Yoga

Working From Home? This Yoga Sequence is For You.

May 2, 2020

They say “sitting-is-the-new-smoking”, and we’ve been doing a lot of that recently. In the last two months, our imposed lifestyle has started to take a toll on us.  Our social isolation, and inability to go out and do things that keep us healthy and active further compound the problem.

And while intense-work load and  stress seems like the main culprit when it comes to health and well-being, there’s another danger that often goes unnoticed: Sitting.

Sitting for hours can contribute to tightness in the hips and legs, in addition to neck, shoulder and back pain and discomfort. Camping out all day on a sofa or a bed, can also create an unhealthy posture in which the back and shoulders hunch down and the neck protrudes forward. The main casualty though is the blood circulation, which leaves aches, pains and disorientation in its wake.

Yoga can be an effective antidote to many of these work-from-home woes. Asanas work entirely on the hips, shoulders and spine – effectively releasing tension and tightness causing by faulty movement patterns. What’s more, yoga is a mind-body practice, which enables us to tap into the calmness between the mental chatter, helping us gain perspective.

I’m doing this challenge in collaboration with Medha Bhaskar from Amrutha Bindu Yoga.  Our last challenge was a huge success and we decided to make this one bigger and better.  This time we’ve curated a “Work-from-Home” Yoga sequence that will help to loosen your joints, free your back and minimize your discomfort throughout the day, making it easier for you to focus on work. This sequence, in particular, works entirely on keeping your spine supple and ready and your mind, sharp.

This sequence is also for anyone and everyone who wants to adopt yoga into their daily routine. For beginners, we’ve put together a series of resources: blogs, videos and a printable version of the sequence that they can look at and practice. These resources describe how to do each asana and has many alignment cues, teacher tips and other fun titbits about the asanas. We welcome you to take a look, and follow along as you practice.

Daily practice is challenging, sometimes even for yoga teachers. In order to promote the habit of yoga practice, we have a downloadable practice  tracker that you can use for the month of May. In this document, you will also find some post-practice reflection questions, in order to make the practice more mindful. 

The fun part about this sequence is that it is a month-long Yoga Challenge. Practice every day and share your trackers with us on social media at the end of the month. If you complete the challenge, we will send you a recording of yoga-nidra that you can use to further your practice.

 

PRACTICE TRACKER

You can print out the practice sequence+tracker, if you prefer to see and do the asanas, and place it where you’re likely to see it, be it your practice space, your dresser, your bathroom mirror, in front of your desk etc.  It’s a reminder to you that all of us need a little help with our yoga practice.  

Over the next few blogs, we’re going to be discussing each asana of the Work from Home sequence at length, giving you new insight into them.

You can download the practice tracker here.  Download

And the yoga sequence here. Download

Please reach out to Medha or me with your queries and we will help! We’re incredibly excited about this sequence and hope it really makes a difference to your work-days.

 

 

 

Teacher in Focus Yoga

Teacher in Focus: Vinay Jesta

April 9, 2020

I met Vinay at a dinner organized by someone in the yoga grapevine here in Bangalore.  During dinner I found out that like me, he used to work for Accenture too, and eventually decided to follow his passion.

Vinay also practices acro yoga and is India’s only level 2 certified acro yoga teacher.  His personal practice consists of hatha/vinyasa yoga 4 times a week with some yin yoga thrown in 1-2 times a week.  He does yoga nidra/meditation daily

Vinay studied yoga in school with his parents too at home but never with strong focus on asana.  He cultivated an interest in asana as he grew up and become more interested in learning more about the body how it functions and exploring its capabilities.  This also helped bring stillness to the mind.

Although hatha/vinyasa is his primary style or practice and teaching, he continues to explore different styles every now and then.

Find out more on https://www.vinayjestayoga.com/.  Don’t miss the awesome videos on the site.

 

 

 

Teacher in Focus Yoga

Teacher in Focus: Namrata Sudhindra

April 9, 2020

I knew of Namrata long before I met her.  We actually met at a Yoga Matters event.  Tall, lithe and gorgeous.  Scroll through her Instagram and you’ll be amazed.

Namrata was actually a dentist before dedicating herself full time to yoga.  She has been practicing yoga for 15 years and constantly looks to evolve and grow.  She’s learnt from great teachers like Manuso Manuso, Shiva Rea, Tara Stiles, Mohan Bhandari, Gulnaaz and Bharat Shetty. No wonder sh’es much sought after teacher in the country.

Do check out Namrata’s beautifully curated yoga retreats to interesting places around India and the world.  Find out more on https://www.nikayayoga.com/

 

Namrata, Omkar and me lending our support for a Yoga Matters event a few years ago.

Teacher in Focus Yoga

Teacher in Focus: Medha Bhaskar

April 9, 2020

Back bending goals.

I started my Master’s in Yoga Therapy last year.  I didn’t know anyone else in the program and found the whole thing quite overwhelming.  There were huge crowds in the admissions office, we waited for an incredibly long time for hostel rooms to be allotted.  Our days were long and full of numerous classes and the resulting information overload.  Certain subjects had me needing a dose of strong coffee, and I soon found a friend for that in Medha.  Her knowledge of the subject, curiosity about it and her frank and open nature drew me in.  Later we were even selected and inducted into the same Vedanta class and I started to feel that maybe, just maybe, this Master’s program wouldn’t be too difficult.  Since then Medha and I have talked, collaborated, practiced and philosophized at length.

Our latest collaboration was a beautiful video to explain the yoga for immunity series designed by RIMYI.  Here’s the video:

 

Medha is one of the founder teacher at Amrutha Bindu Yoga, one of the most popular yoga studios here in Bangalore. Fascinated by the mind-body connection in traditional movement arts, Medha bring compassion and warmth to every class.  Check out her online training schedule and join a class!

Need to try this sometime!

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle Teacher in Focus Yoga

Teacher in Focus : Deepti Martolia

April 9, 2020

“Come…lose yourself to Dance while finding yourself through Yoga..”
Deepti Martolia

A yoga teacher, an artist, a dancer – Deepti Martolia was born and raised in the mountains of Uttarakhand.

Her pursuit of Yoga dates as far back as her adolescent days and eventually she trained to become a teacher in 2009. Her classes focus on breath, flow and alignment along with the balance between control and surrender – transcending into a mind-body connection nourishing the soul.

In 2014, inspired by the fluidity of movement, symphony of breath and body, and her passion for yoga and dance, Deepti conceptualised and created this unique style – Lyrical Yoga – a blend of yoga and dance. She is also a trained contemporary dancer.

Deepti conducts classes, workshops, courses and retreats with the belief that when you immerse in the path of yoga you commence the journey towards self-inquiry.

She seeks to inspire people to walk into the path of yoga, and be a facilitator – guiding as many – towards leading a happy, healthy and peaceful life.

In her own words, Deepti describes her relationship with Yoga and Dance as “losing herself to dance while finding herself through yoga”.

For more information about Deepti and her classes, visit her on instagram: Yoga with Deepti Martolia

 

Lifestyle Yoga

Teacher In Focus : Bhavana Mooteri

April 7, 2020

Divya, Bhavana and me 4 years ago at Bellur.

I met Bhavana for the first time when we attended the inaugural yoga workshop in Bellur.  Over the course of the workshop we got a chance to connect quite a bit.  It was a special time for all, as we were meeting Iyengar practitioners from all across the world.  We spoke quite a bit about our personal yoga journeys and even ended up staying in touch.

Bhavana has been practicing yoga since 2009.  She worked in the corporate strata for 15 years before she finally gave in to her passion and decided to devote herself full time to yoga.  She did her TTC from the Sivananda Ashram in Kerala in 2015.  In 2016 she went to RIMYI for a month to learn under the masters of Iyengar yoga.  She does workshops and retreats as well.  And now you can find her classes on line!

For more about Bhavana and her classes visit https://www.yogawithbhavana.com/

 

The entire gang for the workshop. Can you spot Bhavana and me?

 

 

Lifestyle Yoga

Savasana – The Corpse Pose

March 27, 2020

‘Verse 32 of the First Chapter of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika states: ‘Lying upon one’s back on the ground at full length like a corpse is called Savasana.  This removes the fatigue caused by the other asanas and induces calmness of mind.’ (Light on Yoga, p 422)

And we’re finally at the end of our Immunity Sequence.  In the past few weeks many of us have incorporated these asanas into our daily yoga routines and it’s been incredibly gratifying to see everyone stick to yoga routines and, quite frankly, make the most of a bleak situation.  I do feel that once we’re through this #21daylockdown, we will see that our individual actions actually did make a difference.

Svasana is also called the Mritasana.  Sava and Mrita means a corpse.  Your main objective in this asana is to simulate a dead body.  A dead body has no movement, and no thoughts (wherein lies the challenge).

It helps to:

  • Calms the nervous system.
  • Reduces blood pressure.
  • Relieves anxiety.
  • Restores balance.
  • Facilitates healing.

 

Contraindications

No contraindications!  Anyone and everyone can and should practice the savasana.

 

Busting the Myths

Savasana is everyone’s favorite posture.  It’s often treated as a posture where your body rests.  However, in this posture your mind is also supposed to remain still.  And this is what makes this posture the most difficult.   Read on for some practice pointers…

Practice Pointers

  • Initially you may fall asleep during savasana.  This just means that your body needs more rest.  Once your body get the adequate amount of rest, you will be able to bring a meditative quality to your savasana.
  • In a one hour class you must make sure to stay in savasana for at least 10 minutes.

 

Stay tuned for more from our Yoga to Boost Immunity Sequence.

Download the Daily Yoga Practice Checklist.

Follow Amrutha Bindu Yoga here.

Follow Medha Bhaskar here.

Follow me (Pragya Bhatt) here.

Lifestyle Yoga

Viparita Karani – The Inverted Pose

March 26, 2020

 

There’s a general consensus among modern yogis that Viparita Karani or Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose may have the power to cure whatever ails you. (Yoga Journal)

 

In Sanskrit Viparita means ‘upside down’ and karani means ‘doing’.

It helps to:

  • Regulate blood pressure.
  • Treat cardiac disorders.
  • Treat stress-related headaches, including migraines.
  • Gives relief from swollen feet.
  • Relieve nausea.

Contraindications

This is an inversion and as such should be avoided if you have serious eye problems such as glaucoma.

Busting the Myths

This is actually a restorative and relaxing asana, but the final pose is quite difficult for beginners and those with stiff backs.  Read on for some practice pointers.

Practice Pointers

  • You can do this asana with your legs on a chair, or even on your bed!
  • It’s a little unwieldy to get the buttocks close to the wall to get the legs up, but there is a technique (see video).

Stay tuned for more from our Yoga to Boost Immunity Sequence.

Download the Daily Yoga Practice Checklist.

Follow Amrutha Bindu Yoga here.

Follow Medha Bhaskar here.

Follow me (Pragya Bhatt) here.

 

 

Lifestyle Yoga

The Sarvangasana Cycle

March 24, 2020

It is one of the greatest boons conferred on humanity by our ancient sages.  (Light on Yoga p 212)

Sarvangasana variations comprise the ‘Sarvangasana cycle’. The immunity sequence comprises of :

  • Eka Pada Sarvangasana :  In this variation (shown on the left), one leg is brought down to rest on the floor similar to Halasana.  The other leg should be absolutely straight.  This posture draws upon the the flexibility of the hamstrings and the strength of the quadriceps muscles too.
  • Parsvaika Pada Sarvangasana : In this variation (shown on the right), one leg is brought down to the side of the body, diagonal from the trunk.  As with all Sarvangasana variations, this requires control and strength of the core muscles, but this variation also requires an flexible hip joint.

We perform these variations to gain more control over our bodies.  They require us to use more of our core strength, or cultivate the necessary core strength.  All Sarvangasana variations are great to tone and strengthen the muscles of the legs and are a boon for the kidneys.

Contraindications

The contraindications that apply for Sarvangasana apply to the variations as well.

Busting the Myths

When students first start practicing these variations there is a rush to touch the toes to the floor.  This compromises the alignment of the raised leg. Read on for some practice pointers.

Practice Pointers

  • The variations can be performed after staying in the Sarvangasana for 5-10 minutes.
  • Do them for 30 seconds on each side.
  • If your leg doesn’t reach the floor use a stool or chair under it (see video).

 

Stay tuned for more from our Yoga to Boost Immunity Sequence.

Download the Daily Yoga Practice Checklist.

Follow Amrutha Bindu Yoga here.

Follow Medha Bhaskar here.

Follow me (Pragya Bhatt) here.

Lifestyle Yoga

Halasana – The Plough Posture

March 20, 2020

Hala means a plough, the shape of which this posture resembles, hence the name. (Light on Yoga, p 216)

 

There are asanas we encounter so many times that we don’t realize there is a lot more to them than meets  the eye.  The halasana is one such posture…

It helps to:

  • Relieve backache.
  • Bring flexibility in the shoulders and elbows.
  • Relax the mind and body.
  • Promote better sleep.
  • Improve digestion and appetite.

 

Contraindications

Don’t practice if you have diarrhea, or are menstruating.  If you have a neck or back injury then wait until you are completely healed.

 

Busting the Myths

The final posture is usually depicted with the toes touching the floor.  However, if you don’t have the requisite flexibility, forcing your toes to touch the floor can do more harm than good.  Read on for some practice pointers…

Practice Pointers

  • In an attempt to touch the floor with the toes, many practitioners end up  pushing themselves beyond their capacity and injure themselves.  A simple trick is to rest your feet on a chair or a small table instead of on the floor.
  • There is a strong link between the halasana and the paschimottanasana.  When your back gains mobility in one, then the other improves too.
  • Tighten your thighs and roll them in to activate your legs and engage your core.  You are trying to keep the spine extended.

 

Over the years I’ve studied the nuances of the halasana and that has certainly improved my practice.  I found an older picture of me doing this asana here.

Stay tuned for more from our Yoga to Boost Immunity Sequence.

Download the Daily Yoga Practice Checklist.

Follow Amrutha Bindu Yoga here.

Follow Medha Bhaskar here.

Follow me (Pragya Bhatt) here.