Browsing Tag

yoga class

Lifestyle Travel Yoga

Practicing Together

September 12, 2019

I don’t remember when I came across the word ‘jugalbandi’ for the first time.  Until now I thought the word meant a collaboration.  Before writing this blog I thought I should  probably check the meaning and found that it literally means ‘entwined twins’.  The word is used to refer to a collaboration between two artists, usually a duet between two solo artists.

I’ve attended a few jugalbandis in the past and enjoyed them immensely.  There is magic when great artists come together.  They bring their art and ‘entwine’ it with the art of another artist.  And it creates magic.  It’s not only a mingling of art, craft, technical excellence but also a mingling of hearts, souls and great minds.

If you go to yoga class and take a look around you will see many things.  Lithe bendy bodies and also not so lithe bendy bodies.  People straining to touch their toes, and people balancing on their fingertips.  But there is a common purpose that brings us together: to keep our bodies and minds healthy.

Which is why every once in a while I love to train and practice with different people.  I came across Dayananthan on Instagram one day and was blown away by his asana practice.  So I ‘followed’ him.  And to my surprise he followed me back and said he finds my practice inspiring.  I was thrilled.  More thrilled when he invited me over to his studio Nrityog to practice together.

Teaching yoga (or maybe teaching anything) can get lonely.  You’re either attending class, teaching class or practicing.  You have few ‘work friends’, don’t go out for drinks after work and have no team-building retreats.  So it’s always refreshing to find teachers who reach out.

I arrived at Nrityog early on a Saturday.  Dayananthan was finishing a class.  He is really as awesome as his Instagram profile makes it out to be.  We chatted a bit during which I showed him the postures that were my ‘goal asanas’ such as this one and this one.  We started stretching and decided to work towards the ek pada sirsasana.  I’ve been working on the pose for years and was hoping he could give me new insight into it.

As we stretched I got to know him a bit better.  He started Nrityog with his wife who is also a dancer. The studio is open, airy, full of plants.  The vibe is calm, much like Dayananthan himself.  He freelances at other studios too, which he loves because he gets to meet more people that way.  So you can catch him around in different part of Bangalore.

In about 35-45 minutes he was ready to tackle the leg behind head category of asanas.  My muscles were screaming, but I was game.

 

I look forward to practicing more with him once I’m back in Bangalore.  The Yoga Jugalbandi.

Meanwhile, if you’re in Bangalore do attend class at Nrityog!!!

 

Lifestyle Travel Yoga

Stretching – Then and Now

September 11, 2016

pomelo_20160910012039_save.jpg

@Malaka Spice

 

It’s been close to 10 days here and my routine here is as challenging as ever.  I realize that if it’s your first time here, then it does take a while to adjust and adapt.  The first time I had a 4 hour practice I was incredulous … and didn’t know how to deal with it.  Rather, I didn’t know how to make the most of it.  When I practice at home it’s only for an hour and a half, and by the end of it I’m drained out.  So the first few days here, I was always exhausted.  So much so that I felt I couldn’t give the best in the asanas and always felt sloppy and ungainly throughout the practice.  Mondays and Tuesdays specially, since practice on those days is almost 4 hours long, and by the time I’m done with practice its an ordeal just to walk home.  My fantasies these days centre around buying an apartment next to the institute so that I can crawl home in no time and surface again only for the next class.

However, now I’ve started to get used to the routine.  I’m actually able to make the most of the extended practice sessions.  In fact, 2 hours is just about enough time for a satisfying practice…how I’m going to sustain this when I’m back in Bangalore is the stuff other blog posts are made of.

Yesterday I had my class in the evening (where I’m referred to as ‘Bangalore’, and another

pomelo_20160907151815_save.jpg
Milk tea just this once?

girl is called ‘USA’, oh and then there’s ‘Madam China’ in the 6 am session).  It was an amazingly intense session.  The class was fast paced with a focus on stretching the lower body (Janu Sirsasana, Paschimottansana, Baddhakonasana etc).  Finally we did the Upavista Konasana, which is a challenging pose for me.  I slowly made my way down and eased my torso onto the floor.  I remember the days when I started practicing yoga and this pose was a big challenge.  I wouldn’t be able to extend my back and my hip joint was stiff.  As the years went by, I was still pretty reluctant to practice this pose because it didn’t come naturally at all and it was frustrating.  Even now, sometimes I’m able to execute this pose well, and sometimes I feel like lead.

Yesterday I was able to ease myself down and placed my forehead on the floor.  I stayed there kind of happy and satisfied with myself.  There’s always an element of pleasant surprise also, because some days your body can extend and some days it just doesn’t.  This reverie lasted until I heard, “BANGALORE!  You’re sleeping!  Extend more!  Walk forward with your hands!!!  That’s it, that’s good.  Trance mein chali gayi thi phir se.”

And I realized that for the most part, this is how I practice.  I arrange myself into a pose and then my mind says, “This is it, you’ve done well.  You’re done.”  And then my pose goes dead, and progress stops.  Or, as the teacher said, I fall asleep.  So when I was told to extend more, I had to push through the limitations of my mind (kind of still the internal dialogue) and discover if I could, in fact, go further.  I realized that I could, and for that little bit of time I experienced new life.  And received a bit of enlightenment.

The Halasana is a pose that we do daily in class.  We use props to ensure that the spine and neck are straight.  The picture is of me doing the Halasana many years ago.  When my internal dialogue was loud and overpowering.  I’m sure it’s improved over the years.  And after this class, I know how to work in this (and in all other asanas).

Halasana (Plough Pose)

How To

  1. Lie down straight on your back making sure your head lies on the floor.
  2. Exhale, bend your legs at the knees and bring your knees close to your chest.
  3. Lift your buttocks off of the floor supporting your back with your hands.
  4. Make sure to plant your elbows firmly on the floor.halasana
  5. Bring your body perpendicular to the floor, until your sternum touches your chin.
  6. Gently extend your legs out behind your head.
  7. Keep your face and neck relaxed.
  8. Practice with your arms stretched out behind and fingers interlocked to relive pain and cramps in fingers, hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders.

Benefits

  • Relieves fatigue.
  • Helps to calm down the mind.
  • Relaxes your eyes and brain.
  • Controls hyper tension.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Lengthens the spine and improves alignment.
  • Reduces insomnia and anxiety.
  • Relieves stress-related headaches and migraines.

Contraindications

  • Don’t practice during menstruation and if you have cervical spondylosis.
Yoga

I Can’t Commit!!!

August 6, 2013

It’s hard to stay focussed and committed.  To any kind of routine.  Specially the kind of routine which may require you to wake up early and be on time for a fitness class.  If your class is later in the day then you have to ignore every single excuse that might crop up for why you can’t be at the class, and just go to it.  We all know we feel better post our yoga sessions, but why do so many people start with being regular and then lose steam?  I’m not sure.  But maybe there are a few things we can do to stay motivated, and at least to get to class despite not feeling motivated.

1. Join a class. A friend of mine used to go to the most expensive classes available because she would feel compelled to go so as not to waste all her hard earned money. It worked for her, it might for you too!

2.  Whether the class is expensive or relatively cheap, make friends with people in your class.  Or, better yet, join a class with a friend.  So when you feel like staying in bed, then there will be someone to pull you out and into class.

3.  If going to class is not possible for you then follow one of the numerous health/fitness blogs online and do routines in the comfort of your own home. But this does require you to prowl the web looking for videos which inspire you. These videos should feature routines and instructors who you want to spend an hour with every day. You may eventually get bored of the same videos, or you might exhaust someone’s videos. Then you need to start your research all over again and find other videos which will keep you on track.

As a start watch my videos and give me cmments and suggestions for the kind of videos that you feel can help you!

Yoga

Which Category Are You?

July 31, 2013

DSC04259

Today I concluded the first month of teaching here in Bangalore.  When I started the class, there were about 8 enthusiastic people along with 2-3 others who dropped in out of curiosity.  Some wanted to see what ‘yoga’ was all about, and some to see if the class was worth the money being charged.  After a month of waking up early and trudging to the class braving the cold winds, I have 5 students who come regularly.

I’ve been to numerous yoga classes over the years as a student.  And I repeatedly see this trend.  Classes start out full and then students begin to drop out.  I used to think that it’s the teacher’s responsibility to keep students coming back, to keep the tempo of the class going and to design routines that students will enjoy.  After all, a teacher is supposed to provide a class that appeals to students.  And if students don’t like the class, well then, the teacher should introspect and do something about it.

However, over the past couple of days I’ve started to think that its as much a student’s responsibility to be wake up and show up, as it is the teacher’s.  Sadly, when the temptations and excuses to stay in bed are numerous, and the reasons to show up to class so few, there are not many who possess the self discipline to get to class.

I’ve observed three kinds of students:

1.  The lazy bones.  Those who will not sustain a regular yoga routine, or, for that matter, ANY kind of routine.  Making space for a class in a busy schedule is not easy.  You either have to wake up when everyone around you is snuggled comfortably in their warm beds, or trudge to class after a tiring day at work and all you want to do is sleep for the next 2 days.  It takes great effort to leave the warmth of your bed, change, pick up the mat and head to class.  Even more so when it’s cold and windy outside.  I’ve seen that those who don’t come, won’t come despite relatively easy schedules.  I feel that a sense of commitment kicks in for these people only when something goes wrong, ie. doc tells them to lose weight.  And then they go into weight-loss overdrive and might end up hurting themselves more in the process.

2.  Those students who are a bit more aware and enlightened.  They do sometimes run out of steam and need encouragement from the teacher, but on the whole they are committed and contribute effectively to the vibe of the class.  These students are a great addition to the class because once in class they are attentive and 100% involved.

3.  The self-motivated student.  These people are committed, aware, and involved.  They ask questions, listen very carefully to what the teacher has to say, and at times they have something of their own to contribute.  They proactively read up on health and wellness and have a high degree of committment to themselves, their bodies and their mind.  They are a delight in class.  These students are a motivation to other students as well.

And as I told my students this morning, I’d rather teach a smaller but committed group than a large group of semi-focused people.

Can you classify the people you know in the above categories?