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What is intuition?

Intuition is a faculty which all of us have. What most of us do not know is the difference between intuition and guessing. This is what we have to build up and practise. Intuition is a faculty. Any faculty that I have needs to be recognized, until we recognize it, it is not there. How are you going to recognize intuition? It is there within you and in every single person.

To nurture your intuition you need to enhance your presence:
In my daily life I live in my mind, everything that arises in my mind I start to interact with it and I take it for truth. I have to recognize that this is my mind and I do so by being present. As soon as I want something I am no longer present, I am in movement pursuing my desires and like this I get sucked in. Unless I am able to recognize the mind and to know that I am in its power, intuition is not present and I  am in the hold of the mind.

You know the Bob Marley song with the lines 'Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind'? He recognized it, we all do. We need to recognize when we are absent and thus practise yoga to bring us back to presence. It puts our mind on hold while we are concentrating on our feet, on our breath. What an amazing thing! I manage to reduce the power of my mind. The power that the mind has over me, I make it a little less. The moment I become unaware, I am again lost.

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Everyday Spend Some Time In Peace

When I have a problem, it is an indication of misalignment. All disease it doesn’t matter which one, arthritis, cancer, all disease arises because of bad alignment. Alignment is on many levels; mental alignment or misalignment causes tension in the body. I’m not talking about physical imbalance. I’m talking about mental imbalance. In life when I wake up in the morning if I’m not positive this is going to cause misalignment in the whole day. For this reason it’s not possible to learn yoga just working on the body. One has to understand what mental misalignment is. We have to understand why misalignment happens. It’s caused by all the things that I really desire in my life, when I desire something I really want to go and get it and so that wanting, that craving causes tension. It is caused by ego, either feeling great or for that matter lack of ego, feeling like a mouse. All our desires, all the things that I don’t like, and all my fears cause stress and this causes misalignment.

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To Find Peace, First We Must Purify

Peace is like a cup that is washed, cleaned, and ready to use. The washing and the cleaning is not a very pleasant activity. If you look carefully, what does it mean, the washing and cleaning? It means you put some soap, scrub, take out the dirt or whatever is left of your food then you rinse it till the soap is gone. It’s not pleasant always, because what happens? If it’s big dirt it goes and clog the sink, blocks the pipes, when it gets blocked then there’s trouble because now you can’t wash any more. It’s trouble for you and for everyone. That cleaning process we call purification. To find peace first we must purify.

Purification is going to happen for everyone on this course. And sometimes there are some very heavy things that are going to go down the drain and clog it up and that will mean trouble. That trouble may come out as anger. When you’re angry the first person to blame is the teacher. The teacher is always in the firing range. How will it happen? You’ll start thinking ‘the teacher is wrong, is like this and that’ your mind starts to work. Or someone else is disturbing you and you blame that person. All these kind of things come up when purification is taking place. The dirt goes and gets stuck somewhere on someone else. This is inevitable.

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Skin Discoloration

A smooth, uniform skin tone is desirable to all. However, many people will sometimes undergo unusual changes in their skin, which can be displeasing to the eyes and may also bring down the person’s emotional confidence and positivity. Skin discoloration and hyper pigmentation are the most commonly experienced problems today due to the depleted ozone layer and harmful UV radiations of the sun and also some other factors, which are mentioned ahead.

There are several patterns in which skin discoloration occurs:

  1. On the face:  This type of discoloration occurs commonly around the lips, chin and forehead.
  2. Excessively dark circles around the eyes.
  3. Outbreak of spots and freckles all over the body.
  4. Butterfly pattern patch on the nose and cheeks. (Mostly occurs during pregnancy due to low haemoglobin levels and hormonal imbalance.
  5. Bluish or purple spots also known as “purpura” – These bluish purple dark spots occurs due to the lack of oxygen in the blood. The underlying cause can be some chronic disease like pneumonia, cardiovascular diseases or asthma.
  6. Colouring pigments of the skin gets affected during menopausal phase because of the huge hormonal shift.
  7. Forehead and arms tanning- This is a kind of discoloration which is something externally caused due to the over exposure of sun or excessive sitting in close contact with CFL light bulbs using mercury, as they emit UV rays and may cause photo-dermatitis.

Factors responsible for skin discoloration and hyper- pigmentation:

  1. Endocrine Glands  - Due to impaired functions of endocrine glands, the hormones in the body get imbalanced, due to which the production of colouring pigment called Melanin is compromised. Imbalance caused to this pigment sometimes leads to the deposition of dead cells on the skin surface, which ultimately causes darkening of complexion.
    Melanin is a pigment, which imparts colour to the skin and is a form of black brown protein.
    The higher the level of melanin, the darker will be the complexion of a person.
  2. Sun exposure - Over exposure of sun leads to skin burn, rashes or skin tan, which either causes redness of the skin or dark brown skin tone of certain exposed body parts. Skin tan however, repairs quickly compared to skin burn.
  3. Nutritional deficiencies - A pale complexion of a person may be indicative of lack of skin pigments, resulting from various vitamin deficiencies .The main vitamin deficiencies that are connoted  with the skin discoloration and hyper pigmentation are:
    -    Iron deficiency, calcium deficiency.
    -    Vitamin A deficiency: which causes thickening and drying of the skin making it dark.
    -    Vitamin E and vitamin C : Both vitamins helps in maintaining the healthy epithelial layer of the skin and also Ascorbic acid helps in the collagen production, thereby, preventing patchy and spotty discoloration of the skin.

    For a speedy recovery from skin discoloration, some simple tips could be followed:
    1-    Application of sunscreen lotions on the exposed areas of body even when staying indoors, as many places have CFL lights fitted.
    2-    To prevent hyper pigmentation of skin, intake of Vitamin C in the form of citrus fruits or dispersible tablets can be consumed.
    3-    Applying of mashed potato paste (raw) on the darkened portions of the skin helps in restoring the normal and rather much bright complexion as the potato contains natural bleaching agent. Hence, it’s a wonderful ingredient to be used under eyes for lightening the dark circles.
    4-    Oats, lemon and honey pack is another natural thing to improve the lost lustre of the skin and helps in exfoliation of the dead skin cells as well.
    5-    Drinking up rose water decoction, by soaking fresh rose petals in a water jug overnight in refrigerator and consuming the same next day helps in keeping the dryness of skin at bay and also brings the natural glow on the skin.
    6-    Iron and vitamin rich vegetables and fruits should be consumed like spinach, lotus stem, apple, pomegranate, beetroot, papaya, guava, strawberries, celery stalks and leaves, mango are quite a few food items which are very skin friendly and help to promote a good skin complexion.
    7-    Kumkumadi tailyam is an Ayurvedic oil which is very beneficial in promoting the radiance and good complexion to the skin.  Massaging it twice a week on the face or over the affected body part could be of great help to subside the discoloration or hyper pigmentation.

Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Dr.Shruti Bhardwaj

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Discipline with eating

To really experience Yoga and silence is not easy and it requires discipline. I hope they’ll make great food on this Intensive course but restrain your-selves. Did you know that humans can survive on a few grains? Therefore, eat, talk and interact with each other but in a disciplined manner. Eating in a disciplined manner firstly means eating with awareness.

Being aware, being patient, chewing your food, you will notice that you eat less. You can reduce your weight in one month by chewing the food till it becomes liquid, and only then swallowing it. When you chew your food the digestion begins in the mouth and so you give less work to your body and then because you give less work to your body it has more energy to do other things that are healing. What is healing? Healing is the process of eradicating what we suffer from.

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Distraction

What is a distraction? It can be something as subtle as a neighbour making coffee. You can smell it and at once it puts certain motion within the head, the brain, which feeds information to the mind that’s waiting to be told what to do. Then the mind takes it on, the mind is a genie and it can manifest anything that it wants. And then suddenly you’re caught up in that. That is a distraction, you being caught up through a simple process of smelling something, hearing something, seeing something. As if we did not already have enough going on in our head.

So, whatever comes up from our head comes up because there is external stimulation. You take away external stimulation and it’s possible to have less distraction. For example, a hospital, not that hospitals are good but I’m giving an example. Normally a patient is not allowed to go out of hospital, so we provided that kind of environment here, you cannot go out and there are no external distraction so that, and this is important, so that we actually experience the sense of peace or experience silence. When we go into the sutras of Patanjali we will see that that’s what yoga is all about – minimising distractions equals yoga practice. For this reason we built the ashram for the Intensive courses, so that people can come and stay and be discharged only after three weeks of the Intensive. For this reason we told you to inform all your friends, your relatives that you are not available, you are offline. And for this reason we take your phones, laptops and books

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Change is the law of nature

‘This too shall pass’
        -Persian proverb

Change happens. Just as the seasons turn, the moon waxes and wanes, the tides come in and out, creatures live and die, and so must everything in life change. Even the deserts, even the seas, even the mountains will change. Change is the only thing of which we can be sure. Over the years our bodies will change with age, but also daily there will be changes and also in our emotions, mental state and importantly our awareness. This is why we practise every day, so that we might observe this phenomenon of nature in ourselves. We use our yoga practice as the constant by which we can measure the ephemeral nature of the human condition.

This is why it is so important to keep a regular practice, especially of the standing poses because they are the poses in which we are most grounded and so most able to measure change. As the mother of all standing poses, Tadasana is like the litmus test for our daily practice. Through correct and conscious practise of this pose we are able to tune into our present state, noticing the fluctuations that occur daily, even each minute, and coming back to our centre. Yoga practice is our anchor in the seas of change, keeping us stable and afloat.

People will tend to resist change, seeing it as a loss of the comfort of the past and fearing the coming of an unknown future. Yoga practice supports us through the bigger changes, helping us to balance life’s bigger challenges and losses and preparing us for whatever may come.

Through Yoga practice we regulate our bodies and our lives through the practising of certain asanas and sequences according to our needs. It also helps us to learn to embrace change, especially in the relaxation poses and through pranayama practice. In these practices we learn how to breathe, to locate tension with every inhalation and to let go of it with every exhalation. We exhale and let go, exhale and let go of physical, emotional and mental tension or stress. There is a moment at the end of every exhalation when we are completely empty of breath and it is there we reside with our awareness as we inhale. Inhalations happen, they are not intentional; we let them happen and stay with our awareness in the emptiness. This emptiness represents the present moment. We let go of the past and stay present and let the future happen. Like this we are prepared for the change by keeping our awareness in the present moment.

Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Maria Chandler

 

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Can I practise Yoga and Still Drink Coffee?

Drinking coffee seems at odds with yoga practice, as per the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre (HIYC) method, as it is very clearly a stimulant that affects our energy levels, metabolism, moods and digestion - all things we work to stabilise through our practice. To explore the question of whether we can drink coffee and practice yoga it is worth considering the effects of coffee as described in Ayurveda. Drinking coffee increases Vata and also Pitta in our bodies. If you are of a Vata constitution you may find coffee immensely stimulating to the mind, it may give you a boost, a sensation of being full of energy but flighty, unable to concentrate, hyperactive, you may suffer heart palpitations, rapid eye movement or a pulsing sense in the hands and body. If you are of a Pitta constitution you may become hot, sweaty, hungry, impatient, go to the toilet more frequently and even smell like coffee after drinking. If you are vata-pitta you will experience a veritable rollercoaster of any or all of these effects. If you are of a Kapha constitution you will experience fewer negative effects and are less likely to suffer from drinking a cup of coffee as your natural grounded nature will balance the caffeine, in fact it can help to galvanise your energy levels and encourage bowel movement. However it would still not be recommended for before yoga practice because of the over stimulating effects of the caffeine on the nervous system. Yoga and Ayurveda are about balance, between the Ha and Tha energies, in our bodies and in our lives. We do not wish to exacerbate existing imbalances but rather to even them out to find equilibrium. As we have seen, dependent on your constitution drinking coffee disrupts the balance, thus it should not be taken mindlessly with consideration for its potential effects.

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Hatha Yoga Asanas

Hatha Yoga Asanas - Is Yoga About Physical Postures?
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – The Obstacles on the Yoga Path

Most of the people start doing yoga with a physical practice which is called asana (posture). In the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, a book 2500 years old, all that was related to yoga is compiled in 196 sutras. What a quiet unbalanced fact that nowadays 99% of the yoga practice is only physical and only 1% of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are talking about Asanas!

The main practice is actually at the mental level!!! Controlling the movement of the body and the breath is one step but the control of the mind, Citta, is a step forward. In the second sutra of the First Chapter, Patanjali talks about “Yoga Citta Vrtti Nirodha”. Citta Vrttis are the disturbances of the Mind/Consciousness and Nirodha means the eradication of it.

What are the disturbances and how to eradicate it? The answer is a step on the path of liberation.

When you go inside, you start to understand very clearly what starts to make all the disturbances. Disturbances create suffering and come from a fivefold source: Avidya, Asmita, Raaga, Dvesa and Abhinivesa.

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Knowing the Menopausal Phase

There are many hormonal issues related to women entering their late 40’s. Many symptoms which have been associated with the hormonal imbalance are hot flushes, mood swings, lack of sound sleep, constant fatigue, depression, low sex drive, forgetfulness, weight gain, frequent urine infections and erratic eating pattern. Menopause is one of a fearsome issue for lots of women, as it’s a phase when women’s system stop ovulating. This doesn’t mean that female body stop producing hormones at all. Like adrenal glands continue producing androgens, though, it’s rate drops down. Hormonal fluctuation effects the brain chemistry. The two major and most potent chemical signals among the women’s hormones are estrogen and progesterone. They have certain influence on the neuro transmitters, which also effect the mood.  Menopause can also emerge as a premature menopause below the age of 40. This type of menopause mostly occurs in females who smoke heavily, are chronic drug dependent or live at high altitudes. Another type of menopause is the surgical one - where the ovaries are removed surgically. However, in Ayurveda, menopause is not considered as a disease but as a transitional imbalance. It is a fairly natural process, from the pitta stage of life to the vata stage of life. So, it can be dealt happily looking behind at the colourful and more developed phases of life; from puberty to reproductive phase to a relieved, ovarian stress free phase; where there is no more shedding of the uterus during mentruation and we step onto a new path ahead and become more self-aware, exploring ways to attain spiritual contentment and discovering the inner peace. See your life at large! In Ayurveda, the menopausal symptoms are mostly seen vata (air) dominant in nature. Vata dominance is linked with aging as well. However, all the three doshas gets imbalanced during menopause. Hence, pitta (fire) associated symptoms and kapha (water) associated symptoms may also be experienced.

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The Art of Practice

Sadhana Padah / The Chapter on Practice – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Patanjali, the great yogi, covered all the subject of Yoga in only 196 sentences divided into 4 chapters.
The second chapter is called Sadhana Padah. Sadhana is the practice and the one doing it, the practitioner is a sadhak.
How the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali help the sadhak? Patanjali gives us the path, the direction where the practice should lead to. When you practice, you need to know how you are going to feel. Being guided, you won’t get stuck in some mind set which you think is a very high state of consciousness.

In another chapter, he describes what are the powers that may come on your path and finally what is the goal. He is also warning you not to fall in pit holes, being attached to any kind of power. If for example you get the power of attracting money, without strong will and a good guidance, you can overuse it and get lost on the path to realization.

What are the powers, what is the final goal are not what matters for us as yet. The way to practice is what is really important to understand. He talks about the one pointedness of the mind. Keeping our mind thus our practice is focused in one direction. This is the only way to progress and achieve any result.

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The Art of Differentiation

Addressing Yoga Student’s Needs: The Art of Differentiation
Yoga Teachers Training Program at the HIYC

You may have had the experience of being a teacher of twenty-five or more students. Possibly you have this experience daily. If so, you have likely encountered the difficulty of meeting all the students’ individual needs. No matter the subject matter taught, the needs of students differ. Students of all ages have varying attention spans, differences in how quickly they grasp certain content or in the method through which they learn best (visually, audibly, experientially, etc.). Students also have different personalities depending on their genes and life experiences or upbringing. All these factors influence how successful they will be in learning and how successful the teacher will be in teaching the students effectively.

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Women and Iyengar Yoga

What’s That Noise in Inversions? Air in Vagina in Inversions…

There is something that happens to many women during Yoga inversions, it can be really embarrassing and it doesn’t get talked about nearly enough. It’s a noise of air, like suction or breaking wind, and it comes from the vagina. It usually happens when we enter or exit the pose, or during the pose as we relax into it, or move around – as in Shoulder Stand and variations when we adjust the pose by shifting our bodies.

If you haven’t experienced it directly, it’s likely that you’ve heard it in your yoga class during hanging Sirsasana or after Shoulder Stand or Halasana, and you may be mystified as to what’s happening. Now is the time to break the silence and shed some light on the matter.

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“Speak Out & Get Self-Healed“

Speaking out is a way of expressing our thoughts by which one conveys a message to another person, to put a decision forward, to reflect our consent or any disapproval. Proper communication shows one’s concern regarding any matter which also favours establishing harmonious and emotionally stable relationships; be it at home or at official grounds. Silence can be mistakenly taken as a cold or insensitive gesture and sometimes it portrays you as a dumb person who is scared of being judged of his inefficacy. It doesn’t mean that one should never remain silent but being rightly outspoken, it can be dealt with patience and politeness. Right tone of voice never goes in vain. By speaking out, many confusions can be wiped off and one can easily open up for a confrontation. Making it as a habit of keeping things to the heart, creates a kind of heftiness on the mind and it has been discovered that such people, who don’t express themselves, are more susceptible to heart attacks and diabetes. Least expressing person eventually ends up in heavy alcohol drinking and smoking so as to feel relieved, but this in turn, makes their condition worse as it aggravates both vata and pitta dosha in their body, and their imbalance in turn results in depression, anxiety, aggression and malaise.

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Meditation

SELF PRACTICE

Usually mediation is practiced while sitting in a meditation pose. But actually we don’t necessarily have to sit. We can meditate in every relaxing pose like hanging Sirshasana or Shoulderstand. All we have to do is being concentrated, focused and inward going. We can just watch our sensations or the breath. That’s it. In case we need to discover something, if we need answers, then we can use the inversions to explore. By putting the attention to the problem, we’ll discover the nature of reality. Inversions help us to see and to understand.

What is the right time to practice meditation or asanas? Asana practice is waking us up. Some people get up and they are awake immediately. Others take a long time to wake up and get into the rhythm. These people, the Kafas, should not meditate or do Pranayam in the morning because they risk to fall asleep again. They should meditate after they have moved the body a bit and are more awake. Basically Pranayama and Meditation have to be done when we are completely awake because this is the practice that requires the most subtle awareness.

Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre, 13.10.15

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Eating and Practicing

SELF PRACTICE

Before the inversions – actually before all kinds of Asanas – we should not eat. Not even a little bit. Why? Because our body starts to digest. Vata, the air element, is responsible for all kind of movement in the body. And when we start to practice while the air is working, we bring it out of balance. It cannot work properly anymore. So we have to wait to practice until the digestion has finished.

Sleeping also disturbs the digestion. It is recommended to have some movement after food for minimum half an hour. If we do a siesta after lunch or we go to bed soon after dinner, we should lay down on the left side so that the right nostril stays open and the HA energy continuous to work. When we sleep on the other side, the digestion will not work properly, the food stays in the body too long and cannot really be absorbed. By sleeping on the left side we digest and sleep good.

Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre, 13.10.15

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Yoga Brings Balance

SELF PRACTICE

Practicing Yoga Asanas will bring clarity about how to act in life. How? We learn to act in life like we act in the poses: we are aware of our actions and make them as perfect as possible. These actions also include thoughts and speech. Thoughts might come and go but by being aware we can choose whether they bother us or not. This is in our hands, this is an action. But how can we perform proper actions unless we are not aware of what we are performing? Most of the time we are just acting without reflecting, we don’t take time to stop and get feedback. An unreflected action is an incomplete action. But by doing Yoga we learn how to reflect upon our actions. We act and then reflect. This is the quality of THA. Only HA and THA together bring balance. When we integrate both of them in our practice, then also our life becomes balanced.

All the Yoga poses bring balance. Inversions are the most important ones but also the family of Sethubandhasarvangasana for example – and especially the one where the tail bone rests on a brick in order to realign it (“injection”) – brings balance and takes away conditioning. As it sticks the tail bone in, it brings awareness in that area and makes our whole posture better, we become more upright.

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How to practice during Menstruation

SELF PRACTICE

Our society still imposes that during the period women have to pretend that everything is fine and that they should function normally. But the body is in a special state and women can feel very sensitive. They should honour the menstruation, understand their needs and take care of their selves. So listen to your body and do the Yoga poses you feel like doing. But don’t do any inversion. Don’t force yourself into something. Don’t do active stretches, only the passive ones.

The lower belly area is tight because of the contractions of the uterus. Therefore we want to open, relax and soften there. We want to feel good, hence we work with props to give support and softness. We can start with gentle stretches like Setu Bandha Sarvangasana in Baddakonasana or Viparita Karani(vithout the bolster where the trunk is flat on the floor so the pelvis is not higher that the chest). Especially the version with the legs wide open stretches and relaxes the whole pelvis area.

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Yoga is Something More, it is a Spiritual Development

Yoga, a physical, mental and spiritual practice originated in India and traces back its origin to pre-Vedic period of the 5th & 6th centuries BCE. Yoga at its broadest comes from the root word Yuj which means to unite. In Bhgavada Gita which dates back to 6th-3rd century BCE, Lord Krishna speaks of four types of yoga - Bhakti or devotion; Jnana or knowledge; Karma or action; and Dhyana or concentration (often referred to as Raja yoga, though not all sources agree on the term) - as paths to achieve Moksha, the ultimate goal.

Yoga therapy is the most qualified way of rejuvenation and revitalization. The most practiced and learned forms of Yoga is the Iyengar Yoga, which became popular in the west through the teachings of Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar. Iyengar Yoga is the most popular and approachable form for the beginners. The constant practice enhances the adaptability and stamina on the physical – but most importantly on the mental level – it amends and refines the posture and enriches concentration. It unclogs the mind to peace and serenity ant thus promotes well-being.

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Yoga Supports Positive Change

Restricted yoga supports change by helping you to move examples you've created after some time of regular practice. When you put your body and mind into a represent that you admire and you stay with it, you figure out how to take another “shape”. Bringing the new manifestation of the body can lead you to figure out how to bring another manifestation to the psyche. On the off chance that honed effectively, yoga asana separates the mental, passionate, physical, vivacious, and psychic impediments that restrain us from flourishing and positive transformation.

Yoga likewise shows you how to settle on better choices. Everything about rehearsing yoga includes aim—you set separated time in your day to do it, you move in a particular way. What's more, when you are careful and planned in your yoga hone, you make the chance to end up more careful and conscious throughout your life. The general population who stay with yoga understand that they settle on choices that are more useful than ruinous.

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Latest Blogs

HIYC
22 January 2018
by Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
When I stay present and conscious automatically I understand what is 'mind' and what is 'no-mind'. When intuition comes I start to withdraw and be wi...
58 Hits
HIYC
15 January 2018
by Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
How does one deal with the stress? Is it possible for me just like this, to get rid of all that? The answer is not normally. Abnormally it’s possible...
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Sharat Arora
08 January 2018
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Now I just want to emphasise that feelings, sensations is what we are connected with. Maybe you think feelings and sensations should be some dramatic...
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Sharat Arora
01 January 2018
by Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
If you become aware and become negative there is no healing possible. If the teacher tell you there is something wrong with your hip and you start to...
64 Hits
HIYC
11 September 2017
by Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
Now, you have to see this happening and check it before it blows up, by appreciation of the present moment. By appreciation you can dissolve the dirt...
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Top Blogs

Sharat Arora
03 August 2016
16.10.14 When we do a practice like we do in our Iyengar Yoga centres, we gain understanding, so we increase our awareness about ourselves and about the world. We go inside and the mind slowly stops i...