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

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Yoga Practice

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