Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sanskrit you hear in Class - What's the meaning?

During your asana class or indeed any yoga class you may hear your teacher referring to things in Sanskrit, which may leave you wondering sometimes what on earth they are talking about!!   Sanskrit is our oldest language and is embedded with special vibrations like no other language and it is an integral part of our yogic history.  Some words just can’t be explained with the same meaning or relevance in English or would take many words to say the say thing hence why our teachers use the Sanskrit version also giving us more insight into our practice.  Here are a few words you may commonly hear with their meaning, knowing this may in fact lead you to a deeper level of practice allowing you to expand, so enjoy!

OM or AUM – the sacred syllable symbolising all creation, all states of consciousness, all that is unreal and all that is real and all that is beyond.  The symbol of God or absolute consciousness.
Prana –Vital energy, life-breath, life force.
Shanti –Peace.
Pranayama – extended breath or regulation of the breath including restraining of the breath to work with and circulate the internal energies.
Drishti –meaning to gaze, find a drishti point means find a point to gaze at or the teacher may point out where the drishiti should be i.e. fingertips etc.  Coming from Drishta meaning the visible, seen or that which is perceived.
Bandhas –Bondage or to tie a knot.  In class this is referred to as to a part of the body to lock the internal energy, this creates a great deal of strength and helps to maintain focus.  There are three main bandhas mula (pelvic floor or root), udiyana (stomach) and jalandhara (throat.)
Asana –means steady comfortable pose.  If you are struggling in a posture then you are pushing too far, hold back a bit and wait for the body to invite you in deeper, try not to let the mind fight with the body but make a friend!
Pratyahara –abstraction or withdrawal of the senses from the external objects, meaning to let go of the stimulation from all your senses sight, taste, sound, smell and touch and to dive into an inner world leaving the external world.  Simply meaning to withdraw.
Samadhi – the state of super consciousness with the experience of oneness, a state of the absolute where all knowledge, joy and peace reside.  All things become one there is no duality.
Samsara –this is the circle of birth to death and back to birth, that through our practice we are working towards liberation from. 
Sattva or Sattvic – meaning all that is pure, light and real.  If something is sattvic it is pure.
Chakra – centre of psychic energy within the human system.  A wheel of energy or vortex, of which there are many but there are seven main charkas five that are located along the spine, one at the third eye and one at the crown of the head.

So enjoy the sound of Sanskrit, sound has a profound effect on our beings so let the sound be joyful and float within you. 
Om Lokha Somasta Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings find harmony peace and balance
For now
Om shanti shanti shanti
Mangala / Nicky

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Power of Suryia Namaskar

Suryia Namaskar; the sun salutation, is a beautiful practice that enables us to bow down to the sun.  Why should we bow to the sun, well the sun is the very life source of this planet, without the sun there is no life, nothing grows there is no breath, so it is important to recognise or remember the essence of our very being and show our gratitude.  The sun is in everything, all that we eat, drink and breathe contains the sun and in Suryia Namaskar we learn to digest that energy and internalise it.  We can begin to shine from within and make light part of our every breath. 
Suryia Namaskar is so much more than just a physical excersise to mobilise the joints and muscles increasing flexibility, this is about re-tuning ourselves and bringing ourselves back into harmony with nature becoming in sync with the suns cycles – this giver of life.
There are 12 positions of the sun in a year and the cycles run around 12 and ¼ years so it not by happy accident that there are 12 postures within the salutation, this was intended for each one to represent on cycle. 
As Sadhguru says, ‘Suryia Namaskar is to make the body a stepping stone for higher possibilities.’
Becoming inline or together with the solar cycle enables us to bring back balance and harmony not only to our physical bodies but to ourselves as a whole, it is not the goal to become perfect, you are already that in a physical sense but it is the goal to become whole and fulfilled.  It is enabling us to reconnect to the very essence, which makes our being making us feel complete.  It can build the foundations for a higher level of consciousness and bringing us inline with the nature that surrounds us can bring stability and steadiness, bringing more confidence, which then enables us to continue with our evolution.
Quite simply Suryia Namaskar brings empowerment so what a better way than to start your day with a few rounds not only to wake up and detox the body but also to wake up and detox the mind. 
Catch the sun in the palms of your hands and bring him into your heart.
Enjoy bowing to the master of light
For now have beautiful days
Om Om shanti Om
Mangala / Nicky

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Bed Yoga for those Blue Winter Mornings!

Well now the winter is definitely in full swing here in Kathmandu and getting up in the dark and in the oh so cold is getting tougher and tougher, especially with no heating systems in our homes. 
But the intention to get up and onto the mat is still there and maybe for some even stronger as we want to start the new year in a positive manor, which can lead to a few frustrations as our mind is battling with our intellect and our bodies, the mind is telling us its ok go back to sleep, our bodies are telling us no I really would like to stretch and the intellect is telling us get your bottom out of this warm cosy place and on the mat, you know that it is good for you!!
So what to do, we all know which one we should be listening to, so here are a few yogic practices that you can do in the bed to make the journey out of there a little easier and a little gentler on our whole being, as winter time is a time more for rest and rejuvenation than pushing ourselves to our limits.
Also for those of us suffering with colds at this time of year rest is actually the best thing for us, but we still would like to practice, so here is how we can rest and practice at the same time -  hmmmmm will we ever make it from out under the covers again!!!!!!

You can start by lying in Savasana; on your back with legs apart, arms apart and palms facing upward and begin with some full yogic breathing.  Begin by just becoming aware of your natural breathing feeling all the sensations from the tip of your nose down into the lungs and again back out, feeling a warmth on the upper lip with every out breath.  Then start to breath more deeply pushing the tummy out as you inhale then pause, continue the inhalation and expand the chest.  Then with the exhalation allow the tummy to drop back down toward the spine and then lastly let the chest come down.  This breathing is going to bring potential energy for your day into the body and the whole system creating a good intention for the day. 

Then you can move into reclining bound angle pose – Supta Baddha Konasana, allowing a gently opening in the hips and the inner thighs.  Feel the soles of the feet pressing gently together allowing a flow of prana to journey around the body.  The spine can rest in its natural curve on the mattress and feel the shoulders and back of the head resting either on the mattress or on a pillow. Hold for however long you feel you can or as long as time allows and breath into any parts of the body where you are feeling tight or stiff.
Then straighten out your legs and hug one knee up to your chest again hold for some time keeping the other leg firmly pushing downward and then change to the other leg.
Coming into a supine spinal twist – Supta Matsyendrasana,  take your arms out to the sides shoulder height, bring one knee up to your chest then drop the knee down over the opposite side of the body and as close to your arm pit as you can, try to keep both shoulders down on the mattress and feel the twist to the spine, encouraging prana to flow through the spinal nerves and giving relief to the lower back.  The other leg is kept straight out.  Try to lengthen your exhalations in this pose to encourage the body to detox after the stillness of sleep.
Then you can roll over onto your front and come into a nice wide legged childs pose sinking the heart downward and resting the forehead either on the mattress or pillow.  Feel a connectedness to the earth as the hips gently open allowing the heart further downward and feel safe in your space as you look into your inner self.
Lastly for now or you will never get up!! Come to your cross legged pose sitting up now in the bed and bring the arms into Gomoukanasana pose, - crossing one arm over the other at the elbow and then connecting the palms together you should feel the forearms pushing against each other, then lift the elbows upward looking up to the finger tips to feel a lovely stretch along the upper back and the shoulders, great to relieve morning stiffness.
Throughout all these practices continually scan your body for new sensatioins as the body wakes up, now you are ready to jump out of the bed with enthusiasm and energy for the day!!
Looking forward to seeing you on the Mat!!!
Wishing you all a joyful and peaceful 2015 full of much love always
Enjoy your bed yoga!
Om shanti
Mangala / nicky