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HATHA Yoga - Restoring Balance

From an early age we are conditioned into action, 'doing', achieving and competition. It's integrated into modern society, our schools, universities, careers and in the media. No wonder it is often so difficult for us to learn to relax consciously and to let go.  Our minds tell us this isn't productive and we will be considered ‘lazy’. To live in peace and in a balanced fashion we need to learn softness, reflection, stillness and the art of 'non'-doing.

"Truth is one, paths are many"

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The Magical Word “OM”

The Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre takes delight to come up with something spurring for everybody which can be considered worth implicating in our lives and enable us to envision a much refined “us” and “our tomorrow”.

We all must have heard and read about the word “OM”, somewhere at any point of our lives we must have also heard about its alliance with spirituality. However, many of us might have not been aware of the magical permanence that lies within the folds of such a short word. In various religions, om is practised as a mantra like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism. The vibration produced during the om chanting is believed to be a sacred sound. A sound that can be a mind healer. A remedy for a broken spirit. How amazing that could be!

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How To Tune Yourself and Live in Harmony!

Whether he/she plays alone or in an orchestra, a musician start by tuning his instrument. Only then music can happen. If we look deeper into it, music can be seen from two directions.

The first one, on the horizontal plane, is the melody: how the notes change, the evolution of the notes played one after the other. This is mostly what our mind picks up while listening music. If we listen to pop music, melodies of the chorus will keep playing in our mind. If we listen to drum music, the rhythms will keep beating in our mind the same way. This is connected with the time, movement. In yoga practice the melody could be the sequence of asanas technique or the rhythm of our breath within a pose…

In our body, and in music too, the second direction is on the vertical plane. The interaction of the notes played together. This is the harmony. At the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre, harmony is a balanced interaction between the different parts of our body, when everything comes in alignment.  This is what YOGA is about, “YOG” mean union, the union of the body and the mind.

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Hatha Yoga: Doing or Not Doing?!

The Ha-Tha Forces, Foundations in Asanas, Breath, Sensations, Meditation…

How Is Hatha Yoga Taught at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre by Guruji Sharat Arora?

What are the mistakes in practice bringing imbalance of Ha-Tha Forces?

Among the yoga practice, asanas are postural practices. Asanas, looking at a bigger pictures are part of Hatha yoga, one of the eigth limbs of it. While DOING the asanas we have to know what Hatha yoga is! Else we can easily jump into gymnastics or fitness. Hatha yoga is a balance between Ha and Tha. Ha which can be associated with the sun, is the active part, the action, the DOING ! The sun generates light. Tha on the other hand, can be associated with the moon and is the passive part, the reflection, the NON DOING as the moonshine reflects the sun light.

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What Understanding of Yoga Are We Spreading?

We will be ever grateful to the wonderful land and wise peoples of India (Bharat) for developing and sharing the practice of Yoga with the world. In recent years interest and participation in yoga globally has soared. You have likely seen many advertisements for classes and courses with the word “yoga” attached, such as Hatha yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Bikram yoga, Anusara yoga, Hot yoga, Iyengar yoga, Restorative yoga, Aerial yoga, Acro yoga and others. However, the teaching of the Yoga practice is often limited to only two of the eight limbs of yoga as described by Patanjali: asana and pranayama. Likewise, most people associate Yoga with physical exercise, especially exercises for the purpose of increasing one’s flexibility and physical strength. This is not reflective of the essence and true purpose of the practice.  

India’s PM Narendra Modi and initiator of International Day of Yoga (June 21st), recently gave a good simple explanation of Yoga in his address to the UN General Assembly in 2014:

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How Well Do You Know Your Fire ??

Fire is a potent and supreme element which governs our body as well as mind. Many of us may not know about the connotation between the fire and our life. But have we ever thought, how our digestive system functions? How we get into the grip of agitation, anxiety, pain or burning sensation sometimes? That’s just because of fire known as “Tejas“ in Sanskrit and simply “Agni” in Ayurveda.

Concept of Fire in Ancient Ayurveda:

According to Ayurveda, there are 5 types of fire in our body. Namely: 1) Paachak agni which is the fire helping  the process of digestion, 2) Saadhak agni, governing the intellect, ideas and allowing for understanding, 3) Alochak agni is the fire that helps in perceiving and visualising the images and related to eyes, 4) Ranjak agni rejuvenates the body and gives the body its colour by ignition, and 5) Bhraajak agni, the fire that digests the sunlight and proffers the body with radiance and healthy skin. All these fires work together to nourish the body, pertaining to respective allocations .That’s why we generally come across hearing doctors, that the digestive fire happens to be weak in case of indigestion. For this reason we tend to take those foods which are associated with the high fiery properties (known as Pitta in nature) like high spicy, salty and soury or lighter (easier to burn) foods. Pitta is one of the three main Doshas present in the body and is the dominant carrier of fire and water in the body. When this constituent is imbalanced, disorders like aggressiveness, heartburn, irritability, redness, swelling, stomachache, fever, insomnia, nausea etc. usually occur. When the fire is high, we feel heat and when the fire is depleted in the body, we feel cold. Thus, it’s necessary to keep this element and also the rest of the co-existing elements in balance by eating a healthy diet and adopting a right lifestyle.

Hindu mythology:  Agni; the mainstay of life

According to Hindu ideology, the body is made up of five crucial elements, ie: water (jal), air (vaayu), fire (agni), vaccum (akaash) and earth (prithvi) which are known as “Pancha Mahabhootas”. During the formation of a foetus, all these five elements come together and co-exist in his or her body, untill the foetus matures into an individual and ultimately meets the end. It’s a law of nature, “what is taken, should be returned back to the nature.” So, when a person dies, we cremate the body and by doing so, all the five bodily elements are turned back to the nature. The heat (inside the fire) of the body goes along with the FIRE, air inside our system goes with the AIR, ashes left behind are carried away with the WATER, rest of the  particles left on ground are taken by the EARTH. When the skin coating is lost, the VACCUM constituting the body also disposes off, simultaneously. When the fire is extinguished, a person dies and body becomes cold. The temperature of the body is felt only because of FIRE. Hence, the Fire plays a significant role from birth to death, in the context of lifecycle of human beings.

“The discovery of fire was a discovery of life in a disguise.” It’s unusual to say but, the human survival would not have been possible if there was no Fire ever known to us. Be its role inside the human body or outside in day to day life’s phenomena.

In the anger management process, correction of various health issues like heartburn, poor peripheral blood regulation, sciatica pain and swelling in legs, various gynaecological disorders like issues during menstruation, the underlying cause which needs to be treated, is again the imbalanced Pitta dosha (governing fire) in the body. For this purpose, use of silver proves to be very beneficial because of its cooling properties. Drinking of silver water, a kind of decoction made by boiling 2 cups of water along with a piece of pure silver in a vessel and thereafter, bringing into use the remaining half left quantity (1cup) of silver water. Taking of 1 tsp of this silver water twice or thrice a day has been reported very effective in treating patients with severe pitta disorders. Silver reacts well with earth’s energy that’s why it is better to wear it on the lower parts of the body. At the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre and through its linked sources, we emphasise on making each and every one aware of the basic facts that are needed to bring about the lifestyle changes inside the individual and reshaping the mould of life to envision a better and healthy future. After all, a calm mind and physically stable body is all that one needs in today’s time. It’s strange that we live in so close association with the nature, yet, never understand its significance in our life. Every tiny thing present around us effects our living.

HIMALAYAN IYENGAR YOGA CENTRE
Dr. Shruti Bhardwaj

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Be the Change! Walking the Talk toward Peace

The question: How do we foster peace in our society?
Mahatma Gandhi’s famous aphorism, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” gives us a sensible clue. If we want to change anything toward a certain direction, we must, as individuals, exemplify that tendency. We must “walk the talk” that we promote. Hence, if our intention is to help the world realize peace, we must first nurture it within ourselves.

However, this is not how the real world works at present. Our world and nations are governed by organizations, governmental, international, NGOs, private, etc., many of whose mission it is to improve the world or the nation. Unfortunately, many tend to focus more on trying to change others “for the better,” for more peace, more awareness, more safety, more rights, without ensuring that their own organization models the improvements they strive for. Similarly, the individuals running the organization may try to change the attitudes and behaviors of their human resources, without taking a step back to make sure they exemplify that which they want from their colleagues. The old saying goes that the children of the cobbler have no shoes of their own. We can see organizations that fight for labor rights, have their own employees living with an unhealthy level of work-related stress on a daily basis. Organizations that promote education for all have cut all the funding for educating and developing their own staff. Organizations that promote peace, equanimity, love and compassion, are often complaining, blaming others, and not creating an environment conducive to peace within their employees.

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“Believe” is a big word

We all have our own respective beliefs. Some believe in god, some strongly in luck, some in hardwork while some in the ‘self’. No matter what, how their life is treating them or wether they are getting results as per their expectations or not, yet; they never give up on self… They never stop believing. There’s no harm putting trust in others, keeping expectations for a good reciprocation from others but the much a self-confidence and a self-belief can do for you, nobody else can. Till we don’t pull ourselves, nobody can walk us till our destination. The more we walk, the more we cover and succeed.

Life is one man’s battle. It has many ups and downs and we should always have our armour of courage ready to face any unexpected phase. Today’s one of the biggest grievance is  due to the lack of self-belief. Youths are running in depression, taking help of various neuro-supporting drugs so as to overcome anxiety, fear of unknown; a fear, which they sometimes even fail to explain! Low self-esteem but why?? God has created everyone equally capable and beautiful in their own way. Why do we doubt our potential and become a barrier of success and happiness of our own? All these things are controlled by the super-motor, “the brain”. A machine which needs a positive fuel to keep running. This can be achieved by meditation and yoga, not for god’s sake but for the SELF. Self-realising practice is very crucial when it comes to create a positive aura inside and around us so that we see everything from the glass of clarity and prosperity. We become able to take decisions on our own, because alike others, whom we seek permissions and advices, too have got the same equation of grey matter. Only difference lies in the utility and some people undoubtedly needs practice for this. Iyengar yoga and meditation serves the concerned purpose rightly. The training provided at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre whose core focus lies in enlightening our dousing fire. A fire which keeps us motivated and going.

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Focusing on the Foundations: Fostering World Peace through Inner Peace

We live in a world where violence is commonplace, ubiquitous. We see it everyday on television, social media, we experience it in our neighborhoods, our homes, and at times even exert it on ourselves. Based on statistics, the status of peace in our world has not seen much improvement. The Global Peace Index 2014 shows that since 2008 peace has increased in 51 countries, but declined in 111 countries.

Violence is one of the leading causes of death in the world for persons aged 15 to 44.  The World Health Organization in Geneva estimated that violence is the cause of more than 1.6 million deaths worldwide every year. Sadly, for every $1,885 spent on military budgets around the world, only $1 is spent on conflict prevention.  

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Yoga Teacher & The Art of Differentiation (Addressing Student Needs)

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, 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.

The art of teaching effectively involves many aspects. One of the most important of which is differentiation. Differentiation in the classroom means tailoring one’s teaching to the needs of the students. In courses where the wellbeing or safety of the individuals is at stake it is especially important to ensure that each student learns well the content. As teachers, we want to ensure that students do not harm themselves within or outside the classroom by misusing the teaching. This places much responsibility on us teachers to be attentive, skillful and diligent in our work.

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Yoga and Music in India

How Hatha yoga and music connect… I will here share my experience of being a Hindustani musician as well as a Hatha Yoga practionner for about 20 years. Recently I have completed a 6 weeks retreat at the Himalaya Shanti Ashram of HIYC which helped me a lot bringing all this together !

The goal of Hatha Yoga is to experience peace and freedom. This can be only experienced in a quiet mind and body. The all job is then to minimize the noise from the mind and body… only through silence, the self will be accessible.

At the body level, silence is gained by reducing the body pain. Tensions and tightness are the noise that our body feels more or less loudly as background sensations.

At the mental level, the noises are the arising of thoughts. Some louder than others will keep silence at a far distance. Allowing thoughts to go away without reaction helps silence to come back. According its deepness we can have different quality of silence.

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Yoga In Our Daily Lives

Life is a field of activity - call it nature, universe, prakrti (Sanskrit word), space-time matrix, quantum field, or by any other name. It is absolutely experiential to any participant of it. Activity means a constant action. And this action is inevitable to all living beings. We all dwell inside the action game of the 'cause and effect'. We can’t remember the beginning of it and we don’t really know where the end of it is. We all reside within a certain framework of law of nature.

If we concentrate for a while and observe - we see that there’s always a freedom of choice within that field of activity. And these, our choices, they define the direction of our activity, shape our very existence. It is not necessarily to be spiritual in order to understand that choice - conscious or unconscious - is always there. Our whole life is a chain of choices. One can find that not choosing is also a choice - choice to have no direction in the field of action and decision to depend on inner and outer flows of the circumstances.

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All we need is Love! Yoga, Determination and Discipline

If we want to bring about sustainable peace and harmony in our world, we must start from ourselves. It is critical that we develop and cultivate a healthy and aware relationship with love. With determination and discipline, yoga practice can allow us to do that.

Yoga means union – the union between the Self and the higher consciousness or God. And although love must be experienced to be understood, love is often described as the higher consciousness, God or divine. (One does not have to be Christian to appreciate the biblical description by John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.)  Yoga is a practice that gives us the space and tools to go inward, to become aware of the source of love within, to love ourselves and to relate to all that is around us from a state of love.

However, one must be determined to follow this path with the understanding that this is the way to a peaceful and harmonious world. To be in the state of love or not to be in the state of love is the choice of every individual. We do not have the power to change others and at times do not have the power to change what happens to us, but we can decide how to relate to others and the situations we find ourselves in. In every given moment and situation we encounter it is up to us to respond from a state of love or not.

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Awareness of the Body and Mind Through Yoga

“The human body is the temple of God.
One who kindles the light of awareness within
gets true light.
The sacred flame of your inner shrine
is constantly bright.
The experience of unity
is the fulfilment of human endeavours.
The mysteries of life are revealed.”
~ Rig Veda

One figures out how to do numerous activities with full consideration, however at times there is no mental relaxation. Furthermore, there are different minutes when your awareness appears to have extended, however the brain is not sharp. It cannot be intelligent, sharp & aware, relaxed and happy at the same time. Yoga helps to attain this balanced state of awareness which provides clarity, sharpness as well as rejoice and happiness.

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Yoga in India

Yoga has retreated in India after the ancient times as nowadays we can see that more Indian citizens are starting to be interested in Yoga. Yoga made a round from India to the West where people really needed release from stress of modern life and back to India as Indians nowadays are as stressed and under pressure in modern life as the Western people. The lifestyles and living patterns that had hit the Western countries few decades before have now arrived to India with full threshold and are taking over the serenity of the calm and composed lives of the Indian workforce.

In the pursuit of relief from the atrocities of the metropolis lifestyle and along with the popularity of Yoga people in the Western countries fled India seeking for gurus and teachers. And as a response to this there was a flood of new fresh gurus and yoga teachers. Unfortunately most of them did not have any serious spiritual practice time behind before trying to preach others and could not achieve the status of a true and authentic Yoga teacher. Among the mushrooming of Yoga trainers and teachers there were rare and scarce number of teachers who actually were knowledgeable and reliable and thus, it becomes important to review before following the instructions of any random teacher.

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Yoga and Mediation

Today Yoga is most known for its asana convention or yogic stances, which are the most prevalent, obvious and outward type of the framework. Buddhism is known as a custom of contemplation, as in the more prominent types of Buddhist reflection like Zen and Vipassana. This is somewhat weird in light of the fact that Yoga customarily characterizes itself as reflection, or quieting the unsettling influences of the brain, not as asana, which is taught simply as a guide to contemplation. In the Yoga Sutras, the established content on Yoga, of which there are two hundred Sutras just three manage asana, while the considerable lion's share manage reflection, its hypothesis and results. In the West we hear individuals talk of "Yoga and contemplation," yoga significance asana or some other external practice like pranayama. On the off chance that one expresses this in India, one listens "Yoga and reflection, would they say they are two?"

Yoga and meditation are interwoven and thus apply equally in the process of mental relaxation and rejuvenation. Meditation which traces its origin from Buddhism aims at the implanting the following lessons for an overall development at various stages of life-

1.    Align your existence with who you are
2.    Connecting to your body empowers association with the perfect
3.    Embrace "I can't"

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Yoga Therapy

There are not two minds, one good and the other evil. It is only the vasanas or tendencies of the mind that are of two kinds, good and favourable, evil and unfavourable. When the mind is associated with the former it is called good; and when associated with the latter it is called evil.

Yoga therapy is the most prominent way to achieve the mental peace in the fast striding modern world. The Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre professes the need for attainment of the ultimate and true self by separating oneself from desires and cravings of the contemporary world. Yoga therapy enriches your soul and body with the essence of spirituality and fitness. The yoga therapy assimilates the teachings of numerous gurus and institutions, Ramana Maharishi is one amongst them.

The path of Ramana Maharshi's instructing is found in a little booklet called 'Who am I?' This little booklet contains the first arrangement of directions given by Ramana Maharshi. They are immediate from his special experience of self-acknowledgment. The first arrangement of inquiries was asked by Sivaprakasam Pillai which was later introduced by Ramana Maharshi in exposition structure.

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Yoga and Nature

Some great thinkers and intellectual minds have suggested that at one stage it would become necessary for human race to retreat to the times from where their journey began. The fact stated by them is relevant and true; the beings that existed earlier had better understanding of self, their body, mind and their functioning.

Yoga brings us closer to nature. For those who practice Yoga regularly, gradually as the time passes they experience a positive change in health, working output, intellect and mind and body coordination. As the awareness of the self increases, the social functioning of the individual also improves. When one feels bliss from within, the interaction with people and surrounding becomes healthier and fruitful. From here we come to the essence of the article i.e. nature (surrounding). Again the commercial world which is purely money oriented fails to understand the need of human understanding of the self and this parts them from their very surrounding and nature. As your yoga practice progresses you will find yourself being relaxed and freeing up. You might even notice that you begin to relinquish certain habits and fears. It is similar to a sentiment of returning back home, being OK with who you are and knowing your surroundings, the mother Nature. Connecting on all our levels, knowing ourselves, our family, our group, our city and our Earth.

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Yoga is different from Gymnastics

The greater part of Yoga practiced today anywhere in the world resembles gymnastic and the other way round: a few types of gymnastics, both of Western and Indian origin, look considerably like Yoga. The two converge in a portion of the current amalgams of Western gymnastics and Indian Yoga, or even Indian gymnastics and Western Yoga, or any comparative blend, can truly be confusing even to a practitioner expert  in the field of Yoga so, not to mention a lay spectator or an ignorant buyer of these "Yoga items". Obviously, a great many people couldn't care less about such "minuscule" differences and are pretty much content with their schedules or practices, whatever their name is. What's more, shockingly enough, most Yoga instructors are not in any case mindful of it. Be that as it may, a refinement, regardless of how vague or irrelevant it might show up at first sight, must be made in light of the fact that the quality, strategies and purposes of doing Yoga, and the advantages it gives are very not the same as those associated with gymnastic, paying little mind to how it is considered and practiced.

Gymnastics includes a wide range of physical exercises performed in diverse ways and for diverse purposes, sometimes as a preparatory practice and sometimes as the terminating practice, but the basic idea of gymnastics is body development and growth or body fitness in terms of stamina, strength, health, agility, flexibility, dexterity, coordination, balance, endurance etc.

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YOGA- Retreat to Reality

A major portion of the world population visits doctors under stress. Enormous workload and unmatchable peer pressure has forced individuals to work putting their physical and mental health on stake. Work and profession has become new religion after the world witnessed the growth of industries. With the ongoing rise in the psychological and mental issues like depression and OCDs, there is an urgent need for people to realise before they fall prey to such diseases.
Before the medical diagnosing an individual may assess him/her if they exhibit the below mentioned traits:

  • You are feeling both wired and tired. There is a constant, simmering anxiety that you can’t shake. This results in feeling exhausted and unable to relax. You can’t seem to get out of fight or flight syndrome. You regularly feel like you are running out of time because your brain is in hyper mode and life feels sped up.
  • Insomnia is taking over. You’re having trouble sleeping, either getting to sleep or staying asleep. You wake up tired and have been living as if fatigue is the new normal.
  • You are feeling indecisive about even the smallest decisions.
  • You are over-reacting, or your responses are not in proportion to the situation. You are more easily triggered and can’t control it any more.
  • You are distracted and find it difficult to concentrate on one thing for very long.
  • You wake up feeling stressed. You’ve lost the ability to choose smart stress where you control the intensity and duration.
  • You can’t remember the last time you felt totally relaxed. The application of Rest and Digest is a faint memory.
  • You want to quit everything but feel paralyzed to change even one thing.
  • You keep using phrases like “I’m too busy” and/or “I’m running out of time.”

You have a bunch of unused vacation being stockpiled at work.

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Latest Blogs

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