Monthly Archives: July 2016

Don’t mistake this command and improve your yoga practice

Have you ever heard this type of comment in yoga teacher training class by yoga guru? “The posture/pose doesn’t start until you get your head on your knee.

Sometimes people accept things (or say things) as gospel, automatically without question (because of some deep belief). If you really want your yoga to benefit you in the deepest way possible it is worth knowing that there are ways to fulfill the greatest intention of every single pose AND not (that’s NOT) be tied to the exact letter of the script.

So let’s see what actually happens when you follow scripted instruction too literally. What happens if you believe that “the pose doesn’t begin until your head is on your knee”

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Why Is This Command Problematic?

Well, here’s the thing.

The intention is excellent – the idea being (and let’s takes “Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee” as the example) that you really do your utmost to complete the fullest expression of the pose.

But here’s the waiver. It’s YOUR fullest expression of the pose. It’s NOT to go TO the fullest expression of the pose. There is a BIG difference. The first honors and respects what you are able to do with best alignment. The latter will probably bypass your best outcome and will probably sacrifice your benefits. It could even because you damage.

The unconscious mind loves to respond to literal instructions. So if you don’t know what to ‘track’ for, your mind is actually going to have trouble ignoring the bad input. Especially if you go on auto-pilot for a few seconds, or stop paying attention (which happens ALL the time by the way). If you follow all commands without stopping to think or pausing for understanding, your “no matter what” style could get you into trouble!

Remember yoga is asking you to be conscious, hyper conscious even, not neglectful of what’s going on.

In other words, the scripted class, which teaches to the fullest expression of the pose to everyone in the room, implies that:

It’s the destination not the journey.

But what you’re after is to enhance the journey and not the destination.

So…

If interpreted literally, because of ambiguities and even the huge potential for different interpretations across the room, there is the distinct possibility of:

* A risk of injury

* Poor alignment at the expense of “doing a pose”

* Significantly reduced stretch and pose effectiveness

See more on this topic: – http://goo.gl/5RnhRs

So What IS Supposed To Happen?

Here are some of the reasons why getting “your head on your knee” is beneficial in this pose.

  1. It encourages a strong compressionfrom your chin to your hips, through your chest and abdomen.

Compressions such as this are super for a great many reasons. There is a ton of invisible work being done for you here!

The mysterious magic below the surface includes a stimulation that increases blood flow to the intervertebral discs (yes that does keep them healthy!). Another big plus is that your visceral organs get “stimulation by massage”.

  1. You get whole-system or systemic improvements:Your glands and organs ‘tone up’, which means better hormonal regulation, which in turn means better overall function. Yes!
  2. It’s an “energetic thing”– you effectively “complete a circle of energy lines” in the body.
  3. Helps with weight lossand shape changing, especially around the waistline when a good compression is achieved (especially because of 1. And 2. And when combined with some you-beauty backbending).

All of the above requires a ROUNDING of the spine in a forward compression – the objective being to get as much of a tight curl as possible.

And therein lies my issue with the statement … “The posture/pose doesn’t start until you get your head on your knee.”

Because you now have a potential conflict (because not everyone has the same abilities or flexibilities which even differ from day to day)

Do you:

  1. Focus on “an intense active stretch caused by rounding as much as possible”?
  2. Make the most common mistake? Do you work on getting your head to the knee and sacrifice the leg and hip alignment in the process?
  3. Or do you make the other most frequent and ‘lazy’ mistake, through lack of attention to the intention of the pose, by simply diving into the pose and … hey presto, minimal or no back rounding, just “head on knee”? You’d be surprised how often this occurs.

When in doubt, your mind will try to make your body do what it THINKS it needs to do. That doesn’t mean you are doing it correctly. There’s also a tribal or group dynamic happening here. It’s just an interpretation and in the hot room of a public studio you will often default to what everyone else has learned to do. Unfortunately, strict teaching that doesn’t allow for deviation means you bypass your own safety mechanisms and you learn to neglect your body’s own voice. That’s DANGEROUS stuff.

So points 2 and 3 (the most frequent common mistakes) often happen because of the way the class is delivered. The instructions are strong but they are also not entirely clear and the unconscious mind has to make sense of them. And that produces different results for different folk.

What your aim should be is to:

  1. Have the top of your forehead touching your “knee”(the actual touchdown point varies according to personal anatomy and flexibility);
  2. Your chin tucked in so stronglythat it could even feel a little awkward to breathe (this is why you’ll probably hear the words “choked throat”. It’s important to know that with time it can even be quite easy to breathe with your chin tucked in tight.
  3. Your gaze as you ENTERS, and during the pose, should be into your heartor higher. Most people will NATURALLY hear “put your head on your knee” and as a result actually LOOK at the knee on the way in. This is the biggest mistake. You can see that “head on knee” and “tuck the chin” don’t make it easy for the mind to work out exactly what to do. You have to train yourself to trust that in tucking your chin your head will land on the knee! Your knee is in a pre-determined place. You can trust that it won’t move by the time you curl up. 😉

What do you do if your forehead doesn’t make it to your knee?

Simple.

In Standing Sep Leg Head to Knee and in Floor Head to knee what you do is … Bend the knee to meet your forehead.*

* In Standing Head to Knee, you’ll keep working on balance and keep the lifted leg straight. Don’t get head to leg contact.  Just hold off and work on best technique described above and in my resources. No prizes and no benefits for ‘cheating.’

Maybe you are a “big-boned” or plus-sized peep and even bending the knee up to meet your forehead won’t work. Look, many people do actually end up with their knee bent way up, and their chin next to the knee. But you have to try with the same intention of curling into a tight ball, tucking your chin and looking up into your heart.

Believe me, the posture HAS begun!

Sure you will have to bend the leg for contact – and some people can’t manage that – but your AIM has shifted.

As a good friend of mine has often said; “We don’t ‘do’ yoga, we ‘try’ yoga”.

Maybe one day your head will meet your knee.

More importantly, YOU will be getting more benefits than the person next to you whose mind have unconsciously reacted to the scripted command and have dived forward.

Oh their head could be on their knee … but take a look at which part of their head is contacting and check out their back – there will be less rounding due to the diving. Having a slightly rounded back and your face on the knee is doing almost nothing. It’s certainly not getting the outcome of this pose.

Poor alignment = poor benefits.

Read more to avoid injury- http://goo.gl/YHRkbt

 

Gabrielle

You Can Make Huge Breakthroughs

You would like to see someone helping you to make big breakthroughs in your yoga practice, especially if you feel like you are “as stiff as a board.” By yoga you can make your body more flexible and strong. You can make a big difference in your life by yoga and meditation under the guidance of spiritual yoga guru. You can check more here for making huge breakthroughs http://goo.gl/YHRkbt .

A bit of an obsession?-

Hip opening seems to be ‘all the rage’ in yoga. How do you do it and well? Without damaging very important structures and get the freedom you need for your everyday movement and your yoga practice.

So here the tips for you how getting more flexible in your hips is WAY MORE than the stuff of dancers or martial artists – In fact, it’s something we should all be working on.

Are you stiff? Maybe it’s from:

* Taking part in sports which demand rigidity in your hip area.

* Being in a marching band or in the armed forces.

* A job where you are required to be seated a great deal of the day?

* Just being a man who has little movement around the hips, because after all, swinging your hips around can be considered very feminine. This can explain why so many men are rigid in this area.

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Why is “opening the hips” so important?

Did you know that tight hips can mean that you get tired from walking? Sounds odd, I know, but tight hips forces you to use your heels to pull yourself forward and your body has to work harder to catch up with the forward movement.

Loosening up your hips is MUCH MORE than just wanting to go further into your yoga poses.  It doesn’t matter what the reason for being tight-hipped is, making more movement there WILL IMPROVE:

* Your everyday movements;

* Your ability to walk effectively; and

* Your ability to even bend forward from the hips to retrieve something from a table or a bench.

It’s kind of tricky but you have a way of moving your body that you’ve developed over the years: it’s now your habitual way of moving. Which means you don’t think about it? You just walk, stand, sit or whatever, right? If you’ve got hip issues then you’ve either had some underlying hardware issue (!) that your body has worked around so you can function, or somehow your habits of movement (or even how you stand habitually) have created imbalance and therefore tightness in that area.

Whew!

For example the imbalance is causing an oh-so-common problem in joint stabilization which means you’re having problems in your legs and back.

It could mean you have unknowingly created a system of weak abdominal muscles and weak hamstrings ‘balanced’ by tight back extensors and tight hip flexors.

The opposite can happen too: tight abdominal muscles and hamstrings, and stretchy back extensors and weak hip flexors.

Whatever your problem, the aim is to re-establish optimal hip range of motion and olio-sacral alignment, and while you’re at it, put your pelvis back in optimum position.

OK so now for a tiny, weeny bit of anatomy.

You can move your femur (leg) in many directions because at the top of the femur there is a ping pong ball sized knob around which the hip and leg move.

So many people have issues here.

>> The hips form a major part of the pelvis, the rest being the sacrum and the coccyx and lower parts of the spinal column.

>> The hollow ring part of the pelvis is formed by the pubic symphysis (where it joins front and center) the sacrum and your SI joints.

Contrary to popular belief, the pelvis does in fact have a moving bit!

You have the SI (sacroiliac) joint which is vital for comfort and movement even though the movement is really very small.

And you have the possibility to rotate your pelvis around the central axis of your body (your spine).

Did you know that you have to be able to do that when you walk?

Hip “range of motion” is key to healthy walking

In fact there are some counter rotational movements when you walk that you may not be aware of.

Walking is not just a simple back and forth movement due to the ball and socket joint.

You see, as your front foot takes the weight as you walk, the multi-directional femur-to-hip joint allows that weighted hip to dip and that femur internally rotates.

Then when you push off your back foot, propelling yourself forward, your femur slightly externally rotates.

Yes I know, it’s quite beautifully complex. But what I am really wanting you to get is that healthy walking deserves as much of your mindful attention as the focused time you spend practicing your yoga. If truth be told your hips benefit more from being open in everyday life than going deeply into a yoga pose.

There’s a part of your walking cycle, every single step, where your hips have to be able to relax and accept the full weight of the body as it shifts from leg to leg. If not then your walking is impeded.

So, physiologically, being flexible in the hips helps you!

  • Tight hips means pelvis is still, immobile, and the thigh is harder to flex (to move the leg forward). Your body lags behind to some extent and it takes a little extra energy for it to catch up.
  • Flexible hips means the pelvis can rotate with each leg movement … which makes moving much easier!

… which all adds up to healthy walking.

Gabrielle

What is the physiology of happiness?

The Physiology of happiness is your deep practice of yoga teacher training in yoga institute. That way, when you do dissect the poses you discover the joy of learning to really listen to your body with a deep understanding that will astound you. Here we’ll drill down into some specifics for-

  • Neck, shoulders and arms
  • Legs, knees and feet

Here will approaching your practice systematically – not by using any specific pose as a reference – but by using your body as the reference.

  1. Neck, shoulders and arms- So many yogis routinely engage this part of the body wrongly. I can see it a mile off. And with the information today you’ll be able to not just see it in yourself and others, but identify what it feels like and how to fix it. You’ll have a ticket to pain-free posture (and yoga poses)!

The way you SHOULD hold your neck, shoulder and arms is one of the unchanging relationships that you will learn to rely on in your practice. The only issue at the moment is diagnosing if you are routinely not doing it the right way.

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Like many people you may need an overhaul to what you’re doing now. It’s oh-so-easy when your mistakes are um, unmistakable and big. It’s when you need TINY changes but you think you’re doing it right and so are not looking to make any changes. So pay attention to everything and test drives it all here, now and in the yoga room.

So here’s your yardstick for your constant reminder and referral. They are ground rules for yoga and in fact ANY movements you do. They are very simple but they take a combination of practice and good-habit-forming movements and awareness to make the benefits stick!

  • Your shoulders must stay down and back so you can open up and maintain best range of motion in your shoulders, neck, back and arms.
  • Great habits here are one of the most important keys to a long neck and even a stress-free life.
  • When you learn the nuances of this important key to your posture you’ll be able to stand correctly as well as counter those forward bending, slouching, crouched over, desk- sitting, baby feeding, child holding, driving, eating (ad infinitum) postures that most of us have developed via bad habits.

The key is in a position that’s activated by ‘externally rotating’ your shoulders. You’ll be able to securely seat your shoulder blades down and back and away from the ears.

Whether you’re at your desk, shooting one arm up to the sky in Triangle pose, or curled over tightly in Rabbit there really is never a time where hunching your shoulders will help you!

In fact the simple act of holding your shoulders down and back will resolve so much tension in your back, neck, shoulders and head that your headaches may disappear, and you WILL breathe more deeply and enjoy your life more.

It is part of what I call having a “Physiology of Happiness “!

Stand this way, outside of yoga with your upper arms externally rotated and your chest lifted and discovers a new spring in your step and a compelling need to put a smile on your face. So get out there and enhance your happiness with this cornerstone life skill and yoga technique.

For more info see video- http://goo.gl/aHLuDS

  1. Legs, knees and feet- Someone who walks on the tips of their toes (and even someone who wears high heel shoes) isn’t as connected to the ground as someone barefoot who is spreading the weight consciously through the feet to support their body!

Seems obvious that how you connect with the ground really makes a huge difference to everything you do.

“Standing properly on your own 2 feet” takes on new meaning because you can really make excellent alignment start where it should … at the ground.

When you practice this yoga frequently enough you will likely find your feet change to support you better than they ever have before, especially if you learn how to use them in the best possible way.

Not just pose by pose, but in a way that helps you ‘get’ the nuances of balance and support and how it affects you from toes and heels right upwards to through your hips and shoulders to the top of your head. Onwards and upwards!

So in your practice, noticing what you do with your feet, ankles, knees and hips can form a strong focus for you … and help you enjoy more satisfying progress in every class!

>> The keys:

>> Start with feet facing forward not splayed out to the sides.

>> Feet misalign for most students when they bring “toes and heels together”. DON’T do that. Really DON’T.

>> If you squish your heels and toes together your ankles are probably squashing together too. Each is kind a holding the other up. This is disastrous for when you lift one leg off of the floor. In fact, I can see most people shift the foot on the floor to compensate the moment the lifted foot is airborne.

So… try instead to have the big toes touching but align your legs and hips and see if you too end up with a space between your heels. If you ever have trouble balancing on one leg this COULD be THE key for you.

To put it another way: Your knees face forward. As do your feet. No splaying. Hips won’t turn outwards as a result and your whole practice will be better. Could you take a little while to recalibrate your practice?

If you have knock-knees, bowed legs, pronated ankles or fallen arches the renewed attention to your lower limbs from the ground up will:

  • Correct the muscular imbalances that created the problem* in the first place
  • Set you up to benefit much more deeply than you thought possible

Just like any knew skill you learn, at first these adjustments will be difficult because they suck your attention and your energy. But after a while these adjustments will become second nature and only need checking in a holistic sense as you cycle your attention through your body.

If you like this idea then you should check out The Hot Yoga Master classes. Here- http://goo.gl/YHRkbt

 

I think you really will make breakthroughs if you choose to use The Hot Yoga Master Classes.

 

Reference- Gabrielle

Discovering Sattva…

Sattva means completion and harmony of the ying and the yang. – Anand

Before even thinking about spending sometime in India at Sattva Retreat and joiningSattvaCommunity in Rishikesh, and then decidingto take part of the yoga teacher training program…. I ‘ve already practiced yoga.

I’ve also taught some classes in my city,invited from my teacher that was so enthusiastic in having such a young student with such interest and passion for the yoga teachings.

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I had always enjoyed it very much and felt great and deeply changed and transform after each session, having the feeling I was going into the direction of who I really am.
But every time no more than couple months would pass and whatever class I was taking or teachingwouldn’t feel “right” to me.
I alwaysfelt that the practice was not aligned to my everydaylife, or didn’t feel that I had to believe or pray some Gods in order to become a “real yogini”.

Also, sometimes, I couldn’t manage all of the energy that would arise after Kundalini practices, as I often would walk out of a yoga studio with the energy to climb a mountain. But I was in a busy town and mostly of my friendswere more interested in climbing the steps of a bar in Rome.

Sometimes after an Ashtanga class, I felt very tired for days, I needed to recover and let my body to stretch, as I felt like I’ve exhausted myself in a workout class.

I always thought that the problem was in me, in my personality,and those were the reasons why after a short time I decided toquit with “yoga”…
It felt to me as I was searching for an answer in an infinite book and that the answer I was looking for was always on the next page.
Exhausted from that search,I’ve decided to give up… and I though that I was not made for practicing “physical” yoga, so I’ve decided to focus all my practice only on meditation.
And it went well: I enjoyed many benefits and have learned the power of the mind and applied to my work as a psychologist for a while.
But again at some point I felt that something was still missing.

When I finally had a blessing to meet Anandin Italy, it was last November during his first retreat inRonciglione. I followed him with my goodfriends during this trip, and from his teachings, I’ve realized that itwasn’t me that was made “wrong” for the yoga practice.
I’d realized that what I had been through all of those years of trying to practice was just a part of the original teaching….and finally I had the answers for the questions that I had given up sometime before.
I had interviewed Anand during Yoga Festival in Milan, where he taught some classes.

F: How have you started to teach? How come you started to teach yoga?

Anand:It happened naturally since ayoung age;I just always knew.It came very easy to me; and people always came to me and asked me questions about their lives, and this is how I started.
I was studying yoga in different places,and I have found that it was always a little fragmented,it didn’t feel complete anywhere. Hatha yoga was a very specific technique and I found it very limited. For mean enlightenment is all about freedom, as I have always been a rebel and thought that anything that limits you, can’t be freeing you. So this is how Sattva was born. I realized that all the practices where not meant to be separated. This is a modern invention, where there are Hatha, Kundalini and all different practices. Sattva yoga was born out of that intention of giving a real and complete way which focus on true wisdom, intelligence, meditation, physical practices, tantra … all of it! The whole way!I’ve realized this when I went to different ashrams and saw that in some people were only meditating, but were physically unfit, and in others, people were physical fit but mentally unfit and their consciousness was very narrow, as they were doing just the asanas but didn’t know the vocabulary. So Sattva came as a result of an intention to create a revolutionary whole way, a complete way. And when I say complete, and it doesn’t meant that it has been finished or that it has ended evolving, by complete I mean that is whole and it continues to evolve, like the Universe that is whole but it’s always evolving. That how Sattva came about. Sattva means Completion and Harmony of the ying and the yang.

During the classes I had attended with Anand at that three days retreat, I had the “Sattva experience” of yoga and finally felt that I had found the practice that I was looking for but not only a practice…

Now that I’m at the Sattva retreat, and I feel this sense of deep wholeness that arises in me, Anand’s worlds keep running in my mind as I am understanding that whole doesn’t mean complete, but it means that keeps evolving, as the Universe. And me, as the Universe, I feel to have this incredible opportunity to truly and deeply evolve, expand and give up the searching for something that has to be complete. And know I understand why I was not finding what I really needed, because I was looking into “yoga” only a finished experience that would “fit” my life and not looking as experiencing life in yoga, as a “sattvic” experience.

May these worlds help you to find your answers….

In peace and profound gratitude,

Francesca

Source- Sattva Yoga Academy Blog..Read more blog..