Articles derived from yogacharya Sharat Arora (Anand Sagar) Teachings

What Does Self-Care Really Mean in Yoga Practice?

What matters most in the process of Yoga is a state of relaxation and an attitude of care. You are learning how to be relaxed in your action. The way in which you practise Yoga should be of great concern.

If you keep plants at home and you care for them they are bound to flourish and grow. The same is true for the body. If you care for your body lovingly through your Yoga practice, then it will grow and become powerful and strong. The same is true for any living thing. When you give it loving care it will be nourished, without a doubt. If you are careless and use fertilisers and pesticides on your beloved plants then they will suffer. Accordingly, if you are out of touch with the needs of your body, and are unaware of its need for nutrition, cleanliness, and daily maintenance it will suffer as a result. Equally, if you feed your body with negative thoughts, judging how it looks with an attitude of worry and stress then, of course, it will suffer. Learn to care less about how you think it should look and care more about how it should be maintained. Just as you avoid putting unnecessary additives onto your plants, apply the same principle to your body, whether the additives are in the form of chemical medicines or toxic thoughts. Learn to give care to your body in every way including through right practice of Yoga.

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Yoga Puppetry - Yoga Karunta!

Yoga Karunta, also known as “yoga puppetry” is a wonderful tool to help students who have very tense and tight shoulders and imbalances in the shoulders itself with an additional benefit that it wakes you up. The movement brings the shoulders into balance by putting things into the correct place. It is a full rotation and powerful movement for the shoulders and must be practiced with awareness and control. Doing Yoga Karunta is like driving on the highway, you have to be very careful of what you are doing. At first the student needs to be in the presence of a teacher or capable assistant to ensure that they are doing it right for at least two to three weeks. Shoulders are one of the most unstable and complicated joints in the body. They are the most difficult and worst to repair. People with serious shoulder injuries need to dedicate two to three months of Yoga Therapy at the Centre with Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora for healing to happen and before attempting Yoga Karunta.

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Organs of Action in Iyengar Yoga

The hands and feet are the organs of action in the body. In Sanskrit this is called - Karma Indriya. The action in the feet has a direct effect on the alignment of the spine and body and it also influences how we breath. Refining the action in the feet brings clarity towards an experience in the stretch of the whole abdomen in all the standing postures. If the right action occurs, and the pose is done correctly all imbalances start to dissipate.  In order for this technique to work effectively it is vital that the stretching of the toes is done in conjunction with the pressing down of the centre of the heel. The entire sole of the foot is felt through stretching the toes up and this action makes the centre of the heel more accessible.

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Hanging Sirsana & the Earth Element

The connection to the earth is felt through the feet when standing upright.  Hanging upside down in Sirsasana inverts the foundation to be felt on the head, but only if the head is able to rest and connect to something for support. When free hanging without support under the head - full relaxation cannot occur because there is no earth quality. Earth quality is stability and stillness.

For a student who is new to hanging, free hanging is important to ensure that the spine can fully extend and become as straight and unrestricted as possible. Only once a student has reached a certain level of awareness and there are no serious issues in the neck or spine, can they be taught how to use head support. If the instruction is too premature, it will only fill a student’s head with too much information, over complicate things and potentially do more damage than good. A student may push the head down and squash the neck, which is the complete opposite intention of the pose.  The art of resting the head with support is therefore only taught on the Intensive Yoga Courses or Therapy Yoga Courses.

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“The King Pose – Sirsasana”

On the first day of the continuing students 5 day course we teach a very important position, hanging Sirsasana, also known as The King of all the poses. Doing regular Sirsasana on the floor can cause a lot of compression and tension in the neck area if it is not done correctly. In the world today, we have entered into the age of excess comfort. This age of comfort, has negatively influenced the shoulders to go forward and the spine and overall posture to be rounded or crooked. Having this kind of rounded posture, also known as ‘sofa pose’, and attempting  to do head stand free balancing just don’t mix together well and does more damage than good.  Therefore eliminate ‘Sirsasana’ on the floor and safely do it with the belt, suspended from the belt getting all the benefits of head stand and inverting without causing any harm. The hanging Sirsasana also allows a student to safely be upside down for a much longer period of time. “Inversions are the highway towards spiritual development and growth”.

There is an exact spot where the hanging belt is to be placed on the back. At the very bottom of the spine is the tailbone which is a knobby bone that goes inwards. Just above the knobble of the tailbone is a flat boney area – the sacrum - which is the start of the spine. On the upper part of the bone and the start of the knobbly part is where this belt has to be precisely placed. If the belt comes too far up and rests in the lumbar spine, i.e. lower back, this will cause discomfort and even problems. And if it’s too far down on the buttocks it won’t allow for the full elongation of the spine to occur and the student may slip out. So, the location of where to place the belt is important. Therefore, for the first few days on the continuing class the teacher and assistants will monitor and check the students to make sure they are finding the right spot.

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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...