Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas presents for my dear students!

Christmas is coming soon!  Although I don't really celebrate Christmas Day as I'm not a Christian in religious, but I just like the feel of joy, warm and love in the air when the day is approaching.  You can feel that almost everybody is in a festive season mood in December. 

In the spirit of giving and sharing, I would like to share my love to all my dear students and thank you for all their support.  I have decided to prepare for all my current students a little christmas present to make their day a little bit different! 

I have started preparing the christmas presents for them since 26th Nov.  Each and every of the present I have wrapped it with my heart.  May everyone of you be always happy, loving and healthy!  Wish everyone of you have a joyful and peaceful Christmas and a better year to come in 2010!

The Christmas Presents Giving being schedule as follow:
  1. 7pm Mon class @ Bishan North CC - 30/11/09
  2. 8pm Mon class @ Bishan North CC - 30/11/09
  3. 10am Fri class @ Bishan CC - 11/12/09
  4. 6.45pm Fri class @ Cheng San CC - 18/12/09
  5. 8pm Fri class @ Cheng San CC - 18/12/09
  6. 10am Tue class @ Bishan CC - 22/12/09
  7. 11.30am Tue class @ Bishan CC - 22/12/09
  8. 6.45pm Wed class @ Cheng San CC - 23/12/09
  9. 7.45pm Wed class @ Cheng San CC - 23/12/09
  10. 8.45pm Wed class @ Cheng San CC - 23/12/09



Preparation - Batch 1



Completion - Batch 1



Completion - Batch 1



Preparation - Batch 2


Completion - Batch 2


Completion - Batch 2




Merry Christmas   &
Happy New Year !


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Focusing the Wayward Mind

Meditation is intended to help us order the confusion of the mind, not to stop us thinking altogether.  Most of us discover that the mind seems to be largely beyond our control.  It has never been trained to know what is expected of it; our education is largely devoted to teaching us facts, and has nothing to do with the mind itself and the potential that lies deep inside it.  The gradual training of the mind that occurs with regular meditation enables us to keep focused upon constructive thoughts, to abolish distractions and to progress on our meditative journey.

The mind has many ways of distracting our concentration.  It may begin with trivia, but when we refuse to let our mind wander it will go on to more preoccupying matters.  It will bring up happy or unpleasant memories, or remind us of pressing things we have to do.  Whatever the distraction, just let it go.


Source from Learn to Meditate by David Fontana

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Kettle Bell Ringer at Causeway Point

It's Christmas again!  Every year when come to Christmas, everybody will be busy with their christmas shopping for their loved ones.  This is not only the time to show our love to our loved ones, but also the time to show our love to those people who are not so fortune and lucky as us.

Every year when come to christmas, I will make some donation to the charity.  However, I have done something extra different for this year christmas.  I have volunteering with The Salvation Army by being a kettle bell ringer!  I'm a non-christian in religious.  This is not important.  Helping people in need and showing our love is regardless of race, language or religious. 

This is my first time being a volunteer of kettle bell ringer.  The experience is great!  It is the feeling of being able to help those people in need somehow make you feel good.  I believe every human kind have love in their heart by nature.  That is your pure true self.  Don't suppress your love.  Let this world fill with more love from human kind.

May this world fill with more love, kindness and peace.  Thank you very much for your donation.  Your donation allows The Salvation Army to continue its work with the needy and underprivileged.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!











Merry Christmas !!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yoga Posture: Half Wheel pose (Ardha Cakrasana)

Half Wheel Pose


Half Wheel pose is used as a counter pose for The Standing Forward Bend (Padahastasana).  It is also the preparation for Wheel pose (Cakrasana) (see picture on the right).  Wheel pose can be done from standing or lying down.  Wheel pose being done from standing is belonging to the advance level.



Support the back at the waist by the palms, fingers pointing forwards. Inhale and bend backwards from the lumbar region. Drop the head backwards, stretching the muscles of the neck. Half wheel pose has to be bend from hip and elbows have to be close to each other.

Half Wheel pose makes the spine flexible, stimulates the spinal nerves and promotes circulation of blood into head.  It strengthens the neck muscles.  It expands chest and shoulders.  It help to improve breathing.  However, persons with problems of vertigo have to avoid this posture.


Note: Please perform the yoga posture under the guide of a certified yoga teacher especially for beginner. You are at your own risk and responsible if you perform on your own. Whatever provided here is just act as an information.


Source from Yoga Mind & Body - Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
                    Light on Yoga - B.K.S. Iyengar

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dinner at Botejyu

I have dinner with my boyfriend at Botejyu located at Liang Court on last Saturday 28th Nov.  It is my first time there.  Firstly, I have realised that Liang Court has changed alot from the last time I visit this place which was many years ago already.

I have order the Japanese rice cake with udon soup.  I love the udon.  I like the feel when I chew it.  It is very Q!  The curry udon is not bad too as my boyfriend has order it.

The best part is the dessert!  I'm a dessert person.  Any dessert that look good I will not give chance to miss it...:-)  Their dessert look very nice which make you don't have the heart to eat them!  They not only look nice but taste good as well!  I have order their ice cream.  Their ice cream is very different.  It doesn't look like an ice cream from the appearance.  And it doesn't taste too sweet.  Just nice..:-)

I have taken some pictures to share with all of you...:-) 



















Monday, November 30, 2009

The Meditative Custom

Christianity,  Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Shinto, Jainism and the shamanistic and pagan traditions have all taught adherents how to turn their minds inward in order to plumb its mysteries and develop a relationship with the source from which our thoughts arise.  The practice of meditation - and of contemplation and prayer - lies at the heart of the great spiritual traditions.

Although we may refer to these traditions as spiritual, they are also practical psychologies for exploring and training the mind, and in many cases they are systems of philosophy and of physical culture as well.  Only in recent Western history have these various categories become separated from each other, to the detriment of each of them.  And only in recent Western history has the importance of meditation been virtually ignored, requiring us to turn eastward to rediscover those techniques that were once as familiar in the West as they have always been in the East.  Such a need to turn eastward means that particular reference is made to Hindu and Buddhist meditative practices.  But this does not imply a doctrinal approach, as meditation is for those who follow all traditions - or those who follow no tradition at all (it does not require allegiance to any particular faith or creed).

In fact, the more we study the great traditions, the more we recognise that there are many underlying similarities.  It is a strange quirk of human nature that people look for differences and divisions between things (which leads to conflict) rather than for similarities and agreements (which leads to balance and harmony).  Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of ideas and beliefs and of psychological and spiritual practices.  In meditation, all of the great traditions teach the same fundamental steps.  The details may vary, but the bedrock is the same.

The very antiquity and durability of the great traditions provides testament to their efficacy in helping people to live successful lives.  The founders of two of these traditions, Christ and the Buddha, lived respectively 2,000 and 2,500 years ago.  The Hindu rishis, responsible for the Vedas (some of the oldest books in the world), lived in India around 4,000 years ago.  Around the same time, the ancient Egyptians depicted people sitting in what appear to be straight-backed meditative poses.

The first book of the Hebrew Bible was probably written in the 5th century BCE, but dates back to a much earlier oral tradition; the Koran was written down in the 7th century CE; and the Tao Te Ching probably dates from the 4th century BCE.


Source from Learn To Meditate by David Fontana

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yoga Posture: The Standing Forward Bend (Padahastasana)


Padahastasana - Pada means the foot.  Hasta means the hand.  This posture is done by bending forward and standing on one's hands.

Padangusthasana - Pada means the foot.  Angustha is the big toe.  This posture is done by standing and catching the big toes.

Once you have gained sufficient flexibility in the back of the legs, and are able to hold the Standing Forward Bend comfortably for several minutes, you may wish to try different hand position variations.  They stretch the muscles in different ways.

This is the first of the standing poses.  In effect it is similar to Paschimothanasana, the sitting Forward Bend.  If it is remembered that "you are as young as your spine", Padahastasana will be seen as a veritable elixir of youth.  Its practice promotes a continued youthful vigour throughout life.

The Standing Forward Bend gives a complete stretch to the entire posterior of the body, from the back of the scalp to the back of the heels.  The position enables the body to take advantage of the force of gravity.  If the head and neck are kept relaxed, their weight will aid the body in stretching a bit further, provided that the knees are not allowed to bend.  Keep the body weight centred; do not allow the hips to drop backwards.

The abdominal organs are toned and digestive juices increase, while the liver and spleen are activated.  Persons suffering from a bloating sensation in the abdomen or from gastric troubles will benefit by practising this asana.

Slipped spinal discs can only be adjusted in the concave back position.  Do not bring the head in between the knees if you have a displaced disc. 


Physical Benefits

  • Lengthens the spine, making it supple and elastic.  Can even give a little extra "growth".

  • Mobilizes the joints.

  • Invigorates the entire nervous system.

  • Stretches the hamstrings and muscles of the back of the legs and the lower body.

  • Stretches all the muscles on the posterior side of the body.

  • Rectifies shortening of the legs resulting from fractures, and can correct inequalities in the length of the legs.

  • Increases the blood supply to the brain.
Mental Benefits

  • Greatly enhances concentration.
  • Expels Tamas (inertia or laziness), stimulating intellectual capacities.

Pranic Benefits
  • Renders the body light by expelling Tamas.
  • Purifies and strengthens the Sushumna nadi (the central astral nerve tube that induces meditation).
  • Invigorates the Apana Vayu (downward-moving, or efferent, prana).

Common Faults

  • Weight of the body is on the heels.

  • Back is rounded.

  • Weight is unevenly placed, causing the body to tilt to one side.

  • Feet are apart and/or turned out.

  • Knees are bent.

  • Hips are dropping back.

  • Head is forced towards the knees.
Note: Please perform the yoga posture under the guide of a certified yoga teacher especially for beginner. You are at your own risk and responsible if you perform on your own. Whatever provided here is just act as an information.


                   Light on Yoga - B.K.S. Iyengar

Friday, November 20, 2009

What is Meditation?

Put simply, meditation is the experience of the limitless nature of the mind when it ceases to be dominated by its usual mental chatter.  Think for a moment of the sky.  If the sky is continually covered by clouds, we are never able to see its true nature.  Roll the clouds away, and magically we experience the blue vastness of the sky in all its beauty.  If the mind is continually clouded by thoughts, we are never able to experience it in and of itself.  All that we experience is the cloud-cover of its contents. 

Why should we want to experience the mind in and of itself?  The answer is that it represents our true nature, a nature that is naturally calm and serene, unclouded by the various anxieties and wishes, hopes and fears that usually occupy our attention.  To experience the mind in this unclouded way is to experience the sense of being fully and vitally alive, yet at the same time deeply at peace within ourselves.

Meditation brings with it many other benefits for body and mind, but all of these depend upon the ability to experience this central state of alert yet peaceful being. 

A way of understanding this is to imagine the mind as a pool of water that for years we have been busily churning into mud with our mental chatter.  Once the churning stops, the mud settles to the bottom, and the pool becomes clear.  Not only can we now see the limpid, pure water itself, but also we can enjoy other pleasures, such as quenching our thirst, and bathing.  Its clarity and cleanliness allow us to see through to the bottom of the pool, and discover there a new world of interest and wonder.  When the mind becomes calm and still in meditation, we come to a much deeper understanding of ourselves and of our own true nature.

By stilling and calming the thoughts, meditation also stills and calms the emotions.  Thought and emotion are inextricably linked in our everyday lives.  The mind goes over painful memories, current worries and concerns for the future, and as it does so it sparks off emotions such as regret, anger and fear.  When the mind enters into meditation, the emotions experience a new sense of peace.  Even if troubling thoughts arise, much of their usual power is lacking.  The meditator is able to observe them objectively, without becoming lost in them and identifying with them.  As a result, his or her ability to rouse unwelocme emotions decreases.  At the centre of everything, the tranquillity of mind and feeling remains.  Potentially disturbing thoughts pass through the mind like clouds across the face of the sun, and are replaced by an equanimity only possible when one is at peace with oneself.

Meditation should never be thought of as an external technique that we impose upon ourselves, much as we might learn a foreign language or master a computer.  It is in essence a re-discovery of something that has always been within us, an opening of half-familiar pages in a book that we once loved but have put aside.  This does not mean that in meditation we return to the mind of a child.  Meditation does not ask us to relinquish our life experiences nor to distrust the power of thought.  It also does not ask us to become different or less interesting people than we are now.  Once the meditation session is over, the mind returns to the plans and concerns that are its usual way of being - but now with an added clarity and power in its thinking, and a greater ability to meet both the challenges and the frustrations with which life continually confronts us.

Meditation does not take us away from the world, but helps us to become more clear-sighted and effective people within it.  It also enables us to become more sensitive and compassionate toward other people and toward the natural world, because it develops within us a sense of the unity and inter-dependence of all things, and an awareness of what it means to be human.  With this greater sensitivity and awareness comes an enhanced feeling of self-awareness and self-acceptance.  For the first time, we really sense the deep mystery and the precious nature of life.


Source from Learn To Meditate by David Fontana

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You Are What You Eat

Yoga develops our pure inner nature, and diet plays an important part in this process.  The Yogic scriptures divide food into three types: sattvic, or pure; rajasic, or stimulating; and tamasic, or impure and rotten.  The Yogic diet is based on pure, sattvic foods.


Overactivity - Rajas

The Yogic diet avoids substances that are over-stimulating, or rajasic.  Onions, garlic, coffee, tea, and tobacco are rajasic, as are heavily spiced and salted items, and many ready-prepared convenience foods and snacks.  Refined sugar, soft drinks, and chocolate are also rajasic.  Rajasic foods arouse animal passions, bring a restless state of mind, and make the person over-active.  They destroy the mind-body balance that is essential for happiness.

Rajasic Foods

"The foods that are bitter, sour, saline, excessively hot, pungent, dry and burning, are liked by the Rajasic and are productive of pain, grief, and disease."
Bhagavad Gita, 17-9

Rajasic Behaviour

Rajasic foods overstimulate the body and mind, cause physical and mental stress, and encourage circulatory and nervous disorders.


Inertia - Tamas

Tamasic substances are avoided in the Yogic diet because they produce feelings of heaviness and lethargy.  Meat, fish, eggs, drugs, and alcohol are tamasic, as are overcooked and packaged foods.  Other tamasic items include those that have been fermented, burned, fried, barbecued, or reheated many times, as well as stale products or those containing preservatives.  Mushrooms are included in this category, as they grow in darkness.

Tamasic Foods

"That food which is stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten and impure refuse, is the food liked by the Tamasic."
Bhagavad Gita, 17-10

Tamasic Behaviour

A tamasic diet benefits either body nor mind.  It makes a person dull and lazy, lacking in high ideals, purpose, and motivation.  Such individuals tend to suffer from chronic ailments and from depression.  Over-eating is tamasic.


Purity - Sattva

The Yogic diet consists of sattvic foods that calm the mind and sharpen the intellect.  These are pure, wholesome, and naturally delicious, without preservatives or artifical flavourings.  They include fresh and dried fruits and berries, pure fruit juices, raw or lightly cooked vegetables, salads, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, wholemeal breads, honey, fresh herbs, herbal teas, and dairy products such as milk and butter.  A sattvic diet is easily digested and supplies maximum energy, increasing vitality, strength, and endurance.  It will help to eliminate fatigue, even for those who undertake strenuous and difficult work.  Yogis believe that people's food preferences reflect their level of mental purity, and that these preferences alter as they develop spiritually.

Sattvic Foods

"The foods which increase life, purity, strength, health, joy, and cheerfulness, which are savory and oleaginous, substantial and agreeable, are dear to the sattvic people."
Bhagavad Gita, 17-8

Sattvic Behaviour

A sattvic diet brings purity and calmness to the mind, and is both soothing and nourishing to the body.  It promotes cheerfulness, serenity, and mental clarity, and helps to maintain mental poise and nervous equilibrium throughout the day.


The Rules of Eating
"Purity of mind depends on purity of food." - Swami Sivananda
  • Try to keep your meals on a regular schedule, but if you do not feel hungry at meal time, fast until the next meal.

  • Eat slowly, and savour your food.  Chew it thoroughly, remembering that digestion begins in the mouth.

  • Eat only four or five different foods at one meal.  Complex mixtures are difficult to digest.  Do not snack between meals.

  • Do not overload your system.  Fill half the stomach with food, one quarter with liquid, and leave the rest empty.

  • Maintain a peaceful attitude during the meal.  Try to eat in silence.

  • Change your diet gradually.

  • Before you eat, remember God, who dwells in all foods and who bestows all bounties.

  • Try to fast for one day a week.

  • Eat at least one raw salad every day.

  • Eat to live - don't live to eat.

Source from Yoga Mind & Body by Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre

Friday, October 30, 2009

Digestive Health & a Robust Immune System

Did you know that your digestive tract is home to trillions of bacteria? In fact, there may be more bacterial cells in our bodies than human cells. Bacteria are critical to our digestive processes and primary immune defences.

It is essential that we maintain a healthy balance of just the right bacteria to keep our digestive process moving along smoothly. Any number of factors can reduce the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut to negatively impact digestive health, including stress, illness, antibiotics and/or medicines, poor diet, low water consumption, lack of rest, and harmful environmental conditions.

A healthy population of bacteria in your gut can help you optimise your nutrient status and defend against nutritional insufficiencies or any related diseases that can develop as a result of ongoing deficiencies. The bacteria in your gut can also provide significant benefits in the maintenance of a strong immune system. Beneficial bacteria interact with, and stimulate the immune system to help strengthen our natural defenses. Not only are the friendly bacteria vital to the proper development of the immune system, recent research also suggests that the right strains of bacteria help sustain healthy immune function by promoting healthy bacterial growth and preventing the introduction of harmful bacteria strains that can cause disease.



Take Charge of Your Digestive Health with Probiotic Plus

Because good digestion is central to good health, USANA created Probiotic Plus to help replenish the beneficial bacteria in your gut and re-establish proper balance and aid digestive and immune function. The World Health Organisation has defined a true Probiotic as "Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host". So what sets USANA's Probiotic Plus above other probiotics?

The most important difference that makes USANA's Probiotic Plus so much better than other products on the market is the quality of the bacteria used.

There are several factors that establish the quality of a probiotic product: first, does the product deliver bacteria that are still active and viable? Second are there enough bacteria to be effective and impart a real benefit? Third what are the strains of bacteria being added? Will they survive the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach and make it to the intestinal tract alive, and once there will they grow and establish a healthy balance? And finally are the strains clinically proven to provide a health benefit.

With USANA's Probiotic Plus you can trust that the probiotic you are using has been proven effective. Everyone can benefit from using Probiotic Plus, it's a great way to maintain digestive health while traveling and for those with less than ideal eating habits. So, protect your health and bring balance to your belly with USANA's Probiotic.




Health Basics
  • Promotes healthy digestion*

  • Promotes sound immune function*

  • Promotes bowel regularity

Probiotic Plus Difference

  • Contains two strains of specific probiotic bacteria, clinically proven to survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach.

  • Delivery system ensures that the bacteria will be stable at room temperature for over a year.

USANA Difference

  • Effective
  • Safe
  • Science-based
  • Pharmaceutical Quality

USANA scientists have come up with a better way to regulate your digestive system: Probiotic Plus is a blend of patented probiotic bacteria that is clinically proven to promote healthy digestion and sound immune function.


Probiotics Promote Balance

Your gut is host to both beneficial and potentially harmful bacteria. When balanced properly, these bacteria, also known as microflora, aid healthy digestion. Stress, illness, antibiotics and/or medicines, poor diet and hydration, lack of rest, and harmful environmental conditions, however, may endanger the fine balance of the intestinal flora. This imbalance can result in the reduction of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can lead to digestive concerns that may not only be physically uncomfortable but also possibly harmful to your health.


Plus Immune Function

More immune cells are concentrated in the gut than in any other region of the body. Not only are friendly bacteria vital to the proper development of the immune system, recent research also suggests that probiotics help sustain healthy immune function by promoting healthy bacterial growth and preventing the introduction of harmal bacteria strains.*


Why Probiotic Plus?

The beneficial effects of one strain of probiotics do not necessarily hold true for others, or even for different varieties of the same species or strain. Sufficient quantity of high-quality bacteria strains must survive stomach enzymes and enter the intestinal tract alive to be effective. Verified to supply 12 billion Colony Forming Units (CFU) of viable bacteria - a level shown to be effective in clinical studies - USANA's Probiotic Plus contains Bifidobacterium, BB-12 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, LGG, the strains best documented to survive transit through the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach to colonise the intestines.

Probiotic Plus employs an advanced delivery system that guarantees the product will remain effective for at least 18 months when stored at room temperature. Refrigeration may prolong shelf life even further. The best part is, Probiotic Plus is packaged in convenient stick packs. You can simply add a stick pack to your favourite Nutrimeal, Fibergy, or any meal the spice of life sends your way. No more forcing down yogurt day after day.


For more informatioin please click below:

http://www.usana.com/media/File/Prospecting%20page/SG/Downloadable%20Tools/SGProbioticEnglish.pdf

http://www.usana.com/media/File/Prospecting%20page/SG/Downloadable%20Tools/SGProbioticComparisonLeafletEnglish.pdf

You may find out more detail about USANA at the following website.

http://sites.google.com/site/janetyogahut/Products/usana



*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Note: Source from USANA Health Sciences

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yoga Posture: The Camel (Ustrasana)



Ustra means a camel.

This position, known as the Asana of Firmness or the Sitting Wheel, strengthens the thighs while improving the flexibility of the back.

Camel pose increases lung capacity and improves blood circulation to all the organs of the body. People with drooping shoulders and hunched backs will benefit by this asana. The whole spine is stretched back and is toned. The backward bends brings great steadiness to the body, as well as giving an excellent backward bend to the spine and back muscles. This pose helps increase circulation to the head region.


Limitations

Those who have undergone any recent operation at the chest or abdomen, people with hernia problems, severe hypertension and low back must be cautious.



This is the advance stage of The Camel pose, known as The Full Diamond.

The pose tones up the entire spinal region as the blood is made to circulate well round the spinal column. Since the pelvic region is stretched, the genital organs keep healthy. The diaphragm is lifted up and this massages the heart gently and helps to strengthen it. The chest expands fully.


Note: Please perform the yoga under the guide of a certified yoga teacher especially for beginner. You are at your own risk and responsible if you perform on your own. Whatever provided here is just act as an information.


Source from Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
                      Yoga Mind & Body by Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
                     Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy for Positive Health by
                     Dr R Nagarathna & Dr H R Nagendra

Monday, October 12, 2009

Keys To Stress Management

  • Exercise regularly, including a practice of yoga.

  • Set aside a relaxation time every day.

  • Use a positive technique, such as meditation, a breathing exercise, or positive affirmations and visualizations.

  • Be aware of your body. Notice if tension is building up anywhere and take steps to relieve it.

  • Notice how your emotions affect your actions and other people.

  • Find a healthy outlet for your emotions.

  • Have fun with others who are positive-minded.

  • Change what you can change in your life, and have patience with the rest.

  • No matter how busy you are, make sure you find time to relax and have fun.

Note: Source from K.I.S.S Guide to Yoga

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Sodhana Pranayama)



Nadi is a tubular organ of the body like an artery or a vein for the passage of prana or energy. A nadi has three layers like an insulated electric wire. The innermost layer is called sira, the middle layer damani and the entire organ as well as the outer layer is called nadi.

Sodhana meaning purifying or cleansing, so the object of Nadi Sodhana Pranayama is the purification of the nerves. A little obstruction in a water pipe can cut off the supply completely. A little obstruction in the nerves can cause great discomfort and paralyse a limb or organ.

Alternate Nostril Breathing is also known as Anuloma Viloma.

The principal benefit of practising Alternate Nostril Breathing is that it strengthens the respiratory system. If exhalation is twice as long as inhalation, stale air and waste products are drained and expelled from the lungs, and from the entire body. Alternate Nostril Breathing calms and balances the mind; you should try to perform at least 10 rounds daily. 

As you become more advanced, the "count" of the exercise may be done, but always in a ratio of 1-4-2.  This means that for every second that you inhale, you retain the breath 4 times as long, and exhale for twice as long.  Never change this ratio.  So you inhale to a count of "4", retain the breath to a count of "16" and exhale to a count of "8".  You may also increase the number of rounds of alternate nostril breathing which is practised.

During retention, there is the highest rate of gaseous exchange in the lungs.  Because of the increase in the pressure, more oxygen goes from the lungs into the blood and more CO2 (and other waste products) pass from the blood into the lungs for elimination during exhalation.


Vishnu Mudra

For this traditional hand positioin, bend the two middle fingers of the right hand into the palm. The thumb is used to close the right nostril. The two end fingers is used to close the left nostril.



Technique

Begin with the right hand in the Vishnu Mudra position and the thumb on the right nostril. When exhaling, try to empty the lungs completely.
  1. Close the right nostril with the right thumb and exhale completely through the left nostril. Then inhale deeply through the same left nostril.
  2. Close the left nostril with your ring and little finger of the Vishnu Mudra, release the right nostril. Now exhale slowly and completely through the right nostril.
  3. Inhale deeply through the same (right) nostril. Then close the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. This is one round of Alternate Nostril Breathing.

Note:
  • This practice helps to maintain balance between Nadis.
  • If you feel headache, heaviness of the head, giddiness, uneasiness etc, it means you are exerting much pressure on the lungs.
  • The first symptoms of correct practice is the feeling of freshness, energy and lightness of the body and mind.

Effects

The blood receives a larger supply of oxygen in Nadi Sodhana than in normal breathing, so that one feels refreshed and the nerves are calmed and purified. The mind becomes still and lucid.

Note. - In the beginning the body perspires and shakes, while the thigh and arm muscles become tense. Such tension should be avoided.


Caution
  1. Persons suffering from high blood pressure or heart trouble should never attempt to hold their breath (kumbhaka). They can practise Nadi Sodhana Pranayama without retention (kumbhaka) with beneficial effect.
  2. Persons suffering from low blood pressure can do this pranayama with retention after inhalation (antara kumbhaka) only, with beneficial effects.
Benefits

Physical :
It promotes balance between the two nostrils apart from cleansing the nasal tract. It increases the vitality. Metabolic rate decreases as in case of all other Pranayama practices. It increases the digestive fire and appetite.

Therapeutic :
It lowers the levels of stress and anxiety by harmonising the pranas. It is beneficial in respiratory disorders such as Bronchial asthma, Nasal allergy, Bronchitis etc.

Spiritual :
It induces tranquility, clarity of thought and concentration. It clears pranic blockages and balances Ida and Pingala nadis, causing Shusumna nadi to flow which leads to deep states of meditation and spiritual awakening. It helps to maintain Brahmacharya which is a pre-requisite for spiritual progress.


Common Mistakes
  • Back is not straight, head droops.
  • The chest is dropped with exhalation.
  • The breath is not smooth.

Source from Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
                     Yoga Mind & Body by Sivananda Vedanta Centre
                     Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy for Positive Health by
                     Dr R Nagarathna & Dr H R Nagendra
                    The Sivananda Yoga Training Manual
                   

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Beautiful Ha Long Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam

The end of the Vietnam war, and the advent of "Doi moi", Vietnam's policy of opening its economy to foreign trade, means that Westerners and South Vietnamese now have a chance to visit Ha long. Vinh Ha Long or Bay of the Descending Dragon is often touted by proud Vietnamese as the world's Eighth wonder. One of the main attractions of Ha long is the bay's calm water and the thousands of limestone mountains dotting the seascape. The Bay's water is clear during the spring and early summer. Some of the islands are quite large and there are small alcoves with sandy beaches where swimming is possible. Ha Long bay lies in the northeastern part of Vietnam and is 165 Km from Hanoi.

Ha Long literally means descending dragon(s) and according to local myth, the story goes as follows:

Long ago when their forefathers were fighting foreign invaders from the north, the gods from heaven sent a family of dragons to help defend their land. This family of dragons descended upon what is now Ha Long bay and began spitting out jewels and jade. Upon hitting the sea, these jewels turned into the various islands and islets dotting the seascape and formed a formidable fortress against the invaders. The locals were able to keep their land safe and formed what is now the country of Vietnam. The Dragon family fell so much in love with this area for its calm water and for the reverence of the people of Vietnam that they decided to remain on earth. Mother dragon lies on what is now Ha Long and where her children lie is Bai Tu Long. The dragon tails formed the area of Bach Long Vi known for the miles of white sandy beaches of Tra Co peninsula.

This myth is in line with the Vietnamese myth of their origin Con Rong Chau Tien. This myth describes the union between a king (representing the dragon) and his bride (representing a goddess) giving birth to 100 children which are the ancestors of the Vietnamese people. The Ha Long myth illustrate the Vietnamese belief of their origin and the fact that throughout their history, they are aided by their ancestors, the dragon and the gods, in the defense of their land.

Rare glimpse of the disappearing fishing "junk" boat. They have been all converted to motorized boats to satisfy the growing demand of the tourist trade.

Please find below some photos of the "junk" boat and the beautiful Halong Bay.






Cave of Awe (Hang Sung Sot)

Sung Sot cave is on the same island with Trinh Nu cave. The path to Sung Sot is quite steep and is lined with shady trees. The cave has 2 chambers. The outer chamber is square and is often referred to as the waiting room. The cave's ceiling is approximately 30 m high. The walls are almost perfectly smooth as if it was built by man. The walls generate a variety of colors that blend with the setting of the area.

The path to the inner chamber is approximately 3m wide. The inner chamber is known as the serene castle. The formations in the chamber take the form of sentries conversing with one another, animals in varying poses etc. In the middle of the chamber stands a formation which resembles a general surveying his troops.

There is a side entrance which is approximately 6m in height. The light reflected from the moving water outside causes the formations inside the chamber to seemingly come alive. According to the locals, this was the reason the cave was named Sung Sot, from the awe-stricken reaction of the visitors to the cave.


Monday, August 24, 2009

A Holistic Approach to Back Pain

  • Frequent changes of position are natural and healthy. At work, try to take regular breaks and set up your office so that you have to get up to file or answer the phone.
  • When lifting heavy objects, use your legs as much as possible. If you need to bend forward, don't bend at the waist. Fold forward from the hips without allowing your lower back to round. Try to maintain a normal curvature in the lower and upper spine and avoid twisting and bending simultaneously, as this is a common mechanism of back injury.
  • Wear the right shoes. Narrow-toed shoes lead to tension in the legs and back. High heels shorten the calf muscles and hamstrings and can contribute to back strain.
  • Topical creams containing capsaicin or arnica and liniments based on methyl-salicylate, menthol, and camphor are soothing and very safe.
  • Many people find applications of ice helpful and, once the injury is starting to heal, switch to moist heat, either alone or alternating with ice. Heat can also be useful to reduce stiffness before attempting to exercise.
  • Willow bark tea (which contains the active ingredient of aspirin) may be useful.
  • If your pain is severe and does not respond to over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory pain relievers, ask your doctor about prescribing opioids. They are generally more effective and safer than many other pain medications, but due to exaggerated fear of addiction, they aren't used as often as they ought to be.
  • The evidence on acupuncture for back pain is mixed, but it is very safe and worth considering.
  • Hands-on bodywork approaches, such as chiropractic, physical therapy, therapeutic massage, and osteopathy can help you through a flare-up of back pain (though not all osteopaths do spinal manipulation, so ask before making an appointment).
  • Judith finds many people with back pain get better results if they combine their yoga with bodywork such as myofascial release designed to iron out the kinks in muscles and connective tissue, and free up scar tissue and other residuals of past injuries.
(Judith Hanson Lasater calls herself a yoga teacher who also happens to be a physical therapist. She also holds a doctorate in East-West psychology, and is the author of six books on yoga, including Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times, on the practice and therapeutic aspects of restorative yoga. She teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area and worldwide.
  • Judith has found the Alexander Technique, which stresses postural education, particularly effective for back problems, both as prevention and treatment.
Source from Yoga as Medicine by Timothy McCall, M.D.



Examples of bad posture and back support:

The following are examples of common behavior and poor ergonomics that need correction to attain good posture and back support:
  • Slouching with the shoulders hunched forward
  • Lordosis (also called "swayback"), which is too large of an inward curve in the lower back
  • Carrying something heavy on one side of the body
  • Cradling a phone receiver between the neck and shoulder
  • Wearing high-heeled shoes or clothes that are too tight
  • Keeping the head held too high or looking down too much
  • Sleeping with a mattress or pillow that doesn't provide proper back support, or in a position that compromises posture

Examples of bad posture while sitting in an office chair

The following bad habits are especially common when sitting in an office chair for long periods of time.
  • Slumping forward while sitting in an office chair
  • Not making use of the office chair’s lumbar back support
  • Sliding forward on the seat of the office chair

Guidelines to Improve Posture

Sitting posture for office chairs
  • Be sure the back is aligned against the back of the office chair. Avoid slouching or leaning forward, especially when tired from sitting in the office chair for long periods
  • For long term sitting, such as in an office chair, be sure the chair is ergonomically designed to properly support the back and that it is a custom fit
  • When sitting on an office chair at a desk, arms should be flexed at a 75 to 90 degree angle at the elbows. If this is not the case, the office chair should be adjusted accordingly
  • Knees should be even with the hips, or slightly higher when sitting in the office chair
  • Keep both feet flat on the floor. If there's a problem with feet reaching the floor comfortably, a footrest can be used along with the office chair
  • Sit in the office chair with shoulders straight
  • Don't sit in one place for too long, even in ergonomic office chairs that have good back support. Get up and walk around and stretch as needed
Standing posture
  • Stand with weight mostly on the balls of the feet, not with weight on the heels
  • Keep feet slightly apart, about shoulder-width
  • Let arms hang naturally down the sides of the body
  • Avoid locking the knees
  • Tuck the chin in a little to keep the head level
  • Be sure the head is square on top of the neck and spine, not pushed out forward
  • Stand straight and tall, with shoulders upright
  • If standing for a long period of time, shift weight from one foot to the other, or rock from heels to toes.
  • Stand against a wall with shoulders and bottom touching wall. In this position, the back of the head should also touch the wall - if it does not, the head is carried to far forward (anterior head carriage).
Walking posture
  • Keep the head up and eyes looking straight ahead
  • Avoid pushing the head forward
  • Keep shoulders properly aligned with the rest of the body
Driving posture
  • Sit with the back firmly against the seat for proper back support
  • The seat should be a proper distance from the pedals and steering wheel to avoid leaning forward or reaching
  • The headrest should support the middle of the head to keep it upright. Tilt the headrest forward if possible to make sure that the head-to-headrest distance is not more than four inches.
Posture and ergonomics while lifting and carrying
  • Always bend at the knees, not the waist
  • Use the large leg and stomach muscles for lifting, not the lower back
  • If necessary, get a supportive belt to help maintain good posture while lifting
  • When carrying what a heavy or large object, keep it close to the chest
  • If carrying something with one arm, switch arms frequently
  • When carrying a backpack or purse, keep it as light as possible, and balance the weight on both sides as much as possible, or alternate from side to side
  • When carrying a backpack, avoid leaning forward or rounding the shoulders. If the weight feels like too much, consider using a rolling backpack with wheels.
Sleeping posture with mattresses and pillows
  • A relatively firm mattress is generally best for proper back support, although individual preference is very important
  • Sleeping on the side or back is usually more comfortable for the back than sleeping on the stomach
  • Use a pillow to provide proper support and alignment for the head and shoulders
  • Consider putting a rolled-up towel under the neck and a pillow under the knees to better support the spine
  • If sleeping on the side, a relatively flat pillow placed between the legs will help keep the spine aligned and straight.
It is important to note that an overall cause of bad posture is tense muscles, which will pull the body out of alignment. There are a number of specific exercises that will help stretch and relax the major back muscles. Some people find that meditation or other forms of mental relaxation are effective in helping relax the back muscles. And many people find treatments and activities such as massage therapy, yoga, tai chi or other regular exercise routines, or treatments such as chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, etc. to be helpful with both muscle relaxation and posture awareness and improvement.


Source from Dr. David Tio

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Yoga Posture: The Bow (Dhanurasana)


Dhanu means a bow. The Bow is a backward bending exercise which raises both halves of the body at the same time. When the Bow or Dhanurasana is performed, the body is bent to give the appearance of a bow. The stretched (straight) arms resemble the bowstring.

This asana gives the combined effect of the Cobra and Locust Poses. These three exercises can always be done together, forming a valuable set of backward bending exercises. The Bow can act as a counter-pose to Halasana (Plough) and Paschimotanasana (Forward Bend). It is a full backward bend to complement these two forward bending exercises. As the two forward bend flexes the spine, the Bow extends it.

Physical Benefits
  • Massaages and invigorates the internal organs, especially the digestive organs. The large and small intestine as well as the liver and spleen are benefited. Fat is removed. The Bow relieves congestion of blood in the abdominal viscera and tones them.
  • This asana is useful in aiding chronic constipation, dyspepsia, the sluggishness of the liver and gastro-intestinal disorders.
  • The Bow is specially recommended for people with diabetes, as it helps to regulate the pancreas.
  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles.
  • Women specially benefit from the Bow.
  • The thoraic and the chest region is expanded, a boon to persons suffering from respiratory problems such as asthma.
  • It helps hunchback, rheumatism of the legs, knee-joints and hands.
  • Enhances the elasticity of the spine.
  • The Bow works on the entie spine. Flexibility is brought to all regions: cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral.
  • Massages all the muscles of the back.
  • Just as the Forward Bend hyper-extends the spine, so the Bow hyper-contracts it.
  • Ossification of the bones is prevented.

Mental Benefits
  • Regular practice develops internal balance and harmony.
  • Strengthens concentration and mental determination.

Pranic Benefits
  • The person who practises the Bow regularly can never be lazy, but will be full of energy, vigour, and youthful vitality.
  • Stimulates the lung, small intestine, stomach, liver, and urinary bladder meridians.

Common Faults
  • Hands are clasped around the feet, rather than around the ankles.
  • Only the upper part of body is being lifted up from the ground.
  • Elbows are bent, and the knees are bent too sharply, allowing the heels to come down to the buttocks.
  • Body is twisted to one side.
  • Head is forwards, rather than being stretched up and back.

Note: Please perform the yoga posture under the guide of a certified yoga teacher especially for beginner. You are at your own risk and responsible if you perform on your own. Whatever provided here is just act as an information.


Source from Light on Yoga by  B.K.S. Iyengar
                      Yoga Mind & Body by Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre