Sukha Mukha Yoga | Bronte | Inspiration of the Mont

INSPIRATION OF THE MONTH

JULY 2018

INSPIRATION OF THE MONTH - July 2018

 

The Bhagavad Gita is one of India’s ancient texts and speaks to anyone who feels like their mind is a battlefield and is struggling between the true self and the ego. 

 

The story of the Bhagavad Gita takes place on the battlefield of, telling a story of how Arjuna, the great warrior is about to engage in battle but then suddenly is unable to fight. Krishna, the Cosmic Lord comes to his aid to counsel him. There is no real battlefield or fight to be one, the entire text represents the battle that goes on in our minds and is teaching us how come we can overcome difficulty, self-doubt, and ultimately how to live a life of truth and purpose. 

 

As with inversions, backbends can be bring up fear, both physically and mentally. It can be easy to presume we should be able to achieve a pose as others may do and fear, self-doubt and frustration can arise.  

 

"Yoga is skilfulness in action." - Bhagavad Gita.

 

It is not about being able to hold the pose the longest, or trying to outdo your neighbour on the mat. Skilfulness comes from knowledge,  introspection, from within and listening to what makes sense to your body at that precise moment in time. 

Jump to Inspiration of the month:

 

 

 

 

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Because these postures (backbends) are so impressive, it's easy to get caught up in the trying to do deeper and more difficult back bends, casting caution to the breeze. So rather than measure your progress by how much you can bend your back, judge with your progress in terms of how much easier it is to sit, stand, and walk with your back firmly and easily upright throughout the day. This erect carriage will impart an elegance and dignity to your entire bearing.

- Donna Farhi 

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back bends

Camel Pose - Ustrasana

As told by B.K.S Iyengar, backbends address fear. In a backbend all the vulnerable parts of the body are exposed and the heart is open. By opening the heart chakra it can also awaken qualities within us such as compassion, love and happiness. 

Benefits:

 

 

  • Stretches the front of the body, particularly the chest, abdomen, quadriceps, and hip flexors

  • Improves spinal flexibility

  • Strengthens the back muscles and improves posture 

  • Stimulates the kidneys, improving digestion

  • Energizes the body and helps to reduce anxiety and fatigue

 

Contraindications for this pose:

 

  • High or low blood pressure

  • Migraine

  • Insomnia

  • Serious low back or neck injury

USING

props 

Ustrasana can be a very difficult pose for the neck, especially if your shoulders are tight. You can use a wall as a prop to protect your neck. 

You can also use two blocks at the outer edges of your ankles to avoid straining the back or neck. Position the blocks just outside each heel, and stand them at their highest height. Then lean back and bring your hands to the blocks. 

 

 

Instruction

 

1. Begin by kneeling upright with your knees hip-distance apart. Rotate your thighs inward and press your shins and the tops of your feet into the floor. 

 

2. Rest your hands on the back of your pelvis, with your fingers pointing to the floor. Lengthen your tailbone down toward the floor and widen the back of your pelvis.

 

3. Lean back, with your chin slightly tucked toward your chest. Beginners can stay here, keeping the hands on the back pelvis. 

4. To take the pose deeper reach back and hold onto each heel. Your palms should rest on your heels with your fingers pointing toward your toes and your thumbs holding the outside of each foot. Or as shown in the picture bring your palms to two blocks to avoid strain of the neck. 

5. Keep your thighs in line to the floor, with your hips directly over your knees. If it is difficult to grasp your heels without feeling compression in your low back so tuck your toes to elevate your heels.

6. Lift up through your pelvis, keeping your lower spine long. Turn your arms outward without squeezing your shoulder blades. Keep your head in a neutral position, or allow it to drop back without straining or crunching your neck.

7. Hold for 30-60 seconds. To release, bring your hands back to your front hips. Inhale, lead with your heart, and lift your torso by pushing your hips down toward the floor. Your head should come up last. 

8. Rest in Child's Pose or Corpse Pose. 

Ujjayi Breath - Victorious Breath

Ujjayi Breath - Victorious Breath

 
Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai) is commonly translated as “victorious breath,” and has been used for thousands of years to enhance hatha yoga practice. Also commonly referred to as the “oceanic breath,” the sound that Ujjayi provides helps us to synchronise breath with movements during yoga, making the entire yoga practice more rhythmic.This powerful breathing technique, is a pranayama that is easy to do, yet can take you through all the stages of your yoga practice. 

 Ujjayi Breath Instructions:

The guidance of a teacher is always recommended.

If you ever feel unwell or dizzy - stop the practice immediately. 

These practices are to be done moderately and with much observation, as they are extremely powerful.

  • Seal your lips and start to breath in and out through your nose.

  • Take an inhalation through your nose that is slightly deeper than normal. Exhale slowly through your nose while constricting the muscles in the back of your throat.

If you’re having trouble getting the right sound for your breath, try this:

  • With your mouth open, try exhaling the sound “HAAAAH”—it’s similar to the sound you make when you’re trying to fog up a mirror. Get comfortable with this sound to get the hang of the practice.

  • Close your mouth and attempt a similar sound, feeling the outflow of air through your nasal passages. Once you have mastered this on the outflow, use the same method for the in-flow breath, gently constricting the back of your throat as you inhale.

  • If you’re doing this correctly, you should sound like waves in the ocean—the inhales can be compared to the sound the ocean makes as the water is gathering up to form the wave, the exhales can be compared to the sound of the waves crashing to the shore. Some people compare Ujjayibreathing to Darth Vader from Star Wars, if that’s helpful.

Benefits of Ujjayi Breath

Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system, releases feelings of irritation and frustration, and helps calm the mind and body. With Ujjayi, there are so many benefits, providing good value for a simple practice. Here are a few benefits you may enjoy as a result of practicing the Ujjayi breath:

  • Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood

  • Builds internal body heat

  • Relieves tension

  • Encourages free flow of prana

  • Regulates blood pressure

  • Helps yoga practitioner to maintain a rhythm while they practice

  • Builds energy

  • Detoxifies mind and body

  • Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities

  • Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood

  • Builds internal body heat

  • Relieves tension

  • Encourages free flow of prana

  • Regulates blood pressure

  • Helps yoga practitioner to maintain a rhythm while they practice

  • Builds energy

  • Detoxifies mind and body

  • Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities

When to Use Ujjayi Breath

When you’re agitated: Since the Ujjayi breath is especially good for settling agitation and stress, and balancing the mind, try shifting into Ujjayi breath whenever you find yourself becoming aggravated or stressed. You should notice a soothing effect promptly.

When you’re practicing hatha yoga: Try focusing on Ujjayi breathing while practicing yoga to help you stay focused and centered as you flow from one posture to the next.

When exercising: Ujjayi is also useful when you’re doing aerobic exercise such as running or cycling. In fact, some Olympic-level athletes have introduced Ujjayi into their training routines to improve their respiratory efficiency. Experiment with this breath technique when you’re working out and see if it reduces wear and tear on your body.

When you’re nervous: The slow and rhythmic nature of the Ujjayi breath is incredibly helpful to calm nerves. Next time you find yourself with a case of the jitters, try some yogic breathing to settle the worries.

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