Sukha Mukha Yoga | Bronte | Inspiration of the Mont

INSPIRATION OF THE MONTH

MARCH 2018

INSPIRATION OF THE MONTH - March 2018

For those of you who didn't know, every month Sukha Mukha Yoga focuses on a theme. We explore it by incorporating it in our classes and our daily lives.  During March, we will look at The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and focus specifically on Chapter 2: Sadhana Pada which focuses on the practice (sadhana) itself

In this chapter Patanjali outlines specific tools of attention that are used systematically to carve out, or cut away the obstacles of the inner mental shield that is blocking the light of the Self within.

 

The first six parts (out of eight) of yoga discipline are presented along with their fruits.

The five kleshas are so important as they are seen as obstacles/afflictions binding down the human being for not attaining its potential that of union (Yoga). They obstacles are avidya (ignorance), asmita (Ego), raga (attachment/passion), dvesha (anger, aversion), abhinivesha (will to live/clinging to life).

Furthermore the chapter presents the methodology of how to gradually remove these obstacles and other theoretical considerations of the Yocic path

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The first step known as the yamas, largely translated as moral codes of conduct – are part of five: Ahimsa (non violence) satya (thruthfilness), asteya (non stealing), brahmacarya (comtinence), aparigraha (lack of greed).

The five niyamas as inner disciplines are presented as being shaucha (purity – both physical and mental), santosha (contentment), tapas (austerity), svadhyaya (study), ishvarapranidhana (devotion).

We invite you to join us this month to explore grounding, and how important it is for growth. We often focus on the movement upward and forward but forget to check our foundation. We often forget to take the time to be grounded and stable and from this place - create movement and growth. 

Jump to Inspiration of the month:

As Part of the Inspiration of the month, our teacher, Dana Amir has written a piece concentrating on Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 2.46: the physical postures are meant to contain two seemingly opposite qualities, sthira and sukha; steadiness and ease. 

 

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I remember hearing that sutra for the first time. “How can I be at ease and steady at the same time?” I thought to myself… “They are opposites!” I took it as an intension to try and embrace the opposites in my physical practice and learn to trust it. Just by listening carefully to the instructions given to me in class: “left side, right side. Inhale, exhale. Expand, contract. Warm up, cool down…” I realised how so many opposites are already incorporated in our practice and how we just do it, without asking questions, we trust it. Even the word: Hatha (the style I was practicing) - can be translated as ha meaning, "sun" and tha, meaning "moon." This refers to the balance of masculine aspects: active, hot, sun and feminine aspects: receptive, cool, moon, within all of us. Hatha yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites.

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Standing poses

Warrior 1 - Virabhadrasana I

It may seem a little peculiar to label a yoga pose after a warrior; after all, aren't yogis known for their non-violent ways? But remember that one of the most well-regarded of all the yoga texts, the Bhagavad-Gita, is the dialog between two renowned and feared warriors, Krishna and Arjuna, set on a battlefield between two abundant armies spoiling for a fight.

What's really being observed in this pose's name, and held up as an model for all practitioners, is the "spiritual warrior," who bravely does battle with the universal enemy, self-ignorance (avidya - described in the first paragraph on this page), the ultimate source of all our suffering.

Turn your left foot in 45 to 60 degrees against with your heel against the wall and your right foot out 90 degrees pointing to the front of the room. Align the right heel with the left heel. Exhale and rotate your torso, squaring the front of your pelvis as much as possible to the front of the room. As the left hip point turns forward, press the head of the left femur back to ground the heel. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor, and arch your upper torso back slightly opening through the heart finding length in the spine.

USING THE WALL

Instruction
1. Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). With an exhale, step your left leg back bringing your feet apart. Raise your arms perpendicular to the floor (and parallel to each other), and reach actively through the little-finger sides of the hands toward the ceiling. Firm your scapula against your back and draw them down toward the tail bone.

2. Turn your left foot in 45 to 60 degrees angle (or 10 o’clock) and the front foot 90 degrees to the front of the room. Align the right heel with the left heel. Exhale and rotate your torso to the right, squaring the front of your pelvis as much as possible with the front edge of your mat. As the left hip point turns forward, press the head of the left femur back to ground the heel. Lengthen your tail bone toward the floor, and arch your upper torso back slightly finding elongation in the spine.

 

3. With your left heel firmly anchored to the floor, exhale and bend your right knee over the right ankle so the shin is perpendicular to the floor. More flexible students should align their right thigh parallel to the floor. Do not move your knee forward beyond your ankle.

 

4. Reach strongly through your arms, lifting the ribcage away from the pelvis. As you ground down through the back foot, feel a lift that runs up the back leg, across the belly and chest, and up into the arms. If possible, bring the palms together. Spread the palms against each other and reach a little higher through the pinky-sides of the hands.


5. Keep your head in a neutral position, gazing forward, or tilt it back and look up at your thumbs.

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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