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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Healthy Living

The power of Rest

rest
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