Thursday, February 25, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
The sensible practice of yoga does more than slap a Happy Face on your cerebrum. It can also massage the lymph system, says Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiac surgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. Lymph is the body's dirty dishwater; a network of lymphatic vessels and storage sacs crisscross over the entire body, in parallel with the blood supply, carrying a fluid composed of infection-fighting white blood cells and the waste products of cellular activity. Exercise in general activates the flow of lymph through the body, speeding up the filtering process; but yoga in particular promotes the draining of the lymph. Certain yoga poses stretch muscles that from animal studies are known to stimulate the lymph system. Researchers have documented the increased lymph flow when dogs' paws are stretched in a position similar to the yoga "downward-facing dog."
Yoga relaxes you and, by relaxing, heals. At least that's the theory. "The autonomic nervous system," explains Kripalu's Faulds, "is divided into the sympathetic system, which is often identified with the fight-or-flight response, and the parasympathetic, which is identified with what's been called the Relaxation Response. When you do yoga — the deep breathing, the stretching, the movements that release muscle tension, the relaxed focus on being present in your body — you initiate a process that turns the fight-or-flight system off and the Relaxation Response on. That has a dramatic effect on the body. The heartbeat slows, respiration decreases, blood pressure decreases. The body seizes this chance to turn on the healing mechanisms."
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
The Forgotten Language of Sequencing Postures
Excerpt from Chapter 8, Jivamukti Yoga
The newborn baby is not able to walk like a young child; it gives constant suggestion to its body through the mind and after one or two years of the practice of suggestion, the baby walks. Any knowledge that we are acquiring at present, or that which we expect to acquire in the future, will come to us through the power of suggestion. If there is evil suggestion this will result in an unhappy life, good suggestion will result in a happy life.
— -Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, The Textbook of Yoga Psychology
Learning only static postures does not reveal the incredible potential of asana. When individual asanas are linked together correctly in a sequence, the result is a physiological mantram, a fleshy vortex of intersecting rivers of everything. The word vinyasa means "a joining or linking mechanism." Krama means "the process"; it refers to the succession of changes that occurs from moment to moment. Vinyasa krama means the succession of changes undertaken with a single pointed intention, free from fluctuation.
Most people are not conscious of their intention from moment to moment. Details fill their lives, but the casual thread of the vinyasa remains elusive. They may often find themselves in situations wondering, "How did I get into this one?" When we establish a conscious intention and teach ourselves how to remain aligned with that intention, no matter how much we are dissuaded or distracted by the external world, the process unfolds as it should.
The vinyasa is the element that sews together the various moments in a sequence of changes. It is like the string on which pearls are strung for a necklace. The linking strand may be of two types: conscious or unconscious. Change is always occurring, but usually a sequence of changes is linked by unconsciousness; in other words, the conscious mind fails to perceive it. The yogi, having escaped from the illusion of duality, is able to perceive the moment-to-moment sequence of changes past, present, and future. When one perceives clearly both the instigation and the outcome of moment-to-moment changes, one can choose to undertake a sequence of actions that has a conscious end point and will have a particular effect.
When you practice a sequence of asanas, you link them with conscious breathing. The real vinyasa, or link, however, is the intention with which you practice asanas. It is the intention that links the postures with consciousness instead of unconsciousness. The breath is a metaphor for that intention. If your intention is to practice asana to realize the Self, every breath you take will help break down your sense of separation from others.
Excerpt from Jivamukti Yoga, by Sharon Gannon and David Life - June 2004 Focus