with joy. Keep it simple stupid was exactly what we did! Life was filled with positive energy each new day, smiling and laughing was easy. We lived our hearts out.

Then as we start maturing and enter our teens, the mind starts taking over and most of the conflicts faced during this period make us or break us for life. We seek answers about following the heart or the mind. Society teaches us to apply our mind and life starts changing. The entry into adulthood brings in the era of logic and rationalization. The mind is now in business and takes over.

Do we see the distinction?

The heart is about gratitude, love, harmony, peace, happiness, forgiveness and non-violence. The mind on the other hand, is the seat of greed, anger, lust, destruction and ego. This is why a major portion of Yog Surta is dedicated to how the mind works and deceives us. In fact the prime objective defined in the Yog Sutra is to still the mind (Yogas chitta-vritti-nirodhah). So is the idea of stilling the mind to allow the heart being heard?

Keeping the larger challenges of life aside let’s look at our Yoga asana practice closely. Follow any system Hatha, Iyengar or Ashtanga and whether it’s a back bend or forward bend or twisting. We are expected to open our chest while moving into the asana. In other words offer our heart or lead from the heart. We are expected to practice with devotion, gratitude, kindness, self respect and all these are properties of the heart. If we bring in the mind to our practice it will be all about display, moving faster, injuries and feeding the ego.

heart

Let our practice lead us from the heart. See the bigger picture here…take the hint and let your heart enable you to lead a better & richer life.

Namaste,

Kamal Maliramani

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

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Yoga Practice

Follow your inner Guru

The practice of Yoga has established itself and survived over thousands of years; it deals with the union of mind, body & soul with the universal energy. In the recent past there have been articles published that the practice of Yoga is causing injuries thereby building fear towards Yoga practice in the community. I am yet to come across articles that dissuade public from driving cars cause they lead to accidents or travel in flights cause they crash sometimes. In a recent TV episode of Mahabharata one dialogue by Shakuni Mama made loads of sense “its easy to do adharma on people who follow dharma”. These articles reflect the same bad spirit.

The practice of Yoga involves eight stages: Yam, Niyam, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahaar, Dhyan, Dharan and Samadhi. These have been listed in this order with sufficient reason. The very first stage addressed in Yam is that of Ahimsa or Non-violence. It says that one needs to respect every aspect of our life around us including ourselves and our bodies. This spirit of non-violence has to reflect in all our further stages of Yoga practice whether its physical, mental or spiritual.

Often these crucial stages of Yam and Niyam are ignored or are not properly understood and absorbed in Yoga practice. If the foundation is not strong the practice further will be faulty.

“Yoga causes injury” also is a classic reflection of the human ego which looks for possible reasons outside to blame for their misery. Recently I saw a huge inflatable outside a hospital with salt in the form of a monster and the supporting line said “Salt monster is hurting your friends and family” which made me wonder if Salt was the monster? or are we humans the monsters that are over consuming salt. Its convenient to put blame on others.

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When we practice Yoga asanas in a group class we start comparing our practice thereby feeling insecure if someone around is better or it feeds our ego if we are the best. But the critical element to understand here is that each individual is unique and the picture perfect postures may not be perfect for each one of us. In short, when we fail to respect the practice and come to class with the attitude of demonstration & showcasing to others how perfect we are, we land up in the trouble zone. Our desires to get into advance postures too early is also the culprit. Sometimes the ego of our Yoga instructor could also land us into trouble if he/she pushes us beyond our limit to showcase their capabilities.

Its good to remember that we need to prepare our body, modify our lifestyles and stay committed to asana practice to get to advanced asanas. More importantly, Yoga is an inner journey and asana practice is one element that helps us move further. An individual with a short hamstring is equally qualified to be a Yogi as much as a practitioner with long hamstring who can reach his head to the shins in a forward bend. The important aspect is to develop inner silence.

Our body communicates with us and guides us provided we are willing to keep our desires & ego in check to listen to it. One piece of advice that I always keep with myself during my practice came from a dear friend and a senior Yoga teacher Paul Fox of UK who said “Follow your inner Guru”. So very true.

Namaste,

Kamal Maliramani

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

Yoga Practice

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