To lose weight?
To become fitter?
To start those foreign language classes you’ve been promising yourself?
To take that trip you’ve always wanted?
To learn to relax?
Whatever your New Year’s resolution – have you started yet? What positive steps have you taken so far towards your desired outcome?
This is where yoga comes in. Yoga is ALL about the mind – strengthening the mind, quietening the mind, in order to reach the goal of ultimate happiness – bliss.
When a friend suggested I write about New Year’s resolutions, I thought “I don’t know anything about New Year’s resolutions”! Then I thought of the sankalpa, and realised that it can be used in many different circumstances, for example, New Year’s resolutions! (more…)
Things happen in threes, so people say – so on the 11tn of November, we held a special yoga class with triple the purpose!
The centenary of the signing of the Armistice at the 11th hour on the 11th day on the 11th month of 1918 was acknowledged widely throughout Australia. We at Yoga Alive also recognised the occasion by holding a special yoga class (starting at 11.01am) on that day.
I have also been very concerned about the victims of the various natural disasters that recently hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, and I wanted to offer support. So people paid a bit extra to attend the class on the 11th of the 11th, and many other people gave donations even though they couldn’t attend on the day.
We raised almost $600 to be sent to help people in Sulawesi.
We didn’t just have a yoga class, however. We also had a party, as I was celebrating moving into my home eleven years ago on the 11th November, 2007.
After this special yoga class finished, the sun was shining as people sat either outside or inside on the floor of the yoga studio eating healthy vegan nibblies, vegan cheesecake and drinking chai.
I am always humbled by people’s generosity when it comes to helping others, and this day was no different. Together we offered a truly yogic gesture.
Thankyou to everyone for making this occasion such a success!
Yoga is way more than the asanas – those physical postures that we generally do in a yoga class. Similarly, it has way more relevance than just keeping us fit by attending a weekly yoga class or asana session. It can be, and is, used in so many different ways.
The main aim of yoga is increased awareness – in all its guises.
It starts with being aware of our bodies. In a person with no history of trauma or major illness, just being aware of the placement of the relaxed body is a significant beginning; from that, the person can then gradually become aware of which parts of the body respond to which kinds of movement. In a person with a history of trauma, shutting down body awareness is a common response – more of that later.
Awareness of the breath comes next and many people then realise that they have poor breathing habits. (more…)
Have you noticed, when watching the Anzac parades, the difference between the way the soldiers and ex-soldiers march, compared with the non-soldiers? Or maybe you have watched a ballroom dancing competition, or seen either “Shall We Dance” (with Richard Gere) or the old Australian film, “Strictly Ballroom”?
Know what they have in common? Good posture!!! It seems to be in poor supply these days. What a pity. Good posture is so important.
Posture affects all the systems of the body, thereby affecting every aspect of our lives.
Many (especially) young people feel inadequate and self-conscious and so they droop their shoulders to “hide” from the world. But the drooping shoulders become a habit, and over time the shoulders become habitually rounded. The long-term effects are far-reaching.
Poor posture can lead to back pain, neck pain, spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration, constriction of blood vessels and nerves. (more…)
At the risk of repeating some of what was said in my first blog about the chakras, it is important to remember that the chakras (pronounced CHAR-kras) are energy. They occur wherever two or more energy channels intersect. As there are many, many energy channels (called nadis) in the body, there are many chakras.
Most people are only interested in those chakras that are in the spine (except that the top few are actually in the head, not the spine). That’s because there are three major nadis in the spine. These three nadis have names: IDA (pronounced EE-da), PINGALA (pronounced PING-gala) and SUSHUMNA (Sue-SHOOM-na). Sushumna goes straight up the centre of the spinal cord, while Ida and Pingala criss-cross their way up the spinal cord. Where they cross over, there’s a chakra. They end at the Third Eye chakra – Ajna.
Some people are very concerned about the colours of the chakras. The only purpose I can think of for giving a chakra a colour is to make it easier to picture it in meditation. However, a few years ago I was complaining to a friend that I find it difficult to feel an ecstatic “high” – I’m a very two-feet-on-the-ground person – very earthed. My friend said, “Well, no wonder. You wear red so often. You should wear lighter, higher chakra colours”. She was right. (more…)
“She’s wrong! She’s gone whacko!” I hear you utter through gritted teeth, “What’s this mention of an EIGHTH chakra?”
You could well be right that I’ve gone whacko, but I am right about the existence of EIGHT, not seven chakras. After Mooladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddhi and Ajna, the eighth chakra is what most (New Age?) people call the seventh chakra – that is, Sahasrara, often known as the “Crown Chakra”.
Before I get to it, though, let me introduce you to the real seventh chakra: BINDU, sometimes known as the Moon Centre. Bindu is located at the top, back part of the head. If you’ve seen Hare Krishna devotees, their heads are shaven, all except for a small tuft of hair at the top, back of the head. That tuft of hair is at the point of Bindu chakra.
The chakra itself is colourless and transparent, but its symbol shows a crescent moon and a lotus with 23 petals.
Bindu chakra produces amrita, known as the “nectar of immortality”, which bestows physical and mental health, vitality and youthfulness. 1 Consequently, Bindu chakra is an important centre for health. It can give us the power for physical and mental recuperation; it benefits eyesight and quietens the emotions, thus promoting harmony, clarity and balance. It is Bindu that can help us control hunger and thirst.
Concentration on Bindu can relieve anxiety, depression and nervousness. 2 (more…)
The sixth chakra (after Mooladhara, Svadhistana, Manipura, Anaharta, & Vishuddhi) is the Third Eye, called AJNA. The pronunciation of this chakra is difficult for most native English speakers; it is pronounced something like “ARG-nya”.
Do you ever experience ‘deja vu’ – the feeling or vision that what you’re seeing or doing, you have seen or done before? Even though the rational part of you knows that you haven’t? That’s Ajna. Have you ever been thinking about someone you’ve not been in contact with for long time, – and suddenly, out of the blue, they contact you? That’s Ajna. Have you ever just known who is ringing you before you actually answer the phone? That’s Ajna. I think these things happen to everybody.
And everybody has an Ajna chakra – some more highly developed than others. (more…)
Way back when I was fed up with being unable to get a full-time job, I did extra study and gained a teaching qualification – stupidly, really, as I knew I didn’t want to be a school teacher. Nevertheless, I did all the necessary preparation to embark on this new career, I went to “my” classroom before the beginning of term so I could have everything ready for the first day of school.
Well, Day One arrived and I was late to school because of traffic. Not a good start, but the children didn’t mind. They were just a blur of faces; I was so nervous that I couldn’t remember even one child’s name.
By the end of the first day I was hoarse – from talking?!?!
Day Two arrived and I couldn’t talk at all – so I had to phone in that I couldn’t come to work. The same on Day Three. I ended up using a whole year’s allocated sick days in the first two weeks of school, because I couldn’t speak! I went to my yoga teacher’s yoga teacher, Muktanand, who told me that my communication problem was due to nerves!
That was Vishuddhi, the fifth spinal chakra – the centre of communication. (more…)