Oleg KuzmintOleg Kuzmint is a devoted yoga practitioner, editor and writer at Bahiranga.com. "I clearly remember my feelings after my first yoga class. I went out and walked as usual. A weird mixture of fatigue, lightness, and warmth in my body... and some stretching, as if all my body strings started to sound in a new way. Crystal awareness was in my head. I perceived the external world in the right here and now – everything at the same time. But its contradictions couldn't touch me. They couldn't mar the clarity and integrity of my consciousness. Soon I realized that I had fallen in love."
Articles by Oleg Kuzmint:
The History of Yoga from Pashupati to Patanjali
In 1928, in the territory of modern Pakistan, archaeologists discovered this soapstone seal. It is about 4,000 years old and, according to many Indologists, it depicts Shiva, meditating in Bhadrasana. Apparently, this is the most ancient evidence of the Yoga practice.
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.
If you feel there is insufficient space in the yoga hall, and you increasingly want to replace the ceiling with the sky, then it is time to go outside. The absence of clear external limiters will expand your inner horizons and bring a wonderful feeling of newness into your practice. The fresh air will give your breath a new quality. Connecting with the Earth will return you to reality and recharge your energy. The beauty of nature will soothe and inspire.
How does yoga affect our eating habits?
Once yoga becomes part of your lifestyle, your body will start to change at a deep level. Regular practice of asanas and specific breathing rhythms bring your body and mind into balance; it improves the functioning of the digestive organs, normalizes the excretory processes, and stabilizes the functioning of the endocrine system glands. The toxins accumulated in the body over years will be gradually removed. In addition, yoga practice restores the nervous system and brings about a balanced state of mind. When you are calm and healthy, you do not stuff yourself with unhealthy food to get rid of stress. Asanas give a sense of inner lightness, and it is unlikely that someone would want to change this condition.
Yoga for Weight Loss
A medium-build person doing classic yoga burns an average of just 150 calories per hour. We have slightly higher figures when it comes to the dynamic styles or hot yoga – around 300 calories, but this amount of energy expenditure hardly compares to what we can get even from regular brisk walking. However, it’s known for a fact that, from a weight loss perspective, exercise is only 20% of the equation, the rest being nutrition. 80/20 is the primary formula for those keen to lose weight, with yoga capable of doing most of the management thereunder.
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 Metabolism
If you are interested in finding more about “yoga metabolism”, type these words into the Google search box and you will see many links to web pages about asanas that help boost your metabolism. Of course, energy-consuming, muscle-strengthening asanas, or active Sun Salutations, can do it. However, these are short-term effects, while in the longer term yoga decreases metabolism, and this is one of science-backed effects of yoga.
Travel Yoga Mats Review
An ideal Travel Yoga Mat requires a really magical combination of properties: on the one hand, it should be light and take up only a little space in your bag, while on the other hand, is should provide sufficient elasticity to protect your knees and other body parts during practice sessions. We have brought together several worthy examples in a summary table which will help you make the right choice when purchasing your Travel Yoga Mat, taking into account your particular body type and style of travelling.
A Few Words About Padmasana or Look After Your Knees
Padmasana is, of course, one of the most cherished asana for beginner yogis. Everyone wants to gain the compact stability which is energetically ideal for meditation as quickly as possible. Not to mention the fact that it is simply beautiful. But you should not hurry. The Lotus posture, like any other, should not be an end in itself. Asana in the wide, “limb” sense is just a means, part of a great journey and in no circumstances its final point. The limbs of your personal yoga should grow uniformly in all directions. The main problem associated with Padmasana consists in the fact that our body allows us to approach it without warning of the dangers for the knee joint. Going too fast is fraught with injury which will make you forget all about Padmasana for several months in the best case, and require surgical intervention in the worst. The point is that our knee joints anatomically are much weaker than the hip joints and if the latter are insufficiently opened, an excessively intensive rotatory load is transferred to the knee, making it carry out an atypical function. The knee is intended for flexion only “forwards-backwards”, and in no circumstances “to the right/to the left”!
Yoga for Back Pain: 5 Studies
Back pain is a serious and common ailment, especially in those over 40. Sports and household injuries, fractures, herniated disks, bad posture and, of course, sedentary lifestyle… the causes may be different but the main problem is that back pain is resistant to treatment and can often be recurrent or chronic. The vertebral column is a critical component of our body and requires close attention. boston-medical-center2A recent study reconfirmed the effectiveness of yoga in relieving back pain. The study involved 320 adult patients from Boston suffering from chronic moderate to severe back pain (scale score: 7 out of 10). Seventy-five percent of them took analgesics and 20% received analgesics containing opioids. The study was performed at BMC under the leadership of Dr. R and its results were presented at APM.
International Day of Yoga - 2016
International Day of Yoga, celebrated annually on June 21, was declared to be internationally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014 following the unanimous endorsement of India’s related proposal by UN member states. The day of summer solstice was picked for a reason – most nations attach special significance to it and hold fetes and festivals to celebrate it. These activities go back to the times of antiquity when people did not yet follow any kind of organized religion. “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
K. Pattabhi Jois (1915–2009), just like Iyengar, was a disciple of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who is often referred to as the Father of Modern Yoga. It was at the age of 12 that Jois first attended a demonstration by Krishnamacharya, whose disciple he asked to be shortly after. The discipleship lasted for 30 years. These 30 years of daily multi-hour yoga practice made him one of the world’s top teachers, with yogis from across the globe turning to him for practice and then spreading his teachings around it. K. Pattabhi Jois taught yoga for a long period of time at the Sanskrit College in Mysore. In 1949 right at his own home he established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, where he started making use of yoga’s therapeutic aspects.
Yoga Festivals Around The World
What to do at Yoga Festival? Practice A lot. A whole lot. There are various classes for all levels going from sunrise until sunset – so be prepared for a fair amount of physical exertion. You can go with a regular style and try to augment your practice going forward. Or you could try something different and aim for some totally new experience. How about assuming a Warrior Pose on the surface of water? Or doing a Head Stand in a hammock, perhaps? Get inspired We all dream of finding a teacher that’s right for us. You may already have one, but at the festival of yoga there’s always someone to compare with. The organizers invite really best ones, and when you’re back at your native yoga studio, you’ll have a lot to share.
The father of this style, B. K. S. Iyengar (1918-2014) was a great teacher who dedicated his whole life to yoga right to the end. He was among the main people to popularise yoga in the world. Thanks to him, millions of people have learned about this ancient Indian practice. When he was 14 years old, Iyengar was a disciple of the Indian yoga scholar, philosopher, scientist, and healer Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888-1989). He was already teaching at the age of 18 and, since the 1950s, after developing his own school based on classical Hatha-yoga, he began to actively teach yoga in Europe and the United States. In 1966, Iyengar wrote the book ‘Light on Yoga’, which became a worldwide bestseller, selling more than three million copies in 17 languages. Based on the ancient ‘yoga sutras’ by Patanjali, Iyengar elaborated more than 200 asanas and some pranayamas. The book contains over 600 photographs of asanas performed by the author. Written almost a half-century later, ‘Light on Life’ is a book about yoga as a philosophical system, where physical practice comprises only one-eighth, but this is intended to form the basis. Here Iyengar speaks about his own journey into the world of yoga. He gives us a flower revealed by his own hands thanks to his incredible perseverance and endless dedication to his work.
This yoga style originated from the Astanga Vinyasa school, adopting the concept of asanas’ smooth dynamic connection in a sequences. The best example of such a sequence is Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation), which often occurs at the beginning of the lesson. However, Vinyasa Flow is far from the severity of Astanga, where certain asanas are performed in the same order during each session. Vinyasa Flow classes are different, depending on the yoga studio, class, and instructor. Students are also given much more creative freedom.
Pain in Asanas
Please note that here we discuss pain that is caused by the load on healthy organs and areas of the body. Pain resulting from injury, disease, etc. is a completely separate big topic, which is the subject of Yoga-therapy.
According to adherents of this style, a high temperature (85-105°F) with special humidity control creates conditions in the classroom that are as close as possible to the climate in India, the birthplace of yoga. It softens tissue and muscle and, consequently, increases flexibility and tensile strength. This allows for a deeper and safer merging into asana form. Hot Yoga practitioners have noticed an increase in concentration and awareness, improved internal and external balance, strengthening resistance to stress, and overall emotional enthusiasm.
Causes and Treatment of Muscle Trembling
First of all, we would like to clarify that we are speaking about ‘trembling’ as a result of physical exertion, which is different from muscle spasms or tremors as possible symptoms of some disease. Most often, body trembling during practice occurs when experiencing prolonged static loads, during which time you must hold the body in one position for a prolonged period. Contrary to popular belief, trembling is something that is well known to not only beginners. It is experienced even by Yogis with many years of experience, although they usually experience this during high-intensity practices, often combined with fasting or cleansing.
What to Do with Thoughts During Savasana?
At the beginning of his ‘Yoga Sutras’, Patanjali gives the following definition: ‘Yoga is the restraint of mind fluctuations’. Here ‘mind’ is understood as the totality of such processes as observation, reasoning, evaluation, and memorisation. It operates in terms of a person’s individual characteristics: feelings, emotions, desires, memory, and intelligence. It turns out that, in fact, Yoga is the ability to sort things out in one’s head rather than the ability to perform intricate poses. Let’s try understand why this is so important and how to curb these ‘mind fluctuations’.
Yoga’s Impact on the Musculoskeletal System
Musculoskeletal System is designed for support, movement and the protection of our internal organs. It consists of bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Its health is conditioned by genetic factors, lifestyle, diet, climate, and the level of physical and mental stress. The progress of civilisation makes our life more interesting and safer, but it has led us to a sedentary lifestyle. Modern man doesn’t move enough or happens to do the wrong exercises, following fashion trends. As well, handling an incorrect load is dangerous, as is physical inactivity. According to statistics, about 25% of Americans have Musculoskeletal Disorders that require medical treatment and more than one-half of all chronic conditions in people over 50 years are related to Musculo-Skeletal system problems, such as: back pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome etc.
Yoga and the Digestive System
A sedentary lifestyle, unbalanced diet, and frequent stress are the main enemies of our digestive system. As a result, it is probable that we end up with something from a large set of various ailments: indigestion, gastritis, constipation, flatulence, diarrhea, and colitis. For example, according to research published in ‘American Journal of Gastroenterology’ (2004), 63 million people in North America suffer from constipation (under Rome II diagnosis criteria). Let us see how Yoga can become our good helper in combatting such problems. The direct positive effect of Yoga on the huma
How to Choose a Yoga Mat
Selecting your Yoga mat is a serious responsibility. The mat is your personal space and a matter of hygiene. It will have contact it all parts of your body every day. It is your foundation, your support and encouragement during the difficulties of practice. A good Yoga mat should: - correspond to your size - be of suitable thickness - have sufficient slip resistance (stickiness) on both sides - be durable - exhibit no persistent unpleasant smell - have a design that pleases you