asthanga – vinyasana yoga: detox body, mind and spirit from the inside out

ImageI am an active ashtanga – vinyasana yoga practisioner. Yoga is another gift which has been given to me by God. Yoga is part of my life. It is part of my day – like sleeping, eating and brushing my teeth. Of course, there are days when I do not practise. On those days my body tells me: stop stretching me. And yoga teaches me to listen to my body. Yoga teaches me many things which are all inside of me and which I myself need to discover through my practice. My practice is different every day. Sometimes I am more flexible. Sometimes I am more balanced. Sometimes I can’t be bothered and I totally lose focus and start gazing around instead of listening to my breath. And here is the most significant aspect of yoga: THE BREATH! It is not about the poses. it is not about how flexible you are. It is not about how strong you are. It is only about how good you are at focusing on the breath. When you focus on the breath, everything else follows: movements and focus. That is when you are balanced and flexible. Even though, the level of flexibility in certain areas does not really depend on your focus or type of body. It depends on your emotions: fear, trust, self-esteem etc. I myself am less flexible in my hips and I know it is connected to trust issues. i need to let go and surrender. It comes from the inside out. Once I acknowledge the matter, I need to loosen up and let go of my fear…that is when my hips will automatically open up. Everything is so connected.

The breath is our focus, as stated before. It sounds easy, but it is an art. Simply because we are made of body, mind and spirit and yoga is not only a body practice, or a mind practice, or a spirit practice. NO! It is a body, mind, spirit practice. It is a holistic practice. You tone your muscles, you strengthen your body, you become more flexible, you cleanse your body and you clear your mind FROM THE INSIDE OUT – through the breath. Not through a pole which you are lifting yourself up to “get strong muscles” at the gym, not from sit-ups or push-ups which ONLY strengthen your muscles. Nothing of all that. It all starts from the breath which is inside of you. The breath is your tool. Your pole. It is pretty amazing what you can do with your breath. In ashtanga yoga we use a special way of breathing which consists of contracting the throat muscles and therefore breathing through the nose from the back of your throat (ujjai breath). The louder the breath, the more you can focus on it. And the more you are able to still your mind. The slower and longer both inhalation and exhalation, the deeper you get into the pose. It is almost like a trance. You totally disappear from the world and you enter your soul. Your inside. The only existing world for us human beings. The world where all our secrets lie. The world which we tend to escape daily by keeping us busy with work, people, material things. When you enter your soul, you become mindful, conscious, aware and connected to your heart. When Bruce Lee says: “Empty your mind”, he does not literally mean to stop thinking. He means to become mindful and by becoming mindful, we become aware. By becoming aware, we start watching our thoughts and just be observers. So, meditation does not mean to stop thinking. We cannot stop thinking. It is a natural way of our being. It is part of us. Mediation teaches us to watch our thoughts and to stop judging them. So, when people say: “I cannot meditate because everytime I close my eyes, I start thinking about all the stuff. So, I can’t meditate”, it does not mean that they are not able to meditate. Everyone is able to meditate as long as you are able to breathe.  And once you start meditating, you improve day by day until you get to the point where you become one with your breath. That is when you are able to still the mind, to silence the mind – to stop judging yourself and to just let go and observe what the hell is going on in there. And ashtanga yoga is a moving meditation. Every move is an inhalation or exhalation. Every inhalation has the same length as the inhalation. Every movement is significant. It connects you to the earth, to the sun and to yourself. Every drishti (the direction of your gaze in every pose) is significant and determinant for your focus during your practice. Ashtanga – vinyasana yoga: body (movement), mind (breath) and spirit (drishti). Throughout the whole practice you maintain the flow of your breath and you put the bandhas on (please look it up online as i don’t want to get to technical here).

I find it pretty amazing that through the art of breathing you move your body and you get flexible, strong, focused and cleansed.

Poetic-Lyric

poetic eating

photo (8)
After having had a delicious dinner by candlelight I thought I’d post some beautiful lines by Deanna M. Minich from the book I am currently reading entitled “Chakra Foods for Optimum Health”.

Every day of my life is special.
Dedication and passion are the spices of my days.
Those are the spices I flavour my food every day.

I came home after I had practised yoga and meditated. After I had a shower I fully dedicated myself to the beautiful moment of creation: my dinner.
I lightened up candles and incense all over the house.
The atmosphere was PERFECT.
I started interacting with all the colourful veggies and slowly created a beautiful salad with lots of nuts and LOVE. I was moving so slowly and touching every ingredient with my hands. I smelled everything and appreciated it so much. Each veggie was talking to me and expressing her love. It felt so nice and peaceful.
I was really in a moving meditation. Of course, background noise such as TV or radio are simply out of my life and energy field, because they disrupt the whole energy and vibrational frequency of the moment.
When I finished preparing my salad I set the table beautifully and had dinner by candlelight.
I felt filled with love and my immense presence.

Giving yourself love is not something that needs to be programmed. I mean, you do not just tell yourself ” I need to take care of myself” because that’s just a programme you have chosen to impose upon you. It’s set in your mind and not in your heart.
The love I am talking about is natural, spontaneous, inside your soul and alive.
It is infinite energy. Immortal.
Spending time and communicating with the food that is going to nourish you is fundamental in your diet and for your life.
It’s like making love to the food you are eating.
YES, you can be intimate with food too.:) It’s all about love.
Please do not take my last comment literal:)

Here is the extract which I mentioned earlier….
The author calls it “mindful eating exercise” while I call it poetic eating which is a natural and spontaneous way of relating to food for those who love themselves.D

“Hold in your hands a raisin.Close your eyes and feel its texture. Feel the power locked within its wrinkled structure. The goodness of the sun’s rays embedded into every ridge. Now open your eyes and look at it carefully not in a mode of observation, but with a loving gaze held by eyes of understanding. See the poetry in this dynamic raisin. Think back to when it was a supple grape and now how fragile it has become. How has it travelled to you and where has it travelled from? How did it connect to the larger whole of the plant it was a part of? Feel the interconnectedness it embodies and take this in through your eyes. Now put it in your mouth and before starting to chew, feel the sensation on your tongue. Does it impart any sweetness right away? What are the messages it unlocks with every bite? What does it tell you? See how many times you can chew the single raisin, being mindful of each bite. Before swallowing, think of something you want more of in your life, like “balance” and infuse the energy of “balance” into the dissolved matrix of raisin. Swallow and imagine taking in all the nutritional and spiritual goodness of the raisin, including its origins, and use it as a bridge to connect you with all of creation.”

Reference

Deanna M. Minich (2009), Chakra Foods for Optimum Health, Conari Press, San Francisco (p.109-110).

Poetic Lyric