Namaste – The Art of Cultivating an “I-Thou” Relationship in Everyday Life
Does this sound familiar? It’s the end of yoga class . . . you’re lying face up on your sticky mat, the bell rings and you slowly make your way up to a seated position. You join your hands together in prayer, you bow your head down toward your heart, and whisper with reverence, the sacred word, Namaste. You feel connected to all of life and at peace. As you walk out to your car, that feeling of oneness and connection lingers and you feel a part of the sacredness of life. You feel like you are living Namaste.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana, or Downward Facing Dog, is likely the most ubiquitous pose in the entire yoga practice. Utilizing the full body, creating both strength and flexibility, it is really no wonder that so many differing schools and styles of yoga have adopted this all-encompassing posture into their disciplines.
A forward fold and a spinal neutralizing pose, Down Dog works to create length in the back body while simultaneously strengthening the arms, back and core. But even beyond just the physical, Adho Mukha Svanasana is often used as a ‘resting’ pose between other more challenging postures to both relax the mind and restore the breath. Allowing practitioners to draw their attention inward, this pose provides the perfect space to bring meditation into the physical asana practice.
Mayurasana (Peacock Pose). Its History, Purpose and Method
Some yoga poses are new, and some are thousands of years old. By this measurement, Mayurasana is on the young side. We find a description of Mayurasana in the 500-year-old Hatha Yoga Pradipika, yet we have depictions of other yoga poses that go back 5000 years. Similarly, some poses are easy and some poses are hard. Mayurasana is not the hardest pose in yoga, but it is definitely difficult! As you can see from the images here, its shape is unusual and—arguably—unnatural. Besides the delightful physical challenge it gives us-and the benefits to balance, strength and endurance it offers—we might ask, “why do such a pose?”
The Value of Inverted Asanas
Life has a way of surprising us, so it’s empowering to be the one to decide to turn life upside down. Yoga inversions are a safe, beautiful, exhilarating way to do just that. A yoga inversion is simply any asana that brings the hips above the heart or the head below the heart. With this simple definition, an inversion takes – literally – many shapes and forms depending on what your body needs and is prepared for. Whether it’s as basic as Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) or as challenging as Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand), there is a place for inversions in your practice.
Yoga During Periods
Just as a yoga practice should be adapted for its one-of-a-kind yogi, a woman experiences her menstrual cycle uniquely. Though many women feel less energetic on their periods, some may feel little to no change. Where one woman may crave the soothing flow of Sun Salutations, another may wish for gentle restoration or complete rest, without practicing yoga at all. Still others may crave an intense, inversion-filled Ashtanga sequence.
Yoga practice depends on the yogi and the choice of how to practice yoga while on her period depends on the woman. A sincere practice of yoga is done to learn how to listen to the intuitive wisdom of the body. It is with this intention that a woman learns to care for her practice – and herself – during the so-called “critical days” of the menstrual cycle.
The Importance of Forward Bends
There are many, many poses within the yoga practice that incorporate some aspect of forward folding. Forward bends tend to be more restorative, cooling postures that often move the head below the heart also creating the effects of an inversion. Introspective and soothing, these gentle (or deeper forward) bends work to lengthen the entire back body, stretching the neck, the upper, middle and lower back, glutes, hips, hamstrings and calves. Literally lengthening from head to toe, these postures create space and awareness throughout.
Downward Dog cultivates strength for the rest of your practice. In addition to working muscles in the arms and shoulders, the whole pose is like a breath of fresh air for the entire body. Downward Dog asks for a beautiful balance in your practice: effort and ease, strength and surrender, muscular effort and flexibility. This is felt by grounding your hands into the mat and running lines up energy up the arms. The energy is carried through the hips, reaching towards the ceiling, and back down through the legs, where hamstrings are stretched and the spine is open. The gentle inversion calms the mind and nervous system while rejuvenating the blood. It’s a great pose for grounding yourself and getting out of your mind.
Yoga and Mental Health
The benefits of yoga are impactful because they’re felt rather than analyzed. Usually this is manifested in an open body and expansive breath. However, researchers are finding that yoga’s positive impacts on mental health are validated in a scientifically-established way.
It makes intuitive sense that a practice teaching relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and conscious muscle release would result in relaxation of the mind. The key to this connection is in yoga’s impact on the body’s stress response. A Harvard Medical School article1 reports that yoga’s ability to decrease physiological arousal, such as increased heart rate and shallow breathing, also decreases mental arousal to stress. Usual emotional stress responses would be feeling frustrated or anxious, nervous, and exhibiting clouded judgment.
Patience and Trust in Intuition: Hidden Gifts of my Yoga Practice
A yoga practice can enhance many aspects of our lives: awareness, mindfulness, flexibility, strength and so much more. Cultivating patience and trust in intuition are probably not the first that come to mind. In my 21-year practice, however, these have been the hidden gifts that have brought so much more than I ever imagined when I first took up yoga.
Every Known Pic of Marilyn Monroe in a Yoga Pose
Rarely was a woman more tragic, more beautiful, or more compelling to our collective consciousness. And—by the way—how did she practice yoga? Born Norma Jean Mortenson (1926 – 1962), Marilyn got her name from the suggestion of the 20th Century Fox executive, Ben Lyon. He said it the anonym was “sexy” and the “double-M” was lucky. Though we usually foreground the tragic side of her life, it isn’t widely acknowledged that this shape-changer named Marilyn was ambitious, skilled in her craft, and extremely focused on reaching her goals. As with many visionary people today (and you might be one of them), yoga formed an integral part of her wild success. In 1956, Marilyn told reporters that yoga had become a permanent part of her workout regimen.
In the second sutra of his principal book, Patanjali defines yoga as “control of the modifications of the mind field”. It means that when we are on the mat, our goal is to stop the everlasting inner dialog, control the process of thinking and manage our own mind. This is what is most important; not being able to assume sophisticated postures. It is in Savasana when you start to understand that yoga is not just a set of stretching exercises, as it may seem at first. Making your body healthier and stronger, which is achieved through physical aspects of yoga (asanas), is only the tip of the iceberg. A preparation stage necessary for practicing at a higher level. Savasana is the first step leading to that level.
Yoga for the Core: Why It’s Important & How To Practice
The core can often be seen as this mysterious part of the body that is either toned by six-pack muscles or just weak. Oftentimes in yoga, teachers instruct students to “activate the core” without totally explaining how or what that means leaving students confused or desperately trying to suck in their bellies while holding their breath. The core can be somewhat complex, but it is absolutely imperative to a healthy and safe yoga practice and its strength can contribute to overall health and wellbeing.
What is Bahiranga?
The father of yoga, Patanjali, identified the eight limbs of yoga. We can say that there are eight steps on the path and that every yoga practitioner must climb these steps. On the other hand, they are like eight facets of the same gem, all of which are equal and necessary. You should pay attention to each individual limb in order for your yoga flower to blossom. Five of them (Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara) form the external aspect of yoga, called Bahiranga, while three others (Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi) create the internal aspect, or Antaranga… read more
We wish you good practice!