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

When Life becomes “A means to an end”

End-Never-Justifies-the-Means

There are so many things we read, learn or experience, but we’re unable to understand them fully. Then, when we keep hitting the hammer on the same spot.. BAMMMM, our head is hit with understanding that liberates the heart!!

We all talk about living in the present, cutting the past and shutting the future. But, are we even making an effort to do it?

In School-colleges, our efforts are concentrated on the graduation day. We need that excellent score and a few awards to decorate our resume. But, did we enjoy the whole process? Did we live each day as it is, or were we too bothered by, “I ll be ecstatic on that  day, when I score X and win Y..” And similarly, the routine contines with the perfect job, soulmate, dream home  so on and so forth.

Basically, we spend our today working incessantly for a future goal. Why is happiness always work-in-progress? Planning, having goals, is awesome. But, don’t let that stop you from living today. Today-This moment is all we have. Just make the best out of it! Be happy now! Life may throw challenges, unexpected twists; But we need to tune ourself that we can make the best out of every-living-day.

I think, we all know this. It’s just that one day it hits you so hard, that you see the need for detachment from the outcomes. You realize that making today beautiful is the only assurance you can make to your heart and soul. 

Today is not a “means” to an “end” in the future. Live now. Do what makes your heart sing today. Let’s make a better today . So simple, yet so difficult…

Mind your wings

 

The Path to Wellness- Understanding Anulom Vilom Pranayam

breath

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!! 

The Luxury of Silence

rumi

Gg2LbDh

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

When the student is ready the teacher appears

Hello Everyone!!

Do you realize that when you are planning to buy a new car, phone, house or maybe a new lipstick shade; It is then, that you notice all the billboards or an article in the paper/magazine, that you would have otherwise overlooked. Similarly, in our lives we have many events, opportunities that knock our door. But either we do not hear it, because our focus is in a different direction or we are just not ready for it. But, when we are ready to learn, grow, change; the teacher appears as the student is ready. It maybe in the form of a book, workshop, person, anecdote or anything that makes you pause, think and learn. 

Here is my story:

I am absolutely passionate about dancing. It was the only thing that made me forget the world, time and sometimes myself too. I was repeatedly told to join yoga for better strength, balance and core. I tried a couple of classes here and there but I always found a reason not to go. And then I found a Yoga class, just a skip away from my house, Total Yoga. I had the full intention of checking it out. But, somehow I found yet another excuse.

 A year later, I again asked google for the best yoga class. I tried what I heard was the best, but I soon was wandering again. Then, I landed at Total Yoga with no expectations and guess what, it has been 4 months and I am loving it!! 🙂 🙂 Every class, every asan(posture), every story told by our teacher, every breathing exercise and every moment we are reminded to live in the now. I love all of it. It is my blessing in disguise. It makes me happy, very happy. I found something besides dancing that keeps me happy and calm.

And then it struck me, that my teacher was always around, but I was not ready. And when I was ready, I embraced it. It is not the fitness training or effective weight management that was my teacher. But it was the mind training that was waiting for me to be ready. And when I had an open mind to accept the new teachings, I found the best teacher. They nourished my mind and body. How??? that’s another story for another day. 

Your teacher will appear and take you to greater heights. Till then –

Mind your wings 🙂