Category Archives: Events

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. 

 

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, my true companion 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 the eldest student of the yoga class, Mrs. Rohini Bapat ( 70 yrs)
All her personal experiences with Asana and Pranayam are well articulated and so true.Practicing regularly at this age shows her disciplined life.

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When I decided to write this essay, my mind went back to my school days. I used to struggle at that time and even now the things have not changed. I used to peep into my friends notebook for some clues but alas it’s not possible now.
We use this word ‘ Yogkshema’ very frequently, but according to me it’s simple meaning is those who practice ‘Yog’ are always ‘kshema’ or secured i.e. healthy and fit in their life. The original word is ‘Yog’ but we are blindly calling it as ‘Yoga’ as per English rules.
I cannot practice all the postures but for last few years I am practicing regularly those which I can. Due to this there are some definite changes in my lifestyle which are visible to others as well who are around me. The most important change is mental calmness. I was a short tempered lady which has changed now. My desires, comparison with others have reduced to a great extent.

When yoga was not part of my life, I was troubled with many trivial health issues like indigestion, head ache which has totally vanished now. I never used to pay attention to my breathing before, but now I can take my attention to my breathing. In shavasana, we focus our attention on every part of the body and that provides new insight about the body parts. This chit chat with my body parts gives me great satisfaction and I earnestly thank god for providing me this healthy and non disabled body. This feeling helps me to enjoy peaceful sleep at night.
As you grow old, many negative thoughts clog your mind. The thoughts start propping up like we can’t make any significant contribution towards our family or society. But yoga practice has given me an emotional strength to dispel these negative thoughts.

Now days as I have started attending one yoga class, I am liking it more. As we can follow the orders given by the teacher and concentrate more on the practice without any other thoughts and also I can learn more from others in the class. I sincerely feel that I should be able to continue practicing ‘Yog’ and at the same time should be able to encourage others to follow this science.

Contributor: Mrs. Rohini Bapat , House wife , Age: 70 yrs