Archive for July, 2010

Keeping your Spine and Nervous System Healthy

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

The spine is a delicate and yet extremely important axis that supports the whole body. It is the first structure that is formed in a child’s body and consequently all the other limbs, the arms, legs and hips, derive from it. If the movements you do during the day originate from the spine, then the spine remains supple.

The following asanas help to extend the space between the vertebrae, relieving stress to the spinal cord accumulated throughout the days activities.

When the spine is supple each breath provides a wave of movement through the spine undulating and extending without the slightest effort. Practicing these asanas regularly will provide a healthy supple body and mind.

1.Makarasana (Crocodile)                                      

Lie prone – on your belly. Rest your forehead at the hairline on the floor, arms resting comfortably above your head. Close your eyes and let your whole body relax into the floor. Let your heels turn out and let your legs soften outwards.  Observe your breath, breathing deeply, pressing your belly down into the floor. With each exhalation allow your body to relax deeper into the floor. Breathe softly and evenly.

Benefits:

Reduces stress and tension, promotes sleep, regulates blood pressure and reduces anxiety.

2.Ardha Shalabhasana (Half Locust)

Inhale, lengthening the back of your neck, observe your breath. Begin to contract your buttocks until you feel your legs lengthening and feet rotating inwards. Squeeze your buttocks and thighs and feel your legs beginning to lift off the floor. Keep your legs straight and close together. With each breath visualise your legs lengthening away from your body as your legs lift, breathing evenly, hold for as long as is comfortable.

Release slowly and turn your head to rest on the side.

Repeat slowly and evenly.

Benefits:

Improves blood circulation, digestion and helps to relieve constipation. Helps to tone thighs, hips, waist, abdomen and the posterior. This yoga pose benefits women through its effect on the ovaries and uterus, helping to correct disorders of these organs.

3.Shalabhasana Variation (Locust) 

Draw your forehead to rest at your hairline while lengthening the cervical vertebrae. Draw your arms a little wider opening the chest and sternum.  Observe your breath, on your next inhalation keeping your gaze at the level of the floor raise your upper body letting your arms lift up gently, keep your feet anchored to the floor. On each inhalation feel the upper body lift carried upon the breath and on each exhalation release slightly. Feel your breath supporting you, nourishing you.

Release slowly.

Benefits: This posture activates the pancreas, liver, abdomen, pelvis and the entire lower part of the body. Increases blood supply to the spine and the entire upper area and provides flexibility to the upper back region. It also provides relief from indigestion, diarrhea, gastro-intestinal disorders, wind troubles, constipation and acidity.

4.Salamba Bhujangasana  (The Sphinz)            

Repeat the Locust, this time as you inhale draw your arms slightly inwards to bring your forearms in alignment with your shoulders. Anchor down through the elbows,spread your fingers, open the sternum, release your shoulders downwards. Contract the thighs and  buttocks, press your pubic bone to the floor Let your gaze be soft, imagine you are looking from the back of your head. With each inhalation allow the sternum to rise upwards open and expansive, consciously release tension from your  shoulders, feel the spine continuing to lengthen.

To release exhale and slowly, lower the chest and head to the floor. Turn your head to one side and rest.

Benefits:

Opens the chest and strengthens the core body. Strengthens the spine, stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen. Firms the buttocks, stimulates abdominal organs and helps to relieve stress. Aligns the spine and invigorates the kidneys and nervous system.

5.Bhekasana – Variation (Frog Pose)   

Inhale; turn your head to rest on the right hand side. Draw your right knee upwards along the floor to rest comfortably at your side. Readjust your head to lengthen your neck. Observe your breath; with each inhalation feel your belly pressing gently into the floor and on each exhalation release any tension you may be holding onto in the pelvis. Invite the hips to begin to lower to the floor.

Repeat on the opposite side.

Benefits:

Deeply restorative. Stretches the hips, groin and insides of the thighs. Opens the hips. Abdominal organs massaged. Stimulates parasympathetic breathing, calms the nervous system. Assists with menstrual or menopausal discomfort.

Om Shanti

© Copyright 2010 Megan Ward

http://www.manasayoga.com/

Self Knowledge -Vedanta- To Know Oneself

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Self knowledge is in essence Yoga. Yoga can be defined as to ‘Know Oneself’


 

Namaste students and friends,

A  brief summary of the first discourse from our Self knowledge classes.

With blessings,

Megan – Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

The first sutra ‘To Know Oneself’ is the same as the last sutra. What does this mean? It means ‘To Imbibe in Yourself’

The yoga masters over 2000 years ago recognized that in order to know Oneself we must know one’s Mind, as the mind, like anything else that is not controlled will ultimately cause chaos.

The World Health Organization predicts that by the year 2020 Depression will be the second major illness after heart disease. Depression is a mind disease.

Our existence is typically at the control of a highway of thoughts racing along – often out of control. Sometimes we manage ok but when a trigger happens we react to a pattern, a program installed in us from long ago which often no longer serves us.

The study of Self Knowledge reveals the knowledge which is within each of us; it requires an enquiring mind for it is only ignorance that separates us from recognizing this truth.

The role of the teacher is only to reveal the knowledge to the student.

Self Knowledge does not give you a new identity, a new tool or a new name.

Self Knowledge helps you to go beyond the Identity.

Our world is created by our thoughts. Our world is molded by our thoughts.

We are bombarded every day with sensory overload. The mind becomes cluttered and chaotic and when this happens our stress levels increase and we literally begin to ‘lose it’

We begin by observing, detaching from our thoughts.

The most powerful method to begin with, is to allow the mind to become quiet with the awareness of the breath, your nearest and dearest friend.

Simply sit in a comfortable supported position, ensure your lower back is supported and you are not collapsing in the body.

Rest your hands comfortably in ‘Chin Mudra’ (thumb tip touching index finger tip)

Close your eyes gently, consciously release your facial muscles and jaw.

Now bring your awareness to your breath, breathing in and breathing out.

Let your entire mind become fully absorbed with this simple action.

I am breathing in, I am breathing out.

Do not allow thoughts to enter the mind.

Continually returning to the breath, the mind becomes fully absorbed with the breath.

Eventually you will feel a beautiful serenity, light and calmness coming into your being.

This is just the beginning.

Namaste

© Copyright 2010 Megan Ward

http://www.manasayoga.com/