We are human beings, and we have this marvellous brain and marvellous heart, so there is potential to develop a proper mental attitude, through which we can have a happy, more peaceful life. Dalai Lama
Here is a video that I have come across on Youtube, with a great demonstration of ashtanga yoga from Danny Paradise, yogi to high profile celebrities such as Sting, Madonna and Paul Simon. Great locations and postures... Enjoy!
Yoga nidra is described by the Bihar school of yoga in India as “sleep with a trace of awareness”. It is a deep relaxation practice, dropping the conscious mind into the unconscious, bringing you to a deep meditation in which you are awake and aware… releasing tensions. It involves practising the 5th limb of yoga, pratyahara (withdrawal of senses). A sankalpa – or positive affirmation - is introduced to direct the mind. Rotation of consciousness is used to take the mind on a journey through the body, and breath awareness and visualization techniques balance the left and right sides of the brain, deepening the feeling of relaxation.
I would like to recommend a book and a yoga nidra CD by Richard Miller Ph.D.: Yoga Nidra - The Meditative Heart of Yoga
His wise guidance is clear and inspiring, and is a great tool for teachers and students alike. I always feel refreshed and balanced after yoga nidra and teach it to my prenatal students who find that it helps alleviate fears associated with …
Here is another video I have found on Youtube regarding the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India. It is taken from the BBC programme Extreme Pilgrim and provides an interesting and more than entertaining insight into the lives of the Sadhus - a term used to describe mystic, ascetic practitioners of yoga; as well as wandering Hindu monks.
Many people who study yoga think that along with the physical body, there exists a subtle energy system or energy channel. They believe that there are three main channels which are called ida, pingala and susumna, and that these run in and around the spinal column, from the crown of the head to the base of the spine.
Along these channels sit the chakras, which are divided into seven main wheels or discs. Chakras are often described as prana centres and are depicted as spinning wheels of light. Each chakra has a colour associated to it and correlate to specific parts of the body; as well as to emotional and spiritual well-being. During the practice of yoga, prana is encouraged to flow through the chakras, increasing and balancing these subtle “wheels of light”, while having a positive and healing effect on the mind, body and spirit.
I came across this video from shortcuttonirvana.com on Youtube, and thought I would share it with you all. It was filmed at The Maha Kumbh Mela (Great Festival of the Urn), which takes place every twelve years near the Indian city of Allahabad. With more than 70 million people attending (gurus, spiritual leaders, devotees) from all around the world, the Maha Kumbh Mela is the largest gathering in the history of humanity.
In the video, the Dalai Lama talks about the ancient spiritual connection between India and his homeland of Tibet. Hope you enjoy his words of wisdom!
I am pleased to announce that a new yoga magazine will be available in the UK soon. Om magazine will be launched at the Yoga Show in October/November, which is great news for anyone with an interest in yoga. On a personal note, it is an exciting time for me too as they have kindly agreed to publish an article that I have written in the first edition.
Be sure to look out for Om when it is released. They do have a website, which you can visit at: http://www.ommagazine.com/. At present, there are no contents, but once they are up and running, I am sure it will be essential reading.
The practice of yoga induces a primary sense of measure and proportion. Reduced to our own body, our first instrument, we learn to play it, drawing from it maximum resonance and harmony. Yehudi Menuhin
Chanting is often associated with religion and has been used by all forms of religions throughout history from Buddhism to Christianity. I think that this is one of reasons why some people feel uncomfortable chanting in a yoga class, as well as feeling self-conscious at first. Many chants, especially Kirtan chants, are devotional and this, once again, can cause some questions to arise.
From personal experience, chanting can have a very positive, uplifting effect on you, irrespective of your religious beliefs. It allows the mind to be free of any other thoughts that may be distracting or disturbing you. Chanting with others can also bring about a feeling of belonging and energy is shared. When we chant, it is said that we cut through the mind mesh and obtain freedom from delusion.
I have included some quotes below which I like a lot and which can be interpreted in many ways. I find them very useful for quietening the mind and feeling good about oneself.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Khalil Gibran
In Ashtanga tradition, both the full and new moon are observed as rest days. It is believed that, as human beings are made up of 70% water, we are affected by the gravitational pull of the moon in a similar way that sea tides are affected.
It is said that the energy from the full moon can make us headstrong, while that from the new moon has a more calming effect, but which can also make us more lethargic. Therefore, by connecting with the natural ebb and flow of the moon, we can be more connected not only to ourselves, but also to the natural rhythms of the Earth.
Here is a calendar of the new and full moons for 2009: