Mindset For Yoga Practice

You are starting to take on yoga as part of your daily routine with the hopes of eventually making it a permanent part of your life. Despite knowing you will try your best, you are worried about leaving it half way just like what has previously happened with many other things you have had pursuit in life. Things at work seem to become priorities, relationships ask more of your time, there’s also family to think about, cleaning the house, cooking… yoga can easily get lost in the avalanche of things to do. So, what exactly can help you with keeping up with the pace of this new exiting yet challenging practice while you still take care of other things that normally form a part of your life? Despite the fact that there is no real set of instructions that will magically inject you an eternal dose of motivation, here are some simple ideas of how to encourage yourself during the first phase of your yogic training.

It Is Only Your Own Pace That Counts

Whether you are attending a yoga studio or collecting yoga videos and books to guide you as you practice in the comfort of your own living room, the only thing that matters now is yourself. Do not compare yourself or your progress with that of others. Instead, get to know your body, mind, and inner Self. Which asanas or poses feel lighter and easier for you? Which asanas feel uncomfortable or too demanding for you? What about your focus during your practice? Is your mind running fast and dispersed or do you manage to concentrate in your breath and body as you maintain a pose or as you progress from pose to pose? Unfortunately, we have been conditioned since young to constantly look outside ourselves for acceptance, reassurance; safety and a sense of worth; all of which had lead us to feel confusing and often painful emotions. Yoga is a practice that you can call home; you can learn to be patient with yourself, to forgive yourself, to share a moment of quiet with yourself, and most importantly, to learn to see yourself under the light of compassion.

Take Your Practice Out of the Mat

The more you learn about the rich philosophy that surrounds yoga, the more you will realize all the benefits that you can bring onto yourself and onto the hands of all the sentient beings that live in this planet. Get your hands on ancient yoga texts and set out some time to read during weekends, then put some basic yoga philosophy related exercises into practice throughout your day to day life. You can, for instance, spend some time in silence, meditate, practice non-judgment, awareness, non-violence and giving. Pay close attention to what you feel and how you feel when you include these concepts in your day to day life and then enjoy the grace that comes with these simple yet magnificent achievements.

Another recommendation is to take up ten minutes of your day to read texts that nourish and inspire you. You can go through books written by Indian or Tibetan gurus; maybe texts from Gautama Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Osho, Ramakrishna, the Bible, or something written by whoever that happens to represent a hero for you or a person, character, or story who or which you deeply admire.

Rise Early

For many people, waking up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning may sound insane but getting up at this monastic time when the birds start singing, the rest of the world is still quiet, and the sun is about to rise brings many advantages. In Indian philosophy, waking up thirty minutes before the sun rises is believed to allow you to synchronize with the sun and open an access to supreme knowledge and eternal happiness. Try it out for two days and experience it for yourself.

Jivamukti Yoga for Beginners

Introduction

Jivamukti Yoga is a style that has gained a reputation for attracting many celebrities. The style was developed by trainers David Life and his partner Sharon Gannon. They came up with the style after joining a Sivananda teacher training Class during a trip to India in 1986.

They opened their first class in the East Village of New York City. They called it the Jivamukti Yoga Society. The center was later moved to Lafayette Street in 1998. In 2000, they opened a second school in the Upper East Side of New York. The school has since expanded, moving to other states and more recently, to other countries.

The Types of Classes in Jivamukti Yoga

There are six different classes that one can join in Jivamukti Yoga. They are:

Open Class

Basic Class

Beginner Vinyasa

Spiritual Warrior

Meditation

In-class Private

Magic 10 Sequence

Jivamukti Yoga Open Class

Jivamukti Yoga has an open class policy where practitioners of all levels can participate. Each participant can work at his or her own pace before being provided with the options for beginners, intermediate, and advanced levels. The open class incorporates training on the five tenets of Jivamukti. These are:

Shastra – Its basis is the study of four central yoga texts and learning the Sanskrit language. This is the language that the texts were initially written in.

Bhakti – This tenet teaches students how to devote themselves to God during their yoga practice. Interestingly, an inter-religious understanding of God is encouraged with deities from multiple religions adorning Jivamukti Yoga centers.

Ahimsa – In this tenet, practitioners are taught values of non-violence, non-harming, and compassion. This is where students learn how they are expected to relate to the external world.

Nada – Teaching of yoga in Jivamukti centers is accompanied with elevated music, chanting, and inner listening. The belief is that humans and everything else that exist consists of vibrations that one should strive to understand.

Dhyana – Here, one learns how to be still and to listen to how the mind thinks. By doing this, one can understand their thinking process in a deeper way.

The Basic Class

This class has four basic courses that are taught within a period of four weeks. The basic training here is to know how to do the Asanas and how to use props. It is at this level where students get prepared to get into all other classes.

Spiritual Warrior

This is a fast-paced class that is designed for busy people who have limited time to practice. The focus is on the pace of exercises, not the spiritual discourses. The style sequences include twists, backbends, relaxations, meditations, forward bends, and so on.

Beginner Vinyasa

Here students learn the basics of Vinyasa practice. They are taught a series of Asanas in a relaxed manner. The pace here is much slower than it is in the spiritual warrior level.

In-Class Private

The initial teaching style of Jivamukti Yoga was training each student one-on-one. However, modern classes teach students as a group. This level incorporates both the single student and group teaching styles. Students who wish to can get the services of a private teacher.

Meditation

Meditation is an important part of Jivamukti Yoga whereby it is taught in the form of a mantra. Mediation is done as a three-step procedure; choosing a seat, being still, and then focusing.

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Hopefully, this basic introduction to the tenets of Jivamukti Yoga has given you useful information on what Jivamukti is about.

Yoga For A Healthier Neck and Back

Have you experienced stiffness in your neck that just seems to never wear off? How about that annoying pain in your upper or lower back? Or maybe some discomfort in your shoulder blades that stops you from moving freely?

Accept it, today’s people are mostly desk jockeys with poor posture dealing with stress and an incredible amount of pain in their bodies. Most of us choose to neglect it and continue dealing with life feeling drained. The longer the body is exposed to bad habits such as poor posture, the more that gravity manifests it’s effects on our bodies causing misalignment in spine, a hunched back, and pain everywhere.

Awareness of breath.

Stretching tensed muscles can help ease the pain and improve the physiological structure of the body. It directly counteracts the affected area while relaxing the muscles. Stretching and breathing go hand in hand. Your awareness of breathing allows the parasympathetic nervous system to ease out. Inhalation conditions the body and the mind to prepare strength and composure before approaching a pose and exhalation helps ease any tension and stabilize the body. Executing the postures with proper form and proper breathing must be kept in mind to fully experience the benefits of the practice.

Yog-ahhhhh

Yoga has been known for its enormous benefits and is proven to improve overall health. Here are some poses that would definitely help release tensed muscles in your back and rid of discomfort in your neck:

Standing Forward Bent/ Uttasana. This pose stretches the lower back and allows the neck to relax, creating more space for movement, releasing stiff muscles and improving blood circulation to the brain.

How: Stand straight with your feet together. Inhale sucking the belly in as you raise your hands up, pressing the palms against each other. Exhale reach for your toes, keeping your spine’s natural curve. If possible, you can intensify the stretch by hugging your legs to your body. If you can’t reach for your toes, just hold your elbows. Inhale look forward, lifting your chest and exhale fold forward again. Inhale as you stand back up to release. Do this maneuver for 3-5 times.

Easy Seated Twist/ Sukhasana Parivrtti. This twisting pose does not require much flexibility but can effectively release tension on neck all the way down the lower back. Remember to move with awareness and proper breathing throughout the flow.

How: Sit comfortably with crossed legs on the ground. Inhale as you place your left hand on your right knee and exhale while gently twisting your torso and your head to right. Breathe deeply. Deepen your twist with every exhalation. Slowly release as you exhale back to normal seating position. Do the same twisting pattern on the other side.

Cobra Pose/ Bhujangasana. This pose is the easiest way to decompress the back caused by long period of sitting, allowing the spine to neutralize the hunched back effect on our posture and loosens stiff muscles at the back of neck. It also opens the shoulders and the chest.

How: Start on a Downward-Facing Dog with your hands and feet planted on the ground forming an inverted V. Inhale as you transition to a plank and exhale lower down to Yoga push up, chaturanga, then all the way towards the floor. Press your elbows in and keep your legs activated, lifting the knee caps. Slowly send your chest forward and up keeping the back of your neck long. Broaden your collar bones and roll your shoulders back and down. Stay for 3-5 breaths and roll your torso down as you exhale to release. Curl you toes under and press back up to Downward-Facing Dog.

These postures will surely help ease pain in the neck and back while strengthening them. Being aware of proper posture would also have a big impact in preventing any discomfort or injury. Be mindful with your movements and your thoughts and face life’s uncertainties with composure.