Thursday, 31 October 2013

Plow Pose: Halasana II

Contra-indications: This asana should not be practised by those
who suffer from hernia, slipped disc, sciatica, high blood
pressure or any serious back problem, especially arthritis
of the neck and heavy period of mensuration.

Benefits: The movement of the diaphragm which takes place
during the practice of halasana massages all the internal
organs, activates the digestion, relieving constipation and
dyspepsia, revitalises the spleen and the suprarenal glands,
promotes the production of insulin by the pancreas and
improves liver and kidney function. It strengthens the
abdominal muscles, relieves spasms in the back muscles,
tones the spinal nerves, improving the operation of the
sympathetic nervous system, and increases blood circulation
to the whole area. It regulates the activities of the
thyroid gland which balances the body's metabolic rate,
and stimulates the thymus gland, boosting the immune

It is used in yoga therapy for the management of asthma,
bronchitis, constipation, hepatitis, urinary tract and
menstrual disorders.

Plow Pose: Halasana I


hala = plow

The Plow Pose stretches your spine, thus, improving spinal flexibility. It benefits the thyroid gland and abdomen, eases tension in the shoulders and back, and reduces stress.

 The Plow pose is also good for your digestion and it strengthens the kidneys, the liver and the gall bladder. 

STEP 1: Lie down with your back on a Yoga Mat.
STEP 2: Your shoulders should lie on the edge and your head rests on the mat. Your legs are drawn in and still stand on the mat.
STEP 3: Lift your hips off the floor and bring your legs up, over and beyond your head.
STEP 4: At this point, lift your back and move your legs further beyond your head.
STEP 5: Straighten your spine and keep your back straight. Move your hands toward your back.
STEP 6: Place your arms against your upper back and try to place your hands as near as possible to the shoulder blades. Try to place your elbows at shoulder-width. If you cannot do this, put them at a somewhat wider distance from each other.

By stretching your back and through relaxation in the muscles and through your position the legs slowly move further and further backwards. Try to relax the shoulders and the neck muscles through your breathing. If your breathing feels oppressed, the pressure in the heart area gets too big or your jaw is pinched off, you should walk backwards a little with your legs.

Slowly bring your legs, one by one, back to the mat, stretch your arms lengthwise away from you and slowly roll off your back downwards, vertebra by vertebra.

It is advisable to lie on a yoga block with your neck and your back in order to relieve the neck muscles a little and to make the stretching of the back easier. There are three important movements in the Plough: 1) The upper back is stretched up to the top of the chest bone. This means that the upper back does not sink down and there is no bend in the back. 2) Through the upward movement from the upper back you get a movement in the direction of the chest bone 3) You stretch your pelvis upward from the sacrum, with the result that your chest bone gets more space. During this exercise you should try not to lose these three connections. In fact try to work them out further and further. 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Yoga Nidra - Deep Relaxation and Guided Meditation! Part II

Yoga nidra refers to the conscious awareness of the deep sleep state, referred to as "prajna" in Mandukya Upanishad.

Let’s get set for yoga nidra:
In yoga nidra, we consciously take our attention to different parts of the body, which activates the nerves in those areas and helps to integrate the impact of the asanas (yoga postures) into our system.

Here is a step-by-step guide to do yoga nidra.

Tip: It is a good idea to cover yourself with a blanket to keep yourself warm. The body becomes warm while doing postures and a sudden drop in temperature is not suitable.
  1. Lie down straight on your back in Corpse Pose (Shavasana). Close your eyes and relax. Take a few deep breaths in and out. Remember to take slow and relaxed breaths, and not ujjayi breaths.
Tip: If you feel any discomfort or pain in lower back, adjust your posture or use a pillow to elevate the legs a little, for more comfort.

  1. Start by gently taking your attention to your right foot. Keep your attention there for a few seconds, while relaxing your foot. Then gently move your attention up to the right knee, right thigh and hip (again for a couple of seconds). Become aware of your whole right leg. Repeat this process for the left leg.
  2. Similarly, take your attention to all parts of the body: genital area, stomach, navel region, chest, right shoulder and right arm, followed by the left shoulder and left arm, throat, face and the top of the head.
  3. Take a deep breath in, observe the sensations in your body, and relax in this still state for a few minutes.
  4. Now, slowly becoming aware of your body and surroundings, turn to your right side and keep lying down for a few more minutes.
  5. Taking your own time, you may then slowly sit up, and whenever you feel comfortable, slowly and gradually open your eyes.
Yoga nidra is thus a joyous, effortless way to end your yoga practice. Just let go, relax and enjoy the experience that follows.

The practice of yoga relaxation has been found to reduce tension and anxiety. The autonomic symptoms of high anxiety such as headache, giddiness, chest pain, palpitations, sweating, abdominal pain respond well. It has been used to help soldiers from war cope with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Yoga Nidra - Deep Relaxation and Guided Meditation! Part I

Welcome to Yoga Nidra Practice for Deep Relaxation and Life Fulfillment. Yoga Nidra is a deep relaxation and guided meditation that you practice comfortably lying down on your back with your arms by your sides, your palms facing up and your head on a pillow. 

Yoga Nidra means conscious and aware sleep. It is the moment-by-moment process of actively and openly observing one’s physical, mental and emotional experiences. It is that state when you are totally relaxed yet conscious and aware. Similar to when you are just about to fall asleep. Yoga Nidra practices were developed thousands years ago as a means to achieve the deepest states of inner peace and relaxation. A way to positively impact and recondition your mind's subconscious layers. Yoga Nidra can help you solve problems and enhance both your intuition and your creativity. It will rejuvenate your body and your mind. It is said that 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to 3 hours of deep sleep. It is a powerful and delightful practice that you can do on a daily basis at any suitable time for you. Stay awake, stay still and  do not sleep. 

First take a moment to set an intention, a "sankalpa", a resolve for your life. Something you wish to manifest in any areas of your life or a quality you wish to cultivate/ embody for example: fearlessness, courage, inner peace, fulfillment...etc. Use either the present or future tense in a simple a simple sentence such as: " I am in radiant health and will heal completely" "I will be successful in all that I undertake" " I will awaken my spiritual potential" The wording should be precise, clear and meaningful for you. Stay with the same resolve every day until you manifest it, achieve it, embody it.


Sunday, 13 October 2013

Kinetic Chain Movements!

Understanding how the body and all of its segments work together is essential for developing effective exercise programs. Furthermore, knowing the difference between open- and closed-chain movements can help you to select appropriate exercises based on the individual needs of each client.
What is a Kinetic Chain?

The concept of the kinetic chain originated in 1875, when a mechanical engineer named Franz Reuleaux proposed that if a series of overlapping segments were connected via pin joints, these interlocking joints would create a system that would allow the movement of one joint to affect the movement of another joint within the kinetic link. Dr. Arthur Steindler adapted this theory in 1955, and included an analysis of human movement. Steindler suggested that the extremities be viewed as a series of rigid, overlapping segments and defined the kinetic chain as a "combination of several successively arranged joints constituting a complex motor unit." The movements that occur within these segments present as two primary types—open and closed.
Open-chain Movement
Steindler defined open kinetic chain is defined as a combination of successively arranged joints in which the terminal segment can move freely. In an open-chain movement, the distal aspect of the extremity, or the end of the chain farthest from the body, moves freely and is not fixed to an object. Here are some examples of open-chain exercises:
  • Seated leg extension
  • Leg curl
  • Bench press
  • Dumbbell biceps curl
  • Lat pull-down
Closed-chain Movement
Steindler defined closed-kinetic chain exercise as a condition or environment in which the distal segment meets considerable external resistance and restrains movement. In a closed-chain movement, the distal end of the extremity is fixed, emphasizing joint compression and, in turn, stabilizing the joints. Closed-chain exercises, such as the examples below, are considered to be more functional than open-chain exercises.
  • Squat
  • Leg press
  • Wall slides
  • Lunges
  • Elliptical training
  • Stair stepper
  • Versa Climber
  • Push-ups
from The American Council on Exercise

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose) Anatomy!

Yoga-Functional Anatomy!                        
                                        (par-ee-vrit-tah trik-cone-AHS-anna) 
parivrtta = to turn around, revolve ; trikona = three angle or triangle.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) Anatomy!

(are-dah chan-DRAHS-anna) 
ardha = half ;chandra = glittering, shining, having the brilliancy or hue of light (said of the gods); usually translated as "moon"
Yoga-Functional Anatomy!

Well said, Rumi!

Instead of resisting to changes, surrender. Let life be with you, not against you. If you think “My life will be upside down” don’t worry. How do you know down is not better than upside?

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana(Upward-Facing Dog) Anatomy!

(OORD-vah MOO-kah shvon-AHS-anna) 
urdhva mukha = face upward (urdhva = upward mukha = face) svana = dog
Yoga-Functional Anatomy!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Essence of Yoga!

The Essence of Yoga:  it’s all about being aware / awake and being mindful of your actions...

The journey of yoga is one that is always an introduction;
 There is no end to yoga; it is a constant process of discovering yourself, and energizing your mind - body to give it optimal health.

Yoga is just NOT calisthenics (marked by the headstand, the lotus posture or some pretzel-like pose). While it is true that yoga involves many postures – especially in hatha yoga – these are only intended to make people get in touch with their inner feelings.

Yoga is NOT a system of meditation – or a religion – the way many people are misled to believe. Meditation is only part of the whole process of bringing ourselves into the realm of the