Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beyoga April Promotions

Great news! Beyoga which will be celebrating its 1st Anniversary in May is having the following promotions in April 2010.

Sunrise Package - RM128
1 month Unlimited package for the early morning birdies. Applicable to 7am & 9am Weekday classes ONLY!

Half Year Package - RM888
6 months Unlimited. Applicable for ALL classes (except Pre-Natal) and also
get a 1-month unlimited pass for free (can also be given to a friend)!

Full Year Package - RM1588
12 months Unlimited. Applicable to ALL classes (except Pre-Natal) and also get 3x 1-month unlimited pass for free (can use ONE for yourself)!

10 Unlimited Passes - RM100
YES! The 10 passes for RM100 is back! Valid for ONE Month.

Back to Begin Package - RM388
A 3-months beginners package. Applicable to Begin and YIN classes ONLY! If you convert into a FULL YEAR package within 2 months, enjoy a special price of RM1200 for 12 months! OR simply add RM100 more (altogether RM488) to the Begin Package and get 3 months Unlimited where you can attend ALL classes (except Pre-Natal)!

"The Fundamentals Of Grounding Foundations" Workshop

Azmi will be conducting the above workshop which is very suitable for beginners on Saturday, 24 April 2010 from 9.00 am till 12.30 pm.

The fees for this 4-hour workshop are:-
Members - RM100
Non-members - RM120

For registration and enquiries, please call 03-77286182.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cultivating Pure Intention

Having set an intention for myself, I have to ensure that whatever actions I take, I am cultivating a pure intention which will be beneficial to my well-being. A pure intention helps in my spiritual growth, taking responsibility and transform attitudes toward daily interactions.

The following two aspects of the 8-Fold Path of Yoga give direction on how to practice pure intention.

Restraints (Yamas)

Non-violence : avoid pushing too hard and refrain being self-critical in yoga poses
Cultivate compassion and acceptance

Truthfulness : free from judgement and fear
Cultivate wisdom and courage

Non-stealing : refrain from desiring to be like someone else.
Cultivate contentment and inner beauty and peace

Moderation: limit senseless pleasures
Cultivate intention of balance, non-attachment, focus and awareness

Observances (Nyamas)

Purity - focus on the breath to increase body awareness which will lead to a desire to take better care of oneself

Contentment - appreciating what we have and choose to see the positive in life

Discipline - motivation to go to a yoga class or commit to a home practice

Study of self or introspection - be aware of the various affects of thoughts and behaviour

Surrender to an infinite reality - letting go and surrender ego to a higher force

"You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight" ~ Jim Rohn

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Journey Begins - Setting An Intention

I bought the book “The Pure Heart of Yoga – Ten Essential Steps for Personal Transformation” by Robert Butera after reading Yoga Flavored Life blog post on it. Her blog post on how the book gave her guidance and direction caught my interest.

I have been practicing yoga for about 3 years and the question she posed “do you deeply truly understand why to do yoga?” struck a chord with me as I may have learned how to do yoga but I have never really look into why I am doing yoga besides the health benefits derived from it although yoga has helped to change my perspective.

The Pure Heart of Yoga is an experiential book that gives me the tools and structure I need to direct my own journey to discovery. The book comes with a Workbook Companion which can be downloaded at PureHeartofYoga website and I am supposed to record my insights and thoughts as I go through the steps for my transformation.

I have started on Step One – Intention (Samkalpa) and have chosen an area in my life where I would like to set an intention. I am now focusing on that intention as I practice my yoga poses and noting down my experience in my journal.

Tonight was my first class since I set my intention and as I do the yoga poses I found myself being more focus in my breath in each pose. I also noticed that the poses become easier as the breath and movement are in harmony and I have better control in my balance.

“Personalising your intention empowers your life”

Friday, March 19, 2010

Inspiring Blog Posts from Sadie Nardini

I have been reading Sadie Nardini’s blog posts in Yoga Journal’s Yoga Diary and have found them very inspiring. Sadie’s posts give insight into how yoga can transform our lives. When I read her posts, I can relate to the subject as her posts talk about how we sometimes hold ourselves back in our yoga practice as well as in life. Many a times we spend all our time and energy trying to accommodate other people’s needs, leaving ourselves drained and frustrated.

Sadie gives examples of how the teachings of yoga can lead us to change our perspective and transform ourselves into the next level.

Her blog post on “Rocking Your Abhyasa” talks about being ready when we are called into action. By developing a consistent yoga routine and facing every yoga pose and moment when we feel challenged is an opportunity for us to become the most of ourselves. When we can do this, our dharma (life’s path) – the things we are called to do will be easier as we have all the tools ready for us to rock it. It is the same in life, if we want something in our life, we have to work at it, whether it is the dream job that we have always wanted or the promotion we think we deserve.

Reading her blog posts have helped to motivate and encourage me in pursuing my passion for yoga further and bringing what I learn into my daily life.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Climb

I was driving home last night when the radio station played Miley Cyrus’s The Climb and as I listened to the lyrics, I realized that some of the words reflect how I felt when I am doing my yoga poses.

When doing poses like headstand and arm balancing poses, I sometimes hear a voice inside my head saying “You’ll never be able to do it”.

Yoga is a journey of learning and with each practice I have learned to listen to my body instead of my head. I learned that when my breath and movements are in sync, the poses are easier to execute and I will be able to do those poses that seemed impossible.

Yesterday, I managed to bind my hands in Marichyasana D during the Ashtanga Led class on my own and as I reflect back, I know it is because I never give up that I am able to do so. The journey was hard and painful; the twisting of the hands was sometimes painful (due to wrong techniques being used!). But with guidance from Azmi on using the breath and an anchor to twist, I am finding it easier to twist and bind my hands together.

It is also the same for my head stand, no matter how many times I fall, I have to do the pose as I am able to see my progress each time I go up; with each time being able to stay longer in the inversion an achievement by itself.

To all you new yogis and yoginis out there, keep the faith and all will be coming and along the way, enjoy the climb!

“Ain't about how fast I get there, ain't about what's waiting on the other side,
It's the climb, yeah!
Keep on moving, keep climbing
Keep the faith, baby, It's all about, it's all about the climb”

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"Lock - in" your Life Force with Bandhas

Energy or the Life force flows through us, to keep us alive. It is the flow of this energy, which regulates our bodily and mind functions. Irregularity in this flow or pattern leads to various ailments and mental tensions.

Life Force is like water; it has to flow through our body and provide a certain amount of energy to each of our cells. Some times, due to our lifestyle or thinking, these flows get disturbed. Certain parts of our body get either too much or too less of energy. The energy may not be reaching some places and at other parts there may be stagnation of energy. Such imbalances lead to headaches, backaches, constipation, sexual disorders, stomach ailments or any other disorder depending on one's imbalance.

Besides Pranayama, Bandha is another yogic practice to regulate this life force.

Pregnant women, people suffering from high blood pressure, peptic and duodenal ulcers or heart ailments should not practice Bandhas.

Bandha in Sanskrit means 'to lock or tighten'. In Bandha practices, the breath is locked or concentrated in a particular area of the body. The body is tightened to retain the energy in that part for some time. This locking of life force has a lot of beneficial effects.

Bandhas help in massaging of the internal organs and removal of stagnant blood. Besides, the practice of Bandhas regulates the nervous system, delays aging, increases vitality and leads to spiritual development.

Bandhas help to release the psychic knots. Psychic knots are like whirlpools of energy created in the wrong areas of our body, over years because of our lifestyle. These knots prevent the natural flow of energy, leading to imbalances.

Jalandhara Bandha (Jaa-lun-dhaar Bun-dh) or The Chin Lock

Sit comfortably in Vajrasana or Padmasana (cross legged) with knees touching the floor.
Place palms on knees.
Inhale deeply, filling your lungs. Retain and hold your breath inside.
Now keeping your back straight, bend your head forward, so that the chin touches the notch between the collar bones. Keep the chin tightly pressed to create the lock
Straighten the arms, hunch the shoulders upwards and forwards, so that the arms too are tightened.
Hold the lock for as long as you are comfortable. Feel the pressure of air, and the blood flow in your chest.
Then relax the shoulders, bend the arms, release the chin lock, slowly raise the head and exhale.
Never exhale or inhale during the chin lock. Do so only after release of lock and with head upright.
Practice 5 rounds with breath retained inside (after inhalation with lungs filled up) and then 5 rounds with breath retained outside (after exhalation with empty lungs)
Jalandhar Bandha has many benefits-
Physically -It helps in managing throat problems, excess mucus and thyroid imbalance. It also improves the quality of voice and stammering.
Mentally- It helps in management of anger and stress.
Spiritually- It works at the level of Vishuddi Chakra.

Moola Bandha or the Anal Lock

Sit comfortably in Vajrasana or Padmasana (cross legged) with knees touching the floor.
Place palms on knees.
Inhale deeply, filling your lungs. Hold your breath and contract muscles of the perineum/cervix area by drawing them upwards.
Hold the lock for as long as comfortable. Feel the tightening of your muscles.
Release contraction and exhale slowly.
Repeat this 10 times and may be increased to 30.
Anal Lock may also be done in conjunction with Chin Lock -
Sit erect. Inhale deeply.
First do the Chin lock, and then the Anal lock.
Hold as long as comfortable. Become aware of the pressures in your entire body.
Relax, by first releasing the Anal lock and then the Chin lock.
Raise your head and exhale.
Practice 3 rounds.
Also practice 3 rounds with external retention.
Moola Bandha has many benefits-
Physically -It helps in managing problems of sexual organs, constipation and piles. It tones the pelvic area. It also strengthens the sphincter muscles of the anus and stimulates the intestinal peristalsis.
Mentally- It helps in sublimation of sexual energy.
Spiritually- It helps in awakening of Kundalini.

Just like, with all yogic practices, with Bandhas too one should keep his awareness high. You must keep listening to your body during the practice and stop at any indication of discomfort. Patience and practice will lead to wonderful and blissful results.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Animal Yoga

Yoga poses are named after animals, so it is therefore not surprising that animals are doing the yoga poses. Below are some pictures I found of animals in some familiar yoga poses.

Flamingos do the tree pose naturally when they are standing.

A squirrel doing the “plough” pose.

Supta Padangustasana A (Sleeping Big Toe Pose)

A duck stretching to Warrior 3.

A dragonfly in full focus and stillness in the feathered peacock pose.