India: Connections

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I got up early and went for a walk. Walking in Pune is unlike walking anywhere else I have ever been. It is suffused with noise, brilliant colors, traffic, throngs of people, so many smells all at once, it is complete sensory overload…and I love it.

I walked, people stared, I smiled, placed my hand on my heart and nodded. A simple greeting with no words. A silent but understood Namaskar connecting the divine one within me to the divine one within them.

As I continued to walk, the paved road became a dusty, dirt road. I followed the sound of music to a large tent across from a temple. I stood to the side peering into the tent and listened. I take a short video of the music. From within the tent, one of the musicians waves me over. I think he must be waving at someone else. No, he is waving at me. A group of older women start waving me in. I go into the tent and forget to take my shoes off. I created an instant scandal. This is a holy celebration for one of the Hindu gods. No shoes in the temple. I quickly remove my shoes and place them outside of the tent.

I sit. I listen.
I get a light whack to my shoulder.

One of the older women points to my hands and signals me to clap to the music. I clap. I stop clapping, I get another whack. I don’t like to clap because I have no rhythm…. I didn’t want the entire tent to see I had no rhythm but I kept clapping. I didn’t want another whack.

I get another whack. She points to my eyeglass case in my backpack and motions for me to put on my glasses. She wants me to see everything.

Then a beautiful woman, not just physically, but the intense beauty that fills a room from being grounded in strength and confidence. She commanded the stage. I have seen many Indian singers and musicians but I have never heard anything like her. I was stunned. I kept saying wow over and over under my breath. I felt another whack. I turn around and the older woman is nodding and smiling, very happy I was connecting with the music. I even think my clapping was getting better.

I would have loved to video it, but I didn’t want to be distracted by capturing the moment, I just wanted to be in the moment.

When I said goodbye to the older woman behind me, she grabbed both of my hands and smiled. Namaskar.

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Simple Yoga Wall

I often receive comments from my students, or posts on my social media pages, saying, “I wish I had a ropes wall” or “I have nowhere in my house for a ropes wall.” To that I say, You can! It is easy and inexpensive.

Making yoga ropes is fun and simple.  One, of many options, for your yoga rope is Crown Bolt Double Braided Dock line with a working load of 650 lbs. It can be found in most hardware stores (Home Depot carries it, 15 feet per package @ $15.97).

The videos below provide clear instructions for making your own yoga ropes.

Purchase two 3/8″ Zinc-Plated Steel Carabiner Snap Hook – 2 Pack with 500 lb working load. (Amazon carries them for $6.99 for two)

Purchase one set of ‘over the door‘ attachments from one of following sites:  The Great Yoga Wall Over the Wall Hangers $12.95 for two  or Tools for Yoga  Door Mounting Device $33.00 for two. 

 

Warning:  When hanging your new wall ropes over the door, make sure the door does not open toward you.

If you don’t want to make your own wall ropes, you can purchase them online.  AliExpress has a number of options: Wholesale Yoga Ropes

Practice ideas for your new ropes wall!

Make a third rope and practice Ropes Sirsasana shown in the video below:

Explore, Play, and bring a full dose of Imagination into your practice.

 

 

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Student question: I enjoyed the twist (Jathara parivartanasana) we practiced in class. Is there a way I can practice it at home without a rope wall?

Yes! I have shared videos of the two practices below. The first video using wall ropes and the second video demonstrating how to practice this pose using a door and strap.

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Diaphragmatic Breathing, “A handbook for Yogasana Teachers: The incorporation of Neuroscience, Physiology and Anatomy into the Practice” by Mel Robin

In diaphragmatic breathing the movement is largely that of the diaphragm moving down on the inhalation and up on exhalation. There is also specific involvement of the abdominal muscle wall, resulting in the lifting and expansion of the lower rib cage on inhalation, because the taut abdominal muscles confine the incompressible viscera as the diaphragm descends. It is the involvement of the muscles of the abdomen and the external intercostals (which flare the lower ribs on inhalation) that distinguishes the diaphragmatic breath from the abdominal breath.

The effect of the diaphragmatic breath is a stimulation of the sympathetic system (a general activation and warming of the body’s autonomic systems), and the mental effect is that of clarity and attentiveness. This is the appropriate breath for most yogasanas. (Chapter 15, pg 612)

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Student Question of the Month: Why do we roll to the right side after Savasana?

Physiologically:
The left lung is smaller than the right lung because the heart is left of center in the body. The liver is on the right side and is the largest, heaviest internal organ, with an average weight of 3.5 pounds. When you roll to your right side, the heart remains open and free of pressure. The heart also remains above the organs leaving less weight on the heart resulting in less pressure after Savasana. Interestingly, in some people the internal anatomy is reversed, with hearts on the right and/or livers on the left, but are otherwise perfectly healthy. In this case the student would benefit from rolling onto their left side.

When pregnant, it is best to roll onto the left side. Rolling to the left side improves circulation, giving nutrient-packed blood an easier route from the heart to the placenta nourishing the baby. Lying on the left side also relieves the pressure of the uterus from lying on top of the liver, which is essential in the processing of nutrients and detoxification of non-nutrients.

Philosophically:
In India, it is considered auspicious to enter a holy space with your right foot. In many parts of the world we greet each other by extending our right hands. The right side represents the east and rolling towards the east, or the rising sun, is symbolic of asking for blessings of grace and bliss.

Energetically:
In traditional Indian and Chinese medicine, our body contains over 72.000 nadis, or energy channels. There are three “main” nadis in the body: the Sushumna in the center of the spine, the Ida nadi on the left side, and the Pingala nadi on the right side.

The Ida and the Pingala nadis are associated with specific attributes. The left side of the body, or the Ida nadi, is related to our femininity. The feminine side of the body has cooling, calming, Yin energy. The right side of the body, or the Pingala nadi, is related to our masculinity. The masculine side of the body has heating, energizing, Yang energy.

When you come out of Savasana and roll to your right side, your left nostril is on top. This will emphasize the flow of breath through the left nostril, and has a calming effect. Since we generally want to calm the body and the mind when we practice yoga, we end the class in this position. If you need some stimulation and extra energy at the end of your practice, it is advised to roll to your left side to stimulate breathing through your right nostril.

References: https://www.webmd.com/baby/positioning-while-sleepinghttp://www.sciencefocus.com/qa/top-10-what-are-heaviest-organs-human-bodyhttp://www.healthandyoga.com/html/dissertations/shruddha1/abstract.aspxhttps://www.melissawest.com/why-we-roll-to-the-right-side/https://www.quora.com/Is-it-true-that-we-have-the-right-side-bigger-than-the-left-or-opposite-Why

 

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1000+ images about Iyengar Yoga

Looking for inspiration in your practice?  Click the link for 1000+ Iyengar Yoga ideas

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Student Question: I loved the rope sequence you taught in class. Is there a way I can practice it at home without a rope wall?

 Yes! The video below provides detailed instructions on how to use your door as a rope wall for standing poses!
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