Thursday, November 28, 2013

Vipareeta Karani a powerful healing posture.

If you are suffering from arthritis or rheumatism then Vipareeta Karani is the posture for you.  Actually this posture is restorative for the whole nervous system and has a multitude of benefits bringing balance back to your whole being, relieving mild back pain, anxiety, digestive problems, insomnia, depression, headaches, high or low blood pressure, respiratory problems, cramps and varicose veins in the legs, calms the mind and helps with the menopause. 
Vipareeta Karani in Sanskrit means ‘doing the reverse.’  For those of you suffering with arthritis it brings the blood flow to the parts of the body that need it and improves the healing process reducing pain. 
It is not unlike sarvangasana the shoulderstand but there are quite profound differences.  Here the neck is extended and not brought in to the chest, the blood flow to the head and face are unimpeded.  The nervous system is toned up and nervous energy is increased which reduces the arthritis, the sluggish circulation or stasis in the diseased joints is cured and the blood flow activated.  There are natural benefits to the heart as it encourages deep breathing slowing the heart down and bringing greater strength.
In this posture there is an arch to the lower back as the lumber region or the hips are resting on the hands and fingers, make sure the elbows are pushing down into the mat, the neck should be free here but always keep the head in line with the spine.  So as in shoulderstand where the weight is on the shoulders here the weight is to the elbows and upper arms and the legs are kept and 45 degrees instead of being pushed up straight. 
To begin lay on your mat on your back the arms next to your body and palms face down, breathe rhythmically into your abdomen.  Then keeping your back, head and neck on the mat inhale and raise your legs up to 90 degrees.  On the next inhalation gently lift your hips until you can place your hands and fingers flat against your hips or buttocks.  Then tilt your pelvis back toward the mat; arching the lower back the hands are like shelves for your hips, keeping the neck free and weight on the elbows, the legs straight at 45 degrees and breathe rhythmically and deeply.  To come down gently form a break on the mat with your hands and lower yourself carefully back down.
As well as all the benefits mentioned above it is written that this posture destroys old age and after 6 months practice reduces wrinkles and grey hair, so every reason to practice right!
Please do take care with this posture and it is always better to practice under the guidance of an experienced teacher.
Inverted postures should not be practiced by people suffering with serious eye problems such as detached retina or glaucoma or any serious neck or back injury.  Always seek advise before practising.
There are variations that you can use also if this posture is too strong for you with resting bolsters and pillows under the lower back and using the wall for support.
For now enjoy your practice
Om Om Shanti Om
Mangala – Nicky.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to work toward a happier more contented mind.

Whatever is happening in our life we tend to identify with it, i.e. when sorrow comes we become sorrow, when happiness comes we become happy, when confusion and ignorance come we become confused and ignorant.  We are all in this human body, which is a wonderful thing as it gives us the opportunity to dive into ourselves and to observe our minds.  We naturally want to be happy in fact we seemingly are never satisfied and are always wanting more, we don’t want to worry but we always worry.  We naturally want to make sure tomorrow will be safe but we are looking in the wrong places with the wrong methods to do so, it isn’t in having a flat in Paris and one in Holland.  It isn’t in having an expensive holiday or is it in having a highflying job or the friends that you work with.  What we really have to do to make sure tomorrow is happy and safe is to not think of tomorrow but think of the now and create a mind which is not going to be disturbed in any circumstances.  We need a method to not be affected by any physical or mental condition so in times when things seem more difficult; in times of loss or pain, actually they are easy because we don’t identify with them and remain unaffected. We can enjoy our experiences but try not to get attached to them, let them go as everything is always changing, nothing stays the same only the ultimate truth does so.  So when we have those times of exhilaration enjoy and move on, as they don’t last, there are always ups and downs, comings and goings.  Don’t let your expectations disturb you, try to accept things as they are.  The problem with us is that we expect everything to be perfect we want ourselves to be perfect.  This dream of perfection is going to cause nothing but worry and anxiousness or even disappointment, as nothing is perfect only in consciousness itself does this exist. 
We can help ourselves to overcome our delusions and rest safely and happily in the now by being grateful for all that we do have, for most of us we are exceptionally lucky sitting here looking at this computer screen with all 10 toes, the sense of sight, of touch, the ability to read and think.  For some these things are not a possibility.  A while ago I was coming back home from town in a taxi watching an old man with one leg having to wheel himself about in a make shift chair that he had to struggle to turn the leaver at the front with one hand to make the wheels go round, through the most busy and polluted streets in amongst all the noise and traffic, this man looked between 70-80 year old or even older.  All I could think of was struggle for this man to simply be able to move.  So for most of us we have so much to be grateful for right? 
Taking time for some meditation on this is a great help in getting us closer to gaining that mind that is going to remain contented and unaffected.
Here is how –
1.Sit in a calm place and sit comfortably, you can sit in a chair if it is not possible to sit on the floor for you.  However you are sitting be it in lotus pose or simple crossed legged, or with the legs out straight in front, make sure that the spine is held straight.
2.Close your eyes and observe your body for a few moments, try to relax your face, smoothing any lines across your brow, relax your eyes and your jaw.
Tense and release any muscles that are feeling tight or where you feel tension and try to relax your whole body.
Rest your hands gently in your lap and start to observe your breath, without changing anything just be witness to your tummy gently moving as you breathe.
3.After some time begin to imagine your toes and be grateful for them, for all the work they do for you each day.  Imagine your feet be glad you have them to carry you around, your legs, your hips.  Imagine your spine holding your whole body up straight, your lungs for enabling you to breath.  Your hands that allow you to write, cook, and all the things you do.  Imagine your skin allowing you to touch, your eyes allowing you to see, your nose allowing you to smell, your ears allowing you to hear and your tongue allowing you to taste.  Imagine your beautiful heart beating, what a wonder no?  You can work through your whole body and be grateful and happy with each part of it; even you can work through your internal organs and your wonderful mind.  You can even continue with thoughts of waking up in a bed in a room, that you have running water, a kettle to make tea with etc etc.
4.When you have finished going through all these things of which there are so many to be thankful for then just sit for a while in your own love and light, just breathe and be.
5.Before opening your eyes place your hands together in front of your heart centre and say thank you, then rub your hands together to create a heat and place them over your eyes.  Observe for a moment now how your mind is feeling - a little happier, a little lighter?  This will help you to take courage and continue on with the next time you practice your meditation.
6.When you are ready open your eyes and place your hands back to your lap.
Continue your day with a happier and more contented heart.
Thank you Frank for sharing this meditation.
Peace love and light
Mangala – Nicky.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Healing from Mother Earth

Some of the most powerful and safest therapies are found in nature.

Turmeric that lovely sun coloured bright yellow wonder spice has been used for centuries in Indian cooking and Ayurvedic practices.  The power of turning to nature to heal us can be immense, often we just need to trust Mother Nature herself and allow her to nurture us. 
Going backwards and forwards to surgeries and clinics sometimes can cause more stress than sitting back and simply breathing.  Taking time for you body to heal is really important and often knowing the best way to do that can be confusing especially when you hear different opinions from different people. 
Right now I am suffering with some sickness, there is an unbalance in my body, yes it comes even to us Yogi’s sometimes, and when it comes we have to accept that it is there, respect it and take time to heal.
All disease is caused by the body and mind becoming out of balance, or from a karmic dept that we have to pay, acceptance can sometimes be the most difficult thing, but giving ourselves time is so important, we think maybe the problem will go away if we ignore it, when we have so many others to take of sometimes our own being is put to the bottom of the list.  However all awareness begins at home, if we don’t take care of ourselves then how can we properly take care of anybody else?
Turmeric has amazing healing properties and is used in many different ways, in herbal teas and cooking and as pastes to be applied to the body.
It has a wonderful antioxidant effect that protects cells from the normal but damaging effect of oxidation and a great boosting of the immune system.
Turmeric being a natural anti-inflammatory and natural antibiotic gives great relief from achy joints and muscles when made into a paste and applied to the area in need.  Here is my recipe –
Mix together enough turmeric powder with a little water to make a paste and heat, add half a teaspoon of rock salt, a little pure honey, half a teaspoon of sesame seeds and squeeze the juice of half a lime into the paste. 
Before applying to the body rub a little oil into the effected area, then apply the warm paste, cover with an old cloth (turmeric has a staining effect from its bright colour) and place a hot water bottle over the top.  You might like to wrap a towel around the whole area to keep the hot water bottle in place.  Keep there for as long as you can, between half an hour to an hour.
Whilst you are applying the pack, you could practice a little yoga nidra or meditation to accompany the healing process. 
This is very good for anyone suffering from arthritic joints, sprains, twists and swellings where there is no infection (no red colour to the skin and hot temperature.)
Enjoy the soothing effect that this practice has on the body. 
For now may you all find peace and happiness.
Om shanti
Nicky – Mangala.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Overcoming the Obstacles on the path to meditation.

One of the main ways to overcome the many obstacles that cross our path to falling into a state of meditation is to actually know what those obstacles are.  Then we can understand, confront and overcome them.  The path of meditation is a rocky and difficult one, but overcoming those hindrances serves as a challenge and brings us to higher achievements. 
PAIN IN THE BODY can be overcome by practising our yogic postures regularly in order to make the body strong enough to sit for some time in stillness.  Much energy is wasted in fidgeting about whilst trying to sit still, so if the body is strong enough for it then this ceases to cause a problem.  Also sit in a position you can maintain for some time, we don’t all need to sit in a perfect lotus to be able to meditate, just be comfortable as long as the spine is straight for the energy to be able to flow without constriction.
DIET plays an important role in trying to reach a point of meditation, just as the food we eat becomes our body itself, the subtle parts of the food also form our mind and how we are thinking, so a yogi eats a very plain and simple diet, avoiding spicy and stimulating foods so as to keep the mind calm and still enabling themselves to be able to slip into meditation more easily.  Foods that stimulate – chillies, onions, garlic, and lemons are among the more obvious ones of caffeine, meat and alcohol.  Also avoid eating too much, if the stomach is overloaded meditation is impossible, eat as lightly as possible.
SLEEP is often coming during a meditation session or feelings of sleepiness and lethargy.  Try to have a break for a few moments if sleepiness is coming, or adjust the method of meditation to add variety.  If you are mentally repeating a mantra and you feel sleepy then repeat it aloud for a while, or do a few rounds of sun salutations and come back to the meditation, you will feel more alert again.  Another way is to chant OM aloud for a while then come back to your original method.
DOUBT in the practice is a huge obstacle, as one may have been practicing for some time without thinking they are gaining the results.  Firstly have realistic expectations of the practice, it is very difficult and for most of us takes a long time with patience and dedication, but remember often the results are hidden and you are receiving them by just doing the practice even though it may not seem obvious to you.  When doubt arises the student should seek the company of spiritually elevating people, by studying the scriptures and spending time in the right company of others who are dedicated to their practice.  Be inspired by them and gain the courage to continue, all the best things are worth waiting for!
ANGER AND THE LOWER EMOTIONS may arise blocking you from reaching that state of bliss and contentment, try to just acknowledge them as they are human emotions after all but try to combat them by considering all the disadvantages they have on you both physically and mentally and then in turn the negative effect they have on those that surround you.  Then think of the opposite emotion or feeling i.e if you are feeling anger contemplate it and then think of compassion and contemplate all the positive effects that compassion would have on you and all those that surround you.  This way you can start to turn all negatives into positives. 
Practicing meditation not only brings us so many benefits, we become calmer, stronger emotionally, able to deal with certain situations in a better way and brings us peace but this also vibrates out to all those that surround you, so in improving ourselves we are also improving our environment and the other living entities that surround us.  So get our your cushion, get comfortable, light a candle and sit in the love and light of your own silence.  Give yourself the opportunity to just be with yourself and breathe, nothing more than that and nothing less.
The path is long the greatest virtue is humility.
Let us make the world a more peaceful place both internally and externally.
May you all find peace, harmony and balance in your life.
Nicky / Mangala