Tag Archive: YOGA

Excerpts from :- How Meditation Can Help You Get Calm, Relaxed, Healthy & Happy.    http://www.thedailyzen.org/2012/02/4-informal-ways-to-meditate.html

1. By cultivating awareness, meditation can help you find peace in the present moment.  
In some forms of meditation, you practice non-judgmental awareness of the present moment by bringing your attention to the cycles of your breath. This centers you in the present moment whenever your mind wanders into the past or the future. By learning to keep the mind’s temporal pendulum in the center, you become mindful in every moment, even when you’re under pressure. Anxieties and traumas from the past begin to fade as you become more involved in the present and less fixated on the story of how you got here. Experiences that previously appeared dull and bland become textured and nuanced leading you to be more involved and interested in your life.
2. By bringing your mind into sharp focus, meditation can help you be your best.
In these forms of meditation, you keep yourself focused on a visualization, a chant, music, a person’s voice, a prayer, or some other object of attention. You may be instructed to imagine a desired future or re-contextualize past experiences.  After a short period of time you’ll, find yourself drawn into your focus and you’ll be effortlessly attentive. This state is very similar to a trance and is extremely useful for achieving specific goals like overcoming fears, becoming more productive, or letting go of dependencies. Many athletes and business-people practice this form of meditation without even realizing that they’re meditating. It can also be of great benefit for spiritual growth such as gaining greater compassion, acceptance, and universal love.
3. When you transcend your ego, meditation helps you discover yourself.
In these forms of meditation, the ideal outcome is to transcend the ego and intellect and directly experience a deeper, unbounded aspect of the self. …………………..Most techniques in this category use mantras (simple repetitive sounds), chosen for their calming effect and sometimes specifically tailored for the individual. Unlike the focus techniques, though, you’re not supposed to keep your mind fixated on the mantra, but rather go through a cycle of repeating it and letting it go; allowing the mind to follow the mantra into quieter states of consciousness.
4. When you control your breath, meditation energizes your body.
You may be surprised to know that some forms of meditation are supposed to energize the body and mind rather than calm it. When you hear someone say “exercise is my meditation,” this is what they are talking about. The runner’s high is a well known experience in which inner calm is combined with maximum performance. However, you don’t have to be an athlete to experience runner’s high and athletes could benefit greatly from refining it. The most common techniques for energizing the body revolve around breath control. In India, the subtle energy flow from the breath is called “prana.” In China, it’s referred to as “chi,” but whatever you call it the result is the same. The nervous system is stimulated and balanced leading to a feeling of flow. In this state, you feel tapped into a deeper source of energy; you’ll be less prone to injuries when you run and you’ll be able to move deeper into your yoga poses.

4 Informal Ways to Meditate

We sometimes think of meditation as being this rigid activity that must be performed under such and such circumstances.  Seated Zen practice is the ideal, but not the only option.  Meditation isn’t about sitting there and thinking you’re doing something important; it’s about detaching from thought and existing as purely as one can in the present moment.  

As you can imagine, this can be achieved in many activities.  In Zen monasteries, every menial day-to-day activities are attended to as means of meditation.  Monks ritually clean the floors, do their dishes, trim the bushes outside and rake the gardens.  There are a remarkable amount of meditative activities.  Here’s a very short list…

1.  Do the dishes.

“A monk asked Zhaozhou to teach him. Zhaozhou asked, “Have you eaten your meal?” The monk replied, “Yes, I have.” “Then go wash your bowl”, said Zhaozhou.  At that moment, the monk was enlightened.”

Living in a basic utilitarian apartment without space for a fancy dishwasher, my roommates and I share the responsibility of dish-washing.  I often find myself doing them as a form of meditation.  The repetition of an activity like cleaning a bowl or a utensil (which pile up to incredible heights over time, might I add) serves a similar purpose to counting the breath or repeating a mantra.  The whole point is just to practice mindfulness.  

2.  Walk.
Walking is akin to sitting with your eyes closed.  That sounds ridiculous, right? Not at all.  It’s been said that closed eyes are like a ‘movie screen for the ego’.  When you close your eyes and try to meditate for the first time, thoughts bombard you from every which way.  

Walking involves a similar level of constant stimulation.  As you walk, your field of view is constantly changing, and you have no choice but to pay attention to it.  Meditative walking involves treating the sights you come across as one treats thoughts in meditation.  Just let them pass naturally and don’t dwell.

3.  Clean your desk.
This is another highly productive meditative task.  Throw things away.  Sort papers.  Clean your keyboard.  Do some dusting.  Before long, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in these activities.  Your desk will also end up pretty damn clean.  

4.  Eat
I’ve discussed this before here.  Fully involve yourself with your food.  Stare at it.  Smell it.  Savor each bite.  This is preferably done in private, since you don’t want to be the strange person at the restaurant who looks like he’s about to make passionate love to his food.  

Modern culture teaches us to wolf food down in mass quantities without any appreciation or acknowledgement of what we’re eating.  Take a minute and meditate on the act of eating.  You’ll enjoy your food more, eat less compulsively, and find mindful tranquility in the process.



What’s your yoga style?
( source : http://www.yogatrail.com/blog/whats-your-yoga-style/ )

zenhabits – 7 Habits of Calmness


The 7 Habits of Calmness

By Leo Babauta

I have come to believe that high stress, constant anxiety over tasks and work and life, social anxiety … is all a part of the modern way of life.

Most people just don’t feel a sense of peace, of calm, of serenity, throughout their day.

I have to admit that I’m the same way some of the time, but I have learned a few things that have helped me create a feeling of calmness much more of the time than ever before.

It’s a series of habits that have developed over the last few years. I’m not perfect at them, but I do practice them, and they are always helpful.

These are habits, not a one-time change in my surroundings or work pattern. Changing your environment is great, but you can’t control the things that happen to you much of the time, and you certainly can’t control how other people act. The only thing you can control is your response — and this response matters. You can respond to the same event with anxiety or anger, or you can respond with peace and calmness.

Let’s figure out how.

The Habits of Calmness

These are the habits to develop that will help you develop calmness (based on my experience):

  1. A calm morning ritual. Many people rush through their mornings, starting the day out in a stressful rush. I wake up a little earlier (5 a.m. these days, though that changes), and start with a little meditation, then a few yoga poses. I then start writing, before I let the noise in. Exercise is another component of my morning routine. You don’t need to do the same things, but find the quiet of the morning and make the most of it.
  2. Learn to watch your response. When something stressful happens, what is your response? Some people jump into action — though if the stressful situation is another person, sometimes action can be harmful. Others get angry, or overwhelmed. Still others start to feel sorry for themselves, and wish things were different. Why can’t other people behave better? Watch this response — it’s an important habit.
  3. Don’t take things personally. Many times the response (that you noticed in Habit 2) is to take things personally. If someone does something we don’t like, often we tend to interpret this as a personal affront. Our kids don’t clean their rooms? They are defying us! Our spouse doesn’t show affection today? He/she must not care as much as he/she should! Someone acts rudely at work? How could they treat us this way?! Some people even think the universe is personally against them. But the truth is, it’s not personal — it’s the other person’s issue that they’re dealing with. They are doing the best they can. You can learn not to interpret events as a personal affront, and instead see it as some non-personal external event (like a leaf falling, a bird flying by) that you can either respond to without a stressful mindset, or not need to respond to at all.
  4. Be grateful. Sure, lots of people talk about gratitude … but how often do we apply it to the events of our day? Things are crashing down at work, or our boss is angry, or our co-workers are rude, or our kids are misbehaving, or someone doesn’t love us as we’d like … do these cause anger/anxiety/unhappiness, or can we be grateful? Drop the complaints, and find a way to be grateful, no matter what. And then smile. This unbending habit can change your life.
  5. Create stress coping habits. Many times, when we are faced with stress, we have unhealthy responses — anger, feeling overwhelmed and withdrawing, eating junk food, drinking alcohol or taking drugs, shopping or otherwise buying stuff, going to time-wasting sites, procrastinating, and so on. Instead, we need healthy ways to cope with stress, which will come inevitably. When you notice stress, watch how you cope with it, and then replace any unhealthy coping habits with healthier ones. Healthy stress coping habits include: drinking tea, exercise, yoga, meditation, massaging your own neck & shoulders, taking a walk, drinking some water, talking with someone you care about.
  6. Single-task. I’ve written numerous times in the past about single-tasking vs. multitasking, but I think people multitask now more than ever. People text while on the train, while walking, while driving. They tweet and post to Facebook and Instagram, they email and read blogs and news, they watch videos while getting things done, they watch TV while eating, they plan their day while doing chores. This is a great way to cause a level of anxiety that runs through everything you do, because you’re always worried you should be doing more, doing something else. What if, instead, you just did one thing, and learned to trust that you shouldn’t be doing anything else? It takes practice: just eat. Just wash your bowl. Just walk. Just talk to someone. Just read one article or book, without switching. Just write. Just do your email, one at a time, until your inbox is empty. You’ll learn that there is peace in just doing one thing, and letting go of everything else.
  7. Reduce noise. Our lives are filled with all kinds of noise — visual clutter, notifications, social media, news, all the things we need to read. And truthfully, none of it is necessary. Reduce all these things and more, and create some space, some quiet, in your life.

The Hindu : FEATURES / LITERARY REVIEW : A legacy of silence.

However, word on the publishing street is that he’s a bit of a recluse. Do you think that’s a fair assessment, I ask. Mistry offers a wide smile and wry acceptance: “Yes, I think recluse is fair. I’m not a very sociable kind of person. And I try not to organise or attend parties.” Neither is he comfortable doing the regulation book tour for his latest effort, Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer ; a launch in Mumbai is the only concession he’s made so far.

Smiling again (he does smile a lot for a reclusive guy), he admits, “I’m happiest when I’m writing; I feel whole and healthy when the writing is going well. When you’re exploring an idea and one word leads to the next smoothly — that’s the real pleasure.”

Most of that writing is now done in Kodaikanal, a world apart from his native Mumbai, the setting for much of his work. How did that happen? “For health reasons and because my son goes to school there,” he says. “Anyway, Mumbai has become insufferable and so money-centric. People seem to have too much money to spend. I don’t have that kind of money.” The language barrier doesn’t bother him either: “I may not be able to speak Tamil well, but I relate much better to the people in Kodaikanal than in Mumbai.”

Another reason Mistry has not been too much in the news is that, for many years, he battled a debilitating illness that has left him somewhat frail in body but stronger in mind. “I’ve overcome illness by using my mind,” he says. Though, in his customary self-deprecatory manner, he says later,I’m not very cerebral, I’m not an ideas man. Emotion is very important to me.

Plenty of emotion — joyous, aching, bitter, ribald — spills out of Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer , a novel imbued with an overwhelming sense of loss and a dark, brooding humour that never lets up. A love story set against the backdrop of the khandhias or corpse-bearers of the Parsi community, the novel expectedly asks questions about life and death.

“These are questions one keeps asking oneself: How seriously should I take karma? How do miracles happen? When you’re a person of strong faith, God is on your side. You can rationalise even the bad things that happen to you; they don’t destroy your faith,” he muses. Of himself, he says, “I am a person of doubting faith; a person who likes the idea of prayer and faith but wonders whether there is any evidence to support it outside of our own minds.”

Mistry does not hesitate to ask these questions upfront in the book, partly because he sees that approach as integral to the purpose of writing. As he declares in his brief bio on the Aleph website, a work of fiction should be “able to move its reader at some fundamental level, to disturb and rearrange his outlook on life, perhaps even change him as a person for even a very short moment.”


http://www.bradpriddy.com/yoga/sequen.htmSequencing of asanas





Certain yogic disciplines are well known since ancient times. If you don’t set yourself to them, you may find them happening quite naturally, including:

  • The 3:30 am wake-up call — meditation is calling your name.
  • Early to bed — ready to go to bed with the sun (or soon after).
  • Simplicity — how much of anything do you really need?
  • Living lightly — matching your food intake to what you need, not what you want; or empty out your purse (or your car).
  • Silence — cultivating inner silence by finding opportunities for outer silence.
  • Going without — giving up comforts and pleasures, even giving up things you consider to be necessities (even when they are not).
  • Generosity — giving time, energy and/or money to those you want to support, but giving more than the easy amount.
  • Doing more — tackling a practice or a project, or holding yourself to a higher standard.

You get nowhere in life without tapas. You cannot complete your education, buy or rent a home, keep a job, grow a garden, raise a child or stay married without tapas. There is a hidden secret in the practice of tapas: the karmic effects. The law of karma says that everything you do has repercussions. When you “pick your poison,” doing tapas in the arena you choose, the benefits extend into every area of your life. This principle is well known in India, where a person will undertake an arduous climb to a holy site so that they can get a good job. It works!

I remember giving things up for Lent when I was a child, a form of tapas. Yogis embark on similar periods of intense practice, perhaps by attending a yoga training or retreat — truly tapas! You can create a similar “intensive” for yourself by tackling a pose you don’t like to do, working on it daily for a month, or perhaps giving up television and doing yoga during that time for a week or a year.

The key is that you decide what you’re going to do. If it’s an easy decision, it probably isn’t really tapas. But if you pick something that is too hard, you might not be able to actually do it. So pick a challenge you know you need, but one that you can actually do. Tell your yoga-buddies, so they can encourage and support you. But I must warn you of one seductive aspect to tapas: When you meet the challenge you’ve set for yourself, you might find that you like it so much that it becomes part of your lifestyle. I used to hate the 3:30 am wake-up call, and now I love it!








Typically a qigong practice involves rhythmic breathing, coordinated
with slow stylized repetition of fluid movement, and a calm mindful state.[3] Qigong is now practiced throughout China and worldwide, and is considered by some to be exercise, and by others to be a type of alternative medicine or meditative practice.[4]
From a philosophical perspective qigong is believed to help develop
human potential, to increase access to higher realms of awareness, and
to awaken one to one’s true nature.[5]




Rabbit Position
By Anil Sharma on June 24, 2011 at 8:33 am

The real name of rabbit position is shashankasana. Shashi means Moon in Sanskrit. Ank means smear. So shashankasana means the asana in which you maintain the position of the shadow on the moon. This shadow resembles the shape of hare or rabbit. That is why most people call it rabbit position or hare position.

Rabbit position is the counter position of the camel position. In camel position the spine is bent backwards. Counter to this, in rabbit position, the spine is bent forward. We achieve the desired impact on the spine by performing these two asanas one after another. In tandem they give complete relief to the spine and the spine is toned up completely. This gives relief to the complete body.

Benefits of Rabbit Position:

  • The spine gets pleasurable relief when it is brought parallel to the earth. This provides rest to the spine.
  • Liver, spleen and stomach are impacted and hence they are activated.
  • While maintaining this position the diaphragm below the lungs is loosened. The capacity to breathe up to the abdomen increases. The diaphragm is stretched and this helps to increase the depth of your breath. Feel the throbbing in your naval. This is highly beneficial for asthmatic patients.
  • This position alleviates all type of anger and emotional instability. It has the capacity to cure even depressions.

Technique of Rabbit Position:

Free video by author explaining rabbit position. Sit down in vajrasana. Keep the waist and neck erect. Inhale slowly and deeply and while inhaling raise the arms together over the head. Your biceps clutching your ears. Stay in this position while full of breath and stretch your shoulders backwards a few seconds. Now while exhaling bend forwards along with your arms. Your buttocks stay locked to the ankles. Loosen your arms till the hands and elbows rest on the floor. Your forehead or chin may also touch the ground. Keep your breathing normal in this rabbit position (shashankasana). While inhaling stretch the arms and return slowly to the vajrasana position.

Point of concentration is Agya chakra between your eye brows about an inch inside.  Make sure that while bending forward your buttocks should not come off their position betweens the heels. While maintaining the position, when your arms, from elbows to hands are resting on floor and your forehead is touching the ground you will feel an unearthly tranquility descend on your squeezed body.

Enjoy this serenity. God be with you!

Camel Position
By Anil Sharma on June 20, 2011 at 7:44 am

Camel position is also called usthra asana in yogic language. Usthra means a camel in Sanskrit. In the final position of this asana, the body is curved like a camel. Hence its name, usthra asana (camel position). During the normal functioning of an individual, all through the day, whatever his profession, we usually bend forward. As a result of this the spine is disturbed only in a particular forward bending position. Usthra asana rectifies the possibilities of defects caused by this natural tendency to bend forward. This asana is practiced while sitting in vajrasana.

Technique of camel position:

See video by author explaining camel position. Sit in vajrasana and stand up on the knees. Keep the distance of your knees equal to the width of your shoulders. Both the feet behind the back should be parallel to each other. The soles of your feet should be pointing upwards. Now hold your waist with both hands. The tips of your thumbs should be touching each other. The fingers pointing towards your navel and your hands clutching both the sides of your waist. Now close your eyes. This is extremely important and obligatory as one can feel giddy while bending backwards. Now inhale slowly and simultaneously bend your neck and back backwards slowly. Stay in this position as long as possible. While staying, keep your breathing normal. The advanced students (sadhaks) can remove their hands from the waist and hang them loose backwards touching the soles of you feet. Come back to the original position slowly and rest in vajrasana.

The point of concentration should be the whole spine. The important thing to keep in mind is that the naval should remain outwards as far as possible so that it may have the most impact on the spine. While returning to the original position the movement should be utterly slow. Don’t make haste. No wonder “Haste makes Waste”. This is true about all yogic processes and is extremely important for any serious student (sadhak) of yoga.

yoga for controlling anger



Lie down on your stomach, with the forehead resting on the floor. The big toes should be touching each other and the heels should be allowed to flop to the sides. If you find difficulty in breathing, place a pillow under the chest.Breathing: As you breathe naturally and without extra effort, notice the gentle rising and falling of the spinal column. Surrender yourself to the floor and gradually start breathing longer and deeper. Try to breathe steadily. You can continue in this position for as long as you wish.Benefits: This is a position of surrender and makes the mind calm down rapidly. If you have a short temper, this asana will help to a great extent. When you feel that you are on the verge of an emotional outburst, move away from the situation and lie down in advasana. Keep focusing on the incoming and outgoing breath rather than your agitated thoughts. Shashankasana (Rabbit posture)

You can easily visualise an angry person, animal or bird, but you will find it very difficult to visualise an angry rabbit. This is what Shashankasana helps you to achieve.

Do this asana for a few minutes every day. If you find it difficult to bring your forehead to the floor, use a cushion for support. Keep the big toes together and the heels outwards and sit with the buttocks in the space between the heels. Try to settle down in this posture, allowing the spinal column to stretch fully. Continue sitting in this manner for a few minutes.

Breathing: Breathe in a relaxed and normal manner. Sheetali Pranayama Sit in any comfortable cross-legged posture, close your eyes and relax the body. Put your tongue out as much as possible and turn the sides of the tongue upwards, trying to bring the edges together to form a tube.Breathing: Inhale deeply through this tube, draw in the tongue, close your mouth and then exhale through the nostrils. When you are inhaling through the tube, there should be a sound of air rushing in. Once again, open the mouth, form the tube, inhale, close the mouth and exhale through the nostrils. Continue this for one to two minutes.

During the summers, you can do this pranayama for a longer period.

WARNING: People with low blood pressure and respiratory tract disorders should avoid doing this asana. Those with heart diseases should not attempt breath retention.The best time for this pranayama is late at night — before you retire for the day, or early in the morning — when it is relatively silent outside. If you are extremely tensed up, you can do it for up to half-an-hour. However, it must be done sitting down. Once again, if you have heart ailments, avoid breath retention.



How to Take Up Ballet as an Adult

Ballet Isn’t Just for Kids! You Can Begin This Fulfilling Hobby at Anytime in Your Life!






Neck and shoulder

Neck Isometrics: Place your hands against the back of your head. Begin putting forward pressure against the back of your head and resist the movement with your neck muscles. Hold for a count of 10. Repeat 5-8 times.

Shoulder stretches: Clasp hands behind the back and raise the hand till you feel a mild stretch over the chest and shoulders. Hold for a count of 10 and relax, Repeat 2-3 times


Hamstrings stretch

Straighten your knee as you gently curl your toes in until your feel a mild stretch over the back of thigh. Hold for a count of 10 and relax. Repeat 2-3 times. Repeat with the other leg.


Wall Squats

Lean on a wall with your feet apart. Slide down on wall till mid way and hold for a count of 10 and push up to the standing position. Relax for a count of three and begin again. Repeat 5-8 times.


Wall push-ups

Facing the wall, lean forward and place your palms flat against the wall at about shoulder height and shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows as you lower your upper body toward the wall in a slow and controlled motion. Hold for a count of 10. Repeat 5-8 times. 




  • 24th may 2011 tue
    asanas from badhakonasana pose  -(butterfly pose in isha  yoga)
  • from simple trikonasana , virabhadrasana 2 .. , turning  right, raising left hand touching right  toe
  • Suptapadmaasanam . padmaasana pses taught today – padmaparvatasana
  •  virabhadrasana 2 – turn right from , virabhadrasana 1 raise up.
  • gomukhasana

also taught yesterday – after jaushirsh – place left leg on right thigh , after extending legs , and try to touch toe –  Ardha Padma Paschimottanasana – Half lotus back stretching pose 

  • Sit with both legs stretched in front.
  • Bend the left leg and place the left foot on the right thigh, turning the sole of the foot up and heel touching the abdomen(if possible keep it close to the naval area).

  • Inhale and raise both arms upwards over the head.
  • Keep the back, neck and head upright and straight.

  • Exhale and lean forward from the hips, grasp the toes of the right foot with both hands.
  • If you can’t grasp the toes, grasp the ankle or calf muscles initially. Gradually with the regular practice, you can grasp the toes.
  • Utilizing the arms, not the back muscles, slowly pull the trunk forward to place the forehead resting on the straight knee.
  • If you can’t bend the upper body forward due to bigger tummy, exhale forcefully. That will enable you to contract the stomach muscles and to bend forward better.
  • This is the final position. Hold the pose for as long as is comfortable.
  • Release the hands, inhale and raise them in the reverse order. Repeat the technique with the other leg.
  • Practice up to 5 rounds gradually extend the final holding posture duration.


  • Inhale while raising the arms. Exhale while bending forward into the final position.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply in the final position.
  • Inhale while returning to the upright position.


  • In this posture, the foot of the bent leg applies an intense massage to the inner abdominal organs.
  • This will helps to stimulate intestinal peristalsis and alleviate constipation.
  • Also this pose prepares the legs and hips for sitting in meditation asanas longer time
  • Stretches the muscles of the back and increases blood circulation to the spinal nerves.
  • Stretches and tones the hamstrings and calf muscles
  • Tones the internal organs of the abdominal area and helps lose excess weight.
  • Increases the flexibility of the hip joints
  • Used in yoga therapy for the management of kidney ailments, diabetes, colitis, and menstrual disorders


Virabhadrasana I

Utthita Trikonasana

http://www.yogajournal.com/flash/vectora.swfUtthita Trikonasana


Parivrtta Trikonasana

http://www.yogajournal.com/flash/vectora.swfParivrtta Trikonasana


http://www.yogajournal.com/flash/vectora.swfSide-Reclining Leg Lift

Anantasana  http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/2500


http://www.yogajournal.com/flash/vectora.swfBaddha Konasana

Sit with your legs straight out in front of you, raising your pelvis on a blanket if your hips or groins are tight. Exhale, bend your knees, pull your heels toward your pelvis, then drop your knees out to the sides and press the soles of your feet together.


hp_195_02_large.jpg method to do ashwasanchalan – called anjaneyasana here. – From Adho Mukha Svanasana  / PARVATASAN (Downward-Facing Dog), exhale and step your left foot forward between your hands, aligning the left knee over the heel. Then lower your right knee to the floor and, keeping the left knee fixed in place, slide theright back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the right   front thigh and groin. Turn the top of your right  foot to the floor.

Preparatory Poses FOR  Janu Sirsasana





other poses taught

http://yoga.about.com/od/yogaposes/a/pigeon.htm – Pigeon Pose – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

http://yoga.about.com/od/anatomicalfocus/a/hips.htm – The following yoga poses require open hips, so practicing them will improve your hip openness over time.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZCUSF3D86k – see how to catch knee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nb9Qab6c3T0&feature=related – PAVANMUKTASANA

CHANGING FROM PARVAT TO SARPASANA –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDIM4Cv6Q5I&feature=related

http://www.discover-yoga-online.com/pavana.html –  CORRECT PAVANMUKTASANA

Seated Wide Legged Straddle – Upavistha Konasana



pd yoga

  Keep in mind that everyone is different and comparing yourself to anyone else is a pointless exercise. What’s most important is simply being true to yourself.


I read a book by Martha Beck called Finding Your Own North Star. In it, she tells the story of how she finished, finally, her dissertation. The enormity of the task had stopped her cold; her education had simply stalled there, just before the finish line. After months of inaction, she decided to break it down into manageable pieces; she vowed to write for six hours every day. It was less than she thought she should be doing, but she could tell right away that it was still too much. Her body and brain were resisting.

She cut it in half – 3 hours a day – but she could still feel it, the emphatic inner NO. Even at half an hour a day, she felt the resistance. It wasn’t until she got down to 15 minutes a day that she felt herself relax. It felt doable and, as it turned out, it was. It took her a year, but she did finish “the damn thing,” writing 15 minutes a day.

Honestly, I write more than 15 minutes a day now, but it’s usually for specific writing projects. I’ve been frustrated that I haven’t had more time to play, to just write wild and see what happens. With all that I have going on, writing like that never feels like an effective use of my time. Until now. I’m calling it an experiment (to encourage the kind of writing that term implies) and I’m committing here, to you, that I will make it happen for 15 minutes every day in February


Yoga means, “to yoke together” or “union”. In the yogic sense it is the merging together of the body, mind and our intuitive or emotional side.
The physical postures that many associate with “Yoga” are the “asana” practice, which is only one of eight limbs of Yoga.
Yoga is a state to be reached. It is a state of happiness and contentment reached when the body, mind, emotions are healthy and working in harmony. Yoga is not necessarily something one does, but rather something one experiences when one includes “yogic practices” into your daily routine and into life.

According to the sage Patanjali who lived hundreds of years ago ( 200 – 500 BC), Yoga is a personal journey into the workings of the mind and understanding how our thoughts and actions are linked with our bodies. There are eight categories of practice which when included into one’s daily life lead to a state of contentment and happiness. “Asana” or physical practice being one of these eight practices.

• Patanjali’s Eight Practices.

 The eight fold path described by Patanjali in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are not necessarily linear or progressive. One can adopt any of these practices at any time, in any order into ones life and still feel yoga happening. But to really achieve a full state of contentment and happiness it is recommended that all of the eight limbs be explored.

  1. Yamas  – Ethical Disciplines to adopt in ones life
  2. Niyamas – Principles to put into daily practice
  3. Asana – Physical Postures (What is referred to as “yoga” in the West)
  4. Pranayama – Control of the breath
  5. Pratyahara – Conscious withdrawal of the senses
  6. Dharana – Concentration
  7. Dhyana – Meditation
  8. Samadhi – Absolute absorption – Super Conscious State


Ahimsa – non-harming
Satya – a respect for the truth – truthfulness
Asteya – non stealing
Brahmacharya – temperance, self-control, desireless – ness. Being desire less.
Aparigraha – non-coveting, non greed


Saucha – purity, cleanliness, both internal and external. In thought in speech as well as body.
Santosha – conscious cultivation of contentment. Being aware of negative thought patterns and behaviour.
Tapas – willingness to sacrifice in order to learn more about oneself.
Svadyaya – self study rather than the study of others. Self-knowledge and self-understanding.
Isvara-pranidhana – acceptance and surrendering. Accepting what is and that which cannot be changed.


Various physical postures of which there are many, interpreted in many different ways by many teachers! Some are set sequences, some use flowing movements, others use heated studios, some are more precise in their positioning . . . in time one finds a style of physical practice to suit your personality and temperament.


Manipulating the breath! Yes, we all breathe, daily otherwise we would not be alive! But how often are we aware of our breath and how it is used by the body to maintain life!
In Eastern philosophy ones life force is called PRANA (energy). We have individual prana and the Universe has prana. There is prana in all living things By manipulating the breath we can manipulate our life force and work more effectively with our body and our minds.


Learning to withdraw our senses and to not be affected or influenced by them. By doing so we learn to control the activities of our mind and in turn our emotions and the way we interact with our environment. We can choose how we respond to other people or situations on our life path. We can do so in a healthy positive manner or an unhealthy negative manner. Practicing pratyahara gives us skills to do this


Learning to focus our attention and our mind activity through the practice of concentration. There are many tools for this. Memorising a song, concentrating on a puzzle, or a picture or a candle flame. In Eastern philosophy the use of a Mantra helps to discipline the mind.


Meditation. By creating the right environment, meditation happens. Sometimes described as a state of conscious deep sleep, other times the absolute stilling of the mind, or finding that deep state of peace and tranquility within. One cannot teach meditation any more than one can teach, “falling asleep”. One can only facilitate the right environment. But one needs to practice the preparation and provide the right circumstances for meditation to happen.


A state of one pointed absorption, the experience of unity with all.  Supreme happiness.