Thursday, November 26, 2015

Forget this argument of not having time- Wonderful Words from Sadhguru.

I hear this oh so often - here is a wonderful response from SadhGuru; a realized master and yogi and one we should all listen to.
Question – ‘ I get up at 6.00am, hurry cooking, get the children ready, start by 8.30am to the office, come back from the office at 6.30pm.  Then freshen up the children, myself, cook food, homework and sleep.  In this hectic schedule where can I fit yoga into my life?’
SadhGuru – ‘ You get up at 6.00am and whatever time you go to bed, you have a busy day – where is the time for yoga?  You have time to eat, you have time to gossip, you have time to work and time to take care of everything but you have no time to take care of yourself, this is what you are telling me.  Now this attitude is like you are trying to act like a martyr and all the time saying I have no time for myself, I am giving myself totally to everybody, but what is it you are giving?  Your agitations, irritations, anxieties – passing it on to the children.  If you are really really concerned about your children, truly concerned about your children, creating a joyful and loving atmosphere for them is most important.  Not providing them with shiny boots or providing them better clothes or video games, not providing them with something else.  You creating an atmosphere for them of joy and love on a daily basis, moment-by-moment is more important than all the nonsense you are providing – isn’t it so?  Yes or No?  So what is your focus about life if you are able to manage your work, your children and everything then do it?  If you are unable to, then do what you can do, everybody can only do that much isn’t it.  You want to do everything in the world and that is the problem, you do everything in the world you will definitely go insane, how much you can do, each individual has to decide.  Somebody may be able to get up at 6am and do all those things joyfully, somebody else may not be able to; accordingly they have to adjust their life isn’t it.  You have gotten into all of this because it’s not what you want to do but you are trying to be like somebody else and that is your whole problem.  You want to have what others have got, you don’t know if you really need it or not, with all this work what you have earned, your children, you husband your wife or whatever are no more enjoying it - then why do you do all this?  All these things you created because you thought this is the source of your joy isn’t it, but right now that has become the source of your anxiety and misery – then you had better look at the fundamentals of your life.  You got educated, you found a job, you married, you produced children – all this for what?  Because you thought all this is going to be the source of your happiness and wellbeing, but now that is taking your life – if that is so, then you must look at it.  Now if you invest let us say even 30 minutes a day to do your yoga, you will see you will gain immensely even in the terms of time.  One first thing that will happen is your sleep requirement will come down, now if you are sleeping 8 hours a day, that means a 1/3rd of your life you are sleeping it off.  If your body and your mind are more energized and active your sleep quota will naturally come down, so if you gain 3-4 hours a day just in terms of wakefulness that is a huge thing.  Apart from that if your body and mind were more organized you would see - what I have found with people is with the simplest process of yoga within 6-8 weeks of practice that what they were able to achieve in 8 hours they can easily achieve in much less time, simply because if you observe yourself through the day; suppose we take a video of your whole day without you knowing you will notice how much unnecessary movement and unnecessary words and activities are happening in your life.  Do it one day, hire a cameraman and ask him to shoot you without you knowing about it.  You will see how many unnecessary things you are doing in one day.  If your mind becomes more organized these unnecessary actions and things will disappear, then once they go away you have a lot of time.  Then you have a whole 24 hours, we can do a lot in 24 hours if we are organized and focused human beings, we can do plenty in 24 hours.  If you are disorganized and unfocused you think there is no time – most of you are not busy you are just pre-occupied – isn’t it so?  There is too much pre-occupation in the mind.  Please invest this half an hour in a day, so get up at 5.30am and you will see the quality of your life will be very different, don’t go on with this argument “I have no time.”  Make time and see, it will make a huge difference.’

So get that old mat out, blow off the dust and get started, let us not waste any more time, the benefits are too delicious to miss! 
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti
Find your peace within
Mangala / Nicky.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Metta Bhavana, a Meditation of Love and Kindness to clean the Cobwebs in the Mind.

Every day we seem to scrub ourselves on the external side with all sorts of products, bringing a sense of cleanliness to our physical selves, but what about the internal realm, our minds also need the cobwebs removed!  Through each day our minds get clouded with all the conversations and activities that each day brings, our emotions rise and fall and each thought wave gives rise to another, so here is a lovely meditation to help clear out the mind without having to use any soap, natural or not!
I love to do this mediation before going to sleep, it seems to lull me into a nice comfortable place where my mind can rest and drift off to that blissful place and allow me to play a nice game of shut eye!
This practice is known as Metta Bhavana, meaning loving kindness where you direct just that to yourself, a loved or cherished one, a neutral person and to somebody you are having difficulty with.  Sit in a comfortable position, one you can maintain for some time, with the spine straight, or if sitting is difficult for you then do it lying in savasana – on your back with legs apart, the arms apart from your body with the palms facing up to the sky.  Softly close your eyes and allow the breath to be effortless and easy.  For a few moments mentally scan through the body starting at your toes and working up to the crown of your head, becoming aware of each part of your physical self, allowing any sensations to run through your being, observing them but holding no judgment of them, taking a bit of time to tune in to your physical self and bring the mind and the body closer together.  Then begin to expand from that and focus on your breath, notice every inhalation as it enters your nostrils then follow it through the nose and down into the lungs.  Then follow the breath back out of the body and observe a gentle warmth on the upper lip with every exhalation. Stay with that breath for a couple of minutes.  Then we begin to repeat the mantra – May you be well, May you be happy, May you be free from suffering and May you progress.  The first few times you mentally repeat this, imagine yourself at your third eye center, the point at the middle of your eyebrows, directing that love and kindness to yourself.  Then the next few times imagine a loved one, and then a neutral person and then somebody you are having some difficulty with.  You may want to go around the cycle again or even a few times.  This is going to generate positivity and take us away from negativity and the negative karma that we generate from our thoughts.  When we are having troubles with somebody or even a group of people it is usually the case that they are not happy and are suffering, if they were happy we probably wouldn’t have problems with them.  Or maybe it is our own unhappiness that is causing the problem, in which case we need to direct more love and kindness back to ourselves!  When you have completed then let any visualizations go, let the mantra go and bring your attention back to your breathing for some time, when you are ready rub the palms together to create a warmth and gently cup them over your eyes, gentleyopen your eyes and release your hands, or if you are practicing in bed then simply drift off to sleep! 
Enjoy your loving kindness; bring positivity and a fresh mind!
For now have beautiful days
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
May we all be peaceful.
Mangala / Nicky.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Life and Balance, which Postures Balance which Emotions?

We are human beings; which means that we are full of wonderful emotions that constantly remind us of that fact.  They can be strong, quick, fleeting, lingering, mild, ferocious, amusing and scary. But whatever they are through life’s twists and turns they are coming and there is nothing wrong with having them, in fact we should have them, even when they are negative ones it is all part of this life.  But it is knowing what to do with them or how to handle them that is important and how to turn the negative ones to positive ones.  How to make anger turn to joy, fear to love, worry to freedom, grief to peace and confusion into clarity.  How do we clear out those cobwebs of life to see a clearer more peaceful horizon?  When we are talking in yogic terms then actually the practice of Bhakti Yoga is key to learning how to master the emotions, that of prayer, ritual, puja, visiting places of a spiritual nature, spending time with a higher consciousness and chanting and singing within that consciousness.  However for some of us those practices may seem far away or something that we may not want to discover yet, so it is important to know the use of our yogic postures, where we work with the body to achieve the same or similar results.  Yogic asana or postures work on many different levels, of course they are physical but they are also aligned to the organs and energy channels within the body and this is where many of our emotions congregate.  For example we hold a lot of our anger within the liver and kidney, fear we hold around the heart and chest and anxiety can build within the stomach.  Practicing our asana with the right intention is a purification process for not only the physical body, but also that of the emotions that lie within the mental layer of our existence. 
Backbends allow us to embrace life, take on life’s challenges and open our hearts to others and the world that surrounds us.  Backbends can be difficult allowing us to overcome obstacles and fears, they can be confronting and can allow many things to surface.
Twists can allow us to confront our anger and the many knots that accumulate through life and allow us to start to untie those knots or barriers within us.
Inversions give us the chance to look at life differently and can bring calmness as sometimes they are showing us what can not be seen from an upward point of view.
Balancing postures can bring clarity to a confused or cloudy mind as they increase focus and concentration.
It is important not to suppress our emotions but deal with them, yoga allows us to find a sense of contentment in any given situation, it allows us to acknowledge the emotion and let it pass, to accept it and then let it go, giving your internal self a spring clean of all the cobwebs of the past.  Hatha yoga brings all these polarities into harmony all the negativities into positives, the masculine and the feminine into balance, the sun and the moon within you become closer together.
Acknowledge and let it go, here are four postures that will help –

                               Ardha Matsyendrasan – the half spinal twist 

Turning anger into joy with this twisting pose as it stimulates the liver and kidney and allows you to focus on the exhalations imagining a cooling sensation for the mind with every out breath.

Ustrasan – camel pose  
Turning fear into love, as we open the chest and allow the heart to expand giving it more space, an invigorating posture that re-energizes and allows us to confront.

Paschimothanasan – seated forward bend 
Turning anxiety into freedom as this posture calms the mind bringing a greater sense of security, soothing and toning for the digestive system and rebalances through our whole energetic body bringing fresh prana (vital life force) into the spinal column. According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika one of our classical textbooks on the light of yoga, it is stated that this posture can remove all diseases. Great youth can be gained from this pose, we can return to when we were children and anxiety was less than when we grow older and life leaves its marks on us.

Shashankasan – child’s pose  

Turning grief or sadness into peace as we bring our forehead to the mat and feel the connection to the earth.  All becomes safe as it puts the mind at ease and into a receptive state and allows us to journey to the depths of our hearts finding love, compassion and a sense of being nurtured.

Finding joy, love, freedom, and peace through our journey with yoga, enjoy your practice,
Om Lokha Somasta Sukhino Bhavantu
May we all find balance and harmony
Om Shanti
Mangala / Nicky.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Did Yoga help The All Blacks win the World Cup?

Many sports men, athletes and footballers are turning to yoga for many reasons, many sporty types and pro-athletes discover yoga when trying to recover from an injury.  But why wait for that to happen, bringing yoga into your routine is going to help prevent those painful injuries and actually improve on your performance.  Ryan Gigs from Manchester United says “Yoga helps me so much and I really enjoy it, before yoga I was suffering with tight hamstrings and back that was making me miss 10-12 games a season, now with yoga at 36 it is really helping my game.”
The practice is going to help your motion and flexibility and works through the whole system both physically and mentally.  The areas of the body that are ignored during your training get strengthened and become healthier which is going to help support the areas of the body which are overworked.  So any imbalances that may occur due to repetitive motion will re-harmonize, the core becomes stronger which is very important in supporting the parts that are taking the most strain.  Through a constant yoga practice balance and co-ordination improve greatly but yoga goes beyond and deeper than just stretching tight muscles, tendons and ligaments. 
Focusing on the breath as we do during the length of our practice is going to help build stamina, concentration and gives a greater sense of focus.  During our yogic postures we can feel all kinds of different sensations, sometimes uncomfortable ones, but using the breath to breathe through the body is going to build on mental strength which in turn will help with more challenging matches, races, work-outs etc., proving that you can go that extra mile with the help of knowing how to use the breath correctly.
And with meditation practices concentration levels are going to increase even more, develop sharpness of mind and also guide us to the ability to relax, which is vital for all of us and really important for bodies which are being pushed that they get the time to rejuvenate, with improved sleep and peace of mind.
So there is every reason for the practice of yoga to really help keep you well both mentally and strong physically so you are ready to perform to your best as do The New Zealand All Blacks whom just pipped the rugby World Cup, Ryan Giggs our beloved Manchester United player, Kevin Garnett the forward for the Boston Celtics, the New York Giants team, Vernon Davis who plays for the San Francisco 49’ers and such UK Football teams as Man City, Bolton, Burnley, Southampton and Derby, they are all getting themselves on the mat, so why not join them and see the difference it makes!
Here are a few postures that are really going to help keep flexibility and strength –

Dangling improves flexibility to the hamstrings and brings a fresh supply of oxygenated blood to the brain.

The inverted V pose gives a complete stretch through the whole body from the ankles to the back of the neck, loosening hamstrings, back muscles, allowing the spine to lengthen and strengthens through the arms and shoulders.   If the chin is tucked to the chest there is also stimulation to the thyroid gland.  Being a gentle inversion it massages the heart and refreshes the supply of blood to the brain.

Plank pose: a great core strengthener, tones the arms, wrists and shoulders. Releases tension between the shoulder blades.

Upward facing dog, opens the chest, strengthens arms, wrists and shoulders and works the whole spine, tension is released from the back muscles.

Butterfly pose, opens the hips and stretches through the inner thighs.  The organs of the entire pelvic region are toned and invigorated.

Chair pose reminds of our connection to the earth, strengthens the thighs, calves and ankles, stimulates the heart and diaphragm and can build on endurance levels.
Always remember to relax in Savasana lying on your back on the mat with the legs apart and the palms facing up for 5-10 minutes after your practice, that is when the magic really happens!

Enjoy this beautiful practice
Om shanti shanti shanti
May all find peace and balance
Mangala / Nicky