Showing posts with label yoga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yoga. Show all posts

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Warrior - Friend Virabhadra and the Asanas Origin

Sati was the daughter of the high chief of Gods Daksha and married to Shiva. One day Daksha decided to throw a yagna (ritual sacrifice) and invited except for the couple since he despised Shiva. 
 Sati got word of this and suggested to Shiva that they go anyway however Shiva, not wanting to incite her father’s anger, prefered not to. Sati was hurt by her father’s treatment and decided to go alone.
Arriving there she got into an argument with her father in front of the guests something that made her feel humiliated. When her father tried to provoked her again she remained silent and decided she wanted to relinquish all family ties, telling her father this: “Since you have given me this body I no longer wish to be associated with it.” She walked past him and sat in a meditative seat on the ground, closed her eyes and fell into a trance. Going deep within herself she began to increase her inner fire through yogic exercises until her body burst into flames.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Swimming is Similar to Yoga? Breathing, Meditation and Relaxation in the Pool.

Swimming is my first big love. I used to train in a big team when I was younger for many hours every day, I was actually living most part of my life in or around a pool.  As life’s responsibilities grew more and more I had to quit since there was no way I would find so many hours to train daily. That is how I kissed my big dreams to enter the Open Sea category and participate in international events goodbye.

Well, this year I decided that since I won’t be running during winter time I should find a pool and go for  a swim 3-4 times per week. And I did. Going back after all these years was great but at the same time felt so different. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Acceptance is the Beauty of Yoga.

I love Fridays. Although I am really worn out from the whole week that has just passed, the evening led class is such a wonderful way to end the week. The effort I need to put in my practice is greater than any other day due to physical tiredness but the energy in the shala is lifting everybody up. 

So, last Friday we had another full primary series led class at the studio. It was probably the most demanding one I had so far since all the week was crazy. Christmas holidays are just around the corner and the daily work load has increased dramatically. To be completely honest, when I left the office I was really thinking to drop the class and just go home to rest. I had a debate with myself, one part of me was trying to get me home and the other one was convincing me to go to the studio which I fortunately did.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

30-hour Yoga Asana Immersion.

Photo from here.
Lately I have taken some private lessons with my teacher as I am really concerned on learning more about yoga philosophy and history while deepening my asana knowledge: what is the correct alignment for each asana, which muscles are active during each posture, what are the benefits if done correctly, what are the risks if done incorrectly, what modifications can be applied for different needs etc. Although I am not new in yoga and most of the primary series asanas are more than familiar to me, I didn't have a teacher that could provide this kind of  information to me in the past. My teacher not only helped me with all the above but also gave me directions on further book reading and even gave me some of his own material that he used in previous workshops.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Easy Sun Salutations. Beginners' Tips for Suryanamaskar A & B

Sun Salutation A.
Photo from here.

Sun Salutations can be difficult when you are a beginner but there are some tips my amazing teacher has shared with me that have been valuable to me and helped a lot. It's fun how sometimes just a small tiny modification can make things easier.
As my teacher always says in each and every practice "You must not suffer when practicing Ashtanga. You must feel that your body is working but not too much, you do not want to make your life harder than it already is, you want to make it easier and better. So bring your intelligence in the classroom and modify whatever asana you need to or rest in child's pose whenever appropriate".

Friday, November 30, 2012

Living Yoga - On And Off The Mat

Photo from here.
One of the parts I really heart when I practice Ashtanga Yoga in a class is the fact that I am blessed with an amazing teacher. Each and every time we finish practice, right after Savasana, we will sit to a comfortable sitting pose and our teacher will speak for 4-5 minutes about something. That something ranges from some detail he noticed to the world around him, a thing that happened to him during his daily activities or practice, something he read and thought he should share, a personal thought or emotion… pretty much everything. The great thing is that whatever he shares is inspiring me to search inside me, it gives me food for thought and helps me understand deeply that yoga is not only about the hours I spent in class but is what I do all 24 hours of the day, every day. As he said: "It doesn't matter if you come here and practice in the studio everyday but then forget everything when you leave. You must practice yoga all day long. Help an elderly woman pass across the road, recycle, give a loaf of bread to the homeless person you run into every morning, feed the stray dog in your neighborhood, do things that benefit others without expecting anything in return."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yesterday's Dream Is Today's Reality.

Hand to Toe Pose
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana
I have only been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for a tiny amount of time but there is no doubt it feels that this is what I should be doing. Yesterday I had a wonderful led class in the evening. It was the first time I was so concentrated in my practice, no wandering mind, no random thoughts, no distractions. Just me on my mat, breathing Ujjayi breath, feeding the fire inside, trying to keep my internal body locks (Bandhas) and practicing the sequence of asanas. It was the first time I got so further into most of the asanas and the time completely flew by.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Time For Ashtanga!

After of a long period of self practice due to lack of funds and a few months unemployed I finally found a new job. I spent 9 months more before I finally signed up for an Ashtanga yoga class and during that period the first 3 months I did go on home practicing but the last 6 I didn't. Something really intense happened to my life and I went through a period of letting go of everything. I just went to work, got back home, ate and sleep. I even started smoking again, a bad habit I managed to let go years ago. After reaching bottom line I decided I had to do something for me. I stood up, gathered my pieces together and searched for a studio of Ashtanga. I talked with 3 different ones till I decide and this September I got my very first lesson.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Hello Mr. Rodney Yee! Nice to Meet You Mr. Bryan Kest!

As soon as I quitted the Hatha Yoga class I took at the studio in my neighborhood I knew I needed to keep practicing until I find out more about yoga and studios and get myself a good teacher. That was when Mr. Rodney Yee came along.
The first DVD I tried was Power Yoga Total Body which I loved at that time. It was exactly what I needed. Challenging power yoga with progressing exercises, beautiful setting and great description of the poses and how to get into them. It was perfect for my level at that time and I used it for a long long time. 

Diving Into a Hatha Yoga Class

After home practicing with the Power Yoga & Five Tibetan Rites DVD for a while I started needing something more. I accidentally found out that there was a new yoga studio just 5 minutes walking distance from my house and decided to enroll. I dropped by and  the teacher informed me that they had daily Hatha Yoga classes, beginner and intermediate level, and two times per week they had a Vinyasa Flow class while every other weekend they would do seminars on meditation, chakras, traditional medicine, ayuverda etc.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Power Yoga, the Five Tibetan Rites and How a DVD CAN Be a Starting Point!

Yoga. Such a magical word!

I will never forget the first time I heard it. I was around 18 and I had no idea what yoga was, I just overheard someone mentioning it on the street. And I felt something moving inside me. I knew I had to learn more! I read a little general information about it but at the time I knew I could not commit to it due to college and working responsibilities. Kept it on the back of head. 

Eight whole years later, in 2009, I had just came to the point describing in my previous post. I finally achieved being promoted in a managerial position which was my dream for years and felt that everything I did to get there was for nothing. I needed to start fresh, give my own self some time, get it all back together. I started again dance lessons (which I had dropped for 2 years in order to focus in my job and so-wanted promotion) and although dancing did make me feel a lot better I felt I needed something more. One day I got a free Yoga DVD with my local copy of SHAPE magazine, it was my first one ever. I felt that something moving inside me again. So I got home, put it in the player and watched it. It was a beginner’s power yoga sequence followed by the Five Tibetans Rites and a 15 minute relaxation in savasana. The setting was great, the background music was amazing and the voice of the woman featured in the DVD (famous local trainer that was one of the first to bring power yoga in my country) was peaceful and calm. I liked what I saw and I decided that I would try it on the first day I had enough free time.

That Saturday night I didn’t go out. I stayed home, made some space in the living room, lighted up 2-3 candles and an oil burner with jasmine incense, put a mat I had on the floor (foam mat I had for crunches, not good for yoga) and put the DVD on. As soon as I started I felt a strange kind of energy inside me, like electricity. By the time I finished relaxation I was feeling lighter, less worried, happier, tranquil. I could not explain how it was possible to feel this way after just one hour of practicing but I didn’t care. The fact was that I did. I was feeling that something is changing, I was feeling that what I did was right and that feeling was way too strong to question it. I went to the bathroom and looked at the mirror: you could see it in my face, I looked calm! 

Next day I ordered a yoga mat and I kept practicing with this DVD for a while doing my own ritual: turning off most lights, lighting my candles and burning jasmine . 

(Photo from here.)