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Yoga and Health

Yoga Asana Series

The technology of being human

The word Yoga means ‘the perfected state of universal oneness or spiritual completion’ but it’s also used to describe the activities, the exercises leading to that state.

Beginning with the physical, the first aspect of yoga is asana comprising all the physical exercises. These exercises condition the body creating freedom of movement, improved muscle tone and overall balance within one’s physical structure.

Yoga asana are designed to exercise every muscle in the body so that the muscles are contracted, twisted, squeezed and relaxed to push out toxins and then the muscles are relaxed. By twisting the torso, the internal organs are also gently affected so that the circulation of energy and

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Virabhadrasana 1

Yoga Asana Series

Developing structural foundation

Virabhadra 1 is the first of a set of three of asana’s referred to as warrior poses. These foundational poses help to develop strength, tenacity, balance, alignment and balance core energy.

In simple terms this pose is a powerful lunge which strengthens the shoulders, arms, thighs, ankles and the muscles of the back; expands the chest, lungs and shoulders; tones the hip flexors, abdomen, and ankles; develops stamina and endurance in thighs and core muscles; stimulates abdominal organs and digestion; improves balance and concentration.

This image right is a good representation of the pose performed by a novice and in practise, it is regarded as an intermediate asana and not performed until one

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Asana and Movement

Yoga Asana Series

Activating connections for safety and dynamic freedom of movement

t.krishnamacharya in Tadasana

The earth is the basis of our body and therefore all our movements must begin in relationship with the earth. We can begin to understand this connection through our feet when standing in tadasana.

In this pose, when we stand tall and open, the toes are soft and sensing. The sensations felt in the toes communicate with the brain as to the nature of the bodies balance and position in space. The weight balance in general is that about 80% will be on the heel and the other 20% will extend into the ball the foot while

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Balance in Yoga

Yoga Asana Series

Defining Balance and how to find it?

The Buddha famously spoke of the middle way, of avoiding extremes and in simple terms physical balance is a state of equipoise whereby one can remain upright without rigidity. In yoga we typically think about balance in terms of the physical, but there are also states of mental and spiritual balance that comes about through right practice and mindfulness which of itself is another practice.

We could say that life itself is an exercise in finding balance in every area of life. However within yoga it is acknowledged that balance in all aspects of life enhances self-awareness, self knowing and ease of existence. So strive to balance inside

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Krishna Pattabhi Jois

The father of Ashtanga Yoga

Krishna Pattabhi Jois was an Indian yoga teacher who founded the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, in Mysore, India.

A student of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi Jois’ ashtanga yoga concept provides a high cardiovascular workout. There is a great deal of similarity between the teachings of BKS Iyengar and but Patabi Jois, every asana is clearly defined and perhaps the key difference is that Patabi Jois moves quickly from one pose to the next to get the inner body warmed up and this is not to be confused with hot yoga which is a dangerous practice.

For those people who think or find that yoga practice is far too passive, the dynamics of Ashtanga

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Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya

The father of modern hatha yoga

A modern exponent of Asana, Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (November 18, 1888 – February 28, 1989) was an Indian yoga teacher, ayurvedic healer and scholar. Often referred to as “the father of modern yoga,” Krishnamacharya is widely regarded as one of the most influential yoga teachers of the 20th century and is credited with the revival of hatha yoga.

Krishnamacharya held degrees in all the six Vedic darśanas, or Indian philosophies. While under the patronage of the Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wadiyar, Krishnamacharya traveled around India giving lectures and demonstrations to promote yoga, including such feats as stopping his heartbeat. He is widely considered as the architect of vinyasa, in the sense of combining breathing

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What Is Yoga?

The science of being human

With the passing of the third International Day of Yoga in 2017 as sanctioned by the United nations, a few thoughts on yoga for the uninitiated.

The word “Yoga” cannot be translated into English. In the Sanskrit, it derives from the root “Yuja,” which is to join or weld together. Just as two pieces of metal are welded together to become one.

So in the philosophy of Yoga, the embodied spirit of the individual becomes one with the Universal Spirit through the regular practice of certain physical and mental exercises. In another definition, Yoga is the art of life and its philosophy is meant to furnish the principles that substantiate and explain that art.

One

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Parsvottanasana

Yoga Asana Series

A powerful forward extension

Parsvottanasana is a powerful stretch to the entire back muscles of the forward leg and often a good stretch of the calf muscles on the back leg. In addition, the spine is lengthened and balance is improved.

As it is one of the strongest of the forward bends, the body needs to be fairly well warmed up before it is attempted. The goal of this asana is to fully extend the back of the forward leg and to lengthen the spine. Note it’s not about touching forehead to knee, that action can be injurious.

Sometimes it’s nice to alternate this pose before or after trickonasana and I recommend that students are

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Parivrtta Trikonasana

Yoga Asana Series

Revolving Triangle Pose

Parivrtta Trikonasana is a powerful dynamic stretch requiring good balance and strong concentration. There is an intense stretch in the legs with an elongation and twist of the torso which releases a lot of energy. The pose also challenges your ability to balance and pay attention to your body.

This pose is achievable by people who from standing, can comfortably fold forwards from the hips keeping their knees straight and resting their hands on the floor. Those who cannot do this will most likely need something to rest their hand on to prevent the flexing of the spine as you can see in the video below.

Classically this pose is taught with the

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Vajrasana

Yoga Asana Series

Sitting on your heels

Thanks to Style Craz on Pinterest

Vajrasana is derived from word “Vajra”, which means the armour. The body becomes adamantine, strong and firm. The Vajrasana centres you at the navel (the Manipura Chakra) and makes you firm in your resolve. Vajrasana is a kneeling pose, and it takes its name from the Sanskrit word Vajra (वज्), which means diamond or thunderbolt.

It is a restful pose and can be used for meditation, breathing (Pranayama) exercises like Kapalabhati and Anulon Vilom, and it is said that in doing so, the body becomes as strong as a diamond.

Like all asana’s, there are many variations starting from the simple act of having

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