30 September 2009

Pose of the day


Urdhva Dhanurasana, originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk.

Urdhva Dhanurasana or upward-facing bow pose/bridge.

Quote of the day...

Advance, and never halt, for advancing is perfection. Advance and do not fear the thorns in the path, for they draw only corrupt blood.
Khalil Gibran

29 September 2009

Quote of the day...

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

28 September 2009

Quote of the day...

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.
Buddha

27 September 2009

Quote of the day...

I believe each human being has the potential to change, to transform one’s own attitude, no matter how difficult the situation.
Dalai Lama

26 September 2009

Yoga video: River of the Soul by Danny Paradise



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!

Quote of the day...

My whole life I never spoke one word.
Buddha

25 September 2009

Quote of the day...

Basically, a human being is a social animal. So, if you create some short moment of happiness for people, you get deep satisfaction.
Dalai Lama

24 September 2009

Quote of the day...

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.
Buddha

23 September 2009

Video: Ashtanga yoga by David Swenson



A great demonstration of Ashtanga yoga by David Swenson.

Quote of the day...

Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.
Gandhi

22 September 2009

Quote of the day...

Spiritual practices help us move from identifying with the ego to identifying with the soul. Old age does that for you too. It spiritualizes people naturally.
Ram Dass

21 September 2009

Yoga nidra

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 pregnancy; as well as bringing about deep relaxation. Richard Miller has a soft melodic voice that my labrador also loves... He will come and lie down beside me whenever he hears this CD go on.

Quote of the day...

Learn to know yourself ... to search realistically and regularly the processes of your own mind and feelings.
Nelson Mandela

20 September 2009

Quote of the day...

The breath is the intelligence of the body.
TKV Desikachar

19 September 2009

Quote of the day...

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Khalil Gibran

18 September 2009

Video: Sadhus at the Kumbh Mela



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.

Quote of the day...

So the smart brain must be balanced with a warm heart, a good heart--a sense of responsibility, of concern for the well-being of others.
Dalai Lama

17 September 2009

Chakras

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.

The seven chakras are:
  • Mulahara (red): grounding, stability, stamina, motivation, self-confidence, purpose, passion, excitement. (Base)
  • Svadhisthana (orange): joy, respect for oneself, release (of stored negativity), creativity, cheer, pick-me-up, happiness. (Sacral)
  • Manipura (yellow): cleansing, cheer, happiness, upliftment, ego, will power, energy, focus, enthusiasm, self-worth. (Solar plexus)
  • Anahata (green): balance, harmony, peace, abundance, love yourself, release (heart related emotions), growth/ new beginnings. (Heart)
  • Vissudha (blue): release of physical tension, communication, peace, healing, honesty, calming, cleansing, express oneself. (Throat)
  • Ajna (indigo / magenta): wisdom, protection, vision, responsibility, understanding, seeking, power. (Brow)
  • Sahasrara (purple): clarity, cleansing, clearing negativity, universal energy, has all colours within it, pureness. (Crown)

During a yoga practice, we encourage prana upwards through the chakras to the crown chakra and the seat of enlightenment.

Quote of the day...

Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.
Buddha

Video: The Dalai at the Maha Kumbh Mela



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!

16 September 2009

Quote of the day...

It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practice the virtues of compassion and tolerance.
Dalai Lama

15 September 2009

Quote of the day...

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
Buddha

14 September 2009

Quote of the day...

What I believe, according to my own experience, is that a calm, peaceful mind is a very important element for sustaining the body in a balanced way.
Dalai Lama

13 September 2009

New yoga publication: Om magazine

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.

Quote of the day...

Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.
Buddha

12 September 2009

Quote of the day...

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

11 September 2009

Quote of the day...

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
Khalil Gibran

10 September 2009

Quote of the day...

It’s very different because the Indians live as if they are their souls and Americans live as if they are their egos.
Ram Dass

09 September 2009

Video: Mountain Hare Krishna by Krishna Das and Sting



I saw this video on Youtube the other day and thought I would share it with you. It features music by Krishna Das and Sting and has some lovely images. Enjoy!

Quote of the day...

The ego lies in the fact that I share it with men and women, some of whom are more capable than me. That is my ego.
Nelson Mandela

08 September 2009

Quote of the day...

There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall - think of it, always.
Gandhi

07 September 2009

Quote of the day...

However many holy words you read,However many you speak,What good will they do you If you do not act on upon them?
Buddha

06 September 2009

Quote of the day...

There is often a big disparity between the way in which we perceive things and the way things really are.
Dalai Lama

05 September 2009

Quote of the day...

An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.
Buddha

04 September 2009

Video Friday: Ashtanga Yoga - The Primary Series with John Scott

Here is another yoga video that I have come across on Youtube. It is a great demonstration of the Ashtanga yoga primary series featuring John Scott. Enjoy!

Quote of the day...

By bringing about a change in our outlook toward things and events, all phenomena can become sources of happiness.
Dalai Lama

03 September 2009

Chanting

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.


“Chanting is the heart practice of yoga. When we are in love, our hearts are constantly calling out the name of our lover. Chanting is that calling”.
Krishna Das

So Ham
I am that (that which is immortal and everlasting) - The Upanishads

“Om asato ma sad-gamaya, tamaso majyotir gamaya,
Mrtyor ma amritham gamaya,
om shantih shantih shantih.”

Lead me from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality, om peace peace peace

Here are a couple of Kirtan chants:

“Rama bolo Rama bolo, bolo, bolo, Ram
Seeta bolo Seeta bolo bolo bolo Ram
Hanuman bolo Hanuman bolo bolo bolo Ram”.
Rejoice and sing the names of Ram, Sita, and Hanuman.

“Ganesha sharanam, sharanam Ganesha Jai Jai Ganesha”
I take refuge in the one who removes all obstacles

Quote of the day...

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

02 September 2009

Quote of the day...

Day after day let the yogi practice harmony Of soul; in a secret place, in deep solitude, master of his mind, hoping for nothing, desiring nothing.
Bhagavad Gita

01 September 2009

Moon days

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:

Full moon

  • Sunday 11th January
  • Monday 9th February
  • Wednesday 11th March
  • Thursday 9th April
  • Saturday 9th May
  • Sunday 7th June
  • Tuesday 7th July
  • Thursday 6th August
  • Friday 4th September
  • Sunday 4th October
  • Monday 2nd November
  • Wednesday 2nd December
  • Thursday 31st December

New moon

  • Monday 26th January
  • Wednesday 25th February
  • Thursday 26th March
  • Saturday 25th April
  • Sunday 24th May
  • Monday 22nd June
  • Wednesday 22nd July
  • Thursday 20th August
  • Friday 18th September
  • Sunday 18th October
  • Monday 16th November
  • Wednesday 16th December

Quote of the day...

For all people who have found themselves in the position of being in jail and trying to transform society, forgiveness is natural because you have no time to be retaliative.
Nelson Mandela