Articles derived from yogacharya Sharat Arora (Anand Sagar) Teachings

The Art of Relaxation

The art of relaxation is to learn how to completely surrender. If it was easy, we would be very relaxed people. Therefore, yogic relaxation is to be conscious of all those things, which are taking us away from surrender. Surrender, letting go, letting go…. Therefore not holding on. In our body there are many places where we hold on, without our knowing. So, yogic relaxation is about recognizing these places by being conscious and then dropping them. We experience that tensions are felt as tightness, as something hard. So when we do relaxations we’re watching in our body for anything that feels hard and we are letting that go, letting that go…

In our face, it’s a mask that we’re conscious of it and give it, therefore, our full attention. This is where we start off, the lips and the whole area around the lips. As soon as we start to become aware of the tightness there, then that takes us into the cheeks and down where the jaws meet, where the upper jaw and the lower jaw meet, a lot of tensions reside there permanently. Being fully aware there and letting go may involve making some movements between the upper and the lower jaw. The moment we give that area our attention and it starts to become soft, straight away it takes us to the area around the ears and down into the throat. It’s almost as if when one door opens, we’re able to see what is beyond that door. The throat is related to the tongue and of course the jaws. Being completely and absolutely relaxed in the tongue also involves watching, or making movements and watching what tightness there is. When the tongue is quiet it has the quality of smoothness as it flattens on the lower palate.

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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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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...