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Lifestyle Yoga

How To: Janu Sirsasana

May 8, 2020

Janu means the knee.  Sirsa is the head.  In this posture sit with one leg stretched out on the ground and the other bent at the knee. (Light on Yoga, p148)

The Janu Sirsasana is my go-to pose when I want to do a more restorative and relaxing practice.  In fact, Geeta Iyengar has included it as an important asana for women during menstruation (Yoga: A Gem for Women).  This is because not only does this posture help to relax the mind, but it also helps to soothe feelings of restlessness and irritability.

Other benefits of the Janu Sirsasana include:

  • Relieving chronic headaches and migraines.
  • Helps to relax the eyes and the mind.
  • Reduces menstrual cramps.
  • Regulates menstrual flow.
  • Gives a great stretch to the hamstrings and calves.
  • Stimulates digestive organs.

Janu sirsasana is usually practiced daily by most practitioners.  I personally prefer a supported janu sirsasana so I use practicing it with props.  There are many different ways you can use props to make this asana feel more relaxing.  Watch this video to see how to do that.

 

Participate in our Work From Home Challenge this entire month and win a giveaway at the end of the challenge.  Download our practice tracker and asana sequence below:

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For more information go to:

Medha Bhaskar: https://www.instagram.com/medha.bhaskar/

Amrutha Bindu Yoga: https://www.amruthabindu.com/

Pragya Bhatt: https://www.instagram.com/yogawithpragya/

Travel

July 22nd – 28th

July 29, 2019

This week started out with me being all writerly.  Many of you don’t know that I have a humongous  collection of saris.  Yet the only thing I wear most frequently are my yoga pants.  So it was refreshing to attend the Guru Purnima celebrations swathed in six yards of elegance.  And since I was presenting my teacher with my book on the same day I thought let me make it a Kodak moment and the result was the first Instagram update for the week.

Give me a beautiful south cotton sari any day. #noyogapants #sarinotsorry.

 

I’m still pinching myself about what a wonderful year this is turning out to be.  Last year if you’d told me that next year by this time I would have conducted a yoga retreat in Italy, I’d dismiss you as senile.  My book was in the pipeline, but I was immersed so deeply in editing that it ever seeing the light of day was almost mythical.  The second update for the week saw me thinking about my unconventional journey and the twists and turns that it’s led me on.  With no roadmap the only thing I’ve relied on to get to this point is my gut instinct and also blind trust on whoever wants to massage my ego!  This picture was taken when my sister Ana, cousin Ishani and I were roaming the streets of Imperia trying to find Susanne and Stephanie (with whom we were going to head to Liguria).

Dancing all over Imperia.

 

The 25th of July is Abhijata’s birthday.  In 2016 I went to Belur to attend an Iyengar yoga workshop for the first time.  Abhijata was there along with Birjoo and Rajvi Mehta.  I was nervous about speaking to Abhijata, but my classmates egged me on.  And I finally did, thinking I’d like to remember myself as courageous enough for a ‘no’ rather than the coward who didn’t even dare.  It was now or never.  Abhijata not only told me to write to the institute keeping her in the loop but also answered a few of my questions.  I did a blog on it and later put together a YouTube video.

 

And I ended the week with updates about my first book event for ‘Beyond Asanas’.  The event is called ‘Feeding Body and Soul – A Book Talk.  It is being hosted by Carrots Restaurant and they even curated a special menu for it!!! The menu included: Melon Mint Gazpacho, Raw Beetroot Ravioli with Herbed Cheese and Cilantro Hummus with Baked Lavash Chips.  Exciting stuff!!!  The first event was on Sunday evening and I spoke about my personal journey, why yoga, how I went about writing the book etc.  It was an open, free-wheeling discussion and I look forward to doing the event again on Wednesday the 31st of July.  Fingers crossed that this is the first of many book events. 🙂

Simply yummers….

Lifestyle Uncategorized Yoga

We’re Working Hard And…

June 18, 2017

moving

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new,” -Socrates.

The last couple of months have been crazy busy for me.  I’ve been meaning to do this post for many many weeks now, but was only able to get to it today.  I’ve been teaching my regular classes, have a couple of retreats and workshops under my belt, have designed new classes and modules (including The Yoga Practice, which I’m so incredibly excited about) and have found time to travel as well!

The year is far from over, and I have my annual trip (study retreat?) to Pune coming up in August and September.  We’re also working on refining The Yoga Practice and getting the word out there as much as we can about it.  My practice is going well, and I see improvement in my students almost daily!  The first half of this year has been very rewarding.

I’ve also been working on consolidating everything I do under one platform.  As my practice gets more focused, so does my vision for ‘Yoga With Pragya’.  At the beginning of this year I had an idea of where I was headed and over the past couple of months the vision has became clearer.  Our new website is a step towards a more organised initiative.  As my practice deepens, my teaching becomes more refined and I’m getting very creative with how I can help people across the board.

We’re building something useful, helpful and, most of all, accessible to all those who are interested in yoga, holistic health and a wholesome lifestyle.  Most of you have been following this blog for many years.  I hope you will stay with me as I grow, expand and evolve further.  Subscribe to our new blog here: http://yogawithpragya.in/blog/.  While you’re there, please browse the site and leave us constructive feedback.  We’re really excited about the great things we have in store for you.  Please share with all your friends and subscribe to our other platforms as well (Facebook, YouTube & Instagram).

 

 

 

Lifestyle Travel Yoga

The Habitat

July 11, 2016

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“Make sure your doors and windows are securely locked, the  petrol full and even if someone tries to stop you for ‘help’ DO NOT STOP.  And also, go there during the day, you don’t want to be mauled by wild beasts when night falls.”

This was the directive given to me the first time I headed to what I now simple call The Jungle.

So it was natural that we were a bundle of nerves when we headed towards the Bannerghatta National Park.  Slowly and gradually the hustle and bustle and the traffic IMG-20160403-WA0033and the potholes of the Bannerghatta road faded away and we were on the dusty country roads.  Here there were no signboards and everything looked the same.  Perhaps the danger of getting lost was very real, which is why our host kept on repeatedly calling us to ensure we were safe.  That is, when we got connectivity.  The rest of the time we kept on going on a hunch.  Driving a rickety old Alto over craggy rocks and stones and on terrain meant for four wheel drive is no mean feat.  Every time I saw a mound of formidable rocks, I would set my jaw and press along.  My own man vs nature adventure.

 

I had no idea what to expect that first weekend at the farm.  I discovered that the IMG-20160403-WA0050temperature deep in the jungle is a couple of degrees lower than in the city.  And I certainly didn’t expect to sleep out in the open inside a mesh hut.  The still remember my first night at the farm.  The croaks of the frogs, and right outside the hut, the river illuminated by the light of the moon, the silhouette of the trees framing my view.  I snuggled deeper into my warm razai and drifted off into the most peaceful sleep ever.

I’m back from another restful weekend at the ‘Vishnu’s Farm’.  Deep in the Bannerghatta jungles, this place has come to symbolize peace, serenity and the Slow Movement (even before it became the latest fitness fad).  This time I took my sister (visiting from Hyderabad).  I explained to her that most of the farm has no lights, no real means of cooking your own food, and that we might spot an elephant or a bison while walking around the acreage.  But nature is constantly evolving and moves on no matter what.  So the Farm is always a bit different every time I go.  (There is a valuable lesson in this.)

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However, the past couple of times I’ve been to this haven, an idea has been taking shape in my mind.  In our frazzled lives, oasis of calm such as Vishnu’s Farm are difficult to come by and this place is just perfect.  Devoid of the trappings of modern existence (no cell phone coverage and other such fancy accoutrement), this place hits your reset button.  The closer you are to nature, the closer you feel to yourself.    This past weekend I decided on a retreat.  A retreat focused on peace, quiet and getting back to nature.  A simple retreat aimed at appreciating how we can live the best possible life by staying aligned and attuned to nature.

Vishu’s Farm is more appropriately called a habitat.  Vishnu has made sure to integrate himself with nature rather than modifying the existing ecosystem to suit his needs.  So he’s made sure not to disturb the trees, and continues planting new ones.  He’s built lakes in the property so that the water life thrives instead of perishing (you may spot a cat stealthily waiting for it’s next meal).  When the elephants repeatedly broke a wall somewhere in the habitat, Vishnu stopped rebuilding it.  In his own words – “It’s their land, I’m just an encroacher.”  Perhaps this belief fuels his tireless work for conservation in the area.

So when you come on this retreat, you aren’t checking into a fancy resort with exotic scented soaps.  You are spending time in someone’s life’s work.  A home that Vishnu has painstakingly created against odds such as red tape and litigation, indifference and corruption.  And how can we forget the quarry mafia?!

It is no surprise then, that a retreat such as this will always be for a closed group. Comprising people who will be able to appreciate the passion and belief that it takes to live a lifestyle where there are no TVs and limited net connectivity.  Where lunch takes time to come from the nearest village.  Where there are no dustbins around the property because waste disposal is a challenge and you are encouraged to take your trash back to the city with you.

Where the days are beautiful and the nights peaceful.

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Yoga

It’s Never Too Cold to Workout

January 14, 2015

This morning I woke up and instinctively curled into a tight ball under my blanket.  It was so so cold.  I checked the temperature and sure enough it was 15 deg with dense fog in Bangalore today.  I lingered under the covers for a while and finally had to get up for class.  And there was bleak attendance for today’s 8-9 am session.  The fact is, even though you may be 100% committed to your fitness goals, getting up in the AM and throwing the covers back to get up is not child’s play.  But small changes can lead to big results.  So here are a three things you can do to make it a bit easier to get out of bed in this chill.

1.  Plan what you’re going to wear the night before and have it out ready.  The path from your bed to your workout clothes must not have the obstacles of decisions and doors.  Preferably keep your clothes ready in the room where you change in.

2.  Make yourself a cup of really really strong coffee or tIMG_20130923_085420ea.  I prefer tea and these days I add loads and loads of ginger, black pepper, cardamom…and pretty much any other heating spice to it.  This not only warms you up from the inside but also wakes you up.  Remember, go easy on the sugar.  Also, you want to have enough so that you wake up, but not so much that you’re unable to move in yoga class!

 

 

 

3.  Being self-motivated is IMG_20150114_085733great.  But it’s easier to workout regularly in a group class.  So, join a group class, make friends with the others and motivate each other to brave the winters!