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Yoga is a powerful practice that works on both the body and mind; that is why it helps in transforming the whole personality and not just the physical body. However, there’s a common misconception that yoga is all about complicated postures. That by doing a complicated backbend, or after achieving the full splits, we somehow become ‘better than we were before. It limits the concept of yoga to something that you only do on the mat. It assumes that if you can’t do extreme postures, you can’t ever be good at or practice yoga.
Namita Piparaiya, Yoga and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist, Founder, Yoganama shares few ways you can extend your yoga practice into your daily life.
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As we learned from Goldilocks, moderation is the approach of ‘neither too much nor too little. Moderation can be followed in all aspects of life, such as diet, speech, exercise, possessions, and everything else. The opposite of moderation would be either overindulgence which is harmful. Or completely denying ourselves to the extent of suppressing our needs which almost always backfires in the long run. Moderation keeps you away from extremes and therefore is a very sustainable strategy as it takes up very little energy.
You experience this in a yoga class when you hold postures for a more extended period. If you push yourself too much, you’ll come out of the pose before the time is up due to pain or extreme discomfort. Equally, if you are lazy while practicing, you won’t benefit from the time you’re spending on the mat. Apply the right amount of effort, and you have a rewarding yoga practice that leaves you feeling recharged and refreshed. And the ‘right effort’ can be different for everyone; that’s why everyone’s yoga practice will look different.
Mindfulness refers to present moment awareness. It is a very powerful and well-researched practice that can change the very structure of our brain. Mindfulness meditation makes us more rational, less impulsive, and even increases our grey matter. The good thing is mindfulness can be practiced anytime during the day and not just while you’re meditating. You can be mindful when you’re eating when you’re brushing your teeth when driving, and so on. All you have to do is become completely aware of the activity you’re doing by observing it in full detail.
If you’ve done a yoga class, you’ve undoubtedly experienced mindfulness. Yoga is a great mindfulness practice because all postures are done with breath awareness. Even in Sun Salutations, you follow a specific breathing pattern. Each movement or transition is accompanied by an instruction to either inhale, exhale or hold the breath. When you hold a difficult single-leg balance like Natrajasana, you automatically become more mindful that you would lose your balance without awareness. In this way, yoga trains you to become aware of what you’re doing with the help of the breath or the difficult nature of posture. It is a great skill to start applying in your everyday life — both in emotional moments or while doing banal tasks like washing dishes.
Try doing a single leg balance when very angry or emotional, and you’ll likely have some trouble. In extreme circumstances, our inner emotional balance gets disturbed, reflecting in our physical state. In yoga, you learn to bring your balance back by taking some deep breaths or doing some gentle kriyas to re-center the body and mind.
And you can employ the breath anytime during the day when you feel overwhelmed. It could be if you’re angry at your boss or had an argument with a colleague, have received a defective product, or are stuck in traffic! With Yoga, you’ve trained yourself in resetting your nervous system by using your breath. And that’s a skill that you can employ multiple times during the day to be stronger and more patient to deal with the stresses of modern life.
In fact, without this skill, you cannot sit in meditation because the mind would be highly distracted. That is why in yoga, you practice pranayama before meditation as the breath helps your thoughts settle down. After that, your meditation can be productive as you will have better focus and concentration.
With consistent and regular yoga practice, you learn the value of the right amount of effort that teaches you the concept of moderation. A new or challenging posture leads you to stay in the present moment and be more mindful. And by employing the breath, you learn to consciously relax and unwind even in stressful situations such as a challenging posture. In this way, you develop the mental stamina and fitness to navigate your everyday life. (IANS/KB)
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One of the yoga’s most prominent contemporary voices, Sarvesh Shashi, is not just a yoga entrepreneur, but in his own words, yoga is his life’s purpose. A nation-wide network of yoga studios, started when this 17-year-old attended a yoga class “by chance and not out of willingness”.
With actor Malaika Arora onboard as a partner and celebrity clientele, the modern yogi’s mission is as strong as ever – “connecting seven billion breaths’. Ahead of the International Yoga Day on June 21, the founder of SARVA and Diva Yoga speaks to IANSlife about his journey.
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It started at 17 with a yoga class that you didn’t even enroll in yourself. Must have been some class?
Shashi: That’s quite right. I started doing yoga at the age of 6 and practicing mindfulness at the age of 17, that too by chance and not out of willingness. I loved cricket and my primary reason to consider yoga was to get better at cricket and play for our country someday.
My first class was with a man who looked very much like a yogi. During my class, I asked him if he can enlighten me to which his answer was, ï¿½Sarvesh, if you think I can enlighten you then you are a fool and I’m an even bigger one.’ That marked the onset of my journey into yoga.
How did your relationship with yoga evolve over time?
Shashi: I think it’s safe to say that yoga became my life’s purpose. I’m sure this is not something you’d expect a then 17-year old to say but it quite did. What started out as a practice that helped me change as a person, went on to become a mission that’s now my life’s purpose – to change as many lives as possible with the help of yoga, mindfulness, and beyond.
What’s your current yoga routine like? Your go-to asanas?
Shashi: I don’t have a routine per se. To me, yoga is being aware of your mind and body at all times. Every breath I take, every morsel I eat, is yoga. But I do make it a point to start and end my day with basic breathing practices or Pranayamas.
Tell us about you founding a yoga studio, developing it into a chain, training celebrities, and collaborating with Malaika Arora.
Shashi: SARVA and Diva’s story is nothing short of a journey. SARVA was founded in 2016 and Diva, in 2018, along with Malaika Arora. I started SARVA because I wanted to take my experience with yoga to the world and hence, its mission became ï¿½Connecting 7 billion breaths’. I’ve been very fortunate in finding partners like Malaika Arora and many others, early on in this journey. Not only does she bring credibility as a practitioner but also a very sharp creative business mentality, understanding of the consumer and market, and the consumer. Over these years, several others from the entrainment, fitness, lifestyle industries, etc have taken to the yoga and they are some of our regulars!
Shashi: SARVA’s future is digital. Much before this lockdown, we were on our way to launch a digital app and a little over 8 weeks post-launch, we’ve already crossed 200K downloads. This goes to show the number of people who want to practice yoga no matter the physical limitations, and that’s always a good thing for us. We’ve only been seeing an increasing trend in our app numbers, our LIVE portal live.sarva.com and also our Instagram sessions.
And not just this, we’ve had people write in to us about how much they like the classes, our instructors, and how despite such hectic schedules of working from home, they’re seeing tangible results.
Your thoughts on the fitness ecosystem of the country and the increased attention yoga is getting.
Shashi: It’s been said enough and more times, by fitness entrepreneurs like myself, by the Honourable PM and worldwide – that yoga and mindfulness have to be a part of your daily lifestyle.
When the entire world went under lockdown for over two months, mental and physical health became of paramount importance – drawing more and more attention to holistic practices, immunity-building habits, clean eating, and a positive state of mind – all of which yoga can help with. And it’s only going to get more important, widespread and easily accessible, thanks to apps like SARVA, voices like our PMs and digital mediums.
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Finally, your advice to yoga beginners of all ages?
Shashi: There’s no advice as such apart from the fact that you’re never too old, too young, too flexible, too stiff, too fat, too thin, or too anything to start yoga. Just begin with 20-30 minutes a day, keep at it, and you’ll see changes. You’ll start feeling more flexible, you’ll have more energy for your daily chores, you’ll start sleeping better and just feeling more positive about your day. But don’t take my word for it, it’s something you’ll see and believe for yourself. (IANS)
As the whole world is passing through a health crisis amid COVID-19 pandemic, President Ram Nath Kovind on the 6th International Yoga Day on Sunday suggested practicing Yoga, saying it “can help keep the body fit and mind serene”.
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Referring to the importance of Yoga, president Kovind said the ancient science of Yoga is India’s great gift to the world.
“Glad to see more and more people adopting it. Amid stress and strife, especially with Covid-19, practicing Yoga can help keep the body fit and mind serene,” President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted.
The International Day of Yoga has been celebrated annually on June 21 since 2015, following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in India.
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Experts say that Yoga strengthens the respiratory system which is affected by novel coronavirus pandemic that has infected 3,95,048 people and caused 12,948 deaths across India so far. (IANS)
The Ministry of AYUSH along with Indian Council of Cultural Relations on Friday announced a unique international video blog competition, called ‘My Life My Yoga’ as the International Yoga Day this year will be organised virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants will have to make a 3-minute video of performing yoga ‘asanas’ and put them on the social media platforms with the hashtag My Life My Yoga and also hashtag their country name tagging the AYUSH ministry.
The contest has already started from June 1 and the videos can be submitted till June 15. The winners will be announced before June 21. The selected videos from all over the world will be posted on various social media platforms by the government. “They can post the video in any language”, Ayush Secretary Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha said, speaking at a press conference. “The International Yoga Day has been celebrated across the globe for the last five years. This year also the Ministry of AYUSH is organising the 6th International Yoga Day in a big way. However due to the pandemic the mass gathering will not be organised this year,” said Kotecha.
This year’s theme will be ‘Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family’, officials said, which will enable people to observe the day at home with family members at 7 am on June 21. “Earlier we had planned Yoga Day in a big way with the Prime Minister attending it in Leh but due to the pandemic situation all plans are suspended.
It is also not clear if the PM will go to Leh or not,” he said. ‘My Life – My Yoga’ video blogging competition was launched by the Prime Minister on May 31. The contest will be run in two parts. The first one consisting of the international video blogging contest, wherein the winners will be picked within a country. This will be followed by global prize winners who will be selected from winners from different countries.
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“Entries can be submitted by participants under three categories covering youth (male and female aged under 18), adults (male and female above 18 years) and yoga professionals, and further, separately for male and female contestants in both India and abroad,” Kotecha said. This makes it a total of six categories in all. For the India contestants, prizes worth Rs 1 lakh, 50,000 and 25,000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd ranking within each of the categories will be given, while for the international winners cash prizes worth $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000 along with trophy and certificate will be given to those ranking first, second and third.
Vinay Sahasrabuddh, President of ICCR ( Indian Council for Cultural Relations) said that the video blogging competition will give a huge amount of testimonials which will help in spreading the word about Yoga and its overall benefits not just health-wise but also towards the approach to human life as well. “Yoga is not just a physical activity, it has also to do with physical and emotional health and people will share the benefits they have experienced,” he said. (IANS)