Life is always speaking to you and guiding you towards fulfilment. At times, you may not have a complete understanding of your path, but through Yoga you can learn to listen to your body and realize how powerful the energy you have is. Yoga creates a perfect harmony between your body,mind and soul.
Your body and mind are connected in a very deep way. The practice of the asanas integrates and harmonizes body and mind. Through asanas your body releases mental tensions you may be dealing with on a physical level. It allows you to listen to what your body is telling you without any judgment, embracing anything that comes to you. It makes you get into contact with parts of yourself that you didn’t even know were there.
When you recognize all parts of you and accept yourself exactly as you are, as light and dark, sun and moon, earth and water, yin and yang, all in one, you become aware and mindful of your true self, you learn how to heal your body and soul.
What is yoga?
Yoga is the science of right living, encompass the entire field of your own existence, from the physical, emotional and mental to the spiritual. It is creating harmony between the body, mind and soul.
Through Yoga you learn how to direct your prana in a way that not only harmonize human with divine consciousness, but to merge your consciousness in the infinite.
The Patanjali Yoga Sutras, define the eight limbs, eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They introduce self-discipline, they direct attention towards one’s health, and they help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature.
The eight limbs are:
- Yama (attitudes toward our environment)
- Niyama (attitudes toward ourselves)
- Asana (physical postures)
- Pranayama (restraint or expansion of the breath)
- Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Samadhi (complete integration)
4 Asana and Pranayama techniques to Connect with Yourself
Pada Angushthasana (tiptoe pose)
Squat while looking at one point. Raise the heels and balance of the tiptoes. Allow the knees to come forward slightly so that the knees are horizontal. Adjust the heel of the left foot so that it presses against the perineum. Transfer the way on to the left foot and place the right foot on top of the left thigh, turning the sole upward. Balance the whole body and then place the palms together in front of the chest. Stay in this final position for as long as is comfortable. Replace the right foot on the floor. Relax for a shot time and repeat on the other side. Practise 2 our 3 time for each side.
Contra indication for people with sciatica, slipped disc, ankle or knee problems. The benefits are that this asana helps to maintain brrahmavharya and regulates de reproductive system.
Padmasana (lotus pose)
Sit with the straight in front of the body. Slowly and carefully bend one leg and place the foot on top of the opposite thigh. The sole should face upward and the heel should be close to the public bone. When this feel comfortable, bend the other leg and place the foot on top of the opposite thigh. Both knees should, ideally touch the ground in the final position. The head and spine should be held upright in the shoulders relaxes. Place the hands on the knees in chin or jnana mudra. Relax de arms with the elbows slightly bent and check that the shoulders are not raised or hunched. Close the eyes and relax your whole body. Observe the total posture of the body. Make the necessary adjustments by moving forward or backward until balance and alignment are experienced. Perfect alignment indicates the correct posture of padmasana.
Contra indications are for those who suffer from sciatica or weak or injured knees, not advisable during pregnancy. The benefits are that this asana allows the body to be held completely steady for long periods of time.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Lie flat on the back with eyes closed, feet approximately the width of your mat apart and arms approx. 15cm away from the body with palms facing up. A thin pillow may be placed under the head and/or a bolster under the knees for added comfort. The head and spine should be in a straight line. Relax the whole body and try to reduce/eliminate physical movement. Breathing should be natural and relaxed in this posture.
This pose can be performed for as long as possible. The longer the duration the more soothing the effects. For relief from stress this posture should be practiced for at least 10 minutes but longer would be better.
NadiShodhana Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing)
This practice can have the following benefits;
- Increases awareness and sensitivity in the nostrils, with minor blockages being removed
- It has a calming effect and can relieve stress and anxiety
It should not be performed by people suffering from colds or flu. As the practice grows and inner and outer retention is added to the practice, people who are introvert or suffering from depression should not practice breath retention
It is performed by sitting in a comfortable seated position.
Using Nasagra Mudra with the right hand close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale through the left nostril.
Now close the left nostril with the ring finger and release the right nostril and exhale out of the right nostril.
This sequence should then be continued, inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the
other. As the practice advances the following techniques can be applied;
- Increase the length on inhales and exhales
- The length on the exhale is double that of the length of the inhale
- Retain breath on inhalation
- Retain breath on inhalation and exhalation
- Include the use of bandhas
Yoga is a way of living, it is an experience which cannot be understood intellectually and will only become living knowledge through practice and experience. Asanas, combined with pranayama, shatkarma, meditation are very effectively on mental and physical level.
When you become aware of your own existence you give yourself permission to grown and live your life on purpose. Yoga teach you how to release your prana, so it can flow through your whole body. When your prana flows in your whole body it becomes full of vitality and strength, and your mind becomes light, creative joyful and balanced, increasing confidence in all areas of your life.