Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Yoga Detox - Shatkarmas during 300 hours/500 hours Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Dear Yoga Enthusiasts,

During the Advanced 300 hours and 500 hours Yoga Teacher Training conducted in the Ashram of Wise Living Yoga Academy in Chiang Mai, Thailand the students performed Shatkarmas/ Yoga Cleanse techniques such as Vamana Dhauti, Sutra Neti and Shankhaprakshalasana (Varisara Dhauti).

Shankhaprakshalana is one of the Hatha Yoga practices of Dhauti kriya so therefore it is also known as Varisara Dhauti. Dhauti which in English means 'internal washing' and vari means 'water'. This Kriya is a master cleansing for the colon and it is followed by a strict diet. There are several physical, psychological and mental benefits of this practice that help the Yoga aspirant to rejuvenate, purify and strengthen the body and mind. These Kriyas make the practitioner fit for deeper spiritual practices.

Varisara Dhauti can only be perform once or twice in a year. The practices of Jala Neti, Sutra Neti and Vamana Dhauti are practiced more regularly during our course. See the photos below

For further information on our Yoga Teacher Training Course in Thailand you can visit our website and contact us by email or send us the application form online.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Stress Management through Yoga - Part 1 (By Hansaji J. Yogendra)

Every situation which has bothered you, you are supposed to identify that situation, give an answer to that situation and see that it does not pile up.  This is the best management.  In the morning you had an argument with your boss and you could not shout back at him, so you kept quiet, however you did get hurt.  You returned home, argued with your wife or somehow released your tensions.  But you have not yet solved the problem. Now before going to bed maybe you could just close your eyes and analyze the situation.  Then you could philosophize and answer it.  Well, boss is justified for his behavior because maybe that is the only way that he can get the work done and this is his way of managing his employees.  So you could answer that, well, anybody who is behaving in anyway is justified.

The thing here is that 'you don’t label it as wrong', because you put yourself in the boss’s situation, and then try to understand it.  Somehow bring all that logic, reasoning, and understanding and answer it and label that situation as a normal situation which should happen as it happened and finish the matter.  If you could do like that every day, things would not pile up.  But somehow we don’t do that reflecting each day and things get piled up. Sometimes the situation is such that any amount of philosophy does not work.  You are really disturbed and someone comes and tells you, “You should not!”  You feel like slapping that person.  You feel like saying, “Now shut up! I know all about it, but now I am disturbed, that’s it! I don’t want your advice!”  So when this is the situation, what to do?

Now Yoga tries to see stress from a different angle.  As Dr. Jayadeva said, any situation is a right situation.  If the understanding is there, then there is nothing like stress.  This word stress is not a Yoga term at all.  According to Yoga, the moment balanced state is lost you are under stress.  The moment you are away from a happy state you are under stress.  I am talking about negative stress.  This stress is going to cause havoc in your personality. So never let this stress pile up.

As soon as you are away from a happy state, what happens scientifically?
Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra
Director at The Yoga Institute of Santracruz
Mumbai - India

- You all know the adrenaline, hormone is secreted into the blood stream, muscles become tight, arteries become narrow, blood pressure shoots up; you start breathing fast, your pulse rate goes up; all this happens;
- Also the purification of blood does not take place because you are really not taking a normal breath;
- Whatever food you have eaten, the body starts storing it because the body cannot assimilate it;
- Storage starts occurring, arthritis begins, arteriosclerosis starts.  It’s vicious circle;
- Above all your nervous system is much affected because nerves are no more in a normal state, a happy state.

Mind wants to be peaceful, relaxed and in a happy state. Everybody wants happiness.  But now what is happening here is that your nerves are not in happy state, so your concentration, memory and your reasoning power are poor.  Then if reasoning power is poor, then action/reaction begins and a person starts functioning at an animal level.  When he gets affected by others, action/reaction starts.  It is a vicious cycle.  So the Yogis say don’t allow this. But if it does happen then what do you do?

Keep in touch with our blog. We'll soon post the continuation for this article: 'Stress Management Through Yoga - Part 2'

About the author:
Smt. Hansaji Jayadeva is at present the Director of The Yoga Institute of Santacruz, Mumbai, India and the President of The International Board of Yoga. She is perhaps best known in India as the charming lady who was the Yoga expert in the popular television series 'Yoga for Better Living’, first televised in 1980 which was judged the best program of that time. But unlike many 'stars' she just does not act the part on the screen but lives what she preaches. She has also been selected 'Woman of the Year - 2000' by American Biographical Institute - USA, for her outstanding accomplishment and the noble example she has set for her peers and entire community.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Shavasana for Stress Management

Shavasana for Stress Management

A significant number of working professionals are showing adverse effects of stress on their physical and mental health that result in emotional disturbances, faulty eating habits and overall lifestyle disorders. Long term stress is also the cause of several diseases along with personal and family problems.

Yogic techniques for relaxation are very practical techniques to restore balance and rejuvenate the body and mind. Shavasana which is a conscious relaxation technique which is done by relaxing each and every body part, one by one, can be done in a time span of 20 to 40 minutes.

There are so many stressful moments that we have to face daily. Catching a flight, taking an important decision, managing the finance and with such other responsibility we often feel drained and dry. Along with these wrong eating habits, inadequate rest, faulty time management, lack of physical exercise can enhance the stress. In this way we start to accumulate negativity over a period of time. Therefore it is very important to release this negative energy on regular basis and replace it with positive energy. The reason we often feel depressed, lazy, confused and fatigue is that we haven’t learnt to relax.

The concept of relaxation is highly misunderstood. We may think that watching T.V or just lying in the couch is a form of relaxation, but it doesn’t really help you to ease and loosen your contracted muscles, neither it’s a form of a conscious relaxation that will calm down your breathing and cool down your mind. May be it can help you to some extent but when you relax with Shavasana you are actually messaging your mind to get inwards and consciously feel your body and release the stress from each and every body part.

With our own experience I can say that whenever we have given this technique to my students, it has shown tremendous results in their health and behaviour. Serious problems like insomnia, migraine, blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety and asthma have all got under control. Other complaints like headaches, muscular tension, and back pain have got cured. After Shavasana our students have reported that they feel healthy and completely fresh and full of life. I strongly recommend this technique for all the working professional on regular basis.

In the beginning the student will need the support of the teacher for at least one month. For the beginners it is essential that the trainer gives them complete instructions verbally during the practice every time they practice Shavasana. It is normal that initially a person would not be able to relax because of the accumulated stress, but with the practice the technique will get easier.
It also possible that the person may fall asleep during the instructions, which is not expected. This can happen a few times when the person has not completed his sleep. But with gradual practice, a person will start to feel more and more calm, confident, happier and relaxed. This will bring a positive change in the personality and increase memory, concentration, decision power and emotional stability. Erratic eating habits, anger, fear and other negative traits will also get under controlled.

You can also give a chance to your employees to experience these techniques. It can be easily done at office premises after lunch or at the end of the day.!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Yoga Hygiene: Care of the Tongue

It is not generally known that tartar and decomposing material tend to collect on the root of the tongue and are often more responsible for foul breath than stomach conditions. Most persons do not know that the base of the tongue is often the place from where bad breath arises. So it is just as imperative to scrape the tongue well as to cleanse the teeth and the mouth. 

In diagnosis, it is an accepted medical fact that the condition of the tongue acts as an index of the state of health of the alimentary canal more truly than other external organs. It is held by the Yogins that the neglected and therefore, unhealthy tongue likewise reacts unfavourably on the alimentary canal. The yoga practice of Jihvamulasodhanam or the cleansing of the root of the tongue consists of reaching the back of the tongue, as far as one can, and thus removing with the finger-tips whatever mucus and phlegm deposits that may have accumulated there. 

The practice of brushing the tongue and the root of the tongue with an ordinary tooth-brush is really not as safe as it appears, because the hard bristles if thrust too far by oversight, may lead to an injury of the oropharynx, or can cause extreme gagging or sometimes may even hit the root of the mouth.

In this respect, the yoga method is comparatively more precise, simple and effective. It is practiced thus:
Practice of Jihvamulasodhana
or the cleansing of the root of the tongue.

  1. Join together the first three fingers known as the forefinger (Tarjani), the middle (Madhyama) and the ring finger (Anamika);
  2. Push them into the throat deep enough and rub well till the root of the tongue is cleansed. While washing thus, simultaneous efforts should also be made to throw out whatever phlegm and mucus (Kafa), that may have surrounded the cavity.
  3. After a minute or two of such cleansing, rub the tongue with butter very sparingly so that the scraping which is to follow may not lead to an irritation of the surface. Then hold the tongue scraper on the tongue pulling the same slowly downwards.           

That the practical Yogins should have realized the import and necessity of not only cleansing the surface but even the base and lower portion of the tongue most carefully twice every day, namely (i) early morning and (ii) before retiring to bed, when even the casual cleansing of the tongue was not so popular is really remarkable.
by Shri Yogendraji

Source: This text was originally written by Shri Yogendraji and posteriorly used at the monthly journal "Yoga & Total Health" issue of May 2011, edited and distributed by the Yoga Institute of Santracruz, Mumbai - India.


You can learn this and many other techniques for the care of the body (kriyas), and experience an authentic Yogic lifestyle by attending our next Yoga Teacher Training Course in Thailand.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pranayama - By Shri Yogendraji

Pranayama is the controlling of Prana or the “life essence of the universe”.

A great deal of misunderstanding, however, seems to exist in relation to the various practices of this science. Some call it the Science of breath, while some call it the control of psychic Prana. But the truth is that it is both: physical as well as mental.

In Sanskrit, Prana literally means Life; it is also supposed to mean Breath. It is the sum total of all cosmic energy. It is the vital force in our body that moves us to action.“From thought to the lowest physical force, everything is but the manifestation of the Prana” (Swami Vivekananda). It is the “potential energy which remains constant, no matter what changes take place around us; it is eternal and infinite” (Tyndall, Fragments of Science).

This is what the Yogis know to be, as Cosmic Prana. This all-pervading cosmic energy, when it becomes limited in a certain body is called the individual Prana or the kinetic energy (finite) that manifests itself through the different functions of our organism. It is the same cosmic energy that the recent scientists try to control.

According to the Yogic psychological anatomy, there are five main Pranas and five minor Pranas, which have different duties to perform. The main ones are the chief nerve-currents that control certain vital organs. The minor Pranas are subordinates to the function of the higher ones, but they are independent of each other. They have also the corresponding relation with the cosmic energy. The main Pranas have a separate element and have different planes on which they chiefly operate. It is the control of this cosmic energy or Prana that is desired by the Yogis for the control of higher life.

Regulation of breath
Shri Yogendraji in suitable pose
for Pranayama practice.

Patanjali defines Pranayama as the stoppage of the inspiratory and expiratory movements. It is quite natural that, when the breath is active, the mind becomes active also. In sleep, when the mind is temporarily inactive and concentrated the number of respirations is generally reduced, so much so, that they are nearly half the number of the otherwise active condition.

It is true that the control of Prana requires steadiness of mind. The easiest way to control the Prana is to control the breathing process, because it is it’s chief activity.

The lungs are the most active part of our system that works automatically and unceasingly. It is the control over their motion, which is necessary for the control of vital energy. The essence of the techniques of Pranayama lie in the fact that if the breathing is controlled to the extend of having the capacity to stop it, if this can be done, the activity of the body is quite naturally controlled.

This article was published in Yoga & Total Health (August 1991) - the monthly magazine of The Yoga Institute.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Integrating Habits (Words of the Master)

We are often conscious of a certain habit pattern that has become a part of our life. We may, for example, be vaguely conscious of our habit of hurrying away with things, or our habit of procrastination, etc. We realize the consequences of some of these wrong habits. We even feebly, wish to change our habits, but unfortunately nothing much comes out of such wishes.

The question that troubles many of us is how to overcome what we have come to regard as a wrong habit. Obviously, the impulse to change a habit has to arise from the same personality structure that has all along nurtured the old habits.

In Yoga, therefore, we talk of the existence of both the Klista (afflictive) and Aklista (non-afflictive) Vritti (thought waves) in a particular state of mind. Nobler aspirations exist in the midst of ignoble traits. We must strengthen the nobler aspirations against the overpowering influence of the ignoble ones. No sooner we detect a desirable tendency growing within us, we should help to strengthen it. One should try to remain very aware of these happenings in our mind.

The inherent understanding about life and its purpose, that we all possess to a larger or smaller degree, is the very foundation for all improvement. With some, of course, the clarity is very poor. With others, there is much greater clarity. Once a good base of clarity or discrimination of the real, from the unreal, is available, one can go about identifying, the desirable tendencies more easily. The right thing for all of us will be, to continuously clarify our minds, about the way we live, and the satisfaction we gain by such living.

Sketch of Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra
President of The Yoga Institute of Santacruz

Those who do not study this aspect of their lives, or do not evaluate their progress, are very much like the ‘disappointed villager’. This villager, according to the story, went enthusiastically to witness a drama performance. On realizing that he was too early for the performance he preferred to spread his mat and rest for a while. However, in the process, he overslept and was shocked to find that, while he was asleep, the performance had already taken place.

This villager represents all of us, who come to this world to enjoy life and to understand it. Unfortunately we never come to grip with the issue, till the very end of our life – which happens to be the time of our departure.

From "Stray Thoughts on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali" by Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra, published by The Yoga Institute of Santacruz, Mumbai - India.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Selfish Attachment

Very many saffron robed Sanyasis (a Hindu ascetic) in India don their clothes with motives – unconnected with spiritual interests. Sometimes it is the gain of material objects, at other times success in an undertaking – mostly a selfish utilitarian goal. Whereas religion and spirituality command total disinterest towards worldly objects, these men are grounded in them all the time. We are not against truly pious men, disinterested in worldly gains. On the contrary the author believes that attaining such a state of simplicity and disinterestedness is the only solution to our modern problems. We want more and more of such highly evolved persons. Unfortunately the society is not moving in this direction, and instead pseudo-spiritualists are on the rampage.

There is an interesting story:

"At the edge of a forest, in a small village lived a Sadhu (hermit). Among his possessions he owned a beautiful mare. In fact the mare was so much admired by people all around, that there were offers of various kinds to purchase the animal. The Sadhu personally tended the pet, fed her green grass, took the mare to the river for bathing and for quenching her thirst. In fact the hermit was not prepared to trust the mare to anybody for fear of her being stolen. A strong attachment had grown in the mind of the hermit for the mare. He remained quite engrossed and anxious about her upkeep.

A 'Greedy Renunciate'
In a near-by village lived a man who developed a keen desire to possess this mare. Knowing full well that the hermit would not part with her on any consideration, he approached the hermit once as a loyal student who would look after the hermit and attend to all his needs. The hermit accepted the student and accepted all his services with the exception that he would not permit the newly found disciple to attend to the mare. Even though gradually the disciple won over great affection of the hermit, the latter would not trust the mare to him. The disciple realized for the first time, the difficulty in his mission to get possession of the mare.

However, once it so happened that the hermit fell sick. Strangely the hermit lay in his bed most of the time, but when it came to tending the mare he would himself get up and attend to the animal. The hermit’s sickness took a serious turn. He was one day unable to get up from his bed. That day he called the disciple and asked him to lead the mare to the river to quench her thirst. The disciple jumped at the opportunity. He led the mare to the gate and asked permission to place on her back his belongings since he was afraid to climb her. The hermit in a delirium agreed. The disciple mounted the mare and sped away. He finally succeeded."

Such deep-rooted is the attachment for worldly objects even in the so called hermits and men of God!

by Shri Yogendraji

Source: This article was published at the monthly journal "Yoga & Total Health" issue of June 2012, published and distributed by the Yoga Institute of Santracruz.


So, perhaps it would be serviceable to post here a quotation from the Bhagavad Gita:
"A man of disciplined mind, who has his senses under control and who has neither attraction nor aversion for sense objects, attains tranquility, though he may be moving amidst objects of the senses" ~BG 2.64

You can learn more about Yoga philosophy, techniques, and experience an authentic Yogic lifestyle by attending our next Yoga Teacher Training Course in Thailand.