Author Archives: yoga

How to eliminate toxins from our homes?

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The Yogasakhi participants had an eye-opening session on ‘Toxins in our home’ by  Anubha kothari. She conducts workshops and events in Bangalore on behalf of SHARAN ( www.sharan-india.org). Here is a summary:
Toxins envelope our life. Unfortunately, many of them are present in our homes. Ironically, our effort to over zealously clean our bodies and surroundings can flood our bodies with toxins more dangerous than the germs we are trying to avoid.
Eliminating every harmful substance from our daily routine can be nearly impossible, but knowledge and awareness is a good place to start. The kitchen and bathroom are home to many plastic products. Storing food, packing and heating food in plastic containers is highly avoidable. Steel is a better option. Microwaving food is a major source of radiation and is a strict no-no. In fact, needless and repeated heating of food changes the molecular structure, rendering it less nutritious and more toxic. It is common knowledge that teflon-coated and aluminium utensils release harmful substances into our food while cooking. Steel vessels and iron griddles are a healthier substitute.
Toothpaste, soap and shampoo contain various chemicals that can cause disease in the long run. Try replacing these with natural products, for instance ‘besan’ paste as an exfoliating scrub and salt and lime to clean your teeth . If that sounds too extreme, opt for organic products with the least amount of harmful chemicals.
Cleaning liquids and detergents as you can imagine are highly toxic and can be either eliminated or used sparingly. ’Ritha’ powder can substitute dishwashing liquid. Use detergent judiciously.
Creams, deodorants, and cosmetics contain many ingredients that can be potentially dangerous. The kitchen contains time-tested treasures that can nourish and beautify. If you must use cosmetics, do so only for really special occasions! A toxin free diet full of fresh vegetables and fruit is a better approach to look and smell great. Mosquito repellents are too toxic to apply regularly. If you must, citronella oil is recommended.
Highly processed food like canned food, sauces and frozen food are known to be hazardous. One should steer clear of ‘health food’ which claims to be fibre-enriched as more chemicals and stabilizers are used to produce them. Unsuspecting health freaks and well- meaning mothers, do watch out!
As toxins cling to oil and fat, it is wise to switch to a low fat diet, not just for vanity but for protection. Simple home-cooked food with minimum preservatives and lots of fresh organic vegetables and fruit is the best investment and prevention against disease.
Finally, our generation’s addiction to electronic devices is a source of lethal radiation. Apart from being a menace to optimal social and family interaction, it can cause grave health consequences.
Yoga is synonymous with awareness and stresses on willpower. Yoga is also about balance. Incorporating improvements in our lifestyle can be challenging. We can start with awareness, try hard to stick to our resolutions and also maintain a balance between the ideal and the practical.
This post is contributed by Nivedita Master. She is a counselor by profession and a regular yoga practitioner. 

Yin yoga helps us to surrender to a deeper force!

YIN YOGA

mrinaliYin yoga is the combination of taoist yoga and western medicine. When we lie down in shavasana at the end of a yoga class , in a state of relaxed awareness, we sometimes experience a tingling sensation in our spine , back of the head , hands , fingertips , feet maybe even throughout the body , a floating sensation or a feeling like there is something is flowing inside us , this sensation is believed to be energy flowing within us.Yogis call this energy as  ‘Prana’ , in China the Taoists believe this energy to be ‘Qi’ .This energy is said to flow in specific pathways along the body , called ‘meridians’. Combining Taoism , asana practise and the understanding of human anatomy , yin yoga was developed , the intention being to be able to sit comfortably and for longer hours in meditation and to gain flexibility especially around the joints.
Yin and yang are opposing forces , yin is anything stable , hidden , cold , dark , dense and constant. Yin can be described as the passive female principle of the universe. Yang is the opposite anything with has rhythm, which flows, dynamic, light , masculine. Yin yoga differs in its approach, as the name suggests it is a practice of exploring the body through stillness, of becoming tuned in to the breath and the mind . Just like in a meditation practice where we
cultivate a deeper sense of awareness , by focusing on sensations , by focusing on the patterns of breathing, similarly in yin yoga , we hold the postures for a period of time , long enough for the body to stop resisting , for the nervous system to stop firing impulses and finally for the muscles to stop reacting , by doing this not only are we relaxing the body , we are also freeing the energetic pathways ‘meridians’ . Yin yoga gives space for deep introspection through simple asanas practiced mindfully.

Most often people carry tension and stress in their bodies in the form of tightness or stiffness in the joints . If nothing is done to release the stiffness , it may lead to bigger problems , like loss of flexibility , improper circulation of blood and energy , chronic pain , immobilization of a particular joint etc.
Yin yoga is specifically designed to target the connective tissues and articulations of the body, and apply a very moderate amount of stress on them for a constant period of time, anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes . But keeping the approach very relaxed and gentle.In yin yoga you are never moving too fast or too quickly, thus we have enough time to explore the body . Yin yoga is not just a practice of the body , we are using the breath as well to further relax the
muscles .When the breath moves the mind moves , and when the breath is controlled the mind is also controlled . Keeping the breath in a steady and constant rhythm is also an important thing to remember as we hold a posture.
Yin yoga helps us experience how the body , breath and mind move in coordination and harmony , leaving us with a feeling of being open and free .It is here in the 60 or 90 minute class that we get to become completely free , disconnected from the outside world , where there is no pressure and no expectation , its a practice where we surrender to a deeper force.

Author : Mrinali Madhukar , Internationally trained RYT 200, RYT 500 yoga teacher

Mrinali will be conducting a Yin yoga session @ Yogasakhi, on the occasion of yogasakhi’s third anniversary.

Date : 19th July  Time: 8 am to 9 am

 

 

 

Yoga with a buddy @ yogasakhi!

DSC01814Valentine’s Day always seems to be roughly the same.. Hallmark holiday, filled with flowers, candy, cards, dinner, and maybe a little romance. What if you tried something different this time to celebrate?

At Yogasakhi, Saee took the initiative to conduct a session where one could bring along a loved one to an hour of yoga. Mats placed side to side, performing the asanas was great fun with a buddy!
It is rewarding when families and friends connect with each other and build their practice together. Not only does partner yoga build balance and offer a deeper stretch by using your partner’s body, but it also brings some play and fun to the mat.
DSC01781It’s ideal to work with someone with a similar body weight and size for some of the partner yoga poses, but if you are practicing with a child just tweak the poses accordingly!

Here are a few examples:

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- Sit apart from each other, legs stretched out, and fold forward. Grab your partner’s hands or forearms to get a deeper stretch.

 

 

 

 

DSC01772- Try boat pose while facing each other, with either legs stretched out, straight, or bent, and then grab each other’s arms.

 

 

 

 

DSC01786- Both stand with one leg against their opposite thigh and hold the others’ hand, sideways.

 

 

 

 

 

We walked out of the session refreshed and recharged, each armed with a sample of ‘Projit’ a nutritional supplement and a resolution to include Yoga with our buddy as a regular part of our routine!

This post is contributed by Nivedita Master. She is a counselor by profession and a regular yoga practitioner. 

 

Vinyasa – Yoga That Helps You Face Life

Vinyasa – Yoga That Helps You Face Life

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Dear all

It’s been two months since we started practicing Vinyasa in the class along with “Hatha” sessions. I know, for some of you these sessions have been exhausting, challenging and even painful. I congratulate you for sticking with the practice during this new regime. There are some strong reasons that made me introduce Vinyasa in the class.

Vinyasa means flow. It is linking of different movements together with synchronized breath. In this practice “speed” is the factor that differentiates itself from the conventional “Hatha” practice which is not very fast paced. Even I resisted any kind of speed during yoga sessions till a few months back. But as my teacher says, “Speed is life, it keeps you young. Slowing down is the sign of ageing!”

Surprised? As we all know that yoga is slowing down at all levels of existence. But then yoga is also to be able to maintain calmness, being non-responsive, non-reactive under extremely difficult and challenging situations, and not running away from them.

So it makes perfect sense to expose our body to mental and physical challenges once in a while in terms of speed, advance postures and preparing ourselves to face them with calm, non-reactive response.

So we are practicing “Hatha” as well as “Vinyasa” in our class. Both work towards achieving the same goal of strengthening the body, quieting the mind and preparing it for meditation. Only the way is different.

Of course, “Hatha” practices are equally challenging as you start going deep into the practice.  In “Hatha” you are expected to hold every posture long enough so as to align your body, breath and mind with that state of consciousness. It focuses on individual postures rather than the flow between the movements as done in Vinyasa. There is no second thought that finally “Hatha”, balancing sun and moon, inertia and activity is the ultimate aim of yoga. But Vinyasa can make this journey more exciting and challenging, even for beginners!

Any journey is not without obstacles. And as Patanjali says there are 13 obstacles a yoga student has to face as he begins this journey. The body may react to Vinyasa practice with knee, back, shoulder or wrist pain in the initial days. It’s important not to get bogged down.

Taking precautions reduces the chances of injuries.

Taking care of weight-bearing joints like lower back and knees e.g., softly bending the knees while bending forward is recommended till we develop enough flexibility of hip joints or hamstrings, etc.

Acknowledging limits of your body is equally important. In the first few sessions it’s alright to relax a bit in between two Vinyasa sequences but be careful not to make it a habit!

Remember, once you enter the yoga hall, it’s a competition free zone. Don’t look around and compare with others, not even with yourself. The way you face challenges on the yoga mat is probably the way you will face challenges in real life!

Relaxation at the end of the practice is where the essence lies. If you are short of time and plan to skip this last part, I would recommend you skip the complete session. Leaving the class without undergoing proper guided relaxation can have serious effects on your body.

You will be surprised to see how your fitness level goes up with every session. You will feel energetic till the end of the day.

Let’s continue exploring this journey together!

Love,

Saee

 

Diabetes Day : Winner Recipes

Happy to share with you all the winner recipes of the diabetes day cooking competition held @Yogasakhi.

Winner recipes:

  1.  Instant Karela aachar – By Taiseen 20141113_111929

Ingredients:

  • Karela(Bitterguard) – 250 gm
  • Lemon Juice – 2
  • Fenugreek seed powder – 1 tablespoon,
  • Turmeric powder,
  • Mustard seed powder – 1 tablespoon,
  • Garlic pest – 1 clove,
  • Asafoetida – 1 pinch,
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon,
  • Salt – as per test.

Procedure:
Wash and cut the karela in to small bite size pieces.
Add all the remaining ingredients in it and mix it well.
Now Aachar is ready to it.
It is very good for Diabetic Petients.

2.   Rajama soya kebab – By Nivedita master 20141113_112227

 Rajma is known to have blood glucose lowering properties and is high in fibre and protein. Soya is a powerhouse of nutrition. Daliya, known for it’s low glycemic index adds the third nutritious element to these wholesome kebabs. The sweetness of the chutney comes from dates, a healthy alternative to sugar or an artificial sweetener.

Ingredients: (For 15 kebabs)

Main ingredients:

  • Large cup of rajma (which will be soaked overnight and boiled and therefore will increase in volume)
  • Half a large cup of soya granules(which has to be made into powder in a mixer)
  • 1/4 of the same cup daliya(lightly roasted and soaked in hot water for 10 min)
  • Oil for shallow frying

For flavor:

  • Half a cup of finely chopped coriander
  • 6 pods of garlic finely chopped
  • 4 cloves
  • A small stick of cinnamon
  • 2 pods of elaichi
  • 3 to 4 peppercorns
  • I tsp jeera
  • I green chilli
  • I tsp Haldi
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt according to your taste

For Date chutney:

  • Ten dates
  • I  tsp of organic jaggery ( or more, according to your taste)
  • 2 tsp of tamarind paste
  • Water to blend into chutney (approximately half a cup)

Method:

Pressure cook the rajma till very tender. Mash well and keep kneading in the soya granule powder and soaked daliya till its smooth enough to form kebabs. Grind the garlic, cloves, cinnamon, jeera, elaichi, chilli till very smooth. Add this spice paste to the prepared mixture along with the lime juice, coriander, haldi and salt and mix well. Pat into small kebabs and roll the sides lightly on a plate to create a round shape. Shallow fry on a tava with minimum oil on both sides till golden brown.

For the chutney, soak the dates in warm water for 5 mins. Remove the seeds and place them in a small mixer with the organic jaggery and tamarind paste and grind till fine. Add some water to blend it into the required consistency.

Serve the kebabs piping hot with the chutney or enjoy them yourself guilt-free!

 Suggestion:

One can substitute rajma with any other bean, substitute soya with homemade low fat paneer and add in oats instead of daliya. The spices can be adjusted to each palate.

3.     Healthy raita – By Yogita Aajgaonkar 20141113_111829

  • Ingredients :

    1 cup low fat curd
  • 1/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup grated cucumber
  • 2 tbsp roasted and ground oats
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed chutney( roast flaxseed and then grind with garlic,salt,red chilly pwdr)
  • 1 green chilly cut  into half
  • 1 tsp of salt                                                     For seasoning:
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed
  • 10 curry leaves
  • pinch of hing( asafetida)
  • Handful of pomegranate for garnishingMethod:Mix all ingredients together and then do theseasoning and garnish with pomegranate :) ur yummy healthy raita is ready to eat :)

 

Consolation recipes:

4.     Steamed dumpling – By Meetu Srivastava20141113_112120

 Ingredients:

  • Chana Dal – 2 cups
  • Fenugreek Leafs – 1 bunch
  • Green Chili – 2
  • Ginger Garlic Paste
  • urmeric – ½ tsp
  • Red chili – ½ tsp or as per taste
  • Salt – 1 tsp or as per taste
  • Chutney: Amla -2 Coriander leaved – ½ bunch Garlic – 4 cloves Lemon -1 Salt – as per taste Green Chilies -2

Procedure:

  • Soak chana dal overnight. Grind it into a smooth paste.
  • Add ginger garlic paste, finely chopped green chilies, salt, turmeric, red chillie powder, and finely chopped fenugreek leafs.
  • Grease idli stand n make small ball of the batter and place it in cooker and steam it on high flame for at least 3 to 4 min.  on low flame for 2 min.
  • Let it cool down and take it out cut it in two pieces.
  • Put one teaspoon of oil and add curry leaf and black mustard seed. Once it start crackling add steamed dumpling n fry it garnish with green chili n serve it hot with amla chutney.
  • It can be served without frying also with chutney or ketchup.

5.     Bean quesadilla – By Yogita Kapoor 20141113_112103

Ingredients :

  • Rajma -1cup(smoked over night)
  • ginger-1small piece,
  • garlic -5 cloves,
  • salt to taste,
  • low fat cheese slice -2,
  • Readymade salsa -1cup,
  • one onion finally chopped,
  • 1-capsicum finally chopped.

Procedure:

  • Make 5 chapatti from the dough and keep aside.
  • Boil Rajma with little water adding salt, ginger, garlic.
  • When Rajma is boiled open the pressure cooker and on high flame let the remaining water dry.
  • When all the water dry mash the Rajma and keep aside for cooling.
  • Now heat a tawa place chapatti on it spread Rajma on half part of the chapatti add onion, capsicum 1spoon salsa, and cheese fold the chapatti and make it crisp from both side.
  • Serve hot with salsa.

 

 

Diabetes Day Event @ Yogasakhi

20141113_115741Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia). Diabetes is today recognized as a major lifestyle disease and India has become the Diabetes Capital of the world with 61 million Diabetics between 20-79 years suffering from this dreaded disease and continue to increase by the day. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that by 2030, 8.4% of India’s adult population will have diabetes and this figure is expected to go up to 101.1 million. As one knows, diabetes is not only the blood sugar problem, but it brings along many other complications as well.
Yoga is considered to be a promising, cost-effective option in the treatment and prevention of diabetes, with data from several studies suggesting that yoga and other mind-body therapies can reduce stress-related hyperglycemia and have a positive effect on blood glucose control.

When we’re stressed, our blood sugar levels increase and elevated blood sugar levels increase the chances of serious complications such as heart disease.

Yogasakhi organized a 2 hour session on the occasion of diabetes day on November 13th. Parul Bhatnagar (Dietician/Nutritionist) started the session by playing some fun music and getting us swinging to the beat. She explained how keeping active is an excellent way to keep diabetes at bay and also control it.
IMG-20141114-WA0009We played musical chairs and each person who got out was asked a question relevant to diabetes. For instance, what are the organs that get affected, the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, what are the best foods to eat and what to avoid, so on and so forth. For every correct answer, the participant had to pick out their reward from the goodie bag full of fruit! Parul and Saee substantiated each answer, clearing doubts while giving some useful information.
For eg:
1}Artificial sweeteners containing aspartame are harmful but those containing Sucralose (Brand name:Natura) are much better.
2}Brown rice, Oats, Millets are excellent carbohydrates and pulses and beans are key in managing diabetes.
3}Alternate between various oils while cooking and use olive oil only to drizzle.

Saee quizzed us on the specific asanas that help in compressing, stretching and twisting the area of the body that stimulate the pancreas. Ardha-Matsyendrasana, variations of Trikonasana and Hasta-padangustasana were some of them.

FB uploadThe session ended with a pot luck lunch with an array of dishes which were as healthy as they were delicious. The diabetes-friendly dishes ranged from salads and raitas, to idlis, kebabs to quesadillas, a mouth watering karela pickle and a low-fat dessert made by carefully incorporating the correct ingredients. The dishes were vegetarian, contained no refined flour or sugar,were low in calories but rich in nutritive value. For eg: Ragi ladoos steamed with negligible ghee, flaxseed and pomegranate raita, different variations of tikkis substituting beans and vegetables instead of potato, and oats preparations galore. Each dish will be judged by Parul on the basis of taste and suitability to diabetic guidelines (except the wholesome ragi chilaas which she brought along!) We enjoyed the food amidst discussion of recipes and appreciation of each others’ culinary talent and creativity!

A yogic lifestyle comprising of regular asanas, a sattvic diet and a positive attitude is absolutely essential in preventing and controlling diabetes. It is necessary to train ourselves and our taste-buds and as Saee pointed ou,t equip children with the right habits to prevent this widely spreading disease.

This post is contributed by Nivedita Master. She is a counselor by profession and a regular yoga practitioner. 

Yoga has helped me improve quality of my life!

This Essay is submitted by Monica, who believes and has realized that yoga is more than a weight loss regime. It has benefited her at various aspects of life like physical, mental and spiritual levels. Read her experience in her own words…

monica

I have been practicing yoga for the last 2 years now. So many people I met would ask me why I joined. ”You don’t need to lose weight.” Well, I didn’t and weight was certainly not why I took up yoga. In fact, when I started with the class, my only aim was to get started with a regular exercise routine because illnesses and lack of exercise were catching up. So I started with yoga. And in just two months, I realized how I had underestimated the power and benefits of this age old exercise regime.

I started walking and sitting straight. I was very conscious of my breathing. I was relaxed. I tried to avoid stress by walking out of negative situations and by taking things lightly. At the end of the day, I didn’t feel as drained out as I would earlier. That for me was and is the biggest gain. The quality of my life has improved, significantly.
I found yoga postures tough at first because my body wasn’t all that flexible but over time, I started enjoying the challenge. Yoga has helped me improve on physical, mental and spiritual levels and I am thankful for that, and also to my wonderful yoga instructor who drives the message so well. She herself is an epitome of positivity and balance.

I believe God guides all our moves in life. I am grateful to Him for introducing me to yoga.
Since the last few months, I have been unable to attend classes regularly. I miss the routine and I miss my old class. My dream for the pending three quarters of this year is that I become an early riser and don’t miss a single class of yoga again!

Contributor: Monica S Samuel, Working Professional

Yoga practice made me think about myself!

This section contains the selected entries from the Essay writing competition held at Yogasakhi.
The subjects were :
1. How Yoga made a difference in my life…
2. My “dream” yoga class
3. My Yoga practice : Where do I see myself after 6 months

This competition encouraged the students to think, retrospect, imagine…
To have Clarity, Goal and Satisfaction in their daily yoga Sadhana!

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This essay has been submitted by Sharmila, who is a house wife taking care of 2 kids. It is a true and honest story of how Yoga has changed her life and how her fears have changed into courage .Just 6 months of practice and she has started thinking about herself.

Right from my childhood I have never been interested in outdoor sports activities or never had a chance to perform any regular exercise….instead was a bookworm and very artistic by nature. After graduation, job, marriage and finally surrendering to maternal responsibilities I called off 8 year old career. Now I am a happy housewife managing two kids… I hardly found any time for myself. My mom kept telling me about numerous yoga benefits and why it is important and then learnt about this class…So I Wanted to give it a try…
To my surprise….I realized how stiff each and every body part of mine is and was not at all flexible…i was very disappointed…i wondered when did i lose all of the flexibility….may be after second delivery…i was shattered. After the first session the body ache was appearing to be intolerable….then slowly after few classes i felt better. But for months together I battled with my internal fears of injuring myself in any way or not performing yoga in right way…i even thought what if it was not for me…..But something within me gave me courage to keep practicing yoga…Its six months now and I am really glad that I did so…I thank GOD each day for bringing Yoga into my life and pray that I should be able to practice it throughout my life.
I regret that these 36 years of my life I have been not concentrating on my physical fitness at all….I am happy with the flexibility in my body now and mental calmness yoga has given me. Managing day to day chores, kid’s tantrums, studies etc. is better now and enjoyable. I have started thinking again about myself too now…
My dream yoga class would be when I can complete the postures with more ease and wish to dare some beneficial but tough postures like sarvangasana, shirshasana etc…Now I believe that with time my body should be more flexible. Just praying that my belief in Yoga continues and I am able to live life in a much healthier way…

CONTRIBUTOR : Sharmila Prabhu, 36 yrs old, Housewife

Yoga my treasure for life!

This section contains the selected entries from the Essay writing competition held at Yogasakhi.
The subjects were :
1. How Yoga made a difference in my life…
2. My “dream” yoga class
3. My Yoga practice : Where do I see myself after 6 months

This competition encouraged the students to think, retrospect, imagine…
To have Clarity, Goal and Satisfaction in their daily yoga Sadhana!

This essay is submitted by Arti Rajgopal, A house wife and sincere practitioner of yoga since last 2 years.
Arati in spite of water phobia has started swimming. She also feels that we are the custodians of this treasure!

blog arti

Yogena chittasya padena vacham
Malam sharirasya cha vaidyakena
Yopa’karot tam pravaram muninam
Patanjalim pranjalir ananto’smi

Yoga is an ancient science. Lord Shiva is indeed believed to be the first great yogi and originator of Yoga. Sage Patanjali was believed to be the first person to present the ancient tradition of Yoga in a systematic way. We know that there are so many definitions and meanings of Yoga but the most convincing for me is the word YOGA means to join or unite. Sage Patanjali, the founder of yoga, explained in his Yoga Sutras, that when our mind is kept very calm, quiet and free from all distractions for a long time in dhyana, we become united with God and attain salvation. This salvation goal is Samadhi or kaivalya. In this path of goal realization, Patanjali warned us of hurdles & obstancles that we come across; at the same time, to enable us to cultivate the good qualities and overcome such hurdles, he laid down eight-fold path i.e., Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, & Samadhi, known as Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali.

Of these eight parts, I try to follow the first parts; i.e., Yama, Niyama, Asana, & Pranayama in the best way I can do. Generally, all the parents try to inculcate the values of Yama & Niyama i.e, ahimsa, satya, asteya, aparigraha, saucha, santosa, in their children from the early childhood only. Everyone try to follow these two sutras in some or the other manner and to some extent, that’s what I do. Through Yoga asana practice for the long time, it has become easy for me to gain temperament under control as well as to channelize & transform skill, thought, & action in a useful form of energy. One of the Niyamas, Ishvara Pranidhana, is very vast and deep to discuss. But I will only say that now days my faith in God has tremendously increased. My believes and thoughts about God are remarkably changed with which I am extremely happy.

This is all about my mental state of mind. Simultaneously by practicing asanas, my fitness, flexibility, strength, suppleness, stamina, has also improved drastically. I have tried many branches of exercise regimen; but the peace and satisfaction I get from Yoga asanas, I don’t get anywhere. I learn and feel something new in the same asana each and every time I practice. I try to reach to the perfection in a posture gradually with efforts in every attempt. These qualities of putting great effort even after failure and learning through practice have been developed in me to a great extent after Yoga asana practice.

With Pranayma, I have learnt movement as well as control of breath. I have water phobia and I find swimming very difficult. Having learnt this breath control, I have started swimming at a beginner level that was not only hard but almost impossible for me.

Like Ashtanga Yoga, there is also one other branch of yoga, that is, Hatha Yoga. I have also started practicing Kriyas as mentioned in Hatha Yoga. Kriyas are cleansing techniques meant to cleanse the internal organs of the human body. The cleansing technique, like jala neti, laghushanka has also helped me.
For my yoga practice, I wish my Yoga class to be amidst nature. I love to practice Yoga asanas in an area surrounded by tress, flowers, listening to birds’ chirps, feeling cool breeze, watching water falls. That’s impossible in city life. Even though I wish my Yoga class at least to be in a garden surrounded by greenery as I have seen in Hyderabad people doing asanas in KBR garden with peacocks passing nearby.

This Yoga practice for the last almost more than a year has changed my life. In future, I wish myself performing all the difficult asanas very easily, regularly and sincerely, to get rid of all ailments, help others in taking the maximum advantage of yoga, and to impart knowledge of Yoga to our next generation.

Last, but not the least, I would say that we are the custodians of is this treasure of Yoga. We should share and spread this treasure to the whole world to get the best fruits. Yoga is the perfect essentials of this arena for perfect physical health and mental well-being.

CONTRIBUTOR: ARTI RAJGOPAL, HOUSE WIFE.

Yoga helped me to connect with my roots…

This section contains the selected entries from the Essay writing competition held at Yogasakhi.
The subjects were :
1. How Yoga made a difference in my life…
2. My “dream” yoga class
3. My Yoga practice : Where do I see myself after 6 months

This competition encouraged the students to think, retrospect, imagine…
To have Clarity, Goal and Satisfaction in their daily yoga Sadhana!

This essay is submitted by Rehana, yoga student. She has written about how Yoga has become way of life for her. She has rightly questioned the basic religious practices and found the answers.

blog 3I started yoga in November 2012. Initially the motivation was just to get engaged in some physical and meditational activity. But with time what i have discovered is something more than that.

Regular yoga practice corrects my body postures, sitting postures and improves my breathing patterns. As i used to do fast exercises like Aerobics, Cycling but with Yoga i started practicing Rotation of Hands in slow pace, Single/Both Legs Raising in 10 counts, Sun Salutation, which improves my stamina and strengthens my core muscles.

Being in a IT Company, sitting on the chair for long hours I was finding it difficult to sit straight without any back support from some time.  But regular practice of sitting and Twisting Asanas  have strengthened my back and corrected my spine.  Now,  i can sit for hours without any pain and support.  Whenever i feel very exhausted or stressed out, i practice Breathing Exercises or if i have some heavy dinner at night, i sit in Vajrasana for few minutes and feel very relaxed and light. So regular yoga practice has benefited myself  in many aspects of my life.

Being a Muslim I practiced many Salat postures similar to Yoga Asanas like Vajrasana, Ardha Uttanasana, Sasankasana, Tadasana and Pranayama when offering Salat for 5 times a day. In our childhood our religious scholars taught us to perform all the Salat postures properly, as a kid our body is also more flexible and i used to do all that properly, that time they seemed very easy too.

I still do Salat but now question that comes to my mind is, if I am already doing all these Asanas why it is making difference only during Yoga?

The answer to this question is “Loss of Reasoning behind religious practices”.  It has nothing to do specific to my religion, we all belong to different religions and each religion has some basic practices. These practices are not merely rituals they have some reasons to be included as basic practice. With time and across generations either we have lost that reasoning or some basic practices are buried under more superficial practices.

Without reasoning, religious practice becomes just a ritual and we do it just as our duty. Now with a yearlong practice of yoga i am able to connect Salat procedure with its health benefit and discover the reasoning which was lost. So as name suggests Yoga means “to add”, “to attach”, “to connect”, “to join” to the roots, Yoga connects me back to the basic roots of the Salat.

Contributor: Rehana Khan, IT professional