Hello my friends,
There are many blogs that talk about the deeper dimension of Yoga and its spiritual vision, but I decided that in mine I would write about more practical daily issues that really matter and change our life for the better. Maybe I won’t resist and will write about the spiritual vision one day, but not yet ☺
So, what can be more practical than… cleaning your yoga mat!
Take any empty spray bottle (it can be a window & glass spray bottle or any other). Fill about ¾ of a bottle with water, and ¼ of a bottle with white vinegar. Then add into the mixture 10 drops of tea tree essential oil, which has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Unroll your mat and spray around the solution. Give it a minute to set in and wipe down the liquid with damp sponge or cloth. You can do it every time you are back from Yoga class or every few weeks or so.
Well, my mat is clean - what about yours?
OK, lets get a bit deeper, but still - very practical! I am going to talk about people’s daily routine
A bit of background: I use different styles of Yoga in my lessons, which are all based on Hatha Yoga. ‘Hatha’ is the combination of two Sanskrit words - ‘Ha’ meaning sun and ‘Tha’ meaning moon. Hatha represent the balance of opposites like cold and hot, positive and negative, etc. Hatha Yoga works to balance the energies of the mind with those of the body through physical exercises - asanas.
What am I getting to? Well, I’ve learned from this that every aspect of our life should be balanced. If there is no balance even in one sphere (and I’m not exaggerating), our body will be more susceptible to illnesses, stresses, fatigue and we’ll have low energy thus will get moody and will look accordingly. Therefore, we need to learn how to nourish and protect our energy (prana, yin). Take these simple steps to greater wellbeing and increased vitality:
Now, the main thing is to find the right balance between these 8 spheres and we’ll have a long, healthy and happy life. Always remember that we have to take ALL the steps. It is enough to skip or overdo one step (upset the balance) to wear out our energy and damage our health and wellbeing.
For example: If we’re active, watching what we’re eating, having breakfast but don’t know how to breathe correctly or just hold our breath because we are stressed or our body is tensed for some reason, then we will be unwell. Or we can be active, eat properly, drink plenty of water but don’t have enough sleep/rest/relaxation. The result? Yes - being unwell. Or we can take all the steps but do too much sport. This is just another recipe for being unwell.
Well, I think you got my point… By the way, you probably noticed that when we are overactive we are more vulnerable to catching colds or infections and it’s because we lose our energy. Usually it takes time to get unwell. It can take weeks, months and even years to weaken our energy and damage the health. Our task is to prevent it by making sure we are finding the right balance between ALL the steps and not only few of them. Do you want to start changing your lifestyle? Then, first take a deep breath, smile and feel an easy joy in simply being alive, because our natural state is to be healthy and happy!
Foundation of Yoga
Since I’ve been teaching yoga, I’ve never mentioned Yama and Niyama in my classes, because I didn’t want my students to associate yoga with religion as yoga is not a religion but a way of living a good life by following eight limbs of yoga. As you already know two limbs of yoga : asana and pranayama, today I will mention two more which are Yama and Niyama and next time I will explain the following four limbs.
Our practice should begin with Yama and Niyama and then extend into asana (physical exercises), pranayamas (breathing exercises) and meditation. Many people come to yoga initially as a physical exercise and only later begin to understand the profound spiritual effect it has on their lives. First we need to establish the precepts of social discipline ‘Yama’ (ethical behavior or ‘right living’).
The five Yamas of Patanjali’s yoga system are personal obligations to live well and they affect the yogi’s relations with others. The five Yamas are:
The Niyamas are precepts of individual discipline. How we interact with ourselves, our internal world. The five Niyamas are:
If asanas are done without extending intelligence to every body part and surface, without paying attention to our breath or if it is devoid of a spiritual aspect, it is not Yoga. Yoga is not so much about what is done but how it is done and what the effect of doing is.
Do yoga… commit… explore… breathe deeply… focus… don’t give in and don’t give up…enjoy the process...be happy…