10 things Yoga taught me

When I started my yoga practice, I wanted to be more strong, flexible and calm. Period. I was not looking anything further. But, sometimes the best gifts come in disguise. Yoga taught me lessons that have metamorphosed my life!

Life Lessons Yoga taught me

1. The body, thoughts follow the Breath

Breathe right! It may sound simple or even trivial. But everytime you feel lost, disconnected; Breathe deeper and be aware of the sound and the sensations. It gives you the courage and comfort to keep moving. Just like we use Ujjayi breath to stay in an asana, be aware of your breath to flow through the day!

2. Be present

We are either planning , reviewing, worrying or fantasizing. We are so often caught in the past or future, that we forget to relish the here and now. Yoga without awareness is not yoga! We might do a 108 suryanamaskars with our mind all over the place. But, a mindful 21 suryanamaskars is so much more beneficial to the mind, body and soul! Therefore, use your breath to stay present. 🙂

3. Find your balance

It sounds simple enough to say “you need balance in your life;” But it’s another thing to attain that balance. Yoga teaches us that balance is a result of discipline and perseverance. When we fall off the wagon, we can either wait for the next asana. Or, we decide to get back on the wagon until we succeed. Life plays by the same rules too…

4. Look inside for solutions

I love the quote, “When you change, the whole world around you changes!” “I had a bad day, the mat is slippery, the music is too loud, so on and so forth.” We can either look for everything that is wrong on the outside or you can choose to make your practice better! So often we blaming everything around us. But, maybe we are the sole problem. So look inside, introspect and you will find the best things in life.

5. It’s about the journey, not the destination!

Remember all the times you fell, while trying to get into the headstand. The times worked for a stronger core, that you could get into the headstand. Similarly, life is about the journey, not the destination. Enjoy the means and the end is justified!

6. The body has intuition

Your body knows when to stop or take a break. That’s why the lack of flexibility or we get sick. The body knows your limits, so follow it to be injury-free. Similarly, so often our “heart is wrenching” or “there are butterflies in the stomach.” The body has intuition relating to your physical limits and your emotional needs. Value listening to what the body has to say and you will love and be comfortable in your body!

7. How we do one thing is how we do everything

One of the amazing things about yoga, is that similarly to psychotherapy.  People tend to approach their practice in the same way that they approach other areas of their life. Do you eaily give up when you cannot get into an asana? Everytime you faulter in a balance asanas, do you come back easily? For this reason, raise your practice and life becomes easier!

8. We are good at what we do everyday

When we practice a particular asana everyday. We get into that pose perfectly and we can stay there effortlessly. Similarly, practice kindness, courage, respect everyday. And these qualities become a part of you!

9. Your practice is unique

Do what feels best and feels right in your body. This is the same for your life. Accept challenges and your body/life will have a newness to it. What works for another person may not work for you. So design your life, your way!

10. Laugh at your bloopers

Once in a while we might have fallen on our neighbour, while trying to balance. Or your body might have sqeaked, quacked or wheezed. Just laugh it out! Don’t take life too seriously. Smile in an asana and in your daily life. It’s way to short to get embarrased or depressed. 🙂 🙂

I went into yoga for a physical experience and came out with a renewed sense of purpose! There was mental clarity, gratitude, more flexibility for mankind and a different mental process. Who would have thought all that could come from spending sixty minutes on a mat?

Iti Jain

“Sometimes, I don’t like what I see in the mirror.” And Meditation is a mirror

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When we start practicing meditation on a regular basis. Our awareness automatically increases. We are able to see our motives behind actions, our deepest fears, the mistakes we made; Basically, we are able to see our innermost selves. That is hidden from the world and often from ourselves too!

Thus, when meditating, we are taken aback. Sometimes, we don’t like what we see. But the other times, appreciate yourself for all the good work. Be grateful that you have turned out humane.

Meditation cannot be distorted or you cannot be partial. You will see the good, bad and ugly. BUT, the aim of meditation is not transformation. The result of meditation can be transforming. Overtime, we need to stop judging what we see. We just need to be aware and accepting! And as a result of our awareness, we raise our consciousness as people. Our perspective becomes wider and atleast we see our trueselves. That is often hidden in midst of our ego and chattering mind.

Irrespective of all, spend more time with you. As only when you see the most authentic you, can you help yourself. Orselse, you’ll keep moving in circles.

Meditate, not because you want to become a better person. Meditate, because you want the best of you to be reflected!!

Mind your wings

Unlearning through Yoga

“Education is a process of Unlearning and learning.”

Similarly, Yoga is a process of unlearning and learning afresh. Thanks to our lifestyle and occupational hazards, we have acute stiffness, pains and bad postures. A lot of the new practitioners are taught how to stand right, sit with the spine straight and breathe deep. But, this proves to be more difficult than learning asanas due to the ingrained habits.

Part of the path of yoga is to learn to let go of the ego. The ego doesn’t like to be ordered around and it detests changes.

Yoga as a lifestyle

My journey had a lot of unlearning and letting go. There was too much effort in my postures and in my breathing. My breath was shallow and I was tensing up the shoulders and spine in every posture. Overtime with awareness, I learnt to relax the muscles and focus on a particular stretch or asana. There were a few instructions that I could not follow. But with time, practice and a lot of unlearning, I was gaining more composure in my yoga practice.

As per Patanjali’s Yoga sutras, ” Sthira Sukha Asana” , every practitioner should be steady and comfortable in a posture. On a physical level, an asana should be held comfortably for an extended period. And when we look inside, the key is to pay attention and respond to how you feel moment to moment, rather than imposing a structure from the outside.

Our fast-paced lives and the prevalence of stress-related illnesses, make it clear that we need to simplify and declutter our  lives. So, let’s begin with our body and mind. Many a times we need to unlearn, to improve the quality of our life and living.

Let’s set our sankalp (resolution) to simplify our lifestyle and let go of everything that no longer nourishes our body-mind-life.

It’s the “Moments” that become your destiny!

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“The best things in life do not come in days, they are mere moments that leave us enchanted”

I set out on a journey travelling alone, all excited to learn. The first two-three days, nothing was happening. I was meeting new people, learning new things, but nothing that would be cherished. I was agitated.

But, it was only when I relaxed, that I realized:

  • It’s the small moments that teach us something new,
  • It’s those unexpected joys that become memories and
  • It’s  one story or one person that changes our perspective.

There is so much to explore. It is an incessant journey. But, don’t lose out on moments looking for “something big or grand”. It is the mere moments that can change our life. It is the smallest thing that can be the most extraordinary thing in our life. So wherever you go, live the moment and cherish it like there’s no tomorrow. You never know which moment is destined for your greater good!!

Mind your wings

 

The Path to Wellness- Understanding Anulom Vilom Pranayam

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There’s one quote that has sinked into my subconscious:

“Just Breathe, one inhalation – one exhalation at a time. Form a string of breaths and the magic happens…”

Anulom Vilom Pranayama or alternate nostril breathing exercise is one of the main practices of Pranayama.  It cleanses the pranic channels and balances the two main energy channels – Ida and Pingala thereby balancing the two hemispheres of the brain and it awakens the central channel called Sushumna Nadi.

Lets understand this in simpler language. Any form of deep-conscious breathing is Pranayam. In normal breathing, only one-third of the alveoli(air sacs in the lungs) get oxygen while the remaining remain inactive.As we get older, the inactive alveoli remain full of carbon-dioxide, becoming almost inert and our breathing becomes shortened. In Pranayam as we inhale more oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, our vital lung capacity increases. It helps the lungs in blood purification and improves blood circulation to all the parts of our body.

The ideal ratio in Anulom-Vilom is 1:4:2 (inhale:hold:exhale). We hold the breath for a longer time, as it is difficult to have thoughts when you hold your breath. Besides, our mind is cluttered with thoughts throughout the day, it is in silence that solutions and ideas are formed. We exhale all the toxins and the stress, but we do not prolong it as the rhythm would be broken and our inhalation would be jerky. 

Our goal should be consistency of the rhythm(of our breath). When our breaths are flowing effortlessly, the magic begins… The body recuperates, our minds are filled with tranquility and the soul is rejuvenated!! 

I fall in love with you everyday!

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Hello everyone!!

Training as a professional in Yoga has been mind-blowing (in a good way). First of all, Yoga is so much more than exercise or a mode of toning up. Secondly, yoga is much more than the aesthetics, as social media is being flooded with fancy – glamorous photos. Finally, yoga is not limited to exercise or breathing. So what is yoga..?

Yoga is holistic. Yoga is a lifestyle. Yoga is a choice to live in awareness. It is a connection between you and your energy. Yoga is the modal which makes you fall in love with your body! Finally, it becomes a medium through which you can express yourself.

There are days when I feel battered emotionally, those are the days I need Yoga more. The days I miss my daily dose of exercise, I want to get back to my mat more. The experience is exhilarating. I fall in love with Yoga again and again and again. And as I teach a certain group of people, I just want them to feel a similar exhilaration and become healthy inside-out. Teaching has been phenomenal, I feel a certain stillness and that is reflected in the classes. Finally, I have a passion that gets me out of the bed on the coldest days or the sleepless nights, as I know everything gets better when I am on my mat!! 🙂 🙂 

Mind your wings

 

The Luxury of Silence

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The world has become a cacophony (mixture of incessant sounds) 

Finding silence, alone time and leisure is a luxury.

Blessed are those who have time for themselves

Blessed are those who can contemplate and work in silence!

There is no time to sit and stare

There is no place where you can be absolutely aware.

With every breath I take, I know I am still there

But so often I am caught in my own despair

In these times, all one wants is silence.

They say Silence illuminates the soul

Silence ends the inner dialogue after a while.

It is in this silence I can hear the wind rustle and the birds singing

Silence is my solace where I find all the answers

Silence is my happy place where the best ideas are born

Silence is my cocoon where my soul detoxifies!!

I may get lost in all the noises around me

But, Dear Silence I will always find…

Mind your wings