Latest Posts

Share Your Yoga Stories and Spread Your Knowledge

manduka2
I want to hear your yoga anecdotes and yoga experiences. Whatever it is I am interested. Whether it’s inspirational, hilarious or just pretty boring (or about my Wasu yoga )

  • I want to hear about it and share it with people.
  • What’s your yoga nemesis and how quickly have you seen improvements?
  • Whats your favourite pose?
  • have you tried other yoga classes & how you feel about them?
  • Had the teacher ever got that bit too close?

What’s in it for you? A top of the range yoga mat.

It’s good to hear about people’s relationship to yoga to help me develop myself as a teacher. I also hope that others wanting to start yoga but haven’t quite done it yet can hear about others experience which may help them make the leap!

Advertisements

What you desire ask the universe (Law of Attraction)

You are the designer of your own destiny and you are the author to your story, the pen is in your hands and the outcome is whatever you choose!

The beautiful thing about law of attraction is you can start wherever you are and the universe will respond to it. We can create how we want it, the thinking and the power is within you, not in this world. You can make excuses but there is always a way to be what you want!

“Whether you think you can or you can’t either way you are right.”
– Henry Ford

There is no limit to anything we are unlimited.

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
– Albert Einstein

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive, it can achieve.”
– W. Clement Stone

When you have inspired thought, you have to trust it and you have to act on it.

Wealth is about mind set.

Everyone is after money and want to be rich, but that doesn’t mean you will be wealthy, I am not suggesting that money is not part of wealth, it’s only some part. And a lot of people who are spiritual, they are too sick and broke all the time, thats not wealth either, life is meant to be abundance in all areas.

Many western cultures are striving for success, they want home, they want business, they want all this outer things, research has found out that having these outer things does not necessarily guarantee what we really want which is happiness. So all we do is  go for these outer things, thinking that it will bring us happiness, but its backward, you need to go for inner joy, inner peace, inner vision first then the outer things will appear.

Live in hope and joy and if you live in negative and what really will happen is it would never heal thats the law of attraction, happy thoughts, happy body, with thoughts and emotions we create our body and when you remove stress from your body, it will heal itself.

You can change life and you can heal yourself.

The universe likes speed so don’t delay, don’t second guess, don’t doubt the opportunity is there, when the impulse is there, when the intuitive nudge within, its there, Act right that’s your job and that’s all you have to do!

You will attract everything you require, you will be attracted to anything you require and want, and pay attention to what you are attracted to, And if you hold images you attracted to, the images will be attracted to you. It will move into physical reality through you and it does that by law of attraction.

You can start with nothing, and out of nothing and out of no way a way will be made.

Think of a car you driving through the night and the headlight goes to 100 or 200 feet forward and you can be driving a long distance from one place to other and all you can see is that 100 to 200 feet that’s how life tends to unfold before us if we just trust that next 200 feet will unfold after that and the next 200 feet unfolds and life will keep unfolding and it will eventually get you to the destination or whatever is what you truly want because you want it

“Take the first step in faith, you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”
– Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Manifest what you want in your life and you have to feel it.

Be aligned with the universe, the universe does it with any zero effort, it’s what you put in and there is no rule in what you ask for.

When you turn that Fantasy into fact and then it will turn into reality.

Life is what you make of it. We are creation of our own thoughts, we are prisoners of our own thoughts break that chain and think what you want it will happen.

Energy flows where attention goes.

It’s not our job to change the world, it’s our job to change our attitude.

Most people live in fear, there is more to fear and be aware and there is more good.

Lots of people feel they are victim in life, they point the past life growing up with abusive parents or dysfunctional family, most psychologist believe that 85 percent of families are dysfunctional so all of sudden you are not so unique.

Everyone in life has a story of their life from being homeless, alcoholic, abusive family, we all go through something in life, but the question is what we going to do now, what you choose now, focus on that or focussing what you want now, when people start focusing on what they want and what they don’t want falls away, that part expands and the other part disappears, its all upright for you to choose.

Whatever you think you attract it, Make the action be the key to your success, when you focus on lack and scarcity, and what you don’t have and you discuss it with your family, or you discuss it friends, or you even discuss it with your children, what you don’t have enough, we can’t afford that, so guess what you will never will be able to afford that, don’t do that cause you will attract more of what you don’t have. If you want abundance and if you want prosperity, then focus on abundance, focus on prosperity.

The purpose and your mission of your life is what you choose and you think or believe, there is no black or white, your purpose is what you say it is and your mission is what you give yourself, life is what you create and no one will ever stand and judge you.

Joy, love, happiness, freedom, that what life is all about.
If you sit on hours meditate and don’t experience joy then thats what you don’t do, what you do is what makes you feel the joy you want. Inner happiness is the fuel of success. You choice what makes you happy.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls”
– Joseph Campbell

When you follow your bliss you live in constant space of joy. To open yourself up to the abundance of universe you are excited to share your life with the ones you love, and the excitement, your passions, your bliss, it become contagious.

Future is of a lot potential. We can do anything and anything is possible.

You come to this junction in life, nearly because something in you said that you deserve to be happy, you were born to add something to add value to this world, to simply being there to be the best person you can be!

Every single thing you have been through, every single moment that you have come through, We are all here to prepare ourselves for this moment which is right now. Now you know that you are the creator of your own destiny and imagine what you can do, what would you do with that moment and how would you seize that moment. No one else can dance your dance, no one else can sing your song, no one else can write your story, who you are, what you are, what you can achieve, it all begins right now.

I believe that we all are great and there is something magnificent about us regardless of what’s happened to you in your life, regardless of you think how young or old you might be, the moment you remember to think properly, there is something that there is within you, this power that’s within you which is greater than this world, It will begin to emerge, it will take over your life, it will feed you, it will cloth you, it will guide you, protect you, direct you, sustain your very existence, if you let it.

That’s what I know for sure 🙏🏽

What I know for sure that what the universe has planned is what we ask from it, the choice is yours.

 

namaste. love & peace

The Art of Being (Happiness, Worrying, Suffering)

IMG_1016

The Art of Being (Happiness, Worrying, Suffering)

In today’s hyper connected world, it’s really difficult to be mindful and connected to the present. It’s hard enough to master “the art of being”, but you add in something as small as a smartphone with ubiquitous wifi or data access, and it becomes virtually impossible. One of the simplest (simple does not mean easy) ways to find joy in your everyday life is by just being.

What is the art of being?
Being means you are completely in the present. You need to focus your mind on what you are hearing or doing right here and right now. How often do you find yourself at home after work and still thinking of things back at the office? Then you go to the office and you’re thinking about the problems at home. You go through the motions of the day without actually experiencing the motions of the day. Your thoughts end up being everywhere except at this specific moment in time.
To “be in the present” you have to focus on two things: the here and the now.

Here: In order for you to be here, you can’t be somewhere else. If you’re somewhere else, you can’t be here. Seems logical right? The problem is that something as simple as a smartphone can disconnect you from the “here” and immediately take your mind to somewhere else. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you must be wise about being present when you need to be. Always be present when communicating with another person (especially with your spouse, and/or kids). Try to eliminate the distractions that prevent you from being fully here. Have designated times where you put your phone away or turn it off so you can focus on being fully present (meals, conversations, work, etc).

Now: When your mind is focusing on the past or concerned with the future, it’s not fully experiencing the present.
The art of being is about learning to be wherever you are. It’s about focusing your mind on the present moment and trying to “experience” the motions as you go through them. Being in the present isn’t something you do…it’s something you experience.

“The word ‘person’ comes from the latin word ‘persona’ which referred to the masks worn by actors in which sound would come through. The ‘person’ is the mask—the role you’re playing. And all of your friends and relations and teachers are busy telling you who you are and what your role in life is.”

– Alan Watts

“If you say making money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living. That is, to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid. Better to have a short life, which is full of what you like doing, than a long one spent in a miserable way.”

“When you are not getting in the way of yourself, you will begin to find out that all the great things you do are really happenings. All growth is something that happens. For growth to happen two things are important. You must have the technical ability to express what happens. And secondly, you must get out of your own way.”

We have all gone through some obstacles at a certain point of our lives in the name of survival. We often tend to deny them as they are difficult to deal with. However, as difficult as they are to bear, it is imperative if we want to live a fulfilling life.

According to Buddhism, happiness is based on embracing and accepting the negative aspects of life. Denying them turns a blind eye to real life and makes us resist the natural forces of the universe.  This article focuses on 5 truths about the life we would all benefit from knowing!

1. Worrying is useless
Worrying is something that doesn’t help with any problems in our lives. It is a waste of time as it cannot change what is going to happen whatsoever.  As Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh puts it, you need to remain in the present without thinking about the “future conditions of happiness” and putting labels on them.
“Worrying does not accomplish anything. Even if you worry twenty times more, it will not change the situation of the world. In fact, your anxiety will only make things worse. Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so. If we don’t know how to breathe, smile, and live every moment of our life deeply, we will never be able to help anyone. I am happy in the present moment. I do not ask for anything else. I do not expect any additional happiness or conditions that will bring about more happiness. The most important practice is aimlessness, not running after things, not grasping,” he explains.

2. If we want to be happy, we must see reality for what it is
According to Buddhist philosophy, we must see reality for what it is.  We need to be open minded and open to the truth,  instead of focusing on our own unrealistic opinions. Many people choose to remain positive by avoiding negative situations, but what we need to do is to confront them.  According to Buddhist master Pema Chödrön,
“We have two alternatives: either we question our beliefs – or we don’t. Either we accept our fixed versions of reality- or we begin to challenge them. In Buddha’s opinion, to train in staying open and curious – to train in dissolving our assumptions and beliefs – is the best use of our human lives.”

3. We need to accept change actively
Everything changes, no matter which aspect you look at in life. Embracing these changes gives us the energy and liberation we need to create a fulfilling life.  As Buddhist Buddhist Daisaku Ikeda says, accepting and embracing change helps us create positive changes in life.
“Buddhism holds that everything is in constant flux. Thus the question is whether we are to accept change passively and be swept away by it or whether we are to take the lead and create positive changes on our own initiative. While conservatism and self-protection might be likened to winter, night, and death, the spirit of pioneering and attempting to realize ideals evokes images of spring, morning, and birth,” he explains.
4. The root of suffering is pursuing temporary feeling
Most people crave feelings of happiness, such as joy, euphoria, and excitement.  However, these feelings are temporary and the pursuit of them turns into suffering.  True happiness comes from inner peace and it is based on a feeling of being satisfied and happy with your true self. Yuval Noah Harari explains that people can stop suffering only when they understand the impermanent nature of their feelings and stop craving them.

5. Meditation is the path to reducing suffering
Meditation teaches us that the present is all that exists and that everything is transient. As Yuval Noah Harari puts it,
“This is the aim of Buddhist meditation practices. In meditation, you are supposed to closely observe your mind and body, witness the ceaseless arising and passing of all your feelings, and realize how pointless it is to pursue them. When the pursuit stops, the mind becomes very relaxed, clear and satisfied. All kinds of feelings go on arising and passing – joy, anger, boredom, lust – but once you stop craving particular feelings, you can just accept them for what they are. You live in the present moment instead of fantasizing about what might have been. The resulting Serenity is so profound that those who spend their lives in the frenzied pursuit of pleasant feelings can hardly imagine it.”

Attitude that makes a big difference

matwasay2
At a very young age I was really curious about everything that happens around me, as I was growing I just got more curious about every little things and to know more about things I got to learn to seek than to believe in things that I have been told. My attitude changed towards how I see others and myself. Honestly we all are a confused beings that some of us want to believe what happens and some believe in seeking the impossibilities.

I educated myself in living in the moment that living for tomorrow, not an easy thing to do, but somewhere along the line my attitude changed towards life, what is my purpose? its like words are free. Its how I use them may cost you”.

Treat your words like they are gold and use each one deliberately. Always aim before you shoot.

Attitude is a state of mind on which depends our actions in life and hence our course of life. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is a little difference in their respective attitude.

Where on one hand, positive attitude can lead us to cross the greatest obstacles in life, a little negative approach can keep us from turning our dreams into reality. Yes, this is how important positivist and a strong attitude is! So if you wish to achieve something, try changing your attitude towards your goal and see the path being cleared for you. Attitude quotes are those kinds of quotes which motivate us to turn our negative attitude into a stronger and more positive one.

A right attitude can take you places whereas a wrong attitude and leave you in the dumps. However, in the face of challenges, sometimes keeping the right attitude may not be all that easy. In such times, a little inspiration is all that you may need to steer your outlook the in the right direction. Here are some inspirational quotes that are sure to imbibe you with positive attitude.

“Our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us.”
– John Mitchell

Give life the best of you and see what happens. It might not happen when you want it to happen, but the best of life is headed your way.

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”
– Scott Hamilton

Our thoughts can move us forward or leave us paralysed. Don’t let fear cripple your growth.  Don’t let doubt disable your dreams.

I guess if you see our attitude towards what we see or pursue in life for seeking what we don’t believe. what we need to believe is that nothing in this world impossible, lets seek and we shall find.

“Attitude of gratitude brings opportunities for what we seek”
– Dr. Wasay Foladi

“It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention.”
– Conan O’Brien

Let your failures become part of your humorous, interesting and never dull story! Let your comeback story be the most interesting thing about you.

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.
– Winston Churchill

Where do you stand?
Do you stand alone or do grasp every opportunity to seek life!

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”
– Herm Albright

Be positive in what we want to achieve or what we want from life, surround yourself with people who have positive attitude.

“I certainly don’t regret my experiences because without them, I couldn’t imagine who or where I would be today. Life is an amazing gift to those who have overcome great obstacles, and attitude is everything!”
– Sasha Azevedo

What are some of the gifts in your life?

“Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.”
– Ralph Marston

And developing a great attitude is a skill!

“Attitude is the frame in which you view the world, the hue in which people see you, the tone in which they hear you and the mood for all your day’s activities.”

How would you describe your attitude?

“A positive attitude may not solve every problem but it makes solving any problem a more pleasant experience.”  
– Grant Fairly

Yes! Make sure your attitude is on your side!

“The most important thing you’ll ever wear is your attitude.”
– Jeff Moore

We pick one out every single day!

“Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.”
– W.C Fields

Out of all the things listed above, attitude is also what we have the most control over.

“It is our attitude toward events, not events themselves, which we can control. Nothing is by its own nature calamitous — even death is terrible only if we fear it.” 
– Epictetus

How do you take control of your attitude?

“A bad attitude is like a flat tyre, you won’t get no where till you change it.”
– Dr Wasay Foladi

YES!

“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.”
– Og Mandino

You never know too much to learning something new or seeking something new that actually means something to your life. All these quotes of attitude to life your thinking.

“What you think you become”

Live and BE!

Peace and Love

 

Searching our Mind for the Roots of Fear

IMG_0782

You are taking a early morning walk in the woods ― pleasant, beautiful day, the sun shining through the leaves. Suddenly, a snake appears at your feet. You experience something at that moment. You freeze, your heart rate shoots up and you begin to sweat ― a quick, automatic sequence of physical reactions. That reaction is fear.

Human anxiety is greatly amplified by our ability to imagine the future, and our place in it.

A day later, you are taking the same walk again. Sunshine, pleasure, but no snake.  Still, you are worried that you will encounter one. The experience of walking through the woods is fraught with worry. You are anxious.

This simple distinction between anxiety and fear is an important one in the task of defining and treating of anxiety disorders, which affect many millions of people and account for more visits to mental health professionals each year than any of the other broad categories of psychiatric disorders.

Scientists generally define fear as a negative emotional state triggered by the presence of a stimulus (the snake) that has the potential to cause harm, and anxiety as a negative emotional state in which the threat is not present but anticipated. We sometimes confuse the two: When someone says he is afraid he will fail an exam or get caught stealing or cheating, he should, by the definitions above, be saying he is anxious instead.

But the truth is, the line between fear and anxiety can get pretty thin and fuzzy. If you saw the above mentioned snake at a particular rock on the path of your walk, and are now at that spot, the rock may stand in for the snake and elicit fear, even though the snake itself is nowhere to be found.  In modern life, many fear states are like this — they are brought on by things, signposts or signals that stand for harm rather than things that are truly harmful.

We actually know a tremendous amount about what goes on in our mind.

Have you ever been so afraid of failing at something that you decided not to try it at all? Or has a fear of failure meant that, subconsciously, you undermined your own efforts to avoid the possibility of a larger failure?

Many of us have probably experienced this at one time or another. The fear of failing can be immobilising – it can cause us to do nothing, and therefore resist moving forward. But when we allow fear to stop our forward progress in life, we’re likely to miss some great opportunities along the way.

“Fear is an illusion created by your own mind, The only thing to fear is fear itself.” – Wasay Foladi

It’s almost impossible to go through life without experiencing some kind of failure. People who do so probably live so cautiously that they go nowhere. Put simply, they’re not really living at all.

What I am trying to say, honestly we all have fear of something in our life, we fear of disappointments, we have fear of failing or even taking risks in life. There are a lot of obstacles that we create with our own thinking and our own mind. I know its easy to say that overcome fear but how do we do that! How can someone easily over come them, there are many ways as mentioned by so many gurus or buddha teaching that we shouldn’t fear for fear itself is an division that we create by believing that we will fail.

I know I am not here to say that I was good at what I do, but we all know that we have been there, and the only way we can move forward it overcome that obstacles, no matter how hard you think its going to make you feel about giving up, think and stop for second, just imagine what is that one thing that you fear and think of it as an mirage that it doesn’t exist, its just a mirage and believe in yourself, we all win or lose, life is not to just stay on ground when you have fallen so badly that you think its impossible, but we need to get up and get stronger, what doesn’t kill makes you stronger!

We are all searching for something, something that makes us feel alive, something to connect us , to give our lives meaning, but sometime when you searching for something, the worse thing that could happen is! You find it! here we go again we still feel that fear of finding something that we were searching for.

It’s important to realise that in everything we do, there’s always a chance that we’ll fail. Facing that chance, and embracing it, is not only courageous – it also gives us a fuller, more rewarding life.
However, here are a few ways to reduce the fear of failing:

– Analyse all potential outcomes – Many people experience fear of failure because they fear the unknown. Remove that fear by considering all of the potential outcomes of your decision.
– Learn to think more positively – Positive thinking is an incredibly powerful way to build self-confidence and neutralise self-sabotage.
– Look at the worse-case scenario – In some cases, the worst case scenario may be genuinely disastrous, and it may be perfectly rational to fear failure. In other cases, however, this worst case may actually not be that bad, and recognising this can help.
– Have a contingency plan 

 

– If you’re afraid of failing at something, having a “Plan B” in place can help you feel more confident about moving forward. But keep moving on, We could all find it but what would be the point, What’s the point to anything! Life”

Sometimes we all searching, searching to give our life some meaning, whoever says to you that you cannot accomplish or do something, they are wrong!

It’s always possible! Never underestimate what you can accomplish!

When you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything.
Never Give up!

 

Love & Peace

Namaste

Sometimes in life we just need to smile

DSC_0165

Sometimes in life we just need to stand there and smile, we are moving so fast than we miss every moment to see the beauty in this world, our present is our Now.

For many years I struggled to find the peace I really wanted.
You know the dream:
Happiness
Not overthinking
No anxiety
Physically fit
And the to live every moment without being distracted by the past or the future.
During that time, I lived with anxiety, insomnia and way too much useless thinking going on in my head. It was never easy.
One of the reasons I was never truly at peace was because of one recurring problem: I couldn’t learn to “accept” where I was without wishing it were different.
Because avoiding and fighting against what is happening inside you only makes it worse.
Unfortunately, acceptance is also really hard to cultivate. We’re practically wired to not accept the moment if it’s not 100% comfortable.

So, what can we do?

Master Miyamoto Mushashi’s 21 rules of life.
Known as Japan’s greatest ever swordsman, he wrote these 21 rules 2 weeks before his death.
Each rule teaches you to accept your circumstances in life, detach from outside forces you can’t control and be comfortable with who you are.

I find these rules quite powerful, the only way to cultivate acceptance is through continued practice in your actions and your attitude. The two things we actually have control over.
And these rules give you the necessary guidelines to do just that.

1) Accept everything just the way it is.
2) Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
3) Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
4) Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
5) Be detached from desire your whole life long.
6) Do not regret what you have done.
7) Never be jealous.
8) Never let yourself be saddened by separation.
9) Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.
10) Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
11) In all things have no preferences.
12) Be indifferent to where you live.
13) Do not pursue the taste of good food.
14) Do not hold onto possessions you no longer need.
15) Do not act following customary beliefs.
16) Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
17) Do not fear death.
18) Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
19) Respect Buddha and the Gods without counting on their help.
20) You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor.
21) Never stray from the way.

For me Yoga made me who I am, life taught me to be who I could be, my parents taught me to survive, my friend and loved ones has been my shadow in my life.
About me, where should I start, I have done a lot in life, from raising a child on my own, and from having nothing, I did what I could to survive, Its been tough but never gave up. We all get depressed and sad, I am not saying I don’t, I did too, but what makes me stronger is love for “Yoga”, at times I did want to give up at what life threw at me, but I took chances and I took risks, with time I learned and I keep learning that there are obstacles we face and no matter what everything is going to be ok!
Every problem has got a solution, why worry and make our problems double, when we can actually meditate in our own ways, not just sitting and breathing for hours, but taking some time out for your own self, finding our own happiness and your inner peace, it’s easy to say it but we can, and that’s nothing impossible in this world, we as humans created what it’s now with all the technology around us, we don’t have time for our families and time of our next generation, we can say we have a strong mind, body or soul, but sometimes we just want to give up, and at the same time we have a will power to either go on or give up. And for me there is only one thing I choose, no matter what happens I would never give up.

Story to all this is now that who I am, learning and teaching each day as a yoga teacher.

Yes I am a student and I am a teacher, I am my own guru 🙏🏽

I make my own decision for myself, no one will.

Yoga is me and I am Yoga.
Don’t just sit there and do nothing about it, meditate in your own way to find what makes you happy. And just be in that moment which is present Now!

Peace and love

How to Practice Headstand

How to Practice Headstand

Learn the intricacies of the yoga pose, Headstand or Salamba Sirsasana

inversion-benefits-infographichow-to-do-headstand

Almost all of the articles you see about yoga these days—and there are a passel of ’em—describe how wonderful it is. They list the benefits, ranging from increased flexibility to ultimate immersion in the Great Cosmic Ooze. They describe yoga as a stress-free, painless way to well-being. But by touting only the obvious goodies, these articles not only paint an incomplete picture of yoga, they also rob it of its juice. The pleasures and benefits of yoga are indeed numerous and profound, but the difficulties you encounter in your practice are at least as important.

Ancient yoga texts stress the importance of tapas—the fiery quality of discipline and determination. One way to produce fire is friction, and the resistances that arise as you practice often provide the spark that ignites the fires of transformation. That fire is fed and fanned by your practice as you roll out your mat day after day. Every part of your life, from the most mundane to the most lofty, also rolls out for your consideration. Every time you practice, you run the risk of having your world turned upside down.

But that’s true whether you do yoga or not. At any moment, your life can change forever. Whether you choose to keep this frightening truth in the forefront of your awareness or not, impermanence is a fact of life.

Long ago, yogis recognized this by making nonattachment one of the cornerstones of yogic practice. If you follow the path of yoga, you must be willing to change anything and everything in your life: what you eat, wear, and read; how you perceive, think, and act. To be truly free, somewhere along the line you have to be willing to give up the illusory security of the known and fling yourself into the abyss of the unknown.

Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand) provides an opportunity for experimenting safely with the unfamiliar and the fear it engenders. Headstand can be scary. It literally turns your world upside down. Beginners may become disoriented, unable to tell left from right and top from bottom.

But, as B.K.S. Iyengar says in his section on Sirsasana in Light on Yoga, “The best way to overcome fear is to face with equanimity the situation of which one is afraid.” Fortunately, disorientation in Headstand subsides fairly quickly. With regular practice, you can begin to experience the benefits which led the yogis to call Sirsasana the “King of Asanas.”

Getting Ready for Headstand

Salamba sirsasana is not a pose for raw beginners. Proficiency in some preliminary asanas will speed your learning and go a long way toward preventing problems in Headstand.

The most fundamental asana for learning Sirsasana is Tadasana (Mountain Pose). The actions of the legs, torso, and neck are essentially the same in both poses, although these actions feel different when you turn topsy-turvy and reverse your body’s relationship to gravity.

The standing poses develop the strength, flexibility, and endurance you need in Sirsasana. Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) can help provide the necessary increase in shoulder mobility; Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) also opens and strengthens the shoulders and introduces you to a mild inversion.

Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) is second only to Tadasana as a preparation for Sirsasana. Shoulderstand tones your spinal muscles, teaches your legs to lift your body (keeping the spine free from compression), and allows you to confront and reduce the fear and disorientation that can arise in inversions. After at least four months practicing these (and other) poses, you may be ready to try Sirsasana.

Even if you already feel accomplished in Headstand, you can learn a lot from going back to the foundations of the pose. Begin by placing a folded sticky mat on the floor to cushion your forearms, wrists, and hands. Use the firmest, thinnest padding you can and still be comfortable.

A firm base will provide you the resistance required to get a good lift in the pose. (If you want to use a blanket for more padding, make sure you put it on a sticky mat to prevent it from sliding around.) Arranging your padding parallel to a wall rather than diagonally or haphazardly will help you orient yourself once you’re upside down.

Kneel in front of your padding and place your elbows shoulder-width apart near the front edge of your support. (The edge gives you a point of reference for placing your elbows evenly.) Interlock your fingers right up to the webs and keep them relaxed. A loose interlock invites instability; rigid fingers will create unnecessary tension. Align the wrists perpendicular to the floor and center your weight on the edge of the forearm bone, rolling neither in nor out.

Still kneeling, place the crown of your head on your padding and move the back of your head directly into your hands. To prevent the cervical vertebrae from collapsing into one another, firmly press the forearms and wrists into the floor. This grounding lifts the shoulders away from the head, creating space in the neck. Practice first lifting and then dropping the shoulders a few times so the distinction is clear. Then keep them lifted and raise your knees, keeping your feet on the floor.

If possible, hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, but come down immediately if your shoulders droop or you experience any discomfort in your neck. Practice for a few days or weeks until you can maintain the lift of the shoulders for at least a minute.

Practice Headstand at the Wall

Now you’re ready to move your padding to a wall or to the corner of the room. (Learning in a corner has the advantage of preventing you from leaning to the left or right.)

Kneel again and place your knuckles about an inch or two from the wall. Since you are no longer able to use the edge of your padding to position your elbows, take extra care to align your elbows with your shoulders: not wider, not narrower.

Lift your hips so your knees come off the ground and walk your feet closer to your head, bringing the torso as nearly perpendicular to the floor as possible. As you walk in, you’ll need to work harder to maintain the lift of your shoulders.

In addition, your elbows will want to widen and your wrists and forearms will tend to roll out, but your previous practice should help you maintain proper alignment of your elbows, forearms, and wrists. Your upper back will also tend to collapse toward the wall. To counter this, pull the mid-thoracic spine (the section between your shoulder blades) into your body (away from the wall) and up toward your hips. Grounding through your forearms and wrists will facilitate this action.

Avoid Jumping Into Headstand

At this point, you may feel an urge to move on quickly to the final pose. A little hop and you’re there, right? Many students become impatient and frustrated with continuing to practice preparations when the goal seems so near. Why not just go for it?

If you haven’t fully understood and accomplished the earlier work for the wrists, forearms, shoulders, and upper back, you won’t come into proper alignment in the full pose. Instead of creating problems you’ll have to correct later, you’ll do better to spend the weeks or months you need to master the correct actions in your upper body.

This preparatory work is an opportunity to bring true yoga into your practice. Standing on your head is not yoga. Kids do it all the time; so do circus performers.

What makes Sirsasana yoga is an exquisite attention to balance and alignment, an inward movement of awareness that heightens your sensitivity and stability, and an increased willingness to be in the moment. Where you are is where you are. If your shoulders and upper back are collapsing into your neck, you need further practice to build your foundation.

Throwing yourself up into Headstand before you’re ready may make you feel like you’ve gotten somewhere, but that somewhere won’t be where you thought you were going—and, in the long run, you’ll discover that you’ve taken a detour, not a shortcut.

Take Your Time with the Prep Poses

Once you are able to lift your hips and bring them near the wall without collapsing the upper body, you’re ready to take your feet from the floor and stand on your head. At this point, you may be tempted to allow your fear of being upside down to outweigh your desire to learn Sirsasana. Instead of committing yourself completely, you may hold back and sabotage your efforts.

In similar circumstances, my teacher once advised me: “Be cautious. Be bold.” If you’ve done your preparatory work, you’ve already exercised caution. Now is the time to be bold.

This time, once you’ve walked in as far as you can without collapsing in your back and shoulders, tilt your hips back toward the wall so your feet become light. Ideally, the shift of the hips and the strength of the abdominal and back muscles will enable you to lift the feet smoothly and easily away from the floor.

Things aren’t always ideal, though, and many folks need to give a little hop in order to lift the feet off the floor and toward the wall. I prefer that students come into the pose with both feet at once rather than lifting one leg at a time. The latter method can throw the weight onto one side of the neck. Furthermore, learning to take the legs up together develops strength and control that will serve you well when you finally move into the full pose. But it’s your practice and your pose; you’ll have to decide which method is best for you.

With an exhalation, bring your feet up, keeping your knees bent near your chest. Don’t hold this position for long, because with the body drawn into a compact shape you will tend to collapse in your neck, shoulders, and midback.

Still keeping the knees bent, take your feet to the wall. With your heels in contact with the wall, stretch the legs up one at a time.

Make your movements smooth and controlled, not sudden and jerky. The backs of your legs and your buttocks will touch the wall.

Continue to press your forearms and wrists into the floor, lift your shoulders, and draw your mid-thoracic spine in and up. Stretch your legs fully up toward the ceiling by squeezing the outer thighs, calves, and ankles in toward one another and drawing the entire inner and back legs upward.

The stretch of the legs is crucial: It not only helps lift the pelvis and prevent the sacrum from sinking into the lower back, but also helps lengthen the neck.

Extend through the inner heels and inner balls of the feet so that the inner shins and calves stretch as much as the outer, and broaden the balls of your feet from the big to the little toe side.

Relax the Breath and the Upper Body

Many of the benefits of Sirsasana come only after you stay in the pose for a while, so you should work on building your endurance. At first, your Headstand may be effortful. You will be apt to sweat and tremble until you learn the basic actions and adjustments.

But to extend your time in Headstand, you must eventually develop comfort and ease in the posture. As you practice, make sure to relax your breath, soften your facial muscles, and allow your eyes to recede slightly into their sockets.

As you become more proficient and comfortable in the pose, learn to lift and lighten the body by actively grounding the crown of the head onto the floor. (Just as in Tadasana, where grounding your feet creates a rebounding action up through the legs and torso, grounding your head in Sirsasana rebounds up through your body.) After all, the pose is called Headstand, not Forearmstand. Eventually your arms bear very little weight, serving merely as outriggers to maintain balance, and the pose feels light and nearly effortless.

In the early stages of practice, stay in the pose for three minutes. If you experience any pain or compression in your neck, try adjusting your upper torso by reestablishing the lift of the shoulders and mid-thoracic spine. If pain persists, come down, reposition your head, and go back up.

When you are correctly centered on the crown of your head, the back of your neck and your throat will be working in balance, and both will feel relaxed; the left and right sides of your neck will also be balanced and comfortable.

If you still experience pain or compression, come down. Avoid going up and down repeatedly, because this activity can disturb the nervous system. Instead, try again the next day. If you can’t seem to make your neck comfortable no matter what you do, ask an experienced teacher to look at your pose. (Even if you’re not having problems, it’s a good idea to get an expert opinion occasionally.)

How you come out of Sirsasana (or any pose, for that matter) is as important as how you go up. To come down, you essentially reverse the process of going up. As you exhale, bend the knees and lower them toward your chest, but keep lifting your shoulders and mid-thoracic spine. Lower both feet to the floor, maintaining the height of the hips and the length of the abdomen, so that you control your descent the whole way down. Always rest with your head down for at least half a minute—or until your head feels clear—before you sit up.

Practicing Headstand Away from the Wall

When you’ve learned to consistently maintain all the actions required for Headstand with the support of a wall, you’re ready to balance.

Place your knuckles 2 to 3 inches from the wall—a little further away than you’ve been practicing—and go up as usual. To take the buttocks and legs off the wall, stretch the legs straight up as before and move the mid-thoracic spine into the body toward the front chest. Take care not to poke the bottom ribs or lumbar spine forward.

As you come away from the wall, pull the mid-thoracic spine in, move the tailbone toward the pubis, and lift the buttocks and legs away from the wall. Keeping the tailbone in, move the front thigh muscles (the quadriceps) firmly onto the thigh bones (the femurs), and the femurs into the backs of the thighs (hamstrings). When you’ve aligned the pose correctly, the four natural curves of the spine are maintained; the neck, hip joints, knees, and ankles are in a straight line perpendicular to the floor; the belly is relaxed; and breathing deepens spontaneously.

When you are able to balance consistently 2 to 3 inches away from the wall, you are ready to perform Sirsasana in the middle of the room. Again, fear may sneak in and try to dissuade you from this next step. But your work up until now has prepared you, and you are ready. Be bold.

Arrange your padding in the middle of the room with the edge of your mat parallel to the wall you’ll be facing when you go upside down. Make sure there is ample space around you in all directions, because sooner or later (probably sooner) you are going to fall. (In fact, you may even want to practice a few controlled falls to disarm your fears.) When you do fall, tuck your knees in, release the clasp of your hands, relax, and tumble out of the pose onto your back like a child doing a somersault. Then get back up and try again. After three unsuccessful attempts, return to the wall to practice the pose. Try to balance in the middle of the room again the next day.

To go up in the middle of the room, proceed exactly as you’ve been practicing at the wall—up to the point where your feet are off the floor and your knees are bent and near your chest. At that point, keep the knees bent and raise them toward the ceiling until they are directly above your shoulders and hips. Having your legs in this position may increase your apprehension about falling over backward. You may be tempted to skip this step and try to take your legs straight up from the knees-near-the-chest position. Don’t do it. With your knees still bent, you will be better able to move the tailbone forward, move the femurs back, and align the hip girdle over the crown of the head.

From this position, stretch your legs up into the full pose. Apply everything you learned in your practice near the wall: Lift up firmly through your legs, actively ground the crown of your head onto the floor, relax your facial muscles and eyes, and breathe.

To come down, simply reverse the process of going up. Exhale, bend your knees, and lower your feet toward your buttocks before moving your knees toward your chest. Maintaining the length of your neck and spine, slowly lower your feet to the floor.

Once you learn to balance in the middle of the room, work on going up and coming down with straight legs. Since coming down is easier than going up (you’re going with gravity, instead of lifting against it), practice this movement first. In Headstand, lift the top of your kneecaps firmly with the quadriceps and keep moving the femurs into the backs of your legs. Begin lowering the legs without losing the engagement of your thigh muscles, moving the hips back slightly without overarching the lumbar spine. Since the muscles in the abdomen and lower back play an important role in preventing collapse, move the navel toward the spine and lift the sacrum away from the lumbar spine. Keep the mid-thoracic spine in and the shoulders lifting. Lower your straight legs as slowly and smoothly as possible, without jerky movements. Once you are able to come all the way down with straight legs in a steady, controlled movement, learn to go up by reversing the process. With your feet on the floor, lift the hips and stretch the legs, firmly gripping the tops of the kneecaps with the quadriceps. To lift the feet, tilt the hips slightly back and lift from the thighs, rather than lifting from the feet. If you maintain the action of the quadriceps, the feet will follow the lift of your thighs until you are upright.

Build up your time in Headstand (first to five minutes, later to 15 minutes or more), but don’t be ruled by the clock. Pay careful attention to the sensations that arise in your eyes, ears, head, neck, and back, both during the pose and after. Learn to adjust the pose and the time you spend in it depending on how you feel each day, so that you will receive the maximum benefits while avoiding problems. When you have learned Sirsasana well, the pose will be light, relaxed, and nearly effortless, and you will feel energized, calm, and clear-headed.

Once you learn Salamba Sirsasana, combine it with the inversions Shoulderstand and Plow Pose (Halasana) to form the cornerstone of your daily practice. Properly performed, these poses provide enormous physical benefits. Moreover, surmounting the fear and anxiety that you may encounter in the process will help give you great confidence, not only in your asana practice, but in yourself and your power to meet life with equanimity and courage.

When that happens, standing on your head will have changed from child’s play to yoga. Then, in those inevitable moments when your world turns upside down, you will know from your own experience that you can draw on a place deep within yourself that allows you to embrace each moment, upside down or not, with open eyes, open arms, and an open heart.

Read More

Definition of “Yoga”

IMG_2846.JPG

ˈyōɡə

Defining Yoga

Defining yoga in the western world has been transformed from the original meaning. The meaning of yoga is considered as a word symbolizing a challenging workout that only some may participate. However, this definition does not provide justice to the actual meaning of the word yoga. Here we will break down the literal translation and discuss ones likely experience with the term: YOGA.

Defining yoga and it’s word origin:

Translating the word yoga from Sanskrit, yoga is a verb used to define yoke (couple). The literal translation in Latin is jungere, also a verb but the literal translation defines yoga as to join.

At The Pursuit of Yoga we have taken the literal translation and used this as our definition throughout. In the western world yoga carries a smorgasbord of meanings. Other cultures define yoga as a state of being, a way of living and a practice of communication. Along with this yoga is also defined as a religion and some consider yoga a spiritual path. Our intention is to define yoga as a means to connect. Here we are connecting everyone, practioners and providors teachers and students whom practice yoga. We choose to keep the definition open. You will note we have a melange of providors, some who teach physical movements like Hatha Vinyasa and also those whom teach sound healing techniques. We provide space for everyone that chooses to live in a place of connection. Positive connection, positive light, peaceful in nature and clean of heart.

Defining yoga as a practice:

Every practice is going to be different because it is going to be your practice. Permission is given to practice any way you like. One could join their religious, physical and spiritual self. Defining yoga in the modern world is misconstrued to mean that practicing yoga is only possible in the form of a physical state. This is a misconception. Being within a state of consciousness one is harnessing the movements of the body with the breath, to gain better balance. Defining yoga encompasses all.

Beginning yoga, whatever and however the practice is . . . practiced . . . the root remains constant and that is to connect and bring together. This is a universal understanding at the base for all purposes.

Sometimes as a Yoga teacher I see a lot of division created between each yoga practices, by so many yoga teachers, e.g. if you don’t teach that style, you are not a yoga teacher. For me any yoga practice is a journey where you follow your own path as a good yoga teacher, not as a guru, but to show people a way where you find your inner peace by creating your own destiny, a journey to your inner peace, it doesn’t define that what you see if not and what you feel is not, its all about ‘You’ find that journey and stay on that path what you think and feel is the right one for you.

There are several different types of yoga, which is right for me?

YOU CHOOSE!

Peace & namaste