Archive for July, 2012

JULY 30, 2012

The Importance Of A Strong Foundation Towards A Safe Practice

Posted by Dorothy under Interesting Reads, Philosophyno responses

As my teaching skills mature year after year, and guiding different people with different injuries and capabilities, I cannot deny the importance of a strong foundation in order to ensure the safety of my students in their asana ( yoga poses ) practice. I have recently pulled Baron Baptiste’s ” Journey Into Power ” out of my bookcase and flipped to a page where he structurally talks about building healthy poses. I have always liked his unconventional views on many yoga related things and therefore will summarise his teachings in this post for all to read and learn from.

It is common sense that in everything you build, whether it is a house, a career or a family, a strong foundation is vital in taking you through any unforseen turbulences. The same principle applies for your body in yoga postures. The foundation or the base of yoga poses are the part of the body which is connected to or touching the ground. For instance, in standing postures, the feet are the foundation, in prone postures, the belly is the foundation and supine postures, the back is the foundation.  Once a steady and strong foundation is secured, getting into, staying and getting out of your asanas will be easier and less wobbly.

In a standing pose, it is important to take the time to ground your feet firmly on your mat to stay connected to your base. Then work your way up by steadying your legs, keeping your hips squared, lengthening up your spine, and placing your arms and fingers wherever they are required to be ;  not forgetting stretching your arms by reaching into your fingers. In a prone pose, say, a locust ( salabhasana ), you will need to ground your pelvis, lower belly and palms on the mat while your chest, thighs and feet are lifted off the floor.  Lengthen up into the crown of your head and fully extending into your toes, keeping the muscles in your thighs and butt engaged.

With a strong foundation, we then have to work on alignment and balance to reduce or avoid injuries, muscular imbalances and bad postures. For instance, if your hips are uneven, weight on your feet is uneven, shoulders are lifted to your ears, upper back is rounded, pelvis is tilted, or your mid or lower back is hyper arched, it will be trickier to find a neutral alignment and balance in a pose. You should also understand that everybody has a different body structure and therefore instructions to poses will help you towards healthy alignment and balance, but you will need to play with your alignment to find what is right for your body. In yoga, we are taught to work on things equally, and when it is in relation to asanas, you learn to work on the right and left, front and back, lower and upper sides of the body equally. That will get your body balanced and coordinated.

So while you are in a pose, it is important for you to keep in mind “what goes where, what rotates which way, which muscles and joints do what and where should you put the weight”. Once you are done getting and holding a pose right, that is still not the end of it as you also need to get out of your pose gracefully. It is similar to going to a destination and returning to your original position via the same road. Therefore, the way you get into a pose is the same way you get out of it in reverse. Learn to be mindful of the journey throughout the pose. Do not rush in and out of a pose as injuries are easier caused by such impatience.

Be mindful and patient on and off your mat.

Our Next 2N 3D Langkawi Yoga & Nature Retreat 2012

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JULY 26, 2012

Focusing Only On The Inhales And Exhales In Pranayama ( Breathing Exercise )

Posted by Dorothy under Community Interests, Natural Highs, Wellnessno responses

The Alternate Nostril Breathing exercise  is recommended for beginners as it is not complicated and it helps one to focus only on the inhales and exhales as opposed to other pranayamas which includes breath retention. There are many benefits for this simple pranayama ie: calming, cleansing, balancing and better sleeping patterns mainly because it balances the hot and cool air produced by breathing. In other words, it balances the flow of energy in the body. The ancient yogis observed that a lot of diseases were due to disturbances of the nasal cycle or if a person breathes for too long through one nostril. They also believe that when we breathe, our right and left nostrils dominate alternately at about every 4 hours. The hot air flows through the right nostril, which relates to the sun therefore energizing our body, whereas the cool air flows through the left nostril, relating to the moon, relaxing or calming a person. With the alternate breathing exercise, balance between both nostrils will keep one healthy.

Technique:

  1. Right hand in Vishnu mudra (fold the index and middle finger in towards the palm).
  2. Left hand in Chin mudra ( tip of the thumb and your index finger together )
  3. Sit in Padmasana / Samasana position
  4. Close the right nostril with the thumb. Inhale through the left nostril for 4 counts, then release the thumb and pause before you switch by closing the left nostril with the ring finger ( or ring and little fingers ) and exhale through the right nostril for 4 counts
  5. Keep the ring finger on the left nostril and the right nostril open as you inhale through the right nostril for 4 counts, then pause as you release the ring finger and switch by closing the right nostril with the thumb and exhale through the left nostril for 4 counts.
  6. All of the above is one cycle. Repeat about 4 – 8 times each set. Once you are used to this practice, you can increase the number of counts and cycles.

 

Our Next 2N 3D Langkawi Yoga & Nature Retreat 2012

Our Next 4N 5D Langkawi Yoga & Nature Retreat 2012

 

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