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yoga in bangalore

Lifestyle Yoga

Yoga to Boost Immunity

March 8, 2020

When Women’s Day rolls around we talk about women.  Strength, equality, acceptance, rights.  This year I wanted to talk about something more relevant.  Immunity.  Immunity to ‘what will people say/think/do’.  Immunity to unrealistic expectations. Immunity to trying to please everyone.  Immunity to self-doubt, self-sabotage.

The key to fighting any kind of external attack is your immunity.  The higher your immunity levels, the less likely you are to fall prey to pesky germs.

I suggested a collaboration to my friend Medha of Amruta Bindu Yoga a day before Women’s Day.  Within two minutes we were ready.  The deadly Corona virus spreading like wildfire across planet earth, we decided to focus on how yoga can help.  Yoga’s positive impact on boosting your immunity is proven and well documented.  A regular yoga practice helps in lowering your stress hormones and stimulates the lymphatic system (which eliminates toxins from your body).  Inversions (asanas where your head is below the level of your heart) help in increasing blood circulation.  This increased circulation helps in taking oxygenated blood to your organs, which helps in keeping the organs healthy.

A couple of days ago I came across a yoga sequence to strengthen the immune system, designed by BKS Iyengar.  It’s being widely circulated on Instagram and I came across it on the IYNAUS page.  Medha and I decided to share the sequence with our followers.

This sequence was created by BKS Iyengar to boost immunity to fortify the body against the invasion of germs, bacteria and viruses. Fun fact: it’s Medha and I performing the asanas in the images.

 

Daily practice is a challenge, specially when you’re practicing solo.  We decided to help by putting together this checklist for you.  You can print this out 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.  You can also download the Daily Yoga Practice Checklist by clicking on the ‘Download’ button at the end of the blog.

Over the next few days we’re going to be discussing how each of these asanas improve your immunity.  We’ll discuss the asanas at length, giving you new insight into them.  Please reach out to any of us (on Instagram/Facebook) with your queries and we will help you out!  We’re incredibly excited about this challenge and hope it really makes a difference to you.

Download the Daily Yoga Practice Checklist.

Follow Amrutha Bindu Yoga here.

Follow Medha Bhaskar here.

Follow me (Pragya Bhatt) here.

 

You can read about the individual asanas below:

  1. Uttanasana
  2. Adhomukha svanasana
  3. Prasarita Padottanasana
  4. Sirsasana
  5. Dwi pada Viparita Dandasana
  6. Halasana
  7. Sarvangasana
  8. Viparita Karani
  9. Savasana
Uncategorized

Becoming the Asana

March 15, 2018

I think of myself as a yoga student first, and then a teacher. When I don’t practice, I feel like I’ve missed something. If, on a rare day, I have no classes, I feel like I’m on vacation.

I make it a point to go to my teacher twice a week. It’s a big class, with at least thirty of us at various levels of practice. The average age of students must be between 45-50. So I find arranging my limbs into an asana a little easier than the rest of the students.

However, yoga goes beyond your expertise at making shapes with your body. And every once in a while, specially when I’ve drifted away from the here and now, I’m pulled back and propelled towards new insight. Doesn’t happen very much, but frequently enough.

Forward Bends denote our ability to surrender to situations that Life brings forth. The Kurmasana has been on my ambitious pose list for years. As a teacher I believe that with consistent practice, any pose can be conquered. As a student there are poses that I judge. I will never ‘own’ this pose. Will I ever own this pose? It’s too difficult for me. This pose is easy! And so on and so forth.

Yesterday towards the end of the class, the teacher asked us to stretch our legs out in the Paschimottanasana and widen them. Then reach forward and grab the sides of the feet. Bend the elbows to the side and stretch the torso forward. I did. And continued working, thinking ‘Kurmasana’. Finally, my teacher started gently coaxing my torso forward. Deeper. Further. More. Eventually there was no sense of the practitioner as being separate from the practice. My forehead touched the floor. I exhaled. Surrendered. I became the asana.

Travel

Why Do We Run/Practice Yoga?

November 7, 2017

Over the weekends while everyone is asleep in their cosy beds, a few of us stumble out of bed at 5 am.  To meet and run.  Why do we run?

Before my fitness journey running wasn’t even in the charts for me.  Walking really fast would have me out of breath.  I started with running for 15 minutes on the treadmill and increased my time to 30 minutes.  Eventually I started working on distance.  After a while I quit the gym and took to the streets.

I’m not a great runner.  I don’t have special gear.  In fact, I frequently run in my yoga pants.

When I did a 5km in Srirangapatnam and felt proud of it, my sister did the 21 km in Hyderabad.  Why does my sister run?

I think I run for the same reason I practice yoga.  To do more and to be better.  When I run or practice yoga I know I won’t be better the next minute.  Or even the next day or the day after next.  But I know that soon I will be able to bend just that bit more and run just that bit faster.

We run, or practice yoga or lift weights because we have faith in our ability to be more than what we are now.  We have faith in our ability to do more than what we do now.  There is no upper limit for our endeavours.  We run because we believe in our  infinite potential as human beings.

“The obsession for running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.”

Below are a few images from yesterday.  This was our third run with the Go Heritage Run initiative.

 

 

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Yoga is a light…A Yogi’s Diwali

October 19, 2017

pc: Geetanjali Joshi

From ignorance, lead me to truth;
From darkness, lead me to light;
From death, lead me to immortality
Om peace, peace, peace

I learned the above shloka in the year 2009 when I went to SVYASA to do my Teacher’s Training Course.  I found that I was the only one unfamiliar with it.  When I went on to star teaching yoga myself, I learned from my students that this is a shloka taught widely in schools here in India.  This shloka is found in the Upanishads and is a prayer to Light.

If you look at this shloka closely, you can see the definition of the word ‘guru’ in the second line.  ‘Gu’ means darkness and ‘ru’ means light.  A guru is someone who enlightens you; takes you from the darkness to the light.  A guru gives you the strength to recognize your own ignorance and guides you towards your truth.

Diwali is then, perhaps, also a celebration of moving towards the light of truth and peace.  We celebrate the triumph of good over evil, but we should also reflect on the inner darkness that exists in all of us and pray for it to be illuminated.

During Diwali we perform the Lakshmi puja, and many people also worship Ganesha and Saraswati during this puja.  Ganesha is worshipped at the beginning of any puja and symbolizes that which clears the way to our goal.  Saraswati is the goddess of books and learning.

A yogi carries the light (deep) of yoga within.  As yogis we are on the path to truth, to the light, to peace in every moment of every day.  When we unroll our mats we are lighting a diya to a practice that is our path to a higher truth.  When we practice we are paying tribute to goddess Saraswati because the practice is a study of ourselves and humanity.  And when we resolve that we will continue the practice no matter what, it is an invocation to Ganesha to clear the hurdles that may stand in our way.

For a yogi, every day is Diwali.

The colors of the Festival of Lights.

Happy Diwali!

 

Travel

Dengue Fever – My Story

October 15, 2017

Baddhakonasana.

I was supposed to come to Delhi on the 18th of this month and leave on the 21st. Since I took two months off from teaching to study in Pune, I felt I should get back as soon as possible.  With this in mind I messaged my students  that classes would start on the 2nd of Oct.


 

 

 

 

 

But on the 28th of September I started feeling a bit tired and my appetite disappeared.  I found out from some other students that it was a 24 hour virus that was going around.  I managed to drag myself to class on Friday and Saturday, but collapsed in bed post class on both days. My sister was slated to visit me for a day on Saturday and I willed myself to get better. I popped a few Crocins on Thursday and Friday and hoped the fever would sweat out of my body. On Saturday the sis arrived and I was still a little shaky.  But I was tired of laying in bed all day, infirm.   We set out for the Osho park and I hoped that being out and about would make me feel better. I returned that night as tired as ever.

Kakuli & I in the Osho Gardens.

With Sneha in the Osho Gardens.

The next day was the 1st of Oct. I got to Bangalore and once again collapsed in bed.  The virus was supposed to be only a 24 hour virus and I was sure that I would be better in the next couple of hours.

I took classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. It was great to see my students again, but I still didn’t feel 100% myself. I didn’t have the energy to do my own practice and I couldn’t figure out why. I felt that if I was able to drive myself to classes then I should be able to practice too. At the same time I started to question the meaning of life and dwell on its futility.

I pinged my sisters that someone had given me the evil eye because what else could be wrong? I had no appetite and I was listless. I asked a friend of mine how to get rid of the evil eye and went out and even went out to buy a packet of red chillies.

Upon my mom’s insistence I went to the doc.  I’d never had to go to the doctor and so actually had to ask some people in my building for the closest reliable and trusted doctor. The doc asked me to get a platelet count done and also to check for Typhoid and Dengue.  The results showed my platelet count was 80000 (below normal range but not life threatening) and I tested positive for Dengue. The doc and my mom gave me an ultimatum. The doctor hooked me up to an IV and pumped glucose and Paracetamol into my system. My friend booked a ticket for me to Delhi. I went home and threw some stuff into a suitcase. Then I collapsed until another friend arrived to drop me to the airport.

No one in my family has ever had Dengue fever, but because this disease reaches epidemic like proportions every year in Delhi, everyone knew what to do. Since I fell sick I’ve heard of so many other people who’ve fallen sick during or after their time at RIMYI. Usually Dengue fever lasts anywhere between 5-7 days and it takes a person almost 2 weeks to completely recover. Because of my regular yoga practice I feel I was able to fight the infection relatively quickly. I had fever for about 2 days and was able to attend and conduct classes soon after.

This was the first time I fell sick (thanks to the yogi lifestyle) and my recovery was remarkably quick too.

Here are a few things I learned from getting this disease. Hopefully this will help you in combating the disease.

  1. Use your mosquito repellent.   I’ve heard Citronella oil,  Eucalyptus oil and Neem oil also keep the mosquitos away.
  2. Don’t fight the idea that you might be infected despite taking all sorts precautions.  I was almost in denial as I told the doc that I was going about my normal active life and didn’t understand how I could be infected.
  3. Take care of yourself – as yogis we sometimes put self-care on the backburner.  Cancel your classes and try and sleep.  Allow the fever to do what it will and focus on resting.
  4. Allow someone else to take care of you. You’ll have someone to tell you that life isn’t over.  I can’t remember the last time I spent so much time at home, but it made my recovery that much faster and more pleasant.
  5. When I had a fever all I felt like eating was apples and drinking cold water.  Looking at even a slice of toast made me want to throw up.  Before I found out it was Dengue I felt I should force myself to eat a little bit or I would fall sick.  Now I know that loss of appetite is a symptom of Dengue and my body craved hydration.
  6. Monitor your platelets count daily!
  7. Papaya leaf juice works like a charm.  Take some papaya leaf juice and water and grind them in your mixer.  Strain and drink.
  8. Sleep!
  9. Catch up on your reading.  I renewed my Kindle Unlimited subscription and my Goodreads saw a lot of activity too.
  10. Don’t worry about your practice/classes/work.  Once your mind and body are well rested, you’ll be back with a bang.

 

I hope to never ever be sick again.  This illness has reinforced my belief in making healthy choices every day without fail or excuses.  Sometimes getting an infection can’t be prevented but being in good health ensures you fight the infection like a boss.  This illness has also made me grateful for all the wonderful people in my life.  People who wake up early to drop you to the airport, people who check up on you in the middle of the night, those who ping you from around the world to make sure you’re OK.  I was lucky to be able to fly home at a moment’s notice and my mom was ready.  I’m grateful to my mother’s maids who knew where to get papaya and giloy leaves and promptly brought them home.  Even my tattoo artist reached out to me!

Any disease takes a toll on you physically, but if you have people around you who love you and care about you, you win the battle sooner.  I had loads of people who were there for me, and for that I can never be thankful enough.

 

Uncategorized

A Note on Teachers

July 11, 2017

IMG-20170627-WA0000

Admittedly when I started yoga I had a healthy mistrust of the entire ‘guru’ culture.  I associated it with blind faith, pointless rituals and baseless beliefs.  This perception influenced me for a very long time.

It took me years to find my teacher.  Even when I found him I actively made it a point to reiterate, “He’s my teacher, not my guru.”  Today I don’t even know what that meaIMG_20161218_143346ns!

I feel that over the years I’ve shed a lot of my preconceived notions.  This takes a while, and I feel yoga helped me ease up and soften.  After almost 6 years with my teacher I’ve come to realize that there is great comfort in allowing someone else to take control for a little while.  There is a comfort that comes from allowing yourself to accept that sometimes someone else may know what is best for you.

We need to now own our culture and our spirituality.  We need to dissociate the word ‘guru’ with orange robes and nonsensical rituals.  Studies have shown that those who consider themselves spiritual and/or religious enjoy higher levels of wellness than those who don’t.  Perhaps we need to analyse our beliefs and recognize our unique brand of religion/spirituality.  Let’s not try and fit ourselves into a mould, rather, let’s create a mould that fits us well.

If you’ve been going to the same class for years now, consider yourself committed.

If you go to class and find yourself questioning less and accepting more, consider yourself devoted.

If you seek your teacher out for an opinion on a non-yoga dilemma, you might just be on the path to finding your guru.

IMG_20161220_060635

 

 

Uncategorized

Hybrid Yoga

June 29, 2017

yoga_practice

Yoga teachers are frequently asked about their journey.  What drew us to yoga?  When and how did we know.  Much like their personalities, every teacher’s journey to teaching is also unique.

chakrasana_before_after

The Urdhvadhanurasana has come a long way…

The more time I spent practicing yoga, the more I felt there wasn’t enough time!  I registered for a yoga teachers’ training course and started thinking realistically about the profession.  I knew that I was teaching to become a better student, and not the other way around.

Over the years, as demand for my teaching grew, I realized that I was constrained by IMG-20160731-WA0044time and geography.  There are many who express an interest in my classes, but are unable to travel from, say, Bannerghatta Road.  Just making YouTube videos, or creating a generic module wouldn’t work.  Live interaction is essential when it comes to movement-based practices.

The idea for the ‘The Yoga Practice‘, came to me while discussing ‘what more’ with a student during a break in class.  Why not create a hybrid module of customized videos and face to face interaction.  All students will get videos customized for them, and they will be able to practice yoga at their convenience AND in the comfort of their own homes.  Plus, once a week we schedule a catch up call where I observe students’ asanas, answer questions, clarify doubts and plan the next week.  Below is an example of a video we shot for a student.  It’s one of the prettiest videos we’ve done and I watch it all the time.

 

So, if you or someone you know wants to incorporate yoga into their lives but dIMG_20170610_172540_411on’t have access to a good teacher, or has time constraints, then you might want to take a look at this module.  It’s helped many people steadily improve their health and increase their wellness quotient.  Leave us a query on the blog with any questions you have.

Keep an eye out for the video about this module.  If you haven’t subscribed to the YouTube channel yet, do so asap!!!

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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).

 

 

 

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!